Roni Krakover

Author - Roni

How to Find Keyword Ideas Using Google Keyword Planner

Keyword ideas

I often find that business owners and individuals have a hard time identifying relevant keywords for HootSuite searches and for their business communications in general. Finding keywords often requires thinking out of the box, and this is especially hard if you’re thinking of your own business! For example, if you own a snow removal business, you’ve been conditioned to think of what you do as “snow removing” and not as “snowplowing.” It is possible, however, that some of your potential clients are looking for snowplowing, and if your competitors know that and you don’t, they are a step ahead of you in the game.

How to Find the Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Business

  • Open an account with Google AdWords: http://adwords.google.com/
  • Go to Tools > Keyword Planner (formerly Google keyword tool)
  • Click on “Search for new keyword and group ideas”

  • Type in the relevant phrase – the words you use to define your business. Alternatively you can type in the URL of a relevant page from your website, preferably one that lists your services or explains what you do. Google will scan the page and will give suggestions accordingly. I recommend trying it both ways – once with the keywords and once with the URL.

  • Consider targeting your keyword results – you can narrow results based on language, location, etc.
  • Hit “get ideas”, choose keyword ideas, and look at the list that comes up.

  • Browsing the list will give you a pretty good idea of what people are looking for/thinking of, that’s related to your business. If you want to sort the list by volume (see the most frequently searched for keywords first), click on average monthly searches.

  • Make a list of “negative keywords” for future use. For example, if your company offers snow removal as a service, you will see that some of the results that come up deal with “snow removal equipment”. Add “equipment” to your negative keywords list to further narrow your search in HootSuite – in your search stream, you will ask HootSuite to return results related to “snow removal” that do not contain the word “equipment.”

To sum up, finding relevant keywords is important not only for search engine optimization (SEO) and  meta tags – it is also important in your HootSuite strategy, especially when looking for competitors, industry trends, and thinking strategically about your business communications.

 

Location-based Search on HootSuite

tel aviv bugrashov beach

The location-based search tool on HootSuite is one of the most valuable search features, and is especially useful if:

  • You are running a local business
  • You are looking for a job in a specific area
  • You are interested in local events and news about your community

 

Setting up a Geo search is easy. Here is how you can do it:

  • Go to HootSuite dashboards > add stream > Twitter > search
  • Type in your search term
  • Click on the little Geo icon to make your search local.

location based search on hootsuite

  • Your browser will ask you if you are willing to share your location with HootSuite. If you click allow, the search box will automatically be populated with the coordinates of your current location.
  • Once you click “add stream,” the stream will be created showing you results relevant to your search query in a radius of 25 km from your location.

How to Adjust Your Geo Search Parameters

  • To switch from kilometers to miles, simply replace the “km” at the end of the geocode with “mi”.
  • To change the required distance, you can write any number you want instead of the default “25” kilometers.

location based search on hootsuite

Get Results for a Location That Is Not Your Current Location

Let’s say that you are traveling to Barcelona and want to find out about events in the city through Twitter before getting there.

  • Go to Google maps and look for the address you are interested in – it could be for example the address of the hotel you will be staying in.
  • Click on the location showed on the map (mostly denoted by the letter A or B). Click on “what’s here” to copy the coordinates you found.
  • Insert these coordinates instead of the ones showing by default in your search box.

Social Listening Using HootSuite

Social listening and social media listening using hootsuite

One of the most valuable practices you can engage in with HootSuite is social listening, or social media listening, a.k.a social media monitoring or tracking. I would argue that it is perhaps even more important than “broadcasting” your message. Listening to what is out there, what customers are saying about your brand, can help you understand what kind of content you should share with them.

In this article I will share with you how you can use this powerful tool to get business intelligence, follow your competitors, and listen to your customers.

Engage and Monitor through Mentions Streams

Mentions streams are pretty straightforward. You can easily add a Twitter stream that will display all tweets mentioning your username. Having this stream helps you to easily engage with Twitter users who mention you without missing any of their tweets. However, relying solely on mentions streams can be a problem since:

  1. If customers are saying something negative about you, they will not necessarily want to communicate it directly to you -they might not use your Twitter handle when displaying a negative message (unless they are actually interested in getting your response)
  2. Customers may be mentioning you without even thinking / knowing that you have a Twitter handle, so they are talking about you without using it.

That is why using keyword and search streams are so important.

What Is the Difference between Keywords and Search Streams?

Keywords allows you to define specific words that you want to track, while search takes advantage of the Twitter search engine which involves an elaborate algorithm that takes into account factors such as searcher’s previous behavior, synonyms, influence, and more.

At the moment the keyword stream is only available for Twitter, while search is available for other social platforms on HootSuite as well.

