Five Tips For Better Instagram Product Photos

 

The imagery your business is sharing on Instagram is key in determining the types of sales numbers you will see as well as the level of engagement you will see from your followers.  This is especially true if you are using shoppable Instagram posts and Instagram stories to help drive sales.

 

To give you a basic breakdown, shoppable posts means your followers can click on your image and be taken to the product page on your website to make a purchase.  This is the same with Stories, you can just click while you are viewing a story and purchase the item you want. 

 

Consumers are eating all this up with 60% of users discovering products on Instagram.  With so many people looking to this platform to make purchasing decisions, it is crucial that you showcase your products in the best way possible.

 

Here are five tips that will help you create better product images on Instagram

 

1. Come up with your own visual style

Instagram is a visual marketing platform, so it is essential that you know your brand and that your brand’s personality shines through in every photo you share.  Give thought to the theme you want your Instagram feed to have.  This means looking deeper at details like your logo, color patterns and type style.  This will be your inspiration for your photography, and ultimately, the look of your Instagram photos.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind when coming up with your own visual style:

 

  • Filters & Lighting– Instagram feeds that keep their lighting consistent will have a more professional and polished look.  If you start mixing lighting styles (bright vs. dark/grainy) your feed won’t look pulled together.

 

  • Composition & Layout– This refers to how many things are in the picture.  If you are great at styling and can create a cohesive look with multiple items..great. Or you can stick to one or two things.  Either way, you want to have a consistent look.

 

  • Color Palette–  Using one specific color palette is the best way to tie your feed together.  If your business uses multiple colors (meaning more than 2 or 3) put a batch together and see what works and doesn’t work together.

 

Here is a great example of a consistent color palette and theme from @lapetitenoob.

 

 

2. Use the right photo composition techniques

 

Instagram is all about the square photo and how you arrange the visual elements in your image is what will draw your viewer’s eye to your item.

 

Here are four techniques that work well for product photography.

 

  • Rule of Thirds

This is the most common composition guideline in photography.  You divide your image into thirds and place your product where the dividing lines intersect as seen in this image.

Image result for rule of thirds image instagram

As you can see, the cup is placed right where the lines intersect drawing your eyes to it.

  • Rule of Odds

When images have an odd number of objects in them, they tend to be more appealing to the eye.  Just take a look at this image.  How different would the image look if there were only the coffee and sunglasses in it?  Something would just look off.

Image result for rule of odds image instagram

  • Negative Space

This is the area that surrounds the object in the photograph. This technique will help you put focus on the product by eliminating distractions.  The viewer’s eye will be drawn to the product.

Image result for use of negative space in product photography

  • Centered composition

This is placing your product in the center of the photo. Pretty straightforward.  You do want to avoid having a busy background with this technique.

Image result for product image instagram

3. Choose the right backdrop

 

You don’t have to shoot your product against a white backdrop to have it be center stage.  Innocent Super Smoothies shows off their bottles surrounded by the beautiful fruit that makes up their product.  So whether it’s showcasing your product in its natural environment or using a colored or textured background, the right backdrop will help your product pop and give it personality.

Image result for good backdrop examples instagram

4. Be creative with cropping

See how this shot by Alex and Ani creates the right composition by focusing in on the image of the charm while also bringing light in that helps bring out the vibrant color of the bracelet.  The result is an eye catching image.

Image result for alex and ani jewelry image instagram

 

5. Explore Different Angles

In order to produce more eye catching photography, you want to take photos from various angles.  For smaller daintier items like jewelry, you would want to take close up shots.

Image result for jewelry instagram

 

For clothing items like shirts or shoes, you can style the items and take the photo top-down like a flat lay.

Image result for clothing flatlay instagram

 

The key is to snap your product in various ways.  You will be pleasantly surprised how changing up a simple thing like the angle of your shot can give your image a whole other feeling.

Final thoughts

 

Showcasing your products with great photography is key to having a successful Instagram marketing strategy.  The above five tips will help you create better photos so that your feed stands out which will boost your click thru rate and generate more revenue.

 

5 Effective Strategies For Using Social Media To Build Brand Trust

 

Social media is great for promoting your products and services but it also is key in helping build up consumer trust in your brand.  It provides businesses with the opportunity to engage in conversations with customers and prospects. This in turn helps to cultivate trust in your brand and before you know it, you have a community of brand ambassadors.   Trust is what will create a brand that goes the distance.

Here are 5 effective ways to use social media to help build brand trust

1. Share high quality content

Establishing your brand as an authority in your niche is key to building trust and credibility.  A great way to do this is by sharing high quality content with your audience.  This means putting in the time to come up with engaging and interesting content that will illicit engagement from your followers. This means no one liners and definitely stay away from posts your audience wil deem offensive.   Do this, and you will establish a loyal following that will keep coming back for more.

Here are some points to keep in mind when coming up with content ideas:

    • Know who your customers are and what they are interested in.
    • Look to your competitors to see what they are sharing that is working.
    • See what your competitors content is lacking.
    • Come up with better content by filling the gaps left by competitors.

2. Use social media for customer service

Consumers want to be able to reach their favorite brands easily.  Social media provides a great way for them to not only get answers to questions but to also interact with your brand.  You want to make sure to have a system in place to respond to any inquiries in a timely manner.  If not, credibility in your brand will suffer.

