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14 Ways to Promote Your Latest YouTube Video

This guest post is by Jenny Dean of Floppycats.

If you’re like me, you put a lot of time, effort, and thought into your YouTube videos.  Even if you don’t, since YouTube is the second most searched engine in the world (and owned by the #1—Google), there is good reason to make the most of each upload.

Here are the 14 tasks bloggers should do whenever you upload a YouTube video to your YouTube channel.

  1. Add an SEO-optimized title: Your YouTube video title is essential in helping your video be found, so use appropriate keywords.
  2. Add an SEO description: Include a description that isn’t keyword stuffed, but does include your main keywords.
  3. Add your website link to the description: If you have a website or blog, be sure to provide a link back to that.  You can also include links to all of your social media channels.  When posting links, be sure to include the “http” or the “https,” as that’s the only way YouTube can automatically hyperlink it.

    Adding your URL

    Also, be sure that your main link is visible above “the fold”—in other words, above where the Show More section. Most people will not click on Show More, but will click on your main link.

  4. Maximize your tags: so many people do not maximize the number of tags that they can have. Tags are your keywords, and they are critically important to being found. Include any relevant tags. Then, check back in a month or two to see how that particular video is being found—and change out some of the tags that are insignificant. For your long-tail keywords, be sure to include them within quotes, like “Business Blog Writers,” so that they’re searched as single phrases, rather than three separate words.
  5. Post on Pinterest: In August, Krizia taught us How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest. Note that Krizia also suggests branding every video that you have on your channel because Pinterest allows people to watch the video directly on Pinterest. Unless they have motivation or reason to find out more, most viewers will not click through to your YouTube channel.
  6. Like your video: The number of likes on your video helps it gain popularity, so by liking it, you’re just helping it get the attention of the audience you’re trying to target.
  7. Share it on Facebook: Whether you have a Facebook page dedicated to your blog or website, or whether you just use your personal Facebook profile, you will want to share your video there for people to see.  You never know who they will share it with—this is how many videos have gone viral. If you are posting a video that involves a company, take the time to tag them in the post with the video link.
    Share it on Facebook
  8. Share It on Twitter: As usual, you want to shoot a link to your video out to all your Twitter followers. Be sure to include relevant hash tags and, if your video features a company and its product, then you definitely want to include their Twitter handle in the tweet too. For example, when I upload a product review for Floppycats, I then send out a Tweet like this, “Ragdoll Cats Chow Down on Eden Foods Bonito Tuna Flakes—Floppycats http://ow.ly/cU6Gp @edenfoods #cat #cats”.
  9. Share it on Google+: YouTube is owned by Google and so is Google+. They like each other, so make sure they like your videos too.
  10. Share it on LinkedIn (if appropriate): If your video is business-related and will help your efforts to grow your business, then you certainly want to share it on LinkedIn.
  11. Schedule it to post on HootSuite monthly, for the next year: I like to come up with a Tweet or a Facebook posting for each new video, and reschedule them for release once a month for a year. As a blogger, it shows companies you’re promoting that you are looking to maintain your relationships with them, and also helps an old video enjoy new life every month.
  12. Create a video response: Search for a video that is similar to yours, and rather than writing a comment about it, create a video response that will attract the audience you want.
  13. Write a blog post and embed the video: More than likely you are trying to get Google to love your website and want to put it at the top of their search engine results. So make them love it more by embedding your YouTube videos into your blog posts.
  14. Add it to a playlist: Whether you have already established playlists, or need a new one for this video, add it to a playlist using a relevant keyword from the video.

They’re the essential 14 steps, but are other things to do when you post a video, like adding annotations, asking people to subscribe, and adding transcripts, as Deepak covered in SEO Your YouTube Videos in 10 Steps.

What are some of the things that you do when you upload a video to YouTube?  What would you add to this list?

Jenny Dean is the Editor over at Business Blog Writers, online SEO content writers.  She also runs her own blogs and each of them has a YouTube channel:  Floppycats, Antioxidant-fruits and Guide to Couponing.  Business Blog Writers offers a YouTube enhancement service to help you execute these 14 things to do!

My Two-step Social Media Starter Plan

This guest post is by Eric Binnion of Art of Blog.

You can’t deny the power of social media. But, if you’re anything like me, then you also realize that effectively running social media accounts can take up tons of your time.

That is, if you let it. I’d like to show you my streamlined, two-step process of curating great content, posting throughout the day, and keeping in touch with the different accounts I manage.

Step 1. Who else wants to know where to find great content?

After I took over several Twitter accounts earlier this year, I quickly realized that to get interaction on Twitter I needed to do one of two things:

  1. Be interesting.
  2. Share great/interesting content (this is called curating).

For me, I knew that it would be easier to find and share great content than it would be to stay entertaining. Being interesting is a lot of work!

When I first decided to go this route, I followed a lot of people on Twitter and then reposted the same links they had (usually without giving them a mention or anything). Yes, horrible I know. But I wanted to make myself look like the authority, right? And I’m sure I’m not the only one of us here who ever did that…

This seemed very inauthentic to me, though. So, I was very excited when I heard of a tool called Prismatic. Prismatic is a free service that will deliver content to you based on the interests that you select. Below is a screenshot of the interest selection process in Prismatic.

prismatic-interests

Pretty simple, right? After you go through the interest selection process, you are presented with a feed that has tons of content in it! Your Prismatic homepage feed will reflect a mixture of all of your interests. But, if you’re like me, and you post on several blogs with different topics, you may want to narrow down to different topics. You can do that by clicking the More link by Home in the sidebar, as you can see in this image.

prismatic-feed

Once you’ve got your feed all set up, you just need to find a good way to automate the posting.

