Facebook Updates News Feed: No Boring Posts Allowed

headstoneAny update from Facebook is usually met with resistance from users, and the recent announcement that they’re changing the way they sort the News Feed is no different.

The switch from Facebook’s usual algorithm, EdgeRank, to new ranking methods, Story Bumping and Last Actor, has people asking why they can’t just choose what they see from their friends. The reality is that the average user has 1,500 possible stories a day filtered through their News Feed. More than anyone could hope — or want — to read. Facebook is constantly evolving it’s algorithms to make sure that the 20% of posts you do see are the ones you’re most interested in seeing.

Story Bumping changes the way you view the stories on your News Feed. Each story is given a score, which, Mashable reports, are determined “using a number of factors, such as the relationship you have with the user who posted it, the number of comments, the number of shares, and the number of likes that the story has accumulated”. With Story Bumping, stories with a higher score that you may not have seen yet are found near the top of your newsfeed with newer stories. This way the posts that are relevant and of interest to you are not buried underneath more recently posted but less interesting stories.

This is good news for users, as it’s far more likely that you wont miss the updates you care about. Facebook reported there has been a 57-70% increase in stories read since the updates were introduced.

The other development is Last Actor. This feature takes into account the last 50 interactions you had on Facebook and ranks your News Feed accordingly. So if you commented on your friends post in the morning, your friend may receive a higher score and you’ll see more of their posts later in the day. This works for brands, too. If someone engages frequently with a page, it’s more likely that they’ll see that page’s content. This makes your News Feed highly curated towards your own interests.

Anyone worried about not having their posts seen needs only follow one golden rule: don’t be boring. Interesting posts guarantee interaction, and interaction is what gets your posts seen by more people.

Follow iQuarius on Facebook.

Photo credit (without text): Graham Allard

Does Your Business Need a Blog?

brands, blogging, small business

The answer is an unequivocal, YES! Blogging is the foundation to holistic content marketing campaigns and it provides a channel for developing thought leadership. Instead of being another faceless brand, you can distinguish your business by lending it your credibility and defining yourself as an authority in your industry. Our social-media driven culture is also placing new demands on brands. Customers expect higher levels of engagement with businesses because of the access that the online world provides them. If your website is static, you aren’t set apart from your competition and you’re not convincing potential clients that you are the best possible company to purchase from/work with.

Still not convinced? Here are some of the best reasons why your business needs a blog:

Blogs help raise your Internet visibility

Search engines prefer blogs over the millions upon millions of static websites out there because the content is updated regularly. As you have probably heard many times before: content is king.  You want to be featured on the first page of a Google search? A consistently updated and bustling blog is the best way to land there. Creating regular content on topics relevant to your industry increases the chance of a potential customer landing on your website.

Say you’re a landscaper in Florida, creating a post about the top five ways to spend days or evenings in your garden not only advertises your services but helps those not specifically searching for a landscaper to find your company.

Blogs establish your authority

With the introduction of Google Authorship, establishing yourself (and your brand) as an authority in your industry has become obligatory. You want to be recognized as a trendsetter and thought leader among your competition, but you also want to show consumers why they should do business with you. Knowledgeable, original content proves your legitimacy while inspiring confidence in potential clients. This applies to all industries, as potential clients are more likely to do business with someone who has already established their authority.

For example, if you’re a dentist, regular posts on good dental hygiene will be valuable to potential patients and lead them to believe that your knowledgeable advice leads to knowledgeable care. People directly associate your content with your abilities; you want to be in control of your image.

Blogs reflect the culture of your company & values of your brand

Gone are the days where you can just claim to offer great customer service and exceptional products. Consumers want to know specifics and they want your unique approach to business. Blogging is the perfect opportunity to infuse your personality into your company. By providing your opinions on relevant topics of interest in your industry, consumers get an understanding of the person (or people) behind your brand. This works on multiple levels.

For one, it helps consumers relate to and understand your brand. Blogging can also be a great starting point for building the reputation of your brand. For example, if you’re a consultant and you have multiple articles offering free advice, you send the message that you are generous with your  expertise. Doing so also suggests that you possess such a wealth of information that there is plenty more of that same expert advice for clients who contract your services.

Blogs allow for interaction with consumers

If a potential consumer is visiting your website, you want to do everything you can to improve engagement. Static websites guarantee short visits whereas regularly updated blogs give visitors a reason to stick around. Chances are they’ll comment on a post, you comment back and before you know it they’re scheduling an appointment or placing an order.

Starbucks is an excellent example of increasing user engagement through blogging. While their posts are only tangentially related to coffee, Starbucks allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, and even store designs. They then blog about the ideas and encourage users to comment and rate the different items. This is a brilliant approach to blogging as it increases consumer engagement and creates original user-generated content.

