You Can Boost Your Social Media Shares

Man Holding Smartphone with Social Media Logos

No doubt, social media is a cheap and easy way to get your products or services out there, while building your brand.

Gone are the days when a small business had to have a monstrous advertising budget for the newspaper, the Yellow Pages, leaflets, and radio. Now, an article or video posted to your Facebook or Pinterest page provides almost everything you need. Online is the future, so make it your present.

The key to all of this online success is the number of shares a post gets. Large companies with a large following may get hundreds of thousands of shares and comments, others aren’t always so lucky.

If you’re in the latter category, this article will equip you with an action plan to help you increase the number of shares you get.

So, why don’t we get started?

 

Who Do You Want to Reach?

It’s important to know just who it is you want to share your content with. “Influencers” are people who are knowledgeable and well-known in your industry or niche. They often have huge numbers of followers, and almost always get lots of shares of their posts.

These influencers are the key to your success. They should be the first people that you want to reach. If you can get an influencer to share your post, the chance is it’s going to reach a lot of people with an interest in what you have to offer.

 

So how do you get these influential types to share your stuff?

Silohuette of Man Holding Sign Saying "High Quality"

For starters, do your research. Look through their social media pages and websites for ideas.

  • What kind of things do they tend to share?
  • What are their main interests?
  • Most importantly, what types of post do they share regularly?

Once you’ve gathered this information, you write a post catering to their interests, but it must be relevant to your business.

 

What Should You Post?

The best way to generate interest and, thus, shares of your content is by focusing on what people are concerned about.

Trending topics are an excellent way — pay attention to them. You can use Twitter, Facebook and Google to learn in real-time what people are talking about.

 

Make Use of the Now Ubiquitous # (Hashtag)

Text Reading # Hashtag

Have a topic in mind and search for it using a # (hashtag). You’ll find out quickly if the topic is something people are interested in.

Facebook is really good for this. It shows you precisely how many people are talking about a particular topic at a particular time. It’s a great indicator of how many people potentially are interested in what you think could be a hot topic.

Do your research carefully and thoroughly. Find the topics that are most interesting to your followers and related to your business. For instance, if your business is about flower arranging, cookie baking is of no use to you regardless of how much it may interest people.

And don’t forget to include # (hashtags) in your posts. They’ll help get shares by making it easy for people to find and share your content.

 

Where Do You Post Your Content?

Easy: Wherever your influencers are. Be sure your post is seen by the people who’ll increase your chances of getting shares.

By doing your research, you’ll know exactly what social media apps your influencers are using. Put your content in all the same places. Facebook and Twitter may be the top dogs, but don’t forget the other gems: LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram. The list is endless.

Don’t be scared to share the same post on different social media. Posting your content on different platforms is a great way to make sure your work is seen by as many people as possible.

 

But, Will They Like TYou, Really Like You?

The only way to find out: Do it! Publish a few varied posts and see how your audience reacts. You’ll learn quickly how popular a post is by how often it’s liked, commented on and shared. Which post was most popular amongst your followers? The posts that do the best are those you’ll want to promote.

Testing posts will allow you to see what your followers find most interesting and, more importantly, what they want to see.

 

Now, It’s Time to Take Action!

Cat Jumping Over Dogs

Once you’ve tested your content and found what’s best you need to put your plans into action. Nothing happens without action.

Paying to promote your posts can be a sound investment. For instance, Google Adwords or Bing Ads allow you to reach people who are interested in your business but may not have seen your posts elsewhere.

Most businesses have a Twitter account, so it pays to do everything possible to make sure your posts are seen and shared on Twitter. Sometimes, one or two posts is all it will take to get a follower. If that follower turns out to be an influencer that’s great news.

You can see it’s really important to identify your best posts. If you pay to promote every piece of content you post it’ll get expensive and fast. It will also leave potential followers without a good reason to visit your page. It just wouldn’t be a good investment. The rule is, don’t go overboard. Remember your aim is to attract new followers with quality content.

