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    Rallying Behind Social Good: 3 Lessons from Digital Response to Japan’s Earthquake Crisis

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Getting involved with social good is a great way for local businesses to support charitable causes they care about and to build goodwill within the community. Plus, it’s good for business. Consumers like to do business with companies that support causes. The recent success of companies like TOMS shoes, which built social good into the heart of their business model, has shown just how powerful this approach can be. Many local businesses choose to support a fundraising organization, charity, or non-profit through raising money, hosting events, and building awareness, and many are discovering how to tie their social good campaigns into their social media efforts as well. So, how can your business rally behind social good and help build a better community? The recent international response to relief needs in the wake of the Japanese Earthquake crisis highlights three important lessons for supporting causes.

    1) Use Social Media to Organize Information – When news of the disaster struck, it spread rapidly across the globe, thanks largely to real-time media like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. With large, international disasters, social media is a useful information conduit – both for victims on the ground and concerned individuals worldwide. Using social media to spread information is becoming second-nature for many. But, it’s also an important way to organize information, making it more trackable and useful for the general public and for those interested in lending a hand.

    TIP: When supporting local causes and rallying behind social good programs, don’t just share the information on social networks. Use tools like Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups, and blogs to organize information from your company and from participants.

    2) Make Giving A Social Event – In the past few weeks, support for relief efforts in Japan has been enormous. Countless events, programs, and fundraising efforts have sprung up to help provide aid for those in need, often harnessing social elements to spread awareness and participation. Research shows that youth today are more likely to get involved in social activism if they can do it with others – one study found that 1 in 2 would engage in a cause with a company if they could do it with their friends.

    TIP: Make getting involved in your social good programs a social experience by hosting events and adding social elements to your awareness campaigns. Encourage attendees to invite their friends, making it easy through online event invitations using tools like Eventbrite or Facebook Events.

    3) Embrace Web Slactivists & Activists – There are two fundamental types of digital participants in social good programs – activists, those who get involved hands-on, and slactivists, those who primarily support causes through activities like liking and sharing information about causes online. But, slactivists and activists can both be equally important to brands helping support a cause. And, 3 out of 4 slactivists said they’d be more likely to buy from a company that helps them support a cause, according to Eliza Esquivel, a researcher on youth and social activism. One element that has made raising relief and awareness for Japan so effective is that it has harnessed both types of supporters.

    For example, at the SXSW conference, the day after the earthquake, attendees put together a website and a comprehensive giving program – SXSW 4 Japan – to help people donate to the American Red Cross for Japans’ disaster relief. The site offered a variety of ways for people to get involved – like asking people to donate via text message, share about the fundraiser on social networks, and create a page on the site to encourage friends and family to get involved. Over the course of the conference, over $100,000 was raised through offering a variety of ways to get involved and appealing to both activists and slactivists.

    TIP: Offer and encourage different levels of giving and support for your social good programs. For example, ask people to donate their time, talent, and money to help support your cause both online and offline, but also make it easy to give a small donation by offering the ability to give small donations online and via text message.

    These are just three lessons we can learn from how social media has been used to support relief efforts in Japan. By applying these tips to your local social responsibility program, you can extend the effectiveness of your campaigns, making your business a valuable resource to local organizations and consumers interested in supporting them.

    Is your business involved in supporting a cause or social good program? How do you equip clients, customers, and employees to get involved with your campaigns? Share your insights in the comments!

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    About the Author

    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and local business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    Social Engagement and SEO: Comments, Shares and Likes Can Boost Search Rank

    Last updated 3 years ago

    How does social activity help boost your search discovery? More and more, the algorithms that run search engines are beginning to incorporate social signals that help them determine what content people find valuable, relevant, and interesting. At SXSW Interactive, representatives from search giants Google and Bing shared some insights in a Q&A on just how important social is to search and how to optimize your site around some of these factors along with some other insights into SEO on the web today.  

    Content is Still King
    Overall, the panel’s sentiment was resounding: in terms of SEO, content is still king. Not only is rich, original content appealing to search engines, it appeals to people. Great content spurs people to take action, signaling to search engines that the content is relevant and interesting. So, the fundamentals of creating compelling, dynamic, fresh content on important keywords are still critical in helping your site rank well in search engines.

    TIP: Start by creating content people will want to read and share, and do keyword research to optimize content for search engines to find.

    Quality Comments are Critical
    Not only is the content you post on your site an important signal, the content others post on your site is something search engines are paying attention to as well. A thoughtful, on-topic, in-depth comment tells search engines that people are engaging with the content. For example, 15 shallow, one-word comments like “awesome post!” may be ignored by search engines, while two or three thoughtful, on-topic sentences that contribute to the conversation can be a powerful signal to search engines that your post is resonating with people, helping boost your site.

