Free-Social-Media-Analytics-Tools, Free-Social-Media-Monitoring-Tools, Free-Social-Media-Tool, free-social-media-tools, Social-Media

Free Social Media Tools

1. Social Mention

2014 09 25 16 16 14 Real Time Search Social Mention 760x232 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Social Mention 9/25/14
When it comes to social media tools, it doesn’t’ get any easier than Social Mention. It’s similar to Google Alerts, however, Social Mention only monitors social media properties like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and some 80 other social media sites. You can also receive daily email alerts and there’s also a third party API.
What’s really interesting about Social Mention relies on four-metrics to help calculate this tool. These include:

  • Strength – The likelihood of your brand being discussed on social media.
  • Sentiment – The ratio of positive mentions over the negative mentions.
  • Passion – The likelihood of individuals continuing to mention your brand.
  • Reach – Measures influence by dividing the number of unique authors who have referenced your brand by the total number of mentions.

2. IceRocket

2014 09 25 16 19 17 Meltwater IceRocket 760x192 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Ice Rocket 9/25/14
Here’s another free tool to help monitor specific keywords. When the real-time search engine launched in 2004, it was used mainly by bloggers to keep track of mentions of their blog. Over the years, IceRocket has expanded to include social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You can now track mentions of all three together or separately.
One of the coolest features IceRocket has to offer is a trend report. All you have to do is enter the terms you want to see mentioned and you’ll get a graph illustrating how many posts a day the term appears as well as the total amount of blog posts over a 30 day period.

3. Addictomatic
2014 09 25 16 20 31 Addictomatic  Inhale the Web 760x371 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Addictomatic 9/25/14
Addictomatic is another straightforward tool that can be used to monitor your brand’s reputation and influence. It’s basically a discovery platform that searches Google, Bing, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, and Flickr to find the most recent blog posts, news, images, or videos based on keywords.
Because Addictomatic is customizable, it’s quit easy to get addicted to this tool. While you may think that this isn’t’ all that different than Google, Addictomatic breaks the search results into headers, as opposed to being lumped all together.

4. SumAll
2014 09 25 16 21 45 All in one social media ecommerce analytics   SumAll 760x266 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of SumAll 9/25/14
Unlike most other social media tools, SumAll is designed specifically with small business owners in mind. How so? It not only gives you the ability to measure and monitor social media heavyweights like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it also connects you to other services like Google Analytics and PayPal. In all, SumAll’s free plan can connect you with 42 different services.
Instead of managing all of those different accounts, you can keep up-to-date with all of your most vital platforms in one convenient spot. You can also choose to get daily updates via email.

2014 09 25 16 23 25 Put the internet to work for you. IFTTT 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of IFTTT 9/25/14
I’ll just let the company describe what IFTTT is all about:
“IFTTT is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this then that.”
IFTTT allows you to make personalized “Recipes” by taking a “Trigger” (the “this” part). An example is getting tagged in a photo on Facebook. The “that” part is then the Action taken afterwards. So, after being tagged on Facebook, then “create a status message on Facebook”. Because IFTTT works with 132 channels that include social media networks and businesses like eBay and Best Buy, it’s incredibly easy to stay connected with both the online and offline world.

6. Google Analytics
2014 09 25 16 27 29 Features %E2%80%93 Google Analytics 760x244 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Features – Google Analytics 9/25/14
If you have a website, then you are probably already utilizing the vast resources Google Analytics has to offer. For example, you have access to the profiles of your customers or visitors to help you understand how they found what site, what devices they use, and what they like or don’t like it. It’s probably one of the most important tools for marketers.
Did you also know that you can use Google Analytics to evaluate your social sources? Through this tool you can discover how frequently social sharing leads to conversions, referrals, and traffic to your site.

7. Facebook Insights
2014 09 25 16 31 11 Search   Facebook Help Center   Facebook 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Facebook Page Insights 9/25/14
If you’re marketing on Facebook, then you may not have been thrilled earlier this year when Facebook announced some changes to how updates are displayed. Not only do you have to be concerned about the competition, you also have to worry if advertising on Facebook is worth the investment. However, if you are marketing on Facebook, then you should be using Facebook Insights.
One of the most beneficial features of this tool is that it can help you understand the behavior of your customers. For example, you can create a schedule based on the time or day or day of the week that your customers are most active on Facebook. Other informative features include being able to track likes, post reach, and engagement metrics. And, you can even keep tabs on your competitors Facebook activity.

2014 09 25 16 32 51 TweetDeck 760x365 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of TweetDeck 9/25/14
Chances are you’ve at least heard of TweetDeck. And there’s good reason for that. – it is arguably one of the best Twitter tool available. Some outstanding features include scheduling tweets, customized searches, and even alerts to keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings. You can also track hashtags, events, topics, and view the social profiles of Twitter and Facebook users.
If you’re a fan of Hootsuite, than you’d probably like to know that TweetDeck is a very similar tool. While it may not have the features that Hootsuite Pro offers, there’s a lot to get out of with this free tool.

