Monday, 31 August 2015

How to Get Started on Blab: Group Video Broadcasting for Marketers

Are you a fan of live-streaming video for business? Have you tried Blab? Blab, the newest platform in streaming video, lets you build a personal and business presence while creating community. In this article I’ll explore Blab and share ways you can use it for business. About Blab, which is currently available on desktop […]

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Twitter Quality Score for Ads: What Marketers Need to Know

Are you using Twitter ads? Do you want a better return on your investment? Twitter uses its ads quality score to determine how your ads are displayed, and how much you pay if people engage with them. In this article I’ll share how to create Twitter content that raises your Twitter ads quality to maximize […]

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Social Media & Government: Cutting Red Tape for Increased Citizen Engagement

8 Ways to Effectively Manage Your Facebook Marketing

Is Facebook taking up all your time? Interested in ways to maximize your workflow? When you streamline your work and know exactly where to look for the right information, your job becomes easier. In this article you’ll discover eight ways to manage your Facebook marketing more effectively. #1: Maximize Page Notifications You can get notifications […]

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9 Social Media Marketing Tool Tips From the Pros

Would you like to improve your social media marketing? Are you up to date with the best social media tips and tools? Adding new tools into your social media marketing streamlines your workflow and maximizes the return on your efforts. Here’s what top social media experts are using to get results with social media marketing […]

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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Instagram Removes Square Image Limitation: This Week in Social Media

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Instagram Now Supports Portrait and Landscape Images: Instagram announces that “—in addition to square posts—you can now share […]

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Friday, 28 August 2015

#SproutChat Recap: How to Attract & Retain Quality Email Subscribers


Email marketing is an art form. There is a lot to test and consider: timing, personalization, formatting, content and more. Before launching any campaign, it’s important to have a solid strategy in place.

This week, Stephan Hovnanian of Shovi Websites joined us for #SproutChat to share his top tips for building a quality list of email subscribers. Hovnanian offered sage advice for setting tactics to ensure you’re fostering a relationship built on trust. Our #SproutChat community weighed in too with some other wise recommendations. Here are three key takeaways from this week’s discussion.

Consider the Full Brand Experience to Increase Conversions

Email should be personal and direct. Customize your messages based on the customer’s stage in the buying cycle as well as the his or her previous engagement with your brand. Your emails should be interesting and relevant in order to compel the recipient to take the next step. While it’s important to scale your efforts through some automation, a smart segmentation strategy will enable personalization to offset sounding robotic.


Respect the Highly Coveted Inbox With Clear Expectations

When someone signs up to join your email list, state exactly what to expect. Also, let them out of the communications flow easily: The option to unsubscribe should be clear and easy to find. To help manage expectations and keep people in the fold, give them a few options by segmenting types and frequency of emails. Make it readily apparent that you are first and foremost offering something of value—and not just trying to make a sale.

Test, Test & Test Some More

Email tools have come a long way. Find one that offers the right metrics to give you insights into your audience. Test time of day, type of content, calls to action and anything else you can think of—but be careful not to bombard your email subscribers. Still, don’t let them forget about you either. With time and practice, patterns will reveal themselves so that you know clearly what is working and what is not.

One parting piece of advice from Hovnanian, which is worth adopting as your email mantra:

Hear more of Hovnanian’s advice through his posts “What to Do Next With Those Landing Page Emails” and “How to Tell if You’re Boring or Overwhelming Your Autoresponder List.”

Join Us

Next week’s #SproutChat topic will be “How to Host a Successful Webinar,” featuring Michael Patterson, Sprout Social’s Digital Marketing Specialist, who runs our partner webinar program. See you next Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 2 p.m. CT.

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Getting Attention: The Science of Being Captivating Online

Do you want to bring more attention to your business or product? Want to find out what inspires people to take notice? To discover how to get people’s attention online, I interview Ben Parr. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed […]

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Thursday, 27 August 2015

How to Get Twitter Followers Who Matter

Twitter Following-01

As the saying goes, it’s quality not quantity that matters. But on the noisiest network there is, how can you expect anyone, let alone a quality audience, to find your great content? Luckily, Twitter is a perfect place to experiment, network, analyze, learn and repeat. And there is more than one way to attract a quality audience.

Here are 10 tips and tricks that will help you increase your follower count in a thoughtful way.

1. Include Social Icons Everywhere

The easiest way to get followers on Twitter that matter is to remind your existing customer base that you are on Twitter. This means including a clickable social icon on your homepage, newsletter and blog. Advertise your username wherever it makes sense, like on a business card or in an email signature.

Include a social sharing widget on each blog post so existing readers can easily distribute your latest posts to their networks and draw further attention to your Twitter account. Depending on which social sharing widget you use, be sure to edit the settings so that your account is tagged in each Tweet. It should read something like, “[article headline] [article link] via [@yourusername]” each time it’s shared.

2. Deliver What You Promise

On Twitter the fastest way a user decides whether or not to follow you is by checking out your bio. Your bio is a 160-character promise to your current and future followers on what kind of content you will be sharing. Make sure it clearly states what your brand stands for, what your interests are and your area of expertise.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 5.02.03 PM

After checking out your bio, a user might peruse the last five or 10 Tweets in your feed. Does the content you share meet their expectations? While it’s okay to stray from your strategy every so often with an out-of-the-ordinary message, make sure you get back on track with the next Tweet. You don’t want to confuse your followers or scare away any potential new ones.

pinned tweet new

The best way to ensure that your customers are always seeing relevant content is to have a “pinned Tweet” at the top of your feed that perfectly represents your brand or shares the most recent news with your customers. It could be a product release, a recent article that featured your business or a general advertisement-like post that sends visitors to your website. To pin a Tweet, click the “more” icon (three dots) and choose “Pin to your profile page.”

3. Don’t Just Tweet About Yourself

As with any social network, your content should be a mix of self-promotion and information sharing—and keep the self-promotion to a minimum. Many follow the 80/20 rule, with 20% or less of self promotion. The good news is that information sharing can help your cause in the long run. Not only will you get more followers and keep the ones you have, but you’ll also establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

4. Share Content Every Day, Multiple Times a Day

Twitter is just about the only network where you can share, and then share some more and then share even more. If your feed hasn’t been updated even within just a few days, users may be less obliged to follow you.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 8.30.37 PM

While Twitter is all about living in the moment and sharing what’s hot right now, it doesn’t mean that all of your content has to be sent live. Sprout Social can help you queue up content in advance so you can rest assured knowing that something will be Tweeted out every day. Scheduling content is also a great way to ensure that quality, well thought-out content is shared as opposed to a rushed, last-minute Tweet.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 8.15.36 PM

5. Don’t Ignore Everyone Else

Twitter is not a broadcast, it’s a conversation. Your content can’t be completely one-sided. Factor in time to respond to any Retweets, Direct Messages and mentions each day. Be sure to incorporate open-ended questions to your following.

retweet others

Your Twitter content strategy should also involve Retweets from other relevant presences. It’s not only good Twitter etiquette but it also shows that you’re up-to-date on the latest news in your industry. Plus, if you share content from others, they may share content from you in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 8.41.54 PM

A quick way to get involved in a conversation is by joining a Twitter chat in your industry. You’ll find tons of relevant content to Retweet. If your contributions are clever, you’ll get plenty of Retweets as well.

