Friday, November 27, 2015

The Six Step Social Media Marketing Strategy Plan for Your Business

The 6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy Plan for Your Business

Developing a Social Media Strategy for Your Business
Social media is more than just a fun way to engage and communicate with friends.  It can be an extremely powerful business marketing tool if strategically implemented.  A common mistake businesses make is failing to develop a formal social media plan.  Having a plan for social media is just as important as it is any marketing strategy.  A savvy business owner does not buy traditional advertising without developing a plan, and the same applies with social media.
social media marketing plan includes many of the same elements of a traditional marketing plan.  Research into target markets and consumer purchasing is a must.  Identifying brand strengths and weaknesses is also important.
Once you’ve conducted research, it is time to start outlining strategies and developing your plan. Heer is your 6 step social media marketing strategy plan.

1. Identify a social media manager

With the many tasks involved with running a successful business, social media can fall by the wayside. Before your business embarks on a social media campaign, it is a good practice to identify a person or multiple people who will be in charge of monitoring and posting content. It is important for the social media manager(s) to not only ensure content is posted on a regular basis, but also monitor and respond to all comments and feedback.  The assigned staff should be willing to monitor the company’s social pages 24/7, which can be easily accomplished through e-mail alerts and mobile apps.

2. Create branded pages

Once you have identified your manager(s), it’s time to create branded pages. First, determine which social media sites you want to use.  Small businesses should consider Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at the very least.  In some cases, other sites including LinkedIn, Pinterest and Houzz may also be appropriate.
It is important for all of your social media to have the same look and feel as your company website as in the example below:
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy
Facebook cover pages do have some flexibility and allow you to have some very specific elements can be incorporated for maximum impact:
  • Use color and photos
  • Integrate your profile picture into your cover
  • Incorporate a call to action
  • Point out where people can call or contact you
After you create your social pages, be sure to include links on your website and invite all of your customers and friends to join your pages.

3. Develop a planning calendar

Now that your social sites are “live”, it is time to start developing a planning calendar.  Ideally, this should be done on a monthly basis.  Your planning calendar may outline the following:
  • Number of posts per week
  • Time the post will be made (you should vary your posting times)
  • Identify content for each post (this will be discussed in depth in the next section)
A planning calendar lays the foundation and ensures you are maintaining your social sites and posting on a regular basis.  Of course, you can also post other news, tips and ideas as they arise.  The biggest pitfall businesses run into are they generally have a lot of excitement when they first establish their social media presence, but the momentum quickly fades.  Having a monthly planning calendar will help keep your social media efforts moving forward.

4. Generate engaging content

Now that you have identified a manager, set up your pages, and developed a planning calendar, it is time to start generating engaging content.  Once you generate content, you can plug it into the dates/times you have reserved on your social media calendar to compose posts.  As you consider content, think outside of your company and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  What type of information is not only engaging, but is something followers would like to share?  Creating sharable content is one of the quickest ways to pick up new followers.
Let’s take a look at some content ideas:
  • Weekly tips and advice
  • Post something humorous (in good taste)
  • Highlight and recognize your customers
  • Incorporate “social media” only offers
  • Be interactive – ask questions people will want to answer (i.e. “We are considering adding this new Italian chicken dish to our menu…what do you think?)
  • Photos and videos
  • Coupons and contests
  • Product overviews
  • “How To” videos
  • Sales and special events
Below is an example of a company posting a “How To” tip on Facebook:
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy
Remember, maintaining the attention of your followers will keep them engaged.

5. Monitor responses and track your results

It is imperative to monitor all comments and respond in a timely manner.  Good or bad, all feedback needs to be addressed.  If someone praises your product and/or service, thank them.  If they have a complaint or concern, reach out to them.  It is important to investigate the validity of the negative comment and address it immediately.  Customer feedback can help you better understand reaction to your products and/or services (we will discuss further in next section).
Also be sure to incorporate a good tracking system.  This can really provide important insight into your customers and their behavior.  Companies such as Global Response provide excellent outsourced social media analytics programs that can be easily incorporated and integrated into your social strategy.
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy

6. Use results to better understand consumer behavior and reaction to your products/services

What better way to gauge customer demand than to ask them yourselves?  Don’t be afraid to engage your followers and get their opinions.  Doing so can help identify both areas of strength and weakness.  As we discussed earlier, prompt response to comments is key to developing a relationship with your followers.  Even big box stores work to maintain open and responsive communication with their followers:
6 Step Social Media Marketing Strategy
As you can see in the example above, Wal-Mart does an excellent job addressing customer concerns.  The first comment cues them in to the fact that that there is a high demand for a certain product because it is sold out at the local store.  Wal-Mart directs the customer to a site where they can search other stores for the product. The second comment indicates a customer concern about order fulfillment. Wal-Mart addresses it and directs the person to a site where they can make suggestions on how the company can improve.
I find in my marketing practice, social media intimidates many small businesses.  If you approach it like any other form of marketing and develop a plan, it can become a very useful and effective tool which complements your traditional marketing strategies.  Good luck!
Guest Author: Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Progress in the World Radio Show: Citizens Demanding Justice

20 Cool Tools for Creating Infographics

20 Cool Tools for Creating Infographics

creating infographics header image
Imagine if you could take 1,000 words a and help people digest that information in only a few seconds?
An infographic, put simply, is a creative way to take a “thousand words” and depict them using a picture. These days, readers are looking for quick access to brief information.
Website visitors love this unique form of presentation which is quickly gaining popularity, and in some cases, becoming the standard form of communication instead of page long, lengthy blog posts.
Infographics have emerged as one of the most popular forms of content marketing in contemporary digital media.
But why should you care about infographics?
  • We receive 5 times more information than in 1986 and are 80% more willing to read anything with colors. Infographics are great with colors.
  • 45% more users will click on a link if it features an infographic.
  • They help us get valuable inbound links - Streetcouch does a great job of explaining the importance of creating infographics and sharing them on social media in a 5-step process (as a link-building strategy).
Readers are not the only ones with time constraints and an inclination towards quick and easy ways to consume information.
What if you, the creator of an infographic, are also short on time and need a simpler, quicker way to create beautiful infographics in an instant?
Forget about Photoshop and other time-consuming image creation methods.
Let’s introduce you to a set of tools that will make creating infographics simpler than ever!


Creating infographics with
This application will let you create an infographic in just a few clicks.
First, you get to pick a template from a long list of cards, then a search bar and drop down menu on the side will allow you to filter the template results. For instance, you could search for a template that deals with geography (maps) or templates with a timeline format.
Once you’ve selected your template, you can add in more shapes, backgrounds, charts, objects and of course text to personalize the template and let it tell a story in your own way.
The basic version of this tool is offered for free.


Creating infographics with focuses on letting users create “infographic resumes”. However, the template designs are not limited to that purpose alone. Once you’ve signed in with your LinkedIn or email account, you can select from a range of beautiful themes, language maps, timelines, bubble charts, tree maps, pictograms, and other formats.


Creating infographics with
Visme is another super cool tool that allows you to create interactive presentations, infographics, ad banners, animations, customer layouts, and more. It has an extensive library full of templates, shapes, icons, and objects to choose from.
It is a highly-recommended app by  Coursework Spot, a service that offers academic research. If you’re not up for a bunch of changes, edits, additions, or subtractions, you may simply edit the text and hit publish. You can also directly insert data values to change the charts and graphs.
Another plus point is that it’s “specially priced” for teachers and students.

4. PiktoChart

Creating infographics with Piktochart
Applications like these could kick graphic designers out of business since PiktoChart markets itself as the tool that let’s “non designers create beautiful infographics in as little as 10 minutes.” This may be a shocker – or maybe even a bit offensive – but it is true. Piktochart has over 400 fully customizable themes with retina-ready images, objects, graphs, and colors you can edit and adjust according to your preference.

5. Canva

Creating infographics with Canva
One of the most uniquely and brilliantly designed websites,Canva aims to train both designers and non-designers to come up with cool and creative stuff. Canva will start out with a brief tutorial to acquaint you with their program. Once you’re through with that, you can move on to creating your project whether it be a presentation, Facebook cover photo, business card, ad, poster, banner, or a retina-ready infographic.


