Today’s marketers (especially the social media kind) have to be data geeks.
With the amount of information we have to filter, categorize and organize every day, there’s no way to have any kind of success without tools that turn big data into relevant bits of knowledge. So we rely on automation, analytics, listening tools and more.
At the digital marketing agency I run, we use at least three research and SEO tools for every blog post we write and at least five tools to help us create, implement and monitor social media strategies.
I have personally tested dozens if not hundreds of said tools and I keep on doing that. I know that every day new tools are being developed and new features appear in older tools. So I need to make sure that we use the best tools available in order to generate the best results for our clients.
This is what our social media marketing tool deck looks like. In other words, these are the tools that help us make sure we keep our clients ahead of their competitors:
7 social media marketing tools we use on a daily basis
You’ll notice that some of these tools are completely free. Others have free trials or limited options in their free mode.
I’ll be honest: some are definitely worth paying for. For others, the free version is enough if you have a single brand to manage or if you’re up against moderate competition.
Since we offer professional social media marketing and management services, we use (and pay for) the vast majority of these tools.
1. Sendible Along with Buffer, Agora Pulse, HootSuite and others, Sendible is one of the top social media management platforms out there. It may be less known than its competitors, but I personally believe that’s not fair.
We’ve been using Sendible for more than two years in house. For some of our clients, we use other tools, so I have done my fair share of comparing between them.
What I like about Sendible is its user-friendliness, the in-depth reports you can generate with it and the stellar customer service. I chose it and passed on others because at that time it was the only one to support Pinterest. Now, there are, of course, other tools that do that, but Sendible is still among the first to introduce new features and new platforms.
Pro tip: If you have a single set of social media channels to manage (for a single brand), Buffer is a free option, while Sendible is not.
2. SEMrushSEMrush is our go-to competitor analyzer. We use it for both social media (for instance, to check our growth compared to that of our competitors) and for copywriting (mainly for keyword research).
You can get quite a lot from SEMrush’s free version, but if you’re serious about in-depth analytics, I strongly recommend the paid version.
3. Social QuantI have used Social Quant on more than a dozen Twitter accounts to boost their growth. Here’s how it works: you link your Twitter account to Social Quant, add a few hashtags that are relevant to you and SQ will follow those accounts on your behalf. Briefly put, it’s a great way to automate Twitter growth.
What you can expect: the free trial lasts 14 days. Depending on your industry, you can get 100-700 new followers during that time. For the paid version, you can expect 1,000+ followers every month.
4. BuzzSumoThis is a great tool for both copywriting and social media. Search for a topic on BuzzSumo and you’ll learn which articles covering it were the most shared on social media. You can also search for social mentions and monitor your profiles.
For us, it’s a good place to start our research and get a sense of what we’re up against. The paid version gives you access to more in-depth reports and more results on a query.
5. TweetReachThis is one of the tools that can give you a lot of insight even in its free version. Simply search for a hashtag, a username or a keyword and you’ll get a thorough report on it.
We use this to see how well our Twitter accounts perform over a given period of time. Along with other similar tools and reports, it helps us make more sense of data and transform vanity metrics into actionable items.
6. Google AlertsThis one is pretty simple and completely free to use. Add a brand or a name and receive e-mail alerts whenever it’s mentioned anywhere on the Web.
You can use it to monitor your own brand, your competitors, certain keywords or even yourself.
7. CanvaThis is a tool that will turn even the most graphics-challenged person (I do believe I am reigning queen here) into a superb designer. It’s easy to use, mostly free and perfect for social media images, especially the motivational ones.
What about you? What are your favorite social media tools? What have I left out?
What is Google Cache? Google Cache is all of the pages that have been stored and remembered by Google and, thus, show in the search engine rank positions. Google will take a snapshot of every page it crawls and then cache it.
How will this help you?
By looking through Google Cache, you can easily find out all the pages that Google remembers from your site, by simply typing:
Example – site:yourwebsite.com
Once you do this, Google will bring up every page that has been cached from this domain and you can find out everything it remembers from your site. This will include all of the pages that you expect to be there, and also some that you may not expect.