In order to ensure you are always accessible to your customers, there needs to be a dedicated person handling questions and concerns. There is also the option of creating a Facebook group where customers and prospects can post questions and other consumers can chime in.  This is great for building that community every company wants for their brand. This is also a place where you want your brand to have a voice which will help further establish that trust.

3. Share your great reviews and testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are key to building trust in your brand. Everyone nowadays heads to a businesses’ Facebook or Yelp page to see how many stars they have before buying.  If you have positive reviews, consumers will convert that much faster.

For this reason, you need to have a system in place for your customers to leave reviews.  That way when people checkout what people have to say, they will feel more confident in moving forward with a purchase.  Social proof y’all.  It is everything.  Here are a few ways you can ask for reviews and testimonials:

  • Run an email campaign.
  • Prompt a review after a successful transaction via email or mobile app.
  • Create a page on your website where visitors can submit a testimonial.
  • Ask for Reviews from Your LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.

Now let’s be real, you are not going to have five star reviews across the board.  Even still, a bad review can be turned into something positive.  The key is to face it head on.  So many times you see companies only respond to the positive reviews with a big thank you.  The not so nice reviews are ignored in the hopes they will just go away.  Well they are not going anywhere.  Respond to these reviews in a polite manner and do what you can to fix what went wrong.  No one expects perfection and if consumers see you making a point to address even the negative reviews, they will get a sense of your brand’s reliability and transparency.

4. Make sure your website is top notch

When people click through to your website from Facebook or anywhere else, you are taking them to your business card.  Your website is essential in building trust so you need to make sure it is chock full of all the essential information a consumer would want to see from a business they are thinking of purchasing from.  Here is a list of things your website should have:

  • All relevant contact details – A customer service number, an email address and all your social media handles.
  • Cohesive branding – This means your logo, content and messaging is all in sync.
  • A video introduction – Let people know who you are and what your story is (big trust inducer).
  • Make sure your content is fresh– You don’t want outdated content on your site.  People will run in the other direction.
  • Have a blog –  Writing a blog is helpful in so many ways.  It helps with SEO and you have the opportunity to really become that resource that people turn to for valuable and interesting content.  The key is to post consistently. Oh, and of course share your posts on all your social media channels.
  • Your website must be optimized for mobile – This should go without saying.  Everyone is on a device.  If someone reaches your site and it can’t be viewed properly, you will definitely lose customers.

5. Ask for feedback

Whether you are a company just starting out or you have been in business for years, your customers’ feedback is important.  This feedback can from social media, a survey or online reviews.  Wherever you get it from, value it and learn from it.  Their feedback will give you an idea of how your brand is being perceived and how you can improve it.

Final thoughts

Building brand trust is an ongoing process that takes both time and effort.  The tips above will help you further gain the trust of your customers, increase brand loyalty and ultimately, boost sales.

15 Online Sources For Social Media Content Inspiration

 

Sharing content that is valuable, relevant and interesting to your audience is key to success on any social media platform.  This task is not always so easy.  However, there are so many places to find inspiration for your next post.

Here are 15 awesome sources for social media content when you need some inspiration.

1. Questions from customers

Customers will always have tons of questions when it comes to your products/services.  If one person is asking, there is likely plenty more wondering the same thing.  Generating posts from these questions is a great way to provide answers and further open up a conversation where your audience can get involved. A fun way to address the  questions is to dedicate a day to them like a #TipTuesday.

In order to generate some website traffic out of this, don’t share the complete answer in your post.  Provide a link to your website and direct them to click to read the rest of the post.  Bonus tip: tag the people who asked the question.  They will feel the love and this will help foster a deeper connection with your audience.

2. Positive reviews and testimonials

Positive reviews are gold for your brand as social proof is everything.  People trust the word of other consumers more than the brand itself.  So any reviews you get on Facebook, Google, Yelp should be shared on all your social media accounts.

Now that you have these reviews, take the time to read through them.  Pay close attention to what your consumers are saying, both the negative and positive.  Perhaps they share something that you can address further in a blog post (which you will then share on social media).

3. See what your competitors are sharing

Being able to see what your competitors are sharing is an awesome benefit to social media.  See what they are sharing and what they are saying.  Pay close attention to what content is seeing the most reactions, comments, retweets etc.  What type of language are they using? What are they sharing?  Take notes and see how you can use what is working for them into your content strategy.

4. What is happening in your local community

If you have a brick and mortar, you have the benefit of using content right from your own backyard.  Put a list together of all your local blogs and news websites.  Be sure to bookmark them and also create a RSS feed.

You want to pay attention to the news that will make people feel good and warm inside.  Think any special events, local charities, best restaurants, places that are opening, local teams etc.

5. World news

There is so much strange yet interesting news happening around the world.  You know your audience best but you can find anything from bizarre, amazing as well as sad news.  Reddit and Google News are 2 good places to seek content.

6. Pinterest

We all love Pinterest for the amazing recipes and diy tips but it is also a treasure trove of potential content ideas.  Come up with your keywords and plug them into the search bar.  You will no doubt come up with tons of relevant pins.

