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#SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for April 2017

This April at #SproutChat, we’re talking about everything from measuring success across all social platforms to educating colleagues on personal branding best practices. Be sure to click the “add to calendar” links to add a meeting notice with all the Twitter chat details to your schedule.

Wednesday, April 5: Success Across Social Platforms

Many social platforms besides Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have launched. But few have stuck around long enough to boast an active number of users or keep a brand’s attention. During this week’s #SproutChat we’ll analyze what success metrics look like across all major social platforms and talk about ways to ensure a consistent voice and tone across each touchpoint. We’ll also aim to answer the age old question: Does your brand need to allocate time to every network?

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Wednesday, April 12: Educating Your Colleagues on Developing a Personal Brand

Establishing your organization’s identity on social has undoubtedly helped you perfect your own personal brand. But what may seem obvious to a social media managers is a whole new world to other departments at your company. At this week’s chat, we’ll talk personal branding and how to convince leadership and colleagues that fostering a personal, industry-adjacent social community impacts a company’s bottom line.

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Wednesday, April 19: Managing a B2B Brand on Social With Sprout All Star, Alex Bimonte

On social media, consumer brands thrive. B2B brands on the other hand, have to be more creative about crafting content and targeting the proper audience. At this #SproutChat, Alex Bimonte, Social Media Manager at Modernizing Medicine, will share her best practices for successfully managing B2B brand on social.

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Wednesday, April 26: Metrics That Matter With Sprout All Star, Steph Nissen

Social platforms provide an array of metrics signifying success. However, not every data point can be directly attributed to your brand’s goals. So how do you sort through the numbers to present the important benchmarks? During this #SproutChat, Steph Nissen, Director of Digital at Atomic Revenue, will join us to talk about pinpointing the most valuable data and presenting it in a way that shows progress and makes sense.

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See you at our next #SproutChat or in our Facebook group!

This post #SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for April 2017 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Social Media Scheduling: How to Always Be One Step Ahead

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” While it might have been a few centuries before social media existed, the same sentiment rings true to marketers and community managers today. When you make social media scheduling a priority, you plan for the future and stay one step ahead in an industry that changes so quickly.

It’s no longer about just existing on social, but being present and engaging with your audience. However, trying to organize, manage, and publish your social media content is no easy task. It takes time and investment to see results of a well-executed social media marketing strategy.

Learning how to effectively schedule social media content saves time and money, but it also makes your business adaptable and better organized. There are some nuances to learn with social media scheduling, but with the right tools, content and motivation, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Try Sprout Social’s social media publishing tools to schedule content across multiple accounts or platforms. Sign up for a free 30-day trial!

The Benefits of Social Media Scheduling

Social media scheduling provides plenty of benefits for your small business, agency or enterprise organization. The time and energy saved can mean the difference in a successful social marketing campaign.

Here are a few benefits of social media scheduling:

  • Reach the correct time zone: Some brands know their core audience is in different locations around the world. Taking every step to get in front of them is critical to maximize organic reach. Not only can you publish at any time, but you can also create content plans, schedule accordingly and get back to other tasks.
  • Post real-time updates: Whether you’re slated for a product launch or a company update, scheduling takes the stress out of social and allows you to focus on other things. Some business sales start at midnight, so why stay up and wait when you can schedule and be timely?
  • Map out your content: Along with being timely, you can work ahead with scheduling tools. Plan out your core social media content in advanced and limit same-day posting. Mapping out content allows you to be more strategic, better at targeting and ultimately post more content.
  • Limit promotional posts: One of the main reasons people unfollow businesses is due to overly promotional content. Stick to the 80/20 rule (80% creative and 20% promotional) to keep followers entertained and happy.
  • Consistency across platforms: An inconsistent brand voice can do more harm than good and this is true with social media as well. Maintain consistency in brand voice with scheduled content and ensure your posts won’t seem off-brand.

Social Media Scheduling Tips

It’s probably cool at this point to say you’re on board and understand the benefits to scheduling social media posts. Well, it’s just as important to know how to actually schedule content in the first place.