Step 2. One social posting tool to rule them all

Okay, so that headline is a bit ambitious. But I truly love Buffer, a web app that allows you to drip-feed content to your social accounts over time. With this tool, I am able to go through my Prismatic feed, find great content, click one button in Chrome or Firefox, and then it’s scheduled to go out to my social media followers!

Buffer also includes analytics that let you see how many times a link of yours was clicked, the estimated reach, and the number of mentions and retweets it got. These are fairly simple analytics, but they allow you go back through your tweets and see what resonates with your audience.

buffer-stats

Buffer also helps you build relationships on Twitter by prompting you to follow and/or thank those that retweet your tweets.

Social media made simple

This may not be the best way to manage social media. As my professors say about our programs, “there are always 1,000,000 solutions. Find the best one for you.” This is a good method to use for those that do not have much time to devote to their social media.

Combining Prismatic with Buffer will allow you to curate great content and build relationships with those who follow you. As you build up your reputation for recommending great content, you can then more successfully promote your own content.

Which tools do use to manage and build your social media presence? Share them with us in the comments.

This guest post is written by Eric Binnion of Art of Blog. He loves blogging, programming, and playing with his crazy son.

Is Your Facebook Page in Danger of Deletion? Save Your Fans in 6 Steps

This guest post is by James Dunworth of the Ashtray Blog.

On the 28th August, shortly after getting our 14,000th follower on Facebook, we received one of those emails that makes your heart not just sink, but plunge through your stomach and crash onto the floor.

Facebook had deleted our page from its network.

Facebook email

In this post, I’ll provide some hard-won tips that’ll show you:

  1. how you can avoid losing your Facebook page
  2. what to do if your page is deleted
  3. why and how to diversify your traffic sources
  4. how not to lose your Facebook page in the first place!

6 tips to save your page

First up, here are six tips that night help you avoid having your Facebook page deleted in the first place.

1. Read and re-read the Ts and Cs—and keep up with the updates!

I’ll start with this one, as I believe this was the key mistake we made!

We’d been through the network’s Terms of Use with a professional Facebook agency, and thought we were acting in accordance with their guidelines—not using Facebook ads to advertise our products, but promoting them from time to time on the page itself, for example.

A week or so before we lost our page, Facebook emailed us with some updated terms and conditions. If I had taken the time to read them, we might still have our page today.

Most people don’t bother to read terms and conditions. On Facebook, that could be a mistake! You can find Facebook’s full terms and conditions here.

2. Run your competitions through an app

Competitions are a fantastic way to gain followers, but they have to be done right:

  • You need to use a third-party app to run your competition.
  • You can’t use Facebook Likes as a voting mechanism.
  • You can’t announce Facebook winners through Facebook.

An alternative to running a Facebook promotion is to post a link to a competition you’re holding off Facebook, adding the disclaimer:

“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”

Social Media Examiner have an excellent article which will help guide you through the minefield or running a contest on Facebook, called Facebook Promotions: What You Need to Know.

3. Don’t upload copyrighted material

These days, everyone shares images on social network. However, if someone complains about some material you have shared, you could find your post deleted. Check that anything you share is available for public reuse before you publish it to Facebook.

4. Get your cover photo right

Facebook cover pages can’t:

  • include calls to action (e.g. “Buy Now”)
  • include contact details
  • contain prices or discounts
  • contain text that encourages people to Like or share the page.

5. Get your Facebook name right

Facebook names can’t contain generic terms, use excessive capitalisation, contain character symbols, or use “superfluous” descriptions.

6. Create multiple page administrators

Two examples of lost pages I came across when I was researching this post included:

  • cases where admins accidentally deleted the page themselves
  • pages being lost because an individual admin had his or her personal Facebook account deleted.

Choose your page administrators carefully, though—these admins will also have the ability to delete you, the page creator.

What to do if your Facebook page is deleted

Those are the basics, but the Facebook terms and conditions can change at any time. What can you do if you suddenly find your Facebook page has been deleted?

1. Appeal

When you get Facebook’s email about your page’s deletion, you’ll also get a link to a form that allows you to appeal the action.

Although we didn’t get a reply to our appeal, there’s always a chance you will, and a few other Facebook admins have managed to have their pages restored.

If you work with a social media agency, you might also find that they have a contact within Facebook—see if they can use their contact to get an explanation and make an appeal. Unfortunately, to date, appealing has not worked for us.

2. Pause any advertising for your page

In our case, Facebook continued to take money for ads that pointed to our defunct page. Make sure you cancel those ads, or you’ll be wasting money!

3. Create waves

Some bloggers who have lost their Facebook pages have managed to get them back by creating a community backlash.

When Ken Envoy of SiteSell lost his Facebook page and its 16,000 members, he immediately published a blog post titled, Urgent: We Need Your Help.

He urged his readers to spread the story, and credits his Facebook page’s restoration to their efforts.

We’re trying to do the same thing, and have set up a petition to ask Facebook to warn admins and give them a chance to change their pages before deleting them.

4. Make a story out of your loss

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”—Winston Churchill

We blogged about our story, and it went viral! We were astonished to get over 2000 shares of our first blog post about our Facebook page loss.

I also contacted several bloggers about our story when we created our follow-up petition post. As a result, Aaron Wall very kindly shared the story with 68,000 followers, Amy Smarty from MyBlogGuest signed our petition and shared the story, and ProBlogger invited me to write about the story!

It doesn’t make up for the loss of our page, but we received a lot of heart-warming support, and got some good links from other blogs out of the loss.

5. Start a new Facebook page—quickly!

People joined your Facebook page for a reason: because they liked it! Some of those people will join your new Facebook page, and you might be surprised at the kind messages of support they add to your page.

