Author Archives: Denise Amara

twitter best practices

5 Best Practices For Twitter Every Business Should Be Doing

 

twitter best practices

Knowing the best practices for Twitter is key to conquering this social media marketing powerhouse.  If you are just starting out on this platform or you have been at it for a while, you want to take note.

Before we get started, let’s go over some basics about Twitter. Just like other social platforms, you can share images and videos as well as go live.  When it comes to the “social” aspect,  it wins over the other platforms since finding and engaging in conversations is pretty easy to do.  So when it comes to finding and building relationships, this is your platform.

The Basics

If you are on Twitter already, you want to make sure you are at least doing the basics of engagement.  These include:

  • Tweeting regularly – This means every day at least 3 times.  You don’t have to come up with something original for each tweet either.  You can retweet something interesting from someone else too.  This can be stats, an article, a poll, quote etc.  You can pretty much share anything.  Just make sure it will be of interest to your audience.
  • Always respond to notifications – This one tends to be overlooked but is very important to stay on top of.
  • Engage, engage,  engage – This is very easy to do.  Search for brand related topics and join any relevant conversations.
  • Pin important tweets – You can pin these to the top of your profile.  This helps with boosting exposure for your most important messages.

Now we will get into more specific Twitter best practices that will help your brand use this platform to its fullest potential.

 

Below are four best practices every business should be doing on Twitter

1. Video is a key best practice

We can’t stress enough the importance of incorporating video marketing into your social media marketing strategy.  Video is the fastest growing medium and it is not slowing down.  If you are not doing it yet, start.  Especially on Twitter, video is not being over utilized so you want to leverage that.  Not to mention, according to Twitter,  video posts see 10 times higher engagement than those without video.

Coming up with video content is not that hard and creating videos is not just for the experts.  They have apps out there that make it easy to put pretty much anything into a nice looking video.  Here are some other simple ways to create great video content:

  • UGC – Have your customers share their own videos with your products.
  • Go behind the scenes – Show the more human side of your brand.
  • Promote an event or product in a more creative way.
  • Go live! – Give a glimpse of an industry event or anything else that your audience would find exciting.
  • Announce special offers and sales.

 2. Engage in Twitter chats

 

best practices for twitter

[Photo by bruce mars from Pexels]

Twitter chat is just an online conversation about a particular topic.  Anyone can join and your business needs to get in on the engagement.  By participating, you are creating that needed connection between your brand and your audience through sharing of your thoughts and expertise on a given topic.

The first thing you want to do is find Twitter chats that are relevant to your industry.  Your next step is to start adding value to the conversation and be sure to stay away from pushing sales.  People will see that you are genuinely trying to be of value to the group and they will want to follow you and recommend you to other people.  If you do not find relevant Twitter chats, create your own!

3.  Get involved with the right hashtags

Using hashtags is a powerful strategy that will help boost the reach of your posts.  Go under the “Trends” section and search through the trending hashtags for one that is relevant to your brand.  If you can’t find one, try a tool like Hashtagify to find potential popular hashtags.  Just plug in your key search term and see what is available.

You also have the option of coming up with a brand specific hashtag. This could be centered around a  branded term, phrase or call to action,  This helps build a community of tweeters who are connecting and engaging with your brand on a deeper level. However, there is a fine balance between using brand created hashtags and trending hashtags.  You want to make sure you aren’t using too many of any one.  The general rule of thumb is that you stick to using a max three hashtags per post.  Tweets only have so many characters so you don’t want to interfere with your actual message.

 

4. Follow the right people

 

best practices for twitter

[Image by Pixabay on Pexels.com]

In order to build up your followers, you need to make sure you are following the right people.  Start off by finding every industry leader and give them a follow.  You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo which gives you info on what are the most shared articles within your niche and who the author is.

There is another tool called Tweepi which is basically a Twitter management tool and it will help you build a more targeted following. The tool lets you follow new users in various ways.  Here are some examples:

  • Follow users of a specific account
  • Follow the Friends that an account follows
  • If someone just tweeted about a certain topic, you can follow those users
  • Search for users by different parameters.  These include their full name, bio, interest, company name, location and more.

