Monday, 31 October 2016

A Step by Step Guide to Getting Verified on Social Media


Managing social media accounts for your business can seem like a lackluster and tedious job. But the benefits of having a social presence across multiple platforms can really make a difference in how you connect with your audience. One way you can ease that social networking process is by seeking out social media verification for your business or personal account. It can significantly help with influence, consumer trust, and networking while also giving your brand an extra element of authority.

Verification started with Twitter, and the addition of the feature was pretty subtle. Its initial purpose was to flag celebrity accounts, but it has since evolved into a means for brands and influencers alike to outwardly authenticate their accounts.

Benefits of Being Verified on Social Media

It gives you credibility among your users. This is especially true for businesses targeting a younger crowd, because they’re likely to pay attention to who’s who on social media. Having that little blue verification badge helps convey the image that your brand is an authority figure worth following.

It eliminates the threat of copycat accounts. Granted, this is probably an issue that affects more celebrities and high end brands than it does the average business. But if you do happen to be a highly influential brand or individual, there are likely some users who would want to use the brand or influencer name in order to gain more followers, facilitate scams, and potentially even destroy reputation. Having a verified lets everyone know which account is the real deal.

The benefits are simple but impactful, and the process of social media verification is a painless process across most major platforms. Take a look at how it’s done.

Facebook for Influencers

FB_Tswift A Step by Step Guide to Getting Verified on Social Media

  • First make sure that the Facebook page is ready to roll. The “About” section should be completely filled out and with an updated profile picture. If your Facebook page (or really any social media account) doesn’t have regular posts and engagement, there’s really no point in verifying it.
  • Once you’ve gotten the nuts and bolts of your Facebook page squared away, go to Facebook’s “Request a Verified Badge” form, choose the type of page you’re verifying, and provide the necessary information.
    • You’ll need a digital copy of a government ID to submit as well as a link to your official website.

It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for Facebook to process your request, so be patient.

Facebook for Businesses

FB_patagonia A Step by Step Guide to Getting Verified on Social Media

  • After ensuring that your Facebook page is appropriately updated, select Settings at the top of your business page.
  • Then, General>Page Verification>Verify this Page>Get Started
  • Enter the public information for your business (phone #, language, country, etc.)
  • Click “Call Me Now” and Facebook will call with a verification code. Once you have it, enter the 4-digit verification code and continue.

Business page verification on Facebook typically only takes a few days.


twitter_samponder A Step by Step Guide to Getting Verified on Social Media

Twitter approves “account types maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.” If you don’t fit into those categories, you really have no reason to verify your account. But if you do fit these criteria, get some verification tips from Twitter and follow these steps:

  • Again, make sure your profile information is fully updated. This includes contact information, pictures, “About” information, etc. Your tweets must also be set to public in order to be verified.
  • Submit your formal verification request on Twitter here.
  • Fill out the form with the standard information and tell Twitter why you deserve a little blue checkmark in 500 characters or less.

Turnover time for Twitter verification requests is about a week.


Insta_kimk A Step by Step Guide to Getting Verified on Social Media

Instagram is much more selective with who can be verified on their platform. Per the rules of the ‘Gram, “accounts representing well-known figures and brands are verified because they have a high likelihood of being impersonated.”

So, if you’re lucky enough to be a celebrity or big deal brand, Instagram will contact you and let you know. If not, there’s not a lot you can do. In the meantime:

  • Work on building your following and posting engaging material that users will respond well to.
  • Ensure that your profile contains as much relevant information as possible (it’ll help make it look official without being verified).

While social media verification can definitely be a positive way to legitimize your brand’s presence, it’s also important to remember that having a little blue badge next to your name isn’t everything. Always remember to focus on making your social media accounts-both business and personal-worth verification. That’s how you’ll gain followers, drive engagement, and maintain an impactful online presence.


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Monday, 24 October 2016

Why Visuals Should Dominate Your Marketing Strategy


The power of visuals within the context of content marketing cannot be overstated. In fact, so important is the presence of visuals with your blog posts, content strategies, and marketing campaigns that, moving forward, it would be in everyone’s interest to have visuals dominate marketing strategy.

Visuals have the capacity to grab user attention in a faster, more effective manner than a block of text. That’s why it should come as no surprise that content with relevant images gets 94% more views, and that colored visuals increase reader willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. More and more, emphasis is being placed on reaching users by creating visual content.
visual-content Why Visuals Should Dominate Your Marketing Strategy

As the holidays approach and your content marketing efforts ramp up, try mixing in more visuals. Here are a few ideas on how to get started.

