It is safe to say that businesses should have a presence on social media. Many choose to be on sites like Facebook, mainly because of the large number of users and higher chance of gaining exposure. There are other networks out there too, like Instagram, that can help further enhance a brand. This is especially the case for companies with physical products who want a better way to visually showcase products or interact with customers.
Instagram is a social network focused around pictures. By downloading it onto your mobile device – Android and Apple iOS – you can take pictures, enhance them by applying various filters and share them on other social media sites, like Facebook, in a short amount of time. With more than 90 million regular users, there is a good chance that some of your customers are using this app.
If your business doesn’t utilize this app, now could be the time to look into it, especially since there have been two recent updates that make the platform more viable for businesses. The first being that you can now take, apply specific filters to, and upload short videos. The second being the ability to embed pictures directly into your website, blog or other online content.
With these new features, Instagram has become an even more valuable tool to businesses looking for another way to expand their social reach and brand. Here are four ways you can utilize it:
1. Run a customer photo competition If your business sells physical products, why not start a photo competition where you encourage customers to take pictures of themselves using your products, and post them on Instagram. If you create a specific hashtag, they can add it to their photo and make it searchable too.
Doing this gives your products and company essentially free advertising, while enabling you to track how people use your products and where. Plus, it also gives you the opportunity to better connect with your customers.
2. Show off your products Instagram has a number of great filters that make photos taken on mobile devices look great. If you are looking for a way to show off your products, why not take pictures of them and share these on Facebook or your website?
With the new video feature, you or your staff can even do short product demonstrations, which you then share on social media. This can be a great way to drive customers to buy into your brand, and may start conversations about your products. If you get lucky, the content could even go viral. Again, this is free advertising for you. Plus, there is no need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for professional photos that are just going to go on Facebook, so why not save yourself a bit of money and use the phone in your pocket?
3. Capture events Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is taken very seriously by many businesses, and can include sponsoring various events. If your company is involved in community action then why not ask participants to take photos using Instagram, and tag your company using a specific hashtag.
You will get free exposure and could get some great pictures that you can share on other social media, or even your website.
4. Easily share pictures on different sites With the recent addition of the ability to embed Instagram pictures into different websites or blogs, you can not only create good looking content, but content that will spark a conversation. If you log into the browser version of Instagram, and find the picture you would like to embed on your site, click on the Share button and scroll down to the bottom-right. You will see the embed code which you can copy and paste on your site or blog.
If you are looking for a good way to expand your brand online, whether it be through Instagram or any other platform, contact us today to see how we can help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.
Social media has quickly become an integral component of marketing and brand strategies of companies the world over. Many businesses now view this platform as an essential tool, largely because that’s where new customers can be found. Because social media changes at such a rapid pace though it can be tough as a small business to keep up and keep on top of current trends.
Here is an overview of five common social media trends that small to medium businesses should be aware of.
1. Visual content rules Being successful with social media efforts means that you need to have engaging content. Sure written content will get likes and interest, but it’s visual content that seems to really engage viewers.
According to a recent study by Kissmetrics, “photos get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than posts containing text only.” If you don’t already post visual content, like pictures and videos, it may be time to start looking into how you can do this. One great platform that enables this is Instagram. You can also take great quality pics from a smartphone and post them directly onto Facebook.
2. Search and social media are one and the same With the recent release of Facebook’s Graph Search, increase of Google+ related content in Google Search, and Google now indexing various social media activity, it’s quickly becoming essential for a business to have a presence on various social media platforms. The key point to be aware of here is that Internet search results will likely continue to pull results from various social media platforms, so, you need be active on several of them.
3. Social media monetization Businesses are really starting to realize the important role social media sites like Facebook can play in branding and advertising. Companies are starting to take advantage of paid advertising, like Facebook’s Ads, that ensures content is displayed to relevant users or user groups. These paid advertisements have proven to be largely successful for many small businesses.
4. Social currency Social currency is the idea of capitalizing on resources that are discovered by having a presence on social media. Essentially this means leveraging your presence on social media to explore new customer related trends and gain insight into what your customers are doing online and what they want. You can then use this information to create new products, or content related to customer wants, that will not only increase engagement but potentially sales too.
