The Top Social Media Tool for 2011 is…

social media research

If you heard about a marketing strategy that could substantially lower your marketing expenses and return 600% or more of your investment, would you be interested in learning more about it?

When Social Media Examiner surveyed 1,900 marketers in 2010, half said they wanted to learn more about this strategy.

Of those just starting out in social media marketing, 65% wanted to learn more about it. And 81% of all the marketers surveyed said they would definitely increase their use of this strategy.

No, it’s not Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.

Sure, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were among the top four social media tools among this group of marketers.

But what was first?

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How to Use Blog Commenting as a Networking Superweapon

social media how toWhen it comes to driving awareness through social media channels, most marketers think about using tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos to reach key audiences.

But very few think of leaving a comment on a blog as a strategy to driving awareness—and potentially, down the road, garnering leads.

Wait, how can leaving a comment on a blog drive awareness (or leads) for your brand? You might be surprised at how effective this strategy can be, given the right circumstances. B2B organizations, for example, are often positioned well to capitalize on this approach based on their need to establish themselves as thought leaders on various topics.

But, before we get to the “how,” let’s talk a bit more about the “why.”

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7 Ways to Improve Your Blog SEO with Inbound Links

social media how toAre you looking for innovative ways to improve your search engine rankings?

In an earlier post I talked about the need to fully optimize your website and blog posts for search engines.

However, content optimization will only take you so far. For a website to really take off in the search engine rankings, it needs to generate incoming links from relevant and reputable websites. And you have little control of incoming links.

To increase the likelihood of obtaining high-quality incoming links, here are seven things you can do:

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11 Ways to Improve Your Blog Posts With Interviews

social media how toIf you’re reading this, you likely understand the importance of good content. You know the formula: valuable content = influence = social reach = traffic = more reach… and so on. But do you know the secret to great content?

As marketers, we often look for the next big tool to differentiate ourselves. But did you know the most powerful content-creative tool was invented long before social media? It doesn’t involve keeping a Kodak Zi8 in your pocket, either. And you don’t need a fancy new Twitter strategy or some snazzy FBML.

The most powerful content tool is also the oldest. It’s the tool that brought us some of the most compelling moments in history—from fallen leaders to pop-culture confessions. It’s the tool that made Oprah arguably one of the most powerful brands on the planet. And the same one that Barbara Walters used to reach the most influential people of our time.

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The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging Success

social media how toAre you looking for practical tips for blogging success? Are you wondering what to avoid? While my position is generally that there are no “rules” in blogging, there are best practices that will help your business blog succeed.

There are a lot of obvious elements you need to include to make a blog reader-friendly: quality, compelling content, good navigation, a contact page, an about page, focus and clarity about the subject of the blog… and there’s a lot of not-so-obvious or overlooked things that can really help make a blog stand out if they’re implemented.

While I do have my own list of do’s and don’ts included, I decided to get input from other smart, savvy bloggers. I posted a request on LinkedIn Answers and received many great do’s and don’ts. I’ve grouped the tips into five categories: Planning, Content, Design, Marketing and Engagement.

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Nominate Your Favorite Social Media Blog: 2nd Annual Top 10 Social Media Blog Contest

It’s time to open up nominations for our 2nd annual Top 10 Social Media Blogs contest—the blogosphere’s biggest contest for social media blogs.

I’m looking for your nomination for the Top 10 Social Media Blogs. The winners will be promoted in our 48,000-reader newsletter and announced here.

How to Nominate

Please make a single nomination by commenting below and include why you like the blog (only your first nomination counts). Be sure to include a link to the blog.

To make the cut, a blog must be nominated more than onceMake your nomination by 1/5/2011.

The Judges: Our judges include David Armano (Edelman), Debbie Weil (author, The Corporate Blogging Book) and Rick Calvert (CEO, BlogWorld).

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5 Ways to Make Your Blog Stand Out From the Crowd

social media how toIt’s no secret that the amount of new bloggers entering the blogosphere has made it both incredibly competitive and difficult to stand out.

Now, this doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t useful and effective, but it does mean that you have to treat your blog a little differently than you did in the past.

In this article, I’ll show you how to make your blog stand out from the crowd. This is important not just from a branding perspective, but also from a traffic and monetization perspective.

As the competition for attention increases, it’s going to become more important than ever to find a way to stand out from the crowd and be unique.

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How to Develop a Social Media Content Strategy

social media how toDo you have a social media strategy? Does it involve content? Should it?

The other day I drove past a local convenience store that makes most of its profit from beer, Slush Puppies and beef jerky (not that there’s anything wrong with that). A big sign out front asked passers-by to Like them on Facebook.

“It’s official,” I thought. “Now every business in America has a Facebook page.”

Unfortunately, few businesses actually have a strategy for their Facebook page, or for the rest of their social media activity. They tweet, blog and set up a Facebook business page out of fear of being left behind, rather than as a way to engage their audience.

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8 Social Media Trends Impacting Businesses

social media researchAs businesses continue to integrate social media and become more confident and comfortable with social media tools and platforms, we’re starting to see a change in social media usage.  A new study reveals what’s changing with social media.

SmartBrief recently partnered with Summus Limited to survey more than 6,000 of its readers across a variety of industries.

They benchmarked and measured the state of social media usage among businesspeople. The data identified eight prevalent trends that give great insight into the social media behaviors, beliefs and challenges of the majority of businesses today.

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