Responding to Online Questions and Comments

Your business’ online image can significantly influence the opinions of both current and future clients, helping to satisfy your existing customers and impress or draw in new clientele by demonstrating your commitment to addressing customer questions or concerns. Whether you’re responding to questions and comments on your business website and blog or through one of your social media accounts, taking the right approach is essential to ensure you are projecting the online image you want for your business.

Respond in a Timely Fashion

As online culture changes the way customers think, it’s important to change the way your business responds to comments and questions as well. Devoting the time and manpower to monitoring your website and social media feeds is a valuable use of resources that allows you to address issues and concerns quickly to show your commitment to timely customer service. Waiting too long to respond to questions or concerns will make customers feel abandoned and prompt them to seek services or products from a provider they feel will better respect their time and money.

Respond as a Brand

Online communication and social media interaction are great ways to connect with your customer base on a personal level. However, it’s important to remember that responses to questions and comments should be formulated with your brand in mind. Regardless of the number of employees you have handling client interactions across your social media accounts, make sure each response is professional and consistent with your brand’s values, image, and personality.

Respond to Valid Comments and Concerns

Especially if your business receives a large number of tweets, comments, and questions each day, it’s essential to pare down your responses to those that are most vital. Always respond to customer questions and concerns, which are the greatest opportunities to pull in new clients and retain those who aren’t satisfied. While you should always feel free to retweet or share praise and thanks, these comments don’t necessarily require an actual response. Be wary of negative or argumentative comments—when you see a customer expressing frustration or experiencing an issue, responding is definitely the right choice. However, while you shouldn’t be afraid to address negative comments when they present the opportunity for growth and connection, avoid engaging with commenters who are only concerned with attacking your brand or are not expressing legitimate concerns related to your business.

Are you looking for help managing your business’ online and social media presence? Student Experts can help—please contact us online to find out more about our social media and SEO solutions.

How to Unlock Siri’s Sense of Humor

For years, the world has befriended Siri, the useful voice-activated assistant built into every iPhone since the 4S. With a chipper and friendly personality, Siri can provide complete hands-free accessibility for your iPhone, but she can also be a bit snarky when you ask her the right questions. If you have yet to discover Siri’s unique brand of humor, try out these strategies for getting a quick laugh from your phone.

Ask Siri to Tell You a Joke
You might start simple and discover Siri’s arsenal of what can only be described as “dad jokes” by asking her to tell you a joke. With this single command, Siri will come up with lots of fresh responses, since she is smart enough to mix up her answers when asked the same question again and again.

Ask Some Personal Questions
If you ask Siri about her television and film preferences, you’ll find that she, perhaps somewhat predictably, has an affinity for Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey. When you get past the small talk and ask some more personal questions about her name and family, Siri is sure to provide some amusing responses. For example, if you ask why her name is Siri, she will say, “Siri has many subtle, metaphorical, and frankly contradictory meanings. None of which I am at liberty to discuss. Sorry about that.” This is all just part of her slightly spooky and seemingly sentient personality.

Pose an Existential Inquiry
Siri won’t back down from big questions, so don’t hesitate to make deep philosophical inquiries like “Do you believe in God?”, “What is the meaning of life?”, or “Do you ever wish you were human?” If you aren’t ready for these world-shattering inquiries, simply ask Siri to tell you a story, and she will not fail to spin you an amusing yarn.

5 Useful Apps for Small Business Marketing

If you are reading this, you have probably done more than enough research to know that there are some apps that you simply have to have if you want to market your small business effectively. You have set up the Twitter and Instagram apps on your mobile device, and you obviously have a Facebook account. Now it is time to move beyond the basics, increase your reach, and drive more conversions. These apps for iOS and Android will take your small business marketing to the next level:

Facebook Pages Manager – iOS/Android
If Facebook is a major part of your business’ marketing plan—and it should be—this app is for you. The standard app for Facebook is great for your personal account, but Facebook Pages Manager gives greater access to and control of your business’ Page. With this underutilized mobile tool, you can view Insights, share from your Page, and respond to customers on the go.

Buffer – iOS/Android
Managing the many social media accounts your business needs to succeed can be a struggle. Buffer’s mobile app will streamline your social strategy by letting you schedule and coordinate your sharing across Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter from one simple interface.

Lightroom – iOS/Android
A good photo can do wonders for a Facebook ad or post, so why not make your photos shine with a bit of editing? Adobe Lightroom is a professional-grade photo editor that is now available for free as a mobile app for iOS and Android. Brighten up colors and remove flaws for more striking images to share on social media.