This means that you can go through the whole list of cached pages, and there may be pages that you do not want to be cached in Google’s rankings. If you have a WordPress site, it is often the case that pages will be indexed in Google’s cache that have automatically been created (like singular team pages) that you may not want to show in search engine rank positions.
Another reason for you needing to clean your website may be because there has been a large change on your site, which involved the removal of pages, and now Google has cached pages that are out-dated or irrelevant.
How do I solve this?
After studying what Google has cached from your website, you may be keen to clean it up and ensure that Google is only finding things that are relevant and beneficial to your site. There are a number of ways you may choose to get rid of the pages that you do not want to be cached by Google.
If you have a page that you cannot remove from your website, but it is appearing on the Google Cache unnecessarily, then you may want to make this a no-index page. This means Google will no longer cache the page and it will not appear in search engine rank positions.
To make a page no-index you will need to apply the following line of code in the <head> section of your page: <meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This is showing the robots that are crawling your site to cache your pages that you do not want indexed, and the robots will ignore them. The pages will then no longer appear on search engines.
Submit to Google to remove
If you come across dead pages (404 pages) when you are searching the Google Cache, then you must act to get rid of them from the search engine rankings. This may happen for two reasons:
When you are searching through Google Cache, it is likely that you may come across pages that you do not want to be on your website at all. They may be outdated or maybe you were unaware of them. In this case, you should delete the unwanted pages from your site.
Google may have cached pages that you no longer have on your website. These will appear as 404 errors and, of course, this means you do not want them to appear in the search engine results because you would not want users being directed to a dead page.
If either of these two issues become apparent when you are looking through your Google Cache, then you need to make Google aware that these pages are no longer in use, so they will not be cached anymore. To do this you must;
After you have done this for all the desired pages, you should ‘fetch as Google’ in Webmaster Tools, and this will crawl your site again. Once finished, all the pages that you wished to be removed, should no longer show in Google’s cache.
What do I gain from this?
You may actually gain direct SEO benefits from carrying out this exercise, because it may lead to you removing pages that are lower quality which, may lead to Google to better view your high quality pages.
A buyer persona, as most of us know, is very important for a company when it comes to narrowing down the target audience and getting a deeper understanding of what your audience is looking for.
A buyer persona will help you connect with your customers. Your company USPs matter the most when it comes to sales and a little less when it comes to inbound marketing. Now, to create content and write articles, infographics, newsletters etc. you would need to have a buyer persona in hand.
When you create a detailed buyer persona, you get to know a buyer inside out right from his preferences to his challenges. The next thing that you should be doing after creating a buyer persona is strategizing your content marketing plan in a way that your content reflects your understanding about the pain points of the audience you are targeting.
And for any type of company, there won’t be just one person you would be targeting as a buyer – a single industry caters to more than one type of buyer. A web development company, for example, would target different buyers like creative directors, designers, account managers, project managers, CEOs of the design company etc.
Are you targeting a group or are you targeting a person?
As obvious as it is, we all know that each and every customer has a preference that is both unique and different from the preferences of other customers. And when it comes to owning a huge amount of data, it is impossible to figure out a marketing strategy for every customer individually.
Hence, it is mandatory that you do customer segmentation after extracting meaningful insights from the customer data that you have collected. And customer segmentation should be based on this:
The psychographics include activities, attitude, personality and values of an individual user.
User behavior is detected by benefits, usage rate, preferences of a user and this can be detected through various user behavior tracking tools.
The geographics of an individual user comprises of his location locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
The mandatory steps that you need to take before creating a buyer persona:
Suppose you own a Web development outsourcing firm that caters to design and digital agencies. In such a case, you would be targeting creative directors, account managers, project managers and CEOs. So what you ought to do is create a separate buyer persona for each of them – Creative Director: Jason, Project Manager: Harry, Account Manager: Alice and CEO: Kate.
Now if you intend to get projects from the agency Jason works for, this is how his buyer persona i.e. the buyer persona of a creative director should look like:
Build an empathetic relationship with your customers by analyzing their behavior on your website and getting to know their preferences by thoroughly analyzing the collected customer data.
Creating a detailed buyer persona would eventually boost your ROI through clear marketing strategies and sales pitches that are targeted towards the needs of the audience. However, a buyer persona won’t remain the same as time passes by and new technologies and trends come up. And that is why it is necessary to stay updated with the latest trends.
