Finding Trending Topics on the Net (other than Twitter)

Finding Trending Topics on the Net (other than Twitter)

Like every community or social media manager, one type of social media content you’re likely to share is posts that play on what’s happening in the world– the trends of the day, week, or month. To find content for these posts, many of you are probably turning to Twitter’s Trending Topics--that friendly little section on the left-hand side of your browser when you visit Twitter.com, and something that can be personalized (or not) to what Twitter thinks you’ll be most interested in.

We admit that Trending Topics are pretty handy when it comes to inspiring content, but it’s also the same place EVERY. OTHER. BRAND (and probably your competitors) is looking for content ideas. Boring! Today, we’ve got 5 other places you can look for trending stories to inspire you.

1. Buzzfeed

With more than just cute puppy pictures and spoiler-filled lists, Buzzfeed’s trend section gives readers a look at what’s popular on its own site (helpful for inspiring pop-culture-related social content) as well as what’s popular around the rest of the web. Sometimes, real, hard-hitting news stories even show up in the list!

2. Google Trends

This tool has been around for years, but it’s made a resurgence in recent weeks when it released a new way of displaying trending searches: a new visualizer that allows you to view 1, 2, or up to 25 simultaneous trending searches – customizable to show one country or worldwide trends. Watch the trends flip by and click one you’re interested in to see the Google search results.

google trends grid

Alternatively, you can view the Google Trends Top Charts page and drill down on a specific topic you think your community may find relevant:

google trends top charts

3. Google+

If you’re managing community/social media for a tech-oriented brand, try checking out the “What’s Hot” section of Google+! This little-known section shares trending hashtags, popular posts and people/pages it thinks you may find interesting – perfect fodder for sharing or creating new content. Find the section at http://plus.google.com/explore.

gplus-hot

4. Reddit

Also a departure from the typical Twitter crowd, Reddit is a place where jokes, news, and interesting tidbits from across the internet are aggregated and ranked according to the number of people who have up- (or down-) voted the post or comment associated with it. If you’re in need of a new meme to fuel your content, Reddit is a great place to look.

5. Using a Social Media Analytics Tool

Social media marketing platforms often have built-in data analysis tools that allow you to view trends in social at-a-glance. Exporting data from your social platform into a tool like wordle.net can give you a sense of what the trending terms are. Below,  is a real-time conversation map by uberVU.

conversation map ubervu

Original article by Elisabeth Michaud for Hootsuite.

SEO: New Google My Business App Makes Local Search Easier

SEO: New Google My Business App Makes Local Search Easier

For companies with physical locations and ecommerce sites, driving customers into physical stores can be just as important as selling online. Organic search can be a powerful channel for both.

Google just released a newly redesigned and feature-filled app to make managing the location information — critical to local search across Google web search and Google Maps — a lot easier on the go. From the app you could always:

  • Manage multiple locations from one dashboard;
  • Update business name, address, and hours;
  • Manage and respond to customer reviews;
  • Post updates and photos to Google+;
  • Monitor high-level analytics on visibility, engagement, and audience to understand how people are searching for your store information.

But now, the redesigned app enables you to also:

  • Manage locations open 24 hours;
  • Draw city, postal code, or radius zones for businesses that serve limited areas;
  • See how your business is represented in Google search, Maps, and Google+;
  • Monitor analytics on Google+ post performance;
  • Get more detailed feedback on location information.

Google My Business app

The Android app is the first to receive the update, naturally. Download it at Google Play. The iOS version can be found on the Apple’s App Store, with an update to the new version reportedly coming in the next week or so. Both versions of the app are free to download.

The redesigned Google My Business app integrates with the Google Analytics app and the YouTube app to interlink the data needed to manage location information updates, monitor performance, respond to updates and post new content easier. And Google’s suite of apps makes monitoring and managing your local search information simpler when you’re closer to your phone or tablet than your computer.

Having to switch between three apps is not ideal, but at least Google has provided the interlinks. When you move from the Google My Business app to Google Analytics using the app’s navigation, hitting the back arrow takes you back out of Google Analytics and into Google My Business instead of dropping you on your phone’s home screen.

