Friday, November 30, 2012

How Even YOU Can Master PPC Campaign Management [TEMPLATE]

google ppc template
There aren’t many guarantees in life, and even fewer in marketing. But in the world of search engine marketing (SEM), using paid search (PPC) to rank on a search engine results page (SERP) for a given term comes pretty close. That’s why PPC is such good business for Google, which still generates 96% of its revenue through advertising -- because marketers know when they invest in PPC properly, they can get pretty close to guaranteed placement in the SERPs and help you generate leads.
The problem is, many marketers suffer from poor PPC campaign management, which ends up costing them way more money than they need to spend and delivering underwhelming lead generation results. So, how do you do PPC "properly" so you actually get leads at a reasonable cost? It comes down to intelligent campaign structure. And how do you master intelligent campaign structure? You use a template.
That's why we created a free PPC campaign management template that will help you -- or if you're an agency, the clients you're running campaigns for -- set up a full-funnel campaign structure that follows PPC best practices. Once you do that, you'll be better positioned to maximize the return on your PPC investment. We're going to show you how to use that PPC template in this blog post -- so download the template now so you can follow along with the explanation!
Bonus: If you're running PPC campaigns for someone who doesn’t understand the importance of good campaign structure, this template will also act as a deliverable that will enlighten your boss or clients.
Alright, got your template handy? Cool ... let's get started!

Tips for Using This Template

Before we get started, let's go over a few tips that'll make using this template even easier:
  • You will want to clear out the example data I have in the template such as keywords, campaign and AdGroup names, ads, and destination URLs. Unless, of course, you're running a fruit stand named after me.
  • Be careful not to erase columns E, G, and I. They contain formulas that will help you in subsequent steps.
  • Any red markers you see in the top corners of the cells contain helpful tips and FAQs -- if you ever forget what a cell is used for, those are good reminders.

Step 1: Understand PPC Campaign Structure

Before we actually do anything with this template, it's important we're all on the same page about PPC campaign structure. Far too many marketers ("too many" being defined as any number greater than 0) will just set up an account, create an ad, direct the ad to their home page, pick some keywords and hit go. This is not the way to do things.
With AdWords, you have the opportunity to create multiple campaigns. Each campaign may contain several AdGroups, and each AdGroup may contain a few ads and multiple, similar keywords. It's wise to create multiple campaigns because you can set daily budget caps, day-parting, and select geo-targeted regions at the campaign level. If you're bidding on generic keywords and branded keywords, you'll want to put these in separate campaigns because the economics around these two types of keywords will likely be very different. As you can see, your template reflects these best practices, providing space for several different campaigns, AdGroups, and ad variations within those AdGroups.

ad variations resized 600

Step 2: Identify Your Landing Pages

The "Destination URL" is the place on your website where you want the PPC traffic to end up. Because there is a marginal cost associated with each PPC visitor you attract, I recommend you choose a landing page URL as your destination URL. Do not drive them to your home page or a blog article in the hopes that they will stumble upon a lead generation form somewhere; that’s the job of organic search. Drive them to what we here at HubSpot define as a landing page, a web page with a form on it -- and don't forget to put in a tracking token so you know where these leads are coming from.

landing pages ppc resized 600

I know the big boys don’t always follow this rule, but the big boys also have millions of dollars in budget that needs to have evaporated at the end of the month. Make it easy on yourself and let your landing pages define your AdGroups and campaigns as you see in this template.
You will notice that, within an AdGroup, the Destination URL is the same regardless of the keyword or ad. If you really want to drive a keyword to a different landing page, then create another AdGroup -- or in the extreme, another campaign -- for that keyword.
You should also keep your sales funnel in mind when you identify these landing pages, and think about which part of the sales funnel each landing page and offer speaks to. For example, an educational PDF about an industry concept would be appropriate for a top-of-the-funnel offer, while a coupon or a demo would be at the bottom of the funnel. You will want to manage each part of the funnel separately, and therefore create separate campaigns. If you scroll down in your template, you'll see that there's dedicated space allotted for campaigns in all of these funnel stages.

ppc funnel resized 600

Step 3: Build Your Keyword Strategy

Next, you will select the keywords that are relevant to the landing page and offer. Make sure to keep them as relevant as possible to increase the chance that each visitor you pay for completes the form on the landing page. Yes, it would be nice to rank for certain keywords, but if the landing page doesn’t answer the keyword queried, think twice. Or better yet, create another offer and landing page that speaks more directly to the keyword.

ppc keywords resized 600

You can use free tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool or, if you're a HubSpot customer, our Keywords tool, to understand the actual search volumes and costs around each keyword you select. If you're running short on inspiration, these tools can help you think of other keywords to include in your campaign -- but always consider the costs of those suggested keywords and keep your economic interests in mind.
If this is your first time, it would be wise to read up on how to design a killer keyword strategy. And, in the case of AdWords, you could become a quick expert by becoming knowledgeable on the keyword quality score.

