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    33 Social Media Groups and Chats You Should Know About

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

    Whether you’re a community manager, a social media marketer, a PR pro or a digital strategist, chances are good you could use a sounding board once in a while.

    Joining a group of likeminded professionals is a great way to bounce around ideas, ask and answer questions and share industry news and tips.

    Luckily, there are lots of communities out there where both new and seasoned pros can go to talk shop and get help—whether your preferred network is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn …

    The post 33 Social Media Groups and Chats You Should Know About appeared first on Social.

    The Twitch Phenomenon: Why Live Streaming Is Worth Your Time

    Monday, May 4th, 2015

    Posted by troy.evans

    It’s safe to say that streaming video content online is quickly becoming the most accessible way to consume entertainment. The way we enjoy our favorite movies and television shows has been increasingly shifting towards uninterrupted (and possibly unhealthy) periods of ‘binge watching’. Easy and affordable alternatives like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go offer the option to forego traditional cable services altogether.

    Portlandia, “One Moore Episode”

    As the online video streaming movement grows, the concept of live streaming is also gaining popularity, and both these trends make a convincing case for considering a video-based content strategy to reach your target market. By far the best example of this is Amazon’s newest acquisition, Twitch.tv.

    What is Twitch.tv?

    Unless you happen to be an online gamer or addicted to TechCrunch, you may not have had much experience with the site. It is a platform for gamers to broadcast their gameplay live online while others watch and actively participate with chat.

    If you haven’t heard about the site’s boast-worthy statistics you may be wondering why you should even care. You’re not wrong to be skeptical; gamers watching other gamers play games online most likely has nothing to do with your business or marketing.

    However, the conclusions that can be drawn from Twitch.tv’s annual reports about the future of online and video marketing are worth some level of consideration and provide some evidence that live video streaming could be the next big channel for engaging with your audience.

    Why should you care?

    Here is a quick breakdown of Twitch.tv’s engagement from their 2014 report.

    Pretty amazing stats when you consider that they launched in 2011. Even when you take into account that the main demographic of users are web-savvy online gamers, those numbers are impressive.

    This statistic from their 2013 report, though, is what I find most interesting. Incredibly rapid engagement growth from 2012 on top of an unbelievable average user time on site (106 minutes watched each day). From a marketing perspective, this is what I consider to be a big opportunity.

    The following chart shows the average time on site for other top social media sites. To come anywhere near the numbers from Twitch, it would require a significant number of repeat visits (20+ average) at these rates:

    Since these two reports are not directly comparable, I thought it was valuable to translate some data gathered using Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner from back in 2011 to show some sort of comparison. (Granted, these have been converted from unique visitors’ monthly time spent on Facebook (15.55 hours) and YouTube (5.83 hours). (source)

    Now, you might be thinking that these statistics are not all that surprising for a site focused on live experiences. After all, we’ve known for some time now that a live broadcast will often produce a significant increase in viewership. By virtue of its unpredictability alone a larger audience is something to be expected. And let’s be honest, it’s one of the main reasons why TV news is so interesting.

    How can I win with live streaming?

    Entertainment is by far the most common live stream focus. Gaming, sports, music, tv shows, news, and events are found often, but there are also channels for technology, education, and even religion. There are also plenty of live animal streams. Mostly puppies and kittens, but also wildlife streams that might make good communities for environmentally focused marketing goals.

    Coming up with creative ways to implement live-stream content into your marketing strategy might be difficult, but it is certainly not impossible, and you might just be surprised with the results. Keep in mind that the scope of your broadcast can start out small (just like any other content strategy), and the content of your feed could be just about anything that can be translated into a video format. Even this post could be converted into a live stream as a simple discussion. For the most part, all you need is a webcam and a good microphone. To get started, take a look at these options for producing live stream content for your business.


    YouTube is probably the easiest and most well-known platform to use for integrating live stream content. It offers solutions to quickly set up a live stream through your channel as long as it is verified and in good standing. There is a live chat feature that can be disabled if you so choose, although most live streams really do go well with an engaging live chat. YouTube is the perfect place to start up a live stream project at little to no cost. You most likely already have a channel and an audience to which you can start broadcasting.


