4 Steps to a Great Facebook Business Page: NEW E-Book

Wondering how to set up a Facebook Page for business? This quick guide can help!

Do you have a Facebook business Page?

If so, you might be interested in our 7-book Facebook Business Essentials series, meant to provide an end-to-end education of everything you always wanted to know about Facebook marketing, but didn’t know you needed to know.  These are quick guides outlining the process of setting up a robust Facebook marketing program.

If you don’t have a Facebook business Page, you’re in the right place: our first installment in the series gives you a 4-step process to setting up your company Facebook page with digital marketing goals in mind.

So, even if you have your company Facebook Page set up, you might want to take a gander at this first book and make sure that some of the foundational elements of setup that become important later are covered.

Get this free Facebook business Page setup guide by clicking that magically SEO-friendly link there.

This book is full of tips and tricks from our own Facebook expert (he’s huge in Sweden – seriously), making it a great read for anyone who’s serious about Facebook marketing.  Stay tuned for the next 6 volumes, complete with more tips, tricks, real-life examples, and exceptionally enthusiastic polar bears.

DOWNLOAD HERE:

How to set up a Facebook Page for Business

Social Media Audit: 7 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning time! Your social media audit is a virtual feather duster away.

OK, let’s get real: “social media audit” sounds exactly like a project that social media managers really don’t want to do.  But Spring has sprung, and with this time of renewal and rejuvenation it’s a great time to revisit the nuts, bolts and other such connective parts of the social media machine that you brave social media marketers have constructed around your brand.

So, rather than “social media audit,” let’s call this process something a wee bit more fun, like:

7 Easy Steps to Social Media Spring Cleaning

That sounds better, doesn’t it?  We’ve tried to make your social media audit as painless as possible.  Hey, we like you.

  1. Audit permissions on all your social media sites

    When was the last time you took a look at who had access to manage your Facebook Page, Twitter feed, or third-party app that posts across sites?  The reality is that a lot of us use multiple sites, tools and logins – and this makes the permissions piece an organic one, as employees leave companies and change roles.  Go ahead and log into everything and make sure that your permissions are in-line with your current employee job descriptions.

  2. Refresh your look and feel

    Has it been more than a year since you changed out your Twitter background or Facebook banner?  If so, it’s time for a refresh: no social media audit is complete without a design refresh.  The good news is that you probably want a refresh anyway, due to the need to…

  3. Revisit your positioning

    Take a look at what your social media profiles are telling the world about your company.  What’s the brand story?  It’s possible that your corporate positioning has changed since last year, and your social media profiles aren’t up to date.

  4. Take a deep dive into your success metrics

    Q2 is a really great time to look at metrics: theoretically your annual goals are set (and if not, you’re not alone: I once worked for a company that got our annual marketing plan together in May), and you still have 2+ quarters left to hit them.  Summer is an off time for a lot of industry topline revenue, so Spring is a good time to plan for that by making sure that your KPI’s are sound, and that they’re still relevant given any positioning or other changes coming up that might affect them.  If you haven’t yet set your goals or are having trouble figuring out what success looks like, check out our social media ROI article.

  5. Get organized with lists

    Ooh, lists!  Who doesn’t love a good list?  Facebook has interest lists, Twitter enables influencer lists, G+ has circles and YouTube has playlists.  If you’re not using these, now’s a great time to start.  If you are, now’s a great time to revisit them and make sure that they’re cleaned up and full of the people and content you want.

  6. Optimize your profiles

    YouTube, Pinterest and SlideShare can be really powerful for SEO.  Part of your social media audit should be revisiting your company’s SEO strategy to make sure that you’re optimizing for the terms most important to your business goals.  If you haven’t experimented yet with anything beyond Facebook and Twitter, consider trying out something like Pinterest or SlideShare.