9. Rapportive
2014 09 25 16 34 33 Rapportive 760x272 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Rapportive 9/25/14
Rapportive is possibly one of the most interesting social media tools that I’ve come across. In a nutshell, it allows you to view social profiles in your Gmail inbox. While primarily used for LinkedIn, you have access to the location, job title, and images. You can also view their latest tweets or Facebook statuses as well.
This tool allows you to grow your network by searching the web for people with similar interests or careers without having to search the web yourself. This email add-on is compatible with MailChimp, Bantam Live, BatchBook, BookingBug, Brightpearl, and CrunchBase too.

10. Swayy
2014 09 25 16 35 48 Swayy Better Content to Share on Social Media 760x281 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Swayy 9/25/14
Sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with content that isn’t just relevant to your business, but also something your audience will enjoy. After all, you’re a busy person, and you don’t always have time to see what’s trending on social media, let alone create your own amazing content. That’s why Swayy is such a stellar tool to utilize.
Swayy suggests content, whether it’s a video, article, or infographic, that you should share with you audience. You’re even given the proper handles and hashtags to share this content. And, there’s an analytics feature so that you can see what kind of content is resonating with your audience. If you have one dashboard, this awesome tool is free. If you have more than one, you’ll have to check out their pricing features.

11. Qzzr
2014 09 25 16 37 13 Get Your Quiz On Qzzr 760x300 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of Qzzr 9/25/14
Looking for a simple and creative way to create shareable content on social media that will also drive traffic to your site? Give quizzes a try. Social Media Explorer covered this topic earlier this year, saying quizzes provide information about your site and provide an opportunity to connect with your audience.
Qzzr helps you create various quizzes for your social media platforms. You can create a BuzzFeed-like quiz or one that gives an actual grade. There is also a wide range of topics to choose from so you don’t have to worry about finding a topic in your niche.

2014 09 25 16 38 45   create and share visual ideas online 760x323 12 Free Social Media Tools

Screenshot of 9/25/14
Infographics are a proven way to boost your credibility and increase site traffic. That is a great assist, but it can cost a pretty penny – which is no good when you’re on a tight budget. Thankfully, there are free tools that make it simple to create a solid infographic.
Since it’s launch in 2012, has helped over 300,000 users create thousands of infographics. All you have to do is select one of the free templates and start plugging in your data. No wonder so many students and bloggers have been enjoying this free tool.

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facebook marketing strategy, Proven Twitter Marketing Strategies, Social-Media, twitter marketing plan. twitters marketing approach, twitter marketing strategies and tactics

Twitter Marketing Strategy

One of the largest social networks, Twitter is the “buzz generator” where people go for breaking news and updates. It’s a very fast-paced environment, intended to be short and sweet with each tweet being no more than 140 characters. Twitter shares some features with the most common social media tools: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.

However, the differences really define Twitter:
  • Facebook: A tweet is like a short Facebook status update, but with Twitter every tweet arrives at every follower’s feed, unlike the filter of Facebook’s EdgeRank.
  • Pinterest: Twitter allows you to share photographs and provide commentary in your tweet, and with Twitter it’s much easier to have a conversation around a shared image versus the comment feature on Pinterest.
  • LinkedIn: A tweet is like a short LinkedIn status update. While LinkedIn is based on trust relationships (and two-way agreements), Twitter allows you to follow anyone, including strangers.
  • Google+: A tweet is like a short Google+ status update. Twitter also allows you to organize people into lists that organize conversations similar to Google+ groups.
  • YouTube: A tweet can contain a link to a video; although, Twitter doesn’t allow you to create a channel, or organize your videos for easy location and commentary.

Twitter Posting Strategy

  • Use feeds to automatically stream through the latest SEJ posts as they go live
  • Integrate a variety of non-SEJ content, such as humorous articles/photos and content from other related sites about industry events, timely news, quotes, etc.
  • Promote the SEJ Writers by retweeting their content and sharing posts
  • Tweet at least one month-old post each day
  • Promote our team and writers onsite and off using their Twitter handle
  • Share timely SEO news from other reliable sources

Twitter Engagement Strategy

  • Reply to at least 10 users per day
  • Propose questions about corresponding topics
  • Thank people for sharing our posts
  • Identify users who manually Tweet a post, comment, or otherwise interact
  • Retweet at least 3 posts per day
  • “Listen” to what people are saying about SEJ by searching Twitter for relevant keywords surrounding the company name

Twitter Following Strategy

Following new users on a regular basis will help grow our own fan base. Following quality brands and individuals will ensure we get as much relevant information from Twitter as possible. Our timeline will be more manageable with contributions from targeted accounts, as opposed to randomly following anyone or automatically following people back.
How to identify which accounts to follow:
  • Look at those who follow us. Scroll through bios, select people who seem relevant, and ensure their feeds are live.
  • Consider those who are retweeted frequently. If we are only following quality people, then the folks they are retweeting are probably worth investigating, too.
  • Allude to our writer lists to see who they are quoting and talking about.
  • Visit competitors’ follower lists. Anyone following them is clearly interested in the subject matter, and thus, we’d be of interest to them as well.
  • Clean up older/inactive/automated users at least once a month. Use platforms like Twitter Karma, Just Unfollow, Status People, etc.