6. Analyze Your Current Following

Sprout Social’s Discovery feature shows your followers as well as the people who you’ve conversed with and the people who’ve mentioned you under “Suggestions.” Are these the kind of followers and conversations that you envisioned? Analyze whether or not your content is attracting the right people.

conversed with

Look under “Cleanup” for those accounts that you follow, but that don’t follow you back. Why don’t these people follow you back? Do you wish they did? What could you do to attract these kind of followers? Take what you’ve learned here and incorporate it into your Twitter strategy.

do not follow

7. Analyze Who You Follow

When was the last time you assessed who you were following? While you want every follower to matter, you also want everyone you are following to matter. The goal is to equalize these two numbers. You don’t want to be following 10,000 people if you only have 1,000 followers.

Take a look and unfollow the accounts that don’t make sense anymore. Sprout Social makes this easy under “Discovery” then “Cleanup.” Find silent accounts—those who aren’t Tweeting anymore—as well and unfollow them.

silent accounts

Now check “Your Followers” under “Suggestions” in Sprout Social’s dashboard to see which of your followers you are not following back. If they’re an influencer, give them a follow and strike up a conversation. You may be able to reach some of their audience if you get a Retweet or strike up a partnership.

8. Explore New Hashtags & Conversations

Stay up to date on conversations in your industry by searching for keywords or hashtags. Then see what other keywords and hashtags are being associated with those conversations. When you find something relevant, incorporate it into your strategy.

Sprout Social’s Smart Search lets you search by keyword within a five-mile radius of a location, and you can save your searches. This is great for businesses who are looking to attract local clients or network within their area. Start up a conversation with anyone you find here or latch on to an existing one. Follow them, and you might not only get a new follower but also a great career connection too.

local search

9. Check Your Stats

Your Twitter analytics dashboard can fill you in on your highest-performing Tweets. There are a couple of different things you can do with this information. For example, you can re-share the same Tweet. If it was popular once, it will probably be popular again. It is unlikely that the exact same followers who saw your Tweet last time will see it again. You can also pay attention to what topics and hashtags helped this post perform well and then incorporate that into your Twitter strategy.

Twitter Analytics

10. Use Images

Tweets are defined by their 140-character limit, but don’t forget about corresponding images. Images help your content stand out in a busy stream of Tweets and can even improve your chances of getting a Retweet.

A few lines of code can make your Tweets look better and perform better. This feature is called Twitter Cards and once you’ve added the code to your website, it improves the content you Tweet from that website. The next link you Tweet will include a rich photo or auto-play video, headline and a teaser of the content instead of just a URL. We recently published a guide to Twitter Cards here.

Twitter Cards

Go ahead and test out these 10 tips and see which ones give you the best results. As mentioned, because Twitter is such a noisy network, it’s a great place to experiment, learn and repeat.

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Social Hospitality: How 8 Hotels Engage Guests On and Offline


Customer experience is key. While this can be said of any business, it’s especially true within the travel and hospitality industry. Travelers turn to social media throughout every step of the their journey, from start to finish. For hospitality brands—hotels especially—your work starts even before a trip is booked.

This industry relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, most of which takes place online nowadays. But by not being involved in those conversations, you’re taking a big risk. A 2013 Nielsen survey found that of those who used social media to research travel plans, only 48% stuck with their original plans—33% switched hotels.

A focused approach to social media can result in a stronger brand, greater exposure and better relationships with first-time and repeat guests. Here is how some of the hospitality industry’s leaders are using social media to go above and beyond to create exceptional experiences.

Know the Social Networks Your Guests Use Most Frequently

“We’re focused on building long-term relationships with our guests, and that means we want to be where our guests are.”
—James Geiger, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

You know where your guests are staying tonight, but do you know where they go to ask questions or talk about you? To better serve your guests online you must first know which social networks they’re spending time on.

“Some hotels find their guests love the creativity and photography found on Instagram, while others find that their guests are more interested in the real-time service assistance found on Twitter,” said James Geiger, Social Strategy and Activation Specialist at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Knowing where your guests communicate online will help you provide a better customer service experience while enabling you to reach the right people at exactly the right time. To be successful, you’ll need a better understanding of the demographics of each of the major platforms as well as those of your target audience.

“We’re focused on building long-term relationships with our guests, and that means we want to be where our guests are,” Geiger said.

Be an Invaluable Resource Beyond Just Accommodations

Approximately 1 in 5 travelers turn to social media for inspiration within different categories of travel planning, including:

  • Destinations: 27%
  • Hotels: 23%
  • Vacation activities: 22%
  • Attractions: 21%
  • Restaurants: 17%

“Many guests connect with us on Twitter and Facebook in advance of their stay regarding a special upcoming weekend, requesting ideas for activities to partake in, dining recommendations and other key experiential elements of that sort,” said Courtney Morrow, Social Media Marketing Manager at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.

In fact, according to a USA Today survey, the No. 1 reason guests contact hotels on social media is for local information. By providing travelers with useful tips about the area, you’re demonstrating that your interest in them doesn’t disappear the minute a guest steps foot outside the lobby doors.

Before social media, hotel concierges couldn’t accompany guests outside of the hotel. But thanks to instant access to sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Foursquare, travelers are never without inspiration.

“Social media has enabled our hotel to act as a ‘digital concierge’ of sorts for our guests that allows us to create an additional personalized communication touch point,” Morrow said.

Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto elevated a potential guest’s experience in this way. When Ana O’Reily was looking for information about renting a car, Trump’s concierge team was ready to jump in and assist.

Meanwhile, The Ritz-Carlton has created an entire campaign around the digital concierge. In June, the hotel brand published its 1,000th tip as part of its World Concierge campaign on Foursquare, which combines insights and tips from 89 of its concierges from around the world.

Ritz-Carlton World Concierge

Many of these tips come from seasoned concierges, such as Atlanta’s Jessica Gorman, who has been providing hotel guests with travel advice for nearly 11 years at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Gorman, who spends little time at home, prides herself on anticipating guests’ needs.

“I always want to be ahead of the guest and know exactly what is new and interesting and what will be best suited for them,” she said.

Similarly, @HyattConcierge on Twitter does everything from offering a friendly welcome to guests who check in on social media to sharing restaurant recommendations to answering guests’ questions. Hyatt keeps the account running 24/7 with help from its teams around the globe.

Sometimes it’s the other way around. The concierges at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago refer to weekly postings on the hotel’s social profiles as a reference to what’s new and fun to do in the area when talking with guests.

By highlighting the expertise of your staff, you’re reassuring guests that you have their best interests in mind. This makes you an invaluable resource for travelers, who will hopefully look back on their trip and associate your hotel with an incredible experience.

Delight Guests Every Step of the Way

Guests don’t wait until they walk into your hotel to start using social media. Travelers turn to social media before their trip is finalized to well after they’ve returned. Although a variety of social platforms are used, here’s a breakdown of what that usage looks like on Twitter:

  • About 33% access Twitter before or after a trip.
  • 39% use Twitter mid-journey.
  • Almost 20% use Twitter to share feedback throughout their travel experience.

Build Excitement Before Guests Arrive

Usage spans the entire travel process, so it’s important to develop and maintain strong relationships with your guests. This is something you should start doing before your guests even arrive. For example, your social media pages can act as a point of reference for travelers.

Arizona Grand Pinterest

Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Facebook are a good bet for this effort. If you have a profile on any of these platforms, be sure to include important information, including in-room amenities, overall hotel accommodations and events around town. If you can answer guests’ questions before they arrive, you’ve helped them start their trip off on a good note.

