Businesses are relying more and more on Facebook Fan Pages as a way to connect with their target audience and reach the right client demographics. But having a large, engaged fan base is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. To make the most of your Fan Page you must think strategically and use the right tools to help drive traffic to your site.
Erica Bogdan is Web designer and developer at Schipul and Facebook page admin for AIGA Houston. She will show you how over the past few months she’s increased her page’s number of fans and gotten them to interact on her page. This Webinar will cover the following:
How to use Facebook admin tools effectively
How to increase your fan numbers organically
What strategies to use to ensure your content is being seen by the most amount of people.
Recently, I added myself to the list of iPad owners. I own Apple products, but not a tablet, so I was excited to put this new technology to productive use. These apps aren’t free or cheap ($1-2) like a lot of other productivity apps, but they are well worth it. Here are my top 4 recommended iPad apps to help make your workday more productive.
If you need a place to doodle, take notes, or annotate PDFs, Note Taker is for you. It isn’t cheap, but you will get much more functionality than something like Penultimate ($.99).
Note Taker lets you create folders of documents and store those in other folders so it’s extremely organized. It also conforms to your style of note taking. Whether writing, note taking or doodling, you can:
Insert text via the keyboard
Insert shapes (Note Taker has 65 built in) or pictures from both your photo library and your camera instantly
Change the color and size of your pen
The zoom writing feature allows you to write accurately as large or as small as you’d like. When you want to advance: tap the right arrow to continue on the same line and the left to go to the next.
The gray bar is the wristguard feature. When most people write, they rest their hand on the writing surface. In Note Taker, the wristguard makes sure you don’t mark or mess up the line you’re writing on. You can toggle it on or off in zoom tools.
My Favorite Feature
My favorite feature is the ability to annotate PDFs. I needed to fill out some forms for an online class I was taking and had left my computer at a friends house. I downloaded the forms (as PDFs) I needed, filled out all the subject fields, and sent them in from my iPad.
Note Taker Tips and Integrations
Note Taker has a lot of features and is extremely powerful, but it has a bit of a learning curve, so you have to be patient with it. To read a comprehensive Note Taker user’s guide click here.
Note Taker is compatible with CloudOn(mentioned later), Evernote and Dropbox and you can send your notes to any of these apps using the output button in the tools section.
Overall, this app rocks. Plus, its only $5 for one killer note taking platform.
CloudOn’s claim to fame is being the first to bring Microsoft Office to iPad. It’s great for editing your PowerPoint, Word, and Excel Microsoft Office documents on the go. CloudOn’s downside are the limitations with creating new documents or doing heavy re-structuring.
The keyboard responds to commands like cut, copy, paste, and undo. All of the buttons in the interface are click-able but not all of them work.
I use CloudOn for minor editing and changes like font family, size, and type.
It’s especially helpful in PowerPoint because you can easily edit, add, or delete slides and save to the cloud.
CloudOn links with Box, Google Drive, and Dropbox. You can save, edit and access your files anywhere with Internet.
CloudOn is great for the price and offers on-the-go editing for the on-the-go person who needs to make quick edits to their Office documents.
Pocket Informant HD is expensive compared to some other apps in the App Store and is the most expensive app I’ve included in this review. However, if I had to choose one app as a must have, Informant is that app.
At Schipul, we use Google Calendars for scheduling and Informant syncs seamlessly. It also syncs with Toodledo, Google Tasks, and iOS Calendar.
The beauty of Informant is that it does everything. It has a calendar (with customizable views much like Google Calendar), tasks & events, notes, and contacts. Each item is tabbed and color coded.
Features that Make Informant Worth the Extra Cash
With Informant, you can call anyone (via FaceTime) straight from the contacts tab.
Informant also enables you to link contacts and send them invite via Google sync or the iPad’s email client when creating tasks/events.
One or more of these features come standard in every scheduling app, but Informant effortlessly puts them all in one place, for you to use. For the same price as a good notebook planner, you always have it, and it integrates digitally.
Increased Productivity for Just $26
I use these apps daily and I strongly recommend all of them. Together, they make your iPad more than just a portable toy for playing Angry Birds by giving you a suite of tools to increase your productivity at work.
