Monthly Archives: February 2016

How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro

Do you want to create an online reviews site? Writing reviews of your favorite products allow you to help others in making a purchase decision while also earning referral fees, known as affiliate commissions. In this article, we will show you how to create a niche review site in WordPress like a Pro, so you can earn money from it.

Why Create a Reviews Site?

Creating a reviews website in WordPress

What’s the first thing that you do when you’re looking to buy something online? If you’re like most of us, then you check the online reviews of that product to see what others are saying about it.

This is why a popular online review site, TripAdvisor, is worth roughly $12 billion dollars.

Now while everyone cannot be as big as TripAdvisor, we know several folks that are earning anywhere from few hundreds to few thousand dollars a month from running a niche review site.

There are two popular ways of creating a reviews site. The first is to add a reviews section on your existing blog. The second is to create a completely independent online reviews site.

Regardless of the direction you choose, it’s important that don’t pick a highly competitive niche.

For example: there are tons of sites talking about digital camera reviews, but not as many that are talking about camera accessory reviews.

The secret to building a successful review site is to finding the right niche. A perfect niche has low competition, and it should be something that you’re passionate about.

Here are few factors to think about:

  • What resources can you offer to build traffic?
  • Can you easily attract advertisers? (i.e are there people selling paid products)
  • Are there affiliate programs available?
  • Are other people making money in this niche?
  • What is the competition like?

You can use tools like SEMRush, BuzzSumo, and Google Keyword Planner to help with research.

Once you have picked your niche, let’s take a look at how you can create a reviews site.

Step 0. Before You Start

To get started with WordPress, the first thing you would need is a good WordPress hosting and your own domain name. We highly recommend Bluehost because they will give you a free domain and 50% off their hosting plan (special for WPBeginner users). Bluehost is also an officially recommended hosting provider of WordPress.

If you want a Bluehost alternative, then take a look at Siteground who also offer the same special offer to WPBeginner users.

Once you have signed up for WordPress hosting and set up your domain name, the next step is to install WordPress on your hosting account. We have a step by step tutorial on how to install WordPress. Once you have installed WordPress, continue following this tutorial.

If you already have a WordPress site, then just move to step 2.

Step 1. Choosing the Perfect WordPress “Review” Theme

The first step after setting up your WordPress site is to select a perfect WordPress theme.

When you look around for WordPress themes, you will probably find tons of articles about the best WordPress review themes, stay away from those.

You don’t need a WordPress review site template. Most of those WordPress review themes are bloated and will lock you into use them forever.

That’s why it’s better to use a WordPress reviews plugin because plugins will work with any theme / design that you choose.

You will have the flexibility to change your themes in the future without having to hire a developer.

We have an article that will help you find the perfect theme and install it in WordPress.

Basically pick a theme that you like in terms of look and feel. We will show you how to add the reviews functionality in the next step.

Step 2. Installing the best WordPress Reviews Plugin

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Product Review plugin.

The base plugin is free, and does not lack features that would hold you back. However, for additional functionality you will need to buy their premium addons package.

The WP Review Pro Addons package costs around $75. WPBeginner users get an extra 20% off the regular price. Visit ThemeIsle coupon code to claim the discount.

WP Product Review plugin is easy to use and it helps you stand out in search engines by adding schema markup on your review.

In plain English, it adds those star ratings next to your reviews in Google to help you stand out.

Schema Review Example

So go ahead and install this plugin.

Upon activation, you will notice a new menu item labeled ‘Product Review’ in your WordPress admin menu. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

WP Product Review settings page

The settings page is divided into different sections. First you need to set up the general settings.

Start by selecting where you want to display the review box. There are three options to choose from. You can show the review box after or before the content, or you can manually add it using the shortcode.

The next option is to choose whether you want to allow users to add their reviews as comments. If you allow this, then you also need to select how much influence user reviews will have on the actual review.

After that you need to choose how many number of options, pros, and cons you want to be displayed. By default the plugin will allow you to add 5 of each. You can adjust that if you need.

Now move on to the rating colors tab in settings. This is where you can define the default colors used by the plugin for ratings. WP Product review uses different colors for excellent, good, not bad, and weak ratings.

Rating colors

You can change the rating colors to match with your theme.

Next, click on the ‘Typography’ tab in the settings. This is where you can choose the default text for pros and cons columns. You can also change the text colors for different sections.

Choose text colors for review box in Typography settings

The final tab on the settings page is the buy button. On this tab, you can select the colors you want to use for the buy button.

Buy button will also have your affiliate link, so it is important that you choose a color that encourages more users to click.

Buy button settings

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save All Changes’ button to store your settings.

Step 3: Adding a Review in WordPress

Adding a review using WP Product Review plugin is quite easy. Simply edit or create a new post in WordPress.

You will write your main review, like you would write any other post in WordPress.

On the post edit screen, scroll down to the bottom, and you will find the ‘Product review extra settings’ meta box. Click on ‘Yes’ next to the option ‘Is this a review post?’.

Adding product review data in a review post

This will expand the meta box and you will now see the additional settings for your review.

First you need to provide product details like images, buy now button text, product or affiliate link, and product price.

Adding product details

After that you need to add your options. These are like different aspects of the product and how you grade it for those qualities. You can add a number from 0 to 100, where 100 is the highest grade and 0 is the lowest.

Product options

Next you will add the pros and cons lists. Add the best features of the product in the pros list and the features it lacked in the cons list.

Adding pros and cons of a product with your review

Once you are done, simply save or publish your post.

You can now visit the post to see the review box in action.

Product review box displayed in WordPress review post

Step 4. Displaying Your Reviews in Sidebar

WP Product Review allows you to show your review posts in the sidebar and other widget-ready areas. Visit Appearance » Widgets page, and you will find the top products widget and the latest products widget in a list of available widgets.

Adding reviews widgets in WordPress sidebar

Simply add the widget to a sidebar and configure its options. You can select the number of products you want to display, product title and image display settings. Once you are done, click on the save button to store your widget settings.

Now go ahead and visit your website to see the reviews widget in action. It will show the latest reviews with ratings and product image.

Latest and top product reviews in WordPress sidebar

We hope this article helped you create a beautiful reviews site with WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 10 best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro appeared first on WPBeginner.

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Overcoming Objections on Your Landing Pages – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

[Estimated read time: 9 minutes]

How do you take your potential customers’ problems and turn them into a conversion success? If you’re having trouble with low conversion rates on high-traffic landing pages, don’t worry — there’s help. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shares a process to turn your landing page objections into improved conversion rates.

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Overcoming Objections on Your Landing Pages in Order to Improve Your Conversion Rates Whiteboard

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about overcoming objections on your landing pages in order to improve conversion rates. So this a process that I have stolen part and parcel from Conversion Rate Experts, a British consulting company that Moz has used a couple of times to help with our campaigns. Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson have just been phenomenal for this stuff.

