A few weeks back, Instagram celebrated its 5th birthday. Did you know that in just 5 short years, the platform has gone from a single post shared by Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, to more than 80 million photos shared every single day from around the globe?
Indeed, from brands like Burberry and Levi’s to Ben and Jerry’s and PayPal, thousands of businesses are on Instagram, creating and sharing interesting and inspiring content. Instagram is, in effect, a proven way for businesses to raise awareness for their brands. The key to success is to know how to leverage its infrastructure to target your message more effectively and reach people based on what they care about. After all, Instagram is a growing community of 400 million and if you are not using the platform to be discovered by—and interact with—customers, you do so at your own peril. The things you can do on Instagram include:
1. Using the platform as your shop window to touch, inspire and move people
2. Using landscape photo and video to give your advertising a more cinematic feel
3. Video ads of up to 30 seconds for rich storytelling
4. Using Marquee to “own a moment” and drive mass awareness, perfect for things like a new product launch or a movie release
The challenge when it comes to Instagram is that as more and more people and brands jump onto the platform, the noise level for individual users is increasing. To really stand out from the crowd, you need to understand how to promote your content on Instagram for maximum reach and impact. Read more
This year, online video is a huge phenomenon, accounting for 50% of all mobile traffic according to an infographic from HighQ. Obviously, video is quickly becoming one of the primary ways for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs. Correspondingly, brands are developing content strategies that will resonate with consumers with ads in the form of content that people choose to watch.
Translation: In an age of information overload, online videos are naturally engaging and offer brands and businesses tons of opportunities to add value. Whether you’re running a small, local business or heading a global operation, if you ignore online video as a channel of content marketing, you do so at your own peril. Your customers are online, searching for information, recommendations and entertainment in a form that’s easy to digest and if your company is not around to answer, a competitor will be.
In short, for any social media campaign or SEO effort, video is a powerful tool effective for brand awareness, lead generation and online engagement. The challenge is to create compelling videos to bring in new viewers, introduce them to the rest of your content and build a loyal fan base.
9 Awesome Tools You Can Use to Jumpstart Your Video Marketing Strategy
iMovie for Mac is perhaps one of the easiest ways to create HD-quality and Hollywood style videos. Just create a movie project and choose the clips you want to use. You can then rearrange, shorten or lengthen the clips and add titles, effects and a soundtrack. And that’s it. It’s a wrap! Send your movie to iMovie Theater to view it.
VideoMakerFX is an all-in-one video creator that you can use to make awesome videos in minutes. The software is easy to master and creates all of the top video styles including Whiteboard Style, Explainer Video, Kinetic Typography, Presentations, Photo Slideshows, Logo Opener and so on. It also offers a range of customization options such as text fonts and effects, background customization and animation effects.
Screenr is a web-based screen recorder that makes it incredibly easy to record and share a screencast. You have nothing to install or download and it is completely free. For businesses that can demonstrate a product or service on a computer, Screenr is a great option.
Camtasia by TechSmith is yet another easy-to-use screen recorder that lets you create professional videos without having to be a video pro. With a host of editing tools, it can be used for everything from quick video demos to extensive video projects. Standout features of Camtasia include multi-track timeline, visual effects, green screen effect and animate content. Read more
When it comes to running a social media campaign, many brands and businesses assume that the campaign starts when they send out their first Tweet and it ends when they send out their last one. It’s not that easy! Social media marketing is not as simple as posting a few times on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and the traffic will pour in.
So if your social media campaigns are failing, it’s probably because there is a fundamental problem with the way you are approaching your campaigns. For example, maybe you didn’t:
1. Identify your Target Audience.
Whether you’re promoting a hair product for balding men or you are planning a nationwide movement to transform the way aid is provided to Africa, you need to identify your target audience to speak their language. Read more
As a marketer, you may find yourself struggling when it comes to generating an unending stream of engaging social media content that gets read. Social media is one of the best sources of traffic for a blog but the competition for audience attention is fierce. This explains why a lot of businesses struggle to get a hold on social media. Social media marketing is not as easy as sharing every blog post you write on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It requires quite a bit more effort than that starting with knowing the best social networks for promoting your business or blog and how to create interesting, unique and engaging posts for each of your chosen social media outlets.