Final thoughts

If you use these best practices for Twitter, eventually you will build up an audience filled with industry leaders, other companies in your niche and other Twitter users who are actively engaging in conversation about your industry.

Instagram Marketing Strategy: 5 Mistakes Every Business Should Avoid

As a brand, your Instagram marketing strategy needs to be on point in order to achieve success on this mega popular platform.  Instagram is one of the hottest social media marketing platforms with over one billion users.  For this reason, if you are using it as a part of your social media marketing strategy, you definitely want to take stock in what not to do.

In this article we discuss five mistakes every business should avoid making on Instagram.

1. Your feed isn’t set up for shopping

Back in the day, you couldn’t post clickable links to products within the images you were posting.  Fast forward to today and Instagram has come a long way when it comes to e-commerce.

Now they have tools like product tagging,  which allows retailers to meet their consumers where they are online.  The consumer can just click and they can be taken directly from an Instagram photo to a product page on the brand’s website.

 2. You’ve got too many steps to conversion.

In order for consumers to have a successful shopping experience with your brand, you need to make the check out process seamless and simple.  Too many steps and you will start to see potential customers begin to drop off. Furthermore, Instagram is accessed primarily on mobile devices so consumers are that much less patient.   How easy is it for your consumers to browse and buy from your Instagram page?

3. Stay away from buying fake followers

Trying to build a following on Instagram can be tough and the thought of trying to reach the 10k mark may seem far away.  With that being said, one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your Instagram marketing strategy is buying fake followers.  Not only will people be able to easily figure this out (low number of likes but 50k followers) you are not buying followers who are actually going to buy from you.  What you get are fake accounts that are not real people.  This is just bad for business all around.

Not to mention, if Instagram figures this out, they will put what is called a shadowban on your account and they will hide your hashtags from the public and only your followers can see your posts. Once this happens, good luck trying to get it lifted.  Chances are you will have to create a new account and start from scratch anyway.  Building up your follower count takes a lot of time and energy.  You need to put out great content that will promote engagement with your audience.  Over time you will see your numbers go up.  Just be patient.

4. You aren’t taking advantage of Instagram stories

[Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels]

Instagram Stories is one of the best ways to increase engagement on Instagram.  It is great for shooting live video but you can also create “stories” with stills as well.  The key thing here is to not make it about sales.  You want to show your audience your brand personality by sharing exciting and engaging content.  You can do polls, behind the scenes, fun videos etc.

5. You are not posting consistently

Regardless of what platform you are on, posting consistently is key to your Instagram marketing strategy.  Consistency will let your audience know what to expect.  Just make sure what you are posting is relevant and engaging.   You don’t want to post something just because you need to get something up on your feed.

6. You don’t have a link in your bio 

Your website is dead in the water if you are not driving traffic to it.  You must include a link or call to action in your bio in order for your Instagram account to work for your brand.

Image result for instagram bio link target

when deciding what to include as a link in your bio, think about what your primary goal is on Instagram.  Here are a few to consider.

  • Drive more traffic to your website – Provide a link to your website or blog.
  • Build up your email list – Include a link to a subscription form or landing page.
  • Sell more products – Have a link to a special offer or product catalog.

Final thoughts

Instagram is here for the long haul and continues to grow in popularity.  Do all you can to leverage its power.  Avoid the mistakes above and you will be on your way to growing followers, boosting traffic and building a loyal fan base.

Employee Advocacy Program: Five Steps To Start One For Your Business

 

If you have a business, an employee advocacy program may be the right fit for you.  If you are not aware of what employee advocacy is, you should take note.  It is when your workforce becomes a promoter for your brand.  Although this can take place across various mediums, social media is the one we want to focus on.

Just to give you an idea of its benefits, let’s look at some statistics.

  • Content that is shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than when shared by the brand itself.  It is all about brand trust on social media.
  • 79% of businesses report that they experienced more online visibility after implementing an employee advocacy program.  In addition, 65% reported increased brand recognition.

