Author - WP Mineworks

Moving Consumers with AR and Social Media

By all accounts, augmented reality is poised to be the tech innovation of the decade—fundamentally transforming the way we experience the world. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has even predicted that AR “will be as important as eating three meals a day” within the next 10 years.

Understanding that the technology is expected to be this disruptive (think: the introduction of iPhone in 2007), it’s time for marketers to take notice. In fact, Ad Age recently called AR a trillion dollar opportunity for those who plan early and earn consumer trust.

Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that introducing AR can seem like an intimidating and technical task for the uninitiated. Luckily, social media platforms provide an effective and approachable entry-point, with both Facebook and Snap chat offering native Augmented Reality solutions to brands so far. This means that it is easier than ever to create meaningful connections with customers online, and to deliver tangible experiences with your product.

Social Offers Multiple Options for Delivering Augmented Experiences

Although Snapchat is widely known as the pioneer of AR on social, Facebook has been taking aggressive measures to compete. Most recently, the platform rolled out Facebook AR Studio, a self-serve suite of tools that enables developers to create responsive 3D effects that can be accessed through Facebook’s camera. This marks a major shift in AR for social, which was previously limited to expensive Snapchat ad units with few useful metrics behind them.

Now, early reports suggest that Facebook is experimenting with metrics that would better tie its AR effects directly to desired actions. This means that a consumer would be able to interact with or learn about a product using AR, then shop or subscribe directly from there.

It’s also possible to integrate more complex, third-party created experiences into social platforms. For example, Estee Lauder built a Facebook chatbot that would guide customers through the process of choosing a lip color, then allow them to try the shade on using augmented reality before buying. Eventually, it will be possible to direct customers to a URL to unlock AR experiences, opening the distribution opportunities even further.

AR as One Piece of the Puzzle

Keeping up with the expanding capabilities of AR on social is only part of the battle, however, and doesn’t necessarily translate to a winning strategy. It’s critical to approach AR in the same way that you would other content types in your toolkit—as an opportunity to enhance a customer’s experience with your brand and drive action at various points in the funnel. Consider that practical use cases can often be as impactful, if not more so, than those that are simply novelties. For instance, AR could help a customer quickly locate items on crowded store shelves or educate them on how to set up and use a new appliance. Go that extra mile to make a consumer’s life a bit easier and you will be rewarded with their loyalty.

 

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Social Media best practices & principles to expand your reach and amplify your message

Why social media? It’s where the people are. As of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media – with 2 in 10 doing so often, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Sharing your content via social media can help you reach new audiences, as well as existing supporters.

Approach social media with your campaign or non-profit organization’s end goals in mind — it can be a huge time suck if you aren’t focused on what you’re trying to accomplish! Also make sure your candidate or executive director doesn’t fall in love with vanity metrics. There are better places to put your limited organizational budget than driving up the number of Twitter followers (who aren’t in your district or don’t care about your issue). If you can’t fight the power, then at least try to focus their gaze on slightly more meaningful metrics such as engagement or reach.

It’s also not the best tool to reach undecided voters (unless you have an ad budget), because the people most motivated to seek you out on social media are your diehard fans (or enemies). It’s also usually hard to fundraise from directly. However social media is a great way to build and engage your base, by interacting with your most dedicated supporters. It’s also a good way to share breaking news quickly. In the end, you’ll need to balance the time commitment versus what you get out of it – is this the best investment of time for the campaign?

Here’s a dirty little secret: only part of your online fanbase on social networks ever sees your content. First of all, social media is like a fast flowing river, and the flow of new content is so steady that your information may be quickly washed away. Most people don’t spend all day on social media. And if somebody doesn’t view their Facebook or Twitter news streams within a few hours of when you post something, they’ll never see it – unless they seek your page out, or somebody retweets or shares your content. On top of this, Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what content it shows users, called “EdgeRank”. On average, only a small percentage of your fans see your content on Facebook. You can see how large the audience is or was for any individual post if you are the manager of a Facebook page – pay attention to the X people reached / % stats that are listed on the bottom of every post. How do your posts compare on average? Twitter does resurface some of the ‘best’ tweets when a user logs back in, but don’t count on this being your tweet.

