The Importance of Calls to Action

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An effective call to action, or CTA, can have a resounding impact on revenue while also expanding customer reach.

CTAs are common throughout the web, from social media to blog posts, but the most successful speak for themselves with profitable results.

CTAs also possess an enjoyable versatility, both in regard to platform usage and actual content, that makes their usage recommended for business in all niches. When digging deeper into why and how successful calls to action work, while also looking at examples of poor calls to action, several things become clear:

  1. CTAs Can Exist Anywhere

The early age of the internet saw a fairly limited number of areas ripe for calls to action. Since CTAs can exist anywhere content can, today presents a wider range of opportunities than ever for businesses to take full advantage of CTAs. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other platforms all present ample opportunity for calls to action, whether in the form of conventional text or even a video or photo making the call to action. As the example above shows, platforms like Instagram even provide accessible call to action options.

  1. They Serve as the Finishing Touch

One could convey a brilliant marketing pitch and be faultless in their delivery and content delivery, yet still fail to capture business if they don’t finish well. Summarizing all the benefits of joining a service or purchasing an item at the end of the pitch is integral to closing things up. Calls to action have the power to do this.

Aligning CTAs correctly is part of the art. Ideally, for a blog post, successful CTAs are placed at the end, with the preceding content leading into it and the CTA summarizing the beneficial points. A question like, “So what are you waiting for?” or “Ready to join?” is commonly included.

  1. CTAs Can Reinforce Established Expertise

Users are unlikely to respond to a call to action if they’re skeptical about you or what you’re offering. As a result, great calls to action are preceded by content that establishes a legitimate reputation and knowledge on the topic.

  1. Non-Specific CTAs Can Work, When Incorporated Intelligently

Content-tailored calls to action can work wonderfully, though the power of CTAs is also evident in their ability to be placed anywhere regardless of topic. An entirely irrelevant CTA won’t work well, such as pitching an eBook about aviation in an article about pest control, but more general CTA tasks — like subscribing to the entire site’s newsletter or following them on social media — can be pushed regardless of the topic being presented in the blog or social media post.

  1. Harness the Power of Testimonials

In addition to strong content, testimonials can be a difference-maker when people are wondering whether to go through with a presented CTA. LinkedIn knows this well, dedicating an entire page to endorsements and testimonials from respectable figures. On their various product pages, where CTAs are used to get people to sign up, these testimonials are visible on the page.

  1. Establish Urgency! CTAs Love It!

Effective calls to actions can vary in their content and tone, though they generally all do possess a relatively urgent quality. Creating the impression that something is limited or very timely can prompt users to make the action, as opposed to simply telling themselves “I’ll do it later” before forgetting about it entirely.

 

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Reputation Management Part – I

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Reputation management (sometimes referred to as rep management, online reputation management or ORM) is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing online information about that entity.

The first step in reputation management is monitoring references to the person or business, primarily through social media monitoring and carefully crafted search queries. Social media analytics and similar processes on search results help to deliver a snapshot of current public opinion of the person or business in question and then a campaign can be designed to address any problematic issues that have been revealed.

Public relations campaigns may be conducted to increase the visibility of positive opinions or to decrease the visibility of negative opinions. One common practice is the creation of positive content pieces about a business to counter negative organic content. A reputation manager posts positive pieces in sufficient numbers to make the negative commentary display less prominently in search results or on social media sites. They might also join conversations, for example responding to tweets complaining about a company with comments that they had only good experiences to report.

Although there are artificial ways to at least attempt to affect your online reputation, there’s no way to effectively create a false impression with any lasting power. You can choose what information to intentionally share online but you cannot control the conversation about you or your brand. According to research by the Nielson consulting group, 53 percent of adults follow particular brands online and 60 percent of users of social networking sites write reviews of products and services. Given the number of people willing to discuss real customer experiences – and especially negative ones — the only truly effective way to create a positive online reputation is through appropriate behavior.

For individuals, the first and most essential step of reputation management is limiting what you make available online to information – whether images, video, posts or comments – that you are comfortable sharing with the world for the foreseeable future. For businesses, the most effective approach to reputation management involves promoting your company honestly, implementing customer experience management practices and actively engaging with customers online.

Every plan should define reputation management, but it should also be unique to your business. What works for one company may not work for a different one, so be sure to keep your mind open, and accept that with a customized plan of attack, your reputation management will take some time to come to fruition.

