Chase CEO Comment on Bitcoin as a Fraud

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took a shot at bitcoin, saying the cryptocurrency “is a fraud.”

“It’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” Dimon said Tuesday at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

Dimon joked that even his daughter bought some bitcoin, looking to cash in on a trend that has seen it soar more than 300 percent this year.

“I’m not saying ‘go short bitcoin and sell $100,000 of bitcoin before it goes down,” he said. “This is not advice of what to do. My daughter bought bitcoin, it went up and now she thinks she’s a genius.”

Read the full article here: http://cnb.cx/2f355td

What Twitter marketers can learn from JetBlue, Emirates and Royal Dutch Airlines

A very interesting article from Yuyu Chen on ClickZ that is a bit old by Internet Standard but still very much current as far as what it discusses.

I’ve been learning the ropes of social media marketing lately. A few days ago, my friend Brian Honigman, a marketer and social media analytics instructor at New York University, gave me access to his Socialbakers account.

When I was playing around with this analytics platform, I found that three major airlines – JetBlue, Emirates and Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) – are leading brands in their own right on Twitter. All of them have a strong presence on the platform and work hard to develop high quality campaigns for Twitter.

But there are nuances in their Twitter marketing strategies. For example, KLM is very focused on customer service on Twitter, while JetBlue and Emirates put more effort into branding.

Below is my analysis on their Twitter marketing techniques over the past three months. Hope it can help your Twitter account take off.

Read the full article here: https://www.clickz.com/what-twitter-marketers-can-learn-from-jetblue-emirates-and-royal-dutch-airlines/23646/

Total Holiday E-Commerce: $69 Billion, Mobile $12.7 Billion — comScore

holiday-christmas-ornament-ss-1920

Mobile devices dominated the holiday shopping season, outpacing the PC in driving traffic to e-commerce sites and being used as shopping companions in physical stores. In addition, mobile commerce also grew significantly from 2014 (59 percent), though perhaps not as much as one might have anticipated.

According to online measurement firm comScore, total digital commerce (mobile and PC) reached $69.08 billion for period the between November 1 and December 31. The firm had forecast digital shopping revenues of $70.1 billion for the two month holiday shopping season.

comscore ecommerce holiday

Mobile exceeded the comScore holiday forecast but desktop spending fell about $2 billion below the firm’s estimates. The single largest online shopping day was once again Cyber Monday (November 30), bringing in roughly $2.3 billion in receipts.

Much has been made of online retail surging and traditional retail suffering. But that “either/or” analysis is simplistic. Among online-only players it’s really only Amazon and a couple of others that saw significant sales growth. The rest of online shopping gains came largely from traditional retailers’ online divisions.

In other words traditional retailers’ e-commerce operations (and Amazon) are cannibalizing in-store sales. Yet traditional retail brands and stores support e-commerce by giving consumers the confidence to buy online with the expectation that they can return items locally if they don’t work out.


Source – MarketingLand.com

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

There are many things that can contribute to business growth, but, more often than not, what tools businesses use can make a significant difference to the bottom line. Whether they’re looking for increased productivity, better customer service, easier billing, more professional looking content, or finding a tool that silently speeds up project completion, every business needs a solid framework for growth.

I have compiled a list of 101 tools I believe can make a big difference in the vast majority of businesses. Chances are you are using some of them already; maybe you will find some more to add today or even a tool that seamlessly connects all the tools you have been using. The list is based on my personal experience as well as popularity among businesses.

Disclosure: I am not paid to mention any of these companies in this article. Some of them are clients, some are not. I only recommend what I think is truly helpful.

Here are my top tool picks for 2016 sorted by category.

Content & Social Media:

1. Openr: Turns everything you share into a call to action. Share on social media and automatically add targeted promotional calls to action onto any page you share.

2. Freepik: Free graphics, vectors, and icons. (Attribution required and provided ready to be copied and pasted.)

3. Hootsuite: Social media management. Great for businesses with 12-50 profiles and pages to maintain.

4. Buffer: Social media management. Limited to the biggest platforms and great for up to 11 profiles and pages. Beautiful design, flawless app.

5. Canva: Use templates for perfect social media headers, flyers, Facebook post images, featured images with custom dimensions, and more.

6. Alltop and HolyKaw: Use Alltop to find out what’s most popular on specific websites. If you need to curate content for Twitter profiles and the like, this is your website.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

7. Hashtags.org: Find out quickly what the most popular hashtags are so you can jump on the trend and get more visibility for your posts.

8. Hyperlapse: App from Instagram. Use this to create time-lapse videos.

9. Layout: App from Instagram. Use this to create collage images.

10. Boomerang: App from Instagram. Use this to create looping short videos.

11. easel.ly: Intuitive and quick way to create professional looking infographics.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

12. Fontawesome Icons: Steal any of these icons to enhance your blog images. They are free and come with transparent backgrounds (as vectors).

13. PicMonkey: Free online photo editing. Filters, collages, overlays, and more.

14. Pixlr: Free online photo editing. Use the free Pixlr Express web app to resize images, for instance.

15. Sprout Social: Social media management software. This is a Guy Kawasaki favorite.

16. PremiumBeat: Royalty-free sound effects and music. Extremely useful for videos.

17. Socedo: Automatically generate list of potential customers based on keywords, hashtags, or other search criteria. Ideal for finding leads on Twitter.

18. Tweetwall: Project tweets in real-time at events or on a wall in your office to show tweets that include your signature hashtag.

