5 Ways To Make Content Go Viral

content-viral-ashleyrosedavidsonIt’s the golden question in digital marketing, “what makes something go viral?” I can tell you first hand, it’s not dumb luck! Carefully plotted with strategic timing is more like it. The secret sauce to viral content is a mix of evoking high arousal emotions, sharing practical information and having a positive message rather than a negative connotation.

If you’re looking to attract website traffic, content that is uplifting and appeals to people’s narcissism can be more stimulating than content with a negative connotation. Here’s an overview of what can help your content become more `sticky` and viral.

  1. People Want to Look Smart
    Before people share a piece of content; they evaluate its social currency. The better it makes them look, the more likely they’ll be to pass it on. Whether it’s sharing a political piece, something historical or relevant to their educational background it`s beneficial to create content that makes your audience look smarter when shared.
  1. Piece of History
    If there has been a new discovery, something monumental or even historical has happened people like to document it by sharing it to their social profiles. Good examples of this are when NASA landed a rover on Mars, September 11 tragedy or when America elected their first black President. Sharing a piece of history unties us all and makes you feel a part of the tribe.
  1. Being Practical
    Ever since the dawn of Pinterest, DIY has taken over the online world. People want to be able to “do it themselves” and be inspired to give it a try on their own. Creating content that offers advice, warns potential dangers or helpful tips is shareworthy because of the value it adds to your friends, fans or followers. Listicles are a style of article that works perfectly in this category as they are quick tidbits of easily retainable information.
  1.  Make Them Laugh
    Humorous content is most heavily engaged with because –bottom line everyone likes to laugh.  Funny content can be in the form of images, memes, quotes, videos, etc. But the most important part of making your audience laugh is to remain as genuine as possible.  A perfect example of this is IKEA`s 2015 campaign, “Experience the Power of a Bookbook“ which parody`s the launch of the new iPhone 6. It`s a perfect blend of light humor and product information which became extremely viral with over 18 million unique views!
  1. Tells a Story About Yourself
    Personality quizzes are a great piece of content that helps describe a person’s likes and interests. It helps to define themselves to their friends and give people a better sense of who they are.  People want to tell the world who they are and the story about themselves so create content that acts as a platform for the user to do so.

At the end of the day, no one can guarantee which content will receive 10 million views, but for the most part the content people share isn’t at random. The same practice can be adapted by businesses looking to become viral as well.

Going viral is a difficult thing to craft in content marketing and it’s not always guaranteed what will ignite a post to go viral. But by understanding the art of virality, you can potentially increase the likelihood that your content will be shared by your followers.

Get Your Business On Google

Google-My-Business-logo.png

There’s no doubt about it, we all know by now that Google is the #1 search engine online. With about 3.3 billion searches conducted every single day on Google, we would have to agree!

However, this massive number is just a small fraction of your actual relationship and interactive with Google. Think about it, there’s Google Places, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Adwords and more. This is why putting your business on Google is such a key component to your overall digital marketing strategy.

In order to understand the importance of having your business on Google, here are some of the reasons why you should Google My Business.

  1. Be Found on Google – Well this was an easy one but it’s this is where your customers will look for you online. Playing hard to get: good for dating but bad for business. You want to put the right information about your business on search, maps and even Google+ so that customers can get in touch you. Your next customer could just be a click away!
  2. Be Found Across all Devices – Customers are using mobile devices, tablets, desktops and even Smartwatches now to find local businesses. Whether you’re searching at home, on the road, or even switching between devices, you want your customers to find the same information about your business no matter what the device.
  3. Get on the Map – A verified business can appear in Google Maps and be listed as a registered business within Google Places which makes it easy for customers to find your business. They can also search for your contact information, star ratings and online reviews of your business.
  4. Connect with Customers – Getting closer to your customers should be a top priority. Build lasting relationships by sharing what’s new and responding to customer feedback is a vital way for your business to success nowadays. The Google+ follow button allows for customers to stay up-to-date with special offers, important news or updates regarding your business. The number of followers you have can also show up when your business appears in Search which can be seen as a social endorsement.
  5. Jump on the Google+ Train – Strong online reviews and pictures of your business and products can help your business stand out to users online. You want to be able to keep your customers in the loop with status updates, news and special offers on your Google+ page. Your customers can hit the +1 button (which is seen as a “like”) and reply to the content which gives you a direct connection to their feedback.
  6. Give Customers The Right Information – Don’t make it hard for your customers to find the right information about your business. Display the correct contact information, description of your business, hours of operation, website and more. When your business appears on Google, you are making it easier for customers to find information about your business, including hours or operations, contact information and even directions to your location.
  7. Stay on Top of Reviews – Stay on top of your online reputation by managing all online reviews of your business, reply to them as your business and track your star ratings. Customer ratings and reviews will assist with managing all of the valuable feedback from your customers. This can also assist in the way you do business going forward by making any necessary changes to meet consumer demand.

