How To Use SlideShare for Your Small Business

Office Desk Brainstorming

Does your business use SlideShare as a social media marketing tool? SlideShare is a great resource for providing information to your target audience. When used effectively, SlideShare is a powerful way to market your business and generate leads.

Your business is probably using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, so what is the hesitation with SlideShare? SlideShare is a valuable resource for improving your search engine optimization and also proving your business as a subject matter expert, which is valuable in driving leads. Historically underutilized, SlideShare has less competition, so your business can take the spotlight quicker than on other platforms.

SlideShare is “the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content” and boasted an average of 60 million unique visitors a month in Q4 of 2013. [Source: SlideShare] You can upload presentations, infographics, documents, PDFs, videos and webinars to your SlideShare company page. In this post, I’ll share our recommendations for how to use SlideShare effectively for your small business.

Add Links and Calls To Action Within Your Presentation

SlideShare is a useful way to provide subject matter expertise, but we understand you really want SlideShare to help drive users to your website where they can convert. By using embedded links and call to actions within your presentations, you create a seamless transition from your presentation to your website for interested readers. Starting at the fourth presentation slide, you can place live links in your presentation that send users to relevant landing pages. You can take advantage of an interested user by including clear calls to action, both through text and visual items, like arrows and buttons. Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to share and download your slides.

Optimize Your Presentations With Keywords

Finding the right keywords are important for your brand as a whole, in addition to your presence on SlideShare. Consider the relevant keywords for your SlideShare presentation topic and use those keywords within your filename before uploading to SlideShare, as well as in the title, description and tags of your presentation. Since Google is taking a stronger look at relevant synonyms in search, it may be useful to use variations of your keyword phrase to rank higher in search, as well.

Take Advantage of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a business professional network, owns SlideShare and the platforms work seamlessly together. LinkedIn even encourages SlideShare use by allowing upgraded features to all users at no cost. In addition to uploading your unique presentations, you can upload video. We recommend repurposing company videos and webinars on this platform through short teaser videos. LinkedIn’s sharing functions allow you to share certain SlideShare videos and presentations with different audiences making your exclusive content that much more desirable. Share your presentation from your personal and company pages to increase your reach. While you are in sharing mode, make sure to share the SlideShare slides on your other social networks too!

Insider Tip: SlideShare lets you update your posts without losing your social shares and views counts, so feel free to take a look at old presentations as a starting point.

Ready to Get Started with SlideShare?

If you are ready to take the next step, we encourage you to jump right in. As with any content marketing and social network, it may take time before you find the right strategy and voice that works for lead generation, but keep at it. Visitors most likely are looking for several interactions with your brand before they are ready to make a purchase or commitment.

3 Social Media Marketing Resolutions for 2015

computer-resolutionsDid you craft measurable resolutions for your business at the end of 2014? We’re just over a week into 2015, so if you haven’t had time to do that, don’t fret; there is still time. Resolutions are difficult to make if they are broad, unrealistic and there isn’t a way to measure if you are sticking to them. Borrowing from Lululemon’s goal setting process, create a vision to provide focus to your business’ overall growth. Would you like to have the resources to hire more staff, expand your services, or reach into a new market area? Once you have your overall dream for 2015, create the goals to get you there. Goals should be specific, measurable and written in the present tense. From your overall business goals, determine the social media goals that can assist your efforts. Here are three social media goals to get you started on the right foot for 2015:

1. I determine what social channels are or aren’t working for my business by properly tagging social media URLs and monitoring progress within my analytics software once a week.

Whether you use Google Analytics or another analytics tool, it is important to accurately track what sources are performing for your business. If you have goals set up in your analytics software, proper tags will let you know which specific tweet or Facebook call to action drove the inquiry or sale. Tagging your links with the appropriate parameters will allow traffic and site activity to be attributed to the correct sources. Remember to craft your parameters with care, so they can be used consistently without any future changes. Also, aim to learn something about your audience or social metrics each week. Check out this helpful URL Builder for Google Analytics to get started.

2. I devote time monthly to update my business’ social media profiles to make sure the information is up-to-date and useful to my audience.