Step 4: Create Your Ads

This is the fun part! Both Google and Bing allow you to create more than one ad for each AdGroup (hence the "group" terminology) and the service will rotate them until it notices that one appears to drive a higher clickthrough rate (CTR). This is how A/B (and C and D) testing works. While it's optional, you should take advantage of the ability to create more than one ad.
Writing an ad is a bit like writing a haiku. There are character limits for each part, and it can be a little aggravating figuring out how to best complete the ad. You are allotted 25 characters for the title, 35 characters for the display URL -- the URL that's displayed in the ad, not to be confused with the destination URL -- and 35 characters for each line of copy. But if you're using this template, don’t worry about keeping track! The cell to the right of each ad component will count characters and turn red when you have gone over the limit. Handy, right?

adwords ad design resized 600

In my observation, the title has the greatest influence on an ad’s CTR. It's wise to include a keyword in the headline to draw a user’s attention to your ad. An even better practice would be to use dynamic keyword insertion. I find the copy to be less important, but you certainly can't just put gibberish in there. Search engines have editorial policies for what you can and cannot put in an ad, and they change it frequently, so it's your job to stay up to date on them. A good rule of thumb, however, is to simply try to provide a congruous experience for searchers -- from seeing your ad in the SERPs to completing the form on your landing page.

ppc ad resized 600

Finally, there's the tricky matter of the display URL. You're only allowed 35 characters here, but it's unlikely that your destination URL, the actual URL for your landing page, will be that short. So the search engines allow you to create a display URL, which may not even be an actual URL on your website. It is critical, however, that the domain in your display URL be the same as the domain in your destination URL.

Step 5: Share the Completed Template With a Decision Maker

Whether you're doing PPC for your business or a client, your completed template will ensure you're aligning the decision-maker’s expectations with the realities of a productive PPC campaign. If you're the decision maker, this template will help you really think about what you're doing with the money you're spending on PPC.
The end result is that you'll have created the sort of congruous user experience that search engines like to see. That can benefit you in terms of your positioning in the SERPs and, ultimately, your costs. It will also grant you the agility you need to swiftly reallocate and modify budget as you respond to changes in the marketplace, and the drive to maximize the return on your PPC spend.

6 Things to Consider About Facebook’s Newest Feature: Promoted Posts

ID 10054709 300x199 6 Things to Consider About Facebooks Newest Feature: Promoted PostsThe summer of 2012 will be remembered as a roller coaster ride for Facebook, weathering growing pains and declining stock values while still keeping up a spirit of optimism for their potential growth. The company’s disappointing IPO last May had some questioning whether the site could adapt and remain an enduring part of popular culture. In addition, when Facebook launched Timeline last year, some businesses were dissatisfied with the opportunities available for promoting their brands on the site.
With Timeline, Facebook created a clear distinction between how businesses and individuals can use the social networking site. While individuals share their personal information in a profile, companies promote their business on a page. Recent statistics suggest that, on average, only 17% of a company’s fans actually see the content that it posts on its page. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company have taken notice.
Facebook recently unveiled the concept of Promoted Posts, where businesses pay a fee to better ensure their posts will reach their intended audience. In October, Facebook extended that option to regular users at a cost of $7 per post, so anyone can now pay a fee to maximize the number of friends who see their posts. The information below assesses the introduction of Promoted Posts in the U.S. and contemplates what effect it will have on Facebook’s outlook for the future.

Ease of Use

Promoted Posts work like this:
  • Step 1: Users create a post.
  • Step 2: Then, they click the “sharing” tool.
  • Step 3: Then, they click the “promote” tab and agree to pay for the service.
It’s not rocket science, so users won’t have trouble adapting to the new service. Any backlash from users based on confusion or technical difficulty is unlikely.
Concern Over Cost
While users have become accustomed to enjoying all Facebook has to offer for free, Promoted Posts are a part of a larger strategy in which the site aims to generate much-needed revenue to make up for its recent shortcomings. Although $7 isn’t a fortune, for some small businesses, it’s not exactly pocket change either. It remains to be seen whether users will accept this concept after years of never having to pay for using Facebook.

Increased Predictability

gI 99754 Predictable Profits Football 6 Things to Consider About Facebooks Newest Feature: Promoted PostsMany people may be surprised to learn that only a portion of their Facebook friends actually see their normal posts. That may happen for a variety of reasons. For example, if people have thousands of friends, there could be too much activity to appear on their news feed, so some content posted by their friends gets omitted. In addition, if a friend is not logged in to Facebook when you post something, there is a chance it might not show up on their news feed. Promoted Posts prevent that problem and give users assurance that their friends will at least have the opportunity to view their posts. Promoted Posts are also more prominently displayed on friends’ news feeds, thus increasing the chances that your voice will be heard.

