useful-google-tools

Is Google AdWords about to start accepting Nigerian Naira Payments?

Every freelance marketer or small business knows this pain. Since the crash of the Naira, $100 limits on debit cards, and high FX, advertising has been hard. Paying for ads is now punishment, because you either make payments small small every month, or get a dollar card. If you go with the dollar card, the next pain point becomes actually getting the dollar at reasonable rates.

That's why we were excited when Facebook brought in the PayU option for Naira payments. And it has been a lifesaver.

And now it looks like Google will be following suit. A few days back, a reader hinted at a possible NGN payment option on AdWords. We checked it out and noticed that indeed the Naira denomination was now included in the signup page, which wasn't available before now.

But as of this moment, there are no available payment options under this currency setting. Sources say this is in the works and we should be patient for a possible rollout.

It's hard to stress how much of a relief this would be to advertisers in Nigeria, I think it's long overdue. What we're likely to see is a dedicated payment option for Nigerian cards, just like in Facebook. Payments are also likely to be on a prepaid basis.

We would keep an eye on this space and let you know if anything changes.


Google-data-studio

Google Data Studio - Free reporting dashboard for freelancers, agencies

In my 5+ years in digital marketing, I've always hated one task, reporting. And not because the reports weren't rosy, no. Mostly because the amount of time it takes to generate these reports drives me mad. And the thought that I have to do this every week...? God help me.

But project reporting is a necessary evil. It helps guide decision making, marketing optimization and tracks progress. So the next question was always "how do we automate this?". A simple Google search turns up hundreds of paid solutions, but who needs to spend more money on yet another platform. It's at this point that the Google Data Studio comes in.

What is Google Data Studio

In a nutshell, Google Data Studio helps you visualize reports and provides free unlimited usage as of the time of this writing. You can also connect with most Google products including Firebase, Google AdWords and Analytics to automate data reporting.

What this means is that when running AdWords campaigns for clients for example, you can share a unique dashboard URL. The client simply needs to access this URL and see real time reports on their ongoing ads. Here's an example

This gives you an idea of how much detail can go into this real time dashboard. And the good news is, because there are so many data connection platforms, you can create reports like this for almost anything. Here's one from Google on a TV campaign performance

 

So what does this mean for the average marketing professional?

  • If you're working on the brand side, you can create unique dashboards like these for management. You'd never get asked to create impromptu reports again (hopefully) :D
  • If you're working for an agency, you can have each account manager tasked with creating dashboards like these for every client they manage. Now if the client needs to know what's happening around 12AM (like some of them do), they don't need to call you anymore. They have a real time dashboard to take care of all their needs
  • If you're a freelancer managing multiple client ad campaigns... you figured right? Create a dashboard for each client
Bye bye to manually generated reports! Create real time dashboards with Data Studio :)Click To Tweet

I've tried this out myself and I must confess, it helped me too. I immediately got some insight being able to see all the data all at once. And if you're wondering if this works for Facebook too, yes it can, with some tinkering and (unfortunately) human intervention.

Already using the Data Studio? Let me know what you think, drop a comment below.


local SEO

4 Ways To Get More Customers With Local Search SEO

One of the easiest ways to attract highly targeted traffic and get more customers to your startup is by optimizing it for local SEO. Local SEO is an aspect of search engine optimization that enables you to “inform” Google that you want your website to be displayed when users from a specific location are looking for information.

To understand this concept, let’s take a quick lesson on how Google works.

Google 101: How Google works.

This infographic about how Google works show that Google has a complex, powerful algorithm that decides the result that will be displayed each time someone makes a search.  However, in order for the result to be relevant, Google sometimes considers the location of the person doing the search. For example, of a user in Nigeria searches Google for “hotels around me”, her result will be different from someone doing the same search in Dublin, Ireland. Each of them will find a result relevant to them. The big lesson here is that Google results are designed to vary according to location of the user,

The good news for your startup is that if you have identified where the majority of your users are based, you can "tell" Google to display your website to visitors searching from that region only. This way, you can be sure that your website visitors are likely to turn to your customers. Unfortunately, if your website does not specify your target audience, you are giving Google a hard time to classify it and you will end up losing valuable traffic and business leads.

4 Simple Ways to Improve Your local SEO.

Here are the top 4 simple tricks I have uncovered that you can use to make your website become more "visible" in local results, especially when someone is searching for information about your business.