  1. Create an infographic.

If you have a piece of content that’s dense with facts, statistics, and research, you can easily turn some of that into an infographic. Infographics are a great way to condense heavy material into more manageable pieces. 90% of the information the brain receives is visual, which is why infographics tend to perform so well. Plus, they’re easy to create using online tools such as Canva.

  1. Bring more color to your website and posts.

The color harmony, theme, and representation on your website and in your posts can really make a difference on how users respond to your pages, interact with your website, and how much time they spend there. Customers form an opinion about products within 90 seconds, and research has shown that anywhere from 62-90% of that impression is determined by color alone. Make sure your use of color is consistent, effective, and deliberate.

  1. Populate posts with relevant images.

If you’re talking about a specific process or trying to explain something to users, posting visual examples can really help. For example, if you’re demonstrating how to use a certain tool, you can take screenshots to walk users through the process (like this!). Or if you’re commenting on a specific event or piece elsewhere online, you can provide a visual point of reference within your own piece.

The bottom line is that visuals have become more of a necessity rather than just a good idea. In order to remain competitive and compelling among users, try implementing the use of visuals into your content strategy.

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Friday, 21 October 2016

The Content Strategy Many Blogs Overlook


Business blogs can be a lot of work to maintain, especially if you’re focused on producing quality information your readers can use. But you might just be sitting on a gold mine of content creation that could help populate your blog with useful and relevant content. I’m talking about putting content in the hands of your employees, and this is why.

Your employees know the ins and outs of your business and have the experience and insight necessary to share their ideas, tips, tricks, and lessons they’ve learned along the way. At most businesses, there are employees who run the same operations or services every day, making them an expert in their field. As a blog manager or business owner, you can capitalize on that experience by enlisting the content efforts of those employees and produce even more content than you already had planned. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

1. Incentivize content creation.

I would love to say that employees will happily write a blog post or produce content in addition to their other daily tasks for free, but that’s unlikely. But a great way to get the ball rolling on this content strategy is to incentivize the creation process. Adding an extra perk, such as a cash bonus, extra time off, or a free lunch can prompt employees to chase the reward. More often than not, your employees will already have something they want to say, and giving them the extra incentive can do the trick.

2.  Embrace unique content.

You really can’t encourage employees to contribute to the business blog and then tell me what they’ve created isn’t the right kind of content. Instead, play to the strengths of your employees by embracing and tailoring what they have to offer to fit onto your blog. Not all blog posts have to be an article. They could be images, videos, graphics, white papers, Q&A, etc. Every employee will have something different to offer, so give an open set of guidelines and work with them.

3. Showcase their work.

Everyone wants to add to their personal brand, even if it’s in a way as simple as adding a skill to their LinkedIn profile. Showing your employees how this can benefit their professional experience and build their portfolio will help motivate them to put that extra effort into creating a piece of content. And, as a business owner, you can (and probably should) offer to link to their online profiles to boost their own personal traffic.


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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Which Matters More: Facebook Reviews or Google Reviews?


Every good business owner knows how important reviews are, especially when it comes to recruiting new customers through the testimonials of existing customers. A 2014 study by BrightLocal revealed that 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and that figure has likely increased since then. Collecting online reviews is an important part of business practice, and it can drastically improve local SEO as well as rapport.

But with so many possible channels to try and collect reviews through, determining which platforms will be most useful in showcasing customer reviews can get tricky, and that leads to a lot of questions. Where should you direct customers to when they want to post a review? Where do you tell potential customers to check out reviews?

There are tons of review sites online, but a major problem is that almost none of them are set up to display the reviews on one another. In other words, in order for your customers to get the full picture of your business, they’d have to visit all the sites with posted reviews.

With the exception of Yelp, more and more users are using Google and Facebook as their primary review platforms (Yelp is a beast of its own as it requires users to have accounts and complicates the review process). The challenge then becomes choosing a platform to channel your review efforts towards and using those reviews to enhance your brand. Let’s take a look at A) where Google and Facebook’s review functions differ and B) how you can use them as a business owner.


Google reviews are an important part of local SEO. For example, if I’m in a new city and want to eat somewhere, I might search “Mexican restaurants near me” from my phone. I’m likely to factor a couple things into my decision: the distance the restaurant is from me, and the number of stars it’s given based on the reviews other customers have left. In fact, that’s how the majority of mobile searches work.

Having more content for you business on Google is never a bad thing, and as they’ve continued to tweak their review component, it’s become easier and easier for businesses to encourage customers to leave reviews.


Despite Google’s dominance as the content king, studies have shown that many users prefer leaving reviews on Facebook. An increasing number of people use Facebook as a one-stop-shop content source, because they can get their news, shopping, and social fix all in one platform.