    TIP:  Educate frequent commentators on your site to write thoughtful comments to help boost your site’s rank.

    Similar Links Boost Time on Site
    The time users spend on your site is another important factor search engines consider, so creating content that compels people to take time to read and a site that facilitates exploration are both important for SEO. And, by fostering reader engagement, you can help boost the time they spend on your site. Plus, these internal links are also valuable in and of themselves to search engines.

    TIP: Add a list of hyperlinks to similar post titles at the end of each post to increase the amount of time people spend on your site and to increase internal links back to your own content.

    Shares Are a Signal
    According to Matt Cutts from Google, the search engine has been using social more and more in search engine results to determine how to organize and display information. Search engines are still determining exactly how to incorporate signals like Facebook likes, Tweets, and other social shares, but factors such as the reputation of Facebook or Twitter accounts are important. Also, social sharing is an important way to make sure people see your content and visit your site, both critical factors in its overall rank.

    TIP: Make it easy for readers to share your content on the most popular social sites like Twitter and Facebook by making sure there are share buttons on each post or page of your site.

    Want to know more? You can read more Q&A tidbits from the archived Tweet stream from this conversation, or check out some of our related articles:

    Enjoy this Article?
    Share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and subscribe today to learn more about search and social discovery.

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and local business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your ReachCast Campaign

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Congratulations! You are the proud new owner of a ReachCast campaign. Your Web Presence Professional (WPP) has reviewed with you in detail how they’ll work to achieve social engagement, reputation management, and organic search discovery for your local business. You’ve seen your shiny new Cast page, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Places pages. So now what?

    As your WPP begins to grow your web presence, there are actions you can take as well to maximize the impact of your marketing efforts and get the most of using ReachCast for your local business.

    The first step to communicating with potential customers online is simply to let them know you exist!  Acquiring fans and followers takes time, but it is a crucial first step. After all, what’s the point of communicating a message if no one’s there to hear it? That would be like spending millions creating a TV spot and forgetting to purchase the media buy. Reach is just as important as the message itself.

    Start with these 5 tips to jump start your social reach:

    1. Create an email blast. First and foremost, tell everyone you know about your new social presence. We’re talking past and current customers, family, friends, employees, friends of employees, your cousin’s friend’s sister …you get the point. Send an email to your contacts announcing that you’ve launched a social media campaign and you’d appreciate their help. Include links to your social profiles, and specifically ask people to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and write a review on your Google Places page.

    2. Add social icons to your email signature. Make it as easy as possible for potential customers to visit your social pages. Add the social icon images to your signature and hyperlink these to your social profile, or just add the direct links themselves.

    3. Embed social icons onto your website. This gives people another opportunity to find you online. You can also embed the Facebook “like” box onto your website to give your Facebook page some extra visibility.

    4. Embed an RSS widget onto your website. Your WPP can provide you with the Cast Page RSS widget. Once you embed it onto your website, it will feature the “What’s New” stream from the Cast page directly on your website, sharing snippets of each post and linking directly to the site to read more. Not only is this another opportunity to showcase your content to more people, it can also help your website by offering fresh, dynamic content to your site that will boost your search results.

    5. Create in-store signage. It’s important to advertise your social pages at every customer touch point. This includes in-store communication, because that’s when your business is at the top of the customer’s mind. Adding your social icons and URLs to your business cards, coupons, post cards, signs, stickers or other printed materials is another good way to get the word out.

    Once you’ve started building your fan and follower base, it’s time to think about the content you’ll be posting. Your WPP will cast industry-relevant content on your behalf, linking to other credible sources on the web. This boosts your authority as an industry thought leader. However, only you can bring that personal touch to your business.

    Use these 5 tips to humanize your brand through content:

    1. Take pictures.  Lots of pictures. Pictures of your products, facility, employees, customers and events. It’s often hard for consumers to feel connected with a business. However, people love to connect with other people – it’s in our nature as social creatures. So give your business a face! Your WPP will be able to help you spread these images across your social profiles.

    2. Shoot videos. There are limitless ways to use videos to promote your business.  Customer testimonials, tutorials, product FAQs, behind the scenes and facility tours are some good examples of ways you can get started using video to market your business online.

    3. Feature an employee of the month. Nothing gives a face to your business like the people who work there! By writing an employee feature once a month, you can showcase the life of your business and even use this as an employee incentive program.

    4. Publicize events. Events are a great way to show that you are involved in your community and are also great for co-branding opportunities. So, whether you host a customer appreciation night, sponsor a local meetup, or participate with a local charity, make sure you share content, images, and videos of the event online.

