Tumblr: The Easiest Way to Blog

There’s an updated version of this blog post. To read it go here.

This week Yahoo agreed to buy Tumblr, the hugely popular blog site. Tumblr is a blog platform that is simple and easy to use but how does it stack up against other blog tools and is it right for your business. Read on!

What is Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to share just about anything via their personal Tumblelog. You can quickly and easily post whatever you want – text, photos, videos, music, quotes, and links, from wherever you want – your web browser, phone, desktop computer, or email. The service prides itself on its ease of use, as well as the ability to customize everything including the colors of your Tumblelog and the HTML code of your Tumblr theme.

More blogs use Tumblr as their underlying technology that WordPress: in total there are around 109 million blogs using Tumblr and a whopping 51 billion plus blog posts ( 74,935,213 posts so far today alone). The service also boasts a retention rate of 85% versus Twitter’s 40% – once users sign up for Tumblr they are very likely to continue using it. When you compare Tumblr’s retention rate with traditional blogging you can see that they must be doing something right!

From a business perspective, there’s a lot of contention surrounding Tumblr – some swear by it and some hate it but if you are trying to determine which of the two to use, here is a simple, general rule of thumb – if your audience is under thirty five and your service or product is very visual and you’re strapped for time then Tumblr is the way to go, if your audience is older and you want to do more than blog (and more with your blog) then use WordPress.   I use both – WordPress is the underlying technology for this blog and Tumblr is the one I use for fun posts on my personal blog.

Tumblr

Benefits of Tumblr

Tumblr is doing to blogging what texting did to email, ie. not rendering it obsolete, but certainly giving it a run for its money.

With Tumblr, you spend less time writing content, and yet readers of your Tumblelog tend to get a better picture of who/what you are as a person or company. As founder David Karp said, “Tumblelogs don’t need all the context of written post. The context is the blog itself, or the person writing it.” Reading one post in someone’s Tumblelog doesn’t tell you much, but browsing through their posts gives you a remarkably accurate picture of who/what they are, without all the reading associated with a traditional blog. Also, Tumbelogs are likely to appeal to a wider audience, as some will prefer the assortment of photos, video files, and links that a traditional blog may be lacking.

Tumblr’s API allows Tumblelogs to be extensively modified; users can delete all the basic formatting and start from scratch to design the look, feel and layout. If you can imagine it, chances are you can do it with Tumblr. The outcome for bloggers is huge; connect more deeply with your readers, in less time, and on your customized, easy to use microblog. No wonder Tumblr is exploding in popularity!

To find out more about why everyone loves Tumblr, click here to see the many features available to you via your Tumblelog.


Top 10 Tips to Boost Social Media Productivity

Social Media ProductivitySocial media has become an important marketing tool for small business. If you use it effectively, you can build brand awareness, generate leads, boost customer loyalty, drive traffic to your website not to mention enhancing mind share.  What’s more, a social presence is becoming an expected norm if your prospective customers are below 45.  For younger audiences, if they don’t find you on social media, they simply don’t do business with you.

The challenge for small business looking to implement effective social media campaigns is that we all have limited time and resources, not to mention the fact that we don’t have bottomless pockets. So how can we take advantage of social media in a way that makes sense given these potential barriers?  Here are 10 tips that will boost your social media marketing productivity.

1. Don’t spread yourself too thin – there are thousands of social media tools.  You can’t use all of them effectively, so choose up to 3 (no more) and make those the tools that your customers are most likely to use and that you will enjoy using. For example, if your target audience is the professional business type, build your presence on LinkedIn and focus on that network rather than trying to have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest et al.

2. Schedule social media time into your day just like you would for any other business activity. Stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted.  Social media can be a big time suck, don’t let it.

3. Use productivity tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts and to manage your networks effectively (Hootsuite supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and more). If you have different team members managing your social presence, Hootsuite let’s you see at a glance who is responding so that you are all on the same page.

4. Install and use apps on your phone so that you can check in on your social feeds and respond accordingly on the fly.  All of the major social networks as well as third party tools like Hootsuite have iPhone and Android apps although some are better than others when it comes to functionality.

5. Your social presence is an extension of day to day business.  You don’t need to come up with a whole new story for your social media updates and you shouldn’t.  Think about your to do list for the day and how you can reflect your daily activities online. Hosting an open house or event? Make sure attendees can interact with each other in the appropriate channels.

6. Reuse your existing content – to find great content to post on your social networks, use content that you already have (white papers, marketing materials, case studies etc) and adapt it to your needs.

7. Find new content use content tools: my favourite us Zyte which is an app I use on the iPad that allows me to subscribe to fresh new content based on topics and categories I’m  are interested and I can then easily share it on the networks as required.

8. Be an editor – blogging is often a central component to a company’s social strategy but blogging takes time. Build a blog editorial schedule so that you know what to blog about and when, and remember that quality beats  quantity when it comes to blogging.  If you hate to write then consider other options like video or photo blogs that make it easier for you.

