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7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy Part 2

7 Content Curation Tools

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Part 2 – Working with Buffer, Bit.ly and Google Alerts

This is the second part of a two-part post on content curation. If you haven’t read Part 1, click here. Content curation is an important part of social media marketing. It is the practice of sharing content that you think your followers will find valuable. A plumbing company may share content on how to unclog a sink with non-toxic household products. A digital marketing shop like us at Root Digital Marketing may share content that helps followers understand how to use LinkedIn to find potential customers and business partners. In Part 1 of “7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy”, we showed how to gather and save valuable content to share with Feedly and Pocket. Now we will show you how to share the content and track it with Buffer and Bit.ly. We’ll also hit on other tools that you may find helpful in your content curation.

3. Share Content with Buffer

So you have some great content that you’ve saved and read in Pocket and now you want to share it. While you could share it directly to each social media channel, I prefer to use Buffer. Buffer is great because you can connect most of your social media channels to it and use one program, Buffer, to share it to one or all of them in one easy step.

There is a free version that allows you to connect some of your social media profiles but to add more than one for Twitter or any other channel, you have to pay. The other great thing about Buffer is that you can schedule when your content is sent. So when you add the content to one of your Buffer social media feeds, Buffer will save it in a queue for it to be sent on the schedule you have set. That way you can fill up your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest queue and Buffer will send out the content on a scheduled basis as opposed to right that instant like the regular Twitter, Facebook, and other social media apps do.

You can use Buffer directly from Pocket by clicking on the Buffer icon when you have some content to share. Once you click the Buffer icon, you can then choose which social media profiles to use. You can send the same content to every social media profile although I’m not a fan of that. The other thing I love is that when you share content in Twitter, you can grab an image from the actual content piece to affix to the Tweet. I haven’t seen this feature on the regular Twitter app and I don’t think it’s a feature on HootSuite either. It’s a great feature because Tweets with images tend to get more impressions, retweets, and likes.

There is also an analytics part to Buffer that shows impressions, clicks, likes, retweets and other metrics. There are other apps that allow you to schedule your content curation like HootSuite but I like the simplicity and UI of Buffer. I’m currently not a paying customer but as I continue to manage more and more of my clients’ social media profiles, I am seriously considering it to make my work easier and more convenient.

4. Track Content with Bit.ly

The last piece of the content curation pie is the process of tracking the content that you share. Buffer has built in analytics that shows you how much your followers interacted with it as does most other tools like HootSuite. I use bit.ly because it is not tied to any particular digital marketing tool and can be used easily across all digital platforms. Bit.ly is first and foremost a link shortener like owl.y for HootSuite. But it also provides the user analytics of the links that you shorten with it. You can use bit.ly to shorten links for Twitter and Facebook as well as emails and instant messages and any place where you would normally share or add a link. The other great thing is that you can use it as a link shortener only and shorten campaigned links that you track with Google Analytics. That way people won’t see a long and ugly link containing your campaign info. Bit.ly is free to use but they do have paid options that provide extra services. Bit.ly also integrates well with many of the social media tools, so when you go to share the content, the tool you are using automatically shortens the link with bit.ly. There are other link shorteners and they all work pretty much the same. Just make sure that the one you choose works well with the tools and apps that you use.

5. Discover New Feed Sources with Google Alerts

Now that you’ve got your content curation up and running and everything is going swimmingly, let’s look at what’s next. I am always on the lookout for new ways to find fresh content to share as well as to get inspiration for my own content creation. One tool I like for finding fresh content that my followers will like to see is to use Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts, I can tell Google to search the Internet for content that contains keywords that relate to the content I share and the business I run. For instance, I like to share local news from the Indiana towns of Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel on Root Digital Marketing’s social profiles as the businesses and clients we serve primarily live in our area of town. With Google Alerts, I can tell Google to search for the town names in the news, blogs or general web. I can choose certain countries to search in. I can tell it to show all alerts or only the best results. And finally, I can tell Google to email me the results or I can make an RSS feed. Since I feed the alerts into Feedly, I choose RSS feed and then add that feed to Feedly under the folder I choose. You can also use standard Google Search terms to limit the results like using the minus sign (-) in front of words to leave them out of the alerts or using the site: operator to limit your alerts to certain sites or using quotes to look for a specific group of words like “Indianapolis Zoo”.

