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Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

Posted by Benjamin Porter

Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

 

Most business owners now understand the importance of blogging in terms of raising the profile of their company.  But even those who were early adopters of blogging as part of their marketing strategy don’t always think of the following three benefits:

1. Ward off competition

It’s true: Blogging can help your business stave off a competitor. Let’s say you run a small consulting firm specializing in helping companies lower their telecommunications costs. If you’re doing it well, your blog is full of stories of satisfied customers and tips that make it clear that you’re the expert in your niche. Quality content can act like an anchor in terms of online findability. And once you’re established, potential competitors will find it very discouraging trying to displace you from your online position.

2. Attract investors

Having a record of your thoughts and industry experiences establishes your personality as well as your professional bonafides.  If you’re in the hunt for investors, it can make your overall business presentation more complete and more personable.  A successful business model is obviously important but great leadership is a critical factor for many potential partners.  And once you sit down with your prospective investor, they will feel as though they already know you.  (And, hopefully, that’s a good thing!)

3. Organize your own thoughts (and get feedback!)

Like keeping a journal, a business blog can help you keep track of ideas you’re considering for your company. Better yet, they’re ideas that your audience can weigh in on. Say you run a small chain of coffee houses in a tri-state area and you hit upon an idea: What if your stores hosted an open mike night or a poetry slam? By blogging about it, you can both record your idea and gauge potential interest in these events. Maybe your readers aren’t that interested in either idea, but they would like to see you make room for a mother/daughter tea event. There’s extra revenue.  And a mistake avoided.

We know what you’re thinking: “Man, I have GOT to get on this blogging thing, but I have no time!” Don’t worry… we can help you out. We work closely with clients to go beyond informative blog writing — we study your industry, learn its acronyms, talk about your dreams. The term we use is “writing in the voice of your brand.”

When it’s time to finally start that blog, or turn your existing one over to a professional who can update it more than once a quarter, give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or shoot us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com.

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How to Instagram Like the Big Brands

Posted by Dawn Walnoha

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Social media experts seemed a bit confused by Instagram when it first launched back in 2010. Would people actually care about photo sharing? Moreover, could this kind of platform really be social? And could brands find ways to make Instagram work for them? Three years later, the answer to those questions is a resounding “Yes!” Instagram has fast become the darling of social media marketing, and a new study shows just how Fortune 500 use Instagram. Turns out, the Instagram habits of the big boys are things every company can try.

According to the study conducted by TrackMaven, the best time to post on Instagram is, well, anytime. Marketing types often think social media ends with the workday, but TrackMaven found that user activity stayed virtually the same on Instagram on weekends as it was on the weekdays. As far as filters go, Fortune 500s used #nofilter the most on their Instagram photos, but the “Mayfair” filter performed the best. Also, Fortune 500 companies seem to be loving Instagram’s version of Vine  new video feature. Nike, Starbucks, Foot Locker, Apple and Ralph Lauren are the top five most active Fortune 500 brands on Instagram. Yet it should be noted that while 123 of the Fortune 500 companies have Instagram accounts, only 22 percent have active accounts.

For small businesses who want to get better at Instagram marketing, these are fascinating things to hear and chock full of lessons. For starters, post on Instagram all day, every day. Since photo sharing often happens from events (which happen whenever), normal business hours should be happily ignored. In fact, Instagram photos posted on the weekends have a better chance of getting “likes” with more folks off work and on their phones. Also, go crazy with the hashtags. As Mashable’s Jessica Lee puts it, “It’s often considered a social media faux pas to use more than two hashtags in a tweet; however, on Instagram, that rule can be thrown out the window. The data prove otherwise for bigger brands, showing that four to 11 hashtags can increase up to on average 77 interactions per Instagram post.” Lee also reminds us not to clog the bottom of the post with hashtags; rather, we’d do well to pepper them seamlessly throughout the post instead.

Finally, in order to have big-time rocking Instagram success, you actually have to use the darn thing! Pictures from trade shows, mouth-watering snapshots of the day’s specials and exclusive backstage photos make for great Instagram posts. Remember, the top five only became the top five because they were inspired by Instagram’s endless ways to connect by sharing amazing, funny and interesting original images. 

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5 Things for September 13: Fiona Crucifies 'Big Food' for Chipotle

Posted by Brandsplat

Haunting and genius online video creation? Yup. Oddities from the world of social media marketing? Uh huh. Some legitimate news thrown in just for good measure? You got it. Our weekly list of five things you might have missed has all that and then some.

1. Pure Imagination:  The creative team on Chipotle’s new online short film and game reads like a big-budget movie: Fiona Apple singing an iconic song, Oscar-winning producers and a compelling look at a controversial topic. While cute and charming in animation, make no bones about it: This film takes a tough stance against “Big Food.” Undoubtedly one of the most creative and most-talked-about online videos of the year. 

2. Footlong Couture: Project Subway incorporated the currently happening New York Fashion Week with its “$5 Any Footlong in September” promotion to produce a competition where designers made outfits entirely out of Subway wrappers. The hashtag #ProjectSubway was used by the chain to help engage its 1.6 million followers in this unique fashion smackdown. 