“All of our social media links are included on reservation confirmation and pre-arrival emails,” said Emily Dille, Marketing Manager at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. “And if a guest posts about an upcoming trip, we take the opportunity to comment and let them know we look forward to their visit.”

Stay Attentive During Their Stay

Take time to get to know your guests and their preferences. Do they request an additional towel? Are their pillows arranged a unique way? Do you notice a particular snack missing from the minibar? Make note of what they ask for and what they’re using in the room.

“Sometimes we know so much about our guests’ preferences by the time they check out that we enter it into their profile to ensure that the next time they visit us, we can surprise and delight them,” said Kelly Kroyer, Social Media and Marketing Manager at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. “The little gestures go a long way.”

You’ll also want to pay attention to social media for details that might explain why your guests are staying with you or opportunities to make someone’s stay special.

“We’re in the business of caring for people so they can be their best, and listening and responding through social is a natural extension of that purpose,” Geiger said. “We are constantly looking to surprise and delight guests with something specific to their preferences and reason for traveling.”

Hyatt did just that after a guest posted a picture of a sonogram and expressed sadness that he couldn’t be there at the doctor’s office to witness the momentous occasion in person. The hotel saw the man’s social media post and quickly put together a “man-package” of various beers, bacon and other snacks with a handwritten note to congratulate the father-to-be.

When a couple Tweeted about celebrating their wedding anniversary at The Hilton Anatole—where they stayed over their wedding weekend—Morrow and her team recreated the amenity experience from 20 years prior, which included a bottle of Champagne and a piece of wedding cake.

Extend The Experience Even After Their Stay

Guest relations don’t end the minute someone checks out. After their stay, guests will be telling everyone they know about their trip as well as their experience in your hotel. How you treat guests following their stay can influence where they—and others—stay in the future.

Fernanda Williams, Social Media Administrator at Sky Hotels, went above and beyond to help an international guest who had misplaced an item during one visit. Worried about long-distance calling charges, the guest reached out to the hotel through Facebook. Williams contacted the hotel, found the lost item and mailed it back to the guest promptly.

Even something as simple as a Retweet or a thank you can turn a great stay into an exceptional experience.

“Once a guest has left, we will often Regram a great photo, or in the case of group or business meetings, we will thank them for choosing our hotel to host their program,” Dille said.

This could also lead to more social engagement from your guests. According to Iconosquare, 76% of Instagrammers said receiving likes encourages them to post more, while 65% said they’d feel flattered if a brand liked one of their posts.

A simple greeting, such as this one from Trump Toronto, will help ensure your repeat guests receive exceptional service every time: “We keep track of our conversations and ensure that if they return to the property we Tweet or comment back by saying, ‘Welcome back’ or ‘Glad to have you back again @TrumpToronto’,” said Jeanne Marie Castor, Marketing Coordinator at Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Continuously Listen & Be Ready to Act

“In my experience, showing that we truly care and are concerned about the guest experience goes a long way.”
—Courtney Morrow, Hilton Anatole Hotel

It’s only natural for guests to share their experiences, both good and bad, on social media—but many of them don’t wait until they’ve returned home to do so. In fact, 72% of travelers post to social networks while still on vacation, so it’s very important to keep a close eye on social mentions.

Imagine a hotel that has a screen displayed in the lobby so guests can see what others are saying about their experience on social media. Now imagine that a guest is unhappy with the wait at the hotel’s restaurant and Tweets about it. Not only does that guest’s followers see that he’s dissatisfied, but all of the other guests staying at that hotel do too.

If his complaint goes ignored, everyone following that Tweet will assume that the hotel isn’t interested in customer service. But if the hotel responds quickly, they’ll rest assured knowing that, if they were in the same situation, they’d be heard and get a response.

There’s a huge opportunity for the travel and hospitality industry to improve in this area, according to data from the The 2015 Sprout Social Index. Currently, the average response time for this industry is 11.5 hours. That means if a guest complains about room accommodations on social, nearly half a day passes before a reply is issued. What’s worse, only 11.3% of messages requiring a prompt response even get one at all. Smart hotel companies recognize that actually engaging with customers via social could yield a competitive advantage.

“We are watching out for both negative and positive engagement on social media,” said Colin Diaz, Director of Public Relations at BLVD Hotels. “When the negative occurs, it is equally important to address it publicly and handle it offline.”

By responding openly, anyone following the Tweet knows that the hotel is listening and really cares about providing good service. Taking the issue offline or in private after that initial response is key because it gives the guest your full attention and shows you’re serious about getting the issue resolved.

Faced with a similar situation, Dille’s team at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa took action immediately and connected an unhappy guest with an on-duty manager.

“Putting the guest in touch with someone whom they could speak to directly made all the difference and turned a frustrated guest into a happy one,” Dille said.

An angry Tweet can spiral out of control very quickly, so even if you don’t have a solution in place right away, acknowledge the issue and let guests know you’re willing to resolve it. They’ll understand if you’re personally unable to fix the issue, but will appreciate you putting them in contact with someone who can.

“In my experience, showing that we truly care and are concerned about the guest experience goes a long way,” said Morrow, who answers every guest review, complaint, accolade and comment that’s posted to the Hilton Anatole’s social channels.

But don’t let your desire to solve problems deter you from other engagement opportunities either. Monitoring for customer complaints shouldn’t be the sole purpose of your social listening strategy.

“To us, every conversation about our brand is important,” Geiger said. “Our approach to social care isn’t just about service recovery; it’s about making a human connection with guests and building guest relationships at any point in the travel journey.”

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8 Ways to Use Google+ Hangouts for Your Business

Do you use Google+ Hangouts? Interested in ways to use them for your business? Google+ Hangouts are a great way to hold group meetings, interact with customers, interview people and share your expertise. In this article you’ll discover eight ways to use Google+ Hangouts for your business. A Quick Introduction to Google+ Hangouts Before getting […]

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

SEO Tips for Social Media Managers

Sprout Social SEO Tips Header
The connection between social media and SEO has been debated for years. Marketers continue to argue over whether or not social media activity influences search rankings and while there’s evidence to support both sides, the truth is that there’s no concrete answer. What we do know is that social media can be used as a part of your SEO strategy.

It’s important for social media managers to understand that SEO and social media marketing don’t have to be handled separately any more. In fact, there’s a very strong chance that you’ve been doing some SEO work without even realizing it. What we’re seeing is overlap in these two worlds. A lot of the strategies and techniques you use for your social media marketing campaigns can have an effect on your SEO. The key is knowing how to tackle your social media campaigns with the SEO mindset.

Jump to the SEO and Social Media Infographic.

Cut From the Same Cloth

One of the reasons social media marketing and SEO work so well together is because they both rely on a lot of the same marketing principles. When you start to see these similarities, it’s easier to understand how social media can impact SEO both directly and indirectly.

  • A focus on content: Everyone knows that content is king when it comes to SEO, but the same is true for social media marketing. If people don’t like the content on your website, they’re not going to link to it. And if people don’t like what you’re Tweeting, Pinning or posting to Instagram, they’re not going to share it.
  • Inbound techniques: Social media and SEO are both inbound techniques. They rely on you pulling your audience in and earning their trust instead of shoving your products and services in their face.
  • Sharing is key: Links from other sites (inbound links) have been the strongest ranking factor for years. The equivalent to inbound links for social media is having people share your social media posts with their followers.
  • Authority: SEO and social media are both about gaining authority. Most of the top sites that rank highly in competitive industries are the ones that are seen as authorities. The top brands on social media are authorities and the top people in their niche.