There are a ton of other tools that I have used and continue to use, but I think the above tools will get you started with content curation. While these tools will save you time, they will still take time. And if you don’t have time to manage your social media profiles, to curate content, to interact with your followers and to push fresh content via social media, we at Root Digital Marketing are available to help you with that. Just give us a ring, an email, a DM, a message or a shout if you see us out and about and we’ll be glad to help you grow your business.

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy Part 1

7 Content Curation Tools

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Part 1 – Working with Feedly and Pocket

Content curation is the practice of finding valuable content and sharing it with your social media followers. For instance, a local Noblesville restaurant might want to share a great review of a California Cab that the restaurant happens to serve. Or a Fisher’s clothing store might want to share a press release of the new spring lineup for one of the clothing brands it carries. Or perhaps that clothing store could share an article on the benefits of freezing jeans versus washing them. The idea is to share content (articles, videos, pictures) that you think you’re followers will find value in and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your business’s industry. But how do you find that content and how do you share it quickly and easily with your social media followers? I give you 7 content curation tools that will save you time, establish yourself as a thought leader in your business, grow your following, and keep your business top of mind for the services and/or products you sell.

1. Build a Content Feed with Feedly

You could spend half a day checking blogs, doing Google searches, and reading news sites for valuable content that you could share with your social media followers. Even if you bookmarked your favorite sites and sorted them into corresponding folders, it would still take a lot of time to go through each one to catch up on the latest stories and posts. That is why I recommend Feedly. Feedly is an RSS-type reader that is really easy to set up and has a great mobile app which is important when I look at digital marketing tools. Before Feedly, I use to use Google Reader which was great and very popular but is not around anymore. There are similar tools to Feedly, but it seems to be the most popular. You simply create folders on Feedly and add URL addresses of pages or sites that you want to see the latest stories and posts from. You can also add RSS feeds if the site has one. And there is also a “Discover” option that lets you add popular sites in popular categories.

From Feedly, you can quickly browse the headlines and read the stories you want to read right on the app. You can also quickly share the content via Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media channels. You can also save the content for later and add tags to the content for easier sorting. You can flip through the latest content or you can flip through content in a folder you’ve created. I usually flip through the latest content and when I see something that I might want to share or read later, I could save the content on Feedly but I save it to Pocket which is my next important tool for content curation.

2. Save Content with Pocket

I love the Pocket app as a reader for my phone. It is an offline reader which means that it will save the content on your phone allowing you to read the content without needing a wifi or cell signal to load the story. This is great for people who commute on the subway or for those wanting to lower their data and battery usage.

I save all the content from Feedly that I want to read for later or to share with Pocket. Both apps work very well together. When I am on Feedly, I can simply hold down my finger on a story and it will save to Pocket or I can simply hit the Pocket icon on Feedly and it saves it just like that.

Pocket has lots of options allowing users to customize and use it the way that works best for them. For me, I primarily read the content in the My List section which is all the content I saved. Pocket does save the content according to content types like articles, videos, and images and you can view the content by type. You can also add tags to the content in case you want to sort the content by the client or subject matter. There is also a favorite section where you can save the best content. Pocket has also added a ‘Recommended’ section which serves you content from other Pocket users who have “recommended” content that is similar to the content that you save.

When you click on the content, it opens it up for you to read or look at. From there you can “recommend” the content which then shares it with other Pocket users or you can share it via social media channels, messaging and email. While I could share it directly using the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn apps, I usually use Buffer to share my content. In Part 2 of 7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy, I will dive into Buffer, bit.ly, Google Alerts, and other tools I find valuable for content curation.

Overcoming Duplicate Content on Franchise Sites

Overcoming Duplicate Content
Overcoming Duplicate Content on Franchise Sites

A small business owner in the Indianapolis area recently came to me wanting help in getting his site to appear more often in Google search results. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a common request from many small businesses and there are some straight-forward steps one can take to improve the SEO for their site, with fresh content and unique content being top priorities. But this client was different. This client was a franchisee and their site was furnished by the franchise and contained the same content as every other franchisee’s site out there. So what was this franchisee to do in order to break from the pack of duplicates and improve their SEO?

When I first checked out the client’s site, I did a quick check on Google where I grabbed a couple lines of copy from the site and searched for it on Google with the lines being in parentheses. This quickly showed me that the same lines of copy were appearing in over 400 other sites. The first thing I would recommend a client do is to rewrite every page with unique copy but in most cases with franchises, as was this one, the franchise doesn’t want you to change or switch up the copy. This makes sense since the franchise probably spent lots of money paying a marketing firm to come up with just the right copy for their brand strategy. So if you can change the copy and content and make it unique to your business, do it as it will help your site greatly with its SEO. So what’s the next step if you can’t rewrite the copy?