Here are five steps to creating an employee advocacy program for your business.

1. Create a great workplace culture

For so many people, work is about a paycheck.  If you want your employees to love more than the money you pay them, you need to invest in developing the right company culture.  To this end, you want to build authentic connections with your employees.  Let them know their future is important to you by providing opportunities for learning and development.  It is also important to show fairness when it comes to disputes and promotions.  Doing all this helps boost trust.

Another way to help foster a stronger bond is work at building a connection to the work they do.  Not every company is out saving the world but there are ways you can help your employees feel like their work is making a difference.  Here are a few:

  • Charity – Any initiatives towards giving back in some way.
  • Focusing on service to the community
  • Helping employees in need

2. Get employees on board

 

[Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels]

Now that you are starting to produce a positive environment, you need to get  your employees on board with becoming advocates for your brand.  Here are some ways to get them on board:

  • Explain the benefits:  Aside from building their own personal brand as a leader within their industry, they may also see more recognition at work as well as a promotion.
  • Recognize a job well done:  Employee engagement is most definitely tied to recognition of work.  There are a few different ways you can show appreciation to your employees.  Giving them a shout out during a meeting or do an “employee of the month” program. Of course if you wanted to offer up other things like bonuses or gift cards, those would be received well too.
  • Turn to your employees for ideas:  Let them come up with some ideas for incentives.
  • Pick something interesting for them to promote: This could be a new product or an upcoming event.
  • Be enthusiastic:  In order for your employees to be pumped about sharing your content, you need to show enthusiasm.  

3.  Come up with goals 

In order for your employee advocacy program to be successful, you need to set up some well defined goals.  If you are trying to boost awareness around your brand, you can request that your employees share more posts about your brand.  If you are having a product launch, you can create some content around that product for them to share.  Some additional goals can be, increasing website traffic from your social media channels, boosting organic reach etc.

4. Create social media guidelines

 

[Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels]

It is essential that you come up with posting guidelines for your employee advocacy program. By doing this, your employees will:

  • Have a clear idea of how the message should be communicated
  • What tone to use
  • When to post
  • Where to post
  • How often to post
  • How to go about responding to comments

Not to mention guidelines will help keep your brand out of trouble with respect to legality and security risks.  You also want to ask for input from your employees so that they feel more a part of the process.

 5. Come up with social media metrics to track

In order to know if your employee advocacy program is working and on the right track, you need to track certain metrics. Here are some key metrics to look out for:

  • Who are your top contributors?  Who is posting the most and who is seeing the most engagement.
  • What are the organic reach levels?  How many people are seeing the content being shared.
  • What type of engagement are they receiving?  Are people responding with clicks and comments?  If you are posting to multiple platforms, be sure to look at each platform individually.
  • What does website traffic look like?  Did you see an uptick from their posting and sharing of your content?

You don’t need a special analytics tool for this.  Whatever you use to track your other social media efforts will do.  Just be sure to track these metrics so that you can adjust your employee advocacy program efforts accordingly. Lastly, don’t forget to share the results with your employees!

 

 

7 Easy and Effective Ways To Improve Your Social Media Business Profiles

 

Regardless of what social media platform your business is on, your social media business profile is one of the most important aspects of your online presence.  Your social media profile isn’t valuable to your business if no one sees or engages with it.  With that being said, there are some easy and effective ways to optimize it so that you ensure you are not only visible but worthy of engaging with.

Here are seven ways to optimize your social media business profiles for better visibility and engagement

1. Optimize your bio

 

[Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels]

 

The first thing people see when they come to your social media business profile is your Bio.  You only have a few seconds to grab a person’s attention and get them to follow you. This goes for every platform including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.  This is your opportunity to give a brief yet meaningful snapshot of who you or your company is.  Another important reason you should have a good bio is search results. The more optimized your bio is, the more traffic you will see and the more potential followers you’ll attract.

