3 Tips for More Effective Social Media Images

Images should form a key part of any social media campaign, as more and more emphasis is being placed on visual content nowadays. However if you are going to start using images more frequently – you need to make sure they are effective.

Collagues using social media

While there are many elements at play that determine how effective an image is on social media, there are a few essential tips that you should try to follow:

1. Go with bright and vivid colors

Flashy headphone girl

Bright and vivid colors tend to do well on social media – and attract a lot more attention. Keep in mind that does not mean your entire image needs to be a cacophony of vivid color, but that there should be splashes of bright colors.

Seeing as colors can provoke an emotional reaction, it may help to carefully choose the colors that you use to fit the mood of the image. Be sure to watch how the colors in your image contrast against one another as well – and use that to set apart important elements.

2. Add text – but be consistent

Hashtag text image

Adding typography to social media images is a popular way to get viewers to focus on them – as many will subconsciously start to read the text. However when you do add text it is important to be consistent and make it part and parcel of your visual brand.

Try to make it a point to always use the same style of typography and colors so that it reinforces your branding. On top of that you should be careful of the amount of text that you add and its placement – so that you don’t end up cluttering your image.

3. Don’t underestimate the value of white space

Woman with smartphone

Speaking of clutter, you should make it a point to use the white space in your images to your advantages. There are lots of ways in which to use white space – and you should never underestimate its value.

By ensuring that you have enough white space in your images, you can draw attention to elements more easily. In fact right now social media is on a bit of a minimalism kick, which should tell you just how important white space can be.

Aside from the tips above it should go without saying that the quality of your social media images must be beyond reproach.

If you’re having difficulty on that front you could try using Movavi Photo Editor. It is a very intuitive editor that will let you quickly learn how to unblur an image, enhance its quality, apply filters, or even remove elements from its composition. It won’t take you more than a few minutes to edit your images with its help.

Now that you know how you can start to come up with more effective social media images – why not give it a try for yourself? At the end of the day the more experience you get under your belt, the more effective the images that you’re able to produce will be.

3 Effective Strategies to Reach Your Online Target Audience This Year

SEO, social media strategy and back links are all online elements you should be thinking about to meet your target customers online.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To run a fruitful online business, you first need a solid online target audience to cater to. Without those people, there’s no one to see or care about your products and services, much less purchase them. That’s why expanding your reach and visibility is essential to reach your growth objectives.

Related: 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Keep Your Audience Hooked

How do you achieve this? Let’s assume you already know your target audience. You know their pain points, what problems they need solved and the questions they want answered. You’re determined to get them to trust you as a brand. So, you create quality content you know they’ll eat up. But … there’s a problem: You can’t seem to get enough shares, likes or comments.

If this is your dilemma, it’s likely you need a revamped online strategy to get the results you want.

Here are three essential strategies to put into practice to successfully reach your target audience this year.

1. Optimize for search.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is what webmasters use so that their website can rank higher in search engine result pages, or SERPs. SEO categorizes your content and investigates its value and other elements like engagement and unique visitors and ranks your website accordingly. The more steps you’ve taken to optimize your content, the greater the chance you’ll have of reaching your target market.

Related: 5 Essentials for Connecting With Your Ideal Target Market on Social Media

There are several ways to optimize for SEO:

  • Optimize for mobile. Google prioritizes sites that use mobile-first indexing, meaning that their site is optimized across all devices, especially mobile. Statista found that in 2018, 52 percent of website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. If you aren’t optimizing for mobile, you’re missing out on half of your potential traffic and leads.

Image Source: Backlinko

  • Use relevant keywords. Google processes more than 40,000 search queries every second. The only way your content is going to show up for users is if you conduct keyword research based on what your audience wants and center your content around it.

  • Build quality backlinks. You want authoritative, respected blogs linking to your content because it shows those bloggers trust you as a reliable, credible source of information. One strategy is to guest-post on others’ blogs. When their readers see this, they’ll view you in the same light and gain interest in your brand. This strategy takes effort and time since not just any popular site is going to give you backlinks, but it’s possible to meet that goal, given enough persistence.

2. Engage on social media.

With Statista reporting more than three billion active social media users worldwide, it’d be a waste not to utilize social media to reach your target market. You know they’re there; all you have to do is find them and interact.

Most social mediums let you set up polls, surveys and questionnaires to gather feedback from followers, which is a great way to get their opinion and form a personal connection. It shows that you care what your audience thinks and it encourages them to check you out.