For decades, long before data driven marketing became a concept, marketing relied on such technical concepts as educated guesses and gut instinct when it came to decision-making. Spreadsheets came along with Excel and similar software helping to improve decision-making and optimize spending. However, in recent years, analytical tools have improved.
Marketing personnel has been provided tools and concepts that have significantly improved forecasting and decision making. One of the most significant of these is data driven marketing.
What is Data Driven Marketing
Insight and data are important aspects of business marketing. Data driven marketing relates to the use of the analysis of data about consumers – or data obtained from consumers. Such consumer data provides insights that can be used to make marketing decisions.
There are fundamentally two types of such data:
• Primary Data: Obtained directly from consumers by asking questions or carrying out surveys, and
• Secondary Data: Obtained by analyzing consumer behavior, such as web browsing behavior, use of social media, internet search behavior and so on.
Surveys are easily set up using tools such as SurveyMonkey, Typeform and Google Forms. It is easy to collect data from large numbers of consumers in a short time. Apart from Google Forms, which is completely free, many of these tools offer a free version with a limited number of questions, and also offer an unlimited paid version.
Amazon Mechanical Turk can also be used to carry out surveys. For example, you can survey 1,000 people for anything from $100 to $1,000. You pay each responder to your survey – 10 cents or $1 or whatever you state. You can set up a survey on a hypothetical product presented with a number of different options: color options, stick shift, paddle shift or automatic, click or swipe, dimensions and other potential variants. The survey result can significantly assist you in designing and marketing your products.
Online Search Behavior Analysis in Marketing
Online search behavior is a useful parameter in data driven marketing. Analyzing what people are searching for in your niche can provide useful information. Google Trends can be used to find how many people use specific search terms or keywords over time. The data can be analyzed by country or region, and also by related topics or queries.
In Google Trends, the search term ‘big data’ is sub-sectioned in ‘data analytics,’ ‘big data analytics,’ Hadoop and so on. By applying Google Trends to your service or product, you can establish what data is important to you and what is not.
Their use of social media can also provide marketers with information about potential customer browsing habits. Is it worthwhile advertising on Facebook? Is Twitter worth the bother if you can get past Donald Trump? Would a YouTube video work? How about LinkedIn or social bookmarking sites such as Reddit, StumbleUpon and Delicious. Pinterest is another that many use. What data can you get from such social sites?
Function of Hadoop
Hadoop is analytical software that operates in the cloud. It is used by data scientists to carry out certain operations on ‘big data.’ Without becoming too technical, it is a complex method of analyzing big data in a parallelized way. If you have big data — a lot of data to process — you can parallelize that data by splitting it up between multiple processors. This speeds up the data processing task.
Apache Hadoop assists you in this. To put it very simply, it can help you speed up data-driven marketing by speeding up the processing of that data.
What is Big Data?
A major issue with big data is that not many people know how to use it effectively. In fact, many have no idea what the term means. So what is ‘big data?’ Simply put, it is no more than large amounts of different types of data obtained from multiple sources. Such data can reveal patterns and trends that can be used in marketing. It can be structured and unstructured data: ordered such as in databases, or unordered such as in social media pages, videos, forum comments and e-mails.
It should be understood that no data is of use if it is not used correctly and profitably. Big data can be an amazing marketing resource if used correctly. If you have enough of the correct data, then you can use that to generate marketing processes that are both repeatable and scalable when applied to your business. This should involve less human intervention, leaving managers to focus on testing and improving their product.
Benefits of Data Collection and Analysi
For your data to be worthwhile collecting, it must be useful in meeting one or both of two different objectives. First, proactive information you can use to assess marketing opportunities:
• Provide information on how people access your niche.
• Give data on which social media sites are visited by your prospective customer base.
• What forums do they use (you can use this data to register and help solve problems.)
• Popular blogging sites in your niche.
• Keywords or search terms use by people to seek information about your niche.
You can use this data to:
• Make potential customers or clients aware of your business .
• Connect people to your product or service.
• Make people aware of your business and you personally.
• Generate brand equity.
• Generate revenue.
• Connect to any other critical objective.
