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Bolstering Consumer Engagement with Social Media

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In today’s business environment, marketing officers have probably realized that social media comes with a lot of potential. Social media is one of the best ways of bolstering customer retention. From Instagram, Facebook to Twitter, organizations are being dissected and discussed more than any other time. Stories on various companies are also being shared, inverted, subverted and even taken out of proportion.

Before you can make the most of social media to harness consumer engagement, know that customers are the ones driving the brand or company messaging. Sales and consumer prospects are engaging with brands in all sorts of ways since the economy today is very interactive. It’s also important to note modern customers are highly empowered and expect companies and brands to get them the service or goods they want, the way they want them.

Social ears

It’s believed before buyers contact a salesperson they are about 70 percent through with the purchasing process. Ensuring these open gaps are filled to make the most of the process of sales is now critical for every marketer. Having your social ears or engaging in active listening socially is very critical.

Salespersons are also realizing how contextual information is significant and a very important driver; sales have been found to ignore leads given by marketing departments. Making lists and using social media allows every marketer to be able to monitor in an active way the social landscape as it stands for specific behaviors. Marketing departments within corporate training companies can offer visibility to salespeople through valuable pieces of information. If used proactively they’ll ensure all gaps within the sales process have been filled. Marketing automation software can help with this.

Market salespeople as well

Whether it’s on social media or offline, customers and potential buyers always like building relationships with real people than building ties with brands. Trust is very important and always a critical factor; if used well it can easily bolster consumer engagement on social media. One way this can be done is ensuring all the representatives of the company are elevated and marketed on social media. Positioning them on social media increases their engagement as employees and exposure and will in the long run generate wonderful opportunities and new leads.

Social triggers need to be identified

Social listening allows marketers to be very flexible at identifying triggers on the social media. Trigger events to be identified can be a Facebook post or Tweet to the effect that a competitor has adopted new e-learning methods and what that means for your efforts or an announcement on LinkedIn about changes in the management of a competitor’s organization or new customer case study posted on social media. Learning to explore social media to recognize, find and act on any possible social trigger easily helps the sales team to get ahead of the competitor and reach a prospect fast.

Listen to customers

Listening to customers is very effective as they will remain engaged and as such ensure your company remains their number one service or product provider. It also makes them loyal and they can even take the bar higher by remaining advocates of the company.

Social media means getting personal

As already mentioned people build relationship with real people easily and fast. It’s critical for a brand to maximize on customer engagement by nurturing prospects on social media as people rather than taking them as anonymous transactions without stories. For instance, studies indicate 58 percent of social media consumers posting on a negative customer experience will not get a reply from the brand they have a problem with. This could cost a company some revenue and damage its reputation.

No matter your industry, consider social media as a great way to bolster engagement with your consumers and customers.

10 Free Image Sources For Your Content Marketing

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In any social media campaign, images are crucial in creating compelling and engaging posts. However, finding images for your next campaign is not as simple as a quick Google image search. In fact, finding free, high quality images online can be one of the most difficult tasks for a startup—as most online images are copyright protected and accompanied by a plethora of legal issues.

To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of websites that provide free images that will help you enhance your social media campaign without any fuss. These free image sources offer basic stock photos and/or more artistic photos, depending on the campaign you’re running.  We’ve broken them up by those criteria to help you find what you need for your networks.

Basic stock photo sites

1. Free Digital Photos: Exactly what it sounds like…Free Digital Photos is a database containing a wide variety of photo categories. No registration required; all that is needed is an attribution to the photographer.

2. Stockvault: Stockvault is a stock photo sharing website where photographers, students, and designers can post their pictures to share with each other for free. Search among a wide variety of good quality pictures, no registration required.

3. Dreamstime: Dreamstime features a large free image section, updated often. Dreamstime also has a large selection of free web design graphics and icons.

4. Free Photos Bank: Free Photos Bank is a site really great for image search, with multiple ways to navigate the site and a wide variety of photo categories. No login or registration required.

