7 Best Practices for Instagram Marketing

From Mercedes-Benz and Levi’s® to Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s, Instagram – a community of over 300 million, is being used by brands and businesses to reach an engaged audience, build awareness, deliver captivating imagery for rich visual storytelling and publish content in a creative environment. After all, every brand has a point of view and Instagram lets you share yours.

Instagram-logo

The social networking service has the following benefits:

1. Instagram is home to an engaged community. Instagrammers are passionate about the platform and are open to new perspectives.

2. The singular focus of the platform is captivating imagery. This is a fact demonstrated to best effect by Instagram’s simple design that ultimately allows captivating imagery to take center stage.

3. Instagram is a beautiful and high-quality environment to tell your brand’s story.

Additionally, the statistics for Instagram are baffling. The photo-sharing and video-sharing social networking service has:

1. 300 million monthly active users
2. The service is home to over 30 billion photos
3. Everyday, 70 million photos are added
4. Instagram photos generate 2.5 billion likes daily

Clearly, if you ignore Instagram’s potential as a marketing channel, you do so at your own peril. Equally important, if you want Instagram to fit into your overall marketing strategy and in turn increase awareness for your brand, shift perception and/or reach a new audience, you need to be aware of tactics for success.

In truth, as more and more people and brands jump onto Instagram, the noise level for individual users increases and for your content to really stand out from the crowd, it needs to be remarkable, interesting and add value. The content also needs to be optimized to make sure it is seen.

7 tactics for Marketing Success on Instagram

1. Cross-promote for Discoverability

One of the easiest ways to juice up your Instagram engagement and maximize your Instagram impact is to mention your Instagram account on other social media channels, your website and any printed materials. This will promote traffic and expand your reach to new or existing communities. In particular, be sure to capitalize on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach wider audiences.

2. Follow the Top Trends

As a social media marketer on Instagram, you need to be constantly aware of the top trends on the network so you can participate in those conversations when it’s relevant for your industry. The idea is that you want to match your content to the current season, holiday or event so you can hit your audience when they are already thinking about these things.

3. Engage your Community

Next up, the thing you need to understand about Instagram is that it is not a one-way channel for promoting your brand. As mentioned above, Instagram is an engaged community and to belong, you need to like and comment on other people’s photos and content. Interact with your followers and reciprocate their passion for your brand. Read more

5 Strategic Steps for Successful Online Reputation Management

Over the years, the Internet background for an individual has become just as important as the individual’s criminal background check! The same can be said for businesses of all sizes. Times have changed and word of mouth isn’t the only factor that can play a role in an entity’s reputation. As everyone knows, a good reputation is vital for long term success, whether you’re trying to establish yourself as a professional, or wish to enhance the potential of your business.

Online-Reputation-Management

With this in mind, many professionals are fighting back against malicious, negative comments online. This is what online reputation management is all about. By relying on a good online reputation management strategy, it is possible to shield your potential customers from negative comments, while delivering them more positive information about your company. Below, you will be able to find 5 tips that can ensure that your strategy will be a complete success!

1. Create a Powerful Presence

In order to counteract those negative comments, it is vital to build a powerfully positive presence of your own. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating accounts on all of the most popular social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. LinkedIn and Pinterest are also among your options. Of course, just building the accounts on these sites isn’t going to be enough!

It is vital to begin interacting with your customers through these sites, as it will dramatically increase your reputation. By building powerful accounts, you may very well be able to outrank those negative comments that could potentially have a negative impact on your business. Your account will never be effective, unless you keep it active and updated regularly!

2 Create a Blog

A blog will undoubtedly be very time consuming, but it will also be very handy! Whether you’re trying to build up your personal reputation or want to rank your company’s name, a blog is vital! The blog can be tremendously helpful on several different fronts. First, it’ll allow you to drive new customers to your site, by ranking for different keywords. Also, it can be used in conjunction with your social media accounts to keep your customers updated with the latest on goings in your business.

Finally, the blog will rank, if you keep it updated and active. This can help to push those negative comments further down the list. Of course, a blog is a good place to respond to negative criticism, if necessary, but you shouldn’t rush to conclusions on that front.

3. Be Prepared To Make an Investment

When attempting to draft your online reputation management strategy, you should be prepared to make some large investments. Not only will this be on the expensive end of the spectrum, but also it can be quite time consuming! It is essential to remember the overall importance of this aspect and ensure that you make a sizeable investment that will actually prove to be fruitful!

Read more

A Guide to YouTube SEO

Are you new to YouTube SEO? Do you need to polish up your knowledge? Here is a guide with comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality YouTube SEO and, ergo, reach the widest audience possible. After all, you may create videos that are creative, insightful and spot-on for your YouTube audience but this only half the battle. YouTube is home to a ton of great content and if you want your channel and videos to succeed, you need to optimize them.