And it goes even deeper. Take a look at the top Search Engine Ranking Factors by Moz.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 4.35.11 PM

Nearly every one of these factors has an equivalent counterpart when you look at being an influencer on social media:

  • Domain & Page Level Link Features = People sharing your social media posts with their audience
  • Page level keywords & content based features = Using relevant keywords and hashtags in your social media posts
  • Page-Level Keyword-Agnostic Features = Making your social media profiles/bio relevant to your industry with keywords and phrases
  • Engagement & Traffic Data = How people are engaging with your brand on social media (replies, comments, searching for your brand name etc.)
  • Domain Level Brand Metrics = People mentioning your brand outside of social media in blogs, news and other outlets

Now that we see the similarities, let’s look at how you can use this knowledge to improve your SEO with social media marketing.

1. Earn Inbound Links

There are several ways to get inbound links to your site. Outreach marketing, email marketing, broken link building and the list goes on and on. But one of the best techniques is people stumbling across your content on social media and then sharing it on their own site.

For example, let’s say that you publish a new post and share it on social media throughout the day. One of your followers, who’s also a blogger, sees the Tweet and loves the content so they decide to link to it in their next post. If you never would’ve been active and promoted the post on social media, you would’ve completely lost out on that opportunity.

Social media encourages natural and organic inbound links, which is the way it should be done.

You can start getting inbound links from social media by:

  • @mentioning people in your social media posts
  • Sharing your own content at the optimal times
  • Creating shareable content—lists, round-up posts and ultimate guides

2. Social Profiles in SERP

This is important for any brand, and particularly local businesses like dentists, lawyers or salons. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. This is the list of results that come up when you search a topic in Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines.

When people are searching for your company to find out more about you, ideally the entire first page of results should be web properties that you manage. One of the easiest ways to take up more space on the SERP is by having optimized social media profiles. You’ll notice that for nearly any brand that you search on Google, their Twitter and Facebook Pages occupy at least two of the spaces.

Quest Nutrition SERP Example

In the example above, you see that Quest, which is extremely active on social media, has its social media channels as 4/10 of the results that come up when you search “Quest Nutrition.”

Here’s where this becomes extremely important. Let’s say you’re a fairly new local dentist with some less than favorable reviews on Yelp and Healthgrades. If people search for your business name and see three star reviews, they  could be put off right away. With strong social profiles, you could potentially push some of those results off of the first page so that more of the web properties that you manage show up.

To fill up the first page of the SERPs with your social media profiles, you should:

  • Make a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube page. They tend to rank the highest.
  • Create a strong profile/bio and be active.
  • Link to your social profiles from your website.

3. Personalized Search

The days of everyone seeing the same exact search results are over. Five people could search for the same exact topic and get five different results pages. When it comes to personalized search and social media, it’s most evident with Google+. If you’re following someone on Google+, their public posts could show in your search results when the content is relevant to what you’re searching.

For instance, let’s say one of the people you follow on Google+ is Pauline Cabrera. Pauline recently published a post on her Google+ page with “Game Of Thrones” in the title. When we do a Google search for Game of Thrones, this is what our results look like:

Google Plus SERP Integration

Pauline’s post shows up in the results because it includes the keywords we searched. In order for this to appear, you have to be signed into your Google account.

Personalized search results are becoming much more common and really changing the SEO industry. Since the goal of search engines is to show you the most relevant results, it makes sense that they’d pull from your social media activity to find out what content to show you.

Personalized search is in the early stages, especially with social media integration. But here’s what you can do to start capitalizing on it right now:

  • Focus on building your following on Google+.
  • Share your blog posts and other content on Google+.
  • Include relevant keywords in all of your social media posts.

4. Search Engines Index Social Media Posts

Another very interesting change in the mashup between SEO and social media is social media posts being indexed in search engines. Earlier this year Twitter and Google came to an agreement to integrate Tweets into their search results on a deeper level. One of the coolest features that this is enabling for marketers is highlighting Tweets in mobile search. Here’s a search for “Sprite” from our phone. Notice how Sprite’s latest Tweets stand out.

Twitter Google Mobile Integration

It’s not just limited to twitter. Pinterest is one of the best social media platforms for SEO. You may not realize it, but those laser targeted niche boards you create on Pinterest are a great way to show up in Google for long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are phrases that are three-plus words long and are usually very specific. For instance, “2 year anniversary gifts for her.”

Pinterest Long Tail SEO

Look at the websites that show up for this search. Etsy, Hallmark and Your own website might not have the authority to compete with these sites in terms of SEO. But by using social media marketing and the authority of Pinterest you can have your boards or Pins show up.

Here are some tips for getting your social media posts indexed in search engines:

  • Make sure you select the option to index your posts in search engines. There are specific settings in most social networking sites to do this.
  • Post about trending topics to potentially have your Tweets show up in the news section.
  • Specify your social profiles to Google.

5. Get Trending on Social Media

You may not be able to become a viral sensation on social media, but using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to build a buzz around your company name can help your SEO. Here’s how.

One of the factors that search engines look at when determining relevancy and rankings is search query volume. Search query volume is how much a particular word or phrase gets searched. That’s why tools like Google Trends exist. The more people are searching for your brand name, the more popular and authoritative search engines will view your company.

For example, let’s say you’re a dentist in Seattle named Dr. Lee. There are 15 other Dr. Lees within 15 miles of you. Google wants to know which Dr. Lee is the most relevant for people in Seattle searching for your name. To help market your brand, you create an infographic on oral hygiene that gets Retweeted, liked and shared thousands of times on social media. So naturally people start to look for the infographic to see why so many people are mentioning Dr. Lee. So they start Googling “Dr. Lee + infographic” and your website shows up. As a result, more and more people are clicking your site after Googling phrases with your name in it.

That process helps search engines determine relevancy for searches. The idea is to get people talking about your company and brand on social media to generate buzz. Once curiosity kicks in they’ll turn to search engines to find out more. As Google sees that more people are clicking on your website instead of the other Dr. Lees, they’ll start to determine that your site is the most relevant for searches for Dr. Lee.

Here’s a great case study from Neil Patel on how he used a similar concept to build a following on Instagram.

Generating a large buzz on social media can be difficult, but here’s some steps you can take to get started:

  • Focus on creating and sharing amazing content.
  • Brand any images and graphics with your website URL/company name.
  • Encourage people to Retweet, like and comment your posts. Don’t be afraid to ask for the share.

The interweaving of SEO and social media is a great thing for social media managers. Not only does it make your role more valuable, but it allows you to use a lot of the same skills and techniques you’ve been using to build your social media presence and apply them to SEO. Focus on building your audience, connecting with people and creating valuable content. If you can do those three things, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds from SEO and social media marketing.

Sprout Social SEO Tips Infographic

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How to Tell Stories With Facebook and Instagram Carousel Ads

Want to make sure your ads stand out on Facebook and Instagram? Have you tried Carousel Ads? While many businesses use Carousel Ads solely to promote products, the ads also provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand’s unique narrative. In this article, I’ll share how to use storytelling in carousel ads to promote your […]

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Meet Team Sprout: Rusty, Visual Designer

Meet Team Sprout Rusty-01

Digging Sprout’s new look? This week, we officially wrapped up and announced our visual refresh, replete with an updated logo, new palette of green and entire suite of enhanced webpages.