5. ImageInject: ImageInject is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to easily insert free creative commons pictures into your WordPress posts. The database contains thousands of pictures that can then quickly be attached to a blog post—including all required attribution links next to the image.

High quality, artistic photography

6. Unsplash: Unsplash provides 10 high quality, high resolution photos every 10 days, all licensed under Creative Commons Zero, meaning the photos can be used for whatever you want.

7. Little Visuals: Subscribe to Little Visuals and receive 7 original, high-resolution, creative commons photos sent to your email inbox every 7 days.

8. Superfamous Studios: Find the stunning nature photography of Dutch designer Folkert Gorter, available for free and commercial use, but attribution is required.

9. Picjumbo: Search through a wide variety of high quality, full resolution free photos, updated daily, with easy to navigate categories.

10. OpenClipart: If you’re looking for Clipart, OpenClipart has a great selection of high quality and royalty free Clipart.

Any others you prefer to use? Leave them in the comments!

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How to Get the Twitter Handle You Really Want

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With over half a million new Twitter accounts created every single day and Twitter being one of the most used messaging services in the world, chances are the Twitter handle you really wanted was probably already taken. What’s even more frustrating is that many of these Twitter handles are created, then abandoned or never actually active on the platform.

When we started Everypost, the Twitter handle @everypost was already taken and appeared to be inactive. So we decided to start out with the handle @everypostme, while we figured out how we could eventually take over the @everypost username. It took several months, but eventually we were able to do it. So what are your options if you’re in the same situation?

Services like TweetClaims and TwitterCounter have popped up to notify you when a Twitter handle you like becomes available again. However, if you wait around for that to happen, you might have to wait around a very long time. Your other options may include sending a direct message to the user, or filing a claim with Twitter; however, it can be incredibly difficult to receive a response from either. So what else can you do? Here are a few tips from our own experience on how to get the Twitter handle you really want.

First Try Asking

Reaching out to the owner of the Twitter handle you’re after should be the first step, regardless of the status of the account. If you have a compelling reason for them to give up or exchange their handle, they may be willing to cooperate. It was impossible for us to receive a reply from the inactive @everypost account and there’s a good chance you won’t receive a response either, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Is it Really an Inactive Account?

According to Twitter, in order to keep accounts active, users need to log in and tweet at least one time every six months. However, the actual standards for determining whether or not an account is inactive are a bit more complicated. Twitter states, “Inactivity is based on a combination of tweeting, logging in, and the date an account was created. Please note that you may not be able to tell whether an account is currently inactive, as not all signs of account activity are publicly visible.”

So while the Twitter handle you are after may appear inactive based on lack of tweets, the user may still be active on the social network and using it just to read other tweets. In our case, the @everypost handle appeared to be inactive, however we couldn’t be 100% sure. If the account is indeed inactive, this will help your case when you file a claim to gain control of that Twitter handle.

Are there any Trademark Violations?

Twitter identifies a trademark violation as an account that is using “a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.” If Twitter decides the purpose of the account is to mislead readers, they may suspend the account. If you are dealing with an unintentional trademark violation, Twitter may also grant you the name. For trademark violations, use this form to report and request a release. Be prepared when filling out the form, as Twitter will ask many detailed questions, including your trademark registration number.

We were finally granted the @everypost handle after filling out the trademark violation form and discovering the account was truly inactive. It was not easy and took some time, but if you have documentation that a user is violating your trademark rights, this will definitely speed up the process.

For more information and the complete rules on Twitter handles, visit the Twitter Help Center. We hope this information helps you exercise your brand’s rights and get the Twitter handle you really want!

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Facebook vs. Twitter Analytics: An In-Depth Look at Both Platforms

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Analytics are everything in a marketing campaign; knowing what works and what doesn’t is vital to making sure you successfully meet your goals.  Being able to measure your social media impact can be difficult, but recently Twitter introduced native analytics to help us all do this.  Facebook already has their own analytics on the platform, so how do Twitter’s analytics match up?  We took a deep-dive into what Twitter has to offer against what Facebook has been letting us measure for a while.