Youtube-logo

About Metadata

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Therefore, if you publish content on the platform, you better make sure you write optimized titles, tags and descriptions so your videos are easily discoverable and well indexed. The title of your videos, for example, is important for YouTube’s discovery systems and audiences to make sense of your content. A good practice is to keep them concise and include descriptive and relevant keywords early on in the titles. A video’s description field is also valuable real estate. As a matter of fact, put together, your video’s title, thumbnail and description should tell a cohesive story that compels people who come across your video to click on it. Tags, which are descriptive keywords, also play an important role in making sure YouTube’s discovery systems surface your videos to audiences.

Thumbnail Optimization

If YouTube is a platform where you publish content then you would know that thumbnails appear all across it in different sizes and formats and sometimes outside of it, for example, if you shared a link to a specific video in a post on your blog. Basically, thumbnails act as miniature marketing posters for your content and if you want to attract viewers and make them click through to watch your videos, you need to choose a strong and vibrant image that’s eye-catching and that accurately represents the content of your video. In particular the image needs to be clear, in-focus and of high resolution. It also needs to be well framed and have a good composition.

Use Annotations Wisely

By definition, annotations on YouTube are clickable text overlays on published videos. When used wisely, they can increase viewership, community actions on your videos, and subscribers. The challenge is to use relevant and helpful annotations and not obstruct the actual content of your videos. Other best practices for annotations are:

 – Avoid positioning them in the lower third of videos and/or along the very top of the frame.

 – Don’t overwhelm your users. This renders the feel of your videos “spammy”.

 – Set annotations to open a new window or to open in the same window when clicked as appropriate making sure they are adding maximum value and not taking viewers away from your videos prematurely or getting in the way of the viewing experience. Read more

A Quick Guide to Using Tumblr for Marketing

Founded in February 2007 and later acquired in 2013 by Yahoo! for over a billion dollars, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking site that attracts tons of eyeballs and can be leveraged for business by marketers. Perhaps its popularity is best explained by the fact that it is a mix of WordPress, Facebook and Pinterest. After all, it has WordPress-like blogging functionality, Facebook-like social features and Pinterest-like image management. According to a post on DMR by publisher Craig Smith, as of April 2015, Tumblr has a reach of 420 million users with an average of 120,000 daily Tumblr signups. There are also other interesting Tumblr statistics and numbers relevant for brands. For example:

 – Tumblr is home to 217 million Tumblrogs (blogs), a number much higher than on WordPress.

 – Everyday 113.6 million posts are made on the microblogging platform and social networking site and the average post is reblogged 14 times.

 – Every month, Tumblr receives 199.1 million global users, 69 million of which are US visitors and 50% of which access Tumblr on mobile.

 – The number of monthly page views on Tumblr is 5.187 billion and the average time users spend on Tumblr is 12 minutes, 1.5 minutes longer than on Facebook.

With stats like these, as a digital marketer, you have no choice but to leverage the platform for business. The key is to know exactly what you need to do.

How to Use Tumblr for Marketing | 7 Good Practices

1. Use Great Images

Tumblr, as mentioned above is a mix of WordPress, Facebook and Pinterest. Therefore one thing that you can safely assume is that Tumblr posts that are photos and other images do well. They are also ideal for reblogging.

2. Define your Niche

The top Tumblr viral blog of 2013 was Reasons My Son Is Crying. Other blogs that do well on Tumblr include Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson and Accidental Chinese Hipsters. In short, focus on a very tight niche.

3. Link your Posts to your Main Website

If you want the Tumblr community to engage with your company off the social networking site, link every post you make to your main website. Read more

How to Optimize Your SlideShare Presentations for Maximum SEO Benefit & Branding

Founded in October 2006 and later acquired in May 2012 by LinkedIn, SlideShare is a slide hosting service that began with a simple goal: To help people share knowledge online. Since then, the service has grown into the world’s largest and most popular community for sharing presentations averaging approximately 60 million unique visitors a month according to data pulled in Q4 of 2013. SlideShare also features in the top 120 most visited websites in the world and is used by individuals and organizations ranging from Guy Kawasaki to the White House and Mashable.

optimize-slideshare-presentations

SlideShare for Business

Whether you own an online shoe store or you help companies grow their revenue, SlideShare has many applications in marketing. For example, as you probably already know, presentations work great for content marketing so one of the ways a business could use SlideShare is as a content marketing tool. You could use it to:

1. Tell a Story

It’s a tried and tested theory that personal stories make the best content inspiration source but to amplify the impact of your message further, you could leverage the power of visuals using SlideShare.

2. Embed Slides into Landing Pages

Whether you need to give people a preview of a product you’re launching or you need to explain a concept to your readers, few things can beat a well-crafted SlideShare presentation, which is also very easy to embed into any landing page.