7. Google Trends

 Google Trends is a super useful tool that can help you generate content ideas.  With this tool you will see what is popular and trending online.  Take it one step further and set up  Google Alerts.  Set it up for daily intervals and you won’t miss out on anything.

8.  YouTube

Videos are the hottest trend right now so you should meet people where they are at online. Head to YouTube and plug in your keywords and you will definitely find useful video content to share.

9. Reddit

Reddit is a great place to find potential content.  If you are not familiar with this site, it is a forum for anything and everything.  For business purposes, head to their subreddits.  You can do a search related to your industry/niche.  You will find tons of trending content for inspiration.

10. Search Quora forums

Quora, if you are not familiar with it, is an question and answer forum.  The benefit for businesses is that you can do a keyword search related to your niche.  See what people are asking and generate content from it.

11.  Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo has so many benefits.  For content purposes, it provides you with what is the most popular content that people are sharing.  Get your keywords together and do a search.

12. User generated content

User generated content (what people are saying) or UGC offers lots of content to choose from.  Be sure to tag the person you are showcasing the content from..bonus for fostering a deeper connection.  But ask first, some people may not want to be tagged and you don’t want anyone to feel like you violated their privacy.  Here are some easy ways to find UGC: 

  • Comments on blog post
  • Photos people share
  • Videos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Tweets

13. Twitter

Twitter is another hot spot with tons of active users.  Because stuff is tweeted in real time, Twitter is on the cusp of what is trending.  Plug in a keyword and see what hashtags are associated with it along with topics.  You can create Twitter lists so you can organize who you are following.  You don’t want to miss a tweet from your favorite tweeters.   From here you will naturally find inspiration for content.

14. Holidays..both national and fun

So of course you want to post a Happy Holidays and a Thank You to the veterans but you also want to consider the fun and quirky ones too.  National Day Calendar or Days of the Year are two great sources for this.  Think National Ice Cream Day and National Best Friend Day.  Pick something that resonates with your audience.. you always have to keep them in mind.  Boost engagement by asking followers to post a related photo.  You can also come up with a  branded #hashtag for it.

15. Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags, tons of content potential here.  You can come up with your own hashtags that are related to your business or you can also use some of the popular ones like #MotivationMonday to #WellnessWednesday.  There are tons of ideas floating out there.  You just have to do a little research.  Hashtagify is a great place to start.

Final thoughts

Coming up with exciting, relevant and interesting content on a consistent basis is not easy.  The online sources mentioned above will help you find inspiration that will help you generate shareable content.

9 Best Practices For Achieving Marketing Success On YouTube

 

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are essential for any business to have a presence on.  With that being said, YouTube should get the same amount of attention, but it does not.  Even though it is the number one platform for watching videos and video is the one of the biggest marketing trends.  With limitless possibilities for creating engaging content, YouTube is definitely a platform that can help explode the growth of your company.

Below are nine best practices for achieving marketing success on YouTube

1. Do Your Research

Just as you formulate your content marketing strategy for your social media accounts, research is key when it comes to marketing on YouTube.  You need to know who your target audience is and the type of content that will resonate with them.  The first step in the research process should be to see what your competitors are doing on their channel.

  • What type of video content are they producing?
  • How successful is their content with their audience?
  • Do you notice any gaps in their content?

Seeing what is out there and what is working gives you a good starting point for building out your own content.

2. Use Keywords and call to actions

YouTube is a search engine for videos and should be treated as such.  After all, it is owned by Google.  So make sure that you are incorporating the right keywords into your video tags and descriptions.

When you go to upload your video, you will be prompted to add any relevant keywords that will help users find your videos.  For example, if you are are uploading a video, you’ll see an option to tag it with common keywords that’ll help users find your video when they search on YouTube. For example, if you sell clothing and you upload videos on what to wear in summer, you would add tags like #summeroutfits, #summerclothing, # summer, #clothing etc.  Using tags like this helps widen your audience reach.

In addition to keyword tags, you need to include a strong call to action at the end of your video and within the video description.  You want to make sure you are using action verbs like follow, subscribe, like, call, visit or buy.  If you look at accounts that have an established following, you will notice they have a strong call to action at the beginning and the end of the video reminding people to subscribe and like the video.

Here are some examples on how you can word a strong CTA: 

  • Subscribe for more cool videos from [company name]
  • Call us today for more information at [company phone number]
  • Visit our website at [company URL] to learn more
  • Follow [company name] on social media

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to engage with your business so don’t forget to add links to your website and social media handles within your video description.  Take it a step further and add these details to your about section as well.

3. Don’t focus on trying to make a viral video

Nowadays you hear a lot about viral videos.  Yes they can bring a ton of publicity to your company, but that shouldn’t be the goal of your videos.  Your focus should be on creating videos that resonate with your brand and your consumers. If you do this, the number of views will come through.  Slow and steady wins the race.

4.  Come up with a tone and style for your channel 

Prior to even thinking about what content you want to share on your channel, you want to give thought to the tone and style you want your channel to have.

Here are some things to give thought to:

  • Who makes up your target demographic and who is your audience?
  • How do you want to start and end your videos?
  • What call to actions do you want to use?
  • What tone are you going after?  Light and friendly or more business professional?
  • Who will be in the videos?  Staff or actors?
  • What types of videos are you going to make?  How-to, tutorials, Q&A’s, general advertising?
  • Who will you have create the videos?  Hire a videographer or go with an agency?