Informant is a stand alone app and the other three apps integrate with each other. I’ve found it is pretty easy using Note Taker, Scanner Pro and CloudOn in unison.
You can get all of these apps from the iTunes iPad App Store for just $26 dollars (less than dinner and a movie)!
While You Are on Your iPad…
Come check out some of Schipul’s recent mobile responsive sites from your iPad! Responsive design gives your website the cool ability to display an optimized user experience based on the size of each site visitor’s screen. Come see how these sites look on your iPad compared to your desktop and smartphone:
“there’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”
Passion is important. So is attitude. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, a passion for the product and a positive attitude make all the difference. People will perceive your true attitude to the detriment or benefit of your brand so it’s important to find someone who actually cares and is personally and deeply invested in your product.
Katie Laird shared about becoming a brand ambassador for Nintendo. It was an “organic connection” she says. She bumped into one of the Nintendo higher-ups and a causal conversation became a job opportunity. It was not who she knew, it was her passion: who she is.
“there are things about you that you can share!”
All three panelists stressed the need to be transparent. When you communicate with a brand ambassador it is imperative to be up front about needs and expectations. In other words, honesty is the best policy. Potential disasters could occur due to simple miscommunication.
Even if it isn’t a simple mis-communication it’s best to be realistic (transparent) and up front during any business transaction and it saves all parties involved a lot of heartache.
This happened to Kashi recently after it was released that they were using genetically engineered soy in their cereals. Fans of the Kashi brand confused the labels “organic” (which is an FDA regulated label for foods), with “natural” (the label Kashi used and is *technically* correct). You can read the full story about Kashi’s brand mis-communication in this story by USA Today.
Influence vs. Popularity
know the difference –> increasing conversion to sales (influence) vs. increasing product brand/reputation (popularity).
It’s important to note the subtle difference between the two. Popularity does bring influence, but not necessarily to a target audience ready to buy. When selecting your digital influencers, you want to focus on your ultimate goal for the campaign. Ask yourself: are you looking to increase lead conversions with this campaign, or are you seeking to expand your brand’s recognition?
Influence: A writer who runs a successful blog that has an engaged audience of readers might not be nationally or critically acclaimed but their strong influence over loyal followers can be a marketing gold mine.
Popularity: A pro athlete that is nationally (or even internationally) recognized will reach a large audience, but not necessarily have a direct impact on sales.
Keeping Your Brand Ambassador
make me feel special
Gerome, Katie, and Meredith all expressed gratitude for the brands they represent. Katie remarked that during her ambassadorship she got to tour a national Nintendo facility, all expenses paid. During his multiple endorsement deals as an athlete, Gerome remembers all the “swag” and free shopping trips from brands like Nike, Reebok, or Adidas. Meredith endorses BCBG and gets 75% off of clothes and gets to dress in style.
1-Minute Video Wrap-Up of the Lunch!
If you missed the luncheon, here’s a quick inside look at all the fun from HIMA’s June lunch
Here are three ways you can go identify the right digital influencer for your Brand:
Go find those people who exert influence over your target market. Use social media reputation monitoring tools to find out who’s already talking about you. Inc Magazine has a great article on reputation monitoring tools and their use.
Start with the people who are already following you online and engaging with you already. Check your social media accounts to see who is talking about you, following you, and mentioning you. This will give you a better idea how to engage with your audience
Remember, ‘There’s nothing like good old-fashioned networkingâ€. You never know when you’ll meet your next big fan!
Please! Leave your comments. Tell us how you found your brand ambassador or how you became a successful one.
If you’re in marketing and wondering if you should be utilizing Google+ for Business – my answer is a resounding Yes!
I’ll admit that I was skeptical when Google+ first released Brand Pages and hesitated to commit to using Google+ as part of our web marketing strategy. There are so many different social media networks and so little time. I wasn’t eager to add another social network to my list. I was wrong to hesitate and thought I’d explain what I’ve learned and how Google+ helps your website convert leads into sales.
How Google Search Works (in a Nutshell)
Google is continuously improving their search engine software to provide more personalized and socially relevant search results for users. There are different opinions out there regarding just how much control we should give to Google in determining how personalized our search results should be, and I’m not going to go into that debate issue here.
Instead, I want to share Google’s brilliant business strategy that has made Data the currency of the internet.
