All posts by Nilesh

About Nilesh

Nilesh has worked in the IT industry for nine years, and is both a PMP and an MBA in marketing. He has worked in and with small businesses, managing projects, leading teams, and improving business processes.At Markitty, Nilesh translates requirements into tasks and timelines. He jumps into whatever is needed, whether it’s marketing, design, or technical architecture. He also keeps the others sane with his intermittent wisecracking.

Monday Marketing Mashup: All About Google Hummingbird and SEO

Are you still wondering why everyone is talking about Hummingbird suddenly? Read on and these links will answer all your questions.

What is Hummingbird?

Google Hummingbird and SEOHummingbird is the name of Google’s new search algorithm. Google claims it will provide better search results. Hummingbird is one of the biggest updates ever to how Google interprets user’s search queries and how it evaluates indexed webpages for a better match. Search Engine Land has a nice FAQ post that will give you more details. If you prefer a more visual approach, try this infographic.

Why is this important?

Wired has a good explanation on the impact and importance of Hummingbird, and to give you a glimpse:

“The biggest improvements involve longer search queries. Rather than just examining each individual word in a search, Google is now examining the searcher’s query as a whole and processing the meaning behind it.”

What will be the impact of Hummingbird on my site’s SEO?

Exact details are yet unclear and Google likes to keep people guessing when it comes to search algorithams. But Don Dodds has given a good summary of what is known as of now.

“Site owners that rely on the provision of high-quality content, that steer clear of black hat techniques, and that look to build multiple traffic streams using a universal marketing approach are those that will enjoy better long term results.”

Not much has really changed if you are a small business and are relying on good content, social referrals and customer feedback. HubSpot summarizes important factors nicely in their post.

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How to Schedule Tweets using Twitter

Twitter announced its new scheduling feature yesterday. This has been expected for a while now, more so because of Twitter’s IPO and the need to project Twitter as a sophisticated advertising platform. Twitter’s official announcement says:

Starting today, all marketers using Twitter’s Ad Products can schedule organic or Promoted Tweets for specific dates and times up to a year in advance. These can be coordinated to go live with new or existing Promoted Tweet campaigns to enable you to plan your real-time campaigns at your convenience.

Twitter’s focus on advertising becomes obvious when you see that scheduling option is implemented as part of ads.twitter.com and not in the core twitter.com UI. But don’t worry, you can schedule tweets even if you are not advertising on Twitter. Here’s how:

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Monday Marketing Mashup: Video Marketing Ideas and Tools

Video marketing Everyone seems to be talking about video marketing these days. And the rise of apps like Vine and Instagram video means that very short videos are back in the marketing mix.

Do you want to use videos to market your business but think it’s too difficult or are short on ideas? Well, here are some useful resources to help you get started.

If you are not sure if videos are the right tool for you or wondering what kind of videos to create, start with this recent post by SpinSucks:

“More and more companies are producing PR and marketing videos, and thanks to the web and social media, they have become easily shared pieces of content.”

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Social Media Profile Cover Photos

Managing your brand’s presence on so many different social channels can be a pain, and one of the annoying aspects of it is getting the right cover photos for each one. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ — all have different guidelines for what the cover photo size should be.

Here is a list of official and unofficial references that will give you cover and profile picture specification for all social networks:

1. Facebook

The cover photo of your Facebook page is very important: not only is it featured on your page, it is also prominently displayed in the user’s newsfeed when your page is recommended (paid or otherwise) by Facebook. Facebook’s official guidelines give very little detail but this page covers all you need to know.

Faceboook Cover Photo Guidelines

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Five Ways to Find Relevant People to Follow on Twitter

A common question business-owners who use Twitter ask us is, “How do I find relevant people to follow?”

In my last post, I talked about who you should follow on Twitter: now let’s look at how to find these people.

1. Twitter Advanced Search

A useful but rarely used feature of Twitter is Advanced Search.

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Five Kinds of People You Should Follow on Twitter

Twitter is a tricky medium for small businesses. You will find a lot of people saying it’s a waste of time and enough people who swear by its benefits. You need to build your following, but when you start out you have to focus on following the right people.

Here is a quick guide on what kinds of people you should follow.

1. Customers – existing customers or people in your target customer group

You should follow your customers to see what they are talking about — what they are interested in, what products/service they like and what they are complaining about. Also this is a good way of letting them know that you are on Twitter. If they are interested in what you offer, they might even follow you back.