Twitter Observation Strategy

Observing other users along with their habits or the habits of related cohorts can be extremely educational in growing our fan base. One of the great things about Twitter is transparency- we can see everything everyone is saying. This makes competitive research super accessible. Our competitors have networks that likely include influencers who are directly related to the industry. Eavesdropping on Twitter conversations surrounding pertinent topics will help to ensure we are staying on top of what our audience is saying and interacting with.
Identifying influencers that are already following us is useful as well. Followerwonk is a platform which ranks users’ social authority based on the retweet rate of their last few hundred tweets, the recentness of those tweets, and a retweet-based model trained on user profile data. This number is by no means perfect, but retweets are so strongly correlated with a healthy community that they are a great way to identify relationships that should be pursued.

Twitter Sentiment/Tone

Keep the overall sentiment light and positive. Avoid tweets that are negative in nature or could come across as unprofessional; like those including: profanities, racism, stereotyping, or referencing unprofessional activities. Do not engage in any argumentative conversation.

Hashtag Usage

On Twitter, it is common practice for people to use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase (without spaces) in their tweet to categorize those tweets and help to increase their visibility in Twitter search. No wonder, since studies show tweets using hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without. For example, if you search for #SEO you will get a list of tweets related to SEO that contain the hashtag phrase.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets tagged with that keyword
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often trending topics
  • Good practice to research trending hashtags in order to avoid accidental misuse
  • Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic
  • Do not #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than two hashtags per tweet.)

Photos Usage

Studies show tweets with images can get 60-200% more shares than those without. Using images means we have a better chance of standing out in follower’s feeds.
SEJ uses the “Summary” version of Twitter cards.
chap 1 twitter image Chapter 1: Search Engine Journals Twitter Strategy

Twitter Goals

Twitter is about building a community of followers who are passionate about SEO, social media, digital marketing, etc., and eventually become passionate about SEJ. The primary goal is to increase our Twitter following by at least 5% each month through Q2 2014.
  • February 2014 = 2,775 fan increase
  • March 2014 = 2,913 fan increase
  • April 2014 = 3,058 fan increase
Ideally, this will draw traffic to the website, where we monetize our efforts through advertising and sponsorships. Social traffic referrals to the website should rise at least 10% month over month.
We also hope to consistently grow the number of mentions, retweets, and replies. In January 2014, we had 1188 retweets, 137 replies, and 3489 mentions. We hope to grow these numbers at least 5% through Q2.
Another major goal is to enhance the reputation of SEJ as an expert voice in the search arena. Showing that we are always on top of what is happening in the search world helps solidify our persona as a leading source in the field. This means keeping the community updated by continuously showcasing knowledge in various related topics such as social media, blogging, content marketing, and industry events.
Promoting the SEJ editorial team and guest writers will also aid in diversifying and creating high-quality content to share. Spotlighting SEJ authors and their work offsite will help strengthen our relationships with them. However, such content should be presented with a light hand so it does not come across as too promotional.
Using Twitter to monitor what is being said about our company is vital. We should respond in a timely manner to any issues and make sure all inquiries are addressed. Maintaining a consistent tone will help our audience understand who we are. Our voice should be professional, yet conversational and friendly.

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SEO, Social-Media

Steps To Creating A Mobile-Optimized Content Marketing Strategy

With the release of Google’s recent Hummingbird algorithm update, mobile sites and strategies are in the spotlight. For businesses, having a site that renders across a wide variety of mobile devices is critical for doing business. A smart mobile strategy extends beyond design to content development as well. 

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to develop the right mobile-optimized content marketing strategy for your business.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Hummingbird update, I recommend the following article for more background: Google Hummingbird: A Mobile Content Marketing Strategy Just Became Essential. For a broad overview on mobile content strategies, see my recent article The Key Ingredients to a Winning Mobile Content Marketing Strategy.

Embrace mobile-first as the new mindset

The paradigm shift started with design. The old approach to design for mobile was simple: create a website that worked for users on standard computers (e.g. for the “large screen”). Then get creative and find ways to scale it down for mobile devices. For sites that required more effort than simply being made smaller, designs could be simplified or made more “tappable” as an extension of the touch screen environment.

In recent months, many leading experts in the area of design have come out in opposition to this approach and suggested that good design in 2013 and 2014 is mobile-first. Half of all internet searches now take place on mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise. The implication is that the same kind of thinking needs to be applied to how we create content. Simply writing short and breaking your paragraphs into smaller chunks of text isn’t enough. Tricks for making longer content more digestible might work in the short-term, but thriving in the mobile world requires an increasingly forward-looking approach.

