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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Spring 2017

COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS) Instructor:  Brett Atwood                                Office:  GWH 234        ...

WEEKS 10, 11 & 12: SEO Basics and Social Media Marketing Plans

SUMMARY:

Over the next two weeks, we will:
  • Continue to work on our primary Wix-based campaign website
  • Learn ways to improve search engine rankings of content for our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
HOMEWORK:
  • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due near the end of the semester)
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Each team should run an audit on their site, when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.

Social Media Marketing Goals and Strategies



Related Links:
Below is an example of one of the many videos posted to YouTube showing how easy it was to unlock an old version of a Kryptonite bike lock.

Social Media Marketing Plan Cycle

Listening to what people are saying about a company enables the organization to determine its current social media presence which in turn guides the setting of social media goals and strategies to achieve them.

Setting Goals is done by pinpointing the location, behavior, tastes and needs of the target audience and conducting a competitive analysis to determine an organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in the environment.

Defining Strategies must be done on a case-by-case basis, using all available pertinent information.

Identifying the Target Audience (market) enables a company to organize its marketing strategies to efficiently reach those most receptive and likely to become customers and even brand advocates.

Selecting tools is accomplished by finding the social media sites where the target audience resides and then focusing the company’s social media efforts on those platforms.

Implementing is the process whereby the goals, strategies, target market and tools are taken into consideration in creating actionable social media platform-specific marketing tactics.

Monitoring is measuring, tracking and evaluating an organization’s social media marketing initiatives.

Tuning is the constant and continuous process of adjusting and improving the elements of the plan.

Social Media Marketing Plan - Semester Assignment

ASSIGNMENT:

Each team will collaborate to create a social media marketing plan for your brand. See info below for more criteria on what should be included. Your completed plan (due Thursday, April 20) should be approximately 5-10 pages (can be longer -- but MINIMUM of five pages).

Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans:

About Social Media Marketing Plans

What should be in your social media marketing plan? The presentation below gives an overview of the key elements, including the following sections and elements:
  • Executive Summary/Overview
  • Social Media Presence
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Target Market
  • Tools & Implementation
  • Monitoring & Tuning
  • Budget & ROI
In addition, your Social Media Marketing Plan should include documentation of the research and planning of your campaign, including:
  • Branding research (logo/name survey results)
  • User Personas
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Wireframe(s)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practices


Today in class we will look at ways to improve the search engine rankings of content in our press releases and original websites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of refining your Web site content so that it has better visibility in search engines, such as Google.

Search engines are the primary way that people discover Web content. In the U.S., Google accounts for a vast majority of search engine referrals. Thus, it is hugely important that your content be properly indexed so that new users can discover and explore your creations.

This three-minute video gives a great overview of what SEO is all about:



But, what about specifics? Here is a great "cheat sheet" on SEO from my colleague Rebecca Cooney, an assistant professor at WSU:
Wix also has some great tips that can be reviewed at:

It's All About Algorithm

A key aspect of search engine optimization is the algorithm that drives the decisions of how search engines "rank" and determine "relevancy" for each website. Here are some resources that help explain more about the ever-changing (and somewhat secretive!) algorithms... 

Ways to Increase Referrals


The following information addresses some of the "best practices" in SEO for websites. It is essentially divided into two areas: On-page elements and Off-page elements. The on-page elements are things that you can control on your site...they are located on the pages of your site. This includes the text/copy, images, URL paths and even the design choices you make for your site. The off-page elements are located elsewhere on the web. This includes third-party websites, such as news sites, blogs and link aggregation services.

On-Page Elements:
The following on-page elements should be reviewed for possible tweaking so that your content is better surfaced in search engines for referral.

Page Title
  • The page title appears in the top bar of your browser
  • For critical areas of your Web site, does the page title in your browser contain the proper wording?
URL
  • Does the Web site URL for key areas include text that would contribute to that page being indexed on critical keywords?
"Invisible" Page Content
  • Description Field text doesn't help rankings, but it does ultimately show up in the search listings
  • Keywords description fields
    • Less is more
      • No more than 5-10 keywords in your metatag
Off-Page Elements

Inbound links

  • Increase number of Web pages that link to you
    • Seen as "vote of confidence" for relevance of your site
    • Text in link is also important ("link anchor text")
  • Increase Google's "Page Rank"
    • More links on prominent sites will also increase your page ranking
Best Practices
  • Does your blog post title contain keywords that concisely capture the blog topic and are known to be relevant to your site?
  • The very first words should be the most relevant, if possible
    • Good Example: Second Life Tutorial: Customize your Avatar
    • Bad Example: Want a New Look for your Avatar?
      • In the above example, the words "Second Life Tutorial" will match to keyword searches for people looking for second life tutorials. Further, the inclusion of "customize" and "avatar" will likely help this post show up higher in search results for people looking for help in avatar customization.
       
