Author Archives: Malhar Barai

About Malhar Barai

An author, speaker, blogger and digital media strategist, at my day job I work on devising and executing various digital media campaigns. I usually blog about content strategy, social media platforms, product reviews and tricks to ace Social Media. Let's collaborate over @MalharBarai (Twitter) and other platforms.

Facebook Introduces Knowledge Panel

facebook knowledg panel

Is Facebook entering the search engine game?? Last week, we saw discussions around Facebook introducing knowledge panel as part of it’s the search function.

But before we go there, for the non-SEO folks let’s understand knowledge panels a bit.

What are Knowledge Panels

They are the small boxes that you have seen while you do a search on Google.

They are created automatically and Google pulls out information from various sources to show information on the side panel or the knowledge panel.

It will also have links from popular places like Youtube, Websites, etc which will give more information to readers.

Google Knowledge Panel is usually displayed for brands, personalities, place, things, etc.

AB Google Knowledge Panel

How It Helps Users

The only way knowledge panels help user is that it provides a quick snapshot of the person, place or other similar entity.

The reader does not have to click further to gather information but can have a quick glance. If they are more interested, then there are links to various sites.

What Is Facebook Knowledge Panel

Just like Google, a recent search on Facebook showed us a panel on the right. The panel contained more information of the entity.

Though there was one major difference, the information on Facebook Knowledge panel was sourced from Wikipedia and no other links were present apart from Instagram.

AB Facebook Knowledge Panel

Why Does Facebook Need Knowledge Panel

For this I have 2 theories –

1. Increase time on site

Like every platform, time on the site is one of the most important factors for profitability.

More time on site will allow platforms to know more about the user preference and enable them to show relevant ads. It will also allow platforms to serve content appropriately.

Also it will allow all the entities that are being searched, one more avenue to position their brand

2. Building Facebook’s Authority

We all know what Cambridge Analytica did to Facebook and since then it was also forced to discontinue the Graph Search.

Adding knowledge panel will also them to gain the trust back on the platform’s ability to serve as a good search tool.

Also, by having information from Wikipedia, there are less chances that users will dispute the information and there by increasing authority of Facebook’s search function.

Your Thoughts?

Do you think having knowledge panel on Facebook search will help users to search more?

Will it help improve time on the site?

Any other reason you think Facebook has introduced knowledge panel, do share with us on the #SEOTalk Facebook Group.

How To Make Content Marketing Work in Covid World

content-marketing-in-covid

Every brand that we know of is trying to break the clutter and come up with a content marketing strategy in the Covid as well as post-Covid world.

Is it easy??

Of course not! Remember, we were already staring at too-much content world and suddenly the current situation was hurled at us. Most of us marketers had created plans for the next 6 months, if not a year and much of that has hit a pause.

The challenge now is, all of us have gone back to the drawing board and are rewriting our content strategy to align with the “new normal” (we have heard that enough, haven’t we).

Do we know what will work? Yes, Maybe, No…Very few will say ‘yes’ though.

Based on what I have learnt so far, here are the top 4 ways you can work out your content marketing strategies.

4 Content Marketing Tactics for Covid

Communicate Clearly

It is more important than ever to choose your words carefully.

Brands have to clearly share their purpose and steps they are taking to tackle the current situation.

Readers are not keen to hear about big promises, they are looking for action and how you are co-creating for a larger good.

The recent ad by Nike was a good example of how clear communication. The message stands out with a clear call to action – Play For The World.

If you notice, the entire ad has no sales message but it’s about the larger cause about how they sympathise with people across the globe.

Build Empathy

Empathy is the key to success of any brand, irrespective of your business being B2C or B2B. The end-user is still a human!!

How are you building empathy with your users?? And not just them, what about your own employees too?

The best example I came across in recent time was of Starbucks. The CEO, Kevin Johnson last month wrote to their 200,000+ employees across the globe.