How to Create Engaging Content to Get the Most out of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
1. Identify the Social Networks that Your Target Reader Prefers
Over the last few years, there has been an undeniable explosion in the popularity of social media networks. Whether you’re running a small, local business or heading a global operation, your customers are online. It’s just a matter of determining where to focus your social media energy. Correspondingly your strategies and tactics to ensure your content is seen and to stand out from the crowd will vary. The key to success is to be remarkable, interesting and add value.
For example, if you use YouTube for video advertising, to make sure you deliver your message to the right people at the right time, each video you upload should include the following elements:
- A title that gets people to click and watch your video
- A custom thumbnail that looks great
- A description that uses keywords and includes links to your site
- Calls to action to increase likes, comments and subscriptions
- Tags to help your video rank better in YouTube search
There are best practices for creating engaging social media content for all social media sites and platforms out there. Read more
When Facebook was conceptualized in 2004 as a social network aimed at connecting college students, who knew a decade later it will become the most widely used social network, connecting not only people but also bridging the gap between brands and businesses and their customers? Today, Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users.
The pitfall here is that as more and more people and brands jump onto the social network, the noise level for individual users increases. For businesses, this means that they need to be remarkable and interesting to stand out from the crowd and improve the organic reach for their Facebook Pages. What does that mean exactly?
By definition, the organic reach of your Facebook Page refers to how many people you can reach for free by simply posting to your Page. Recently, brands and businesses alike have been expressing concern over the declining organic reach for their Facebook Pages. The reason for this is two-fold.
1. Firstly, Facebook is one of the most popular social networks for promoting blogs and businesses with 18,000,000+ business pages! As more and more content is published to the social media outlet, content is published faster than it is consumed. Consequently, competition to appear in people’s News Feed is fierce.
2. Secondly, News Feed works in such a way that rather than showing people all possible content, it sifts through the potential stories and deliver those most relevant to each person based on previous engagement with content from specific businesses.
But make no mistake: Organic content still has value on Facebook. It’s just a matter of increasing your organic reach on the social network by providing high-quality, high-performing and interesting content on your Page. Read more
Founded in 2006, Twitter is an online social networking service that has revolutionized the way people access real-time updates about the things that they care about. Twitter is a very energetic platform and the users have passionate conversations and share interesting content- everything in 140-character bite-size messages. For businesses, this is the value of Twitter. The nature of the social media network makes it a great channel for businesses to build relationships and generate advocates. The key to success is to provide enough value to keep your users engaged.
To help you generate more Re-Tweets as well as clicks, replies and favorites, some of the best strategies, tactics and practices include:
1. Tweet at the Right Time
If you’re using Twitter to send out updates about your business, timing matters. According to research on ideal timing for Twitter, for maximum Re-Tweets, tweet between noon and 2 p.m. on a Friday.
2. Consider Tweet Length
Did you know that the length of a tweet can affect the number of people who engage with it? According to the social media marketing and analytics company- Track Social, this is indeed the case. For maximum Re-Tweets, the optimum tweet length is between 71 and 100 characters.
3. Tweet Links & Use Hashtags Wisely
According to an infographic on Quick Sprout, tweets that contain links have a higher Re-Tweet rate. Similarly, hashtags, which are a great way to increase your overall social media traffic, also play a role in how much engagement your tweet gets. For more Re-Tweets, tweet using popular hashtags. 1-2 hashtags is optimal. 40% of tweets with hashtags get Re-Tweets. Read more
Whether your current sentiment towards social media leans more towards enthusiasm or trepidation, there is no denying that the number and popularity of social media sites has grown exponentially over the last several years. It is now one of the primary ways people communicate and interact online and this shift in web consumerism has great significance for businesses. After all, Facebook has over 1.44 billion monthly active users while Twitter has 236 million monthly active users.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest right behind China and India. Whether you run a small, local business or head a global enterprise-level operation, your customers are online and if you are not interacting with them on the social media networks, your competitors are.
In effect, social media gives you the opportunity to add value and even delight your customers. The key to success is using the right tools to pull site data and consumer data to help you focus your marketing efforts. And when it comes to social media, if knowing what kinds of content to publish and share is important, how you share and publish your content is equally (if not more) important. The challenge here is that there is no best practice set in stone. Your best posting time and frequency will depend, to a large extent, on your audience and their appetite for what you have to say.
