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Monthly Archives: January 2019

YouTube Live: What Marketers Need to Know

Do you want to reach more customers on YouTube? Wondering how YouTube Live can help you grow your audience and business? To explore how marketers can benefit from YouTube Live, I interview Nick Nimmin. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what […]

The post YouTube Live: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Mobile A/B Testing: Quality assurance checklist

A free, detailed QA checklist to help you run accurate tests that include mobile traffic while avoiding validity threats

The post Mobile A/B Testing: Quality assurance checklist appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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Explore, Experience, Engage: 6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

The post Explore, Experience, Engage: 6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Discover New Audiences for Your Facebook Ads

Looking for more people to reach with your Facebook ads? Wondering how to find new Facebook audiences to target? In this article, you’ll learn how to research and test interests that yield new Facebook ad audiences. #1: Brainstorm a List of Interests If you don’t have a customer persona to work from, the first step […]

The post How to Discover New Audiences for Your Facebook Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Marketing the Value Proposition: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 15

Are your marketing messages not striking a chord with your target audience? Then watch the Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. Watch The Journey This episode of the Journey explores how Social Media Examiner hires a conversion expert to survey nearly 300 customers and […]

The post Marketing the Value Proposition: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 15 appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Create your social media campaign plan for 2019 (with editable worksheets)

Welcome to planning season! For social marketers, this is the most exciting time of the year. Oftentimes it’s the most stressful, too. Because coming Read more...

This post Create your social media campaign plan for 2019 (with editable worksheets) originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Our Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2018

Hot air balloon over field of yellow flowers image.

Hot air balloon over field of yellow flowers image.

Throughout 2018 social media marketing has continued to be a source of both opportunity and contention in the marketing world. We've done our best to keep on top of changes as they happen, while offering helpful insight and research-based strategy.

We’re very fortunate to a great group of social media marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog, including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Caitlin Burgess, Anne Leuman, and Nick Nelson, among others.

To help our blog community grow its social media marketing knowledge, we’re delighted to offer this list of our 10 most popular social media posts of 2018.

Our Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts in 2018:

1. Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus — Joshua Nite

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018
The most popular social media marketing post of 2018 is by Senior Content Marketing Manager, Joshua Nite. Through the lens of the RivalIQ 2018 social media benchmarking report, Josh delivers big with actionable insights including why influencers have the highest engagement rates on Facebook, and tells marketers how to stay on task. Check out all of Josh's posts here.

2. 7 Examples of Brands Mastering Twitter for Social Customer Care — Caitlin Burgess

Twitter Customer Care
Our Senior Manager of Content Marketing, Caitlin Burgess, wrote the second most popular social media marketing post of the year, as she took a close look at how top brands have used Twitter to strengthen customer care programs.

With helpful examples and relevant insights, Caitlin dives into some of the best customer care programs in social, and shows how they represent a customer service opportunity that deserves every marketer’s attention and action. Check out all of Caitlin's posts here.

3. Best Practices for Choosing Effective and Captivating Social Media Visuals — Anne Leuman

Best Practices for Selecting Social Media Visuals
Content Strategist, Anne Leuman, wrote the third most popular social media marketing post of 2018 on our blog. In this piece, Anne dives into how to select the right type of visual content to share on the right platform. Anne offers up the latest social image dimensions, and looks at carousels and driving conversions with social stories. Check out all of Anne's posts here.

4. The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game — Nick Nelson

How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing
Our Senior Content Strategist, Nick Nelson, earned the No. 4 spot on our list of the most popular social media marketing posts of the year. Here, Nick takes an in-depth look at using Facebook for powerful brand visual storytelling. He includes helpful tips to overcome what can sometimes be elusive reach on the world’s largest social media channel. Check out all of Nick's posts here.

5. The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices — Nick Nelson

The Power of Social Media Polls for Marketing
Nick also wrote our fifth most popular social post of 2018, tackling the benefits and pitfalls of social media polls, with his piece higlighting three platforms and five proven tactics. Nick also shares what kind of value polls can provide and how to get the most out of them.

6. From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch — Nick Nelson

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report
Nick's social media marketing wisdom earns him another entry on our top 10 list for 2018, with an in-depth look at Social Media Examiner's annual report. Nick shares the most relevant and helpful insight from the report, including how Facebook is in flux, the growing power of Instagram, and how to best use measurement moving forward.

7. The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? — Nick Nelson

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group
With his fourth consecutive spot on our top social media marketing posts of the year list, Nick examines how brands can best utilize Facebook Groups. Nick shows why Facebook groups present a good opportunity to regain diminished reach by embracing the platform’s heightened focus on user-generated content.