Creating infographics with
Infogram is all about making charts and infographics “the easy way”. So far over 2 million infographics have been created using the website and some have even been used by prestigious organizations including Euronews, University of Cambridge, and the Huffington Post.
Whether you are blogger, educationalist, brand ambassador, or an organization, you can make charts/infographics in three easy steps: pick a template, visualize the data, and publish.

7. Venngage

Creating infographics with Venngage
Venngage has everything you need to create free infographics and publish them on the spot. You can choose from hundreds of professional templates.
Infographics is not all you can make; reports, posters, promotions, and social media posts can also be created using Venngage, allowing you to tell your story “visually” with the help of charts, maps, icons, and visuals.

8. Dipity

Creating infographics with Dipity
With Dipity you can create digital timelines. If a timeline-based infographic is what you are after, you can use Dipity to do the job. Dipity aims to organize web content by date and time.

9. iCharts

Creating infographics with iCharts
iCharts is a cloud-based visual analytics platform that allows users to create quick and easy visualizations for complex business information, data sets, or extensive research work. You can access and update your data in real time whenever you like since it is cloud native.

10. Geo Commons

Creating infographics with Geo Commons
Perhaps, you’re more interested in presenting maps instead of timelines. Geo Commons is perfect for geography-based infographics that must include a map of your choice.
Create feature-rich maps and share what you know!

11. Google Charts

Creating infographics with Google Charts
Why not simply use Google charts? This is probably an application you are already familiar with and definitely one that requires little training or experience to learn. Google Charts is a free solution with all kinds of charts, maps, bars, and statistical goodies to choose from. Google’s gallery is rich with variety.

12. InfoActive

Creating infographics with InfoActive
Infoactive is a simple and flexible platform that allows you to create interactive infographics and other “data driven” stories. InfoActive lets you connect your data to the application and let automation do the rest for you.

13. Photo Infographic Gen Lite

Creating infographics with Photo Infographic Gen Lite
If your infographic is based on the number, ways, or timing you take your photos, you can use this Android application to sum it up for you. This is a very specific program with a very specific purpose, but if you’re a photographer looking forward to fulfilling that purpose, it will suit your needs.

14. Get About

Creating infographics with Get About
Another application designed to cater to a specific purpose, Get About lets you create infographics that determine your social media activity. For instance, Get About will let you track your Twitter terms, hashtags, and mentions. Also you can monitor your social activity with infographics that chart out how you connect and share with your network.

15. Creately

Creating infographics with Creately
Creately is not only a diagramming tool, but also a tool that works for teams requiring real time collaboration. Creately will let you create style smart shapes, diagrams, connectors, and more to gather information in one compact space.

16. PhotoStats

Creating infographics with PhotoStats
This is an iPhone application dedicated to generating infographics on how, when and where you take photos. Similar to Photographic Gen Lite for Android, the application will reveal your photography habits in just a few clicks, and if you like, make it available to your friends.

17. Charts Bin

Creating infographics with Charts Bin
Charts Bin is a free online solution that allows you to create interactive maps. After a sign-up, create a map of your choice by inserting values or zooming in. If you like you can copy and paste the HTML code to your blog without having to go through a bunch of tricky steps to display it on your website.

18. Gliffy

Creating infographics with Gliffy
Gliffy will transform your ideas into shapes by providing you with a variety of flow charts, UML diagrams, wireframes, network diagrams, org charts, and sitemaps. Create digital visualizations by dragging and dropping shapes/lines/objects from the library and transforming words into graphs.

19. Wordle

Creating infographics with Wordle
Sometimes word clouds are all you need to explain a concept in just a few words. Wordle will let you create unique and interactive word clouds in a variety of fonts, layouts, color schemes and more.

20. Smile Widgets

Creating infographics with Smile Widgets
Smile Widgets is an extremely simple website that allows users to create “free, open source data visualizations and web widgets”. The software will let you create exhibits, timelines, time-plots, and runways of your choice.
Guest Author: An aspiring blogger, Jillian Petrova loves blogging a lot and in her leisure time she writes insightful posts on latest trends, education, marketing, etc.