Here are the key elements to a complete and effective bio:

  • Make sure all sections are filled out-  This will help ensure that visitors get all the info they need.
  • Use a clear profile image- Keep it consistent across your active accounts.
  • Make sure any links are up to date.
  • Always include a link to your website or offer
  • Add a call to action – provide a link to your sign up page for your newsletter, latest blog post or special offers. Use a URL shortener like bitly.com.  This allows your links to be easily shared.
  • For Instagram, make sure you include some relevant keywords and hashtags so people can find you more easily.

Keep in mind that your target audience may differ depending on which social media platform you are writing your bio for. For platforms like Instagram and Twitter, you are looking to be more personal yet authentic.  For a more professional platform like LinkedIn, your a bio should be longer.  Here are the character limits for these main platforms:

  • Instagram: 150 characters
  • Twitter: 160 characters
  • LinkedIn: 2000 characters
  • Facebook: 155 characters

2. Keep your profile image consistent across all platforms

Your brand logo should be exactly the same on every one of your social media accounts.  By having the same logo, people will start to get to know you and keep you top of mind.  When it comes time to choose between your company and a competitor’s, chances are higher they will go with yours.

This goes for your social media handle too. Keep it the same across your accounts so that people can find and follow you.  You also should keep your handle as close to your brand name as possible.

3.  Make sure your profile image is the right size for each of your social media business profiles

Follow the proper image sizing for each platform you are on.  You want to make sure your images are sized properly so that they look correct on whatever type of device they are being viewed on.  Here is a list of the optimal image sizes for these major platforms.

4. Take stock in the tagging of photos

[Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels]

When it comes to tagging,  make sure you are not tagged in anything questionable and that you are not tagging you brand in anything questionable.  Here is a list of best practices for tagging:

  • Look into where you have been tagged
  • Confirm who can see your tagged posts and photos
  • Set up your account to have you give approval before any tagged images appear
  • Delete tags from photos and posts you don’t want to be tagged in
  • Put a restriction on who can tag you in photos

Now that you have a tagging strategy set up, you should monitor it regularly.  See what you are being tagged in and untag yourself accordingly. One thing you don’t want to do is do away with tagging altogether.  It is an important tool to use to not only have your brand show up in more places but also helps with engagement.  

5. Use the right keywords

You want people to be able to find you or your brand.  The best way to achieve this is through keywords.  If you use the right ones in your social media business profile, people will find you when they do a search.   Here are some ways to find the ideal keywords that fit your industry or niche.

Keywords Everywhere and Google Keyword Planner are two tools that can help you identify the right words and terms. Once you have found your keywords, use them in your social media profiles. Just be sure to include them in a natural way and you will see the benefits in your search engine ranking. 

6. Fill out each field

Like we mentioned above, filling each field in with useful details is important.

  • Be clear about what you or your brand does
  • State what people can expect to see if they follow you
  • Add in that CTA we mention above.

Keep in mind, platforms change.  Make sure you are checking back with each of your accounts to see if any fields have updated or been removed.

7. Make sure to use the pinned post option

When you pin a post to your profile, it will be the first thing people see.  This option is available on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Choose your best work to showcase here.  It could be a great blog post, an upcoming event, a special offer, a landing page you want to get eyes on…your choice. 

Final thoughts

Your social media profile is your online business card.  It is the first impression people will get of you or your brand, so make it good.  The above tips will not only help you create a nice profile to look at, but also boost your reach and engagement.

Facebook Messenger For Customer Service: Best Practices For 2019

 

Facebook Messenger for customer service is big business.  1.3 billion people are on Facebook Messenger.  Yes, we said billion.  This tells us two things. One,  the vast majority of people are communicating nowadays via some form of mobile messaging.  And two, with so many forms of communication available today, people expect swift communication.

Aside from being a super convenient way to communicate, messaging helps build brand trust and strengthens customer relations.  We know this because Facebook conducted a survey where 66% of the people stated that having the ability to send a business a message made them feel that much more confident in doing business with that brand.   With that being said, managing communications on a platform like this can have its challenges.