While blogging doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, it does require some planning and commitment. The key is to post consistently. Ideally, you should post relevant content for your target audience 2-3 times a week. Not only does this keep your content fresh (and therefore more likely to appear on search engines) but also encourages a consistent following.

For more advice on successful social media marketing strategies, iQuarius Media is an expert on helping  your brand’s online presence grow. Contact our Content Marketing Strategist, to discuss your blog and content marketing strategy.

Image Source: Lucy Catherine Photography

Contest Winner: Elaine!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Starbucks Giveaway contest!

Congratulations to Elaine, who graced us with a cheery visit to our offices! Here she is with her free Starbucks card!  It took her just a couple of minutes to enter our contest on Facebook.

(The Bradley Cooper lookalike next to her is our enthusiastic social media mascot, er– social media manager, Chris.)

contest

Regulating All That’s Left to Regulate in Social Media

After Mitt Romney’s announcement of his GOP running mate, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), members of Congress took to social media to express their thoughts.social media

To their dismay, there are rules regulating official use of social media for personal opinions, according to one report

With the very establishment responsible for cultivating our Freedom of Speech subject to social media restrictions, it is hard to deny just how omnipresent social media has become.

For Better Or Worse

As a public forum, it’s ideal to curate public opinion and reach large crowds, but as a political soapbox, it could do more harm than good.

The solution? Congress members are required to use their personal accounts, making for no shortage of confusion for their many followers.

The Proof Is In The Punch

Unfortunately, for members of Congress, pro-transparency organizations like the Sunlight Foundation archives deleted tweets and publish them on Politwoops.

Social media

Social media

The social media space, even with its rules and regulations, can be a useful tool — or a damning device. That’s why it is always important make sure you have someone like iQuarius Media on your side because what’s on the Internet — stays on the Internet.

We’ve got the skills in Internet Marketing and SEO. We make it our job to be aware of the rules that dictate the Internet. 

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Google Penguin: Checklist for Businesses

Google PenguinSocial Media Soothes Where Google Hits You Hardest

For small- to medium-sized businesses who find their rankings adrift with every new wave of Google algorithm updates, finding a way to generate traffic without having to rely on Google might seem like a dream come true.

As with the latest Google Penguin algorithm update, designed to weed out Internet pollution and spam, Google is getting more specific about how websites are judged on quality. They want quality and relevancy at the top.

Well, as businesspeople and marketers with real content to promote, we can’t complain about that, can we?

The Consumer Shift Away from Google

If we think of Google as a single marketing channel, albeit a big one, we are headed in the right direction — because there are other sources of traffic and link juice, and they are getting more and more powerful by the day. Why not go straight to the source? After all, consumer behavior has shifted towards reliance on social media, as opposed to Google. And Google may help them find specific products like no other source but, through social media, they are getting brand information, recommendations from friends, and reasons to buy.

The bottom line is that people – and by people, we mean 60 percent of the entire U.S. population – use the social networks. So dip in.

Google Penguin: Checklist for Businesses

1. Get people, as opposed to Google, to share your content.

Do you have gorgeous photo galleries, videos, infographics, and other visual content? Put them on Facebook ,Twitter, and Pinterest. Be funny. Be inspiring. Most importantly, be social and shareable.

2. BLOG

We can’t stress this one enough. Good, fresh content is something that both people and search engines look for. When you blog regularly, it helps build your brand and gives your readers a reason to come back, but it also forces search engine crawlers to continually index and rank your site.  And Google Penguin gives particular weight to fresh, original blog content.

Push out blog posts regularly. Hire an Internet marketing company with great writers to help. Get guest blogs, and guest blog on others’ sites to establish yourself and your blog. Blogging is a big part of how Internet marketing is done these days, and it is simply too big a deal to ignore.

3. Go visual with Pinterest and YouTube.

People latch on to visual content. Visuals, particularly video, can pack a whole lot of information into a short time frame. And visual content is infinitely shareable, made even more powerful by both Pinterest and YouTube – two sites that are GREAT sources of traffic.

4. Stay on top of Google+.

In an effort to push Google+ further into the social realm, Google Penguin is giving its content and users unnatural importance in search engine results pages. Take advantage.

5. Optimize your Facebook and other social network profiles.

  • Buy social ads
  • Interact with relevant businesses
  • Make sure people see your URLs
  • Fill out all your profile info
  • Pull in your blog stream
  • Link to your profile on important keywords on your site
  • Do newsworthy things and publish them

***

What To Do

Google Penguin cares about relevancy, quality, diversity, and freshness — because these are the things that will ultimately make for a better Google search experience. What may seem like an initial hit to some of your Internet marketing efforts may be the best thing that ever happened — because it can push down those that are gaming the system, and help you and your brand rise to the top for being the cream of the crop. Just don’t slack on Google Penguin and social media best practices, some of which we have outlined for you above.