Google Drive – iOS/Android
Text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms stored in the cloud allow you to coordinate with your team on just about any project. Save and access drafts of blogs, share customer data, take notes, and update your records from anywhere. Google Drive for Android and iOS is a cloud storage and co-writing powerhouse.

Google Analytics – iOS/Android
Your marketing strategies should always be evolving and you should always be learning. To get the most out of your newest content strategies, ad campaigns, and landing page layouts, you need access to data from past and current efforts. This is where Google Analytics comes in, with comprehensive information and intuitive visuals.

More and more customers are going mobile, so it only makes sense that you would too. How do you stay on top of your marketing efforts while on the go? Share your favorite mobile apps for running a small business in the comments below!

5 of the Most Ridiculous Things You Can Buy on Amazon

From everyday items to impulse buys, Amazon is known the world over as the one-stop shop for just about anything. In fact, you might be hard-pressed to find an item that isn’t sold there! Whether you’re in the market for some strange holiday gifts or you just want to stock up on live insects for the winter, check out some of these insane items that you can actually buy with the click of a button.

1.  Live Lady Bugs – For the low price of $18, you can brighten your day with the experience of opening a container literally crawling with 1,500 insects. Orcon Live Lady Bugs promise to devour a garden’s worth of aphids, and they are guaranteed to show up alive—a guarantee sure to make your skin crawl.

2.  $5,000 Dog House – If you like to spoil your four-legged friend, treat him to a life of luxury in the Cape Cod Cozy Cottage Kennel Dog House. After paying the price of $5,671.07 and $99.99 for shipping, you can brag to all of your friends about just how good your dog has it. You’ll also have the privilege of assembling the house yourself from a hand-crafted kit made in Amish country.

3.  Banana Slicer – The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer can save you from the tedious task of slicing bananas with a knife or savagely eating them whole. With amazing reviews such as, “Great addition to any junk drawer!” and, “Saved my marriage,” it seems that you simply can’t go wrong with this affordable find.

4.  Channing Tatum Life Size Cutout – Decorating can be hard, but the Channing Tatum Life Size Cutout makes the job so much easier. Standing at about 6 feet tall, this Italian-suit clad cutout will fit perfectly into any home design, traditional or contemporary.

5.  The Gift of Nothing – For those friends and family members who always insist that they want nothing for Christmas, you can get them just that. The Gift of Nothing comes in an elegant package explaining the simple brilliance of this minimalist gift.

Blogging for Business: Making It Stick with an Effective Editorial Calendar

Maintaining a business blog has become a valuable and widely-used tool that can allow you to connect with your customers and personalize their experience to build brand loyalty and adapt your products, services, and marketing to your target audience. In fact, studies have indicated that businesses and companies with consistently updated blogs are better able to acquire and keep new customers by building a positive two-way relationship. However, there are many ways to blog for your business, and not all of them are effective. Whether you are new to blogging, have tried it only once before, or are a regular blogger, there are many ways you can improve your business blog to reach a broader audience while sending more purposeful messages.

Understanding the Need for an Editorial Calendar
The key to successful business blogging is not only creating an online blog for your business, but maintaining that blog and delivering consistently high-quality and relevant content. Looking at these requirements alone, you may already feel overwhelmed. While it’s easy to decide you’ll make posts regularly, how do you ensure this happens? Conversely, it’s also important to spread out your blog posts to prevent new articles from becoming lost in a never-ending flood of information. Developing an editorial calendar that guides your posting practices offers numerous benefits in terms of both organization and content quality. First, you’ll know exactly when blog articles should be posted and can prepare accordingly if editing or rewriting is needed. Second, keeping upcoming deadlines in mind gives you and your staff time and motivation to develop high-quality blog topics. While deadlines that are too close together can hurt blog content, the right spacing will give your team members the deadlines they need to focus and produce the type of content you want.

Developing Your Posting Schedule
There are numerous articles and suggestions already available on the web to guide you toward a content posting schedule for various social media sites. However, posting to your own business blog is a slightly more flexible process, allowing you to factor in your business’ size, goals, and content generation capabilities to determine the best schedule for your blog posts. Other considerations that may govern your posting schedule include special events and holidays, as well as sales and other business-specific information you may want to include on your blog. You may want to ramp up the release of content as an important date approaches, or maintain a steady stream of posts and information throughout the year. Regardless of your approach, it’s important to keep a few strategies in mind. Consistency is the major goal of editorial calendar creation—you will be putting your content goals and deadlines in writing to ensure they are met and your blog is updated regularly, rather than becoming a wasteland of occasional updates and irrelevant information. Additionally, your goals will drive your schedule—if you simply want to increase customer awareness of your services, you’ll want to devise a very different schedule than if you are pushing a large sale or event with a specific end date in mind.

