Tips and Tricks to get you started with Social Media Marketing





Just when you’ve decided to build your social media presence, you face the dilemma “where do I begin”. You have so many platforms, so many users to connect with, a plethora of content you can explore from various angles! You should know that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. It all depends on the nature of your business, the products and services you offer, the audience you want to target, your budget and so on. It takes some time to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.



Having said that, let’s begin with the tips that can get you started.

Know the various social media channels

These are the places which can get you the right audience for your business. So a deeper understanding of these platforms can help you get the edge over your competitors. Start with the Big Four – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

It’s safe to start with one or two of the platforms rather than jumping on all 4 channels at once. Many marketers have tried this and failed miserably.

A simple way to find a suitable platform for your business is to follow the influencers in your niche. Analyze them closely and check their followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and so on.

Survey your customers or clients to find out which platform they use and prefer the most.

Another way is to find the leading business in your niche and visit their social media profiles. Let’s say they have 10,000 followers on twitter and 1000 fans on facebook. This is a strong sign that twitter is a better platform for your business. But don’t stop there. Drill down to find their engagement level on these platforms. This will help you determine which one can produce better results.

Optimize your Profiles

Once you decide which platform you want to target, the second step is to optimize your profile. This is going to help you with your SEO and will also increase your followers/fans.

  • Update your profile and cover image

Use high-quality images which represent your business and your logo. Social media is all about connecting with people. Your profile picture will create the first impression of your business.

  • Keep your description catchy.

Your description should capture your expertise and Unique Selling Proposal. Try to keep it short. When you are writing your Twitter bio besides your main keywords, add relevant hashtags.



  • Include a link to your website.

Including a link will help your SEO. You can add it to the “About me” section of Facebook,“Website section” of Twitter and “Contributor section” of Google+.

  • Add your physical address and phone number.

Build Your Audience

 

Once you have set up your profile there are a few basic steps which you can take to build your audience. First, you can invite your friends, clients, partners, and employees to the page.

Make your Social Media Buttons omnipresent. Add social media widgets to your blog or website and social media buttons to your email signature. You should always link your social media accounts on your “About us”, “Contact Us” page, blogs, newsletter etc.  

Also, incorporate social media buttons to your website so when you add content to your blog, for example, readers can easily share it. There are various plugins which can help you do that. Always, make these buttons large in size so that they are easily visible and clickable.

Once you have connected with your current contacts try reaching a new audience. Target people with interests in your niche and potentially your product or service. Run social media ads which target the right audience for your business.

Now, let’s have a look at each platform and check some specific strategies:

Facebook:

  • Advertise – target under 50,000 people. Retarget your ads for people who have visited your blog/website once. Choose your “type of ad” based on your audience, budget, and product/service. 

Twitter:

  • Start following relevant accounts – mostly users follow you back when you follow them. So it can make a good strategy for those who are just starting on Twitter. Go through the list of followers of other influencers in your niche. Optimize this list and start following relevant users.
  • Use trending and relevant hashtags
  • Find interesting twitter chats to join. Contribute to the conversation and interact with other participants. People will follow you when they see your expertise and the interesting insights you have.

Google+:

  • Get involved in Google+ circles – find circles which are relevant to your niche, follow them and build a community.
  • Join and contribute value to relevant communities.

LinkedIn:

  • Ask all your employees to get involved
  • Always customize your invitation requests

Don’t rush into building your followers. If you are not already aware, let me tell you that twitter restricts the number of people you can follow per day. Also, on Google+ you can add/delete only a number of people from your circle.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for your social presence. You need to have some patience to build thousands of followers. Do not rush into it at the cost of breaking the rules. You might end up getting your account suspended.

I would suggest you build real followers. Then, concentrate on creating amazing content that people would love. This will not only help your SEO efforts but will also help you become an authority in your niche.

Share content that people will love

Content will remain king forever, and I always say interactive content is the hand of the king. The same goes for social media. When you publish interesting, unique and eye-catching content, people are bound to share it. The more people share it, the more visitors and followers you get.



But what do you post? I have compiled a list of interesting content that you can publish:

  • News posts and articles which focus on a controversial topic in your niche.
  • Customize quotes to your niche. (I would recommend using Canva for those)
  • Posting about any new research or stats in your area (of course by giving proper citations). Alternatively, make your own research and present your findings.
  • Create your own infographics – or if you are using someone else’s, make sure you mention them
  • Post videos – a “how-to” video tutorial is a good option to start with.
  • Use memes, GIFs and other trends. Share a joke once in awhile.
  • Include relevant hashtags. They make your content more searchable.

If you are not able to achieve the right amount of engagement in the form of likes, shares or comments, then you need to change your strategy.

One tested way to boost the engagement levels is adding images to your posts. Images catch the attention of your followers easily and help them comprehend the content better.  Your message becomes more clear and memorable.

You can look for blank images and customize them (include text in them). For example. you can ask a question and let your followers answer in the comments.

 

Post Consistently but don’t go crazy

Just because you got a million likes on your previous post does not mean that your task is done. You need to post consistently but don’t go overboard with it. Create a schedule and allocate specific time to social media marketing daily.

You can also make use of scheduling apps like Hootsuite and Buffer or use an editorial calendar. This will ensure you are not skipping posts and spending more than the required time.

Now, the question is how much should you post on each social media platform daily?

For Facebook, try once or twice in a day. For twitter, the more you tweet, the more exposure your business gets. For LinkedIn, try once in a day (avoid weekends). For Google+, I would suggest you post twice a day.

Social Media Strategies for Each Platform

Each social media network has a different set of users. Therefore, you need a different strategy for each platform. What works for Twitter might not work for LinkedIn.

For example, Facebook has a more diverse user base. Therefore, it can be used to promote any kind of brand. LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B companies. They can use it to promote business related content to corporate influencers.

Spend some time researching what people are looking for on various social networks. Then, align your strategies with these channels.

Now let’s dig into strategies that you could use for the major players:

Facebook:

  • Post Videos. According to TechCrunch, Facebook gets 3 billion views per day.
  • Use High-definition images.
  • Come up with posts that capture the mood of the season or a holiday
  • Change your cover to promote an event
  • Keep your post brief and interesting
  • Post Questions – it’s one of the best ways to strike a conversation (For example, “Which burger do you like the most? Bomb or Devi’s’?
  • Add call-to-actions

Twitter:

  • Optimize your bio – include a link to your website, tell people exactly what you do and how you can help them. Be precise.
  • Use the advanced search feature to search by keywords and find your ideal potential customers.  Go through their profiles and try to learn more about them. Then, customize your content when you are engaging with your target customers.
  • Incorporate images in your twitter posts – tweets with images 313% more engagement.
  • Engage with your followers on a regular basis – retweet and reply to their tweets.
  • Find experts in your niche and interact with them often.
  • Tweet regularly.
  • Use relevant and trending hashtags

LinkedIn:

  • Pick a niche (topic) that connects to your business and keep posting consistent and interesting content.
  • Come up with great headlines – this element creates the first impression of your business.
  • Use Rich media to effectively convey your expertise to your prospects. (videos, slideshare presentations and other interactive tools).
  • Plan your publishing times in a way that gives your posts maximum exposure.
  • You can go for a sponsored ad if your budget permits.

Google+:

  • Make sure you have claimed authorship with your personal Google+ page.
  • Link your website with your Google+ page. Incorporate a Google+ badge on your website, this will enable your users to follow your business on Google+ without  having to leave your website.
  • Try to use hashtags with every post, this will give you an added exposure. But make sure that the hashtag you are using is in sync with your topic.
  • Use clear and illustrative cover photos. You can use this picture to display your new products or advertise any upcoming event.
  • If you find webinars expensive, you can host Google+ hangouts. Although it supports only 10 active participants, you can stream it online to unlimited viewers through youtube.
  • Join communities in your niche. If you can’t find one, you can create your own using your personal profile page.

