I believe Twitter search is it’s killer feature. It’s what makes Twitter one of the best social networks for finding customers.
Get your search terms right and you will find people looking for what you do. In this weeks video-cast I show you how you how to use Twitter search and how to use Topsy to search for influencers on Twitter.
You will notice in the video that as well as using twitter advanced search I was inputing ‘operators’ or search parameters directly in to the search box. This is a good way to bypass Twitter advance search. Instead of having to go back to the form every time you want to add a parameter you can type them straight into the search box.
This is particularly handy if you want to find tweets near a specific location. Twitter have recently taken the ability to name a town and see tweets from that town out of Twitter search.
Here’s what you need to input to theTwitter search box if you want to find tweets sent within 15 miles of my hometown of Athy for example:
I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon Mention but I’ve loved it since I started using it. This tool can help you monitor online conversations mentioning you, your competitors or your customers. I use it to make sure I know who is sharing my blog posts and talking about me. It makes it easy for me to thank people and begin to build relationships with people who are interested in what I write.
Mention will prompt you to set up your first alert. I recommend that you make this your business name.
Give your alert a name and type in the keyword or key phrase that you want to track.
Click the ‘+’ if you want to add more than one keyword. For example I want to track We Teach Social but I also need to include ‘weteachsocial’ in order to pick up mentions of our website.
Click on ‘advanced settings’ and you can delve further asking for results that include more than one word in the same mention.
For example, if I look for mentions of We Teach Social here I will get results that mention all three words but not necessarily as a phrase:
“Do you teach social media? We need you”
This will appear in results even though it has no relation to our business.
You can also exclude search terms so I can eliminate tweets that say:
“Did you know that we teach social skills here?”
This would have no relation to our business. I am excluding results that include ‘we teach social media’ or ‘we teach social skills’
You may want to extend the list of eliminated words or phrases as you get used to using Mention.
You are also able to choose the languages you want to monitor from this interface.
Click ‘Next step’ at the bottom of the page to move on.
Now you can choose the sources you want to see results from and eliminate your own websites.
Click ‘Create my alert’
Now choose the social networks you want to add to the search. This allows you to reply to alerts directly from Mention. As you can see I’ve added the We Teach Social Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Now your alert is set up and the mentions will start rolling in. Click on your search term name on the left hand menu to see them.
If you see mentions coming in from irrelevant sources you can tell Mention not to show you stuff from there again. For example I don’t need to see my own Twitter mentions of We Teach Social. I can eliminate the Spiderworking Twitter account by clicking on the tweet and hitting the no entry symbol at the top of the screen.
You can reply to tweets and posts directly from Mention.
Click on the mention you want to respond to. This will open it up on the right hand side of the screen allowing you to respond. If it is a Tweet Mention will automatically let your reply from your connected Twitter account, the same goes for Facebook.
Mention also flags people that mention you that it considers influential. You can filter results to just display these people by clicking ‘priority’ in the left hand sidebar.
As with all tools that claim to measure influence I’d take this with a pinch of salt. It can be a good starting point handy way to discover new people and investigate them further to see if they are truly influential.
I’ve shown you how to set up a search for your own name but it’s a good idea to set up searches that mention competitors or key customers too.
I am a big fan of this tool, I am now using their premium service as I find it useful. It’s a very cost effective way to monitor a small business.
Have you used Mention? What other tools do you use to monitor your brand? Let me know in the comments below.
Linkedin is a powerful B2B (business to business) network but how can you use it to meet new relevant people?
This weeks videocast shows you how to find leads on Linkedin. To be really effective you need to do more than connect with the people you find. If they accept your information you need to push the relationship further. Make sure you are interacting with the content they share and get involved in relevant conversation threads.
If you really want to warm up the relationship you can message them and ask them to meet some time for coffee and a chat to see how you might be able to help each other out.
Do you have a Linkedin strategy? How do you engage with those who you connect with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
How do you measure your success on Twitter? Is it follower count? Mentions? Click throughs on links? Something else?
This weeks cool tool Twitonomy is a really useful Twitter analytics tool. It can show you some info about your own account including how many mentions you have had over a period of time. This saves a huge amount of time when you are building your account. If people aren’t mentioning you your message isn’t getting out.
It also allows you to analyse other accounts. This is useful if you are building an influencer list. It gives you headline stats on how many conversations users get into and how many links they share.
There are lots more functions within Twitonomy but I’m going to stick to these two features in this post.
