10 Key Social Media SEO Tips for Small Businesses

To remain competitive, posting valuable content is not enough. Customers do want something that they can also share with others on their social media sites. When content is shared, this increases both your search and social media visibility. This is how Social SEO works: optimizing social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram to be able to promote website content. As a small business owner, you can use social media to be able to boost your visibility in search results. It is an opportunity to build links to your website, establish followers and grow your online business. Here are 10 simple yet effective social media tips to boost your SEO:

1. Get social with sharing buttons

Make your content easy to be shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter. Place social media buttons on your website to make it easier for readers to share your content. Highly visible social buttons for Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest act as fuel for your users as these buttons increase the number of links and shares of your content.

2. Personalize social engagement

Give your brand a personalized touch by nurturing your fans with a humanized experience. This strategy tends to attract more followers and keep your current ones engaged. The more active your social media presence is, the higher you'll rank in search engines.

3. Optimize your social media profiles

Ensure that your social media profiles describe your brand completely. Do this by:

 Using keywords and phrases that people will make use when making a search

 Including your address, city and state on your profile to optimize local searches

 Including your website and blog link in your profile

4. Optimize content for social media

Write for your followers and not for search engines. Create content that is interesting or informative enough that it makes people want to share it on their social pages as well. Engaging content improves your website ranking and is likely to get likes, retweets, repins, reshares as well as comments when shared on social media platforms.

5. Influence social sharing

All those shares, likes, comments, retweets, favorites and +1s all count in increasing your credibility and authority. Think of ways you can encourage your fans and followers to do this. For instance, post interactive surveys and then ask people to “like” or “share” the post if they agree with it.

Want more tips? Check out the next article.

How to Start a Blog: 3 Effective Tips

Apparently, we will all going to agree that there is no magic wand or secret that will bring an aspiring blogger’s success in the world of blogging overnight. It is actually a combination of hard work, determination, consistency, passion, and good luck. Aspiring bloggers might be asking, “What are the secret formulas or the key considerations in order to produce successful blogs?” It could be frustrating to say that there is no definite answer to the inquiry. But, in hopes of encouraging these newer fellow bloggers to continue doing their craft, in this article, I am going to list down some of the key things that I have learned about writing noteworthy blogs. I want to build up some of these things in future posts, however I thought a decent review would offer assistance to our fellow bloggers. So, below are the things to consider when starting a blog.

1. Your heart has something big to say when you write blogs. Certainly, being a writer, you can write blogs that can be popular without placing yourself into it. On posting topics, you could make calculated decisions and write just to have well known posts that spread the name of your blog and have links built by the dozens. It should be possible, however, I do not suggest it. In my experience, which I know, you, while reading this, will also agree, that the best blogs are those sites that are written with soul and genuineness, and those that are personal.

2. As a blogger, you should interact with your readers. A blog coming from the heart does not end after posting such. Blog is a conversation, you should know. When people like your blog posts, they will not just comment to it, but chance is, they will going to share it themselves. With that, you should be interactive with your readers by commenting back with their comments and saying “Thank you” for the positive comments you’ve received from them.

3. Finally, give your readers a reason to come back to your blog site. By making your blog informative, fresh, updated yet not intimidating, your readers will be coming back to visit your blog where they can learn something that they do not learn from other blogs they’ve visited. The aforementioned, I believe are just some of the tips in finally reaching that something that is called “blog success.” The true success is personal, though. If you feel that you have done your best, then, on a personal level, you can say that your blog write-ups are successful.

How To Get Customers to Trust an e-Commerce Store

eCommerce ain’t easy



As was promised in one of our previous articles, here are the remaining tips you should take into consideration when developing your online eCommerce store so that customers will trust you.

4. Mitigate Your Customers’ Fear.

As much as possible, help online shoppers overcome doubt by having Money Back Guarantee Policies. This gives customers an option that they will get their money back if they are not satisfied with how your products or services performed. Knowing that there is no risk involved shows that you stand behind the products or services you sell. Reinforce your “Money Back Guarantee” or “Return and Refund” policies by displaying an attractive image next to your “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button.

5. Prove That Your e-Commerce Website Is Secure.

Get a certified seal, review site logos or a third party trust mark. Most online shoppers do not feel secure when buying online especially from small e-commerce merchants. For them, a “Trust Mark”, an “SSL Certificate”, or other Certified Seal are indicators that your online store can be trusted. Having that trust mark for your eCommerce store makes your customers feel secure that your business is legitimate as well as reputable. And the more good reviews you have, the better chance your website will show up in Google or other search engine searches for local businesses.

