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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Take a second and imagine that you are in front of your target audience. You have a very short span of time to keep their attention. This is a situation similar to speed dating, except that you have to send your message to everyone at once and try to win as many people as possible on your side, because right after you are done, your main competitor will try to attract them.
From the moment visitors land on your website, they are found in a similar situation and that’s why you will hear many internet marketing experts repeating the words of Bill Gates – Content is King. However, the creation of content that will attract exactly the groups of people who need to view those messages has never been more demanding.
Competition is forcing content creators to come up with new stuff all the time. This means that in order to run a successful website you have to come up with some great blog ideas and content. A brief search on the Internet can make you feel like all the ideas in every possible industry has been exploited…but that’s not true!
The reasoning behind this conclusion is simple – there are still many question-and-answer websites that are very popular. People have questions and they can’t find answers in the articles found on the Internet.
A good example is Quora. Quora is actually an online collection of user created questions and answers that can be edited and organized by each user. Their main goal is to become the best possible source for anyone who has an issue or question and that each question becomes a collection of the best answers to that question. The users themselves vote for the best answer and in this way they rank the best answers.
Using Quora to Generate Blog Ideas & Content
Thanks to the system used by Quora you can easily find hot topics. The questions that have many answers are usually ranked higher and they are also ranked by the views. What makes Quora different from other similar services is the fact that people are looking for some specific answers that can usually be answered by experts, scientists and people who have a lot of experience in those fields.
1. Since the questions are grouped by areas, you should focus on the questions related to your niche. You will find many interesting questions and even more interesting answers that should be enough to construct a skeleton for your blog post or simply give you an idea for a topic that you can develop. You can use the questions to generate headlines, but you should never copy/paste those questions or the answers because this is bad for SEO.
Everyone knows the deal when it comes to the critical role content plays in inbound marketing. You need content to:
- Drive sales without resorting to hard-sell tactics
- Build trust and authority among your buyers
- Build a loyal community around your brand and
- Become recognized as a thought leader in a specific industry
The challenges marketers face in regard to producing quality content are numerous. In particular, it’s easier said than done to produce enough content and to produce content that’s interesting and valuable enough to get read. But some of us do our due diligence and devote time, resources and energy to create unique and engaging content.
And it pays to do so because if you get the hang of creating content that sparks discussion, goes viral and drives business, you’ve essentially ticked all the boxes when it comes to the aforementioned goals and benefits of producing and publishing content.
But the web does not only consist of honest people. Instead of investing the time and energy it takes to create good content that people would want to consume, some opt for the easy way out, which is, stealing. That simple! They steal your content and use it to grow their business. After all, your content sits in plain sight on your website. In truth, at any moment, anyone in the world, with just a few keystrokes namely CTRL + C and CTRL + V, can steal your content and paste it onto their own website, sometimes verbatim, claiming it as their own.
Plagiarism is today a serious plague on the web and one that should not be taken lightly. But how can you protect your website against theft?
We’ve got some ideas!
What Copyscape Recommends
According to Copyscape, if you want to fight and prevent plagiarism, there are three things you can do.
- You can use a plagiarism warning banner on your website to deter content thieves from stealing your work
- You can assert ownership over your work by using copyright notices on each page
- You can use Copysentry to automatically monitor copies of your work over the web
What DMCA Recommends
In addition to Copyscape, DMCA also recommends certain steps to fight plagiarism and to prevent your content from becoming easy targets. To protect your website against content theft:
- Consider naming, dating and titling all the content you publish on your website within the code itself
- Place a DMCA Protection Badge on website pages. This extra layer of protection can go a long way in deterring thefts and safeguarding your rights against plagiarists
- And finally, to protect the non-written content on your website, watermark your graphics, images and photos. For this purpose, DMCA’s watermarking service is very practical
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.