5. Don’t Mix Consumer and Corporate Content

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find the content they are looking for from you.  In order to keep things organized, you want to make sure you are not mixing content that is geared towards consumers with content that is more for the corporate side.  If you want to have both sets of content available, make two separate channels.  This will lower your number of views on any one channel but you will preserve each channel’s effectiveness in communicating your company’s message.

6. Mix up your video types

Variety is key when it comes to creating your videos so try out different formats and series.  Here are some ideas:

  • Create how-to videos for your product or service.
  • Do a Q&A session with comments that you have received on social media.
  • Showcase a new product.  These are called “unboxing” videos and they will help boost attention.
  • Give a company tour.
  • Go live and broadcast company events.
  • Showcase customer testimonials.
  • Create videos that show your company culture. Think Halloween costumes or Christmas decorations.
  • Do employee interviews.  Have them talk about why they love working for your company.
  • Invite a social media influencer to collaborate on a video.  Just make sure they are relevant to your niche.
  • Post advertisements for products and sales.
  • Turn your blog content into a video.

7. Partner With Others

You have probably heard the popular term “YouTuber”.  These people have tons of followers and even more views.  You can take advantage of this phenomena by linking up with one that is related to your niche.  This is a great way to generate exposure for both sides.

8. Make sure to link back to your website

This is a simple tip but one of the most effective ways to drive traffic back to your website.  Link back to your website in these two ways:  you can add an annotation within your video or you can add a website link in the description box that appears below your video.

9. Post consistently

Even though video is more time consuming to produce, you have to treat it the same as you would any other part of your content strategy.  So, in order to see results, you have to be consistent in how often you post and the quality of your videos. You can’t go from well-produced videos to something that is poor quality. Your viewership will suffer for it.

Final thoughts

Video marketing is growing rapidly in popularity and that isn’t going to change.  If you haven’t created a YouTube channel for your business yet, now is the time.  The best practices listed above will help you create engaging videos that will help boost both awareness and reach for your brand.

 

10 Things Businesses Should Never Post On Social Media

Whether your business is new to social media or it is a veteran, what your business shares on any platform is key to the success of any social media marketing strategy.  In order to establish an effective social media business page, you not only need to know to what to post but what not to post.

Below are 10 things your business should never share on social media

1. Content that is offensive

If there is a chance you can offend someone with your post, don’t post it. Anything related to racial slurs, crude jokes, graphic images, anything that would offend either gender, should be avoided.  You may think the controversy is worth it, but it is not.  You can cause irreparable harm to your brand.

2. Unattributed content

Any form of content that you post without attribution ( i.e.  images, quotes, or original ideas) can cause issues for your business.   Copyright infringement is serious and can lead to legal action. Whether you think it is something you can get away with or not, it is just not worth it.

3. Content that has not been fact checked

If you have come across a juicy article that is controversial or sensational, take a moment to check on its validity.  It could be inaccurate or even a scam.  Posting something like this can make your business come across as not caring enough to fact check.  This goes for any link sharing too.  Always click on any links you plan on sharing.

4. Over posting

People follow your business page because they want to stay up to date on your product and/or services.  They want to be informed about deals and offers, events and other related news.  With that being said, you can overload your followers with too much content.  You want to give your followers time to digest your posts before hitting them with more content.  For this reason it is key to have some sort of posting schedule in place. Take time out to choose your content and spread it out over the right intervals.  Check in with your analytics to see when you are seeing the most traffic so you post at the right times.

5. Posting misleading information

Social media is very competitive when it comes to businesses.  You may be tempted to exaggerate a headline just to earn some clicks or post info about a competitor that is not true, but don’t.  In order to build a trustworthy brand, you need to post info that is useful, relevant, and adds value to your business page.  Honesty is always the best policy.

6. Negative posts about customers

If you have an angry customer coming at you on social media, you may be tempted to engage in confrontational comments, but don’t.  Take this as an opportunity to showcase your great customer service skills.  Treat them politely and professionally and you just may win them over.  Always remember that in business “the customer is always right”.  Not to mention the way you conduct yourself online is a direct reflection of not only your level of  professionalism but your overall business attitude.

7. Political or religious posts

Posting anything related to politics and religion is always a no no.  Any possibility that it may turn out bad is not worth it for your brand.

8. Not proofreading content

Many people’s hair stands on end when people use grammar and punctuation incorrectly.  Not to mention misspelled words.  Not only does it come across as very unprofessional, but it also indicates a lack of caring on your part.  If you are not properly handling your business page, how equipped are you to handle them as a customer?   A great way to avoid all this is to have a proofreader give you a thumbs up when your content is up to snuff for posting.

9. Posting too much promotional content

The purpose of social media for businesses is to help boost brand awareness, increase influence and develop strong customer relationships.  For this reason, you should follow the 80/20 rule.  80% should be content that is valuable and informative while 20% should be promotional.  And when we say promotional, it should be newsworthy for the follower.  For example, a product launch, a great sale, a new location opening etc.