Look, they’re not the only ones who do it. A lot of people in conversion rate optimization use a process similar to this, but it’s something I talk about and share so often that I thought, hey, let’s bring it to Whiteboard Friday.

Enter a problem…

So a lot of the time marketers have this problem where a lot of people are visiting a page, a landing page where you’re trying to sell someone or get someone to take a conversion action, maybe sign up for an email list or join a community or download an app, take a free trial of something, test out a free tool or buy an actual product, like in this case my minimalist noise-canceling headphones.

They are very minimalist indeed thanks to my subpar drawing skills. But when lots of people are visiting this page and very few are converting, you’ve got a conversion rate optimization problem and challenge, and this process can really help you through it.

So first off, let’s start with the question around what’s a low conversion rate?

The answer to that is it really depends. It depends on who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re in business to consumer ecommerce, like selling headphones, then you’re getting what I’d say is relatively qualified traffic. You’re not just blasting traffic to this page that’s coming from sources that maybe don’t even know what they’re getting, but in fact people who clicked here knew that they were looking for headphones. 1.5% to 2%, that’s reasonably solid. Below that you probably have an issue. It’s likely that you can improve it.

With email signups, if you’re trying to get people to convert to an email list, 3% to 5% with B2B. Software as a service, it’s a little bit lower, 0.5% to 1%. Those tend to be tougher to get people through. This number might be higher if the B2B product that you’re serving and the SaaS product is a free trial or something like that. In fact, a software free trial usually is in the 1.5% to 2% range. A free app install, like if people are getting to an app download page or to an app’s homepage or download page, and you’re seeing below 4% or 5%, that’s probably a problem. Free account signup, if you’re talking about people joining a community or maybe connecting a Facebook or a Google account to start a free account on a website, that’s maybe in the 2% to 3% range.

But these are variable. Your mileage may vary. But I want to say that if you start from these assumptions and you’re looking and you’re going, “Wow, we’re way under these for our target,” yeah, let’s try this process.

Collect contact information

So what we do to start, and what Conversion Rate Experts did to start, is they collect contact information for three different groups of people. The first group is people who’ve heard of your product, your service, your company, but they’ve never actually tried it. Maybe they haven’t even made their way to a landing page to convert yet, but they’re in your target demographic. They’re the audience you’re trying to reach.

The second group is people who have tried out your product or service but decided against it. That could be people who went through the shopping cart but abandoned it, and so you have their email address. It could be people who’ve signed up for an email newsletter but canceled it, or signed up for an account but never kept using it, or signed up for a free trial but canceled before the period was over. It could be people who have signed up for a mailing list to get a product but then never actually converted.

Then the third one is people who have converted, people who actually use your stuff, like it, have tried it, bought it, etc.

You want to interview them.

You can use three methods, and I recommend some combination of all of these. You can do it over email, over the phone, or in person. When we’ve done this specifically in-house for Moz, or when Conversion Rate Experts did it for Moz, they did all three. They interviewed some folks over email, some folks they talked to over the phone, some folks they went to, literally, conferences and events and met with them in person and had those interviews, those sit-down interviews.

Then they grouped them into these three groups, and then they asked slightly different questions, variations of questions to each group. So for people who had heard of the product but never actually tried it, they asked questions like: “What have you heard about us or about this product? What would make you want to try it, and what objections do you currently have that’s stopping you from doing that?”

For people who sort of walked away, they maybe tried or they didn’t get all the way through trying, but they walked away, they didn’t end up converting or they didn’t stick with it, we could say: “What made you initially interested? What objections did you have, and how did you overcome those? What made you change your mind or decide against this product?” Oftentimes that’s a mismatch of expectations versus what was delivered.

Then for the people who loved it, who are loyal customers, who are big fans, you can say: “Well, what got you interested? What objections did you have and how did you overcome them? What has made you stick with us? What makes you love us or this product or this service, this newsletter, this account, this community, and if you did love it, can we share your story?” This is powerful because we can use these later on for testimonials.

Create a landing page

Then C, in this process, we’re going to actually create a landing page that takes the answers to these questions, which are essentially objections, reasons people didn’t buy, didn’t convert or weren’t happy when they did, and we’re going to turn them into a landing page that offers compelling explanations, compelling reasons, examples, data and testimonials to get people through that process.

So if you hear, for example, “Hey, I didn’t buy this because I wasn’t sure if the right adapters would be included for my devices,” or, “I travel on planes a lot and I didn’t know whether the headphones would support the plane use that I want to have,” great, terrific. We’re going to include what the adapters are right on there, which airlines they’re compatible with, all that kind of information. That’s going on the page.

If they say, “Hey, I actually couldn’t tell how big the headphones were. I know you have dimensions on there, but I couldn’t tell how big they were from the photos,” okay, let’s add some photos of representative sample sizes of things that people are very familiar with, maybe a CD, maybe an iPhone that people are like, “Oh yeah, I know the size of a CD. I know the size of an iPhone. I can compare that against the headphones.” So now that’s one of the images in there. Great, we’ve answered the objection.

“I wasn’t sure if they had volume control.” Great. Let’s put that in a photo.

“Is tax and shipping included in the cost? I didn’t want to get into a shopping cart situation where I wasn’t sure.” Perfect. We’re going to put in there, “Tax included. Free shipping.”

“Is the audio quality good enough for audiophiles and pros because I’m really . . .” well, terrific. Let’s find a known audiophile, let’s add their testimonial to the page.

We’re essentially going one by one through the objections that we hear most frequently here, and then we’re turning those into content on the page. That content can be data, it can be reasons, it can be examples, it can be testimonials. It’s whatever we needed to be to help get people through that purchase process.

Split test

Then, of course, with every type of conversion rate optimization test and landing page optimization, we want to actually try some variations. So we’re going to do a split test of the new page against the old one, and if we see there’s stronger conversion rate, we know we’ve had success.

If we don’t, we can go back to the drawing board and potentially broaden our audience here, try and understand how have we not overcome these objections, maybe show this new page to some of these people and see what additional objections they’ve got, all that kind of stuff.

This process is really powerful. It helps you uncover the problems and issues that you may not even know exist. In my experience, it’s the case that when companies try this, whether it’s for products or for services, for landing pages, for new accounts, for apps, whatever it is, they tend to uncover the same small set of answers from these groups over and over again. It’s just a matter of getting those four or five questions right and answering them on the landing page in order to significantly improve conversion.

All right, everyone. Look forward to your suggestions, your ideas, your feedback, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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WordPress vs Static HTML – What’s Best for Your Business Website?

Do you want to launch a business website but not sure how to get started? Recently while attending an event, one of the users asked us what’s the advantage of using WordPress over a static HTML site. If you had a developer tell you that you need a HTML site or was wondering because you had heard this elsewhere, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we will compare WordPress vs HTML and what’s best for your business website.

HTML vs WordPress for business websites

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). Content Management Systems allow YOU to manage your website from a user friendly interface.