It’s worth starting the page quickly, and with a similar name—then, people looking for your page will be able to find it before they have forgotten about you!

Obviously, it’s important to also try to analyse why Facebook might have deleted your page, so you can avoid making the same mistakes again.

A lesson learned: diversify your traffic sources

Another key lesson we learned from this experience was not to rely one source of traffic. Our Facebook page was important to us—too important—but luckily, we also have other sources of traffic.

If you are relying on any one source of traffic, remember it can disappear rapidly. Work hard to make sure you are diversifying your traffic sources! Here are several which work well for us:

  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • search engines
  • affiliates (only relevant if you have a product to sell)
  • advertising
  • Twitter
  • specialist forums
  • our newsletter
  • blog links
  • blog commenting
  • specialist blogger groups on Facebook (If there aren’t any in your niche, why not start one?).

Have you ever lost a Facebook page? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments!

James Dunworth is the author of the Ashtray Blog, where he writes about e-cigarette news and tobacco harm reduction.

Score Face Time with New People in Your Niche

This guest post is by Stanley Lee.

We all know the benefits of networking are obvious, so why are we neglecting it?

Are you scared about meeting new people in your industry? Do you spend a fortune to attend conferences and trade shows? Or do you waste a lot of time with travel and setting up your computer to work properly?

If you’re sick of making compromises, read on.

Get in touch using Airtime

Airtime allows you to talk to strangers and friends on Facebook via video chat without leaving your home office.

You can meet new people on the platform based on:

  1. where you live
  2. your interests
  3. their relationships with your friends.

The information is extracted from your Facebook profile.

The best part of all this is you don’t have to acquire strangers’ permission in advance to talk to them, which is typically common when you try accomplishing this feat with Skype or even on Google+ Hangouts. Also, you won’t find any random dudes doing weird stuff (remember Chatroulette?). I mean, who really wants to expose their Facebook identities while doing that?

If you’re concerned about Airtime’s credibility, let’s start with its leaders. Sean Parker was founding president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster, and Shawn Fanning, was co-founder of Napster. Celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Jim Carey, and Martha Stewart checked Airtime out on its launch day.

If you aren’t familiar with any of those guys and girls, how about Gary Vaynerchuk? He loved using Airtime to connect with other social media fanatics.

Now that you’re excited, let’s learn how you can use Airtime to connect with readers and others in your blog’s niche.

The How-tos

Basic requirements

Before logging onto Airtime.com, you will need the following:

  • A compatible web browser: For simplicity, I suggest using Google Chrome.
  • A Facebook account: For obvious reasons.
  • A webcam that works with Airtime: Most laptop cameras should work without problems. Plug-in webcams may have problems. See the steps below to find out if yours does.

Step 1: Log into Airtime.com

A simple process—just visit Airtime.com and follow the launch process. You will need to press some buttons to authorize certain permission settings in Airtime’s login process. These are required in order for your camera to work properly.

authorization

Step 2: Choose your target

You will see this splash screen after successfully configuring your webcam.

Start screen

I blacked out my Facebook contacts to protect their privacy here. If you want to talk to your existing Facebook or Airtime contacts, you can click on a name on the right-hand panel and explore for yourself.

But since you’re most likely interested in discovering industry colleagues, let’s look at that. You have two ways to accomplish this goal.

The first way involves finding users with a common interest to talk to (as indicated by the blue rectangle). Then, click the Talk to Someone button.

Options

This is the easiest way because:

  • By checking the Near option, you can find people located close to you. If I live in Vancouver, Canada, I’m more likely to be connected to someone in, let’s say, New York City than New Delhi, India.
  • By checking the Common Interests option, you can specify multiple interests to find like-minded people. For example, if you read ProBlogger, your search won’t just be limited to this publication. You likely read Copyblogger, Think Traffic, Social Triggers, SEOmoz, and Blog Tyrant regularly. You may have even liked them on Facebook.
  • By checking the Friends of Friends option, you increase your chances of talking to a second-degree connection rather than the third, fourth, fifth, etc.

Let’s face it, life is already complex enough as it is. Enabling these options simplifies your Airtime experience and helps you home in on the right readers and industry contacts.

The second option involves finding users with a specific common interest. This is a great feature, but I do not recommend this method at the moment. Airtime does not have enough simultaneous users for you to find strangers with a specific common interest in a reasonable timeframe. Still, let’s take a look at how to do this just in case you want to play around.

Click on your profile, indicated here by the red box.

Interests

Move your cursor down to the Interests section, indicated by the blue box. You can click the More button at the bottom-right corner of the section to expand it.

Click on an interest

Click on an interest, then click the Find people who like this hyperlink, indicated by the blue box.

Find people who like this

Step 3: Start talking

In case if you’re a networking novice, here are some quick conversational basics before you begin talking.

Your goal should be to make new friends and make a great impression. How? By asking these simple questions in the following order, you will be able to spark deep conversations with your contacts:

  1. How did you find yourself trying out Airtime?
  2. What are you interested in these days?
  3. What challenges are you facing when you’re doing that?

Feel free to add one or two more questions specific to your industry or niche. The point is to break the ice, inquire about their hopes and challenges, and steer the conversation into the direction where you can provide—rather than extract—value. This is the key to keep the conversation going beyond this meeting.

After asking each of these questions, stop talking, and listen actively. After all, mutual exchange is a key ingredient to the art of networking.

If you really like talking to the person, you can add the contact into your Airtime list by pressing the blue button. You can also find other interests you may want to check off in your contact’s Interests panel on the right.

Adding interests

Step 4: Closing the loop

So you’ve met some new people and added the contacts you’ve bonded with particularly well. However, you’re just beginning the relationship. You’ll need to stay updated with what they’re up to, and close the loop by learning what you can help them with.

