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The Best 16 Online Quiz Makers in 2019

This may be of some interest.

Grabbing — and keeping — your audience’s attention has never been harder. Nowadays, people are bombarded with marketing 24/7, and yet, the average attention span actually dropped in 2015, to a mere eight seconds.

Fortunately, there are fun and unique strategies you can implement to engage your audience — and one of those strategies is an online quiz maker.

Similar to the addictive nature of Jeopardy, online quizzes are a fun way for people to engage with your brand. Additionally, consistent online quizzes can help you stay top-of-mind when your consumer is finally ready to buy.

For you, online quizzes can also help you gain a better understanding of your users, and help you create stronger relationships with them.

But, whether you’re looking for a professional survey tool or a more lighthearted quiz maker, there’s a range to choose from — which one will help drive the best long-term results?

We’ll explore our favorite 16 quiz makers shortly, but first, let’s take a look at the key features of great quiz makers.

Key Features of a Great Quiz Maker

Quiz makers come in all forms. Some are incredibly professional, while others are pretty casual. Some are intended for fun, and others are meant to drive real business growth.

Whatever your goal, you should always look for the following key features in your quiz maker software.

1. Easy Promotion Options

You’re trying to gather as many responses as possible, right?

So, choosing a service that has built-in sharing options should be a top priority, as it’ll help increase reach.

Make sure your solution has a native sharing option for better social media reach.

2. Data Collection / Analysis

How are you going to collect and use the data?

This is a huge issue. If the data that’s collected is difficult to sort through and doesn’t help you identify key trends, then it’s useless.

Make sure the data you collect can be exported or analyzed in-app in a way that’s easy for you.

3. Lead Capture

In 9 out of 10 instances, you’ll also want your quiz to capture lead data from the user.

Make sure there’s a built-in method to collect more than just respondent’s answers — and ensure it can integrate with your primary CRM or ESP.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into our favorite quiz making solutions.

The 16 Best Online Quiz Makers in 2019

1. Survey Anyplace

Price: Free | Premium from $25 per month

Survey Anyplace is one of the lesser-known but more advanced tools out there, and is focused on giving the best user experience possible. With fun interactive elements and personalization features, it aims to be the best option for customer engagement. For example, the tool offers the ability for respondents to download a personalized PDF at the end of the survey, based on their answers to the questions.

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2. Typeform

Price: Free | Premium: From $30 per month

Typeform takes quizzes and makes them intuitive for both the creator and the user. By offering one question at a time and delivering the quiz in an attractive, responsive interface, Typeform has become a leader in the world of online quizzes and surveys.

The platform is easy to use with its drag-and-drop editing tools. It’s also versatile, offering customer surveys, quizzes, lead generation tools, and more. There are numerous templates to choose from which can be customized to your individual needs.

Using Zapier, Typeform can be seamlessly integrated into CRM services like HubSpot. This way, all the data you collect is automatically added to your existing contacts.

However, it’s important to note some people might feel frustrated when receiving questions one at a time, since it can be more time-consuming. Additionally, the free version limits you to collecting only 100 responses per month.

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3. Survey Monkey

Price: Free | Premium: From $31

With Survey Monkey, you can create basic polls and questionnaires in minutes, and the basic version is free to use. The software features hundreds of templates and questions written by ‘survey methodologists’, and are specifically designed to draw the right information out of respondents.

Although you can customize the design and layout of your quizzes and surveys, a common criticism is that you can’t fully brand the surveys because the Survey Monkey logo remains.

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4. Fieldbloom

Price: Premium: $39 per month

Fieldbloom surveys and quizzes are particularly aesthetically-pleasing. The templates feature high-quality images and the graphics are excellent. This is a good option for creating quizzes, surveys, and forms with seamless data integration with HubSpot, MailChimp, Google Sheets, and many more.

Advanced features like skip logic and answer piping directs users into pathways based on their answers, making this one of the more advanced tools available.

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5. Qzzr

Price: From $24.99 per month

Qzzr was built by inbound marketers with the specific goal of bringing in qualified leads. It creates fully customizable quizzes and surveys through its simple, elegant interface.

Users can also leverage its comprehensive data analysis of the responses, and use its social sharing integrations to reach a larger audience.

One of the most impressive features is the ability to target offers based on the users’ answers. For example, you can add a ‘Buy Now’ CTA on the results page for a product a user expressed interest.

It’s one of the cheaper options in the list, but lacks the advanced logic features of some of its competitors.

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6. GetFeedback

Price: Premium: From $50 per month.

GetFeedback prides itself on its aesthetically-pleasing interface — both customer-facing, and the back-end. It is one of the more advanced options for quiz and survey creation but is still relatively easy to use for the novice. It offers integration into Salesforce CRM software, and detailed analytics so you can put your newfound data to good use.

Offering full customization to your branding and coming very highly-rated, GetFeedback is one of the premium options on the market, ideal for larger teams and companies that really want to drill down into their audience data.

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7. Google Forms

Price: Free

Google Forms is a free and easy-to-use form tool that runs within G Suite. The functionality is on the basic side and the interface isn’t the prettiest, but you can make decent forms and create quizzes to capture customer data. Since Google Forms is part of G Suite, you can pull data straight into Google Sheets for analysis.

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8. Riddle’s Quizmaker

Price: From $15 per month

Riddle’s Quizmaker is another easy-to-use tool with a focus on capturing email addresses. You can collect data from leads and send it directly to your lists in MailChimp or other software. Riddle’s Quizmaker is particularly good value for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The tool is available as a WordPress plugin, or quizzes can be embedded into your site via an embed code. The quizzes are fully customizable, so you can stamp your branding all over them.

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9. Playbuzz

Price: Free

Full of cheap-looking ads, but absolutely free, Playbuzz is a great option for those who want to jump in and have a go at creating quizzes without the outlay upfront. Try it out, and if it works for you, move onto a premium quiz maker with more features and a better, ad-free interface.

The tool is quick and easy to get started, so it’s a good beginner’s option. Additionally, it’s easy to share your pro-looking quizzes on social media once you’re done.

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10. SurveyGizmo

Price: Free | Premium: From $25 per month

SurveyGizmo is a feature-rich quiz and survey creation tool with a user-friendly interface. There are two versions — one geared towards individuals and small businesses, and another for larger enterprises. The former focuses on ease-of-use, while the latter enables deeper analysis of data and focuses more on customer research.

The free version is limited to three surveys, so you can use it as a test run. The cheapest paid version is on the pricey end of the spectrum, but still offers good value for teams that need a powerful customer survey and quiz making tool.

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11. Wufoo

Price: Free | Premium: From $14.08 per month

A versatile tool for form design, survey creation and quiz making, Wufoo is a cloud-based platform used by some of the biggest names in the industry. Its most notable feature is the advanced form logic and the ease with which you can collect, store, and organize data.

Not as easy to use as some of the more basic tools out there, Wufoo takes a bit of getting used to if you’re using the more advanced features (basic coding may be required!), but for basic form creation, it’s still pretty intuitive.

The free version limits the number of responses, but above that there are a number of price points, so it’s a good option for quickly growing businesses.

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12. Ask Nicely

Price: From $375 per month

Ask Nicely is a form and survey creator with a focus on customer feedback and improving your Net Promoter Score (NPS). The software integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, or Slack and allows you to automate customer follow-up to improve ratings and reviews on sites like Google.

Ask Nicely is more than just a quiz maker — it’s an advanced marketing tool suitable for medium to large companies who really value customer engagement. Pricing is based on your needs, but $375 is a rough idea of how much it will cost you. (It’s not cheap.)

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13. Brandquiz

Price: Free | Premium from $19 per month

Brandquiz is a good option for quickly and easily creating fun branded quizzes with a range of templates available. The platform enables integration with major marketing tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, or MailChimp, to make the most of the data collected.

The free version extends to up to 100 participants per month, while a range of paid plans offer value for growing companies.

