Archive for June, 2012

7 Pinterest Tips for B2B Companies

June 20, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

Have you used Pinterest to promote your business-to-business (B2B) company?

Many consumer-facing businesses have had a lot of success promoting themselves with Pinterest.

A recent study by SteelHouse shows that “Pinterest Users Are Nearly Twice as Likely to Purchase Than Facebook Users.”

However, many B2B businesses are still wondering how to promote themselves with Pinterest.

Check out how these B2B businesses are using Pinterest. Try to replicate their techniques for your business.

Here are 7 tips for successfully using Pinterest for your B2B business.

#1: Use Infographics

Posting attractive infographics on your blog can be a great way to promote your B2B business on Pinterest. A well-designed infographic with helpful information can get you lots of pins and repins.

A recent infographic titled “How to Get More Pins and Repins on Pinterest” by Dan Zarrella shows that taller images are more repinnable and infographics are usually quite tall. So focus on creating tall, detailed infographics.

One example of a B2B company having success with infographics is KISSmetrics. They regularly create and post attractive infographics with useful information other businesses can implement. The infographics they post get pinned and repinned many times on Pinterest.

If you visit KISSmetrics’ blog, you’ll be able to see all of the wonderful infographics that are being shared.

A great example on which you could model your infographic is “How Do Colors Affect Purchases?” There are many facts and figures included in this well-designed infographic—it features good use of colors and it’s also quite tall. Create similar shareable infographics for your blog too.

#2: Use Ebooks, Guides and White Papers

Using ebooks, guides, white papers and other helpful documents can be a great way to promote your business on Pinterest.

Many people want to download your gated documents, especially if you have a popular blog with quality content.

To make them more shareable on Pinterest, you can add attractive cover images to your ebooks, guides and white papers.

Post an image of the cover on your document’s landing page. Also make sure you gate the content so people can access it only after they sign up. This will help you collect email addresses and names for your marketing efforts.

If your document is helpful and has an attractive image, your readers will want to pin and share it with their followers.

An example of a business using documents on Pinterest to the fullest is HubSpot. They have educational content such as ebooks, guides and white papers on subjects like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, SEO, Analytics, you name it. You can find them on this page.

All of these documents are gated and all have a good cover image on the landing page, which makes them pinnable and repinnable.

If you visit HubSpot, you’ll see all of the documents that are being pinned from their website.

Another important point to note is that HubSpot has a Pin It button on their landing pages too. This not only makes it easy for people to share the landing page, but it also adds social proof and credibility.

For example, if you visit the landing page of the guide “How to Use Pinterest for Business” and you see that it has been pinned more than 2,000 times, you really want to download it because all of those shares indicate that lots of people have found it helpful.

#3: Engage Your Fans

Ever since General Motors took their ads off Facebook, there’s been a lot of discussion on how social media should be used. Businesses need to understand that social media shouldn’t be used for direct marketing, but to engage followers and build relationships with them.

This is exactly how you should use Pinterest too. The primary focus needs to be to engage fans and make them feel special and to get them to share your pins, comment on them and like them. Selling your products directly should only be your secondary focus.

Do something like you do on Facebook, which could be to ask people to like your pin or to ask people questions in the description, which will encourage them to comment on it.

And when they comment on it, you can reply to their comments and build relationships with them. If you keep engaging your fans, you will eventually convert them into customers.

An example of a company engaging their fans on Pinterest is Constant Contact. If you visit their Pinterest brand page, you’ll see a board called Fanbruary.

Here you’ll find pictures of Constant Contact customers and fans appreciating their service. This shows their followers that Constant Contact cares about them and it also works as a testimonial for Constant Contact’s services.

They also have a board called “Ask an Expert” where they pin videos of experts giving advice. These videos provide useful tips to fans and followers, thereby engaging them.

#4: Display Your Products

Along with all of these engaging pins, you can also display your products so that potential customers can notice them, and if they’re interested, you could generate leads.