He start right sharing some of the impacts of current situations with the statement – “the loss of life, feelings of isolation and loneliness, concerns about health and fears of economic uncertainty”

What stood out on ’empathy’ factor was –

Not all decisions are financial, and in a crisis like this, they must be secondary to the health and well-being of our partners and customers.

~Kevin Johnson

In just couple of lines, he stated that employee and customer well-being was his priority.

Innovate

As marketers, we love EVENTS!!

The grandeur, the synchronization of various teams and all things around, it is every marketers dream to be part of.

Physical events were an integral part of awareness and lead-generation campaigns, especially for B2B brands.

But with Covid situation, the physical events have taken a long pause and most of us are scratching our heads on what would be the best way to keep our audience, partners, prospects and customers engaged.

And so the need to innovate!

Folks are already inundated with virtual events and so innovation on your approach and content strategy will be the key.

Virtual meetings is just not about having speakers join on Zoom, Webex, Teams or similar platform. Marketers have to start leveraging technology and explore platforms to drive more interactions.

Content has to be planned in a way that it shouldn’t become a monologue but have polls, Q&A and other gamification strategies.

Measure KPIs

Make KPIs your friend!!

We are in a period that marketing dollars are hard to come by, so you need to make every spend count.

Equally important is to ask, will measuring the same KPIs that you previously had work?

I believe that at this point, instead of looking at quantitative KPIs the focus should be on qualitative KPIs.

So it’s is important to measure –

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Customer/Employee satisfaction

Some of the best examples of these are your customer or employee testimonials. Just getting a little selfish there, here’s a great testimonial we received at my organization Tech Mahindra

Your thoughts?

What according to you are the best content strategies during the current times. What works and what should brands NOT DO.

How Will Hiding Likes On Instagram Affect Influencers and Brands?

hiding likes on instagram

Instagram has recently announced that it is testing a new interface across few more countries where it will be hiding likes.

instagram hiding likes announcement

What that actually means is that the number of likes on your feed will go away but you will still have access to know who have liked it. So if one has patience, they can still count the number of people on that list.

The announcement though has caught the attention of brands and influencers who relied on public ‘like’ count to showcase their strength on the platform.

How Hiding Likes On Instagram Affects Influencers?

Many of the brands would always have at least a customary look at followers and the number of likes on posts of influencers.

With this move, influencers will lose one of the key metrics of validation of their clout.

Few of them, as we in marketing would know, have invested in creating a farm of ‘likes’ (group of individuals who will like each others post). And now that entire effort would go in vain.

On the other hand, many of them would start investing in creating good content, which actually is the objective of this move by Instagram.

Additionally, they will start investing in Ads, to ensure that their content appears in front of the right audience and that is advantage Instagram.

If we have to recap, hiding likes on Instagram for influencers would mean –

  • Loss of one key metric
  • More focus on creating quality content
  • Spending in ads to reach & engage with the right audience

How Hiding Likes On Instagram Affects Brands

Even from a brand’s perspective, it was one of the easiest metrics to know the ‘influence’ of the individuals apart from the follower count (while I have my own reservation on like & followers)

But now brands and agencies will have to look beyond the vanity metrics and focus more on the engagement they are getting. So we will see more focus on engagement the posts are getting rather than just the number of likes.

Brands will also start to focus on other important metrics like impression vs engagement, impression vs save, etc

The conversation among marketers would be more aligned to ‘how do we get more engagement’ compared to ‘how do we get more likes’.

And just like ‘influencers’, brands will also start to invest more in ads to ensure they catch the attention of the target audience.

Summing up, hiding likes on new interface for brands would mean –

  • Focus on other key metrics
  • More creative ways of organic reach
  • Investment in Ads

But in the new world order where the focus should be more on quality of content and not the follower or likes, would the number of likes really matter?

What is your take?

Beyond Keywords – Redefining SEO Strategy In 2019

redefining seo strategy in 2019Last year, I had asked few fellow SEO Rockstars about their SEO Strategy in 2018. Most of the answers included a focus on doing Voice SEO.