10. Irrelevant Content

On social media, there is a fine balance when it comes to the content you share.  You want to be serious without being too serious and you also want to have some fun with it.  A great way to add in some humor and personality to your page is by designating a time for it so people know to expect it.  Doing something like a “Friday Fun” theme gives you the opportunity to share your brand’s humorous side.  Keep in mind though, you want the majority of the content you share to be  business related.  Just be sure that whatever you share will be enjoyed by your audience.  Only you know them best.

Final thoughts

The content your business shares on social media can either be a win for your business or damage its reputation.  Stay away from posting the above and you will be one step ahead of the competition.  A great rule of thumb to go by is to always ask yourself if what you are about to share will be enjoyed and valued by your followers.  Only you know them best.

7 Effective Strategies For Getting More Instagram Followers In 2019

 

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for brands both big and small to gain exposure.  With that being said, generating an engaged and loyal audience is no easy feat.  There are, however, strategies you can use to help increase your brand’s following.

Below are seven effective strategies to get your brand more followers in 2019.

1. Stick to your industry

If you have people following that are not relevant to your niche and what you are doing, after a while they are no longer going to follow you.  Makes sense no? You need to get relevant followers.  How do you do this?  By liking, commenting and following other people that are within your industry.

2. Consistently post content that is both visual and evokes emotion

Feelings motivate.  People need to feel a connection with your content.  If not, you can’t expect likes or comments and they will wind up un-following you. The simplest way to achieve this is to seek out images that are filled with emotions and states of mind.  Think “confidence” ,  “happiness” and “a sense of community”.

top 10 emotions for sharing

3. Find relevant Instagram accounts to submit your content to

There are tons of Instagram accounts that got in on the action early on.  All they do is publish curated content from other accounts and tag the person.  The key thing here is that they tend to have tons of followers.  So choose accounts that are in your niche, let’s say you sell women’s fashion.  Find Instagram accounts that just feature curated images and video of women’s fashion and submit your content to them.  It is an easy and effective way to get tagged by  popular accounts with lots of followers.  Chances are you will get lucky and some of those followers will check out your profile and start following and interacting with you too.

4. Post pictures with memes

Memes are a key part of modern social media.  Just think pictures of animals doing funny things, cute kids and motivational quotes.  Just do a quick google search and you will have no shortage of ideas to choose from.  Just be sure to keep your target audience in mind and what you think they will enjoy.  Only you know your followers best.

Related image

 

5. Engage in cross promotion with other industry relevant Instagram accounts

Do some research to find other accounts within your niche that have built up a decent following.  Reach out to them and see how you can cross-promote each other.  You want to make sure they have a similar size audience and that they are targeting the same or a related target market.

Here are some ways to employ this strategy:

  • See if you can set up a “takeover”.  You each take over each other’s account for a day.  Build up anticipation by announcing the takeover at least a week in advance.
  • Share one another’s posts
  • Co-host a contest
  • Tag one another in your posts

The goal here is to build up your following, so make sure you are putting forth your best content.

6.  Embed your Instagram posts onto your website or blog

By embedding your Instagram posts, visitors get to see your posts and interact with them without leaving your website.  Furthermore, you are giving your visitors a nudge to follow you on Instagram.  Keep in mind, though, that this will not work if your account is set to private.  Make your account public for this to work.

7. Use the right hashtags

Hashtags are key to being found on Instagram.  The right hashtag allows you to be found by people that are not your current followers.

Here are three key points to keep in mind when using hashtags:

  • Keep the hashtag as close to your niche as possible:   Come up with a topic and narrow it down from there.  For example, if you were putting out a post that was related to SEO, you could use the hashtag #SEOtips.
  • See what hashtags are popular with your audience:  Make a list of your followers and   competitors and see what hashtags they are using on their photos.
  • Come up with a branded Hashtag:  This is a hashtag that is specific to your business.  It could be your company name, a tagline or the name of a product or a campaign.  It could also just be something that has to do with your brand identity.

 Final thoughts

Instagram is one of the most popular social media outlets.  In order to have a successful business presence, you need to have a following.  When you have a larger Instagram following, it means more sales, more visits to your blog and a stronger community surrounding your brand. The actionable tips above will help you not only grow your Instagram followers but improve brand awareness.

Six Ways To Effectively Boost Engagement Levels For Your Facebook Business Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every business at this point should have a Facebook business page.  If you don’t, it is crucial you get one up and running.  As we enter 2019, it is time to revisit your Facebook marketing strategy and see where you can improve it.  As you know by now, organic reach levels continue to decline.  As a business, it makes it that much harder for your posts to appear in news feeds.  In order to work in conjunction with the latest algorithm, it is crucial that the content you share is not only valuable but will also lead to more meaningful interactions among your audience.

If you are a novice when it comes to Facebook, engagement is considered your audience interacting with your content in the following ways:

  • Clicking on your links
  • Commenting on your posts
  • Liking your content
  • Sharing your content
  • Looking at your posts and/or watching your videos

With that being said, the sweet spot for your business is to create content that will lead to real conversations as well as promote togetherness and community.

Here are 6 strategies that will help you create Facebook posts that will help drive engagement

1). Create video content

If you are not producing video content, you are way behind the curve.  The number one trend in social media marketing right now is video.  People are dedicating most of their online activity to watching videos across all social media platforms.   To be exact, that numbers is around 500 million people watching videos on a daily basis.  Facebook has already put out research that shows video produces much higher engagement levels than any other type of content.  Videos will help increase your organic reach since it keeps attention for longer and promotes discussion.