There are many ways to do this. You can display pins of your products, which might lead to a landing page; you could just display them creatively to promote engagement; or you could display how your product works.

An example of this is General Electric, which has a board called “Badass Machines” where they display the “biggest and baddest technology produced by GE.”

This board has some fantastic technologies built by GE. If you visit the board, you’ll see pictures of compressors, an LED light bulb, an aviation testing facility, etc. All of these pins show visitors what a big company GE is and all the wonderful products they create.

Another great example is how HubSpot highlights their product. On their Pinterest brand page they have a board called “Peek at HubSpot Software,” which contains pins of screenshots of the amazing things their software does.

The link provided on the pin leads interested viewers to a demo page where they can register for a customized demo of how HubSpot’s software can help their company.

#5: Display Your Work Culture

One of the best ways to engage your company’s fans and followers is to show people that there’s life behind your company’s website and your social media profile. You want to show people what happens behind the walls of your company.

This shows users that there are real people just like them working in the office and this encourages them to interact with your employees. It humanizes your company and your social media campaign.

You can apply this strategy to Pinterest by pinning images onto a board dedicated to work culture. You could also add your employees as contributors to this board so they can directly add their own images. This way, they will directly communicate with your followers.

An example of a company using this well is Marketo. Marketo has a board on their Pinterest brand page titled “Office Fun!” where they pin pictures of Marketo’s employees working and taking part in events and competitions.

These pictures show followers that Marketo has employees who are very social just like them.

#6: Pin Brand-Related Images

One of the best ways to promote your brand is to use relevant images. A recent study on Facebook shows that posting relevant images on your profile brings more shares. The same principle applies to Pinterest too.

If you are a B2B company that provides marketing services, pin pictures related to marketing; if you’re a B2B company that sells office supplies, pin images of interesting things used in offices, and so on. This way, you’ll build a brand on Pinterest and people interested in that will follow you.

An example is Intel, which has a board called “Geek Chic” where they pin pictures of technology. If you visit the board, you’ll see pictures of food equipment, USB devices, MP3 jewelry and all sorts of technologies. This works for Intel and helps promote their brand as a company that works in the field of computers and technology.

#7: Show That You Serve the Community

People like it when you take the extra step to serve them and everyone else better. It shows that you really care about them. This could be serving the community, making the world a better place, etc.

If you are a company that does this extra work, it’s a good business idea to display it to let your fans know about all of the good deeds you do. If it’s a cause they care about, they will support you and your company.

A company that’s doing this really well on Pinterest is FedEx. On their brand page they have a board called “FedEx Community Involvement” where they pin pictures of their crew members cleaning the environment, making donations, rescuing animals and many other things they do to serve their community. Visit their board to check it out.

All of these images show that FedEx cares and convince people to do business with them.

Another fantastic board they have is “FedEx EarthSmart” where they pin images and videos of steps they are taking to minimize their environmental impact. As FedEx delivers items, they use a lot of fuel, packaging material, etc. By showing they’re taking extra steps not to hurt the environment this shows that they care. This goes a long way in persuading people to work with them.

These are just a few examples of how B2B businesses can successfully use Pinterest. If you take a good look at your products and services, you should be able to come up with creative ways to promote your B2B business with Pinterest too.

(Source: Social Media Examiner, By Mitt Ray, June 20, 2012)

Facebook Dominates Web With More Home Page Integration Than Google+, Twitter Combined

June 20, 2012 By: admin Category: Web Design

Of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet, 24.3 % have official Facebook integration on their home pages. If you include all other links to Facebook, almost half of these top home pages link to Facebook, with 7.3 % using the official Like button, according to research from Pingdom.

Facebook integration is huge among the world’s biggest and most heavily trafficked websites. But how does it fare against other social networks? Facebook dominates both in official integration and links from the home page back to the social network, though looking at these two different metrics paints a different picture for Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Official Widgets and Plugins on the Home Page

Google+ is actually beating Twitter out for integration on top sites. 10 % of sites had official Twitter widgets on the home page, while 13.3 % displayed the Google+ +1 button or Share widget. It’s a far cry from Facebook’s 24.3 %, but all are solidly killing LinkedIn; the more professional social site is officially integrated with just 0.6 % of home pages.

