Tag Archives: Professional Content Marketers

3 Things That Blow Your Social Media Credibility (And How to Avoid Them)

Small businesses use social media for different reasons—to share content, to engage in dialogue with their customers, to boost online visibility, and to preserve their online reputation, among other things. One of the most critical reasons to be on social media is that it can give you credibility; by sharing valuable information, you can build thought leadership and earn trust.

Yet, in some instances, social media activity can have the opposite effect—actually detracting from your credibility rather than enhancing it. In this post, we’ll guide you through three of the biggest offenders, and offer some suggestions for staying on the straight and narrow.

Only Sharing Links to Branded Content

To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to share company blog posts, videos, or sales pages.

The problem comes when that’s all you share—because, quite simply, it makes you come across as salesy, only interested in tooting your own horn rather than adding value to your customers’ lives.

And on top of that, the all-branded-content, all-the-time approach can make your social media presence become static and uninteresting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a bad approach.

But what can you do instead? Our suggestions:

  • Aim for a balance between branded and curated content; ideally, only about 20-30 percent of your content should be branded material.
  • For curated content, look for articles, blogs, videos, editorials, and infographics that convey meaningful information about your industry and add value to the reader’s life.
  • Focus on educating rather than just selling all the time; treat your content like a product in its own right and keep the emphasis on benefits to the end user.
  • Make sure you balance your links with other kinds of content, too—like images, polls, or posts that simply ask questions or offer tips.

Seeking Followers Through Illegitimate Means

As you may have heard, fake Twitter followers are abundant—but now, they are also being investigated by the government. Many big brands, including celebrities and politicians, are losing followers fast.

Don’t try to buy followers, no matter how tempting it may seem; it’s not going to work out in the long run, and when you lose millions of followers overnight, it will cause you to look pretty hapless.

Instead, we recommend:

  • Focus on organic growth! Don’t buy followers but earn them. Use the value-focused, balanced content marketing approach we outlined above.
  • Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint—and you’re not likely to win a ton of followers all at once. Instead focus on patiently building relationships and developing credibility.
  • Finally, remember that 100 real-life customers, who might actually buy your products or recommend you to a friend, are far more desirable than a million bots.

Trying to Please Everyone

There’s nothing wrong with sharing memes or funny videos on your social media profiles—so long as they’re somehow relevant to your core business offerings.

But when funeral homes tweet out funny kitty memes, that’s obviously a little weird, to say nothing of off-brand.

Tactics like this make it look like you’re desperate to win everyone over to your brand—but remember: You don’t want everyone. You just want your targeted audience—the people you’re trying to reach with your products and services. (See your buyer personas for more!)

Use Social Media to Boost Your Credibility

With the right strategy, you can use social media to offer value, entertainment, and engagement—building your credibility in the process.

We’d love to show you how. Contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team for a social media marketing consultation. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Manage Your Online Reputation with These Four Essential Assets

When’s the last time you made a major purchase without first doing a little online research? If you’re like most of us, you spend a little time online doing some due diligence before you ever commit to a high-priced product or service. And after all, why wouldn’t you? Googles makes it quick and easy to do meaningful consumer research, potentially saving yourself from a big, expensive blunder.

For consumers, online research is invaluable; for business owners, things are a little more dicey. After all, you can be certain that your consumers are using Google to vet your brand, your products, and your services before they give you any of their hard-earned money.

Your Online Reputation is One of Your Most Valuable Assets

As an exercise, you might take a minute to Google your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s all good, positive stuff, then congratulations—you have a solid online reputation, one that should encourage potential customers to buy from you in confidence.

But if your Google results are less than stellar—if they include negative reviews or unwanted news headlines, for instance—then you may actually be losing customers at a fairly high rate. We’re not exaggerating, either; online reputation can be truly make-or-break.

That’s why we recommend taking a proactive approach—something that’s not nearly as difficult as the high-dollar online reputation management firms will claim. Actually, a dedicated content marketing effort—focused on a few key assets—can help you preserve and even enhance your brand’s online image.