Things change. It’s important to let your audience know when they do, so they don’t try to call the wrong number or visit an outdated social media profile. Once a profile is created, we rarely go back and edit the information even if our company has grown and developed. Set aside time to review each field on your profile and fill in any relevant blank spaces. This Hootsuite resource is a good guide for setting up both your business profiles and your personal social media profiles. When reviewing your social profiles, remember to check for consistency in messaging across all channels.

3. I monitor what changes are occurring in the social media space by reading social media blogs and networks daily.

The world of social media changes fast. What is in one day may be out the next and subtle changes may make a difference in how you market your business online. Pay attention to blogs that post new trends, ideas and tools so you can make sure your business continues in the right direction. Social Media Examiner and Marketing Land are good resources to bookmark. To get you started on this quest, check out the new Call to Action button for Facebook pages.

What Are Your Social Media Resolutions?

While these goals are a good place to start, take time to look at your business’ goals and determine how your social media can support those goals throughout the year. Figure out how your social media can become more effective and authentic and run with it. I invite you to share your goals in the comments below or on our social media profiles. Cheers to a successful year in social media!

If This, Then That (IFTTT)

IFTTT logoHave you heard of IFTTT (pronounced ‘gift’ without the ‘g’)? IFTTT is a personal assistant service that according to ifttt.com, “makes useful connections between two things by using the statement ‘if this, then that’”. Connecting different services to help make your life easier, IFTTT aims to be a computer switchboard for useful things like sharing social media posts to multiple channels, muting your personal cell phone when you get to work, and beyond. With over 160 different channels, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Assuming you are new to IFTTT, let’s take some time to learn IFTTT vocabulary:

  • Channels: Channels are the basic building blocks or the applications that you use on your computer every day, such as Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook and Instagram. Each Channel has its own Triggers and Actions.
  • Triggers: The this part of a Recipe. For instance, a trigger might be “I get an email from Sue”or “the weather is above 70 degrees.”
  • Actions: The that part of a Recipe. For example, “save the image file to my dropbox.”
  • Ingredients: Pieces of data from a Trigger (the if statement). For example, the Ingredients of an Email Trigger could be: subject, body, attachment, received date, and the sender’s address.
  • Recipes: Personal Recipes are a combination of a Trigger and an Action from your active Channels. Personal Recipes look like this: If I Instagram a new photo, then Add file from URL to my Dropbox.
  • On / Off: Personal Recipes can be turned on and off. When turned back on, they pick up as if you had just created them.
  • Polling Period: Most Personal Recipes check for new Trigger data every 15 minutes, some are even faster.

Launched in 2011, IFTTT was created by Linden Tibbets, Jesse Tane and Alexander Tibbets. In August of this year, IFTTT announced that it had raised a record $30 million in funding from the venture capital firms Norwest Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, so I expect this is a platform to add to your watch list in 2015. Two things to watch out for are monetization and internet-connected hardware devices being added to the channels.

Monetization

IFTTT will be launching a paid version for those who want more control over their recipes. Currently, creating an account and recipes are free.

Internet Connected Hardware Devices

As Wi-Fi-connected products are added to IFTTT channels, people will be able to control what happens at their home by setting up recipes. With IFTTT, you are able to control devices at your house, beyond your computer or phone. For example, Logitech Harmony is a tool that Creates personalized home Activities and lets you “enjoy integrated control of connected lights, locks, thermostats, sensors, home entertainment and more with the latest in Harmony home automation.” By linking Harmony with IFTTT, you can use your location to set a Harmony Activity. Or if you have Homeboy, “the world’s most accessible home security system”, you can set up recipes to turn your Phillips hue bulbs red, if motion is detected in your home.

Harmony IFTTT recipe Homeboy IFTTT Recipe

According to a recent Time article, IFTTT aims to encourage creativity in remixing Internet, phone and computer services to work better for our needs. “We’re often repurposing simple objects to fulfill a different purpose and need, like putting a pencil behind your ear when you need to use your hands,” Mr. Tibbets said. “It’s the same with IFTTT. People really deserve this ability to mix and match, and to have the Internet work for them.”