  • To see an example of this in action, do a Google Search on the words: Project Sansar
    • Notice how most of the top results have "Project Sansar" in the first few words of the title
  • Would your blog post title make sense if it were displayed "out of context" via a RSS feed or on a third-party Web site, such as Digg or Facebook?
    • Each post has the potential to be surfaced on third-party sites. Your headline should be constructed so that it compels someone to click on it.
  • Are there opportunities to mix in blog posts that are not time-sensitive?
    • Many blog posts will clearly be connected to a new and timely announcement or development. However, when appropriate, you might want to strategically develop topics that speak to "evergreen" topics that have a longer shelf life.
  • Consider organizing your narrative with sub-headers and integrating occasional use of bold text and lists.
    • These are believed to be minor factors in the algorithm that Google uses in determining relevance.
  • If appropriate, include links to previous related blog posts within the text of your new post.
    • Interlinking increases the odds that your posts will be indexed at a higher level, according to many SEO experts.

Share Links and Network Badges

According to many SEO experts, blogs can play a key role in helping one's overall search rankings. In the case of Google's algorithm, the "newness" and frequency of posts contribute to the perceived "relevance" of a site. However, the key is to get other blogs and sites to link directly to your blog. An increase in third party referral links results in an increased "relevance" for your site.

As expected, a new blog post typically gets a burst of traffic immediately after it is published. In most cases, the traffic declines dramatically after a day or two. However, in some cases, a blog post that is not timely might continue to drive traffic to your site long after its initial publication. This is particularly true if the post is not time-sensitive and becomes indexed and related to key terms by search engines.
  • Are you pro-actively encouraging other sites to link to your post? What third-party sites should you strategically target as significant potential recipients of your blog post?
    • Digg, Reddit and Facebook are among those social networking/aggregation sites that may help generate links to our site.
    • If you feel that the theme of your post has significance outside of our own site, then submit it! Common sense rules here, but some examples include:
      • Digg.com (submit URL here - requires registration)
      • Reddit.com (Submit URL here - requires registration)
  • Do you have a Facebook Like button on your post?
    • Make it easy for people to link to and share your info.
      • Facebook has code that allows you to add a "Like"button here

Research Links

HubSpot has some great tips on getting the most of paid search listings:
Other useful links:

Action Items for Optimizing your Campaign for Search Engine Discovery

Ready to Optimize?

Is your campaign site optimized for search engine discovery and indexing?

There are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that your site will show up prominently in organic search engine results.

Add Metadata

In Wix.com, you can easily add meta title, keyword and description info. Simply go to the Settings gear icon and then select SEO (Google). Make sure to activate the "Let search engines find my website" slider, as well!

In addition, you can optimize individual pages within Wix. To do so, go to the Pages icon  and select the page you wish to optimize. Then select the gear icon and fill out the SEO title, description and keyword data for that page.

Double-Check Your Site Address

In the Settings > Site Address section, take a closer look at the URL path you have created for your brand. Is your brand name part of the URL name?

Use the SEO Wizard

Wix.com has a great SEO monitoring tool that you can find under the Site Manager (select SEO from the left-hand vertical navigation then refer to the "Get Found on Google" section to begin your audit).



Link to Social Networks

Soon, we will be creating Facebook and Twitter pages. Once those are ready, you should connect your Facebook and Twitter sites to your campaign site. Remember to also include a link back to your campaign site in your "About" fields on those social media sites, too.

Add Text Descriptors to Your Images

Do your images have tool tip text descriptors? Many images get "crawled" by search engines that rely on your text tagging and descriptions for proper indexing. In Wix.com, you can add a text tag to any image. Simply highlight the photo and select Settings and update the Title and alt text fields.

SEO Rapper - Rapping Videos on Search Engine Optimization

The SEO Rapper has posted several YouTube clips that feature search engine optimization tips via rap lyrics!