Here are some suggestions of what you can offer them:

  • Advice from your expertise: Act like a consultant giving them free advice on their problems related to your blog’s niche. Leave money off the table, as you want to keep the relationship social rather than transactional.
  • Be a connector: Doing so would not only help out your connections, but also build your reputation as a connector. Read this guide to get started if you don’t know how to be a connector.
  • Share relevant resources: This could be as simple as sending a quick email with actionable information you come across that’s helpful for them.

It takes several iterations of loop closing in order to build trust in those new relationships. If the first tries seem daunting, don’t worry. Networking is a learned skill, and you’ll improve with more practice. And Airtime is a great environment for you to practice quickly.

Let me know about your experience!

I hope you have enjoyed learning how Airtime can improve your life. Both in business and personal contexts, but particularly in terms of your blog.

Now you know how to use Airtime to build new relationships with other similar-minded people in a fail-safe manner. Or improve the quality of your relationships. Or even just conduct research for your blog that would otherwise be time-consuming and difficult to get without a large existing readership.

All within the comfort of your workspace, without the headaches of messing around with software packages.

Don’t you want to focus on big wins rather than being buried in the endless list of trivial tactics (e.g. spending all your resources tweaking SEO or honing a sales page when you don’t even know if it has its place in the marketplace)?

Have you used Airtime? How did it help you? What were the good points and bad points? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Stanley Lee blogs about systems building, marketing, and societal topics, providing in-depth commentary for the benefit of his readers.

Kodak’s Social Media Success—and What Bloggers Can Learn From It

This guest post is by Ricky of www.wickedleo.com.

With an active Facebook page, three corporate blogs, a couple of Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel, a Flickr profile and more, Kodak seems to be smiling pretty much all over the social media arena.

And no, it’s not just for the sake of social media presence alone. Kodak is, literally and figuratively, swimming and sailing in social media space—replying swiftly to users’ tweets, creating polls, seeking suggestions, organizing contests, uploading viral videos, and more.

The social media success of this company can be attributed to the fact that Kodak’s SMM is a well-thought strategy, and not a bunch of loosely tied tactics—something that anyone with a brand should seek to emulate.

As Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chief Media office and Vice President at Kodak puts it, the company has specially appointed energetic individuals all across to achieve “4 Es of Kodak”: Engage, Educate, Excite and Evangelize. I must say that I was quite surprised to read that the company has a professional Chief Listening Officer (CLO). The CLO, as Hayzlett disclosed in this interview, monitors all the social media outlets to hunt for conversations involving Kodak so that they can be addressed, assisted, and enriched by the media evangelists later on:

“In fact, we’ve just put in a chief listening officer who acts like an air traffic controller… who listens to the conversations that are going online because I can’t be online every second, every minute (although a lot of people think I am). But it gives us an opportunity to listen to the conversations and route those to sales people, route those to customer service or get them fixed or just say ‘thanks’.”

It seems that Kodak has plunged into the social sector with a no-nonsense approach. You might call Kodak’s earnest commitment to be all over the online space to be the company’s “secret to social media success.” Here’s what Tom Hoehn, Director of Interactive Marketing and Convergence Media, has to say about Kodak’s social media strategy:

“From the consumer side our products are all about enabling people’s self expression, telling the stories of their lives … On the commercial side it is about making connections to get people answers to questions they may have about our products and services. We have embraced social media for some time now. Our blog launched in September of 2006 and our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube presences followed in early 2008. We love what social media is doing for our business.”

Kodak’s personal interactivity

Another thing that separates Kodak’s social media strategy from the rest is the fact that it lets the real Kodak people talk online. Obviously, the logo does not do the talking for other brands, but with Kodak, it’s explicitly the person talking.

As mentioned above, the company runs a couple of Twitter profiles: @KodakCB, @KodakChallenge. @JeffreyHayzlett, @KodakCL, @KodakCameras, and @TomHoehn.

Here’s an example of the kind of interaction these representatives encourage on social media:
kodak tweet 1 Kodak tweet 2

Kodak’s Chief Listener’s Twitter account features her actual photo and a small Kodak logo below that. And in all the conversations, she maintains a tone that’s light and personal. Jeffrey Hayzlett also uses a rather easy tone in his feeds. This strategy helps the company in two ways:

  • The customers are assured that they are not talking to the company’s logo.
  • Using a gentle tone can help to calm down upset customers if needed.

The Ripcurl strategy

Convergence Ripcurl is the winning social media strategy at Kodak. The driving forces behind this model this have been Tom Hoehn (Interactive Marketing director) and Jenny Cisney (Social Media Manager and Chief Blogger). The duo describes Ripcurl to be their “path to participation” in the social space. Here’s what Tom Hoehn has to say about the concept officially called Kodak Convergence Media Ripcurl [PDF]:

“You will note the words, Twitter, blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc. do not appear anywhere on this graphic. It isn’t about the tools it is about connecting with our customers. This helps people within Kodak understand the opportunity at hand without getting caught up in jargon … Our proactive (speaking) activities are influenced and informed by our reactive (listening) efforts. When we do it right we will see a variety of results. When we get it wrong, well, we try again and keep moving forward.”

How do Kodak’s blogs fit?

Kodak runs three corporate blogs:

  • A Thousand Words, a lively blog on how Kodak employees think about imaging and photography in their personal lives. The stories cover a rainbow of topics, but with photography as the focus.
  • Plugged in, an instructive resource on Kodak’s products and services, announcements, reviews etc.
  • Grow your Biz, an insightful place presenting the experiences of all those who have a passion for print and communication.