3. Twitter’s New Song: Speaking of Twitter, the social media giant has long tried to launch its own music platform. The results have been underwhelming at best. Yet all hope for #TwitterMusic may not be lost: This week, the company paired with massive music service Spotify to hopefully take music streaming and social search to new heights.

4. Skip the McLine: Mobile ordering to pick up real-life items and in real time is something a few brands have been ballsy enough to attempt. According to Mashable, McDonalds is willing to give it a shot. The company is now testing a mobile payment application in Utah and Texas. “With the app, you can order ahead and pick up your food at drive-thru windows, curbside or in the restaurant,” Mashable reports. 

5. Try to Forget: Finally, we round out this week’s list with a major Twitter bellyflop from AT&T. The communications magnet tried to pay tribute to those lost on 9/11 with a tweeted image of the Twin Towers in searchlights, but consumers weren’t having it. After hundreds of complaints, the company took the image down and apologized a couple of times. The moral of the story? Take the day off from marketing on 9/11, brands… Or deal with the wrath.

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5 Things for August 23: Smelling Swift, Fancy Facebook Ads and Masculine Mascara

Posted by Brandsplat

Nine out of 10 online marketing geniuses and social media experts agree: Our weekly list of five things you might have missed has the best stories from the digital newsroom. Why don’t you read for yourself and see if they’re right? 

1.) Adtractive Facebook: Facebook announced this week a partnership with Shutterstock that will give advertisers access to Shutterstock’s massive visual library. “Not every business has a team of designers to help communicate their message, and so the Shutterstock integration allows Facebook advertisers of all sizes to search and choose from millions of high-quality images at the point of ad creation,” David Fraga of Facebook told Business Insider. This could help companies of all sizes make better-looking, more professional Facebook ads.

2.) Better Business Blogging: If you missed Daniel Newman’s post entitled “Demystifying Small Business Blogging,” please read it now (well, after you finish reading this post, of course). Newman helps his readers find easy ways to stop making excuses and start blogging. “In order to see results from blogging for your small business, you have to commit to doing it like any other sales, marketing or operational effort,” he writes. Preach.

3.) Surprise Package: We’ll go ahead and say that 2013 is the year of the double-entendre dude-filled viral commercial. This one for Benefit mascara is also star-studded. Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore, Simon Rex and some comedian from Vine all take part in this sexy, silly viral hit which plays on mascara wands hidden in guy’s crotches. We promise it’s not as NSFW as it sounds.

4.) Smells Like Taylor Swift: #HiFromTaylor is a Twitter campaign, an interactive online video experience and social media marketing blitz — all in the name of promoting Taylor Swift’s new perfume, Taylor. The spot integrates fan’s photos and status updates to an ad with the pop star “shot from the perspective of the user to create a sense of them starring in the video with Taylor herself,” an agency rep says. As long as there’s no Kanye cameo, we’re cool.

5.) Food Photos for Thought: Lastly, big kudos to chef Mario Batali for spearheading Feedie, an app that both helps the hungry while celebrating our insatiable desire for food photos. According to Mashable, “Each time you take a picture of your food at a participating restaurant using Feedie, the restaurant makes an instant donation equivalent to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund. The non-profit provides daily meals for at-risk South African schoolchildren, many of whom have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.” Bravo!

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In Blogging, Keywords Still Count

Posted by Brandsplat

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Whether the final death knell for search engine marketing has been officially rung is a debate we’d rather not get involved in. What we do know is that some of our old SEO marketing practices are still incredibly valuable, especially in blog management and blog marketing. Keywords, for example, are one tool from the golden days of SEO that hasn’t gone out of style. But even after all this time, many folks new to blogging might wonder, “What are keywords and why the heck should I even care?”

A keyword, to put it simply, is that word which pops up in bold when a search engine like Google or Bing returns a list of results. At the top of the search engine result heap are the sites which use the keyword in question. Google wants bloggers to use keywords and wants readers to click on sites that use them too, so by putting the keywords or phrases in bold it makes the decision of which search engine result to click on even easier. Every blogger should give a hoot about keywords because they are incredibly easy to use and help make finding your brand online a snap.

To dip your toes in the keywords waters, start simple. With branded blogs and blogging for business, the best place to start is keywords which reflect what you do and where you do it. If, by chance, you are a landscaper in Atlanta, Ga., something like “Atlanta landscapers” or ” Georgia gardening experts” would do the trick. More keywords can go deeper into your specific services and topics that your blog talks about.

Once you’ve picked out keywords, start sticking them in your posts. Coincidentally, a good list of keywords makes planning your posts less stressful, too. As you map out your posts for the week, peruse your keywords and pick out the magic word you want to discuss and optimize. Use this word in your headline and throughout your post, but also use it in tweets and other social media marketing platforms. And don’t worry about packing your posts with tons of keywords. Keyword density isn’t as important as we once thought. Plus, using keywords over and over looks awkward to readers (and for good reasons).

As blog creation changes and SEO morphs, keywords remain a powerful and easy tool. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see keywords flourish even further with the continuing explosion of tablet blog reading and ongoing Google algorithm updates.

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