These are just a few of the more important objectives of data collection. You can achieve a lot if you understand the concept of big data and data driven marketing. Insight and data relating to your market is extremely valuable — if you know how to use them. The second objective is to use big data effectively.
Effective Use of Big Data
It is one thing to know what it is, but quite another to know how to make effective use of big data. Marketing specialists Econsultancy carried out a survey on how marketers used data effectively. It found that 64 percent of those surveyed made business and marketing decisions based upon data driven marketing insight. However, while 77 percent of the marketers involved in the survey believe that digital analytics are important, fewer than 20 percent considered that digital reporting has a ‘very influential role’ in businesses decision-making.
It has been accepted by many companies that data driven marketing will be increasingly used this year, and will be the norm in 2018 onwards. Consumer behavior is critical in understanding the best marketing techniques. It will enable you to make decisions on the best content to deliver to them, and the best means of doing that: blogging, website, e-mail or mobile techniques.
Data Driven Marketing: Conclusion
For decades, long before data driven marketing became a concept, marketing organizations relied on educated guesses and gut instincts to make decisions, along with spreadsheets to determine performance and optimize spend. But in the last 10 years, the rise of advanced analytical tools has provided marketers with far better decision-making and forecasting capabilities: Data driven marketing! It allows you to be alert with the insight and data needed for success.
Some of the biggest algorithmic updates of 2016 and 2017 address mobile devices:
1. The Mobile-First Index
Gary Illyes mentioned on Twitter that Google is experimenting with a mobile only index more than a year ago. We all know that, for Google, “experiment” means the first step toward the implementation of a new algorithm.
The mobile-first Index was officially announced on the Webmasters Blog on Nov. 4, 2016. Nevertheless, the algorithm is still undergoing experiments. According to Search Engine Watch, it is set to go live within months.
How to Prepare your Site
Tina Courtney has already shared actionable tips that will help you get ready for mobile-first indexing. Below is a short checklist of updates and recommendations from Google:
2. Google AMP
Google’s lead product manager for AMP, Rudy Galfi, revealed that accelerated mobile pages will finish rolling out for mobile organic search by the end of the year. Initially, AMP only appeared in Google’s “Top Stories” carousel. Now more and more accelerated mobile pages are appearing in organic listings. AMP may not be a ranking signal, but it improves user-experience, which leads to improved rankings.
Google has also spent tremendous time designing, implementing and promoting AMP. This means that it will, most likely, continue to improve them. Just last month, accelerated mobile pages started showing up in image results, thus expanding the experience beyond the carousel. Google also said that it plans to make AMP content easier to share using URL change.
Because accelerated mobile pages are accessed within Google, sharing and bookmarking links has become very confusing for users. Publishers are also concerned that Google is making it harder for them to promote their content. According to Danny Sullivan, starting with 2017, the header at the top of AMP content will allow visitors to easily copy and share URLs from the publisher; all the more reason for webmasters to embrace AMP.
How to Prepare your Site
I’m not going to lie: implementing AMP can be extremely frustrating.
Here are a few guides that will get you started:
3. Intrusive Interstitials Mobile Penalty
Google announced back in August that it will start cracking down on mobile sites with intrusive interstitials. “Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” On Jan. 10, 2017, Google announced the Intrusive Interstitials Mobile Penalty. Gary Illies and John Mueller also confirmed it on Twitter.
What does the Intrusive Interstitials Update Mean?In short, this update will have a similar effect to the app interstitials ad penalty, launched in September 2015. This means that pages that are making content difficult to access for users will be punished. Google also gave a few examples of interstitials that may disrupt user-experience.
The good news is that not all interstitials are considered BAD. Google noted that some interstitials will not be affected by the penalty (e.g. login dialogs behind paywalls, banners that are easy to dismiss, cookie usage interstitial, age verification, etc.)
Recommended Read: How Google AMP Pages will Impact SEO
How to Prepare your Site
Google has updated its mobile usability report, which will now take into account the intrusive interstitials penalty update. To ensure that your pop-ups respect Google’s guidelines you should:
As the saying goes, time is money. And while it’s impractical to worry about if every single second of every single day is spent in a productive manner by every single person in your company, there are definitely some sweeping changes you can make to improve the efficiency of your business.