Native social media platforms weren’t really built for businesses in mind, which means you need a powerful social media scheduling tool. That’s why we’ll give you five tips to best schedule your social media content with a scheduling tool:

1. Adopt a Social Media Scheduling Tool for Your Most Valuable Networks

Listen–we’re going to be a little bias on what tool we think performs best for your social media scheduling needs. However, we have the software to backup our reasoning. Sprout Social’s publishing tools lets you see your scheduled content on a weekly calendar. Not only that, but our tools make it absolutely simple to publish to your favorite social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram.

instagram scheduling publishing calendar view

Understand what social networks perform the best for your brand and hone in on them with the insights you can gain from an all-in-one social analytics tool. As you’ll hear from us often, don’t try to tackle all your social networks at once.

Instead, focus on the few networks that actually produce results. As you build out your social content strategy, you’ll be able to tweak and alter your publishing habits to gain more brand loyalists and engaged followers.

Compose from the Publishing Calendar

Every business on social will have different needs, but this shouldn’t prevent you from effectively tackling the networks you need. With a powerful tool like Sprout, your scheduling needs are answered.

2. Start Filling Your Content Calendar

Once you have your tools set, it’s time to start planning. Building out your social media calendar is the best way to keep consistency, continually publish and remain agile in your industry. There are some important questions to ask when building out your calendar.

First, how many posts per day do you plan to publish and on which social networks? While each network obviously has different posting habits, the amount of followers can also make your situation unique.

For example, posting twice a day to Facebook has always been the go-to for brands. But a HubSpot study found brands that post twice a day with under 10,000 followers see fewer clicks the more they post.

hubspot facebook grpah

And with Instagram’s latest social media algorithm, brands want the most engagement per post. This drives up the demand for quality content. If you’re wondering if your Instagram content is up to par, check out our Instagram best practices infographic!

Through collective research, CoSchedule dissected the best posting frequency from different studies. They recommended posting between these ranges depending on your audience size, content type and schedule:

  • Facebook: 1-2 times per day
  • Instagram: 1-2 times per day
  • LinkedIn: 0-1 times per day
  • Twitter: 1-51 times per day (recommended 15 per day)
  • Pinterest: 3-30 times per day (recommended 11 per day)

3. Know Your Different Types of Content to Publish

Each brand has unique publishing habits, but there are ways to get creative to fill up your calendar. For example, you can try to post content types for each day on a weekly basis. Here’s a small list of content types to use each week:

    • User-Generated Content: A simple way to highlight your power users, customers and brand loyalists is through user-generated content. You can highlight real customers and encourage others to share their product experiences with you. UGC is a nice balance between promotional content and highlighting your fans.

'Oh, boy!' It's #FreshEpcot! #MickeyMouse (Photo: @drblue)

A post shared by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld) on Apr 4, 2017 at 8:26am PDT

    • Industry News: Whether you’re in a so called “boring” industry or not, there’s always news. Find places on LinkedIn or Twitter to share industry news and show customers you’re an authority on the subject and stay in the know.
  • Behind the Scenes Content: Snapchat has made in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes content exciting for users. Brands have taken advantage of this and added weekly tours on Instagram Stories, influencer meetups on Snapchat and other behind-the-scenes content on other platforms.
  • Group Chats/Discussions: Twitter chats, Facebook group chats and other discussion-style formats work well at connecting your brand to users and others in the industry. You can highlight comments, questions and topics brought up in the chat and use them as discussion points for your content throughout the month.
  • Creative Contests: Don’t give away iPads or big screen TVs–leave that for the car dealerships. Instead, hold creative contests to get users to engage. Give out swag gift bags or small industry-related gifts to get users to participate on your social channels. Promote it each week to fill up a slot on your calendar.

Just remember not to go too far in advance with scheduling because you’ll likely lose the “freshness” of your content while sitting it on the shelf for too long.