5. Microblogging The popularity of sites related to microblogging e.g., Twitter, is still on the rise. The more popular microblogging sites are actually ones that are more visual, like Vine and Instagram. These short posts allow users to share what is going on through images. As we said above, visual content really is key. If you can create posts using these microblogging sites, you are in a good position to see an increase in engagement with your customers – they will enjoy seeing what you are doing, as long as you don’t bombard them.
These are just five social media trends but there are many more. Which ones have you noticed and how have they worked for your business? Let us know and share your social media experiences.
When it comes to running a successful business, having an Internet presence is now viewed as a must. While having a website is a good start, it too isn’t always enough. You also need to be visible and active on social media. A presence on social media that is active has many benefits, the biggest being brand exposure. If entered into in the right way, you could even see an increase in where your business shows up in search results.
If you are looking to harness the power of social media and potentially increase your ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) here are five tips on how you can do so.
1. Relevant & interesting content When people look at websites and social media profiles, they are usually looking for specific information. When it comes to businesses, most people look at social media profiles to get a better glimpse into what exactly a company does and how they interact with the online world around them.
It is guaranteed that an interested user will look at your About page, so it is a good idea to include information about your company and what you do in this section. This is a great place to use keywords that usually don’t fit well into the newsfeed. Try thinking like a customer and asking yourself, “What keywords would I type in a search engine to find my company?” Create a list and try to work them into the Description and About sections of all social media profiles you use.
Because these sections aren’t set in stone, you can, and should, update them on a fairly regular basis. If you notice that certain keywords are becoming more popular, or users are using different keywords, update your content to match this. The key here is to try and always be aware of what information your customers – potential and otherwise – are looking for.
2. Promote & maintain discussions Search giant Google has publicly acknowledged that part of their advanced search algorithms have been written to look for social media pages and accounts that have discussion and commentary. In other words: If you create content that promotes discussion, there is a higher chance that your site will feature higher in search results.
It’s important to remember that social media is a two-way street. When you post content that starts a discussion, you should be an active member of that conversation or debate. Try prompting users to explain their ideas and comments, or ask more questions to keep the discussion going.
3. Audit all of your links Links have become an important part of the Internet and social media. For an effective strategy, social media needs to be linked to your main Web presence – your website. This can be done by putting a link in your contact information and in your About sections. It is also acceptable to put links in some posts or tweets, as long as they are relevant to what you do. i.e., a post that tells users to check out your new website or page.
The reason for this is because search engines don’t just look at websites for results anymore, they also look at social media and so much more. If you can find a way to show these engines that your profiles and site are linked, you should see a stronger overall presence in search results.
There is one caveat with links however: If you post a comment about something unrelated to what you do that includes a link to your website, this can be seen as a negative form of link building and you could end up being punished in search results. To that end, it is a good idea to go over your profiles and make sure all links work, and make sense. By having working links that are appropriate, you could see an increase in your location in search results.
4. Location! Location! Location! For many small to medium businesses physical location is still an incredibly important aspect of your online presence. You should make sure that you include your physical address, contact information and regional location. If possible, it is a good idea to include geo-location in your posts. For example, when creating a post in Facebook, press the button that looks like a pin in the bottom of the post window. This will add your location to the post.
The reason for this can be found in the way people search for businesses. Now, when people are looking for a business they usually conduct a local search i.e., printer in Denver which will return similar businesses in their local area. If you have your location on your social media profiles, the chances of you showing up in local searches is increased.
5. Be realistic While social media is important, it’s not the be-all and end-all. In order to increase your search rank, you will need to work hard on your social media campaign. Posting relevant, interesting content on a regular basis and keeping conversations going takes time. Beyond that, you can’t expect immediate results. It could take months or longer to see an increase, and even then it may only be slight, especially if you operate in a highly competitive industry.
While your rank may not improve in leaps and bounds, a solid social media presence will bring about an expanded brand awareness overall. Combine this with other business aspects, like excellent customer service, and you could also see increased loyalty and sales. If you would like to learn more about social media and how it can help your brand, please contact us today.