 

1. Use Google Search console.

One of the free Google tools I mentioned in this post (number 15) is Google Search Console. It is a powerful SEO machine and one of its functions is that you can use it to notify Google what you want your site to rank for. The “country targeting” feature enables you to specify a primary location in Google search result that shows your pages.
You can achieve this in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Go to Google Console. Firstly, you should add your website to Google Search console if you have not done so. You can easily set it up using this guideline.

Step 2: By default, your site is configured for international exposure, you should change it to Nigeria or your preferred country of choice. Visit the “search traffic” console and click on “international targeting” to modify it to your country of choice.

Step 3: Save your setting and Google will position your website to be more relevant to searches from your country of choice.

2. List your business on Google My Business.

Another local SEO strategy is to configure your site for Google My Business. According to Google, “listing your business with Google My Business makes it optimized for local searches”. You can find more information about this and how to set it up on their official support forum.

3. Publish content that your local community will find useful.

If you have a blog as part of your traffic generation strategies, you should write posts that your expected local audience will find useful. These guides on LocalizedDigital and SEOMechanic share insights how to use this strategy to drive traffic to you your startup.

While writing blog posts might seem difficult at first, its impact on your business is high. Take for example, our team at ProbityBooks; a local invoicing and accounting startup experimented with this concept by publishing a post that is locally relevant to our community of users. The post ended up ranking on the first page of Google ahead of 50 million results, within 10 hours of posting. The post also drove a sizable traffic to the site.

The major key to this strategy is that your content must be have information that is relevant to the local community. You can use tools like Google Trends or Google keyword tools to track keywords or searches that your local audience are interested in. You can also search online forums like NairaLand to understand some of the pain points of your local market and publish a content that meet that needs.

4. Use Structured data and Open Graph markup

According to Google, “When you use structured data to markup content, you help Google better understand its context for display in Search, and you achieve better distribution of your content to users from Search”. This rich snippets provides more information that enables Google to display it for locally relevant searches and enables the content eligible to appear better in Google Search.

If you use WordPress, you can easily download a plugin to fix this or you might need to go ask your developer for assistance.

Conclusion (Will local SEO bring real ROI?)

If you take action on the 4 recommendations above, you will see improvement in your website ranking for local search on Google. I am sure Implementing these tips has the potential to yield a big impact to your business. Try any of the steps and let me know how it helps your traffic by leaving a comment.

 

Author’s Bio:

Wole Ogunlade is a growth strategist for early-stage startups. His growth strategy helped VoguePay 2.5X user growth in 3 months. He is available as growth advisor for well-funded and early stage startups. His latest project is #HackGrowth; a meetups for startup founders and growth marketers and he is serving as mentor for Tony Elumelu Foundation programme for entrepreneurs (TEEP)


linkedin for beginners

You can now advertise on LinkedIn through Google Display Ads

To be honest, I'm not sure when this happened. But in my 2 years working with a digital agency, LinkedIn was always a "premium ad" platform. We basically had to go through a media outlet to place ads there. As a matter of fact, I remember we had some form of exclusive agreement to be the advertising partner in Nigeria.

And to give you an idea of why this is important, we had only 2 ways of advertising on LinkedIn. Advertisers had the choice of self served ads, little ads that promoted sponsored posts for example. Or they could put up display type advertising (which went through the agency). The self served ads would usually go for about $1/click, on an average. And premium display advertising used to cost me about 15x more than regular Facebook / Google ads.

No more $1/click for LinkedIn ads! You can now serve ads directly through Google AdWords :)Click To Tweet

Just to be sure I never noticed it and it was there all along, I looked for similar queries online. Here's a recent answer to someone asking about advertising on LinkedIn through Google. PS: This was accepted as correct by a Google Employee

linkedin answer

 

Now that display ads are possible, here's what the ads look like

linkedin google ads

 

What does this mean for advertisers?

  1. Advertising for one on LinkedIn will now be significantly cheaper
  2. Since display advertising is now on an open platform like Google, small businesses with lower budgets can now reach the platform
  3. Clients with a more business oriented message now have an extra platform they can use for managed placements
  4. LinkedIn will accept text, leaderboard, skyscraper and video ads

Here's the current inventory listing as seen on the Google Display Planner.

linkedin inventory

What this means for LinkedIn as a platform

What I found a bit troubling about this, outside of the obvious good that it means for us advertisers, is that the platform loses some level of integrity. Seeing that Jiji ad advertising bikes... that just ruined the LinkedIn feel for me. But this is my personal opinion.

