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February 2015 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles

6 Social Media Practices to Boost Your SEO

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, February 26, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Boosting Social Media Efforts with SEO

Social media marketing and SEO are organic, inbound strategies that work together to build an appealing identity that naturally attracts visitors. Because social media relies on high-quality content and a visible, strong brand presence, your SEO efforts can doubly improve your social media reach. At the same time, your social media presence can greatly increase your search rankings. Regrettably, most search marketers leave out the details when discussing how social media can influence - and improve - your Google rankings. This leaves social media marketers wondering whether their strategies are actually effective.

To rectify this, Forbes has compiled a list of social media practices that are shown to effectively boost your SEO:

1. Growing your number of followers
While the number of followers and connections you have on your social media profiles influences your rankings, it’s more important to note that Google detects the quality of your followers, so you need to build your following organically. This may be a slow process, but an effective one so long as you’re consistent. Present your brand uniquely and consistently, and use the same voice to update your audience on a daily basis. Posting useful articles, tips, open inquiries, and general discussions encourages engagement with users. Conversations and direct customer engagements prompt current followers to return and help build your authority for new, potential followers.

2. Encouraging external inbound links
Social media encourages more external sites to link to your content, and the more diverse external links you have, the more your Google authority will grow. But first, you have to make sure you’re publishing high-quality, authoritative content to attract links. Make social media your broadcast channel, with your original and useful content serving as bait and your social channels as fishing poles. Your next goal is to put the bait in front of the right eyes. Do this by using hashtags to gain visibility in your initial rounds of syndication, and bringing your content into existing threads and discussions. Doing so not only improves your social reputation as an authoritative leader, it maximizes your potential external link sources, too.

3. Optimizing your posts for searches
This strategy relies upon pre-existing content, but it opens a secondary channel for search. Google tends to favor popular social media updates so your posts need to be optimized for the opportunity. Use a strong anchor for your post - a video, an infographic, or even a link to a full-detailed article. Then upon posting, frame your foundation with text that’s optimized for a specific type of search. You can also include seasonal keywords to maximize your timeliness and your chance of coming up in search results.

4. Influencing social sharing
To search engines like Google, any indication of a verifiable external source validating your brand or your content contributes to your domain authority. So the more people you get to share your Facebook post, the better. Likes, shares, favorites, replies, retweets - all of these are grounds for increased authority. There are a lot of ways to encourage social sharing. One is to offer a specific reward for people sharing your post. You can also conduct interactive surveys which invite people to “like” a post if they agree with you on an issue, or if they’re interested in seeing specific types of new content. We could go on and on, but the bottom line in encouraging social sharing is to appeal to it directly. The best part of this strategy is that it’s a self-perpetuating cycle; the more people share your content, the more new followers you’ll gain, and the more followers you have, the more shares you’ll get.

5. Locally-optimized posts
There's a perfect opportunity in social media to engage yourself in the local community, sending local-specific authority signals to major search engines. One of the easiest ways to do this is by posting updates whenever your company gets involved in a local event - post pictures and videos, inviting other local residents to comment. This strengthens your participation in the community and makes you more visible in local searches. Another way is by interacting with other local brands and establishments on social media. This requires some research; perform searches for local players, and try engaging with them on a regular basis.

6. Increasing brand awareness
Although this may seem more of a branding advantage than a specific SEO advantage, the SEO benefit is significant. Increasing your reputation on social media through increased engagement and high-quality content syndication leads to increased online brand presence. That increased brand presence is going to lead to more branded searches on Google, and the more branded searches your brand receives, the higher it is likely to rank for non-branded keywords. It all starts with having a strong brand presence on social media and ends with greater search visibility across the board. Give your audience a quality experience and everything else will follow.

UK Firms still Skeptical about Cloud Technology

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

UK Companies Doubt the Cloud

According to the recent findings in KPMG’s Service Provider and Performance Satisfaction survey highlighted in a post at ITProPortal.com, UK businesses are still not confident about the cloud. Out of 2,100 deals surveyed in the report, 330 came from the UK, and it was revealed that 71 percent of the UK participants are only spending 10 percent of their total IT budget on cloud technology.

UK IT executives aired their concerns that are supposedly fuelling the unwillingness of CIOs to adopt the cloud. These include data security and privacy risks (26 percent), compliance and regulations (16 percent), as well as doubts about the cloud’s compatibility with their existing IT setup (16 percent).

The survey also discovered that even with the continuous improvements of the economy, UK firms are still cautious when it comes to committing to long-term investments. As for IT outsourcing spending in the next two to three years, KPMG found that only 43 percent intend to increase spending activity - a percentage that’s significantly lower than the 77 percent reported last year.

IT outsourcing’s purpose is evolving particularly as corporations are looking beyond cost savings. Some of the key reasons why firms are outsourcing include quality improvement (20 percent), access to skills (16 percent), and faster turnaround time (six percent).

According to Jason Sahota, Director of Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory team at KPMG, cloud adoption is slow due to concerns about security, but he said cloud should be treated like any other outsourcing solution.  

He pointed out that UK plc should find ways to provide clients innovation by presenting it in a way wherein their worries are lessened - if not put to rest. In a nutshell, IT outsourcing providers would have to find the right balance between improvements and security.

Challenges in Multi-year IT Outsourcing Contracts

by: Karen Cayamanda

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Modifications in IT Outsourcing Contracts

When it comes to multi-year IT outsourcing contracts, many CIOs encounter challenges in the first few months or even after a year. These usually happen when contracts are closed in a hurry, under pressure of meeting financial commitments. These can also occur when buyers are relatively new to outsourcing.

