7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

If you are not blogging for your business, you are missing out.

By publishing fresh, new content on a consistent basis, you are giving people a reason to come back to visit your site. The more people to your site means more traffic, which means more opportunity to convert them into loyal fans and one day, customers.

Of course some blogs have all the bells and whistles they install while some are very plain and simple. You need to go with what fits your business’ personality and branding. No matter what you do, you need to always be working to improve your blog. Here are 7 quick and easy ideas you can implement now…

 

Idea #1: Add Click to Tweet.

Click to Tweet is this great site (and plug-in) that you can use to make lines or points you want to make tweetable. This gives your readers an easy way to share your blog post along with a snippet from it. See below.

Click to Tweet is just 1 of 7 ideas you can use to improve your #blog. Click To Tweet

 

Idea #2: Display your social shares.

Social proof is a valuable measure in content marketing. People want to see how many times your content is being shared to validate that it’s something worth sharing. Companies and influencers look at the number of social shares when determining what content to share or who to work with. If I get approached to guest post on a website, I look at their social share numbers before deciding if I’m going to do it. Content worth sharing gets shared. Period. (Hint: it’s all about the quality)

 

Idea #3: Add a Call to Action (CTA).

Including a call to action at the end of your post is a great way to encourage your readers to respond and engage. This could be a question or a prompt to sign-up for an email. Not matter what you choose, you need to prompt your readers to give a response.

 

Idea #4: Use lists and infographics.

Lists make longer posts easier to read. Infographics are a great way to display a lot of information and data in an easy-to-understand format. Most readers will leave a post before they reach the end if it’s nothing but long paragraph after paragraph. Breaking it up into listed bullet points keeps them there. Creating a list post such as “Top 10 Ways…” or even a post that ranks something will see more traffic than others (trust me, I’ve seen it first-hand).

 

Idea #5: Include a pinnable image.

You (should) already know to have a visual in every post you publish. Having an image that is pinnable to Pinterest helps as well. The recommended size for these image types is 735px x 1102px. You can easily make these in programs such as Canva or PicMonkey or you can get more custom with Adobe InDesign or Photoshop.

Here is an example (image has been sized down for display purposes, but was created to the specs above):

7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

Idea #6: Link to influencers.

We all have people who influence us. And occasionally we like to mention them or talk about their work. When you do, make sure to link back to them. That will usually bring it to their attention you’ve mentioned them. You won’t always get a response from them, but sometimes you do. Also, when sharing that post on social media, make sure to tag them on the platform you’re sharing on.

 

Last but not least…

 

Idea #7: Make sure your content is something people want to share.

Maybe this isn’t so much an idea as it should be a rule of thumb. Good, quality content gets shared. That’s the type you need to be publishing. In the age of content shock, fluff content won’t cut it. I could write a whole post on this, so for time’s sake, I’ll just leave it here.

 

Any writer and incorporate these easy 7 ideas into their blog if they are not already. If you were writing a list of ideas like this, what else would you include? Share with me below!

 

 

5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are currently about 80 million millennials in the US. They have well surpassed the baby boomer population of 74.9 million. Additionally, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, it is safe to say that they are the most advantageous markets for companies to be taking a look at.

 

However, this target market differs from others in many ways. They spot the tricks of the trade. They understand the fact that companies see them as a dollar sign.

 

And guess what? They find it annoying and don’t like it.

 

This is because they are constantly bombarded with media. The constant media is not what they are annoyed with. They understand that their screen time use is off the charts compared to other generations. However, this means they aren’t going to simply buy into everything and anything that you put out there. They are able to cut through the trash pretty quickly.

 

Keeping that in mind, here are 5 modern tips for marketing to millennials.

 

  1. Authentic Content can be Empowering

As a millennial myself, I feel I can seem to be one of the most looked-down upon generations ever. No, we don’t like the idea of a 9-5 desk job. No, we don’t want to sit in an office full of old folks who just want to tell us we are young and naive. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us. No one seems to believe in us but wants our fresh, young perspective. Can you say, “Feeling a little used”? Because of this we put our tech savvy and internet conversation power to use. We like adding to the conversation that is happening on social media. We get lost in video, blog, and photo content for extended periods of time. Therefore, when we come across content that we feel is not only current but honest, we take note. 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. Additionally, we want to share this refreshing content with our friends. If it sparks the feeling of being trustworthy, it is likely to have a domino effect.

 

    2. Collaboration!

Collaboration is key for millennials. However, nailing this aspect definitely calls for some research. It involves looking at the work of companies, accounts, and products that your particular audience is interested in. Take a look at the content they are generating. Don’t be afraid to name drop those places in your content. It shows that your goals align with their current interest and places that they trust. Additionally, don’t forget to reach out to social accounts driving media influence.