To put these figures in context, it’s important to understand Pingdom’s methodology, accept Alexa as a reliable authority on site traffic, and consider that the largest and most successful sites aren’t always an accurate reflection of what others are doing. While not an exact science, Pingdom’s research offers a broad look at social integration trends. They explain how they performed their research:

“We examined the HTML code of the home pages of the top 10,000 sites in the world according to Alexa. To determine Facebook integration, we looked for the official ways of integrating Facebook on sites, with paths such as facebook.com/plugins, connect.facebook.net and graph.facebook.com. We did similar things for the other social networks, based on their developer documents and available plugin documentation. It’s a bit of a jungle. To check any links, we simply looked for anything linking to or referencing facebook.com/ or facebook.net/, linkedin.com/, twitter.com/ and so on.”

All Links from Top 10,000 Home Pages to Social Networks

Aside from official widgets, companies can use a variety of other types of links and buttons to direct people back to their social presence or encourage content sharing. These figures bode much better for Twitter. All links to social networks (home pages only):

  • Facebook – 49.3 %
  • Twitter – 41.7 %
  • Google+ – 21.5 %
  • LinkedIn – 3.9 %

In their blog post revealing their findings, Pingdom purports that Twitter follow links are the reason for the vast difference between their official integration and links figures.

They also suggest, “Google+ may be a young social network compared to the other three in this survey, but with the might of Google behind it, it has still managed to secure an impressive presence in a relatively short period of time.”

( Source: Search Engine Watch,  Miranda Miller, June 19, 2012)

5 Resons Not to Do Social Marketing

June 06, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

#1 – You have the writing skills of a coffee table. If you can’t provide relevant content (or hire someone to provide it), you probably won’t do well in the social arena. Engagement is a product of interesting, timely and relevant writing.

#2 – You don’t have any time. Social marketing takes time and effort, if you can’t invest the time it won’t work. It doesn’t have to be your time but it has to take SOMBODY’S time.

#3 – Your website hasn’t been updated since 2002. Social marketing comes last. If you don’t have a good site, good products and a business plan, you need to focus on the basics before implementing a social marketing program.

#4 – You don’t know how to use social sites. If you don’t have a Linkedin profile and a Facebook profile, and think twitter is something kids do after school, you probably need to get online and start using social. Before you set up a social marketing program learn how to use social media personally.

#5 – You actually believe there is no value in social media. One million plus groups on Linkedin, over 835,000,000 users worldwide on Facebook, millions of companies engaged on twitter and other social platforms, they could all be wrong. A passing fad, well most marketers don’t think so.

(Writer: Robert Fleming,     eMarketing Association)

How to Maintain Social Shares After a Site Migration

June 04, 2012 By: admin Category: Web Design

One of the greatest joys of site migration is discovering that your social share counts don’t follow 301 redirects. But those Facebook Likes, tweets and Google +1′s that we’ve worked so hard to capture don’t have to evaporate with a click of a mouse, never to be seen again.

Social Proof

Social proof is essentially a façade and as marketers we must maintain this other side of the off-page SEO smoke and mirrors long enough to convince users that our message is worth reading. Lucky for us Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons all have parameters for passing the URL of the page that we want the original social numbers for. That is not to say that the new URL will have the social metrics directly associated with them – they won’t.

As social metrics mature within search engines, there is worry that site migrations will cause these metrics to be discarded. It is of no leap of logic to assume that search engines will pass the value of the social share through a 301 redirect. Therefore it should be enough to maintain the social shares on the original URL and display them at the new one.

Essentially for each of these you will want to identify the URL of the original page and set an attribute on social share button to show the shares of the old URL. Here’s how you do it.