With these limitations in mind, how do you get the most out of social media? Always be using social media to capture more email addresses – then you can control the flow of communication to your supporters, rather than a for-profit company with constantly changing rules. This is so important that I wrote a whole blog post on how to do it, how to use social media for email list buildin

But how can you reach the widest possible audience on social media with your content? Some of the basic principles:

  • Serve up great, unique, regular content.
    Social media should be interesting and fun. Nobody has to listen to you, so if you post boring content they will stop listening. This goes back to the story-telling piece, talk about real people, real problems when possible instead of dull facts and figures. On social media, cold faceless corporations are people too! Just look at Wendy’s (restaurant) Twitter feed. Also be consistent in terms of your candidate/organizational voice. Once you’ve developed a style, stick to it—unless it isn’t working, in which case maybe try out a different style. If your voice is too clinical, liven it up. Snark reigns on social media.
  • Don’t drunk post. What seems like a good idea at 2am, can have horrific consequences the next day. If you’re posting about sensitive subject matter, or are in a hurry, or are not entirely sober, it may be best to have another set of eyes look over your covfefe before posting.
  • Repeat yourself a lot (but not too much). You can get away with a lot more repetition on Twitter than on Facebook, but even with Facebook feel free to repeat your best content. If it does well the first time, try reposting it a few days later.
  • Interact with your audience, don’t just talk to yourself. For Facebook in particular, we know their algorithm (lately — this is ever-changing!) favors photos and videos (especially Facebook live—at the time of writing this), more than links and status updates. So use photos and videos as much as possible to convey your information.Nothing helps manipulate the algorithm more than likes AND comments AND shares on your posts. So how do you get those likes and comments and shares? Make sure that your content is something that people want to share and interact with (and be seen sharing and interacting with). Sharing and commenting and liking is voluntary, so make it so they want to. Post to encourage interactivity. Ask questions. Throw out things that will get your audience revved up and commenting. Interact with the supporters that post on your social media, like their comments.

    The “rules” are kind of similar for Twitter. If you want retweets, you should post good content, and ask for retweets. (But do not ask for shares directly on Facebook, their algorithm will penalize you.) Also don’t just post a link on social media – add some context about what the link is about and why it’s of interest (as much as you can, given character limitations on social media!). Interact with people, retweet them on occasion, reply back.