The majority of Google’s products are 100% free and target individual consumers. We, the consumers, use these geeky web tools and instead of paying for them with money, we pay for them by giving Google certain permissions to collect and share information about us.
The majority of Google’s profit comes from ad revenues for pay-per-click, Adwords, and other online advertisements presented to consumers as we surf the web. Google is so profitable because it uses the data from consumers to personalize the ads each person views. This makes the ads more relevant and less annoying to the consumer and also makes the ad more effective and likely to result in a sale for the ad buyer’s business.
Talk about an awesome example of a win-win situation!
Google wins = they earn a profit
Consumers win = free tools they want and less boring internet ads
Businesses win = affordable online advertising with measurable results
The Proof is in the Numbers
Google works, and the proof is in the number of people who are using it. Here are some usage stats:
Google has created a service that delivers personal, individual results to each of its more than 1 billion users, profitably.
How Google+ for Business Works
Anyone who creates a free Google account also automatically gets a Google+ plus account now. As I mentioned above, there are currently over 100 million Google+ users and that number is still growing. You’ll need to have your own Google+ personal profile set-up before you can create one for your business.
Google has some really great resources and training videos to help you set-up your organization’s Google+ Brand Page on the Google Plus for Business website. Schipul is partnering with Google’s Houston team to host 2 terrific and Free events: an upcoming webinar on May 29th and a hands-on workshop June 19th for those of you interested in getting help with Google+.
Google+ Brand Pages for businesses have some restrictions and you can’t just go start following all your clients or add them to circles immediately. Since Google’s business model demands protecting the privacy of its users and making sure we all enjoy using Google’s products, businesses can only follow users who first come and add your Brand Page to one of their circles.
Why You Want A Google+ Brand Page
Google+ Brand pages have started to show up in search results in a very noticeable way. For example, if I’m following a certain Brand on Google+ and do a search in Google, their Google+ page shows up on the right hand side at the top of the search results. Some Brands are starting to show up there even if I’m not currently following them or when I search anonymously.
Google hasn’t exactly explained why some Google+ Brand pages are showing up on search results when you aren’t following them, but Mashable has a theory that it could be related to Google’s Direct Connect program. The Direct Connect Program links your Google+ Brand Page and your website. I highly recommend you get a Google+ badge for your website and register with the program.
Google+ Secret Recipe for Higher Lead Conversions
If the premium placement of your Google+ Brand page on search results isn’t motivation enough to add Google+ to your marketing strategy, combine it with the Social aspect that Google’s integrated with their search engine and I believe you’ll see why I’ve changed my tune.
As marketers, we understand the value of relationships when it comes to generating leads that convert to sales. Referrals from existing clients close more often, faster, and at a reduced cost than cold leads. People are far more likely to work with the business a friend or family member recommends than go with a company they’ve never heard of.
One recent study shared on econsultancy.com’s website showed that 88% of consumers look at reviews from other customers before making a purchase decision. 52% of those surveyed said their purchasing decisions were influenced by their friends’ recommendations. The study also showed that just by having reviews or testimonials on your website increased your lead conversion rate by over 60% in most cases.
We already know that when your prospects come to your website and read positive reviews of your work, they have a higher chance of converting to become a client. Since Google+ results now show up on Google search results, Google+ gives prospects your positive reviews and recommendations from the search results page. Prospects can compare the results with other competing sites before clicking through to a website. If the research is accurate, then that means there is a good chance that more people will visit the websites of companies with more positive reviews from Google+.
As an added bonus, the Google search results from Google+ also show the searcher who in their network has +1‘d your business, implying they recommend you.
Google+ Brand Pages are the new digital version of the “Ask for a Referral” postcard used by traditional direct marketers. Asking for referrals has always been a very effective marketing strategy, in my experience.
This week, I had the distinct honor of hearing Gary Hoover present at the Houston Technology Center on how to “Think Like an Entrepreneur”. Gary Hoover is a successful entrepreneur having founded companies including Bookstop and Hoovers.com and he’s spent the last year as the “Entrepreneur in Residence” at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Austin.
Gary’s presentation was described as an “intense, information and idea packed presentation… [that] will be like drinking from a fire hydrant.” That description was spot-on.