As we almost reach the end of first quarter of 2019, I am again inclined to look at how things have changed – Google introducing Mobile First indexing, more voice-based searches, content quality updates and more.

With all of these, to me, it seems that slowly and steadily we are moving beyond keywords to more interaction inducing content driven by voice searches, voice-based devices and contextual search patterns. The search engines also are maturing and giving preference to more semantic Q&A form content.

Redefining SEO Strategy

Before redefining the SEO strategy, let’s take a step back and see how it was usually done so far.

  1. Most writers would have a topic idea and they would then feed into keyword research tools like GSC or Keywordtool.io
  2. They will find the popularity of certain keywords and phrases
  3. Write content with those keywords

In most instances, this method would work very well but with contextual and voice-based search gaining popularity, many of them would have to make few changes in their strategy to still rank better.

1. Contextual Search

To give an example, I just searched for ‘How to make Christmas..’ and Google popped with various options.

redefining seo - google search

See how well it has contextualized my search and is giving options around the various things people associate with when they search for Christmas.

In another example of how well it gets contextualized, one more search on ‘Restaurants’. Here Google has even looked at my location and nearby areas. So it’s more ‘contextual’ & ‘local’ also.

redefining seo - restaurants near me

So in 2019, is your SEO strategy aligned to have your site show when search can happen this way?

2. Q&A Style Content

If you looked at the example above when I was searching for ‘Christmas’, we saw various search patterns.

The next part of your strategy should be, how well your content appears for that kind of search pattern.

Given that, we have nearly 50% of search happening via voice, where people are keen to ask a ‘question’ and search for results, it is imperative as brands to create content that would answer questions.

Few years back, I had written a post on Google Hummingbird Update, which talked about how you need to write content that answers 5 W’s & H – Who, Why, Where, What, When & How.

In the years, after that update, we saw few brands like Buzzfeed leveraging it quite well, with listicles that had content answering those questions. And we all know how successful they were!!

redefining seo - buzzfeed

The final part and this again is more of on-page, how well are you leveraging featured snippets.

3. Optimizing for Featured Snippets

For starters, if you’re not aware of featured snippets, it is the information that is displayed at top of any Google results in a box.

redefining seo - featured snippet

While there’s no guarantee that your content will appear here, but there are ways you can and you SHOULD optimize your content for featured snippet or rank 0.

Joshua Hardwick from Ahrefs had a nice video around how you can optimize content and try to rank for position 0.

Believe these 3 simple tactics will go a long way to help you rank better as we move beyond keywords in the search engine world.

Conclusion

Redefining SEO Strategy can indeed go beyond these few steps but one can start with them and build on the larger strategy.

One strategy which I have recommended over years and still holds true is – write for human beings not search engines and you will always rank better.

Your Turn

  1. Have you implemented those strategies?
  2. What has worked for you best?

Twitter Trends – Why they are Irrelevant

Why Twitter Trends are Irrelevant

  1. Introduction
  2. Why Twitter Trends are Important
  3. Why Twitter Trends are Irrelevant
  4. Can we Save Twitter Trends

Twitter Trends have been an integral part of Twitter since the day they were introduced. There was always a sense of achievement when one saw their hashtag or term trending on Twitter.

AFAIK, Twitter had introduced them with an intention to ensure that content around specific topic could be easily discovered and people can know what is going on across the Twitterverse.

Before I delve into why Twitter Trends are irrelevant, let us understand the importance of Twitter Trends.

Why Twitter Trends are Important

1. For focused conversations

One of the oft-used term is – On Social Media it is important to be ‘social’ which means brands and people have to keep engaging.

Twitter Trends helped to keep that engagement focused. People & brands keep using hashtags or particular term based on a topic to talk about things and exchange thoughts.

One of the best use cases we have seen so far is people leveraging it during calamities and sports events thus enabling the message to spread far and wide ensuring deeper engagement.