Advertising shouldn’t be expensive either. Purchases are made auction style. You decide how much you’re willing to pay for a follower, and you only pay when somebody decodes to follow you.

 

Review Your Action Plan

Every action plan should be reviewed. Once your shares have increased, it’s a good idea to analyze what has worked for you and why.

When you do this you can make each post better than the last, getting more shares each time.

Here’s How to be a Successful Affiliate Marketer

Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces Reading Affiliate Marketing

It’s really pretty simple, Affiliate Marketing. When you sign up to promote someone else’s product or service for a commission, you’re an affiliate marketer. As an affiliate marketer (let’s just say “affiliate”), you usually don’t need any special training and your start-up costs are minimal.

Your task as an affiliate is to send traffic to the product owner’s sales page, allowing THEM to convert the prospect into a buyer. The more targeted you are with your promotion, the higher your conversion.

Paint Splatters

There’s a bundle of things you can promote as an affiliate. On Amazon, for instance, you can promote anything tangible (along with a few digitally downloaded products). Maybe you’re in the paintball niche. You can publish links using your Amazon Associate ID (that’s what Amazon calls its affiliates) on your paintball website and sell paintball guns and all sorts of other paintball gear.

You can use sites such as ClickBank or PayDotCom where you get a unique affiliate ID to promote an endless supply of information products. They have everything from ways to deal with acne to organic gardening and much, much more. One word of caution: Be careful about what you promote if you’re in health niches. Clickbank and several other affiliate companies offer dubious preventative and curative material.

Clickbank Logo

 

 

PayDotCom Logo

 

 

 

Then there’s CPA. In this case, CPA doesn’t stand for Certified Public Accountant. This time it stands for Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition. CPA marketers focus their business on getting a steady stream of traffic to take an action, such as filling out an online survey or subscribe to a newsletter.

In affiliate marketing, you shouldn’t worry about developing ideas and creating products. You don’t have to deal with customer service, follow-ups or continually developing new products.

Your job is made easier when product owners care enough about success, that they provide a toolkit to help you do your job. These toolkits typically include emails, review materials, and banner ads you can use, of course with your link, when promoting their products.

Most affiliates eventually blur the distinction between product owner and affiliate marketer. Product owners use their list to promote affiliate items, and affiliates often build such a good reputation in a niche that they’re urged to come out with a product of their own.

What kind of income can affiliate marketers earn? Basically, there’s no limit. You can market in numerous niches, work as much as you want, as hard as you want or as little as you want. You can write your own ticket. Super affiliates earn six figures, often even more, but even a beginner can make enough to cover pay the monthly bills and have enough left over to have some fun.

What Are the Benefits of Podcasting?

Podcasting Equipment

If you’ve been thinking about making a podcast but haven’t quite made a decision, maybe you’re trying to come up with a good reason to actually make it. There are several excellent reasons to make podcasts, from advancing your business, to earning money. Podcasts are already popular with the people who listen to them, so the audience is there. So, before you give up on the idea of producing a podcast, consider these reasons for making one.

1. Podcasts Are a Break From Written Content

First, if you have a website or blog with a lot of written content, you should be looking for diverse content. Having content on your site is your best way to sell products and advertise services, along with communicating with your readers.

Man Holding Card with Microphone Symbol

But this can lead to burnout. If you’re running out of ideas for compelling blog posts, think about talking into a microphone instead. Many people find it easier to get information out and make their point by talking as opposed to writing. You also save money by not having to pay someone to ghostwrite your posts for you while coming up with an easier way to communicate information to your audience at the same time.

 

2. Podcasts Work Well Even for the Camera-Shy

Another reason to produce a podcast is that you don’t have to be in front of the camera. Maybe you want to add multimedia components to your website, but you aren’t comfortable on camera. You can still talk about the same topics on a podcast. All you need is a microphone and recording software, like Audacity (free) or Adobe Prelude (more advanced).