Here’s how it works
You will need to sign in with your Twitter account to get started
Your Mentions & RT’s
Click ‘Mentions & RT’s’ on the top menu bar
Twitonomy will show you the number of mentions that you have had over a specific time period. On the free plan this date range is set by Twitonomy but if you upgrade you can specify a period of time that you want to measure.
Underneath this is a chart showing the number of mentions you have received. As you can see I had a peak in mentions towards the end of February.
Scroll down and you can see who has been mentioning you. Firstly ‘influential’ users, then those who mention you the most. No surprise that my business partner in We Teach Social Lorna is my biggest fan.
Scroll down again and you can see information about the number of RT’s you have received and the potential reach that these have given you.
Scroll down further and you can discover more about the number of favourites you have received.
This is great info to keep an eye on. I’d recommend putting it into a spreadsheet so you can measure growth over time.
View Your Own Profile
Click on ‘Profile’ in the top menu bar and Twitonomy will show you some info about your own account. It analyses your Twitter behaviour displaying:
How often you tweet
How often you use the RT button
How often you mention other users
How many of your tweets include links
How many of your tweets include hashtags
How often you use the favourite button
What is really cool is that it not only counts the number of times you do these things but it shows the percentage of your tweets that include them.
From here you can also see; your most RT’d tweets, your most favourited tweets, who you interact with the most and some stats about when you are online.
This is good information but it’s even more useful when you use it to analyse other accounts.
If you click a username within Twitonomy it will analyse the account of that user. You can also just type their name into the box to the top right of the page.
This is a good way to analyse followers. For example if you want to get into conversations with someone take a look at the percentage of replies. If this is low you could be wasting your time trying to chat to them.
In the example below you can see that Lorna is quite conversational so it should be easy to chat to her on Twitter. She doesn’t send that many RT’s using the RT button but almost half of her tweets include links. This means there is a chance that she’d share your content if she finds it useful.
Just these few features make Twitonomy a really useful tool and they are all available for free.
A lot of the coolest functions are only available on the premium version. What is nice about the premium pricing is that you can sign up for just one month, no need to subscribe.
If you are planning on doing a social media audit on your own account or if you want to spend a bit of time on influencer research it’s well worth the upgrade.
Even without paying for the premium features this is a really handy tool for measuring your own success and deciding on who you should be following and talking to.
This week I’ve found some handy social media strategy stuff, some ideas for Facebook content and an article about social media SEO.
How to Increase Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page
I think this is the third week in a row that I have been talking about Facebook reach being down. It does look like that will either have to pay to get your content seen in the future or you will have to work hard to create great content.
Every April fools day there are some gags that raise a smile and others that you never realise were a prank as you miss the great reveal. This example could well fall in to the second category.
I think we realise that those who comment on our posts on social media don’t always click the link. People are short of time and a good headline can be enough to tell them enough about the topic for them to state their opinion. It’s a shame really as publishers spend a lot of time crafting their posts.
This April fools NPRS played a prank on their Facebook audience. I’m not going to tell you what it is, you’ll have to click the link! I can tell you it’s worth a read and tells us a lot about the behaviour of online commentators.
3 Steps to Build a Social Media Marketing Sales Funnel
This month our content focus is on social media strategy so I found this post from Social Media Examiner fascinating. Sales people will be familiar with the traditional sales funnel but it doesn’t quite fit the social sales process.
**Note: 5th April 2014 The Social Media Examiner site is currently down. The link is correct, try it again later.**
Brand Identity Online
How hard have you thought about your branding online? Consistent branding online ensures that your audience will begin to recognise your content. This post on Social Media Today talks you through how a real life brand makes specific decisions to ensure it remains consistent.
5 best practices for great Facebook ad creative
If you are delving into Facebook advertising for the first time or even if you have been doing it for a while it’s worth taking a look at this post from Media Street. It’s full of good basic tips on creating ads that work.
Once again it’s about strategy but this time it’s looking at how to set your social media marketing goals.
Twitter & Facebook links affect SEO on Google and Bing
From time to time I hear social media people talking about the SEO benefits of social media. Sadly there is virtually no such thing. Links posted on Facebook and Twitter rarely have an effect on your SEO.
WordPress Tutorial: Embed HTML in Posts & Pages with ‘HTML Snippet’ – Cool Tool
I use the ‘HTML Snippet’ WordPress plugin on this blog to embed banners at the bottom of my posts. It saves me a huge amount of time. Here’s how to set it up, I’ve also included the code you need in order to add a snippet to your site.