If you can’t change the duplicate content that you find on the home page and the services pages and other duplicate pages, you may find there are some pages where the franchise will allow you to add unique content which will help with SEO. In this client’s situation, the franchise had a testimonial section, a before/after section and a blog section where each franchisee could add their own content as long as they followed certain brand rules. In taking a look at the client’s site as well as the other franchisees in the area, I noticed some took advantage of the easier sections like testimonials and before/after pictures but none of them took advantage of the blog section. This was my client’s opportunity to stand out from the rest of the franchisees and to increase SEO to help them rank for the services they offer. By writing blog posts on a regular basis talking about the services they offer and what areas of town they service as well as educational and best practices blog posts, my client can slowly but surely start to rank higher in search results and eventually with continued focus be able to show up on page one of Google search results for the keywords that they are targeting.

If you are unable to change any of the duplicate content on your site, you may not be completely penalized by Google for duplicate content. Google has stated that they have an understanding of franchises’ duplicate content issue and are a little more lenient with their sites. With most franchises serving a certain area, their sites are optimized to show up when users search for their services or products in the specific areas. With that said, it is important to make sure that your contact information like the businesses address is on the site somewhere. You also want to make sure you submit your business to Google Business and associate your site’s URL to your business. This will help Google to know where your business is and be able to serve up your site when users in that area search for you.

There are other options to consider in getting your site to appear in Google searches. The easiest but most expensive way is to pay Google for your site to appear in one of the first 4 spots on the search results page with Google Adwords. These are CPC or Cost Per Click ads which means that you pay Google every time someone clicks on your ads. This can be really good ROI or terrible ROI for a business depending on competition in your area and the popularity of the keywords you want to be listed for. By spending some time researching the best keywords and best areas of town to advertise using tools like Google Keyword Planner, you can get some great results with Google Adwords. And Google Adwords isn’t the only CPC ad network that you can use. There is Bing Ads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other ad networks out there. I recommend doing some research on your demographic to find out the best ad channels to use to target them before jumping into any of them.

Another option that I would look into is social media marketing. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, your customers and clients are most likely on social media in some capacity. You can participate in the social media channels that they are active in and contribute to the conversations they are having. While social media marketing primarily costs just time, you can promote your social media content and advertise on most of the social media channels. I would personally start out by joining the channels where your demo is, add content to the channels, follow and interact with your demo on the channels, and build up a community before spending too much on advertising on the channels. If you add helpful and educational content, your followers will think of you when they need a service or product that you provide. Or they may refer your business to a friend as you have gained their trust by being a part of the community and not an outsider advertising to the community.

So whether you can remove duplicate content or you have to live with it, there are many options to overcome it and help your business show up in searches and elsewhere. Some options are easier, some are cheaper, but they all will help grow your small business and increase sales online via your business’s site and its social media pages.

Why Reports of Twitter’s Death May Be Premature: The Pros & Cons of the New Algorithm

Reports of Twitter’s Death May Be Premature-

 

When I first saw the news via Tweets in my Twitter stream that Twitter was doing away with the very thing that broke the news of Twitter getting rid of their Twitter stream, I was concerned. I immediately tweeted out a picture of the infamous fail whale with the hashtag #TwitterRIP. I agreed with most of the other Twitter fans that Twitter was becoming Facebook where they determine what each user should see in their timeline/stream based on past user behavior.

What Will You See Now?

Much like Facebook, the tweets one sees will be based on whether you’ve liked a tweet, retweeted a tweet, or clicked on a link in a tweet of a Twitter profile in the past. The more you interact with the other person or company, the more of their updates you will see. This will also mean that businesses will most likely have to start spending money to promote their tweets in order to ensure their followers see them. This is bad news for advertisers and perhaps good news for Twitter users as they will only see the best content in their Twitter stream.

Why the Algorithm Hurts Twitter.

But…the problem is that Twitter is popular for its always-on stream of Tweets. It’s usually Twitter that is first to break any news and it’s usually Twitter that is the most embedded into the big stories around the world because of this instant, always on, easy to digest stream of news. And with the rise of the hashtag, it’s been even easier for users to immerse themselves in the story as it happens. But if you put an algorithmic filter onto the stream, suddenly what made Twitter so popular is gone. But perhaps it is not. Perhaps we were too early to hammer the last nail in Twitter’s coffin.