8. The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes — Anne Leuman

Latest Facebook Updates 2018
Anne earned a second entry on our most popular social media marketing list with her helpful piece exploring the latest round of major Facebook changes. Anne gives the low-down on five Facebook changes, tells what they mean for social media marketers, and offers up the next steps to take.

9. How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis — Joshua Nite


In addition to writing our most popular social media marketing piece of 2018, Josh earned another entry on the list with this fine look at how to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and apply a mindful approach. Josh also looks at how working with influencers helps put a personal, social touch back into social media marketing.

10. Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MNNice #NiceOff — Caitlin Burgess

US Bank NiceOff
Caitlin has written another of our year's most popular social media marketing posts, with an excellent spotlight look at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank and its social efforts. Caitlin explores examples of how campaigns can achieve success through the use of thoughtful and engaging social strategy that is subtly brand-centric and influencer-activated.

We can't thank Josh, Caitlin, Anne, and Nick enough for writing and sharing these top ten social media marketing posts of 2018 — congratulations to you all on making the list!

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

Thanks to each of you who read our blog, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels. We hope you find continuing benefit from these excellent social media marketing posts from 2018.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about social media marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2019, so keep posted for a new year of the latest helpful research and insight.

Please let us know which social media marketing topics and ideas you'd like to see us focus on for 2019 — we'd love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.

The post Our Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2018 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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10+ Marketing Predictions for 2019 From Top Marketers

Are you wondering what some of the brightest minds in marketing think about the future of the industry? Concerned about how marketing will change this year? Find out what Seth Godin, Mitch Joel, Mari Smith, Michael Stelzner, and other top marketers see on the near horizon. #1: Smart Audio Requires Integration From a purely data-driven […]

The post 10+ Marketing Predictions for 2019 From Top Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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B2B Content Marketers, Here Are Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

Content Marketing New Year's Resolutions

Content Marketing New Year's Resolutions

If you break down the word “resolution” phonically, you get “resolute” and “shun.” Kind of ironic, since we all seem more likely to shun (persistently avoid, ignore, or reject through antipathy or caution) these self-assigned goals than be resolute (admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering) in achieving them.

Too often with New Year’s resolutions, we set ourselves up to fail. We lay out ambitious mandates and drastic behavioral changes that sound great in theory, but almost invariably fall by the wayside amidst our busy lives.

B2B content marketers are plenty familiar with ambitious goal-setting. We're optimistic. We're driven. But perhaps we're not always realistic.

The whole point of setting goals is to achieve them. If you're always setting stretch goals, you'll never know what success looks like.

In this spirit, I thought I would outline five professional resolutions for B2B content marketers in 2019 that are not only achievable, but (I’ll argue) imperative.

Enough shunning. Let’s get resolute and conquer these five objectives.

#1 - Document Your Content Strategy (For Real Though)

Every year, when they conduct their annual benchmarking research, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs ask respondents whether they have a documented content marketing strategy. And every year, we’re all stunned by how few say “yes.” (The 2018 study showed that just 36% of B2B marketers reported having a documented strategy. In the 2019 study, which was just released this past October, that number was 39%.)

Then, we do it all over again. It seems absolutely insane that almost two out of three marketers lack documentation for their content strategy. And most of us recognize this, but still we just continue to let it slip.

Enough. Make 2019 the year where you actually get your strategies written down, in the form of a tangible doc that is visible and accessible to everyone in the organization.

[bctt tweet="Enough. Make 2019 the year where you actually get your #contentmarketing strategies written down. - @NickNelsonMN #NewYearsResolutions" username="toprank"]

#2 - Stop Focusing Your SEO Strategy on Keywords

Many of us were trained around this core principle of SEO writing: make that target keyword front-and-center in your copy. Place it in your title, in the first paragraph, and in multiple headers. Sprinkle it throughout your writing as liberally as salt on a bad steak.

While “old-school” SEO has been on the outs, with content that provides the perfect balance for bots and humans on an increasing rise, some marketers still regard keywords as the end-all-be-all.

Forcefully stuffing keywords into your content often diminishes readability, and in some cases it can totally derail the core points you’re trying to make. To what end? Google is continually getting smarter and more complex in its page rankings. As our Associate Director of Search & Analytics Tiffani Allen wrote here recently, elements like mobile-friendliness and voice search alignment will increasingly hold sway in 2019.

Just take a look how far down anything keyword-related falls on this updated hierarchy of ranking factors from SEMrush:

SEMRush Ranking Factors Breakdown

Quality, engagement, and relevance will rule the day. Fulfilling search intent is the prime directive in 2019 and beyond, as Annie Leuman recently broke down for us.

[bctt tweet="When marketers understand #searchintent, we can create #content more tailored to our audience’s specific needs, problems, and questions—helping gain visibility, attract more qualified traffic, & build trust. @annieleuman" username="toprank"]

If you are delivering on those fronts, you needn’t worry so much about SEO writing in a way that reads like this SEO writing sentence and makes you never want to type or hear the words SEO writing again.