Image source: Twitter.com

You should regularly post updates on your brand and its content through your social channels, using relevant hashtags so that people searching for those keywords can find your posts. Scour these hashtags to find out what questions they have that you can respond to. Add social sharing buttons on your website so your posts can be shared across multiple platforms.

3. Use visual content.

The Harvard Business Review has said that to improve your content marketing, you need to create visual content and avoid heavy blocks of text. Images, videos and other visual content spark and keep the interest of readers because they want skimmable content that’s easy to digest.

A study by Nielsen found that users scan content in different patterns, one of them being a spotted pattern. This means they skip chunks of text and heavily scan the page, searching for something specific like links or keywords.

If you want to catch the attention of your audience, spruce up the content they’re consuming by inserting images, videos and other media elements to make things more appealing and exciting. From there, use the same visual content to post to social media, and entice users to check out your brand.

Take customer stories, experiences and reviews and turn them into videos you can feature on your website and social platforms. Turn your blog posts into videos and infographics that make your content sparkle, and break the monotony. The more users who see this quality content, the more visibility it will attract through shares, likes and engagement.

Related: Is Digital Marketing a Key to Success For Growth of Your Business?

Wrapping up.

The hardest part about starting a business is getting your content into the right hands when there’s so much competition out there. If you have a strategy, however, you’ll be able to get the likes and interactions you want. Take into consideration how your audience could benefit from your brand and integrate those points into your strategy for improved lead generation.

How will you reach your audience in 2019?

The secret to effective follow up: What NOT to say

About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

5 Surefire Ways to Become a Better, More Effective Leader

50 percent of employees in one study said they’d quit to at some point to escape a bad boss. Are you a ‘bad’ boss?

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever worked under a bad leader? Someone who didn’t connect with, inspire or motivate his or her team members? A boss who came and went just as quickly … or annoyed you, personally, so much that you actually quit your job?

Related: The 6 Most Familiar ‘Bad Boss’ Types and What to Do About Them

According to a Gallup study, 50 percent of employees polled said they had quit at some point in their careers because of bad management. Not only is that a staggering statistic; it makes you wonder why there are so few effective leaders at all.

What can entrepreneurs do to become better leaders themselves? It’s a question I often ask myself as an enterprise marketing leader who heads teams of 30 or more and manages multimillion-dollar budgets. Here’s what I’ve learned in just a few years on the job:

1. Give credit where credit is due.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled. They will say: We did it ourselves.”

 — Lao Tzu 

In a 2019 study by BambooHR, more than 1,000 U.S.-based employees were asked to rate 24 potentially “bad” boss behaviors, on a scale from “totally acceptable” to “totally unacceptable.”’ The results were predictable:

  • 57 percent said that a boss taking credit for other people’s work is unacceptable

  • 44 percent  admitted that a bad boss was the primary reason they’d left a job

  • 30 percent agreed that a boss with a bad temper or condescending attitude was the last straw

Unfortunately, none of this is surprising. Many workplaces have toxic cultures that do not foster trust or collaboration but run instead on a kind of Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest model.

2. Serve as a mentor and build people up.

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

Theodore Roosevelt 

Why do so many bad managers take credit for other people’s hard work? Because one of the most common traits of bad managers is that they have me-first mentalities. Leadership for them is little more than a means to an end — more prestige and a higher salary.

Some might argue that those rewards are fine motivations for leadership. But most of us would disagree. We know from our personal experiences with great parents, teachers, coaches and mentors that great leaders lead because they care about improving the lives of those around them.

Related: What Can You Do About Bad Bosses?

Here’s another statistic for you:

  • 79 percent of all employees have quit due to a “lack of appreciation,” according to a comprehensive study that surveyed 200,000 people over 10 years.

As a leader, never forget that you are a mentor to your teammates. And, just as with good parenting, good mentoring requires building people up, not breaking them down out of frustration.

3. Innovate and commit to a vision.

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”

Steve Jobs 

Bad managers love to point out that great leaders like Jobs aren’t always nice to their teammates. Fair point … except that Jobs was always the MVP at his companies, which more than made up for his mean disposition.

Jobs was also always willing to put in the work and commit to his daring and innovative vision. This made him an effective and inspiring leader despite his often mean and manipulative behavior toward his employees.

Yes, even great leaders are flawed. But what separates billion-dollar founders from the rest is their singular ability to be daring. They are able and willing to commit to a specific course of action, even when times are tough and few people agree with them.