Is Your Target Market On Facebook? Find Out With Facebook Ads Manager [Tutorial]
Marketing on Facebook just got hard. The golden age is over and now if we want results we are going to have to work at it. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be taking you through the basics of creating a Facebook strategy.
In part one we will look at the planning stage.
In part two we will look at creating content.
In part three we will discuss how you can measure your results.
Building a Facebook strategy falls in to three sections
Building a strong, targeted audience
Getting your audience to interact and share your content
Getting your audience to sign up or buy
Step 1 – Define your audience
Before you start building your Facebook audience you should spend some time defining who they are. Ask yourself some key questions about the person who makes the buying decision:
1. Are they male or female?
2. What age group do they fall in to?
3. What social class do they fit in to?
4. What language and tone of voice do they use to communicate online?
5. What are their interests?
If you have a broad audience it’s a good idea to break them into segments. This will allow you to choose those most likely to be on Facebook and help you create targeted content for each one.
Step 2 – Identify what problems your customers have and how you can make their lives better
Now you have defined your customer you need to think about what problems they might face.
Stuck in a rutt
Conscious of their appearance
Stuck at home
In need of up-skilling
In need of intellectual stimulation
In need of entertainment
In need of distraction
Short of money
Choose two or three pain points that are common to your audience. Even if they aren’t problems that your business can solve you will have a basis for the content you need to create to keep them interested.
Step 3 – Define what your page is about
Now that you have done the research it’s time to think about what your page offers your audience. What do they get in return for Liking your page?
Before you decide take a look at this. It’s taken from a study by Syncapse and shows the top reasons that people click the ‘Like’ button. The statistic I find most interesting is the 27% who Like pages to share their interests/lifestyle with others.
If we manage to create content that addresses these needs we are more likely to be successful with our marketing.
Now it’s time to write a sentence that defines what your Facebook page offers.
For me it’s ‘Hints and tips on using social media for small business’.
For a local business it could be ‘Stay on top of local news, our latest products and talk to us’.
For a tourism business it might be ‘Keep up with what’s happening in the local area when you are not here.’
Step 4 – Decide on the right approach for each section of your strategy
1. Building a strong, targeted audience
This is the first stage of any Facebook strategy. You need to build an audience of Likes that are relevant to your business. This will make it easier to get results from your page at a later stage.
Here are the three key ways you can build your audience:
Create great content that gets shared – Consistently creating relevant and entertaining content that appeals to the needs of your audience will get more interaction and shares. Shared content will attract new people in to your page.
Run competitions via apps – One of the advantages of running a contest via an app is that you can ‘fangate’ it. This means that people have to Like your page before they can see the entry form. As long as you publicise your competition effectively this is a great way to get new people to Like your page.
Advertising – Advertising is the number one best way to get page Likes. If you have a budget put a chunk of it towards targeted advertising. Ignore the ‘promote page’ button. Instead set up an ad via Ads Manager or Power Editor as you will get far better value for your money.
2. Getting your audience to interact and share your content
When people like, comment or share your content they are spreading the word about your business. They are also more likely to see content from your page in the future.
Here are three key ways to get more interaction on your page posts:
Create great content that encourages comments, likes and shares- As I mentioned above, great content will get more interaction. I will be talking about this in more detail next week but it is crucial that you share content that appeals to the needs you identified ealier. Make sure that every piece of content you share on your page is educational, informative or entertaining. If it isn’t it has no place on your Facebook page.
Run competitions on your page timeline – Timeline contests that ask people to Like or comment on a post are a fantastic way to boost interaction. Those who enter are more likely to see organic updates from your page in the future.
Use Facebook advertising – Promoting offers or other content from your Facebook page will boost interaction. Stay away from the Boost Post button. It is always better value to use Ads Manager or Power Editor to set up your ads.
3. Getting your audience to sign up or buy
This final stage is the most valuable to your business but you won’t get here until you completed the fist two segments of the plan.
Here are four key ways that you can use Facebook to capture more leads:
Run a competition via an app – Another advantage of using an application to administer a contest is that you can collect additional data. This could include an email address, a phone number or something else that will qualify the entrant as a lead.
