10 Ways to Boost Website Traffic

Sometimes the detail is exactly what you are looking for. What exactly does the latest Google algorithm update mean? What are my audience segmentation options in a Facebook advert?

But sometimes you just want to know the simple things – like how can I get more people to visit my website – that’s all. This blog deliberately avoids discussing the quality of the traffic and conversion when they are on the site: this week it’s simply about your visitor numbers.

  1. Run a competition on your social media channels – Easy mechanics such as asking people to check out a product page on our site, leave 5 features in the comments and you’ll enter a prize draw are dead simple. Yes, the answers will be in the comments but who doesn’t want to see lots of comments talking positively about your product? A cheap winner!
  2. Use an aggregator – Lots of industries have their own industry-specific aggregators, e.g. moneysupermarket but even if yours doesn’t, make sure that your website is on every directory possible. It might even help your presence on search engine results when someone searches for your company name
  3. Don’t just write a blog – Anyone can just write a blog (I’m the proof of that, right?!). It’s what you do with it that counts. Promote it across your social media channels and make the list of sites where you can post your material, e.g. LinkedIn
  4. Use PPC – You don’t have to have a huge budget to get some great quality traffic to your website through PPC (search or display). Make sure that your keywords are long-tail and you will be bidding on words that are very specific (typically better quality traffic) and often with little bidding competition
  5. Write guest posts – You know the websites that you visit every so often to check out blogs and interesting content? Why not get in touch with them and see if they accept guest posts – you’ve nothing to lose!
  6. LinkedIn groups – These are often overlooked but if you can find the right group, it is a great way to increase your network and promote your website through your contributions
  7. Facebook groups – While we are on the subject of groups, Facebook has some good ones too. Depending on your industry, the synergy may not be as strong but engagement in these groups is normally very high
  8. Run Email Campaigns – When you see surveys which list the most effective digital marketing tools, email often comes close to the top for good reason. If you’ve got the database, this is a virtually no-cost exercise too
  9. Keep experimenting – You will only know what works best for you by giving lots of different ideas a try. Why not try Snapchat, or record a quick podcast?
  10. Always measure – Trying all of these ideas is great but you need to have some systems in place to see which ones are working and which ones aren’t. Where possible make your URLs specific to your campaign so that you can track where your traffic has come from. The least you should do is get close to your analytics package

And that’s it – I hope that you find this guide helpful and if you have any quick and simple ideas for driving traffic, why not leave a comment and share your experience.

How to Optimise for YouTube

How to Optimise for YouTube

How to Optimise for YouTube

Well done, you have created a great video – it is creative, smart, speaking in the same language as your target audience and is of course very entertaining.

But how are you going to distribute this work of art? You will have a plan to share the video on social media and even got some paid campaigns ready to go. And of course, you will hold the video on YouTube – after all, we want some of those 4 billion video views per day, right?

However, unless you have optimised your YouTube channel and video, people are going to struggle to find your video in the first place.  So what steps can you take to optimise for YouTube?

Channel Optimisation

  • Description – Don’t be afraid to write a pretty long description here. You should include your 5 keywords which you would like to optimise for, and if you get to the 250-300 word mark, don’t worry – you can break the copy up with paragraphs and bullet points
  • Add links to your other online assets – You can add links to your website and other social networks, so make sure that you do (and check how much traffic YouTube refers, of course!)
  • Impactful images – YouTube gives you the chance to add a large and impactful cover photo as well as a profile photo. The profile image should be kept simple (just a logo to simple head and shoulders photo), so let your creativity flow with the larger image

Video Optimisation

  • Description (again!) – As with the channel optimisation, your video description should not be too short. It needs to include a strong opening couple of lines as the viewer will have to click to see the rest of the description. It should also include a call to action, i.e. what do you want the viewer to do next
  • Tagging – You have the chance to add some tags to your video, so you should add 5 or so tags which are not only relevant to the video but also to your wider optimisation strategy (e.g. keywords for your channel)
  • Thumbnail – If your video makes it to the viewer’s search results, it is likely that the thumbnail will be the factor which entices the user to click on your video. Make it eye-catching and relevant….but not misleading, there is nothing more irritating!
  • Title – The title is really important for your video. YouTube uses it from an optimisation perspective (so make sure that it contains the keywords you are focusing on) and the user will look at it to see if the video matches what they are looking for

There are other more advanced optimisation tips, but just implementing the above will put you ahead of 99% of videos on YouTube. If you have any optimisation tips for YouTube, please leave a comment and share your knowledge!

