Bonnie Sainsbury – Out-Smarts Podcast

Bonnie Sainsbury
Bonnie Sainsbury

Bonnie Sainsbury joined me for the Out-Smarts podcast today and I am so excited to share this with you.  Here’s why:

Bonnie was named to CEOWorld Magazine’s 2014 Top 25 Women in Social Media, Forbes 2013 20 Top Women Social Media Power Influencers and 50 Top Social Media Power Influencers. She is the co-host of Women Talking Tech, a weekly webcast where she discusses what’s happening in social media.

I’ve been inspired by Bonnie online for years now but it was only recently we met face to face. During our podcast Bonnie shares her story, her secrets to using social media to build business and her top 3 tips that entrepreneurs everywhere can use today to grow their business. This is a must listen!

 


Link Building – 9 Ways to Get More Links to Your Website

What is Link Building

Link building is the process of getting external sites to link back to your site. The more of these links you have from high-quality sites the more this positively impacts your position in the search engine results pages.

Here at Out-Smarts, we often get asked to assess company websites from a search engine perspective, to ascertain why their page isn’t appearing higher on Google. One reason is that they don’t have enough backlinks to their website or they have the wrong kind of backlinks – links from other websites tracking back to their site.

The ChainDespite Google’s algorithm changes, links are still valuable online, the more your website has the better its ranking will be but you have to be really careful how you go about building links. Link building can be extremely time consuming, can seem like a fruitless task and if you do it wrong can be damaging.

Here are 9 ways that you can build links back to your site:

Link Building Techniques

1. Social Networks – use your social networking presence to link back to your site or blog posts. This will drive traffic to your site and traffic is one of Google’s rank factors (double whammy!). The links to your website in your social bios and about sections are really important to so make sure you’ve included those and updated them to https.

2. Directories and Citation Sites – beware the directories – there are gazillions of websites that simply list the URL’s of other websites (rather like the Yellow pages but online). Submit a link to your site only on directories that have a good page rank, are relevant to your target audience and locality but avoid the ones that ask for payment or reciprolinks and absolutely ignore sites that simply link farms – linking in those does more damage than good.

3. List Your Business on Google My Business and Bing Local – these are really high-value citation sites, if you are not listed on Google My Business, get on it!

4. Content – make sure that the content on your website or blog is great, it should answer the questions your buyers ask when researching and evaluating a purchase. The higher quality your content is the more likely people will find it and link back to it. Link to other key players in your industry, your suppliers and sources as this gives you a reason to reach out and ask for a link and to tag them on social to encourage shares (and traffic!).

5. Widgets  – add widgets that allow visitors to easily share your content on the network of their choice.  These links are not high value from an SEO perspective but they do drive traffic (which is important for SEO).

6. Relationships – ask partners, clients and organisations you are a member of to place a link on their site back to yours but only on sites that are relevant and appropriate within your area or industry. If you are already a member of an association make sure that your listing in these directories includes a link to your website.

6. Advertising – consider advertising online: Google Ads can be a valuable way to drive traffic to your site.

7. Influencer marketing – many influencers are happy to link back to your site, although many of them will charge you for it. It’s worth considering though as this can help you in a number of ways including extending your reach to there audience.

8. Outreach – make a list of sites that have a high domain authority or page rank and reach out to them asking for a link – you can do this by email or phone. One we got recently offered us a lifetime subscription to their software which caught our eye and made their communication stand out from others.

9. Blog Comments – we had written this technique off ages ago but a recent blog post from Neil Patel has us revisiting this. If you use blog commenting though you have to think your comments through and make sure they are valuable and related to the post so that it isn’t perceived as spam and deleted.

Thanks -wink- for the great Flickr image.

Updated July 2020


Your Twitter Feed Sucks – Here’s How To Fix It

It is apparent to me that most Twitter users using the network for business don’t have a clue what they are doing. It is sad to see how many Twitter feeds that simply Tweet out content for the sake of it and miss out on the opportunity this tool provides. I suppose it has to be expected, many users come from a traditional marketing background and in the old days communication was a one way street.