    Another option worth considering is Livestream.com, which is great for broadcasting any kind of live event. For the most part, I have seen high quality productions on this site. Consider this one if you already have a video-based content strategy and a sizable following that is eager to consume your broadcasts.


    This site is a bit different in that it offers solutions for a variety of high-quality live streaming options, even production services and a video advertising platform focused on lead generation. There is a variety of content with categories like sports, gaming, news, music, and general entertainment. Ustream has a wider range of content than livestream; you will find streams for technology, education, religion and even wildlife here, among others. Ustream also offers a basic ad-supported broadcasting option which would be perfect for an organization that is just starting to develop live stream content.

    Notice how Ustream has no qualms with adverts!

    Streaming through Twitter

    If you are already using Twitter for your online marketing strategy, you should consider using something like Periscope or Meerkat to develop live-streaming engagement with your followers. These services are also a great way to kickstart the use of Twitter in your marketing arsenal and start to build a following if you haven’t done so already.

    You can give exclusive previews of products, how-to tutorials, a quick tour of your facilities, or show off your services. And, of course, you will have the potential to respond in real time to feedback from viewers. At the moment, both Periscope and Meerkat can only be used on iPhones, but Meerkat is developing an Android version.

    Focused streaming sites

    Let’s not forget about the more focused platforms. Online communities that are ready and willing to engage with live streams do already exist outside the realm of gaming. They are worth exploring if you are working to promote something relevant to your customers interests.

    Picarto.tv is for artists and graphic designers to show others how they do those amazing Photoshop things they do.

    Chew.tv is a platform for DJs to play live sets to other DJs and music lovers.

    Livecoding.tv is fairly new but given the nature of programmers there are almost always a few live streams on. This is a great place for newcomers and seasoned programmers to learn about coding by watching the experts in action.

    Talktochef.com is a really cool site that lets people engage directly with experienced chefs. If you have anything to do with the food industry, there is likely value to be gained from using this site.

    Cookstream.tv is also just getting started, but seems like a promising venue for those within the food industry.

    Not ready to start live streaming? You can still gain insights by participating!

    Even if you’re not ready to live stream your own content, you can find value by doing a little live stream research or even getting involved in a relevant broadcast. Here are some things to think about during your search:

    1. Get insights into popular topics just by scanning for high viewer count streams. If you market for or create content about anything related to animals, you might consider producing some blog posts about eagles; for some reason people seem to like watching them, as I found a number of eagle nest live feeds, some with over a thousands viewers at a time.

      Decorah Eagles Ustream.TV Donate to the Raptor Resource Project Your online donation will be securely processed through Paypal. Yo....png

    2. Take advantage of relevant live streams that receive significant viewers and get ideas for creating similar content in any form. Topics that resonate with viewers on live streams will most likely be easily translated into pre-recorded video or written content. If I were marketing for anything related to billiards, for example, I would check out the Accu-Stats On Location channel at Ustream that have over a thousand followers and had achieved over 250,000 views. Just from watching a few minutes I noticed that while they stream a live pool and billiards tournament they are also constantly raffling off prizes. A great idea for some social media content might be to create raffle targeting people who are interested in pool and billiards.

    3. Listen to what viewers are saying on relevant streams. Broadcasters provide great insight as to what sort of content you could be creating but the viewers do as well. Part of the beauty of live streaming is that the viewers are constantly engaging via live chat while they watch. This provides a great way to get direct insight about your target audience. Chatting with viewers can provide a direct line to potential customers. Just make sure to follow the channel rules and avoid blatant promotional spam.
    4. Live streams also offer opportunities for outreach to their broadcasters. Just as popular industry bloggers make great influencers, so do broadcasters. You could try to get in touch with a broadcaster to discuss some form of collaboration; this would likely work in the same manner as a collaboration with an industry blogger.

    Start researching & streaming

    I like to think of online marketers as masters of the interwebs, and as such I feel it’s important to be at least aware of (if not knowledgeable about) every realm. It may not be as popular outside of the gaming space, but I anticipate the near future will bring live streaming growth in other focused markets. As this content becomes more prevalent, the applications toward online marketing will become more and more obvious. By learning how to navigate and identify relevant live stream communities you will be ready to get involved and apply them to your marketing efforts, whether that means starting up a broadcast of your own or collaborating with existing broadcasters.