Companies are increasingly turning to social media platforms for their marketing and to connect with customers. While the bigger networks like Facebook are the most popular, others like Instagram, which can connect with Facebook are just as useful. If your company isn’t on Instagram, you could be missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity.
Here are three ways your company can leverage Instagram for better marketing.
1. Post at the most opportune time Many social media platforms like Facebook, have a strategic time for you to post content in order to have a higher chance of getting your name and content in front of users. But with Instagram, the time is actually different.
Because Instagram is largely mobile based, users tend to be accessing the platform at nearly all hours. One would think that if users access the platform mainly from their mobile devices, optimal time to post content would be after working hours. But, most people use their phones throughout the day, so there really is no major difference; users are online at all hours.
Therefore, the best time to post is almost any time. This means you need to figure out when the best time to post is for your company. Try picking a time when you think your audience will be looking at their devices and post then. Keep track of how many shares, likes and comments you get. Be sure to do this for a few weeks, then try another time. Over time, you should find when you get the most interaction, which becomes the best time to post.
Also looking at your industry could help. If you are a restaurant who is only open for dinner, posting pictures in the evening may not be the best. Instead post in the afternoon, before you open.
2. Hashtag it! Like Twitter and now Facebook, Instagram supports hashtags. By adding one in front of the terms in the image or video’s description, you will make your post searchable and could increase the chances others will see it. Unlike the other networks however, numerous hashtags could actually increase interactions.
That being said, not every word should have a hashtag. Instead, hashtag words related to the image or video and try to integrate them seamlessly into the description. By putting all of the tags at the bottom or first, you could risk driving users away, largely because they are jumbled.
3. Videos or photos? Instagram recently introduced videos, which have proven to be useful for many marketers. While this is still a new feature, the bigger companies are using it while the smaller ones haven’t begun to adopt it.
If you can find a use for your 15 second videos, for example how to use your product, you could see an increase in traffic and interactions. Because you can also upload or link these to your Facebook and even your website, Instagram could turn out to be a valuable tool for short video promotions.
Of course, you can do this with photos as well, so be sure to try incorporate both features. There are also numerous filters you can apply to both your videos and photos, so be sure to look through them all to see what makes your content look the best.
If you are looking to learn more about Instagram and how it can help with your social media and marketing presence, please contact us today.
Content marketing is quickly becoming one of the most valuable marketing strategies at the disposal of smaller businesses. Content marketing is the act of creating your own branded content and sharing it on various mediums. When successfully orchestrated, it can prove to be an extremely effective way of expanding your online brand. The question then is how to achieve this.
In a recent infographic published on LinkedIn, a number of interesting facts were highlighted about what the most successful content marketers have in common. Here are some of the findings from the infographic and the related reports it is based on.
Regardless of the industry, the more successful content marketeers have the following four traits in common:
From the figures from the infographic it is easy to see what the successful content marketers have in common, but the question we really should be asking is, “What makes them so successful?”
The main thrust of content marketing is to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Social media is the best and most versatile way to do this, and that’s why over 87% of businesses use this platform. But for a truly successful strategy you need to use more than one site and in fact the most successful use seven sites at least to share their content.
This makes sense as the more platforms you use the higher the chance that your content will be viewed. So which platforms are the most popular? LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the three most popular but other platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ can also prove effective.
In many cases diversification of services or ideas can be one of the best ways of driving a business forward. This is especially true with regard to content marketing, where the best marketeers use an average of 13 different tactics. In descending order, the five most popular tactics are:
Some other tactics used include, publishing books, ebooks, and branded content tools.
While 13 may seem like a large amount, especially for small businesses, the message is clear: To be successful with content marketing, you should diversify and utilize a number of different tactics as possible.
As with most aspects of business, you need a clear direction in order to be successful. Without a goal there is a good chance that your content initiatives will be somewhat aimless and lacking in overall effectiveness. There are a near endless number of targets businesses can set for their content initiatives. The three most common are:
One interesting finding was that one of the most effective ways to drive a content marketing strategy was through face-to-face events. In fact, over 70% of content marketeers believe that these in-person approaches are effective.