You can make all the changes on your website from an admin area which is quite easy to understand, even for absolute beginners.

While there are many CMS out there, WordPress is the most popular one because it powers nearly 26% of all websites on the internet.

It is important not to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. WordPress, the open source CMS is available on WordPress.org. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a blog hosting service. Please see our guide on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using WordPress.

Advantages of Using WordPress

Easy to Update – You can simply login to your WordPress site and add new pages without paying your developer. WordPress is easy to use and has an intuitive user interface, which makes it easy for you to create or update pages on your site.

WordPress user interface

Professional Templates – There are thousands of ready-made templates that you can use on your site. These themes are developed by professionals from all over the world.

Incredibly Powerful – WordPress websites can be easily extended with plugins. By installing plugins, you can add any functionality to your existing website such as adding a contact form, adding a reservation system, adding a photo gallery, and more.

Full control and Ownership – You get full control of your website, its domain name, and all its contents. You can make any changes you want, and there is no limit on how much your site can grow in popularity, traffic, sales, and users.

Disadvantages of Using WordPress

Learning Curve – While WordPress is easy to use but it takes a while for most beginners to get familiar with the software. There is plenty of help available to get over this learning curve quickly, but it will take a little effort.

Maintenance – You will be responsible for keeping WordPress, installed plugins, and themes up to date. You can also use manged WordPress hosting who can do this for you.

What is a Static HTML Website

HTML is the markup language used to display web pages. Most websites on the internet use HTML with a variety of markup and scripting languages to create web pages.

Typically you will need to hire a web developer to create an HTML website for your business. They will use HTML, CSS, JavaScript and some other technologies to build your website.

HTML code behind a static HTML site

CMS software like WordPress use database to store and retrieve content. On the other hand, HTML websites have all your content in static files.

Having said that, Let’s take a look at advantages and disadvantages of a HTML website for your business.

Advantages of a HTML Website

Little to No Maintenance – Once your website is live, you do not need to install any updates or regularly backup. If nothing is changed, you can just backup your website once and forget about it.

Low Requirements – HTML websites don’t need servers with PHP or MySQL installed on them. They can run on cheaper server with low resources. Although most good web hosting companies offer PHP and MySQL support.

Disadvantages of a HTML Website

No Updates – Unless you know HTML/CSS, static HTML websites can be very difficult to update for beginners. You will need to hire a developer even for smaller tasks like adding new pages, updating old content, or uploading videos or images.

No Additional Features – If your business grows and you want to add a feature to your website like a store, a survey or poll, a gallery, etc. All of this would require you to hire a developer and in most cases they would recommend you to move to WordPress.

Costs – Considering that you will have to hire people even for smallest tasks, the cost of a HTML website could get much higher than a WordPress website.

What is Better? WordPress or HTML?

Now that we know the pros and cons of both WordPress and HTML websites. Let’s talk about which one is better for your business website.

If you are certain that you will never want to update, change, or add anything new to your website, then by all means go for a HTML website. It will be faster and will serve your purpose.

If you want to have the freedom and control of your website and not waste money on monthly retainers paying developers to add images, then WordPress is obviously the better choice.

For those who want grow their business website to make you more money, then WordPress is the way to go forward.

Using WordPress you can add content to your website without hiring anyone. You can create as many pages as you need at any time.

You can add a blog section to keep your customers updated, or even build your own email list and keep bringing more customers to your business.

You will be part of a global community of businesses using WordPress to manage their online presence. You will find plenty of free help, resources, tools and plugins to grow your business every day.

Instead of paying developers loads of money for smallest things, you will be able to spend that money on growing your business with WordPress.

How to Get Started With WordPress for Your Business Website?

First, you will need to sign up for a WordPress hosting service provider. These are specialized companies that will host your website on their servers.

We recommend Bluehost as they are the official WordPress hosting providers. They also offer our users a free domain name and 50% off hosting (see our Bluehost coupon).

WordPress is famous for its quick and easy installation. Take a look at our step by step WordPress installation tutorial for beginners.

After the installation you will need to select a theme for your website. You may also want to checkout the must-have WordPress plugins for business websites.

We hope this article helped you compare WordPress vs HTML and the best solution for your business website. You might also want to see our list of 19 types of websites you can create with WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post WordPress vs Static HTML – What’s Best for Your Business Website? appeared first on WPBeginner.

Is Any Press Good Press? Measuring the SEO Impact of PR Wins and Fails

Posted by KelseyLibert

[Estimated read time: 15 minutes]

Is the saying “any press is good press” really true? Whether it happens as part of a carefully orchestrated PR stunt or accidentally, the potential payoffs and drawbacks when a brand dominates the news can be huge.

In our latest collaboration, Fractl and Moz explored how a surge of media coverage impacted seven companies.

Is-Any-Press-Good-Press-Header.png

By looking at brands that dominated headlines within the last year, we set out to answer the following questions:

  • Does positive press coverage always bring more benefits than negative press coverage?
  • Beyond the initial spikes in traffic and backlinks, what kind of long-term SEO value can be gained from massive media coverage?
  • Do large brands or unknown brands stand to gain more from a frenzy of media attention?
  • Are negative PR stunts worth the risk? Can the potential long-term benefits outweigh the short-term damage to the brand’s reputation?

Methodology

Our goal was to analyze the impact of major media coverage on press mentions, organic traffic, and backlinks, based on seven companies that appeared in the news between February 2015 and February 2016. Here’s how we gathered the data:

  • Press mentions were measured by comparing how often the brand appeared in Google News search results the month before and the month after the PR event occurred.
  • A combination of Moz’s Open Site Explorer, SEMrush, and Ahrefs was used to measure traffic and backlinks. Increases and decreases in traffic and backlinks were determined by calculating the percentage change from the month before the story broke compared to the month after.
  • BuzzSumo was used to measure how often brand names appeared in headlines around the time of the PR event and how many social shares those stories received.

Note: We left out a few metrics for some brands, due to incomplete or unavailable data. For example, backlink percentage growth was not measured for Airbnb or Miss Universe, since these events happened too recently before this study was published for us to provide an accurate count of new backlinks. Additionally, organic traffic and backlink percentage growth were not measured for Peeple, since it launched its site around the same time as its news appearance.

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I. How media coverage affects press mentions, organic traffic, and backlinks

We looked at seven brands, both well-known and unknown, which received a mix of positive and negative media attention. Before we dive into our overall findings, let’s examine why these companies made headlines and how press coverage impacted each one. Be sure to check out our more detailed graphics around these PR events, too.

Impact of positive media coverage

During the last year, Roman Originals, Airbnb, and REI were part of feel-good stories in the press.

Roman Originals cashes in on #TheDress

What happened

Were you Team Black and Blue or Team Gold and White? It was the stuff PR teams dream of when this UK-based retail brand inadvertently received a ton of press when a photo of one of its dresses ignited a heated debate over its color.

the-dress.jpg

The story was picked up by major publishers including BuzzFeed, Time, Gawker, and Wired. Some A-list celebrities chimed in with their dress-color opinions on social media as well.