Online Reputation Management: A Four-Pronged Approach

Your Business Blog Provides Thought Leadership

For starters, if you want people to find positive listings when they Google your company name, it’s important that you actually create those listings. Positive content won’t write itself!

A regularly-updated business blog is helpful for a few reasons:

  1. It provides regular updates to the Google search algorithms—feeding the content monster and keeping your brand’s listings fresh.
  2. It allows you to display thought leadership—earning the trust and confidence of your customers.
  3. It provides opportunities for social media shares—another important way to generate some positive online mentions.

Press Releases Create Buzz

Getting some local news coverage is another important way to boost your positive Google listings—and that’s why we still recommend press releases for many of our content marketing clients. While this is seen as something of an old-fashioned approach, the reality is that it’s an easy and effective way to build buzz.

The important thing is to send out news releases about actually newsworthy events—such as:

  • New products or services
  • New locations
  • New hires
  • Involvement with a local charity or non-profit

Social Media is an Avenue for Customer Services

Something else you’ll want to do is maintain some active social media accounts—and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, social media channels make it easy for you to distribute positive, brand-enhancing information—but they also provide a way for you to engage with your customers directly.

This can be either a blessing or a curse. To use social media effectively, it’s important to check in every day and respond to questions and complaints professionally—essentially viewing it as a chance to flex your customer service muscles. This can help minimize the occurrence of bad reviews or negative listings; if your customers see that you respond to their issues, they may not be as tempted to vent about you on Yelp or Foursquare.

Online Review Sites Add Luster to Your Brand

That brings us to the last of our vital assets—and that’s online review sites. To many business owners, these review sites are a scourge and a threat. Certainly, they pose a risk to your brand—but they also offer some opportunities. Here’s our advice for tangling with these site:

  • Above all, make sure you monitor your online reviews; always know what people are saying about your business.
  • If you spot some positive reviews, take a minute to say thanks.
  • If you come across negative ones, pause to offer some customer service. Coolly and calmly try to make things right.
  • Actively seek positive reviews; ask your best, most loyal clients to help you out by offering some positive feedback.

Take Your Reputation Seriously

Given the centrality of online research to the consumer experience, you can’t afford to think of online reputation as secondary, or as optional. Your brand will have a reputation, whether you like it or not; it falls to you to make sure it’s a good one.

And we can help! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss any and all of your content crafting needs—including blogs, social media, press releases, and beyond. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Infographics: Your Content Marketing Secret Weapon?

A strong visual content strategy can take your online presence to the next level, and help you cut through a lot of the social media noise. And one type of visual content that’s especially useful is the infographic.

People like infographics because they provide data in a way that’s quick, engaging, and easy to understand; a good infographic can be educational and paradigm-shifting without being too demanding of the reader’s mental capacity. On social media, this last point is critically important!

To get the most out of your infographics, it’s important to develop and promote them properly. Here are a few guidelines for doing just that.

Best Practices for Creating and Sharing Infographics

Pick a Topic People Care About

This is foundational. Your infographic should provide information that will actually be useful, or at the very least interesting, to your audience. Don’t just pick any old topic; pick something that’s relevant to your brand, has practical implications for your audience, and speaks to either the pain points you address or the solutions you provide. Bonus points if it’s something that challenges preconceived ideas—i.e. data with a surprising conclusion.

Write a Compelling Headline

As always, headlines are everything. There are a lot of things you can do to get eyeballs for your infographic: reference the surprising conclusions; note the expert source of your data; promise something unexpected, or simply point to the practical value that your information provides.

Write a Strong Introduction

Both for the purposes of SEO and simply for providing some context, a brief introduction is recommended. Three or four sentences is usually fine; include an SEO keyword or two if applicable, as well as related links and a call to action.

Provide Trustworthy Data

Your infographic needs credibility, so if you’re drawing from a third-party data source, make sure to include a proper citation. If it’s your own internal research, just say as much in your introduction. Proper proofreading and fact-checking are essential, too!