If you think about videos where someone is just sitting in front of the camera and talking, but not showing you anything, you can understand that video isn’t really necessary. And even if you plan to do video in the future, starting with podcasts is a good way to get used to the idea of talking instead of writing.

3. Podcasts Are Easy to Consume

Microphone with Sound Recorder

A major advantage to recording a podcast is that potentially there is a huge audience. People enjoy listening to podcasts because the information is quick and easy to consume. They can listen to your podcast from anywhere so long as they have a way of listening. Whether they’re at work, taking a walk, or listening at home while doing chores podcasts are easily consumable.

Because podcasts are so easy to consume, people are more inclined to keep listening. That helps grow your audience and make your podcast successful. This also increases the chances of listeners sharing your podcast with their friends.

4. You Can Use Them For Advertising

Podcasts aren’t just for discussing various ideas with your audience. They can help you earn money. From having an advertiser approach where you mention and discuss their business, to affiliate marketing by posting the podcast along with relevant links to other products. There are plenty of ways to earn money with your podcast. They can also bring more traffic to your website or blog if you sell products or services there.

There you have it. Adding a podcast to your blog can be a great way to diversify your content and maybe even make a few extra bucks in the process.

 

10 Top Tips for Creating Your Video

Filmstrip

Video Marketing Printed on $100 Bills
If you spend time on the Internet at all you’ve probably noticed that video has captured the digital world.

Internet videos have become the main method of presenting information and entertainment. In fact, the largest networking company in the world, Cisco, says video will make up 69% of all consumer internet traffic this year (2017).

Online, most people are rushed, with short attention spans. As the result, video adds a ton of muscle to your marketing. If you aren’t using video to get your message across, for promoting your products and services, you need to make adding video to your marketing mix a top priority.

Do you still need convincing? Then the following numbers should help:

  • 20% of visitors read the text on a website. But 80% of visitors will watch that same content on that same website if it’s video.
  • The retention rate for visual information is as high as 65% compared with just10% for text, according to Social Media Today.
  • Visitors will watch a video two minutes longer on average and they’re 64% more likely to buy.
  • 71% of customers say that video is the best way to bring product features to life.
  • Finally, Google gives greater weight to video than to standard web pages. That’s especially true for videos on Google-owned YouTube.

So, How do You Create Attention-Grabbing Videos

Video Being Shot in Front of a Green Screen

The following 10 tips will help to ensure your video grabs the interest and attention of your prospective customers.

1. Start with a brief introduction
Start by telling people what your video is all about and why they need to watch. For example:

“Howdy, this is Joel from Creative Internet Strategies. This is WordPress Wednesday. Today, we’re focusing on Easy Digital Downloads – sometimes known as EDD. It’s a plugin that helps you deliver virtual products.”

Then you tell people, briefly, why it’s important they know what you’re going to tell them.

2. Cover a single idea in each video
Keep your message short and focussed by covering a single idea in your video. Address one challenge you know your audience has. Solve one problem.

3. Use a call-to-action
Your video should motivate people to take some sort of action. Not necessarily a purchase action, but, for example, you could ask your viewers to share or comment on your video or sign-up for your newsletter.

4. Audio is important

Screenshot of Audacity Sound Editing App
Audacity Sound Editor

Whether you are shooting a live video or a simple voice-over narration, the quality of your audio is critical. Poor audio will distort your message and, worse, distract your audience. So, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality microphone. This doesn’t have to be expensive.

By the way, Amazon is a great place to get your microphone. They offer numerous different styles in several different price ranges.

Clip-on microphones – called lavalieres or lapel mics — work best for talking head and interview content, but any simple mic will drastically improve the quality of narration. For starters, ignore the expensive microphones.

If you don’t think your voice is all that great or you’re anxious about recording your voice, you can hire a professional voice-over artist.