Here are some video ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Company culture
  • About us video
  • Tutorial Videos
  • Behind the scenes content
  • Product demos
  • Share announcements
  • Question and answer videos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Live video

Whatever you decide to share, you want to make sure you use captions (most people view video on silent), and that you front load your content(make sure your most important message is delivered first).

2. Encourage employees to be brand advocates

Consumers want transparency and authenticity from the brands they show their loyalty to.  They are not only wanting to connect with their favorite brands on social media but they want that connection to be more personal.  For this reason, brands are looking to their employees as brand advocates.

With this strategy, employees are encouraged to share your branded content as well as any relevant third-party content.  By doing this, your company not only boosts its visibility and reach but employees get the benefit of building up their own personal brand.  Not to mention posts from brands are not read as much as posts that come from family and friends.   16x more  to be exact.

Help facilitate this strategy by putting together a content calendar for your employees.  You can boost encouragement to participate by offering something fun in return for sharing or commenting on your content. You can offer things like gift cards, treats, movie tickets etc.  This makes it a win-win situation for both sides.

3.  Post more multimedia and images

Facebook wants to keep its users on the site, so it is not a fan of external links.  Keep your feed exciting by mixing up the content you post.  You will benefit since Facebook’s algorithm favors this and your audience will enjoy your feed more.

Visual content, specifically, creates 87 percent more engagement, so every post you upload should include some sort of visual.  Creating your own visuals is super easy nowadays with sites like Canva, which offers free templates and is very user-friendly.  If appropriate, don’t forget to mention any pages that helped contribute to your post (statistics etc.).  By doing this, you are extending your reach to their audience. Not to mention it is proper etiquette to mention any sources.

4. Use Facebook’s audience optimization feature

When putting together posts, you can’t just wing it.  You really need to make sure your posts are set up to drive engagement among your followers.  Facebook helps you do this by allowing you to narrow down your audience.  By getting more specific with your targeting,  you will help boost engagement since your post will be seen by people who will find value in it.

To set it up, head to the settings option on your Facebook business page.  Select ‘General’ settings and head to the ‘Audience Optimization’ option and click edit.  Click on “save changes” and moving forward you will be able to filter your audience for enhanced targeting.

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You are able to create interest related tags that will help you drill further to reach those people that would most be interested in your post.  You can get even more specific by targeting by age, language, audience, location, and gender.  Anyone outside of the parameters you set will not see your post.

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5. Create a Facebook group

Creating a Facebook group for your business is a great way for your brand to build a deeper connection with current and potential customers. These groups help create a community that is based around shared interests which leads to the creation of natural discussions.  Customers are able to interact with one another and share questions and stories.  The best part is you have a built in audience that already has an interest in your business.  A well managed group will flourish into a community of highly engaged people who become not only brand advocates but also future customers.

Here are some ways you can use Facebook groups for your business:

  • Boost engagement:  Set your page to private and you have your own little enclave of like-minded individuals who are more apt to engage in genuine conversations.
  • Use CTAs:  Add a pinned post to specific content you want to get more eyes on.  You can tack on a CTA, incentive or offer. This can be an invitation to join your mailing list or newsletter or to let your audience know you will be going live!
  • Get valuable feedback:  Raw feedback from your customers is gold and groups are a great source of immediate feedback.  You can come up with a poll to get feedback on any subject matter or question you might have.
  • Get organic testimonials:  People trust the feedback they will get from a person than any claims made by a brand.  As you are dealing with people, if it is working out to be a positive experience, ask them to post a testimonial to your page.
  • Announce any upcoming Offers: As your group grows, you will be able to introduce offers.
  • Build up credibility and trust:  Provide value to your group and trust will follow.  Answer questions openly and honestly, try and solve any problems your customers have.  This helps build up brand loyalty.

All in all, Facebook Groups offer businesses the opportunity to educate, problem solve, get valuable feedback and generate leads all at the same time.  

6. Use Facebook ads

Facebook does expect you to spend money on ads in order to be seen.  This is why you see such low organic reach levels. With that being said, they have made it affordable for all businesses to partake.  With as little as $20 dollars, you can get your post seen.  If you can spend more, do it.

Conclusion

The goal of Facebook is to create meaningful interactions for its users.  When it comes to businesses, Facebook will reward those that are creating this meaningful environment for it’s audience with increased visibility.  As we enter 2019, take stock in your Facebook marketing strategy and if you are not employing the above tips, try them out.  Here is to a successful 2019!

 

 

 

 

6 Social Media Trends To Keep An Eye Out For In 2019

 

Social media is constantly evolving and with that comes new ideas and trends.  As we get closer to 2019, it is time to take stock in what businesses can expect in the year to come on the social media front.  As in the past few years, there are trends that are just starting out and expected to become bigger in the new year as well trends that are big and we can expect their popularity to continue to soar.

Here are the social media marketing trends we can expect to see in 2019

1. Social listening

As we enter 2019, Social listening (monitoring the internet for mentions of your brand or any other relevant keywords)  is expected to move more towards being used for both selling and lead generation.  Currently businesses are using it mostly for maintaining their reputation as well as for customer service.  Businesses are seeing that they can really hone in on those people that are looking for their exact product or service.  With social media being as saturated as it is, we all know how key it is that you are reaching your exact target audience.