The most likely scenario is that LinkedIn realized premium display advertising wasn't working out for its Nigerian audience. And I say Nigerian because I do not think that LinkedIn has opened fully to Google ads in all African / West African countries. I checked Kenya and I still see only text ads. I'd likely be trying out ads on this platform, will be sure to put up my findings on performance.

What do you think of LinkedIn's move to start running Google Display ads? Let me know your thoughts


growth-hacking-masterclass

Join us at the Growth Hacking Masterclass at Hotels.ng

A simple conversation on Radar sparked an event to life and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

The growth hacking masterclass is

An Invite-Only Event For Growth Hackers, Digital Marketers and Startup Founders. The Event Is A Platform To Share Actionable Insights Around Growth Hacking Best Practices For Startups In Nigeria.

And I'd be taking a keynote on data driven marketing for paid advertising. Along with Abdul, Analytics Lead at Google Nigeria. QA sessions will also be held with a focus on building growth teams and incorporating virality into product marketing. You can check out the full press release here.

The event will hold at the Hotels.ng office in Yaba, on Saturday the 10th of December. Here's the full event schedule:

  • Keynote sessions: Paid Marketing And Data-Driven Marketing Wins For Startups (Presentations by Osaze Osoba and Abdul Salam
  • Panel Session 1: How To Build Viral Products And Products That Scale (Panelists are: Aniedi Udo-Ubong, Olufunbi Falayi, Chinedu Azodoh and Somto Ifezue. Moderator is Wole Ogunlade
  • Panel Session 2: How To Organize And Building A Team To Focus Solely On Growth (Panelists are: Justin irabor, Ekundayo Temitope and Yele Gbademosi. Moderator is Ubah Benson
  • Open Mic Session: What's the Fastest Way to grow your startup: Paid or Organic?
  • Live Case Study session (startup to be pre-selected. You can apply to qualify)
  • Networking and mentoring

Only 50 seats are available for this event, so be sure to signup early enough! Would be expecting to see you there


facebook-location-targeting-experiment

Can Facebook target specific Nigerian cities? Here's your answer

This post is a result of a campaign a colleague asked me to run. The campaign goal was to get people to attend a praise/worship session at the University of Lagos. As usual, I started thinking of campaign mechanisms and what targeting will work best. What I had concluded was that the easiest people to get to come to this event would be those closest to its venue.

As you'd expect, I tried to target Yaba, but I wasn't sure of the results because I hadn't done anything like this before. Which gave rise to the need for an experiment. In the coming weeks, I ran one experiment to decide if this could work or not.

If you're all about seeing the results, you can jump to the infographics below. Otherwise, here's the experiment that was run.

Experiment Hypothesis

The basic hypothesis behind this experiment was simple, and shockingly spot on.

  1. Participants who see the ads will be of two types, people who live in Yaba/Ikeja and people who were in Yaba/Ikeja at the time but do not live there
  2. At least 70% of the participants will indicate they were in or lived in Yaba / Ikeja

Experiment Design

Here's the simple process the experiment followed.

  1. Lead form ads were used to collect user data
  2. These ads targeted specifically the cities of Yaba and Ikeja on 2 different days
  3. Leads were collected over a 2 day period for both cities
  4. Users were asked where they saw the ad, and where they lived

Without further ado, here's the result from that experiment.

facebook-city-targeting-test-nigeria

Share this Image On Your Site

2 use cases for city based targeting for paid ads

 

Brick & Mortar Stores

Think about Shoprite, they have stores scattered around Lagos and other states. What if we could target the cities where these store are? Assume for a moment that different stores needed to get "rid" of specific stock peculiar to that store. Instead of running ads to everyone in Lagos saying sales, I could run a campaign for Ikeja saying 80% off electronics with directions for the store through Google Maps. Now someone who steps into Ikeja sees the ad and knows they can participate in the sales. Imagine this scaled to multiple cities, providing data on store performance across states and cities. Just pure bliss man

Remarketing + Location Targeting

Debras Grace, a female fashion store in Yaba recently launched their ecommerce website. If I were to be asked to drive in store traffic, outside of just running ads targeting Yaba, I could go one step further. Imagine I took the remarketing list of all engaged website visitors, people who added to cart but didn't purchase. Now all I'd need to do is setup an ad for this audience specifically in Yaba with an offer of 10% off when you purchase in store. Now users who see the ad while in Yaba have HUGE context already. If conversions aren't high on that ad, its probably jazz

These are just a few among many, I can think of three other ways right now, but we can keep those for later.