Keyword Streams

Keyword streams search all Twitter content. You can use them to:

  • Find out what your customers are saying about you
  • Keep up with your industry
  • Look for a job
  • Follow topics that interest you

To add such as stream go to HootSuite dashboards > add stream > Twitter > keyword

A few examples of how you can use keyword streams:

  • If you have a real estate company in Toronto, you can use a few variations of the term “Toronto rentals” in order to cover as many related searches, for example Toronto Rentals, torontorentals, Toronto rent, etc.
  • For personal use – prepare searches regarding topics that interest you, for example: fitness tips, recipes, deals of all sorts: travel deals, freebies, etc., NFL updates, productivity tips.
  • You can use keyword streams to stay on top of your industry
  • Create keyword searches that deal with jobs in your area, recruiters and HR professionals

Click here to learn more about generating keyword ideas.

Note: HootSuite asks you to choose a profile, but as of January 2013 it doesn’t really matter, you will get same keyword results for your different Twitter profiles.

Search Streams

Add a search stream by going to HootSuite dashboards > add stream >Twitter/Facebook/Google +/else > Search. A few things you can try:

  • Use hashtags (#)
  • Compare searches with and without #
  • Click on “show examples” to get ideas for advanced search tactics
  • For example, use OR between alternate words , quotation marks to “lock the entire phrase”, etc.

I suggest that you experiment by adding all the streams mentioned above, so you get the feel for them and see which ones are most beneficial for you. Once you feel comfortable with these, your next step is to learn about advanced search tactics.

Using mentions, keyword, and search streams strategically will enable you to take full advantage of HootSuite as a social media management tool, and will help with your reputation management and CRM efforts.

Valuable Insights Gained from Two Years of Accelerating Awesome Startups

INcubes

An article I wrote about lessons learned at INcubes was published on TechVibes today.

In the article I share the lessons learned and insights gained from two years of accelerating tech companies at INcubes. I am proud to be part of an organization that constantly learns on the go and seeks to improve. You can read the full article here, I’m pasting a teaser:

 A rolling model allows accelerators to choose the best companies. Our old intake model accepted companies twice a year into two cohorts, which meant we were constantly turning away excellent entrepreneurs because “timing wasn’t right.”

 Spoon feeding, in the long run, does not create strong companies. Companies can often experience an “after acceleration low” and find it hard to keep the momentum when the program ends. One of the reasons is that many accelerator programs focus heavily on specific deliverables (e.g pitch decks) without teaching companies the necessary skills to take initiative and drive themselves forward.

Why I don’t like 50 Shades of Grey

50-shades-of-grey

Full disclosure: I read a little less than half the book until I gave up. The fact that I managed to keep with it for half of the book still surprises me.

I heard about the book over a year ago, in July 2012. I was planning to go on a short vacation with a friend and we were talking about which books we should take with us.

“You should get 50 Shades of Grey, everybody’s reading it now, I got it for my Kindle” she said.

I shrugged, because a long time ago I came to realize that the fact that everybody was reading something, did not mean that I was going to like it.

A few days later, as we were at the beach reading and drinking margaritas, my friend said “I really don’t understand what the whole fuss is about. It’s a really bad book. The plot is weak and some parts are just cheap porn…”

My friend wasn’t the only one to be surprised. She, like many others, bought the book because it was a bestseller, and had no idea what it was about. She didn’t even know that she bought a book in the “erotica” genre. She simply followed the hype and thought she was buying the best book ever.

I eventually grabbed the book for the same reason many others got it – curiosity about its success. As an author, I wanted to know what about this book made it such a bestseller. My conclusion: the success of 50 Shades of Grey has nothing to do with the book itself.

The success of 50 Shades of Grey has nothing to do with the book itself

This is not the success of the author, the genre, or the story. It’s the success of a publishing company that did an excellent marketing job and turned a niche category into mainstream. That’s all.

As far as I know, no one enforces an age restriction when buying books; so publisher simply took late night porn and put it on prime time, + added a bit of (weak) plot. Then, massive promotion through various channels and distributors initiated the circle of large sales > curiosity > more sales.

Erotica fiction has been around for a while, with authors enjoying a constant stream of revenue but hardly ever topping the bestseller list – it was niche. Some looked at “reading porn” as “watching porn,” thus saved their “reading list” to themselves, and there was never much of a viral effect around erotica titles. Thus, even though lot of erotica was sold before 50 Shades of Grey, the 50 Shades hype completely “mainstreamized” the genre.

Get an editor maybe?

So if the only reason 50 Shades of Grey became so popular is marketing, what about the quality of the story and writing?

There are many articles out there criticizing the poor writing quality of the book (check this one for example) , so I will not repeat, but yes, I think the writing is bad. The editing job on 50 Shades of Grey is poor, even though it is backed up by a large publishing house. It just feels like the editor did a very sloppy job. It doesn’t read well.