 

    3. Outbound Material is Way Out

After mentioning how content driven millennials are, hopefully you have caught the drift that traditional methods are fortunately out. Millennials crave connection in marketing. Therefore, your traditional random/picture perfect girl or guy flipping their hair and smiling for your product unfortunately isn’t going to cut it anymore. In the mind of a millennial, this comes off as impersonal and company driven. Millennials want to feel involved and important in what they invest their time in. We want to add to the conversation and feel we are a part of it.

 

    4. Intentionally Crafted Material

Outbound marketing leads us to out next point… the importance of understating their lifestyle. What is the best way to form a relationship with someone? Ask them questions about what going on in their life.

We are a generation that thrives off of sarcasm and humor. *Note, the success of memes with our generation. They are usually lifestyle based and something that we laugh at and share with/tag our 10 bffs in. Also, take a look into some of the words that are selling products right now: wanderlust, craftsman, discover, organic, escape, authentic. They all have something in common, they exude a sense of being real/in the now. Let’s look back to point number one… Constantly being put down can be emotionally draining. It’s not like millennials don’t understand that this is not how life naturally is. We simply seem to be the generation that has collectively adopted the mentality of breaking free from the routine lifestyle. We value freedom, experiences and living in a different way than others do. By going out and doing it. Also, we don’t let the judgmental forces we face every day get the best of us. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us.

 

   5. Millennials Just Want to Have Fun

*Que Cyndi Lauper. Yes… I know who that is. The bottom line for millennials here is that they are all about the now, experience and living in the moment. Things that comes a sense of well… fun. And honestly, is it so bad that we have a generation that is craving a sense of authenticity and genuine relationships. In world that has become so disconnected, give your audience a way to become connected and feel valued.

 

If you nail the marketing strategy for reaching millennials, you will see results. What is your company doing to reach this demographic?

 

 

digital marketing

Staying with the Times in Social Media & Digital Marketing

Working in social media marketing, there is something new to learn every day. A new algorithm to adjust your strategy to, a new platform to try, or even a new way to distribute your content.

 

It’s important for all business owners, or at least those who run your social media, to keep up with what is going on in the social media/digital marketing world. If not, you’ll be doing things that no longer work or using outdated strategies that could lead your efforts to produce little or no results.

 

There are marketing professionals who think they know it all and fail to keep up with the newest changes. I’ve seen examples on most platforms. Let me clarify, we’re not all perfect and sometimes it will take a few weeks to adjust things to the newest changes, but ignoring them outright is never the thing to do. Here are three examples I have seen in the past week:

  • Hashtags on Facebook. These are no longer relevant folks. Yes, use them as funny sidenotes – I do that all the time on my personal profile, but according to a report from BuzzSumo last year, which analyzed more than a billion Facebook posts from over 30 million brand Pages,  Facebook posts without hashtags generated more reach than those with tags added.
  • Share contests on Facebook. Facebook updated their contest rules a couple years ago, allowing pages to use likes and comments as means of entry, but not shares. I see “Like and Share” contests all.the.time. While you have a greater chance of winning the lottery than getting your page suspended or deleted by Facebook for this, ignoring the rules is never a good business practice. Do not trust any marketing professional that says it’s okay to do this. For examples of illegal and legal contests, click here.
  • Robo-commenting on Instagram. Yes, yes, yes I know there are programs that do this for you but some just do not make sense. Example – I post a Monday Marketing Tip every Monday on my business Instagram account. The most recent one had a comment that said “Cute pic!”. Totally random. I will get random comments that have nothing to do with the image all the time. I understand not having time to engage (if you don’t, then just don’t do it), but using robo-comments is the quickest way to having your account reported as spam.

 

I’m sure you are asking yourself just how you are supposed to keep up with it all – where do I find this information? When do I make the time? Here are my top four suggestions, and I do not suggest just anyone!

 

Top Resources to Stay in the Social Media/Digital Marketing Loop

 

Scott Monty’s Full Monty

Every week Scott Monty emails out an amazing round-up of top articles from marketing/pr-sphere. You can even check out his Flipboard for the links that didn’t make the cut. You can subscribe here.

 

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog

Full disclosure – Mark is a personal friend, business mentor, and I do some work for him. He is a wealth of knowledge and if you spend just 10 minutes with him you’ll walk away leagues smarter. His blog, published four times each week, will prompt you to think and give you actionable items you can use. Subscribe here.