However, like with most things when it comes to online marketing, some research has been conducted to determine the best times to post on the social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest among others. The findings from these researches can act as a general guideline in your efforts.
As you probably already know, everything you post on Facebook is content. If you want every piece of content to be an opportunity for increased engagement, when and how you post it matters. In particular, you need to investigate and assess what time of day your fans are most active. According to research, the best times to post on Facebook are as follows:
The best days to post are Thursday and Friday. According to Buddy Media, “the less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook”.
The best time to post on Facebook is early afternoon. Furthermore, posts published at 1 p.m. get the most shares; Posts published at 3 p.m. get the most clicks.
Not so long ago, the majority of people and businesses alike were questioning the value of social media as a channel for consumer-brand interactions. Now most businesses have some kind of social media presence. The process of acquiring leads through social media is called social media marketing. Sometimes it’s also referred to as inbound marketing. Occasionally though, another term is used as a further variant and that’s community management.
Now there is a great difference between social media marketing and community management. You see, social media marketing and community management are two practices that share some overlap but they are very distinct from one another and cannot be used interchangeably. If you’re going to be successful at either, you absolutely need to understand the difference between the two.
For example, here is a situation for you: You run an online shoe store and you receive a very positive comment on Twitter from a customer who made a purchase recently and would like to promote it to his or her followers. Do you forward this comment to your social media manager or to your community manager or both?
Perception vs. Reality
To be fair, it’s not so hard to see how social media marketing and community management may have become entangled over time. In truth, social media marketing is often a very poorly defined process boiled down to a simple matter of promoting your business using social media. This is a very broad and vague description that may simply mean maintaining a Facebook page or it could encompass creating customized content for different social media platforms, branding, public relations and developing a voice for your business.
Similarly, community management is often defined as any and all attempts made towards cultivating an audience for a business. So technically, as a business, if you’re posting regularly on Facebook and Twitter with the intention of building your social media audience, this falls under the definition of community management.
Therein lies the confusion. In truth, as mentioned above, social media marketing and community management are related terms with some overlap between the two practices. The distinction lies in the intention.
Community Management vs. Social Media Marketing
Here is the deal: Social media marketing is just like any other type of marketing. Therefore, the job description of a social media manager is to ultimately drive more sales for your company, usually by increasing the reach and impact of your brand. So a social media manager is a strategist with the primary role of designing strategies to align your social media efforts with your business objectives and subsequently increase any return on your investment (ROI).
In contrast, a community manager is a builder of relationships with the primary role of building relationships and a community so people feel loyal to you and your brand. The community manager is also responsible for advocating the brand on the different social platforms and increasing engagement as well as awareness for the company. Read more
If you’re interested in marketing your business online, there is one thing you can’t escape hearing about, and that’s content marketing and what it means for the success and prosperity of your business on the web. From building a community of fans and followers to increasing engagement and traffic to your website, content marketing is absolutely essential to growing your business online, because let’s face it, marketing in 2015 is about building relationships and driving sales without resorting to traditional “hard sell” tactics.
Consumers these days own a DVR. They skip television advertising and it’s not hard to shut out magazine advertising. As for banners and ads on the web, people have become and are increasingly becoming quite adept at taking in information without a care for banners and buttons making them irrelevant.
However, content marketing is not a walk in the park. It’s a big task with many roadblocks. For a start, content marketers need to create enough content while simultaneously keeping the quality of the content they produce high. This in turn means generating an unending stream of interesting and valuable content ideas and communicating those ideas using the right words and language to resonate with your target audience. Content marketing therefore demands a huge commitment of time and resources. This guide should aim you in the right direction.
Content Marketing Starts with Building a Strong Foundation
Here is the deal: You can’t confidently plan and create content if you don’t know why you are creating content and what you hope to achieve with it. For example, are you creating content to generate leads or you are creating content to close sales more quickly? Are you trying to inspire an interest in your products or are you trying to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry? You also need to define what your core message is; your core message is the primary benefit you are planning to offer your customers.
All of the above serve to lay a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy. Other things that fall under this category include competitive analysis, deciding who your target audience is and a strategy for creating and publishing content. For example, do you want to publish one type of content or multiple types and do your followers want to receive information in the format you are deciding on? Read more
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.
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