2. For Discoverability

While helping brands and people engage over certain topics or events using a hashtag/terms, they are also one of the best ways to ensure your content is easily discovered.

You can easily use the ‘Search’ feature of Twitter to discover content under certain hashtags or terms and start engaging. Remember not all things make it to Twitter Trends and it needs certain amount of engagement to make it to the list.

But Why Hashtags are Irrelevant

Sometime back on my Facebook, I had put out an update telling the world how happy I was to see Twitter Trends on that day.

On that day in particular, I had hardly seen any ‘politically’ driven trend.

Now if you’re like me and love Twitter more than any other platform and also like to discover and engage in meaningful conversations, you would have noted the fall in quality of trends over last few years.

Most of the times today, the trends are being dominated by political conversations who ‘supposedly’ employ an army of people with dubious accounts and sometimes ‘bots’ to drive conversations.

Little do they know that they are just adding to the meaningless noise and the platform will turn into a mess over time reducing the dependence on it thus driving people away. And lesser the number of people, harder will it be for them to reach the targeted audience.

So over time, Twitter Trends could become irrelevant and folks like me will have no trust in them since we know they have been fabricated.

Here’s a funny take on how Twitter Trends become irrelevant.

Source – http://johngushue.typepad.com/blog/2009/05/twitter-trends-and-the-hump-of-irrelevance.html

Needless to say, I saw folks immediately commenting that they are happy too seeing not ‘political’ trend.

Can we Save Twitter Trends?

Can we?? Really I am asking that?? Is it really possible to have a ‘saner’ version of Twitter Trends?

I would say, the first responsibility lies with Twitter. They will have to devise ways and means to make Twitter Trends ‘cleaner’. They will have to start weeding out fake accounts, bots and also control the kind of content that goes out on its platform. Tough task since they are an ‘open’ platform, but somewhere certain lines have to be drawn.

The second and most important stakeholder is us. Can we expect our clan to behave ‘responsibly’? Sometime back I had written – ‘Social Media was supposed to bring the world closer’ but what we see is the exact opposite of that. Can WE start reporting to Twitter, any content that we find ‘offensive’? The degree of getting ‘offensive’ might differ with each individual but then I expect many of us to know what really is ‘good’ for us and the world.

Can we really do that?? Do give a try and let me know

How PayPal is assisting Freelancers Everywhere to Get MORE out of their Efforts

How PayPal is assisting FreelancersFew weeks ago, I had written about how Paypal has been helping freelancers like us.

After that article, I had received queries on PayPal’s suite of services and what kind of features I have been using.

But before I delve into that, let me share what freelancing is and what are some of the typical challenges. And how Paypal helps in overcoming them.

Who are Freelancers? An Indian context

When I started, freelancing as we see today, hardly existed. People would study hard and get a job in government or private/listed companies.

But with the advent of the internet and IT jobs, we saw people especially like us taking up gigs of creating websites, logos, etc. early on.

The next wave I could say was writing content for websites and in about 2010, we saw the advent of freelancing, made more popular by social media.

Freelancing, as we know it today, has turned mainstream. If statistics are to be believed, we have over 15 million freelancers in India today and nearly 4 in 5 get international projects. Also, nearly 49 % get projects through word of mouth or freelancer platforms.

Challenges and How Paypal helps?

Ask any freelancer about their biggest challenge, and one of them would be billing and payments. Even today, nearly 61% of freelancers face issues with payments.

In my experience though, Paypal was one of the best choices I ever made as a freelancer and today nearly 74% of freelancers have a PayPal account.

The biggest help after that was that I could have my own invoices designed on the platform and send them directly from there.

The best part of this service is, all the invoices and payments are under Paypal Seller Protection Policy.

paypal freelancers invoice

As freelancers, we have often faced customers who raise false charges citing products not received or services not delivered. The Seller Protection Policy helps a lot in such cases.

It helps you dispute the claims and holds the party responsible in case payments are not carried out. A reasonable justification along with proof of work – easily helps to sort these issues at the freelancer’s end.