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Social Media Marketing Tips For Beginners

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of building awareness about you, your products or services through the various social media channels.

The ultimate goal of any social media marketing campaign is to drive traffic to a website, increase the visibility of a product, gain more social media followers or find more customers.

The most popular social media networks today are: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin.

Why is social media marketing important?

Social Media marketing is important because:

  • It’s the fastest way to spread the word about a new product, service or news item – A tweet can go rival in minutes and spread a message around the Word faster than TV or other traditional media
  • It’s a trend – Millions of people spend a good amount of their time on social media networks so if you ‘need them’ you know where to find them
  • It’s the new marketing – Back in the old days, marketers found out that many people spend time in their cars driving so they thought of the billboards on the roads. Today people are spending time on social media so as a marketer you have to start thinking this way too.
  • It’s the new influencer – Recent studies show that social media is becoming a great sales channel and more and more companies are stating that they get customers from Facebook or Twitter.

 

Social Media Marketing tips for beginners

 

  • Decide which social media platform(s) to use
  • Optimize your social media profiles
  • Connect your website or blog with your social media pages
  • Add social media buttons on your website
  • Find and follow the influencers in your niche
  • Keep a balance between following and followers
  • Share interesting content (text, images, videos)
  • Post many times per day but don’t overdo it
  • Don’t forget to follow back
  • Follow the rules and be patient

 

Conclusion

When it comes to social media there are 2 important pillars. The first one has to do with the setup of your social media profiles and the second one is about usage i.e. how you use your social media account.

For the first pillar, it is important to engage in the networks more suited to your niche and to have a proper connection between your social media pages and website.

For the second pillar, it is important to follow the right people, be followed by the right people and share relevant and interesting content always by adhering to the rules of the different social media networks.

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Reputation management part – II

Today, the primary focus of reputation management is the online component. Here are some tips for starting proactive online reputation management efforts at your association.

Step 1: Look at your association’s search results. No matter how deep your knowledge of your organization’s operations may be, you simply can’t know everything—especially the way others perceive you. After all, that’s one of the first things a potential candidate will do when he finds out about your job opening. If he sees an outdated website or incorrect contact information, he’ll likely get the impression that your organization is dated, tech-averse, and perhaps even sloppy. If you find any incorrect information in the search results, work to amend it immediately.

Step 2: Go where the candidates are. Aside from your organization’s web properties, your LinkedIn page will be one of the first search results listed. “LinkedIn is the number one place job seekers are spending their time,” So you want to be sure your page has a strong presence.

If your association doesn’t have an established LinkedIn page, make creating one a priority. It takes less than 10 minutes to create a basic profile page for an organization.

Using LinkedIn profile as a true reflection of your organization as a workplace is a good idea, rather than a bland listing. “Use custom images, show what your organization is all about, post some status updates—even if you’re replicating material that’s being used on your other social networks,” she says.

Candidates are also likely to look at the profiles of your chief executive and the relevant hiring manager,  so those employees should make sure their profiles are up to date and polished.

Step 3: Target sites that rank high in the search results. A good strategy for building some online clout, especially if your association is small or newly established, is to piggyback on the strength of other websites by getting your site listed with them.

Glassdoor, a popular site that allows former and current employees to rate their organizations on salaries, interview experiences, and overall environment and opportunity is again source of reputation management. Employees can also make recommendations to employers they’ve rated. “a lot of businesses are surprised to find that their ratings on Glassdoor aren’t very good,” or that they don’t have any ratings at all.

The reality is that reviews on sites like Glassdoor are often negative because employees who have positive experiences generally don’t think to post a review. “In sports, they say the best defense is a good offense. That’s also true of your online reputation,” she says. “If you want to have a positive reputation online, don’t wait for someone to write a bad review and then stumble upon it by accident. Encourage happy employees to leave positive reviews, so you’re taking ownership of what’s being said about you.”

Step 4: Don’t sweat the bad reviews. If your association does end up with a few negative opinions online, it’s OK: Bad reviews happen. “Not everyone’s going to have a great experience [working with your organization]. It’s not always going to be the best fit,” she says.

Also note that one or two unflattering reviews might even be a good thing. “It’s interesting, actually: Studies show that people trust less-than-perfect reviews more than perfect reviews,” she says. A page of mixed but mostly positive reviews communicates authenticity and balance.

