The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

 

What you should know for your Business

What you should know for your Business

(Image via submitedge.com)

 Content Marketing has definitely come a long way! Something that began as a niche strategy has quickly grown to become one of the dominant methods of attracting meaningful and good leads. Harnessing the power of words, or images or videos is essential for building long-term success and an online presence.

 

So here’s a gist of what we believe are trends for this year and where it is headed!

content-marketing- has to be Original and valuable

 (Image via siliconangle.com)

 Did you know that 92% of marketers are using content marketing? According to infinigraph.com 2014, is all about going beyond experimenting to full content marketing integration and executions.

 

Instead of arguing about its significance and wondering what strategies to follow and the budgets to go along with it, this will be the year where you will need to have your content marketing strategies organized and in place.

 

58% of B2B and 60% of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. That being said, companies need to become aware of the importance of content marketing so that CFO’s can make investments in solid content strategies; meaning creating more positions and teams that are dedicated to creating great content. Without a good strategy in place, results won’t be as effective for every aspect of content marketing

 

Online Marketers have seen an explosion of how people are accessing the web via their mobile devices. From when they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night, people are on their phones. So why shouldn’t marketers take advantage of this trend and offer consistent and effective content that is accessible on not just mobiles but also tablets? – Trend to look out for is Multi-screens

 

Marketing needs to be Integrative – it’s not enough to just simply focus on content marketing or social media marketing but to take a holistic view of online marketing in general. Connecting e-mails, content and social media would do a lot to promote the brand and to build relationships.

 

 

New SEO –Google’s new algorithm Hummingbird, delivers better results based on the way we speak, so you will now need better and greater content. This update means better use of grammar, synonyms and words that deliver results.

 

Content Curation:  As more content is being churned out everyday, 2014 will see a greater need of efforts to organize all the information into relevant and better ways for audiences to absorb them- like Custom Timeline in Twitter to tweet about a specific topic or event or LinkedIn Showcase pages that allows brands to segment content for audiences based on different aspects of their business.

 

Providing value and quality content:  The overall quality of content will grow more than ever this year and as more people consume this content; brands and marketers will step up their game by integrating photos, videos, journalism and innovative story telling into their strategies.

 

So it’s time to get your Business on board and incorporate these into your strategy!

What are your content trends for 2014? What do you think people should include into their content strategy?

 

Let us know!

 

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

 

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Top Google tools for your Business to Soar!

Top Google tools for your Business to Soar!

 Google tools for business

 

(Image via pearsonschoolsystems.com)

 

There isn’t a single day in our lives when we don’t use the Internet or more specifically Google. But it’s easy to overlook the many tools it has to make your business successful. Some are very well known like Google docs, sheets, slides and Google analytics. But there are a few lesser-known tools that will boost your productivity and grow your business.

 

So we’ve got a list of tools for your small business:

Google tools for your business to soar(image via Stuffedweb.com)

 

  1. Google Adwords: The most popular form of online advertising is pay-per-click and Google adwords is the Internet’s largest PPC ad network. Google adwords offers you targeted reach, greater control because you can create and edit your ads according to your budget in many formats, all until you get the results you want! Plus you don’t have any minimum spending requirements or time commitment. A great way to advertise online and drive traffic to your website.
  2. Google Trends: Your business will keep evolving in order to fit in with the changing times. So you need to be ahead of the game by knowing what terminology to use for your marketing and sales strategy, website etc. try Google trends to search for trends and how they have changed over time.
  3. Google Think Insights : Understand your consumer trends , gain marketing insights, case studies across different industries and so much more! A truly powerful tool
  4. Google Cloud Print Connect your printers to the web, and print from anywhere to anyone on the go! What’s more? Access Google cloud Print from your iPhone, tablet, PC, Chrome book etc.
  5. GOMO 2014 is the year of Mobiles, so it’s about time your website became mobile friendly! Try Google’s GOMO to check if your business website is or isn’t already mobile friendly.
  6. Google Webmaster tool: This Nifty tool provides detailed reports about your page’s visibility on Google search. Identify search queries that drive traffic, links to your site. Simply add and verify your site and access all the information right away!
  7. Google Alerts Get email updates of the latest Google results based on your queries. Enter what you wish to monitor and you will receive all the latest updates of that query. Perfect way to keep tabs on your competitors and your industry!
  8. Youtube’s My business story : Create free , high quality online videos for your business. Simply create a YouTube account and Upload some video clips and photos, follow the guide to help choose templates, add music etc.
  9. Get Your Business Online with Google:  Most consumers, who use the Internet, will use it to look online for local businesses and services. Every business small or big, if it’s local or otherwise needs a website. But not every small business has one! So get your business online offers free website building, domain name registration, and hosting for up to a year. It also has free resources to advertise and grow your business. So what are you waiting for?