Wonder what character traits an innovative leader has? The Harvard Business Review interviewed 33 leaders in the top 99th percentile for innovation, as measured by their peers, employees and bosses. HBR‘s study found that innovative leaders share the same 10 traits.

4. Be digitally aware

“If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young.”

Jeff Bezos 

Speaking of innovative leadership, it’s not possible to be an innovative leader in the 21st century unless you’re also digitally savvy.

A study by DDI found that digital leadership skills are becoming increasingly important in the 21st century. In fact, companies that have the most digitally capable leaders financially outperform the average by 50 percent.

Is technological awareness limited to younger generations of leaders? Not necessarily. Recognizing the role of technology in the success of your company is an attitude, first; a skill set, second.

5. Learn from leaders you admire.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
John F. Kennedy 

The general belief is that leadership is “intangible,” an “it” factor that some talented individuals have, and most people just don’t. Of course, this is a myth. Leadership, like any other skill, is something that can be practiced and perfected.

Will some people be naturally better leaders than others? Sure. But there are so many successful leadership coaches like Tony Robbins for a reason. Anyone can become a better leader with hard work and persistence.

One of the best ways to learn the skills you need to be a better leader is to model your leadership style on great leaders you admire.

Related: How Successful People Overcome Toxic Bosses

Practice makes perfect.

At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to leadership. There are different styles suitable for different people. You’ll have to find the style that suits your innate personality and strengths to become the best leader you can be.

One thing for sure, however: Great leaders are made, not born.

How to Make Your MVP Truly Cost-Effective

Manual-first, then automation.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the best way for entrepreneurs to validate their assumptions about the viability of their business model. Taking the roadmapping approach and starting out by creating a MVP makes a lot of sense from the business point of view.

A product roadmap is a great tool for visualizing the direction the product would take over time and coming up with a strategic plan for the offering. Building the minimum viable product or the product prototype is crucial. While an MVP results in significant cost savings, building one also incurs a significant cost for the company. 

So how do you ensure that your development strategy for building a MVP is truly cost-effective? If you are an entrepreneur looking to build your first mobile or web app, here is what you need to do.

Related: Uncover Market Opportunities With This Roadmapping Strategy

Adopt manual workflows for development of MVPs

The MVP aims at resolving the core problems that users face and offering them viable solutions for the same. While automation is a time-saving process, in the initial stages of business, a manual-based approach is what is bound to work best.

Automation of the workflows requires a lot of resources. Involvement of designers and app developers requires a greater amount of time as well as money. A manual-first strategy for MVP solves this issue and makes the MVP really cost-effective.

What is a manual-first MVP?

The manual-first MVP, also called the Wizard of Oz MVP, relies on your MVP appearing to have all the functionalities of a fully-featured product while in reality, your team is present behind the scenes, pulling on the strings manually.

This technique is absolute gold for a service based startup. The MVP consists of a functioning app prototype designed using prototyping tools for use at the client end. At the backend, the service requests are completed manually. After the success of MVP, the actions physically performed can be emulated for coding and automation before the final product is ready for use.

The biggest advantage of going manual-first is that you don’t need to lines and lines of code to be written before realizing the need to change direction. Pivoting is easy when the workflows are manual but once automation steps in, you have already invested a lot of resources, and that straps you of the flexibility that is much needed in the early stages of your startup.

Related: How to Make an App When You Can’t Code (a Step-by-Step Guide)

Learn from other success stories.

A number of startups have successfully used a manual-based approach for MVP development. Let’s take a look at some of the success stories.

  1. Groupon: Groupon founder Andrew Mason — after having launched his not so successful startup “The Point” without testing a MVP — went for a manual-first strategy when it came to building Groupon. The company started with a simple WordPress site where he posted deals on a daily basis. After the orders started coming in, he generated PDFs manually and sent out emails containing the vouchers and coupons to the customers from his personal email during the MVP stage. Everything was done manually with the help of third-party resources. It was only after the product idea was validated and there was a genuine need for Groupon felt in the market that automation stepped in and took over the manual aspect of the business.

  2. Instacart: The popular grocery delivery app started out as an iOS-only MVP that happened to be manual-first. The app code was robust and had the acceptable level of functionality at the time of launch but behind the scenes, there was simply no automation. The orders that came in were manually handled as the system pushed them through and the team including the founders themselves went out to shop and deliver the orders. After meeting initial success and validation of the app idea, automation was implemented and the Instacart app then went on to incorporate groundbreaking innovations. Manual approach gave the company the speed and flexibility that was much needed in the initial stage.