Don’t miss out on any more searches of your business! Now it the time to get your business found by the right people.

Defining Your Social Media Objectives

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Do you know what you want to achieve with social media? According to recent report by Constant Contact, over 50% of small businesses need help with their social media. While many businesses have a social media presence, many are not engaging on those platforms and thus not meeting any goals. With a little planning, your business can use social media effectively and meet your objectives and goals.

So let’s start with the basics! Why is your company on social media? What are you working towards? What do you hope to achieve with social media? Every brand should have clear goals and objectives that its social media activity is trying to achieve.

If you’re unsure on how to define your goals, take a look at some of these common social media objectives:

  • Increase the overall traffic to my company’s website.
  • Increase your sales through lead generation and product promotion.
  • Attract new customers and connect with potential clients.
  • Generate awareness and increase word of mouth marketing.
  • Showcase my company’s products and services to fans and potential customers.
  • Increase your search engine optimization (SEO) results.
  • Put your business in front of your clients and customers.
  • Build loyalty and deepen relationships with your followers and customers.
  • Add another outlet to showcase and highlight the services you offer.

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Important Questions to Ask

Before you define your social media objective and goals, you need to ask yourself some important questions about your business. These questions will help to set a foundation on how your strategy should be structured.

Who are you talking to?
Creating a social media presence means you are building a fanbase. Followers, Fans, Members, they’re your audience and you want them to participate, share and engage with your shared content. By doing this will increase your reach through word of mouth marketing. It’s helpful to create a painted picture of your ideal audience.

What should I talk about on social media?
Social media is kind of like being at a party or event. Now picture yourself at this event, do you find yourself drawn to people who only talk about themselves? Probably not. Use this idea of a “party” when speaking to your audience. Ask yourself, why will these people want to connect with my material?

What’s in it for them?
People tend connect with businesses on social media because they will get something out of it. Perhaps, it’s a discount, special savings, exclusive content, entertainment or even education that helps their own agenda. Whatever the reason maybe, it’s not about you. So, give your audience what they want. Keep your audience in mind with every piece of material that is created.

Google Analytics: 101

google-analyticsDid you know that effective search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can significantly increase your website’s ranking? That means more visitors to your site! Today, the only thing more important than having a website is ensuring that your site is visible and currently reaching potential customers. Google Analytics has been proven to be an excellent tool for monitoring the progress and the performance of your website.

Google Analytics for your website will help you improve your overall digital marketing strategy as you can track your online campaigns and what’s driving traffic to your website. Also, if you are using social media for business, you can monitor the productivity and efficiency of your social media efforts by tracking social traffic to your website.

Take a look at some of the benefits and advantages of using Google Analytics and how it will improve your overall digital marketing strategy:

  • Real-Time Monitoring – This allows you to monitor activity as it happens on your website in case there are any glitches or downtime which enables you to respond right away. Real-Time allows for you to monitor how many people are on your website, their geographic location, traffic sources, interacted pages and goal conversions.
  • Search Engine Optimization – Google Analytics helps track the performance of your keywords on your website. In order to have a successful campaign, it helps to know how much traffic each of the keyword brings to your website. This will open up a world of information you probably never knew about visitors on your site such as top performing pages, visitor demographics, audience behaviour, what devices visitors are using to visit your website, etc.
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Linking your Google AdWords with your Google Analytics account gives you the entire picture of customer’s behaviour; from ad clicks or impressions to conversions. Joining the accounts can help you analyze your customer’s activity on your website and can shed light on how much of your website traffic or sales comes from AdWords. There are many intricacies with pay-per-click advertising and Google Analytics plays a vital role in deciding how to spend your money effectively. Help manage the performance of your Google AdWords (pay-per-click advertising) campaigns.

You need to go beyond the basic information and have a comprehensive strategy to ensure your website is meeting your company’s overall objectives and marketing goals. We can help navigate and understand the most relevant information to help develop a digital marketing strategy for your business.

Hashtag Engine Optimization

Hashtag

If you use any social media site, you’re probably familiar with hashtags. But for many people, they’re still not sure how they work and what they are being used for.

