How to Publish for Profit – on Social Media

Social Media spreads content like wildfire.

Promoting relevant and interesting posts to your pages, followers and communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can generate significant affiliate revenue, especially if these posts go viral.

Once you’ve mastered social media and set up a regular posting schedule you’ll be well on your way to building a regular income stream from fans, followers and friends.

 

Facebook

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Log on to your Facebook account and visit your home page. Once you are logged in and on your home page, move down to the window block where you can create a post. Write a short description with a Call to Action.

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How to use Pinterest and Twitter for a competitive advantage

Using Pinterest and Twitter in online marketing

If you’re not using your social media (for example Pinterest and Twitter) to further your business objectives then you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for free research and a free sales funnel.

On our searches we found a great tip on using Twitter for competitive advantage and secondly why Pinterest is an excellent tool for e-commerce.

  • Work out who you’re competing with

This is an obvious starting point and something that should have been done when you first came up with your business plan.

However it might still be possible to identify a few smaller competitors by performing a basic Twitter search. Start with the most obvious competitors then look at who is following them to see if there are any small businesses that are also trying to make a name for themselves in your niche.

  • Search for keywords and hashtags

Searching for keywords and hashtags on Twitter will help to identify people that are the most vocal within your marketplace, which may help to flag up some potential competitors but also gives an idea of the sort of people you need to be engaging in conversation.

Similarly, searching for your competitors’ brand names will help to tune into what people are saying about them, which will give useful insight into customer sentiment and how competitors are performing on social.

Twitter’s advanced search tool is extremely useful for this as it allows users to be very precise with their search terms and also save them for future reference.

  • Use Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a free tool that allows users to monitor search terms in real time, allowing you to stay on top of the conversations that are going on around your industry and competitor brands. In truth it’s actually more useful for monitoring your own brand mentions, but could also be handy if you’ve set time aside to monitor the conversations going on around competitors.

If you’re bold enough you might also consider jumping in and starting conversations with users who mention the competition, though tread carefully as it’s easy to come across as a spammer.

  • Analyse their followers and who they’re following

Once you’ve identified the competition you can use one of the free tools available online to find out more about who follows them. Tools such as Followerwonk work great for this sort of research.

This information allows you to work out which users are potentially the most influential in your niche and who you should be trying to engage with.

Read the rest on Econsultancy.

Twitter is great for research but Pinterest is great for sales:

Pinterest has rolled out three new features over the last few months to help businesses use Pinterest effectively and drive sales.

  • Rich Pins

Pinterest are improving pins by automatically including updated details. For instance, reviews of films, ingredients for recipes and, more importantly for ecommerce, price and availability of products.

Getting started is a fairly easy process of preparing your own website with meta tags, testing out your rich pins and applying to upload them on Pinterest. This is well worth doing as pins with prices attract 36% more likes than those without.

  • Pinterest price alerts

Pinterest debuted price alerts in August. If the user has an unpurchased product pinned to their board and it becomes cheaper, Pinterest automatically sends an email informing them.

The user doesn’t have to do anything, and notifications will be grouped together in as few emails as possible to avoid clutter.

This is a simple, and effortless way to drive sales to your store. Email open rates are four times higher for triggered emails rather than newsletters. You just need to do lots of competitor analysis to take advantage of it.

  • Promoting pins

As of this month, Pinterest is trialling promoted pins. Working much like regular pins, these will have a special promoted label. Pinterest has promised to keep these tasteful and transparent with clear ‘promoted’ labelling, and relevant to the user.

There you have it, quick and free ways to excel online!


The growth of social TV viewing

Last week we spoke about how Twitter was filing for an IPO and the resultant innovation that is coming out of this is fascinating.

In essence the idea of TV as the “first screen” and other devices as the “second” or “third” screens is dead. Today, the first screen is whichever one a consumer is looking at. Twitter has turned out to be a digital water cooler with thousands of people around the country simultaneously engaging in real-time conversations on Twitter about favorite television shows or sporting events as they unfold.

In the US cable giant Comcast, parent of programming giant NBCUniversal, has struck a deal with Twitter that will make it easy for users of the social network platform to access TV shows directly from the site. The new feature, called “see it,” will allow Comcast subscribers to get to NBCUniversal content via Twitter. Comcast also said it would work with other distribution companies interested in using the service.

The company has developed a new feature, which it calls “See It,” that is designed to funnel its Comcast customers who use Twitter to the show with a click of a button.

The chart below shows that a majority of social media users, tablet owners and smartphone users have used social networks while watching television.majority of social media users

A significant portion of these users were specifically using social media to talk about the content they were viewing on television. Research of other surveys conducted in 2013 indicated that 15% to 17% of TV viewers engaged in real-time socializing about the television shows they were watching.

Facebook is further behind, but the company is expanding the use of hashtags and other features to show users how much real-time conversation is taking place on the service. It is also rolling out two APIs that will allow media outlets and ad technology companies to analyze and report on real-time activity. Facebook believes it can offer TV advertisers a one-two punch of enormous reach and deep targeting.