4. Set Up a Message Approval Workflow

For agencies and enterprise businesses, message approval is critical to any social media calendar. With an approval workflow, content owners know their posts are curated, edited and on topic. Otherwise, you run of risk of scheduling content too quickly and carelessly.

Social media scheduling tools allow you to increase team efficiency through user-based permissions. That means you have only a select few that can review and approve the content before it’s published.

Submit A Message for Approval from Sprouts Compose Modal

Creating order within a social content strategy can be more daunting than it seems. However, using approvers prevents errors, untimely content and a better workflow for all. Content strategists can easily get content approved ahead of time to ensure a full schedule is in order.

Make sure your business has a proper workflow when submitting, approving and publishing content to allow more governance from team leads.

5. Find the Best Times to Post

After your content is created, approved and ready to be published, you want to consider the best times to reach your audience. Properly scheduling social media content plays a major role in organic reach.

Building up your audience and reaching them at the right time is an art of its own. That’s why we previously collected data on the best times to post to give you a better idea of when to reach your audience. Feel free to read the entire guide to the best times to post on social media here!

Some of the major takeaways we learned about when to post, include:

  • Facebook: Thursday at 1 p.m. was the most efficient day and time, but data showed it was safe nearly any day between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Twitter: Noon on Thursday is the most efficient day and time. However, other strong days fall between Monday and Thursday as well.
  • Instagram: The most recommended posting times include 2 a.m., 8.a.m. and 5 p.m. with the peak days between Monday and Friday.
  • LinkedIn: Noon and 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday are the most optimal times to post to LinkedIn with safe periods between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Pinterest: The most recommended times include 9 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, along with late nights during the week.

Analyze Your Work

Get in the habit of tracking your content strategy and measuring what works best across each channel. You’ll quickly begin to see patterns and learn posting habits that best reach your audience. Make notes, scale and analyze your content to gain better insights into your social media scheduling.

It will pay in the end to have your content prepped and prepared weeks in advance. Don’t believe us? Feel free to try a 30-day trial with Sprout Social and see how social media scheduling can help your content strategy.

This post Social Media Scheduling: How to Always Be One Step Ahead originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Bing has a chatbot answering local search questions

Skype-powered chatbot is showing up as an assistant to help searchers learn about restaurants in the Seattle area.

The post Bing has a chatbot answering local search questions appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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5 Blogging Tips From A Social Entrepreneur

This is a guest contribution from James Aschehoug.

While the modern social entrepreneur may be heavily focused on ideals — whether they be ideological, concrete, or hopefully a mixture of both — it is necessary to use all of the relevant tools and technologies available to help your dream become a professionally sustainable reality.

Your company can and should have a blog in order to bolster your online presence by reaching new audiences and engaging existing ones, and establish your company as a leader in its field.

Perhaps you have already begun a company blog and could use a few pointers, or maybe you are unsure as to how to go about setting one up and generating posts that will make blogging worth your personal and professional while.

Here is a look at 5 blogging tips from one social entrepreneur to the next:

Listen to your audience

Blogs can be prone to pitfalls on account of providing the information it thinks it should, rather than being focused on what the intended audience would actually like to read.

It is advisable to invest in some initial audience research in order to maximize the value they can receive from your blog and thus make blogging a worthwhile endeavor. What types of people are you currently reaching, and what types are you trying to reel in? Check out their comments and concerns, as well as their responses and engagement with other companies in your field to discover what information they want and need to read, and craft your content accordingly.

Some of the most popular and effective blog posts directly answer questions posed by individual audience members, so keep tabs on the conversation and actionably respond in turn.

Maintain consistency

Consistency is a key value for any business, yet a lack thereof is quite easily identifiable by the discerning online reader.

Once you have your blog up and running, make sure it functions consistently and concisely. Adhere to an editorial calendar and style standards to ensure that your readers know exactly when they can expect to read new content in a style, tone, and voice that remains present and unchanged throughout all of your company’s endeavors.

Consistency breeds credibility, which in turn can foster a halo effect that will elevate not only the content included on your blog, but also generate positive brand awareness across all other initiatives.

