John Foley, Jr Posts

5 Major SEO Trends for 2016

As 2016 is approaching, marketers have the opportunity to look back at past techniques and predict ones that will have a major effect on associations this year. SEO is as important in 2016 as it has ever been and will continue to play a major role in the success of marketing your organization. Keeping that in mind, make sure you properly prepare for five of the top SEO trends this year.

  1. SEOImportance of Mobile-Friendly Content. With 1 out of every 5 people owning a smartphone, having a responsive website plays a key role in successfully marketing your association. An organization’s website should be accessible from any device, with the text and images being adaptable to the size of the device being used. By providing mobile-friendly content, it creates a user-friendly experience and makes information easily available to any consumer trying to access your site. Having an optimized website will provide a competitive advantage, only furthering your association’s reach.
  2. Display of Content in Search Results. With Google being the number one search engine in the world, your association needs to make sure its content is displayed properly when searched. Keep in mind keywords, titles, and descriptions to make sure your content appears accurately and directs your audience to your site. By changing the way your content appears in search results, it will attract more members and boost your rankings among search engines, improving your overall SEO.
  3. Increasing Need for Personalization. With search engines becoming more knowledgeable, the need for personalizing your content is increasing. Make sure you’re segmenting content for your specific audiences so your content will appear in targeted searches. Psychographics and demographics are important to keep in mind, as they allow your audience to be directed to you. Select a target market, and reach out to them by using keywords directed at that audience and promoting your association’s value proposition. You will receive stronger SEO, helping to advance your organization.
  4. Website Security and Errors. Making sure your site is secure with no errors (such as ‘Page not Found’) will give you an extra advantage with Google and other search engines this year. By taking advantage of all the data that Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics have to offer, it will help you avoid security problems and other website errors while at the same time increasing the overall experience of a viewer, satisfying prospective members.
  5. Social Media Integration. While not a completely new trend, social media is continuing to grow, playing a vital role in marketing your association. If your organization doesn’t have a strong presence on social media, potential members will have a more difficult time finding you, including in web searches. This will limit your search engine results and hinder your access to share relevant and valuable content. Make sure your association has a notable presence on the major social media sites this year, including consistent updates with appropriate content for your readers. Understanding your target market and sharing content that would interest them is an essential part of marketing, and having a strong presence on social media gives your association another outlet to appear on search engine results.

Though most of these tactics seem quite basic, make sure you take the time to properly follow and implement them as they are important and will only benefit your association. Maximizing SEO for your website does take time and effort, but if handled correctly, it will be worth it for the overall success of your organization.

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6 Reasons to Focus on Social Media as an Important Marketing Tool

Social media is an extremely beneficial outlet for your association, and you should begin taking it seriously now. Don’t believe me? Here are six reasons why you should:

1. You Don’t Have to Throw Money at a Facebook Page

If your advertising budget is low, then the best way to get your association in front of prospects is through social media. The cost of social media (outside of paid advertisements) is relatively inexpensive; the only costs being the time and money you must pay an employee to manage it. A study by Hootsuite concluded that organizations are drastically altering their marketing efforts towards social media. They also found marketing departments are now hiring based on social media ability. Effective use of social media allows you to lower your marketing costs, while increasing traffic to your website and ultimately growing membership.

2. Climb to the Top of Keyword Searches with Each Post You Make

KeywordAs you become more active on social media, your website will rank higher in searches. By posting valuable content on social media and linking it to your website, you can help improve your search engine optimization. Search engines now factor in more than just how many times a keyword is in your content. Often websites are selected by not only their keywords, but their presence and activity on social media as well. In a list of SEO tips for 2015, Hitsearch said, “It’s not just about making a lot of keyword relevant ‘stuff’; it’s about producing something that is useful to the customer or client.” A strong social media base will help your association show up in front of competitors during a keyword search, which will bring more leads and potentially more members your way.

3. Legitimize Your Association with Content You Stand Behind

Every post your organization makes on social media is a chance to reinforce your association’s identity. Making your content available on multiple social media platforms makes you a more familiar and recognizable association for members. Huffington Post stated that defining your identity is imperative for any organization to be successful. Also, having these different channels where your content is posted makes it easier for new members to become familiar with your services. Posting relative and knowledgeable content that reinforces what your association believes in will make your organization appear as an industry leader.