  • Also don’t just post a link on social media – add some context about what the link is about and why it’s of interest (as much as you can, given character limitations on social media!).
  • Be careful not to post too much on Facebook, or people will unfan or hide your content. Each Page is different and needs to find its own optimal posting frequency depending on its content and audience. Also make sure you are posting what you audience wants and expects to see, that the content matches the audience.
  • You don’t have to worry so much about this with Twitter, because: a) the audience is not static, meaning you only hit the people who are on at that time or specifically seek out your content; and b) there is no algorithm to manipulate, it is (mostly) a straight, untouched newsfeed. Because of that, you should post more frequently on Twitter than Facebook and reiterate key messaging points or action items at different times. You’ve got a lot more leeway before you wear out your audience.
  • Vary up the time & days you post, because some people check Facebook and Twitter at different times of the day. Consider time zones, shift workers, stay at home parents or caregivers. Don’t forget about weekends too. You can’t assume that one posting on one day/time is going to reach everyone. Facebook allows you to schedule posts in advance (and so does Twitter with tweetdeck), so take advantage of this feature! There are also all kinds of 3rd party tools for managing and scheduling social media too, the best known of which is HootSuite. Be careful when scheduling out content in advance, because current events can make your content redundant, or worse yet, insensitive or offensive.
  • Geographically target your Facebook posts when possible, which is important to make sure your content is relevant to your audience (also helps avoid overwhelming people). You can change the targeting of the post just down to people in a state, or even a city. How you do it is when you’re about to post something, click on the drop down menu next to the Post button (It probably says “Public” for you now). When you pull down the menu, you have the option to customize your audience.
  • Work with your supporters to amplify your best content. Set up a private direct message group on Twitter and a Facebook group message (or private Facebook group) with your supporters that have the largest social media audiences, and ask them to reshare content. Note that you need to be judicious with this, so they don’t consider it spam and check out of the conversation. You could also try sending out periodic emails to the identified social media users on your list (perhaps use a checkbox when people originally sign up to find them), with guidance on messaging and so on. Build out a social media team: this is another way volunteers can help, especially people who love social media. How do you find your existing supporters with large networks? Look at Twitonomy for Twitter and ActionSprout for Facebook. You also should be building relationships with people in your district or who care about your issues on social media, to get them on board with your campaign or organization.
    • Use hashtags. Be looking (or creating) hashtags to go along with your cause. Candidates should find the state and local hashtags. Congressionals typically use state and district number (#ca10, #ia05, etc.) or race specific hashtags (#ncgov, #nesen, etc.). Some states have statewide political hashtags like #ncpol as well. These hashtags are populated with activists and used by journalists to nab stories, which is exactly the audience you are targeting on Twitter. Also there are tons of issue-related hashtags out there that you can use to reach activists who are following and care about your issue.
    • Decide on your Twitter following strategy. Most organizations go one of two routes: “name brand” organizations or campaigns are often very selective in who they follow. They can afford to be – they will gain thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of followers just by being Bernie Sanders or MoveOn. If you’re an upstart campaign or organization, you may want to try something different. If you follow people using your issue keywords and/or in your district and/or using hashtags like #FBR (Follow Back Resistance), many will follow you back. #FBR especially is a good hashtag to follow, because it’s self-proclaimed progressives who like to follow back other progressives. You can follow up to 1000 new accounts a day, until you hit the 5000 limit. After that, you are limited to only following roughly 110% more accounts than that follow you. But with a good Twitter plan, some semi-automated tools, and time, you too can develop thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter.
    • But don’t spam people on Twitter… you can invite people into a conversation, but it’s generally weird to start tweeting generically at people who are not following you and don’t offer a conversational “in” for you to respond to. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at a party and start blasting them with your message, treat social media similarly. You need to start with “hello” or a more customized message if they are not already listening to you. But feel free to dunk on your opponents by replying with snark to their ill-advised tweets (if that’s in keeping with your social media voice).

    Once you get set up on a social media site, you need to keep posting regular content (looks really bad to have an abandoned social networking presence, maybe even ammo for opponents to make fun of, or graffiti on your Facebook wall). It’s better to pick one thing (perhaps Facebook, since it reaches the largest audience) than to try to do Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest etc, and not do any of them well. You can also ask supporters and super volunteers to help share the load with social media, but make sure you trust their judgement before you give them admin-level access to social media accounts. Because that’s giving them the ability to use the voice of the campaign or non-profit.

    What happens if you goof up? If nobody notices, you may be able to delete or edit the offending post quickly enough to fix it. Note that Facebook displays an edit trail, so people can see what the original post is. If something goes viral, you may need to bite the bullet and apologize. Apologize like a real adult: use the words “I’m sorry”, tell people what happened (but only if it’s relevant, and not in a weasely way to excuse the inexcusable), tell people what you learned/how you’ll do better next time, and absolutely do not blame an intern, the dog, Martians etc.

    Here’s some tips on how to get started with social media for a non-profit or campaign, and how to build your email list through social media. Have more questions about making the most of social media for your non-profit or political campaign? Contact PowerThru today!

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Market Research: Validate Your Business Idea with Typeform

ather Priceless Feedback and Emails in just 4 Steps using a Typeform Online Survey .

Market research is an important step to validate the assumptions you’ve made about your buyer persona, their needs and how you can add value to the marketplace.

WHY TYPEFORM?

Typeform is a free online form builder that has exploded in popularity in the last year.

I recently became aware of Typeform when I received an online survey from someone using the service.

The clean design and ease of use really impressed me so I created a Typeform myself to gather some feedback (and emails!) for a new online course I was making.

The results blew me away. I’ve detailed everything in this guide so you can get the most out Typeform (before your competitors do!)