Instagram:

  • Optimize your profile – include a link, have a consistent name and an eye-catching bio.
  • Use a mix of short videos, graphics, images to know what type of content people react to the most
  • Comment on other people’s content – use industry-related and brand-related hashtags
  • Use fun images from your business – your office or your employees
  • Follow your followers and also, reward them sometimes
  • Keep a flexible posting schedule – use trending hashtags
  • Carefully choose your filters
  • Hold photo contests

Pinterest:

  • Make a business page (and not a profile). Thus, you can get access to analytics and advertising features which is not possible on a Pinterest profile.
  • Take some time out and comment on other pins – relevant pins in your niche where people commenting can be your potential leads.
  • Optimize your pins with a high definition images and classy text templates.
  • Add videos to your pinboard.
  • Organize all your client testimonials on a separate testimonial board.
  • Go for Rich pins – it will add extra details to your pins.

Youtube:

  • Use your keywords in your channel description and make sure you include a link back to your website.
  • Post simple yet unique videos.
  • Interact with your fans and subscribers – thank them for their support and always reply to their comments
  • Have a call-to-action at the end of every video
  • Link to related videos at the end of the video
  • Optimize your video description with important keywords and give a brief and precise information about the video content. Also, don’t forget to add a link your website.   

Now over to you.

What strategies would you recommend when taking your first steps in social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

5 Ultimate Webmaster Tricks to Deal with Unhappy Customers on Social Media (2018)





“You can’t make everyone happy!” Cliché but true! No matter how good your products are, or how awesome your services may be, there will be some customers who will be unhappy with you and will show their displeasure on different channels including social media. In fact as a business owner, you will be receiving negative comments on social media at some point or the other.



Yes, it is unpleasant and even uncalled for but the big question is – What should you do?

Should you simply ignore such comments?

Or should you choose to respond?

The answer is ‘Yes’! Of course, you should respond. Ignoring such comments won’t make them disappear from your social media accounts. Remember, running away from complaints or negative customer reviews would only show how ignorant are you towards your customers and business.

So, the next time you find one of your customers jabbing about your products or services on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you or your team responds quickly.

Do You Know?



  • 45% of customers share negative reviews on social media. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature. (Source: Adweek)
  • For every 1 customer complaint online, there are 26 other customers who share same feelings but don’t say anything. (Source: Groovehq.com)
  • 65% customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Churn rate can increase by 15% if organizations fail to respond to customers on social media. (Source: Gartner)

With these stats in hand, it’s easy to understand how responding in a timely manner can help you convert them into loyal ones.

If you’re confused on how to turn your angry customers into happy ones, here are 5 ultimate tricks that will help you turn unhappy customers into brand loyalists.

  1. Stay Updated on Conversations – As a marketer, you should have knowledge of what people think and talk about your brand. It is important that you be social and participate in all conversations about your brand. Remember, being a great listener will help you offer better response to your customers.

Here’s an example:

Check out how this yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica witnessed a massive decline in its revenue  because they did not pay heed to what customers are saying about their product on social media on time and respond to them.

You will find that a lot of people took to social media to talk about the brand. However, there was no response from the company on the social media platform or on their website that made the matter worse.

  1. Respond Quickly – According to an article published in Thunderhead.com, 25% customers migrate to competitors just after one bad experience. Therefore, you need to respond as quickly as possible and pacify your customers. It takes some micro seconds for an issue to get viral on social media platforms. Therefore, it’s better to take control of the situation before it gets worse. Don’t forget, 65% Twitter users expect a response within 2 hours, states an article published in Truconversion.com

Yeah, true! You may not provide them with a solution at that very moment, but it’s essential to address their concerns and let them know when their issue will be resolved and the reason for your taking so much time.

This will assure your angry customer that you are looking into the matter and that they are of prime importance to the company. According to Hubspot, if you respond quickly, 34% are likely to buy from you, and 43% are likely to encourage friends and family to do so as well.

Here’s an example:

Maker’s Mark reversed their decision of reducing alcohol content in their product after getting negative response from their customers. They quickly reverted to all the comments by issuing a social statement regarding their taking their decision back.  

 



  1. Deliver Authentic Apology – Cyberalert.com states that public apologies on social media and review websites significantly impact brand reputation and customer perception. Craft your apology in a way that looks genuine and earns respect. Remember, apologize and do not make an excuse, there is a difference between the two.

While a strong apology can turn your angry customers into loyal ones, a flimsy one can aggravate them further. Also, there is no harm in making your apologies public as this will only help in building your image of a responsible company.

Here’s an example:

A representative of FedEx was caught throwing a package over a customer’s fence, the company accepted its mistake by posting a blog “Absolutely, positively unacceptable” on social media. They also included a video from company’s senior vice-president Matthew Thornton in the post to make the apology more authentic.

  1. Behave like Friends – While handling unhappy customers, make sure that you talk to them as friends. According to Huffington Post, nurturing a friendly relationship with your customers is vital to growing a successful business. Don’t ever use fake names or pictures while talking with your customers as it gives a bad image. Similarly, you can address your customers by their names like their friends do.

Calm them down by offering them something that will make things alright. Just aim at bringing that smile back on their face.

Here’s an example:

See how Zappos deals with its unhappy customers in the friendliest way possible. Check out the way Zappos interact with its customers on social media sites, it’s as if two friends are talking. This is perhaps the reason for Zappos getting 75% of its purchases come from repeat customers!

  1. Show Your Efforts – Like we said earlier, apologize publicly so that people know what all you are doing to resolve a particular issue. Though there is nothing wrong in sending a personal email to the customer, people who must have read the negative post about your company will never get to know the efforts you made to fix the issue and retain the customer. In fact, there are chances that people think that your company is too careless to respond if you send a private message.

Remember, organization is the key to great apology email. Do well to ensure that vital branding elements such as your custom logo design and company name, etc. pop out. In addition, make sure that your contact details are easily spottable. Don’t forget to add social share buttons to make it easy for customers to share feedback about your brand on social media.

Here’s an example:

Graco’s transparent use of its Twitter account helped it get valuable information about serial number and repair kits out much more quickly and economically. Apart from this, majority of its customers were delighted with how the company kept them updated during its product recall.

Over to You

An article published in TruConversion.com states that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Therefore, building a healthy relationship with your customers by giving them a quick response is vital to the growth of your business.

No matter how angry a customer is with your product or service, you can make things better by interacting with them.

We are sure that these 5 strategies will work wonders in your efforts of dealing with unhappy customers.

All the best!

 

10 Successful Blogs That Earn Huge Incomes 2018





How do they earn those incredible high incomes?

In an astounding feat of bits and bytes, the internet buzzes with activity, teeming with thousands of terabytes of digitized information flowing every minute. It is a spectacle of data whizzing around the globe, invisible to the naked eye, but conveyed in the digital algorithms and lossless-compression systems that allow us to instantly see, chat and discover the world and communicate with our friends in real-time. It is a system of machines that stretches across from continent to continent, digitally snaking its way into our phones and lives through some magical ether that not many can digest. Yes, the internet is an enormous, buzzing behemoth filled with mind-boggling, vast amounts of free-flowing data. Amongst that data is information that many of us actively seek on a daily basis, looking to improve our lives by learning new skills or achieving outlandish goals.



Those answers are found amidst the websites that litter the internet, binding themselves to one another through hyperlinks that create a complex and convoluted web, digitally spun from the minds of billions of people across the planet. When you stop to think about it, the sheer amount of websites can also confuse and perplex us. The simple fact is that way back in September of 2014, one billion websites were actively humming on the web. That’s Billion with a capital, B.

Today, nearly 1000 websites are created every single minute of every single day. That’s a vast amount of data in the proverbial cloud. Yet with all of this content floating about the untethered net, the amount of quality-content sites, the type that many people visit on a daily basis, seem few and far between. Great content seems to be more of the exception rather than the norm.

That might be why, today at least, people are acutely aware that having incredible content is something that can’t be overlooked. High-quality content is one of the primary drivers of relevant search traffic, the kind that most digital marketers salivate over. And the simple truth and fact of the matter remains that no website, big or small, can succeed today without great content. Yet, people often overlook this one simple rule.

Blogs offer an avenue for delivering that value to a global audience. They provide a hub for tutorials and walk-throughs, and an avenue for crafting and constructing resources that help individuals that are looking for useful information. Everyone knows that. We are all experts at finding quality resources on the web that deliver real value, thanks in large part to Google.