  3. Zappos: After realizing the need for shoes being made available to shop online, Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn went online and posted pictures of shoes after having tie-ups with the manufacturers on Zappos (then called Shoesite). Once the orders came in, he would buy the pair of shoes from the physical location and deliver them to the clients. It was only after validation of the idea that they grew in scale and automation really kicked in. The manual-based approach led the founder to show that the product actually worked, people out there were really interested, were ready to spend, and a problem existed for Zappos to solve and be successful.

Related: How I Built a Company the Lean Way — by Using the Scientific Method

The no-automation strategy during the MVP stage involves having no technology or algorithms running behind the scenes. The front-end product at the client’s end is functional, comprising of landing pages or mobile apps that have the option of signing up for the actual product or email lists.

Manual-first is the fastest and the most cost-effective way of reaching product/market fit. It lets you focus on solving the actual problem customers face and leaves out the scope for implementation of technology in the future as the product offering gets validated by the customers.

Looking the Part – A Guide To Effective Visual Merchandising

Retailers are always faced with the challenge of trying to figure out new ways to pull customers into their establishment. Your store’s appeal is very important as it is the first impression you make on the public. Establishments that are clean and that speak to the brand’s identity are always a draw for consumers in a marketplace that can be very competitive.

Visual merchandising guide

For retailers who are looking to get ahead of the competition, visual merchandising helps to create a picture of the brand’s values in the minds of consumers. Expert visual merchandising from Sparfacts and other marketing businesses can flesh out an entire image for a retail establishment by focusing on the store’s arrangement, individual displays, and campaigns to drive sales. Effective visual merchandising can be accomplished by ensuring that you take the right approach, focus on the important areas and learn to understand your target demographic.

Continue reading to learn more about how you can effectively use visual merchandising in your store to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Individual Displays And Campaigns

When setting up a display to focus on a particular product, retailers should pay attention to a few key areas. For one, it’s important to keep things simple by taking a minimalist approach to organising your displays. Whether you are selling sandals, sunglasses, cell phones, or clothing, the best way to place the focus on the product instead of the picture is to make the product stand out on a simple background.

Be sure to show your customers the potential of the product when finalising your display designs and if the customer asks about anything in the display or campaign, make sure your sales associates are prepared to discuss the products, answering any questions they may have with confidence. When selling clothing, a mannequin can be used to present different combinations of current styles being sold by the store.

In furniture stores, the whole reason that the furnishings are accessorised with bedding and housewares is so that customers can get a visual of how the pieces might appear in their own home. Once you have highlighted your products to the customers, it’s then up to your sales associates on the floor to elaborate on the products if customers have questions.

A clever tactic, when setting up a display, is to consider choosing odds over evens. If you are trying to sell shoes, then as opposed displaying four styles choose three or maybe five. Typically, most retailers use the rule of three to create focus and attention around a product because asymmetry tends to create an off-balance look, which in turn makes the shopper continue to look at the item while trying to find balance.

Finally, interactive design is one of the newer ways that retailers are appealing to consumers. Tablets, interactive screens that allow shoppers to look for items while browsing the store, and in-store demos are becoming increasingly popular. These tools allow shoppers to get a better sense of the product while they are in the store shopping.

Store Arrangement

A major part of visual merchandising that contributes to the store’s appeal to the customer is how the brand’s identity is conveyed. More than just keeping the store clean, the visual appeal is a great part of shopping the store, which includes the store’s arrangement and lighting. These two features immediately show the shoppers the brand and the style of the establishment.

For example, many grocery stores have wide aisles and are well-lit. However, upscale or speciality grocery stores create a more intimate, cosy mood and are usually dimly lit. These visuals create the mood for shopping and key the consumer into the type of person who is likely to shop there and also gives an indication of the types of products sold in the store.

Effective Visual Marketing In Modern Retail

Retail establishments speak to shoppers on so many different levels. From the arrangement of the products to the store’s overall décor, consumers are wooed into making purchases through well-thought-out visual merchandising campaigns that are organised and that focus on the shopper’s line of vision. Whether you are selling flip flops or thousand dollar watches, the presentation in many cases is as important as the product and how you present this to the customer will ultimately dictate the success of your business going forward.