People use social media to ask questions, vent frustrations as well as share ideas and recommendations.  Social listening helps you tap into this and is an area that will continue to evolve to include new possibilities.  Start 2019 on the right foot and check out these tools.

 

2. Going live

As you have read in every other social media marketing article, video marketing is huge and will continue to get even bigger.  Live video, in particular, is really starting to take off.  The trend is on Facebook with their Facebook Live feature as well as Instagram Live. Live video gives your brand not only increased exposure but it helps foster a stronger connection with your followers.

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When a brand goes live, you are not only creating an authentic experience with your audience but there is also the ephemeral factor of it.  You are boosting your trustworthiness as well.  All of this makes going Live a smart move for any brand.  Just make sure you are delivering content that your audience will find exciting and valuable.

3. Messenger Apps and Chatbots

As we move into 2019, brands need to focus on meeting their customers where they are at.  Messenger apps and chatbots are key for creating the type of online experience a customer wants to have a with a brand.   Messenger apps allow people to contact a business whenever they need to without searching for an email address or contact number.  Facebook, Kik and Whatsapp are the popular ones.

Now let’s say a potential customer comes to your business page and they see something that catches their eye.  Without chatbots, that person may or may not purchase something.  Enter the world of chatbots and you have the opportunity to initiate a conversation with that person and possibly make a conversion.

4. Influencer marketing

We are all familiar with influencer marketing and its popularity. People who are on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc. with hundreds of thousands of followers and as their numbers grow, so does the price for their services.  As we inch closer to 2019, we are going to see more and more brands seeking out other options, those being micro-influencers.

These influencers are in pretty much every sector and their following is below 10k.  With that being said, they tend to have a deep connection with their audience and their audience has a genuine interest in what they are sharing.   These micro-influencers provide brands with a built in audience that they have already established trust with.  These influencers are not being suffocated by advertisers wanting to do work with them so the marketing potential for the upcoming year is high.

5. Personalized marketing

With the amount of time people spend online, the amount of information being uploaded everyday is huge.  All this activity has given way to brands having access to insights about who these consumers are.  This has helped pave the way for more personalization when it comes to marketing to these people and consumers have come to expect it.

This is evident all around us.  Whether it be when you are shopping and additional products are shown based on what you have purchased in the past or when you are watching Netflix and additional shows are suggested based on your watch history.  Personalizing your marketing helps build a stronger connection with your customer and as 2019 approaches, we are definitely going to continue to see more personalization in emails, products, and content.

 

6. Top execs being social

We have all heard enough about fake news this past year.  As distrust in media continues to grow, we are going to see top execs from companies interacting more on social media.  This can be writing a blog on LinkedIn or tweeting from a personal account. When someone from the top puts their voice out there, you can expect trust levels in your company as well as with users, to go up.

Image result for elon musk twitter profile

Conclusion

Social media is and continues to be about creating meaningful social interactions. In order to remain relevant in today’s economy, businesses need to stay up to date on the latest trends and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.  Here’s to 2019 and all the exciting growth and change we can expect to see on the social media front. Cheers!

Six Ways To Boost Engagement With Instagram Stories In 2019

With over 400 million active users on a daily basis, Instagram Stories is one of the best ways to boost engagement on Instagram.  Lets face it, since this feature has launched, I definitely find myself looking at who has a little circle at the top before I go scrolling through my feed.  That spells something huge for brands.  So let’s dive right in and talk about what things you can be doing now to create even more engagement with your stories.

Here are six ways to boost engagement with Instagram stories in 2019.

1. Polls, Swipe Meter And Questions

Instagram is always coming out with new ways to help make stories more engaging.  They have launched the ability to ask questions with their “ask me anything” feature, you can now conduct polls to get your audience’s opinion on a number of things and their swipe meter which lets you survey your audience and ask them their thoughts on something.  These features really help boost interaction with your followers while giving you ideas for future content.

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2. Swipe Up Feature

Have 10k followers or more?  You are in luck because you have access to the “swipe up” feature where you can direct your audience to see more of your content.  If you have not reached the  10k follower mark, get tips for how to boost your Instagram following.

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3. Share your post in a story

Instagram’s “Add to story” feature allows you to share an Instagram post within your story.  As a follower views your story, they are able to tap on the post preview which will take them to your actual post where they can interact with it further by liking, sharing and commenting.

By sharing a post in your Instagram story, you are not only putting a spotlight on your own post but you can also share the posts of other people.  This is great for sharing (UGC) user-generated content from your followers.  Just be sure to add @ mention for their profile so they get a notification.

4.  Repeat your CTA with overlay text

If you add a CTA to your story, it is automatically added to the bottom of the screen where people may miss it.  Use text overlay and add it in nice big lettering across the image so people will definitely see it.

Image result for text overlay instagram stories

Give thought to not only the words you use but also the color of the text and the size of the letters.  This can greatly affect whether someone takes action.