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All in all, Facebook measures more actionable items (such as likes and comments) while Twitter focuses on effectiveness of posts.

Facebook Wins

Facebook gives much more information on followers (demographics) and their online behavior (when they’re on Facebook, etc).  This can be helpful when brands are trying to identify their audience, figure out best times to post, and to learn more about their fans.

Twitter Wins

Twitter gives more overarching trends with their ‘Growth Graph’ and engagement percentages.  For a overall scope of your Twitter campaign, the new analytical tool is great way to measure improvement of a campaign.

We’re sure each tool will build out and expand their analytical offering, but for now both platforms give us a lot more information on our fans than ever before.

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Quora: Its Success and Changes

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New social platforms are launched pretty frequently in this day and age but not too many last the test of time.  We’ve seen platforms come and go, never making their way to Facebook or Twitter status.  One platform that has lasted, however, is Quora.  The Q&A platform founded by former Facebook employees, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, launched in June 2009 and allows users to post and answer questions related to any topic.

The product’s interface has evolved rapidly, making the platform easier to use and see analytics.  The company also launched a Quora blogging platform in January 2013 and a more analytical look at profiles, called Stats in November of that same year.  The company has grown rapidly in the course of five years, most recently raising $80 million from Tiger Global in January 2014.  So why has this platform become huge while others wither and die?  Well, other than the fact that the company has two famous founders, Quora has made three huge steps in the right direction.

1. The platform makes users use real names. Quora users don’t tend to hide behind anonymity. While users can ask and answer questions anonymously, it seems as though many people don’t.  This sparked celebrities, such as Ashton Kutcher, to use the platform to openly and honestly answer questions.  Big names aren’t hiding behind PR tactics, but rather using the platform to connect directly with other users.  Using real names gives Quora credibility as a platform that users appreciate.

2. There is a gamification element. While Quora is far from a gaming platform, there are elements of gaming that can be utilized.  Users are given a certain amount of credits (credits are gained by answering questions), and they can use these credits to promote their own posts and content.  Adding this gaming element urges people to use the tool more and dig around the site.

3. Quora joined Y Combinator.  A multi-million dollar company joining an accelerator program is pretty rare and many people wondered why Quora decided to do it.  Luckily, Co-Founder Adam D’Angelo took to his own platform to answer, noting the immense resources Y Combinator offers the tool and for financial reasons.  A big company like this taking a step back to reconsider itself is huge.  The Co-Founders are humble enough to join the acceleration class to really work on their product – that alone proves their passion.

Quora has had an interesting ride thus far, and it will be interesting to see where the company goes. For now it seems they have the right methods and background to take the company to the Facebook level.

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10 Things To Do With The Time You’ll Save By Crossposting Via Everypost

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Everypost was designed to address the challenge of managing multiple social media presences at once. Logging into each network and separately updating every platform is time-consuming and tedious. With Everypost, crossposting to social media is a breeze! You can even tailor each post to suit the different platforms you’re posting to by adding or removing hashtags, including images, and shortening text. It has lots of great features designed to streamline the efficiency of your digital media marketing, saving you hours every week that you can use doing something else. We’ve come up with a list of 10 fun, productive and interesting suggestions in case you’re at a loss for how to use that extra time you’ll find yourself with once you start crossposting via Everypost.

1. Read the newspaper

And not just the front page headlines. Actually dive into it and discover new things happening in the world. Explore the style section, or learn about new developments in the healthcare field. Don’t stop before you have a chance to peruse the special interest stories. In addition to engaging your brain and keeping you informed, reading about a variety of topics and staying abreast of current events will make you a better conversationalist.

2. Exercise

Studies have shown that even just 30 minutes of physical activity each day is beneficial to your health. Not motivated enough to make an entire trip to the gym? Check out this 7-minute workout published by the New York Times (you see, it pays to read the special interest stories!) that you can do in the comfort of your home with no more equipment than your body weight and a kitchen chair.