10. Google and Your Business– Google’s Blog for business. Perfect for all kinds of resources, tips, case studies, news about relevant hangouts and sites for ex: Google for Entrepreneur. Very handy, very resourceful

11. Google’s Trusted Stores : The best way to alleviate customer’s doubts about your site’s legitimacy and service. The Google Trusted Stores have to pass a test for reliable shipping and customer service. After this, they earn the right to display a trusted store badge. Who wouldn’t trust a store that has a verified badge?

12. Google Form – An easy to use survey tool, which is a free Google Drive add on which can also be created from an existing spreadsheet. You can create a survey from question templates, using any type of options you want namely, check boxes, multiple choice questions, text answers and either post it in Google+ Hangout or via e-mail. The survey along with the responses is then stored in your Google Drive and you can view the results in a summary or a spreadsheet. Quite useful isn’t it?

 

Well there you have it! Our top 12 Google must have tools for your business. Super easy and super efficient.

 

Have you used them before? What tools do you recommend?

Let us know what you think!

-Social Pandora

 

 

The 10 essential but lesser known social media tools that you should know about

Social media tools that aren't well known but are great (Image via Dreamstime)

 

The social media landscape is changing rapidly and we’re sure that by now, you’ve hopped on the bandwagon too. Every company, agency, or person uses their own set of social media tools to get the most out of their business. But we’ve got a few tools we use and think that they’re great! Although some are in beta or aren’t as well known you might find that they do wonders for your business!

 

Here are our top 10 tools that got our attention and will get yours too!

 

  1. Mention – A tool that replaces Google Alerts for capturing mentions, social media monitoring, it is really easy to use with great functionality. It also has simple controls to turn specific sources off with emails that take you straight to the source!
  2. Editflow– A WordPress plugin that allows you to manage your editorial team seamlessly. It gives you custom statuses, a calendar, editorial comments etc. This tool makes it easy to collaborate with your teams and is especially useful for those with many blogs.  If it’s a single tool you’re looking for to manage your accounts, this one is for you
  3. Tweetreach – Another great tool to see how far your tweets travel and how effective your tweets are. Who doesn’t want that!
  4. Addvocate– A social sharing tool for employees in your company. All you have to do is install a simple browser plugin that allows them to receive recommendations and to recommend content to the marketing or social media team.  You can get detailed statistics showing which employees are sharing content and how many clicks you get.
  5. Argylesocial.com– Perfect for team- based collaboration, publishing and merging social media with your business. A dashboard that allows you to monitor Facebook and Twitter, delegate tasks to your team. It’s easy to use and has easy reporting of your social media efforts. It is your go to tool if you are a social media manager or a client or agency to prove to your management that your social media campaign is paying off.
  6. Crowdbooster– This is a highly recommended tool for many. It offers social media analytics with suggestions to help improve your online presence. You get a bird’s eye view of analytics, audience insights and content schedules.
  7. Swayy – Swayy helps you discover the most engaging content to share with your audience. The articles are right in front of you as a dashboard and you can share articles across multiple platforms. Plus you can schedule them too!
  8. Twitter Search: A lot of people love this , in fact it’s one of Chris Brogan’s favorite tool. Most of us use this tool but here are a few tips on how to make the most of it (Source: Kissmetrics) Use Twitter to uncover top trending topics– by using the  -rt filter:links  code. So if you’re looking for “Social Media –rt filter:links” , the code will remove all retweets.

Find out who’s talking about you– what conversations are you in, or are you not involved in. Just use the search string. X-to:x-from :x-@x  replace x with your name. Ex: CoolEgg-to: CoolEgg-from: CoolEgg-@CoolEgg

 

Track multiple profiles– search using to: plus your twitter handle. For example; to: Patel plus your other Twitter handles.

 

Follow conversations about your competitors- Search with to: competitor or from: competitor. Replace competitor with their Twitter handle.

 

See pictures with trending topic– search for these using the string ‘trending topic twitpic/post.ly/twitgoo filter: links

 

Twitter search is also great for finding topics to blog about.

9. Traackr.com – A simple way to find and follow influential people in your space. Identify the authorities in your industry and watch how they respond and contribute to content that is shared. It’s great for agencies or brands who want to build their campaign.