The nice thing about having your customers leave their reviews on Facebook is that it’s really easy to interact with them and have a larger group see it. Plus, it factors into Google, so you’re not losing any content value.

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Why You Need to Cast a Bigger Content Net


It can be really discouraging to constantly write about the same things over and over again. But when you’re working to become an expert and authority on a certain topic, writing about other things can feel counter-productive to that goal. After all, why would I write about animals or fitness when I’m trained in digital marketing? But writing about the same things over and over isn’t the greatest idea either. It can lead you straight into sloppy, burnt out writing.

In fact, many people understand and experience the hazards of excessively writing within their niche, and even more practice and encourage writing about a broad range of topics. Here’s why.

  1. You can give your brain a break.

If you continuously write about the same things over and over, you’ll wear yourself-and your interest level in the subject-down to a nub. Writing outside your niche gives your brain a chance to think about different topics from other angles, refreshing your creativity and allowing yourself breathing room from your industry.

Plus, it’s much easier to come up with read-worthy things to say when you invest yourself in an array of topics as opposed to just one.

  1. You’ll reach more people.

Volume can spike significantly when you stray from your core topic. For example, an SEO expert might guest blog about experiences and ideas regarding social intelligence, management best practices, or time management tips. Those topics aren’t exactly about SEO, but they all speak to a different part of an experience that a broader group of people can relate to.

You can use writing outside your niche to draw the attention of more people, therein building a following of users you might not have reached otherwise.

How to Get Started

So, now that you’ve decided casting a bigger content net is the next step for your content marketing strategy, how do you go about making that happen?

First and foremost, start with research and critical thinking. Don’t just choose any random topic and start writing about it. Think about other areas you have some knowledge in and the kind of audience it attracts, and ask yourself what you can gain by writing there.

From there, try and make some connections. Writing on other blogs is a great way to give your brain a break from your own blog while also reaching more people. Collaborating with other bloggers is also an effective way to brainstorm, come up with new ideas, and strategize.

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Friday, 14 October 2016

How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter


Some businesses don’t take Snapchat all that seriously, because it’s been labeled the quintessential millennial app, and I get it. Why invest time into fleeting and impermanent marketing? But with more than 100 million daily active users, the reach of the platform is undeniable. And, as it remains separate from the ownership of Facebook, Snapchat maintains its independence and relevance from other major platforms.

Embracing Snapchat helps bolster brand personality and fuel creativity, showcasing the image behind your brand. One of the best and easiest ways you can utilize that is through the use of Snapchat Geofilters. Whether it’s for your business, a special event, or a promotion, you can engage snapchat users and catch their interest through the use of a flashy geofilter.

But wait, why would I want to make a Snapchat Geofilter?

Geofilters plug users into brands, events, and locations, and it’s also a great way to generate brand exposure. Let’s say your restaurant is having a grand opening, and you’ve designed a Snapchat filter for it. The customers who attend the grand opening will see the filter and use it to post snaps, therein endorsing your restaurant to all their followers. It’s a detail that makes a difference for your event, celebration, or promotion.

Step 1: Make your filter.

You can get started on your geofilter by logging in here. The first part of the process will look like this:

step1 How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

For the sake of this demonstration, I designed myself a birthday filter using one of Snapchat’s many templates. However, you can make your own geofilter by using your favorite design software (Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) or use one of Snapchat’s predesigned templates.

bdayfilter How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

Step 2: Set your date details. 

Choose the specific dates and times for you Snapchat geofilter availability:

snapcalendar How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

Step 3: Set your location details. 

Draw the fence your geofilter will appear within:

geofence How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

When setting the parameters of your fence, keep in mind that it must be an area of at least 20,000 square feet, and the price will auto-adjust accordingly.

Step 4: Finalize. 

Lastly, you’ll have to pay and submit your filter for approval.

snappmt How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter

Assuming it’s appropriate and properly done, Snapchat will approve it and send a confirmation email in a timely fashion. After that, you can see expect your filter on the dates you specified. It really is as simple as it sounds, and it’s sure to bring an element of detail and fun to your marketing strategy!

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Monday, 10 October 2016

How To Use Facebook Live for your Business


Facebook is constantly rolling out new features and updates, many which enhance user experience while also facilitating advertising and e-commerce activity. As the platform continues to enhance the intersection of recreational communication and business interactions, the latest available features provide outlets for improved communication and challenges in creativity for the 50 million-ish active businesses on Facebook.

The latest of these features is Facebook Live, which are real-time video posts. Live videos are published by friends you follow, publications, celebrities, and any person or establishment with a valid Facebook account. Users also have the option of subscribing to certain users and/or businesses to receive notifications whenever a given account live streams.