Image via marketingweek.com

Facebook’s Dislike Button – A Good Idea?

facebook dislike button

facebook dislike button

Earlier this week, Facebook confirmed that it is going to start testing something that it has been asked about for many years – a ‘dislike’ button.

When Facebook introduced the ‘like’ button in early 2009, it didn’t take too long for people to ask where the ‘dislike’ button was – but not necessarily in a negative way. For example, it is likely that you will have seen the Syrian refugee crisis developing in your Facebook feed, but clicking ‘like’ on a story such as this seems inappropriate.

But it didn’t take long for the media to see another side of the ‘dislike’ button – trolling. And this is a very real threat to Facebook. The other major social networks which have dislike functions are YouTube’s thumbs down and Reddit’s down-vote. Now, I am a big fan of both of these networks, but things can get into a spiral of negativity pretty quickly and big fights can break out. However, it should also be noted that both Reddit and YouTube have a strong degree of anonymity built into them – the lack of anonymity on Facebook could just make the dislike button work.

In most cases, Facebook polices itself. People are using their real identities and are connected to people who they know in real life, so if they do start trolling, then their friends and family will see it. This is often enough to stop people going too crazy. Not wanting to share your online behaviour with your connections was one of the reasons why Facebook changed its engagement metrics to include how long someone looks at a post.

The likely recipients of dislikes are predictable – banks, accounts which still engage in click-baiting (one of Facebook’s pet hates), advertisements, public enemies (political parties, newspapers, etc.).  But many of these groups are important clients for Facebook, so why would Facebook take a risk and introduce a dislike button?

When someone engages with some content on Facebook, this gives Facebook intelligence – when the person was on Facebook, what type of content grabbed their attention, what that person has an interest in, etc. This is all information which makes advertising on Facebook very attractive to digital marketers. And the dislike button is another means of Facebook attracting engagement: who said all engagement needs to be positive?

If there is a piece of content that you disagree with today on Facebook, and you can’t be bothered to put your head above the parapet and comment, you will likely ignore it. This is not what Facebook wants you to do as it will not provide information for advertisers. The dislike button should also deliver a better news feed in the long term as Facebook will get an even better idea of what you like and what you don’t.

My personal opinion is that the introduction of a negative engagement tool can only make Facebook a less positive place to be. The threat of increased trolling is very real: most trolls will use a fake account so the theory of Facebook policing itself doesn’t work. But the dislike button is a means for Facebook to drive more a thorough understanding of its users, which will make it a more powerful advertising tool – theoretically improving the experience of all parties.

And most importantly of all, it will also give you a chance to say what you really think about all of your friend’s cat photos.

What effect do you think the dislike button will have on Facebook? Leave a comment share your thoughts.

How to Boost Facebook Reach

Improve Facebook Reach

Improve Facebook Reach

For some time now, Facebook’s organic post reach has been in decline. You may have 1,000 likes to your business page, but how many of the people who have liked your page are actually seeing your message? Well, it depends on how often people engage with your content, but the figures are alarming: estimates are around 10% but some writers put the number as low as 1%. So your 1,000 likes may result in 10 people seeing your post.

With this in mind, how can you boost your Facebook post reach without breaking the bank?

Create Great Content – OK, this is a tough one. But there is nothing more effective in maximising your Facebook reach than excellent content. If you produce content that is fantastic, then people will engage with it: and if people engage with your content, they are more likely to see your posts, thus boosting your reach.

Ask Questions – You would be surprised with the effect that asking questions has on your engagement levels. People enjoy being asked their opinion and are often happy to share it. So use content such as asking open questions, caption competitions and fill in the blank competitions: a good way to drive your reach not only to your existing audience, but to new people too.

Know Your Analytics – There is no excuse for not knowing your numbers on Facebook. The insights section has improved dramatically over the years and you can now easily find out what time is best to post your message, what type of content works best and what your audience looks like (gender, age, location, etc.). You can also send messages to targeted areas of your page – for example, you can send a post to an audience segmented by location, gender, age or language. The more specific the message, the better the engagement.

Stop Selling – A lot of businesses go wrong with Facebook right at the start: they see it as a good way of selling more. But Facebook is not about that, it is about engaging an audience. If you were catching up with your friends and someone who you didn’t know interrupted and started selling something to you, how would you feel?