19. Bitly: Shorten URLs so they fit the character limit of Twitter and other social networks. Also tracks cross-channel marketing strategies, among other things.

Digital Marketing:

20. Google Web Designer: Create banners for any device.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

21. Instagram Ads: You don’t need an Instagram account to show ads on Instagram. Use Facebook to create an ad that shows up on Instagram and leads directly to your website.

22. Facebook Lead Ads: Lead ads were awesome when they were in private beta, but they weren’t practical. Now that Facebook has unleashed lead ads for all advertisers, this feature is one of the best tools out there for small businesses to generate leads and scale it up quickly.

23. Facebook Power Editor: If you aren’t using the Power Editor already, it’s time! 600 targeting options for the good old boosted post are awaiting you among other neat options like bulk editing.

24. Google AdWords: Use everything Adwords has to offer and get your campaigns on steroids with location bid adjustments, dynamic keyword insertion, ad extension, converted clicks, separate device targeting, video ads, shopping ads, behavior-based remarketing, and a ton of other things you might not have tried yet.

25. Bing Ads: Bing powers the web search on Twitter, Apple’s Siri, the Kindle Fire, the Amazon Fire phone, Xbox, and many other things. So get your Bing ads up and running to no longer miss out on Bing traffic!

26. Cross-Channel Remarketing: Show ads on Twitter and Facebook to people who came to you via Google AdWords. Connect the platforms to convert customers wherever they are.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

27. Facebook Audience Insights: Use it in reverse. Upload people who already purchased from you and get insights on demographics, what pages they like, location, household composition, and more.

28. SEMrush: Find out what keywords your competitors are using for their paid search campaigns, among other things.

29. VWO: A/B testing. Split test ad headlines, website designs, website copy, and more.

Business Organization and Productivity:

30. ToutApp: Email tracking that integrates with Salesforce and analyzes buying personas. In other words, this platform automatically finds a pattern of what wording works best with what type of clientele.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

31. Phone.com: Cloud based VoIP Business Phone Service. There are too many neat features to name just one, but one of the biggest advantages is that they can handle whatever volume of calls you are getting.

32. Salesforce: CRM solution. Systemize business processes such as lead management and conversion; manage projects; synchronize it with your mailbox and calendars; and get some automatic data about your business to present to banks, investors, or simply for your own knowledge.

33. Insightly: Stripped down CRM solution for small businesses. Integrates with Google Apps.

34. Skitch: This is the quickest tool I know to insert arrows and text in images. Also very useful to use to pixelate information you don’t want to share—such as sensitive data when sharing “how to” tutorials with screenshots. It integrates with Evernote and it’s for Mac only as far as I know.

35. Evernote: Use this to manage your notes in an organized fashion. Use the web clipper to save websites for later or simply stay organized by synchronizing across devices.

36. Zapier: Connects hundreds of apps you use, automates tasks, and maximizes productivity. Apps include, Evernote, Salesforce, Trello, Google Calendar, Twitter, Slack, MailChimp, Dropbox, Google Drive, Typeform, among others.

37. Google Apps for Work: It’s cool to have your corporate email run via Google’s server. Besides that, you get all the Gmail features and Google App goodness. It’s practical and makes sharing and storing things easy.

38. Intranet with Google Apps: One of the most overlooked features of Google Apps for Work is the possibility to create an intranet. Automatically update it with your Google+ page feed and use it as the place to go to for internal trainings, company updates, and other information that shouldn’t be public.

39. Google Drive: Create folder trees to store information and keep things organized. Employee resumes, bios, profile photos, projects—you name it, Google Drive is a handy cloud storage and file backup solution.

40. Screencast: Record your screen and send the video links.

41. Camtasia: Screen recorder and video editor for Windows.

42. Google+ Hangouts: If the quality of video conferencing with Skype doesn’t live up to expectations, try a regular Google+ hangout. When you send Google calendar appointments, Google automatically sends a video link with it, so it’s easy for everyone to join.

43. Google Calendar: Use personal and shared calendars to keep track of appointments on all devices. It integrates with nearly everything and loads fast.

44. Notes: Use the default note program on your laptop or smartphone to keep all your thoughts somewhere. If you are a Harry Potter fan, think of this as your pensive. There are countless useful versions for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and more.

45. Skype: Get a phone number from Skype and forward it to your cellphone. This way you never miss a call from a client even when you are traveling.

46. Tripit: Trip planner app with real-time flight alerts.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

47. Basecamp: Project management for service businesses.

48. Desk.com: Help desk solution for small businesses that integrates well with Salesforce.

49. Sidekick: See who opens your emails and when.

50. AngelList: Post jobs to recruit someone from a startup-loving community with Silicon Valley vibes, raise money, or invest.

51. Asana: Tracks time spent per project.

52. Harvest: Tracks time and issues invoices accordingly.

53. SwiftKey: Multilingual keyboard with smart prediction for mobile phones.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

54. Time Doctor: Manage the productivity of your team. Tracks people’s work time.

55. dashlane: Get a grip on your password mess with this password manager.