This new algorithm for the Twitter stream is rolling out as an opt-in for users. If you want to use it, you should be able to turn it on in your settings under the ‘timeline’. On the Android app, it says “Show me the best Tweets first” with a box to check. Besides the fact that it is opt-in, I’ve also heard that by refreshing your stream, it will resort back to the classic chronological timeline. So unlike Facebook where you can’t turn off the algorithm, you can not only choose not see the new algorithm timeline or you can default to the chronological timeline by refreshing the timeline. On the Android app, you can refresh the timeline by dragging the top of the timeline down to refresh.

What Will Happen with Twitter.

It’s still too early to judge whether Twitter users like this new tweet stream or not. It’s also not really breaking news in that Twitter has been experimenting with this type of tweet stream for a while. It reminds me of the “While You Were Away” feature, just more robust hopefully. I do wonder if they are trying to compete against third-party Twitter apps like Nuzzel which shows you the most shared content on Twitter based on those you follow. If you haven’t tried Nuzzel, I highly recommend it. In the next few weeks, I’ll talk more about Nuzzel as well as some other great tools for digital and social media marketing.

Top 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Blog Post

Top 5 Tips on Writing Blog Post

Top 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Blog Post

One of my clients recently came to me asking how to write a blog post. He had lots of great ideas but didn’t know how to format them for a blog post. It’s actually a common question that I hear often and one that is fairly easy to answer but still requires some further input.

Write Like You Talk

The first thing I always tell clients who want to write their own blog posts is to just pretend like they are talking to a client or coworker when they start writing. If you can carry on a conversation with your clients and employees and keep them engaged in what you’re saying, then you shouldn’t have a problem turning those conversations into print and keeping them engaged with your posts. You could write white papers and research papers and more technical documents, but for clients who are just starting out with content marketing and writing blogs, I usually recommend that they write in a more conversational style.

Write About the Top 5 Things

Some of the easiest and most popular blog posts out there are Lists posts. Every second, millions of people are online searching for the Top 5 of this, the Top 10 of these, and the Top So-and-So in this place. Whether it’s the top 5 restaurants, the top 10 most popular ice cream flavors, or the top books on business ­– list posts are great for SEO and are great for your business. So what services or products do you sell and how can you turn those things into a list that your customers want to read? Your customers have probably already asked you, perhaps every day, what are the top or best choices. Just like this post, write them up for your customers to read and new customers to find online.

Write About How To Do Something

How do I do this? How do I do that? How does this happen? How-To’s are another very popular blog post that are great for SEO. People are always asking Google questions on how to do something in hopes that there is an answer somewhere out there that will help them do it. Some of my clients are a little hesitant about offering too much advice as they feel they are giving away their business secrets. But think of it as advertising your expertise on solving a problem your potential customer has. The How-To may be too difficult or take too much time for the reader to do, but now they know who to contact to do it for them.

Review Things

Share your opinion on the products or services you sell. What do you think about the latest product that you are selling? Is it worth upgrading from the previous model? How does this service compare to that similar service? Is this the best choice for the money? Customers appreciate an honest salesman and Review posts give you an opportunity to be completely honest and detailed in what you think about your newest product or service. This type of post also allows you to really get into the weeds and dive into the little details that someone looking for reviews is wanting.

Answer Customers Questions

Can’t think of what to write about for your next blog post? Just ask your customers. Whenever a customer asks you a question, write it down and keep a list going. Pretty soon, you’ll start to see many common questions that are being asked often and just like that…you’ll have your next blog post. If your customers are asking you these questions via phone calls, meetings and emails, there’s a good chance they’re asking those same questions online and looking for answers. In fact, if they’re asking them, who knows how many other potential customers are asking the same questions. Why not write a blog post answering the question and find out. You could also add an FAQ section to your site with the most popular questions or create an FAQ Section on your blog where customers can see all the questions and read the posts to find the answers.

Hopefully, this post will spark some ideas and help you get started on writing a great blog post that will please your customers and attract new ones. There are many other blog post styles and other content marketing ideas that you can use to further attract customers and we would be more than happy to sit down with you or talk with you about them. Just give us a shout and in the meantime, happy blogging.