All posts by Nicholas Shafer

How Facebook Marketing Changed in 2015

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Less advertising and more news for Facebook News Feed

Facebook implemented a change intended to improve the News Feed experience for users.

Announced on Facebook’s official blog, Facebook is going to start reducing the number of overly promotional page posts in users’ News Feeds.

“People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

People love to read about stories they might relate to, especially when things go wrong. They want to avoid problems and thus, knowledge is power.

Are your posts newsworthy or at least informational or educational? Can you post information without using direct references to your company?

Here are some examples that make Facebook posts appear promotional:

Posts that clearly persuade people to buy a product or service, or install an application

Posts that push readers to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real value to the reader

Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads—that’s plagiarism, by the way!

Organic distribution will decrease due to the expected content quality improvement, so to promote your services and products with Facebook, use Facebook for Business. If Facebook Pages are an important part of your business’s Facebook strategy, use Facebook ads to get the engagement on organic posts that promote products and services.

Create valuable content that will be seen on Facebook

Re-evaluate your Facebook marketing strategy. Create content that provides value to your audience—content that they can learn from, share, and engage with, and will be seen on Facebook. Think and write more like a journalist and less like an advertiser in this space.

If this doesn’t come naturally to you, find and use a professional writer—it is more than worth it to you, your audience, and your ranking on the search engines.

Use the correct link format (there are good WordPress plugins for this) when posting links on your Facebook page instead of integrating links in photo captions.

Run a Facebook posting test to see what kind of posts gets the most engagement. For example, many of Hootsuite’s audience are social media managers and small business owners. Instead of posting more general stuff like “Happy Thanksgiving!” we try to post content that contains valuable advice related to the occasion, such as: “Did you know that during Thanksgiving small businesses can increase sales by doing this…”

Post images and videos on Instagram and cross-post to Facebook

Use a social media content calendar to organize posts on Facebook

Pro Tip. Timely posts get rewarded with a higher place in people’s News Feeds. Also, always make sure to make your posts more “shareable” by always including a relevant photo or infographic.

Use Facebook Insights

One of the benefits of social media advertising is that it’s flexible and better able to accommodate budget constraints than traditional media. By targeting your ads strategically, you can achieve much greater efficiency than any billboard. Businesses with small advertising budgets can also use Facebook boost posts to target your posts to the right audience in order to increase your reach.

Facebook marketing tips to expand your Facebook Organic Reach

Know your Facebook audience

Use Facebook Insights to find out the demographic breakdown of your audience. This data is useful as it gives you insight about content that resonates the most with your audience, and what communication style your audience responds to the best.

Use Facebook for Business for selling on Facebook

One of the main reasons why Facebook is changing its algorithm is because more and more businesses are posting sales-driven content, as opposed to resourceful content that will provide value to their audience. Facebook is trying to steer away from this model, as they want to make Facebook’s user experience more enjoyable. Therefore, if businesses are prompted to change their Facebook marketing strategy, there will be more valuable content given to their audiences.

Facebook wants people to see only the best content on their News Feed. Which means that in order for a business to see engagement on their posts, choose content that has been successful on other social media channels or your business’ content marketing platform. Content that has the most retweets, clicks, and traffic will more likely also do well on Facebook (and remember the golden rule: the best content is the content that provides your followers value).

Encourage choice employees to engage with your Facebook page

One of the simplest way to increase your Facebook organic reach is to empower your employees to engage with your Facebook page. The more engagement, likes, shares, clicks, your Facebook posts receive the more you can increase your Facebook organic reach.

Be sure to respond

If you want to receive engagement on your Facebook Page, you need to also engage with your audience. If you receive a comment, reply to that comment; if you receive a post on your business Page, reply back to that post. Adding the human touch can help your Facebook presence drastically.

Now that you are prepared for the changes to Facebook, use an application like Hootsuite Pro to help you manage your Facebook marketing campaigns.

– Nic Shafer

Nicholas Shafer’s 7 Reasons Your Business Needs a Digital Consultant

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By Nicholas Shafer

The vast majority of today’s companies spend over 47% of their marketing budget on Internet marketing. So, it’s essential to understand what a Digital Consultant is and why your company should use one.

A digital consultant helps you with how and where your business should be seen via the Internet and has his hand on the pulse of websites, mobile devices, cellular phones, networks, and many other options that currently exist or will be invented soon. Managing the technology has proven to be as valuable as managing the marketing message.

Here are just 7 reasons your business needs a Digital Consultant:

1)     A digital consultant is a valued partner

As the world market continues to use the Internet, businesses need to rely on those specialists that they can rely on and trust to provide them with the latest technologies to streamline workflow, ensure that the right places and platforms to engage key influencers and customers are used, and to be there when there is a question about what the business should do and where its online presence should be.

2)     Digital consultants provide technology management

You will use a digital consultant to help you avoid mistakes as well as plan for today and tomorrow’s trends and technology. Digital consultants advise you about the most appropriate open-source e-commerce platforms such as Magento, WordPress, Drupal, and other more powerful and more sophisticated platforms.

Ensuring that you’re building or expanding the foundation on the correct technology will save you thousands of dollars and fist-pounding headaches when you suddenly realize that the site you built for marketing purposes isn’t capable of doing what you want it to later, or needs to be updated and upgraded often due to security reasons, and now you need to rebuild it all over again.