#3 - Stop Talking to Walls

I’ve suggested that one of the biggest problems in B2B content marketing today is brands writing to members of their audience “as if they were an intangible corporate entity rather than a human being.”

I continue to see this all the time: robotic blog posts aimed at no one in particular, covering dry material in the dryest manner possible. Oftentimes, these uninspired content pieces are aligned with the aforementioned SEO strategy of attacking keywords with little consideration for quality or audience engagement.

Among the top content marketing predictions and trends for 2019 listed by our Caitlin Burgess is the elevated importance of building trust and infusing personalization. That means creating authentic, relatable content that speaks directly to a distinct human audience.

[bctt tweet="#B2B marketers have to stop thinking about how audiences 'consume' content, and start thinking about how audiences want to experience content. @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

The time has come for editors and content managers to prioritize this directive. I might even recommend an approach as stark as this to ingrain the practice for your writers: If you read the first couple paragraphs of a draft, and it’s not immediately obvious that the voice is directed toward an actual person, send it back for revisions.   

#4 - Move Outside of Your Content Comfort Zone

Of course, marketing content isn’t limited to the written word. It’s certainly the form most content marketers are comfortable with, because we so often have backgrounds in writing. However, strategies that don’t incorporate varied mediums are quickly falling behind. Audiences want more than words.

The lowest-hanging fruit is video. It’s now easier than ever to create, requiring little more than a smartphone, and there’s no questioning its impact. It’s also kinda scary, because it sometimes means putting your face on camera, and grappling with unfamiliar concepts like video scripting, and sound design, and lighting (oh my!).

If it helps, start small. Try creating a talking-head video from your desk and then self-scrutinizing, or linking up with a few coworkers for a panel-style interview that’s only distributed internally. Once you start to get it down, you can level-up your ambition and start actively integrating video marketing into your outward strategy.

Our Josh Nite has written that “next-gen content” (i.e. interactivity, visual appeal, multimedia elements) will be key to earning the attention of audiences and generating leads. The more competency you can gain with these content types, the better you’ll be positioned.

[bctt tweet="Be hyper-relevant and hyper-valuable with your #content, and you’re far more likely to bring more leads into your nurturing track. @NiteWrites #B2BLeadGen" username="toprank"]

These video tips for first-time video marketers and design tips for non-artsy writers might help get you rolling.

#5 - Get that Google Analytics Certification

I’m guilty. I admit it.

Google offers free courses and assessments through Google Analytics Academy that enable anyone to become certified with a GA Individual Qualification upon successful completion.

Our entire account management team, as well as our SEO, PPC, and analytics teams are GA certified and adept in leveraging the tool. But the certification may not be high-priority item for writers, or content marketing generalists who have a team of analytics professionals behind them.

But it’s a nice thing to have on your professional résumé, not to mention helping highlighting your analytical chops for some of your key stakeholders or clients. And beyond the ceremonial aspects, it’s just good to have all that knowledge around content measurement and attribution in your brain.

Completing these courses and getting certified has been an ongoing goal for me all year in 2018, and — although I’ve gone through a few of the courses — I still haven’t finished it. Womp womp. If you Googled “disappointment” right now you’d probably see ...

Google Analytics Certification Joke

I know from conversations with colleagues and peers, however, that I’m not alone on this one. The GA certification seems to be that item on many to-do lists that keeps on perpetually sliding. So, if you’re in the same boat, let’s make 2019 the year we finally get ‘er done. That means developing a firm plan and sticking to it. Schedule time in your calendar and don’t shun it.

[bctt tweet="#GoogleAnalytics certification seems to be an item that keeps perpetually sliding. Let's make 2019 the year we finally get ‘er done. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Here’s to Resolute Marketers in 2019

Ready to get more resolute with your New Year’s resolutions this year? These five eminently achievable goals offer a good place to start.

Almost every content marketer could stand to be more organized with documentation, sophisticated with SEO strategy, authentically human with their writing, versatile with their creation, and expert with their measurement. With concrete, realistic objectives in place, you can turn these from vague aspirations to viable accomplishments.

Want more help as you prepare yourself for a bold new year ahead? Check out Caitlin’s top content marketing predictions for 2019.

The post B2B Content Marketers, Here Are Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Get Your Sales Team to Use Social Media: A 6-Step Plan

Do you want your sales team to support your social media outreach? Looking for a guide to ease the transition? In this article, you’ll find a six-step plan to help your sales team adopt social media in their daily routine. Why Your Sales Team Should Use Social Media Plain and simple, I define social selling […]

The post How to Get Your Sales Team to Use Social Media: A 6-Step Plan appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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