Acknowledge tension between long-form and short-form content

If you scan the help wanted ads for freelance bloggers, it’s easy to see the shift to long-form content. Ads that once asked for rates for 500 word articles no longer want submissions less than 1000 words. The assumption here is that longer content can go more in-depth, show more expertise and create more value for the reader.

It’s a natural outgrowth of Google algorithm updates such as Panda, which use content quality as a key metric for how sites rank. The end result should be something that’s read and shared more, ultimately making it more likely to perform well in search engine rankings.

The tension here is whether or not someone is likely to read a 1000 word treatise on your chosen subject on their smartphone. What’s worse for marketers is that the most truthful answer is “it depends.” It depends on your market, the subject, and the use context of their query. Is your 1000 word piece providing them step-by-step guidance for a problem that they need to solve right now?

Are you providing insight and entertainment so gripping that their entire bus commute slips by while they’re reading your material? Or is your subject matter best broken up into digestible bits that are more easily consumed on an as-needed basis? This leads to my next point.

Understand your audience’s mobile habits

It’s amazing how many conversations about mobile strategies and content marketing in general happen in the absence of audience data. Can you answer the following questions about your customers and prospects?

  • What percentage of your audience accesses your site on mobile devices?
  • Are they using tablets or smartphones?
  • What activities are they doing on your site, independently and as compared with your overall traffic?
  • What content are they accessing – by topic and by format?
  • How much time do they spend on your site? An audience with an average of 10 minutes is different than an audience with an average of 90 seconds. It’s all about attention span.
  • Do they consume visual content?
  • What other sites, social media platforms, and activities are they doing on mobile?

The greater the depth in terms of your understanding of your audience’s mobile habits, the more compelling your content will be. But specifically, understanding the makeup of their mobile universe will help you create content that feels native – rather than retroactively shoehorned to fit in.

For more information on how to determine what your target audience wants, see my article, “7 Ways to Find What Your Target Audience Wants and Create Epic Content.”

Focus on your headlines

Writing the kind of headline that grabs a reader’s attention, piques their interest, and refuses to let them go until they’ve devoured your content is just good copywriting.
But when writing for mobile users, it’s doubly important that your headline is:

  • Highly relevant to your audience
  • Answers the question “what’s in it for me” by showcasing the benefit to the reader
  • Has a powerful, timely hook
  • Evokes an image or an emotional response in the reader
  • Loaded with proof elements

Find opportunities to work your lead-ins

Your article’s lead in, or what’s called lede in journalism, is the first paragraph or two. This is the hook, and what carries the reader through the journey of the broader piece. But the mobile environment is likely to shift the focus on these first, few crucial paragraphs.

Article summaries are becoming ever more important. It’s possible that these “executive briefings” are all that people will read if your content is accessed via mobile. Can you offer the kind of “quick hits in three bullets or less” summary that could give your key takeaways in a few minutes of casual, mobile browsing?

The natural fear is that if you give all the secrets away early, people won’t keep reading. But I’d argue the other perspective: If you deliver tremendous value early on, readers won’t be able to help but keep going. The readers with a screen that’s too small to read 2000 words on still get the value of a positive brand contact and are likely to come back for more.

Mix up your content lengths

Strategically, long and in-depth content is vital for SEO. But from a human readership perspective, there’s a big need for hard-hitting, insightful articles that deliver a ton of value in a compressed space. This means that your tactical approach to content generation will need to vary based on the channels that you’re targeting. One strategy is to find a site architecture that features short summaries, as outlined above.

Another is to consciously vary the lengths of the content that you create. Could your site have a version of your blog that mobile readers land on, that highlights short summaries and offers the chance to click over to longer articles? Can you offer two versions of every piece – the long version and the quick hits? Can you vary content on your blog day by day, providing both in-depth tutorials and shorter pieces?

Don’t overlook the power of formatting

Reformatting existing content isn’t enough (although you should be doing this). But good mobile formatting should become an essential part of your mobile-first content strategy. You want to be at the forefront of establishing a new model of writing for the web. Mobile-friendly content development is about:

  • Getting to the point, quickly and efficiently
  • Thinking about a layout that integrates tappable elements that make calls to action easy to take
  • Big fonts that are easy to read
  • Colors that pop
  • Visual elements – like visual content and videos – wherever possible
  • Text layouts that are clean and streamlined when you’re dealing with written content

If you’ve got a website or branding style guide, it may be time to revisit it and revise it to reflect the minimum standards that will help mobile content thrive.

Consider the reading level

There’s an old maxim in the newspaper industry that you should write to an eighth grade level. To some, that sounds condescending. But it’s actually congruent with one of the biggest takeaways of any copywriting or direct marketing course: write the way you speak.

In other words, don’t make it harder to read your writing (or listen to your podcast or watch your video) by using it as a place to show off your vocabulary. To a certain extent, you need to know your audience. A blog post targeting plumbers and targeting Ph.Ds. in economics have different universes of potential vocabularies that seem “mundane.” Content for plumbers can refer to parts that the average reader has never heard about; economists will take certain academic concepts for granted. But both have a threshold of what’s easy to get through and acceptable in normal conversation. Remember that this is even more important when you’re dealing with mobile content.