Share Discounts and special offers – Running exclusive Facebook promotions will re-ignite dormant customers and attract new ones. A successful offer should either be a sizeable discount or something aspirational. Hotels do aspirational really well by building packages including meals as well as he room.
Free low value items work well too. Asking your Facebook audience to say ‘Facebook’ at the till in return for a free cookie or sample can yield good results too.
Making your offer time sensitive can help create a buzz on your page. Tell people in advance that you are going to be announcing an offer and then make it available for a small window of time.
Use Facebook advertising to drive traffic to your website – Set up Facebook ads targeted at the people who Like your page that lead to your website. Make sure you are sending people to a lead generation landing page that captures information. For example a sign up or enquiry form.
Is there something you can give away for free? Exclusive tips? A sample of your product? An industry report? Using Facebook to promote these freebies is a terrific way to get email addresses and more info from your audience.
Now you have the basis of your plan. The next stage is to plan and create content that meets the needs of your audience. This will be the focus of part 2 of this series.
Not every business should be on Facebook. Sometimes it is obvious, B2B (business to business) companies that target medium to large clients don’t really have a place on Facebook, their time would be better spent on Linkedin, Twitter and perhaps Google+.
For other businesses it’s not always that clear. If you are a local business are there enough people in the local area that fit into your target market on Facebook? If you have a very specific niche does it appeal to Facebook users.
The Facebook Ads Manager tool can help you decide. You don’t have to create an ad but you can use their audience targeting to identify the size of your potential audience and decide whether you should be using Facebook to target them.
With Facebook becoming more challenging for business you need to make sure it’s worth the effort. Using the method above can tell you if it is worthwhile investing your time and effort.
Adding embed code to a WordPress self hosted post can be hard work. It seems simple. You copy the code, click on ‘Text’ and paste in the code. It looks great, briefly. Problems start arising if you schedule your posts or edit them. Sometimes the embeds just disappear.
In this WordPress tutorial I’m going to show you how to use the HTML Snippets plugin. It allows you to easily add a snippet of code to your posts and pages. It’s particularly good if you need to add recurring code like the banners at the bottom of this blog post.
It’s also useful for adding any embed code to a blog for example:
Email sign up forms
Sharing your own embed code with others
Here’s how it works
1. Install the plugin
Log in to your website and click ‘plugins’ on the left hand menu. Choose ‘add new’
Search for ‘Insert HTML Snippet’
Click ‘Install now’
2. Add your embed code or HTML
Once you have installed the plugin click the ‘XYZ Html’ menu on the bottom of your left hand sidebar.
Now you can add your code.
In the example I am adding a banner that will advertise the We Teach Social ebook.
Click ‘Add new HTML snippet
In ‘Tracking name’ give your code a title that you will recognise later on.
In the HTML code box paste in your embed code. If you want to create your own HTML code like I have but haven’t used HTML before check out W3 Schools.
**If you want to create a clickable banner like mine upload an image to ‘media’ and edit the code below:**
Once you have added your code click ‘Create’.
Your snippet will be displayed in the menu. You can edit, pause or delete the snippet from here.
3. Add code to posts or pages
Now create a new post or page as usual.
Click on the blue ‘HTML’ symbol in the toolbar and choose your snippet from the drop down menu.
This inserts ‘shortcode’ into your post. WordPress will recognise this and add your embed code at this point.
Save and publish your post as usual. Your embedded code will appear wherever you inserted the shortcode.
See my banner below and the pastebin embed above for examples.
I really like this plugin, I’ve been using it for a while and it’s saved me loads of time. It’s convenient for adding recurring code to posts, like the banner images. As you can edit the snippets once you have created them it is also really easy to replace all the banners with something else if you want to promote something new.
The one downside is that it’s a bit clunky if you want to add code just once to one post. You could end up with a huge menu of snippets.
In this weeks roundup; Copybloggers decision to close blog comments, Facebook image sizing guide for the new newsfeed and how to choose the right social networks for your business.
Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger
You may remember I recently wrote about blog commenting. Comments can be a great way to meet other bloggers and to build a community around your blog. This week Copyblogger announced that they were removing the option to comment on their blog. It’s a move that has provoked a lot of conversation.
Facebook is not failing marketers, some are just failing at social marketing
I’ve been reading a lot of angry articles recently about the fall in reach on our Facebook pages. Of course I understand the anger. Businesses have put a lot of time and effort in to their Facebook marketing and it’s disappointing to see reach drop.