Results

Before we get into the “how to” guide, here’s an overview of my results so you see the potential benefits for you:

  • Validated interest in my course (No responses would’ve been a red flag!).
  • Gathered feedback from 87 people about what I could include to make it a 5 star course for them.
  • Had a 56% survey completion rate (completion rates for standard forms is around 14%)
  • Developed a much clearer buyer persona for my ideal customer. I can match this to data from Google Analytics and other sources later on.
  • Built an email list of 63 potential buyers in 48 hours without a website, landing page or lead magnet (submitting email was optional).
  • Time to set up & analyze results: 1 hour
  • Cost to complete: $0
  • Value: Priceless 🙂

Example Typeform Survey

Below is the survey that I sent out my prospective students – try answer a question!

I’ve added it here using the Typeform WordPress Plugin. Originally, I posted the url as a stand alone page in online forums and communities where my target audience hang out.

As you can see, a Typeform survey only shows one question at a time. I think this really helps to make the survey less intimidating and ensure better completion rates.

1. SET UP A FREE TYPEFORM ACCOUNT

One cool thing about Typeform is that you can start creating an online form straight away from the homepage.

You only create an account when you want to save a Typeform you’ve made. Eliminating this sign up step has apparently contributed to the startups explosive growth. Learn more here: How User Onboarding Powers Typeform’s Organic Growth

You can use the free basic plan to do everything I explain in this guide. Custom Thank You screens, payment fields and different questions based on respondents answers are some reasons to consider the pro plans.

2. DESIGN YOUR TYPEFORM SURVEY

Designing a Typeform survey is also remarkably easy. You can “use a template” or “start form scratch”.

I chose to keep it simple and start from scratch. However, I did model most of my questions around a survey I had received to speed up the process. If you want save some time, feel free to copy my questions or check out these examples.

To build your Typeform, simply choose one of the question types available on the left and drag it to the right.

Building an Email List With Typeform

As well as getting fantastic feedback, I was able to build an email list of 63 potential buyers using my online form. All I did was add the following question to end of the survey:

Note, I chose to make this question “not required”. This way, people would submit their feedback even if they weren’t comfortable sharing their email. 74% of respondents entered their email – so I guess it wasn’t a big concern!

Integrate With Your Favourite Tools

You can use Zapier to send entries from your Typeform to 500+ web apps including Mailchimp, Salesforce, Slack, Trello, Zendesk, and more.

As I expected to collect only a few emails, I just imported my email list into Mailchimp manually after the survey was done.

However, it’s good to note that these integrations are available with the free basic plan so take advantage of this functionality if it makes sense.

3. DISTRIBUTE YOUR TYPEFORM SURVEY

The easiest way to distribute your online form is to copy the url and share it with your audience.

You can share by email, on Twitter, in Facebook groups, subreddits or really anywhere your target audience is.

Remember: Make sure your email subject line or post title is something that will catch people’s attention. For example:

  • “Can you take a few mins to answer..”  – this is not interesting (where’s the customer benefit?).
  • “I’m making a new course for you and I’d love your input” – this will get a lot more responses as you are reminding people you’re here to help.

4. ANALYZE YOUR TYPEFORM SURVEY

Setting up your online form is fun but the real value comes from analyzing the responses.

While the survey is running, you can monitor your metrics across devices in the Typeform dashboard.

Once the responses stop rolling in (2-3 days in my case), I’d recommend you download the results to excel so you can analyze them at a deeper level.

To draw insights out of the data, I made pivot tables for questions that had standard responses.

For the written answers, I made a mind map to identify common words and phrases that kept coming up.

Getting the pen and paper was probably the most beneficial thing I did. Rewriting responses really helped get inside my potential buyers head – I’d highly recommend you do this!

If you’re curious, the #1 request that kept coming up was to include:

“…Clear ideas that you can turn into reality, not just theory. Plenty of realistic examples!”

I hope that through this blog post that you can see that I listened and am providing real examples that have immediate practical value.

NEXT STEPS…

Validate your business idea by following the steps outlined above.Ask questions & get feedback on your work inside the course.

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Top 5 Campaign Social Media Mistakes And How You Can Avoid Them

Campaign Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

In this day in age, social media is essential to any advocacy or political campaign. Every successful campaign in the past few years has implemented social media to win over voters’ hearts and minds. Integrating social media properly into your communication strategy is particularly useful when you’re trying to reach young voters in an authentic way. However, just pressing tweet or publish won’t get you that far. It is possible to use social media wrong. Here are the top 5 campaign social media mistakes you should avoid making:

1. Underestimating Its Importance

Candidates tend to be hesitant towards using social media for their political campaigns. Sometimes they only deploy one platform, such as Facebook, and ignore others – Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Sometimes they avoid social media all together, or don’t put enough time and energy into crafting effective social media posts. If this is you, you are making social media mistake #1!