 

Here are best practices for helping you get the most out of Facebook messenger for customer service

 

1. Respond promptly

When a customer sends you a message on your Facebook business page via messenger, it is crucial you respond promptly.  Not necessarily within the hour but definitely within a few hours.  If you work this like a superstar, Facebook will reward you with their  Very responsive to messages badge.  In order to get this, your business page needs to do these 2 things:

  • Have a response rate of 90% or more
  • Respond in less than 15 minutes

You may be thinking, “Do I really need to do this?”  The answer is yes if you want to further the relationships with your customers and build that trust we were talking about.

Now, we know you are not sitting at a desk just waiting for messages to come through. Everyone is busy and on the go.  Facebook knows this too and they have 2 great tools to help with this.  One is their  Pages Manager App.  This will let you respond to customers when you are on the go as well as manage all the aspects for your Facebook business page.  The second tool is their Messenger greeting tool.   We aren’t always going to be available to respond right away but you want your customers to know their message is important to you.  This tool lets you set up an automated greeting when someone initiates a conversation with you for the first time.  You can also use it to set up an instant reply.  Something like “Thanks for contacting us, we will get back to you soon”.

You can also save more general replies so you don’t have to re-type a response over and over.  If your business will be closed for whatever reason, you can also set up an away message.

2. Organization is key

Customer service can go awry easily if you are a busy business.  Facebook offers the tools you need to stay organized so that your customers are happy and sales keep coming in.  They have both labels and notes that will help you stay on top of your conversations and any important details you will need to remember.  In addition to this, you can “star” messages that you need to follow up on and mark “done” on requests you have completed.

3. Set up transactions

With Messenger, people can browse your products and services and purchase them directly in the conversation.

4.  Create meaningful interactions

Creating meaningful conversations helps deepen the connection customers have with your brand.  In an effort to create these types of conversations, you want to be thoughtful of the flow of your responses and questions.  Here are some general guidelines to follow when creating a positive and beneficial shopping experience using Messenger:

  • Know your audience

Knowing who your target audience is and what their interests are will help you tailor your conversations accordingly.  Take advantage of  Facebook’s Audience Insights for this part.

  • Add a personal touch

Personalization is key to providing a more guided shopping experience for customers.  This means being mindful of how your communication plays out.  You want to be able to seamlessly assist in the process of helping them find the exact item they are looking for. Using some of the  Messenger features like quick templates, buttons or quick replies will help guide customers.

  • Evaluate your content  

Once you have a “shopping experience” set up, monitor how it is going.  See how conversations are affecting business and see where you may need to adjust the content and/or flow of the conversations so you are maximizing results for your business.

5.  Always remember this Facebook Messenger For Customer Service best practice 

“The customer is always right”.  Simple, to the point and will always apply in the world of customer service.  So instead of taking a customer’s frustration to heart, stay positive.  Hear them out and give it your best shot at understanding their plight.  Address the issue to the best of your ability and leave the defensiveness to the wayside and you will win over any unhappy customer.

Final thoughts

Customer service is a crucial part of your overall social media strategy.  There will always be a situation that arises where the steps you take to fix an issue will determine how a customer will wind up feeling about your business.  For this reason, using Facebook Messenger for customer service and incorporating these best practices will not only help create a meaningful experience but keep your customers returning.  It will also help boost sales which means more revenue for you.

How To Write Tweets: Five Tips For Creating More Engaging Tweets

 

If you want to know more about how to write tweets that will boost engagement, then this post is for you.  Whether you are a newbie to Twitter or you have been a part of Twitterdom for a while, the landscape of this platform is always evolving.  In order to have success with your marketing strategy, you need to not only engage consistently with your followers but you need to stay abreast of the always changing algorithms that affect what kind of content performs well.

Prior to coming up with a strategy you should

  • Analyze your Twitter account so you can get a clear understanding of past engagement.
  • See which posts have generated the most engagement for you.
  • Look to your competition and review their feed.  See what is and isn’t working for them.