No Guarantees

While the advent of Promoted Posts gives users a way to increase their potential to grab friends’ or fans’ attention, paying for this kind of promotion is no guarantee. Users who want to maximize their investment will still need to focus on creating captivating content. Indeed, if your post has no character, its placement at the top of someone’s news feed likely won’t get you the results you intended.

Analytics Prove Value

ID 10068142 300x199 6 Things to Consider About Facebooks Newest Feature: Promoted PostsAnother important feature of Promoted Posts is that users paying for the service can track how effective their outreach efforts are. That is, Facebook provides users with statistics on how many friends viewed these posts so a user can actually objectively measure their promotional success.

Overt Promotion

Some Facebook users consider the site an entirely social experience, rejecting the commercial aspect that has all varieties of businesses trying to attract potential customers online. These purists may be turned off by the overt self-promotion available with Facebook’s new venture, finding the concept narcissistic and unnecessary. The underlying concern is that increased advertorial content within news feeds will ultimately drive average users away from the service to new social media alternatives.
Whether Promoted Posts will become a staple among the options available on Facebook remains unclear. What is crystal clear, however, is that Facebook’s management is willing to take risks and experiment in an effort to perfect its product. Therefore, as with other new features introduced over the last several years, expect Facebook to carefully watch how users react to this new addition.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Triple Your YouTube Video Views With Facebook

Do you want more people to watch your YouTube videos?
Are you looking for an easy way to improve the quality of the content you share on Facebook?
All you need is some great content and a cool Facebook technique that I recently discovered.

A Quick Overview

This technique lets you automatically attach your videos to the updates that appear on Facebook after someone likes content on your website.
By leveraging Facebook’s Open Graph and using this technique, I’ve seen phenomenal results!
I shared this tactic with a brand operating in the travel industry and they generated more than one million aggregated views of their product videos on YouTube (and significant website traffic) in a matter of weeks.
marmara open graph exposureBy integrating this Open Graph tactic, Marmara, a French travel company, generated 93K likes on its website, which in turn generated 13 million impressions of their videos in the Facebook newsfeed! Not to mention the 16K clicks they got back to their website. All in just 2 weeks and for free.

Using this technique, you can see in the image below that when you like an article on a blog, the story that’s automatically generated on Facebook for your friends to see already has a video embedded into it.
video sharing facebook offersWith this feature, each blog article that you write automatically shares a video of your choice.
This is a great way to boost the visibility of your YouTube channel! If you want to see this example live, you can click here.
And this video is ready to be clicked and played in the Facebook newsfeed, ticker or personal timeline of the person who liked your content.
This can be valuable to your business. It’s a very smooth way for you to combine useful and interesting content with a video showcasing your products or services!
Imagine how you can use this tactic to get your product videos shared automatically with useful content throughout the social web.
In this article you’ll learn how to use Facebook’s Open Graph to get more views of your videos on YouTube.
You’re also going to learn how to get everyone who likes your Facebook Page or one of your blog posts to automatically share one of your videos on Facebook.

Understanding the Open Graph

If you have a website or blog, you’ve probably already integrated social sharing buttons, and in particular the Facebook Like button on your site.
For this tactic, simply installing the Like button is only half of it; you must also insert Open Graph meta tags into the source code of your website or blog page to optimize the sharing of your content on Facebook.
These meta tags let you control the manner in which your web page is shared on Facebook when your visitor likes it, comments on it or sends it to friends via the Like, Comment and Send plugins provided by Facebook.
If you’re not familiar with Open Graph meta tags and their importance, I encourage you to watch Facebook’s video on the subject.
I also encourage you to consult the official Open Graph protocol page. There you’ll find out about all of the different meta tags, their uses, their functions and the advantages they give to your content.
Of course, if all that seems a bit too technical, don’t hesitate to hand over the reins to your agency or technical director.
But let’s continue so you can fully understand the role this tactic can play in your social media marketing and what it can mean for your business.
Here’s what you need to know.