As the market continues to grow and demand more performance based marketing campaigns, things like this will become invaluable to marketers and SME owners. Next up, we'd be testing the limits for Google.


fixed-rates

How to ensure your dollar advertising rates stay fixed during a campaign

Its been a weird past couple of days. By now you already know that Donald Trump won the US election. What you might not have heard, is that the dollar is slowly coming down, at least for a short while. Mostly because the world isn't sure what's going to happen now, but expect it to come back sooner than you think.

Thing is, now everyone is waiting for the bank rates to drop too, so they can do some quick shopping. But for some of us, we're looking to pay just a little less on our ads. And not everyone knows how to do that.

Same goes for when you start off a new marketing contract. You can't tell your clients that their actual costs might vary as the dollar fluctuates, so you usually would give the prevailing dollar rates + some buffer. Which also doesn't always work, we've seen major jumps these past few months. So here are a few ways to get an assured fixed cost on your ads payment for the most popular platforms.

Option One: Pre-Pay for your ads at a fixed rate

On Google and Twitter, you can prepay for your ads as against using a post paid option. For Google, you can do this directly on the AdWords dashboard, and for Twitter, you can go through the Twitter partner for Africa, Ad Dynamo. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow prepaid ads at the moment. At least not in Nigeria. So this can only work for Twitter and Google.

Making Manual Payments in Google.

To make manual payments in Google, simply visit your billing tab and click on the "Make a payment" button.

Obviously, this can't be refunded once paid, so I'd advise you pay on a per campaign basis. You can also easily switch back to automatic payments once you decide to go with the later. This can be especially useful for a short, one off campaign. I've also used this method to keep checks on accounts where access is share with other individuals. Maybe the client themselves, just so no one ends up paying more than planned for.

Making manual payments for Twitter through Ad Dynamo

If you're running a Twitter campaign and need to make pre-payment, Ad Dynamo is a valid option. You can get invoiced for a specific ad budget and run on that till its exhausted. Now admittedly, this isn't a good option for small campaigns (less than $500). But it can save you tons of money in fluctuating FX when you use this in running bigger budget campaigns.

 

Option two: Make payments with a dollar card

The second - and slightly more obvious - option, is to pay for your ads through a dollar account. This tends to ensure fixed rates on those ads. The major problem here would be that most SMEs and small scale ad agencies probably wouldn't have one. But at this point, if you plan on doing online advertising for the long term, I'd advise you open one.

Before opening a dollar account though, I'd advise you check properly for information about the bank you'd like to use. A friend recently mentioned that her UBA card still had a dollar restriction. Please get proper information so you don't waste time.

The good thing about using a dollar card, is that you can keep adding to it as you find sweet deals on the black market rates.

We're likely going to be in this fluctuating FX regime for a while, so if you'd be advertising either for yourself or for other businesses. I'd advise you start taking into consideration long term plans to get your costs to be as low as possible. Let me know if you have any other tips on how to save costs on FX.


facebook blueprint now live

Facebook Blueprint Certification is now live. I scored 100% in the test

I owe this one to a Facebook connection that I can't seem to find anymore. He shared a link to the live certifications.

Facebook's Blueprint has always been around, I remember it as far back as 2014. Maybe I'm wrong, but I remember where I was when I read about it. To put it in a nutshell, the Blueprint program is similar to Google's Partners program. Only that in this case, there was no certification, at least till now.

The Facebook Blueprint program has two basic certifications.