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14. Microsoft Forms

Price: Free

Microsoft Forms, similar to Google forms, was probably developed just so that they were present in the marketplace. The tool has seamless integration with other Microsoft Office software. It’s not the prettiest of interfaces nor the best software on the market, but it’s free to use and is a solid option for creating basic forms and quizzes.

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15. Form Crafts

Price: From $15 / month

Although designed for creating simple questionnaires, newsletter sign-ups and the like, Form Crafts supports multi-page forms so it can also be used to make quizzes. With real-time analytics, conditional logic, and easy integration with WordPress via a plugin, it offers a good alternative to the mainstream options.

Pricing is competitive with a range of options to suit any growing business.

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16. ClassMarker

Price: From $39.95 / month

ClassMarker is a quiz maker designed for education professionals with custom plans for business users, too. You can create tests and exams online that are accessible to as many users as you like. The test can be customized to your branding and can even include branded certificates. A sophisticated results platform allows you to easily analyze the data and draw your conclusions.

This is a good option for large businesses who need to survey a lot of users. Pricing plans are pretty competitive for the level of functionality and customization available.
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Which quiz maker is right for me?

Of course, the best quiz maker for you is largely dependent on your company goals and audience. If you’re looking for the most beautiful quiz maker with seamless integration into the best marketing software, you probably want to go with Typeform.

However, if you’re looking for an advanced and customizable tool that’s great for lead generation, I like Survey Anyplace.

For the most basic free tools out there, choose Google or Microsoft Forms depending on your tribe. However, Fieldbloom and Qzzr are two of the most attractive looking options at mid-range pricing.

Check out our comprehensive guide if you want to find out the best ways to capture more leads with quizzes — and good luck in your quest for the best quizzer on the market.

Thank you for reading.

How Local Businesses Can Drive More Foot Traffic

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Do you want to drive more foot traffic into your local business? Wondering how social media marketing can help? To explore how local businesses can drive more foot traffic, I interview Stacy Tuschl. Stacy is a local business marketing expert and owner of two performing arts studios. She’s also host of the Foot Traffic podcast […]

The post How Local Businesses Can Drive More Foot Traffic appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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4 Key Lessons Content Marketers Can Take From Data Journalists

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Posted by matt_gillespie

There’s an oft-cited statistic in the world of technology professionals, from marketers to startup founders to data scientists: 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years.

This instantly-Tweetable snippet was referenced in Forbes in 2018, mentioned by MediaPost in 2016, and covered on Science Daily in 2013. A casual observer could be forgiven for asking: How could that be true in three different years?

At Fractl, the data makes perfect sense to us: The global amount of digital information is growing exponentially over time.

From Seagate

This means that the “90 percent of all data…” statistic was true in 2013, 2016, and 2018, and it will continue to be true for the foreseeable future. As our culture continues to become more internet-integrated and mobile, we continue to produce massive amounts of data year over year while also becoming more comfortable with understanding large quantities of information.

This is hugely important to anyone who creates content on the web: Stats about how much data we create are great, but the stories buried in that data are what really matter. In the opening manifesto for FiveThirtyEight, one of the first sites on the web specifically devoted to data journalism, Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver wrote:

“Almost everything from our sporting events to our love lives now leaves behind a data trail.” 

This type of data has always been of interest to marketers doing consumer research, but the rise of data journalism shows us that there is both consumer demand and almost infinite potential for great storytelling rooted in numbers.

In this post, I’ll highlight four key insights from data science and journalism and how content marketers can leverage them to create truly newsworthy content that stands out from the pack:

  • The numbers drive the narrative
  • Plotted points are more trustworthy than written words (especially by brands!)
  • Great data content is both beautiful and easy-to-interpret
  • Every company has a (data) story to tell

 By the time you’re done, you’ll have gleaned a better understanding of how data visualization, from simple charts to complex interactive graphics, can help them tell a story and achieve wide visibility for their clients.

The numbers drive the narrative

Try Googling “infographics are dead,” and your top hit will be a 2015 think piece asserting that the medium has been dead for years, followed by many responses that the medium isn’t anywhere close to “dead.” These more optimistic articles tend to focus on the key aspects of infographics that have transformed since their popularity initially grew:

  • Data visualization (and the public’s appetite for it) is evolving, and
  • A bad data viz in an oversaturated market won’t cut it with overloaded consumers.

For content marketers, the advent of infographics was a dream come true: Anyone with even basic skills in Excel and a good graphic designer could whip up some charts, beautify them, and use them to share stories. But Infographics 1.0 quickly fizzled because they failed to deliver anything interesting — they were just a different way to share the same boring stories.

Data journalists do something very different. Take the groundbreaking work from Reuters on the Rohingya Muslim refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, which was awarded the Global Editors Network Award for Best Data Visualization in 2018. This piece starts with a story—an enormous refugee crisis taking place far away from the West—and uses interactive maps, stacked bar charts, and simple statistics visualizations to contextualize and amplify a heartbreaking narrative.

The Reuters piece isn’t only effective because of its innovative data viz techniques; rather, the piece begins with an extremely newsworthy human story and uses numbers to make sure it’s told in the most emotionally resonant way possible. Content marketers, who are absolutely inundated with advice on how storytelling is essential to their work, need to see data journalism as a way to drive their narratives forward, rather than thinking of data visualization simply as a way to pique interest or enhance credibility.

Plotted points are more trustworthy than written words

This is especially true when it comes to brands.

In the era of #FakeNews, content marketers are struggling more than ever to make sure their content is seen as precise, newsworthy, and trustworthy. The job of a content marketer is to produce work for a brand that can go out and reasonably compete for visibility against nonprofits, think tanks, universities, and mainstream media outlets simultaneously. While some brands are quite trusted by Americans, content marketers may find themselves working with lesser-known clients seeking to build up both awareness and trust through great content.

One of the best ways to do both is to follow the lead of data journalists by letting visual data content convey your story for you.

“Numbers don’t lie” vs. brand trustworthiness

In the buildup to the 2012 election, Nate Silver’s previous iteration of FiveThirtyEight drew both massive traffic to the New York Times and criticism from traditional political pundits, who argued that no “computer” could possibly predict election outcomes better than traditional journalists who had worked in politics for decades (an argument fairly similar to the one faced by the protagonists in Moneyball). In the end, Silver’s “computer” (actually a sophisticated model that FiveThirtyEight explains in great depth and open-sources) predicted every state correctly in 2012.

Silver and his team made the model broadly accessible to show off just how non-partisan it really was. It ingested a huge amount of historical election data, used probabilities and weights to figure out which knowledge was most important, and spit out a prediction as to what the most likely outcomes were. By showing how it all worked, Silver and FiveThirtyEight went a long way toward improving the public confidence in data—and, by extension, data journalism.

But the use of data to increase trustworthiness is nothing new. A less cynical take is simply that people are more likely to believe and endorse things when they’re spelled out visually. We know, famously, that users only read about 20-28 percent of the content on the page, and it’s also known that including images vastly increases likes and retweets on Twitter.

So, in the era of endless hot takes and the “everyone’s-a-journalist-now” mentality, content marketers looking to establish brand authority, credibility, and trust can learn an enormous amount from the proven success of data journalists — just stick to the numbers.

Find the nexus of simple and beautiful

Our team at Fractl has a tricky task on our hands: We root our content in data journalism with the ultimate goal of creating great stories that achieve wide visibility. But different stakeholders on our team (not to mention our clients) often want to achieve those ends by slightly different means.

Our creatives—the ones working with data—may want to build something enormously complex that crams as much data as possible into the smallest space they can. Our media relations team—experts in knowing the nuances of the press and what will or won’t appeal to journalists—may want something that communicates data simply and beautifully and can be summed up in one or two sentences, like the transcendent work of Mona Chalabi for the Guardian. A client, too, will often have specific expectations for how a piece should look and what should be included, and these factors need to be considered as well.