5. Use location, hashtags, GIFs and mentions

Add more details to your video stories by tagging who you are with by using @mention, where you are and adding hashtags/GIFs.  When you add your location to your story, you are not only letting people know where you are but you are extending your reach to the people who search for that location.  Hashtags perform a similar task for you.  When people search for the hashtag you added, your story will come up for them extending your reach once again.  All this adds up to more engagement and more followers.

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6. Go Live

Going Live on stories is great for increasing engagement with your followers as you can chat with fans personally and in real time .  We all know the algorithm issues with Instagram and Facebook and how organic reach has greatly diminished.  Well this is an easy way to help navigate those waters and get seen.

When you go live with stories, it is placed along with the regular stories at the top of the feed screen.  Your live video also gets the benefit of being placed at the front of the storyline and with autoplay, you will most likely be getting views.  These live stories are also highlighted which provides a sense of urgency to tune in and watch.  Furthermore, once you are live, your followers will get a notification which lends itself to them clicking on your story and tuning in.

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Final thoughts

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses to be on.  Their introduction of stories has skyrocketed its popularity and the momentum keeps going up.  As Instagram adds new features to its stories, so comes the opportunity for businesses to take advantage of them.  The above tips will help you maximize your “stories” strategy by not only increasing engagement levels but extending reach and boosting brand loyalty.

 

 

11 Ways To Freshen Up Your Content Strategy For 2019

 

Your contact marketing strategy strategy is key to your online success.  After some time, you may feel yours needs some refreshing.  In an effort to boost your impact, there are definitely ways to change your strategy up.

Below are 11 ways to freshen up your content marketing strategy.

  1. Video

If you are not using video content, you are way behind the eight ball.  Video is the biggest trend and will continue to be as we move into 2019.  Video gives brands the chance to get their message across in a simple and quick way while maximizing exposure.  Here are some ideas for your next video:

  • Take a look at any of your blog posts or other content that has seen some nice engagement and create a video around it.
  • Give an overview of your company.
  • Announce special events and promotions.
  • Product demos.
  • How-to videos.
  • Customer testimonials.

2. Post content that builds trust

Trust and credibility are key for your brand in today’s economy.  The way people see your brand will have a direct effect on the success of your business.  So when it comes to your content marketing, one of your main goals is to build up customer relations.  If people trust your brand, you have a much higher chance of them purchasing from you.

3. Update the pages on your website

If you have not reviewed your website in a while, take the time to do so.  As you go through it, you may find text that is outdated or other elements that no longer serve your site.  You want to make sure your most important pages have content that appeals directly to your audience.  You also want to make sure that you have social share buttons.  Make it easy for visitors to share your stuff on their social media accounts.

4. Removing pages

While you are changing out text, also keep an eye out for any duplicate content and anything else that can affect your website’s SEO. This could be a guest post that has been published to another site or any identical pages.

5. Consider Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to keep your customers informed about company news, special promotions, new products and more.  This is also a good time to consider throwing in a request for a testimonial.  Social proof is everything today and is great for boosting business.

6. Reevaluate Your Keywords

The keywords you use are meant to boost your page’s search engine rankings. If you are not using keywords correctly, your content marketing strategy will suffer.   Take a look that the most important pages on your website and make sure that they are using relevant keywords.  There are tools like  Ahrefs, and Google keyword planner which allow you to search topics and see how often people are searching for them as well as any other relevan keywords people are also searching for. By doing this, you will be able to come up with more targeted content.

7. Focus on Your Brand Identity

In today’s economy, your business needs to have an identity tied to it.  It is how your customers build a deeper connection with your business.  Here are some elements to think about when cultivating a brand identity:

  • Your mission and values.
  • Your brand personality.
  • Your unique positioning.
  • Your brand voice.

8. Ask for feedback

Feedback from your audience is essential in keeping your audience engaged.  By asking for their opinion, you will continually have an idea of what your customers want to see along with how their needs change as time goes on. Here are some ways to elicit feedback from your audience:

  1. Email
  2. Website comments
  3. Contact/feedback form
  4. Social media poll
  5. Website chat

9. Employee Advocacy Programs

Nowadays, consumers are looking for brands to be more authentic and transparent.  They not only want to connect with the brand on social media but they also are wanting a more personal connection.  For this reason, brands are turning their focus to employee advocacy.  With this strategy, you are encouraging employees to advocate on behalf of your brand by sharing both branded and relevant third-party content on social media.  This not only helps the company boost its network but also helps employees build up their own personal brands.  Furthermore, By having someone already on the payroll promoting your brand, you are able to save on marketing while seeing a greater return.

10. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has grown more and more in popularity.  This is largely due in part to the social proof it provides.  People just simply trust a company more if it has been endorsed by someone else, regardless of whether they know them.

Keep in mind that when choosing an influencer, you want to not only look at the number of followers but the level of engagement they see from their followers.  BuzzSumo is a very helpful tool that can help you analyze and determine who the key people are in your niche.

11. Create Infographics

People are visual and they are able to better retain information contained in an image or video.  This is where infographics come in.  Infographics are the perfect tool for gathering data into an easy-to-follow format that is not only visually appealing but also persuasive.

Final thoughts

A successful content marketing strategy requires you to analyze it and refresh it as the needs of your audience and website change.   The above tips will help freshen up your current content strategy and help boost overall engagement and brand awareness.