 

Sprout Insights Blog

As a member of their All-Star Influencer program, I love to share this one! I’ve followed this blog since I began my business. It is full of social media 101’s, data and metrics, and great commentary and case studies to help your business.

 

Social Media Examiner

I feel like this one has to be here. It’s where I started reading when I started my social media marketing journey eons ago. This is great for those seeking basic to mid-level social media marketing knowledge. Subscribe here.

 

Top Business Publications to Read

 

Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review (you are limited to 4 free articles/month without a subscription)

Inc.

 

All of these can be saved to your favorite reader on your tablet or smartphone to read later – just make sure to read them! If you have someone handling your social media/digital marketing for you, pass this list on to them to make sure they are using the latest strategies for your business. You do not want to be using 2015 strategies in 2017. Trust me, they’ve changed.

 

 

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of those buzzwords that has been floating around for a few years but has really gotten hot in the past 12-18 months.

 

Everyone has this innate craving to be known – to be considered an influencer in their industry, whether it be interior design, cooking, art, or even… social media marketing (yes, I’m calling myself out on that one). Being an influencer is one thing, working with influencers to help promote your business is another.

 

You don’t have to me some mega-company like Chanel or McDonald’s to use influencers, likewise you don’t have to use big celebrity names either. Find those who are passionate about your brand/company who have a good-sized following (it doesn’t have to be a million followers) and start there.

 

When I attended the 2017 Southern C Summit, James Nord of Fohr Card spoke on this topic, which is something his company specializes in – bringing creatives (read: influencers) together.

 

James talked about how traditional digital media is trending towards obsolescence. Consumers are expecting more. They want to be inspired.

 

Take a look at Instagram, for example. Think back and look at how the posts have changed over the past 2-3 years. You see more creative posts involving more people. Companies are sharing more user-generated content. Brands are featuring their most passionate fans, or as Mark Schaefer calls them, your alpha audience. You see accounts with Instagram take-overs from industry influencers.

 

Enlisting these influencers, or creatives, is often driven by passion, not profit. The influencers doing these campaigns and posts for these brands/companies, are not doing it for the money (well, maybe a few are) – they are doing it because they love that brand.

 

Example: me and Sprout Social. I have been a loyal Sprout Social customer since 2012. Actually, more like a raving, passionate fan/customer. I could go on and on about why I love and continue to use their program when, honestly, there are less expensive ones out there. Sprout saw my passion for their company and invited me to be a part of their inaugural All-Star Influencer Program. I do not get paid for it. Yes, I’m asked to post about them a few times a month, which I was doing anyway, but in return for being that passionate customer, I’ve been featured on their Sprout Insights blog, gotten some awesome swag, and even had one of my largest consulting clients referred to me. I do not have a million followers. I do not live in Los Angeles or New York. I’m just a passionate, committed customer who has a good-sized following.

 

In his talk at the Summit, James Ford shared with us lessons learned from his Drink with James video series (which I highly recommend)…

15 Influencer Marketing Items to Consider

 

1. Why are people following you?

You or your client must be doing something right if you have a continual growth of your community. If people are following you, you have to deliver great content.

 

2. Have a business mindset.

If you are wanting to grow your following (or your client’s), you have to think about it everyday – it will be like a part-time job. It’s intentional, much like knowing why you are using social media in the first place.

 

3. Invest in your business.

Make sure you have the right products, equipment, education. Continually be growing as a leader in your industry.

 

4. Be consistent.

Your social feed is your landing page (think Instagram). People who visit your accounts need to know what to expect. This same principle applies to branding. All accounts need to flow across each other.

 

5. Differentiation

You have to be yourself, but you also have to be different. What makes you better than your competitor? What can you deliver that they cannot?

 

6. Build relationships

Influencers for your brand are not built overnight. They are cultivated through a relationship. This is very important. In fact, building a relationship with all of your followers (as a whole) is important. They are your reason why you have anyone looking at your social posts anyway.

 

7. Figure out what it’s worth

If you want to be an influencer, figure out what you should charge. If you are looking to use an influencer in a campaign, figure out what they charge and what you’re willing to pay (cash, trade, free product). A model James gave in his talk, for example with Instagram, take your following, divide it by 1,000 and then multiple it by 10. But also think about the niche. Real life example, @memarketingservices has 1,224 followers. Divide that by 1,000 and that equals 1.22, then multiply by 10 and I could charge $12.24 per post to a company who wanted me as an influencer. For Twitter, it’s the same formula, but you divide by 10,000.

 

8. Work the negotiation

Not all influencers want to be paid. Shocking, I know. Some actually do it simply for the exposure. And that can be big.