As tempting as it may be, responding to a former employee’s negative review is typically not in your organization’s best interest. “It’s difficult for an organization to leave a comment and not sound defensive”. “And people generally have good sense [about negative reviews]. A person who leaves a really, really negative review actually looks less credible. [Candidates] will see that the review isn’t balanced, and the reviewer was likely upset while writing it.”

Generally, organizations should only respond to reviews to correct inaccurate statements.

Step 5: Build a designated place to showcase your association’s professional opportunities. Aside from asking happy employees to review your organization, encourages building a designated space to highlight your association’s workplace benefits. A simple solution: Create a careers section on your website (or just add a tab to your LinkedIn page). Use it to introduce candidates to your team members, for example, or outline some of the professional development opportunities you provide.

You can’t control everything that’s being said about your organization. But you can take control of your story and show candidates what makes your association a great place to work.

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Social Media & Online Reputation Management Plan

No matter who you are or what your business does, it’s just about impossible to avoid seeing negative feedback. And that’s OK because as many grumps there are wanting to push negative sentiment at your brand, there’s just as many speaking positively about you. However, without some form of social media reputation management, how do you even know what people are saying?

Word-of-mouth marketing should be taken very seriously. BrightLocal discovered 88% of consumers trust written online reviews from customers just as much as they trust their own peer recommendations. That should make the hair stand up on every brand marketer’s arm. It’s so easy to have one negative review, response or social media message leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth who sees it.

Social Media Reputation Management Needs Monitoring Tools

This is why so many businesses put their resources in social media monitoring tools to never miss a message–good or bad. Here at Sprout Social, we offer in-depth social media monitoring tools for brands to manage reputation, respond to questions or concerns and track social users who consistently mention your brand name.

What is Social Media Reputation Management?

Social media reputation management is the process of tracking, monitoring and ultimately eliminating negative social media material about your brand to improve your name or standing. If done properly, social media reputation management builds your credibility to customers, which strengthens their trust in your brand.

Know What You’re Monitoring

An important question to ask before starting is do you know what you need to monitor to improve your online reputation? If not, that’s fine because many brands don’t know what to look for besides the messages coming directly to them.

Connect Your Social Media Accounts to Sprout Social

If you read the section above and were wondering how in the heck are you going to track all those keywords on your social channels–don’t worry, we’ve got you. Sprout Social’s social media monitoring tools make it absolutely easy to not only track keywords across platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, but also have all the messages in a single-stream inbox.

Focus Your Efforts on Engagement

To truly engage with your customers, you have to listen to what they say. Social media engagement is a two way street, so make sure you’re listening to help build better customer trust and loyalty.

Social media continues to grow as the No. 1 resource for customer care. In fact, our Sprout Social Q2 2016 Index found the most popular avenue people take for customer care is social media (34.5%). What happened to 1-800 numbers? It turns out only 16.1% of people prefer 1-800 numbers as the main source for customer care help.

Encourage More Social Reviews

By encouraging more social media reviews, you have the chance to increase your reputation (especially if it’s limited or in a bad spot). Try to provide the easiest route possible to your most sought-after review sites. Clickable images, links in posts and specific images that have calls to action requesting reviews all work well.

Scale Reputation Management to Track ROI

For the marketing managers out there, here’s where we get to the good stuff. Maintaining a positive social media reputation can lead to a better return on investment. Investing in social media management tools can quickly pay off when you see positive reviews and conversations pouring in on social.

 

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Social Media Marketing for Businesses

Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.

Social Media Marketing 101: What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and and other content that drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.

We’ve created this guide to provide you with an introduction to social media marketing and some starter social media marketing tips and training to improve your business’s social presence.

With these tips, you can begin developing your own social media marketing expert plan.

Social Media and Marketing: Start With a Plan                                                    

Before you begin creating social media marketing campaigns, consider your business’s goals. Starting a social media marketing campaign without a social strategy in mind is like wandering around a forest without a map—you might have fun, but you’ll probably get lost.

Here are some questions to ask when defining your social media marketing goals:

  • What are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media?
  • What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?

 

Your business type should inform and drive your social media marketing strategy.

How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Meet Your Marketing Goals

Social media marketing can help with a number of goals, such as:

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Building conversions
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Creating a brand identity and positive brand association
  • Improving communication and interaction with key audiences

The bigger and more engaged your audience is on social media networks, the easier it will be for you to achieve every other marketing goal on your list!

Best Social Media Marketing Tips

Ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few social media marketing tips to kick off your social media campaigns.