While there are clearly an endless drove of blogs out there being started on a daily basis, most people who start a blog don’t actually follow through with it. Success in the blogging field requires consistency. And it requires the deliverance of real value constantly. Similar to a great magazine, a lauded newspaper or any other types of media outlet, you have to keep the content machine churning if you want to thrive.

Not everyone gets it. Most that decide to join the fray are enticed by the hype of internet marketers, promising them the sun, moon and the stars, with the ability to earn thousands of dollars per day, virtually overnight, on autopilot. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. The harsh reality is that most blogs fail to generate even a few dollars in income let alone vast sums of money.

Yet, there are people out there that are making outlandish incomes from their blogs. Their monthly incomes far surpass the annual income of many executive-level employees, leaving most to wonder how they did it. This lucrative field is enticing for a reason, yet it involves an excruciatingly large amount of work for the average person looking to go it alone, so to speak.

However, those that have stuck to it, pursuing their dreams no matter what the costs, are reaping the benefits today. No matter where you look on the internet, no matter what niche you survey, you’ll find these wildly-successful blogs along with the bloggers behind them. We’re talking about windfalls of profits here. Not only do they make money online, but they quite literally rake it in.



So what’s considered an outlandish amount of income? We’re not just talking about a few thousand or even tens of thousands dollars per month here. What I was curious about were those that were soaring to astronomical heights. We’re talking the 7-figure annual earners, those that are pulling in more than $100,000 per month.

If you’ll sit and think about that number for a moment, you’ll realize that not only is this is an enormous figure to be earning on a monthly basis, but you’ll also realize that much of this is actually passive income. And while there are a number of great passive income ideas, blogging truly takes this to dizzying heights.

Why work once and get paid once when you can work once and get paid repeatedly by having a blog that individuals across the planet are constantly accessing? While it’s not easy, it is well worth it. Work hard now, reap the benefits years down the line. Sound good? Of course it does.

The following 10 wildly-successful blogs make the cut with at least $1 million dollars in annual revenue. Seem impossible to do? It’s not. All you need to do is stay persistent, deliver enormous amounts of value and build your audience slowly over time. Not overnight. Over time.

Please note that some of these figures are estimated numbers based on traffic and other publicly-available statistics. If you have audited financial information on any of the following sites, please contact me to update the proceeding figures. 

#10 — Tuts+: $175,000 per month

As a software developer myself, I am incredibly impressed with websites like Tuts+ that can deliver such outstanding tutorials for people that are looking to learn coding. However, Envato’s Tuts+ isn’t some newly-formed site. Founded in 2006 by Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Claire, and Jun Rundelivering, it’s been delivering outstanding tutorials and content to designers and developers from across the entire planet for quite some time now.

Today, they offer a hub of useful content and a tremendous marketplace where 2,000,000 active buyers are searching for site templates and useful paid tutorials that they offer as part of their platform. They earn their income primarily through a membership area and commissions from sales of digital goods on their platform.

#9 — Smashing Magazine: $215,000 per month

Smashing Magazine AG is a company that was also formed in 2006 by Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman, dedicated to educating those in the web design and web development fields by offering incredibly useful content to those that are looking to prosper and learn any of these lucrative skills.

The site also has begun hosting web development conferences since 2012, which take place in cities across the world and are sponsored by some of the biggest names in the tech industry. The site earns its income primarily from a membership area where users can sign up to consume a vast number of tutorials from its palette of educational content.

#8 — Gizmodo: $325,000 per month

Launched in 2002, Gizmodo is a blog focused on subjects like design and technology, while also paying tribute to numerous areas of science and even politics. Originally started by Peter Rojas, Gizmodo gained in popularity quickly. Through partnerships with a variety of international firms, the blog quickly launched translated versions of its content across Europe in languages like French, German, Spanish and even Portuguese.



Gizmodo makes the majority of its earnings through advertisements. On its home page, which is its most valuable digital real estate, you won’t find an abundance of ads, but you will find ads that often repeat. For example, a large ad on the top will be parlayed along with ads for the same company on the side as you scroll, often repeating with each scroll and capped off with a large ad on the bottom of the home page. Subsequent pages often feature a variety of differing ads, likely based on historical traffic.

#7 — Perez Hilton: $575,000 per month

PerezHilton is a controversial gossip website run by Mario Armando Lavanderia Jr. The site was formerly known as PageSixSixSix.com. Lavanderia graduated from NYU on a scholarship, and later had dreams to become an actor. Around the same time that he began his career in acting, he started his blog.

Lavanderia’s acting career didn’t flourish, but his blogging did. Today, he earns his income primarily through advertisements from a variety of sponsors that appear across the site and Lavanderia himself continues to make appearances on television as a celebrity gossip commentator and has reached a certain level of notoriety and fame on his own.

#6 — CopyBlogger: $1,000,000 per month

CopyBlogger was started by Brian Clark, who’s been immersed in the online marketing field since 1998. He was content marketing before the term content marketing was even coined. In 2006, with just $1,000 in seed cash, he launched CopyBlogger, a site that provides some of the most useful online marketing advice in the world.

Today, CopyBlogger’s parent company is known as Rainmaker Digital, with over 200,000 customers, the company is constantly releasing useful online tools for digital marketers and perpetually educating the public on ways they can expand their reach through things like social media, blogging and search engine optimization.

#5 — TechCrunch: $2,500,000 per month

TechCrunch is a massively successful blog that primarily covers news in the technology industry. Originally founded in 2005 by Michael Arrington and Keith Teare, the site was subsequently acquired by AOL in 2010. Today, many notable columnists for the blog feature heavyweights in the startup and venture capitalist fields.

Today, TechCrunch is also known for its Disrupt conferences that it has started hosting around the world in numerous locations with founders competing for a prize check to help get their companies off the ground. Its TechCrucnh Disrupt conference was also recently featured in the hit television series, Silicon Valley.

#4 — Mashable: $2,000,000 per month

Pete Cashmore started Mashable in 2005 from his home in Scotland. The site grew with Cashmore’s dedication to producing excellent content on a consistent basis. He wrote fortuitously in those early years, and in 2009, Time Magazine called Mashable one of the 25 best blogs in the world.

Since then, the blog has ballooned in size and reach, with a significant focus on social media, the company continues to reach droves of viewers through a variety of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It primarily garners its income through advertisements in various different formats.

#3 — Moz: $4,250,000 per month

Rand Fishkin is the purveyor of the world’s most successful blog about search engine optimization. The company, which originally started out as a family-run design business, eventually morphed into a search engine optimization shop. But it was the blog that helped gain them a massive audience and international appeal.

Today, Moz (formerly known as SEOMoz) generates an impressive amount of income and has been funded with several injections of venture capital. The site makes its money from a membership area that features professional tools and services for the avid search engine marketer looking to gain saturation, reach and visibility in the online space.

#2 — Engadget: $5,500,000 per month

Engadget is another wildly-popular blog with humble roots that was also founded, originally, by Peter Rojas of Gizmodo around the same time the other site was started. The site conveys advice and reviews on technology and consumer electronics. It was acquired and has been operated by AOL since 2005.

The company makes a vast fortune from advertising and employs a number of writers and editors that are constantly providing sound advice on every type of gadget possible.

#1 — Huffington Post: $14,000,000 per month

Arriana Huffington’s wildly popular Huffington Post is the stuff of legends. The site was launched way back in 2005 by Huffington, providing a very liberal view on life and politics. In 2011, Huffington, who is of Greek descent, sold the blog by her namesake to AOL for $315 million, while being kept on as Editor in Chief. She has since stepped down from that role.

HuffPost or HuffPo, as it is now referred to, makes it money from sponsored advertising revenue through banners and other digital ads across its variety of channels. It is by far the most successful blog of its kind, likely valued today at well over $1 billion, making it a clever investment for AOL.

5 eCommerce Tips to Help You Compete With the Big Kids





In a world where two internet giants own the entire eCommerce world, one lone entrepreneur seeks to steal the coveted “Piece of the Pie.” Many have failed, a handful have succeeded. It is up to you, entrepreneur, to convert leads and sell products. How will you proceed?