Facebook and Twitter IFTTT recipe

If you haven’t signed up, I recommend you sign up now and browse the recipes to see if anything looks beneficial for your productivity and efficiency at home and at work. Here are some excellent productivity recipes and some hilarious recipes to check out. Let us know what you think; what are your favorite recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Get To Know: Twitter’s New Analytics Dashboard

In the summer, Twitter released a new analytics dashboard with high level snapshots of key metrics. Yay! One catch.. this dashboard was only available to advertisers and verified users. Boo! Thankfully, about two months ago, this dashboard became available to all Twitter users. Huzzah! In this post, I’ll share some insight into the value of this tool for the effectiveness of your Twitter marketing campaign.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard - Favorites

Comparable to Google Analytics, the Twitter Analytics dashboard (available at analytics.twitter.com) allows you to measure the performance of every single tweet you tweet! The dashboard shows the number of people to see each tweet, along with how many people engaged with the tweet. Engagement encompasses clicks anywhere on a tweet (username, hashtag, link, tweet expansion), along with retweets, replies, follows, or favorites. The dashboard also aggregates tweet data for each month and allows you to compare it to previous months.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard - KPI

Having this data for organic tweets is very valuable for marketers as you can test different formats of tweets and tweeting dates and times to learn what works best for your audience. Being able to clearly see which time of day and day of the week yields the highest engagement and impressions can help you set up and schedule future campaigns.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard - Engagement Rate

Further, knowing what tweet styles are the most effective is key. Pay attention to what formats of your tweet create the most engagement. Do they include a particular call to action, link or rich media? Even the length of your tweet may impact the number of times it is shared or clicked. We have found that it is valuable to tweet often to gain the most exposure, especially if you are testing your overall impact to figure out what is most effective. Having this information can help create clearer messages truly targeted to your followers.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard

Finally, in addition to the updated web interface, the CSV export tool will show you data for up to 3,200 Tweets (up from 500) and includes a breakdown of all impressions and other engagement numbers.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard - Link Clicks

What Impact Do Your Tweets Have?

Twitter Analytics dashboard will help you identify in real time which tweets are getting the most attention and how you’re reaching your audience, information you can use to determine the Twitter strategies that work for you. If you haven’t taken a look yet, I encourage you to do so and let us know what you think! If you are using the analytics dashboard already, what have you found the most helpful and what changes would you make? Please feel please free to tweet your feedback on the dashboard @wordworksinc or comment below.

3 Ways for Your Business to Effectively Use YouTube

What do you think of when you hear the word “YouTube”? Do you think of cute babies laughing with their dog or silly cat videos? Those videos may make it seem difficult for your business to take advantage of a platform that screams viral videos made of things unrelated to your company. We’re here to argue that your business should make an effort to be present in order to increase your online visibility, promote brand trust and reach out to new customers. It’s important to be where people are and with YouTube boasting “more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month”, you can’t deny the powerful potential of YouTube.

1. Create a Series of Diversified Videos

Creative marketers can shine by creating a varied set of videos, in turn increasing their viewership. Posting the same style of video over and over again may cause users to click away, so we encourage creativity! A strong strategy encourages diversified video, with content ideas ranging from behind the scenes videos, presentations, client testimonials, exclusive interviews with founders, and how-to’s.

In April, YouTube announced that GoPro had the top brand channel. While the product is geared to video and images, they do a great job exploring different adventures that reach different people. GoPro has their channel set up into different playlists, including animals, surf, skate, and music, as well as product videos and tutorials with tips from the pros.

2. End Videos with a Call to Action

Success on Youtube means not only engaging viewers to simply watch a video, but by building a community and getting viewers to take action. At the end of each video, ask your user to connect in some way, whether you ask them to share the video, subscribe to your video channel, comment on the video in response to a question posed, or register for an event.