  7. Change all your passwords

    With so many logins, it’s easy to let those password changes go by the wayside.  Yes, password changes are a pain – but even before Heartbleed, changing our passwords quarterly was actually the rule of thumb.  If it’s been 3+ months since you’ve changed the passwords to your social media profiles and associated sites (stock photo imagery, for example), now’s a great time to go ahead and make those changes.  This becomes a lot less painful if you’re using a social media marketing tool that allows multiple uses, as – rather than changing all those passwords and then having to email them out to everyone and keeping track of who has them – you can simply adjust the main account and invisibly make that change.

 

So, there you have it: your annual social media audit, packaged together in 7 Spring Cleaning steps.  If you have any other tips, feel free to share them in the comment field.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Did Google Kill the Press Release? (No, Just Press Release SEO)

There was a time when PR pros regularly heard the following from SEO experts: “Press releases are AMAZING for SEO, we need to issue lots of press releases.” Press release SEO was a game changer for PR. PR teams were suddenly considered major players in digital marketing, we issued a lot of press releases and we were told the press release was the new SEO gold. Like a flash those days were gone. So, who killed press release SEO? Was it Google? I say no…

 

Before we dive into what changed, a quick overview of the press release SEO glory days

On a very high level, here’s how it worked:

  • Either PR or the person charged with SEO wrote a press release that satisfied a keyword strategy. Often times this release didn’t announce news at all, but was rather a was a vehicle for keywords and links
  • PR posted the release over one of the many news wires
  • The release, once out over the wire, was picked up by news syndicators, such and Wall Street Journal, Yahoo News, and more (read more about news syndication), resulting in many online postings of press release across the web.
  • As Google crawled the web, it found instances of the releases, on very respectable news websites, recognized the keywords and links and gave the posting company ranking based on those posts.
  • The company’s SEO ranking for the terms and links went up

Pretty powerful stuff, right?

We flooded the market with press releases in the name of SEO

With great power comes great responsibility…*  Right?

After PR and SEO experts figured out this formula, the Internet was suddenly flooded with non-newsworthy press releases, and new wire services were popping up like weeds across the web. Suddenly EVERYONE was issuing press releases – in fact, they began issuing tens-of thousands of press releases per day. Now, this may not seem like a problem on the surface: after all, the Internet is like the universe.  It is ever expanding and has no limits, right?

Actually, yes: the Internet Universe is unlimited, and it will most likely grow and expand forever. The flood of press releases was not a problem of space, it did, however, sacrifice the true purpose of a press release.

A press release is meant to inform the public of news – it’s pretty straightforward. During this SEO-driven period, the release was simply not used for its intended purpose. Too often releases stopped being used to inform and became a vehicle to market and drive traffic by corporations.

The Impact on Journalists

This is where I begin to feel sad. All of a sudden press releases were being used as marketing tools, which became a problem for journalists. During this time, as thousands of non-newsworthy releases were passing by a journalist’s desk something bad happened, they stopped being a useful journalistic tool.

One could argue that the release was already in danger of becoming irrelevant to journalists, what with the amount of information that the Internet made available the release was simply not as important. If a journalist can easily research on the web, do they need a press release?

However, even with the Internet as a research tool, releases, assuming they are newsworthy, have a journalistic purpose. As soon as they stopped being about news, and the legitimate releases were like the proverbial needle in the haystack, journalists all but stopped looking at them.

What’s more, today PR pros outnumber journalists, so there simply weren’t enough eyes to read all of the releases being issued!

Then, last year, something changed…

What Changed?

The simple answer is that Google changed their search algorithm. While the reviews of the algorithm change and its impact on the noble press release are varied, there seems to be one consistent theme: Google had figured out that SEO experts were gaming the system by writing press releases that were less about news, and more about key word stuffing and back links.

As reported by Shift Communications, Matt Cutts – web SPAM leader at Google – was quoted as saying,”…Google identified the sites that were press release syndication sites and simply discounted them…” and ““…press release links weren’t penalized, because press release sites do have value for press and marketing reasons, but those links won’t pass PageRank.”

In other words, Google was smart. They realized that PR pros were in cahoots with SEO experts to game the system.