Social Media is the fastest, easiest and by far the cheapest way to reach a huge audience. Currently, Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users, Twitter has 330 million monthly active users, and Snapchat has 150 million people using it each day. Somewhere within the millions of users on these platforms resides your target audience; whether it be voters, volunteers, or donors. Social media is a great way to invite people to engage with your campaign in a personal and informal way.

2. Ignoring Key Demographics

Understanding what platform to spend time and resources on is an important part of your social media strategy. Each social media platform caters toward different demographics and targets audiences. Don’t ignore these key demographics! For example, your grandmother might have a Facebook, but she probably doesn’t have an Instagram. A 20-year-old college student might have a Twitter account, but doesn’t have a LinkedIn page. It can be overwhelming to try and engage with users on every app available – don’t make this social media mistake # 2. Know your target audience and then use the proper social media platforms to engage with them. Capitalize on the power of social media to help you win your campaign!

3. Not Optimizing Posts

Social Media was created to share interesting content easily, rapidly and effectively. To rach your target audience, it is essential to optimize your posts according to the social media platform you are using. Multiple methods for each social media platform exists to share content, but my general advice is to utilize hashtags. “Hashtagging” is a type of metadata tag used to label your content. It makes it easier for users to find posts on social media on a specific topic or campaign, and can even drive users who don’t follow you to your profile. Using relevant hashtags or creating one to use for all of the posts surrounding a campaign is a great tool not only for people who want to engage in your campaign, but also for you to see the engagement of your campaign throughout social media.

4. Posting Inconsistently

Content Consistency is key. It’s great to share a piece of content, or activities during the campaign trail, but not posting often is a social media campaign mistake to avoid. We can connect #2 on this too – be smart about the platforms you use and place your efforts into social media wisely. Having a Twitter account or Facebook will only be beneficial to your campaign if you engage with your target audience. Post a variety of content: videos, statuses, articles, pictures, etc. onto your social media accounts to share your message & goals. Take it a step further and create a social listening strategy to keep up with the conversations your target audience is involved in, and see what they are saying about you too; this way you can engage with users and speak on issues in th public eye.

5. Using Social Advertising ineffectively

Algorithms in different social media sites work differently to optimize posts on social feeds. Ever wonder why you might have 1000 friends but only see select friend activity pop up on your newsfeed? Facebook recently changed their algorithm so that posts from family, friends, and core values are prioritized over other posts (same goes for Instagram). These algorithms actually make it more difficult for you to reach your target audience organically. Posting content with calls to actions paired with social advertising will allow you to beat the algorithm and reach your target audience at a low cost.

Although there are plenty of best practices to use for different social media platforms, it’s important to remember that social media is constantly changing. Staying up to date on the latest and greatest social media tactics and platforms is an important part of your social media strategy.

Now that you know what social media mistakes to avoid, you’re ready to work on your political social media strategy.

 

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Google Algorithm Updates and What They Mean For You

They say nothing’s certain in life except death and taxes. And that’s definitely true. But if you’re a marketer, an SEO enthusiast or a website owner, there’s also one more thing you can be certain of: Google ranking algorithm updates.

The SEO community is constantly abuzz with rumors of suspected updates. Moz reckons that Google deploys a whopping 500 to 600 of them a year. And, in a recent statement on Twitter, Google itself confirmed that it makes one or more changes to its ranking algorithm each and every day.

Of course, no-one wants to drop down the search engine result pages unwillingly. But while Google algorithm updates — and even SEO in general — can sometimes seem like they’re mysterious creatures, the truth is that you have much more control over how your website reacts to these changes than you might think.

So how can you make sure you’re prepared for what a Google ranking algorithm update might throw your way?

And, more to the point, what are some of the specific things you should look at when trying to identify SEO issues that might have been caused by an update?