While this feature has been available for a while now, many businesses are still not making use of it. Facebook live poses significant opportunity as a tool for customer relations, brand exposure, marketing, and more. Make this tool part of your digital marketing strategy by getting started with the most effective ways to use Facebook Live for your business.

1. Promotional Strategy

One of the best ways to use Facebook Live is for promotional purposes. Users are much more likely to watch a video than read a lengthy article or post shared on Facebook, and businesses can (and should!) capitalize on that point of user behavior.

For example, if you’re a retail boutique, you can redirect the same promotional strategies you’ve always done through Facebook Live. Contests, give-aways, and limited time offers are just a few ideas. If you have a new product coming out soon, give a sneak peak through a live stream. If you have a give away contest, showcase the product or service. You can actually show your followers what it is you’re offering and create way more appeal by streaming a video of the products you’re promoting.

2. Brand Transparency

A great way to instill trust in your users is by sharing some behind the scenes details with them and creating brand transparency. Let’s say you’re a restaurant that uses a sustainable, locally sourced garden to get produce. Use Facebook Live to share what that process looks like.

This can also work well for reputation recovery. If there’s a controversy or accusation that you’re actively recovering from, use the live stream feature to show exactly how you’re handling it, and give users a chance to see your real brand.

3. Engage with users

User engagement is a key necessity of having an awesome Facebook business page, so you might as well enact that engagement in every way you can. Live videos are great for Q & A sessions and directly answering the comments and/or concerns of your users.

You can also use it to weigh in on issues relevant to your consumers. If there’s an event that people are wondering ow you feel about, or an issue your consumer base is talking about, engage with your following by discussing your business stance in a live video.

4. Establish Authority 

It’s important for your following to recognize you as an authority within the industry your business falls into, and Facebook Live can help reinforce that. Offering tips, industry insights, updates, and news with a live stream can establish and enhance your credibility.

Another way to approach this usage of Facebook Live is to invite other lading authorities, experts, and industry leaders to be featured in your live stream video. Host a round table discussion, or even just a casual conversation with another industry authority, and you can have a mutually beneficial piece of publicity.


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Friday, 7 October 2016

How to Learn More About SEO


More and more people are becoming increasingly comfortable with the subject, practices, and trends of SEO, which is good since it remains an important part of modern digital marketing. However, learning about SEO can pose a challenge for those trying to familiarize themselves with it. Which resource is the right resource? And how can you be sure if what you’re reading about SEO is even accurate?  Even for those who may already know a thing or two about SEO, staying up to date on current trends and new information can be difficult.

The constant evolution of SEO practices and our understanding of user experience mean we are all constantly learning more about digital marketing. Regardless of where you’re at with your SEO education there is always more to learn, so here are a few pointers on how to keep broadening your knowledge.

If you know nothing or very little about SEO…

  • Start with this. Courtesy of Moz, “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” is essentially a crash course in the what, why, and how of SEO:

guidetoseo How to Learn More About SEO

As evidenced by the chapter titles, the guide offers a firm grasp on the basic, fundamental properties of SEO. Plus, since it’s written by an SEO industry authority, you’re guaranteed to get the highest quality and most user-friendly information.

  • Learn about how Google crawls websites. Sometimes, when it comes to SEO, Google takes on a mysterious, man-behind-the-curtain form. By shedding some light on how Google interacts with websites and ranks them, you can better understand how and where SEO and Google. These videos do a nice job of explaining Google’s infrastructure.

Knowing what Google is looking for and how it’s looking for it gives you the guidance necessary to apply SEO practices rather than just know about them.

If you understand SEO but want to learn more…

  • Listen to podcasts. You can make regularly learning about the intersection of users and SEO a natural part of your day by tuning into marketing podcasts during your commute or while getting ready for work. It’s a great way to keep tabs on how SEO is changing and being used, as well as get tips on how to put your SEO knowledge into practice.
  • Read/participate in forums. The Moz forum, Warrior Forum, SEO Mastering Forum-simply Google “SEO Forums” and you’ll find countless resources at your disposal. Forums are an awesome place to ask questions, read the questions asked by others, and understand what people are talking about in SEO.

Coupled with following the blogs of SEO experts, the best way to stay on top of SEO is by remembering that there’s always more to learn. Being a constant student of SEO and contributing your experiences, ideas, and questions to the existing online knowledge will keep your understanding of SEO engaging, helpful, and even fun.