#1: Understand the Anatomy of a Facebook Like Story

Once your Open Graph meta tags are integrated into your web page, you can control the way your content is displayed when it is shared using Facebook’s social plugins (Like, Comment, Send).
You need to think about the different sections of the post that automatically appear on Facebook when someone likes content on your website.
For example, here’s what the optimal sharing of a blog article would look like:
update that appears on facebookHere are the different sections of the update that appear on Facebook after someone likes your article.
By customizing each Open Graph meta tag in your content, you control the way it’s displayed on Facebook when someone likes it!
As you can see, the essential meta tags are the following:
  • The title of a shared page (meta property=”og:title” content=”Your title”)
  • Its description (meta property=”og:description” content=”Your description”)
  • Its URL (meta property =”og:url” content=”Your URL”).
  • The image illustrating this page (meta property =”og:image” content=”http://link_of_an_image.jpg”)
Below are the Open Graph meta tags for this article when I display the page’s HTML source code. To access the HTML source code of any web page, just right-click on it and select View Source. You’ll then have access to the HTML code of the page you are viewing.
open graph meta tagsHere are the Open Graph meta tags needed for this technique.
When the meta tags are entered correctly and a visitor clicks Like on your web page, the content is automatically and properly displayed on Facebook.
You’ll find out how to use this technique below.

#2: How It Works

If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand photos! This is especially true in the case of a Facebook newsfeed story generated by a Like of a web page.
Let’s compare the two Facebook Like Stories below:
image vs video displayThe Facebook post on the top has a photo, and the post on the bottom has a video embedded in it that is ready to play.
Depending on how you use Facebook’s social share buttons and Open Graph meta tag code, the same Like can generate two different posts on Facebook: one with a single 200-pixel–wide picture, or one with the same picture but with an embedded video!
These two posts correspond to the same action: a click of the Like button on a web page for a product—in this example, a vacation resort. But in the first case, the action displays a 200-pixel–wide image. The second displays, within that same image, a Play button for a video. As you can guess, viewers are more inclined to click on that image if it displays a video Play button.
This is the primary difference between these two posts, but it doesn’t stop there.
You see, the simple act of clicking on the Play button immediately shows a video, without having to leave the post. As a savvy marketer, you’ll know how to use this to your advantage to market your business.
This technique makes it very easy for marketers to have a useful product video appear inside the Facebook update about liked content. With the right content mix, this can be a strong marketing strategy.
video display when you clickClick on the Play icon located on the picture and you will automatically watch a video showcasing the product that you liked: a vacation resort.
For a vacation resort, a one-minute video highlighting all of the destination’s attractions has a larger impact than a 200-pixel–wide image.
But a tactic like this is not just for vacation resorts. It can be very useful for a number of products.
In the case of a blog, you can use this tactic to enrich Facebook posts when a person likes one of your articles.
For example, if you have video tutorials introducing the functions of your products or showing them in action, you can use these videos to highlight products related to the content in your blog articles.
How this works.
Here’s an example of how I used this.
  1. I wrote an article introducing the different page administrator roles created by Facebook, discussing their advantages and limitations.
  2. I created a video tutorial demonstrating how AgoraPulse offers richer admin role management features than the ones offered by Facebook.
Then I set things up to automatically attach and display my video when my article is liked and therefore shared on Facebook.
newsfeed view after clickThis is how the update appears in Facebook when someone likes my article published on my website.
It’s easy to increase the value of a blog article by attaching a video. This makes your content much more attractive.
Each time a reader likes this blog article, it automatically shares a video tutorial explaining how to manage Facebook Page admin roles with the aid of a Facebook Page management software tool.
This way, you have the best of both worlds: interesting content + relevant product promotion.
What makes this tactic so effective is that the Like automatically shares the video in Facebook, not only in the newsfeed:
newsfeed view before clickNewsfeed before the click.
But also the ticker:
ticker viewThe ticker view.
And even on the personal timeline of the author:
profile viewThe profile view.
Do you want to see this in action for yourself? It’s easy. Simply go to this blog article, click Like and then go to your Facebook profile to see the result.
Are you interested in doing this on your website? Here’s how to set it up.

#3: Use a Plugin to Add the Meta Tags

It’s easy to get each click of the Like button on your website to automatically share and display a video on Facebook. You just need to add two additional Open Graph meta tags after the existing tags in the code of your page.
As you’ve seen above, the minimum necessary meta tags are the following:
meta property=”og:title” content=”Your title”
meta property=”og:description” content=”Your description”
meta property =”og:url” content=”Your URL”
meta property =”og:image” content=”http://link_of_an_image.jpg”
Simply add these two meta tags:
meta property=”og:video” content=”http://link_of_your_video” /
meta property=”og:video:type” content=”application/x-shockwave-flash” /
So, how do you do all this? It depends on your situation:
  • If your site was created by an independent contractor and you don’t have access to the source code, you need to ask the contractor to integrate the meta tags.
  • If you created your site with WordPress, you can customize the Open Graph meta tags of your pages (and of each blog article) yourself using specific plugins.
If your website was created with WordPress, you can use a plugin called Like-Button-Plugin-For-WordPress, which allows the customization of Open Graph data. However, I’ve seen two other plugins that provide the same result: Open Graph Protocol in Posts and Pages and Social Graph Protocol.
Each of these three plugins lets you easily add the meta tags you need to share your videos with each Like on the pages of your site or blog.
wordpress open graph pluginSpecific WordPress plugins will allow you to personalize the Open Graph meta tags for each page or blog article.
The only field you really need to fill in is the video link. Facebook will take care of the size and video type.