What is a Hashtag?

The # symbol is commonly called the pound sign and number sign and but these days it’s known as the hashtag. When you use this symbol in front of a keyword on any social media network it identifies a message on a specific topic. In short, a hashtag allows people to search and find related topics on social networking sites.

The Oxford English Dictionary has even recently added and defined the word “hashtag” as it’s become so popular in the language spoken online. A clear assumption can be made about the popularity of hashtags not just because there’s a “coolness factor” but because they serve a certain purpose. Hashtags have become an integral way we communicate online and it’s important to know how to use them especially for business. Plus, they can be a lot of fun!

What is Hashtag Engine Optimization?

Hashtag Engine Optimization (HEO) is a relatively new marketing strategy. Unlike Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which focuses on gaining higher rankings, HEO is about finding trending topics or even creating new content around them.

Basically as soon as you include a post with a hashtag, you will automatically become a participant of the group of content that contains the hashtag. Especially if you use a trending hashtag, just imagine the number of people searching for it and stumbling upon your content. This will help to gain more exposure in social media and hopefully bring more traffic into your website.

Examples of Popular Hashtags

Hashtags are designed to target groups of people who all share common interests. The most popular hashtags of the moment will attract plenty of interest and commentary online. Choosing such hashtags can be an effective way to introduce your business to new people online. After all, people love sharing similar interests and supporting worthwhile topics. Take a look at some of these examples of the most viral hashtags to see just how powerful hashtags can be.

#ALSicebucketchallenge

#nomakeupselfie

#OttawaStrong

#BellLetsTalk

Using hashtags can be a smart business move and a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people on social media. The beauty of choosing hashtags is that they put you into a particular group right away. Hashtag Engine Optimization might possibly be the new Search Engine Optimization, so it can be in your best interest to start implementing them into social media posts.

5 Ways to Promote Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedinYour LinkedIn profile is 100% complete and you have just finished uploading all of your juicy work experience. Now it’s time to share your profile to the community, your connections, prospective clients and even potential employers.

It’s one thing to have a LinkedIn profile but it’s quite another to get some eyes on your profile. Once your LinkedIn profile is 10complete and ready to share, here are five ways to promote your profile and gain some additional exposure.

  1. Customize Your LinkedIn URL: By default, your LinkedIn profile URL will consist of random alphanumerical characters. However, you can create a customized profile URL to help rank better for your own name in search engines. Keep in mind that custom public profile URLs are available on a first come, first served basis so make sure you do this as soon as possible.  To change your URL, click on Edit Profile, then click “Customize your public profile URL” underneath your profile picture. Then you can type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box. Click Set Custom URL and you’re done! http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyrosedavidson
  2. Consistently Update Your Profile: Google loves to crawl LinkedIn profiles! If you have ever searched your name in Google, chances are your LinkedIn profile is probably within the top 10 search results. To help optimize your personal search results, try updating or editing your Profile once every 2-3 weeks. By adding or changing the information within your profile, Google will detect the new information and this will help bump your profile to the top of the ranking.
  3. Speaking Engagements: Having a 1-page Speaker’s Profile for yourself is a great way to book potential speaking engagements within your community. Your Speaker’s Profile can showcase your biography, previous speaking engagements, areas of expertise and social media networks, including your LinkedIn Profile. Once you have booked some speaking engagements, offer to connect with the attendees on LinkedIn afterwards. Also, if you make contacts at any event, follow up by finding them on LinkedIn and add them as a Connection. Don’t forget to hand out your business card, that should contain your LinkedIn Profile URL.
  4. Email Signatures: Whether it be your work email signature or your personal email, make sure to add your LinkedIn URL. It`s a great way to connect with new contacts or have existing contacts and have them check out your LinkedIn Profile. But before you add your LinkedIn URL, make sure to customize your URL.
  5. Business Cards: Having your LinkedIn profile on your business cards offers a professional glimpse to prospective clients and business connections when handing them out. After you have given your business card out, mention to people to connect with you on LinkedIn and to add you as a connection.

Do you have some additional tips to share?

Comment below and share how you promote your profile or gain more connections through LinkedIn.

Thank you!

Top 4 Picks for Photo Editing Sites

Ashley Rose DavidsonWith the rise of mobile devices, it seems everyone wants to become a professional photographer these days.  However, many of us that use photo editing sites are certainly not professional photographers by any means but just individuals who have a passion for capturing those memorable moments. Photo editing sites have enabled a whole new class of photographers to create beautiful and stunning images with little to no training.