4. People are Talking About Your Association, Join in the Conversation

TalkingOne of the main benefits of social media is that it allows you to join in as well as start conversations. If someone posts something positive about your association, you can easily thank them, and show them other services they may be interested in. On the other hand if a member  posts something negative about your organization, social media allows you to apologize quickly and then take the next step to make things right. Social Media Today showed us that 53% of small organizations use social media as an engagement tool for providing 2-way conversation customer support. The speed of this interaction means any bad word of mouth can be dealt with before it can severely damage your organization’s reputation.

5. Find out what Interests Your Members to Better Engage Them

Interests2As easy as it is for you to interact with a member, it is just as easy for existing and potential members to get involved and interact with your association. Through likes, favorites, retweets, and shares, members can engage with your organization and promote your content for you. This is an ideal situation for your association because if others share your posts it will help to humanize your cause. Studies conducted by Social Media Today show 80% of customers and members on social networks prefer to connect themselves to organizations through Facebook. Social media allows you to easily measure what content is getting positive feedback. This can be done by looking at the number of likes or shares a social media post has generated. This makes it easier for you to post content which stimulates conversation between members and your association.

6. Set Yourself Apart from Your Competitors

The final reason why social media marketing can be one of your strongest marketing tools is that the majority of your competitors are not doing it. On top of that, those that are using social media are not necessarily using it correctly. Having social media puts you one step ahead of all of your competitors that do not use these channels. Just by having these platforms available to your potential and current members makes your organization that much more convenient to be a part of. EMarketer reported that 24% of organizations have integrated social media in a structured way. The more places that your association can be recognized the better. That is why just using social media can set you far ahead of your competitors. According to Forbes, most organizations feel that social media marketing is a fad that will inevitably die down. This mentality will only make it harder to catch up to those associations that are embracing the changes, and utilizing not only direct marketing, but social media marketing as well. Give yourself an advantage in 2016; have your association embrace social media and all of the marketing benefits that come along with it.

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2015 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo

We are coming up on the holiday season and while we are busier than ever, we are happy to announce that interlinkONE will be attending the 2015 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo next month, from December 15-16th.

The 2015 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo is being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

VP of Sales, Karen DeWolfe, will be joining me at the show, excited to show associations what the newly acquired and number one social media software for sales, AwarenessHub, is all about.

Karen and I will be a part of the Vendor Expo Hall from 11:45AM – 2:00PM on both Tuesday, December 15th and Wednesday, December 16th. While you network with peers, we hope you swing by booth #441 and see what AwarenessHub’s sales and marketing software can do to help your association better connect with its members and boost engagement.

Also, as a bonus for conference attendees only, be sure to ask John or Karen about how your association can receive 3 months FREE of the AwarenessHub software application – a deal you do not want to miss out on!

Are you planning on attending 2015 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo? If so, we look forward to seeing you there!

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10 Ways to Interact with Your Audience Online

Are you stumped on finding ways to interact with your target audience online? No need to worry any longer. Here are plenty of different ways for you to creatively engage with your audience using social media and your association’s website.

Encourage Webinar Sign Ups
You can announce webinars on your blog, social media sites, website, or eNewsletter. Webinars are an opportunity to share your expertise with any number of people, and you are able to have them participate, ask you questions, and share their ideas during the webinar as well. Webinar programs, such as, even allow you to record the webinar so you can post it on all channels, like your blog, for future reference.

Encourage eNewsletter Sign Ups
eNewsletters are always a great way for your audience to stay up to date with what your association is doing. It also gives organizations the opportunity to show a more personable side to their audience. Some ways to humanize your association with eNewsletters are by integrating YouTube videos of members or employees discussing a particular subject, blog posts, and sharing pictures of events the association participated in.

Event and Seminar Invitations
Events and seminars can create an opportunity to see which of your social media channels work the best. If you advertise the event on all channels with a link that directs them to the event’s registration page, create a survey question to see which tactic actually led them to the event. It will give insight of where and how much traffic flow is occurring.

eBook and White Paper Downloads
Sharing information and industry expertise are two big trends in social media and are great ways to promote your association to your members and audience. If you announce to your online audience that these materials are available online, they will be able to learn more about you and you will be able to easily pass along information to members. Try to set up a landing page to download the item for free as well. Having them enter their email address and answer two or three survey questions before downloading the content gives you the chance to gain more information.

