This chart says it all:

If you’re using anything other than bit.ly to shorten your links – certainly if you’re using TinyURL – you’re actually hurting your brand. For a long time Bit.ly was Twitter’s URL shortener of choice and that recommendation, plus the stats and convenience that bit.ly provides, make it nothing less than essential for those looking to get their content re-shared. And while the bit.ly interface isn’t quite as slick as it used to be, it’s still the only URL shortener you should be using.

Tip: the bit.ly sidebar is super-convenient.

Just starting your business and feeling lost? From their humble beginnings, all of these self-made billionaires have changed course scores of times. Let these stories serve as inspiration for you!

Virgin Empire founder Richard Branson’s first job was selling Christmas trees. NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s first job was selling garbage bags. Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson’s first job was selling newspapers. Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky’s first job was selling carpets. And Elon Musk, the founder of Telsa Motors and PayPal, started his working life writing video games.

The infographic below, generated by San Francisco-based startup organization Funders and Founders, shows just how many different businesses these legendary entrepreneurs launched.

Funders and Founders also analyzed all 1,426 billionaires in the world. From there, the company segmented out the 960 that are self made and determined that 830 of them earned their wealth from more than one business.

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228067

 

When working in an industry like social media you can’t create strategies for the present. By the time you complete your marketing strategy, all the tools and networks you rely on will have changed. In order to be strategic and be ahead of your competitors, you have to look into the future. What trends are on the horizon for social media? What’s coming next that we need to prepare for? Here’s what we think:

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

 

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

 

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. Butthe best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

 

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

 

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

 

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media.

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

 

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. 

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

 

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each.

 

Sharing your posts via social media should be one of the first things you do when you are looking to showcase new content on your blog. It is important to share these updates on social media sites because it builds brand awareness, helps to increase traffic on your website, and is great for reader engagement.

 

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your blog posts to successfully promote yourself.

  •  Select what social media platforms you want to use to help promote your blog. Base your choices on what works best for you and what you feel comfortable with, but try to choose more than one type of social media platform, this will allow you to reach a variety of readers. Facebook is wonderful for promoting new content with text and image, Twitter is great for short and sweet bursts of information and links, and Pinterest is mainly used for eye-catching images and graphics.
  • Write as if you are sharing information with a close friend; blogs should be informal, simple, and friendly. Writing like this makes it a little more fun and you don’t feel so pressured to come up with super structured dialect.
  • Ask questions you genuinely want answered and don’t be afraid to interact with your readers. A lot of people are probably visiting your blog because they have interest in your posts and what you have to say, so conversation should flow pretty naturally.
  • Update your blog regularly! Keep people interested in your website by providing new content as often as possible.

 

In the end, if you feel good about what you are posting on your blog, share it! Once you develop your own little online community, people will be watching for your updates. It may feel a bit forced or uncomfortable at first, but practice does help.

 

 

Source: http://www.hollymariedesigns.com/promotion-social-media/

Smart content marketers know that constantly producing content can feel like trying to feed a beast with a nearly insatiable appetite. If long-form content like ebooks and whitepapers is a meal, then short-form content is like a snack, providing bite-sized information that’s easily digestible.

Both long- and short-form content should be part of your marketing menu, but the beauty of short-form content is that it lends itself to a variety of formats and can be repurposed into longer pieces. On top of that, short-form content can often be produced and distributed more quickly than longer pieces that require extensive planning and research.

Here are some examples of short-form content and tips on how to use them:

  • Blog posts and articles: Blog posts and articles can take a variety of forms including round-ups, reviews, or Q & As. For instance, Eloqua posted a round-up post of marketing tips from the Content2Conversion Conference in New York City earlier this year. Publish content on your own blog or provide it as a guest post with a link back to your blog or website. When posting on your own blog, make sure there’s an easy way for readers to subscribe via RSS or email so they’ll stay engaged with your content. Blog posts and articles published on your own site or elsewhere can be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and email newsletters.
  • Curated content: Finding and sharing outside content that’s relevant for your readers helps position your brand as an industry thought leader. You could share links on social media or link to other sources on your blog with added commentary explaining why the topic is relevant to your readers. Companies in virtually every industry find curation useful. The Oregon Wine Board curates news on the state’s wine industry, including tasting events, legislation that’s applicable to growers, and more. And in its news section, Lawyers.com shares infographics, quirky news items, and other links of interest to the legal profession. Our Content Curation Look Book contains several other real world examples of companies large and small that use content curation effectively.
  • Podcasts: Not everyone wants to consume content through reading, so offering content in an audio format like a downloadable podcast lets them listen in as they’re driving, cleaning, working out, or otherwise going about their daily lives. Marketing expert Heidi Cohen lists the benefits of podcasting for content marketers, among them extending your content’s reach beyond your blog. One format that works well for podcasts is having a conversation or question and answer session with an expert guest. With the right host, a solo podcast works as well. Podcasts can be posted on your blog and made available as a free subscription through iTunes such as theContent Marketing Podcast by Rachel Parker.
  • Videos: A growing number of internet users now watch videos on their smartphones or tablets, making this a great format for relaying information to users on the go. Post videos on YouTube or Vimeo and include relevant tags and keywords so users can easily find them. Videos can also be embedded on your blog, pinned to Pinterest, posted on Facebook, and shared in a variety of other ways. KnowledgeVision posted a video of a skype interview and also weaved highlights of the video into a blog post.
  • Webinars: Webinars are a great way to drive email signups and demonstrate your value to current and prospective customers. Content for a webinar can be repurposed from other formats such as a blog post or ebook and polls or surveys completed during the webinar can provide fodder for new content pieces. Create a hashtag for your webinar and encourage attendees to tweet tidbits from the webinar to help build buzz. We hosted a content marketing webinar with Eloqua last year and wrote a blog post as a follow up to the webinar.
  • Infographics: Thanks to popularity of big data and visual platforms like Pinterest and Visual.ly, infographics are all the rage. You could create an infographic based on data your company has collected or synthesize data and other information from a variety of sources to tell a compelling story. Include your company’s logo in the infographic so that the original source is clear when it gets shared. Post your completed infographics on Pinterest and Facebook and encourage other bloggers in your niche to share the graphic with their readers.

Tell us! How have you used short-form content to build brand awareness and engage readers? Any other formats you’d add to the list above?

Using a variety of marketing platforms can compliment your marketing strategy.. If PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is one of the platforms you are considering, you’ve probably contemplated Google Adwords.  There are a few elements that make Google AdWords worthwhile.

With Google Adwords, your campaigns are completely customizable. You can target your campaigns to reach the audiences you want too. You have the ability to narrow your audience by the time of day, location, and device type (after all, there is no point in your ads reaching those in England if you are promoting a weight loss seminar in Colorado).

One of the clear benefits to online marketing is that your results are measurable. As a marketer, one of your biggest priorities is determining if your campaigns are working and returning ROI. PPC Advertising through Google Adwords is one of the most measurable online mediums. Adwords provides a variety of metrics that allow you to evaluate what is working and what is not.

By using the right resources in AdWords you can see results immediately. You can monitor the clicks and impressions. In doing so, you can determine if your keywords are working. If you are not seeing the results you want after a certain amount of time, changing or adding key words is simple.

Once you have established your PPC campaign is working, there is not a huge amount of maintenance thereafter (although you should always be monitoring the campaigns and results).

It is no secret that visually appealing ads get results. Google AdWords provides new ad formats, so you have options to differentiate your ads – ad extensions are a great resource as well!!

Are your videos visually engaging? Utilize the power of video marketing by showing your audience what you are talking about. In other words, do not just tell them.  Play on the power of visuals. Video marketing can be incredibly powerful because it allows you to engage and persuade your audience directly. Make sure that your video illustrates the benefits of your product or service. Demonstrate how your product works and why your audience should care.

Does your video tell a story? Make sure your video has a beginning, middle, and an end.  In this sense, your video should be formatted like a good story. Good stories make us think and feel. But most importantly, they make us remember. The beginning of your video should establish who you are as a company and as a brand; this would be equivalent to establishing characters in a novel. The middle of your video should explain the product or service and give your audience a call to action; this is similar to the climax or problem in a novel. The end of your video must leave the audience with a reason to interact with your brand.

Is it clear who your video is targeting? Play to your audience. Think about where your video will be displayed. Your video should be targeted to the audience you want to communicate with and in turn, the audience that will be interested in watching video content. The tone of your video should align with the personality of your company. Give your audience a strong sense of who you are through your video.

Is your video interesting? Keep it simple and clear so that your audience views the entire video. You would not want to loose them half way through!

You’ve been building your Twitter presence and you feel good about it. It is great to increase that number, but it is equally important to maintain that number. Use these tips to find out what may be behind your declining follower base.