In Kodak’s Social Media Guide, Jeffrey Hayzlett explains how these three corporate blogs helped the company:

“The blogs start conversations as I mentioned before, and they also have a direct positive impact on Kodak’s search engine rankings. In addition, Kodak receives more than 11,000 mentions in other authors’ blogs every month in the form of product reviews, opinions on products, rants, fan mail and more. We directly participate in many of these conversations to ensure our customers know we’re listening and to share answers and additional insights.”

As with the other social media channels used by the company, Kodak’s blogs are kept brimming with energy and enthusiasm. For instance, back in 2009, they posted a contest on the official blog which asked people to email a snapshot (theirs or their family’s) to the company. On being selected (and with the person’s consent), the snapshot appeared six times on Kodak’s screen in TS from 31st December, 2009 to 31st January, 2010. Going by the comments that appeared on the Kodak blog, it seems to have been a successful move.

This strategy isn’t just about creating a couple of social media profiles—it’s about keeping the ball rolling, and Kodak is really smart at that! The company knows precisely how to trigger interest, how to maintain that level of interest, and how to keep it growing.

Kodak has also successfully used this strategy to generate worthy ideas from its end-users. For instance, Kodak found that its customers were fuming over its latest launch named “Zi8 Pocket Video Camcorder”. With a little more research, the company found that a majority of people liked the product per se, but they didn’t quite like the name. The company immediately responded by throwing open a virtual contest that required followers to suggest a good name for the next Kodak pocket camera, which was ultimately named the Kodak Playsport.

And as Jeffrey sums it up:

“It’s all about bringing people together around shared interests and reaching them in way that’s meaningful and memorable … I strongly believe that if you get involved in social media, it will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your customers and keep you grounded and aware of what people really think about your company. It’s well worth the time invested.”

So, if you are ready to take the plunge and are on the look-out for a starters’ guide to social media, take a look at Kodak’s Social Media Guide. If it has worked for this massive brand, there is no reason why it won’t for you!

Ricky is a technophile & a zealous blogger & evangelist for www.wickedleo.com. He has a strong impulse to spread bits of web tech & Internet Marketing wisdom that he picks from his own personal experiences.

Measuring and Monitoring Online Reputation: What, Why, and How

This guest post is by Rich Gorman of Reputationchanger.com.

In this day and age, there’s really nobody who is exempt from the supreme importance of online reputation. Business owners need a sterling online reputation to ensure that they keep attracting new clients. Job seekers need a good reputation to put their best face forward, in the likely event that a potential employer checks them out on Google.

Bloggers need a good online reputation for any number of reasons; whether you’re seeking to build an audience or sell products, having people know that you’re reputable and authoritative is key.

The problem is, the chances for an online reputation to be utterly derailed are abundant. Things aren’t the way they used to be in the days when protecting your image was basically just a matter of keeping DUI arrests and mug shots out of the local paper! Now, a business rival can post something defamatory about you to the Web, or an old, embarrassing photo from your college days can surface, and the damage can be immense.

What’s your reputation like?

There are ways to monitor and protect your online reputation, which is good news, but there is also much misinformation about the ways in which online reputation is accurately monitored.

There is an increasingly large population of people, particularly bloggers, who are using tools like Klout and FollowerWonk to help them evaluate where they stand, reputation-wise. While these tools are useful in many ways, it’s not quite accurate to say that they offer an assessment of your online reputation.

Take Klout, for example. Klout will tell you many things about your online persona and your “Google footprint.” It will tell you how many people you directly influence, what kind of sway you hold over others within your industry, and more. What it does is effectively measure online influence through the prism of social network import and reach.

This is hardly without value, but it’s not quite the same thing as reputation monitoring. What these tools tell you is how influential you are, but they don’t tell you whether your overall online image is good or bad, or whether there are potentially embarrassing listings out there that could cost you, personally or professionally.

Let’s say, for instance, that the old DUI report or frat party photo surfaces on the Web. A good way to stay alert about these negative listings is to simply search for yourself, on Google and Yahoo and Bing, as often as you can.

A couple of professional reputation monitoring tips are in order here: First, log out of Google before you search for yourself, lest you get “personalized” results that fail to show you the big picture. Second, search for spelling variations on your name, particularly if your name has alternate spellings; if you go by Cammie, for example, there’s a decent chance someone might post about you under the name “Cammy.”

Setting up Google and Yahoo alerts is another important step. This might all seem a little less sophisticated than using something like Klout or FollowerWonk, but for bloggers and professionals seeking up-to-the-minute knowledge about their online listings, this is really the most effective way to go.

Proactively managing your reputation

Of course, merely monitoring your reputation is not always going to be enough. You may wish to proactively shape it, ensuring that when someone searches for you on the Web, the first listings to appear on the page are positive ones. Crafting a positive online reputation is essentially a matter of populating the search engines with flattering content about yourself—but how?

The first thing to think about is your online real estate portfolio. Make sure you are the owner of all the domain names associated with your name; if you go by Jon Lener, try to secure access to jonlener.com, jon-lener.org, jonlener.net, and all the exact-match variations you can get. Do the same with social media accounts: a Twitter account is not going to provide you with Google rankings if it isn’t directly attached to your name.

Remember that your goal in reputation defense is to fill the first page or two of Google with positive listings—that is, listings that you control. Make sure to get a LinkedIn page, then, because LinkedIn ranks better on Google than any other social network! Other social networking suggestions include a WordPress blog, which ranks better than Blogger or Tumblr; a Vimeo account, which, surprisingly, ranks better than a YouTube account; and limited time spent on photo-sharing services, like Flickr, which simply aren’t as useful for obtaining search engine rankings.

Measuring your online influence is ultimately useful, but when it comes to ensuring that your online image is a positive one, there is no substitute for basic reputation monitoring. There is also no replacement for the tried-and-true methods of using exact-match domains and social media accounts to foster an online reputation you can be proud of.