Facebook

In the Like Button Documentation Facebook simply provide the href attribute that can be explicitly set. Setting this to a different URL that page the user is currently on causes the number of Likes from the original page to be displayed and any additional likes accrued will also be associated with that original Edge or URL in Facebook’s Open Graph.

 

When 301 redirecting a page that has performed well on Twitter, be sure to set the data-counturl or the counturl attribute (depending on which version of the button you use) to the existing URL but the URL attribute to the new URL to ensure that any links created by pages that scrape Twitter are attributed directly to the endpoint URL.

There’s no Twitter button generator, but the documentation provides a walkthrough of customizations for a variety of configurations.

Google+

With Google+ being tied so closely to the world’s biggest search engine, one would assume that they would naturally pass +1s through a 301 redirect. Then again, you would also assume that Google would have figured out a way to make Google+ relevant to kids by now as well.

In any event, it should be no surprise that Google+ mirrors Facebook in providing a href attribute for the +1 button in the documentation.

The Final Word

As social networks mature and meld closer with search engines, it will be expected that Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ will simply follow 301 redirects. For now we can maintain our social proof, for whatever it’s worth.

For those of you wondering how to implement this site wide on numerous buttons, do the following:

Set a variable in your CMS that contains the original URL of the page. In WordPress this would be a Custom Field.

Add a statement to your share buttons that checks whether that variable is set or not. If it is, set the respective URL value on the share buttons.

Who knows maybe next time we speak I’ll have a WordPress plugin for you!

Michael King, May 8, 2012  (Source: searchenginewatch.com)

Google Copyright URL Removal Requests Top 1.2 Million

June 04, 2012 By: admin Category: News

Google receives more than 250,000 requests to take down URLs accused of copyright infringement each week. In the past month, Google has received 1.2 million requests from 1,000 copyright owners to remove pages from 24,000 websites from its search results.

The figures outlined in a recent Google report show more requests were made for URL removal last week than all of 2009 combined.

Microsoft was called out as the biggest requester as of this month, with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) listed as number two in most requests for May.

This month alone, Microsoft has requested a total of 543,378 URLs to be taken down over fears of copyright infringement. BPI came in a distance second with 162,601 URL take down requests.

“We believe that openness is crucial for the future of the Internet. When something gets in the way of the free flow of information, we believe there should be transparency around what that block might be,” said Google Senior Copyright Counsel Fred von Lohmann in a blog post.

Google’s Transparency Report has been around since 2010. In 2011, Google added new features to its transparency reports, later adding user data requests. Before this month Google only reported on government requests to take down copyrighted information, but starting in May they started reporting on copyright holder’s requests.

Removal requests have seen a huge upswing in the past two years. As just one week of requests matches the total amount of URL takedowns in 2009.

This story originally appeared on V3:

James Dohnert wrote Microsoft and BPI top list of Google copyright complainers

B2B Marketers: Are You Buying Links or Building Links?

June 02, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

Derek Edmond, June 1, 2012

I recently attended a networking event discussing the myths and misconceptions about paid links for search engine optimization (SEO). The presenter posed a compelling argument about how paid links can augment an SEO campaign, focused in three key areas of context.

1.The general perception that Google isn’t effective at catching paid links (for example, JCPenney was not penalized until an article from The New York Times called out the issue)

2.The perceived industry consensus about the use of paid links (referencing an SEOptimise survey from September 2011, polling SEOs on whether they do or would buy links),

3.Google’s subjective definition constituting the “buying links” or participating in “link schemes” designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank.

Throughout the discussion, I watched as audience members with varying degrees of experience nodded, smirked, and furrowed their brows. With Google’s own webmaster guidelines indicating that site owners shouldn’t “participate in link schemes designed to increase [a] site’s ranking or PageRank,” how do you know if you’re participating in a so-called “link scheme” or simply building links to better your SEO efforts?

This is the potential problem.