5. Focus on your audience
Keep your target audience front and center throughout the creation of your videos. Remember that you’re usually talking to just one person at a time Your aim should be answering one specific question or solving one specific problem.

6. Add a video on your home page
Gaining the interest of your visitors is essential. A video accomplishes that. People are immediately drawn to videos because of curiosity. By placing a video on your home page, visitor attention will be captured when landing on the site. This interest will lead your visitors to watch the video to see what it is all about.

7. Increase watch time for your video

WristwatchIt’s not enough just to grab your visitors’ attention, you need to keep it!

Adding interactive elements to your video is one way to encourage people to stay longer. For example, you can add a drop-down box so they can gather additional information; a clickable link to other videos; or a ‘sign-up and subscribe buttons.

With each component you add to your video, you increase the visitor’s time on your site. This is important because those who spend more time on your site are usually the same visitors who become buyers.

8. Make your video relevant to web page content
Make sure video is relevant to the text on a web page. There’s nothing more annoying than realizing that video has nothing to do with what they’re looking for. Create web page content that relates specifically to your target market.

9. Offer more than one video
One video alone won’t compel visitors to buy your products or use your services. You need to create videos for several specific target audiences. A recent study indicates that companies using video marketing successfully create 11 times more videos than those companies that are unsuccessful with it.

10. Put videos where they can support your marketing messages
Place video in the logical place where it will best support your marketing message. For example:

  • If a video introduces your company, post it on the home page.
  • If a video explains a product in detail, add it to the product page.
  • If a video contains a testimonial from a customer, place it next to the product it refers to or add it to your ‘About Us’ or ‘Why You Should Choose Us’ section.
  • If your video is related to an event, post it in a blog article or news item that mentions it.

Having a video on your website is no longer an option, it’s a must – the Internet has become a multi-media experience and video reigns as king. A site without video is dull and outdated and will result in the loss of customers. Video marketing is essential if you’re going to build that ‘know/like/ trust’ thing.

Using video gives you a major advantage over your competition. Instead of a faceless business, you now have a face, and a voice, answering the questions your customers have.

Instant Credibility

A Film Strip Showing Various Scenes

When customers arrive at your site and see a video, two things happen:

• You gain instant authority. Authority increases sales, allowing you to ask premium prices (the ability to charge higher prices than the competition).

• You not only capture, you keep your visitors’ attention. 50 percent of people leave most websites within eight seconds — EIGHT. They leave because printed words are no longer enough to keep their interest. They want the multimedia experience video offers. Video will keep visitors on your website for longer and that means you’ll have the time to explain what you are offering. That, of course, means increased sales.

Getting Up and Running

There are numerous apps and low-cost editing software available for producing videos.

In the past, you had to spend huge amounts of money to produce a decent video. But, today powerful technology is in the palm of your hand.

But, even with all the technology at your disposal, there is still the learning curve…and time…or lack of it. Be sure to check this list of video resources.

Video is the perfect content to make your website and online business a raging success. There’s much more to video that one, or even a dozen, articles can cover, but these tips will get you going in the right direction.

 

Four Big Tips To Improve Your Writing

Man Writing at Desk

If what you want is to be a respected writer, there are guidelines you should follow to make yourself more in demand to potential clients. In this article, I highlight a few ideas that should boost your career as a freelance writer.

I’ve been writing professionally — at least writing has been a major tool in my toolkit — for more than four decades. I hope these tips help get your writing career started.

1. Don’t Dwell on the Mechanics

As you may have noticed, most of the well-liked writers don’t have the grasp of a language professor. In fact, many of the most popular freelance writers don’t even have degrees. The secret to highly rated freelance writing lies in creating interesting content…content that entertains the reader.

But, this isn’t a license to turn out lackluster content full of blatant grammatical errors and typos. Don’t think about the intricate rules of writing that are taught in university language classes. Instead, focus on the people who you want to enjoy the content – give them what they want and a few slip-ups will get lost in the excitement of your content.