A great example of the video call to action is at the end of Kid President videos. At the end of his “Pep Talk” video, he asks the viewer to pass the video along, to share it, to like it, to comment on it, and to use the #kidpresident hashtag. After those call to actions, Soul Pancake (the business that supports Kid President) provides a link to subscribe to their channel, watch more Kid President videos, or to buy a shirt related to the video. Also, within the description of the video, they optimize the use of tags and include links to relevant websites and social media. Continue reading

3 Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Website

Build a WebsiteUndergoing a redesign is an intensive process that requires a lot of planning to get completed properly. You don’t want to finish the redesign and realize your redirects weren’t set up correctly or every user is going to have trouble figuring out where to click next (or first!). I will admit that there are many more than three questions to ask before redesigning your website. In fact, there are probably hundreds, but for the sake of getting to the point, I’ve selected 3 questions I think will start the dialogue and get your project rolling.

Why do you want a redesign?

If you are just bored with your site and want a new one, take time to dig a little deeper and see if there are more valid reasons for your urge to change. There are several reasons to change your site including the goals of making your site more…

  • search engine-friendly or
  • user-friendly

Continue reading

Are we ready for this Jelly? Jelly 101

JellyChanneling Destiny’s Child…are you ready for this Jelly?

Released last month, Jelly is a mix of Quora, Yahoo Answers, and your social networks. Essentially a question and answer service using your friends and their connections as your audience, Jelly aims to be an immediate search engine for mobile users on the go through connections with Facebook and/or Twitter. The social integration is no surprise since Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, developed it alongside Ben Finkel. I’m not completely sold on this new platform, but there are plenty of applications for use, as well a lovely user interface, which make it a hot platform to watch.

One of the first questions I posed on Jelly (with an unrelated image of my cat.) was “Is Jelly essentially Quora? What makes it different?” I received two answers – “Quora meets Snapchat” and “More search engine, less wiki.” Pretty decent responses, even with the completely unrelated picture of my cat as the image. One of those answers came from a friend on Twitter and another came from a Twitter user from my extended network.

answer jellyWhy: Jellyfish

“We chose the jellyfish to represent our product because it has a loose network of nerves that act as a ‘brain’ similar to the way we envision loosely distributed networks of people coordinating via Jelly to help each other,” Stone notes.

How to: Jelly

Once you’ve downloaded the mobile app, a question will appear with an image and the profile picture of the user with the question. Your choices at this point are to answer it, forward it to a friend or swipe downwards on the screen to dismiss it forever. You are able to read all of the responses to the question and can signal to get notified when a question is answered.

Asking a Question

To ask a question (make it good :), click the camera icon and post your question with a photo, an image stored on your phone or with an image from Google. You can’t post questions without images and “Jellies” have been known to get upset if your image doesn’t relate to your question at all. Once you post it, just sit back and wait until someone answers. You’ll receive a notification when that happens. Hopefully the replies are useful and you can select “Thanks” or can share the answer to your network. Beyond saying good or thank you, there is no way to reply to a user to get more information. At that point, the conversation may have to be taken to another social network.

Answering a Question

If you know an answer to a question, select the Answer button and type your response. You can draw a response on the originally posted image or include a link to a more detailed answer within your answer. You can share other answers if you find them helpful on Jelly or you can share through your email or other apps or networks you share things on your phone like chat. This is a way for those early adopter Jellies to promote the network to their wider network. If you don’t know an answer you can swipe the questions away. If you run out of questions, Jelly will encourage you to come back later because you’ve done all you can.

Monitoring Activity

activity jelly

To the left of the top of the screen, opposite of the camera icon, is a little person icon. This shows the activity above questions you’ve asked, answers you’ve received, answers you’ve given, thank you cards and if users thought your answer was good. Using the Activity log, you can refer back to previous questions on your whim. At this point there is no way to filter through to just see the questions you’ve asked or answers you’ve given. Hopefully that will be here in an update shortly.

Are we ready for this Jelly?

It’s all up to you. I believe that, like with all social networks, there are some who are ready and some who are not. Those who are on Jelly asking silly questions will get silly answers; however I’ve seen some useful advice getting passed along in various conversations about photography, fashion and beyond. Jelly is just over a month old, so there will be many changes in the coming months and Jelly will have to continue to find ways to vie for people’s attention among the seemingly hundreds of social networks users are already attached. Another thing that is yet to be determined is how Jelly will begin to monetize in a natural way. So far, Jelly has grown and users are still testing the waters regarding the types of questions to ask and what images and thoughts to include. Stay tuned; we may be more prepared for Jelly than we know.