The reason for all this was simple: As a company, we take pride in making sure that everything—from our app to our blog posts—provides a seamless user experience. In this installment of our Meet Team Sprout series, we want to introduce you to someone whose work is integral in keeping us looking fresh.

Rusty Cook is one of our Visual Designers here at Sprout. From leading the Sprout refresh to creating the brand identity for our new employee advocacy platform, Bambu, they have been busy recently, making sure our marketing materials and social media posts look top-notch. If you like what you see here on Insights, you can thank Rusty, who designs almost every piece of art, including many of our striking and useful infographics.

Read on to learn more about how Rusty got started in design, where our brand’s creative inspiration comes from and how the Bambu panda came to be.

Name: Rusty Cook
Department: Design
Started at Sprout: June 2014

How did you get into design?

I’m one of those odd people who actually knew as a kid they were interested in design. I was 8 years old when my family got our first computer. It came with Print Shop Deluxe, which was one of those 90s clip art programs for making greeting cards and stationery. I would invent clubs for myself, like the Tree Climbers of America, just so I could make membership cards for my friends.

My high school also had a really good art department, so I got to take graphic design and photography classes there. Then, I majored in Art and Design at DePaul. After working at an entry-level design job for almost five years, in my mid-20s, I decided to get more serious about a career in design.

What brought you to Sprout?

When I saw the job posting for Sprout, there was a big focus on illustration. That was something I’d always liked doing and really wanted to hone in on. When I started here, my primary responsibility was maintaining Insights, creating all the illustrations for the blog posts and designing infographics. It’s shifted over the past year so that I’m doing a broader sweep of our brand identity, which goes beyond design. I’ve helped to define our brand voice, pushed for more collaboration and experimentation among our team, developed the visual identity for Bambu and led the refresh of Sprout’s logo.

The Sprout refresh was a huge project—what role did you play in that process?

When I started at Sprout, I had expressed how much I enjoyed branding and wanted to help refine the visual identity. Knowing we were going to redesign the logo, Gil told me that would be my project, and I suggested leading it as a team effort.  I love collaboration when everyone is invested in each other’s growth.

While the Sprout rebranding was going on, you were also working hard on creating an identity for Bambu, an entirely new product. What was that like?

It was super fun. We gave ourselves a tight deadline for coming up with the Bambu branding and made it our top priority. This project was another collaborative effort—all hands in from our Visual Designers and some of our Product Designers.

We knew what the Bambu app interface looked like and that it was designed for a clean, modern, super user-friendly experience. We did some competitor research and saw that some products were taking more of a buttoned-up, “we’re a business tool” route, while others were presenting themselves as fresher and more youthful. We all agreed that we wanted to take an approach that would appeal to employees, not just executives. Employees are the end users, and we needed them to enjoy the product—to have a delightful experience—to want to use it.

Why the panda?

There’s an obvious connection between pandas and bamboo. We didn’t think it was going to stick, but it was fun and playful. To our delight, the team loved it! Making the panda the default avatar before users upload their photos was a fun way to incorporate it. Nick, another Visual Designer, and I had a blast passing an Illustrator file back and forth, riffing on the bear. We ended up with almost 15 different panda personas, ranging from Barista Bear to Lover Bear to 3D Movie Fan Bear (really!).
Meet Team Sprout Rusty-03

As a personal brand, what would your favorite font and preferred Pantone be?

For the font, I like the good old Futura Bold, all caps. Since my name is Rusty, it was pretty easy to choose a rust color, 7593, with a contrasting teal, 633.

Meet Team Sprout Rusty-04

What do you like to do outside of work?

Hang out with my basset hound, Henry de Basset; he’s French. Hang out at my neighborhood coffee shop—that’s so designerly, that makes me feel pretentious.

I’ve also gotten into storytelling and performance lately. Over the past year, I’ve taken a handful of classes with The Neo-Futurists, which has a big focus on honesty and brevity. When I started writing more actively, the process came naturally to me since it mirrored my approach to design—I’ll start with a lot of ideas or snippets of writing and then chip away at it until it’s as tight as possible.

I did a couple readings this summer and am hoping to do more. I’m also going to have a conceptual art piece in Chances Dances 10-year retrospective this fall, a two-month-long art show celebrating the impact the LGBTIQ dance party has had on Chicago’s queer artistic community.

What other outlets keep you inspired?

I read Under Consideration’s Brand New blog weekly, which is about branding and logo design. I’ve also been volunteering with Creative Mornings, an event series for creatives, for the last two years, and it’s awesome. I keep up the blog and do Q&As with all the speakers. That’s a big way that I stay connected to the Chicago design community.

Any advice for aspiring designers out there?

Strong design needs to balance concept and craft. A lot of young designers focus first on craft. It’s easy to be enchanted by style and want to emulate what you’re drawn to. That’s a completely legitimate way of learning new techniques, but when I look at student portfolios, I see a lot of the same trends, and not all of them have a solid idea behind them. If you focus on honing your conceptual thinking skills as much as your craft, your work will be smarter and more relevant for it.

The post Meet Team Sprout: Rusty, Visual Designer appeared first on Sprout Social.

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6 Ways to Use Periscope for Your Business

Want to use mobile live-streaming to market your business? Have you tried Periscope? Periscope is already proving to be an incredibly powerful social tool, and savvy marketers are using it in innovative ways to grow their businesses. In this article you’ll discover six ways to use Periscope for your business. #1: Show Live Product Demos […]

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Monday, 24 August 2015

Growing Strong: Sprout Rebrand Reflects a Company on the Rise

Sprout Social's New Logo

Over the past year, Sprout Social has planted many seeds—and yet another has blossomed. To reflect a company that is on the move, Team Sprout decided that the timing was right to give our branding an update.

From the colors you see every day in our platform to the logo that encapsulates our core product features, we have, in effect, turned over a new leaf. We’re grateful for all the feedback and praise our customers have shown after unveiling the new leaf, and we wanted to share some insight on what went into this effort as well as what it means for the team and our customers.

Remaining Grounded

When the founding team started working on Sprout back in 2009, we were focused first and foremost on delivering an absolutely stellar, user-friendly product to a budding market. During our scrappy beginnings, most of our design expertise was directed at the customer experience and more strategic operations, but a day would eventually come where we could redirect some of this energy back into the brand.

In 2015, our growing workforce of 180 team members now includes an in-house design team dedicated to crafting an extraordinary user experience, developing a clean and consistent app interface, and shaping our visual identity. This spring, the Visual Design team set its sights on giving our brand the attention it deserved. After months of researching, brainstorming and iterating, we landed on a mark that pays homage to the original Sprout leaf but is primed to lead us into the future with new layers of dimension and a sure sense of self.

Logo Insights Post-01

Turning Over a New Leaf

After exploring several concepts that outright avoided any hint of a leaf at all, our process led us back to our roots. Good branding, after all, stands the test of time, and consistency is key in remaining recognizable. When Sprout Social was named, it was because we wanted to help businesses grow in their social engagement. That mission holds true today, but as we’ve grown into ourselves, we now possess a more nuanced understanding of what it is we bring to our customers. It was time for a logo that conveyed the breadth of our offerings—and did so in a contemporary way.