Striking the balance

With so many ways to present any given set of numbers, we at Fractl have found success by making data visualizations as complex as they need to be while always aiming for the nexus of simple and beautiful. In other words: Take raw numbers that will be interesting to people, think of a focused way to clearly visualize them, and then create designs that fit the overall sentiment of the piece.

On a campaign for Porch.com, we asked 1,000 Americans several questions about food, focusing on things that were light and humorous conversation starters. For example, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” and “What do you put on a hot dog?” As a native Chicagoan who believes there is only one way to make a hot dog, this is exactly the type of debate that would make me take notice and share the content with friends on social media.

In response to those two questions, we got numbers that looked like this:

Using Tableau Public, an open-source data reporting solution that is one of the go-to tools for rapid building at Fractl, the tables above were transformed into rough cuts of a final visualization:

With the building blocks in place, we then gave extensive notes to our design team on how to make something that’s just as simple but much, much more attractive. Given the fun nature of this campaign, a more lighthearted design made sense, and our graphics team delivered. The entire campaign is worth checking out for the project manager’s innovative and expert ability to use simple numbers in a way that is beautiful, easy-to-approach, and instantly compelling.

All three of the visualizations above are reporting the exact same data, but only one of them is instantly shareable and keeps a narrative in mind: by creatively showing the food items themselves, our team turned the simple table of percentages in the first figure into a visualization that could be shared on social media or used by a journalist covering the story.

In other cases, such as if the topic is more serious, simple visualizations can be used to devastating effect. In work for a brand in the addiction and recovery space, we did an extensive analysis of open data hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States is an emotional story fraught with powerful statistics. In creating a piece on the rise in mortality rate, we wanted to make sure we preserved the gravity of the topic and allowed the numbers to speak for themselves:

A key part of this visualization was adding one additional layer of complexity—age brackets—to tell a more contextualized and human story. Rather than simply presenting a single statistic, our team chose to highlight the fact that the increase in overdose deaths is something affecting Americans across the entire lifespan, and the effect of plotting six different lines on a single chart makes the visual point that addiction is getting worse for all Americans.

Every brand’s data has a story to tell

Spotify has more than 200 million global users, nearly half of whom pay a monthly fee to use the service (the other half generate revenue by listening to intermittent ads). As an organization, Spotify has data on how a sizeable portion of the world listens to its music and the actual characteristics of that music.

Data like this is what makes Spotify such a valuable brand from a dollars and cents standpoint, but a team of data journalists at The New York Times also saw an incredible story about how American music taste has changed in the last 30 years buried in Spotify’s data. The resulting piece, Why Songs of Summer Sound the Same, is a landmark work of data-driven, interactive journalism, and one that should set a content marketer’s head spinning with ideas.

Of course, firms will always be protective of their data, whether it’s Netflix famously not releasing its ratings, Apple deciding to stop its reporting of unit sales, or Stanford University halting its reporting of admissions data. Add to the equation a public that is increasingly wary of data privacy and susceptibility to major data breaches, and clients are often justifiably nervous to share data for the purpose of content production.

Deciding when to share

That said, a firm’s data often is central to its story, and when properly anonymized and cleared of personal identifying information, or PII, the newsworthiness of a brand reporting insights from its own internal numbers can be massive. 

For example, GoodRx, a platform that reports pricing data from more than 70,000 U.S. pharmacies, released a white paper and blog post that compared its internal data on prescription fills with US Census data on income and poverty. While census data is free, only GoodRx had the particular dataset on pharmacy fills—it’s their own proprietary data set. Data like this is obviously key to their overall valuation, but the way in which it was reported here told a deeply interesting story about income and access to medication without giving away anything that could potentially cost the firm. The report was picked up by the New York Times, undoubtedly boosting GoodRx’s ratings for organic search.

The Times’ pieces on Spotify and GoodRx both highlight the fourth key insight on the effective use of data as content marketers: Every brand’s data has a story to tell. These pieces could only have come from their exact sources because only they had access to the data, making the particular findings singular and unique to that specific brand and presenting a key competitive advantage in the content landscape. While working with internal data comes with its own potential pitfalls and challenges, seeking to collaborate with a client to select meaningful internal data and directing its subsequent use for content and narrative should be at the forefront of a content marketer’s mind.

Blurring lines and breaking boundaries

A fascinating piece recently on Recode sought to slightly reframe the high-publicity challenges facing journalists, stating:

“The plight of journalists might not be that bad if you’re willing to consider a broader view of ‘journalism.’” 

The piece detailed that while job postings for journalists are off more than 10 percent since 2004, jobs broadly related to “content” have nearly quadrupled over the same time period. Creatives will always flock to the options that allow them to make what they love, and with organic search largely viewed as a meritocracy of content, the opportunities for brands and content marketers to utilize the data journalism toolkit have never been greater.

What’s more, much of the best data journalism out there typically only uses a handful of visualizations to get its point across. It was also reported recently that the median amount of data sources for pieces created by the New York Times and The Washington Post was two. It too is worth noting that more than 60 percent of data journalism stories in both the Times and Post during a recent time period (January-June, 2017) relied only on government data.

Ultimately, the ease of running large surveys via a platform like Prolific Research, Qualtrics, or Amazon Mechanical Turk, coupled with the ever-increasing number of free and open data sets provided by both the US Government or sites like Kaggle or data.world means that there is no shortage of numbers out there for content marketers to dig into and use to drive storytelling. The trick is in using the right blend of hard data and more ethereal emotional appeal to create a narrative that is truly compelling.

Wrapping up

As brands increasingly invest in content as a means to propel organic search and educate the public, content marketers should seriously consider putting these key elements of data journalism into practice. In a world of endless spin and the increasing importance of showing your work, it’s best to remember the famous quote written by longtime Guardian editor C.P. Scott in 1921: “Comment is free, but facts are sacred.”

What do you think? How do you and your team leverage data journalism in your content marketing efforts?

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The Non-Programmer's Guide to Using APIS

This may be of some interest.

Even if you don’t know what an API is, you’ve undoubtedly interacted with one.

Today, we take connectivity between technology largely for granted. For instance, we don’t question when we use OpenTable to make a reservation at a nearby restaurant.

Alternatively, if you use Kayak.com to book flights, you’ve probably never wondered, Wait a minute … how does Kayak know JetBlue has an open seat in 27A?

Ultimately, any time you need applications to communicate with one another, you need an API, or application programming interface.

Here, we’re going to explore what an API is, and why you’d need to use one. Even if you’re not a programmer and don’t need to know extensive technical jargon, you should still understand the basics, since nowadays, integrations between technology are often critical components of anyone’s job.

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What is an API?

At its most basic definition, an API lets one piece of software talk to another piece of software.

To understand an API in action, let’s consider a real-life example — HubSpot’s integration with Typeform. Typeform, a tool that supplies mobile-ready quizzes, contact forms, and signup forms, needs to integrate with HubSpot’s Forms API to to interact with the forms tool and seamlessly send submissions from Typeform forms into the HubSpot CRM.

To do this, Typeform’s API and HubSpot’s API need to talk. An integration can act as a translator, ensuring each API’s information is correctly translated for the other application — in this case, the integration may ensure that Typeform form fields are correctly mapped to the corresponding HubSpot fields.

Isaac Takushi, a HubSpot Developer Support Specialist, explains — “You can think of APIs and the ‘endpoints’ they comprise as access points for different information. Each API endpoint may only have one specific job. When combined, however, different endpoints can support powerful, multifaceted integrations.”

Kayak.com, for instance, needs some API to communicate with JetBlue’s systems. When you search “Boston to Charlotte” in Kayak, JetBlue’s booking API will essentially receive this request from Kayak, pull up information related to that request, and send it back. However, Kayak will need its own API or code to understand and act on the information the JetBlue API returned.

To use an API, you’ll want to check out the API’s documentation for access requirements. For instance, HubSpot’s Contacts API requires authentication:

Similarly, you’ll need an API key to access Google’s API, Facebook’s API, and Twitter’s API.