56. InvoiceBerry: Track business expenses, send quotes and invoices.

57. Upwork: Platform for freelancers, formerly oDesk. Get your projects done by recruiting the right team.

58. Trello: Visually organize emails, spreadsheets, sticky notes, and other things by project.

59. ReferralSnip: Create your own referral program to keep track of word-of-mouth better.

Website:

60. Google PageSpeed Insights: See how fast your website is on desktop and mobile. Automatically generates list of things to improve.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

61. Google Web Designer: Create graphics that look good on any device.

62. Google Mobile-Friendly Test: Get a mobile friendly label below organic search results if you pass the test and an overview of what can be improved to make your website even more mobile friendly. The test consists of submitting your URL. It’s free!

63. Uberflip: Show different content on your website depending on who is looking at it.

64. Mashshare: Social sharing plugin that looks like Mashable’s sharing buttons

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

65. Publicize for WordPress: Automatically shares blog posts on Google+ profiles and other social media accounts.

66. GoToMeeting: Set up meetings and set automatic reminders for everyone. Professional look and top quality audio.

67. Zopim: Live chat for websites.

68. Yoast SEO: Free, handy WordPress plugin to check your blog posts for the right keyword density and preview posts in organic search results. There is a lot more to it, but I find this is the most useful function.

69. Instapage: Quick landing page creation with templates.

70. Unbounce: Quick landing page creation with split test integration.

71. CrazyEgg: See exactly where your customers click on your website. This goes into detail, for instance it shows where on a photo or button people click. Helps to find out why they leave your site and where to position the most important call to action.

72. W3 Total Cache: WordPress plugin that increases server performance. In other words, this makes your website load faster.

73. timetrade: Online appointment scheduling with concierge and analytics.

74. Autosend: Automatically sends personalized emails and text messages to (potential) customers based on what they do on your website.

75. Picreel: It’s inevitable that some people will leave your website without converting. Show them customized exit offers based on what they did on your website.

Branding and Promotions:

76. AgoraPulse: Social media management. Useful for Facebook contests and promotions, as well as reporting.

77. Mobile Roadie: Create a mobile app for your business.

78. MailChimp: Intuitive and cost-effective email marketing.

79. Intercom: Email marketing with event-triggered emails, among other communication features.

80. Infusionsoft: CRM for small businesses. E-mail marketing, sales platform, customer relationship management, marketing automation, lead capture, and more.

81. Tinyletter: If you send any newsletter to someone in Silicon Valley you better have the tiny letter logo on it. It’s the way to go.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

82. Etsy: Get creative with your print collateral. Or better yet, have other people do it for you. For example, get business card-sized envelopes and put a note with your story inside. This is a unique card that people will remember and keep!

83. QRstuff: Get a free QR code and send people to exciting landing pages (think contests, limited edition products, behind the scenes insights, industry reports, etc.)

84. Postcardly: Upload a photo and have it sent as a postcard. Upload addresses in bulk. Great for the Holidays!

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

85. Google Photos: Use the automatically generated gifs to have more content variety for your social media profiles/pages.

86. YouTube Live Stream: Start a live stream in your office or during an event.

87. Google+ Hangout on Air: Have a hangout that is streamed publicly in real-time so other people can join. Not to be confused with regular Google+ hangouts that are not public! Google+ Hangouts on Air can also be broadcasted on your Google+ page.

88. GoToWebinar: Great for webinars. Intuitive and good quality.

89. Paper.li: Website/blog based on feeds and auto-generated like a newsletter. People you feature will automatically get Twitter mentions which helps to get more traffic.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

90. Powtoon: Create animated videos and business presentations.

91. Google Alerts: Get a notification when someone talks about your brand.

92. mention: Find out who is talking about you or your competitors on the web and view reports on your online performance.

93. Oktopost: Social media management for B2B marketing.

Education:

94. Udemy: Sell courses and/or learn from others.

95. Flipboard: Mobile app with customized newsfeed. Stay up-to-date on the go!

96. My Alltop: Sign up free and choose what websites you see the most popular posts of. These are typically the most informative and you are up-to-date on what’s trending in your industry.

101 Tools to Grow Your Business in 2016 | SEJ

97. Medium: Minimalistic blogging with in-depth articles. Write and/or read articles with specific topics.

98. Reddit: Find your topic of interest and get more info than you could read in a lifetime.

99. BuzzSumo: Find what’s most shared and trending.

100. Teachable: Sell your online courses.

101. Google Trends: Find out what the world is talking about on Google and where those searches are.

What Helped Your Business Grow?

This is a list of my favorite tools, but there are many more useful ones out there. If you have used or are using some of the tools mentioned in the list, feel free to share your experience in the comments to help others decide what’s best for them. If you have additional tools to recommend, please share them in the comments as well.

Source – SearchEngineJournal.com

The 5 Most Innovative Trends in Ecommerce to Watch for in 2016

The 5 Most Innovative Trends in Ecommerce to Watch for in 2016

Next year, 2016, is only a week away. Were you able to hit all of your goals in 2015? As New Year’s approaches, many people begin to review what they’ve been able to accomplish in the past year, and to think about what they want to see happen in the year ahead.

This is an important exercise for your business, too. Indeed, it’s critically important to get clear in your thinking, because you don’t want 2016 to be another year that you let slip by without reaching your objectives. It’s time to get focused.

Still, the good news is that there has never been a better time to be in ecommerce. Online sales are going to continue to grow, and if you want to be part of the new wave, you have to prepare. To help you do that, here are five ecommerce trends for 2016 to be aware of.

1. Improved mobile shopping experiences

Mobile commerce is constantly growing. In the past, many challenges associated with getting people to buy through smartphones and tablets have arisen, but a lot of those kinks have been ironed out.