 

9. Cold emailing

The thought of cold-calling sends chills down my spine, but cold emailing isn’t as bad. If you are going to cold email a person or brand about an influencer campaign, do your homework first about them and have a great pitch.

 

10. Know how to have your photos taken

James suggested the subject have some alcohol first so they’ll relax, but I’m not going to advocate for that. You do what you think is best. However, whether you are the influencer or you are working on an influencer campaign, having the right photo is key. Work with a photographer – educate yourself – look at other posts for inspiration (but do NOT copy).

 

11. Know the FTC rules.

If you are an influencer for a company or you are working with one, you MUST disclose the relationship. If not, there could be legal ramifications for all parties involved. You can also use a hashtag to disclose such as #brandnamepartner.

 

12. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT buy followers

Not only is this a Terms of Service violation on EVERY platform, Instagram is working on a ratings tool, much like the Twitter ones floating about.

 

13. Know your growth rates and what to look for

You want to make sure you are getting positive ROI (return on investment) on your influencer campaign. Below are some benchmarks to look for.

 

14. Speak outside your niche (go off-brand)

There are certain times and places to go off-brand. You want to stay consistent, but there will be times it’s okay to stray off the path for variety sake. Just make sure it’s relevant.

 

15. Look ahead

Once this campaign is done, where do you go next? Was this a good experience? Would you do it again? Constantly be planning for what’s coming.

 

Still considering influencer use? Here are some statistics to consider:

 

  • Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. (source)
  • Twitter users now trust influencers as much as they trust their friends.
  • Influencer Marketing is more effective than advertising since 47% of online customers use ad block technology.
  • 73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (source)

 

Have you thought about using influencers for your company/brand or have you been tapped as an influencer yourself for a company? We’d love to hear how that experience went. Share below in the comments!

 

 

 

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat – Which is better?

Just figured out how to effectively use Instagram Stories for your business? Oh wait no, you probably just figured out Snapchat. That’s right, Snapchat is slowly on the verge of becoming sooo 2016…

 

Instagram v. Snapchat

 

So what is the big difference? Both platforms offer essentially the same product.

 

While there are different filters, tools, and features, Instagram Stories is simply attached to what Instagram already presents its users. Since its launch in August, Instagram stories has reached 150 million daily users. This is greatly attributed to the fact that Instagram has quickly become the hub platform for many companies, brands, and campaign’s biggest influencers.

 

Snapchat does not allow growth for a business within its platform. Some argue that the app is making mistakes similar to those of Vine. Much of this is dues to the fact that Snapchat is simply private messaging. In contrast, Instagram promotes social media stars and helps to grow their accounts through the platform’s Explore page, which has naturally adopted stories along with photos and videos.

 

However, for many the direct messaging is not a complete deal breaker. As a millennial myself, I still use Snapchat daily specifically for the direct message aspect with my friends and family. I also view the daily subscriptions that are displayed by a variety of media sources. Some of these include: BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, The Dodo, and select featured ones. I will say that I have naturally made the transition to Instagram for many of the other companies, celebrities, and campaigns that interest me.

 

How to Use Instagram Stories

 

  1. Keep it short and simple

For Instagram Stories specifically, keep it short sweet and to the point but also engaging. It is also important to make sure there is a point to the content you are putting out there. This can be done by adding a simple location or hashtag to your post. Additionally, Instagram took over Boomerang and it was genius. Users go crazy over the animated looping clips. It a fun way to present content but also keep things interesting.

 

  1. Try not to treat it as a live video

Unless you are a certified celebrity, a stream of you talking to your phone in selfie mode walking around whereever is probably not the greatest idea. Most of the time, many viewers will lose interest and exit your story. If that is what you are trying to do, use live stream. This is not to say that this is not always acceptable. There are appropriate times to do this. Generally, stick to this method when your company or brand is at an event. Give your audience something to work with.

 

  1. Use the filters and features in a unique way

Can Instagram make you look like a puppy dog, Bambi, or a flower crown princess? No. If that is what you are looking for, Snapchat is still your go-to. However, think of the available filters and features as your bread and butter when posting to your Instagram Story. You have only a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention to make it something that will resonate with your target audience. There are tons on content creation websites like Canva for social media that do the same thing for a traditional post. The Instagram tools allow you to express yourself in a creative way. Another great feature to help grow you profile as well as your influencers and followers is the fact that you can add linkable handles, locations, and hashtags.

 

  1. Link your story to whatever you want

A beneficial feature included in Instagram’s Stories is the ability to link your content to the image. This will be indicated to users by a “swipe up” arrow featured at the bottom of the screen. This can be used to link to products, blogs, or whatever other content that you wish to display. Your followers will also appreciate the easy access to quickly jump over to what you are talking about.

