Talking SEO with Peter Woolfolk of Communications Strategies

Yesterday I was a guest on “Public Relations Review,” one of the fastest growing PR podcasts in the nation. Host Peter Woolfolk and I chatted about SEO strategies.

Serious Social Listening

Social media marketing done right means listening and engaging as well as posting your own content. Social listening discovers who is talking about you and topics related to you, allowing you to engage in a much broader way.

The job isn’t easy. You need to scan across a wide online universe that changes all the time. You need to catalog who has influence around topics that matter, and whether that influence is positive or negative. Even for niche local brands, that means discovering, monitoring and evaluating a lot of content.

The right tool can make it easy for you to find all the conversations you care about and easily assess them. I tend to recommend free tools, but if you want to seriously tap into conversations and influencers, you will likely need to invest in a good tool.

First, Free

Google Alerts,,  has been around for a long time. It is easy and free, but has serious shortcomings. It finds a limited number of mentions. There’s no associated insight, like sentiment or influence.

Alerts seems to be a pretty much ignored Google tool. It mostly works, but there’s no investment being made to make it grow to truly monitor the online universe. It regularly misses a lot of important mentions.

Getting Serious

While Alerts stands still, tools are coming online that offer brands much richer listening tools. Brand Mentions,, and Mention,, are two such tools. With these you will find a set of features that makes the listening job much easier and insightful.

Both offer free trials and three levels of paid service. The free level will not be sufficient for any brand, but do allow you to explore the features and interface before you commit to an ongoing paid account. So, don’t activate your free trial until you have time to truly assess the tool against your needs and interests.

Brand Mentions

I recently had the opportunity to dig into Brand Mentions. The plans here can be less expensive or more expensive than Mention, depending on your needs.

Like all the tools in this space, Brand Mentions sends mentions of your brand and your market straight to your inbox. Your account dashboard allows you to track volume, sentiment and trends. You can discover the influencers who are talking about things you care about. It easily generates reports to support your efforts to measure and track campaigns as well as your overall online presence.

I found the dashboard to be easy to use and the toolset to be robust. The product is being actively developed, always a good sign.

Worth the Investment?

If you want to get serious about social listening and engagement, investing in the right service makes sense. The monthly fee may feel painful, but compare that to the cost of your time.

A monitoring tool can really save you time over scanning platform by platform. And, the results are more complete. I guarantee you will find mentions in places you didn’t even know existed!




Get More Leads with Instagram

Is Instagram part of your digital marketing strategy? Here are tips to make the most of Instagram for lead generation. They aren’t all free, but they are worthy of consideration.

Instagram Lead Ads

The most obvious way to get more leads on Instagram is to use lead ads. Instagram lead ads are designed to help businesses collect customer information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and job titles.

To create Instagram lead ads, you’ll need an Instagram business account. That means you also need a Facebook Page.

All Instagram ads are created in Facebook’s Ad Manager. To create an Instagram lead ad, select Lead Generation as your marketing objective. Facebook recommends you select Automatic Placements to ensure cost-per-lead is optimized and kept to a minimum.

There are other ad types to target different goals, so take a look to make sure that the lead gen type is the best fit.

Profile Action Buttons

If you have a business account on Instagram, you can add action buttons to your profiles. Your profile can include a link to your email, phone number, and business address.

In addition to those buttons, Instagram provides better options for lead generation, including Book, Reserve, and Get Tickets action buttons. These buttons bring people to forms by Instagram providers, including Appointy, Eventbrite, OpenTable and Resy.

To add an Action Button:

  1. From your account page, tap Edit Profile.
  2. Tap Contact Options.
  3. Select Add an action button.
  4. Choose the button and the provider you would like to add.
  5. Add the URL your business uses with the provider selected.

Optimize Your Bio

Make sure your Instagram bio is complete and accurate. Imagery and wording should be consistent across all of your online locations.

Use the link space in your bio to its fullest potential. Your link should point customers to whatever objective you wish to accomplish.

To optimize Instagram bio links:

  • Keep the link short, and try to use your brand name in it.
  • Promote the link in your Instagram posts with “Link in bio.”
  • Add a call-to-action above the bio link.

Effective Landing Pages

When someone clicks on the link, make sure you send them to an awesome landing page. The page should be scannable and have a content that matches what people are expecting to find. Whatever promise your call-to-action makes, your landing page should deliver.

Visualize Your Goal

Instagram is visual. Make sure your images communicate your goal. Your visuals and your call-to-action should always work together to fulfill the same goal. If you’d like someone to click the link in your Instagram bio, your post and caption should entice them to do so. Your call-to-action should be the final push or nudge in that direction.

On posts, draw attention to your call-to-action with an emoji. In Instagram Stories, use stickers or text to give your audience direction.

Instagram Influencers

Partnering with influencers can be an effective strategy for Instagram lead generation. Choose an influencer with strong brand affinity but only partial follower overlap. This will ensure that your partnership will reach new prospective followers and leads.

Popular Products

People are not always ready to make a purchase the first time they see your product. Check the Insights tab to find the product posts that perform best. Post popular content regularly, so you can build on that interest.