Difficult and lengthy checkout processes, for example, are finally getting whittled down to their core elements. After all, you’re going to convert very few shoppers if they can’t get what they want with the fewest number of taps — or clicks — possible.

What’s more, some retailers are already taking things to the next level by offering live chat support. This creates an immediate point of connection with customers. If you can reliably and consistently offer them good advice via their devices, they are far more likely to become loyal customers over the long term. This has massive implications for brick-and-mortar stores that also have an ecommerce component.

In short, mobile shopping is an area ecommerce businesses will be looking to streamline and dominate in 2016 and beyond.

2. Context will become the new personalization.

Data-based, personalized shopping experiences are now the norm. And though many shoppers appreciate customized product suggestions, others are annoyed when a product they viewed just once on Amazon continues to follow them around for weeks or even months on sites like Facebook, regardless of their actual interest level.

So, retargeting may be effective, and even incredibly relevant, but it doesn’t always take context into account.

The idea is that if you become a member of an ecommerce site, it will remember your preferences. And the same personalized experiences are now being offered even to those who aren’t even registered or logged in.

This means less friction to the customer journey. By presenting the right content at the right time, your business can efficiently lead shoppers on to a buying decision. For example, different sales copy could be displayed depending on the preferences of the customer accessing your site.

Personalization, then, is being replaced by contextual shopping, and customers will be seeing more relevant content coming their way than ever before.

3. Real-time analytics

Data is an invaluable resource in helping you determine how your business is doing. Unfortunately, with traditional analytics, spotting trends or problems was a time-intensive process. Traditional analytics also slowed things down because you couldn’t provide immediate assistance to your customers before they left your site, perhaps for good.

This is where real-time analytics could be a game-changer. As you monitor customer and shopper behavior, you’ll be able to identify problems in your sales funnel. The problem could be an issue with checkout or a coupon code. A lot of sales can be lost that way. But when you can repair problems on the fly or interact with a customer before he or she abandons that shopping cart, you’ll be able to increase your conversion rate dramatically.

Real-time tracking will allow online retailers to offer a more holistic shopping experience, leaving fewer opportunities on the table.

4. Video marketing

We’ve known about the importance of optimized product descriptions and high-quality photography for ecommerce sites for years. If you want to remain competitive, however, these are mere prerequisites.

Many businesses are now taking things to the next level, with branded, custom video content. Video builds a lot of trust with prospective customers.

Educating, entertaining and informative product videos that tell an engaging story are really just the starting point. Behind-the-scenes production videos, demonstrations, 360-degree product rotations and even live streaming are now being looked to as viable strategies.

Video can boost your site’s SEO, increase conversions, make your content more shareable and help your shoppers consume more information in less time.

Many ecommerce businesses have built large YouTube followings, while others have even started using apps like Instagram and Vine to capture the attention of prospective customers. There are more opportunities to create a presence where your customers are than ever before.

5. Social collaboration

Social collaboration is on the rise in the ecommerce world. It’s one thing to have products your customers want. It’s quite another to allow for further customization by the users, but this is exactly what’s already happening on marketplaces like Etsy.

Social collaboration isn’t just about having a site where shoppers can drop their templates into existing designs. Prospective customers can actually alter the designs of existing products and come up with beautiful, professional-looking one-of-a-kind wares.

The implementation of sophisticated tools for collaboration and social interaction allows for customers to feel that they are a part of the creation process, which means that they can get a product that theyreally want, not just one that they want.

Expect to see more social co-creation in 2016, especially in the apparel and accessory e-commerce sector.

Final thoughts

This is an exciting time to be in ecommerce, as businesses continue to innovate and get an edge on the competition.

Don’t forget: Innovation isn’t all about the capital you have to invest in new initiatives. Many times, spending can actually get in the way of innovating, because creativity is what makes all the difference.

New business processes don’t necessarily require money, but they do require outside-the-box thinking. You have to be able to see possibilities where others might see none.

Get ready to generate new ideas, because we will be seeing fascinating and unusual changes in the ecommerce realm in 2016.

Source – Entrepreneur.com

Smart Startups Don’t Try to Satisfy Every Customer

Smart Startups Don't Try to Satisfy Every Customer

Let’s face reality — no one can satisfy all the people all the time. In business, this means an entrepreneur who never says no to any customer is doomed to a hard life and some expensive mistakes. Many people will argue that total customer satisfaction is paramount, but I’m a pragmatist who believes that treating everyone the same really means treating all of them poorly.

For example, I have known several sincere technology entrepreneurs who were so busy adding and updating features for their product to satisfy early adopter requests, that they ended up with a bloated, hard to use, late to market and expensive solution which really satisfied no one in their primary market demographic. That’s not a happy situation for real customers or the business.

Thus, I have developed some guidelines that I believe will help you know when it’s appropriate to go all-out for a customer, and know when it’s better to say no with conviction and finality.

1. Everyone who expresses interest is not necessarily a customer.

Everyone on your team needs to be trained to recognize prospects who match your target customer set. You can garner more goodwill by directing other prospects to the right business, rather than hard-selling them on your solution, or trying to bend your solution to fit their needs.

2. Proactively find the customers that you can surprise and delight.

Use interactive social media and targeted marketing to go after the customers that you want and need. Those entrepreneurs who wait for customers to randomly find them will be disappointed by the match, and find themselves always playing catch-up with customers who don’t fit.