#4: Where to Host Your Videos and How to Share YouTube Videos

To display a video on the web, it has to be hosted somewhere on the web. You’ll be in one of these two situations: either you host the video file on your own servers, or you use a self-service video hosting service such as YouTube.
1. If you host the video on your own servers, you must host the file in the .SWF format. Be careful not to host the file in .FLV or any other traditional video format, as the video player that works with Facebook will not read it.
Then you simply need to set the Open Graph meta tag value as the URL of the .SWF file that you previously put online.
open graph meta tags-1Insert the link to your self-hosted .SWF video file here if you use the Like Button plugin for WordPress, for example.
2. If you prefer to use YouTube to host your videos, you’ll need to follow these steps:
  • In a web browser, navigate to the YouTube page with your video.
  • In the URL, identify the YouTube ID of your video. This is the series of letters and numbers found between the “=” and the “&” symbols of the URL. In the following case,, the ID of the video is “dlQasgOjaxU“.
  • Insert this ID into the following URL:[yourID]
    youtube full screen videoOnce you have your new URL format, insert it in your browser to test it out. If the URL is right, the video should be displayed full screen (and fit your entire browser window).
  • Add this URL to your Open Graph meta tags and you’re all set!
    wordpress open graph pluginInsert the link to your YouTube-hosted video here if you use the Social Graph Protocol Plugin, for example.

#5: Track the Statistics of Your YouTube Videos

If you’ve opted for hosting your videos on YouTube (something I strongly recommend), you’ll also have a clear advantage with access to your YouTube statistics.
You’ll be able to see the number of views your video has on Facebook!
The good news is that YouTube offers an impressive amount of statistical data on your videos, including details about the sources for views when videos are embedded on third-party sites like Facebook. This is great to evaluate the effectiveness of one source versus another.
The bad news is that the source statistics of a view are complicated to find on YouTube. To make it easy for you to find, here’s a short screencast:
And there you have it! I hope you’re inspired to use this technique to come up with creative campaigns and make the most of the potential visibility offered by Facebook!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My 30 Day Fitness Challenge

You all know I'm into Fitness right? The first post I mentioned about this was back on Fri, Nov 16, here's the link to it...

Well, I'm almost done with my 30 Day Challenge. The next goal is my 60 Day Challenge, which I start on the 1st of Dec., so those of you who love fitness as much as I do, stick around! It's going to get interesting.

Here's a link to my 30 Day Challenge video list, so you can watch from start to finish!

Feel free to subscribe, comment, like or whatever. Get involved and get great tips to help keep you feeling great and energetic, especially if you're over 30...let me motivate you like you've never been before. A real person you've all come to know through the internet, showing you real results without any hype.

5 Tips for Effectively Managing a LinkedIn Group

Are you currently managing your own LinkedIn group?
Are you considering launching a LinkedIn group?
Keep reading for five tips on how to better manage LinkedIn groups.

Why Start a LinkedIn Group?

Building a LinkedIn group around a specific cause or niche topic can provide many business benefits.  You could:
  • Build more awareness with your target markets
  • Position you and/or your company as an industry thought leader
  • Nurture valuable industry relationships
  • Showcase and highlight your own thought leadership content
  • Generate interest and inquiries for your company
  • Convert group members to subscribers and advocates for your brand
As you can see, there are many good reasons to start a LinkedIn group, but it can be very helpful to have some guidelines for managing a successful group after you launch.

If you’re unsure about best practices for launching a successful LinkedIn group, you may want to revisit these Tips for Launching and Building a Thriving LinkedIn Group for the basics.
This article focuses primarily on helping you learn how to successfully manage a LinkedIn group.
Learning how to manage your own LinkedIn group effectively will also help you discover other well-managed LinkedIn groups to participate in. This can make all the difference in the world with regard to your experience.

5 Tips for Effectively Managing a LinkedIn Group

Currently I manage a LinkedIn group that has over 3200 members with hundreds of new requests to join each month. From this experience, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about how to manage a group effectively to keep members happy and make sure the group is free from spam and clutter!