A digital consultant helps you understand the best foundation for where you are now and for what you want to be doing in the future, and ensures maximum performance with error-free clean code.

3)     Digital consultants ensure your website is always working correctly

Your website represents your brand, your current business, and tells your story. You want someone you can call if something happens and the site needs immediate fixing, regardless of the problem. A digital consultant ensures that your website looks and functions its best at all times.

4)     Digital consultants help you keep up with or surpass competitors

A good digital consultant w researches and let you know if you should make improvements to keep pace. Your competition is also working to appear on social networks, create their own helpful applications (apps), and update their sites for mobile devices. Companies can lose or gain by deciding to jump into (or wait to use) new technologies when competitors are. Every company has unique qualities and a digital consultant can help you make appropriate decisions that enhance your company’s advantages.

5)     A digital consultant helps avoid needless expenditures of time, money, and talent

Facebook is popular but not necessarily for everyone or every business. Digital consultants focus on how digital changes affect your business and tell you know how to respond. Digital consultants free up your time so you can concentrate on your business.

6)     Digital consultants help create the strategy

Your team may be good at engagement and writing content, but do these individuals understand the best mix of technologies and platforms for your business? A digital consultant compliments strategic decisions such as when to post and where, and the next moves after that.

7)     Digital Consultants Are Affordable

Can you afford hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire an in-house SEO expert, a social media manager, a web designer, a videographer, and multiple developers to handle your many different digital disciplines and the resources to recruit interview, and train them? Wouldn’t you rather work with a full-service digital consulting firm that can scale up or down with your needs, for much less for the same caliber of work, without all the in-house expense? You will have significantly more talent on hand than

With all the advantages of a digital consultant, shouldn’t you consult with an expert today?

Thank you for reading!

-Nicholas Shafer

Kevin Serwatowski’s Top 10 WordPress Plugins for 2015

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By Kevin Serwatowski

If you’re operating a WordPress Web site or blog, up to now you’re always searching for a way to innovate and make your site easier to use for you and your visitors. WordPress plugins are quick shortcuts that are easy to learn, install, and use.

The ten plugins listed here can help any blog in some way. I also wanted high functionality, low cost, ease of use, popularity, and simple installation. I chose those I found to be bonehead-proof and powerful.

  1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

With over 7 million downloads, this is one of the top ranked WordPress plugins. It’s powerful, easy to use, and fully functional for optimizing your pages and posts for search engines. Just download it, install the plugin, and it goes to work optimizing your blog or Web site. With that many customer reviews, this plugin is not to be overlooked.

  1. WP Google Drive

Backing up your WordPress site files is essential, and it’s easy with this plugin. This plugin backs up to Google Drive making it extremely simple and convenient.

  1. Ebyline WordPress Payments

Ebyline developed a plugin that allows clients to pay freelance writers directly from their WordPress dashboard, making them an industry leader in connecting freelance writers and clients who need content creation. The plugin also keeps track of W9 tax information, too. It’s very convenient.

  1. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Track your Web site traffic without navigating away from your WordPress dashboard. The ease of this plugin is enormous, producing real-time images of what your traffic is doing right from inside WordPress.

  1. Shareaholic

Help your blog get noticed and stand out without clutter. You can get your blog posts noticed via social networking media. It works with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. It has the usual Facebook sharing buttons so you can increase your blogs’ sharing ability.

  1. Thank Me Later

Provide a much more personal touch to the auto response emails that are programmed to be sent to new comments and visitors with Thank Me Later. Make your “Thank you,” emails more personal with the ability to customize certain fields, and send it hours after the signup, rather than retroactively. Test it and see how well you like the results.

  1. Akismet

Akismet is a set-it-and-forget-it WordPress plugin that filters junk comments and identify legitimate comments and the spam. You can moderate all comments if you want to, and using Akismet will send reports while improving the filtering.

  1. Contact Form 7

If you’ve recently filled out a blog contact form then there’s a good chance it was powered by Contact Form 7. Contact Form 7 works with Akismet, so those spammers aren’t going to misuse your contact form or clutter your inbox.

  1. Simple Pull Quote

Content scrutiny is on the rise, and with good reason. More people are questioning more of the statements and claims made on the Internet and in the press because of suspicions about the source of the information and who has to gain by publishing it. Simple Pull Quote is a plugin that adds a button to your post dashboard allowing you to highlight the text that was pulled from another source. The visitor then sees a clear, concise quote that stands out, and deduces that the statement was copied from another source.

  1. JM Twitter Cards

Tweet with media included and turn your Twitter stream into something more like Facebook or Google+. Insert into your Tweets images and video from the blog post that link to your content. When the tweet is selected, it’ll show more information about that tweet such as its title, a short summary, image, and Twitter account and source link. If you would like to insert pictures and video directly into your Twitter stream then this plugin is the one! Over 100,000 downloads in just over two years.

The most established bloggers depend on plugins.

Plugins make operations simpler and blogging more effective. Plugins allow you to use complete SEO packages and work directly with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+; they’re incredible time saving assets.

Thank you for reading!

-Kevin Serwatowski