3. Playing favorites is good business and good customer service.

Your best customers are the key to your success, and they need to feel special and be treated special. No one wants to feel like one lost in a crowd. If a customer feels special, they will return more often, and will recommend you to friends. The result is a win-win deal for both of you.

4. Every business needs boundaries and discipline to deal with outliers.

When a customer steps outside these boundaries, it’s time to say no, with a logical explanation and no emotion. Just as you deal with wrong team members, it’s sometimes necessary to fire customers who have stepped out of bounds or refuse to accept your help.

5. Focus on your core competency and beating competitors.

When customers try to drag you away from your core expertise, it’s time to say no. On the other hand, if it takes some extra effort to show customers how you stand out from competitors, you should say yes with conviction. Here is your opportunity to under-promise and over-deliver.

6. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices as you add special services.

Your best customers will appreciate new and special services, and will understand the need to charge for them. Bad customers will have less sensitivity to your needs and will likely move on to other commodity-priced alternatives. Help them find that new provider.

7. Eliminate services that you can’t support well or are being misused.

Simply say no to customer requests that you can’t satisfy well on time every time. Every business learns from experience and reviews that certain offerings aren’t working, but they hesitate to remove them for fear of upsetting existing customers or driving away potential new ones.

The key to success in saying no is to recognize the wrong customers for your business before their expectations absorb more of your limited resources than they contribute. In the worst case, you can lose the right customers by redirecting your strategy and resources in an attempt to satisfy the needs of the wrong ones.

Successful businesses focus on satisfying and delighting the right customers and redirecting the wrong ones to the right place before they get hurt or hurt your business. Both of these objectives require that you understand the strengths and goals of your business, and your entire team is trained and motivated to achieve the same objectives.

Success is being able to say no to a customer — and still have both of you walk away happy.

Source – Entrepreneur.com

30 Days Worth of Social Media Hacks and Experiments

30 Days Worth of Social Media Hacks and Experiments

If you’re curious for ways to grow your social media numbers, to have more success, to get more followers and more clicks, the absolute best piece of advice we’ve found is to keep trying new things.

Always be testing.

Need inspiration? I’ve drummed up 30 new, small, and simple experiments and growth hacks you can try this month to see what works for you. They’re all low-cost, big-potential. I’d love to hear which ones you’re interested in trying! (And which ones work for you.)

1. Embed a tweet at the bottom of a blog post

One of our favorite recommendations for getting more followers and engagement on social media is this:

Make it easy for website visitors to connect with you on social.

I’m excited to share a small, secret tip that Buffer’s co-founder Leo Widrich has been trying. Here’s what he’s done (and a sample):

  1. Publish a new blog post
  2. Share the new blog post on social media
  3. Embed that tweet or update back into the blog post

Here’s an example for this very blog post:

What you end up with is a great-looking piece of multimedia at the end of your article, and a smooth way for folks to follow you, engage with your tweet, and continue the conversation!

(You can find the embed option by clicking on the three dots underneath any tweet.)

2. Post during non-peak hours

The Brafton blog took a look at the most popular times that marketers post on social media and the most popular times when posts are shared (thanks to some great data from Track Maven).

We’ve found this to be true with our own social media research studies, and while a lot of different variables could be at play here (for instance, the effect of big publishers sharing into the evenings), it’s cool data to experiment with.

The idea would be to post when people aren’t posting. Post at non-peak hours.

Here’s how I’ve set this for my personal social media sharing.

3. Pin a Twitter card to the top of your profile

Twitter cards are these rich multimedia, interactive experiences wrapped up beautifully within a tweet. With 9 different card types to choose from, you can use Twitter cards to ask your audience to do things like:

  • Sign up for an email list
  • Register at a website
  • View and use a coupon
  • Visit a landing page
  • Download an app

You can make them for free (here’s how) and then share them with your Twitter followers just as you would any other tweet.

Not only that, you can also pin them to the top of your Twitter profile so that the tweet is there for anyone who visits your profile directly.

I pinned an email signup form to the top of my profile, and I’ve added 220 subscribers this way (1/3 of my personal list!).

4. Share evergreen content from an archive page on your blog

We’re big fans of sharing your content more than once to social media. For this simple hack, we’d love to encourage a quick dive, deep into your archives to share again.

Click to the second page of your blog, and notice the URL that appears. For us at the Buffer blog, it’s https://blog.bufferapp.com/page/2 (we use WordPress).

Choose a random page number, preferably 3 pages deep or more.

Type in the URL directly to visit that page. For example, with us this could be https://blog.bufferapp.com/page/9.

Once there, take a look around for any evergreen content and add it to your Buffer queue to share again.

5. Create an image for a quote (using Pablo)

Images are some of the most engaging content on social mediaQuotes are some of the most liked, favorited, forwarded updates out there.

How about combining the two?

I find myself often sharing a favorite quote and not even thinking of the opportunity I’m missing by not making the quote visual. Time is the big one for me; it’s quick and easy to just drop a text quote into a tweet or Facebook update. Well, with Pablo, it’s just a few more seconds to turn that quote into an image.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Pablo.
  2. Paste in your quote.
  3. Choose a background image.
  4. Fiddle with any settings you’d like.
  5. Done.

And here’s the finished product:

6. Test your Open Graph stuffs

This great post from Unbounce about social media tips offers some keen insight into what makes a post clickable:

Where does Open Graph fit here? Open Graph is all the cool text and images you see when you share a link to Facebook and other social media sites.