If you haven’t started in social media, start yesterday. If you’re there, do more. Get help — dedicate a team to it. This is a full-time job. Hire a full-service Internet marketing team. Iquarius Media’s number is 407-362-6503. We can:

  • Stay on top of your social media profiles
  • Start your blog and do exhaustive research, then have dedicated writers create your blog content
  • Produce videos and motion graphics
  • Custom-fit these and other Internet marketing services to you and your company

If you have questions, ask them. Ask us. You can do that here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Google+, to name a few.

Pinterest Jostling for Place Among the Top — And Winning

pinterestPinterest is still invite-only but new aggregated data indicates that it is taking its place among the social media behemoths in referral traffic:

  • Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Twitter
  • Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google Plus (G+), LinkedIn, and YouTube combined

The data was collected from more than 200,000 publishers who collectively reach more than 270 million unique monthly visitors each month. Facebook still accounted for more than a quarter of the referral traffic. Subculture-centric Stumbleupon held on to its number-two position, while similar bookmarking site Reddit was also among the top.

This is Huge: Pinterest > Twitter

The biggest news here has got to be the Twitter connection. Twitter’s micro-blogging platform found its power in its concise, 140-character bursts of information – posts are quick to craft and easy to share. Along with its URL shorteners making it more than easy to put active links in posts, Twitter was a powerful source of referral traffic for businesses and marketers.

It now looks as if Pinterest is occupying a similar niche, with the added dimensions of being visuals-focused. There is power in pictures — and Pinterest is remarkably beautiful, and its content is infinitely clickable.

We’ve blogged about Pinterest before. We’re also marketers who have been eagerly watching Pinterest grow since the beginning. If you’d like to know more about how we can leverage Pinterest for you, contact us. Ask your questions. We would love to share what we know.

 

Social Media: Photos Drive Twice As Much Engagement

social media facebook photosWhen marketers talk about social media and what businesses can do to engage customers using social media, they often limit their discussion to prescribed frequency and content of text posts. Granted, the bulk of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts will be short bursts of text. But some networks, like Facebook, lend themselves so well to photos (pics) that there are 250 million uploaded each day (making Facebook the biggest photos site in the world).

And, photos on social media networks drive twice as much engagement as text posts.

The growth of apps like Instagram is another indicator of the power of pics when it comes to social media. For businesses, photos allow for subtle marketing because each photo can accomplish a number of things:

1. At the simplest level, showcases new products, driving traffic to your site

2. Shows customers how to use or enjoy your products

3. Encourages customer feedback

4. Provides visual inspiration

5. Gives insight into your creative process

On number 5: All businesses may not be creative businesses, but all businesses need creative thinking to thrive. This is the kind of thing your followers and your new potential customers want to see – it’s part of why they approach you on social media to start with.

Using Photos on Social Media Correctly

Not all photos need to be product-centric. Related trends, pop culture references, and other examples that you are a vibrant and productive participant in your particular industry, are important. If you were a clothing designer, for instance, you would want to post photos of food or musicians that embody the aesthetic of your latest line.

What To Do Now

Tell us about your company. Join in our creative process in bringing out what it is about your company that will inspire social media engagement and drive traffic to your site.

 

Internet Marketing Tips | 5 Pivotal Points

internet marketing

Internet Marketing Pivot Points

5 Important Pillars of Internet Marketing.

1. Blogs

–Register your blog with popular directories
–Have your newest blog posts appear on your LinkedIn Profile and Facebook status with links back to the blog
–Read top blogs in your industry, and then post comments with helpful information and links back to your own blog or Web site.

2. Social media can be a great way to get the word out about your company or product. Effective internet marketing can help accomplish this goal.

–Did you know Facebook has more than 200 million users? Facebook allows you to create free fan pages about your business.
–LinkedIn is a professional network that includes allowing companies to create profiles.
–Manage your social networking presence and engage in consistent participation with your connections. Nutshell Mail is a service that brings users a summary of their social network updates to their inbox in a single email delivered to them on their schedule.

3. Monitor Your Cyberspace Presence

We’ve all heard of “Google-ing” someone or something… Keep an active eye on what’s posted on the Internet about you and your business. Assume that your clients and prospects are in the know about what’s out there. Searching your name on Google and Twitter can tell you several important things:

–What people are saying about your business
–Whether your work is being used without your permission
–Whether someone else is using your personal or business name

If your reputation is in trouble and you’re finding negative or false information, you may need professional assistance to fix the problem. Evaluate if you need legal representation or public relations and press release solutions.