  1. Facebook Certified Planning Professional and
  2. Facebook Certified Buying Professional

But to get the certificate in any of these two, you must pass a Facebook Advertising Core Competences exam. Along with one other exam specific to your certification. You can consider the Core Competence exam to be like AdWords Fundamentals. And like Google Partners, you get a badge after successfully passing the exam

The Facebook Blueprint program is primarily a catalog of learning materials that show you how to use Facebook's tools. This catalog also prepares you for taking the exam

Taking the Facebook Blueprint Exam

I use Facebook Ads Manager on a day to day basis. And in some cases, I've had to manage thousands of dollars everyday. Campaign objectives range from app installs to website conversions and in rare cases, just plain awareness. So usually when I see things like this, my first thought is "Of course I can pass this without reading"

So I jumped into the "Schedule an exam" tab and started snooping around. I did feel like something was off immediately I saw the "schedule" word though. After much roaming around, I got to this screen. Effectively, the exam costs £50 which translates to roughly N25,000 in this FX regime. Which isn't bad, its exactly how Google started till they figured it wasn't worth it.

facebook blueprint certification feeWell, I wasn't taking an exam on a whim of luck that'll cost me 25k. So I took the "mock" exam :P

The exam had 19 questions in it and cut across several topics. Its annoyingly similar to the Google Partners Video Advertising exam, too many English tricks going up and down. But I kept clicking at those answers and I got a 100% score! Booyah!

100 percent score Facebook BlueprintSafe to say the exam itself wouldn't be so hard (if you're a regular user like me). Maybe I'd be taking this exam soon, or maybe I'd just wait for Mark and his team to feel giddy enough to remove the £50 price mark.

Who knows these things.

Have you had a chance to take the Facebook Blueprint exam yet? Let us know in the comment box below


share ad preview with client

Marketing for Beginners: Search Network Vs Display Network

People often get confused when planning a campaign. Figuring out the difference between search network and display network because they are both generally referred to as “Google ads”. For a PPC novice, its gets more confusing when he is setting up a campaign and he sees the Search Network with Display Select (SNDS). Before I go into details of the differences between search and display let me run you through what SNDS is about briefly.

SNDS allows advertisers to opt their search campaigns into the GDN in a limited fashion. Although, AdWords claims that it will use “improved signals and methods of predicting where your ads are likely to perform best” to ensure that display ads are only shown in locations that are highly relevant to the advertisers’ “ideal” user. For example, a search ad might show on punchng.com

Here's a video to explain this a bit more

This ad option pushes advertisers to expand their reach and appeal to a broader range of customers. For less savvy PPCers who have limited time to dedicate to account management or optimization, this option is good because it passes all the bulk of the work to auto pilot. That been said it comes with a price. So, if you an avid advertiser, I strongly recommend sticking with the traditional practice of managing search and display networks as separate campaigns.

When To Use Search Network

Advertising on Search Network is the most common and well-known form of PPC advertising. With this network selection, your ads will be eligible to appear on the first page of Google’s search engine result page otherwise known SERP. You have an option to choose Google search only or Google search partners which include AOL and Ask.com. That means when someone searches for one of your keywords AOL or Ask then your ad might pop up.

Typically before getting to this phase you must have done your keyword research, fix your landing page (responsive) and also must have a budget in mind. When you set your ad and it’s been approved (usually less than 24hrs), your ad is good to go.

Then comes the question of ad ranking. Ad rank determines where on the Search Results Page your ad shows up. Competitors are also using the same keywords as you because you sell the same product or offer the same services, so how does Google get to decide to show your ad over theirs or vice versa? Google uses an algorithm called Ad Rank. A value that is used to determine your ad position and whether your ads will show at all. Ad rank is calculated using your bid amount, the components of quality score (expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience), expected impact of ad extensions and other ad formats.

Here's a video explaining Google's Ad Rank

KPI's for search Network includes

  • Clicks
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Impression
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Ad Rank
  • Calls
  • ROI

You should be running a Search Network campaign if:

  • You’re working with a limited budget: In general, when clients are restricted to a small budget, I recommend starting with the Search Network. This format is more likely to drive direct conversions, making it easier to measure and justify your PPC efforts. Once you’ve mastered Search, it may be advisable to expand to the Display Network, which can boost visibility, leading to an uptick in search volume for your business.
  • You sell an “emergency” product: If your product or service offering is something that users look for on a when-needed basis (party planners, saloon, restaurants), you should be advertising on the Search Network. For these industries, it is imperative that your ad appears when the searcher is in need of your services.

When To Use Display Network

In addition to search advertising, Google also gives advertisers the opportunity to place their ads on a variety of sites across the internet. This collection of websites, which ranges from blogs to online newspapers, emails, in apps, YouTube and other Google ads enabled website known as partners, is referred to as the Google Display Network (GDN). According to Google, the GDN includes over 2 million sites that reach over 90% of global internet users. Given the expansive audience of this network, it is incredibly appealing to advertisers who are looking to widen their visibility online.