Creating and Maintaining Your Calendar
There are many ways to create and maintain an editorial marketing calendar. While a pen and paper approach may work for a single writer, there are a variety of online tools available today to help you create, share, and manage calendars among many individuals. This type of approach is particularly effective if you employ more than one writer or offsite writers that may contribute to the blog. Making sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of topics and deadlines will eliminate confusion and improve content delivery so you can be sure you’re updating your site consistently. The ability to look at your calendar and instantly see not only the content you have planned for this week, but for upcoming weeks and months as well, will help you stay on track when it comes to creating new and informative content in keeping with your goals.

Generating consistent, high-quality, and relevant content is the key to optimizing your business blog. Student Experts can help you boost your blog content and social media sharing with our SEO optimization and content creation services. You can learn more about what we do and how we can fit into your plans for online growth when you visit our website or give us a call at (520) 344-4672.

Why We Love Tucson

Here at Student Experts, we have writers who work all over the country—even in exotic lands as far away as Hawaii and upstate New York—but Tucson is our home, and it’s the city that we all love for a number of great reasons. Once you look past the scorching hot summers and questionably maintained roads, Tucson is a city that will burrow into your heart with fond memories of delicious Mexican food, breathtaking sunsets, and those funny looking cacti called saguaros. Still not convinced? Here’s a look at what is so great about this little corner of the desert affectionately referred to as “The Old Pueblo.”

Amazing Scenery
When temperatures aren’t exceeding 3 figures, Tucson is a hiker’s paradise with excellent views all over the city. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, Tucson has a wealth of outdoor scenery with an abundance of unique plant life that attracts an array of desert-dwelling wildlife. Even in the middle of the city, you can always count on spectacular sunsets—especially when monsoon clouds hang low in the sky, glowing pink and purple as the sun goes down.

Our Beautiful Office
After exploring some of the more unique commercial spaces in the Tucson real estate market, we’ve settled down in the second story of the historic Reilly building in downtown Tucson. Not only does our office have a colorful history as the former residence of a family of undertakers who ran a funeral home downstairs, but it also has a distinctive charm that inspires our creativity day in and day out.

Top-Notch Dining
There is nothing lacking when it comes to Tucson’s culinary game. Everyone knows that Tucson is the place to go for outstanding Mexican food, but with tons of locally owned restaurants throughout the city, it’s not hard to find exceptional sushi, outstanding Indian fare, or a great burger. The craft beer movement and artisan coffee trends have also not overlooked Tucson, so any hipster can feel happily at home at a local bar, brewery, or coffee shop.

Quirky Local Events
Tucson harbors a great sense of community with events like the biannual 4th Avenue Street Fair, the All Souls Procession, and Tucson Meet Yourself. These represent just a handful of the arts and culinary events that showcase our southwestern heritage and provide a place to gather. There are also plenty of regular ongoing events that we locals enjoy, such as the Tuesday Night Bike Ride or UA Science Lecture Series.

Gobble Tov! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

The first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year, creating a magical hybrid holiday that may not occur again for another 79,043 years! We decided to celebrate our new favorite once-in-a-lifetime holiday by creating this infographic.

Learn more about Student Experts’ design services here.

Gobble-Tov-Sm

Get more information about Student Experts’ design services here.

Grab the Embed Code to share this infographic on your site:

<a href="blog url"><img src="http://studentexperts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Gobble-Tov-Sm.png" alt="Student Experts Infographic" title="Gobble Tov! Happy Thanksgivukkah - INFOGRAPHIC" width="1000" height="11099"/></a><br/><a href="http://www.studentexperts.com/#infographic">Student Experts Infographic Marketing</a>

Tucson Infographic: Welcome to The Old Pueblo!

Tucson, AZ is a great place to live – many of our content writers, editors, and designers went to college here and decided to stick around after graduation. Why? Maybe it’s the weather. Tucson receives 350 days of sunshine every year. Maybe it’s the gorgeous desert scenery: We are surrounded on all sides by state parks and natural wonders. It’s truly a hiker’s paradise. Perhaps it’s the strange and wonderful Tucson culture. I’d argue that Tucson is even weirder than Austin. Tucsonans eat hot dogs wrapped in bacon with mayonnaise on top, attend art openings in renovated warehouses, build their own bikes in subterranean bike lairs, and relish every opportunity to dance the night away at memorable concerts.