Do you monitor your online reputation? Tell us how in the comments.

Rich Gorman is a recognized thought leader when it comes to online reputation management techniques and a designer of direct response marketing programs for companies large and small. He leads the team at www.reputationchanger.com.

Behind the Scenes of the DPS Pinterest Strategy: Case Study

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to set up and manage the Pinterest account for Digital Photography School. Within a week, we had launched, and Darren explained his take on the process in this case study.

So far, the account has nearly 5000 followers. We have been getting a lot of great feedback and have noticed a lot of people signing up just to follow us. We’ve tapped into something amazing in the DPS community and I believe that a lot of the success is to do with our approach.

In this case study, I’ll be talking about how we went against common advice for bloggers when it comes to setting up a Pinterest account. It may get a bit geeky when it comes to the marketing strategies, but trust me: your blog will be better for it.

Pinterest foundations

I’ve been interning for The Village Agency for some time now, with a strong focus on Pinterest. We noticed two behaviours that were being repeated across various brands:

  • People follow boards, not accounts.
  • People don’t just want pretty images. They want context.

This is because of a concept called the interest graph.

The interest graph

Many bloggers have a presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Most people do this because they want to know others on theses networks and socialize with them in some capacity. People follow information based on their interests, but their behaviour is mostly social.

The interest graph shows when people are connected by common interests. The social element takes a backseat at this point—people want to find information that is relevant to their interests.

This is where a lot of bloggers mess it up.

A lot of people hear about the traffic potential of Pinterest and start pinning their content. An example is the Problogging board by David Risley. This board is based around the interest of the blogger, not of the people in the Pinterest ecosystem. This means that David will get traffic from people that visit his account, but the conversation will end there. People are unlikely to repin that content—and the action of repinning is what makes your content go viral on this network.

Note: I have to commend David for actually having a Pinterest account. You can’t learn anything unless you experiment!

What does this mean for bloggers?

This means that people don’t want your Pinterest account to be an extension of your blog. As Darren pointed out with his case study, people are already pinning your content.

If you really want to develop a strong Pinterest presence, you need to curate pinboards based around the interests of your readers. This is especially relevant for those outside of the popular niches on Pinterest.

How we did this

We developed a series of boards based around the common topics on Digital Photography School, such as lighting, portraits, and composition. I went through the archives, and looked at the ebook topics on the resources page, and came up with a rough list of 25 boards. I then set about finding content for those boards.

I started noticing patterns and trends while I was creating the boards. I noticed that other users had created boards based on certain types of lighting or certain technical aspects of photography. I knew that I had to narrow down the focus of certain boards to really tap into the interest graphs for these users.

Sites such as DPS and Problogger are authority sites. They are known for containing a lot of content on a wide range of topics that are important to the fields they cover. This is part of the appeal of these sites.

Most bloggers—and photographers—however, are specialists. They are interested in general trends affecting their community, but are focused on very specific information that affects their niche. This means that people don’t just want information on taking photos of people. They want to know how to take photos of newborns, children, families, and seniors. They want ideas for specific types of lighting or poses. We created specific boards targeted towards these interests and have gained a lot of traction from that effort. We now have twice three times as many boards as we originally planned.

We took this idea one step further

Within hours of launching we had over 1000 followers, but I felt like we were missing something. We were collecting a lot of solid information about digital photography and had been grouping it into categories. This information was great for existing photographers, but … then I realized what we were missing.

Newbie photographers, such as myself, would have been overwhelmed by the myriad of boards. I still use my camera as a point-and-shoot tool. Imagine if my first exposure to the DPS brand was the Pinterest account! I may have been too overwhelmed to check out the site and see the fantastic resources in the Beginners section.

Tweaking the strategy

I might be brilliant at social media but, as I say, I use my DSLR as a glorified point-and-shoot snaps. I´ve had it for four years and only have a vague ideas about what the buttons do. I decided to set up a board covering the basics, but even then, I found the information to be overwhelming.

Photography has a steep learning curve for the newbie. That is where resources like Digital Photography School come in. So what if I structured some of the boards like they were lessons? I could use the description area to create additional context and tell people what board they should visit to get their next “lesson.”

We set up a board called DSLR basics. The next four boards focused on elements of a concept called the “exposure triangle.” The first board focused on why exposure was important. The following boards were dedicated to each part of the triangle. I linked to relevant blog posts in the description.

The first board in the “series” said:

Learning exposure is the first step you should take when it comes to understandind photography. Read our tutorial on the exposure triangle: http://bit.ly/1N3I In the following boards, we talk about the 3 parts of the triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

The following boards contained a brief line about why that concept was important.

We have only just started experimenting with this technique, so we don’t have much data about whether or not people are responding to this. We are giving away space above the fold to boards that, visually, aren’t as interesting as some others we’ve created. But we’re hoping it pays off.

This is where bloggers can really stand out: give people a reason to visit your Pinterest account other than to check out images. Create a destination. It’s risky and requires a lot of work, but it has the potential to send a massive amount of targeted traffic to your blog.

How can you apply this to your blog?

The first step most people take is to set up their own Pinterest account and start pinning images. If your main goal is to get traffic, you should focus on creating prettier images on your own blog first.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Increase the number of images in blog posts. This gives people multiple pictures to choose from when pinning a post.
  • Hunt for incredible images on Flickr. This post by Skellie gives details about how to do this.
  • Include a portrait-oriented image later in the post. Landscape-oriented images work better to grab attention on a blog post, but the portrait image suits the pinboards better.

I also recommend that bloggers create a Pinterest account for themselves to experiment with before creating one for their blog. You don’t have to do this, but it will give you the chance to understand Pinterest a bit more before making a big commitment.