Twitter is fantastic for making connections, building relationships and nurturing community. When using the tool for marketing and business development you are wasting your time if all you are doing is posting links to content (especially if that content isn’t even yours).

75% of Tweets go unnoticed and fewer than 5% get retweeted. If this resonates then perhaps you should get off Twitter and start doing something more productive. Or, you could consider the following list of tips to make better use of Twitter for business development.

Listen and Respond

If someone retweets one of your posts, have the decency to thank them or at least acknowledge the Tweet. Your community can become a powerful advocate for you and a great way to grow your following but only if you stroke it and respect it. If someone retweets your content regularly and you don’t even notice it shows how little you care and sends a negative message and they will soon stop, or worse start dissing you.  Don’t create trolls!

Be Community Minded

A community relies on the interaction between members. Don’t forget to offer value to your community and you’ll receive value in turn. Engage with as many relevant people as you can – it’ll pay dividends and enhance your Twitter experience. Remember, your social network (on Twitter and elsewhere) is part of your business capital. Make sure it gives you best value, and protect it.

Don’t Over Tweet

It is important to consider your followers and not to be in their face too much.  If you post Tweets every minute of the day it can get annoying for those on the receiving end unless your content is hot (and you will be perceived as having no other work to do!).  Another terrible habit some Twits have is to use a tool that allows you to automatically posts several Tweets at once.  I use the 3 strikes and you’re out formula and unfollow when this happens.

Don’t sell or spam

Overt selling on Twitter is bad.  If we wanted to be sold to we would be watching the ads on prime time TV instead.  If you use your Twitter presence as a blatant sales tool people won’t want to follow you.  Be subtle with your sales pitch.  Try to follow the 80-20 rule and add value 80% of the time then promote 20%.

Don’t Cheat

Don’t plagiarise other peoples Tweets without acknowledgement (remember the “RT”). Retweeting can be a strong tool to make a direct connection so use this as an opportunity to build rapport rather than annoy.  All it takes is a little @.

Don’t be greedy

Watch your follow to follower ratio.  If you are following way more people than you have following you then it looks like you are desperate.  People are less likely to follow you if you have few followers.  You should always have more followers than you are following.

 Be strategic

Get smart with your Twitter time.  Focus on following the companies and people on Twitter that you want to do business with.  Follow them and then look for ways to interact with them, to add value and to get their attention.  When posting content, think strategically about your audience – posts shouldn’t be all about you but all about how you can add value for them.

No one cares what you had for lunch

Lots of Twits still insist on posting inane drivel on their feeds.  You can get away with this if your feed is simply personal but if you are using Twitter for business, this doesn’t cut it.   Here’s a tip – try speaking your Tweet, if it sounds boring and banal then spare us all and don’t post it.

Employ Tools to Help

Your Twitter strategy can be made easier using the right tools. You might want to manage multiple accounts, or deal with multiple timelines – there are tools to help. We use Hootsuite in all of its forms to help us manage our multiple feeds across our team.  You should check it out.

Create Your Follow Policy

Don’t waste time dithering about whether to Follow someone or not. Decide on your Follow Policy from the outset and don’t stray from that – it’ll save you lots of valuable time.

Measure, Measure, Measure

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.  Set goals for your Twitter presence in terms of follows counts, interactions and traffic to your website and make sure you have the tools in place to help you measure your success.  That way you will know whether your time is well spent.

Get with the Program

Too many businesses get on Twitter without having a clue how to use it properly and then have the audacity to turn around and say that Twitter doesn’t work.  Reality check: it isn’t Twitter that doesn’t work, it’s they way you are using it.

Want it done right?  We manage and maintain Twitter feeds for our clients and would love to add you to our roster so give us a shout.