The battle for the eCommerce sphere continually feels like some Hollywood blockbuster script. And it might seem like you’re the underdog, nay, the sewer rat, in this game. But with eCommerce sales predicted to hit over 4 trillion dollars by 2020, there’s plenty of the market to go around.

The question is, how do you break in? How do you build an ecommerce business to compete with the big boys? Well, I’ve got five tips to help you on your journey.

1. Remove Customer Fears

Amazon’s reliance on the US Postal Service might seem like a boon at first glance. They’ve somehow cut a deal with the overworked and failing postal service to allow cheap or free shipping. But one complaint I often see with Amazon is that packages come to the door damaged.

Amazon is massive. They can absorb damaged goods returns quite easily. But it makes me wonder how much this damages Amazon’s reputation and shoves customers over to Walmart’s e-commerce gig.

As a small player, you can learn from this. Customers are more likely to buy from you if you can assuage their fears. One easy way to erase a host of unease is to offer free returns for a period of time.



If you sell clothing, clients will be afraid that something may not fit them properly. Even with a size chart, it’s difficult sometimes to find apparel that fits well. This is a fairly universal fear among online apparel shoppers.

If you can give a satisfaction guarantee to your customers, then they’ll be more likely to spring for that expensive pair of shoes.

2. The Constant Sale Technique

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Flash Sales, etc. The consumer knows that what they want will eventually go down in price. If they can wait on a product, they will wait for the product to go on sale.

The first thing you see when you open Amazon.com is a sale. At this very moment, the Dot is on sale, a big slash through the original price. Not only will people who were specifically looking for the Dot buy it now that it’s on sale, people who didn’t even know they wanted one might be tempted to buy one.

Create a section on your eCommerce site for featured sales. Be sure to include some sort of link on the home page to your sales page. You want to make it easy for customers to find sales and purchase items on sale.

3. Streamline the Checkout Process

The other day I went to buy energy gels for my ultra marathon training. I gathered everything into my shopping cart and hit the checkout button. Ten steps later I was wishing I’d just bought in bulk on Amazon.

Do you see the problem? I’m thinking of your competitor instead of you when the checkout process is horrendous.



While, yes, you’ll probably have some products on Amazon, you want people buying directly from your site. You’ll save money on the Amazon fulfillment fees.

Social login is one easy way to streamline the process. Everything connects back to Facebook or Google now anyway. And most people aren’t averse to sharing their public profile with pretty much anyone now.

Your goal should be to get the process down to 12-15 elements. The average is closer to 24. You want to be better than average, right?

4. Get Your Funnel Before the Right People

Your funnel is only as effective as your marketing. Whether you’re using inbound or outboud marketing (you should be using both), your funnel has to capture people like a Japanese beetle trap. And how do you trap Japanese beetles? By placing your trap near their food sources.

Your customers are “feeding” on information relevant to them. And that’s exactly where you will capture and convert. Native advertising incorporates the natural desire to know more with ad placement.

The top of your funnel should be ads honed to sit on a relevant page and continue your customer’s process of discovery.

5. Just Do It

I’m the kind of person who wants to know everything about a thing before I actually invest either time or resources. I didn’t start actually training for or sign up for an ultra marathon until I’d read the entirety of Coach Koop’s massive tome on training. I’ve let this tendency keep me in the research phase indefinitely.

Don’t be me. Be Michael Jordan and just do it. Just start building a website, creating social media accounts and sourcing products.

You’ll learn by necessity. Yes, it will take research and prep, but do your research as you go. Each step will reveal the next.

Continually Add Value

One of the incredible things about running an eCommerce storefront is the opportunity for creativity. Adding and updating products and services will be a constant joy and a constant battle.  Brands evolve just as much as people and you must keep up.

Your quest is never complete. You’ll always be researching and improving. For more tips and info, check out Shoemoney’s Shoeintology.

39 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers

get more traffic




Social media marketing works only if you actually have fans or followers. This article will walk you through 39 proven methods for increasing your followers across your social media accounts. There are three underlying elements that must take place in order for these to work:



You must be consistent. If you use any (or all) of these strategies for two weeks, and then give up and move onto something else, they won’t work. These need to be practiced consistently over the long haul to be effective. If you have limited time and resources to commit to social media, I’d recommend choosing only a handful of these strategies and then making sure you carry them out consistently.

You must know what your audience really wants. What you think they want and what they actually want may very well be two different things. Take a look at your analytics to see which types of posts and content have been most popular; this is what they want to see more of.

You must be a good social media citizen. While some of the tips may seem more like social media best practices, keep in mind that growing on social media is as much about keeping your current followers as it is about gaining new ones.

 

39 Strategies for Increasing Your Fans and Followers

1. Reach out to influencers: Find influencers in your niche using a tool such as Buzzsumo, and then share their content, tag or mention them, or comment on their blogs. As you build relationships, they are more likely to share your content with their followers.

2. Put social share buttons on each blog post: Make sure you include social media share buttons on each blog post, not just in your sidebar. This plugin for WordPress can help with that.

3. Post original, relevant content: This requires some outside-the-box thinking. Sharing other people’s content should be a valuable part of your strategy, but make sure to share your knowledge and insights as well.



4. Periodically channel your email subscribers to your social media accounts: Every once in a while, encourage your email subscribers to follow you on social media.

5. Link to your social media accounts on your Contact and About Us pages: These visitors are already reaching out to you; give them another way to connect with you.

6. Identify popular posts to get more shares: Getting new fans often comes down to how often your content gets shared. A tool like Fanpage Karma can help you identify the most popular posts in your niche.

7. Be responsive: Posting engaging content is just one piece of the puzzle. Respond to questions, comments, and complaints in a timely manner.

8. Hold giveaways and contests: Hold contests and make liking your Page or following your Twitter account a requirement for entry. Rafflecopter is a fantastic tool for this.

9. Actively find and follow others: Don’t just count on others to find you; go out and actively find others in your niche whom you can follow and engage with.

10. Tell stories: To avoid being overtly promotional, use stories to connect with and engage your fans. Stories are far more likely to be shared than promotional content. For more on this, see How to Maximize Your Marketing Campaign Through Storytelling.

11. Use relevant hashtags: Use a tool like Hashtagify.me to find relevant and trending hashtags. Use these in your posts to attract new followers who are searching for those hashtags.

12. Streamline your efforts: Being active and engaged on a few social networks will net you more followers over the long haul than sporadically posting on many networks.

13. Post viral content: Easier said than done, right? Post Planner can help by providing you with images and content that have been proven to go viral.

14. Post often: Optimal posting frequency will differ between networks and audiences. Test out different posting frequencies and see which ones result in the most engagement and shares.

15. Focus on quality over quantity: While posting often is important, social media growth is more likely to happen when you’re focusing on sharing amazing, quality content that you know your audience loves.

16. Link to your social media accounts everywhere: Don’t be shy about linking to your social media accounts. Do so in your newsletter, email signature, blog, etc.

17. Discuss social media conversations on your blog: Entice your blog readers to follow you on social media by crossing the blog/social network divide. Blog about heated or interesting conversations taking place on your social media accounts.



18. Offer incentives for people to follow or like you: Offer your social media followers exclusive discounts, freebies, or coupon codes.

19. Guest blog on popular niche sites: Regularly contribute guest posts to popular niche sites and link to your social media accounts in your bio. For help getting started, see “The Ultimate, Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Business by Guest Blogging.”

20. Add Facebook and Twitter widgets to your site: Go beyond simple social media icons, and use a Facebook Like Box or Twitter Embedded Timeline on your site or blog.

21. Promote your social accounts in-store: Offer your in-store guests an incentive to like or follow you on social media.

22. Try Facebook’s promoted posts: Extend your reach by promoting posts that have a history of getting engagement.

23. Give stuff away: Incentivize likes and follows by giving away free product samples or prizes for new fans or followers.

24. Cross-promote with a complimentary business in your niche: Connect with other businesses in your niche and promote each other’s social media content.

25. Build network-specific landing pages: Create landing pages on your site for visitors from each social network you’re on, and then link to these pages in your social media bios. This may increase your follows only marginally, but you should see an increase in traffic and conversions.