Once you have access requirements, you can use a tool like Postman or Runscope to manually interact with an API. These third-party tools, or “REST clients,” allow you to make one-off requests to API endpoints without coding. They’re great for getting a feel for what your backend systems may do automatically. Check out this resource on how to make your very first API request with Postman.

If you’re not quite ready to jump in on the deep end with a REST client, try punching the following into your browser:

//restcountries.eu/rest/v2/name/united

This is a public API endpoint from the free REST Countries service. Specifically, we’re using the “Name” endpoint, which accepts country names as search queries. A successful search will return potential country matches, along with key information about each nation. In this case, we’re searching for countries with names that contain the word “united.”

You should see following block of JSON data returned:

Congratulations! You just made an API request from your browser!

The endpoint returned raw data (formatted in JSON) on countries with “united” in the name.

It may not look pretty, but remember that APIs are designed for applications, which don’t require the styling humans expect on an HTML web page. While you can easily Google “countries that begin with ‘united’,” applications cannot. They might have to rely on services like REST Countries to look up that information.

If you’re unsure whether you should use your in-house developers to create APIs or look externally, check out First vs. Third-Party APIs: What You Need to Know.

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Content Curation Inspiration: Types, Examples, & Use Cases for B2B Marketers

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Content Curation Inspiration for B2B Marketers

If you create and share content, curation is part of your B2B marketing strategy. From seasoning a blog post with key third-party statistics to sharing an interesting article from an industry publication or influencer across your social channels, you’re curating.

But content curation has a place beyond adding an insight or two to your content.

With large volumes of information available today and short attention spans, curation allows content marketers to create more convenient, valuable content experiences for their target audience, while growing thought leadership, bolstering their content calendar, and increasing production efficiency.

What types of curation exist? How are B2B brands doing curation? When does it make sense to do curation? Let’s dive in.

Types of Content Curation and B2B Examples

The Curation Kitchen Staples: Microcontent

Statistics. Quotes. Tips. Social media commentary. Third-party videos. Gifs. Memes. Curated microcontent is what gives your content its flavor—whether its used as seasoning in a long-form blog post or modularly in short-form social content. This is foundational curation, and it plays a role in all other types. And as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden once said:

“Snackable content can often be managed and repurposed like ingredients to create a main course. On their own, short-form content like quotes, tips, and statistics are useful for social network shares and as added credibility to blog posts, eBooks, and articles.”

See what I did there? Microcontent is simplistic and easy to integrate, helping you provide more depth and insight on a topic, infuse credibility, and highlight industry experts.

When microcontent curation makes sense: Always—if the content is relevant to the topic you’re discussing. Microcontent helps you provide proof points to bolster your narrative and build credibility with your audience.

The Curation Classics: Roundups, Listicles, and Resource Hubs

Collecting key bits of information and insights and organizing them into an easy to digest format is the quintessential content curation tactic. The premise is simple: You’re gathering interesting tidbits from multiple sources on a specific topic and placing them in one central location.

The underlying theme for this curation tactic (and any content tactic for that matter) is relevance and value. It needs to be topically relevant to your audience and it can’t be a lazy compilation; it needs to serve a purpose.

News roundups are perhaps the most popular of the curation classics. We’ve all seen them and likely have a few we go back to on a regular basis, so I won’t spend too much time here. (Shameless plug to check out our weekly digital marketing news roundup.)

But here’s an example of a roundup style piece from EHS and sustainability consulting firm *Antea Group that brings video content together to have a little fun and spark a connection with the audience.

The post showcases six workplace safety videos—all sourced and easily embedded from YouTube—with movie-critic-like commentary that make connections to the daily life and work of their target audience.

Content Curation Example from Antea Group

When it comes to resource hubs, HubSpot is an “ultimate list” destination on a variety of subjects, most notably digital marketing statistics. Here’s a recent example featuring Instagram statistics.

Content Curation Example from HubSpot

For listicles, one of our recent BIGLIST editions featuring 50 of the top marketing blogs featuring martech brands is a solid example. Time was spent on researching and vetting, and the list provides a short and sweet description of each blog, as well as our favorite recent article to give readers a cue on what’s worth checking out first.

Content Curation Example from TopRank Marketing's Lee Odden

Finally, events can be great opportunities for curation. *Introhive, an enterprise relationship management (ERM) platform, regularly curates social and team member insights to compile post-event infographics with top takeaways.

Content Curation Example from Introhive

When classic curation makes sense: Classic curation is largely an awareness and engagement play. If you’re looking to provide your audience with a helpful resource that hits quick on the points, and showcase your brand as a thoughtful expert in the space, this type of curation can make it easy for your audience to find insight and inspiration—and minimize the amount of time they need to spend on the hunt.

The Next Level of Curation: Thought Leadership Mashups

Curation isn’t limited to assembling a robust, scannable list of information or resources, or seasoning original content with stats, quotes, or videos. Curation can fuel thought leadership.

Great examples of this kind of curation are trends-focused pieces. Taking a cue from the classic curation formats, this kind of content aims to identify one or more trend or pattern using curated bits of information, all tied together with your knowledge and expertise.

This could be small-scale or large-scale—meaning a single concept could provide the supporting content or tie-in, or it could be your take on a collection of related trends, facts, or insights. This piece from *SAP’s Digitalist Magazine is a great example.

Content Curation Example from Introhive

But this kind of curation doesn’t just lend itself to discussing trends. Many of our own blog posts use a mashup curation method to educate and engage marketers, and define our perspectives and approach to marketing.

This can be seen in a recent post from Nick Nelson on how to write clear, concise content. Using our words intentionally is a core belief, and Nick was able to illustrate that with his deep knowledge and some relevant insights from third parties.

Content Curation Example from TopRank Marketing's Nick Nelson

Also, when we say “curation,” we don’t just mean collecting insights from third-party sources. You can curate your own content—it’s just most often called repurposing.

Salesforce has a great example here. This recent post touches on a key trend in the marketplace (lack of consumer trust), leverages microcontent from Salesforce’s own research (the Trends in Consumer Trust research report), and then original content builds a narrative for a specific audience (retailers).

Content Curation Example from Salesforce

In addition, curating and repurposing influencer content is an especially big opportunity. More than likely, the insights that influencers share with you have implications and applications across other related topics.

When curation mashups make sense: If you want to build thought leadership on a subject, mashups should be in your content lineup. Mashups allow you to elevate an idea, perspective, challenge, or opportunity, while using existing content as a jumping off-point or as part of the foundation of your take.

Read: A Tasty, Strategic Addition to the Content Marketing Table: ‘Repurposed Content Cobbler’

Content Curation for the Win

Regardless of your editorial plan, you’re already doing some form of content curation. However, you can make curation a more deliberate and effective part of your overall B2B content marketing strategy.

Whether you create an ultimate list featuring statistics from multiple sources, provide high-level takeaways from an event or report, give your own content new life to build thought leadership, content curation can provide value and convenience for your audience and writing team.

Looking for content curation best practices, tools, and more examples? Check out our post on Content Curation 101.

*Disclosure: Antea Group, SAP, and Introhive are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Content Curation Inspiration: Types, Examples, & Use Cases for B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Digital Marketing News: Content Pet Peeves, Facebook’s New Look, Personalization With AI & More

This may be of some interest.