I took over 5 pages of notes, mostly trying to type as fast as I could and catch the great and inspiring quotes of wisdom plus the recommendations for books and specific, actionable items Gary said we could do to change the way we thought and be more successful and innovative in business.
Gary began his presentation by personally handing everyone in the audience his business card and shaking our hands. On the back of Hoover’s card are the top 8 things he believes are keys to making great enterprises. Download a larger photograph of his business card with the 8 tips to keep and view more photos from the evening presentation in the Tendenci Photo Album I’ve created.
If you are interested in a full copy of my notes, leave a comment below or send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll gladly send them to you.
I was inspired by how much of what Gary recommended for being a more successful entrepreneur also applied to the work we do at Schipul for our clients in web development, website design, and web marketing. In learning to think more like an entrepreneur, you also learn to see different perspectives, understand the ‘bigger picture’ of your business, and receive lifelong benefits personally and professionally.
Probably the most profound statement of the evening from Gary was when he said:
‘I define entrepreneurship as getting great personal satisfaction from serving others… you have to love it and others have to love [what you are giving them].
The people who are most happy with their lives at my stage are the people who have spent their whole lives working to make the world a better place.”
Here are Gary’s recommendations for learning how to “Think Like an Entrepreneur”. My goal is for you to find the same inspiration and ways to relate them to your daily life as I found.
Practice the Habit of Wisdom
‘These are people who just cannot be anything but an entrepreneur. They may fail a lot’ because it’s hard to get them to sit still, hard to get them to focus… but ultimately they are going to succeed because they just don’t stop.”
As Gary states, some people are born fundamentally entrepreneurial and others are born to be bureaucrats, while the rest of us fall someplace in between the 2 extremes. If you want to become more entrepreneurial, then you will need to change by developing better thinking habits.
To develop these habits, you’ll first need to master the 3 things Gary calls his working definition of wisdom :
Knowing what matters and what doesn’t matter.
Knowing what changes and what doesn’t change.
Knowing what you can change and what you can’t change.
These are three easy concepts to understand and yet, very difficult to master. As Gary put it, “There’s no rocket science here, but you’ll spend your whole life trying to figure out what matters and what doesn’t.”
“Study the great entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and so on, and you’ll find an intense curiosity.”
Gary explains the importance of doing your research before starting a new business venture. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who ask the most questions and really understand the marketplace, the customers and competitors, and gain insight into the future of the business environment.
Ask the managers and owners of similar businesses questions like:
What do you like about your job, and what don’t you like?
What is the best day you’ve ever had… describe your worst day?
What do you look for in an employee and how do you hire and train new people?
By asking questions and being curious, you can begin to gain perspectives from other people and understand the why’s and the how’s and the what’s…
When you begin to understand these different perspectives beyond your own, you can make better decisions and you are more equipped to solve problems as they are thrown randomly at you.
Read Every Day
“The key question is do you see yourself in a box or not in box?”
The greatest thought leaders in the world are also the most avid readers. Read daily, Gary recommends, books and business journals… the beauty of the internet is the availability of so much free and great reading material.
Mindset describes the importance of not locking your children or yourself into a set way of thinking. Gary recommended this book and said “It’s not about being smart or being stupid: people who think they’re smart are locking themselves in a box just like people who think they’re stupid.”
Entrepreneurship is not About the Technology
“Entrepreneurship is a lifelong process of self-understanding: learning about yourself .”
As I listened to Gary’s presentation, I found myself mentally replacing the word “entrepreneurship” with “Marketer” and “Schipulite”. We’re passionate about providing great service to our clients. We’re constantly asking questions and inviting our clients to come hang out with us so we can get to know you. We never stop trying to innovate and find better ways to help your business increase online and offline revenues through your website and web marketing.
These quotes from Gary’s presentation were my favorite because they gave me new perspectives on creating a better user experience through our Tendenci CMS for you, your staff, and your website visitors:
‘When I use the word technology, I mean any way of doing better things… Technology is only relevant to the extent that it makes people’s lives better!â€
“Step back and look at the big pattern’ and the big pattern here is that ALL MEDIA has been digitalized, it’s all been turned into 0’s and 1’s.”