26. Provide valuable education without being a know-it-all: Unique, valuable content that only you know has a great chance of getting shared. Think about what info or insights you can provide based on your unique experiences and industry knowledge.

27. Use humor: Evoking emotions (positive or negative) through your posts is great for increased sharing; however, posting funny or happy content will net you more sharing overall.

28. Reshare other people’s content: Share posts, images, and tweets from other businesses, and they’ll be more likely to share yours.

29. Become a valued member in an industry LinkedIn group: As you provide valuable insights, group members will be more likely to want to hear more from you on social media. For more on this, see my article “The Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Groups for Marketing.”

30. Create topical boards on Pinterest: When naming Pinterest boards, be sure to target keywords people are actually searching for. To see what people are looking for, start typing possible keywords into the Pinterest search box, and see which keywords are auto-suggested.

31. Set a goal: Set short-term, specific goals for how many new fans or followers you want. This will help you keep your efforts focused and give you the best chance of actually achieving your goal.

32. Be a source of trending content and breaking news: Set up Facebook Interest lists and follow leading industry sources on Twitter, and then share breaking news with your followers. To find more info to share, see my article “How to Find Trending Blog Topics Your Audience Will Actually Care About.”

33. Post only your best photos on Instagram: This suggestion goes along with an earlier one–focus on quality over quantity. With users having shared over 20 billion photos to date, p

34. Be relatable: Let your fans and followers know you’re a real person rather than a faceless business; this will make sharing your content with their friends feel like less of a risk.

35. Cross-promote your social media accounts: Periodically promote your other social media accounts to your fans and followers.

36. Answer questions on abandoned Facebook Pages: You’d be surprised at how many big brands have massive numbers of Facebook fans, and yet virtually ignore the questions and comments these fans leave. Respond in a helpful, non-promotional way to unanswered questions (and be sure to answer as your Page).

37. Include a social media call to action on your business card: Hand these out at trade shows, networking events, and speaking engagements.

38. Make sure your social media usernames are consistent: If you want people to actually find you when they search for you by name, make sure your account handles and usernames match your business name. Avoid abbreviations whenever possible.

39. Make your blog content tweetable with a click: Use a plugin such as Inline Tweet Sharer to encourage visitors to share your tweetable content.

50 Free Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers





Twitter is a powerful tool for businesses when used correctly. It can help you generate leads, solidify your branding, and build connections with your prospects. The trouble is, if you have no followers, you can’t experience all these benefits.



Having an active following on Twitter isn’t just about prestige, and followers aren’t just numbers. Twitter followers hold real value for businesses; in fact, 36% of marketers say they have gained a customer by using Twitter.

This article will examine at 50 ways you can increase your Twitter followers, and take advantage of the many benefits of Twitter. The strategies below all fit into one of the following 4 categories:

  • Tweeting content that’s so enticing and/or informative that it’s likely to be retweeted
  • Following others so they’ll follow you back
  • Tweeting content in a way that it actually gets seen
  • Promoting your Twitter account effectively

SEMrush

Twitter has a great paid ads option which is very effective for acquiring followers, but in this article we’ll only consider free options (since the paid one is pretty obvious). Don’t forget to add your best Twitter tips in the comments at the end of this post!

1. Follow more people. Research shows a correlation between the number of people followed and the number of followers.

2. Use a tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial to schedule your tweets. Posting regularly will increase your engagement and visibility, thereby increasing your follower count.

3. Use Twiends to find new Twitter users you can connect with. Once you’re listed on the platform, other users with similar interests will also be able to find and follow you.

4. Optimize your Twitter bio. Users who want to find out more about you will inevitably visit your Twitter bio. Make sure it’s professional, complete and that it does a great job of representing you and your business.

5. Use links in your tweets. Tweets with links get more retweets than those without.

6. Use relevant keywords in your bio so you rank in Twitter search. Don’t forget to include your city or region name to attract local users.

7. Use relevant hashtags in your posts. Tweets with hashtags get at least 2x more engagement, and will help you attract new followers who are searching for those keywords.



8. Ask for retweets. Tweets that include “Please retweet” in their text get 4x more retweets.

9. Find people you know by uploading your email contacts to Twitter. They are likely to follow you back, especially since they know you in real life.

10. Include images with your tweets. Research suggests that tweets with images receive 18% more engagement than those without.

11. Promote your Twitter account on all your marketing materials. This includes your business cards, brochures, signs and of course, your website.

12. Use a headshot in your profile picture, not your logo. Nobody wants to follow a faceless brand. Show there’s a real person behind your brand by using a personal photo.

13. Use the Tweet This WordPress plugin to embed content boxes on your website or blog. These are great for getting your site visitors to tweet your content, expanding your reach and attracting new followers.

14. Promote your Twitter account on your other social media accounts. For best results, entice people by mentioning interesting discussions you’re engaged with on Twitter.

15. Tweet on the weekends. Dan Zarrella’s research indicates brands get 17% more engagement on the weekends than during the week.

16. Reference users in your tweets. When replying to or mentioning other users, be sure @mention them. People are much more likely to engage with your tweets when they’re mentioned by name.

17. Use a follow button on your website or blog. Why not make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to find you?

18. Tweet motivational or inspirational quotes. These are great for getting retweets.

19. Respond publically when your response would be useful to others. Instead of direct messaging responses to public questions, share your knowledge publically, @mentioning the person who asked.

20. Include a link to your @username in the author bio of your guest posts.

21. Listen in on relevant conversations: Using a tool like Social Mention, find out what other Twitter users are saying about your brand, products or industry. Respond or answer questions where appropriate.

22. @mention influential users when relevant. This may help catch their attention, leading them to follow you or even retweet your content. Here are some other strategies for getting influencers to follow you on Twitter.

23. Embed tweets in your website content. Display particularly interesting or popular tweets in a blog post to entice your website visitors to follow you on Twitter.

24. Participate in Twitter chats. Chats are a great way to engage with your customers and prospects on a deeper level. Follow those you meet in the chat, and they’re likely to follow you back.



25. Pin an eye-catching tweet to the top of your stream. When people check out your profile, show them the best-of-the-best to entice them to follow you.

26. Find new followers using Ignitwit. Choose the topics you’re interested in and receive a list of users you should follow. They will even tell you who has chosen not to follow you back…giving you the ability to unfollow uninterested parties.

27. Ask your email subscribers to follow you on Twitter. Let them know about interesting discussions, chats or topics they can expect to find if they follow you.

28. Help others rather than just pushing your own stuff. Twitter is about helping, making connections and providing great content, not about selling your stuff. Become known as someone who puts the needs of others first, and your follower count will grow organically.

29. Use Twitter search to find users who share your interests. Follow them, engage with their content and wait for them to follow you back!

30. Participate in Follow Friday (#FF). Regularly add new followers and suggest users others should follow. Getting connected and being a connector are both key to increasing your follower count.

31. Retweet influencers and give valuable feedback. Check out this post for details on how to use this technique to get influencers to notice and follow you!

32. Tweet the same content multiple times. Moz estimates the lifespan of a tweet at around 18 minutes. How many of your followers are actually on Twitter in those 18 minutes? Tweet out your links multiple times over the course of a day or two to give your tweets as much visibility as possible.

33. @mention users in your tweets, asking them for input. It’s hard to resist responding to a question when you’re asked by name!

34. Link to your Twitter profile on your other social media profiles.

35. Always reply to questions. Not only is this just good etiquette, but it sends the signal that you actually notice and care about your followers, and that you’re worth following.

36. Post engaging, informative content. This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Posting what you had for lunch, or your opinions about world politics, or random thoughts about life are fine, but without a solid base of valuable, relevant content, your follower count will never increase.

37. Utilize social proof by embedding a follow button with a counter on your website or blog.

38. Tweet often, but not in bursts. A Korean research study showed that a common reason why people unfollow is due to too many tweets in a short period of time.

39. Try tweeting between 1pm and 3pm when Twitter traffic is at its peak.

40. Be a generous retweeter. People like to know you’re not only listening, but that you’re willing to spread the Twitter love. The more you retweet, the more likely you are to be retweeted, and the more followers you’re likely to attract.