The Impact of Press Release SEO on PR

When I began writing this article I, like many others, was of the opinion that Google had just killed the press release. And had as a result killed a long standing aspect of PR.

Then I began to think that, perhaps, it was the practices of PR and SEO pros that have killed the press release.  After all, before SEO experts and PR pros started using releases as marketing tools, they still had a journalistic value.

My theory is that Press Release SEO practices – not Google – killed the press release.  I tested the theory on my colleagues, Leslie (Social Media pro), Tom (digital and social media marketing pro) and Chas (Meltwater CMO and marketing pro) here’s how they responded:

Leslie Nuccio:

“There is a difference between content marketing and SEO: while the first can service the second, and certainly a good SEO strategy will necessitate content, the primary goal of content marketing as a discipline is to engage your community. The press release is one of the earliest forms of content marketing as we know it – and as such – any press release that is done primarily for SEO purposes is just bad PR. I agree, Google did the press release a favor.”

Tom Treanor:

“Like “content farms” and “comment spam” (which both worked for awhile), Google has made adjustments to limit the value of “press release SEO”. These types of actions help limit the junk (although some people never learn) and steers press releases back towards the direction of newsworthy items versus keyword-optimized spam – although it’s clear that the value of a press release will never again be as high as it was in the pre-Google era.”

Chas Cooper:

“Google’s Penguin update may have saved the press release from death-by-SEO, but only time will tell how the press release adapts to survive death-by-Twitter.”

So… What happens now? A Theory!

Now that press releases hold little SEO value, I believe that the number of non-news press releases being issued will decline. As we see the quantity of press releases decline and an increase in quality newsworthy content, will journalists rediscover their intended value? Will the release become the glorious PR tool it once was?

It’s likely too early to tell. So far I see few indications of things going this direction, other than the fact that most SEO and PR folks acknowledge that press release SEO value has declined.

If things do head this way, will PR Pros one day be celebrating Google as the savior of the press release? It’s quite possible.

Where can I read more about Press Release SEO?

*Great Spiderman quote, right?

When is the Best Time to Post on Social Media? – INFOGRAPHIC

“When is the best time to post on social media?”

This is one of the most common questions in social media circles, and with so many apps out there to pre-schedule content, it’s a good one to answer when you’re setting your content marketing strategy and calendar.

Now, our overall answer would be that engagement for your own target audience may occur at times that differ from any back-of-the-napkin social media timing guide; at the end of the day, the best time to post on social media is when your target audience is most likely to respond.  There are some helpful apps out there that can help you figure out how to optimize your content marketing (other than the native apps): SocialFlow, for example, analyzes your audience’s interests to help you understand what sort of content is going to do best, and when.

Our own Jen Picard wrote a thoughtful post on the best time to post on Facebook (and how to find the right time for your brand), but the folks over at Fannit put together an infographic that’s a good rule-of-thumb for folks who need to just get the content flowing.

best time to post on social media

If you have any insights as to the best time to post on social media, feel free to share them in the comment field.

4 + 4 Tips to Get Noticed in 140: The Twitter Press Release

Wondering how to stand out from the crowd with your Twitter press release? Well, dyeing yourself pink only works for rabbits: read on.

My PR cohort, Marc Cowlin, has recently written a couple articles on press releases.  His first asks the simple question, “To release or not to release?”  His second studies the anatomy of a press release through PR’s glorious history of train wrecks, celebrity rehab and various corporate announcements.

As he and I were talking about his next article (Press release SEO, which is obliquely mentioned in the first article), we started talking about how much Twitter has come along as a PR channel since we first started using it for marketing in 2008.  And we decided that it would be a good idea to come up with a quick guide to the Twitter press release; after all, getting your target message to the right person in 140 characters isn’t always easy.

I’ll go ahead and assume that anyone reading this article has a good grasp of what makes a press release worth doing.  (But if you want some tips on that, or want to figure out a polite way to explain to your coworkers the reasons you’re not going to write a release on [insert random non-newsworthy topic], please see the article on press release evaluation.)  Determining whether your energies are best spent doing something is a consideration you should address with any business initiative, but most especially with one that’s asking an influencer – in this case, most often a journalist – to take some action on your behalf.