And here’s what all you can edit if the story you’re sharing is yours (many of which mesh with the Unbounce list above):

  • Headline
  • Description
  • Image
  • URL
  • Author

You can edit and experiment with these manually, adjusting the HTML code on the page itself. We use the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO to tweak things on a post-by-post basis from within our WordPress post editor.

As far as the experiments to try? Here’re a few ideas:

  • Test an image with text, without text, with a person, without a person, abstract, meme, stock photo
  • Test a long headline, a short headline
  • Test a keyword-heavy description, test a light & entertaining description

7. Change the color of your profile picture

What’s one of the most looked-at elements of your social media presence? The profile picture! And what a cool place to test and see if one pic works better than another. Moz’s Cyrus Shepard has one of the most famous experiments here, finding that even things like color can impact the attention and engagement on a profile pic.

If you’re able to get a cutout of your profile picture, you can add it onto any color background you choose (like Cyrus has done here).

Aas an alternative to a color change, another hack to test could be adding a logo onto your profile picture. Buffer’s founder Joel does this, along with many others.

To make this happen, you can hop into a program like Canva, add your profile picture as a new image, then upload and insert your logo (so long as it has a transparent background) right on top.

8. Add a UTM link to your bio

Some folks include a link back to their blog, some their website, still others a newsletter signup form. You can choose whatever link you’d like, then when you’re ready, add a UTM code to the link so you can track the effect and engagement of the bio.

Pick a link.

Add a UTM. (Google’s URL builder is helpful here. You can use twitter-bio-test as the campaign name.)

Shorten the URL. (bit.ly is a good option.)

Add to your bio.

Follow up in Google Analytics to see the results.

9. Add a hashtag or @-mention to your bio

The bio—on Twitter especially—offers even more neat ways to customize.

You can add a hashtag to your bio to help increase your visibility through search.

You can add an @-mention to your bio to link yourself to where you work or who you’re connected with, giving a bit more credibility and authenticity to your profile.

10. Create a GIF

Does a GIF give more engagement for the updates you post on social media?

We’re thinking it might. We’ve already heard tell of experiments that saw GIFs bring in great results, and Twitter itself suggests that animated GIFs get more engagement.

You can find and share an existing GIF (we’ve made that process as easy as piehere). Or you can create your own using some simple tools.

I’ve found Gifmaker to be the easiest, no-frills tool for me. I can create a series of images in Canva, all the same size, then add them all to Gifmaker and set the order and speed of the animation however I choose.

The result:

11. Ask a Which, Who, Would question on Facebook

Asking questions as a general strategy on social media is a great one. We’ve got an intuition (backed by a bit of research) on which questions to ask specifically.

Which

ex., “Which of these social networks could you not live without: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest?”

Who

ex., “Who knows how to find a great Twitter chat?”

Would

ex., “Would you ever let a friend run your social media accounts for the day?”

12. Add your social media info to your email signature

How many emails do you send each day? (I’m near 25 on a busy day.)

Each email you send can be an easy mention for your social media profiles. You can build this into your email signature manually with a text link here or there.

Wisestamp, which lets you add social media profiles (and a whole lot more) in a completely custom way.

13. Follow everyone who emails you

If you grab a tool like Sidekick, you can see right away all the great information about the social media profiles of the people who are emailing you.

Then you’re just one click away from following or friending. Since these are folks who may have connected with you already over email, chances are good that you’ll get a followback if you reach out first.

14. Boost a post on Facebook

We’ve seen declining Facebook reach on our Buffer page for quite some time now.

One idea to test the waters: Boosting a Facebook post.

When we tried this with a $5 budget, we nearly doubled our reach—and I think I could have done a lot better with the strategy and techniques there. Could the results be even better with a more strategic approach? What results can you get anyway with or without one?

To boost a post, you can click on the Boost button from any of your posts, or you can log into the Facebook Ads Manager and step through the process there.

15. Build a pinnable image in Canva

I find an incredible amount of visual inspiration whenever I scroll throughPinterest. People create some beautiful stuff!

And I’ve never really thought I could do the same, at least not without a bunch of time and training. Turns out, I can build a pretty sweet Pinnable image, design skills or not, using Canva’s premade templates.

(The Canva blog uses tons of great imagery in its Pinnable posts. This one, for example, has been pinned 26,000 times!)

Choose the Pinterest size at Canva.

Grab a template that looks great.

Edit the text.

Change a background or a color (for variety).

Share to Pinterest.

(We’re also excited to include Pinterest sizes in Pablo as well, so you can build a Pablo Pinterest image in just a few seconds.)

16. Don’t post anything

17. Post way more of everything

These two experiments are completely opposite of one another, but with the same intention in mind: Challenge your posting frequency.

You can turn off your scheduling completely.

Trying out both ways will be a great learning experience. You can see how it affects your social media engagement by looking at engagement per post and per day. And what I also might be curious to learn here is how your follower count moves on the days when you publish nothing versus everything. Check out this overlay graph in Buffer:

Grab a Buffer for Business trial to spend 30 days analyzing and learning from charts like these.

18. Share a screenshot of text

Text updates tend to be some of the less-engaging types of social media updates to share, because the same fonts, typography, and styles are shared by every update.

To get around this, you can share a screenshot of text from another website, which’ll help it stand out in the News Feed or timeline.

To take a screenshot on a Mac, press Command + Shift +4.

To take a screenshot on a PC, press Alt + Print Screen.