“Be obsessed with your customer and making great products for them and you will succeed’ be passionate about it. It is about making it good for the user!”
I would love to hear how we can make our products and services better for You and anything else you want to add! Please tell us below in our comments or Come Hang Out With Us and get to know us. (And I promise to ask you lots of questions!)
The Houston AMA hosted a seminar on mobile marketing for NPO’s and SIG’s. It was very informational with a forward looking perspective. In summation, the landscape of marketing is changing as mobile devices become more predominant in the market. Following is a summary of the critical information at the seminar in case you missed out.
More people will connect to the Internet through wireless devices than through cable-based connections this year, and for the foreseeable future. Smartphones are outselling PC’s and tablets. (Yes that includes you iPad!) In accordance, marketing and advertising must adjust their content for this unwavering trend. The first step is to know the characteristics of this new target market.
Who Are We Dealing With?
The answer is the mobile audience. This mobile audience can be grouped by a few key factors:
ALWAYS ON (connected 24/7)
ENGAGED (very active with content)
IMPATIENT (want it now)
YOUNG (ages 18-44)
Tailoring the Message: Keys to Success
As the mobile market progresses, the winners will be those who adjust their content for this fast-paced, impatient crowd. The critical factors are as follows:
One of the first factors is loading speed. The experienced advertiser will tell you that you have less than 30 seconds to grab the reader’s attention. If 5 of those 30 seconds are spent loading the page, then you’re off to a bad start. Yes, mobile performance is much more tedious than desktop performance. Here are some websites to visit if you’re having trouble with your loading speed: YSlow, and Mobilewebbestpractices.
The content also needs to be engaging. If the webpage does not incite some course of action or immediate entertainment then again, your 30 seconds are up! This is a small part of Schipul’s SEM strategy that is proven to be very effective; get them involved quick. A quick scan of your website does not bring members, and therefore does not produce sales. Interaction is the key.
Simplicity: Navigation and Presentation
The most crucial factor is simplicity. Apple is a good example of this. If the content or navigation of your site is difficult or requires too much time, you will lose your audience. The content and presentation need to be universal and simple. Most people use the Internet for finding data. Know what they are looking for, and make it easy to find and use. Here are some simple dont’s:
Write content into images (prevents copying and pasting)
Have too much distraction (including flash based images and adds)
Use a bunch of social widgets (again, distracting and cluttered)
Where this is Heading
If you want your company to stay current and your advertising to produce results, its time to mobilize your site. Many companies have already produced landing pages especially for mobile devices. This means that when I view a website on my iPhone, I won’t have to stretch out the page and hunt in order to find things. Many companies have produced apps for the Apple and Android platforms that are much more appealing and involve no screen expanding. They fit the phone and are seem even more simple and universal for users.
The Future: Responsive Website Design
The problem is that these apps are costly and must be made for multiple platforms in order to reach the full mobile audience. The future is responsive website design. With this flexible design style, the content adjusts for the device, and eliminates the need to produce content on multiple platforms. Here are a few websites to try: (make sure to minimize them and then resize the window to various sizes and shapes)
If you tried re-sizing the window, you noticed that the content continues to adjust to the size. The flexibility of this structure will eventually lead to responsive design replacing individual platform apps.
How to Deal with It: Strategy
The next step as a marketer or advertiser is to form a customized strategy for your business. Here are some general concepts that will help this process in terms of the mobile audience:
Create “Look @” not “Listen to” media
Faster is better
Simplicity is the key
Clearly call them to action, and keep them engaged
Hope this helps to give a general glimpse into the future, and where we need to be looking.
It’s the start of a brand new year, and that clean slate has likely got you thinking about goals and projects you want to tackle for your business. Maybe you’re wanting to take on a redesign of your website, or get started with social media to build online community. Maybe you’ve had all these online outposts for the past year but don’t feel you’re getting the most benefit from them. You’ve got questions but aren’t really sure where to go for the answers. Maybe you Googled something along those lines and ended up here. 🙂
Well, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, we’ve got a treat for you! Remember back in college when you were totally stumped on that assignment you were given and needed a little extra help? You’d head to the TA’s or professor’s office during office hours and get the individual attention you needed. It was great! Wouldn’t it be great if there were office hours for all your web marketing questions? Yea, we thought so too.