41. Add questions in your retweets (if possible) to increase engagement and visibility.

42. Share news that’s relevant to your audience. News is one of the most retweeted types of content.

43. Regularly offer your followers exclusive coupons. 94% of Twitter users follow brands for the discounts and promos.

44. Don’t buy fake followers! While it may be tempting to boost your numbers by paying for fake followers, these followers will never add any value to your business. Not only that, but engaging in this process may lead to your account being suspended.

45. Use Followerwonk to find new people to connect with, and to find out which activities typically drive the most new followers to your account.

46. Find and follower your LinkedIn connections on Twitter. Here’s how to do it.

47. Make sure you have a tweet button next to each and every post on your blog.

48. Don’t focus on yourself. Tweets that contain a self-reference get retweeted less often than those that don’t.

49. Use Twitter cards to increase visibility and engagement. Add some simple code to your site, and anytime someone tweets your content, the rich media you’ve included (images, videos, etc.) will show alongside their tweet.

50. Use words like ‘you’, ‘twitter’, ‘please’ and ‘retweet’, that are more likely to get retweeted. Some words to avoid in your tweets? ‘Game’, ‘going’, ‘haha’ and ‘lol’.

 

How To Get 250,000 Real Facebook Followers In Under A Month





Okay, before we get started, I want to differentiate between purchased followers and real followers on Facebook. You can do any type of Google search and find hundreds of websites that will have their robot and spam account followers go and like your facebook page in just a few hours. And if you do that, you will ruin your Facebook page. You see, Facebook has an algorithm that looks for these types of activities. And if they find that your page is indulging in a quick fix, they will penalize you. Going forward your organic reach will be stymied and your page will never have the potential it could have had if you had built it the correct way.



Now, even though we’re going to be discussing real followers, this doesn’t mean you didn’t pay for them. Instead, you’ll be paying Facebook. Because Facebook has become a pay-to-play network for businesses. They just want to make sure that you’re paying them and not someone else. And when I say you’ll be paying for them, I mean you’ll be spending promotion dollars to attract them.

Alright, so is it possible to get a quarter of a million people to like your page in under a month? Yes. It’s actually quite easy when you follow a set plan. I’ve done it myself several times over for pages that my agency owns and operates.

You will need time and money to accomplish this. If you’re expecting to be able to do it for free, then it is still possible, but it is ridiculously unlikely that you can accomplish it in the time frame laid out.

One quick note before we begin. There’s the possibility of “boosting” your page on Facebook which will attract people to like and follow your page. You can get people to like your page for anywhere from 50 cents to 5 dollars per follower on average. This is not that strategy. Instead, we’ll be targeting a cost per new follower well below 5 cents.

First Step



You’ll first want to identify an audience that has a significant number attached to it. By this I mean you want to choose who will be fans of your Facebook page. And you’ll want to ensure that there are enough of them to warrant a 250,000 follower number. Thus, if you’re creating a Facebook page for dog owners, choose dog owners. Do not choose hairless chihuahua owners who live in Arizona. That second audience is far too small and you’ll never gain your desired following.

Once you’ve identified them, you’ll want to create a saved audience in the Facebook ads platform for this group. I recommend creating a half dozen versions of the audience and target them in different ways. For instance, you can choose people who like pages about dogs. You can also target people who follow other popular dog pages. There are even ways to target people based on their buying habits. So, create a few different ways that you’re going to target dog owners (again, the audience we’re using as an example).

Second Step

Set up your Facebook page and fill in all the pertinent information. I also recommend creating an Instagram page at the same time since you can receive a lot of collateral benefits on Instagram from your activities on Facebook. For example, one of the pages that I’ve created on Facebook reached the 250,000 follower mark and the Instagram page reached 30,000 followers in that same time with almost no additional effort.

Third Step

You’ll now want to find out what your audience is engaging with. Go to pages that speak to your target audience and study the posts they are putting up. Find out which ones are getting the most likes and shares. Then create a posting calendar for your page and emulate those posts. For instance, if you notice that people engage with cute images of dogs (which they do) at a high rate, then you’ll want to source as many of these posts as you can. They may also engage with training tips (which they do), so you’ll also want to work posts in about that topic as well.

On average you’ll want to post at a minimum of 4 to 6 times per day. And spend a few days populating your page with posts before you start any type of promotion. That way the page looks like it’s been around for a while. You have a higher chance of people following your page if they see some history.

Fourth Step

You’ll now want to boost every single post you publish. I recommend using a set small amount per post. Usually this is $5 to $10. And you’ll want to boost them for just one day.



As a quick cheat sheet, images will get the most engagements in terms of reactions (likes, love, laugh), shares, and comments. Videos will receive a lot of views, but less actions. Updates are third in reach, and link shares are dead last in the amount of people you can reach for the same amount of money. So, I would put most of your time into image posts at first.

Fifth Step

The reason you’ll be boosting every post is because you’re looking for the outliers when it comes to cost per engagement. Some posts can cost 10 cents per engagement and others can be upwards of $1 per engagement (a terrible post if that’s the case). But there are some lucky few that will be below two cents per engagement, and some even less than a penny. These are the ones you’re looking for. As you skim the data, find the posts that did extremely well on a cost per engagement basis and then go back to those posts and boost them with more budget.

You can spend as much as you want, but watch for diminishing returns. They eventually start costing more per engagement as time goes on. And it varies on how much boosting each post can handle. I’ve had some posts that I’ve spent thousands of dollars on and I’ve had others that lose their efficacy after 50 dollars.

Sixth Step

Now you have to start growing your following. People will have liked and followed your page based on some of your promotions. But the quick way to get new followers is to go through the posts that received reactions, click on the folks that reacted, and now you can invite those people to “like” your page for free. There is a limit on how many people you can invite per day, and it varies based on account.

I’d recommend adding a few admins to your page in order to increase the amount of invites you can send out. For instance, when I first started doing this, I would add my wife’s Facebook account as an admin on my pages and then have her go through and invite her daily limit after I was done. If you have coworkers, friends, or family, I’d recommend using them.

This will allow you to gain thousands of followers for extremely cheap since you were able to get them to react to your page for pennies, if not less, and you can invite them for free, you’ve basically reduced your cost to almost nothing for a new follower.

Seventh Step

You continue this process every single day for an entire month. At about the two week period you’ll want to now start “boosting” your page, as I mentioned above. If you have a great following and engaging content, you should now be able to get your paid followers down below 20 cents if you’re targeting your audience correctly. If you can’t, then don’t turn that campaign on. It’s not worth it.

And that’s how you can achieve over 250,000 followers in just under a month. As I’d mentioned it’s been accomplished a few times by myself and my team. It does take a lot of work and your budget will probably end up being around $5,000 to $10,000 in paid advertising with Facebook.

And if you’re wondering if it’s worth it. The answer is a resounding yes. If I were to simply boost a post to a target audience on Facebook, I can expect to reach 1,000 people for every $5 to $20 spent. With an audience of 250,000 my average post reaches over 150,000 every time I post. If I post 4 to 10 times per day, I can make up my costs in a few weeks.

 

50 Free Ways To Increase Your Instagram Followers





If you’re just starting out on Instagram, posting photos can be pretty depressing. When all your excitement and hard work are met by nothing more than few likes from a handful of followers, it’s easy to get discouraged, even if you know the benefits of social media marketing, which are waiting if you can find success with your initiative.



This article will help by giving you 50 ideas for increasing your followers and getting them to interact with your posts. You’ll notice that many of the ideas below are focused on increasing engagement (likes and comments), and here’s why: lasting engagement naturally leads to followers.

As you implement the strategies below, keep in mind that there’s no substitute for regularly posting engaging, creative and relevant images that your audience loves. Use the tips below liberally; just don’t forget that engagement should always be your underlying goal.

SEMrush

1. Use hashtags that are known to help increase followers: #FF (Follow Friday), #instafollow, #l4l (Like for like), #tagforlikes and #followback.

2. Like hundreds of random pictures from people in your target audience. Neil Patel has used this strategy and found that for every 100 likes he did of random pictures, he received 6.1 more followers.