What this indicates is that while digital strategies are useful, and can be a great way to reach a wide number of different customers, these can go hand-in-hand with traditional style marketing. As well as focusing on producing digital content you might want to integrate this with some good old fashioned physical collateral.
At the very least, you should be attending events that are relevant to your industry, as well as networking. By getting your name out in person, you can encourage other to connect to you on the Web where they can view your content on various platforms and interact with you online, increasing the overall effectiveness and reach of your content.
Looking to learn more about content marketing and how our various solutions can help you deliver? Contact us today.
LinkedIn is a site that lets you connect with other professionals. It is great for employers, employees and job seekers who would like to network and make get work leads. Employers can post jobs, as well as find people that fit vacancies through the site. Employees and job seekers on the other hand can find job opportunities and get recommendations from people in their network. Each user has a profile, and the URL can be customized.
When you sign up for a LinkedIn account, there is a default URL set on your profile. It contains random letters and numbers that would be impossible for anyone but a savant to remember. The good news is that you can customize this URL and use something unique and memorable. Before going through the steps on how to do this, let’s first look at the reasons why it’s a good idea to personalize your LinkedIn URL.
Before customizing the URL of your LinkedIn profile, it’s best to ensure that all vital information is posted since it serves as your online resume. Think of the name that you wish to use in your URL. It must be composed of 3 to 30 numbers or letters. Special characters and spaces are not accepted.
That’s how you customize your LinkedIn URL. For instance, if you entered “SamJones”, your URL will be “http://www.linkedin.com/in/SamJones”. LinkedIn URL can only be customized up to three times within six months. If you’ve changed it three times in less than six months, you must wait for the said period to pass before you can change your URL again.
Social media is an important tool for any business, and those that want to really engage with customers and valuable connections really need to have visual forward content. The problem many business owners come across is in finding the right software to create this content. Sure, you can use a program like Adobe Photoshop, but while using an expert can prove too expensive, going it alone can be too difficult to achieve for many. There are other tools available.
In this day and age where compelling visuals are possible online, it is extremely important to learn how to create attractive visuals to aid your social media marketing campaigns. You at least need a working knowledge of how to enhance your photos and make them more attention-grabbing. There are a number of free or highly affordable tools out there that can help you do just that.
PIXLR – This advanced photo editor works like Photoshop, only it is easier to use and therefore ideal for beginners. You can create images from scratch or perform advanced image editing. Using fairly simple tools can maximize the potential of images. For quick editing, there’s PIXLR EXPRESS or PIXLR O-MATIC, which are free to use. Visit the PIXLR website to learn more and start use these programs.
PicMonkey’s Online Photo Editor – This photo editor can transform ordinary images into fantastic photographs in just a few clicks. Select the image that you want to modify and add special effects such as fancy text, or simply crop and re-size. The photos edited using PicMonkey can be uploaded on Facebook and other social media platforms. PicMonkey is free to use so you can just go to the website and start editing away. For added frames and special effects there’s a premium version you can upgrade to for USD $33.33 per year.
LiveLuvCreate – This website can be used without any charge and offers a variety of design layouts and graphics. Using this platform you can edit your own images and there are also a ton of images created by users on its library that can help give you inspiration. Among the tools available are borders, filters, and photo effects, as well as fonts, colours, and styles. Visit the website to set up an account and start editing your images today.
Canva – If you want to create your Facebook cover photos from scratch, or if you want to design some blog images, this is a free application that might prove useful. This tool is very convenient and can be used to create business cards, invitations, posters, and presentations. Visit the website today to start creating your own visuals.
Quozio – If you are into quotes, Quozio lets you upload famous and favorite quotes, visualize them, and then share them on your social network. Simply enter an interesting quote and then select a background image. Instead of simply posting what’s on your mind, you can make a quote more attractive and appealing by transforming it into a visual using this free app. Visit the site today to visualize your next quote.