One positive is that we have been forced to think a lot harder about our Facebook marketing. Now more than ever we need to ensure we are posting content that fits our audience. Facebook isn’t somewhere where people want to see a big image/ad from you it’s a place for communication. When we forget to communicate with our audience we fail.
One Document that Can Tell You If You’re on the Right Social Networks
One of the biggest downsides of social media marketing is that it takes time. One of the biggest mistakes we make is that we spread ourselves too thin. We don’t have to use all the social networks. Choosing the ones where you customers live online means you will be spending your time more wisely.
9 Small Business Twitter Marketing Examples to Study
I’m often surprised how many small businesses have no interest in Twitter. For me it is still one of the most powerful networks. It gives you the opportunity to prospect for customers and meet influential people who will spread your message.
One of the things I love most about social media marketing is that it has made businesses and brands personal again. Big faceless businesses seem more personal now that I can talk to individuals on Twitter or Facebook.
For small businesses social media gives us the opportunity to have personal, one to one relationships with our customers even if we never meet them.
If you have a bricks and mortar business it’s even more important. If your customers are familiar with you online they will feel more comfortable talking to you in store.
Whether you are a one person telling people about you and your story or an employer you should consider featuring more human beings in your online marketing.
Showing the humans behind your business will:
Make you appear more trustworthy – You aren’t a faceless business anymore. People will feel more comfortable knowing that they are dealing with human being.
Showcase your expertise – People will begin to know who in your organisation does what and who has expertise in which areas. Your staff can share snippets of this via tips and advice.
Personal connection – We used to have connections with the people we did business with. These connections almost disappeared as we started to do business further afield. Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers again even if they are further afield.
Here are six examples of businesses featuring the people behind their brand as part of their online marketing:
Using Your Website – Red Oak Tax Refunds
Click on the Red Oak Tax Refunds ‘About’ tab and you will see a wall of smiling faces. Click on the tile next to any of those photos and you can learn a little bit more about the staff. You’ll find out what they do in the business as well as a bit of personal information. This allows customers to discover who they are talking to on the phone or emailing.
Using Your Twitter Profile – Eventbrite Ireland
Eventbrite are a large organisation yet when I visit their Twitter account I discover the person behind it. Within the bio I am directed to @ann_lowney the face behind the corporate logo. It’s good to know there is a real person behind the tweets.
If you are a smaller business including a bit of personal info in your bio can make you more approachable and spark ice breaking conversations. I recently included my three loves; cats, cake and Dr. Who in my bio and I’ve managed to get into conversations as a result of it.
Handing over the keys – San Diego Zoo on Pinterest
San Diego Zoo have handed over a Pinterest board to one of their Zoo Keepers. Amongst the boards full of cute animals, wild style and items on sale on the gift shop you will find ‘Zoo Keeper Rick’s board’. This shared board allows Rick to share his expertise adding snippets of info about the animals he photographs.
And then there’s this picture:
Using Facebook – Bunsen
Smiling faces in our newsfeed can catch our eye. Since they opened in mid 2013 Bunsen have been posting pictures of their team on Facebook. The un-posed nature of this photo gives us a taste of a friendly and fun restaurant.
Using YouTube – Kew Gardens
Video has the advantage of letting you see people when they aren’t perfectly posed. It can capture a personality in a way that would be impossible using images or text alone. In this example from Kew Gardens you meet the horticulturists as they taste the Trinidadian Scorpion Butch T pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the world. As they eat their personalities are revealed as is the humour and the team dynamic.
Stories – airbnb
For those of you who haven’t encountered airbnb yet it’s an alternative to using a hotel or a traditional BnB. Users can sign up to rent out a room in their home or an entire premises for a short period of time.
Unlike my other examples the ‘stories’ section of the airbnb website doesn’t tell us about the staff. It tells the stories of the people who share their homes. Each segment features a home owner. It tells us about their lifestyle, how they discovered airbnb and how it has changed their lives.
The videos are sometimes fun, sometimes moving but more than anything else they make us remember the people. This makes total sense. I don’t really care who is behind the airbnb software and marketing but I do want to know more about the people whose homes I may be borrowing.
I don’t like the term ‘humanising’. By revealing the people behind your brand you are just encouraging human interactions. The brand will never be human but the people behind it are. Telling the stories of you, your staff and customers can be a short cut to telling people what your ethos is.
Do you profile the people behind your business? Do you tell people about you and what makes you tick? Let me know in the comments box.