What’s Most Annoying About Brand Content? Consumers Weigh In

Adobe’s* 2019 Brand Content Survey asked 1,000 consumers what they found the most annoying in brand content. The results showed that wordy content or poorly written content takes the cake with 39% of the vote. It’s also important to note that lack of personalization and too much personalization are both annoying pain points for consumers. Adobe

Video Is the Fastest Growing Type of Content on LinkedIn and Starts the Most Conversations

LinkedIn* posted a new infographic this week sharing the most surprising statistics about the platform. For example, the number of messages sent on the platform has increased 35% year over year. Plus, millions of LinkedIn members have already created video on the platform, making it the fastest growing type of content on the site. Their statistics also show that video starts the most conversations, making it a great engagement tool. LinkedIn

Nearly 75% of U.S. Internet Users Say the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Raised Privacy Concerns

Text messaging marketing company, SlickText, conducted a survey to evaluate how consumers view their privacy online after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They found that almost three quarters of consumers were more concerned about how their information was used online after the scandal. In addition, only 32% of respondents said they’re willing to trade their personal information for greater convenience. SlickText

Facebook Is Rolling Out a Redesigned Interface

At Facebook’s F8 developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced a design overhaul for all of their applications, including saying goodbye to their traditional blue color. The new look also rearranges the home page to focus on stories and groups—something digital marketers will want to adapt to. Facebook

Artificial Intelligence Is Being Used for Personalization at Scale

A new study from Arm Treasure Data* and Forbes Insights revealed that 25% of companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve personalization at scale—and they see AI as a critical component to their personalization efforts. The study also found that 40% of respondents are seeing an increase in sales and profits thanks to personalization. Forbes Insights and Arm Treasure Data

Engaging with Followers Is the Biggest Challenge for B2B Brands on Instagram

Social Media Today hosted a Q&A session over Twitter to discover top challenges and tips for B2B brands on Instagram. Respondents highlighted engagement as a top challenge and goal on the platform. Respondents also advised other B2B digital marketers to stay true to their brand and company culture as a top Instagram tip. Social Media Today

Creative Commons Launches New Search Engine

Finding relevant, copyright-free images for your digital marketing needs just got a whole lot easier. Creative Commons just launched CC Search, a new search engine for over 300 million Creative Commons images and 19 different collections. PetaPixel

More Than Half of Organizations Could Redirect Investments Towards Customer Experience Innovations

For more signs that experience is how brands compete today and in the future, a new article from CMO.com predicts over half of all organizations will reallocate budget for experience innovations and management. To navigate this new business landscape, CMO.com recommends a single, real-time customer profile and technology that makes it possible. CMO.com

The Benefit of Experiential Marketing

Almost 75% of people who take part in a brand’s experiential marketing are more likely to purchase something from that brand. Compared to other marketing types like video, content, and audio, experiential marketing lead to greater satisfaction, engagement, and entertainment levels among participants. ClickZ

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Tom Fishburne Comic

Every digital marketer’s favorite cartoonist, Tom Fishburne, highlights the pitfalls of creative review. Marketoonist

Bringing down the bots—bot fraud losses will be down 11% this year compared to 2017. MediaPost

How seriously should digital marketers take artificial intelligence? Hint: the answer is serious. The Drum

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Solving the Experience Economy Equation — SAP (client)
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: No Endgame in Sight for Video Marketing — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — How to Create Winning Co-Marketing Partnerships — Heidi Cohen
  • Debbie Friez — Connecting Ideas and People With Dell Influencers — Katana Logic

THAT’S ALL, FOLKS

From Facebook’s design overhaul to the creativity-draining review process, there were a lot of newsworthy topics to cover in digital marketing this week.

Thanks for joining us and we hope you’ll come back again next week for more of the most relevant digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for daily news stories and updates. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

*Disclosure: Arm Treasure Data, LinkedIn, and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients

The post Digital Marketing News: Content Pet Peeves, Facebook’s New Look, Personalization With AI & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Twitter Marketing in 2019: The Ultimate Guide

This may be of some interest.

Whether pop-culture, local or global news, work, or the brands I use and wear, Twitter is a powerful social networking tool and search engine in which I can typically find the latest information about virtually any topic. This also includes updates from the companies and businesses I care about.

Businesses, like HubSpot, are able to market on Twitter to engage users and followers, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and more (we’ll discuss the “more” shortly). Twitter makes it easy to distribute content. And, there are over 326 million average monthly Twitter users globally for you to share that content with.

The thought of reaching hundreds of millions of leads through a free social media platform sounds intriguing, right? But how do you actually ensure you’re generating fantastic content those people will want to interact with?

In this guide, we’ll answer that question along with some others including what a Twitter marketing strategy is, how you can use Twitter for your business, and what tips and tricks you can implement to help you improve your marketing efforts on the platform.

Let’s get started.

What is a Twitter marketing strategy?

A Twitter marketing strategy is a plan centered around creating, publishing, and distributing content for your buyer personas, audience, and followers through the social media platform. The goal of this type of strategy is to attract new followers and leads, boost conversions, improve brand recognition, and increase sales.

Creating a Twitter marketing strategy will require you to follow the same steps you would if you were creating any other social media marketing strategy.

  1. Research your buyer personas and audience
  2. Create unique and engaging content
  3. Organize a schedule for your posts
  4. Analyze your impact and results

So, you might be wondering what makes Twitter unique. Why would you want to actually invest the time in creating a profile and content for the platform?

Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.

What makes Twitter unique?

Twitter is a great marketing tool for a number of reasons. The platform …

… is free to use.

… allows you to share and promote branded content in seconds.

… expands your reach.

… allows you to provide quick customer service and support.

… works as a search engine tool for you to search for your competitors and their marketing content to see which tactics they’re using.

… can be used as a search engine tool for prospects to find and learn about your company.

… allows you to converse with your followers, share the latest updates about your company, and address your audience.

Now that we’ve reviewed what a Twitter marketing strategy is and what makes the platform unique, let’s cover the ways in which you can use Twitter for your business. These tips will help you boost conversions, create lasting relationships with your followers, and improve your brand awareness.

As you begin using Twitter for your business, there are some steps you’ll want to take to ensure you reach your target audience. Depending on your goals, company size, and industry, you may or may not choose to work through each of the following steps (or you may have already completed some of them), so tailor them to your needs.

Learn how to use Twitter for business to better share, engage, and market on the platform.

1. Customize and brand your profile.

When someone looks at your company’s Twitter profile, you want them to automatically know it’s yours. Meaning you should customize and brand your Twitter profile with your logo, colors, and any other recognizable and memorable details you want to incorporate. There are a few locations in which you can customize your profile.

  • Handle: Your Twitter handle is your username (for example, our handle is @hubspot) — this should include your company’s name so your followers, customers, and fans can easily search and find you on the platform. You create your Twitter handle when you sign up for an account.
  • Header: The header on your Twitter profile is your background image. You might choose to create a unique image for your header, use your logo, or another branded image.
  • Profile picture: Your Twitter profile picture represents your company’s every move, interaction, post, and tweet on the platform. It’s the image that sits above your bio and might include a picture of your logo, company’s initials, or CEO.
  • Bio: A Twitter bio provides everyone who visits your profile with a brief synopsis of what they’re about to see in 160 characters or less. It might include your mission statement, a blurb about what your company does, or something humorous and engaging.
  • Website URL: Beneath your profile picture and bio, there’s a location where you can include your URL to direct traffic straight to your website.
  • Birthday: In the same location as your URL, you can insert your company’s birthday — or the day when the company was founded — so your audience gets to know your business on a more personal level.

Twitter-profileSource

2. Create Twitter Lists.

A Twitter List — which any user has the ability to create and view — is an organized group of Twitter accounts you’ve selected and put together in specific categories. For example, at HubSpot, lists include Leadership Experts, Top Marketing Experts, Top Business Podcasters, and more. When you open a Twitter List, you only see tweets posted by the accounts on the list.

Twitter Lists are great if you want to follow only specific accounts. You might segment your lists into groups such as business inspiration, competitors, and target audience so you’re able to easily review their posts, interactions, and content.

Twitter-lists

Source

3. Host a Twitter Chat.

You can schedule and host a Twitter chat to engage your followers, discuss a topic, create a sense of community, and ask your audience for their opinions or input on something you’re working on.

To host a Twitter Chat (or TweetChat), you’ll need to choose a topic, set a time and date for the chat to occur, and create a hashtag for the chat. You can share this information with your followers in a tweet, on your website, in your Twitter bio, and wherever else you choose.