Whether you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, your content cannot come alive without the use of quality graphics and images. If Photoshop does not work for you, these other tools are ideal substitutes for creating appealing graphics for a variety of social media platforms.
Make sure to share your own list of top photo tools for everyone to see! And, if you would like to learn more about leveraging social media in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.
There are three common social media services that can benefit businesses if used in the right way. One of the most popular is Twitter, which is a service that allows users to broadcast their thoughts and ideas in short form to the public or their followers. At first look, Twitter is straightforward but there is one mistake many users make that could harm the reach of their posts.
Social media is an always evolving idea, so what works one day won’t necessarily work in the near or foreseeable future. Combine this with the various changes and features of the different social media platforms and it is nearly impossible to master every service.
When it comes to Twitter, one of the most popular features is using @username to bring the tweet to the attention of the user and to tweet about them. When you do this you and the person will be able to see it, along with people who follow that person.
The problem is, many people put the @username at the beginning of the tweet. What this does, as we stated above, is only make the tweet visible on your feed, to the user and their followers. Why is this a problem? Well, it comes from how most businesses use Twitter. They use it to share content, e.g., a blog article or a video, etc.; to essentially tweet about the person, not at them. You see this in many tweets, for example, “@microsoft’s new blog is great. Read it!”
While you want to share the content with people other than those who created it, putting @user at the front of your tweet actually limits the audience to the person who created the content and their followers – in other words the opposite of what you intend, unless Microsoft is your target audience of course!
If you are looking to tweet about someone or the content that user has created, using the @user is still a good idea because it will bring to the content-creator’s attention that you are sharing their content. This is a great way to form relationships and even have these individuals and businesses share your content. In turn, this can help increase the potential of your content being seen by a wider audience.
For many tweets it makes sense to put the @username first as it helps make the overall tweet easier to read. The problem is, this will also limit your audience. So, for those who want to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak, add a period before @username e.g.,” .@microsoft’s new blog post is great. Read it!”.
What this does is ensure that the tweet isn’t addressed only to the user, but can be seen by everyone.
Looking to learn more about utilizing Twitter or any other social media as a part of your marketing strategy? We have a lot to tweet about and can help you tweet too.
Social media and the various platforms that comprise it has started to move into more of a mature phase. Many businesses are using at least one platform on a daily basis and this is likely to continue. As we enter 2014, social media will continue to become not only more influential but also far more prevalent in businesses of all sizes too. As a result of this, certain trends will be set for the year to come.
Here are five social media trends we believe businesses should track throughout 2014.
One of the key rules of marketing is that you need to create content that is relevant to your target audience. If you can’t show how your company, service or product will help the customer there is a high chance that they won’t invest, or will look elsewhere.
Throughout 2014, we should see a shift of strategy with companies using social media to engage with customers to leverage data and create content aimed at being helpful to ‘fans’ and followers. This might include tips on how to use products and visual images that show fans how to use products, etc.
The key idea business owners should grasp is that they should not be using social media to promote their company, but rather using social media to help. When you can help your followers, you will see more positive association with your brand and possibly even more sales.
It used to be enough to simply have a social media account, but now you need to also be active. As more companies break into social media, you will need to post more content on a regular basis.
Because many managers and business owners are busy, they often lack the time to concentrate on social media, especially as demand grows. This means that companies will have to start planning ahead if they want to be successful on social media. What this means is likely hiring a new employee, or appointing a staff member, to run your social media activities. You will also need to schedule posts and content well ahead of time, as well as set budgets.
If you just post occasionally now, or have a profile that isn’t that active, the first step you need to take is to schedule a day each week where content goes out. Take a look at older posts and see what worked well with your audience and create similar content. Schedule the content to be posted at roughly the same time each day. Over time, ramp up when you post – try posting new content on different days to see how reactions and interest changes. The key is to stick with it, and you will begin to see some positive returns – likely an increase in Likes, Shares and Comments.
It’s not difficult to see that the mobile device – smartphone and tablet – has become the gadget of choice for many social media users. Some have even gone so far as to stop using social media on their computers entirely. This trend will grow throughout 2014 and what this means for businesses is that they need to be creating content that can be viewed easily on mobile devices.