Twitter Press Release Distribution Strategy Tips

Treat Twitter like a Rolodex – Ideally, you’ve been using Twitter to build up a list of journalists and influencers in your industry (and by this we mean a Twitter list, and/or an actual list that you keep locally).  If you haven’t been doing this, start now: reporters are on Twitter, and they’re using it as both an information distribution and acquisition channel.  Good PR is dependent upon good relationships, and following key journalists and influencers and engaging with them with RT’s and @ mentions are good ways to make yourself known to the folks that matter.

Look Beyond Traditional Media for Influencers – Journalists, bloggers and citizen editors can all be people who can get the word out about your press release.  An influencer is someone who has built up a level of trust with their followers, so don’t be afraid to think outside the borders of the New York Times.  (Check out Marc’s article on identifying PR influencers for more depth on this topic.)

Quality is Better than Quantity – Just because you can tweet to 1000 people doesn’t mean that you should; do your research and target the right people for your message.  Good PR tools have journalist targeting features that allow you to find the journalists that are most relevant for your message.  You can, for example, find journalists who have written positively about pit bulls within the last 6 months in New Hampshire.  These hyper-targeting features can get you a short but powerful list of the folks that matter, and you can also dig into their profiles and get a feel for how they position the topics that matter to them.

Try Twitter Ads – Now that you’ve found the right list of people, should you tweet @ them all individually?  Well, no: that looks SPAMMY and painful.  This isn’t to say that you can’t tweet @ a person or two, but any more than that looks bad.  If you’ve built up a good list (per #1), you can DM the influencers in your network with your release.  If you’re following them and they’re not following you, this can’t happen and you have to tweet @ them – or do you?  Actually, you don’t: Twitter ads have a “Tailored Audience” feature.  You can import a list of emails (Twitter will compare it with theirs, so there may be some breakage there from reporters who use different emails in their publication vs. their Twitter profile), and/or you can manually enter people’s handles.  You can also use a retargeting method and use a third-party app to target the ads for folks who have been cookied on your site: for example, you might want to display your ads to people who have visited a specific product or press page in the past.

Twitter Press Release Content Marketing Tips

Use Photos – A traditional press release often has a photo, especially when it’s distributed via online wire.  While logos are commonly included in a written release, that’s not the image to use on Twitter: choose something eye-catching that services to punctuate your tweet, rather than distracts from it.  If you can’t find anything and you’re lost in questionable stock photos, abort the mission.  Not every Twitter press release absolutely needs a photo.

Use Your Tweet Like a Banner Ad – …because 140 characters + optional photo is essentially a banner ad.  Asking a question is a good way to get people’s attention; asking a provocative question is a better way.  Put on your Don Draper fedora and think of something punchy.  Remember, your goal with this tweet is to get the click through, so use those characters wisely, soldiers.  Bear in mind that, in this model, your press release is your landing page – you’ll want it to have cohesion with your tweet.

Use Hashtags that Appeal to Your Target Journalists – Hashtags are how people search for topics on Twitter, so if your release has something to do with a larger topic, go on ahead and hitch your wagon to that star.  If you’ve built up a good list of influencers on Twitter, check what they’re tweeting about before you do your release – you may get an idea as to how your own release positioning can best garner exposure.

Read Before You Tweet – This sounds obvious, but because Twitter is such a short-format content channel and because of its twitchy nature, people tend to be a little more lax about reading before they Tweet.  Make sure that your tweet is 140 characters or less (RT’s are less likely when you’re doing an announcement, but you never know: you might leave some characters there), and make sure that you’ve included a link to the actual press release.  Test that link, too: sometimes, weird stuff happens with link shorteners and technology in general.  So check that tweet twice, then push it.

And there you have it:  4+4 Twitter press release tips to help you rock your press release in 140 characters or less.  If you have any more Twitter press release tips, we’d love to hear them!  Hit us up in the comment box.