Schipul’ The Web Marketing Company is pleased to kick off the New Year by featuring Office Hours for those in the Bay Area who may be looking for a little free web marketing advice. Our Silicon Valley office director, April Kyle, will be holding office hours every Wednesday this month’ so sign up now! Topics can include anything you have questions about’ non-profit management, association management, web design, event registration services, Drupal, WordPress’ you name it. We want to be clear – this is 100% NOT a sales pitch. This is us at Schipul wanting to meet you, get to know you, and share with you the combined knowledge of 14 years of geeking out playing around on the web. We believe in knowledge sharing so much, it’s officially part of our culture.
There is so much awesomeness on the web these days’ let’s chat about it! Sign up now and bring your burning web questions to us. We can’t wait to meet you!
Your Organization’s Online Brand relies on providing a positive, interactive experience for your customers on your website. Your website needs to be timely, relevant, engaging and easy to find and navigate to meet the needs of your customers and members. This year, make a resolution to give your website a little more love and your website and your customers will thank you.
Here are our top New Year’s Web Resolutions for you to create a great online customer experience and grow your brand in 2012.
What this means to you is that there is a very good chance your site visitors are using a mobile device to search for and browse your website. Pull out your smartphone or iPad and go to your website. Spend some time trying to access different articles and content from your mobile and think about how this experience compares to the traditional experience from a typical desktop PC. If you are frustrated from the experience – imagine how your site visitors feel.
Now, search Google using one of your keyword phrases from a mobile device and see where you rank. Over the next few months, even high-ranking websites may see a rank decrease from mobile searches if they haven’t enabled user agent-detection for specific devices. Google just introduced Googlebot-Mobile, a new search engine crawler that specifically looks for mobile type CSS that triggers a mobile stylesheet custom for individual users’ devices. Someone browsing the web from their iPad is going to have a different experience than someone from their Android smartphone. Google ranks mobile websites based on factors such as usability, speed, features, and overall performance.
As the internet has become more widely adopted by the general public, websites have become easier to set-up and maintain with less technical know-how required. There are some technical truths that still hold true and taking the time to understand these facts of the web this year will help you improve your customers’ online experience.
There’s no such thing as an “Out-of-the-Box” website. All websites require customization like naming menu buttons, adding a logo and graphics, changing the color scheme to match your organization’s branding, and adding content that tells visitors who you are and what you do. All of this takes time and is an ongoing process even after your website is launched live. Your website will look very different day-to-day from the initial set-up to “Go-Live” day.
Where you host your website does matter. Your website requires a host that stores your content, CMS software, and other data on enterprise-level computer hardware (servers and hard disk arrays) connected to the internet with high capacity bandwidth making your website accessible online to anyone who visits your website url. Nowadays, this typically means a cloud environment like Amazon Web Services which offers security, expandable storage and bandwidth when your site experiences unexpected spikes in traffic, and a dedicated IT staff available 24/7 to maintain, update, and repair the infrastructure hosting your website.
You have a beautifully designed website that takes visitors’ breath away when they stop by – but have you focused on developing and implementing a content strategy that communicates to your visitors who you are and what you do once their breath returns?
Great content is relevant to your visitors and is also what attracts search engine crawlers to boost your website’s search rankings. Content isn’t limited to just text anymore either. Add photos from recent events, upload digital training and product videos, and integrate your social media accounts with your website to give your website visitors a full view into your organization’s online brand.
January is the perfect time to go through your website and review existing articles, news releases, and other content and make sure your latest press releases isn’t from 1996. Look at your website through the eyes of your visitors and think about what is not being communicated about your organization that should be and make a list of these items. Tip: Create a weekly schedule to write new content on these topics in 2012 and you’ll see an increase in your site traffic as well as your search engine rankings.
Learn more great ways to improve your website’s 2012 Content Strategy on the SEM blog and register and attend our Free upcoming webinar “Writing for the Web” to improve your website’s content this year.
Tools for Successfully Keeping Your Web-Resolutions
Here are a few more tools and resources we’ve put together to help you succeed:
Organizations have long communicated through press releases to their public and the media. Organize your official thoughts in a single document, snag a couple of relevant quotes for someone in leadership and go – it works.