Provide genuine value

This point comes off the heels of the first tip of actively listening to your audience and responding in kind.

Especially in the field of social entrepreneurship, the bulk of your readers will be more privy to the words you say and how you say them, as opposed to readers of a generic, high-and-dry business blog. When your readers come to you, they will be doing so in order to learn something new and/or receive something that will be of true value to them going forward, and will be able to see through fluff easily.

It goes without saying that your blog should not overtly sell or over-promote, but rather focus on being personable yet professional, and aspirational yet actionable. Readers interested in the efforts of socially entrepreneurial companies automatically expect the company at hand to have a solid conscience and put social good with lasting value at the fore of its operations.

Stay updated with best practices

Blogging has blossomed into a hybrid art form and science in itself, and keeping track with the best, most updated blogging practices will give you a leg up in the game. There are many points to consider here, including but not limited to: having at least a foundational grasp of SEO, incorporating images and other rich media, making your posts digestible with concise subheaders, shorter sentences and paragraphs, including CTAs when relevant, contributing posts to thought-leading publications in your field, inviting guest contributors to write on your own blog, making the most of social sharing, and much more.

Show your true colors

As a social entrepreneur, you likely have a lot of heart and concern over the intricacies of your projects — and fortunately this is a field in which it is not only permissible but advisable to wear your proverbial heart on your sleeve. “Passion over profit” is the mantra to keep in mind in all of your business communications, including but certainly not limited to the content curated for your blog. This does not mean that your blog posts should be preachy, but rather honest and straightforward expositions on the company’s culture, existing status and initiatives, and goals for the future.

Authenticity, intimacy, and humility are three values that are especially important to the realm of socially conscious companies, and can help elevate your blog to become a trusted resource for an engaged community of socially conscious, discerning readers.

If you adhere to these five blogging tips, you will be better poised to run a successful blog that will supplement your socially entrepreneurial endeavors. With the right strategy and content, you will have greater leverage to engage your readership, promote your company’s efforts and aspirations, and form a dynamic community of like-minded, socially responsible individuals.

James Aschehoug is the co-founder of URIJI JAMI created in 2015, he is a British and French national based in London. His passion is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.

The post 5 Blogging Tips From A Social Entrepreneur appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

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The Business Impact of Good Creative [Infographic]

Good creative can help drive more revenue, but what’s a marketer to do when investing in creative is often a low priority? Check out this infographic to see the impact creative can have on successful marketing. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

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The Highest-Spending E-Commerce Customers Are Seeing Stars–Star Ratings, That Is

Star ratings are simple, but they have an immense effect. They increase social proof, boost word-of-mouth marketing, and improve the results of paid ads. And, most important, they influence purchases. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

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Creating One Browser Extension For All Browsers: Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave And Vivaldi




 



 


In today’s article, we’ll create a JavaScript extension that works in all major modern browsers, using the very same code base. Indeed, the Chrome extension model based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript is now available almost everywhere, and there is even a Browser Extension Community Group working on a standard.

Creating One Browser Extension For All Browsers: Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave And Vivaldi

I’ll explain how you can install this extension that supports the web extension model (i.e. Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave and Vivaldi), and provide some simple tips on how to get a unique code base for all of them, but also how to debug in each browser.

The post Creating One Browser Extension For All Browsers: Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave And Vivaldi appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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The BIG SMX London Preview: Here’s Why You Should Attend

Search Engine Land’s SMX London is every SEO and SEM’s dream. Join us May 23–24 for a tactic-packed agenda with more than 40 dynamic and authoritative speakers, keynotes and more. If you’re involved in SEO, SEM, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and…

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Contributor, beware of PageRank-hoarding publishers

So you’ve found a great site to contribute content to — or have you? Columnist Stephan Spencer provides advice for how to evaluate potential publishers for SEO benefits.

The post Contributor, beware of PageRank-hoarding publishers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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A Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

Two weeks ago, my side project Further had one of its highest traffic days ever.