Most of these updates are typically minor tweaks and improvements, with some major overhauls thrown in. That said, you can usually expect some websites to dip in the search rankings following an update, whether it’s minor or not. At the same time, other websites may see their search rankings improve.

Why Google’s Ranking Algorithm Changes So Often

Keeping track of and adapting to 500 plus changes a year can seem like a losing battle. Even more so when you consider that Google currently uses a staggering 200 ranking factors.

For this reason, understanding why Google makes such frequent updates — and, more importantly, what drives these updates — is really key. It can make keeping abreast and adapting to these constant changes that much easier.

So why does Google’s ranking algorithm change so often?

Put simply, because Google wants to make sure it always provides its users with the best experience possible. Or, as Google’s VP of Engineering Ben Gomes once put it: “our goal is to get you the exact answer you’re searching for faster.”

What this means for you is that you need to make sure you give your website visitors the best user experience possible. If your website delivers, you won’t need to worry about algorithm updates affecting your SEO. Conversely, if your website falls short, you will probably rank lower in search engine results than you’d like.

The Latest Google Ranking Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

As it happens, Google’s latest flurry of ranking algorithm updates — SEOs have been reporting suspected updates as recently as April 17, 2018 — seem like they could be a big deal. That’s because, on March 26, Google announced it would finally start rolling out the long-anticipated mobile-first indexing update after months of testing.

Google has been penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in mobile search rankings since April 2015, when it rolled out the first version of its mobile-friendly update. But, with mobile-first indexing, the quality of your website’s mobile version could now also affect how you rank in desktop searches.

As things stand, Google considers the desktop version of your website to be the primary version. Which means it’s the version it looks at when indexing your content and, in turn, ranking your site.

But, as the name suggests, mobile-first indexing means that Google’s algorithm will now use your website’s mobile version as its starting point in global rankings. So, if your website is mobile-friendly, it won’t just get a boost in mobile search rankings. In future, it may also receive a boost in desktop searches.

The reason for this is simple.

While Google has been reluctant to commit to a specific figure, it has stated that over 50% of its search volume globally comes from mobile devices. Other studies have placed the figure at 55.79% (Stone Temple Consulting) and 58% (Hitwise).

More to the point, it’s expected that the number of users accessing Google primarily from their mobile device will only continue to grow in future.  So, by considering the mobile version to be the primary version of your website, Google is aiming to significantly improve the user experience for a majority of its users.

From Desktop-First to Mobile-First: What This Means For You

So far, Google has said it’s only using mobile-first indexing on sites that are “ready.” These are websites that follow Google’s best practices for mobile-first indexing, which means they can be migrated with little or no impact on their search rankings.

But Google isn’t creating a separate mobile-first index. It’s crawling websites and adding them to its current index using the mobile-first approach. So, in the long run, your website’s mobile version is going to replace the desktop version on Google’s index. What’s more, the mobile version of a web page — not the desktop version — will start appearing in global search results.

In case you’re wondering, there are two key takeaways here.

Firstly, with mobile searches growing in volume, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial. Increasingly, your customers are using their mobile device to look you up online. So, put simply, if your website isn’t responsive or doesn’t perform well on mobile, it’ll be harder for them to find you.

What’s more important, though, is that you also need to get your mobile site right.

Mobile-first indexing means that Google will choose the mobile version of your website over the desktop version when ranking. So, if your mobile site has placeholders or incomplete content, performs badly or is otherwise broken, there’s a good chance you won’t rank well moving forward, either on mobile or on a desktop.

Speaking of performance:

Speed is of the Essence

Google already penalizes slow desktop websites. But, as from July 2018, it’s expected to implement another ranking algorithm update — tellingly known as the ‘speed update’ — that’ll penalize slow mobile sites too.

We’ve dedicated a whole other blog post to the importance of site speed in 2018. But it bears repeating.

Slow websites lead to bad user experiences, which increases bounce rates and reduces conversions. The reason is simple: no-one likes waiting around for a page to load. So, with the rollout of mobile-first indexing, plus an update that’ll specifically make mobile site speed a ranking factor, you’re potentially looking at a double whammy if your mobile site doesn’t meet industry speed benchmarks.