Technological advances make it easier than ever to find (or design) tools that suit your specific needs. Technology has also given us the ability to conduct business from virtually anywhere, so long as we have our trusty Smartphones, tablets or laptops with us.
Take a look at some of the best ways you can increase your business’ productivity with the help of just a few gadgets or apps.
Accept Mobile Payments
Also known as contactless payments or mobile wallets, mobile payments are the latest trend in financial technology. While it may take consumers a little time to warm up to the idea of tapping their phone to a device in order to make a secure payment, you should be ready with a “near field communication” reader just in case.
In fact, if you run a retail store and have ever had disgruntled customers complain about long lines, mobile payments can speed up transactions quite a bit. Whether you need to smoothly handle the daily morning rush at your coffee shop or the seasonal holiday rush at your storefront, mobile payments are the perfect way to keep those lines moving.
And if your business is still stuck in the “no credit cards accepted” dark ages, you can modernize your company and never miss another sale with mobile apps like PayPal. A tablet equipped with a credit card swiper or chip reader is another handy way to accept mobile payments when your business is on the move.
Upgrade Your Phone System for Easier Customization and Access
As our technology becomes more mobile, we become more mobile too. Instead of being stuck in the office all day, it’s easier to spend a day working from home or even taking your work with you down to your favorite café for lunch.
Yet many of us still have an office landline. You might have installed this thinking it was a good way to keep work at work, but now that you’ve tossed that idea straight out the window, it’s time to upgrade your phone.
Digital phone providers offer business solutions that allow you to take your work voicemail with you wherever you go. You can even make calls from your work number by using your personal phone, all without ever having to give out your personal information. Setting up custom phone menus is easy too, allowing calls to be rerouted to your colleagues when necessary or your company’s 1-800 numbers to be managed by department leaders with ease.
Send Your Sales Team Forth With Tablets
Brochures and handouts may still have their place in the sales world, but tablets can provide your sales team with a host of apps and tools to really knock the socks off of prospects. Sales personnel rely on images, videos and presentations to convince clients that your brand is the best. Put all of these resources at their fingertips with a lightweight yet powerful tablet.
Tablets are also useful for communicating between colleagues while out on the job. There are dozens upon dozens of project management tools on the market; all you have to do is decide which one best meets the needs of your team.
Apps can also provide calendars for scheduling, video conferencing capabilities, file sharing, and so much more. With tablets and cloud sharing, it’s possible to stay up-to-date with everyone on your team. Furthermore, you can also reduce overhead costs and clunky file storage cabinets by switching to a virtually paperless office, which is only possible thanks to the functionality of tablets. If you haven’t invested in this truly mobile technology for your business, you have yet to experience true efficiency.
Automate and Streamline Your Social Media Presence
Everyone has their favorite social media platform, but when you run a business, it’s important to maintain a presence on all relevant channels. Take advantage of tools and schedulers that save you from the tedious chore of logging in and out of half a dozen accounts every time you want to share an update.
In fact, you can automate the core social media posts that you’ll make every few days or so, which frees up an enormous amount of time for other pursuits. For example, a tool like Edgar will recycle evergreen social media content so that your channels are always full of stories and information for your readers, even if you fall behind. Of course, there are other prominent tools like Hootsuite and Buffer that allow you to schedule posts in advance across multiple platforms.
Once the automation has been taken care of, let your sales or marketing teams have free reign within each social media account to respond to comments and messages. There is no way to automate true, genuine engagement and interaction, but you can ensure that more time can be devoted to it by automating what you can. The motto “work smarter, not harder” definitely applies here.
If you’ve already enjoyed a boost in productivity and efficiency thanks to mobile technology, clue us into the secret of your success in the comments below.
In today’s world, where eCommerce is on the rise and technology has taken over everything, businesses and companies are thriving through the use of social media.
While normally your use of social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, may be limited to posting pictures and liking and commenting on your friends’ posts, many others are making money through these platforms and generating sales and revenues for their businesses.
Thus, in this period of time, if your business hasn’t been doing well at creating leads and making sales, it is time to up your social media game to reach your sales goals in 2017.