The more general your audience, the better off you are writing to that 8th grade ideal. Get to the point. Be succinct, be clear, and be efficient with your words.
One strategy that can help you do that is to use a Fleisch-Kincaid readability score. The Fleisch-Kincaid readability score gives you a grade level associated with what you write. It’s built right into Microsoft Word’s review feature, and it’s a great way to do a gut check on what you’re writing. It looks at word length, sentence length, and overall construction. If the score is higher than you’d like, take a look and see if it’s possible to reduce the number by playing with these elements.

Introduce video and visual content

Videos, infographics, images, and other visual content is becoming increasingly important. If you’ve shied away from introducing this to your content strategy, moving in the direction of mobile-first is a great time to do so.

Taking a mobile-first approach to video requires paying close attention to the rise of micro-video. Services like Vine, with its six second limit, are pushing the envelope in terms of how brands convey their message. It’s not always practical to convey a message in six seconds, but look at video and visual content through the same lens as text: can this be shorter, tighter or more efficient with my viewer’s time? For more on video marketing, see my article “4 Advantages of Video Marketing for Business.”

Use secondary screens

When in doubt, defer secondary content to another screen. If it’s not absolutely essential to the point that you’re making on that page, consider a link instead of embedding it into your content. This is counterintuitive to a world of content creators that embed video, create pop-up image galleries, and have busy sidebars of products and services. Instead, look for opportunities to defer unnecessary (or less necessary) content and allow your visitors to choose their own adventure as it were. The more streamlined your overall site and content presentation, the better.

Creating a mobile content strategy for your business has many components. If you’re just embarking down that road or you’re revisiting your progress, I’d encourage you to find ways to create for mobile and then “scale up.” Not only will your workload be reduced further than doing it the other way around, but you’ll be setting up a content creation process that’s sustainable into the future.
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Facebook, Social-Media

Social Media Report 2012: Facebook Dominance In the U.S

Social media has grown up to a big giant now and its still growing rapidly. It also offers new and meaningful ways for global consumers to engage with people events and brands. According to According to a new social media report, maximum time by consumers is spent on social networks than any other type of sites.
Interestingly, consumers spend 20% of their online time by PC while, 30% of total time online by mobile. Also, the total time spent on social media by PCs and mobile devices in the U.S mounted up to 121 billion minutes in this July, compared to 88 billion in July 2011.
The recent propagation of mobile devices and its connectivity has fueled up the penetration of consumers towards social media. Computers remain as the predominant device to access social media while, time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has also significantly increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year. Facebook remains to be top in the list in terms of penetration, but new social media sites seen hatchling to compete with giants.
In the U.S Facebook remains the most-visited social networking sites by PC, conquering 152.2 million visitors, mobile apps acquire 78.4 million users and mobile web of about 74.3 million visitors.
Facebook proves to be multiple times the size of the next largest social site across each platform. Also, it is the U.S. top web brand, as 17% of time spent online by PC is on Facebook.
There are exploding numbers of social media networks available, and countless number of sites is adding social features. Facebook and Twitter continues to remain as the most popular social networking sites amongst many and surprisingly, Pinterest emerged as one of the stars in social media for 2012, showing off the largest YOY increase in having unique audience as well as time spent of  any social network across PC, mobile web and apps.
Image courtesy: Nielsen

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Instagram Goes Public with Profile Pages

Instagram, the photo site known for its retro filters, is an emerging trend in online marketing.  According to Simply Measured, 54% of the world’s top brands are currently using the site, including Nike, MTV, Starbucks and Gucci. In many ways, the site is similar to Pinterest with one big difference – Pinterest is an open window, Instagram is not.
When you navigate to, this is what you see:
Where’s the link to all these cool, photos that 54% of the top brands are posting? (Let me stop here and say, I don’t use Instagram, so I’m coming at this as a complete novice.) I’m guessing that the only way I can see anything is to download the app and start following people a’la Twitter or Facebook. Granted, a lot of people use the service, but how is this a good marketing tool?
Moot point at this point, because Instagram has just announced a big change. Going forward, every user will have their own profile page on the web. Like this:
Once they come online (next week-ish), you’ll be able to access any page simply by typing the username at the end of the URL. If the photos are set to public, everyone, even people who don’t have an account with Instagram, will be able to see your photos.
This is great news for marketers. This means you’ll have a public URL that you can promote without restrictions.
The average user can set his profile to private. He’ll still have a profile page but it will be locked to anyone who isn’t a follower.
Going public is a bold step for Instagram. Up until now, part of the appeal has been the almost secretive nature of the site. It felt  intimate and personal. Now, it feels like a cross between Facebook and Pinterest.
For marketers, it’s time to get on board this fast-moving, social media train. Unfortunately, after this upgrade, everyone else might be getting off at the next stop.
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Instagram vs Pinterest for Christmas 2012 Photos

At Phones Review we enjoy bringing readers details of new smartphones and tablets but we also like to focus from time to time on apps that are available and today we’re looking at two of the most popular apps out there, Instagram and Pinterest. These are available for iOS and Android devices and we’d like to hear from readers about Instagram vs. Pinterest and which you’ll be using to upload your Christmas 2012 photos.

