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5 ways to get into a Facebook News Feed

Posted by & filed under analytics, community, Facebook.

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Facebook has been continuing to tweak its News Feed Algorithm, rooting out spammy and click-baiting posts and promoting “high-quality” posts with more personal connection to the user. This has been great for Facebook users, but challenging to marketers who are trying to reach their target audience through a Facebook News Feed.

For all Linqia campaigns, it is strictly against our terms of use to pay for your Facebook posts to be “boosted” or become more visible in your friends’ or fans’ News Feeds. Paying for any special social media promotion is not a part of the authentic storytelling that our storytellers and brands have come to trust and celebrate.

Keep in mind these 5 ways to get into a Facebook News Feed and you will still be able to reach and influence your community members in their News Feeds.

1) Get Insights

To utilize your Facebook Insights, look inside the “Posts” tab to discover the times and dates when most of your fans are engaging with your page and post at those times. Also look at the type of posts that are getting the most likes and reaching the most people and center your posts around that type of content.

2) Do not ask for likes

Instead of asking for likes, ask a true or false question and let your audience fill in the blanks with comments.

3) Use images

Word images are the most powerful type of post, make sure your images are 1200 x 1200 as Facebook recommends (use applications like PicMonkey to resize images appropriately.)

4) Start the Conversation

Post content that is likely to create a conversation or inform your readers of new and interesting things about your brand. Content that is relevant to your brand or organization will be favored by Facebook’s algorithm over memes or random but popular items that don’t really relate to your brand.

5) Go Mobile

Make sure all the links you share are mobile friendly, as that will also be favored by the search algorithm, not to mention more than 300 million users access Facebook through their mobile device everyday.

Head over to the Linqia Facebook and let us know your thoughts!

Source: Constant Contact

 

 

Your Search Footprint is Safe with Linqia

Posted by & filed under advertisers, brands, Google+, private blog networks, SEO.

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PBNs and Google

There has been a recent controversy in the blogopshere over PBNs, or private blog networks.

A private blog network is a group of similarly-themed sites that all contain links back to a specified site, usually a monetized site. These sites are customarily all controlled by one publisher. The intention of the network is to link-farm as many links as possible within the network, funneling the traffic to the monetized site and simultaneously boosting the PageRank of that site. The websites in a PBN are generally filled with poor content and employ black hat SEO techniques to waste a user’s time when searching for relevant information.

PBNs are not actually private, the term private just means they are not intended for the general public to view and mostly exist to build up links. These networks try to avoid detection by Google, who frowns upon this unethical manipulation of “link juice.” These PBNs, when detected, can be penalized by Google in that they are removed from search results, potentially forever.

 

The Linqia Difference

Linqia is not a private blog network. We are a platform that independent bloggers, whom we call storytellers, can join in order to be easily matched with paid campaign opportunities. Our platform acts as a database in which storytellers can register one or more of their online communities, including their social media channels, and all communities who participate in our campaigns are required to be registered in our platform.

All communities that we work with are public and our campaign stories are always posted in public spaces; it is strictly against our terms of use to post campaign stories and links in any private channel, forum, or website. We also closely monitor all campaign stories to ensure that our storytellers comply with the FTC guidelines of disclosure when posting sponsored content.

In addition, all of the unique Ooh.li links we provide our storytellers to track their clicks are designated by our servers to be non-SEO links and carry no link juice. Community leaders can and should take the extra precaution of editing the HTML in their links to include a no-follow tag, ensuring that their search footprint is not tracked, and search engines do not see it as a link farm intended to falsely boost the PageRank of our campaign participants.

 

Boosting Your Search Results Organically

One of the many values of a Linqia campaign is our ability to boost your brand’s search results in an ethical, organic way. We work with your brand to determine one or more keywords that you would like to target, and guide our storytellers through ethical, “white hat” SEO optimization tactics to help amplify their stories. We instruct our storytellers to place the keywords frequently throughout their posts and to also share and engage their audience through the social widgets on their posts, as this boosts their appearance on the SERP. We especially encourage engagement on Google+, as this can raise the post’s visibility in Google search results.

 

If you are interested in running a campaign program with Linqia or learning more about how we work, please email us at info@linqia.com.