But in the days of the Social Web, how relevant are one-sided blurbs of self-focused content? That’s where we thinking tempering your official messaging with two-way, less formal communication (like great Facebook updates and blog posts) come in.
But the press release beat goes on… here are a few resources and links to know and utilize when sending your organization’s news across the Interwebs:
Start at the very beginning, tweak those headlines!
Of course you can get super geeky on just headlines alone to help maximize your online press releases (like some of these tips from this great PR Newswire blog post):
Length‘ Keep things short, sweet and Tweetable (stay under 90-120 characters)
Keywords‘ Put your most important keyword at the beginning of the headline’ within the first 65 characters.
Informative – Readers like data, include numbers that are interesting and relevant (of course)
Subheads – Share more detail (and keywords!) by using a subhead below the main title of your press release – or use it to break up a really long headline.
Use Social Media monitoring tools to help you gauge your impact
When sharing a press release online, know your network’s audience for greatest impact. If you know that the majority of your likes, shares and comments happen in the morning – post then! If your Twitter followers are more active on the weekends, share your content when they are awake and ready to chat.
Online monitoring tools like Sprout Social and Crowdbooster actually look at your follower base on different networks and tell you the best time to post for optimal engagement. And be sure you are actually engaging – not just throwing a press release in the room and not hanging around to answer questions or provide more info. It goes back to that whole ‘relating to the public’ thing you signed up for as a PR rock star.
Another handy Social Media tool to use is a link shortner like bit.ly or tinyurl.com to more easily track links you include in your press release. Change them up on different press release versions (ie: one you link to from Facebook versus Twitter) so you can more easily track what tools get you the most clicks.
If you’ve ever found yourself standing up in front of an audience while some sort of technical glitch prevents your presentation slides from magically appearing on the big screen behind you’ then you understand how important the visual element is when trying to communicate in business. We all find it harder to communicate with words alone, and images keep your audience focused on your words.
When you communicate online through your social media channels’ it is no different. The images, layout, and design that your online audience sees when they visit your company’s LinkedIn or Facebook Pages is critical to relaying your organization’s missions, vision and Brand across the internet.
The Silicon Valley chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, (SV-IABC), understands how important it is to include the right graphics when talking to clients and prospects and all of us at Schipul’ The Web Marketing Company were honored and excited when SV-IABC invited us to host the webinar for their members ‘Good Design Matters in Social Media Communicationâ€ this past Thursday. Erica Bogdan, Schipul’s Creative Services Designer, shared ways to improve your business communication using graphic design tailored for social media platforms. Erica shared how to unify your organization’s online brand across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social channels to engage your audience and increase traffic to your website.
Erica also shared design tips for ensuring your images looked great including sizing your images for each of the different online social websites and how to find free graphic design resources online even for the novice designersâ€¦ (or those folks like me who have trouble drawing a straight line with a ruler, let alone a professional vector logo.)
Erica lists some terrific and free online resources for graphic design, images and stock photos, and tools to edit graphics to use on social media websites. I want to share some of my favorite tools online that I use when I want to incorporate a better design or add more color to a social media page for the design-newbies like me.
5 Free and Easy Ways to Incorporate Graphics on Social Media Websites:
Try CutMyPic and in 3 easy steps you can upload a picture, crop it and add a drop shadow.
ColorLovours’ Themelon has free themes, backgrounds, and custom layouts to give your Twitter Page a truly personal appearance without any design experience whatsoever.
Befunky is the easiest way to add special effects to photos and puts the FUN in photo editing.
Recommended by AllFacebook, Pagemodo offers tools to generate professionally Branded Facebook Fan Pages without any design skills. Pagemodo gives you one free Facebook page then offers additional tabs and pages for a low monthly price.
Aviary offers a suite of design tools for web and mobile graphics including a vector editor, image markup, and even music and audio editing software.
Try out these online tools and then come show off your creative new social media designs with us on Schipul’s Facebook Page!
You can learn more about the Silicon Valley IABC Chapter on their website and if you are in the northern California area’ be sure to check out their upcoming events and stop by to learn how to improve your business communications both online and off. Thank you again to everyone from SV-IABC who joined us Thursday and we hope you’ll come Hang Out With Us Again soon!