Everyone who wants to participate in the Twitter Chat should then be able to view all responses, questions, and comments regarding your topic of choice by searching your unique hashtag, as well as sharing their own comments and thoughts by adding the hashtag to their tweets.

Twitter Chats promote interaction and engagement on your profile and get people talking about your brand. It also creates a more personal experience between your audience members and your business.

Twitter-chat

Source

4. Advertise on Twitter.

Advertising through Twitter is a great way to reach your audience. This will make your tweets easily discoverable by thousands of people, helping you increase your influence and following. You can do this through promoted tweets or Twitter Ads.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets make your tweets appear in the Twitter streams or Twitter search results of specific users. This is a great option for anyone looking to get more people on a specific webpage. Your business will pay a monthly fee as long as you’re promoting a tweet.

Twitter will put your promoted tweets in a daily campaign targeting the type of audience you want to reach as previously indicated in your settings. All Twitter users have the ability to interact and engage with Twitter Ads the same way they would with your organic content.

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads is a great option if you’re using different types of tweets to achieve one goal for your business. It’s ideal if you’re looking to grow your base of followers and brand awareness significantly through the platform.

Your business can decide between different objectives when it comes to your Twitter ads including app installs, video views, and website conversions, as well as audience targeting for your campaigns. This decision will impact the price you’ll need to pay to run your ad.

5. Drive traffic to your website.

Twitter can help you direct traffic to your website — there are a number of ways to include your website’s URL on your profile as well as add links to your web pages and blogs in your tweets. Here are some ways you can use the platform to direct traffic to your website to help you increase your conversions and sales.

  • Add your website URL beneath your bio on your Twitter profile.
  • Incorporate links to your website in your tweets.
  • Retweet any content that includes direct links to your website and/ or blogs other people have shared.  
  • Embed tweets on your website with a Twitter Timeline.
  • Set up Twitter Ads to drive users to a specific landing page on your site.

6. Use Twitter Moments.

Twitter Moments are collections of tweets about a specific topic or event. They’re like a “best of” collection of tweets regarding your topic of choice. For example, Twitter’s Moments section includes “Today”, “News”, “Entertainment”, and “Fun.”

Twitter-moments

Source

You can also create your own section of Moments for your followers to view on your profile.  

Hubspot-twitter-moments

Source

You might organize your Twitter Moments into groups of tweets to help you market your business’ events and campaigns or related industry news. They also help with your marketing tactics by providing your business with an engaging way to promote the discussion of specific topics and/ or events that matter to your company to help you share your brand image with audience members.   

7. Get verified on Twitter.

You might choose to apply to get your Twitter profile verified depending on the size of your company and your industry. Twitter states they typically only accept requests for account verification if you’re in “music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.” If Twitter accepts your application and verifies your profile, a badge with a blue checkmark inside of it will appear next to your handle. This symbolizes an authentic account.

get-verified-on-twitter

Source

Being verified prevents your audience members from following and being confused by impersonator accounts or accounts with similar content, usernames, and handles to yours. A verified account also makes your business look more legitimate and trustworthy.

8. Focus on building your follower count.

Needless to say, the more Twitter followers you have, the more people there are looking at and interacting with your content. You’ll have a better chance to improve brand awareness and direct more traffic to your website when you build your follower count on Twitter.

Learn how to get more Twitter followers, fast.

There are a number of ways you can increase your follower count on Twitter — here are some to get you started:

  • Ensure your content is shareable.
  • Use unique hashtags.
  • Create engaging content (giveaways, contests, questions, surveys).
  • Enlist the help of Twitter (social media) influencers.
  • Include links to your Twitter profile on your website.
  • Interact with your current followers and retweet their content so they’re more likely to do the same for you.

Now that we’ve reviewed how to use Twitter for business, let’s cover some tips and tricks you can apply to your profile to improve your marketing efforts on the platform.

The following Twitter marketing tips are universal, meaning they’re applicable to any type of business, in every industry..

1.  Use keyword targeting in your Twitter Ads.

Keyword targeting on Twitter is component of Twitter Ads. Keyword targeting allows you to engage Twitter users through the different words and phrases you’ve included in your content and they’ve searched for on the platform. This means you’re able to reach your target audience at the exact time your business, content, and services are most relevant to them.

On Twitter, there are two types of keyword targeting you can use including search and timeline.

Search Keyword Targeting

Search keyword targeting allows you to make your tweets show up for users who are searching for the topics that you determined relate to your business. For example, if you sell gluten free cookies, you can target users searching for tweets about baking, cookies, gluten intolerance, or Celiac Disease.

Timeline Keyword Targeting

Timeline keyword targeting allows you to act on users’ specific feelings, thoughts, actions, and emotions they’ve tweeted about. For example, if you’re a running gear company, you might target keywords and phrases users tweet about such as, “running a race”, “race day tips”, or “training for a marathon”.

2. Implement hashtags.

Did you know tweets with hashtags receive two-times as much engagement as tweets without them?

Adding hashtags to your tweets is a great way to expand your influence on Twitter. However, there are some guidelines you’ll want to stick to when using hashtags to ensure that you reach the largest number of people possible.

  • Create a hashtag that’s unique to your business so your followers and target audience can easily find you and your content.
  • Create relevant and memorable hashtags for other groups of tweets such as ones related to a specific campaign you’re running.
  • Use Twitter Analytics to review your most successful hashtags so you can ensure their use in future tweets.
  • Don’t overuse hashtags — this may feel and look spammy to your audience (not to mention it isn’t aesthetically pleasing). Also, tweets with more than two hashtags see a 17% decrease in engagement than those with one or two hashtags.

3. Organize a content sharing schedule.

As you grow your base of followers, you’ll need to post on a regular basis to ensure they stay engaged with your business and content. Not only do you want to tweet regularly, but you also want to tweet at the right times of the day. Here are some details about the best times (on average) for businesses to share their Twitter content:

  • Between 8–10 AM and 6–9 PM (in correlation with commuter schedules) on weekdays
  • Around noon or between 5–6 PM on any day of the week
  • For B2C companies, the best days to tweet are weekends
  • For B2B companies, the best days to tweet are weekdays

In terms of how often you should post your content on Twitter, there’s no real rule — it’s more about ensuring the content you’re sharing has a purpose and meaning. You can also review Twitter Analytics to take a deep dive into what your engagement looks like on the days you post more or less content to determine what’s working well for your specific audience.

Once you’ve determined when and how often you’re going to post your content, you can enlist the help of a social media management tool. This will allow you to both create your tweets and schedule them in advance so you can focus on other tasks you have to complete.

Here are a few examples of popular social media scheduling tools you can use for your Twitter marketing strategy:

  • Sprout Social provides you with a range of features to help you reach your target audience and buyer personas through Twitter including platform analytics, engagement tools, scheduling capabilities, and details about the type of content your audience wants.
  • Twitter Analytics allows you to analyze your tweets, understand which content is helping your business grow, and learn about your followers.
  • HubSpot has a social tool which allows you to schedule posts in advance, connect directly with your audience, and understand how your Twitter interactions are helping your business’ bottom line.

4. Create a Twitter campaign.

Social media marketing campaigns of any kind are a great way to reach your audience, drive sales, and increase your website traffic. You can create a social media marketing campaign specifically for Twitter to target users and increase your base of followers all while raising your brand awareness through the platform.

To create a Twitter marketing campaign, you’ll want to follow the same steps you would with any type of social media marketing campaign.

  1. Research your competition
  2. Determine how you’ll appeal to your target audience
  3. Choose the type of content you’ll create
  4. Share and promote your content
  5. Analyze your results

5. Write a strong profile bio.

Writing a strong and memorable bio for your Twitter profile is crucial. This is because your Twitter bio is the first thing a profile visitor will read about your company — it’s your written introduction and should briefly explain what visitors can expect from your page and content. You only have 160 characters to do this, so choose your words wisely to ensure your bio successfully represents your brand and reflects who you are as a company.