    Lastly, and there may not be much in this on a marketing level but I thought it was well worth sharing: Definitely one of my favorite streams so far, if this doesn’t convince you that live streaming (and Animal Planet) is awesome, nothing will…

    Live video by Animal Planet L!ve

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    Why the Links You’ve Built Aren’t Helping Your Page Rank Higher – Whiteboard Friday

    Friday, May 1st, 2015

    Posted by randfish

    Link building can be incredibly effective, but sometimes a lot of effort can go into earning links with absolutely no improvement in rankings. Why? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us four things we should look at in these cases, help us hone our link building skills and make the process more effective.

    For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard. Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

    Why the Links You've Built to That Page Aren't Helping it Move up the Rankings Whiteboard

    Video transcription

    Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about why link building sometimes fails.

    So I’ve got an example here. I’m going to do a search for artificial sweeteners. Let’s say I’m working for these guys, ScienceMag.org. Well, this is actually in position 10. I put it in position 3 here, but I see that I’m position 10. I think to myself, “Man, if I could get higher up on this page, that would be excellent. I’ve already produced the content. It’s on my domain. Like, Google seems to have indexed it fine. It’s performing well enough to perform on page one, granted at the bottom of page one, for this competitive query. Now I want to move my rankings up.”

    So a lot of SEOs, naturally and historically, for a long time have thought, “I need to build more links to that page. If I can get more links pointing to this page, I can move up the rankings.” Granted, there are some other ways to do that too, and we’ve discussed those in previous Whiteboard Fridays. But links are one of the big ones that people use.

    I think one of the challenges that we encounter is sometimes we invest that effort. We go through the process of that outreach campaign, talking to bloggers and other news sites and looking at where our link sources are coming from and trying to get some more of those. It just doesn’t seem to do anything. The link building appears to fail. It’s like, man, I’ve got all these nice links and no new results. I didn’t move up at all. I am basically staying where I am, or maybe I’m even falling down. Why is that? Why does link building sometimes work so well and so clearly and obviously, and sometimes it seems to do nothing at all?

    What are some possible reasons link acquisition efforts may not be effective?

    Oftentimes if you get a fresh set of eyes on it, an outside SEO perspective, they can do this audit, and they’ll walk through a lot of this stuff and help you realize, “Oh yeah, that’s probably why.” These are things that you might need to change strategically or tactically as you approach this problem. But you can do this yourself as well by looking at why a link building campaign, why a link building effort, for a particular page, might not be working.

    1) Not the right links

    First one, it’s not the right links. Not the right links, I mean a wide range of things, even broader than what I’ve listed here. But a lot of times that could mean low domain diversity. Yeah, you’re getting new links, but they’re coming from all the same places that you always get links from. Google, potentially, maybe views that as not particularly worthy of moving you up the rankings, especially around competitive queries.

    It might be trustworthiness of source. So maybe they’re saying “Yeah, you got some links, but they’re not from particularly trustworthy places.” Tied into that maybe we don’t think or we’re sure that they’re not editorial. Maybe we think they’re paid, or we think they’re promotional in some way rather than being truly editorially given by this independent resource.

    They might not come from a site or from a page that has the authority that’s necessary to move you up. Again, particularly for competitive queries, sometimes low-value links are just that. They’re not going to move the needle, especially not like they used to three, four, five or six years ago, where really just a large quantity of links, even from diverse domains, even if they were crappy links on crappy pages on relatively crappy or unknown websites would move the needle, not so much anymore. Google is seeing a lot more about these things.

    Where else does the source link to? Is that source pointing to other stuff that is potentially looking manipulative to Google and so they discounted the outgoing links from that particular domain or those sites or those pages on those sites?

    They might look at the relevance and say, “Hey, you know what? Yeah, you got linked to by some technology press articles. That doesn’t really have anything to do with artificial sweeteners, this topic, this realm, or this region.” So you’re not getting the same result. Now we’ve shown that off-topic links can oftentimes move the rankings, but in particular areas and in health, in fact, may be one of those Google might be more topically sensitive to where the links are coming from than other places.