This kind of support pushes freelancers to seek more work and empowers them to earn more through more business opportunities.

Another challenge is receiving payments. For freelancers like us, who work with folks across multiple countries, handling payments in different currencies is quite challenging.

That’s where Paypal helps quite well. It gives them flexibility in accepting payments from international clients.

The option of creating your own Paypal.Me link makes it one of the easiest ways to accept payments. Share the link with your client and you’re done.

paypalme malhar

It help’s quite a lot when you are doing business on messenger or Skype. For one of the services, I am also incorporating the link in my messenger bot. As easy as, ask for service, pay me via the link and voila! Money’s in the account.

Having my PayPal.Me link has also given my services a unique identity and one that is synonymous with my clients and community alike.

The another and the most important feature that is helpful when you’re a freelancer or even bootstrapped is the ability to transfer money to your account DAILY with no MINIMUM amount. This feature is quite helpful as you have access to your money at the touch of a button.

As one can see, PayPal assists freelancers in earning more through global opportunities and its tie-ups with freelancer networks, eventually increasing the size of their digital footprint in the world. This success catapults into increasing body of work and provides for more growth for the freelancers. There is also more security and more convenience, which further increases a freelancer’s confidence when going global. For PayPal, it is always about more, about going the extra mile.

In the #EarnMoreWithPayPal campaign, freelancers who sign-up with PayPal, stand to make up to Rs. 1500 on the earning they accept, using PayPal.

What are you waiting for?? If you still do not have a Paypal account, it’s time that you make one!

8 Evident Benefits of Participating in Twitter Chat

benefits of participating in twitter chat

If you haven’t participated in a Twitter Chat yet, then you are certainly missing out on something.

It is one of the fastest ways to expand your community and get in touch with leading influencers. Not only will it keep you updated with the ongoing trends, but will also expand your presence on Twitter.

These are only a few benefits of Twitter chats. To help you understand it in a comprehensive way, we have come up with this informative post. Read on to learn the basics of Twitter chat and how you can make the most of it.

Twitter Chat 101

Also known as tweetchat, it is a seamless way to communicate on Twitter while including a certain hashtag in the tweet. Usually, the host organizes a chat by letting others know about the topic, designated hashtag, and the time for the chat. Later, users can discuss the subject by including the anchor hashtag. A Twitter chat can also host various guests, experts, and influencers at times.

It is so much more than a basic Q&A as users can talk to experts, discuss the respective topic, exchange ideas, and do so much more by using the designated hashtag. There are lots of ongoing, weekly, and monthly tweetchats as well that are organized on Twitter.

Beforehand, you should learn how to participate in a Twitter chat. For instance, you should only join chats that are related to your domain. Furthermore, you should do some research regarding the topic (and the guest) as well. This will help you get accustomed to it and you would be well prepared.

The Benefits of Participating in Twitter Chats

From boosting the reach of your content to getting in touch with your leads – Twitter Chat can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Here are some of its key benefits:

1. Getting exposed to a whole new audience!

This is probably one of the main reasons why so many users like to participate in tweetchats. It helps them get in touch with a diverse range of audience without any trouble.

To start with, you can get to know about an upcoming or ongoing Twitter chat. Later, you can simply introduce yourself while including its hashtag. You can directly start a conversation as well with the host or any other user. Just be polite and you would certainly feel welcomed.

Though, you might need to participate in a handful of chats related to your domain to see a long-term impact.

2. Staying updated and learning new things

Mostly, every Twitter chat is quite informative. If you want to know what’s in and what’s not regarding your domain, then you should actively join a few Twitter chats. In this way, you would be able to learn from the experts and get your queries resolved instantly.

If you want to be the next viral thing in your industry, then you need to be at the top of your game. This is exactly where Twitter chats can help you. For instance, if you are associated with social media marketing, then you should definitely participate in Hootsuite’s #Hootchat. It actively hosts Twitter chats about some of the latest topics related to social media that would certainly be of a great help to you.