  • Social Media Content Planning — As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other businesses in your industry doing to drive engagement on social media?
  • Great Social Content — Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. The content that you share on your social networks can include social media images, videos, infographics, how-to guides and more.

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Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

Mine Twitter to Grow Your Audience

While “if you build it they will come” is a great line from a movie, it’s a terrible marketing plan. To succeed on the Internet today, you have to create content that ignites and engages an audience. However, if you are a new blogger, you should probably spend more time developing an audience than creating your content.

Analyze Past Content to Improve Posts

Most businesses analyze the effectiveness of their social media after they publish. Now, there are tools available to analyze data for content curation before you post.

Optimize Visual Content with Links

Visual content can act as a “gateway” to more valuable content. When planning visual content to post on social platforms, think in terms of how it can drive traffic back to your website, products and services.

Create a Social Media Channel Plan

So many organizations feel overwhelmed by the need to create content for every social media channel on the planet. Or worse yet, many brands create one type of content and then blast that content onto every social platform. If that’s you, you need a social media channel plan.

Deliver Content Consistently

One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience.

Host Private Hangout On Air Events

Social media success is so often about having a conversation with the right people. If you already think in terms of building segmented lists, then you may appreciate knowing that you can effectively list-build on Google+ in many ways.

Run a Facebook Live campaign

Interacting with your fans in real-time adds a layer of honesty and “realness” to your social media marketing. Running, for example, a live interview to answer fan questions or to preview your newest line of products adds to the fan experience by creating a channel where you can engage your audiences right away, driving interest in your brand.

Use videos and photos to preview content

Content marketing is a big marketing strategy for brands everywhere – and social media is a great outlet to share your content. Though you could just link straight to your content, previewing some of the content you’re sharing in a short video or picture (like an infographic) can help to pull viewers in and drive traffic from social channels (like Facebook) to your blog.

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Online Reputation Management Part – I

There are a lot of misconceptions about online reputation management. Some people think it’s just social media monitoring, while others believe it has something to do with public relations, and still others literally have no idea how it can impact business and sales.

In this guide, I’m going to explain the role of online reputation management in today’s business and media landscape. Companies of every size can benefit from having a clear outline of its main concepts.

They are very powerful because, unlike social network content, they are prominent in search engine results. What if someone googles your brand name and finds defamatory content? Let’s see what they are:

  • Negative reviews: Review sites allow users to express their opinion on your brand. Did they like your service/product? Would they recommend it? Negative content can affect your sales, and addressing the criticism on the site may not be enough. Websites like Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer provide the perfect platform for this kind of negative content.
  • Hate sites: Some people go beyond simple negative reviews and create ad hoc websites with their opinions, some of them containing illegal content. So-called “hate sites” sometimes address companies and public figures with insults and false information. Needless to say, a search result like “The truth about NAMEOFYOURCOMPANY” or “NAME scam/rip off” will make your potential customers run away!
  • Negative media coverage: Phineas T. Barnum used to say “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” That may be true for controversial public figures like Paris Hilton, but many times unfavorable TV, print, and online media coverage impacts negatively on companies and brands.

It is obvious that everyone has the right to express their voice about your brand. There are, however, certain boundaries that need to be respected. Some of the negative content online actually is illegal. Why?

  • It uses defamatory language
  • It reports false information
  • It is aimed at damaging the company’s reputation

How do you react to all of this? How do you defend yourself or your company from this kind of illegal behavior? Depending on the scope of the problem, several paths can be pursued in order to restore your online reputation:

  • Aggressive SEO: If someone googles your name, appearing on page 1 and 2 of the search results will be much more important than your business card or website. They will show at a glance several high ranking web sources talking about you. If they display false information, the first thing that you or your online reputation management company should do is devise a search marketing strategy that increases the ranking of positive content, owned by either you or third parties. The search engine game is too important to be ignored, and it is the first step in restoring your image.
  • Review removal: Did that user claim something false about your company? Is that review clearly aimed at destroying your reputation rather than providing feedback? Does it contain improper language? Legal liaison and speed of reaction will make it possible to remove the negative review.
  • Online investigations: In case of serious attacks to your brand image, it may be necessary to hire skilled online analysts to investigate untraceable threats and attackers via email tracing, data cross-indexing, and other information collection techniques. Cyber investigations are the definitive path to get to the bottom of difficult reputation management cases.