10.Tagboard We saw Kim Garst talk about it and decided to try it out. It is fantastic! It monitors hashtag searches across multiple social media channels. You can check specific hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ and create a custom board filled with content from across all platforms. It is useful for brand monitoring for your own or your competitor’s brands and content curation for a specific hashtag. You can also reply to the conversations right from within Tagboard.

These are our recommendations for you to try out; integrate them into your plan and see how it works for you!

Tell us your views of the tools and if you use any that is not as well known as the other social media tools.

 

-Social Pandora

 

Content Curation for Google Plus

content curation(Image via WeSEE)

Howdy!

You might be sitting in front of your computer tapping way fervently at the keyboard creating posts, articles, tweets or status messages for your different profiles or you could be staring into space wondering what to say! (You’re not alone) and we know that it’s not easy. We’ve got a few pointers that might help you. While we’ve written posts on how to create content on Twitter (Applicable to Facebook too) this one is a post focusing on using Google+ page for curating content.

Simple and effective steps to creating content that saves time and adds value to your business page. In the last post; we compared Facebook and Google+ and found that Google+ is the second biggest social networking platform to have a presence on.

Google+ can be used because of the following advantages:

  1. Easy to use, easy to create a page and if you so choose, you can assign multiple people to manage the page and then assign different responsibilities for each.
  2. The layout is easy on the eye and allows for rich media and attractive images.
  3. Integrated Hashtag function
  4. Its seamless integration with all things Google, YouTube and Picasa (If you have a Picasa account)
  5. Users can comment and recieve notifications when there’s new content
  6. Video hangouts for multiples people
  7. A Google + page can be connected to your website and blog
  8. No paying to promote your posts!
  9. Google + allows for indexing, gaining page rank and authority which will help it’s performance in search results

A Google Plus page will need a personal account to log in, making you the face of the brand as opposed to just having a brand page sharing the content.

Discovering content:

Like other networks, you can collect and curate content from sites like Scoop.itCurata , Bagtheweb, Curationsoft , Bundlr.com or alternatively from Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  You can also use tools like Sproutsocial and Hootsuite.com to post content on Google plus page. So if you are connected to your Twitter account and your Google plus page, you can cross- post it.

HINT: When you’re browsing for cool content, save to Pocket and Evernote and use it for posts later.

Make use of communities:

These are organized around interests or particular topics.  You will notice that when you search or post about a particular topic, you will find discussions being made around it.  That’s a great way to find content as they would have done the discovery for you and you’ll have a wide range of perspectives.

Make use of circles:

You can organize people into different circles such as customers, influencers, or a reading circle or even subscription circles. As you find others who post regularly on certain topics, you can put them into the corresponding circle and share the content. Better still if they belong to a community, join it for more content.

Creating circles also lets you target your messaging to share the right things to the right audience. It’s a simple drag and drop process, all you have to do is follow the user and then pull their icon into the circle of your choice.  You can additionally also see which users have added you to their circles under the ‘Added you’; as a user needs to be following you before any content can be shared with them.

Make use of search:

Create Hashtag and keyword searches for curating topics of interests. You can also search for conversations by typing either your name or the other user’s name, and Google + will return every single post that you’ve both interacted on. Use the ‘More’ drop down at the top of the search results to filter the post types.

Use Google Ripples to locate your shares, see who has shared your post or URL and how many times, and the comments they’ve made.

Crafting Content:

Google + posts should have a Title, some description and attribution to the author. If you want to mention someone either to cite them or for attribution, you can use the G+ compose box or use their Google plus ID proceeded by a ‘+’ symbol. Add relevant Hashtags to make your post searchable and spend time to look up the author of a post on Google+ for trackbacks.

Here are 5-steps by Stephan Hovnanian to rock your attribution and citations

  1. Write your blog post like you normally would and link to the relevant content
  2. Go to G+ and find the profile of the author of the posts you’re linking to.
  3. Go back to your blog post and link to their profile in a citation next to their link. This creates a back-link to their Google profile.
  4. Publish your blog post
  5. Share your blog post on Google Plus

For sharing, you can either schedule it post it straight away on Google+

Building Followers:

Google+ is the ideal platform for establishing yourself as an authority on a subject matter.

  1. Share the business page to your personal profile with a gist of what it’s about. This helps build trust and have a face that people can relate to.
  2. You can re-share your business page’s posts to your personal profile- Just include a ‘+’ mention of the page, your own follower base will re-share the content.
  3. Shared circles- Look for users who might be interested in your topic and add those people to your page’s circles to share their content and they could follow you back!
  4. Interact with those who interact with your page-   Always thank them for commenting on your posts. You could use your personal profile or the business page to respond but use your personal profile more as its more personal and makes it easier to manage notifications afterwards.