Everyone has a different reason to love Tucson, but one thing is for sure: It’s a very unique place. That’s why we decided to create this infographic about Tucson, our beloved home town. Please feel free to share it with your friends or send it to those East Coasters and Californians who still pronounce it “Tuck-son” (We all know a few!).

Tucson AZ Infographic

This infographic was created by Tucson content marketing firm Student Experts, proud purveyors of high-quality guest blogs, white-label content, and custom infographics.

Grab the Embed Code here to share this infographic on your website:

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Your (Client’s) Blog As A Sales Tool

Blog Content Can Convert How many of your clients realize that their blog can be used as a sales tool?  When businesses come to your agency looking for help with their online presence, ranking and conversion, don’t underestimate the potential of your client’s blog.  The value of a good blog is obvious for online presence and rankings.  But how much do you educate your client about sales conversion with a blog?  Here are two ways a blog can lead to a sale.

  • Call to action – Blog posts are a great venue to announce a new, or changes to an existing, product or service.  At the end of any of those announcements, a specific call to action should always be present.  Introduce bitly to your smaller clients or a software like Link Trackr to more serious clients if they are not already monitoring click through rates.  Many of us know how addictive and fun tracking click through rates and testing content can be.  It should be illegal to deprive your client of that.
  • Follow-up – What better way for a sales person to follow up with a potential client than to provide them with a relevant and valuable past post their company wrote.  It gives the sales person an opportunity to make a contact and show the potential customer they listen.  It also sets an authoritative and knowledgeable tone for the company.  If that person had any doubts about that company’s product or service, a relevant blog post may clear those doubts.

If you are looking for ways to educate your client on why a consistent, well written blog is a good idea, throw them these reasons.  A blog done properly will benefit their bottom line.  For some people, that is all they need to hear.

Photo: stevendepolo

 

An Inside Look at Our Blog Editing Process

We think this is a great hairstyle for an editor.

Each month, our in-house team of writers and editors creates thousands of  business blogs for  SMBs nationwide. In addition to business blogs, we also create guest posts, website copy, interactive social media content, and custom projects.

While our production volume is very high and our turnaround times fast, our clients tell us that our work is better researched, of a higher quality, and more grammatically sound than the work of other freelance writers and services they have contracted with in the past.

So how do we consistently generate the kind of high-quality content that SEO and internet marketing firms are looking for? Aside from sentence-level changes, grammar, and spelling, the experienced editors at Student Experts look for the following when editing blog content:

1. Readability

When reviewing a business blog, our editors might ask, “Is it clear, cohesive, and fun to read?” Successful blogs will start off with an engaging statistic, or a journalistic lede that hooks readers right away. Here’s a quick comparison of a boring and a fun introduction for an optician’s blog about eye diseases:

    • Boring: “Many people are nearsighted and need to wear glasses.”
    • Engaging: “According to the American Optometric Association, more than a quarter of the United States population suffers from myopia, or nearsightedness.”

Not only is the second example more interesting, but it adds the clout of a respected industry organization and an authoritative outbound link to the blog. From the introduction, editors will ensure that the blog flows into a well-organized body, broken up into logical bullets, lists, or subheadings for easy consumption. As an example, you’ll notice that this blog offers a very readable layout. It starts with a direct introduction, then is followed by a numbered list of parallel points and a brief conclusion.

2. Links and Anchor Text

Building up SEO authority by linking out from your blog posts to authoritative third-party sites is one of the main benefits of business blogging. That’s why our editors check outbound blog links for domain authority, quality, and relevance. Ultimately, we strive to link to content that is appropriate to the client and that readers will find useful. Editors also pay special attention to the link anchor text used throughout blog posts. We vary anchor text between posts, using business- and location-based keywords whenever possible. For example, in a blog post for an HVAC company about repairing home heating systems in time for winter, we would use anchor text such as “Fall heating tune-up” or “heating system maintenance.” The HVAC business may also focus on keywords for its air conditioning and duct cleaning services, but since those services are not relevant to this particular blog post, we would not use those phrases in the link anchor text.

3. Client Parameters

We use a streamlined content management system to keep client’s keyword strategies and special requests up-to-date and organized.  An editor will check all blog content against a client’s parameters to be sure the writing is furthering that client’s marketing goals.  Maybe a business always wants to use a trackable toll-free number in the call-to-action? Or, perhaps a client has discontinued a product and no longer wants to mention it in their content. Our CMS, combined with our editorial quality assurance, keeps clients happy and greatly reduces the need for revisions.

This is just a quick snap-shot of our writing and editing process.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about how Student Experts delivers high-quality, white-labeled content to internet marketing and SEO firms.

 

Photo credit: Evil Erin