3. Teach yourself a new skill

Try taking a coding lesson (or two, or three!). Code.org offers a one-hour computer programming tutorials that cover a wide variety of programming skills from Java to game development.

Coding’s not your style? Try teaching yourself guitar. Justin Guitar is a website that offers high-quality guitar lessons for free, with over 600 different lessons already published, and new ones uploaded every day.

4. Learn a language

Duolingo is a great mobile app for learning a language from scratch. It’s free, fun and they’ve gamified it, so you can even compete against your friends to see who’s making the most progress. The best part is you can do it completely at your own speed and make it work with your schedule, even if you just want to do 5 minutes here and there! For English speakers they offer Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portugese.

5. Back up your files

We know what you’re thinking…”Boring!” But hear us out: this is quite possibly the most productive use of your free time on this entire list. Trust us, you’ll be thankful you saved all your files if your hard drive ever crashes. Enough said?

6. Take a class online

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are growing rapidly in popularity. This is a trend to take advantage of. Popular courses from top universities are now available to the world at large, and you can take them right from your desk or your living room. There are two main MOOC platforms, Coursera and edX. Coursera, the larger of the two, boasts 665 courses from 109 institutions including Stanford, Duke, UPenn, and Princeton. EdX, though smaller, also has an array of exciting classes, with 176 different courses from 47 schools, most notably MIT, Harvard and Georgetown.

7. Start a journal

Someone once told me that of everything he owns, his most valued possession is the collection of journals he has kept since he was a child. There’s no better way to revisit your former self and discover how you’ve grown, your opinions have changed, and your priorities have shifted (or not). It’s not too late to start – years in the future, you won’t regret being able to look back on what you were thinking about at each new stage of your life.

8. Engage both sides of your brain

According to the theory, people who are “right brained” tend to be more creatively inclined, act intuitively, and are more subjective and thoughtful. “Left brainers” are more logical, analytical and objective. Though recent studies have shown this theory to be a myth, it is still important to exercise both your creative and your analytic side. As we get older, we tend to let one of them lapse into inactivity. Prevent that by making an effort to do little things every few days that engage both.

To exercise your analytic capacity, try some brain teasers. There are a number of fun mobile apps out there, such as the wildly popular game 2048, the ever-entertaining Unblock Me, or even some good old Sudoku. To get in touch with your artistic side, turn your phone into a canvas with one of the great drawing apps out there. Our favorite is the pure simplicity of Paper by FiftyThree, but we’re also partial to SpinArt, because who didn’t love making those circular neon paintings growing up?

9. Catch up with a friend

Make a list of people in your city you haven’t seen for a while for some reason or another and systematically go through that list and get in touch with those friends, co-workers, mentors and old classmates with whom you are overdue for a coffee date.

10. Treat yo’self

Because you deserve it – you just saved yourself so much time by using Everypost! Think about that dessert you’ve been wanting to try baking, or the movie you’re excited to see but haven’t had the chance yet. Now is the time, now that you have the time!

Do you have a favorite way to employ your free time? We want to hear from you! Share your ideas with us in the comments.

How to use Hashtags on Google Plus: Infographic

The right hashtag choices can lead to broader audiences that are more likely to share and spread your message, while the wrong hashtag choices can cause great content to underachieve.

So how do you best utilize hashtags to nurture your growing Google+ presence?  Check out our latest infographic on the “do’s” and “don’ts” for hashtagging on Google+.

How to use Hashtags on Google Plus – An infographic by Everypost





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How to Tell if Your Social Media Marketing Strategies are Paying Off

This is a guest post by Angela Freeman. Angela is a freelance writer and graphic designer who resides in Chicago, IL. When she isn’t writing she is working out, playing guitar and pursuing her master’s degree in business management at Villa Nova School of Business.

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The concept of using social media for marketing purposes has exploded across the Internet in recent years. Few people doubt that, when it’s done well, it can yield real results by creating exposure and driving revenue for companies in every industry. Even so, measuring its effectiveness can prove tricky.  Read on for a few points to help you determine whether your social media marketing strategies are effective.