3. Boosting the reach of your content

You should be extremely cautious while sharing your own content on a Twitter chat. It should not come out as self-promotional at all. In order to do so, you should learn how to draft tweets like a pro. The good thing is that while participating in a Twitter chat, you can share your content – as long as it is relevant to the topic and would provide value to others.

In this way, you would be able to expose your content to your audience without spamming. If the tweetchat is active and your content would be appreciated by others, then it can certainly give it a major boost. You never know – it might end up trending on social media as well.

Here’s a simple example of how you can share your content to a tweetchat without being self-promotional.

4. Get more Twitter followers

After being active in a few Twitter chats and having an impressive presence, you will certainly be noticed by others. If you can ask the right questions with a positive attitude, then you would be able to win over your audience for sure. The more people will notice you, the more followers you are going to get.

By being an active part of some popular Twitter chats, your profile visits and link clicks will also increase. All of it will lead to a better presence on Twitter.

5. Improving your brand’s authority

We all know how Twitter can be used for branding, marketing, monitoring, etc. Though, it might surprise you on how you can work on your brand’s authority while participating in popular tweetchats. By sharing your experience with others and helping them resolve a few queries, you can certainly come out as a leading player in the game.

Compared to your competitors, you would have a better presence on Twitter. Not just that, you would have a faithful base of followers, whom you have gained after sharing your informative content. For instance, if your brand is related to design and user experience, then you can participate in #uxchat and help others with your groundbreaking ideas and expertise.

After participating in a few chats, you can choose to host a Twitter chat as well to build your brand’s authority even more.

6. Work on brand awareness

Who doesn’t like to have a prominent brand presence on social media?

Though, it can be a tiresome job to have an evident presence on Twitter. It might surprise you, but over 500 million tweets are posted per day on this gigantic social media platform. Needless to say, it is quite easy to get lost in so much noise.

If you wish to work on brand awareness, then you should actively participate in a few chats. The more other users talk about your brand, the more impact it would have.

7. Communicate with experts and influencers

Twitter chat is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to get in touch with industry-related influencers and experts. A lot of tweetchats host domain-specific guests. For instance, you can see how Madalyn often has experts as guests for her #TwitterSmarter chat.

After joining the chat, you can talk to them and ask a few related questions. This will help you get into an engaging conversation with them. Even after the chat is over, you can talk to them and build a lasting relationship. In the end, this can help you work on your influencer marketing campaign as well.

8. Get in touch with prospective leads

Most importantly, it can help you get in touch with more leads and prospective customers. You can get to know about other users who are related to your domain and would be benefited by your product.

Instead of directly letting them know about your product, you can make your presence count and let them discover it themselves. Later, they can get in touch with you if they have any question.

For instance, if you are a brand that manufactures home equipment and furniture that is safe for kids, then you should look for a tweetchat like this. It will help you get in touch with parents who would be benefited from your products.

Tools to make the most of any Twitter chat

After learning the benefits of Twitter chats, let’s quickly discuss a few tools that can help you in different ways.

1. Tweetdeck

Originally an independent app, it was later acquired by Twitter. It provides different decks (timelines) that can help you access your Twitter account, messages, activities, and more in one place. Besides that, it can also be used to manage multiple accounts or schedule your posts.

With Tweetdeck, you can easily participate in a Twitter chat by accessing all the activities on a real-time basis. It also has a Chrome extension and mobile app, which makes it one of the best Twitter tracking tools as well.

tweetdeck

2. Twubs

If you are interested in joining industry-specific Twitter chats, then Twubs would be a perfect tool for you. In a nutshell, it is a directory of ongoing and upcoming Twitter chats that you can look for. It has a separate section for “Twitter Chat Schedule” that can help you search the schedule of all the upcoming chats. Additionally, you can also post about your own chat on the platform as well to get more traction.

twubs

3. Socialert

Socialert is another useful tool that can be used to look for upcoming chats. You can perform social media listening using Socialert and track certain keywords and hashtags on the basis of different parameters. In this way, you can search for particular tweetchats that are related to your domain. Additionally, you can use it to quantify the reach and impressions of your own hashtags as well. The tool can also help you perform brand monitoring, competitor analysis, and to use Twitter for marketing, sales, and branding.