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The results

Roman Originals was by far the biggest winner out of the brands we analyzed, seeing a 17.5K% increase in press mentions, nearly a 420% increase in US organic traffic, and 2.3K% increase in new backlinks. By far the greatest benefit was the impact on sales — Roman Originals’ global sales increased by 560% within a day of the story hitting the news.

Beyond the short-term increases, it appears Roman Originals gained significant long-term benefits from the media frenzy. Its site has seen a lift in both UK and US organic traffic since the story broke in February 2015.

In addition to the initial spikes directly after the story broke, RomanOriginals.co.uk saw a solid lift in backlinks over time, too.

Man lists igloo on Airbnb for $200

What happened

After Blizzard Jonas had hit the Northeast, a man built an igloo in Brooklyn and listed it for $200 per night on Airbnb as a joke. Airbnb deleted the listing shortly after it was posted. Media pickups included ABC News, USA Today, Washington Post, Mashable, and The Daily Mail.

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The results

Of all the PR events we analyzed, the igloo story was the most recent, having occurred at the end of January. Although we can’t yet gauge the long-term impact this media hit will have on Airbnb, the initial impact appears to be minimal. Since Airbnb is frequently in the news, it’s not very surprising that one PR event doesn’t have a significant effect.

Airbnb’s site only saw a 2% increase in organic traffic, despite an 83% increase in press mentions.

It’s also too soon to measure the story’s impact on new backlinks. However, the chart below shows the backlinks around the time of the story breaking relative to the new backlinks acquired during the rest of the year.

REI opts out of Black Friday

What happened

The retail chain announced it would be closed on Black Friday and created the #OptOutside campaign urging Americans to spend Black Friday outdoors instead of shopping. Major media outlets picked up the story, including CNN, USA Today, CBS News, and Time.

screenshot-time.com 2016-02-16 13-45-54.png

The results

While REI received great publicity by saying “no” to Black Friday, the media coverage appeared to have little impact on organic traffic to REI.com. In fact, traffic decreased by 5% the month after the story broke compared to the previous month.

REI.com did see a 51% increase in new backlinks after the story broke. Additionally, the subdomain created as part of the #OptOutside campaign has received nearly 8,000 backlinks since its launch.

When good press turns bad (and vice versa)

In addition to both positive and negative spins being put on a story, the sentiment around the story can change as more details emerge. Sometimes a positive story turns negative or a bad story turns positive. Such is the case with Gravity Payments and Miss Universe, respectively.

CEO of Gravity Payments announces $70K minimum wage

What happened

The CEO of this credit card-processing company announced he was cutting his salary to provide a minimum staff salary of $70K. It was hard to miss this story, which was covered by nearly every major US media outlet (and some global), and included a handful of TV appearances by the CEO. The brand later received backlash when it was discovered that the CEO, Dan Price, may have increased employee wages in response to a lawsuit from his brother.

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The results

Initial spikes after the story broke included a 90% increase in press mentions, 139% increase in organic traffic, and 146% increase in new backlinks. But it didn’t end there for Gravity Payments.

What’s been most incredible about this story is its longevity in the press. Six months after the story broke, publishers were doing follow-up stories about the CEO signing a book deal and how business was booming. In December 2015, Bloomberg wrote a piece revealing that there was more to the story and suggested the wage increase was motivated by a lawsuit.

So far it looks like the benefits from the good press have outweighed any negative stories. In addition to the initial spike, to date GravityPayments.com has seen a 1,888% increase in organic traffic from the month before the story broke (March 2015).

The site has also received a substantial lift in new backlinks since the story broke.

Steve Harvey crowns the wrong Miss Universe winner

What happened

Host Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner during the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. Some speculated the slip up was an elaborate PR stunt organized to combat the pageant’s falling ratings.

While there was initial backlash over the mistake, after several public apologies from Harvey, the incident may end up being best remembered for the memes it inspired. steve-harvey-meme.jpeg

The results

It appears the negative sentiment around this story has not hurt the brand. With a 199% increase in press mentions compared to the previous year’s pageant, this year’s Miss Universe stayed top of mind long after the pageant was over.

After the incident, there was nearly a 123% increase in monthly organic traffic to MissUniverse.com compared to the month following the 2014 Miss Universe pageant. However, organic traffic had steadily increased throughout 2015. For this reason, it’s difficult to give Steve Harvey’s flub all the credit for any increases in organic traffic. It’s also too early to measure the long-term impact on traffic.

It’s also difficult to gauge how much of an effect it had on backlinks to MissUniverse.com. Judging from the chart below, so far there has been a minimal impact on new backlinks, but this may change as more articles related to this story are indexed.

For a brand that relies on TV viewership, perhaps the greatest payoff from this incident has yet to come. You can bet the world will tune in when Steve Harvey hosts next year’s Miss Universe pageant (he signed a multi-year hosting contract).

Is there any value to bad publicity?

Crafting controversial stories around a brand can have a huge payoff. After all, the press loves conflict. But too much negative press coverage can lead to a company’s downfall, as is the case with Turing Pharmaceuticals and Peeple.

Turing Pharmaceuticals raises drug price by 5,000%

What happened

You may not recognize the company name, but you’ve most likely heard of its former CEO Martin Shkreli. This pharmaceutical company bought a prescription drug and raised the price by 5,000%. The story made global headlines, including coverage by the New York Times, BBC, NBC News, and NPR, and the CEO had multiple TV interviews.

shkreli-daily-beast.png

Shkreli defended the price hike, saying the profits would be funneled back into new treatment research, but his assertions that the pricing was a sound business decision wasn’t enough to save face. He later stepped down as Turing’s CEO after being arrested by the FBI on fraud charges.

The results

Like Gravity Payments, the Turing Pharma story has had a long lifespan in the news cycle. After the story broke on September 20, press mentions of Turing Pharmaceuticals increased by 821% over the previous month.

During the month after the story first broke, turingpharma.com saw a 318% increase in organic traffic. Traffic also spiked in December and February, which is when Shkreli’s arrest, resignation as Turing CEO, and congressional hearing were making headlines.

Turingpharma.com also saw a significant increase in backlinks after the story broke. Within a month after the story broke, the site had a 382% increase in new backlinks.

While Turing Pharmaceuticals gained SEO value and brand recognition from the media frenzy, the benefits don’t make up for the negative sentiment toward the brand; the company posted a $14.6 million loss during the third quarter of 2015.

Peeple promotes new app as “Yelp for people”

What happened

A new site announcing a soon-to-be-launched “Yelp for people” app caused a huge social media and press backlash. The creepy nature of the app, which allowed people to review one another like businesses, sparked criticism as well as concerns that it would devolve into a virtual “burn book.”

wp-peeple.png

The Washington Post broke the story, and from there it was picked up by the New York Times, BBC, Wired, and Mashable.