Creating your own Pinterest account

Many pinterest newbies start by pinning pretty things. That´s what all the “experts” recommend you do. I’ve noticed, though, that having a nice image is just one part of Pinterest success. The second is telling people why they should click through to read the article connected to the pin.

This is incredibly easy and will make you stand out as an authority. Sometimes you will need to read the article to add context, but often the headline will suffice.

Importantly, once an image has been repinned, you lose control over the conversation. It will get shared and, often, the text will get edited. Adding information means that people will have an additional reason to categorize it according to their interests. It also helps people discover your pins via the network’s search tool.

What do I do with the account?

Having a Pinterest account isn’t enough—you also have to give people a reason to click through to check out your boards. Here are some suggestions to tie it your Pinterest account to your blog:

  • Link to relevant boards when discussing issues in your blog posts. This is a great way to give more information without sharing a bunch of links.
  • Create a Pinterest landing page on your blog. This is like a Twitter landing page—it’s where you talk about why your blog is relevant to those who have clicked over from Pinterest. You can see our example for DPS here. I’ve also created one for my marketing client at The Village Agency.

How do I drive traffic to the account?

Some of the comments on Darren’s earlier Pinterest experiment post suggested that we achieved a lot of success because of the strength of the brand name. This was part of it. But interestingly, there was a lot of traction before we publicly launched the account.

Something that, I believe, will really grow the account is the way Darren is involving the community in the growth of the account. Look at the questions Darren asked in the launch post:

  • If there’s a topic you’d like to see us develop a board for, please suggest it in the comments below.
  • If you have a photography board of your own, please let us know about it in the comments below—we’ll be following as many as we can and repinning the best of the best from our community.

Here’s why this step was important.

The fan cycle

I’m a huge fan of word of mouth and how it can help bloggers spread their message.

I discovered this concept called Cycle of a Fan which shows how a person can go from introduction to ownership. This can also apply to Pinterest accounts.

People naturally want to share something that they feel that they are a part of or have contributed to. This step allows us to engage with the DPS readers and, even better, gives us valuable information about how we can improve.

  • have created several new boards based on reader feedback
  • are following many of the boards of people following us
  • are planning new boards once we’ve gotten through this launch period

We can then use the information from these boards to influence the content at the blog.

Over to you

We’ve had an incredibly busy couple of weeks since we launched the DPS Pinterest account. It has been a constant process of refining and tweaking the strategy.

I’d love to hear any feedback you may have—or any questions! What are you biggest problems related to creating a Pinterest presence for your blog?

6 Sweet Tips to Help You Track Social Media Trends

This guest post is by Lior Levin.

Who has the time to stay on top of the latest trends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest while still running a business or marketing department?

Unless you can figure out efficient ways to keep on top of social media, you’ll become overwhelmed. New social media outlets are popping up all the time, and the existing ones are evolving just as quickly.

If you are going to continue to use social media effectively, you have to maintain an awareness of the changes that are happening. Here are six simple ways to stay on top of social media.

1. Read social media news through Flipboard

With Facebook and Twitter at your disposal, you know where to find a lot of trends, but the hard part is efficiently sorting through all of the news. Flipboard adopts a magazine-style interface to make reading your social media news simple.

Kip Bodnar of HubSpot says of Flipboard, “This application and others like Pulse take information from news sources and social networks like Twitter and Facebook and display them in the form of a digital magazine, instead of boring lists of headlines like most RSS readers.”

2. Read leading blogs about social media

Plenty of bloggers out there devote their time and energy to providing their audiences with the most up-to-date information on social media outlets. Why not become part of their audience?

The article I mentioned from HubSpot is just the beginning of their resources on social media. HubSpot’s marketing team regularly blogs about social media trends such as the rise of mobile marketing, and provides additional resources in regularly published ebooks.

Let other folks do the hard work. All you have to do is become a loyal follower.

3. Use social media monitoring tools

You can easily search through social media trends without having to do your own narrow searches on individual sites. Priit Kallas has a helpful list of 48 social media monitoring tools, and section B mentions some of the best tools you can use to keep track of social media trends.

Perhaps the best tool in his list, depending on your needs, is Addictomatic. Kallas writes, “Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.”

4. Subscribe to newsletters about social media

“Some newsletters are worth signing up for,” writes SS Digital Media. “If you really want to stay in touch with social media, sign up for a daily newspaper such as SmartBrief. If you prefer weekly updates, check out newsletters such as SocialFresh.”

Search the web for social media experts—most of them have free newsletters that will keep you in the loop on changes made by existing social media outlets, as well as some of the new outlets preparing to enter the market. One great place to start is the Social Fresh Newsletter, which sends out seven insights each week. You can also sign up for an industry-leading Twitter blog like TwitTip via email.

5. Get social media training and certification

Maybe you’d like to take more of an official route in staying up-to-date on social media changes. If so, consider taking one of the many social media certification classes available, as recommended by OneIMS.

“Social media is becoming so important and popular among businesses that there are now several training and certification programs you can take to be at top of the social media field. If you are the go-to person at your company for all things social media or even if you are someone who wants to learn everything they can about social media is beneficial to take advantage of the tools and resources that are available for social media training and certification.”

Formal training and/or certification can also open up opportunities for you to share your knowledge with others.

6. Attend social media meetups, conferences, and tweetups

Sometimes the most powerful tool for keeping on top of trends is still word of mouth. You can tap into the wisdom of the social media community by attending meetups, tweetups, and conferences dedicated to social media.

“Whether in person at a meetup or virtually at a tweetup, chatting with like-minded individuals will keep you on your toes, help you predict what’s coming next, and teach you new things about how others are behaving in social media. To find a group of social media fanatics near you check out Meetup.com,” writes Cara Friedman at Mashable.