Are you delivering the content you promised you would? If you own a clothing boutique, your followers are likely expecting you to tweet about fashion trends, clothing tips, store deals, etc. If your tweets are about your political opinions, or the new frozen yogurt place you tried yesterday then your followers are not getting what they signed up for by following you. Make sure that any personal opinion tweets go to your personal account and not your business account.

Are your tweets original? If you are abusing the retweet button, that may be why you are loosing followers. The retweet feature is wonderful for sharing content, but when you retweet something you should add your own opinion. Use a few words to share why you decided to retweet something. Your followers connected with you on Twitter to hear what YOU have to say – give that to them.

Do you use Twitter solely for promotion? Remember that Twitter is a social media platform. People join to be social – they do not check their twitter solely to read promotional messages. If you are doing some promotion tweeting, be sure to provide a value to your followers. If you are promoting something on Twitter, make sure your followers get a benefit from reading that tweet. For example don’t tweet “Buy our new perfume…” instead consider tweeting, “Mention this tweet for 10% off our new perfume.”

Do you respond? If your followers ask you a question, or reply to your tweets they probably want a response back.  Being responsive on your account assures users that they are tweeting to a real person, and not a pre-scheduled system. Twitter is about building relationships. If you are not building a relationship with your followers, they are not going to stick around to build one with you.

 

They say on February 14th love is in the air. But is it in your social media relationships? This time of year is about love and generosity. Make sure that that love extends to your online network. Take Valentine’s Day as a reminder to the real reason you are on social media in the first place.

This day typically has people evaluating the relationships that are important to them. Use this holiday as a way to show your users that you care and that they are important to you and your company. Share content that would be helpful to somebody today.  Share a romantic idea, a funny love story, singles inspiration – get creative. Let your followers and social media friends in on the love that is in your company. How did your company start? Probably with a passion or love for your product or service – share that.

Managing social media is about long term relationships. Companies and brands are at a point where they are trying to figure out the “secrets” to unlock social media success. In doing so, tools that track metrics are gaining popularity. Although these are important tools, social media is not just all about numbers. It is wonderful to follow users, add friends and get “Liked.” But more than that it is about following through, having meaningful conversations, and building real communities. Make sure that while you are keeping track of data, you are still keeping track of conversation. If your content is not getting reposted, don’t worry. Instead acknowledge the people that did respond. Reply to their comments and continue the conversation by asking another question. The people that comment on your content are users that are actually engaging with your brand – they may be interacting with you for more than just a discount deal or coupon code.

Cherish and nurture the social media connections you already have. Whether your users are married, in a committed relationship, have a crush or are celebrating love with family and friends – Valentine’s Day will is sure to be on their minds.

How do you get more people to watch your YouTube videos? One way to generate traffic is to use the power of Pinterest. To boost your business and increase your subscribers, link your YouTube channel with your Pinterest account. If you already have both a YouTube and a Pinterest account, you may as well leverage the influence of both these social media platforms.  Remember, your YouTube videos cannot help your business if they are not seen!  Here’s how to get started:

If you do not use Google Chrome, download it now (it will make this much easier. Google Chrome offers a “Pin It” button that lets you take an image from any site and put it to your boards.  Once in chrome, to get the “Pin It” button go to http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ – then simply drag the “Pin It” link to your bookmarks bar.

Before you do any official linking between your YouTube channel and Pinterest, you must make sure your YouTube channel is fully optimized to your brand. Anything in your YouTube description box must have a URL/link back to your blog or company website. This is usually where viewers look to get more information. You also want to ensure that your YouTube profile is fully developed – add a personal photo or company logo, and keep your description short and sweet (all of this will help to leverage all of your traffic from Pinterest).

Let’s go back to the “Pin It’ button you downloaded earlier. Simply click the button to Pin the video you want to share. Create a board that is dedicated to your YouTube channel.  When coming up with a board name, remember to focus on keywords. Pinterest not only generates traffic from its own community, but also from Google Search. So it is very important to consider search engine optimization.

Now that you have pinned your video, it is time to add keywords to your pin description.  Whatever you do, do not leave this box empty. It is also a good idea to add the complete URL to your company site inside the description box. This makes it easy for viewers to get back to your page.

Since you have pinned your video from your YouTube channel, users who click will automatically be taken back to your channel. In linking your YouTube channel, Pinterest account, and company blog you are generating more traffic to all three of your marketing platforms. Remember to pin all of your videos!