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How to Transform Your Brand in 30 Days on Social

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What if you could transform your brand in 30 days, using the resources and skills you have as a social media marketer today?

Thirty-day transformation isn’t just for bikini bods, folks–your brand can have its epiphanic moment sooner than you think. Here’s what to do.

Day 1

Conduct an audit. Run analysis on where your brand stands this year vs. last year on social:

  • By engagement level, sentiment level, and business value contribution
  • Broken down by active social channel

Conducting this audit will give you a clear overhead picture of where you are today and what your trajectory looks like.

Day 2

Use the analysis from Day 1, and drill down on the spikes in engagement, positive sentiment, and business value you’ve seen.

Create a “one source of truth” list of your greatest moments of success, whether intentional or unintentional and deepest moments of failure to meet expectations, too.

Day 3

Using the data you’ve gathered as guideposts showing you what to do and what to avoid, start planning a new campaign that will span at least a six-month period, to give your messaging a chance to really saturate the market and your target audience.

This campaign should tie into your brand’s larger marketing messaging and should have strong visual and video components. Think about it this way: this campaign should become what your brand is known for in the year to come.

Day 4

Look at your earned social media content–how people mention your brand and target topics on social in conversations with their nearest and dearest. This is great fodder for your campaign.

What you find out about how people think of your brand and industry should be your campaign’s bedrock and inspirational force.

Day 5

Once you’ve put together your campaign, it’s time to get buy-in from key stakeholders.

Outline the following for your key stakeholders:

  • The resources you will need
  • The benefit this campaign will have on your company at large (I recommend going beyond “generating awareness” here)
  • The KPIs (Key Performance Indicators–how you will know you are succeeding or not, i.e., metrics)
  • The timeline

Then ask for feedback.

Day 6

Take this day to incorporate feedback into your plan, and send a revised version to key stakeholders.

Day 7

While you’re busy planning your big, game-changing campaign, don’t forget to conduct your weekly review of the social media metrics that matter to your business.

Knowing what your goals are and which KPIs are significant will give you a wonderful foundational benchmark to work from when you do launch your campaign.

Day 8

Don’t forget experimentation: make sure that your plan includes at least one “emerging” social network or platform feature, like Snapchat or Instagram Stories.

This will challenge you to keep innovating and freshening your brand identity. It can also drive web traffic from people who already love your brand.

Day 9

Put together a detailed social media editorial calendar to share with other departments/personnel you will need resources from during your campaign. This will also keep you sane during the busier moments of your campaign.

Day 10

Schedule as much of your content as you possibly can before you launch. This will free you up to run analysis as you go along and make the optimizations and pivots you need to make.

Day 11

It’s launch day! Time to put all your plans into motion.

Day 12

As your campaign unfolds, take some time to look at your competitors’ social performance.

What are your competitors doing well? What does their social performance look like? How does it compare to yours?

What can you learn from their competitive social data, and how can you weave these lessons learned into your campaign?

Remember that your campaign isn’t stagnant, like a statue you build and leave alone. It’s more like wet clay, which you can keep changing and creating better and better shapes from as you go along.

Day 13

Are you leveraging influencers as a part of your campaign and brand transformation? If you are, it’s time to check in with your influencers and see if they’re on track with their deliverables and/or need any help.

If you are not leveraging influencers, you should be, no matter what you sell. Well-chosen influencers help you reach a broader audience that is likely to be interested in and buy your product. They also give your brand more clout and authenticity in front of these audiences.

Day 14

Expand your perspective. Do some research on social media trends. Pew is a great places to start.

Day 15

Make sure you’re clear on who your target social audience is for this campaign, and for your brand generally. You can do this by:

  • Finding out who your most engaged users are
  • Searching your top hashtags, both owned and general
  • Discovering who follows your competitors

Day 16

Get conversational. As mentioned in my overdone statue metaphor above, social media marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” business. Make sure you’re responding to folks who are mentioning your brand and campaign content as quickly as possible, to keep that conversation going and keep your brand top-of-mind.

Day 17

It’s time to check your visual consistency across all your brand’s web and social properties.

Do your graphics on the social networks you have accounts with–even the ones you don’t use that often–mirror one another? Is the experience that a social follower has coming from Twitter to your website seamless, or will he or she be startled by the difference in messaging and visual approach?

Work with your web/content team to make sure your social followers have a consistent experience–and, ultimately, convert to customers.

Day 18

At the end of day 18, your campaign has been alive for seven days–a full week! Go, you! Now it’s time to see whether you’re on track to hit the goals you’ve set for the campaign.

If you’re right on track: Yay! Keep doing what you’re doing.

If you’re behind: Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Look at the most well-received posts in your campaign right now. Double down on posts of that nature, or promote those very posts more aggressively. Remove low-performing posts from your queue. Learn from what’s happened this first week, and tweak future planned content in the campaign accordingly.