 

  1. Always remember your target audience

One of the most important things to remember is to always stick to the values that your profile demonstrates. If your followers see content that does not align with your overall message they can be confused and annoyed. Users follow you because they agree with the message you send and content your display.

 

Do you use either Instagram Stories or Snapchat for your business? Which do you prefer?

 

 

26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly

 

I came across the above quote and thought it to be a great illustration of how social media has molded itself into a business’ marketing strategy. Yes, social media is taking over marketing. And the world.

 

Of course any good marketing strategy is built with statistics and data behind it – behaviors, interests, patterns, demographics, etc., and any good marketing strategist will make sure said strategy truly has the measurable data to back it up.

 

Being a fan of data and statistics, I love finding different bits of information among the common data we social marketing professionals regularly use. Some bits are eye-opening, some are really odd. Some make you sit and really evaluate what your actual usage behavior is, while some just make you laugh. Below are 27 social media statistics I have found while doing client research and putting together my weekly Marketing Fact Friday series (which you can follow on my Instagram account). If you want to dig deeper, I’ve linked the source for you.

 

Social Media Usage

  • Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week. (Nielsen)
  • Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile. (MarketingLand)
  • 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. (Pew Research Center)
  • Nearly half (43%) of weekly Facebook activity and a third (33%) of weekly Twitter activity occurred on Sundays. (Nielsen)
  • The number of active social media users worldwide is 2.78 billion, out of the world’s population of 7.47 billion. (we are social)
  • Smartphones accounted for 78% of adults, ages 18-34, total weekly social minutes. (Nielsen)
  • Adults ages 50+ spent 64% more time on social media in 2016 than in 2015. (Nielsen)
  • 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news. (Byte of Data)

 

Social Media + TV

  • There were 11.8 million TV-related interactions on Facebook from 5.9 million people on average each day this fall. (Nielsen)
  • On an average day, 42% of those interacting with TV on Facebook are Generation X, 40% are Millennials, and the remaining 18% are Baby Boomers. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of engagement with TV-related Tweets comes organically from the audience. (Nielsen)
  • 57% of people who used their tablet while watching television said they visited Facebook while doing so, compared with 24% who said they visited Twitter. On smartphones, those numbers were 58% and 20%, respectively. (Nielsen)

 

Social Media + Business

  • More than 2 million advertisers regularly use Facebook to market their business. (Hootsuite)
  • While 64 percent of marketers have a Snapchat account, only 67 percent of those accounts are active. (L2)
  • 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved. (Hootsuite)
  • 13% of heavy social media users clicked on an advertisement within the last 30 days. (Nielsen)
  • 30% of heavy social media users think it’s very or somewhat important to engage with social media in order to show support of their favorite companies or brands. (Nielsen)
  • 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases. (Pinterest)

 

Social Media Content

  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (HubSpot)
  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Brain Rules)
  • 62% of B2B marketers rated videos as an effective content marketing tactic in 2016. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Cisco)
  • 51% of all video plays are on mobile devices — this growth represents a 15% increase from 2015 and a 203% increase from 2014. (Facebook)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Small Business Trends)
  • Videos under five minutes in length account for 55% of total video consumption time on smartphones. (Ooyala)
  • 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. (Digiday)

 

Some of these statistics you may be able to use for your own business, or for a client. Having data to back up anything you propose or want to do yourself, is always key – it gives you and what you are proposing more credibility (as long as the data is from a credible source).

 

What kind of data and statistics are used in your business’ marketing strategy? Share with us below!

 

I wrote this article as a guest post for My Social Game Plan and has been republished with permission.

 

 

earn the art & science of pinterest

Learn the Art & Science of Pinterest

Pinterest is for yourself, not your selfie.

 

When I attended this year’s Southern C Summit, I had the privilege of hearing Nikki Bazzani from Pinterest present. It was great to be in the room with someone who could give answers from the source. Her presentation was about the art and science of Pinterest, and yes everyone, there is a true art and science to it.

 

Here is what she shared, and every business owner using Pinterest needs to take note of this! FYI, Pinterest is second largest search behind Google 😉

 

It’s no surprise that every story is rooted in an idea. And every idea is a pin. Those pins are what helps us discover and ultimately do what we love.

 

Pinterest provides a wealth of content for anyone who is looking – the mom looking for new recipes, the marketer looking for an infographic, the bride looking for ideas for her wedding, the husband looking for birthday ideas for his wife. A good number of businesses have an audience on this platform, and they should with 150 million active monthly users pinning away.

 

But where do you start? How do you use Pinterest for your business, much less create that perfect pin that will capture the attention of the pinner scrolling through?