To take a screenshot of your iPhone screen, press Power + Home.

To take a screenshot of your Android screen, press Power + Volume Down.

19. Tag (and hashtag) in the comments

When a social media update is out there, you can share it in a couple ways: by retweeting/resharing natively or by mentioning and tagging others in the comments or replies.

The latter strategy is a popular one on Facebook and Instagram, where users might add a comment to tag people or add hashtags:

To mention specific people or pages on Facebook, you can type an @ sign followed by the name of a person or page. Same goes for Instagram, too.

20. Share multiple pics

One thing I’m personally excited to learn more about is the effect of multiple images in an update. If you share two or more images with an update, might you get more engagement?

I’m experimenting with this now (I’d love to know if you all have noticed any effect here).

On Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, you can share mosaics of images by uploading multiple images at once. This is one of our most-requested additions to Buffer; you can follow the progress here.

On Instagram and Pinterest, you can use apps like LayoutInstaCollage, or Pic Collage to build these multi-image images.

21. Include a text emoticon like (????)?

To spice up a plain-text update (and to stand out in the Feed or timeline a bit), you can insert a text emoticon.

You might be familiar with a couple of the more popular text emoticons like the shrug ¯\_(?)_/¯ and the table flip (?°?°)?? ???.

There are heaps more.

Click to Enlarge+

emoticons

Sites like Emojicons and Donger List (above) have a searchable archive that you can hunt by emotion or keyword and then copy-paste easily.

22. Unfollow old accounts

To help keep your follower/following ratio balanced, it can sometimes help to take a peek into who you’re really following.

Whenever I do, I tend to notice a number of accounts that are either inactive, empty, or who have yet to follow me back.

Using a tool like Crowdfire, you can get this info quickly and easily—and go ahead with the unfollowing and managing straight from the tool.

23. Join (or start) a live chat

One way to find more exposure and connection on social media is to join a chat. You’ll get to interact directly with fellow users on a topic you care about. And as a fun side effect, you might gain more followers or contacts.

There’s a great list of Twitter chats here, and we’d of course love for you to join us for #Bufferchat every Wednesday.

24. Repost your top tweet

Here’s a look at the top tweets we’ve sent at Buffer in the last 90 days.

Yep, they’re the same!

We find that we reach 4 percent of our Twitter followers with each tweet, so we’ve found a lot of success and value in resurfacing our best stuff for people who may have missed it the first time.

To see what tweets are tops, you can jump into your social media management dashboard and sort by engagement. Here’s how this looks within Buffer:

25. Remix your top Facebook update

Similarly to reposting your top tweet, you can repurpose a popular Facebook update for posting again. There’s a possibility that the Facebook News Feedmight notice an exact replica of a post, so it’s best to change things a bit – new update text, new photo, etc.

26. Write a headline of 5 words or fewer

The team at Ad Espresso looked at 37,259 Facebook ads to find out how the best Facebook advertisers create and optimize an ad. One big takeaway: Shorter headlines are most popular (and often lead to the best results).

Here’s an example that the Ad Espresso team pulled. See the short headline here for “Become a Full Stack Developer”:

What this might hint at is a chance to experiment with shorter headlines, both in the Open Graph settings of the links you share and in the main update text for sharing links to Twitter and other networks.

I’ve found this to be the case for me, as this short tweet was one of my most engaged from the past 90 days:

27. Use a popular Instagram hashtag

Hashtags are great for visibility, and visibility of course will lead to follows, likes, clicks, and more.

Websta keeps a running tally of the day’s most popular Instagram hashtags. If any of these fit with what you’re posting, it could be a good experiment to see the effect a popular hashtag has on your engagement!

Today’s Top 10 tags:

  1. #love
  2. #instagood
  3. #tbt
  4. #photooftheday
  5. #cute
  6. #me
  7. #beautiful
  8. #happy
  9. #follow
  10. #followme

28. Find your Next Big Thing network

Which social networks send you the most traffic?

You can find out by logging into Google Analytics and looking at Acquisition > Referrer. In our case at Buffer, we get the most traffic from Twitter, then Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

What’s cool to see is which other social networks are gaining steam.

If these networks are growing for you (you can compare to last month’s stats to see), perhaps this could be a good sign to spend a bit more time there and kick up the traffic to the next level.

29. Make a SlideShare

When we went a month without posting new content, we found SlideShare to be a really wonderful use of our free time. In some cases, SlideShares got more views and traffic than most any blog post.

Bonus: SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn and fits seamlessly with the sharing there. And Twitter has SlideShare support so that slide decks are embedded automatically within tweets.

To build a SlideShare, you can create a presentation in PowerPoint, or you can build one in Canva with the presentation template (just export as a pdf and you’re set!).

30. Add multimedia to your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn profiles have grown beyond just a resume. There’re now chances to display all sorts of different media on your page and to reorder things so that the most visual elements sit up top.

I’ve added a few links to some of the blog posts I’ve written here for Buffer and I’ve also included the posts I’ve published to LinkedIn Pulse.

Over to you

What experiments have you been trying on social media?

Which hacks and tips have made the biggest impact for you?

I’d love the chance to learn from what you’re trying. Feel free to leave any comments (or questions) here, and we’ll jump right to them!

Source – Entrepreneur.com

Ask An Expert: Should I Incorporate Remarketing Into My Digital Marketing Strategy?

what-is-remarketing

In short, yes!