If you’re not familiar, Further is a personal development email newsletter in which I curate content from around the web. It’s basically whatever I find useful and interesting related to health, wealth, wisdom, and travel.

So what sparked the traffic? After all, the newsletter’s primary function is to send traffic to other websites.

  • Was it a significant social share from a relevant influencer?
  • Did I spend a fortune on a pay-per-click advertising campaign?
  • Had I caught a link in another personal growth newsletter?

It was indeed a link from a personal growth newsletter. Only thing is, the link was from me, in the Further newsletter itself.

Here’s what happened.

After adding the category of travel to the topics I curate for the newsletter, I also decided to test including original travel articles on Further.net to see what the response would be.

Long story short, I met a travel writer at a conference in Austin, which resulted in The French Riviera for the Rest of Us, an article that shoots down the myth that la Côte d’Azur is only for wealthy movie stars and international men of mystery.

I first built an email-based audience with curated content, so that when I moved to original content, it would get guaranteed traffic. In fact, that article got tons of clicks, because after two years of serving the audience, I knew it would be a hit with my subscribers.

Let me give you another example. After more than a decade, Copyblogger gets massive amounts of organic traffic every single day from search, social, and 150,000 RSS subscribers.

But when is our biggest traffic day each week?

It’s Thursdays, when we publish the Copyblogger Weekly email digest to more than 222,000 people. You’re getting the idea.

Audience means email

What we teach here at Copyblogger is simple — build an audience with valuable content before you start selling. And in some cases, before you even have a product or service to sell.

Now, the audience of an online publisher has multiple components — social platforms, search engines, YouTube channels, podcast subscriptions, RSS, and email. But not all aspects of your audience are equal.

Email is far and above the most valuable audience channel. Some people have known that all along, and others have made email a priority even though they have big crowds on other platforms.

And yet, social and search get all the attention. It’s completely lopsided.

I have 185,000 Twitter followers. A tweet of Further content will get me around 20 clicks. Twenty bucks on a boosted Facebook post of the same content to 5,165 people who like the Further page gets even less.

But a link in my newsletter? More than 2,000 clicks from an email list of less than 7,500.

And sure, high search rankings are gold, Jerry. But as we recently discussed, if that traffic leaves without joining your real audience (i.e., email), what was it really worth?

Which brings us to the next big point. Email sells.

Email still converts best

When it comes to content distribution, email seems to be the forgotten hero. The focus is all on going viral on social and hitting that top ranking in Google.

But you may be better off just intently focusing on building the right list of email subscribers. Yes, those steady traffic blasts to your content can help with social and search, but they also drive what you’re really after — sales.

No matter how effective your social media and SEO efforts are, the place where prospects convert to customers and clients is still email.

Consider these stats:

  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. – Monetate
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
  • When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail, and more. – DMA

You know you need to build an email list. And search and social are indispensable for accomplishing that. But it’s also important not to chase traffic for traffic’s sake.

You only want traffic so you can sell more of your stuff.

Why content leads to the sale

You’re not going to build an email list of valuable prospects without the promise of valuable content. But once you get them on the list with your promise, why not just spam the hell out of them with your offers?

That approach seems to be back in vogue among the get-rich-quick crowd. But today’s savvy prospect is more likely to unsubscribe as soon as the pitches start, and then say ugly things about you on social.

The reason you continue to deliver valuable content beyond your initial promise is simple. You’re training people to open your emails and click on your links by being consistently amazing.

My esteemed colleague Sonia Simone thinks of this as treating your prospects like dogs (but only in the nicest way).

I’ve always been a bit squeamish about the dog analogy, but you get the idea. You want your emails to be not only opened, but anticipated.

Trust me, when the occasional offer comes, it will be viewed with a much more accepting frame of mind than otherwise. And that’s what you want.

The internet moves pretty fast. But email — the original “killer app” — persists as the backbone of it all.

In an upcoming article, I’ll walk you through how to approach building your email list. You’ll see that when it comes down to it, a smart content marketing strategy is primarily an email marketing strategy.

Image source: Frank Köhntopp via Unsplash.

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