 

Before you put together a pin for Pinterest, keep these things in mind:

  • Text is allowed – call out unique things, get that pinner’s attention.
  • Vertical images are optimal – use – 600px x 900px (Don’t go higher than 1560px high. Pinterest is going to start not showing/decreasing visibility of the really long pins. Keep them at 900px high.)
  • Be authentic to both you and your brand.
  • Be helpful instead of clever with text overlay and descriptions.
  • Avoid looking like a banner ad.
  • Content and detail in description is encouraged (200-400 characters). Use keywords. You can have 500 characters max.

 

Knowing those few things, there is a psychology behind creating a pin, much like the psychology advertisers use in creating their ads and how you see them. Here are three principles to stick to.

 

3 Good Principles of a Pin

  1. They are visually arresting
    • The pin is a canvas, so use it. Play with text color (bright that pop), texture, pattern. Use black and white. Play with space. Add your products, logo, etc.
  2. They are inspiring
    • Motivate pinners with helpful tips, lists, and how-tos. Show the pinner what they are going to find when they go to your site.
    • Motivate with variety.
    • Motivate with novelty.
    • Motivate with trends and cultural reference (check out their Pinterest 100 trend report here).
  3. They are actionable
    • Make it easy – tell them what to do.

 

Once you have your pin planned out, that’s not the end of it. You have to nail it. Think of the pin as your piece de resistance. Ask yourself these eight questions…

    • Does this pin appeal to my desired audience?
    • Is this pin a stand-alone idea?
    • Is the idea novel, inspiring, entertaining, or helpful?
    • Would I save this pin?
    • Does this pin pique my interest enough to click and get more information?
    • Can I visually grasp what the idea or product is in less than 1 second?
    • Is the pin designed for mobile?
    • Does it stand out in the Pinterest feed?

 

Of course, there are more ways your can always make your pin more helpful…

 

Show lists and multi-products.

 

Instructions and How-tos –  let the pinner know what they are getting.

 

Detailed descriptions – use all the space you can.

 

Text overlays – just be careful not to use too much.

 

Tasteful branding – use your branding, your logo, list your website.

 

Once you start using Pinterest for your business, there are a lot of opportunities for you to grow your brand there. For example, take advantage of group boards. Look at Tribes through TailWind (an AMAZING Pinterest management tool). Pin from brands you want to work with, pin to support small businesses.

 

Monica Lavin of Lavin Label, who had partnered with Pinterest, also shared her experience and some helpful tips on how to get the most out of this platform.

 

Monica’s Tips:

 

  • For every 1 pin you pin, re-pin 2 pins from other people.
  • Pin throughout the day (You can use Tailwind or Co-Schedule to schedule pins).
  • Look at pins that are doing the best – create new content similar to that. Re-pin pins that are not performing well.
  • Take advantage of Promoted Pins!
  • Use Rich Pins from your site.

 

Here are some best practices for all of us to take –

monica lavin pinterest

 

 

Are you using Pinterest? If so, what are your success stories? Remember every idea is a pin. Those pins are what helps us discover and ultimately do what we love.

 

Images courtesy of The Southern C Summit

 

 

Making Facebook Advertising Work for Your Business

Making Facebook Advertising Work for Your Business

At this year’s Southern C Summit, I had the honor of leading a pre-conference workshop on Facebook advertising. I was blessed to have 15 fabulous ladies sign up for this session and we had a fun time digging into Facebook ads.

 

Why should businesses invest in Facebook advertising? According to Buffer, “91% of marketers invested in Facebook advertising last year. And it’s easy to understand why when you look at the data: more than 1.18 billion people use Facebook every day, and on average, each person spends more than 50 minutes a day across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.”

 

If that statement doesn’t convince you, take a look at these statistics from Hootsuite

 

Social media advertising is the most cost-effective way to advertise in this day and time, with Facebook leading the way with the various, and amazing, options available to businesses.

Social advertising is the most cost-effective way to advertise, with Facebook leading the way. Click To Tweet

 

Now that you’re interested, let’s take a look…

 

When starting a Facebook ad, there’s a process you walk through in the Ads Manager to help you set up the right ad, and maximize it for the best results.

Step 1: Figure out what you are promoting and select an ad type.

When running a Facebook ad, you need to know what you are promoting and why you are promoting it.

Then there are three decisions to make –

  1. What are you promoting?
  2. Will your ad run via auction or reach & frequency?
  3. What type of ad will you choose? (Hint: Awareness ads are best for small budgets)

 facebook advertising objective

Step 2: Select an audience

Selecting your audience is the most important part – more important than the ad itself. When selecting your audience, you are narrowing in to target the ideal customer/client.