While the Google My Business app does make some functions easier via mobile, you’ll definitely want to upload your locations initially using a computer if you have more than one or two stores.

Getting Started with Google My Business

For those who have worked with other iterations of Google business tools, Google My Business has replaced both Google Places for Business and the Google+ Pages Dashboard.

There is no monetary cost for participation in Google My Business, only the time you spend. Depending on how many locations you have and how confident you are in the data you have about each location, the amount of time this takes could be negligible or substantial.

If you have more locations than time, consider starting with your top 10 locations based on their revenue or strategic importance. Dipping your toe in the water will boost the local search benefit for your most important locations and also give you insight into the value of optimizing your remaining locations.

Locations can be entered individually, one by one, or by bulk upload via a spreadsheet for businesses with more than 10 locations. If you’ll have more than one person managing the locations, make sure to create a Business Account. You can share the business account with multiple individuals without having to give out your personal Google password.

Ann Taylor’s local business page for a store in Deer Park, Ill., at left, as compared to its brand page at right.

It’s important to note that Google My Business makes a distinction between your “brand” as a business and your individual locations. Location pages are essentially the information shown alongside the map in Google search and map results (at left above). Brand pages look like Google+ profile pages (at right above). I recommend claiming and optimizing your brand page as well, but the local business pages are the focus in local search.

Optimizing Local Search

Local search is about more than traditional web search results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It encompasses getting found via in-car mapping systems like OnStar, apps like Apple Maps and Google maps, social sites like Foursquare, reviews sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, and online directories like Yellow Pages.

Local search optimization — driving customers into your stores instead of your competitors’ regardless of where they’re searching — requires distributing accurate, relevant data and content to more than 300 sites and databases. This goes far beyond individual location optimization by manual upload. Optimizing the universe of local search opportunities just isn’t possible without the help of a specialized local search solution provider that uses an advanced software platform.

However, Google My Business is a good place to start. As the leading search engine in the world with a top map platform as well, optimizing local search for your locations on Google’s products will get you a long way.

Original article by Jill Kocher for Practical E-commerce.com

 

 

Visual-Marketing Tools on the Web You Cannot Miss

Visual-Marketing Tools on the Web You Cannot Miss

Visual content promotion is an essential source for engagement in the advanced digital age. An important component for competing on the web, visual content is the most ideal method to set your business apart from the crowd. The question is, how would you make your content the best when a group of businesses, just like yours are pushing to do likewise?

The winning mantra here is quality and consistency. If you don’t put the work in, and battle to be seen, you won’t be. Advertisers understand this, and put in numerous hours in the background to get things going. However, having the right visual marketing gear up your sleeve – for image creation and streamlining and editing, free-picture sources and image monetization – can truly offer assistance.

Image-creation tools

Canva  A product whose best-known evangelist is marketing legend Guy Kawasaki, Canva is a simple but incredibly effective design tool. Create various styles and types of graphics with a few clicks of your mouse. Best of all, it is free and you don’t have to download anything to use it. This is the best known tool on this list, and one that you have to try for yourself.

PicMonkey — Not well versed in Photoshop? You can get the same effects using PicMonkey, a fantastic online picture-editing software. Edit the photo, touch up the image, add filters, add it to designs or create a collage. You have dozens of features at your fingertips. PicMonkey even has a huge collection of fonts to use, so you can do it all in one place.

Loupe — Shape collages are a great visual tool. With Loupe, you can show off hundreds of images that relate to your brand, campaign or event in a dynamic way. Imagine showing off the photos you took at a recent conference in an interactive heart that allows users to see everything by skimming over it. You can also make cards, or an image-search game. All it takes is a bit of creativity to make this tool really work for you.

DataHero — Thinking of creating a case study or presentation? Don’t forget the visuals! Data is much more enticing if it is being presented in an easily digestible way. People like to see the numbers, not read them. Charts and graphs are the key, and DataHero lets you make them easily. Take your cloud or spreadsheets and convert them into stunning visuals that are fully customizable. You can create and share unlimited charts for free, or take advantage of their premium features.