3. Hold a contest on Instagram. One of the easiest ways to do this is to post an image promoting the contest and then ask people to like it in order to enter.

4. Promote your Instagram account on your other social media accounts and profiles. Tell people what they can expect once they’re following you (e.g., behind-the-scenes photos, sneak peeks, coupons, etc.)

5. Like and comment on other users’ photos. This is the most natural way to gain new followers.

6. Use popular hashtags so your images get found in search. Some of the most popular ones are #love, #instagood, #tbt and #photooftheday.

7. Post photos at 2am or 5pm. Research shows that these are the most effective times to post.

8. Search for and follow people who are using popular hashtags like #followme and #likeforlike. Many will follow you back!



9. Remember that quality beats quantity. Edit your account to leave only the best images. No one wants to follow someone with thousands of pointless images of food or other random shots.

10. Use the Mayfair filter. According to Track Maven’s Fortune 500 Instagram Report, it’s the single most effective filter for marketers.

11. Make sure your bio is complete. Include relevant keywords and hashtags, and a link back to your site. Above all, don’t be spammy; this is a guarantee that no one who reads your profile will follow you!

12. Ask questions in the captions of your photos. This is a great way to increase engagement.

13. Post on Sundays: Sundays see the fewest images posted, so posting then may get your images more visibility.

14. Be consistent. Know why you’re posting, and who you’re posting for. Be consistent about how you use the platform and your follower count will grow organically.

15. Use calls to action in your photo captions. Get your followers engaged by asking them to take further action (e.g., “Let me know what you think in the comments”).

16. Don’t be afraid to post often. While you might expect that businesses that post many times a day receive lower overall engagement, research suggests this isn’t the case. According to Union Metrics, there is no relationship between the amount of images posted and the engagement received….at least not a negative one.

17. Follow your suggested users. Go into your settings and click the gear icon in the upper right of your screen. Click ‘Find and invite friends’, and then ‘Suggested Users’.

18. Use Piqora to help you see which types of photos are leading to the highest engagement….then post more of them.

19. Use geotagging, especially if you’re a local business. When you geotag your photos, others who post photos in your region will see your images on the location’s page. This is a great way to catch the attention of local users.

20. Use Later to schedule and publish your Instagram posts. Posting consistently is key to growing your follower count over time.

21. Really engage. All the tips, tricks and strategies in the world can’t compete with really engaging on the platform. Be intentional about liking photos, and leaving thoughtful comments. Regularly find new people to follow, and engage with them by responding to comments and questions.

22. Combine multiple photos into a collage for maximum engagement. Use a tool like PicFrame to combine up to 9 photos or videos.

23. Ask an influencer to mention or tag your product. If you know of an influential Instagram user who has used your product, ask for a mention. It just could work…and will likely result in a ton of new followers.

24. Post photos of things that are blue. Some research suggests these get 24% more likes than photos that are orange or red.

25. Post on Wednesdays: Images posted mid-week receive slightly more engagement than those posted on other days.



26. Use the word ‘comment’ in your captions. Some research suggests these get significantly more comments than those without.

27. Use faces in your photos. Dan Zarella found that images with faces received 35% more likes than those without.

28. Tag people in your photos when relevant. This ensures those photos show up in those users’ feeds, and makes it more likely they’ll share them.

29. The lighter the better: Photos that have 65-85% light get 24% more likes than those that are less than 45% light.

30. Create a branded hashtag. Come up with a hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. This encourages your fans to engage with your brand, and increases your visibility at the same time.

31. Share behind-the-scenes photos. Candid photos convey the personality behind your brand. Share images that show there are real people behind your logo.

32. Invite a guest to post on your account. If you have connections with an influential Instagrammer, consider asking him or her to guest post on your account. This is a surefire strategy for sending your engagement through the roof; not to mention all the new followers you’ll receive.

33. Share user-generated images. Re-share your followers images, especially ones where they’ve mentioned your product(s). This will encourage others to share photos of your products as well.

34. Consider canning the filters. Some research suggests that images with no filters get the most engagement.

35. Promote your Instagram account to your email subscribers. Periodically share an image in your newsletter and link it up to your Instagram account.

36. Promote your Instagram username on your physical marketing materials: signs, car decals, product sheets, etc.

37. Follow all your Facebook friends on Instagram, and many will follow you back. To do this, simply go to your Instagram profile and click on the 3 dots icon on the top right of your screen. Select ‘Find Friends’ and then ‘Find friends on Facebook’.

38. Use edges and structures in your photos. Images with many edges receive 125% more likes than those without.

39. Tell a story. Use your image captions to tell an engaging story. Storytelling helps create an emotional connection to your brand or product, and including a captivating story is much more likely to get your image shared.

40. If you’ve been at a live event and have taken photos, tag well-known Instagrammers for increased visibility and sharing.

41. Use Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) to track the growth of your account. Find out which images resonate best with your audience and post them more often.

42. Use a photo editing tool like Aviary to crop your images, add frames or effects, or to just generally make your photos pop!

43. Use the word ‘like’ in your captions. Some research suggests these get 89% more likes.

44. Plan, prepare and then act. As with most things in life, being intentional is your best chance at success. Make a plan for how you’re going to use Instagram, then create a schedule to keep yourself on track.

45. Post image quotes. Image quotes on social media are huge. Overlay motivational, inspirational or humorous quotes over your images using a tool like Canva.

46. Connect your Instagram account with your contact list. Click on the 3 dots button at the top right of your screen, and select ‘Find friends’ to connect to your email contact list.

47. Network with Instagram influencers. Search for hashtags relevant to your business, and pinpoint users with high follower counts and engagement. Leave thoughtful comments on their posts, and start developing relationships. You never know where these connections will lead!

48. Use a tool like Crowdfire to analyze how your Instagram posts affect your follower/unfollower stats.

49. Arrange co-promotions with other users. Find users in a complimentary niche who have a similar follower count and arrange for mentions or shout outs to help build each other’s audience.

50. Build a community using a special hashtag. Create a challenge or campaign that your community can participate in, and give it a unique hashtag. Here are some great tips on creating your own hashtag campaign.

Remember that having a large number of followers is useless if you don’t take the time to really engage and interact. And in the end, converting followers to customers is the real goal. These 50 tips will help you build your audience and facilitate lasting engagement with your followers that leads to conversions over time.

 

You don’t like discounts and cashback. Then don’t use Ebates!





You’ve probably heard of Ebates. Maybe you’ve been meaning to join or maybe you’re clinging to the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Well, we’re here to tell you that you’re right. There are many reasons not to become an Ebates member. If you agree with any of the statements below, Ebates probably isn’t for you.



1. I really don’t need any more money.

Sure, I shop quite a bit. But when I kiss that money goodbye, I don’t want any of it to come back. Even though Ebates offers up to 40% Cash Back on the things I already buy, I’m pretty content with 0%.

2. It’s just too complicated.

You mean I have to go to Ebates.com, type my favorite store into the search bar and click the “Shop Now” button before buying something online? That’s, like, three steps that take seven whole seconds. My time is precious, thank you. See How It Works.

3. It has to be a scam.

Where does the money come from? It can’t be as simple as stores paying Ebates and Ebates sharing the commission with me. Good day, sir.



4. Freedom of choice is overrated.

Ebates offers Cash Back at how many stores? More than 2,000? Having so many options is just overwhelming, even though it means I can get paid to shop for virtually anything.

5. Paying full price is my jam.

Ebates may put thousands of coupons, deals and promo codes from major stores at my fingertips, but I’m just not a deal-hunter. I mean, I know there’s not much hunting involved since I can easily see a store’s coupons on its Ebates page, but, you know, reading. Ugh.

6. My friends definitely don’t need any more money.

If I gave my three besties $10 for making their first purchases through Ebates, I’m pretty sure they would never speak to me again. And the $75 in Cash Back I would get for referring them to Ebates would just make matters worse. Learn More.

7. I love missing out on sales.

Following Ebates on Facebook and getting access to daily Double Cash Back offers sounds awful. And getting sales alerts from my favorite stores sent directly to my phone via the Ebates App will literally ruin my day.