The results

Peeple is an exceptional case since the app’s site launched right before the brand received the flurry of media coverage. Because of that, it’s possible that forthepeeple.com had not been indexed by Google yet at the time of the press coverage. Unlike the other brands we looked at in this study, we don’t have traffic and backlink benchmarks to compare from before press attention. But still, the Peeple story serves as a cautionary tale for brands hoping to attract attention to a new product with negative press.

Peeple received a 343% increase in press mentions during the month after the story broke. But since it was a new site, it’s difficult to accurately gauge how much of an impact media attention had on organic traffic and backlinks. Despite all of the attention, to date, the site only receives an estimated 1,000 visitors per month.

Since the story broke, the site has received around 3,800 backlinks.

An abundance of negative media coverage buried Peeple before its product even launched. By the time the founders backtracked and repositioned Peeple in a more positive light, it was too late to turn the brand’s image around. The app still hasn’t launched.

II. What marketers can learn from these 7 PR wins and fails

A substantial increase in press mentions, rather than volume, can yield significant benefits.

Overall, the stories about large brands (Airbnb, REI, Miss Universe) received more exposure than the unknown brands (Turing Pharmaceuticals, Roman Originals, Peeple, Gravity Payments). The well-known brands were mentioned in 148% more headlines than the unknown brands, and those stories received on average 190% more social shares than stories about the lesser-known brands.

Although stories about smaller brands received less press coverage than large brands, the relatively unknown companies saw a greater impact from being in the news than large brands. Roman Originals, Gravity Payments, and Turing Pharmaceuticals saw the greatest increases in organic traffic and backlinks. Comparatively, a surge of press coverage did not have as dramatic of an impact on the large companies. Of the well-known brands, Miss Universe saw the greatest impact, with a 199% increase in press mentions and 123% increase in site traffic compared to the previous year’s pageant.

Negative stories attracted more coverage and social shares than positive stories.

On average, the brands with negative stories (Miss Universe, Turing Pharma, and Peeple) appeared in 172% more headlines which received 176% more social shares than positive stories.

Have you noticed that the news feels predominantly negative? This is for good reason, since conflict is a pillar of good storytelling. Just as a novel or movie needs conflict, so do news stories.

That being said, there is such a thing as too much conflict. As we saw with Turing Pharmaceuticals and Peeple, company reputations can be irreversibly damaged when the brand itself is the source of conflict.

An element of unexpectedness is a key ingredient for massive press coverage.

There’s an old saying in journalism: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

From a CEO paying all employees $70,000 salaries to a major retailer closing on the busiest shopping day of the year to a seasoned TV host announcing the wrong beauty pageant winner, all of the stories we analyzed were surprising in some way.

Surprising stories attract initial attention and then ignite others to share it. This crucial element of newsworthiness also plays a role in making content go viral.

A quick, positive reaction when the brand isn’t controlling the story may help boost the beneficial impact of media coverage.

A carefully orchestrated PR stunt allows a company to plan for the potential press reaction, but what’s a brand to do when it unexpectedly ends up in the news?

While this may sound like a bureaucratic company’s worst nightmare, nimble brands can cash in on the attention with a quick, good-spirited reaction. Roman Originals masterfully news-jacked a story about itself by doing just that.

First, it put out a tweet that settled the debate over the dress’ color and updated its homepage to showcase #TheDress.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-02-15 13-29-22.pngSoon after, a white and gold version of the dress was put up for auction, with the proceeds donated to charity. Had Roman Originals spent too much time planning a response, it may have missed out while the story was still relevant in the news cycle.

Key takeaways

While most brands will never achieve this level of media coverage, the instances above teach pertinent lessons about what makes a story catch fire in the media:

  • A PR win for a little-known brand doesn’t necessarily require thousands of press mentions. For this reason, unknown companies stand to benefit more from riskier tactics like PR stunts. On the flipside, it may be more difficult for a large brand to initiate a PR stunt that makes a significant impact.
  • An element of unexpectedness may be a primary driver for what makes a news story go viral. When possible, include an unexpected angle into your PR pitches by focusing on what’s unique, bizarre, or novel about your brand.
  • Plan for the unexpected by having processes in place that empower marketing and PR teams to act fast with a public response to sudden media attention.
  • As we saw in our study, controversial stories are a big hit with journalists, but make sure your brand is the hero, not the villain. Look for opportunities to weave the “bad guys” your company is fighting into your pitches. Your company’s villain could be as obvious as a competitor or more subtle adversaries like the establishment (Uber vs. taxi industry).

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Say goodbye to Google: 14 alternative search engines

Well it’s been a big week for search, I think we can all agree.

If you’re a regular Google user (65% of you globally) then you’ll have noticed some changes, both good and bad.

I won’t debate the merits of these improvements, we’ve done that already here: Google kills Right Hand Side Ads and here: Google launches Accelerated Mobile Pages, but there’s a definite feeling of vexation that appears to be coming to a head.

Deep breath…

As the paid search space increases in ‘top-heaviness’, as organic results get pushed further off the first SERP, as the Knowledge Graph scrapes more and more publisher content and continues to make it pointless to click through to a website, and as our longstanding feelings of unfairness over Google’s monopoly and tax balance become more acute, now more than ever we feel there should be another, viable search engine alternative.

There was a point not that long ago when you could easily divide people between those that used Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and AltaVista. Now it’s got to the point where if you’re not using Google, you’re not really using the internet properly.

Right now though maybe we should be paying more attention to the alternatives. Maybe our daily lives and, for some of us, careers shouldn’t need to balance on the fickle algorithm changes of the world’s most valuable company.

Let’s see what else is out there in the non-Google world. It’s not that scary, I promise. Although you may want to bring a coat.

Please note: this is an update of an article published on SEW in May 2014, we felt like it needed sprucing up especially many of the listed engines (Blekko, Topsy) are no longer with us.

Bing

Microsoft’s search engine is the second most popular search engine in the world, with 15.8% of the search market.

Bing homepage

But why should you use Bing? Lifehacker has some great articles where they try to convince themselves as much as anyone else why Bing is a serious contender to Google. Plus points include:

  • Bing’s video search is significantly better than Google’s, giving you a grid of large thumbnails that you can click on to play or preview if you hover over them.
  • Bing often gives twice as many autocomplete suggestions than Google does.
  • Bing can predict when airfares are about to go up or down if you’re searching for flights.
  • Bing also has a feature where if you type linkfromdomain:[site name] it will highlight the best ranked outgoing links from that site, helping you figure out which other sites your chosen site links to the most.

Also note that Bing powers Yahoo’s search engine.

DuckDuckGo

The key feature of DuckDuckGo is that it doesn’t retain its users’ data, so it won’t track you or manipulate results based on your behaviour. So if you’re particularly spooked by Google’s all-seeing, all-knowing eye, this might be the one for you.

DuckDuckGo homepage

There’s lots more info on DuckDuckGo’s performance here.