But don’t start selling to them on Twitter, not yet. Listen, engage and offer help but don’t be pushy.

Continue reading Five Kinds of People You Should Follow on Twitter

5 Lessons for Social Media Marketing from Cricket (Yes, the Sport)

I was really excited to find a blog dedicated to social media and sports analogies. I have always been a cricket fan and even though I don’t watch all the games now, I still follow the updates.

This was originally published on that blog and if you are a sports fan you’ll find a lot of other interesting posts there.

I came across this blog a few weeks back and loved the idea of relating social media with sports. I don’t know how many of you follow or understand cricket but Brian agreed to publish this and I am hoping you will share your feedback in the comments. Even if you don’t like what I have here, do say ‘hi’ if you love Cricket or would like to learn more of it.

Comparing social media to a five-day long game of cricket seems a bit odd but that’s what I am going to do. There are so many similarities between the two that I had to limit myself to writing only from a batsman’s perspective. So here we go.

Social media is like test cricket
Originally uploaded to Flicker by fiverlocker

Continue reading 5 Lessons for Social Media Marketing from Cricket (Yes, the Sport)

Facebook Hashtags: Tips for Marketers and Small Businesses

facebook announces hashtagsThe big argument for using Twitter for marketing has been that you can see what others are talking about, even if they are not in your network. Facebook is out to change that.

Facebook today announced its much awaited feature: Hashtags.

“Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.”

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6 Free Tools for Creating Product and Promotional Videos

Are videos part of your content marketing? If not, they should be. Be it a quick product demo, a walk through your facility or office, a testimonial from a happy customer,  a training video for some complex feature of your product or an introduction of your team — videos are a great medium for all of this.

But getting professional videos done is so difficult and costly that most of us shy away from it. We recently created a bunch of videos of our product and team, and in the process, discovered that it’s not as difficult as it seems.

There are a number of easy and mostly free tools that you can use to create different kinds of videos quickly. Don’t expect the production quality to be really great, but this will serve the purpose for the most part.

Take a look at the videos we created here, and below is the list of tools we used.

1. Powtoon

Powtoon - Create professional looking animated videos and presentations

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Closing The Loop: Merging Online And Offline Marketing

You probably have a Facebook page for your business if you are a restaurant or an established retail business. How do you promote your page? How do you reach out to the same people online who are already coming to your physical store?

Most businesses rely on their customers (or prospects) to find them online and like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. But why not actively close this loop? Let’s look at examples of some businesses in Pune who are doing this.

1. apniChai asking their customers to like them on Facebook

apniChai is on Facebook

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Google AdWords Keyword Planner Just Launched

Yesterday Google officially launched its new tool, AdWords Keyword Planner, to help create better AdWords campaigns. Keyword Planner will replace our favorite Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator.

You should learn to use this tool even if you never used Keyword Tool or Traffic Estimator and do not plan to use Google ads. Understanding search terms is important because that tells you what words your potential customers use to describe yours and similar businesses so that you can tweak your marketing and sales content accordingly.

Adwords Keyword Planner

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How to Set up Google Analytics for Your Website or Blog

Do you know how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from? Do you know how much time they are spending on your site and what content they are looking at?

It’s easy to get answers to these questions, and as a business-owner you are missing out on very valuable information if you aren’t looking at this regularly. Google Analytics is a free (and most widely-used) tool that you can use to track visitor and usage information  for your website or mobile application.

Track Website Traffic Using Google Analytics

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Presentation: Interpreting Marketing Data

On April 20th, we conducted the third and the last session of our marketing workshop for start-ups and small businesses in Pune.

We talked about how to interpret online marketing results and make better business decisions by understanding the impact of various marketing activities on your data. Looking at a single metric like site visits or Facebook likes could lead you to make wrong inferences, which we demonstrated with a small case study.

Here is the presentation from the workshop for those who could not attend.

For more marketing tips from us, sign up below.

The Markitty Story: in the Hustler’s Words

Unmana wrote about how we decided to get started with Markitty: here is my account of the product development so far.

Gathering courage

I had done a bit of coding more than 10 years back, but since then my exposure to the technical side was limited to managing software projects, data analysis, and occasional experiments with SQL or Excel macros. Building a SaaS product of our own was a task I had never imagined taking up.