Our new mark conveys this depth through a spectrum of fresh, modern greens and nods at the core features of Sprout as a social media management tool:

  • Engagement: Starting with the most obvious attribute, the new leaf takes the shape of a conversation bubble to highlight the engagement aspects of our platform—helping people and businesses connect to solve everyday business challenges. We believe all parties are best served when they can have open conversations and speak freely.
  • Publishing: Gaze at the leaf longer, and you will notice that it also looks a bit like a paper airplane. With this symbol becoming more ubiquitous for sharing content, we decided to incorporate it to showcase Sprout’s powerful publishing capabilities—helping businesses schedule social messages to reach audiences at the most optimal time.
  • Analytics: Finally, the leaf’s veins create a series of facets that loosely reference our data visualization capabilities. The reporting portion of Sprout’s platform helps brands glean a stronger understanding of the impact of their social efforts.

Logo Insights Post-02We hope this provides some more context for the change and where we stand as a brand. The team is undoubtedly more sophisticated today than when we first started, but as we grow, we remain scrappy in spirit, and the leaf lives on to remind us of this.

Long live the leaf!


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Social Media in Sports: 5 Strategies From the Pros

NHL Carolina Hurricanes Manage Social-02

When it comes down to it, professional sports franchises are brands just like the rest of us. And just like companies in any other industry there is so much that we can learn by studying how they manage their social media presence. That’s why we turned to the professionals and scored an interview with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes’ Social Media Specialist Coop Elias.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 10.14.17 AM

Elias gave us a ton of great insights on how he manages certain aspects of the team’s social presence during the interview, and we used his answers to elaborate on how all brands can learn from his efforts.

How big is your social team, and how do you delegate responsibilities?

Elias: Our dedicated social team consists of one person. I am the only person solely dedicated to social, and I also will assist on other digital marketing efforts from time to time. Our marketing coordinator spends about a third of her time assisting with social efforts, and we also get input from our web producer and our PR team when they have access to help gather and relay additional content.

What KPIs are you currently measuring?

Elias: We primarily focus on tracking growth and engagement metrics, but we also have to focus on driving additional revenue for the organization. We are doing that through integrating social elements in corporate partner deals and indirectly by driving traffic to our website where the focus can be on converting fans to ticket buyers.

How do you draw the line between an inbound message being good-natured ribbing and someone trolling your team’s account? How do you respond?

Elias:  I try to look at the history of a person’s account to see if they seem to only engage in trolling activities, or if they should be taken seriously, before sending a response. I’ll usually choose to ignore the trolls, but I’ll gladly engage with a fan who is just looking to have a little bit of fun. If the right opportunity presents itself, sometimes you can engage with the trolls and put them in their place as long as you stick to your brand’s voice and know the limits (see the Tampa Bay Lightning response below).

How can you interact with rival teams without it coming off as trash talk?

Elias:  I know that I need to let our players do the talking for our team on the ice from a competitive standpoint. I think the best opportunities to engage with a rival team is around current events, pop culture references and other things that help insert your brand in the conversation with your fans. For example, I recently saw an opportunity to poke fun at an Instagram caption written by the Avalanche and at the same time take a shot at the people who spam Instagram comment sections with these posts.

Editor’s note: even the Avalanche tipped their hats to that friendly burn.

Elias:  Another example would be dropping in on the Sharks’ trivia question with this pop culture reference.

Do you encourage players/coaches to be social?

Elias:  Absolutely. It’s more natural for younger players to be active on social media, so I try to foster good relationships early on with them by promoting their accounts, giving them access to do takeovers of team accounts and showing them positive feedback we receive when they are featured in social posts.

How do you rally your team’s fans on social?

Elias:  The content that we are posting has to be authentic and something that our fans want to share. Posting things that feel too corporate will not rally our fan base, but if we are using a voice that matches a large portion of our audience then we’ll get their support and see our potential reach go up. One way that we do this is by following a large amount of fans (with plans to eventually follow them all) on Twitter so we can keep an eye on what, and how, they are posting.

5 Key Takeaways for Brands

Just because you don’t work for a professional sports association doesn’t mean there aren’t some key things you can learn from Elias and the Hurricanes. Below are five strategies that you can take back and incorporate into your own social media marketing strategy.

1. Build out Your Second-String

Elias is the only dedicated person working on social, but he isn’t the only person in the organization who spends time managing the Hurricanes’ social pages. He also receives assistance from the Carolina Hurricanes’ marketing coordinator and the PR team. This is because it’s crucial to have some backup when you’re running your business’s social media. Social media runs 24/7, and if you’re expected to keep up with it at all times, you could burn out. Incorporate a few line changes!

2. Give Credit to the Assists

While Elias and his team do look at revenue generated from social media—which is essentially the scoring for marketing—they also track growth and engagement metrics that help contribute to revenue. It’s important to track which other metrics lead to your goal so that you can work to increase them and grow your bottom line. Social media is a funnel just like other marketing channels.

3. Engage With Your Fans

One of the best ways to create loyal fans and customers is to make them feel like part of the team, and the best way to do that is to engage with them and make them part of the conversation. Try to respond to all of the folks that are reaching out to you, and if you find it tough to keep up try using a social media management tool like Sprout Social.

4. Play With the Other Teams

Audiences love a little playful banter on social media. Try to build a relationship with adjacent brands, then engage with each other online to show your customers that you’re a fun, accessible brand. The Hurricanes found wild success when they interacted with the other associations in their industry.

5. Get the Whole Team Online

Getting other departments on social can help you effectively respond to all of your customers’ specific needs. For example, if you get your customer service team onto your pages they can handle of the the complaints and inquiries. If you get your engineering team on social you can task them with specific issues and bugs.

The post Social Media in Sports: 5 Strategies From the Pros appeared first on Sprout Social.

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5 Facebook Ads Changes: What Marketers Need to Know

Are you curious about the latest Facebook ad changes? Wondering how to take your Facebook ads to the next level? Facebook has gone all in to provide businesses with tools and targeting options to connect with customers and prospects in the moments that matter. In this article I’ll share the five biggest things to happen […]

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How to Create Facebook Image Posts That Engage

Do you use images in your Facebook marketing? Are your image posts performing as well as you’d like? While targeting, relevancy and timing play significant roles in the success of Facebook campaigns, the right image is key to improving engagement. In this article, you’ll discover how to improve the performance of your Facebook image posts. […]

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Sunday, 23 August 2015 Brings Group Video Broadcasts to Business: This Week in Social Media

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week has marketers talking: Combining features of Google Hangouts with Periscope-like functions, introduces an iPhone client and […]

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Friday, 21 August 2015

#SproutChat Recap: Using Multiple Marketing Channels to Better Connect With Prospects


Setting a digital marketing strategy has undoubtedly become more difficult over the past few years. Brands not only need to figure out where to reach prospects but also how to effectively connect with them at the right time.

As potential customers move through the marketing funnel, they expect a seamless experience with your brand. Being able to offer that takes a lot of time, research and collaboration across your team. To help with that effort, we took a deep dive into multichannel marketing in a recent Insights post and, today, offer three quick tips from this week’s #SproutChat.

1. Think as, Not Just of, Your Audience

Setting strategy starts with considering who is on which social channel and why they are there. People consume content differently. Although they may fall into the same demographic, one may rely mostly on Twitter’s mobile app and the other on bigger news sites. It’s crucial to do some testing to see where your brand is effectively getting its message across.