Starting with Instagram the Android app is available from Google Play here while the iOS app can be found at iTunes here. Both are free apps and the Android app is for devices running Android 2.2 or later. The iOS app is for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad running iOS 4.3 or later and has been optimized for the iPhone 5. Instagram now has over 80 million users and offers free customized filters and borders, linear and radial tilt-shift blur effects, instant sharing to Facebook, Twitter and more and unlimited uploads and interaction with friends by giving and receiving comments and likes. Users can share their photo stream with friends and see their photos too and it really is a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family and seeing new photos every time you use it.

On to Pinterest and you can find the Android app from Google Play here or the iOS app from iTunes here. These are also free apps with the Android app suitable for devices running Android 2.2 or later and the iOS app compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation) and iPad running iOS 5.0 or later. This app is also optimized for the iPhone 5. Pinterest revolves around many interests rather than just photos and videos though and users of the app create pinboards for vacations, recipes, fashion, gadgets and many other ideas, whatever appeals to them. Users can add their own creations to online pinboards, look at other categories they are interested in, follow boards and use their cameras to create new pins.

As we’ve already said, both Instagram and Pinterest are hugely successful apps and have devoted users of the sites who usually favor one over the other. While Pinterest is a resource for gathering and sharing diverse information and ideas, Instagram is a site more focused on the photography element and the two tend to have very different user bases.

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eCommerce SEO, SEO, Social-Media

Importance of Using Contracts in SEO

Using comprehensive contracts in your SEO business will prove invaluable. Not only will you feel more confident about running your business, but you will also have peace of mind in knowing that you are covered from a legal perspective should any issues arise.

I think it goes without saying that having a contract is a must for any type of service you provide, especially if you deal with thousands of dollars of service value. Not using a contract could cost you dearly in this business, especially if a client chooses to take off before they pay you. Then there’s also the worry of them making continual change requests throughout the project lifecycle if they decide to stick around.

This is why a contract should clearly specify milestones, expectations, specifications and a project schedule to allow both parties – client and consultant – to monitor deadlines and the project overview before getting started. To be qualified as valid, a contract will need to be mutually agreed upon, meaning both parties must sign and date the document. Once your client signs the contract, he or she clearly accepts the conditions laid forth within.

Remember, it’s always easiest to work from a pre-made SEO contract template to fast track the entire process, rather than starting from scratch each time.

Components of a Solid Contract
One thing you should always keep in mind is to include the essential components of your project. To give you an idea what could be included in an SEO contract, here are some examples;
* Work scope
* Payment terms
* Time-frame of the project
* How to deal with delays (initiated by either party)
* Dealing with liability issues
* Cancellations
* Copyrights, etc.

Obviously this is just a rough guide, but certainly a basic framework for you to work from as a starting point. Again, having a solid contract is a smart move in the world of SEO – not having one can lead to serious legal problems.

Key Contracts
While there are numerous contracts, documents and letters that you will be using daily, by far the most common contracts and documents that I’ve found myself using time and time again, regardless of the project type are:
* SEO Proposal
* SEO Contract
* Work Order

Let’s look at why these contracts are the most used contracts in freelance web design.

SEO Proposal
The SEO proposal is the corner stone document of any SEO business. Put simply, it’s your entire sales pitch on paper. This document allows you to showcase your overall proposed solution to your client. It’s the one document that has the potential to gain interest from the prospect and help secure the deal.

The SEO proposal should contain the following information:
* Project overview
* Site recommendations and objectives
* Project benefits
* Functional specifications
* Technical specifications
* Information architecture
* Considerations, assumptions, constraints etc.
* Cost summary including itemized quote
* Project phase or workflow

In a nutshell, the SEO proposal is intended to assist in the understanding of the proposed project for the development of the client’s website. It provides outlined functional specifications and requirements in brief that are intended as guides only without obligation, to the business owner or director. It is designed to direct project and overall implementation, and to give a better
insight as to the procedures involved with promoting the requested site, along with estimated costs.

SEO Contract
As already stated, not using a contract before getting started with any client is certainly not advisable. The complications and issues that could potentially arise are endless. By using a contract, you clearly define the project, set limitations to the amount of work requested, and layout your terms and conditions, including payment terms.

The SEO contract should contain the following information:
* Maintenance agreement
* Payment terms
* Project workflow
* Change requests
* Copyrights and trademarks
* Liability
* Indemnification
* Content ownership
* Non Disclosures
* Project cancellations

The main purpose of the contract is to ensure both the client and the consultant understand they are entering into a binding contract under which they both have obligations and responsibilities. Particularly useful when disputes or legal matters arise. If ever you have a prospect that refuses to agree to your terms and conditions as set-out within your contract – don’t do business with them!