After PicNik, a popular photo editing site, closed down and was purchased by Google, I was on the hunt to find the next best thing. I tested out a bunch of photo editing sites that I believe could offer the same functions as PicNik. So for those of you, that want to brighten up a slightly dull photo, create a stunning Facebook album after your latest vacation, add some additional text for a humorous meme or just simply add filters to your pictures, here is a list of my top picks for photo editing sites.

PicMonkey
PicMonkey is  my #1 top pick for all photo editing sites. Personally, I enjoy the look and ease of the interface and have found PicMonkey to be very easy to learn the different tools and settings when I first starting playing around with it.

  • Exposure: I use this function on every single one of my pictures that I edit. There is the option to use the Auto Adjust which is very handy for first time users or if you’re looking for a simple quick fix. You can customize the brightness, highlights and shadows and contrast with the Exposure feature.
  • Effects: The effects that are available with PicMonkey are everything you would need to add a basic or advanced filter to your picture.
  • Touch Up:  This is great for close up pictures because you can easily edit a blemish, reduce shine, whiten teeth, take out red eye or even add a little airbrushing for a flawless finish.

PhotoFunia
PhotoFunia is a free website that offers over 350 effects to play with. However, when it comes to actually editing your pictures it is very limited. It’s mostly used for fun effects like putting your face in the Mona Lisa painting, create an Andy Warhol inspired picture or even put your face on a stamp or billboard.

  • Mobile App: You can create fun pictures on the go! PhotoFunia is also available on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.
  • Seasonal: Most of the categories in PhotoFunia are seasonal based which can be helpful when you need to put your face on a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day or make your family a bunch of elves for your Family Christmas card.
  • Graffiti Text: This effect allows you to create customize graffiti art. All you need to do is add your text, choose a colour, font and texture.

iPiccy
iPiccy gives you all the power to edit photos right in your browser without any installation. iPiccy is currently positioning themselves as PicMonkey’s competition and has even stated online that they are in fact, better then them. It certainly offers the same functions as PicMonkey but personally I find that the interface isn’t as clean and easy to navigate.

  • Enable Webcam: You can take pictures right from your webcam and edit them immediately afterwards. If you don’t have access to a digital camera, this feature offers you an alternative to take pictures, edit them on your desktop and share on social media.
  • Flickr: This is great feature especially if you have a Flickr account. You can upload the pictures you have directly from your Flickr account and edit them using iPiccy.
  • Facebook: You can load photos from your Facebook albums and can save the result picture to your Facebook account in the “Save & Share”  tab when your ready to post them again.

Pixlr
Pixlr is probably the most advanced photo editing site that is on my list. Pixlr offers more than 600 different effects, overlays and even funky borders. Pixlr Express is a free photo editor that lets you crop, re-size, remove red-eye, and whiten teeth. The interface is similar looking to that of Photoshop, which can be intimidating if you are first time user.

  • Pixlr offers different versions such as Open Pixlr editor (Advanced), Open Pixlr express (Efficient) and even Open Pixlr-o-matic (Playful)
  • Pixlr Mobile App: All the fun effects on Pixlr’s desktop version is available on in the Google Play and App Store.
  • Community Powered Support: The Support and Help section on Pixlr is mostly community based, where users ask and answer the questions.

What photo editing sites are your top picks? Comment below and share your favourite ones!

10 Best Practices for Webinar Hosting

webinarHosting webinars for your company is a great opportunity to connect with attendees in an interactive and engaging manner which can either offer educational or inspirational materials. Webinars can be used for lead generation purposes or for offering customer service information.

Here are 10 things what every business needs to know about hosting webinars and online meetings for your clients and customers:

  1. Share your Company’s Story. Let the attendees know more about your company’s roots and how you got started. It’s a great way to start the webinar by setting the tone for an open forum discussion or conversation and introduce your company’s values or mission statement.
  2. Record the Webinar. Since webinars are live, some people may not be able to attend it during the scheduled time and date. It’s always best to record the webinar and offer it to those that were unable to attend by posting it on your company’s website or YouTube channel. Not only will be useful for those that couldn’t attend but its great content to share via social media networks afterwards.
  3. Images are King! Most webinars are performed alongside a power point presentation so it’s best to include thought-provoking and interesting images with each slide. The images you choose to include should help convey your message and highlight the story or information you are communicating with your audience.
  4. Live Website Demos. Seeing is believing! If you are promoting a product or service then doing an interactive live demo of your company’s website is a great way to showcase to your attendees exactly what you are referring to. It also helps to keep your audience engaged by interchanging between your power point and a live demo.
  5. Offer Flexible Dates and Times for your Customers. Since most of a company’s customers are global, you have to be mindful when booking a time and date that fits everyone’s schedule. Try to accommodate as many of your customers as you can by offering an array of different times and date for your upcoming webinars.
  6. Book Special Guests. Offering experts in your industry an opportunity to host a webinar for your company is a chance to share knowledge and expertise that you wouldn’t be able to provide. In exchange for sharing their content, offer to promote the guest speaker’s products, services or website information during the webinar for additional exposure.
  7. Practice, Practice, Practice! Since a webinar is a live production, you should always come prepared and well-rehearsed. You don’t want to stumble on your words or completely draw a blank. It’s handy to have a script created prior to your webinar so you have something to reference upon, if need be.
  8. Warning: Some Acting is Required. Most webinars typically go for an hour long in length, which can be a long time to keep your attendees engaged. When speaking always have a smile on your face. You’re attendees will be able to hear this in your tone and feel more connected to your presentation.
  9. Promote on Social Media. Once you have created and scheduled your webinar, use social media networks, such as Facebook, Linked and Twitter to promote your webinar for additional exposure and gain more sign ups. Ask your social media community to share the webinar information with their friends or followers.
  10. No Cost Involved. Webinars should typically be free to sign up and attend. Sometimes, they may be only offered to select customers but they are always free to attend. Webinars should be used as an educational tool for your customers and offering it free of charge will only increase the attendees that want to learn about your company.

Have you participated in a webinar before? Share your experience below!

No Tweet Gets Left Behind

 

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By now, most companies and brands are using social media, however there are still many brands a

re struggling to understand how social media can fit into their business strategy. According to a study by digital marketing firm Acquity Group, 90% of 50 large retailers are currently active with Twitter and about only 29% use it to actively engage with their consumers.

Brands typically tend to ignore tweets from their followers because it can be seem as overwhelming to respond to every single inquiry. Twitter is all about having a conversation with your followers. It’s best when your company’s Twitter profile compresses of a mix of replies, retweets and tweets.

Replying to most tweets can be a great opportunity to showcase to the rest of your followers what great customer service and support you can offer as a company. As I always say, if one person has a question there will be 100 other people with the same question. It’s in your brand’s best interest to always follow up with a response.

It is my belief, that a majority of companies originally signed up for Twitter because someone in their office read an article online and said that they should join in to. This usually happens without even thinking of who would be responsible to manage those accounts. It can be more damaging to a brand to have a Twitter presence that is unresponsive than to not have one at all. If a follower’s tweet goes ignored, they inquiry comes off as unimportant and irreverent.

Type “@,” followed by the user’s name — with no space — and send out the tweet if you want to directly reply to the user. The recipient will be notified of your response, because they’re directly mentioned in the tweet. However, your response will be publicly available.

Do you reply to all of your Twitter mentions? Share below your strategies and techniques when responding.

Thank you!

How I Got My Tech Job

Ashley Rose DavidsonAs Social Media Manager with Voices.com, an online marketplace that connects brands with professional voiceover talent, I consider myself Voices.com’s #1 cheerleader and am a proud advocate and promoter for the company. I started with Voices.com in December of 2009 as the first Account Executive to help the development of our sales team. As an Account Executive, my primary focus was telephone sales by accurately representing Voices.com’s products and services to our customers.

However, my role significantly changed after attending PodCamp Toronto 2010,  the “unconference” for new media enthusiasts, when they announced that Facebook pages are the new group! The entire marketing team understood the need to focus our presence and efforts to the creation of a company Facebook page. Since I have such a strong passion for social media, I volunteered my creative input, personality and time to our social media efforts to represent the brand online. Soon enough, a schedule was created for me to spend an hour a day updating all Voices.com social media channels, while maintaining my role as an Account Executive.

As our social media popularity grow online, my new role was clearly defined into a full position as Social Media Manager beginning January 2011. As Social Media Manager, I serve as the eyes and ears of the company while managing day-to-day social media activities online. I am actively engaged in the online community through conversations and answering customer needs through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and many more. My love for Voices.com is translated through the content shared with our community, my positive attitude towards our customers and the love for connecting with people through social media.

Now it’s time to share your story. Comment below with how you got your current tech job.

Thank you!