9 Effective & Profitable Sales Letter Headlines

how to write good headlines
Image source: Depositphotos.com

“The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest…For the entire return from an ad depends on attracting the right sort of readers…The best of salesmanship has no chance whatever unless we get a hearing.” – From the timeless classic, Scientific Advertising, by legendary adman Claude Hopkins.

Make no mistake about it, as a copywriter or marketing professional your ability to write or identify compelling, attention-grabbing headlines that get prospects to read your ads…is one of the most valuable skills you can possess. Because the simple truth of the matter is this: You have absolutely zero chance of closing the sale unless you “get a hearing” with the prospect. So a good headline, an effective headline, should capture and hold the prospect’s attention and give you an opportunity to make your case.

How You Can Learn to Write More Effective Headlines

Whatever profession you’re in, no matter how good you are, you can become better at it by studying the methods, techniques, and mechanics of people who are the best at what they do in your line of work. And this is especially true if your line of work includes writing effective ad copy. There are books and magazine articles aplenty that have word-for-word, picture-for-picture reproductions of highly successful (i.e. profitable) ads and sales letters. In virtually every case there is also expert commentary about what it was that made the ad or sales letter so effective.

With this article, I humbly offer my contribution to this body of work.

1. “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano…But When I Started to Play!”

The granddaddy of great advertising headlines; often imitated but rarely equaled. Is there anyone among us who has never longed for or relished an opportunity — when people doubt our ability — to prove them wrong? As the author of this ad, the late John Caples, once said: “Learning the piano is tough. You can’t sell that. But you can sell the idea of social success and overcoming whatever deficiencies you have in order to become popular.”

Plus, people love to root for the underdog as the main character of this ad so obviously is. An action-oriented headline that promises an uplifting story, we’re compelled to read further. Note also that the before-and-after angle can be effective in many headlines.

A highly successful ad that ran in a number of farm magazines. An excellent idea of how sometimes the negative idea of offsetting, reducing or eliminating the “risk of loss” is even more attractive to the reader than the “prospect of gain.”

Barry Freed, a fellow copywriter and good friend likes to illustrate this point with the following analogy: Imagine it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and your best friend comes banging on your front door.

“Bill, Bill, wake up! I know how we can both make an extra $500 apiece today — guaranteed!” Chances are, this would be a severe test of your friendship. On the other hand, let’s say that same friend came banging on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning except this time he’s saying, “Bill, Bill, wake up! Somebody’s in your driveway stealing the hubcaps off your car!”

You wouldn’t mind that at all would you? In fact, you’d probably rush straight for the baseball bat you keep hidden behind the refrigerator…and in a matter of seconds you’d be charging out the front door, risking life and limb. All for the sake of $300 worth of hubcaps. Because that’s basic human nature. The fact is, people will fight much harder to avoid losing something they already own than to gain something of greater value they don’t presently have.

Another key factor that makes this headline successful is the attraction of the specific. Note that it wasn’t just a mistake; it was a “little” mistake. What farmer could pass up reading the copy under such a headline? What farmer wouldn’t be compelled to find out: “What was that little mistake? Am I making it too? If I am making it how much could it be costing me?”

3. “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Yes, the title of the book was also the headline for the ad that sold a million books via mail order in less than 3 years during the latter part of the Great Depression. The key to this ad’s success is its strong basic appeal. Who doesn’t want to know how to win friends and influence people? The key words are “how to.” Without these two words, the ad lacks power, punch and most importantly the promise of a benefit.

Certain words and phrases are inherently involving and attention grabbing and can be used effectively in just about any headline. Such words and phrases include:

  • How To, How, Here’s
  • Why, Which, Who Else, Where, When, What
  • These, This, Which of These.

For better advertising results look for ways to use these and other effective words in your headlines.

4. “I’m impressed — Shell’s Caprinus R Oil 40 keeps my EMD’s in better condition than any other oil I’ve used in 20 years.”

“They say” advertising copy has a substantially greater impact than “we say” advertising copy. That’s why the above testimonial quote makes a highly effective headline for this business-to-business advertising effort. Above the headline is a 4-color photo of the man who provided the quote.

He’s standing in the engine room and he’s identified as A. E. “Bud” Dacus, Chief Engineer for the company. And the first 2 paragraphs of the ad’s body copy continue in the same vein as the testimonial headline. Do you think we have some believability and credibility working here? You bet we do!