3. Enhance Your Blog Posts

A great blog begins with the content you create and while there are many types of posts that you can write on your blog that will do well, embedding SlideShare content into blog posts should rank pretty high up that list because readers love it.

4. Brand Yourself the Visual Way

No one goes to a SlideShare presentation hoping to come across huge chunks of text. It’s clearly a platform for visual communication and this makes it a great tool to introduce people to your brand and what you stand for in a recognizable fashion.

So SlideShare has many applications. The other benefit of the slide hosting service is that uploaded presentations have great potential to generate traffic for your website. The key is to optimize them for both your target audience as well as the search engines.

How to Optimize your SlideShare Presentations so You are Using the Service to its Full Potential

1. Make the First Slide Captivating

When it comes to content marketing, first impressions matter so if you’re creating a SlideShare presentation for your audience, don’t under estimate the power of your first slide. Not to mention that it will be used as the thumbnail everywhere including social shares whether on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Read more

Getting People to Like, Tweet & +1 Your Content

If you want to generate more traffic to your website and get more attention and higher rankings in the SERPs for your content, sometimes it takes more than creating quality content and hitting the publish button. One thing that is starting to have a huge and significant impact on these goals is social media. After all, Facebook has over 1.3 billion users, and a few hundred million people are spread across other popular social networks like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and lately Instagram.

social-media

As such, if you want to reach and impact more people, increasing the number of social shares for your content is definitely something worth considering. Think about it: If you create and publish a post that gets 500 Facebook likes, 400 tweets and 200 +1s and you do this consistently, how much traffic to your website does this translate to and how much of a bump those posts will get up the SERPs?

The question is, how can you get people to share your content across the social media sites? Let’s look at 4 ways in which you can do this.

4 Ways to Get More Shares across Social Media

1. Make it Easy for People to Share your Content

If you want more social shares for your content, make your social sharing buttons obvious by placing them in prime real estate. For example, you can use a dynamic and customizable vertical box that contains buttons and/or links to the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Reddit and which scrolls up and down a post to match the scrolling of readers. Alternatively, social sharing buttons at the end of posts is also very effective.

2. Encourage your Readers to Share your Content

Here is the deal: Most people, when they read something online, won’t immediately think “I want to share this”. You have to spell it out for them. Sometimes a few simple words strung together like “Please RT” can generate 3 times or 4 times as many retweets as you would get without such a call to action, a fact demonstrated to best effect by the studies and experiments outlined by Dan Zarrella in this post on copyblogger.com.

Read more

How to Promote Your YouTube Videos for Maximum Reach & Impact

As it stands now, YouTube has over 1 billion users.

  • Everyday people spend hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube
  • Every year, the number of hours people spend on the website increases by 50%
  • Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube
  • The video-sharing website is available in 61 different languages and localized in 75 countries

With stats like these, it makes sense why many businesses and marketers are jumping on the YouTube bandwagon in an attempt to harness some of the benefits of having a presence on a platform, which is as much a community site as a search engine. And while each channel on YouTube has its own approach to publishing, some of the most important actions when uploading a video on the website can be grouped into a simple checklist.

YouTube-logo

After all, making a video and uploading it to YouTube is only half the battle. The real challenge lies in optimizing the content and engaging with the community to make sure your video reaches the widest audience possible.

The checklist to upload a video on YouTube and successfully promote it is as follows:

1. Upload

This includes proper formatting, writing the metadata and creating an eye-catching and more importantly, a high-resolution thumbnail.

2. Publish

Any video you upload on YouTube should be properly annotated with a subscribe button, community CTAs and/or links to related content. Consider adding the video to a relevant playlist.

3. Engage & Outreach

To increase the reach and impact of your content, post it on Google+. You can also reach out to relevant blogs and/or online communities or you can engage with people in the comments section of social media sites and other online spaces.

Optimizing and Promoting a Video for Maximum Reach & Impact

So you created a video that’s creative, insightful and spot-on in terms of what your YouTube audience wants. Now what? The inclination is to sit back with some popcorn and watch the view count rise. If you do that, you will end up sorely disappointed because creating a great video is only half the battle. YouTube is home to a ton of great content. To really get your video out there, you need to optimize it. To that end:

Read more

The Secret behind Getting More Instagram Followers & Likes

Launched on October 06, 2010 and named iPhone App of the Year by Apple the following year on December 09, 2011, after 4 short years, Instagram announced in December that it is now a global community of more than 300 million users sharing over 70 million photos and videos each day. From the beginning, as a photo-sharing and video-sharing social service, Instagram has been focused on 2 things: simplicity and inspiring creativity.