Evernote Skitch — Everyone has heard of Evernote, the data snippet tool. But not everyone has used some of its additional services, such as the awesome Evernote Skitch. With Skitch, you can annotate and sketch out ideas, points and facts on anything. It connects things visually, and encourages visual forms of communication on an Internet which is becoming increasingly reliant on format. The point is to use fewer words, and instead show what you want to get across.

Optimization and editing tools

JPEGmini — Sometimes you need to shrink an image, but you don’t want to compromise the quality of the original. While graphic designers may be well versed in this skill, laymen won’t be. And, even if they are, they may appreciate a more simple means of doing it. JPEGmini, a service offered by Beamr, condenses your photos into high-quality, smaller versions. You can reduce the size by up to 80 percent without losing visual integrity.

Social Media Resizer — Different social media sites have different image-size requirements. Chasing them down, then editing them in different formats through an editor is incredibly annoying. Social Media Resizer lets you automatically create different sizes for different platforms within minutes. It will seriously cut down on your profile-building time, and let you change all of your accounts with a new image, fast, with no hassle.

Free image sources 

IM Creator Free — Need a quick but attractive and functional website or landing page? IM Creator Free will help you create one, using a fluid all-in-one process that doesn’t involve a lot of fuss. Just choose your template, customize, and publish. Check out different categories that best fit your needs. This tool even has a fully branded option with its pro white-label accounts. So, even if you need a professional grade site, IM Creator Free has you covered.

There are many more sources of free images listed here. Also,Webhosting Geeks offers a good tutorial on which images you can use and how to credit them properly.

Do you have any tools to add to the list? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Why isn’t my website generating more business?

Why isn’t my website generating more business?

Time and time again, the most obvious challenge that confronts new web entrepreneurs is an absence of web traffic. Clearly, if your site isn’t getting any action, you’re not getting any sales done. What’s more is that without this traffic, you can’t test the key parts of your sales process. Also, in the event that you roll out a huge traffic generation campaign before you’ve tried your site (to verify if it converts maximum guest visits into purchasers), you could lose deals by coming out as amateurish to potential business partners and affiliates.

So you’re stuck in an endless loop: Before sloping up a major campaign, you have to test your business process, however with no activity, testing is troublesome – if not impossible!

If you can relate to the same issue, this 5 step action plan will ensure:

  • Cheap, instant traffic to your website
  • Optimized Sales Process
  • More qualified potential buyers

 

  1. Test your website first!

There are a number of things you can test on your site to help you generate leads. From design, format to content, there are boundless combinations of changes that may enhance your conversion rate.

To begin with, stick to the essentials for you as of now have your hands full. Concentrate on testing your-

  • Salescopy, specifically the headline, benefits and call to action
  • Order process, which needs to be simple enough for a new web user to place an order
  • Opt-in offer, for you to determine if you’re capturing your visitors’ contact information successfully
  • Site navigation, to determine how many clicks it takes to buy.

Once you have ensured that the basic four elements are working to your satisfaction, once you’ve generated sales and have some steady traffic, you can move on to testing other parts of your site.

Now the question remains, where will this traffic come from?

The answer is simple: Purchase it through Pay-per-click search engines. Like Google Adwords, PPC options are a ton like auctions – they permit you to offer for top-positioning keywords of your choice. For every visitor who searches the keyword(s) you bid on and then clicks, navigating to your site, you pay whatever you bid. Depending on the popularity and competition pertaining to the keyword, the prices vary.

 

  1. Ensure more free traffic.

Moving on to greater traffic sources, it is useful to note that Search engines like Google give you free traffic. Since you’ve bid on keywords for a strong showing in the PPC searches, it’s time to handle the organic search engines and directories. Search engines like Google, Yahoo! can be a great source of free traffic for your website. The trick is getting a competitive positioning for your best keywords.

The initial step in getting a top rank in the web search tools is to submit our website to them. You need to verify that the crawlers discover your website and incorporate it in the search results. Once your webpage has been submitted, it will take two to six weeks for your listing to show up.

 

  1. Harness the power of focused and free content for priceless publicity.

You need to incorporate unique, difficult to-get data that’ll loan your articles automatic worth – the sort of data that sets you apart as a specialist in your field.

Once you’ve completed an article, compose a short bio section about you and your business and spot it toward the end of your article alongside – and this is the most critical part- – a link to your site.