Whether Facebook or Twitter win the battle is debatable but what we can say that second screen is the way of the future and it’s time for marketers to start capitalising on this.


Twitter files for an IPO

News out of America last week were that Twitter is filing an IPO in order to be listed on the stock exchange. The long expected process comes a year after the Facebook IPO that many called a failure despite the share trading $20 per share higher than the launch.

The company is looking to raise no less than $1 billion but could list anywhere up to $15 billion. Small change compared to Facebook but still a substantial amount.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chairman, holds 4.9% of the company’s stock, Evan Williams, the former CEO and fellow co-founder, holds 12%. Dick Costolo, CEO, holds 1.6%.

Twitter had 218.3 million monthly active users as of 30 June, an increase of 44% from the 151.4 million a year previously. However it warned that growth will slow. “We anticipate that our user growth rate will slow over time as the size of our user base increases,” the company said in its announcement.

Twitter’s revenues increased by 198% to $316.9m in 2012, according to the filing. But the company posted a $79.4m loss for the year and lost $128.3m in 2011. The company has been spending large sums in order to build up its service and said it intends to carry on spending after it has raised the new money.

We did learn some other interesting pieces of information about Twitter:

  1. In the six months that ended June 30, 2013, advertising revenue increased by 119 percent compared to the six months that ended the same time last year. The increase was primarily attributable to a 79 percent increase in timeline views in the six months running up to June 30, 2013, the company said, as well as increased demand from advertisers. That said, its revenue growth appears to be slowing, relatively speaking. In 2012, advertising revenue increased by 247 percent compared to 2011.
  2. In the three months that ended June 30, 2013, Twitter said more than 65 percent of its advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices. Three-quarters of its monthly active users accessed the service from mobile devices, it said, including mobile phones and tablets.
  3. Twitter generates some revenues by licensing access to its data but that’s nominal, it says. A full 85 percent of its revenues come from selling promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends.

When the stock does launch it will most likely be under “TWTR” although currently there is no time frame for the launch.

This might open new doors for online marketers the world over as the brand grows from strength to strength. There are many ways to make money online through Twitter and it is time for everyone to step up their game!


Using a promoted tweet to complain about customer service

Getting the attention of customer service departments
We’ve seen social media become a major forum for customer complaints and grievances and while it’s a great place to get turn a negative experience into something positive, customer service departments face a huge challenge.

Recently we’ve seen a darker side of online whining when a British Airways passenger bought a promoted tweet in order to get his message across. When his airline lost his father’s luggage, Hasan Syed took to Twitter to complain.

But instead of griping to his friends and one or two followers about British Airways, the businessman paid to have his tweet promoted – sending it to the top of BA’s Twitter feed and the feeds of related companies across the world.

Under his handle @HVSVN, Mr Syed’s promoted tweet read: ‘Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.’

twitter complaint about customer service

This sort of malice doesn’t come cheap. According to this Business Insider article the 50,000 odd promoted tweets cost Mr Hasan around $1000; ironically probably more than his luggage cost.

On another advertising platform, this could have been done on the cheap meaning an even wider spread of the word. It’s interesting that British Airways only responded six hours later to the promoted tweet, after massive sites such as Mashable picked up on the trend and reported on it.

This raises the question on how companies are going to have to start having 24/7 customer services and maybe they need to train up call centre reps to respond to messages on Facebook and Twitter.

In this particular case, the tweet appears to have been successful.


Mobile usage of Facebook and Twitter keep growing

No turning back: mobile usage is taking over

When Facebook first listed of the stock exchange their share price took a pounding due to a general lack of mobile strategy. Things have changed and Facebook has massively embraced mobile adverts. Mobile usage is growing massively in developed nations and Africa is already way ahead of the pack.

In the US, a primarily “desktop first” market the growth of mobile is massive. eMarketer did a study recently on how mobile social media usage is growing:

US mobile phone twitter users and penetration

As we can see from the stats above the growth of mobile Twitter users is going to increase around five million users a year. If you take a look at the red line on the graph you can see total mobile phone social network users. The number as a percentage doesn’t change for the simple reason that there is such a massive growth in total mobile users.

The stats for Twitter pale in comparison to Mobile Facebook usage. In the US just shy of 100 million Americans will access their Facebook account via mobile phone at least monthly. Nearly all mobile social network users will use Facebook via mobile. The overall mobile Facebook population will increase by more than 50% between this year and 2017. In 2013, 99% of all people will access Facebook on their mobile.