9. Consider outsourcing part of your social media to a firm like Out-Smarts that specialises in social media, but be very careful if you do do this.  Make sure that the company you work with takes time to understand your organisation inside out so that they can represent you in an authentic way online.  And never outsource your social media then forget about it.  The best partnerships are those where your social media partner firm manages your day to day and general posts whilst you or your staff augment and humanize your presence when time permits.

10. Get lean – quality is much more important that quantity when it comes to building your following.  Save yourself some time and don’t follow everybody and anybody.  Instead take time to determine your connection startegy i.e. who you will most benefit from connecting with.  This will likely be different for each social network (if you are doing it right) you use and might include industry visionaries, your ideal clients/prospect, partners and related pages.

At Out-Smarts we provide professional, dedicated and timely social media marketing services managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube pages for our clients.  Why not focus on what you do best and let us focus on what we do best.  Call us today to find out  about our services



Advertising online – Facebook versus LinkedIn

Linkedin versus Facebook ads

iS tock_000001256263XSmallAdvertising using social media channels is becoming more and more popular, not surprising really since you have the potential to reach millions of people in a very targeted way. In 2013 global online ad spending is projected to amount to more than $500 billion and more specifically social ads spending is expected to double by 2015 to $9.2 billion.

If you are considering which social channels to use to promote your product, business or service, this might help.

Here’s a comparison of Facebook versus LinkedIn ads.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is by far the larger of the 2 networks with over 1 billion users. You can use Facebook ads to a) promote your page and build your following b) to promote a specific post on your page’s timeline or c) to drive traffic to an external page such as your website.

Facebook allows you to be really specific when choosing who should see your ads. You can target by geography down to quite a granular level, for example you can have your ads appear only to people in North Vancouver but it doesn’t get as granular as Yaletown or Kerrisdale (yet). You can also target your ads by age, gender, education but the aspect that is most beneficial about Facebook advertising is that you can target the ads using target audience likes.

Profiling Your Customer

We often work with clients to build an ideal client persona identifying such aspects as which car they drive, which shoes they wear, which music, sports teams etc, etc (it varies by business obviously). The more you know the better and by profiling your customer or ideal client in this way then you can use Facebook ads to appeal to a very specific demographic.

Targeting

You can also target the ads on Facebook to the friends of people who have already liked your pages. We’ve had a lot of success running Facebook ads for consumer related products or services but it can be more tricky for business to business or professional service type firms. Our favourite technique is to use Facebook to build your page followers: once people have connected with your business there you can use your timeline to build mindshare and community with them. Starting at as little as $1 per day. Facebook can be a strong tool to add to your promotional advertising arsenal.

LinkedIn Ads

linkedinLinkedIn has less than a quarter of the users that Facebook has but the advantage LinkedIn has over Facebook is that users are all professional, business type people so, if that is you audience, LinkedIn might be the better advertising tool for you to use but you have to be extra careful to get it right and it’s quite tricky.

Targeting

LinkedIn ads like Facebook ones, can also be used to target a specific audience i.e. by geography, profession, company name, seniority or job function. However LinkedIn ads are not as granular as Facebook’s in terms of geography or personal likes and you are actually quite limited. With LinkedIn the best way to use the ads is to encourage people to click on a link to an external website -ie your website or squeeze page.

LinkedIn ads appear erratically, we had one campaign recently where the ads showed up thousands of times on the first day and hardly any the next. The only way to control this seems to be by increasing the ad budget (go figure), making sure your bids are high or through constantly tweaking your ad text. They’re also more expensive than Facebook ads – starting at $10 per day. One positive aspect of LinkedIn advertising is that you can get creative with larger images.

Conclusion

If you have decided ads are the way to go and your target audience is consumer oriented or they are younger then Facebook is a no brainer. If your audience is older, professional or business oriented LinkedIn might be the better alternative but take the time to consider whether you can get more bang from your buck by using your personal updates or updates on your company page on LinkedIn first. I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn ads and think your marketing dollars might be better spent elsewhere.

 


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


Create a Content Schedule for Facebook

For those of us who manage Facebook pages, coming up with fresh ideas for content that will engage your audience can be a challenge. Rather than posting content adhoc, it is a really good practice to get into the habit of creating a content schedule for Facebook.  Similar to an editorial schedule for a magazine, a Facebook content schedule outlines what you will post about at specific times throughout the week.

The infographic below from contains a great example of content creation strategies that will help you stay on track and engage your audience.

Note that how often post updates to your Facebook page will vary by audience. If your target audience is younger ( under 35) then posting several times a day is expected but if your target audience is older then once a day might suffice and more often will be a put off. Finding your own secret sauce will depend on trial and error.

When you are posting content to your Facebook business page, remember that text such as inspirational quotes, anecdotes and updates, is likely to garner more interactions than posting links and that photos and videos get even better response rates.

Having a schedule like this can really help you stay on track and will improve your productivity in this social network.

 

Create a Facebook Content Schedule
Create a Facebook Content Schedule

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/159526011772821996/
Source: Cornucopia Creations


The Social Biz: A Refresher on How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business & Brand

Anastasia Koutalianos is the director and founder of NADATODO.COM: an online event calendar and promotions/publicity hub. She recently attended Mhairi’s  Social Media and Online Marketing Tactics workshop at Small Business BC.  Here is the resulting blog post which was originally published on the Small Business BC Blog.  Thanks Anastasia for coming along and for letting us share your blog post here.