Create a Contest
You can incorporate this into your eNewsletter, blog, social media sites, events – essentially anything. Have your audience enter the contest by submitting their email address and answering a few survey questions. This information will give you material to see if any of the participants could be prospective members. You can also create a thank you email to send to all of the participants in order to encourage future interactions with them.

Create a Poll
Polls are a fantastic way to learn more information about who is following you online. They are quick, easy, and efficient for both you and the participant. You can have the poll focus on any type of subject matter that is beneficial for you to learn more about prospective and current members. Display a poll on your website, eNewsletter, and social sites!

Make a Video
Creating videos is so easy with the help of flip cameras, digital cameras, mobile phones, etc. They only have to be 30 seconds to two minutes long in order for it to send a valuable message to your audience. You have the opportunity to do so much with videos. Some ideas are announcing a contest winner, wishing your audience happy holidays, live footage of events, interviews with members, or association announcements. Let your audience see the personable side of you and give your team and members the opportunity to participate with your marketing efforts. Integrate the videos on your website, eNewsletter, and your social media sites.

Organize Testimonial Interviews
Having your testimonials in video-form would bring new life to your testimonial page on your website. Your audience would be able to see current members, how they talk about your association, and it would be much easier for them to explain their experience with your association in person. Written text can only capture so much, but videos have the capability to show how happy a member is with your association. Posting videos is possible on all social media sites and you can monitor how many views and comments each one receives.

Create a Blog
Blogs can be used as your weekly eNewsletter. It is easy to keep them updated frequently (bi-weekly or monthly), and you can blog about almost anything. Integrating videos, announcements, poll results, experiences at events, or subject matter are all fantastic topics to discuss in a blog. Your audience is able to leave comments and share with friends, and you can easily announce news in a quick manner. Promoting new entries across all of your online channels immediately after is possible as well. Don’t be intimidated by the blog; entries can be as short or as long as you want!

Host a Twitter Chat
Twitter chats can be very useful when it comes to attracting an online audience and giving those participants a chance to engage or respond to what you are saying. Twitter makes sharing and interacting easy because of hashtags, retweets, and username handles. You can promote Twitter chats easily and see how people shared information after the chat as well.

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5 Tips to Manage Your Association’s Social Media

Running social media for any association, no matter what size, certainly can be difficult and time consuming. From making sure your posts go out on time to creating content that is intriguing, it’s challenging to meet all aspects. Maintaining social media that is organized and personable, yet also professional, can be a difficult task, but by allowing the tips below to guide you, you will find it easier to manage.

  1. gears_marketingConsistency. Maintaining your social media accounts is a time consuming task. Developing creative content and scheduling your posts is stressful, but with help of the right tools, you will notice a weight being lifted off your shoulders. Do your research and find the right social media management tool to fit your needs. A good social media software will help you to manage your strategy and keep a consistent posting schedule across all channels. This will make your job much easier and your audience will appreciate the consistency.
  2. Have a Leader. While it’s great to have a team that is dedicated to your association’s social media, having one person that can oversee everything and make sure your team is on the right track is important. From supervising the team to overseeing the entire social media strategy, it’s key to have a manager. This doesn’t mean that they should take away the responsibilities of your team members; it means that they should be a supervisor and help guide them.
  3. Educate. Educating your social media team is important so that you can make sure that everyone is on the same page. Meet with them on a weekly basis to review status and strategy. This will allow you to talk to your team and get their input on how to be more successful and what they need to work on. If you’re not able to meet with them in person, use a tool such as GoToMeeting that will allow you to video chat with them and check on progress.
  4. Analyze Results. While it’s great to share content and see audience interaction, it’s still necessary to track and analyze all of your results. With so many reporting tools out there, the amount of work needed is cut in half. When searching for the right social media management tool, make sure you consider their reporting system and how it will help you generate reports and measure audience interactions.
  5. Encourage. Make sure you encourage your marketing team and reward them for results. Encouraging and supporting them shows that you care and want them to succeed. Convince them to participate by letting them know the goals and objectives that you hope to make and acknowledge superior performance. Remember to work as a team, as the overall goal is the same for all involved.

Overall, maintaining a strong social media presence is a great way for your audience and members to get to know your association. Follow these tips above to help you take control of your social media efforts and allow you to create an organized and unified social media strategy.

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