We are sure that after getting to know about these amazing tools, you would be able to make the most of any Twitter chat. Now when you know the benefits of participating in tweetchats, you should definitely make an effort and join more domain-related chats in the future. If you have earlier participated in a Twitter chat and would like to share your experience with our readers, feel free to drop a comment below.

This was a guest post by Pankaj Narang, co-founder of Socialert.

Digital Marketing Weekly News for Dec 2nd 2017

digital marketing weekly updatesIt has been an interesting week in the world of Digital Marketing.

We had some great news to cover and it seems that the platforms are on a roll before going out for Christmas holidays.

Weekly News for Dec 2nd

  1. Instagram crosses 25 million business users – Instagram is rapidly bringing in changes to the app and that seems to be getting lot of interest from the business community. According to the blog released by Instagram, they have seen the business users grow by 15 million from July 2017. Are you on Instagram? Join me at Malhar Barai on Instagram
  2. Request to Join feature on Instagram Live – Instagram had recently updated its Live feature to bring in a guest. It now has additional feature where your friends/followers can request to go live and join you on the stream.instagram-request-to-join
  3. Youtube to roll out Reel – Youtube Reel is similar to the stories feature of various other social media platforms. According to the release, the ‘stories’ will never expire. The feature though is designed specifically for Youtube Creators and is being beta tested with few users
  4. Twitter to have Bookmark Feature – While not official yet, the news, was shared by the staff of product team in a series of tweets. It seems, Twitter is testing the Bookmark or ‘Save for Later’ feature that will help to privately save the tweets
  5. Tweet Storm Feature Coming Soon – Again, this is not yet released but in conversation with Techcruch, Twitter has confirmed that the feature will be out soon and is being tested internally.

It seems, December if off to a good start and we should end the year with quite a lot of improvements on social media platforms. The new features and focus on mobile devices should continue into next year.

Your Turn

  1. Do you think Twitter will reinvent itself in early 2018?
  2. Thoughts on Instagram & Snapchat rivalry

Do let me know through comments below or Tweet back to @MalharBarai on all the weekly news.

SEOTalk Twitter Chat Turns 5

seotalk twitter chatYes, SEOTalk Twitter Chat has turned 5 today!!

Happy Birthday to us. And us means the entire community because without you all, we would not have reached so far.

It was over 5 years back that I was in conversation with Jaydip Parikh, the founder and Chief Everything Officer of TejSolPro, on Facebook over some SEO stuff. And we dived deep into that conversation.

One thing led to another and few private conversations later, we decided to co-host this Twitter Chat.

Why SEOTalk?

I was a total newbie in the world of SEO though I had spent few years in the world of creating websites as a freelancer and also worked with brands dealing with creating websites.

Most of the times, being developers, we left out the SEO part or just did the basics of having a Title, Description, Keywords and few other meta tags.

Over the years, the SEO industry had matured and we had subject matter experts who lived and breathed all things SEO. My work really didn’t demand to learn more than basics. But as the online marketing world around me started developing too, I was getting inquiries about site optimisation. That’s where I started learning a little more than basics.

But unlike the programming universe, the SEO industry didn’t have any community around during that time. It was quite a big industry whitespace and many of the folks really worked on hearsay.

The other side of the coin was, 5 years back I was all enamored by Twitter Chat and its immense potential in creating engagement around certain subjects. Also, there were NO India based Twitter Chat during that time. Most of the chats I was part of were hosted by my friends in the US region and they were doing them brilliantly.

So, while I wanted to have a Twitter Chat of my own, I didn’t want to replicate the same themes.

Thus came SEOTalk, which had its own niche and geography.

5 Years is a long time

It is indeed!!