Work Order
The work order is the essential “what’s gotta be done?” document. This document is perfect to use when itemizing each particular section of the requested task. Whether it be an entire website audit, restructure, or a quick fix, the work order allows you to clearly outline in detail exactly what has to be done, and what doesn’t. I’ve found over the years that’s it’s always smart to include
“exclusions” in the work order as well.

This prevents the client from suggesting that they requested something afterwards that wasn’t originally part of the project specification.
The Work order should contain the following information:

* Name of both parties, date and work order number
* Project overview
* Project benefits
* Completion dates
* Project specifications, including exclusions
* Agreement terms including payment, cancellations and general notations

Obviously the more involved the work, the more detailed the work order needs to be, however the basic principle still applies – itemize the requested work ahead of time to ensure both yourself, and the client are on the same page.

Understanding Contracts
One common argument business owners and clients often have is the way in which the contract is specified. Unless you are a lawyer who is familiar with legal terms it can be hard to really understand what the contract actually states.
My advice is to double-check with your lawyer or solicitor. It is important contracts are written with humans in mind. They should be easy enough to understand and comprehend while clearly stating the legal side of doing business with your clients.
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Digital-Marketing-Information, Social-Media

Setting Up Your Twitter Account

A lot of businesses, old and new, are taking advantage of the marketing mileage that Twitter can present. The micro-blogging site is being used by many companies to do market research, brand advocacy, reputation management, and provide selected highlights from a particular event.

This means that Twitter can expand brand awareness, as well as generate new opportunities for businesses. However, you cannot have a successful Twitter marketing campaign if you don’t have an account that goes in line with your goals.

Branding Your Twitter Account

In order to come up with a successful Twitter marketing campaign, you have to brand your account. Your homepage is basically your landing page, and it has a couple of characteristics that you need to pay attention. That way, your brand can take advantage of maximum conversions.

Brand Your Twitter Background

The new Twitter is considerably wider than it used to be. Thus, you can use the primary left side of your account to brand it. Consider creating a 108-pixel left sidebar with your business’ logo and other online information that you have. This could include the logo of other businesses that supports your product or services. In relation to this, make sure that your background and profile customization goes in line with your brand’s color scheme.

Optimize the “About Me” Section

If you are representing a business, it is best to include its core values to your profile’s About Me section. It would also be ideal if you’ll use your primary keywords, as this will help other users to find you through Twitter search. Additionally, post a link to your blog or website so that your followers can easily access your content for more information.

Personalize Your Avatar

No user trust an account that uses the default Egg avatar. When creating an account for your business, you have to post your business logo or your photo immediately.

Whether you will use a logo or your own picture depends on your campaign. If you are representing your business as a whole, then you have to use a logo. But if you are considered as a thought leader in your industry or a public advocate of a brand where you work from, using your own photo would be fine. However, it will work best if you add a small business logo under your image.

When it comes to Twitter marketing, it is not just about posting tweets about your business. It also has to do with branding your account.
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Twitter Is Selling Your Old Tweets

Twitter has sold a bunch of old tweets to a firm called DataSift, which will analyze them for marketing purposes.

The Mail Online reports that DataSift is the first such company to get access to the tweets, which go back two years. Another 1,000-plus companies are on DataSift’s waiting list.

DataSift confirmed the report to Mashable, but Twitter could not be reached for comment. The former has launched a product called DataSift Historics, which lets companies extract insights and trends that relate to brands, businesses, financial markets, news and public opinion, a rep says. DataSift will analyze public tweets, not private ones. If you delete a tweet, it’s deleted from DataSift’s archives.

Selling old tweets would be one way to monetize Twitter’s archive. So far, Twitter’s focus has been on building revenues by advertising to its 100 million or so active monthly members rather than selling its data.

Twitter makes the bulk of its revenues through advertising. A private company, Twitter doesn’t disclose its finances. However, eMarketer estimates that Twitter will earn about $259.9 million this year and $399.5 million in 2013.

The latest revelation is sure to rankle privacy advocates, who have so far focused on Google and Facebook. Both of these companies have been accused of having too free a hand with consumer data.