Outsource or build in-house

We didn’t have a lot of money to hire a great outsourcing vendor or to hire a senior technical lead. We did try looking for someone who could be a technical co-founder but that was not going to be easy.

Unmana and I had both worked in geographically distributed teams for a long time and understood the communication overheads and leakages that need to be dealt with in such a setup. So we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to have a local team and dedicated developers who can work closely with us. Apart from the cost, culture was the biggest driver behind this decision.

Continue reading The Markitty Story: in the Hustler’s Words

Weekend Reads for Better Marketing: Productivity and Product Development

Unmana is out of action for a few days due to a small accident so I am bringing you this weekend’s reading. This one is going to be a mix of personal and business: hope you will find it useful and enjoyable.

If you feel you are always busy but still stress out for not doing enough, you must read Rethinking Productivity by Amber Naslund:

“Productivity, at its essence, means being able to bring things about. But sometimes, making that happen is as much about what you don’t do.”

And similarly this old piece by Paul Graham explains why some of us feel our whole day is wasted even if we have to attend one meeting.

Don’t hate me for including this one in a weekend reads list: Joel talks about the need for hard work and uses some interesting celebrity examples.

Read this hackathon experience of our hacker, Virendra, if you haven’t gone off to work by now and are still with me.

And a replug of our earlier post if you missed the announcement — we are live with Markitty Beta. Go sign-up now and let us know what you think of Markitty.

Have a good weekend!

Things to Consider Before Outsourcing

Are you considering outsourcing your product development or marketing or HR? I wrote this piece for YourStory.in about things you should consider before outsourcing your product development. But most of these points also apply when you are looking for a marketing partner or a web design company.

But unlike other functions, in outsourcing product development, the cost of a wrong decision is much higher. Correcting your marketing messaging or website design down the line is not that difficult: but your cost and pain will be much higher if product development goes wrong. And since it is difficult to recognize problems until it is very late, when it comes to choosing a product development outsourcing partner, getting it right the first time is your best bet.

Outsourcing is an obvious option to consider when you have an idea for a software application but don’t have the technical expertise to implement it yourself. You bring in the domain expertise and take care of the business side, and outsource the technical aspects to experts in that field. But this is easier said than done, and there have been many stories of product development outsourcing gone wrong. So what do you do?

You will find this useful if you are considering outsourcing as an option, or are an outsourcing vendor yourself. Read the full post here, and do share your feedback in the comments.

What Does Facebook’s Graph Search Mean for Your Business?

Facebook announced its new feature, Graph Search, on January 15.  But what does this mean for your business? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Just read on.

Graph Search is…

Facebook’s new search feature that allows you to search for information based on what you or your friends have liked, and what local businesses near you are offering. This social search feature is powered by Facebook’s partnership with Microsoft Bing.

Graph Search is not…

It’s not a replacement for Google search, as the primary objective of Graph Search is to provide personalized search results based on your and your friend’s interests and recent activities.

What does it mean for Facebook users?

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How To: Get Started With Twitter

Are you new to Twitter? Do you keep feeling you’re missing out by not being on it but aren’t sure how to start? This post tells you what common Twitter terms mean, and how you can make use of Twitter features.

The Basics

  • Your “Twitter handle” is your Twitter username.
  • When you tweet, it shows up on the Twitter timeline of everyone who is following you.
  • Tweets of people you are following will show up on timeline in chronological order. Most of the time you will only see the last 30-40 tweets and earlier ones will be ignored.
  • So, tweet at times when more of your followers are likely to be online.
  • If someone is not following you, they can still come to your profile and see all your tweets (unless your profile is private).
  • You can add links or upload photos and use them in your tweets.

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5 Risks of Relying on Social Media Marketing

The recent brouhaha over Instragram’s policy changes brings into sharp relief the fact that marketing on social media entails a lot of dependence on the social media sites. Instagram’s users might not be in trouble right now, but do you remember the last cries of outrage over changes in Facebook’s policies?

Which brings me to the question: is it wise to focus your marketing efforts primarily on social media?

I’m not advocating ignoring social media (of course). But realize this: you don’t control Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus. Your most important content should be on your own site, whether it’s in the form of blog posts, FAQs, a photo gallery, or video tutorials.

Here are five reasons why.

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