US mobile usage stats: mobile phone facebook users and penetration

Local social media stats are completely skewed towards mobile. Here’s some stats from South Africa according to World Wide Worx on mobile usage:

  1. South Africa’s Twitter user base doubled this year, and Facebook is near saturation for connected SA consumers.
  2. Instagram use has shot up, closely tied to Twitter as consumers share photos across the platforms.
  3. Social bookmarking site use has plummeted, including Delicious, Digg, Friendfeed and StumbleUpon.
  4. LinkedIn remains on a slow but steady growth curve in SA, with 20% growth from 2012.
  5. Google Plus uptake has flattened in South Africa – at approximately 500,000 active users.
  6. Executives buy into social: lack of management understanding is a much smaller barrier to entry in 2013.
  7. Largest barrier to social media brand success remains effective time management of the channels.
  8. 58% of major SA brands are now utilising Youtube as a marketing and communications medium.
  9. Of SA’s biggest brands surveyed, 92% post at least once a week to their social profiles.
  10. 53% of social channels managed by marketing team; only 16% of brands outsource it to 3rd parties. The remaining 31% is handled by a mix of PR teams, individuals and other tactics. “It’s generally viewed as too strategic to outsource, or that 3rd parties [are] too remote to resolve customer issues,”.

If you aren’t pushing heavily into mobile you’re in for a long next few years. The largest shift in traffic in the digital space is to mobile usage and it is snowballing! There are countless opportunities for affiliate marketing professionals in the mobile market. More and more time is also being sent on social media using purely mobile devices.

The challenge to everyone in the digital marketing space is embracing this change and working with it. If you want to make sure that your lead generation campaigns are yielding proper returns, you need to go where your consumers are.

Consumers are constantly being bombarded with different forms of media. They have however all but cut out traditional advertising mediums (print, television ads, radio ads and billboards). Every owner of a smartphone spends a lot of time browsing and interacting with content on their mobile phones. The key to your future success with any lead generation campaigns, cost per sale campaigns and any affiliate marketing in general will probably rely heavily on how well you embrace mobile.


Are you obsessed with Facebook likes?

An obsession with Facebook likes isn’t healthy

We recently spent some time with a large client discussing social media strategy and noticed how there is still a massive focus on the amount of total Facebook likes of their page.

Of course it’s important to have a high level of likes and Twitter followers but this tends to lead to a massive issue with click fraud and the buying of followers. We’re seeing the growth of “click farms”:

  1. Brand engages social media agency (although no self-respecting social media I know would do this) which promises to craft a social media campaign that will rocket the brand’s social fan base.
  2. Social media agency decides that the most profitable way to do this work is to pay a click farm to provide fake likes.
  3. The click farm employs technological solutions, and people (who really need the money) to create thousands of fake profiles and generate even more fake likes, views and even comments.

As you can see it’s often companies posing as legitimate agencies that are guilty of such dubious behaviour. However, these sort of agencies only thrive in a landscape where a company is desperate for likes.

Other metrics on a Facebook page are vastly more useful than pure Facebook likes. For example you can see your contents reach and engagement easily. This information is vastly more useful in understanding your customers than an endorsement from a fake account in Lahore.

The big problem is that many brands still measure their success on social media by the number of likes or followers they have. Not by engagement, shares, and ultimately sales (none of which a fake click is going to get you). And while brands measure by likes, agencies will be tempted to buy them. Instead of buying fans, here are some tips to grow your base organically:

  1. Encourage people to take the first step. Give people a reason to ‘like’ your page, or view your video. Maybe there’s a competition, or a promise of exclusive content. Perhaps the selling point is being a member of an elite community.
  2. Encourage them to hang around and engage. Don’t limit exclusive offers to new fans. It’s not enough for someone to simple ‘like’ a page; they need to want to keep going back.
  3. Create compelling content. It sounds so obvious but really focusing on appropriate brand content works, whether it’s witty, visually appealing or just brightens someone’s day – sticky content works.
  4. Provide a strong set of community guidelines, or house rules, for fans to follow and enforce them. Moderate content to provide the safest and most welcoming environment you can. People won’t comment on a page if they think they’ll be laying themselves open to abuse or ridicule or if it’s peppered with spam.
  5. Use a community manager who’s already a brand advocate. If it’s a game brand, it helps if the person running the page knows the culture, and understands what people mean when they say they’re having trouble collecting enough Bells to pay off Tom Nook.
  6. Be ethical. It’s one thing to ask fans to behave in a respectful manner, but if they discovered that your brand had brought thousands of ‘likes’, if they started to wonder if the Harry Smith they were responding to was a real fan, or a fake, why would they have any reason to trust the brand?

Keep it real, listen to your customers and use social media to grow your business.

You will see far greater value when you look at the interaction rates you get from your customers. The Facebook likes can be as deceiving as high visitor numbers to a site. It is flattering, but not always an indicator of digital marketing success. By getting interaction from your customers (comments and shares) you are far more likely to enhance your brand’s reputation. This is also the stepping stone to generating leads or sales from your social media efforts.


How to ensure social media shares

It’s a classic question: “How do we get this content to go viral?”. Using social media is a classic “go-to” answer for this question. It’s easy to try seed something out via social media but how do you actually get social media shares rolling? We found a great infographic on the topic of getting more shares via social networks and Twitter. Who would have thought that saying “Please ReTweet” rather than “Please RT” would be more effective:

infogs on social media shares