 

Sources: SearchEngineLand.com

What are No-Follow Links?

Posted by & filed under analytics, brands, communities, content marketing, Linqia, SEO, social media marketing, storytelling.

 

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You may have heard something about no-follow links from other bloggers or storytellers on the internet, but you might not be sure exactly what they are or the difference between no-follow and follow links.

To understand what a no-follow link is, first we need to understand exactly how the Google search engine ranks websites on its results page.

Google has a metric called PageRank that calculates, among many factors, the amount of inbound links a website has. The more links to your site from other websites, the more “points” your website will have, and the more points your website has, the higher its PageRank.

The higher a website’s PageRank, the higher it will appear in a search results page.

Are all links worth the same amount of points?

No. Heavily trafficked sites, like Time.com, for example, will give your website many more link points that your uncle’s travel blog would.

Many marketers and others in the blogging world call these points “link juice,” as the influence of larger sites “flows” into smaller sites through links.

So where do no-follow links come in?

Links which allow the link juice to flow through are called follow links, where as no-follow links will give your site no extra points or juice, it is simply a link to another website.

Why would you want someone to use no-follow links when backlinking to your website?

The short answer: less spam.

There are some search “experts” who use “black hat” SEO techniques to boost their PageRank, one of the primary methods being link-building. We have all seen the blog comments that are essentially word salad with a link at the end. Blog comments are one way that the black hats will try to leave links on a website, falsely boosting their own website’s link points.

As any storyteller can attest, these kinds of comments are not helpful when trying to foster an authentic community discussion. Luckily, in 2005 Google stepped in with a new attribute, “nofollow,” which can be added into the HTML text of a link to block any link juice from flowing through the link.

This attribute mitigated some of the black hat SEO tactics, as webmasters now have the ability to make all comment sections and forums no-follow and keep spammers out.

Are no-follow links useful for anything else?

Of course, no-follows can still be a funnel for traffic to your site, and as Google’s algorithm continues to evolve, many other factors besides link juice are taken into account when calculating PageRank.

For example, all links from Wikipedia are no-follow, but a link to your site from a Wikipedia article could results in lots of relevant and engaged traffic.

How do I get more follow links on my site?

There’s only one way: create fantastic, relevant content, and do it often! Google is the number one search engine by a long shot, and Google’s goal is to have sites with the best content relevant to your search rank as high as possible.

Learn more about black and white hat SEO techniques here and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Sources: The Wordstream Blog

 

 

Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO

Posted by & filed under branding, communities, SEO, social network, storytelling.

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Things don’t always have to be so black and white.

In the world of search engine optimization (from here on out referred to as SEO) there are nice ways to boost your websites ranking in search engine results, and not-so-nice ways.

Black hat SEO is a term for using unethical tactics to bump a website up the search engine results page (SERP). There are several tactics of black hat SEO that we will outline, and also present the safer “white hat” alternatives. We say safer, because there is real risk in using black hat techniques. If Google becomes aware of your site using unethical SEO measures, they can give penalties to your website.

Black Hat SEO Strategies

Hidden Content – Hiding content and keywords on a site can make that site appear in search results that may not be relevant to the visible content. Content can be hidden in several ways, for example, black text against a black background.

Stuffing or Spamming Meta Tags – This tactic used to be viable, but now it will most certainly get your site flagged for black hat SEO. Stuffing meta tags is simply including keywords in your meta tags that are not in any way relevant to your content. For example, a food site that includes tags not relating to food at all, perhaps “kate middleton” or “celebrity news” could stuff their meta tags to try to end up in search results that are not relevant to their content.

Link Farming – Link farming, also called link building, is the exchange of inbound links with other sites for the sole purpose of boosting your site’s PageRank. Usually these links are invisible and serve no purpose for users, making them a black hat SEO strategy. For a more in depth explanation read our article about no-follow links and why they exist.

Doorway Passages – Also called portal, gateway, or bridge pages. These pages are basically trap doors, they are optimized to show up for certain keyword search results, but once you click into these doorway pages you are immediately redirected to another website that is irrelevant to your original search.  

White Hat SEO Strategies

Using Solid Keyword Phrases – Before committing to a keyword phrase, make sure to research it thoroughly and test it on search engines to ensure that you will be reaching your desired audience. Once you select your keyword phrase, use it in your content frequently. The more usage the keyword gets in a relevant context, the more quality the site will appear to a search engine.