Although this is how to get your business page out there, making it successful will require continuous refinement on how you want to engage with your subscribers. Authenticity and attribution always work well on Google+.

Be sure to provide content on specific topics your audience or subscribers are interested in or if they see content that they aren’t keen on they might just leave you or your page from their circles.

One of the downsides of posting on Facebook and Twitter is that you can’t control the font. You can’t make words bold, you can’t strike-through, and you can’t put words in italics. However, you can do this on Google+, which means you can get very creative with your posts.

Check out this infographic by Big Mouth Media, on how to format your fonts and make them more interesting.

Get creative with your Google+ posts

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Why your business needs Google+ – the tool to watch out for in 2014

google+

(Image by WeSEE)

In our previous post, we mentioned that Google + is imperative for any business- Small, Medium or Large. If you don’t have one, now is the best time to join. But we wouldn’t want you to join without knowing all about it would we?

To create an account: Here is a link that will help you create your Google+ profile and business page. It’s pretty step-by-step and will have you creating a page in no time.

Google + for Business

In it’s recent Quarterly report , Janrain analyzed the social log in preferences of consumers across the website and mobile apps of its 365,000 customers, and here’s what they found.

janrain_social_login_prefernces

In the 3 quarter of 2013, Facebook captured 45% of all social log-ins beating Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn as a means to log into a third party website and mobile applications. But according to the report, Facebook’s share of overall market has been slipping and although it is still dominant, it is losing some consumers who are opting for alternatives like Google+.

quarterly_social_login_610x407

In the previous 3 quarters Google+ was no 2 and accounted for 33% of social log-ins. Read more of the report here,

http://janrain.com/blog/social-login-trends-across-the-web-for-q3-2013/

But, despite being the second largest social networking site, a lot of the businesses don’t use it or are unsure of how to use it.

Before we proceed, here’s a quick look at the differences between Facebook and Google+

Facebook vs. Google+: A Guide to Brand Pages [INFOGRAPHIC] - An Infographic from Pardot

(Embedded from Pardot)

 

Google+ is a social networking website that integrates with Google’s entire feature list. Plus it has  huge weight in terms of SEO and organic search.

Google+ allows you to post links, photos, videos, text content just like you would on Facebook but does so using the concept of ‘Circles’ where you can group followers according to interests or any other criteria. It is great for building long conversations and therefore lasting relationships.

They also have this unique concept of ‘Hangouts’, which enables group meetings, discussions, and demonstrations. Think of it as an option for panel discussions, teaching a new concept, after which the video can be uploaded to YouTube. Professional and yet effortless, Google + allows you to edit photos that you post onto the network.

benefits of google+(Image by WeSEE)

The best things about G+:

  1. Seamless Integration– it neatly integrates with various other tools, making it easy to share and manage content. Integrate with Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Chrome and Google Play

   2. +1 Popularity ranking signal for SEO– works like Facebook’s ‘like’. Google users who like your page will press the ‘+1’ icon. Google then determines how popular your business is.

3. Google Authorship– Allows you to link your content across the internet, letting Google know what content you have created. More importantly that it has originated from you. The greater the content you publish and the wider it is shared, Google will regard you , helping to boost your author rank

4.Your business page allows you to make updates to your wall, link your business to any content that you’ve created using the

rel=”publisher”code

Getting the most from G+:

1.Practice before you go live- Have a ‘ Hangout’ session informally to understand how it works

2.  Be visual-As with most social media sites, including photos and videos wherever will boost your interaction with others.

3.Start a community: Easy to set up, it can be sued for a good cause, a good base for knowledge sharing or based on common interests.

4.Share a wide range of content: Curate a broad range of content including both original and others content.It makes it more interesting and appealing to your audience

5.Set up Google Authorship: This will help increases visibility in organic search

6.Review the Brand Page content– Doing this every 90 days will improve your ranking results. G+ auto corrects page revisions

7. Make full use of the +1 button: it will integrate brand pages into the social and open graph formats.

Many marketing and SEO experts love using G+ for business for its SEO, communications and connections.

We love this infographic by Chris Brogan and Blueglass that beautifully depicts why you need G+ for business today.

Join  G+ today and let us know what you think!