6. Use images and videos.

When possible, try to include quality videos and photos in your tweets. It’s been proven that tweets with images outperform tweets strictly made of text. Photos and images provide an eye-catching and engaging element in your content as Twitter users scroll through their feeds. Videos are proven to actually outperform tweets with images as well. In fact, tweets with videos are likely to get an average of six times the amount of engagement than tweets without them.

Videos and images are a great way to show your audience your product line or how to use an item you sell as well as make your content feel more personal. Plus, images and videos in tweets are proven to help you increase your engagement — and who wouldn’t want that?

7. Interact with your followers.

Remembering to engage with your followers as your business grows and Twitter follower count increases is crucial. This will help you create experiences for your followers and audience members that feel personal and keep them coming back to your profile all while fostering a sense of brand loyalty. For example, if someone retweets your post or comments on your tweet, you can “Like” that person’s interaction or even tweet back to them with a response.

8. Share media mentions.

If your business is mentioned in the media, share the article, video, URL, or image on Twitter. It’ll make your business feel more legitimate to anyone checking out your profile as well as show prospective followers how many other people already know about your company and are enjoying your products and services.

This is an exciting way to broadcast your success to your audience. It also provides you with a way to incorporate backlinks in your tweets which, when clicked, take your audience members to the original source of the mention. Meaning you’ll also drive traffic to the website of the media outlet that mentioned you, likely boosting their follower count and/ or brand recognition. This could potentially help you become mentioned, shared, or featured in one of their pieces of content again in the future.

9. Keep an eye on your competitors’ Twitter accounts.

Twitter is a great way to keep an eye on your competitors’ marketing efforts. You can follow them or simply search them to see what they’re posting. You can also view basic details about their engagement such as their number of retweets, comments, and responses. This is a simple way to see some of the Twitter marketing strategies your competitors are implementing and whether or not they’re working.

10. Focus on followers’ interests and needs when creating content.

If you want to reach your audience members and ensure your content resonates with them, you’ll need to focus on their interests and needs— whether that’s in relation to the way you share content, what you share, or how you present it.

When you meet the needs of your target audience and buyer personas, they’ll be more likely to continue to follow and interact with your company. As you study your buyer personas and target audience, you’ll be able to determine the type of content they’re likely looking for you to share. Additionally, you can always tweet questions, send out surveys, ask for feedback, or even create a Twitter Chat to get more ideas about the type of content your audience is looking for from your business and Twitter profile.

11. Promote your events.

Twitter is a great way to promote your business’ events. Similar to the way you might for a Twitter campaign, you can create a unique hashtag for various events (such as launch parties, giveaways, and contests) or schedule a variety of tweets (using one of your social media management tools) to promote any special occasion your company is hosting. This way, audience members — whether or not they’re your followers — will have the opportunity to learn about your event and get all of the details they need to sign up, be in attendance, or participate.

12. Check your direct messages regularly.

Like other social media platforms, Twitter provides users with a Direct Message inbox where they can contact you in a private message regarding any questions, concerns, or comments they have. So, be sure to check your inbox regularly as this can contribute to the type of customer service and support your business is known for, as well as the type of care you provide your followers and customers.

twitter-direct-messages

Source

13. Keep track of your analytics.

With all of the work you’re putting into your business’ Twitter marketing, you’ll want to ensure your efforts are successful in reaching your goals whether they’re related to directing more traffic to your website, increasing conversions, or improving brand awareness.

You can determine your Twitter marketing success in these areas (and many more) by analyzing your work. To do this, you’ll want to consider which metrics matter to you and then determine how you’re going to track them.

Which Metrics to Track on Twitter

Due to every business being unique and having different goals, you might not be interested in tracking all of the following Twitter metrics (or you might be looking to track additional metrics). However, we’ve compiled the following list of possible metrics for you to consider to get you started.

  • Engagement: Look at the number of retweets, follows, replies, favorites, and click-throughs your tweets get (including all hashtags and links they include).
  • Impressions: Review the number of times your tweets appeared on one of your audience members’ timelines (whether or not they’re actually following you).
  • Hashtags: Look at which of your hashtags are being used most frequently by your audience and followers.
  • Top tweets: Review your tweets with the most engagement.
  • Contributors: Keep up with the level of success each of your contributors — the people you give admin access to on your account — are having with their tweets so you can implement some of their tactics more regularly or remove them completely.

How to Track Twitter Analytics

There are a number of social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, HubSpot, and Hootsuite, with analytics features automatically built in. This is convenient for those of you who were already planning on choosing a management tool to assist with the scheduling of your posts. However, one of the most common analytics tools for Twitter is the one created specifically for the platform: Twitter Analytics.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics helps you understand how your content impacts your audience and the ways in which your activity on the platform can help you grow your business. The tool is free, accessible to all users, and includes information about your Twitter engagement rate, impressions, tweet activity, and information about your followers.

Depending on your business’ needs, you have the ability to incorporate Twitter Ads (if you pay for the option) data in Twitter Analytics as well. Lastly, there are a number of other third-party resources and apps you can download and use along with Twitter Analytics to take a deeper look at specific types of data such as detailed hashtag performance information or how other Twitter handles in your industry are doing.

Start Marketing on Twitter

Twitter is a powerful marketing tool and social media platform any business can take advantage of. It has the ability to help you direct more traffic to your website, improve brand awareness, engage your audience, create personal relationships with your followers and customers, boost conversions, and increase your sales. So, consider the Twitter for business tactics as well as the marketing tips and tricks mentioned above and get started sharing content on Twitter to help you grow your business today.

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Thank you for reading.

College confusion

This may be of some interest.

While a high-status college admission confers a measure of status, it doesn’t automatically grant a great education.

Sometimes, a student gets both, but not always. Because learning is taken as much as given.

Along the way, many of us have conflated the status with the learning.

We’re also confused about the correlation between big college sports and the expected outputs of a university.

One symptom: We often say “good college” when we mean “famous college.”

And so, the college one goes to doesn’t tell us very much at all about what someone learned, or even about who they are. It merely demonstrates that when they were 18 years old, a combination of luck and signaling led to them being chosen (or not).

It’s not personal. And it’s not predictive. Unless we allow it to be.

 

[PS Just finished Lost and Wanted. A haunting novel, with physics. Recommended. The Analog series from Eliot Peper is simply terrific science fiction from the (very) near future–I loved all three. And Dare to Matter, from Jordan Kassalow, the founder of VisionSpring, is next up.]

       

Thank you for reading.

Advanced Facebook Retargeting: How to Up Your Ads Game

This may be of some interest.

Do you want to run successful Facebook retargeting ads? Wondering what tactics can improve your Facebook campaign performance? To explore advanced Facebook retargeting, I interview Susan Wenograd. Susan is a Facebook ads expert, a regular columnist at Search Engine Journal, and an account director for AimClear, an integrated digital agency. You’ll discover the biggest mistakes […]

The post Advanced Facebook Retargeting: How to Up Your Ads Game appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

How to Outrank Big Companies When You Have No SEO Budget

This may be of some interest.

seo

There’s a formula to SEO and as long as you follow it, you’ll get rankings.

So, what’s this formula?

Well, you write amazing content, optimize your code, create a great user experience, and you mix in some backlinks.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, the formula isn’t too complicated, but it does require hard work and patience.

Now what makes SEO challenging isn’t the formula, or the time, or the patience. It has more to do with how you beat people who have more money than you because, in theory, they can do more of everything, which should cause them to outrank you.

But you know what? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I love SEO because it’s the one channel where you can beat big companies even if you can’t outspend them.

How? Well, let’s go over that.

Let’s first start with the two mental shifts you’ll have to make.

Mental shift #1: Speed is everything

What most people won’t tell you is big companies need to spend more to get the same results that you can for pennies on the dollar. They have way too many employees and layers in their organization to move fast and nimble.

In other words, everything moves slowly.