According to Google’s latest data, 53% of mobile website users will leave if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load. And, you won’t be surprised to learn, that percentage increases exponentially the longer the loading time.

For this reason, we recommend aiming for a loading time of 3 seconds or less. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great tool you can use to uncover issues that may be slowing your website down.

That said, and as important as they are, speed and mobile-friendliness are only two out of 200 ranking factors.

Which brings us to our final point.

Relevance. Relevance. Relevance.

At the end of the day, people come to your website for one reason, and one reason only. They want an answer to their problem, whether that’s a product or service you sell or a piece of content that’ll show them how to go about it themselves.

Over the years, significant updates have made Google’s ranking algorithm incredibly adept at rewarding relevant content and rooting out and penalizing duplicate, spammy, shallow or otherwise poor quality content.

And, that’s not set to change any time soon.

According to Google’s own guidance, content that loads slowly or isn’t mobile-friendly could exceptionally still rank better than fast, mobile-optimized content if it’s the most relevant result. Even with mobile-first indexing.

For this reason, creating content your audience finds useful and wants to read is absolutely fundamental.

If you’ve already invested in high-quality content for your desktop website, you’ve won half the battle. Now, you just need to make sure that content is also on the mobile version of your site.

Our recommendation is to aim for parity, which means you should be able to access all the content on your desktop site — text, links, images, videos, and forms —from your mobile site without any issues.

While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to check your meta titles, tags and descriptions. Again, these should be the same both on your mobile site and on your desktop site.

Wrapping Up

Google ranking algorithm updates happen all the time. But while the sheer number and frequency of them can feel overwhelming, understanding what drives these updates can help you be better prepared and adapt more quickly.

Ultimately, no matter how many updates there are and how often they’re rolled out, they all share the same aim: to make life easier for users by giving them what they’re looking for online. And, increasingly, it looks like what users want is speed, websites that work well on mobile devices and content that’s original, relevant and genuinely helpful.

So, if you do your best to hit these requirements, you’ll be well-placed to weather any algorithm update Google throws your way.

Need more help wrapping your head around Google algorithm updates?

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Why Brands Can’t Stay Silent about Politics in 2018

Trust. I think it’s safe to say no word has more power, nuance, or meaning in 2018 than trust. In the age of fake news, much of the world has lost faith in traditional beacons of trust like government, media, and even one another.

Earlier this year, communications firm Edelman, published their annual Trust Barometer, a report that measures the state of trust at a global scale. In 2018, Edelman revealed a distressing loss of trust around the world. Trust among the informed public in the U.S. imploded, plunging 33%, making it now the lowest of the 28 markets surveyed, below Russia and South Africa, the previous bottom spots.

The collapse of trust in the U.S. is driven by a staggering lack of faith in government, which fell 47% among the informed public. It’s not just the government experiencing this loss of trust either. Media has become the least trusted institution globally, with 63% of the 33,000 respondents saying they no longer knew how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods.

The world is experiencing a crisis of doubt and there is no clear sign of a recovery anytime soon. But as with all challenges, there is opportunity hidden within.

At this year’s SXSW Interactive, trust, privacy, and public policies were key themes present throughout the festival. Our own Jim Rudden described this year’s SXSW as “a meeting of the minds” from technology to government. Spredfast CEO, Rod Favaron, presented a SXSW session this year looking at the role and responsibility of the social media ecosystem in building a safer digital experience.

During the festival, I had the pleasure of attending a session from Latia Curry, Principal at Rally, an issue-driven communications firm, titled “Why Engaging with Politics is Critical for Brands.”

Curry began her presentation the way all good presenters do: with a shot of data straight to the brain. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 83% of millennials want companies to be actively invested in solving social problem, and 67% said they bought from a brand for the first time due to their stance on an issue. If that wasn’t enough, 65% said they would not buy from brands who stay silent.

 

Despite decades of silence, today’s politically charged climate is forcing brands to engage with issues and take a stand—or risk having their politics defined for them. There is a right way, and a wrong way.

Curry outlined what she calls the Brand Advocacy Map. The map categorizes and grades the actions of brands on a scale of issue fluency. It’s not simply enough to just “say” something, brands need to understand “why they’re doing what they’re doing.” The map lays out 4 examples of brands and where they stand on the scale between being “Issue Fluent,” “Standing for Something,” “Making Changes,” and “Tone Deafness.”