Get Social

Always promote your infographics on social media—using hashtags as appropriate. If you can, enable social sharing buttons on your infographic, too. Remember that this is a content type that lends itself to sharing, but it’s always smart to make it easy and convenient for your readers to pass it along.

Optimize the File Name

Google’s algorithms will crawl the file name of your infographic, so by all means make it something that conveys your specific topic. A generic file name, like untitled.jpg or infogaraphic.png, is a wasted opportunity. Optimize your alt-text, too, using a relevant keyword or two when you can.

Write an Accompanying Blog Post

To boost your SEO and back-linking potential, write a keyword-rich blog post to contextualize and explain your infographic. Make sure to share and promote the blog post, too!

Need Help Writing or Promoting Your Infographic?

Whether you’re looking for someone to script your infographic or to work it into a robust social media marketing campaign, Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Do These Four Things to Land More Eyeballs on Your Content

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really happen? And if your brand produces the world’s greatest content but nobody reads it, will it make any impact?

We can tell you with certainty that the answer to this last question is no. Content creation is innately limited by content promotion; if you can’t get eyeballs on your blog posts and other written content, you’re not going to reap any of the benefits of improved brand recognition, consumer trust, etc.

Yet getting people to read your content is one of the true challenges of content marketing. It’s something small businesses especially struggle with. Sure, it’s easy for Fortune 500 companies to generate interest in what they do—but what can the little guy do to build buzz?

Actually, there are four practical steps you can take today to boost your content’s reach and its readership. These aren’t flashy or gimmicky strategies, but they do really work, and Grammar Chic uses each of them on our own content.

Here are those four recommendations.

Tag Industry Influencers

First and foremost, you should always be sharing your content on Twitter—but don’t stop there. Start a conversation around it. Bring in the movers and shakers within your field, inviting them to be part of the dialogue.

There are different ways to do this. If you can, cite their work in your own content—then tag them on Twitter, giving them due credit and encouraging them to share the content. Or, you could simply ping their Twitter handles and ask them to weigh in with their feedback. Whatever attention you can bring to your content is good, especially when it’s attention from industry stalwarts.

Use Facebook Ads

There’s a time and a place for Promoted Posts, but what’s even more effective is going into Ads Manager, where you can actually target the people you want to reach with your content—by demographics, by relationship to your brand, etc.

Yes, this will involve some financial investment on your part—but did you know that solid content is one of the keys to ad success? If you have a good content offer, paired with some ad dollars, that can really make waves.

Include Content in Your Newsletter

A periodic email, including links and summaries of your best content, is a great way to win a few clicks from people who might not otherwise be following along with your blog. Plus, it allows you to repurpose your content; not only does it show up on your blog, but it’s fodder for your email list, too—killing two birds with one stone.

Publish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse

Finally, remember that you can publish on many different channels—and we’ve had great success sharing some of our best posts on Medium and Pulse. Both publishing platforms have good, built-in SEO traction that makes it so much easier for your content to be discovered, even by people who aren’t otherwise familiar with your brand.

The bottom line? There are small steps you can take to make sure your content isn’t invisible. To learn more about bringing in traffic, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions

blogging_tips

If your aim is to write engaging content, it’s important to pay attention to every single written component, from the headline down through your call to action. Of course, this also includes the meta description.

The meta description is sometimes an afterthought—in fact, some content writers don’t author one at all, leaving Google to create one automatically. Actually, the meta description is nearly as important as your headline in terms of getting eyeballs onto the page. If you’re not sure what a meta description is, go to Google and conduct a search; it doesn’t matter what you search for. Once the Search Engine Results Page comes up, look at each individual result. You will see a blue link, and underneath it a line or two of descriptive/summarizing text.

That is the meta description—basically, the summary of your content that all search engine users will see. This can obviously play a huge role in convincing people to click the link and read your content—or, you know, convincing them to do the opposite. As such, writing engaging content requires you to write an engaging meta description, and then to add it to your page. (If you are working with a CMS like WordPress, you will see a field for entering a custom meta description; if you have a professional webmaster, you can get the webmaster to do it for you.)