2. Set Actionable Metrics With the Right Tools

Whether you have a big budget or hardly any dollars to invest, there are tools that provide metrics that will give some insights into which places are successful at driving traffic or sales. If you’re a small-to-medium business, invest in getting to know as many customers as possible and document their feedback in order to direct your strategy further.

3. Reap What You Sow

Customer loyalty results from a well-vetted marketing strategy. The better you understand the connections your customers have with your brand, the more likely they will be to stick with your business for the long term. Remember that customers have so many options in today’s market—don’t let a competitor with a subpar product beat you because you’re not giving attention to the people who keep your lights on.

Join Us

Next week, we’ll be chatting with special guest Stephan Hovanian on how to maximize conversions from an email campaign once someone signs up for your offer. We hope to see you there!

The post #SproutChat Recap: Using Multiple Marketing Channels to Better Connect With Prospects appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Content for Business: How to Build Your Business on a Solid Content Foundation

Do you have a great idea for a business? Wondering if content marketing will help move the needle? To discover what it takes to build a content-driven business, I interview Joe Pulizzi. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy […]

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Guide for Bars and Restaurants to Social Media

Essential Guide to Video Marketing: A Resource for Marketers

Do you want to use video for your business? Are you looking for a resource to help you combine video with social media marketing? Whether you’re using video as an individual or as part of a team, these expert articles will help you live-stream, record, publish and market video to support your marketing goals. Each […]

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Introducing Bambu by Sprout Social, a New Social Advocacy Platform for Employees

Bambu by Sprout Social

An employee has, on average, 846 connections on social media—yet most organizations fail to leverage the potential impact of these individual networks. Today, a major shift is occurring, as we prime organizations and team members alike for added success with the launch of a new social advocacy platform for employees, Bambu by Sprout Social.

Bambu Employee Advocacy Platform by Sprout Social

Since our founding in 2010, Sprout has been dedicated to helping businesses and agencies create meaningful relationships through open communication on social media. Managing an organization’s social media, however, is only part of the story. Empowering valuable brand advocates—most especially, employees—to spark and continue conversations around the organization is the next step in becoming a truly social enterprise.

Sprout builds products and offers solutions that foster our vision of open, measurable communication among brands and people. We are focused on employee advocacy because active, engaged employees already speak out in droves.

Bambu Quote by Justyn Howard

When employees share an organization’s message, the impact is multifaceted and measurable: It amplifies news and promotions, boosts social recruiting and builds overall brand trust. Marketing leaders, talent teams and other stakeholders responsible for the organization’s education and communications—both internal and external—benefit from the streamlined, easy-to-use Bambu platform in several ways:

  • Designated teams of contributors can easily add and organize content—articles, job postings, social posts and more—from around the web.
  • Employees stay up to date on their organization’s content and initiatives—whether that be marketing campaigns, media mentions, industry-relevant news or important events—fostering a stronger feeling of involvement and improving engagement.

Bambu Employee Advocacy Current Stories View

  • Curated content meets employees across channels and devices—on mobile, on desktop and through Bambu’s weekly curated email digest—making it easy to consume and share information with their social networks.
  • Reporting capabilities track the content employee advocates share and how well content performs across networks—giving stakeholders insights into performance at the team, department and individual level.

Bambu Employee Advocacy General Report View

Sprout activated a handful of customers in Bambu prior to launch, and the results have been immediate and impressive. Marketers respond to the ability to efficiently organize content and collectively distribute important stories, while teams are welcoming the tool into their regular routines and diversifying the messages they share.

In fact, the City of Las Vegas boosted their visibility while offering social media value to constituents. In a matter of months, their social team tackled everything from tourism promotions to road closure announcements—and the results speak for themselves:

  • Averaged 8.5 stories per month per active user
  • Realized a 320% spike in total social shares
  • Benefitted from a 275% increase in brand impressions

Sprout’s flagship social media management and engagement platform continues to help 15K+ organizations around the world connect with their communities. As communities of all kinds expand, advocacy platforms must give employees an easy way to consume curated content and share brand stories across their personal social networks. Bambu by Sprout Social enables organizations to better plan and shape employee advocacy programs, increasing organic social reach and inspiring conversations.

Learn more about Bambu and how it may fit into your social communication strategy.

bambu employee advocacy cta

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6 Google+ Features to Promote Your Business

Do you use Google+ for your business? Wondering which features to invest your time and effort in? While there have been recent changes to Google+, the platform has a number of features many marketers love and will continue to use. In this article you’ll discover six Google+ features you can use to promote your business. […]

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

7 Headline Writing Tips That Gets Clicks

Headline Writing Tips-01

You can have the best content in the world, but it doesn’t mean much if nobody clicks through to read it. Whether you’re crafting blog posts or Tweets, you need a strong headline to pull people in and entice them to read more.

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will continue on to read the rest. Your title could mean the difference between having your content read by the masses or having a blog full of amazing articles that get overlooked because they have weak headlines.

The Job of Your Headline

Before you start writing your title, it’s important to know what a headline is supposed to do.

Think of your headline as the appointment setter in sales. The only thing an appointment setter has to do is make initial contact and get the lead to commit to walking into the door. After that, their job is done and it’s up to the sales team to keep them there and eventually make them a customer.

When it comes to your blog post, the job of your headline is to get people to read the first sentence of your article. If your headline achieves that goal, it has done its job. After that, its up to your content to keep the reader engaged and stick around.

When you look at it from that perspective, it’s easier to understand why headline writing is so important. If that’s not convincing enough, Upworthy, the king of mouthwatering headlines, has seen as much as a 500% change in traffic just from changing a headline.

How can you avoid writing boring headlines that don’t drive people to take the next step and read your entire article? Follow these five amazing headline writing tips to pull readers in and grab their attention. These tips are specifically for blog posts, but a lot of the same concepts can be applied to other types of content like social media posts or email marketing.

1. Use Numbers

“Cheating on Your Diet Without Feeling Guilty”


“10 Ways to Cheat on Your Diet Without Feeling Guilty”

The power of numbers cannot be conveyed enough. It’s the reason why list posts get shared so much. Using numbers in your headlines creates curiosity right away. In the example above, you know you’re going to get 10 different tips. Logically, your next thought is what are the tips? You feel compelled to click through to see the entire list.

A study by Conductor on different types of headlines found that titles with numbers were the most effective by far.

Conductor headline study

Magazines have perfected the art of using numbers in headlines. Look at any fitness or health magazine and you’ll see a “top 10 ways to get abs” list or “5 super foods guaranteed to give you energy.” How many numbers can you count on this one cover of Men’s Health Magazine?

Mens Health Headlines

2. Be Very Specific

“How To Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life”


“5 Tips to Extend Your iPhone’s Battery Life by 50%”

The more specific you can get with your headline, the better. The main job of your headline is to get people to read the first sentence of your article, but you also want to make sure you’re sending qualified traffic to your posts.

When your headlines are clear and leave little room for misinterpretation, you have a smaller chance of people exiting out because they didn’t find what they were expecting. This is the problem with clickbait headlines, which we’ll talk about a little later.

In the example above, the first headline is pretty vague. Five people could click through to that article all expecting different things.

With the second headline we’ve helped qualify the reader because it:

  1. Tells you how many techniques you’ll learn
  2. Tells you what specific type of phone the tips are for
  3. Sets your expectations by letting you know how much battery life you can save

Laser target your content and know exactly who it’s meant for. Then start crafting your headline around that.