Once you figure out these you are ready to revamp your Twitter strategy and show off to your audience that you know how to write tweets that excite them.

Here are five tips for how to write tweets that are more engaging

1. Use a call to action in your tweets

On Twitter, you want to be as clear as possible on the action you want your followers to take.  Whether it’s asking them for likes, retweets, comments and other engagement activities, adding in a call to action will help make it happen. Here is a great example from Dunkin Donuts.

 

Image result for using a call to action in a tweet

Providing clear direction influences the audience leading to not only increased overall engagement but more followers.

Here are some strong words to use in your CTA:

  • buy
  • enter now
  • join
  • reply
  • help
  • read
  • check
  • follow

2. Use attention grabbing visuals

As humans, we are highly visual.  So much so that visual info is retained 6x more than audio or text.  Not to mention you can expect up to five times more engagement.  Visuals like videos, clips, GIFs and images are faster at catching the eye and drawing someone’s attention in.  Because Twitter is meant for a quick message, visuals are the way to go over text.

Image result for starbucks tweet with image

Some places to get imagery:

  • Canva is a great tool for creating visuals.  Some of their service is free and they also offer a premium option.  Either way it is super simple to create your own eye catching visuals.
  • For stock photos check out sites like Pixabay or  Prexels.

3. Use video

Videos get 1.2 billion views a day on Twitter.  I guess you can say video is just one way to boost engagement of a tweet.  In fact, “Tweets with video currently see 10x more engagement than those without”.  Twitter lets you upload or directly record video files that are not longer than 30 seconds.

Image result for video tweet

There are lots of options for video including funny clips, behind the scenes, storytelling, tutorials, live interviews etc.  Creating your own video is not too hard.  Check out sites like Moovely or Animoto to create videos.

4. Share quality curated content

Driving traffic to your website or blog is always a good idea but your social media content should not just be about you.  This is where content curation comes in.  Sharing valuable and interesting content from other people on your feed is a good idea for many reasons.  Here are just a few.

  • Your feed will be more diversified and a place followers can turn to as a resource for information in your niche.
  • Curating content from the right sources within your industry can lend credibility to your feed.
  • When you mention or tag the source of your content, you are catching their attention and will encourage them to tag you or retweet your content.  This will not only help set a foundation for a relationship with the source but will also send more traffic, new readers and potential customers to your site.
  • Coming up with interesting content on a consistent basis is hard.  Curated content will help fill in the gaps.

5. Always share links

Adding a link to your tweet is very effective at boosting engagement.  So much so that  92% of all interactions on Twitter are link clicks.  Links, however, can sometimes be long so you want to be sure to shorten them using something like bit.ly.   Just be sure you check the links to make sure they go to the right page and are not broken.

Best practices for social media content mix

Not all tweets are created equal.  You want to share the right mix of content that your audience will enjoy and find value in.  Here is what you should shoot for.

  • 5 tweets of curated content: Content from other sources but relevant and valuable to your audience.
  • 3 tweets of content created by you: This can be promotional, but keep it relevant to your audience.
  • 2 tweets of personal content: This content can be personal or something entertaining.

Final thoughts

Marketing on Twitter is always changing and in order to have success on this popular platform, you need to have the right strategies. Knowing how to write tweets that will boost engagement and catch your followers attention is the end goal and the above tips will help you get there.

 

Five Tips For Better Instagram Product Photos

 

The Instagram product photos you share 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 the Instagram product photos you share showcase your products in the best way possible.

 

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

 

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 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 Creation

 

Social media content creation is a key topic for any business looking to spread brand awareness online.  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 creation

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 A Successful YouTube Marketing Plan

 

 

A YouTube marketing plan for your business is just as important as your strategy for all the other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  YouTube 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 9 Best Practices For A Successful YouTube Marketing Plan

1. Do Your Research

Just as you formulate your content marketing strategy for your social media accounts, research is key when it comes to a YouTube marketing plan.  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 in your YouTube marketing plan

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

Your YouTube marketing plan should consist of a variety of video styles 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.