Testimonial headlines can help your ads generate a high response, particularly when they come from recognized experts in well-known companies. So be sure you stay close to your customers and regularly spend time reading the mail they send you. You just might find an excellent headline, a natural and highly believable spokesperson and the basis for a very profitable ad campaign.

5. “If you were given $4,000,000 to spend — isn’t this the kind of Health Club you’d build?”

This headline is an excellent example of a “self-incriminating” (and highly adaptable) technique for having the reader help specify what he or she would value most in such a product. The copy follows through along these lines: Surely you would put this feature into it. You would be sure that it brought you this advantage — and so on. The payoff to the ad is…we’ve already done it all for you.

Interrogative headlines help entice readers into the copy and there are many ways they can be put to effective use. Here are some more examples of effective interrogative headlines:

6. “Do You Make These Mistakes In English?”

This headline is a direct challenge made provocative and effective with the inclusion of one vital word: “these.” “What are these particular mistakes? Do I make them?” Notice also its promise to provide the reader with helpful information.

7. “Do You Do Any of These Ten Embarrassing Things?”

This headline is similar to number six as it preys on our insecurities and makes us wonder, “Which “ten” are they? Do I do any of them?” The bottom line is, “I better read and find out.”

8. “How Much Is “Worker Tension” Costing Your Company?”

Headline eight takes the same approach as number seven, this time from a business perspective. Notice the quotation marks around the words “worker tension.” Don’t they add a certain element of intrigue?

9. “Six Types of Investors — Which Group Are You In?”

And finally, headline nine appeals strongly to our innate curiosity about ourselves. How many of us, upon seeing this headline, would not want to know exactly which group we are in?

These last five headlines all have similar characteristics. One key factor is that they are all written from one primary viewpoint: “The point of you.” Each of them, in fact, contains some version of the word “you.” Case in point: Make sure you always keep your prospects and customers at the front and center of any and all advertising you do.

The Bottom Line On Headlines Is The Bottom Line

Five times as many people will read your headline as will read the body copy of your ad. How well it attracts not only readers but the right kind of readers will largely determine how well it succeeds.

In short, your ability to write or identify targeted, compelling headlines will greatly impact the response your advertising generates and, ultimately, your company’s bottom line. One easy, simple way you can hone your skills in this important area is by studying the time-tested, proven headlines of the past.

© 2006 Ernest Nicastro

Effective Online Reputation Management: 6 Reasons To Monitor Mentions

Effective online reputation management requires observation, speed and data selection. To succeed online, you need to listen to what your customers are talking about, monitor what your competitors are doing, and predict where your industry is going. Although this may seem overwhelming, mention tracking is a quick way to overcome all of these challenges.

With this article, I will walk you through 6 reasons to monitor mentions, and actionable tips for effective online reputation management using mention tracking. In detail, you will learn how to:

Keep in mind, the starting point for monitoring is to fine-tune a tool that will help you to find mentions online.

To save you hours of tedious work and help you to achieve all the goals listed above, we created the Brand Monitoring tool, which has grown into a powerful online reputation management solution. Setting up the tool will take you 1-2 minutes.

Most mention monitoring tools work with keywords, and a keyword type fully depends on your final goal. Read on and check the infographics below to find out what to track in your specific case.

When you are ready, first go to the Brand Monitoring tool and type in your keywords.

Set up Brand Monitoring tool

If needed, narrow down your search by including or excluding additional keywords. Then select the language or country you would like to track your mentions in. Finally, you can opt to receive an email report at a given time, but we will get back to that later.

Now, let’s move to reasons to monitor mentions and actionable tips to empower your brand online.

Tip 1: Use Your Competitors’ Best Practices

Use your competitors' best practices using mention tracking

Tracking your competitors’ mentions will help you to understand what works for them and apply their best practices for your brand. Start with checking the most popular resources and authors talking about your competitor, and reach out to them to tell them about your products or services.

Here is how you can do it using the Brand Monitoring tool:

  • Set up two campaigns — the first one for your brand, and the second for your competitor’s brand. Go to the ‘Statistics’ tab to compare the overall number of your competitor’s mentions against your brand’s mentions within a specific time period.

Brand Monitoring statistics tab

  • Scroll down to ‘Top Domains’ to find websites that mention your competitor and don’t mention your brand. Pay special attention to those that put backlinks to your competitor’s website by switching ‘Mentions’ to ‘Backlinks’ on the top left. Study each source and check its monthly traffic to find the most authoritative sites.