The Social Biz: A Refresher on How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business & Brand

I manage Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. I run online promotional and publicity campaigns. I post videos and photos online. I do all this in hopes of sharing my interests, growing my business and developing my brand. And yet I’ll be the first to admit it: social media exhausts me! But while I waver in my love of e-marketing, I can’t deny it—social media is on fire. Not only that, it’s a clever way to bridge the gap between consumers and business owners, and aficionados and industry influencers.
To help me better streamline my online marketing efforts, I  attended the Social Media and Online Marketing Tactics seminar at Small Business BC. Hosted by Mhairi Petrovic—founder and president of Out-Smarts Marketing, a Vancouver-based marketing firm—the workshop transitions from traditional forms of media and self-promotion to social media strategy and business objectives. So while I juggle my many online media sites and promotional channels, here are some Petrovic-inspired tactics on how to build your business and brand:

A Social Media Plan and Who’s Who and What’s What

Before you build a Twitter skin or create a Facebook page, understand your social media goals. Why are you online? Are you out to grow your audience? Do you want to promote upcoming projects and gain greater brand awareness? Is your business best represented on Facebook, Twitter or Google+? Like any strategy, it’s best to sketch out a plan. Quantify your presence. Do you have the time and zest for writing a blog post once a week? Do you care to post to Twitter when your message might be better suited to a Facebook group page? Design your approach with time and avenues in mind.
Step two of your plan: outline the basics. Who’s your audience, what’s your message, what are your objectives. Without this you can’t market much. Plus, also consider tone and voice. Dry and authoritative posts might not fare well with younger generations. Speak to and engage your target. Remember, it’s a conversation, not a barrage of information.

A Few Good Sites

When it comes to social media, less is more. Rather than spread yourself thin on too many social networks (and let’s face it, there are many), stick to the ones that will best showcase your product or services. Have an unlimited workforce? Then go for it. But for most small and medium-sized businesses, time is of the essence. And while e-marketing might not cost much, it’s time-heavy. Write a blog, or Tweet. Tweet and post on Facebook. Or Instagram photos and forget the rest. Do what is right for you. There is no set method. It’s a matter of being the most effective without losing sight of your message, your brand and your voice.

Me vs. My Business

I struggle with this. How do I maintain my own voice within a sea of industry influencers and other businesses vying for the same piece of the pie? Well, like everything, it’s a game of balance. Whether you’re sharing the latest biz news, retweeting ridiculousness or simply posting beautiful photos and videos—you must be genuine. Social media isn’t as far from traditional marketing as one may think. Ever go to a networking event and get stuck with the guy who shamelessly self-promotes with everyone’s business card in hand? Find him annoying? Sure. Same goes for the online world. Be authentic and be balanced. While Petrovic speaks of an 80-20 ratio of added value and persona respectively, I think it’s pretty intuitive. Share your message, promote your contests, follow your competitors and listen for their competitive angles, comment on industry standards and the like and repost clever musings. Be strategic, but above all, be social and be yourself.

Be Consistent

Whether you’re a fan of Pinterest, YouTube, or Google+, be a consistent sharer. Ever come across a Twitter page that’s been inactive since 2010? Why would you follow? You wouldn’t. In fact, you’d think the company was on hiatus or simply not influential. If you’re in the game to social media-ize your business, keep up your efforts. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to post fifty times a day or retweet 20 posts for every one you put out. Do what works for you, but do it on a regular basis. Consistency means longevity.

Measure It

Each social network has its analytic tools. I’m not a fan. But there is great value in understanding the power of a message. Put out a contest and no one responded? Posted a link to your latest blog post and not one click? Take into account when you’re posting (time of day and time of year) and whether your 140 characters are enticing enough for users to follow through. Presentation is half the battle. The other half is making sure you’re doing your due diligence to measure what’s working and what needs finessing. Try a different angle. Explain the link without giving it away. Target your audience, but be clever. Remember it’s about intrigue and interest. So use both of them to your advantage. We’re talking social media marketing for business, not just e-talking.

See the Whole Picture

Social media might be foreign to many but it’s a simple extension of traditional marketing: building an audience, growing awareness, promoting services and wares, and creating dialogue. For the first time in history we can reach out to individuals and not just faceless corporations. This is powerful stuff. Rather than get caught up in post quotas, Follow Fridays and re-sharing just to get noticed by media moguls and industry gurus—see the forest for the trees. Social media is a component to biz marketing. It allows you to reach an international audience that’s otherwise inaccessible, and for next to no money. Understand that your posts are extensions of your real world presence, but are still a means to share your objectives, experiences, and when done well, yourself.
Whether my love for e-media is rekindled has yet to be determined. Petrovic’s seminar, however, was a nudge in the right direction—not only a good refresher for the seasoned social media-er but solid advice for any novice e-marketer.  Be sure to reach out to @OutSmarts on Twitter for more marketing tactics to come.