-Social Pandora

What does 2014 hold in store for social media?

forecasting(Image by Dreamstime)

 We’re already in October! Phew we’ve had a cracking week and we’re sure it’s the same for all you good folks out there. While you may have your work cut out for you until Christmas, let’s get ahead of the game and prepare ourselves for what’s coming in 2014.

2013 was a good year for the Internet; changing everything in it’s path with the way information is shared. More inbound marketing techniques are being used, and more companies are embracing content. We’ve seen a shift in publishing original content and sharing others content instead of advertisements with external content; bringing about improvements in company branding and audience growth.

There are social networking platforms popping up everywhere and it is safe to say that this will continue to be the case in 2014 as well; which means that we’ve all got to plan our resources and time accordingly.

 Here are our predictions for 2014

social-trends-11392504

  1. Social Media is more necessary  now than ever before:  Social media can no longer be just a luxury for companies but rather an absolute necessity. Companies can no longer say “We’ll think about social media as an option” but should now say “I definitely need it, what do I have to do?” Businesses globally are reaping the benefits of social media; namely lead generation, traffic to the website, growth and brand building.  Companies will now have specific staff to do the assigned social media work and start gaining! When there’s SEO, branding and  increased loyalty to be won, why would companies think twice about using social media?

2. Content Marketing will start ruling the roost:  According to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research report; content marketers are using more tactics than ever before! Companies are establishing authority, gaining their consumer’s trust and building loyalty through the valuable content that is being generated by a variety of channels. Companies can build rapport with specific audiences in a demographic. Also mentioned in the report, the top B2B content marketing strategies are more customer testimonials, social media, blogs, videos, articles, e-newsletters and case studies. Using less of podcasts, printed ads, and materials in newspapers, TV and radio ads are becoming less effective. The trend will be more customer engagement, influencer becoming the influencing, using word of mouth tactics and social feedback cycle.

3.    More social media budgets and diversity: Businesses were earlier using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but have now evolved to using Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. These have provided businesses an array of options that allow them to create engaging content and build audiences through a variety of channels. In the same breath, as there are more channels being used, businesses will now be allocating more budgets to social media as part of their marketing campaign. The diversification will be useful as it allows consumers to recognize a particular brand.  Social media will no longer be viewed as an individual silo but working in tandem with the overall marketing campaign

 4.We’re going Mobile!  This one is not much of a surprise we know, but according to Techcrunch  Facebook’s share of global mobile internet ad revenues will reach 15.8%  this year from 2012’s 5.35%. Adobe 2013 mobile consumer survey  says that accessing social media is the number  one mobile activity today.  What does this imply?

That you have to invest in mobile marketing! Facebook ads and mobile ads seem to be working for companies and brands, so consider engaging, interactive content as part of your mobile strategy.

5.Make content more engaging:  Think about this- Rich images over text based content. Which do you think more people will click on? Image based social media sites like Flickr, Path, Slideshare will continue to grow and businesses will need to be more attentive to photos sharing on their websites and blogs in order to gain a huge benefit from their social media efforts.

 

Have you noticed people loving Buzzfeed’s news and lists? We do too! It is because of their images and engaging content.

Try answering these questions when developing your social media content plan for 2014.

–       How do I use pictures or videos to make a point?

–       How do I do it differently?

–       How do I make my content less text focused?

With Instagram video and Vine, micro-videos are the next big thing. We’ll be seeing more of user generated real-time video sharing.

relevance of content(Image by WeSEE)

      6. AD – Retargeting: Retargeting means that ads can be placed on social sites based on a visitor’s interaction with other websites. It works by utilizing browser cookies to track the websites that users visit.  For ex: If you were looking to buy a vacuum cleaner and you logged onto a Harvey Norman Website, the next time you log into Facebook you will see an ad for Dyson.

 

Although it can get annoying, re-targeting could lead to more efficient marketing spend for companies and more importantly cater to the needs of the audience. It works to increase overall conversion rate by reminding consumers what they were looking for.

Here’s a great graphic by  The Atlanta Journal Constitution explaining the process:

 ad retargeting

 (Image by Ajcmediakit)

7.    Google plus is essential: 

googleplus

 See that ‘+1’ button everywhere? It plays a significant role in Google’s search rankings. It is designed to gain a deeper understanding of shared interests and is more suited to businesses. It ‘s about getting to know the Internet audience better so that Google searches can become more relevant and targeted.

Having a Google plus profile will increase your chances of your ideal client finding your business in a Google search.

There you go! Top 7 trends to look out for in 2014. Looks to be an exciting year ahead!

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know.

-Social Pandora