As competition becomes increasingly fierce, B2B and B2C companies are all fighting for customers to read their content, and purchase their products or services. With so many options available to today’s consumers, many brands are searching for a way to stay top of mind with potential customers.

According to Business Insider, there is over $4 trillion of merchandise that will be abandon in online carts this year, 63% of which is potentially recoverable.

Breaking Down Remarketing

In laymen’s terms, remarketing is that pesky ad stalking you like an annoying mosquito around the internet and in my case, eventually getting you to buy yet ANOTHER sweater you may or may not need. Officially, remarketing (retargeting) are banner ads or text ads that are show to a specific group of people (audience) that have visited your website or digital property.

Remarketing requires you to place code on your site that drops a cookie on a visitor. Once dropped, the remarketing platform you’re using can show ads to that person as they are searching the web.

Why is Remarketing A No-Brainer?

Remarketing is the easiest and most cost effective way to re-engage an already engaged audience. Let’s say you had someone recently download your latest whitepaper or watch a video on your site or “save” items in their shopping cart for later; with remarketing you can re-engage them with a special offer, additional content or demo. Remarketing can be a tool used for moving consumers through the funnel and directing them to next action you want them to take.

An Example of Remarketing in Action

At TopRank Marketing, we understand the power of remarketing and integrate it into almost all of our client programs and campaigns.

We recently had a client that launched several assets around a major change coming to their industry. One of the assets was light on content (Asset 1) while the other asset was contained a lot of information (Asset 2). This program presented the perfect opportunity to leverage the power of remarketing.

As part of our overall integrated digital marketing strategy, we promoted Asset 1 via organic search, influencer marketing and paid social. We then remarketed Asset 2, which required additional buy-in and knowledge via remarketing on GDN. We saw tremendous results compared to previous remarketing efforts and performance more than exceeded client expectations.

Remarketing had a dramatic impact on this integrated campaign by lowering our overall Cost Per Lead while improving our lead volume.

Metric Client Goal TopRank Marketing
Remarketing Campaign
Variance
Leads (Per Month) 12 29 +141%
CPL $250 $103 -58%

 

Is Remarketing Right For You?

When you break down the information, remarketing really is a no-brainer. With remarketing, you can typically create a lower CPL and increase the number of leads generated. While the example above reviews how we’ve leveraged remarketing for content promotion, remarketing opens up a world of possibilities for engaging with your customers.

Source – TopRankMarketing.com

Meet Goodshop Sunday, the Event That’s Trying to Squeeze Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Meet Goodshop Sunday, the Event That's Trying to Squeeze Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving Day is quickly followed by a succession of shopping holiday marketing extravaganzas. There’s Black Friday to lure shoppers with early morning doorbuster sales; Small-Business Saturday to encourage consumers to shop local; Cyber Monday, when online retailers roll out their best ecommerce deals; and Giving Tuesday, when charities hope to piggyback on consumers’ already open wallets.

And now there’s another event attempting to wedge itself into that lineup. It’s called Goodshop Sunday, and it was created by sister-brother entrepreneurial duo JJ and Ken Ramberg.

Gathering attention among a roster of name-brand events isn’t easy. The Rambergs are looking to make an impact by focusing solely on retail coupon codes. Their site, Goodshop, which allows people to search for coupon codes, has always had a strong charity bent: for example, a typical coupon code on the site could be used to get 25 percent off a purchase at Nike and a 5 percent donation from Nike toward a charity of the shopper’s choice. On Goodshop Sunday, the site will offer exclusive coupon codes and, in some cases, double the percentage that goes to charity.

Now in its second-year, the event will feature coupon deals from retailers including Macy’s, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Staples.

“People feel really good about the fact that their shopping means more than just the thing they are buying. It makes people feel good when they know they are helping out a cause that they care about,” says JJ Ramberg, who is also the host of MSNBC’s weekend business show about small-business issues, Your Business.

Since launching in 2005, Goodshop has raised more than $12 million for more than 110,000 national charities, local schools and community groups.

Goodshop has raised more than $20,000 for the National Inclusion Project.
Image credit: National Inclusion Project

The company, which is based in San Francisco, initially launched asGoodsearch, a Yahoo-powered search engine that donated a penny to a charity for every web search. The Goodsearch product still exists, but in 2007, the team rebranded to reflect its newest product and business model.

For each coupon code on Goodshop, the retailer agrees that a particular percentage of the purchase started on Goodshop will be donated to charity. The service fee to the retailer is equal to the amount the retailer has elected to be donated to the charity. If, for example, a retailer on Goodshop has agreed to give 2.5 percent of a purchase price to a charity, then another 2.5 percent of the purchase price goes to Goodshop as a service fee. The retailer, in total, then would pay 5 percent of the purchase price to participate.

Because the Goodshop model has more than 100,000 charities from which to choose, consumers can opt for their donation dollars to go to a charity in their own backyard. Among the organizations that have benefited are the National Inclusion Project, an organization that partners with community groups to promote the inclusion of disabled children, which has raised more than $20,000 from more than 8,000 supporters and The Humane Society of the United States, which hasraised almost $13,000 from 11,000 supporters.

What’s critical is that the consumer is in the driver’s seat. “The fact is a lot of people care about causes that are small and very close to their heart,” says JJ.

What the Ramberg siblings hope, however, is that if a lot of people care about a lot of small and local campaigns, Goodshop Sunday will become just the opposite: a very big deal.

Source – Entrepreneur.com