6. Showcase Social Media Statistics

Having a significant number of followers on social media sites definitely builds your credibility. Customers also frequently believe that the credibility of a certain business is based on its popularity on social media networks. Display that you have thousands of Facebook fans, Twitter and Instagram followers, etc. and include links to those sites. This is also a way of increasing your social media fans and followers.

7. Give Details About How You Do Business.

Details about how you conduct business should be available and easily accessible. Not only does it establish trust,  but it also saves time answering customer enquiries and repetitive questions. They need to know the people behind your team, shipping and delivery information, security assurance, and a lot more. Some content must-haves for your eCommerce store are:

 About Us

 FAQs

 Contact Details

 Refund and Return Policy

 Shipping Policy

 Security and Privacy Policy

Remember that the more complete your eCommerce site is, the more confident your online shopper will be in purchasing your products and availing your services. And make sure that you inject a human factor in your site as customers trust people, not websites or brands.

How Old Spice Rebranded and Saved Their Business


Old Spice is a fairly old brand, founded back in the days of the Golden Generation (1937, to be specific). Their earliest ads positioned their products as a minor luxury for America’s GIs —manly and tasteful, with just a dash of pragmatic exoticism. That initial approach was a success. It helped Old Spice sell significant quantities of the sorts of aftershave your badass grandpa wore when he took his girl to the drive-in for date night after coming back from the war. Of course, times change. By the time the 70’s were about to begin, the brand shifted to appeal to the new young man: not the confident mans man, but the stereotypically insecure boy in dire need of assistance and assurance.

From then until Old Spice’s acquisition by P&G in 1990, you might say their marketing aged with that final cohort. They became known for a middle-aged, middle-class sort of product — something neither sexy nor distasteful, purchased by the sort of men who no longer held an interest in adopting new shopping habits. To be successful, P&G knew they had to re-orient the line to appeal to a new, younger demographic — to people like me.

I remember my first encounter with the brand distinctly. It was 2003. I was fourteen, and a newborn convert to the disproportionate use of aftershave in my pursuit of the ladies. Mercifully, a female friend of mine took her time to explain three very important points to me before I wasted mine entirely:

  1. A little goes a long way.
  2. Aftershave is not cologne.
  3. “Old Spice is what you wear to a family reunion, when you want to smell pleasant but sexually unattractive.”

I’d suggest that her thinking on those fronts fairly represented the majority opinion of the time. But, behind the scenes, things at Old Spice were beginning to change — finally. The primary driver of that belated wake-up was the unexpected success of Unilever’s “Axe” body spray products which I’ve written about before. Foul as they were, they were popular. Boys who had only ever worn (if at all) the deodorant that their moms optimistically snuck into their backpacks suddenly developed a preference, fueled by ambitious dreams of ensuring their own “Axe effect” experience.

P&G had to respond. And they did, with typical efficiency. By 2004, they had reclaimed pole position in the US deodorant market at 20% of the billion-dollar pool, followed closely by Gillette’s “Right Guard” line (19%) and Axe (16%).

How they went about that comeback, however, had little to do with the famous advertising campaign we often associate with them.

Their strategy was simple:

  • Rather than targeting adult men, they went after teens and tweeners who had yet to declare a loyalty.
  • They handed out free samples of their “High Endurance” sub-brand to kids in 90% of the 5th-grade health classes in America.
  • They focused on the sports crowd, suggesting a correlation between their products and athletic prowess.
  • They went grassroots, sending reps with promo swag to high-school games and skate-park events.
  • They expanded their product lines to include a suite of washes and sprays.

They also brought in a new marketing firm in 2006: Wieden and Kennedy. Their mandate was to solidify Old Spice’s newfound hooks in the Millennial generation. One of the first big campaigns out of that partnership was called “Swagger” (2008). It was cheeky, but it was a hit. Combined with the outcome of their other efforts, Old Spice owned 25% of the market by early 2009. Also around this time, driven by W&K’s insistence, Old Spice began focusing on being better rather than just cooler. A big part of this was tackling “residue” issues, which they solved by porting the superior molecules of their dry solid varieties into traditional formulations that didn’t leave the dreaded “bar code” stains. Customers loved the result. But it wasn’t the sort of change that spawned water cooler conversations. Enter 2010, the year of the “Man You Wish Your Man Could Smell Like”. This was the campaign we all remember, that we all still point to, that we all agree changed the brand’s trajectory. 100 million YouTube views, an Emmy, a Cannes Lion award, and 1.2 billion earned media impressions later, there was a new favorite marketing campaign that everyone was eager to write about.

But here’s the rub: did that campaign actually translate to a meaningful lift in revenue?