Frequently Posting Relevant Content – The goal of your community should be to create the best, most relevant content around your topic or theme. Not only will this engage your reader and grow your follower base, it will also cause your site to appear higher in SERP, as long as you are including your keyword phrases throughout the content.

Quality Inbound Links – Above we mentioned link farming, which you will always want to avoid, but by no means should you avoid exchanging links entirely. If a page is useful or interesting to your topic, feel free to link to it, and let others link to you! Inbound links from quality sites, especially those ranked higher than yours by search engines, can give your site more “link juice,” bumping you up in on the SERP. Find out more about link juice and how to harness the power of inbound links here.

Headings – Dividing up your posts with headings is actually both aesthetically pleasing and white hat SEO friendly. Use your keyword phrases in your headings to give your site a boost in search results, as keywords in the HTML headings of <H1>, <H2>, and <H3> will carry more weight that normal sized text.

What SEO strategies have you seen? Share them with us on our on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

 

Source: Apryl Duncan for About Money 

How Brands can Run A Giveaway, Competition or Sweepstake with Linqia Storytellers

Posted by & filed under advertisers, brands, campaign, communities, Facebook, Giveaways, instagram, Pinterest.

Incentives such as giveaways, competitions or sweepstakes can be a powerful way to engage Storytellers and their audiences with your Linqia Campaign. Not only do they allow Storytellers to experience your product first hand, they can also generate increased interest and engagement amongst their audience.

There are a few things to take into consideration before moving forward with an incentive.

Consideration 1: Relevance

First things first, is the incentive relevant to your campaign and the audience you are reaching out to? It is important to put yourself in both the Storyteller and their audiences shoes before getting excited about your incentive. At Linqia, our mission is to create a seamless experience for both Storytellers and their audiences and in some cases more (i.e. an irrelevant incentive) is not always more. Your incentive should be related to your campaign and benefit not only the overall campaign success, but also the Storytellers and their audiences.

Consideration 2: Your Purpose

Determine your overall purpose and goal for the incentive. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you promoting a new product? Are you encouraging traffic to a particular landing page? Knowing your purpose prior to establishing the incentive will help with all aspects throughout your campaign. We can help determine your incentive goals prior to your campaign launch.

Consideration 3: Rules & Regulations

With every successful incentive there should be a set of rules or guidelines for Storytellers and their audiences to follow. In addition to rules or guidelines about the incentive itself, all Storytellers must clearly site disclosure in their stories (This post was sponsored by Brand but the opinions are all my own) and social posts (#sp, #sponsored, #ad) once the incentive has begun. Consider the following:

• When does the giveaway, competition or sweepstake start?
• What is the duration?
• Who can enter? Is this incentive limited to the United States or is it open to participants in Canada?
• Who is hosting the incentive? Will you, the brand, host the incentive or are you looking for the Storytellers to self-host the giveaway, competition or sweepstake? You will need to consider shipping logistics. With a brand-hosted incentive you are in control of your prizes. Your Linqia Customer Success Manager will gather winners shipping addresses at the end of the incentive and send them via email so you can ship directly to the winners. This way, you ensure the date that winners will receive their prizes. In Self-hosted incentives, you, the brand, ships prizes directly to Storytellers prior to the start of the incentive. It is then the Storytellers responsibility to ship the winner product at the end of the campaign. How will the participant enter the incentive?
• How will the participant enter the incentive? Will you create a landing page for participants to enter or is there an alternative method for entering such as commenting or share via social media? Note, Storytellers may utilize an incentive widget such as Rafflecopter when self-hosting incentives. This widget allows the Storyteller to randomly select a winner based on actions that the Storyteller has predetermined. These actions can be anything from liking a particular page, commenting on a blog story or sharing a particular piece of content on a social channel. We recommend working with Storytellers, and providing detailed instructions around Rafflecopter so it not only benefits the Storyteller but you as well. Your Linqia Customer Success Manager can provide more information about Rafflecopter and how to use this widget to your advantage.
• When will a winner/winners be selected?
• How will a winner/ winners be selected? The answer to this question will be clear once you have decided if you are hosting the incentive (Brand hosted) or if you are allowing Storytellers to self-host the incentive.
• Who will pick the winner/winners?
• Who will be shipping/ distributing the prize?
• Will the shipping budget be taken out of the performance budget for the campaign?
• When do the prizes need to be shipped by?