Quora

As Google gets better and better at answering more complicated questions, it will never be able to match the personal touch available with Quora.

quora

Ask any question and its erudite community will offer their replies. Or you can choose from any similar queries previously asked.

Dogpile

Dogpile may look like a search engine you cobbled together with clip-art, but that’s rather the point as it pulls in and ‘curates’ results from various different engines including Google, Yandex and Yahoo, but removes all the ads.

Dogpile Web Search

Vimeo

Of course if you’re going to give up Google, then you’ll also have to give up YouTube, which can be a terrifying prospect. But there is an alternative. And a pretty good one at that… Vimeo. The professional’s choice of video-sharing site, which has lots of HD video and no ads.

otis the cat reviews in videos on Vimeo

Yandex

This is a Russian portal, offering many similar products and services as Google, and it’s the dominant search engine in Russia.

As you can see it offers results in a nice logical format, replete with favicons so you can clearly see the various channels for your branded queries.

search engine watch on Yandex

Boardreader

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of a subject with a variety of different points of view away from the major publications, Boardreader surfaces results purely from forums, message boards and, of course, Reddit.

Boardreader Forum Search Engine

WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is a ‘computational knowledge engine’, or super clever nerd to you and me. Ask it to calculate any data or ask it about any fact and it will give you the answer. Plus it does this awesome ‘computing’ thing while it thinks about your answer (which can take a short while.)

what really killed the dinosaurs Wolfram Alpha

It’s not always successful, you have to practice how to get the best from it. But at least it’s aware of the terrible 90s television show The Dinosaurs.

IxQuick

Another search engine that puts its users’ privacy at the forefront. With IxQuick none of your details are stored and no cookies are used. A user can set preferences, but they will be deleted after 90 days of inactivity.

Ixquick Search Engine

Ask.com

Oh look… Ask Jeeves is still around. Also he’s no longer a Wodehousian butler, but a computer generated bank manager. Weird.

Ask Jeeves

It’s still a slightly mediocre search engine pretending to be a question and answer site, but the ‘Popular Q&A’ results found on the right hand side are very handy if Jeeves himself can’t satisfy your query. And what a good use of the right-hand side space, huh Google.

SlideShare

SlideShare is a really handy place to source information from presentations, slide decks, webinars and whatever else you may have missed from not attending a conference.

You’ll also be surprised what information you can find there.

hamburgers on SlideShare

Addict-o-matic

“Inhale the web” with the friendly looking hoover guy by creating your own topic page, which you can bookmark and see results from a huge number of channels in that one page (including Google, Bing News, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr).

Addictomatic Inhale the Web

Creative Commons Search

CC Search is particularly handy if you need to find copyright free images for your website (as discussed in this post on image optimisation for SEO). Just type your query in then click on your chosen site you want to search.

CC Search

Giphy

Because really, when it comes down to it, we could imagine a worse dystopian future than one in which we all communicate entirely in Gifs.

GIPHY homepage

Deliver Exceptionally Responsive Customer Support: Introducing Respond by Buffer

As social media has evolved, our use of social networks has changed: We’ve found new ways to use Twitter, Facebook, and more to share, to communicate, to talk about our favorite things.

We engage more than ever with brands and businesses – brands and business like you and yours!

At Buffer, we’ve been fortunate to have a front row seat to watch this evolution of social media for businesses, as it’s expanded from an engaging channel for marketing and community into many new channels, including one that’s especially near and dear to us: customer service.

And we’re so excited to share with you: Today marks the public release of our brand new customer service tool, Respond!

Respond button

We’d love for you to be among the first to experience the real-time support experience with Respond. Click above to get started right away, and continue reading for the full story behind the product and all the unique ways that Respond supports you and your audience!

Respond public launch

How to Get the Most From Respond for Customer Support

Having been big fans of the Respondly product before the acquisition and now daily users of Respond over the past three months, we’ve had the great opportunity to experience Respond’s benefits first-hand in how it helps us support our community.

Here are some of our most-loved parts about Respond.

Respond displays your community’s tweets in a real-time tweet inbox. The list of new messages—both tweets and DMs—runs down the left column. Each particular message opens into the panel on the right.

This intuitive layout gives the Twitter stream an inbox feel where you can reply, archive, keep track of conversations, and—excitedly—reach inbox zero!

dashboard@2x

From the message panel, you can perform every significant action you may need to assist, engage, and support the person you’re chatting with. In Respond, you can:

  • Reply
  • Like
  • Follow
  • Archive

peakshot-1@2x

You can also tag a conversation for Follow Up — if you need to hunt down an answer maybe, or if you’d love to circle back on a conversation later to see how things sorted out — and you’ll receive a reminder later on at whatever custom timeframe you’ve set.

(One of my favorite features is the semantic followup instructions: If you tell Respond to remind you “tomorrow,” it’ll know precisely what you mean!)

For tracking all the important conversations that matter to you, chances are you might want to stay on top of keywords, phrases, or hashtags, too. Respond includes custom search queries so that all the results from these searches appear in real-time alongside your tweets.

peakshot-3@2x

Respond was built for teams—and tested by teams! Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley use it for Twitter support, including Slack, WordPress, Product Hunt, and Stripe. With this in mind, we’ve done our best to build out team features that we feel will make a world of difference to working effectively and efficiently together.

  • Team signatures
  • Double-reply prevention
  • Assign conversations

Oh, and Respond integrates with Slack! Woop!

Respond button

Respond for individuals and Respond for teams

One of the really interesting discussions we’ve had here during the launch planning is thinking about what Respond does best: Is it a customer service tool or is it a social monitoring tool?

Why not both!

We’ve found that users tend to find great value from Respond, using it in either way. Our product roadmap is looking to support both paths also, with an initial focus on making Respond a perfect experience for teams.

We’d love for everyone to be able to try Respond! We’re happy to offer two different pricing plans at launch:

  1. The Free plan for individuals
  2. The Pro plan for teams – $39 per user per month

There’s a neat checklist of what each plan includes here, if you’re interested in seeing more.

In addition to these two plans, we’re looking into ways to best support Enterprise customers as well, and we’d love to chat further with you if this feels like it might be you.

Additional FAQs

What social networks does Respond work with?

We’re really excited to offer a full support experience for Twitter, and we’re currently exploring how Respond might fit with other networks, Facebook being chief among them!

Is there a free trial?

No, we don’t have a free trial at the moment. We’re hoping you might get a great taste for the simplicity and benefits of Respond with the Free plan. If there’s any additional detail we can pass along about the Pro plan features, we’d be very happy to!

Can I get to Respond from my Buffer dashboard?

Great question! At the moment, the two products are separate from one another, and each can be accessed from its own URL – https://buffer.com for Buffer and https://respond.buffer.com for Respond.

Is Respond integrated into Buffer? Will it be?

For now, we’ve chosen to keep Buffer and Respond as separate products. Would love any of your thoughts on that!