With only limited experience and understanding of SEO, the arguments in support of paid links purely for SEO may seem compelling to the relatively uninformed. The temptation is to react to such significant results, without considering counter arguments or further exploring background and relevance to one’s own position.

And so the question arises: Is your engagement with an SEO firm the same as “participating in a link scheme” designed to increase rankings in search results? Or are your link building efforts working in tandem with your overall marketing strategy, building purposeful relationships with a keyword strategy in mind?

To determine the answer, ask yourself the following questions:

Does your B2B SEO Professional Understand Your Brand and Marketing Strategy Around it?

Good SEO professionals understand how search marketing strategies work in-line with your brand’s target markets and marketing strategy. Examples of marketing strategy-specific questions your SEO should be asking include:

•What are the goals of the website?

•How and what types of leads are acquired from the site?

•What types of content strategies are meant to drive traffic and generate interest in the organization or organization’s solutions?

•What sort of publishers, bloggers, and news outlets are prominent and/or influential in the industry?

Once answered, how does the SEO team integrate this knowledge into their SEO campaigns and overall link building initiatives?

How often and how thoroughly is your SEO evaluating site reporting tools and benchmarks?

We’re not just looking for keyword rankings from search engines. A good B2B SEO link building strategy incorporates the following potential benchmarks:

•Traffic from referral sites

•Leads or lead opportunities from referral sites

•Reach to either the direct market or related markets

•Keyword and contextual relevance

For example, a recent infographic we launched combined a series of social media promotions and direct requests to media outlets for visibility. More than 80 different sites have sent referral traffic to our client, and more than half of those sites are using SEO-friendly backlinks with keyword strategy-specific anchor text.

Does your SEO work with the marketing team and their priorities and strengths (or weaknesses)?

An organization with a sound marketing strategy shouldn’t need to participate in link schemes to acquire search engine visibility. B2B search engine marketers should be able to find opportunities to acquire links through a range of B2B marketing initiatives across the organization. Examples include:

•Events and conference participation

•Optimization and distribution of content marketing assets

•Blogger and site owner outreach in coordination with marketing communications and PR teams

•Social networking strategy

Link building and keyword strategy can be scaled across the B2B organization for maximum effectiveness. It just takes awareness and communication from the SEO team on the potential value and opportunity.

Does your SEO educate and explain the pros and cons of a competitive link strategy?

Just because the competition happens to be using ill-advised SEO tactics to gain visibility in Google search results does not mean your organization should as well.

A good B2B SEO uses resources like Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, and other link building and SEO tools not just to evaluate a competitive inbound link strategy as well as to understand how a questionable set of inbound links may impact an overall site’s performance in search engines.

Just because a sample set of a competitor’s links appears suspect does not mean their entire inbound link profile is questionable.

More importantly, an SEO must be able to clearly articulate and define the risks for engaging in suspect link practices. The SEO should also be able to educate the organization on search engine algorithmic changes and how they may impact inbound links and keyword visibility.

B2B Link Building as Part of the B2B Marketing Strategy

The competent B2B internet marketer realizes that the link building process draws many parallels to the lead nurturing process. The best links, like sales, are won over time, with a well-planned content marketing strategy and relationship building initiatives (such as social media participation).

B2B link building is not what Google would refer to as a “link scheme.” Rather than simply purchasing links to drive keyword and traffic results, B2B link building should add to the overall marketing strategy, taking into account each of the above questions to foster an effective, holistic solution for the client.

(Source: Search Engine Watch)

Facebook Launches 5 Levels of Admin Access for Pages

June 02, 2012 By: admin Category: News

Miranda Miller, June 1, 2012

Facebook hinted back in February that they would create five new levels of administrative access for Page managers and have finally made good on it.

Starting immediately, the top level administrator (Manager) can set access levels for four other Page admins: Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser, and Insights Analyst. Facebook released a chart outlining the privileges of each role:

So far, users cannot create custom roles, though this could change. As it is, the five levels of access should appease most and seem to cover the most important administrative functions.

Source: Search Engine Watch