Source: Techgig News
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Social-Media, Submission-Resources

Social Networking Sites for Business Professionals and Entrepreneurs

Many of us actively use sites such as Twitter and Facebook to promote businesses. And those of us who want to connect with more business-related contacts may turn to sites like LinkedIn to develop relationships with people we have worked with or may want to work with. But not every site is oriented toward the business world and its needs.
There are a growing number of social networking sites specifically focused on business users and meeting their needs. Here is a list of 36 additional leading social networking sites for business professionals and entrepreneurs including startups that are worth a look. This list is current as of October 2011, and will likely remain very fluid in the future.– is a private social network where wealthy individuals connect, share information and engage in meaningful conversations. also provides exclusive, high quality content and advice from experts on subjects such as art, technology and travel.  Membership in reportedly requires a net worth of $1 million (US) or annual household income of $200,000.
Biznik– A community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed.  It is the local, independent entrepreneurial community where collaboration beats competition.
Black Businesswomen Online– A social network for African American Women in Business, Entrepreneurs and Bloggers.
Black Business Space– Black Business Space is a community of business owners and entrepreneurs. It uses the tagline “Where Networking and Money Meet”.
Blogher– Blogher calls itself “A Life Well Said”. It is a community of women bloggers in many areas.
Blogster– Blogster is a blogging community that features specific-interest blogs. Blogster members can network and collaborate by creating a blog, commenting on articles and interacting in a diverse online community.
Cofoundr– Another fast growing online network for entrepreneurs. It is a private
community of startup founders such as developers, investors, CEOs, advisors, and
programmers. They are looking to find co-founders, build teams, and get advice.– This site was formerly and is now owned by The individual option offers an online business card networking directory updated by its more than 2 million members who can easily establish contacts with each other.
EFactor– An online community and virtual marketplace designed for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. It is the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs, including over 25,000 vetted investors.
Ecademy– A business network for creating contacts and sharing knowledge. It offers online networking for business, offline networking events and global networking groups. It has been around since 1998. Chairman Thomas Power is the ultimate networker, with 23,000+ LinkedIn connections and 741 LinkedIn recommendations.
Entrepreneur  Connect– This community was created by
as a site where professionals can network, communicate, and collaborate with
others. This site is not intended for mass self-promotion, but is a positive destination where entrepreneurs can exchange real advice and make lasting connections.
FledgeWing– Fledge Wing is an online community aimed at entrepreneurial university students launched in February 2009. It provides aspiring student entrepreneurs with the social media connections they need to develop build and launch new companies.
Focus– A community focused on helping business decision makers and IT professionals make decisions and share expertise in functional areas of business. The community has numerous categories such as small business, HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing.
Go Big Network– This site helps connect companies with investors. Over 300,000 startups have used this community to find funding.
Google+– Google’s entry into social networking is called real life sharing, rethought for the web. There are many important people in the technology world who have joined in, sharing their expertise and opinions.
Gust – Gust is the site for Professional Investor Relations, from Pitch to Exit. Gust provides the infrastructure for identifying opportunities and managing the investment relationship.
Home Based Business Network – This site is an online community and resources for starting a home based business, featuring home business profiles, blogs, forums, videos, ideas, and more.
JASEZone– A professional community where you can find potential clients and business partners.
Meetup– Helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world. It can be used for professional interests, not just personal interests.
Networking for Professionals– A business network that combines online business networking and real-life events in US Cities.
PartnerUp– This is an online networking community that entrepreneurs and small business owners use to find the expertise and resources they need to start and grow a business. Members can connect with potential partners, advisers, and business resources such as commercial real estate.
PerfectBusiness– A network of entrepreneurs, investors and business experts that encourages entrepreneurship and mutual success. It provides everything you need to launch and grow a business, including educational videos, articles, events, business plan
software and direct access to experts and investors.
PROSkore– PROskore scores and ranks business professionals based on influence and experience using professional history, popularity in social media and peer validation PROskore then uses these scores to help members discover new business opportunities with other members across their network. PROskore currently has over 100,000 members worldwide.
Ryze– A business networking community that allows users to organize themselves by interests, location, and current and past employers. It is particularly oriented to new entrepreneurs.
SiliconIndia– SiliconIndia is the largest professional network in India. It has over
2 Million members, and more than 50,000 new members are reportedly added every
StartupNation– This site provides real-world business advice to people who want to start a business and who want to grow their small businesses. It is a free service founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
Talkbiznow– Based in the UK, this is a comprehensive interactive business networking site for business professionals.
The Funded– Entrepreneurs can research, rate, and review venture capital sources worldwide here. It is an online community of over 16,500 CEOs, Founders and entrepreneurs.
Upspring– You can connect, share, and learn about the professionals and businesses in your community here.– This is an open discussion platform for business professionals, bloggers and contemporary thought leaders to discuss and debate action ideas that would aid the evolution of business. It also has an annual physical event and has published a book of insight and action ideas for businesses of the future.– Ushi is the premier business networking site in China. It includes 50,000 CEO- and CTO-level executives and boasts representatives from more than 85% of China’s venture capital and private equity firms.
XING– A European business network with more than 11 million members.
Yelp– A local business review and talk networking site, including user reviews and recommendations.
Young Entrepreneur– A site for entrepreneurs and small business owners who
are passionate about promoting business for themselves and others to network.  It was founded in 1999.
YouNoodle– This site is a place to discover and support the hottest early-stage companies and university innovation. The members passionately support the start-up ecosystem.
Ziggs– A professional connection portal founded on the principles of professionalism and respect.  It claims to be your one-stop source for building your online brand, marketing yourself on the web and simplifying communications with people.
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