How Respond came to be: The full story, from acquisition to launch

Respond has been an incredible, whirlwind product experience for us at Buffer, from acquiring the customer service tool Respondly in December (big thanks to Tim and the Respondly team!), to onboarding private beta testers in January, to the public beta release today.

We’re couldn’t be more thrilled for the chance to include Respond among the Buffer family of products.

On the day of the acquisition announcement, we shared this vision for the future of Buffer:

In the long run, what we hope to build at Buffer is the essential social media tool. Our goal: No matter how many other great tools (and there are many!) you might want to use, we hope Buffer is a key part of your mix to deliver great experiences and results on social media.

Respond feels like a natural fit with this purpose. In addition to building Buffer as the premier marketing tool for you to manage your social media, we’re also hoping for Respond to become the premier tool for you and your customer service team.

Since the acquisition announcement, we’ve been working with a clear focus of making Respond a must-have, standalone tool for delivering exceptional support experiences. It’s an amazing journey we’re embarked upon and are excited to continue.

  • We’ve learned a ton from experiences like #bufferchat and how Respond can best scale to handle over 3,000 tweets in an hour — we’re grateful for the chance to keep improving there!
  • We’ve given early access to some incredible companies like Slack, Product Hunt, and WordPress, and learned from how they support their audiences of millions
  • We’ve checked in with Respond’s 18,000 beta signups to make sure we’re building the best Respond possible

What we’re excited to release today is a premier, standalone tool to help you reach out to your customers, reply to their questions, monitor what’s being said about you and do so in a fast and reliable way to deliver a great experience for your community.

Respond is a social-first support experience. We want you to feel empowered to dive into conversations and questions in real-time, so we built the dashboard and interface with speed, interactivity, and engagement in mind. Instead of ticket numbers or wait times, Respond is all about what your customers need right now and helping you deliver ultra-responsive support.

We feel this helps set apart Respond in a really unique way and that the timing of a tool like this couldn’t be better. In particular, the timing with Respond seems to have felt quite ideal for a number of reasons:

1. How Respond helps us set the standard for customer support

At Buffer, it has been our stated mission to:

Build the simplest, most powerful social media tool on the market and to set the standard for customer support.

During the very first days of Buffer in the fall of 2010, our co-founder Joel started delivering happiness, answering questions on Twitter, and proactively reaching out to new customers. Customer service has been part of Buffer’s DNA ever since, and it feels incredible to now have a product that supports this mission.

Respond also happens to be the product that helps us achieve our vision for support. We use Respond on a daily basis, helping us connect and assist our awesome Twitter audience of more than 485,000.

How huge has support been for us? (And Respond in particular.) Here’re some numbers:

  • We have a team of 21 people who work exclusively on delivering happiness to customers.
  • We aim to answer emails and tweets within 60 minutes.
  • We respond to 350 emails and 300 tweets per day. (During our busiest times we’re fortunate to start a new Twitter conversation every minute!)
  • We send 170 outreach messages per day to people who are interested in Buffer

With Respond, we want everyone to feel capable of doing great support on social media. Having the right tool can feel a bit like having a super power! This has been the case for us with Respond, and we’re delighted to let you in on the fun as well.

2. A social media strategy now involves more than marketing

Did you know: Only 20% of top retailers answer customer questions on Twitter. Kudos to that 20% because they are doing it right! People—customers—are using social media in more ways than before, and with that boost in use comes a whole host of expectations, conversations, and opportunities.

14286

 

It’s no longer enough just to post consistently (though that’s still a huge difference-maker!).

We feel that today’s social media strategy requires more, starting with a way to respond to the people who’re reaching out.

From what we’ve seen, Facebook and Twitter are more than just marketing channels. They are engagement channels. Here’s another amazing stat: Over 80% of inbound social customer service requests happen on Twitter. That’s a huge percentage of your audience looking to connect with you on social!

We’ve found that you can engage to a certain degree with your marketing strategies. We believe that you can engage even further with a social-first support plan, too.

3. As the Buffer team grows, so do the opportunities

When Buffer started five years ago, social media looked a lot different. Facebook and Twitter were private companies, yet to have their IPOs. Neither was as fully embedded into society and culture the way they are today.

A lot has changed for social media, and a lot has changed for Buffer.

We started as a team of two, Joel and Leo, and we’re now a team of 80. In the past six months, we’ve doubled in size, adding 40 new team members (and keen to hire still more!).

And as the team has grown, we’ve felt confident that we can build out an amazing product experience not only for the Buffer product, but also for new areas like our image creation tool Pablo and, now, with Respond.

We’re grateful for the chance to have a full team—product, engineers, data, customer development, support—solely focused on delivering a great experience for you with Respond.

What’s next for Respond …

We’re building toward a tool that is great for everyone: teams, individuals, personal brands, and more. And certainly would love to welcome all types of users and teams to try Respond and see how the fit feels. (We’d love any feedback and input from you as well!)

We know that big companies have certain needs also, and we’re building out enterprise options at the moment. If that feels like you, definitely drop us a line and we’d love to chat!

Respond button

Thanks so much for the chance to serve you and your support team.

Happy Responding!

Image sources: Pablo, Placeit

The post Deliver Exceptionally Responsive Customer Support: Introducing Respond by Buffer appeared first on Social.

Why companies create content – part two: to gauge public opinion

Following on from Part One of this series where the topic of influencing brand perception was discussed, this new instalment looks at how content can help you tap into the mindset of the people you’re trying to sell to.

Part two: to gauge public opinion

Pretty much any content related book, article or conference talk you come across will at some point mention the term ‘audience-focused content’. As a phrase and a concept, it’s a simple one – create stuff that people are going to want – but the cogs that sit behind it can be both complicated and costly.

Rather than researching what people want then creating content to reflect that, there’s an argument to say your content could actually be your research method. By publishing then assessing how people react to what you put out there, the data can be used to create something bigger and better, or to inform other business actions.

Pre-internet (a scary thought) I recall being involved in various focus groups asking me what I thought of this pair of trainers, chocolate bar or gadget. For a handful of spotty-faced opinions, that would have involved the rigmarole of contracting a market research company, finding some willing participants, hiring a venue, recording the proceedings and collating the findings. 

These days you can just put up a vote on your Twitter feed.

Which of these packaging designs do you prefer? Should we serve a sour cream dip or salsa with our wrap? Which of these do you think should be our new TV ad? What should our new album be called?

People are used to being asked questions by brands, and companies are using these valuable contributions (along with other forms of data) to validate their marketing and product development efforts; “Our fans prefer the red one” is a perfectly valid rationale to bring up in a board meeting.

Ignore this opportunity at your peril.

Sticky Toffees

Everton Football Club have a proud tradition – despite not winning a league title since the mid-1980s they’re one of the best-supported clubs in England and social ad agency RadiumOne found in 2013 that if fan interactions formed the basis of the league table, they’d be the team taking home the silverware.