When users are on the GDN, they may not necessarily be in “shopping mode.” Instead, they are going about their daily internet activities. Catching up on news, reading blog posts, watching video clips, etc. In order to gain traction on the GDN, your ads must attract the users’ attention and entice them enough to click through to your site, leaving the content that they were originally engaged with. Accomplishing this is no easy feat—even with top-notch ad creative, it’s tough to draw users to click on ads while they are surfing the net.

But don’t write the GDN off yet—while clicks may be scarce, ad space on the network is plentiful. It is the ideal space to promote brand awareness and its vast reach is appealing to advertisers who are looking to broaden their fan bases. By increasing your brand’s visibility, you may reap more clicks on organic listings or see an uptick in brand-specific searches. The clicks on GDN are also sometimes cheaper than clicks on the search network.

KPI’s for Display Network include

  • Impression/reach
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Impact on brand search
  • Top of mind awareness (although this can’t be measured directly on long term basis this as variation sticks to our subconscious)

You should be running a Display Network campaign if:

  • You want to familiarize people with your brand: Many advertisers leverage the Display Network to promote brand awareness. Since the GDN is so expansive, it offers many opportunities for advertisers to connect with their audiences. AdWords provides a variety of targeting options, ranging from managed placements (specific sites selected by the advertiser) to website groupings based on audience characteristics and more. By appearing on reputable sites that are popular amongst your target audience, you can quickly familiarize these people with your brand.
  • You have a lengthy sales process: If you sell a product or service that consumers are not likely to purchase immediately, you need to ensure that your brand stays top-of-mind for prospects as they consider making a purchase. To do this, we recommend utilizing remarketing, through the GDN. This strategy allows you to show ads to anyone who has visited your site in the past, encouraging them to return and convert. For example, when you check a red skirt on Jumia or Konga and you leave without buying it. You start seeing the skirt on other websites you visit and a top that will fit nicely with the skirt or shoes to match even if you buy they show you other things you might like.
  • You have an attractive product: Since the GDN allows advertisers to display image ads, it is ideal for advertisers who sell luxury products whose ads are enticing to the eye. Since display advertising relies largely on distraction, it’s helpful to have an appealing product to promote.

In Conclusion

To truly reap the benefits of each network, break them into separate, network-specific campaigns. From a strategic standpoint, this will allow you to craft your messaging based on the scenario in which your consumers are viewing your ad. This segmentation is critical, not only does it allow you to set specific budgets and bids per network, but it will keep your data “clean” and make it easier when optimizing.

Let’s take CTR for example, ads on the Display Network typically get lower CTRs than Search Network (which comes as no surprise, given the context in which they are shown). If the campaigns are not segmented, the CTR data can be too much, making it really difficult to analyze performance.

What's your experience with using Google Search and Display ads so far?


online PR

Marketing for Beginners: An Introduction to Online PR

How do you build up your online presence? How do you enhance your brand equity? So many businesses have long discovered that having sponsored tweets and posts, conducting weekly giveaways and all doesn’t always translate to bigger sales. Online PR has become a very important part of this digital age for businesses. Building a brand presence online organically has become the bane of most brands. And online PR focuses on influencing digital venues and publications.

According to Smart Insights

[hcode_blockquote]Online PR activity is closely associated with improving results from many of the other digital marketing communications techniques in particular social media, SEO (link-building), partnership marketing and viral marketing / word-of-mouth marketing.[/hcode_blockquote]

Outside of the obvious benefits, there are few other things to keep in mind. Online PR also helps with SEO, the back links you get to your website from authoritative websites talking about you is good for Google. It can also help shape public perception about your brand. When people search for you, you need to try as much as possible to dictate the results they see. Online PR can help you do just that. So lets deep dive into how to go about this.

The Perfect Mix

To understand the concept of Online PR better, you only need to look at the traditional Public Relations Officer. Online PR is letting customers know what your brand is about. In managing your online PR, you need really great content, an audience and a strategy to reach them.

This is probably why most companies get their Online PR wrong, they go ahead and manage their brand excellently with no story to tell and no audience to reach. It doesn’t work that way. For your Online PR to be effective, you need a perfect mix of content and marketing.