Advertise – I know that I said there were ways of boosting your Facebook post without breaking the bank, so why mention advertising? Well, Facebook advertising doesn’t need to be expensive. You can run a full campaign where you can select your audience and budget, or you can choose to ‘boost’ a post. This is where you can choose to spend a small amount of money to reach an audience that you select with one of your posts. You can see the amount of people you are reaching as well as how that changes if you amend your budget.

How do you boost your Facebook reach? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

The 6 Rules of Hashtags

The Rules of Hashtags

The Rules of Hashtags

Let’s face it, hashtags are great. They can help you to get your message in front of people who have no connection with you, but are interested in the same subject area and are following that subject. They search the subject, your post appears. And they are used across all of the major social networks…brilliant!

But like any good thing, it doesn’t work all the time. There are some important unwritten rules which surround hashtags. It’s about time the rules were written down to allow everyone to make the most of this great feature.

Quality over quantity

There are social media accounts which use a lot of hashtags – too many! If you have ever tried to read one of these messages, you will know how difficult they are to understand. Not only that, but, to me at least, they look a little bit desperate. So, pick one hashtag that is the most relevant for the message as a whole and focus on that – too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Be careful starting your own

Let’s remember what hashtags are all about. They are about connecting with people who are following a subject, but don’t have a link with you – it’s all about increasing your reach. So if you are starting your own hashtag, who is going to be following it as a subject? Unless you are very very influential (thanks for reading Kanye, but this doesn’t apply to you mate), you should use a hashtag which is already well established.

Make them relevant

If you follow hashtags, and you really should, you will normally find some interesting content and people, then you will be aware of hashtag spamming. This is where someone will post a message using a (normally trending) hashtag that has no connection whatsoever to their content. This is not only annoying, it is spamming and to be avoided at all costs!

Read them carefully….very carefully

If you are using a hashtag which is a couple of words squeezed into one, then you need to look at the hashtag very closely. The most innocent and well intentioned hashtags can have very embarrassing side affects – remember Susan Boyle’s new album launch? Maybe not, but you do probably remember #susanalbumparty – read it again….see what I mean? You can capitalise to make the hashtag more clear but if there is a hidden message, change the hashtag entirely!

Keep them snappy

Hashtags are often a source of humour, and that means that some of them can get pretty long. But hashtags that are too long are difficult to read, so if you are using it for your business, keep the length reasonable – and remember that you are hoping to engage someone new with it, and the longer your hashtag is, the less likely someone will be following it. You don’t want them losing their impact

Think longer term

Although it depends on the number of followers that you have, the life span of a tweet is only minutes – a maximum of 15 but it could be even shorter than that. So if you are doing some research into hashtags then you want your work to last a bit longer than that right? Make the hashtag a longer term part of your marketing plan – use it on other marketing tools like your website and printed media.

Do you use hashtags and had success with them? Or is there a hashtag rule that your live by that isn’t on this list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Social Media Etiquette for Business – 10 Starters

social media etiquette

social media etiquette

We have all seen those social media ‘moments’ – when a post on social media that was sent innocently suddenly erupts into something else entirely. This can turn into a worldwide trending problem, or be contained as an isolated local incident.

It is not easy to prevent such a situation from happening. But there are some etiquette rules and pointers to follow which can help to not only avoid disaster but actually get social media to work for your business. There are hundreds of them, but here are ten to help start your thought process.

Ask so what?
One of the most important lessons that I learnt when I started my career in marketing was to always be asking the question ‘so what?’ If you have written a draft of your post and are hovering your cursor over the send button, asking the question ‘so what’ will help you understand whether it is worth posting your update at all.

Right platform?
Different types and times of messages work well on different social networks. For example, you may not post the same information onto LinkedIn that you would onto your Facebook account. So firstly, make sure your message tone and content is appropriate for the mindset of the audience.

Platform quirks
Every social media platform has its quirks and if you are a business posting on that network, it is your job to understand at least the big ones. For example, you should not write a tweet that uses all 140 characters (you should always leave room for someone to share your tweet with their comments); and you should never like your own Facebook post. People notice these things and will take their attention away from your message.

Be polite
Your mum was right – please and thank you don’t cost a penny but they can go a long way. For a business to not be polite in its post or replies is just not on. You should also give credit where it is due – if you are sharing someone else’s content, say thanks. It’s nice to be nice.