Brand Monitoring top domains

  • To find relevant forums and influencers, go to the ‘Mentions’ tab and select ‘Forums’ on the top left.

Brand Monitoring mentions on forums

  • Tag mentions from preferred resources and authors so that you can find them quickly later using filtering by custom tag.

Tip 2: Get Insights From Your Customers

Get insights from your customers with mention tracking

By monitoring what your customers are saying about you, you can better relate to them and so see how your brand is viewed from their perspective to find out what they love, hate or feel is lacking in your product. Their conversations will give you valuable insights about what can be improved in your product or changed in the way you communicate with your customers; this will also allow you to create more detailed buyer personas.

Using Brand Monitoring allows you to:

  • Assess your overall mention sentiment — compare the positive vs. negative mentions numbers in the ‘Overview’ tab. Click on each sentiment type to see filtered mentions one by one.

Brand Monitoring mentions overview

  • See your brand/product associations by searching for a particular word next to your brand using the ‘Mentions’ tab.

Brand Monitoring track particular word

  • Add tags to the selected mentions, like ‘new feature’, to get back to them later.

Tip 3: Find Influencers and Ambassadors for Promos

Find influencers and ambassadors for promos with mention tracking

Among the most authoritative industry influencers, you can find those who talk about your competitors and those who are not fully on your side. It is a great opportunity to turn them into your brand ambassadors and improve your brand positioning online. Start by reaching out to them with a good pitch to give them or to change their mind about your brand.

Here’s how you do it using Brand Monitoring:

  • Check an author’s number of followers on Twitter, and also see the number of their posts in a forum where they have an influence.

Brand Monitoring mentions on Twitter

  • Add their mentions to favorites to reach out to them later.

Tip 4: Evaluate Your Campaigns’ Effectiveness Quickly

Evaluate your campaigns' effectiveness quickly with mention tracking

To assess how successful your PR or online marketing efforts are, check your overall coverage and the mentioning resources’ authority. By monitoring mentions, you can also see if you are in line with your set campaign goals, which will help you develop better strategies in the future.

Using Brand Monitoring allows you to:

  • Check the campaign’s overall reach (=number of mentions), the estimated reach of each mention, and the number of backlinks in the ‘Overview’ tab.

Brand Monitoring estimated reach

  • While looking through each mention using the ‘Mentions’ tab, pay attention to the monthly traffic of a mention source, the top forums that mentioned you, and the number of comments or threads discussing your brand.
  • Filter mentions by negative/positive sentiment so that you can see your potential customers’ reaction to your message.

  • Export the data and create a report of your results.

Tip 5: Discover New Industry Trends to Follow

Discover new industry trends to follow with mention tracking

Keeping up with trends is what keeps businesses alive these days. Industry topics monitoring allows you to predict where your industry is going and get ahead of your competitors. Research the latest trends to find out if your potential or present customers see value in them. This will give you new ideas for blog posts and help you spot potential opportunities for future marketing campaigns.

This is what you can do using Brand Monitoring:

  • Spot spikes in the number of mentions for a particular topic, especially on forums and social media. The spike tells you that a topic has gathered steam online, which can play into your hands and contribute to your upcoming PR campaign around a trend.

Brand Monitoring mention trend

  • Add a custom tag to the most insightful mentions to get back to them later.

Tip 6: Prevent Crises

Prevent crises with mention tracking

Constant mention monitoring allows you to identify a potential crisis involving your brand before it becomes a scandal. If you react quickly and accurately, you will be able to mitigate damage and even earn extra points of respect for your brand. You have to focus on negative comments and reviews, and Brand Monitoring will help you with the monotonous search and filtering.

Here is how you do it:

  • Keep an eye on your overall mention sentiments every now and then, and compare positive mentions against negative ones with the ‘Overview’ tab.

  • Filter your mentions by negative sentiment, look through a resource’s authority and, if required, take action immediately — reach out to people.

Brand Monitoring negative sentiment

  • Set alerts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to receive mentions on time and manage negative comments via email.

Brand Monitoring alerts

Online reputation management is not a piece of cake, but consistency makes it more effective and easier. Develop the habit of tracking mentions on a regular basis and keep in mind your goal for doing so.

But that is not all! We have prepared a concise checklist containing these 6 actionable tips to help you improve your online reputation management. Use the banner below to download and print it.