Taking the time to talk about these topics with other people can be a welcome change from staring at a computer screen or gathering information through a Twitter feed. Not only that, meeting with people in person can help you network in all kinds of different ways.

Pick one or a few of the methods listed above and you’ll stay up-to-date with all the myriad changes in the social media industry. The success of your marketing depends on staying on top of the latest trends, and these tips should make it easy!

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a task management tool company, and who also consults for a psd to html conversion company.

Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment

Over the last couple of days I’ve begun to play with Pinterest again. It’s been ages since I first set up an account but when I did I didn’t really really click with it. Interestingly, despite not being active on it, I seemed to gather followers til it got to 1000.

PinterestI also saw some decent traffic from Pinterest to our photographic tutorials on dPS. I guess our articles are just naturally pinnable, as we have a lot of images. Pinterest has been sending us around 40,000 visitors a month, which is nice, although not a massive amount in the scheme of overall traffic. In terms of social media traffic, it comes in behind Facebook, but ahead of StumbleUpon and Twitter.

An experimental strategy

Given than we’ve gained decent traffic from it, I decided to start playing with it this week to see what I could learn. My strategy has been very simple and very primative so far and has centred around a photography board on my personal account. There, I’m simply sharing the following:

  • photos that I love
  • tutorials from other sites that I think are good
  • a few of the better tutorials from dPS.

The links to dPS are in the minority, but over the last few days I must have pinned 20 or so items from the site. I’ve also done a little liking and commenting on a few other photography-related Pinterest boards—but not heaps!

Preliminary results

It hasn’t been long, but in the time I’ve been experimenting, I’ve seen some interesting results.

  1. Follower numbers are up around 450. I did link to it from my Facebook page and Twitter account, but most of that growth has just steadily come in (I’m guessing) mainly as people repin my images.
  2. I’m seeing decent repinning. The numbers aren’t huge, but already I’m seeing some nice traction on some of the pins I’ve put out there. Actually, I’m fascinated to see what is and isn’t getting repinned. Obviously its largely about the image, but  tips-related pins seems to be getting traction. I’ll continue to experiment to see what more I can glean about what’s working over time.
  3. I’ve noticed an increase in Pinterest traffic coming to the site, but given that I’ve only pinned a handful of dPS, stuff I wasn’t expecting much.

    Pinterest's traffic impact
    In fact, a couple of days after my experiment began, we had the biggest Pinterest day of traffic for dPS since May. While we were averaging about 1400 visitors a day over the last couple of weeks, but it increased to around 2100—not a massive boost, but encouraging. Follower numbers at he time of writing had also steadily grown to more than 1600 for that board.

  4. Reader engagement, as shown by the comments on some of my pins, was interesting. Followers were mainly asking questions. On one pin (on a set of images), a follower asked if I knew of any tips for a particular type of photography. I was able to link to a dPS tutorial on that topic in a reply to her comment.

I’m seeing quite a few opportunities here and have committed to take my Pinterest activity to the next level over the coming weeks. I’m not going to reveal what we have planned yet, but you can expect to see dPS on Pinterest in a more formal way in the near future (I’ll share what we do when that happens).

Update: now a week into this experiment I can compare traffic for the last week from Pinterest to the week before.

The blue line is this last week of referred traffic from Pinterest – the orange line is last week’s referred traffic from Pinterest. While it goes up and down from day to day (the last two days have been weekend traffic) you can see we’re up to 7 days of increased traffic on the previous week.

The increase is 38.94% on the previous week with Friday being up by 91% on the previous Friday.

While this isn’t a massive rise in terms of our overall traffic for the site the signs are positive. Even if we just sustain this increase for the next 12 months it is an extra 200,000 visitors to the site over the year (of course I hope we can ramp it up further with some further new strategies that will be implemented this coming week).

Straight to the source!

For those who don’t know, Pinterest has a Source page that shows you the most recent pins made to a site. For example, the dPS source page is at http://pinterest.com/source/digital-photography-school.com/

To find yours, just substitute the dPS URL for your blog’s URL in the link above. If you don’t have much pinning action on your blog, you might not have one yet, but quite a few of the small blogs I tried it on did.

On this page, you can see all the pins that people have made for articles on Digital Photography School. The page doesn’t seem to update minute by minute, but it is relatively up to date.

This, my friends, is what I consider gold information! There are many possibilities for how you can use this:

  1. Share this page with your community: I linked to this page a few months back on the dPS Facebook page with a call to action like, “See what’s hot on dPS right now.” I noticed a rise in traffic to dPS that day (and an increase in pinning action too).
  2. Research what type of posts are pinnable: Watch this page and you’ll quickly see what kind of articles readers find pinnable. Create more of them!
  3. Add Pin buttons to your hot posts: I’m currently getting a redesign of dPS done that will include Pinterest buttons on every page on the site. But while I’m waiting, I’ve manually added them to the pages on dPS that are getting the most pins—this page helps me to find them (so too does digging into your Google Analytics account). By adding this button to the right pages, you make the post more pinnable—so when people arrive from Pinterest they’re more likely to pin it themselves.
  4. Networking opportunities: Another benefit of this page is that you can see who’s pinning your stuff. What a perfect place to watch and thank those who are pinning your work with a quick comment. This is an opportunity to network with your readers, and not just any readers, but those who are evangelists for your blog!

Knowing what content on your site is being shared is great information. How are you using Pinterest to engage, and engage with, readers? Share with us in the comments.

Update: if you’d like a sneak peek at Phase 2.0 of the dPS Pinterest experiment take a look at our brand new dedicated dPS Pinterest account which I’ll write more about in the next week.