#1: Review Your LinkedIn Group Name and Description

The name you give your group and the description you provide are critical to attracting the right members. You want to make sure that you use keywords in the title and description of your group, because these will show up in LinkedIn group searches. (They will also be indexed by Google.)
You have approximately 48 characters for your LinkedIn group “title” that will show up in LinkedIn group search results.
For your LinkedIn group description, use words to encourage potentially interested members to click-through and learn more about joining your group. This is an important differentiator for standing out from your competitors in the group search results.
As you will see in the image below, someone who finds this group via LinkedIn or Google search must apply to join. This creates the perception of exclusivity. It means that not everyone is let into the group.
Remember, people love to feel special.
For your group description, approximately the first 140 characters will show up in search results.
complelling descriptionUse a compelling description to encourage people to join your group.

#2: Create a Strict Group Policy

LinkedIn allows group owners to craft a policy that contains the rules that they want the group to follow. It is important to create group rules that are both firm and clear. Do not assume that everyone will read your group rules.
The image below is a snapshot of my LinkedIn group policy. Notice that it is very specific and clear about what the expectations are.
strict group rulesExample of a firm and clear LinkedIn group rules policy.
To ensure your group rules catch on and stick with members, you must reiterate them frequently and in multiple places.
For example, summarize your group rules in your initial LinkedIn group welcome message that goes out to new members.
Also consider posting and highlighting an occasional discussion as a reminder of what is acceptable in the group. Sending an announcement message to members reiterating your rules might also be necessary from time to time.
As you will see in the image below, I’ve had to be very firm in what is acceptable to post in my group.
group policyHighlight your group policy in the Manager's Choice area.
Members will appreciate and respect this and will likely share comments to confirm this. Don’t be afraid to make a bold statement about your rules and highlight them as your Manager’s Choice discussion.
No one appreciates spam, and LinkedIn groups that are poorly managed can be overtaken by spam, unfortunately.

#3: Screen New Members AND Member Discussion Posts

A big key to managing a successful group is to moderate who can get in as well as what can be posted.
As you can see from my group description in tip #1, you can choose to pre-approve every single new member. Pre-approving members who want to join your group does take time, but it is extremely important if you want to build a quality group!
Here are some quick tips to decide who can join your LinkedIn group:
  • Make sure they have a picture on their LinkedIn profile.
  • Make sure they fit your specific criteria for group membership (i.e., location, job description, etc.).
  • Make sure they have been a LinkedIn member for at least 30 days (LinkedIn will alert you to brand-new members).
In order to help with this process, take advantage of LinkedIn’s automated email templates (see image below) to clearly explain your process for granting admission to the group, as well as your expectations of group members.
You can use LinkedIn email templates to send a pre-written message to those who have requested to join and are awaiting approval and those to whom you decline membership.
You can also send a pre-written welcome message to new members who have been approved.
message templatesCraft clear messaging templates to auto-send on your behalf.
Should you moderate group discussion posts?
Moderating what gets posted to your group can also be effective to maintain quality and keep the group on topic. If you choose not to pre-approve discussions before they are posted to the group, you will want to monitor the posted discussions closely to make sure they are aligned with your policy.
If a member continues to post content that you deem to be non-relevant or overly promotional, you can either send them a warning or remove them from your group altogether, depending on what your group rules state.
Should you allow your direct competitors to post in your LinkedIn group?
Be careful about this. There may be some benefit to working with a competitor who has a related, well-managed LinkedIn group. However, be aware of those who are more interested in gaining exposure to the members of your group for marketing purposes rather than the well-being of your group!

#4: Use the Group Announcements Feature

With the LinkedIn Group Announcements feature, you can send up to one announcement per week directly to the email inboxes of your members.
This is a great opportunity to share helpful content and encourage members to subscribe to your blog, invite them to attend a webinar or download a free guide that you’ve put together.
The key to running a successful campaign using the group announcements feature is to craft a compelling subject line. The email will actually come from LinkedIn, and many of us receive numerous emails from LinkedIn each day. Therefore you will need a great headline to make your group announcement stand out.
send announcementSend group announcements with compelling subject lines to stand out.
Additionally, be careful about abusing this privilege as many group owners do. Mix up your messages and don’t send a call to action every time. Consider alternating between value messages that are helpful or informative and specific calls to action.

#5: Lead Your Group

Of the five tips, this is the most important. Someone needs to actually lead the group. If you represent a big brand or larger company, choose a spokesperson who can be the face of the group and spend time being involved in the group.
If you’re a small business owner, you should be the face of your group.
How can you lead your LinkedIn group?
Lead your group by becoming one of its most active members. By being active in your own group and positioning yourself as the leader of your group, members will get to know and trust you. Do not expect your group to lead itself.
lead your groupLead your group by being engaged and vocal!
Here are some recommendations for how you can lead your group:
  • Post a weekly discussion—share your own thought leadership insights as well as valuable content that you discover online.
  • Post a weekly question.
  • Comment on existing discussions (this will almost always create activity).
  • Encourage engagement through questions and feedback requests.
  • Run LinkedIn Polls within your group.
LinkedIn group activity does go out to members in a weekly email digest. The more interesting and relevant the discussions are in your group, the more likely your members will be to open that email and get engaged.
If you follow these LinkedIn group management tips, you will build and grow a very high-quality group. It will require a commitment from you or a team member to stay on top of managing the group on a weekly or daily basis, but the outcome will be very rewarding!
Your members will also appreciate the quality of your group, and they won’t be hesitant to share your group with friends, colleagues and connections.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Viral Videos: How to Create and Promote Videos People Love