Instagram-Logo

As Instagram grows bigger, it remains a fast, beautiful and most importantly a fun-filled way for people to share their lives with friends and followers. For businesses and brands, the large and growing audience on Instagram is a compelling reason to join the service. It’s additionally a beautiful platform for storytelling and to share engaging content.

But what happens if you join the service and after amassing a few dozen followers, your account’s growth rate slows down and eventually stops. If you have, give or take, a total of 100 followers, your images will get maybe a dozen likes at most. It’s not significant enough to gain any traction.

The key to a successful Instagram account then would be to learn absolutely everything there is to know how the social service, in particular things like what causes Instagramers to like images, what makes them become followers and how to increase the visibility and impact of your images. So let’s discuss the science of Instagram and how to get more followers and likes on the service.

1. Connect your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter Accounts

Perhaps the easiest way to grow your Instagram account is to connect it to your Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts so that any content you post on the photo-sharing service also gets posted across the other social platforms. This increases the reach and impact of your brand as friends and followers noticing your captivating imagery and rich visual storytelling will, most probably, start following you on Instagram as well. Note that if you choose to connect your social accounts, there is no rule against posting a status asking your friends and followers to follow you on Instagram as well.

2. Use Popular Tags

The most used hashtags on Instagram are as follows:

  1. #love
  2. #instagood
  3. #me
  4. #tbt
  5. #cute
  6. #photooftheday
  7. #instamood
  8. #iphonesia
  9. #picoftheday
  10. #igers

Followed by:

  1. #girl
  2. #tweegram
  3. #beautiful
  4. #instadaily
  5. #summer
  6. #instagramhub
  7. #follow
  8. #iphoneonly
  9. #igdaily
  10. #bestoftheday

Like is the case on Twitter and a few other social networking services, using the right hashtags with your images and videos on Instagram is a great way to find new followers. The key is to be as specific and relevant as possible to help you connect with other like-minded people. After tagging your content, take a moment to look at pictures and videos other people shared using the same tags. You may come across some popular hashtags you hadn’t thought of originally.

Read more

Are You Making These 3 Social Media Marketing Mistakes?

Many organizations are realizing the important role that social media plays in the marketplace today and as such, have started using it as part of their marketing and advertising strategy. While large corporations may have plenty of funds to allocate towards advertising on social platforms, many companies are not seeing the expected rate of return on their hefty social advertising investments.

social-media-banner

A lot of business managers have approached social media by marketing their organizations to consumers as a business, as opposed to just simply interacting with consumers as if they were real people. Social networks are meant to be “social”. People want people talking to them; not a faceless corp.

Some organizations have fallen into the trap of talking “at” their consumer base on social platforms in an effort to reach their bottom line, instead of talking “with” their consumer base to genuinely learn more about them. As a result, many organizations are experiencing a lack of interest and interaction, from consumers on social media despite having large followings on many social platforms.

Here are 3 steps business managers can use to begin genuine interaction with consumers to stimulate interest and interaction on social media:

1. Avoid Using Social Media Simply to get More Customers into your Sales Funnel

While every organization is in business to grow its consumer base and generate sales, business managers must realize and remember that business is not always about the bottom line. There are times when business is about setting a good example and being a leader in the marketplace. One way that organizations can lead by example and demonstrate leadership is by giving back to the very community that helps the organization generate revenues.

Businesses can interact with its consumer base across many different social platforms to generate ideas for social causes that its consumers find important and worthy of attention. When consumers see that an organization, particularly a large organization, is ready to listen to them, they are more likely to get involved with the brand socially (translation: More likes, comments, and shares!).

Read more

The Importance of Having a Solid Social Media Policy

Social media has become one of the most effective forms of communication for organizations in today’s fast-paced world. With social media, company managers are able to strengthen relationships with their current consumer base via many different social platforms. It also allows company managers to target potential consumers who are not yet familiar with the organization and develop new relationships with them.

SOCIAL-MEDIA-POLICY

Much like a gun, while social media can be used for a company’s good, it can be dangerous for the company itself if used wrongly. There are a number of practices and procedures that company managers can develop that will help an organization manage its social platform strategies professionally and lower the chances of potential negative effects that can jeopardize an organization’s standing. This is known as a social media policy.

Here are 3 fundamental social media basics that company managers can implement into an effective social media policy and begin practicing throughout their organization:

1. Inform all Employees of their Role within the Organization

Advising all employees of the company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives is the first step in aligning all employees together in an effort to accomplish the organization’s sole mission. When employees understand the purpose of an organization, what the organization is attempting to accomplish, and that the organization needs the help of each employee to achieve its goals, employees will begin to understand their role in the company, take pride in their position, and take the organization’s desires seriously. Employees who respect their employer, and who take the company that they work for seriously, will become more aware of their own actions and will conduct themselves in a manner that prevents their employer from being represented in a negative light in public.

Read more

Next Page →