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

7 Marketing Podcasts You Should Listen To


A great way to broaden your creativity and get ideas about professional growth is by absorbing as much information as you can. This gets difficult when you have to be on task during your workday, especially since the last thing you want to do when you get home is read articles on the latest marketing hacks and happenings. That’s why podcasts make such a great middle ground for expanding professional knowledge on the fly. You can listen in while hitting the gym, in the car, taking a walk, or cooking dinner.

If you’re looking for a way to mix up your work flow and learning process, subscribing to podcasts might be the next best move for you. You can absorb tips, tricks, insights, and discussions from 2016’s best marketing podcasts.

  1. Marketing Over Coffee

This podcast is a weekly discussion of the latest, greatest, and breaking news in marketing. It’s news-based rather than topic based, which is particularly helpful if you like to stay in the know. The episodes are all about half an hour, which is why so many listeners love catching up with the podcast during their commute. Their news coverage includes social networks, SEO and SEM, email marketing, multivariate testing, copywriting, and even “old school” offline marketing campaigns.

  1. Copyblogger FM

Copyblogger is one of my favorite blogs to follow for content hacks, and their podcast doesn’t disappoint. On the podcast, the host (Sonia Simone) speaks with a cast of rotating experts who analyze and discuss content marketing, copywriting, email marketing, and all the content-driven marketing topics you can think of. This weekly podcast will keep writers on their toes.

  1. Social Media Happy Hour

At just 15 minutes long and 5 days per week, Social Media Happy Hour is a great way to unwind at the end of your work day. The short segments are jam packed with as much witty banter and entertainment as they are loaded with tips and tricks to help the modern day networker. Female hosts Dawns Marrs Ortiz and Traci Reuter discuss techniques and trends across all social media platforms while dishing insights on how to leverage social media for your business.

  1. Content Warfare Podcast

The cool thing about Content Warfare is that it’s primarily done interview style. The host, Ryan Hanley, picks the brains of “the Internet’s most prolific content creators” to get success secrets, tips, ideas, best practices, and much more for listening. His guests include experts in content marketing, writing, social media, and even podcasting, to name a few.

  1. Duct Tape Marketing

Also an interview style podcast, host John Jantsch interviews authors, experts, and leaders to share their business marketing tips and resources. Less concentrated in topic, the Duct Tape Marketing podcast covers a variety of topics relevant to marketing.

  1. The BeanCast

Provided by the Cool Beans Group, the BeanCast is a roundtable style discussion within the marketing and PR community. The episodes feature notables across advertising, marketing, and more to provide unique angles and insights for every topic.

  1. The Marketing Companion

After listening to this podcast, you’ll be left wishing you could hang out with hosts Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster. Self-claimed as the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast, the author/consultant/blogger/research/raconteur duo cover everything from social media to content strategy. The episodes are entertaining, insightful, and sure to offer a unique angle from two seasoned experts.

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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Is Facebook crossing a line with user privacy?


Have you ever felt like Facebook was spying on you? Or wondered how the “People You May Know” feed seems to suggest everyone you’ve ever met throughout your life? Or why the promoted ads you see feature items sitting in your online shopping cart? Sometimes Facebook’s good guesses are just plain spooky.

These good guesses have made Facebook user privacy a hot topic lately, as many are beginning to voice concerns over exactly how much information Facebook collects about its users. As cyber threats and capabilities continue to evolve, user privacy rights and platform transparency will continue to be a topic of concern for many. The ‘book might not be going anywhere for the time being, but here’s what you should be aware of.

  1. You can’t actually have a fully private account.

Not everyone wants to be found on Facebook-they might need it for work purposes or some other reason. But hiding your Facebook account isn’t really an option anymore. One of Facebook’s many internal updates lets users search the entirety of the network, as well as the removal of some privacy settings (such as hiding your Facebook).

This is problematic for a few reasons. First and foremost, you can’t actually “hide” your profile and prevent people from sending friend requests anymore, because these are your only options:

Facebook-1 Is Facebook crossing a line with user privacy?

And, since Facebook now requires a phone number to have an account on the network, the privacy options for hiding your number aren’t exactly airtight either:

Facebook-2 Is Facebook crossing a line with user privacy?

Not every Facebook user is comfortable with everyone or even their Facebook friends having their number, which makes these privacy limitations problematic.

  1. Adjusting privacy settings isn’t always that easy.

While there are ways around these privacy settings on Facebook, they’re not exactly easy to find. Another user found a way to hide who you’re friends with, but it’s not listed or even mentioned under “Privacy” in the settings page.

Facebook-3 Is Facebook crossing a line with user privacy?

You would think that such a basic privacy setting would be more accessible, but it’s essentially hidden and buried in steps. It does beg the question, is limiting and/or complicating privacy settings fair to Facebook users?

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