Online PR goes beyond digital marketing, it’s not about generating traffic. It’s about your brand reputation and engaging customers. Keep in mind that you can get as much traffic as you want, and if you have great content, you can generate enough buzz instantly, but that’s the end of it. Online PR seeks to manage the effect of that buzz and turn it into a lasting impression for customers.

Defined Objectives

To have a spot on Online PR campaign, you have to clearly define you objectives. Your objectives must take into consideration your service or product offering, your customer segmentation and target market too. Some businesses prefer the basic online PR for their press releases and spreading their news to online newspapers. Others combine social media and content creation to that package. Your routine will change depending on your main objectives. Online PR campaigns need to be creative, social, and confident. Your Online PR manager must possess the technical skills needed to quickly adopt different tactics and recognize new opportunities. It’s a fast age!

Here’s a few steps on how to go about your Online PR

Reputation Management

What are people saying about you? Your brand reputation precedes every other thing about you. This is why two of the biggest online malls in Nigeria keep laying claim to being the biggest in Nigeria; Konga and Jumia. This is because you’re more likely to shop at the biggest mall in Nigeria, psychologically, it lends credence to their brand. Take an audit of all mentions of your brand on social media and classify each as positive, negative or neutral. Do damage control if possible on negative mentions and then build on the positives.

Social Media

If you don’t have a social media presence yet, start building up a few social brand pages on sites that your target audience mostly likely will use. You only need look at GT Bank to see what an active social media profile can do for you. GTBank created Ndani TV on Youtube, and they regularly come up with different ideas across their social media channels. They understand the peculiarities of different social media channels and generate content accordingly.

Press Release Optimization

Create the perfect headline. Include a keyword  that optimizes your press release for the page and topic it is linked to. Visualize your content when applicable with graphics, professional pictures and videos.

Build Relationships and Pitch to Online Gatekeepers (aka. Media Relations, Blogs, Paper)

Find out those who hold sway in your industry when it comes to online forums, build a media list for online venues in the same niche as your company. Add the journalist you will be building a relationship with to a Twitter list to keep track of them. Create and optimize a company blog and begin writing content that would attract potential consumers. Reach out to customers and encourage them to write a review of your product on their social media channels. A positive review about you on Nairaland or a popular blog will do you so much good than millions spent on Ads.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Make sure all forms of customer service online (contact forms, live chats, social media) is being monitored and inquiries answered in a timely and professional manner.

Find and Work with Brand Ambassadors

Find your company’s brand ambassadors, online celebrities who will actually create buzz about your brand. Always go for ambassadors with an engaging online presence. It’s not just about the number of followers, it’s about the number of impressions made. But not every brand needs an ambassador, so do this wisely.

Online PR Tools

There are dozens of tools on the web to help you with your online PR strategy. Some of the major ones are listed below.

Google Docs

Use this free program to record outreach contacts and other data, such as tracking published articles. Multiple team members can work all at once on a Google Doc, unlike an Excel spreadsheet. Google Docs is a great place to share a media kit or the research for a content piece. This way you won’t crowd your email with attachments when you need to send the information to a journalist. You can just send the link to the shareable Google doc.

Google Analytics

Another free, must have tool from Google. Check out this article about what to track in PR analytics to refine your PR campaign and track results. Online PR professionals should constantly be monitoring the trackbacks, assisted conversions and referrals in Google Analytics to better understand which tactics work best.

google analyticsSidekick

While sending out all your emails to the gatekeepers, it is important to know how they interacted with it. Knowing if your recipient opened and click on a link in your email can help shape the nature of your followup mail compared to someone who didn't open the mail at all. And that's where sidekick helps. You get notifications every time a recipient opens and clicks on your email links, providing valuable insights into the interest of the other party.

sidekick by hubspotGoogle Alerts

Keep track of what others on the web are saying about you. With Google alerts, you get an email anytime new results about keywords that you're tracking popup on the web. This can help you proactively respond to both good and bad PR as against waiting for your colleague to mention that they say a terrible article on your brand.

Hootsuite

If you are managing a client’s social media, Hootsuite will help you gather everything in one place to post and engage with users. Auto schedule your posts to go live during the prime times on each social network. Here’s a graphic showing each site’s best times to post.

Image result for hootsuite

In conclusion, these basic tactics and tools will help you get started in putting together your online PR strategy. Remember, the media space in Nigeria is relatively young, hence it can be swayed easily which is why you should always remain flexible and attentive for new opportunities to earn media and engage with consumers as every client will be different.