Consideration 4: Specific Rules and Regulations by Social Media Channel

Each social media channel has specific rules and regulations when it comes to hosting and promoting a giveaway through their individual site. These rules and regulations should be taken into consideration during the planning phase. Consider the following:

1. Facebook Incentives

• Must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant
• Must acknowledge that the promotion is no way affiliated or sponsored by Facebook
• Disclose (#ad, #sp,#spon, #sponsored)
• Must not use Facebook features or functions as the entry for the incentive
• Must not notify winners through Facebook
A full list of rules and regulations can be found here

2. Twitter Incentives

• Must discourage the creation of multiple accounts
• Must discourage posting the same Tweet repeatedly
• Should ask users to include an @reply to you [Brand] in their update so you can see all entries
• Must follow the Twitter Rules, which can be found here

3. Pinterest Incentives

• Must acknowledge that the promotion is no way affiliated or sponsored by Pinterest
• Must not use each pin, board, like or follow to represent an entry
• Must not include the language “Pin it to win it”
A complete list of Pinterest rules and regulations can be found here

4. Instagram Incentives

• Must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (i.e. encouraging people to tag themselves in photos that they are not in)
• Must include a complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant
• Must acknowledge that the promotion is no way affiliated or sponsored by Instagram
A complete list of Instagram’s rules and regulations can be found here

5. Tumblr Incentives

• Must fully disclose all of the giveaway’s rules
• Must acknowledge that the promotion is no way affiliated or sponsored by Tumblr
• Must only allow entry by individuals 18 + years of age
• Must only direct and open your incentive to people who live in your country
• Must not use Tumblr’s social features as entry methods
A complete list of Tumblr’s rules and regulations can be found here

You have now successfully planned for your incentive.

You can also show support for participating Storytellers and their audiences by sharing any standout entries on your social media channels and showcasing the winner!

Your Linqia Customer Success Manager will be there throughout the process to talk through any details or help with the planning. They will also answer any questions Storytellers may have throughout the duration of the incentive.

And that’s it; you have successfully planned and executed an incentive for your Linqia campaign!

6 Tips for Self-Hosting a Giveaway on your Linqia Campaign

Posted by & filed under campaign, communities, Giveaways, Linqia.

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So you’re thinking about self-hosting a giveaway with Linqia – how exciting!

It may seem daunting or very time consuming but self-hosting a giveaway can be stress free and dare I say it, fun. Giveaways are a great way to indulge your audiences, promote your blog post and reinforce your relationships with brands. So, that being said don’t shy away from them. Follow these 6 quick and easy tips to hosting a successful and hassle free giveaway.

The Calm Before the Storm…

1. Can I self-host a giveaway for a Linqia campaign? Of course you can! Sometimes a brand will even ask you to. But, if it isn’t written into the content be sure to reach out to your campaign Customer Success Manager or Community Manager to double check if this is OK. Some brands are sensitive to giveaway and sweepstakes promotions. Your campaign Customer Success Manager is your personal resource to help out with all aspects of your campaign, so they will have the details. Don’t you worry!

2. Think about the purpose/goal of the giveaway: So it’s a go for the giveaway. Now first things first, think about what you are really trying to accomplish with this giveaway. Has the brand specified an action they are looking to achieve? Do you want to drive more traffic to your campaign blog story? Knowing what you are trying to accomplish before jumping right into the giveaway will help you organize and develop your ideas to successfully run a self-hosted giveaway

3. Pick the Prize: Next, what are you giving away? Did the brand give you an item to giveaway? Is this a giveaway you decided to host? If so, pick a prize that is related to the theme or product of the brand you are working with. Remember your fashionista friend may not be interested in that super cool new kitchen gadget. Giveaways should be relevant to your audience and to the brands mission.

4. Timing: How long should it last? Your giveaway should not exceed the duration of your Linqia campaign. In fact, some brands might request that it ends on or before your campaign end date.