Day 19

Run your brand through the “Big Four” checklist of successful digital brands:

  1. Do you know your buyer? What does he or she care about (beyond your industry/product type)? What do these demographics look like? What keeps your buyer up at night?
  2. Do you have a unified strategy? Is every part of your organization up to speed on your campaign, how it’s going, and what your projected results are?
  3. Are you a full-funnel player? Do you know how your social media content is affecting buyer movement in the funnel?
  4. Are you setting goals and measuring results? Have you fallen behind on keeping tabs on progress?

Day 20

It’s time for continued education. Watch a webinar targeted at marketers in your industry or field.

Come prepared with questions you want to be answered, and ask them during the Q&A section of the webinar. Integrate what you learn into your campaign.

Day 21

Time for a check-in with your boss. Make sure you’ve refreshed your reporting system, and are including these elements when you inform him/her on transformation progress:

  • Trends, not tactics and endless metrics: Your boss wants to eat the food, not go in the kitchen and make it him or herself. Be prepared to answer specific follow-up questions, but no need to include every little tactic and metric in your report.
  • Conversion rates FTW: Your peers serve up conversion rates to indicate success or failure.
  • Own your losses: Are things not going according to plan? Explain why, and do it using the data.
  • Leave ’em with an action plan: Not your setbacks. Analysis is only as useful as it is action-oriented.

Day 22

Bring an unexpected guest onto your Facebook Live, Snapchat, or Instagram Stories.

Day 23

Send out an email soliciting UGC via your strongest social channel (so as not to dilute the power of the responses), and offering a chance to win a prize.

Day 24

Get to know your digital neighbourhood through social.

Day 25

Your second weekly review has arrived! Follow the same recipe as Day 18!

Day 26

Solicit internal UGC. Ask your employees to submit campaign– and brand-relevant content for social, and offer a prize for published submissions.

Day 27

This is your boost day. Check your progress towards your 30-day goal. Are you just a tad behind? This is your day to pull out all the stops: post more frequently, host a giveaway or impromptu Twitter Chat, get a surprise influencer/partner on your Facebook Live.

Challenge yourself to blow past that finish line on day 27–this will force you to get more creative than ever before.

Day 28

Take a marketer you know and admire out to lunch, or approach him or her on social and ask for a quick chat. Come prepared with a set of questions, as specific as possible.

We recommend choosing a particular campaign you were floored by and digging deep to find out what you can learn for your own brand.

This information will help you on day 30 when you take a look at how far you’ve come and where you need to make major modifications.

Day 29

Round up your influencers for a group chat to discover how they’ve perceived your campaign, and what kind of feedback they’ve received from their respective audiences. This information will help inform your 30-day review.

Day 30

It’s time for your 30-day review. You’ve built a campaign that will keep going, but what have these 30 days taught you? You’ve gotten agile.

You’ve learned a lot about which content your audience will consume, and which they decline or ignore. You have a good idea about whether or not your messaging is on the right track.

Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.

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Guides

How to Increase the Loading Speed of Your Website

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Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two biggest shopping days of the year.

What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s load time.

By neglecting something so important, you are losing a significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you tackle this problem.

Why Speed Matters

Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient, high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important.

But site speed also matters because people’s attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.

Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile-First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.

Site speed has a huge effect on usability and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.

No wonder many companies are focusing on improving site speed nowadays. Pathwwway, a product design and development growth-oriented company, names load time any business’s top priority.

For these reasons, web developers say that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.”

Heres an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.

Evaluate Your Site

First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.

These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that is even better.

Have a Good Foundation

Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS).

Shared hosting will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more power than you need and is too expensive.

You should also consider managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of your site.

Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.

Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add plug-ins to add additional functionality.

You might also consider utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).

The closer a server is to a user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise.

There are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:

  • MaxCDN
  • Amazon Cloudfront
  • Cloudflare
  • Jetpack (a plugin)
  • WOT Cache

Updates and Maintenance

It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements of your site as up to date as possible.

This includes everything from HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins.

Your hosting provider is responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep an eye on them.

The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site will be and the more efficiently it will run.

Clean up your database as it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).

Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time

Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible. With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:

  • Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
  • Compress your images and your website files
  • Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading for images)
  • Allow caching, WP Rocket is a great WP Caching plugin.
  • Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
  • Minify files
  • Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
  • Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
  • Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
  • Optimize CSS delivery
  • Prioritize above the fold content

Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed

If your current content management system or theme is giving you a bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.

Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”

AMP is open-source software designed to boost loading speeds on mobile devices. Even before AMP, Google took steps to favour mobile-friendly sites. So the better your site’s mobile-friendliness, the better it’s ranking.

Test, Audit, Fix

Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, suddenly social media success, etc.

Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:

  • High priority
  • Middle priority

It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.

Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed

No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.

Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer visitors and increase your revenue.

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Business

7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche

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A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.

But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.

Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.

Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.

Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:

To avoid spreading yourself too thin

Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.

You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.

It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.

Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.

It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with

As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.

It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche

Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.

Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!

More and better referrals

Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.

The more unique you are, the less competition you will have

There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!

Marketing becomes much easier

Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.

More repeat business

As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.

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