Most of the “studies” will say yes, relying on the same oft-quoted stat: an alleged 107% sales increase.

But that metric (itself an estimate) is wildly misleading. It represents the sales spike from the month after the campaign began in earnest (the first ad was featured during the Super Bowl in early February, but a follow-up series of 186 unique response videos blitzed social media over a 3-day period in June).

Any campaign that size is likely to produce a significant month-long spike. But what about the long-term?

As of the most recent numbers I could find (November ’15), Old Spice now has a 28% share of a $1.4bn US deodorant market. That’s an increase of about 3% over a six-year period.

But here’s the thing: that share was expected to go up anyway. As those 11 year-olds they targeted in 2003 became young adults, organic growth was expected to follow. (Moms tend to buy what’s on sale, not what their teen actually prefers. As those teen age and gain their own economy agency, brand sales go up.) Even if we could contribute 2/3rds of that 3% jump to their 2010 ad campaign (almost certainly too high an estimate), that still pales to the earlier jump of almost 10%  they achieved from 1999 to 2008 — which is the real unsung hero of the story.

The resurgence did come from a re-branding, but not from the advertising we saw in 2010.

Was the advertising campaign iconic? Yes. Did it add value? Absolutely, but contrary to what many, including myself, may have thought, it had little to do with their overall success.

Good Logo Design: The Keys to The Kingdom


I’ve talked a lot in the past about design & branding, and more specifically logo design & rebranding, but I don’t think I’ve ever got in depth about what makes for a great logo when rebranding. I guess the first thing to go over before we take a deep dive into this article is to cover some of the reasons why stylistic rebranding is necessary for companies in the first place. The simple answer is that as time continues, and design styles and methodologies reprioritize/popularize themselves in the public eye, other styles become outdated to the point that they don’t elicit an emotional response from the viewer. It could also be due to derivative results of focus group testing where it is found that what a company thought was a strong logo isn’t all that they had hoped. In instances such as these it becomes a necessity to reevaluate the core values of a company and put pen to paper to come up with multiple logo options that seemingly represent those principles in a visually appealing and contemporary style. Sounds easy enough, yea? Not so fast.

Just because someone has a DSLR doesn’t make him or her a photographer. The same is true with design. Many people like to think of themselves as designers (or believe they don’t really need a professional designer) because they have Photoshop, or, God forbid, PowerPoint. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and so many people do it that sometimes it’s hard to spot. A great recent example is Uber’s CEO, who was primarily responsible for the re-design of the widely-criticized Uber app icon. You know the old saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” right? Case in point. That being said, we must now consider what does go into good logo design. What follows are five key lessons I’ve learned over the course of my experience:

#1 – Being original isn’t as valuable as being good.  

Of course, originality is an added bonus. Paul Rand, one of the greatest logo designers around (he created logos for IBM, UPS, Westinghouse, Yale University Press, ABC, among others)  once advised not worry so much about being “original,” but to focus on being “good.” This is important to keep in mind when trying to come up with a new logo. That’s not to say that you should take someone else’s idea and put a slight tweak on it to make it your own. Keep in mind that if you can think of it, the Simpson’s have most likely already done it. What I mean is that you should focus on creating something that can stand on its own and worry less about creating something that’s never been done before. A great example of this is Airbnb’s redesign logo being found in a decades-old trademark book a couple years ago. Maybe they took it directly from that book and maybe they didn’t. What matters is that it’s an effective logo that is easily recognizable to the public.

#2 – Don’t stop Sketching.

One of the crucial lessons I learned at the very beginning of my design studies is that good graphic design work must start with a good ideas, and one of the best ways to come up with good ideas is to brainstorm and throw all of your ideas onto paper. The more you brainstorm, the better your ideas get and the closer you are to finding the right solution.


#3 – Context is everything.

One day, your logo may need to be blown up on the side of a large truck or on a billboard. It’s almost guaranteed that it will need to shrink down to less than 1 inch on someone’s business card too, so, it’s important that a logo be versatile so that it looks great no matter the context. Logo Designthat works well at both extremes—extremely large and extremely small—is important. If you fail to do that, you’ll come to find that it’ll be time to re-brand sooner than you thought. You also have to think about the audience of the business. Who is the target market? What is the personality of the company (e.g. is it a stern, formal legal firm or a playful, fresh yogurt shop)? Does their customer base exist only in one country, or do they have customers from around the world?

#4 – Logo design should be done in Illustrator and almost nothing else.

This one is easy. Don’t create your logo in any Microsoft Office software; that means no Word, PowerPoint, or Publisher. You shouldn’t even create your logo in Photoshop if I’m being completely honest. The reason why is that these programs aren’t meant for working with vector graphics, and therefore are incapable of creating a simple file that can be scaled to context (remember #3). The chosen tool of almost all designers for logo design is Adobe Illustrator (there are also a few decent alternatives to Illustrator out there).