 

  1. Obtain free links on other high-traffic websites.

Link requests require legible effort from you, yet they can totally blast your traffic figures overnight. On the off chance that your site is a featured link on a noteworthy site in your industry–one that has a great number of followers–your site promptly benefits by all the exposure their site gets.

Beginning with this system is basic, yet you ought to take a standard approach each time you ask for a connection. Let us elaborate it into a couple of simple steps:

Google search your standard pivotal keywords – the ones that people by and large use to discover your site. Make point by point notes about the sites that show up frequently in the main ten spots for your selected keywords.

When you’re prepared to contact the owners of these sites and request a connection, compose an email- – don’t utilize structured letters. Make sure to incorporate some positive remarks about their site, data about you and your site (alongside your URL), a clarification of why a connection to you would be an advantage them and information for reaching you to begin.

Do not SPAM.

 

  1. Use e-mail marketing to attract repeat visitors.

Getting loads of traffic to your site is extraordinary, yet in the event that you aren’t gathering the contact data – the names and email addresses- – of guests, you’re wasting all the clicks. In the event that guests leave your site without purchasing your item, there’s a decent risk they won’t ever be back- – and you’ll have truly no chance of catching up with them.

Remember: It can take up to seven points of contact to make a solitary sale, so you’ll need to start gathering guests’ contact data from the very beginning utilizing an opt-in form on your landing page. At that point send them email messages to catch up and reminding them of your site.

These simple ideas always work:

  • Monthly or bi-weekly newsletters with a lot of tips and information
  • Free reports specific to your business sector
  • Answers to regular inquiries people have about your item
  • Offers for items comparable or corresponding to ones you may have already offered them
  • Free item trials that give potential clients a flavor of what you bring to the table
  • A “downgrade” offer for an item that’s less expensive or robust than your featured offer

Catching up is quite simple and straightforward with plenty of email management software out there. “Autoresponders,” regardless of what time of day it is or whether you’re even at work can help you connect with customers as soon as they initiate contact.

 

Throughout the years, we’ve seen that best businesses are customers who have learnt to unwind and concentrate on actualizing maybe a couple promoting methodologies truly well. It is ideal to not aim for specialization in every one of the methodologies within unrealistic time periods or without essential tools already set up you support your efforts. Concentrate on becoming really proficient at one or two–because this may be all you need to dramatically increase your traffic–and sales.

What You Need to Know About Google AdWords’ Latest Tool

What You Need to Know About Google AdWords’ Latest Tool

View and analyze your data instantly with the new Report Editor

A lot of us are visual learners, and by visualizing information you can notice trends that you generally wouldn’t have by just looking at the figures worked out.

Google understands this need, and is making it possible to rapidly visualize information from its AdWords web advertising service through a basic drag-and-drop tool that gives you a chance to explore your account information in brand new ways within your browser.

The Report Editor gives a simple to utilize interface that gives you a chance to construct custom tables and graphs that can be segmented, sorted, and filtered to help you discover insights that matter to your business.

Google Adword
Using Report Editor, you can:

  • explore information with simple drag and drop actions
  • sort, filter, and pivot your data to concentrate on the slices of information needed
  • visualize your information in pie, bar, or line diagrams to uncover powerful insights
  • apply multiple segmentation to dissect your data with better granularity

“Visualizing data in a chart can make your data more actionable,” reads Google’s official blog post about the tool. “Charts can quickly unveil performance trends that may be missed when looking at numbers alone. Now, you can instantly create a line, pie, or bar chart to surface your key insights.”

Report Editor will be taking off gradually through the span of the following couple of months, with Google saying you’ll know you have access to it “when you see the new Reports tab in your account.”

Check out the new Advanced Reporting guide for tips on monitoring actionable insights in your reporting and the AdWords Help Center for more details on how to use Report Editor.

As I’ve mentioned recently, expanding AdWords ROI (quantifiable profit) is to the greatest advantage of both advertisers utilizing the AdWords service and Google alike. Low ROI, or even trouble in measuring ROI, is a negative ordeal that could lead advertisers to quit spending their marketing budget with Google. What’s more, search advertising is, all things considered, still Google’s bread-winning business.