Do you struggle to create and promote videos?
Are you wondering how to make videos that go viral?
To learn about the creative process of coming up with video ideas and making them happen, I interview Mark Malkoff for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael StelznerThe Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.
It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).
In this episode, I interview Mark Malkoff, a comedian and filmmaker.
Mark shares his love and passion for creating videos and several amazing stories behind his viral videos.
You’ll learn about his process for creating video and how to get traction.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSSStitcher or Blackberry.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Video Creation and Promotion

Mark has created several viral videos and has been featured on many television shows. You’ll hear about the stories behind these videos and what he accomplished to get this media attention.

Mark shares how he grew up in love with comedy, the path he took before he started making videos and how he started making viral videos. Mark describes himself as a comedian at heart and the biggest comedy nerd. He feels that his love for comedy shines through in his work.
The stories behind Mark’s videos
You’ll hear the story behind Mark’s first very successful video: the 171 Starbucks mentioned above. This is when he visited and consumed purchases at all 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours.
Just after this 171 Starbucks story, Mark approached IKEA with a project of living and working in an IKEA store for a week. And after 2 months of being persistent, they agreed.

Mark’s IKEA story brought the most publicity in the USA in the history of IKEA as a company. And IKEA ended up winning the PR Week of the Year Award for the campaign. But to Mark, it was all about the video content and his videos on this project got 1.8 million views.
Listen to the show to discover the secrets behind his success.
The goals behind Mark’s videos
You’ll learn how Mark’s goal is simply to do things that make him laugh and challenge him. Sometimes brands are involved and sometimes they aren’t.
Mark tells the story of when he got carried across New York City by 155 individuals, 9.4 miles in 11-degree weather.

The aim of this video was to prove to the world that New Yorkers are nice. The video was a success.
Sometimes brands come to him and other times he has to knock on their doors.
kodak mark malkoff1Kodak is a great example of a brand that Mark has worked with.
Listen to the show to find out why Ford Motor Company was one of the best brands Mark has worked with. 
The process of creating a viral video
Mark shares his process to come up with ideas for the videos he makes. You’ll learn how he goes from the ideas to creating a video project. And you’ll probably be surprised by the amount of research and training involved behind the scenes for Mark’s videos.
Mark shares his experience of having hours of video and trying to tell the story in a short video for YouTube.
Listen to the show to find out how he tests his videos.
The story in the video
Mark explains how it’s his own curiosity that resonates with his audience.
The story behind the Apple Store Challenge was to see what he could get away with in the Apple store. The video got over 1 million views on YouTube. Parts of the challenge included taking a goat into the store, ordering a pizza to be delivered there, dressing up as Darth Vader to get his iPhone repaired and a date night for him and his wife.
the apple store challengeMark has his pizza delivered to the Apple store.
Listen to the show to hear why Mark decided to do a video where he raced a New York City bus on a child’s Big Wheel.
How to get traction and be seen
Mark shares how things have changed in getting traction for videos and how it comes down to momentum.
He will spend a week working on a media plan before the video is due to be released. He targets whom the video should go to; for example, The Huffington Post, CNN and Fox News. He finds that personally emailing individual journalists with a great headline helps grab attention.
Many sites are looking for content. BuzzFeed is a popular comedy site. All you need is a few sites to embed your video and it starts to spread. Mark says it’s not just journalists but individuals who have spread his videos through Twitter, Facebook and by email.
Listen to the show to hear what happened when he sent a video to a person he knew at CNN.
Common pitfalls
Mark sees some people approaching videos like a lottery. They put their videos up on YouTube and then sit back waiting for them to go viral. But you need to be proactive. It’s not all about luck.
You have to put in significant effort to spread your video around. Mark explains that you need to try to keep your video to 3 minutes or shorter in length.
Follow these steps to create your video:
  1. Stand out
  2. Be original. Don’t copy others.
  3. Use your resources.
  4. Have a brainstorming session with friends and family.
  5. Put videos up once you have had advice from others.
  6. Really think about who your audience is.
  7. Do your research and then try to get to those people.
Listen to the show to hear why the first 20-30 seconds of your video are super-important.
Mark’s tip
Mark’s top tip is to race people to your idea and do it before them. He discovered in the past that people beat him to the idea.
Some of his video ideas have been expensive and brands have had to come on board and spend money.
Listen to the show to hear Mark’s story of living on a plane for a month.