Judicial Misconduct Page

Judicial Misconduct Page

Friday, November 20, 2015

10 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing Go Viral

10 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing Go Viral

10 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing Go Viral

10 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing Go Viral

How do you send content viral?
Viral content is any piece of media that becomes wildly popular overnight.
It could be a Youtube video, Facebook post,  tweet, or almost any social media content that gets shared thousands and thousands of times.
Viral content starts to work for you on autopilot, as your brand gets exposed to a whole new audience that you couldn’t ever quite reach organically.
You might think getting your content to go viral is as likely as you hitting the lottery, but nothing could be further from the truth.  If you’re looking to generate buzz for your business or if you just want your own 15 minutes of fame, continue reading.
I’ve put together 10 ways to make your content marketing go viral (and none of them involve buying a lottery ticket!)

1. People want to look smart (so let them)

Social currency to make your content marketing go viral

Image Source: Pixabay
When people think about sharing content, they consider social currency.  If it makes them look clever or smart, the more likely they are to pass it onto their friends and followers.
In February of 2012, LinkedIn sent out emails to select members that were part of the top 5 percent of most viewed profiles for the previous year.
Thousands and thousands of people flocked to Facebook and Twitter to spread the good news.  The biggest beneficiary of this was LinkedIn because it raised its profile and probably got thousands of new members.

2. Keep it short

The vast majority of viral content is short. Videos tend to range from around 30 seconds to one minute. Anything longer and you might lose your grip.
The same goes for blogs. People have short attentions spans; so make it easy for them with “scannable” content such as images, dot points and subheadings.

3. Take a human angle

Transformers to make your content marketing go viral

Perhaps you have found the perfect drink to have on your wedding anniversary?  Maybe you want to share some traits your boss has that you hate, and you figure most people can relate to?
If people can relate and apply it to their own lives, they are much more likely to share.  When something is personal to someone, they will pass it on.

4. Make it genuine

Most people are not looking for videos or blogs that seem highly produced or overdone.  There must be a genuine feel.
A “how to” guide is a good example, and videos behind the scenes of an interesting event is also an excellent example.

5. Go interactive

Nonsense puzzel to make your content marketing go viral

Image Source: Pixabay
Do you have expert knowledge on an interesting subject?
People want and expect content they can discuss, and the more this is true, the more it your content will get shared.
Interactive content such as quizzes are a great way to do this.

6. Let readers comment

Readers commenting to make your content marketing go viral

If you are a blogger, you need a good comment section system, such as Disqus, if you want a chance to go viral.
If you get a good comment or a controversial one, respond to it.  A good community of people commenting will always increase your chance of virality.

7. Use lists and images

Lists and images on Twitter to make your content marketing go viral

People love lists and images.
If you make your blog post a list, your chances of going viral increase a great deal. If you then pad out that list with some creative imagery, you increase your viral chances even more.

8. Create a compelling headline

Compelling headline example for make your content marketing go viral

With so much content out there today, you must make a great first impression, or you’ll be passed in favor of another.
Make your headline catchy, benefit-driven and curious…
A good acid test, is to ask;
“Would I click on that headline?”

9. Don’t make anyone feel foolish

Big moustache and cigarette to make your content marketing go viral

Image Source: Pixabay
When people share content, they are actually putting their own reputation on the line for all to see. So be careful not to alienate groups or down talk minorities.
Public figures, on the other hand, are often fair game. For example, the presidential run of Donald Trump is a controversial subject. If you support him or not, there is enough information out there to support either view, and you are sure to get a reaction from those on both sides of the fence.

10. Make posts appropriate

Facebook posts for make your content marketing go viral

If you are going to post on Facebook, make sure you use proper grammar and formatting to make your content readable.  Nothing is more annoying than one big, huge, long paragraph.
If you are going to Tweet, do not use all 140 characters.  Be sure to leave at least 10 to 12 spaces (this helps for encouraging re-tweets).
Getting your content marketing to go viral is not an exact science by any means.  But if you follow these proven guidelines, you can certainly increase your chance of having a viral blog, Tweet or share that gets you the exposure you want.
Good luck!
Guest Author: Jessica Holmes is a content crafter at Crawford and O’Brien, a dental SEO company that provides search marketing practices at a world class level. She has been in the internet marketing industry for several years and can be found online tweeting about her writing or at home, hiking sunny Arizona trails.