    5. Offer follower incentives. Give people a concrete reason to connect with you! Offer a special “follower” discount to anyone who likes or follows your pages. Consider supporting a charity and donate $10 for every like or follow you get online.

    These are just a few ideas to ramp up your ReachCast campaign to get the most out of your social presence. Tying the online to the offline, being involved, and engaging with customers and your community can help you build a thriving reputation and a strong web presence. So,  strategize with your Web Presence Professional to develop a plan that works for you.

    What are some creative tactics you’ve used to gain more fans or followers? Share your ideas in the comments!

    About the Author
    Christy Rogge is a Web Presence Professional, helping ReachCast clients develop their web presence, powering search discovery, social discovery, and reputation management.

    SXSW Soundbites: The Interactive Experience in Quotes & Tweets

    Last updated 3 years ago

    This week at SXSW Interactive, in Austin, TX, there have been lots of thoughts shared, connections formed, and ideas sparked. We’ve heard about everything from augmented reality to the future of location-based services. So, we wanted to share some of the most memorable quotes from influencers and insightful tweets from attendees so far to share the essence of the SXSW Interactive experience with our readers.

    Quoteable Influencers

    “You will love brands when they love you first.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Author

    “I think that as we build companies, we need to be thinking about the long-term changes we’re going to make and ask: Are we making people’s lives better?” – Josh Williams, Gowalla

    “I treat my Twitter like an IM. You’re people, not just metrics and numbers. You want to be amused, you want to be touched.” – Felicia Day, Actress

    “I remember 10 or 15 years ago, we worried about privacy being the biggest concern. Now, I feel like we have much more to worry about, like reputation and image. Reputation, in some ways, is eclipsing privacy in the biggest concern consumers have.” – Genevieve Bell, Intel

    “We're sharing things in our lives everyday that we wouldn't have picked up the phone to talk about ten years ago.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Author

    Search Tweets

    @FlightpathNY: "Show me the content love and I'm much more likely to rank you!" – @MattCutts, Google

    @pitrow: “Quality of comments a good indicator of the quality of the post/page.” – @MattCutts, Google

    @tastytouring: Additional links at the bottom of each blog post keeps folks on your site longer and helps SEO. Overall, quality/relevancy wins.

    @bonarrdo: Reputation and topicality are the two main factors impacting Google's search results. – @mattcutts, Google

    Social Tweets

    @elysa: “90% of all purchasing decisions have some sort of social influence” – @daved

    @justinlevy: Businesses that consistently demonstrate trust will create more shared value.

    @kkinnison: “It's gonna get beat up for a while, but social media isn't a fad. It can't be. It's human.” – @garyvee

    @tmonhollon “The majority of remarkable services will be mobile in nature in the future.” - @jw, Gowalla

    Reputation Tweets

    @hollyhoffman: "Own your Google Places, own your Yelp. Own the channel before you move on." – @DarthBacklink

    @mizdiva: A company’s credibility and reputation are key components of its social capital.

    @FelixWetzel: SEO ranking is actually about influence. Real influence's based on reputation, transparency, authenticity & creating positive outcome.

    With so many ideas, insights, and nuggets of inspiration that have happened this week, these are just a small snapshot of the SXSW experience. If you experienced SXSW first-hand this year, help us collect and share your experience too by posting your favorite tweets and quotes with us in the comments!

    Enjoy this Article?
    Share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and subscribe today to learn more about search, social and reputation.

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and local business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    ReachCast Covers SXSW Live: Can’t Miss Panels and More

    Last updated 3 years ago

    This week, we’re excited to be heading to Austin to cover SXSW Interactive for ReachCast and ReachLocal blog readers! We’ll be meeting, greeting, and tweeting lots of people and ideas, so keep track of our adventures by following ReachCast on Twitter and watching the #sxsw hashtag.

    If you happen to attending and want to meet some ReachCast peeps in real life, be on the lookout for our resident social media experts and adventure seekers Tiffany Monhollon and Mike Merrill.

    SXSW Interactive features panels and keynotes on all kinds of tech-related topics, and there are literally hundreds of panels over the course of the conference. But, luckily, that also means there’s lots of great content to choose from – and lots of great topics that are right up our alley.

    Heard of a panel you wish you could attend? Leave us a link and a short (compelling) description in the comments, and we might just stop on by and live Tweet it for our readers!

    We’re looking forward to spending a few days with some of the best and brightest in social media, digital marketing, and technology, so make sure to keep track of our adventures so you can learn along with us!

    Follow ReachCast:
    ReachCast Twitter
    ReachCast Facebook
    ReachCast Blog RSS

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