But what do you need to know in order to make a really killer meta description?

Tips for Writing Compelling Meta Descriptions

A few pointers:

Make it brief, but not too brief. Your meta description should be somewhere between 130 and 150 characters. If you go over that limit, you run the risk of Google clipping it, leaving you with an incomplete sentence at the end of your meta description. But if you just use 60 characters or so, you’re not really making full use of this important online real estate. Try to avail yourself of that space by hitting 130 characters or so, then wrapping things up.

Make it active. Don’t use the passive voice, but instead use strong, compelling verbs. You can basically phrase your summary like a call to action, perhaps even leading with a strong invitation to discover, explore, encounter, or something similar.

Make it accurate. Your meta description should actually summarize the content itself; don’t try anything tricky or misleading. Google doles out harsh penalties for this kind of manipulation.

Make it keyword rich. Don’t stuff it with a dozen keywords, and don’t make it sound forced or inorganic, but do include whatever keyword you are focusing on in your content—ideally toward the beginning of your meta description.

Make it unique. Don’t recycle the same old meta description for every blog you post; Google hates redundancy!

Those are the basics. Writing meta descriptions doesn’t have to be complicated: Just summarize the value you’re offering to readers, in as action-oriented a way as you can. For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Why Do Facebook Users Share Content?

increase-facebook-engagement

What happens when you post new content to your company Facebook page? Do you see it redirected five, ten, 20 times over, shared by user after user, spreading like wildfire across different newsfeeds?

Or does your own company Facebook page feel an awful lot like a graveyard—posts that were all dead on arrival, receiving few likes and no real shares?

Sadly, a lot of small business owners fall into this second category. That’s not their fault, either. Getting shares on Facebook is tough, and getting tougher all the time. Algorithmic changes within Facebook have made it difficult even to get your content seen, much less shared. Meanwhile, as more and more companies produce content, it’s a challenge to make yours stand out.

The Psychology of Sharing

To complicate matters further, you can’t trick your readers into sharing content. Bribery seldom works, either; sure, you’ll get some shares if you offer a $100 giftcard to your top brand ambassadors, but who has the budget for that?

Ultimately, the reader must make the decision to share your content—and the reader will make that decision based on one thing and one thing only: How the content reflects the reader’s personality, and how it will be perceived among the reader’s friends.

Think of your Facebook followers as content curators. Everything they share on their own Facebook newsfeed is a reflection of who they are, and what they’re trying to do is cultivate an accurate and compelling mosaic of who they are, or who they want their friends to think they are. Each piece of content they share has to fit into that mosaic.

Sharing for Different Reasons

Of course, Facebook users share content for different reasons. Sometimes, they are simply trying to entertain others. Sometimes they are looking to grow relationships, or else to define themselves in terms of a particular brand, style, or cause.

The first step toward getting more shares is to understand exactly what motivates people to share—the psychological factors that might compel a reader to make your company’s content a piece of his/her mosaic. Some of the big reasons why people share content include:

  1. It makes them look smart. Studies, high-quality blogs from industry publications, professional how-tos, glossy “think pieces”—some content just has an air of intelligence to it, and your readers may well want to be associated with that air.
  2. It lets them be useful. Some of the most successful Facebook pages we’ve seen have been—for lack of a better term—pages attached to mom blogs. Why? Because the content offered is 100 percent practical—tips, recipes, parenting strategies… stuff that you can share and know that it will be actionable to the people reading it.
  3. It makes them seem cool. Sometimes, people just want to post something with a provocative headline or an “inside info” vibe to it, because it makes them appear hip. There’s nothing wrong with that!

So how do you get social shares? There isn’t a trick to it. It all comes down to how well you understand these psychological motivations—and write content that plays right into them.

That’s where we come in. Reach out to Grammar Chic’s ace content writers today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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