Your choices are to either –

  1. Create an audience from the options you are given (which can make unlimited combinations).
  2. Use a custom audience.
  3. Use a lookalike audience.

Step 3: Ad Placement

facebook advertising placement

Source: Facebook

Your choices for placement are:

  • Desktop
  • Desktop Right Side
  • Mobile
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network (this lets you extend your ad campaigns beyond Facebook to reach your audiences on mobile apps, mobile websites     and videos. We use the same Facebook targeting, measurement and delivery to make sure each ad on Audience Network helps you reach your campaign goals at the most cost-effective price.)
  • Instant Articles (See more here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/825186870955247 )
  • In-stream Video

 

If you’re not sure, Facebook will recommend using the default placements for your objective:

  • Brand awareness (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram
  • Engagement (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram
  • Video views (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • App installs: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement): Facebook and Audience Network
  • Product catalog sales: Facebook and Audience Network
  • Conversions: Facebook and Audience Network

 

For more information on ad placements, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/175741192481247?helpref=related

Step 4: Set an ad budget and schedule

Ah, the budget. Here’s where you determine how much you are going spend for your ad. You have two choices: daily budget (how much you spend per day) or lifetime budget (how much you want to spend for the entire campaign).

 

Yes, you can run an ad for as little as $1/day but not every ad will let you do that. Here are the spend minimums:

  •      If the ad set gets charged for impressions, its daily budget must be at least $1 a day
  •      If the ad set gets charged for clicks, Likes, video views, or post engagement, its daily budget must be at least $5 a day
  •      If the ad set gets charged for low frequency events like offer claims or app installs, its budget must be at least $40 a day

 

For more information on ad spend minimums, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/203183363050448

Step 5: The ad

 

Now the second-most important part of the whole process – creating your ad.

 

You can choose an existing post as your ad or you can create one from scratch.

 

If you are creating an ad from scratch, you have 5 formats to choose from –

 

facebook advertising ad format

 

Note: Formats will vary based on the ad objective you have chosen.

 

And after that is done and your ad is running…

Step 6: Track your ad

 

How do you know if you Facebook advertising is working (or did work)?

 

facebook advertising campaign dashboard

 

You can view the results of your ads in the Campaign Dashboard and view each ad (as shown above). You can customize your reports through Columns and Breakdown.

 

It’s really an easy process and once you’ve created and successfully run your first ad, you can start over with your next promotion.

 

The content above was taken from my workshop guide I created, “Making Facebook Ads Work for Your Business.” If you’d like your own copy of the 23-page guide, please click here to download your FREE copy!

 

What has been your experience with Facebook ads? Share with us below!

 

 

Using Your Millennial Target Audience as the Face for Your Company

Using Your Millennial Target Audience as the Face for Your Company

Oh millennials. We hear about them all the time. We hear about their low work ethic, question their motives and laugh when we see them take 100 pictures of their “soy low-fat Carmel macchiato, please”. However, if that is the case, then why are so many of these businesses craving their approval through social media? As a millennial myself, part of my answer is because that macchiato is about to get 2,000+ likes on Instagram.

 

But what is the most effective way for your business to gain the likes, follows and shares that these young adults hold?

 

About 97% of online adults (age 16-64) have either visited or used a social media platform in the last month. Going even further, 8 out of 10 internet users use social media on their mobile devices. This is no surprise to most of us. However, it is important to understand that millennials see the most advertisements in a week simply because they are the generation using most screen time through a variety of devices. Because of this, it is easy for millennials to quickly sort this media into two categories:

  1. Business we trust
  2. Business we don’t trust

 

Knowing this should definitely put some sort of stress on the importance of the content you are putting out there. It needs to be relatable, available, tell your story as a business – but at the same time, brief enough that a viewer does not feel annoyed/overwhelmed. If that is the case, then why not simply look to your audience for the influence? You know… the audience getting the 2,000 likes on a picture of a three-dollar coffee.

 

Now more than ever, consumers are looking to read reviews rather than ignore them. They want reviews that they feel they can trust and are not paid for. Google recently published a study showing that social media is practically always the first channel consumers face before purchasing a product. Opening the door to the idea of brand ambassadors could seriously benefit your business in a big way. For example, millennials are spending about 11 hours of their week streaming video content. Of those users, 60% of 18-24 year olds trust popular YouTube endorsements. A lot of this is because this these popular accounts, whether it be on YouTube, Instagram or other social platforms, have successfully branded themselves into a figure that their followers trust.