With that in mind, it seems all the more strange that they had such a catastrophic fail when it came to a rebranding exercise prior to the 2013/14 season.

A new club crest (below, in the middle) was announced to overwhelming online derision – there are few things that people feel more passionately about than their football club, and the fact that fans hadn’t been consulted caused uproar.

three everton fc logos

23,000 petition signatures later, the club had their hand forced; they had to do something. What followed was a series of apologies, consultations with fan and community groups and eventually an online vote which was won by the logo that most closely resembled the one they already had.

Rebranding twice within as many years is not a good thing for any business to be doing, let alone one which reaches of billions of people across the world every week. Wouldn’t this have all been much simpler if they had put a few options to the vote of their millions of social fans straight away?

That’s what New York City FC did.

Made in NY

This is a club that doesn’t have such an illustrious past – in fact they’ve only been in existence since early 2013, which may be why they seem to have a better grasp of the importance of crowdsourcing opinions to influence business decisions.

The public were asked to pick between these:

two new york fc logos

CBO Tim Pernetti said:

“Our supporters will always have a voice in our Club at New York City FC. We are truly excited about this opportunity to partner with them on this decision and we are counting on all New Yorkers and fans beyond the city to get involved, cast a vote and make New York City FC history.”

Fellow member of the City Football Group, Manchester City have taken lessons from this process for their own re-badging exercise.

manc city badges

In a statement that has obviously come from the same press office, Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano commented:

“We are looking for our fans to share their views as to what they consider to be the most authentic symbols of the Club. The views of our Cityzens are essential to the process; they will have a real say on the future of our badge.”

A host of online questionnaires, lectures on the history of the badge and articles in local newspapers detailing every element from the shape to the importance of each featured symbol was created, all building up to the big reveal.

What they were essentially doing was building a dossier of evidence to support their launch, using content to give people ample opportunity to offer feedback.

As long as you can keep out online mischief makers looking to derail the voting process (4chan famously managed to get Miley Cyrus to the top of Time Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year poll), there’s no excuse not to involve those who have actively shown an interest in your business in decisions around the products you want them to buy.

From views to dwell time to shares to comments, every piece of content you publish gives you an idea of how people feel about what you’re saying, which can in turn inform the approach the rest of the business takes.

As an aside to this seven part series, check out Ayima’s free DIY Content Marketing Strategy ecourse, designed to help you improve the ROI of your content.

Facebook Reactions: Meet Facebook’s New Supercharged ‘Like’ Button

Your Facebook newsfeed is about to get a whole lot more meaningful.

After nearly a year of testing in various markets around the globe, Facebook has now released their new, supercharged ‘like’ button.

For the first time, Facebook users globally can now react to status with more than just a thumbs up. Facebook Reactions enable you to express yourself with five additional emojis, alongside a “like.”

The new Reactions are: ‘love,’ ‘haha,’ ‘wow,’ ‘sad,’ and ‘angry.’

emojis

Curious to learn more about this change? Let’s dive in.

fb-reactions-head

About the change

Reactions, is an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to express your feelings towards a post in a quick and easy way.

To add a Reaction, hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the Like button on desktop to see the Reaction image options, then tap either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.

Here’s how the hover works on desktop:

Fb-reactions

And on mobile:

fb-reactions-mobile

On the process of rolling out this change, Facebook product manager, Sammi Krug explains:

We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.

Even though there are now five extra ways to react to a status, the ‘like’ still holds to number one spot.

As you scroll through your Newsfeed, you’ll still the ‘Like’ call to action on every post. Now though, instead of telling you how many people “Liked’ something, Facebook tells you how many people “reacted.” 

During the testing period, Facebook learned a great deal about how people would like to react to the content in their feed.

Originally, “yay” was also included as a Reaction, but Facebook discovered that “yay” could also convey other positive emotions such as “love” and “haha, and the data showed it was used much less in testing that the other Reactions. As such, “yay” was removed.

Given the long-lasting rumours of a “Dislike” button, this update feels like something Facebook users have been longing after for a while.

Facebook is used to share an emotional range of posts, and often, a “like” wasn’t entirely fitting to every post you wanted to react to. Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on this topic as rumours of a “Dislike” button started to circle in 2015:

Over the years of people asking for this, what we kind of have come to understand is that people aren’t looking for an ability to down vote other people’s posts, what they really want is to be able to express empathy.

Not every moment is a good moment and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you, so I do think it’s important to give people more options.

With Reactions being rolled out across both individual and business pages, this feels like an excellent opportunity to dive into what Facebook Reactions could mean for anyone running a brand page.

What Reactions could mean for brands

It certainly feels like Reactions could be a significant update for brands on Facebook.

Just hours after Facebook Reactions were released globally, Chevrolet became the first brands to incorporate the ‘like’ button extension into one of their advertising campaigns.

The one minute video, posted on Chevrolet’s Facebook page, allows customers to display their ‘love’ for the latest Chevrolet release. Check out the video below:

 

Like the all-new 2016 Malibu? More like Love. http://s.chevy.com/moV

Posted by Chevrolet on Wednesday, 24 February 2016

 

3 ways Facebook Reactions could affect brands

1. New ways to measure sentiment

Reactions will offer a new way to measure sentiment and gauge exactly how an audience is reacting to your Page’s content or a sponsored post. 

“Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they’re posting,” Richard Sim, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing, explained to AdAge.

This update will also bring a refresh to Facebook insights, with brands able to see Reaction counts within Facebook’s page insights tool.

2. Better understanding of customers

Previously, Facebook users had a few options if they saw a piece of brand content in their news feed:

  1. Ignore it
  2. Like it
  3. Share it (if they really love it)
  4. Comment on it (either positively or negatively)

Reactions open up multiple new ways for users to share their feelings towards content.

For example, if you’re seeing a lot of haha Reactions it may become clear that your audience finds your content amusing – this is context you previously wouldn’t find with the “like” only button.

3. A decrease in comments

Reactions is designed to make it easier for users to react to posts without having to type a comment.

Comments have always been a way to keep an eye on how your audience have reacted to a post and qualitatively measure performance. With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment.

With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment. This may also lead to more quantitive ways to measure user emotions through data.

Could Reactions eventually factor into the news feed algorithm?

Facebook is always looking for new ways to improve their news feed algorithm and speaking to AdAge, Richard Sim explained:

“Over time we do expect to have a better understanding of how these different Reactions impact what people want to see in their news feed. So it’s very possible that loves or hahas may be treated differently. We’re going to learn this as we’re going through testing.”

Could we see Reactions factored into the algorithm in the future? Maybe, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen anytime soon. I fully expect Facebook to be meticulous with the data here and fully test any updates before rolling them out to the news feed algorithm.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! I’m super excited about the update and can’t wait to dig into the Facebook insights data for our Buffer page.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update. What do you think about Reactions? How can you see this update affecting brands on Facebook?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Facebook Reactions: Meet Facebook’s New Supercharged ‘Like’ Button appeared first on Social.