2. Write for the Ear

Three Bunnie Ornaments with Big Ears

Huh? We read with our eyes, not our ears. True, but if you write using language that would flow trippingly off the tongue and lay gently on the ear, you’ll be miles ahead in the freelance writing game. It isn’t a coincidence that we talk about “writing voice.”

Not to get too technical here, but what you want to write in is something called Active Voice as opposed to Passive Voice. In passive voice, the subject of a sentence receives the action. In active voice, the subject does something to the object

Passive: The application was completed before the interview by John.
Active: John completed the application before the interview.

3. Readers Identify with Distinct Personalities

If you’re interesting, readers will faithfully read all of what you write. While following the fundamental rules of use may help you pass a basic writing test, you should never forget the central idea that readers want and need to feel entertained. If you doubt this, remember what makes the average TV celebrity famous. It’s something uniquely in them. You want to establish an interesting personality that gives your reader similar fun and entertainment.

4. Readers Love Rumors and Secrets

The top-rated blogs are the ones that talk about shocking facts and secrets. Now, even though this doesn’t mean you should spread lies about anyone or anything, do make sure that your content always has something new for the reader.

NOTE: You can be sued if you deliberately publish libelous (false) information that portrays someone in an unfavorable light.

Nobody will care much for your work if you only include the obvious details. But, rather than creating fallacious claims that have no merit or accuracy, do the research to ensure that you have extra knowledge about people and things. Go beyond the scope of the average reader. As a result, you should understand your readers. Your content should always be tailored to suit the unique audience for which you’re writing.

As we go along, I’m going to expand on these tips with a full post on each. So stick around, even if you don’t plan to do any freelancing, writing is still one of the most important components of building a website.

Common Obstacles to Working in Retirement

Retired Couple Using Laptop Computer

A lot of Baby Boomers begin their online careers out of necessity. Perhaps they lost their position through no fault of their own or had to retire on savings that are inadequate for today’s outlandish cost of living. Many others have discovered that retirement isn’t quite the good life they’d been led to believe.

There are plenty of challenges to building a business on the Web that are over the heads of some Baby Boomers. One problem is that many boomers don’t know or understand the intricacies of computer technology. While this isn’t as true as it used to be, many may flounder or become discouraged as they try to learn.

Man confused by Computer Technology

One danger of trying to learn any new technology is trying to do too much – too fast. It takes time to learn the basics of a computer and how the Internet works. Plus, starting a business — even a small at home enterprise — can be a scary transition from working for someone else, picking up a regular paycheck, to working for yourself. And when you have the added obstacle of learning a new technology, it can be downright daunting.

Luckily, starting an Internet business doesn’t require breaking the bank to get started. Much of it is free or inexpensive If you have a computer and access to the Internet, you’re already well on your way to building your at home business.

Websites and other types of help exist that promote senior entrepreneurs and offer solutions to any problem you face. At first, Boomers may bee intimidated by all they have to learn to become an online entrepreneur.They’re afraid they may not have the mental acuity, business sense or energy to make an online business work.They also don’t want to take on financial burdens and run a risk of losing their savings.

Media stories focus on younger entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg who became a young billionaire by introducing Facebook. But, you know what I like to think about. I bought my first desktop computer before Zuckerberg was even born and a lot of other Boomers did too.

Writing on Chalkboard "Never Give UP"
Remember. there are plenty of Boomers who have been enormously successful with start-up businesses. At the very least, Boomers can easily supplement their retirement income and live a better life than before the Internet came along and made it possible to become successful with home-based businesses.

It’s a fact that age isn’t a factor in Internet startup businesses. If you have the passion and can make a commitment to learn and utilize all that computers and the Internet have to offer, you can sail through financially tough times.

Don’t waste the best years of your life living a financially strapped existence. It’s said, “You’re never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” That saying is often attributed to C.S. Lewis, but in reality, it’s probably Les Brown’s.

Learn how the Internet can help make you into a booming entrepreneur.