On this scale, Curry placed four brands that define each segment, with explanations as to why. We’ll leave the bad actors anonymous for their protection, though we’re certain you can think of examples:

The Patagonia Zone (Issue Fluent and Making Changes)

In December 2017, President Donald Trump opened up the national park land of Bear Ears for commercial mining. Patagonia immediately took action, plastering their homepage with the message “The President Stole Your Land” and issuing a lawsuit to block the mining. This zone is reserved for brands who know what they stand for and when they take action, it’s precise, intentional, and on message.

Lyft Zone (Issue Fluent and Stand For Something)

In January of this year, President Donald Trump issued an immigration ban spurring heated debate from both sides of the argument. In response, Lyft donated $1m to the ACLU to help fight what they viewed as “antithetical to both Lyft’s and the nation’s core values.” This zone is for brands that are fluent on the issues of the day and want to take a stand, but aren’t quite ready to make tangible changes themselves.

The Almost-There Zone (Tone Deaf and Making Changes)

Brands might find themselves in this zone if they’re tone-deaf to what is actually going on but truly want to make a change, and take the action to do so.

The Not-Quite Zone (Stand for Something and Tone Deaf)

This zone may the roughest of the bunch and is reserved for brands who want to take a stand on a issue, but fail to understand the issue, convey the right message, or haven’t committed to what that message might be.

To help brands understand where they stand on addressing social issues, Curry also shared what she calls “The Engagement Ladder.”

The Engagement Ladder

  • Level 1 – Testing the Waters In level one of the engagement ladder, a brand takes a single action that lets the world know they have a point of view.
    • Ex: Burger King Net Neutrality and Black Rock “serve a social purpose”
  • Level 2 – Owning the Position In level 2, brands take multiple actions toward what they believe and people begin to see a trend and what this brand is about. This is great PR but is still missing that next step to making change.
    • Ex: Lyft donates to the ACLU and AirBnB promotes ‘shithole countries’
  • Level 3 – Walking the Walk In level 3, brands communicate their beliefs so effectively you can predict their point of view on issues before they even say something.
    • Ex: NBA “I can’t breathe” and Hobby Lobby Discrimination
  • Brand Purgatory This is where “reactive” brands go to die. Brands caught off guard on issues and are forced to react, often times failing to communicate their beliefs correctly. If you don’t go out and state your position, people will state it for you.

The key takeaway from Curry’s session is that in 2018 and beyond, silence is not an option. Brands can no longer hide on the sidelines hoping to cash in without offending their audience.

This is the time to stand for what you believe in. Be authentic and consistent in what you believe and make sure your customer base knows. Transparency, authenticity, and consistency are the building blocks of trust, and the world needs that now more than ever.

Building trust is a guiding principle we follow at Spredfast and it’s something we encourage, and enable, our customers to do. Curry’s “Brand Advocacy Map” and “Engagement Ladder” are great examples of what brands can learn from their peers and what steps they need to take build trust, show value, and genuinely connect with their audience.

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A Social Media Live Video Platforms

When you think of live video, Facebook may be the first platform that comes to mind. They’ve certainly made the biggest push for it over the past year or so. But, there are plenty of other platforms that are worth considering. Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, and now even YouTube are all getting in on the live video feature.

Each platform comes with their own unique features and capabilities, so it’s important to carefully consider which one would best fit your goals and your brand.

Paid Promotion

This is a big one. Organic content can only get you so far, and the ability to promote your live video to a wider audience will ensure your message is being seen far and wide. Without this ability, you’re limiting your views by a lot. Keep this in mind when you’re comparing production costs and overall messaging.

Shelf life

Will your live video be seen after your broadcast is over? The answer depends on what platform you’re using. Your Facebook Live video will live on your page forever, but that’s not the case with Instagram – for now, it will disappear as soon as your broadcast is over. Periscope falls somewhere in the middle, as they keep videos up for 24 hours after broadcast ends.

Fan Interactions

Will your fans be able to interact with your live video with comments, reactions, and shares? As interaction is what social media is all about, this is a hugely important one for live video.

 

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