4. Be consistent with your online message and branding

–Coordinate and integrate marketing communications tools within your business. By doing this, the business’s brand message will be consistent in all possibilities.
–Integrating communications helps eliminate confusion from the consumer and builds brand strength.

All advertising media selections, creative designs, and public relations efforts should strive to match the message, media, and audience, so the right person sees and/or hears the advertisement or internet marketing piece and can recognize the business and its brand consistency.

5. Apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your web site

SEO is a great way to increase your online revenue stream. SEO allows you to:

–Develop and arrange your site’s content and navigation to be fully optimized
–Drive more traffic to your Web site
–Maximize your Internet exposure

If these pointers seemed like an avalanche of information, imagine executing all of these functions on a daily basis. It could get overwhelming. This is when it’s time to consider outsourcing the work to a team of industry veterans who will keep your business’ best interest at the forefront. At iQuarius Media we work on these different facets on a daily basis, so feel free to contact us and we can discuss how to make your online presence effective.

Social Media Marketing and Optimization in 140 Characters or Less

social media marketingSocial media hasn’t just grown – it’s exploded! Millions of conversations are taking place online each day.

Companies are being made or broken hourly — sometimes in 140 characters or less.

Are you trying to find value hidden in the millions of Twitter and Facebook conversations taking place every day? According to Nielsen Online, social media networks and blogs have surpassed even email in global popularity, and are growing at a rate of more than three times as fast as overall internet growth. It’s now more critical than ever to develop your strategy to engage, monitor and analyze social media. If you have have been paying attention to social media, you will know how vital it is in laying the foundation for your success. Learn the most effective ways to both monitor and analyze the conversation.

  1. Get a clear understanding of your online corporate reputation.
  2. Interact directly with your customers.
  3. Uncover potential sales opportunities for your company.

Social media has many more applications than just visibility on the Internet. Companies are using social media for product development, recruitment, brand building, business development, customer relationship-building, as well as for public relation exercises. It allows for a more healthy relationship between the company and the consumer, allowing direct interaction and transparency.

Social Media Marketing Checklist

social media marketing checklistWith all the noise and bright lights of the Internet, and with people’s attention spans getting shorter, we need to constantly create awareness about  our products, services, and businesses. Social Media marketing makes this lot easier, cheaper, and faster.

But how can we make ourselves heard over the din? The answer is by pursuing a Social Media marketing strategy which includes all relevant aspects and avenues.

The Social Media Marketing Checklist

  • Blogs. Any marketing strategy should start with blogs. If used intelligently, blogs can be a great traffic source — and the SEO benefits are immense.
  • Microblogging. It took the world by surprise in the year 2012. Twitter has been very popular and is a great tool for business promotion, but needs to be used consistently. 2010 saw Google come up with its own version of microblogging – Buzz – but all their efforts lately have been pouring into Google Plus, or G+.
  • Online video. Video sharing accounts for a major part of Internet traffic. The success of YouTube, Vimeo, etc., is an indicator of how people have embraced this media.
  • Photo sharing. Another great platform for social marketing. Flickr and Photobucket are the most widely used websites. And now there’s Pinterest, taking the social media world by storm over the past few months.
  • Podcasting. Podcasting is a new tool that is offered to promote your brand, services, and products.
  • Social networks Apps, fan pages, groups, and personalities: social networks are the platforms for personal communication with friends or with shared-interest groups. Facebook apps and fan pages are some of great ways to connect with customers and create awareness.
  • Presentation sharing. Sites like SlideShare, MyPlick, Scribd, AuthorSTREAM, or Myplickallow you to share document and presentation. Pinterest also falls under this group. Promoting yourself or your company is just as easy as uploading a document.
  • Bookmarking. Social bookmarking is a method for web users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of websites. Examples of popular social bookmarking websites: Delicious, Digg, Mixx, Propeller, Reddit, Slashdot, StumbleUpon, and Yahoo! Buzz.
  • Discussion boards and forums. Online forums are a great way to market your products and services and discuss the same with other your audience. Engaging your audience in your niche forum is a powerful way to capture that Internet niche for your business.
  • Content aggregation.  Content aggregation enables you to bring all news and feeds around your online communities accounts in one place. This may well be the future of social media marketing.
  • Brand monitoring. There are any number of ways companies can promote & position their brands effectively through the use of social media marketing.
  • Review Sites. Review sites like Yelp and Getsatisfaction enable people to write reviews about services and products. These can literally make or mar a company’s reputation.
  • Widgets. Great tool for promoting brands. By creating useful widgets, brands can create awareness and recall value.
  • Wikis. Wikis are very much like an online encyclopaedia with user contribution, making the possibilities almost endless.

We wouldn’t be surprised if you had some questions about your current marketing strategy and what more you could fit into it. We’d be surprised if we couldn’t answer those questions. Thanks. iQuarius.

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