Is this erotica, or fantasy and science fiction?

When I read fantasy or science fiction, I like it when the characters behave like real people – when their actions fit their background and motivation. In 50 Shades of Grey no attention is given to minor details such as “character credibility”.

Anastasia is 21 years old and she never had sex before. Moreover, she never “touched herself down there” (authors language) in her life. Note that the story takes place in Seattle, America, not a Mormon village or another religious society. We are expected to believe that Anastasia who is a 21 years old student never in her life had sex or masturbated. Reminder, this is a porn story, not a Christian novel.

Then she has sex for the first time with Christian Grey. Even though she never had any sexual experience before, not even with herself, she seems extremely comfortable with it. Then she instantly has an orgasm, and she finally understands “what the fuss is all about.” Huh??

In her relationship with Christine Gray Anastasia seems to have orgasms as easily as making tea. Sometimes simply from nipple stimulation. Which makes it even less believable that she never touched herself… Judging by her sensitivity she’s supposed to get turned on whenever she puts her shirt or panties on.

Any responsible adults in the room?

Critics are ranting, EL James (the author) is sitting on a pile of cash, and authors of more “responsible” books remain hungry.

What do I mean by responsible books? My writing is far from being a politically correct; a book I published under a pen name had sex scenes, profanity, and hard-core concepts. But it was overall realistic, and empowered the readers in addition to entertaining them.

50 Shades of Grey gives out weird messages to the readers. Some of the readers are teenagers and young women who can consciously and unconsciously shapes their views according to what they read in the book. Readers of the book might think that:

  • Masturbation is bad. Otherwise, how would you explain the fact that Anastasia never did it? The book depicts Anastasia, the non-masturbating virgin easily having orgasms right away on her first sexual experience.
  • If you don’t have an orgasm easily when having sex or when your nipples are stimulated, there might be something wrong with you.
  • If you stick to someone abusive long enough, he might turn out to be the prince charming you want him to be
  • I am sure there are more examples… I didn’t stick with the book long enough to find out

To make one thing clear: I’m not against erotica and the unrealistic situations depicted in this type of literature. I just feel that when you mainstreamize a book and get such a large readership, you have a great opportunity to put some positive, empowering messages out there, and be conscience about the implications of your choices.

By the way, if you’re interested in reading more (funny) criticism about 50 Shades of Grey, there is an author out there named Cassandra Parkin who wrote a hilarious post : Fifty Things That Annoy Me About Fifty Shades Of Grey

Miley Cyrus defeats Syria WMDs

miley cyrus and syria wmd

I have to admit they won this time. Three months ago I had no idea who Miley Cyrus was, and never heard any of her songs. Today, I’m still not sure that I heard any of her songs (not that I know of at least), but I can definitely recognize her face on magazines near the cashier when I’m out shopping for groceries.

Three months ago, there was no single magazine with Miley’s face on it. Today, out of about 10 gossip/women’s magazines near the cashier, at least one of them will have Miley Cyrus on its cover.

What changed?

What changed is the surprisingly sexual appearance on the VMA in August 2013. Carefully crafted by the PR people in Miley’s production company, the show brought the buzz it was supposed to. Miley Cyrus’s twerking was the main story in CNN, on the same day that chemical weapons were reported to be found in Syria.

It is all a vicious cycle. CNN makes money on ads, so they optimize the top stories to what people want – what people actually click on. People choose to click on the Miley Cyrus article and not on the Syria article. After all, twerking is much more interesting than people being gassed to death in the Middle East.

The same incentives that control article placement on CNN control the actions of music producers – since the main revenue source for the producers is ads displayed before music videos. After Miley Cyrus topped CNN, many readers flocked to YouTube to search for Miley related videos, and became an audience for millions of ads. Each time an ad was displayed, Miley’s producers made money.

Miley is just another a money making product, and she’s probably not aware of it. I can’t honestly say I would’ve acted otherwise if I was her. Sexual admiration is for sure intoxicating and pleasurable in the short run. In the long run it creates dependence, trying to constantly re-live the glamour powered by more and more outrageous performances, provocative clothing, cosmetic surgery, etc.

Miley is a tool in the hands of capitalist producers. By adhering to our most primal instincts, such as sex, violence, and domination – the entertainment industry creates more demand and gets us used to receive these stimuli everywhere.

But we can’t blame the producers. We can’t blame capitalism. Corporations are here to maximize earnings, not to think of the damage they are doing to our “precious souls”. We have the responsibility. We have to choose what content we expose ourselves to. We are the ones that have to fight the urge to click on the Miley Cyrus article on CNN, and resist the urge to watch Miley Cyrus videos after reading the news. We can’t change them.