 


9 Tips for Building and Implementing Effective Social Media Strategies

Many businesses fail when it comes to social media.  Why? Because organisations don’t give due consideration to strategy before they start. A social media  strategy can be as long or as short (on the back of a napkin!) as you want it to be, but it should take into account and reflect:

  • Your brand, message, corporate mission and vision
  • Your target audience
  • Which tools you will use and who will do what
  • Quantifiable goals and tools to measure success
  • Content – how will you add value
  • What needs to be done and when

Here are 9 important factors that you need to consider when building and implementing your social media strategy:

1. Your strategy on-line must be reflective of your overall business strategy

Successful social media strategies augment your existing business plans, reflect your brand, goals and target audience.

2. Take a holistic approach to Internet marketing

Your Internet marketing should include your website (as the backbone), email campaigns, SEO, SEM, online ads and mobile marketing.  Each component should cross-pollinate with the others (i.e. your website should be social media ready, and the words you use in your website content should be similar, or the same, as the keywords you use on Facebook, Twitter or your blog).

3. Choose your social media tools wisely

There are thousands of social networks and you can’t use them all, so choose 2 or 3 and use them really well.  When deciding which tools to use, consider which tools your target audience is most likely to use, which tools best reflect your offering and which tools you will have fun incorporating into your online strategy.

4. Start small and grow

Identify one area of business and run a pilot.  Doing so will allow you to test the waters in a manageable way, allowing you to prove concepts and build.

5. Social media education

Education should be an ongoing consideration and component of your social media plan.  Educate your staff and executives as to what social media is, how to use it effectively from a business perspective and make sure to keep abreast of new tools and methods.

6. Make it measurable

What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.  Take time to consider what are your goals for implementing social media, quantify these and determine which tools you will use to track effectiveness.  There’s a wide array of social media measurement tools out there and many of them are free – use them!

7. Create a social media policy

This is important.  Every employee should know what is expected of them, what to post, and what not to post when using social media on behalf of the organisation.  Creating policies that build best practices helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.

8. Content is key

When it comes to social media you need to remember that it’s not about you but, instead, about your audience, and this is especially true for content.  Make sure that your content adds value for your audience, doesn’t overtly sell and makes people want to share it with their networks too.

9. Listen

Social media listening should be ongoing from day one.  Listen for mentions (and respond!), keep an eye on competitors, peers and luminaries.

Here at Out-Smarts, one of our core services is working with clients to build and implement effective social media strategies.  You know you need one, so contact us now!


How To Customize Your Facebook Page

As the Facebook population grows, more and more businesses are using Facebook Pages to promote their business in this forum and to reach out and connect with fans there.Your Facebook page may be the first contact a prospect has with you and it is important to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by customizing your Facebook page to include tabs that go beyond the basic “Wall” and “Info” tabs in the vanilla page set up. Once you have created these new tabs you can customize each page. Here’s how:

Customize Your Facebook Page

First thing you need to do is add the Facebook Mark Up Language to your Page. To do this, Facebook search “FBML” find the FMBL application and click to add it to your site.

Once you have added this, go to your Page and click edit. Under “Applications” you will see FBML. Click to edit to add a new tab.

The box title shows “FBML”, edit this to show the title you want to appear on the tab on your page. Click to save. The new tab will now appear on your Facebook page.

To edit and add content to the page click to edit your page again and click to edit on the pertinent FBML application you just created. Finally, add the code you want to appear on the page.

The easiest way to generate the code is to use a CMS editor. I used WordPress to generate the code for the connect tab content I created on the Out-Smarts Page.

To add images to your new tab page, upload them to WordPress and use the hyperlink functionality if you want to link the image to an external page (exactly like you would if you were uploading and linking an image to a blog post).

Once you are happy with the content, copy and paste the HTML code into your FBML window. To find this click on applications then edit as before.

Click to complete and save. Go back to your Facebook page and voila, you will have a new tab there and if you click on the tab the content you created in WordPress will appear there.