5. Counting Entries: So, you’ve decided on the perfect giveaway, now what? Well, in the initial planning phase you need to think about how your audiences will enter and how many times they can enter. Keep it simple and easy. The best way for your audiences to enter is through comments. Everyone has a comments section on their blog so why not take advantage of it. Have your audiences comment on their favorite feature, write about how they would use the product or what they would use it for. Not as many entries as you would like? Ask you audiences to comment on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to count as an additional entry. This is your chance to get creative. You know your audiences best.

• Heard Rafflecopter is the way to go?

This may not be the case. Although Rafflecopter allows for easy entry, you have to think of more than your audiences during a giveaway. Go back to Step 1. What is the purpose of the campaign? Are you trying to drive traffic to a specific landing page and help out one of your favorite brands? Well then, Rafflecopter is not the answer. Encourage interaction from your audiences. This will really amplify engagement. Win for you, win for your audience and also win for the brand!

It’s Go Time…

6. Write out the game plan: Make the directions clear and concise. State the entry directions in an easy to understand way so people know exactly what to do when they enter the giveaway. You also want them to know what to expect if they win. Need more tips? Check out more steps to writing blog contest rules here.

7. Shout it from the rooftops: We all know everyone loves free stuff, but they won’t love it if they don’t know about it so make a little noise. Include a stunning picture so everyone who sees it has to have it. Share it on your social media channels and get your audience excited to enter. Post, tweet and pin your awesome giveaway picture.

Sit Back and Relax…

8. Announce the winner: You’ve enjoyed the ride, and now its time to celebrate! Since you have already dictated how a winner will be chosen, it will be easy to pick out your top entry. Show them some love on your social channels. You want to ensure that they enjoyed the fun as much as you did.

And that’s it; you have just successfully hosted a giveaway for your Linqia Campaign!

That wasn’t so bad now was it?

Announcing the Winners of the Linqia Referral Contest!

Posted by & filed under community, referral contest.

We are excited to announce the winners of the Linqia Referral Contest!

 

The 1st winner with the most accepted referrals to the Linqia platform is Megan Tenney from Shaping Up to Be a Mom!

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The 2nd winner chosen at random from all participants was Krystyn Hall from Really, Are you Serious?

 

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The winners of our contest are receiving an iRobot Roomba 760 Robot vacuum valued at $449.99!

iRobot  iRobot Roomba® 760

iRobot iRobot Roomba® 760

 

 

Thank you to all our participants and feel free to congratulate our winners on the Linqia Facebook and Twitter pages!

 

Announcing the Linqia Referral Contest!

Posted by & filed under communities, influence, social network, storytelling.

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We are announcing the start of the Linqia Referral Contest!

We’re ready to extend our network of storytellers and seeking to work bloggers who would be excited to tell authentic stories on behalf of quality brands like Levi’s, Ghirardelli, Kotex, Pillsbury and more. And as you have first hand experience with Linqia, we’d love for you to consider inviting people you know who could be a great fit.

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Stories That Make You Go Ooh! : Linqia’s New URL Shortener

Posted by & filed under communities, community engagement, instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

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Linqia is committed to bringing our storytellers the ultimate brand experiences, which is why we are excited to launch our new URL shortener, Ooh.li!

Why Ooh.li?

We spent many hours exploring the benefits of a URL shortener for our storytellers and coming up with a really cool name was top of the list. We chose Ooh.li. Why?

“Ooh!” is the reaction you have when you’re surprised, curious, and delighted, a reaction that is often associated with your stories shared through Linqia. We were striving for Ooh.li to fit the experience your audience has when they read your stories and inspired to click to learn more. We also wanted a name that people could easily identify and trust; an information source that provides them with relevant and interesting experiences.

an ooh.li campaign link tweeted by a Linqia community leader

an ooh.li campaign link tweeted by a Linqia community leader

What’s Next?

Linqia will be phasing out the use of other URL shorteners, like Bit.ly or Owl.ly, as Ooh.li not only indicates a credible link to your audience but can also provide insights as to how many people are taking action and which social channels are the most effective for engagement. These insights will enable us to better match you with the best brand story experience for you and your audience.

Let us know what you think about the new Ooh.li link on our Facebook or Twitter, and let us know what makes you say “Ooh!”