Increase Activity

The simplest way to tell that your efforts to promote your company through social media are effective is a noticeable boost in activity. You should see that the number of friends, followers, and likes will increase significantly. Don’t assume that the elevated number of followers will convert directly into increased profits, though. There’s more to it than that, but the scope of your audience is a huge factor in the equation that leads to success through social media marketing.

Basically, if your number of followers is increasing, you’re clearly doing something right.

Calculate Your Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are one of the most important aspects to track when it comes to social media marketing efforts. Within the context of social media, it essentially refers to the percentage of visitors who subsequently complete a particular action. This action could be as simple as filling out a form, participating in a survey, or making a purchase.

This activity will change depending on the nature of the business and the goal social media marketers strive to achieve. Most social media strategists and business owners typically focus the brunt of their efforts on improving their conversion rate. To calculate yours, simply divide the number of page views, “likes,” and followers by the number of conversions you’ve received since starting your campaign. Multiply that number by 100 and you have your conversion rate.

Now, just because you seem to have a low conversion rate doesn’t necessarily mean your marketing efforts aren’t doing any good. Conversion rates will vary according to the type of product, pricing, and geographic location. For instance, the rate for $20,000 pianos will likely be dramatically lower than more inexpensive items, such as $10 sunglasses.

Track Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment is a term that’s tossed around in the advertising world often. It’s crucial to every campaign in that it demonstrates how profitable a business is. Calculate it by subtracting the cost of an investment (money and time spent) from the amount that was gained from it.

Lastly, just divide the difference by the investment cost.  For instance, if you invest $10,000 in a social media campaign and your gain is $50,000, your ROI is four. This means that for every dollar you spend, you’re making four.

The trick is to take into account every aspect of your social media strategies. This should include the salaries of your team members, computers, software, facility costs, giveaway items, and the costs of producing the content you share on your pages.

It starts to get tricky when you begin to analyze hidden ROI factors. It’s made up of intangible costs and benefits that are very real but impossible to gauge. The ROI on YouTube videos that go viral can be impossible to measure, though there’s no doubt that they’re effective in expanding brand awareness and increasing interest in a company.

Give it Time

By now you’re surely aware of how helpful social media can be in establishing and solidifying

brand awareness and shining a spotlight on a particular business or organization. That being said, it’s not something that happens overnight. ROI and conversion rates are most accurate when they’re gathered after a few cycles have passed. Once you’ve nurtured your campaign and let it flourish, your staff of educated business analysts can help you decide what to do next.

For instance, an athlete might not see a huge ROI on a social media campaign right away, but when they land endorsements and increase their reach, they’ll likely see a significant boost after a few seasons. A fashion designer might not see a huge ROI during their first season after launching a campaign, but after giving it a few seasons, they’ll generate a real buzz across their social media outlets.

For those who are new to the world of social media marketing, it can be difficult to tell whether a campaign is working, and it’s easy to become discouraged. Take these points into consideration and have fun with your social media efforts.

Do you have any tips for boosting a social media campaign’s success rate? Feel free to weigh in by leaving a comment below.

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Where to Post your Visual Content: Pinterest vs Tumblr

Tumblr and Pinterest have become two of the most intriguing online destinations to discover visual content. While technically a microblogging platform, Tumblr offers both blogging and social networking capabilities, creating an environment where visual content like images, videos and GIFs thrive. Pinterest, which can be best described as an online scrapbooking platform, has soared in popularity among businesses sharing photos and generating referral traffic back to their sites. There is no shortage of articles detailing all the benefits for your business to jump on Pinterest and Tumblr to display and promote your visual content, however how do you really know whether your content will perform better on Pinterest or Tumblr? This all depends on your target audience, your established following on each site, and the type of content you will continually be posting.

If your business is new to either of these social networks, here are a few ways to help you decide which platform will work best for your visual content.

Where to Post your Visual Content: Pinterest vs Tumblr – Infographic by everypost.me

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