According to an article at CIO.com, here are the things that can lead to challenges in the initial stages of the outsourcing contract include:

  • choosing the service provider that offers the lowest price
  • taking your eyes off the operation
  • signing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) without proper base lining of the current operations

In many cases, it’s a struggle to maintain the balance between the needs of the business and the operational costs. Problems arise and the blame game begins. While some clients are quick to point the finger at their service provider, this can lead to more problems and even higher costs. Take note that an outsourcing relationship should be a two-way street.

Here are some of the things CIOs should look into to get the IT outsourcing contracts back on track:

  • Assign an outsourcing czar who will manage the outsourcing and shared services programs. This can drive more focus and attention to the outsourcing deal, especially during the initial stages.
  • Know what causes the issues. Instead of starting a blame game with the service provider, understand why a certain problem occurred and discuss how to solve it. As a client, take a good look at your own responsibilities and make sure that you’ve met them.
  • Restructure the outsourcing contract. After several months or a year, you might realize that the contract does not fully cover all the needs of your business. Reset all expectations by restructuring the contract, updating the scope and list of responsibilities of both parties as needed.

Entering into a multi-year IT outsourcing deal means you’re in for the long haul. Anticipate the challenges that may arise and be prepared to manage them so both parties can meet the expectations and reap the benefits of outsourcing in the end.

4 Things to Know before Pitching to the Media

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Successful Media Pitch

Effective pitches are those that lead to earned media placements, brand awareness among your target audience, and eventually, sales. To pitch the press successfully, there are factors you need to properly research and a media list you need to examine to make sure you’re pitching to outlets most relevant to your story.

Here are four things you need to know about a media outlet to make a successful pitch:

1. Topics covered
Unless your story falls within an outlet’s coverage, you won’t earn that media placement you've been vying for. Make sure your story matches the topics, style, and scope of the outlet. This includes knowing whether the media outlet covers those topics from a business or consumer perspective.

2. Target audience
Take into consideration the demographics and psychographics of your audience when constructing your message and building your media lists. Your story won’t reach your intended audience unless you select outlets that cater to them.

3. Geographical focus
On what level does the outlet cover news and features? Be mindful of whether it is on the national, regional, local or hyperlocal level. No matter how good your story is, it won’t get picked up if the location doesn't fit.

4. Pitching policies
Save time and effort - know ahead of time if your product, service or brand will be considered. Determine the ideal placement and positioning of your story by researching the segments or sections featured across your targeted outlets. Then find out if those segments and sections accept publicity materials.


4 Characteristics of Effective Visual Content

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, February 5, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Tips in Creating Visual Content

PR professionals are embracing the trend of integrating images, infographics, and video into their marketing campaigns to better reach audiences and achieve business objectives. Marketing visual content breaks through the cluttered web and helps you earn more views, shares, and engagement as opposed to publishing posts without rich media.

But what makes an effective visual content marketing material? Here are four characteristics you should keep in mind:

1. Easy to share
Digital marketing is not as simple as creating visuals and hoping they go viral. While your content should be relatable, interesting, consumable, and of high quality, it’s also important to account for how your audience will find it and what channels will amplify it.

2. Accessible
You’re not the only one who wants great visual content to attract and engage audiences - journalists, bloggers, and influencers do, too! Following best practices will help them easily understand, appreciate, and repurpose your content. For instance, create Facebook images that meet the platform’s size requirements and shoot YouTube videos in landscape mode.

3. Eye-catching
You don’t need expensive image creation or video editing software to publish rich media. There are a lot of free graphic design tools like Piktochart and Canva as well as short-form video services like Vine and Instagram for your point-shoot-and-upload needs.

4. User-generated
For a dose of creativity, brand affinity, and authenticity that can be used as part of your content strategy, encourage your fans to share their stories. Great ways to obtain visual content from your most loyal followers include hiring advocates, launching social contests, and engaging on social networks. For all you know, your fans have been dying to share a photo, video or meme with your company.


Trends in the Outsourcing Market for 2015

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

An article at CFO.com revealed the latest research findings of outsourcing advisory firm Pace Harmon.

Outsourcing trends in 2015

Andy Sealock, a partner at Pace Harmon, said large companies should make sure that they are working toward achieving a collective goal rather than singling out and focusing on specific functions. He added that some of the approaches that companies are expected to integrate are outcome-based solutions, cloud technology and assimilation, and proper dissemination of shared services. For instance, instead of buyers paying for a fixed outsourcing package which usually includes prescribed products and services, they can now pay for pre-agreed results in outcome-based contracts.

Other trends include the following:

• “Market facing” cloud-based solutions for marketing, campaign management, and inside sales. It will be mostly anchored on compensation and incentives versus performance, as providers align their offerings with the needs of the clients.
• Shared services, which mainly consist of back office functions like finance and accounting, human resources, and sourcing, will be more aligned since companies are deviating from disparate shared service centers.
• Innovative strategies will be positioned even more to help improve and reinforce goals. These include apps for public and private cloud that are seen to modify how metrics, data, and service level agreements will be handled.

Meanwhile, another report from CIO magazine highlighted the outcomes as one of the major factors that will make waves this year. Both buyers and outsourcing providers will be more open to the outcomes set up to rule out expensive, upfront investment costs.
CIO also predicted that buyers will be leaning more towards multisourcing, which consists of small outsourcing deals divided among several providers.

Scott Feuless, Principal Consultant at outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group, said we will see more organizations contracting with multiple providers as cloud-driven services such as Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] gain more traction.