Shout Out

If you find the holiday season a chaotic time, I recommend a podcast called Beyond the To Do List by Erik Fisher.
Erik interviews people from different walks of life and talks to them about how they organize their day and life. You’re sure to pick up some awesome tips on how to get through this holiday season.
beyond the to do listBeyond the To Do List is a great place to pick up some tips.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know if you picked up any awesome tips.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Getting The Most Out Of Pinterest

Do you want to get more from your Pinterest marketing?
Are you looking to get more traffic, pins and repins?
If you want to make the most of Pinterest, you need to create images.
A great image can increase traffic, get you more pins and repins and improve your presence on Pinterest.
Below are 5 tips to help you create a Pinterest-friendly image.

#1: Use Relevant Labels on Your Images

Great Pinterest marketing starts with the images you publish on your blog or website. One of the first things you need to do is use a relevant label for the images you publish.
When someone pins an image from your website or blog post, the label that automatically appears in the description is the name you give your image. When you give your image a good name, it’ll automatically have a good description when someone pins it.
If someone pins your image without changing the image description, your image will still be effective.
Instead of labeling your image as Image 1 or Image 2 (or any other random name), label your image with a relevant name, specific to your image.
It’s worth taking the time to do this, at least for the most prominent images on your site.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post and you have several images, you can give the cover image the same name as your blog post. If possible, you can also label the other main images in the post with names relevant to the title of your post.
label cover imageAlways label your cover/first image.
A great example is the post “How to Add Facebook Comments to Your Blog” by Francisco Rosales on SocialMouths. If you take a look at the cover image, it has the same name as the title of the post.
image nameThe image name will appear in the description.
Try it. Visit the post, pin the image and see what appears in the description. The label of the image is the same as the title of the blog post. And if you visit other posts on this blog, you’ll probably find a relevantly labeled cover image as well. These images will have a good description when pinned on Pinterest.
So always make sure you label your images.

#2: Write a Text Message on Top of Your Image

You can add a text message onto your image. This means your images will have their descriptions with them all the time.
If you visit the popular section on Pinterest, you’ll notice that most of the images have a description in the description box, directly on the image itself or on both.
A plain image by itself might not always make sense. But if you add a description, people immediately understand what the image is about.
write a message on imageIf possible, write a message on the image.
In the example above, Wong Ching Ya wrote “19+ Facebook Timeline Features and Resources You Should Know!” on the cover image of the article. When you come across this pin on Pinterest, you immediately know what the post is about thanks to the image. You won’t even have to read the description.
A great tool for adding text to images and screenshots is Snagit from TechSmith and a free alternative is Gimp.

#3: Add a Logo or Name to Your Image

When you add your business name, website or logo, you’re also making your images more effective. You could also add other text on your images, such as your Twitter handle.
This way if your image is pinned onto another Pinterest board, everyone knows who created it and others will find your site and your social media profiles.
add website addressAdding the website address to your pins can increase traffic.
A great example of this is Sevenly. When you visit their board Inspirational Image Quotes, you notice that the pins have the link to their website Sevenly with the quote on the image.
sevenly pinWhen you look at the above image, you instantly know the source and the artist who created it.
Just take a look at the above pin. When you see the pin, you instantly know who created the image, even if you find it under another Pinterest profile.

#4: Ask People to Pin Your Images

Some people decide to use Pinterest cautiously to avoid possible copyright issues. You can learn more about this issue by reading this post by Kirsten Kowalski. They’re still waiting for Pinterest to fix the issue.
You can make it easy for others to share your images by asking them to pin your image. For example, you could display a message such as “Feel free to pin,” “Feel free to share on Pinterest,” etc. This way, others are more likely to share your images.
This might also increase the number of pins and repins you get. Studies show that Facebook posts get more likes when you ask people to like and more retweets on Twitter when they’re asked to retweet a tweet. Similarly, if you ask others to pin or repin your images, they might listen to you.
ask for retweetsAsking for pins and repins might get you more of them.

#5: Keep Your Descriptions Between 200 and 300 Characters

It’s not only important to create fantastic images for your website and blog, it’s also important to pin your image with a description and share it with your followers on Pinterest.
length of descriptionKeep the length of your descriptions between 200 and 300 characters.
Make sure you write descriptions that are between 200 and 300 characters long. A study by Dan Zarrella shows that pins with descriptions around 200 characters long get more pins and repins.
So put some work into each of your pins and write good descriptions. A good description that tells the story behind the image can capture followers and make your pins more shareable.
Use these tips to create images that will be shared repeatedly on Pinterest.