    Location on page. So I’ve got a page here and maybe all of my links are coming from a bunch of different domains, but it’s always in the right sidebar and it’s always in this little feed section. So Google’s saying, “Hey, that’s not really an editorial endorsement. That’s just them showing all the links that come through your particular blog feed or a subscription that they’ve got to your content or whatever it is promotionally pushing out. So we’re not going to count it that way.” Same thing a lot of times with footer links. Doesn’t work quite as well. If you’re being honest with yourself, you really want those in content links. Generally speaking, those tend to perform the best.

    Or uniqueness. So they might look and they might say, “Yeah, you’ve got a ton of links from people who are republishing your same article and then just linking back to it. That doesn’t feel to us like an editorial endorsement, and so we’re just going to treat those copies as if those links didn’t exist at all.” But the links themselves may not actually be the problem. I think this can be a really important topic if you’re doing link acquisition auditing, because sometimes people get too focused on, “Oh, it must be something about the links that we’re getting.” That’s not always the case actually.

    2) Not the right content

    Sometimes it’s not the right content. So that could mean things like it’s temporally focused versus evergreen. So for different kinds of queries, Google interprets the intent of the searchers to be different. So it could be that when they see a search like “artificial sweeteners,” they say, “Yeah, it’s great that you wrote this piece about this recent research that came out. But you know what, we’re actually thinking that searchers are going to want in the top few results something that’s evergreen, that contains all the broad information that a searcher might need around this particular topic.”

    That speaks to it might not answer the searchers questions. You might think, “Well, I’m answering a great question here.” The problem is, yeah you’re answering one. Searchers may have many questions that they’re asking around a topic, and Google is looking for something comprehensive, something that doesn’t mean a searcher clicks your result and then says, “Well, that was interesting, but I need more from a different result.” They’re looking for the one true result, the one true answer that tells them, “Hey, this person is very happy with these types of results.”

    It could be poor user experience causing people to bounce back. That could be speed things, UI things, layout things, browser support things, multi-device support things. It might not use language formatting or text that people or engines can interpret as on the topic. Perhaps this is way over people’s heads, far too scientifically focused, most searchers can’t understand the language, or the other way around. It’s a highly scientific search query and a very advanced search query and your language is way dumbed down. Google isn’t interpreting that as on-topic. All the Hummingbird and topic modeling kind of things that they have say this isn’t for them.

    Or it might not match expectations of searchers. This is distinct and different from searchers’ questions. So searchers’ questions is, “I want to know how artificial sweeteners might affect me.” Expectations might be, “I expect to learn this kind of information. I expect to find out these things.” For example, if you go down a rabbit hole of artificial sweeteners will make your skin shiny, they’re like, “Well, that doesn’t meet with my expectation. I don’t think that’s right.” Even if you have some data around that, that’s not what they were expecting to find. They might bounce back. Engines might not interpret you as on-topic, etc. So lots of content kinds of things.

    3) Not the right domain

    Then there are also domain issues. You might not have the right domain. Your domain might not be associated with the topic or content that Google and searchers are expecting. So they see Mayo Clinic, they see MedicineNet, and they go, “ScienceMag? Do they do health information? I don’t think they do. I’m not sure if that’s an appropriate one.” It might be perceived, even if you aren’t, as spammy or manipulative by Google, more probably than by searchers. Or searchers just won’t click your brand for that content. This is a very frustrating one, because we have seen a ton of times when search behavior is biased by the brand itself, by what’s in this green text here, the domain name or the brand name that Google might show there. That’s very frustrating, but it means that you need to build brand affinity between that topic, that keyword, and what’s in searchers’ heads.

    4) Accessibility or technical issues

    Then finally, there could be some accessibility or technical issues. Usually when that’s the case, you will notice pretty easily because the page will have an error. It won’t show the content properly. The cache will be an issue. That’s a rare one, but you might want to check for it as well.

    But hopefully, using this kind of an audit system, you can figure out why a link building campaign, a link building effort isn’t working to move the needle on your rankings.

    With that, we will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

    Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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