Respect your audience
You have probably spent a lot of time and effort building your audience up, so treat them with respect. For example, don’t sell something that is completely unrelated to your audience (I experience this a lot on Facebook): it’s a short cut to a dislike.

Don’t mix your accounts
Personal and business rarely work well together, so if you want a social network for the business and one to talk about your passion for whatever it is you’re into, then create one for each – just because they love your product doesn’t mean they share your enthusiasm for train spotting.

Hashtag control
You see hashtags a lot – they are a great way of getting your message in front an audience that is following your topic but not aware of your existence. But like every great power comes great responsibility (thanks Spiderman) – don’t over use hashtags, it is irritating and can make your message completely illegible. #qualityoverquantity

Respond quickly
If someone has gone to the effort of posting a social media comment to your business, you should respond promptly to them. Dealing with negative feedback in public is not easy but doing so will bolster your audience’s confidence in your business.

Take deep breaths
You know I said respond promptly in the last point? I deliberately didn’t choose the word ‘quickly’. If someone has criticised your business or your product or service, it is very easy to respond quickly and aggressively – how dare they criticise your product, what do they know? But take deep breaths, draft the reply and take a minute to get the blood pressure down. There are lots of examples of people who haven’t heeded this advice and it never ends well.

Escalation process
Another reason why you may not be able to respond quickly is because you cannot actually answer the question asked. If you are in a large organisation, this is a particular challenge. So, in the interests of your audience, make sure you have the right people available at very short notice to answer your queries. And if the answer will take a while, tell that to the enquirer.

These are just starters – you cannot sum up social media etiquette in just ten points. So what is the social media point of etiquette that you see broken all the time? What unwritten rule of social media do you stand by?

How to Create a Twitter Advert

Twitter Advertising

Twitter Advertising

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about the dramatic changes at the top of Twitter and 5 reasons why the changes are happening. One of those was that it is struggling to translate its social media success into advertising revenue. However, advertising on Twitter is a big opportunity, particularly for those with a limited budget – maybe that’s why the advert revenue is so low!

Twitter advertising is a powerful tool allowing you to segment your audience very accurately, key for a successful inbound marketing campaign. To help you get started, here is how to set up your first Twitter campaign.

Type of Campaign

You have a choice of campaign at the start, and this will be driven by your marketing objective. Do you want to add followers to your Twitter account? Do you want to improve your Twitter engagement? Do you want to drive visitors to your website? The process is pretty similar for all campaign types, so let’s assume that you want to get people onto your website.

Compose Your Tweet

Next, you need to compose your tweet. You can choose from an existing tweet that you have already sent or write a new one. I think you should always write a new one, specifically tailored to the audience and message that you are communicating. Your tweet should contain some information about you and a reason why someone should click – a big ask in 140 characters!

You should also use the Twitter Card system for your advert. If you choose to do so, you can add an image to your advert, giving it great stand-out, as well as giving a heading to your call to action. It also helps your advert render well on mobile devices (this is where most of your audience will see your advert). There is a wide selection of call to action buttons for you to pick from such as book now, learn more, order online, etc.

Audience Segmentation

This is where you start to see the power of Twitter advertising! You are able to target your audience via the following criteria:

  • Location – You can get specific enough at city level, but not at town level. You are also able to import multiple locations if appropriate
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Devices, platforms, networks – Able to exclude desktop or mobile or particular devices

There are also a series of ‘additional criteria’ which enable you to target your audience by their behaviour:

  • Keywords – Able to set your keywords as broad match, exact match or even negative keywords
  • Followers – Here you can target the followers of a particular Twitter account – for example, if your competitor has a big presence on Twitter, you can directly promote your tweet to their followers!
  • Interests
  • Tailored audiences – You can import email addresses to see if they are on Twitter, or target people who have visited your website (with the addition of a little bit of code)
  • TV targeting – For the right product, this is a fantastic feature. You can add TV shows for the location that you are based in, and your adverts will be available during the airing of that show. Great opportunity for segmented messaging
  • Budget – You can choose between setting a daily amount or a total budget

I have used Twitter advertising with a number of clients and the results have been impressive when compared to the amount of money spent. Hopefully this will blog will give you the information you need to have a go yourself.

Have you had any success with Twitter advertising, or advertising on another social network? If so, leave a comment and share your thoughts!