Hashtag your product away
Typically used as a fun and creative platform to upload pictures with quirky hashtags, Instagram can also act as an effective medium to build awareness of your brand and boost your sales. Instagram, like many other social sites, has great visual power to attract people’s attention and make them familiar with your product. With the right strategies, you could efficiently maneuver this power your way to attain your sales goals in 2017.
Perhaps, you could take a leaf out of Red Bull’s page and learn a few tips and tricks from their Instagram campaign. The goal of its campaign was to introduce its new tropical flavored ‘Summer Edition’ energy drink, where it incorporated bright yellow filters on different pictures coupled with the hashtag #thissummer.
Since inception, the brand has sold more than 60 billion cans of its famous drink and has released four different flavors to cater to different palettes.
Hence, for you to control the full power of a sales and marketing campaign on Instagram, and create viral content, you need to understand and see how the audience uses these social platforms. Only then will you be able to give them exactly what they want to help boost your sales.
Use a powerful video to get your message across
There is no doubt that audiences find visual representations more appealing than text-based content that can cause visual fatigue. Hence, a powerful video will help display your brand image more clearly and interestingly than simple, plain words. And if you can also manage to incorporate in that video a strong message by focusing on a sensitive social issue, not only can you create awareness but also boost the sales of your product.
Perhaps, you could do something like what BBDO Mumbai and Mediacom Mumbai did recently. The phenomenal video ‘Share the Load’ featuring Ariel, the detergent brand that focused on deep-rooted issue of social inequality, managed to not only create an emotional stir among the audience but also increased Ariel’s sales overtime. The video campaign encouraged men to share the weight of household chores with their female counterparts. Reportedly, 1.57 million men did agree to ‘share the load’ and Ariel doubled its value and sales volume, which grew by 106 per cent and 105 per cent, respectively.
Sometimes simplicity wins the game
In order to increase sales and revenue or establish a successful brand image for your product, you don’t necessarily have to spend millions on marketing campaigns or brand-boosting strategies. Sometimes, going simple and not overcomplicating things can pave the way for better results.
If you are a small or medium enterprise (SME) and are looking for ways to boost your sales in 2017, social media is the answer to your worries. Having a simple blog and website where you post interesting content or perhaps create viral content can often work better than complicated strategies. However, the important thing is to post quality content on your site often to keep the audience engaged and interested. You can then use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your websites, just like Emerson Salon did.
Most of its success came from a blog and website and an intelligent use of social buttons on its website. The salon clearly knew its target audience, asked for feedback and also posted interesting content from its blog. A major chunk of the salon’s clients came from its social media, which generated a 400 percent increase in its revenues.
Turn to user generated content if all else fails
Imagine the benefits for your brand if your customers were given a chance to contribute to your content creation efforts. This would not only engage them in your work but also establish trust with them.
You could perhaps use this idea to influence your own audience and customers by giving them a chance to, for instance, post pictures on your website of them wearing or using your products. This not only generates interest in your business but helps promote your brand.
Burberry, a famous British clothing company, launched a user generated content strategy to rejuvenate its brand image. In 2009, Burberry launched a website to offer users a chance to upload their pictures of them wearing Burberry products and comment on others’ pictures. This helped Burberry’s eCommerce sales to surge 50 percent.
Create curated content to engage your audience
Content curation requires the display of relevant information related to a particular topic or area of interest, which would effectively attract customers to your brand. If you simply create curated lists of your products in the form of a blog post on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook with catchy headlines and hashtags, you are likely to boost sales; just like H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) does.
This popular fashion apparel and accessories retailer has been boosting sales by posting curated lists of trending items via Twitter with attractive hashtags that draw in potential readers. Once they click on it, readers are taken to a mobile site with a list of items that then brings them to the online page to make their purchase.
Adopting a sales and marketing tactic like this will not only get your audience to interact with you and buy your products but it further acts like a re-engagement strategy. Creating curated lists will establish your brand image as a whole and, because such posts are highly shareable on social media, they are likely to produce healthy engagement with your audience.
There are numerous social media strategies you can use to reach your sales goals in 2017. You can also take inspiration from certain successful brands and companies that boosted their sales and revenues solely through their clever use of social media.
However, just because it worked for a certain brand doesn’t mean it will for you as well. Using social media to your advantage requires one to work cleverly, creatively, cautiously and, above all, with an understanding of the customer persona.