Social Media Marketing Campaigns


Social Media Marketing Campaigns from Brett Atwood

Here is a handy "Creating Valuable Content" checklist that you can use in consideration of your content development strategy (courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute):

WEEKS 7, 8 & 9: Website Creation Training and Workshops

SUMMARY:

Over the next weeks, we will:
  • Review our various homepage wireframes to identify and review key features that are necessary for our campaign website.
  • Learn to use a website creation tool, such as Wix or Wordpress, to build an original campaign website.
  • Be introduced to the project management service and app Trello

HOMEWORK:
  • Use your selected website creation tool to build an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won’t be due for several weeks. 
  • Use this week to get familiar with the website builder and to begin your site. You may use your wireframe as a starting point to create from your site from scratch and/or identify a template that contains similar design choices and elements.

ASWSUE event at Traxx

Join the fun at Traxx Racing for an exclusive ASWSUE event!

Where: 
Traxx Racing
4329 Chennault Beach Road
Mukilteo, WA 98275

When: 
Saturday March 25th from 5PM-8PM

Who: 
Students and family

Food provided.
FREE!

Managing your Social Media Channels: TweetDeck and HootSuite

Managing multiple social media channels can be a pain. That's why there are services that you can use to help you monitor and maintain your social media channels in one centralized spot.

HOOTSUITE
HootSuite is a social media management service that helps you stay on top of multiple social networks -- all from one centralized "dashboard." You can use HootSuite to schedule messages and tweets, as well as to track mentions of your brand/organization. You can also gain a richer understanding of social media traffic trends and developments that help you follow newsworthy developments related to your organization.

HootSuite offers a free version that you can use to get started -- but professional organizations will likely want to investigate upgrading to the premium paid versions (to unlock useful extras and features).

Check out HootSuite to get started.

TWEETDECK

Another great social media management tool is TweetDeck, which is an app that allows you to better organize and monitor your Twitter feeds. Use TweetDeck to arrange your feeds with customizable columns with useful filters, including hashtags and relevant keywords. You can also use TweetDeck to advance schedule your Tweets.

Check out TweetDeck to get started.

Creating your Own Twitter Brand Page

Are you ready to set up your own Twitter page for your brand? It's easy! Register your brand username (or any name that is as close to your brand name as possible) and then look for the following options to help customize your Twitter account:
  • Change your Design via Settings > Design
  • Recommended dimensions for the small Profile Photo are 400 x 400
  • Bio should be no more than 160 characters
  • Recommended dimensions for the larger Profile Cover Photo are 1500 x 500 

Creating a Facebook Fan Page

Now that you have your new Web destination site, you'll also want to begin to nurture a strong community of followers and fans via social networking platforms, such as Facebook. Each team may want to designate a social media stakeholder for this responsibility or you might want to share those responsibilities.

CREATING A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

1. Your designated social media editor should log in to Facebook and then visit this link to set up your fan page.

2. You'll want to classify your page by Category. Although the choice is yours, you might look at the options under Brand, Product, or Organizations. There are several choices that might be appropriate for your project there.

3. You will also get a chance to "name" your page. Make sure it matches your branded Web property!

4. When ready, check the confirmation box and digitally "sign" the form and select "Create Page."

5. Now you can customize your page. You might want to populate the page with your custom logo, profile information and even any of the many Facebook Apps.

Key Image Specifications for Facebook Timeline:
  • Profile Photo: 180 x 180
  • Cover Photo: 851 x 315
    • Should not include price/purchase info or "calls to action"
    • Need a cover photo? Find a free cover photo for your Timeline at one of these sites:
6. Once your page is ready, you can choose to take it public.

7. Ready to add a Like button to your new Facebook fan site on your Wix page? Use these instructions.

8. Use the Facebook Fan site to send alerts and updates about additions to your site. You might also promote it to friends and interested, related communities via Facebook and other social network sites.

9. After you are done inserting the Facebook Like button, you might want to explore some of the other easy-to-use apps on the Wix App Market that you can add to your Wix.com site, including embedding of a Google Calendar, Polldaddy surveys, live chat and more. Check out a list of them all here.

Ten Tweets Project

What will your ten first "Tweets" be on Twitter?

Using Google Documents, collaborate with your team to identify a strategy for the timing and content of your first 10 "Tweets."

Things to consider:
  • How will you use Twitter?
  • Will you use a "hard sell" vs. "soft sell"?
  • How often should you Tweet?
  • Are there other brands or influencers you should follow?
  • How is your brand messaging represented in the Tweets that you use?
  • What is the voice/tone that you should use?
A WORD ABOUT LINK SHORTENING

Since every character on your Tweet is precious, many people turn to "link shorteners" (such as bit.ly) to help them truncate a longer website link into a shorter URL.

Note that Twitter automatically includes link shortening via its own t.co service -- but external link shorteners are also frequently used as they may offer enhanced services, such as website link tracking to provide useful data on "who clicked" your link.