3. Use Adjectives

“The Renter’s Guide to Choosing Furniture”


“The Quick Guide to Choosing Comfy Furniture for Renters”

Being descriptive can pay dividends when it comes to writing headlines. This is similar to tip No. 2, but the emphasis is on using what we like to call amplifier words. An amplifier word is essentially an adjective that boosts the impact of the message you’re trying to convey.

In our example, the first headline is short, to the point and specific. However, it lacks the spunk and dynamics of the second headline. The second headline isn’t just a guide, it’s a quick guide. Time is something that most people don’t have a lot of. By implying that your guide is a quick read, you’ll be more likely to pull in readers. Putting in the comfy part lets potential renters know that the guide is going to emphasize comfort and not just any old type of furniture.

Coming up with adjectives and using descriptive language can be a bit difficult. Especially if you want to avoid the standard words like cool or good. Luckily, there are tools that can help you out. If you’re struggling to come up with an adjective to describe a word you want to use in your headline, plug it into this tool from Word Generator and it’ll give you some suggestions. Keep in mind that the suggestions are random so you’ll have to go generate a few different words to find a good match, but it’s a great place to start.

adjective generator

You can also use some of these popular options from Econsultancy that have proven to work in headlines:

  • beautiful
  • best
  • brilliant
  • epic
  • essential
  • excellent
  • fantastic
  • free
  • gorgeous
  • great
  • horrific
  • horrifying
  • important
  • inspire
  • killer
  • lousy
  • mindblowing
  • most
  • persuasive
  • simple
  • success
  • ultimate
  • useful
  • valuable

4. Are You Asking Questions?

“How to Meet Your Perfect Match Online”


“Tired of Bad Online Dates? 5 Tips to Find Your Soulmate”

Asking questions in your headlines gives people a chance to immediately resonate with your content. When most people read a question, they start to answer it in their head. You can spark up emotions in the reader by asking a question with an obvious answer.

For instance, in our example the article is about online dating. People who have had bad experiences with online dating are going to relate to the post right away and feel pulled in. We’ve found a pain point, created a rhetorical question around it and incorporated it into the headline. The second part of this headline formula that makes it even stronger is the tagline. After asking the question, we let you know we’re going to give you solutions.

You can easily apply the same technique to your content.

Let’s say you’re a dentist that wants to create a blog post about flossing. Instead of a generic headline like “10 Reasons Why You Should Floss,” you could use a question that touches on a specific pain point like “Do Your Gums Bleed When You Brush Your Teeth? Floss!”

It’s a three-step formula:

  1. Find a pain point of your reader
  2. Ask a rhetorical question that invokes an emotional response
  3. Hint at the solution

5. Use the Second Person POV

“5 Reasons Bosses Fire Employees”


“5 Signs You’re About to Be Fired”

Using words like “you” and “your” makes readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them. You’re essentially calling them out. Writing is all about building a connection with the reader, even if there’s thousands of people reading the exact same article.

Someone reading your headline should feel like the article is tailor made for them. That’s what writing from the second person POV does.

Imagine you are an employee worried that you may lose your job. In our examples, the first headline is pretty general and doesn’t necessarily speak out to you. The second one calls you out. You want to know what the signs are so you can look out for them when you go to work tomorrow. See the difference?

6. Make a Promise

“10 Simple Vegan Recipes”


“10 Delicious Vegan Recipes You Can Make in Under 20 Minutes”

You have to be careful with this technique. Setting unrealistic goals is an easy way to make readers feel mislead and duped. Include a benefit that the reader will get after clicking through and reading your content, but don’t oversell.

Promises are effective because you’re telling your reader what they’ll get if they choose to click your headline.

In our example, the first headline just tells you what the content is about. But the second one gives you a benefit by letting you know that the recipes actually taste good and don’t require a lot of time to make. So people who are on the fence about the taste of vegan food will be more likely to give the content a try, and people who are pressed for time will find it even more relevant.

You also don’t have to make a guarantee in your headline. Aspirational titles can be an effective way to spark intrigue. For instance, “How I Grew My Email List by 100% in 30 Days.” When someone reads that headline, they’ll aspire to reach similar goals and grow their email list too. In order to find out what they need to do to reach that goal, they know they’ll have to read your post.

With this technique, the headline should tell the “what” and the actual content explains the “how.” A headline of “I Grew My Email list 100% by Using a Pop-up Subscribe Form” most likely wouldn’t get as many clicks because there’s no mystery left.

Headline Writing Tips Make A Promise

7. Create a Sense of Urgency

“11 Crucial Social Media Statistics”


11 Social Media Statistics You Should Have Known Yesterday

Creating a sense of urgency in your headlines stops people from waiting until later to read your article. You want people to read your blog post as soon as they see the headline, because otherwise they’ll forget all about it. When you put some type of time restraint in your headline, it tells people that what you’re sharing is extremely urgent and important.

The retail and e-commerce industries have been using this technique for decades with one-day sales and special holiday deals. That sense of urgency pulls people in to take action right now instead of tomorrow. Even though a blog post is different from selling a product, you can still use the same concepts.

One formula that tends to do well is giving the consequences of not reading your article within the headline:

  • If You’re Eating These 5 Foods, Kiss Your Flat Stomach Goodbye! (The consequence is gaining weight)
  • The 4 Techniques Your Competition Is Using to Steal Your Customers (The consequence is losing customers)

Bonus Tip: Split Test

When a piece of content doesn’t perform as well as you’d like, most people will do things like try to promote it more on social media, change the content or just take it as a loss and move on to the next blog post. But what if the real reason people aren’t reading your content is because the headline isn’t pulling them in? This is where A/B Testing or split testing your headline writing comes in.

Split testing your headline means that you’ll use different variations of a headline for the exact same piece of content and see which one performs the best. We mentioned the amazing improvements Upworthy saw when it tested its headlines, but that’s not the only proof that split testing works. A case study from VWO showed an 89.97% increase in sales from split testing a headline.

It’s easy to assume that a blog post isn’t getting traffic because you aren’t promoting it enough. But sometimes changing up the headline can make a big impact on getting your content read.

Clickbait Headlines

Clickbait headlines are sensationalized titles aimed at pulling readers in to read the full story. They’re a highly debated subject in marketing because they’re effective but they oversell the content a lot of the time. You’ve probably seen them on social media and entertainment blogs. Sites like Viral Nova really helped make them popular.

Viral Nova Clickbait Headlines

So should you use them? The short answer is probably not. Even though the goal of your headline is to get people through the door, you also don’t want to mislead them with puffed up headlines that don’t deliver.

Instead, a good way to make use of some of the things that make clickbait headlines work is to include some level of curiosity into your headline. Some of the tips we’ve given you do just that. You can create intrigue without creating unnecessary buildup in your headline.

Try These Proven Headline Formulas

Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re new to headline writing or if copywriting just isn’t your strong point, these proven formulas will give you a great place to start:

From Copyblogger

  • Who else wants [blank]?
  • The Secret of [blank]
  • Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
  • Little Known Ways to [blank]
  • Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
  • Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  • Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
  • [Do something] like [world-class example]
  • Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
  • What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]

If you want to start getting more eyes on your content, start devoting more time to writing your headlines. Put these tips and tactics in motion to craft an intriguing and compelling headline for your next blog post.

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