#5 – Create logo designs that are objectively good by following standard design principles.

Art and artistic quality are largely subjective, or in other words, heavily influenced by personal feelings, tastes, and/or opinions. While certain aspects of graphic design can be somewhat subjective as well, it is much less subjective than art.

A great logo design is not simply subjectively good (e.g. it “looks good” or is “pretty” to a few people). Great logo design is objectively good because it meets the objective of the client which will be using the design work. The client’s objectives and personality are what must define the colors, shapes, typefaces, and other design elements—not what they (or even you) “feel” is good.

So, how do you define the objective? You should work with the client to create a creative brief, and use the answers provided in the brief to make informed decisions about which direction to take.

In other words, when someone asks you “why did you pick that color?” or “why did you pick that typeface?” your answer should not be “because it looks good.” You should be able to point back to the creative brief and the research you’ve done on your client and their market/industry and use that as the basis of your decision making. Regardless of who the client is and what they put in their creative brief, there are general rules you should follow to create a great logo design. Also keep in mind that color and type choice can make or break a design.


9 Tips for Effective Instagram Marketing and Gaining Followers

Instagram Followers

With these 9 tips you’ll increase your followers and develop an Instagram marketing strategy

In this day and age, almost all customers search for various products and services online before they make a purchase. According to the research conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of the respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

In order for businesses to survive in a tough market, their marketing strategies must be strong. This is the reason why small and big businesses ensure that they embrace social media marketing to its fullest. Aside from Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, Instagram is now being used by these businesses to reach more consumers from places all over the world, to sell online, as well as to grow their number of followers and leads. Many businesses dare not let themselves get behind the trend. They want to keep themselves on track. Thus, they are turning to Instagram to reach younger demographics.

Here are ways businesses are using images and videos to enhance their customers’ experiences and boost their online marketing presence:

1. Create Your Brand

Instagram, really is a way to showcase who you are and your brand’s story. It’s where you can showcase your brand even without selling. Younger users tend to get irritated with over-promotion. It’s better to create your own online brand image and focus on how the world can perceive your uniqueness. Come up with creative photos captioned with your own business hashtags.

2. Add Personal Touch

Customized photos and videos with text combinations open doors of businesses to more customers. These “memes” make the business and its products and services more appealing to customers. Moreover, it shows that they care about their public image.

3. Give A “Behind The Scenes” Look

Get a little bit personal with your followers. Give them a sneak peak of what is happening behind those doors, their upcoming events, as well as other happenings. Take for example, the fashion brand Burberry which shares photos of what is happening behind the scenes during their photo shoots and fashion shows. Those candid images definitely help personalize your brand.

4. Use relevant hashtags for more traffic

Attach popular keywords and hashtags to names or descriptions of your images. This leads to more visitor traffic, awareness, as well as engagement.

5. Showcase A Lifestyle

Instagram really lets you show how great your new product or service is without directly selling. Make customers feel excited by showing photos or short video clips of it in action and in real time. For instance, Vans – a famous shoe company, posts photos and videos of its shoes in action which are usually user submitted. It brings more interest to other customers and reinforces your brand’s persona in a very effective manner.

6. Attempt To Host an Instagram Photo Contest

Instagram users are excited about contests. In hosting a contest, use a hashtag that identifies your brand and defines what the contest is all about. This lets you reach more people in your niche. It’s a win-win situation to be fair.

7. Focus On Your Followers

Take time to engage and acknowledge your followers on Instagram. You can like and comment on their photos, reply to their comments on your posts, and @mention them as well. What is more, Instagram also allows you to embed photos on your website. If there’s a really cool image from your followers that you want to showcase on your blog or website, then do it. Just make sure to ask permission first. This creates a more personal connection between you and your followers.

8. Post Consistently

Just like any social media site, it really pays to be always consistent. This gets your brand to be seen regularly by your followers. By keeping your Instagram page fresh and updated, you will get to stay in front of your followers, and they will be more apt to becoming actual customers.

9. Integrate Your Other Social Media Platforms

Connect your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts so your posts will be displayed on all of your other pages as well. This strategy will give your other social media pages valuable original content, and it even helps co-brand your social media presence.

Clearly, there’s more to just marketing on Instagram than these strategies. Try them out and see how visual marketing can bring success to your social marketing strategy as well as to your business in general. Now, jump on board and go take some great photos and capture videos! Ready to use Instagram in your online business marketing strategy? Do the challenge now!