 

This person does not necessarily need to be a major figure. Many times they are simply millennials themselves. Compensation can be something as transparent as a discount, resume builder, or simply a shout out displaying their blog or social media handles. This connection should be thought of as a relationship rather than a task. As a college student myself, I have had multiple opportunities to be a brand ambassador and gained some solid resume experience.

 

So what is the bottom line here?

 

If the audience is able to see a connection they have with the individual behind the scenes of a brand; whether that be a sense of humor, adventure or drive they are more likely to go through with a follow or purchase. And what is a better way of doing that then supporting those who have supported you from the beginning?

8 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes & What to Do About Them

8 Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes & What to Do About Them

When being in business, mistakes will happen. When using social media to help market your business, there is a huge opportunity for mistakes to happen. Knowing how to avoid them is key.

 

The world of social media marketing is gigantic. With numerous platforms to choose from, conflicting advice and strategies floating around, it’s not surprising to see so many businesses floundering about not sure if they are doing their marketing right. That’s where the mistakes happen. Off-brand messages getting posted. Too many, or too few, posts getting published. No analytics being tracked.

 

If you see yourself there, or if you are trying to avoid being there, help is here. Here are 8 common social media marketing mistakes I see businesses making, and some suggestions to help:

 

Doing More Than You Should

 

Often when a business decides to use social media, they think they need to do every.single.platform. If a marketing professional tells you that – fire them. You need to find where your audience is and focus on that. If that turns out to be Facebook and Instagram, then focus on those two platforms only. If it’s just Instagram, do only that. There is no need spending time on a social media platform that you have no audience on.

 

According to the latest data from Pew Research Center in November 2016, here is the demographic breakdown of the major social media platforms:

 

 facebook

instagram

 

 twitter

 linkedin



 pinterest

 

 Not Tracking Your Results

 

If you are not looking at your analytics on a regular basis, you’ll have no way of knowing if you social media efforts are working. Every platform, save Snapchat, has their own analytics component. Most social media management programs have them as well. To know if you are being effective with your social media marketing, you need to be consistently measuring your social media marketing efforts – weekly, monthly, however frequently you deem necessary.

 

If you are unsure what key metrics to look for, Sprout Social has a fantastic guide here.

 

Inconsistent Posting

 

Not having a plan, or posting consistently, is a mistake. Posting too much will lead people to stop following you. Not posting enough will leave people out in the cold because they will not know what’s going on. So, how often should you post?  That’s up for you to decide for your own business, however, here is my general recommendation:

  • Facebook: 1-2 times/day
  • Twitter: 5-6 times/day
  • Pinterest: 5-6 pins/day
  • Instagram: 1-3 times/day (depending on your business)
  • LinkedIn Company Page: 3-5 times/week
  • Snapchat: TBD based on your business type

 

Having the Wrong Message

 

Your social media posts should not be all broadcasts or worse yet, off-brand. People do not want to see sales pitch after sales pitch. Build a relationship with your fans. You want to use social media to educate your fans, yet build that relationship to establish trust. That last thing you want to do is to go off-brand to the point you leave them scratching their heads wondering if a 10 year-old is running your social media.

 

No Call-to-Action

 

Even though you want to limit your sales-y pitch posts, you do not want to forget your calls to action. People need to be prompted to do something. The CTAs (call-to-actions) can be something as easy as asking fans to like, comment, retweet, or share. CTAs lead to more conversions, not to mention more awareness for your brand.

 

Your Followers are Fake

 

I’ve become more active on Instagram with my business account and one thing I’ve noticed is newer accounts with unusually high following totals. When I go and look at who is following them… it’s mostly spam accounts. Even a “competitor” of mine is doing this. First of all, this is a Terms of Service violation that runs you the risk of having your account deleted, and second of all, this is an ethically wrong business practice.

 

Not Staying Up with the Latest

 

Social media is ever-evolving. Platforms change. Rules change. You cannot rely on articles and advice from two years ago. What everyone was suggesting in 2015 honestly is not applicable in 2017. When you seek advice or look at articles on Google, make sure to check the date of the article or source.

 

To stay up with latest, subscribe to a few blogs. Here are a few recommendations:

 

Trying to Do it All Yourself

 

This is the biggest mistake business owners make. Social media for your business can take all of your time, if you do social media right. As a business owner, you can outsource this to a social media strategist, or have someone in-house handle your social media.

 

Mistakes will happen. We’ve made them before – no business is perfect. The key is to learn from them and grow.

 

What other mistakes do you see businesses make on social media? Did we leave anything out? If you have any suggestions you’d like to add, please share them below in the comments!

 

If you see yourself or your business struggling with any of these, drop us a line and let us know – we’d love to help you get on track!

 

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