 

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CLEAN UP YOUR GOOGLE REPUTATION

Google completely sanctions your attempts to push out a negative web page from its search results. You just have to make sure you understand its search algorithm and its webmaster guidelines.

Assess the damage

If you’ve not conducted a Google audit since you suffered your reputation attack, this is your first task. As mentioned on Day 18, your audit should cover the first 30 results that are displayed when you Google your reputation. If you don’t see your detractor’s attack, then you can breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t let complacency set in. You should conduct a new Google audit daily for the next two weeks, then extend it to weekly for the next month or two, before settling back to your normal schedule. This process will ensure you can move quickly, should the attack start to rank inside the first 30 results.

Ramp up your optimization

When you look at your audit, pay attention to any web pages that you Own, Control, or Influence, but haven’t yet optimized. Do you see any opportunities to add a Superbrand link? Are you using pronouns in your descriptions when you could be talking about yourself in the third-person?

Now would also be a good time to ramp up your efforts to publish Amazing content. If you previously put off designing an infographic or a creating a new video because you decided it would be too costly, it might be time to reconsider that decision. Compare the cost of investing in web content that might rank above the negative web page versus the lifetime cost of your detractor’s attack finding a permanent home in your Google reputation.

Buy your way out

Many online review sites are less than honorable. Poke around the underbelly of the internet and you will find sites that post anything from unverified customer reviews to naked photos of a scorned lover. Many of these sites have some kind of “advocacy” program that, for a small fee, will ensure the negative review is quietly removed. I use quotes around advocacy because many of them are nothing short of extortion. Still, paying a sleezeball webmaster $500 to make the nastiness go away could be a lot cheaper than the amount of time, effort, and money needed to push it down in Google’s search results.

Hire an ORM professional

If you find all of this to be completely over your head, then you may decide it worth the investment to hire an online reputation management (ORM) firm. There are literally hundreds of ORM firms and consultants—all willing to take your money. Like any industry, you have large firms, such as Brand.com, all the way down to individual consultants.

The road ahead

This is not going to be a quick fix. It may take you many months to fully clean up your Google reputation. Let that be a reminder and an encouragement to never let this happen again. Remember, you may be able to clean up the mess this time, but your stakeholders will be looking for consistency from you going forward. That’s why you need to circle back to the core of your reputation, your character, and make an effort to be better.

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CLEAN UP YOUR GOOGLE REPUTATION

Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media Identity

There is no requirement to spread your digital self thin, but many of us are still juggling more than one online profile. Each of these profiles offers us a chance to connect with new communities in different ways, but each network needs to be managed and updated. With so many online profiles, questions are bound to arise. Is your bio page the same across all platforms? Should it be?

 

There are few hard and fast rules when navigating social media; a lot comes down to preference. For those starting out or just looking to make sense of their profiles, we’ve culled advice from five social media experts in a range of backgrounds. Now, here are five ways to manage, consolidate, and clean up your online identity.

 

Keep it Consistent

 

One of the best things you can do is to make sure your profiles are consistent. This includes your bio page, your profile pic, and your tone of voice. “Consistency is important,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, “If you’re “Matt” on one site, you better be “Matt” on every other site.” That similarity can help viewers keep track of you across different platforms. Start by scooping up vanity URLs on sites like Facebook and Twitter and buying your domain name. Similar fonts and font sizes can also help create a congruous online identity.

 

Find Your Brand

 

Put some forethought into what your want your digital reputation to be and build towards that. “You don’t want to have carbon copies because you’re talking to different audiences. Your paragraph bio on LinkedIn isn’t going to make sense on your Twitter page and neither of those is going to make sense on your Facebook page.” Benton recommends making a basic bio that can be tailored for each network. “Think about how the image you want to present sits in with the audience.”

 

Own Your Name

 

One of the best ways to track your progress is a simple Google search. “I’m conscious that I’m writing about the things I’d liked to be found for,” Naslund said. “If I’m going to post a tweet about a drunken bender with my sister from last night, it might pop up on Google.” Make sure you’re updating your social networks on news and events that you want to be known for. Part of managing your online identity is understanding your professional profiles (like LinkedIn) can very well get mixed up with personal profiles (like Facebook). “You can’t keep the peas from touching the mashed potatoes,” Naslund added. “The Internet doesn’t distinguish between profiles. That’s a human distinction, not a technical one. It all gets lumped into the same basket.”

 

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