Because mobile screens are smaller, and many companies are starting to create mobile oriented content, we should see some more visually oriented posts, including both movies and images. At the very least you should ensure that your content posted on social media platforms can be easily viewed by users on mobile devices and your other social related sites, like your blog, can also scale to fit on smaller screens.
As the number of users on social media continues to grow, we are starting to see a trend where many users are basically using social media for everything. Because these systems are online, data regarding nearly everything is being tracked and made available to companies and users. This social data can be a huge help if leveraged properly. For example, it allows you to see what users like and dislike, and the content that works best in certain regions, and different dynamics, etc. You can extrapolate this information to your products or services e.g., if post on how to use your product is liked more than other posts, you can assume that the product is seen to be good.
In 2014, companies will increasingly come to realize that they have access to this data and will start to use it to plot their marketing and social strategies. If you aren’t already tracking your social data, now would be a good time to start. It will also pay to learn how to analyze it and develop useful insight.
The first step in social media was to get users, including businesses, online and interacting. Now that this is happening, it’s time to move onto the next step. For businesses this means integrating social media into their company. In 2014, that’s what we predict we will begin to see businesses doing in larger numbers.
This trend has already started with businesses linking their websites to social media profiles but we predict it will go even further with companies integrating social data and plans into the organization as a whole. This will likely be the connecting of social data with other streams of data to make marketing and overall business decisions. In other words, social media will become an integral part of business.
What do you think the biggest social media trend will be in 2014? Let us know today.
Social networks have become ingrained in many people’s lives, so much so, that businesses are also finding that by using social media they can connect easily with their customers and colleagues. While Facebook is the most popular social media service, there is another service that many businesses find useful, which is the business oriented LinkedIn.
To get the most out of your personal profile on LinkedIn follow our five top tips:
A popular feature of LinkedIn is endorsement. You can view other people’s profiles and endorse their skills. Some popular users have hundreds of different endorsements. The purpose of these endorsements is to highlight the important skills of each user.
If a user has say 30 so-called important skills that they are all endorsed for, it kind of looks like these aren’t really that important. It is a good idea to pare down your skills and endorsements to 3-5 which you feel best represent what you have to offer.
One of the main goals many users have with other social media networks is developing content that encourages people to essentially connect with the business. This in turn increases the reach and popularity of the business. With LinkedIn, connections and content are still the goal, only the type of desired connection is different.
You shouldn’t be aiming to connect for the sake of connecting. Instead, try to develop connections that will help your business meet its goals and objectives. Some good examples of this include connecting with suppliers, colleagues and even other businesses you work with.
LinkedIn is really just online networking, and as with most forms of networking you are looking to build rapport and establish a connection. This is usually done by being interesting, which means creating content.
When creating content or developing your profile you should keep in mind that it is for the people looking at your profile and not you. With everything you write or create, try to keep in mind: WIIFT (What’s In It For Them?). If you can create something that your connections and profile viewers will be able to benefit from, they will be more willing to listen to you when you actually need to contact them.
As we stated above, your content and profile should be oriented towards your viewers and connections. Look through your profile and posts to see that the information does reflect this purpose.
Try looking at the different sections of your profile and focus on how you can help your connections. This includes giving detailed descriptions on your roles and how you helped the company or customers. Above all else, make sure your profile contains the information that is relevant to the people you want to connect with. If it isn’t, you likely don’t need it.
Possibly the best way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to join groups. There are groups that cover nearly everything in the professional world. Try joining groups that are relevant to your profession and interests. There are usually some great conversations going on that you can really learn and benefit from. If you are an active member, you will become well known over time.
This is positive, as it makes other members more approachable and willing to listen to you, and engage with the content you share. Joining groups also gives you a great way to connect with people of varying experience. If you need the help of a specialist you can look through group members until you find an expert with the experience you need.
LinkedIn can be a useful platform for business users and if you are looking to learn more about how you can leverage it, connect with us today to see how we can help.