So, what do they do? They spend money in hopes that it makes them move faster. But the reality is, spending more doesn’t necessarily get them faster results.

If you want to beat them, the first thing you’ll have to do is focus on execution. If you can’t move fast, you won’t win.

This is your biggest advantage.

The reason I have gotten to where I am today is due to my execution speed. And now that we keep growing in size, things are moving slower.

For example, because my business has continually been growing, we now prioritize based on what makes us the most revenue and I bet you SEO isn’t as high on that priority list as it used to be. Not just for me, but for all companies my size and bigger.

You have to remember, we have multiple offices, hundreds of employees… we have to focus on what pays the bills.

So how do we compensate? We spend more money in hopes that it fixes it. Just like how I write less content these days, and I spend money on things like Ubersuggest and Backlinks in hopes that it helps.

But that won’t fix everything.

The point is, if you can move fast, it will give you a huge advantage.

Mental shift #2: Scrappiness beats money

Alright, let’s recap the formula to SEO…

Content + SEO friendly code + user experience + backlinks = rankings.

I know Google has over 200 ranking factors, but the formula above encompasses the majority of it.

Now you are probably thinking that if you want to write content or build links you have to spend money, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

With my previous marketing blog, Quick Sprout, I grew it by partnering with other writers.

I wasn’t as well known in the marketing world back then, but I hit up people like Brian Dean and co-authored guides like this one on link building with him.

That guide is over 20,000 words. And Brian did the majority of the work and for free.

I also did something similar with Ritika Puri and we created a guide on marketing psychology.

And every time I partnered with other writers and marketers to create these in-depth guides my traffic skyrocketed.

The first time I published one, my traffic went up by 117% in 2 months.

quicksprout traffic

Now, that’s something that you can still do to this day to see great results.

Another way you can boost your SEO traffic is to get people to contribute content to your site for free.

I did this with the KISSmetrics blog before I acquired it. During its peak, it generated 1,260,681 unique visitors a month.

kissmetrics traffic

We grew the KISSmetrics traffic through one simple approach… we hit up tons of writers in our space and asked them to contribute articles.

At first, we had to pay a few because the blog wasn’t known and we barely had any visitors. But once we paid a handful of well-known writers who were guest contributors on competing sites, we now had a great foundation.

We still didn’t have much traffic, but having those writers publish content was enough to convince other writers to submit content for free.

It’s a simple approach that still works to this day.

There are many ways you can be scrappy, you just have to think outside the box. Don’t think you need tons of money to solve your marketing problems. Being scrappy in most cases is more effective.

Now that we’ve covered the two mental shifts you need to make, let’s focus on the 4 quick wins that will yield the biggest results in the least amount of time.

Yes, many of these “quick wins” are well known, but less than 1% of SEOs focus on them. I know this because I have an ad agency that works with large Fortune 100 companies… and it doesn’t stop there, most companies no matter what size they are, don’t focus on these quick wins.

Quick win #1: Land and expand

They say the more content you create the more traffic you will get.

Do you want to know what the big issue with this strategy is?

Writing more content doesn’t guarantee more traffic.

Content marketing has changed. Writing no longer guarantees you more traffic because there are over 1 billion blogs.

With people cranking out so much content on a daily basis, Google now has the choice of what content to rank and what not to rank.

Similar to me, your top 10 pages are going to make up a lot of your traffic… and probably more than me.

The top 10 pages on my site make up 29.23% of my traffic. That’s crazy considering I have 5,171 blog posts.

With your site, your top 10 pages will probably make up over 40% of your traffic as you probably don’t have as much content as me.

So instead of spending the majority of your time writing new content, why not get more traffic out of the content you have.

I call this the land and expand method. In other words, you already have pages that are getting search traffic and rank on Google, might as well adjust them so you can 2 or 3 times more search traffic to those pages.

Best of all, this method gets results within 1 month for most sites and within 2 months if your site doesn’t have as much authority.

If you want to leverage this technique, follow “step 2” in this article where I break down how to land and expand step by step.

Quick win #2: Optimize for revenue, not traffic

Your goal is to increase your search traffic, right?

Well, if you are reading this blog it is. 😉

But as you get more search traffic, what’s happened to your revenue?

Actually, let’s rephrase the question… as my traffic climbed, can you guess what happened to my revenue?

search traffic neil patel

That traffic according to SEMrush is worth $1.2 million.

traffic cost

But here is the thing: as my search traffic grew by 123%, my revenue only grew by 12.5%… not a good deal.

Yes, you want to optimize your site for Google so you can rank higher. But what’s the point if it doesn’t increase your revenue?

You need to look at the pages on your site that are responsible for revenue generation activities and first optimize those so they rank higher on Google. You can do this by setting up goal tracking within Google Analytics.

Once you set up goal tracking, you’ll now know what pages to focus your attention on so that those extra visitors you in bring will turn into revenue. You can then take that extra revenue and reinvest it in your marketing initiatives.

Quick win #3: Optimize for clicks, not rankings

Question for you…

If everyone did a Google search and clicked on the second results instead of the first result, what do you think will happen?

Well, it would tell Google that people prefer the second listing and it would move that ranking to the number 1 spot.

To prove this theory, Rand Fishkin told all of his Twitter followers to search for the phrase “best grilled steak” and click on the 4th listing instead of the 1st.

best grilled steak

And within 70 minutes the 4th listing jumped up to the top spot.

steak rankings

It was so effective that the listing Rand Fishkin told everyone to clicked on skyrocketed to the top of Google for the phrase “grilled steak”.

google rankings

If you want to boost your rankings, it isn’t just about the content you are creating or the links you are building. If people don’t want to click on your listing, you’ll find that your rankings will continually tank.

And if people click on yours more than the competitors, then your rankings will skyrocket even if you don’t build as many links.

So how do you increase your click-through-rate?

Well you don’t want to tell your friends to click on your listing as that is a temporary effect and your rankings will only climb for a short period of time. You want to optimize your title tag and meta description to encourage people to click on your listings over the competition.

This will cause your rankings to climb slower, but they will stick once you reach the top.

I won’t bore you with the details in this article on optimizing click-through-rates as I have already blogged on it… just head over to this post and follow hack number 1. 😉

Quick win #4: Update your old content

Have you noticed over time that your rankings fluctuate? No matter how good you are at SEO and no matter how much money you have, there is no guarantee you’ll be at the top spot.

Do you want to know why your rankings drop?

Most people assume that it’s a penalty. But Google is very friendly (believe it or not), and their goal isn’t to penalize sites. Their goal is to rank the best sites at the top.

You know… the sites that users love the most.

Just think of it this way, if Google hypothetically penalized BMW for building backlinks and removed them from the index, what do you think would happen when people search for “BMW”?

People would be pissed that BMW isn’t showing up.

And they wouldn’t be pissed at BMW, they would be pissed at Google and they may not use Google again.

Google’s goal isn’t to penalize your site or be mean to you or tank your rankings. Their goal is simple… always put the site that is best for the end user at the top.

When your rankings tank, it’s typically because someone else created a page that provides a better experience for the term you were ranking for.

The way you fix this, maintain your rankings, and even climb higher is to continually update your old content.

If you have content that is old, outdated, or if your rankings drop, read this. It breaks down what to do step by step, and it will help you outrank your competition because I bet they aren’t updating their old content.

This is so effective I currently have 3 full-time people updating my old content.

You don’t have to get as crazy as me, but you should update your old content.

Conclusion

Money isn’t stopping you from beating your competition. The only thing standing in your way is you.

That’s ok though. We can fix that.

With a few mindset shifts and some quick wins, things are about to change.

I’ve never let my competition get in my way. I don’t care if they have more money than me or that they have been at this longer.

If I started my journey cleaning restrooms and picking up trash and eventually got here… you can too.

There is nothing really stopping you from winning.

So what do you think, are you ready to beat your competition?

The post How to Outrank Big Companies When You Have No SEO Budget appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.