And they were not easy. There have been times where we hardly had any participation and then there were times when we had over 300 tweets in one hour and it started trending organically across the country.

Also, there have been times when I was clueless on the topic for the chat and pick one up from questions in Quora or similar websites.

The tough part though is coming up with questions and keep engaging the crowd through those 60 minutes. Any Twitter Chat host will agree that this part is never easy.

But we learned and we will keep learning!!

What next for SEOTalk?

We have some crazy ideas up the sleeve for next year.

The first is to go beyond our Facebook Group and have the community have its own place. So we are going to announce the launch of a forum website theseotalkers.in soon.

The second one is to have offline meetups. We want to have some of our online conversations to spill over into the offline meetups and gradually into an event/workshop of its own.

And finally, a new timing!! This had been requested for a while and we heard you. Starting this week, we plan to host #SEOTalk Twitter Chat at 9:30PM India Time, 4PM GMT.

Your Thoughts?

Have you been part of SEOTalk Twitter Chat? Do let us know your experience so far.

How can we make it better? Because it will benefit all of us.

Bouquet & brickbats, all are welcome!!

How PayPal is Helping Freelancers

how paypal is helping freelancerAm I a Gary Vee Generation Freelancer or a Steve Jobs Generation Freelancer

Someone recently asked me, are you a Gary Vee generation freelancer or a Steve Jobs generation freelancer. Intrigued!!??

How do we dissect the two? While on one hand, Gary Vee consistently speaks about ‘hustle’ or hard work, 24 hours a day to stay ahead of your competition. Steve Jobs was all about building ‘experience’ for your customer, staying premium and trouncing your competitors.

Therefore, question is as a freelancer what defines you. Hard work or Building experience.

What kind of Freelancer I am?

For me, ten years plus of experience – I would say I am from the Steve Jobs generation where building premium products and content for my customers worked to build reputation and consequently more work.

I still remember it started as a small project where I had to code a part of the website. Back then, the sheer joy of seeing your work hosted on WWW (or World Wide Web) was quite the high for me.

One thing led to another and in a short span of time I started building dynamic websites for clients with a Pan-India footprint.

However, this was not enough. A lot of coding and website building was taking place offshore. I was looking to dabble in international projects. Not long, I stumbled upon a freelance network – Elance. They helped me set up my portfolio and offer proposals to international clients.

As I were interacting over mails, the client asked for payment methods. That is where I began fumbling because until then, I had never handled overseas payment.

Thus started my visits to the banks and back in those days, it was quite tedious. There was Wire Transfers and Swift code, each attached with a definite time lag in payments.

It was during the course of my research that I stumbled upon PayPal, an online company helping Freelancers with Payments. It was as easy as creating a profile on any website, adding your bank details and relevant information related to taxation (such as PAN card) – and I was live.

Then with Seller Protection Policy offered by PayPal, I am always assured that my payments are safe and I am eligible for a full reimbursement for my services in case of any dispute. This empowers freelancers everywhere to go Global with even more confidence.

I have been working with many International clients over the years. One thing that has always connected us all is PayPal. We just had to share our PayPal.me links, something like this – https://www.paypal.me/malharbarai and payments are done in a jiffy.

With time, size of projects has also increased and many times, I have had to engage a team of designers and coders to deliver the desired results. This time when PayPal launched a contest to refer your freelance friends to the network, I decided to include my entire extended team in this. Helping them work out PayPal as a medium for their own individual work and at the same time maximizing my own chances to win an Iphone 7 !

So to come back to the question at the beginning:

Am I a Gary Vee or a Steve Jobs generation freelancer?

I am definitely a Steve Jobs Generation Freelancer. What about you?

Rome was not built in a day, so is a freelancer.

Over the years, I have groomed my skills and delivered great results to clients repeatedly to earn a reputation in industry. All of this cannot happen overnight and only through sustained efforts and smart choices – like PayPal !

Your Turn

How has been your experience using PayPal as a freelancer?