8. I hate getting the best possible deal.

If there is a better price for the same item out there, I don’t want to know. I can easily compare prices and Cash Back amounts for those Steve Madden booties by searching for them at Ebates.com or through the Ebates app. I can even scan products with the app while physically shopping at stores to find the best price. But, really, I enjoy paying the most I possibly can.

9. I also hate shopping on the go.

Being able to shop on my phone or tablet with the Ebates App is just too convenient. I prefer to wait until I’m at a computer, even if it means missing out on a flash sale. What can I say? It’s all about severely delayed gratification and missed opportunities.

10. I only like shopping in stores.

Nothing beats a trip to a mall. I can try things on, catch up with my friends and top it all off with a pizza pretzel. There’s no way I could get Cash Back for doing all tha— Oh. There is? I just have to add my credit card to my Ebates account, link In-Store offers to my card and then use that card to shop in the store? Well, still. See reason No. 1. Free money just isn’t my thing. Learn More.

11. I’ll just forget to use Ebates.

I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning. It’s not like there’s a magic Ebates Cash Back Button that I can add to my browser that would automatically let me know if the store I was visiting offered Cash Back.

12. I definitely don’t want to get Cash Back everywhere.

The Ebates Cash Back Visa Credit Card sounds like a terrible idea. Getting 1% Cash Back on gas, groceries and countless other things, plus 3% Cash Back at Ebates stores? Rewards, schmewards. I also get a $10 bonus after my first purchase on the Ebates credit card and that just isn’t necessary.

I guess you are ready to go now.

Grab your Cash.

Start right here

 

Best Ways You Do Not Want To Miss When It Comes To Skyrocket Your Facebook Likes For Your Website Or Blog (2018)

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How many Facebook Likes does your business Page have? If you’re immersed in social media marketing, you probably know this number off the top of your head. With more than two billion users, Facebook offers a huge potential audience for your business. But with more than 60 million active Facebook business Pages on the network, there’s also a lot of competition for those all-important Likes. There’s no getting around it: getting more Likes is a critical part of your Facebook marketing strategy. But you can’t get so focused on Likes that you lose sight of what Facebook is all about.



Getting more Likes requires you to share content that is truly likeable—and engage in ways that make your brand likable, too. You won’t find any underhanded gimmicks in this post. It’s about getting more likes by being a good Facebook citizen and working to create content that has real value for an audience that will provide plenty of value for your brand in return.

Click any of the tips below to jump ahead, or keep scrolling and read the guide in its entirety.

10 clever ways to get more Facebook likes to your Website / Blog

 

1. Develop a smart Facebook marketing strategy

As with any marketing platform, you’ll only get out of Facebook what you put into it. A well-defined, smart Facebook strategy based on your business goals will help you craft a cohesive brand presence on Facebook that speaks to your brand personality and values.

Define your target audience

Your strategy should aim to collect Likes from the followers who have the most potential to bring value to your business through regular engagement, rather than one-off Likes from online passers-by. Defining your audience personas can be a great place to start. After all, you need to know who you’re talking to in order to use the right tools and tone, rather than trying to appeal to all two billion Facebook users.

Research the competition

Keeping an eye on what key competitors are up to will help you spot techniques that work, and that don’t, so you can model the competition’s success while avoiding their missteps. You’ll also start to get a sense of how many Facebook Likes you can aim for—both for your Page and for individual posts.

Social listening is a great research strategy that can help you gather information about both your target audience and your competition.

Set goals

Simply aiming for “more Likes” is not really a great Facebook marketing goal—how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Instead, you should create goals based on S.M.A.R.T. principles, meaning they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

This allows you to circle back on a regular basis to see whether you’re meeting your targets, and either celebrate your success and develop new stretch goals, or consider strategic shifts to get you back on track.

2. Craft a great Page

This may sound obvious, but sometimes the most important points can be easy to overlook: If you want to collect Likes, you’ve got to have a great Page and consistently great posts. Your Facebook Page is made up of many parts, and it’s important to make sure they are all complete, professional, and on-brand. Here are some key components to consider.

Use all elements of the About section

The About section of your Facebook Page allows you to provide key business details to people who are scanning for specific information. In addition to your contact information, you can add the date your business was founded, provide a company overview, or even add a list of brand milestones.

All of this information helps build your credibility and convince potential followers that your Page is worthy of a Like. It also helps you appear in searches outside of Facebook, directing users to your Page when they’re using search engines to look for information about your product or business.

Visit California uses their About section to tell the story of travel in the state, and manages to get a number of important keywords into their Story section without keyword stuffing.

how to get more likes on facebook



Facebook also views a Page with a complete profile as more credible, which gives you an advantage in the Facebook algorithm (more on that below) and will help ensure more people see your posts.

Choose compelling cover and profile photos

Your profile and cover photos create the first visual impression of your business on Facebook, so it’s important to choose wisely. Your logo is usually the best choice for your profile photo, but you can get quite creative with your cover photo selection.

Put some thought into how you can convey what your business is all about in one compelling image. Do you have a great-looking product you can feature? Maybe you want to showcase a photo of your friendly team. Whatever you choose, make sure it captures the essence of your brand so potential followers have reason to dive into your Page content.

Iced tea might not be the most exciting product, but Nestea does a great job of making both their Page and their product look appealing with a compelling cover image.

Increase Facebook likes

In terms of the technical details, your profile photo displays on your Page as 170 x 170 pixels on computers and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones. You cover photo displays on your Page at 820 pixels x 312 pixels on computers and 640 pixels by 340 pixels on smartphones. Facebook recommends you use a cover photo that’s 851 x 315 pixels and less than 100KB.

A newer and more dynamic option for business Pages is to use a cover video instead of a cover photo. Your cover video can be up to 20 seconds long, and has the same dimensions as a cover photo.

 
 

Pin a top-performing post

If you have a post that’s garnering a particularly high number of Likes, you can pin it to maximize its lifespan. When you choose to pin a post, it remains at the top of your Page, so people see it before any of your other posts. You can change your pinned post as often as you like, so make sure to keep it fresh, always featuring your best-performing content in this high-visibility location.

3. Make your Facebook Page easy to find

This is a simple concept that deserves repeating: people can’t like your Facebook Page if they can’t find it. Here are some things you can do to increase your visibility.

Choose an easy-to-discover Page name

People looking for your brand on Facebook will be searching for your brand name. Keep things simple and make it easy for them to find you by using your brand name as your Page name. Don’t add unnecessary keywords—these will just make your Page look spammy rather than like a legitimate business presence for your brand.

Select a memorable and consistent username

Your username—sometimes called a vanity URL—appears in your brand’s Facebook Page web address. A username that’s consistent with your handle on other social channels will make it easier for people who already follow you elsewhere to track you down on Facebook. Like your Page name, your username should be closely related to the name of your business.

Add Facebook follow and Like buttons to your website or blog

Someone who has just discovered a valuable tip or strategy on your website or blog is primed to want to hear more from you. Make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook by adding Facebook follow and Like buttons to your site, like these:

Embed a Facebook Post on your website or blog

This option provides even more visibility for your Facebook Page on your website or blog. Rather than a simple button, you can embed an entire post by copy and pasting some simple code. Just navigate to the post you want to embed, click the three dots in the top right corner, and click Embed. Then copy and paste the code into your HTML. Here’s an example from the Hootsuite Facebook Page:

 

Any visitors who click on your embedded post to learn more will be taken to the post as it appears on your Facebook Page, creating an opportunity for a new Page Like. And viewers can like the post itself directly from the embedded post, without leaving your website or blog.

Include a link to your Facebook Page in your newsletter or email signature

The people you already communicate with through channels like email or an opt-in newsletter are a great potential audience for your Facebook Page. Make sure it’s easy for them to find and connect with you by including links to your Facebook Page in all of your electronic communications.

 

Cross-promote your Facebook page on other social channels

Take advantage of the following you’ve built on other social channels by cross-promoting your Facebook content. Don’t just post a link to your Facebook Page and ask people to follow you. Instead, choose a great piece of Facebook-specific content—like an infographic or short video—to promote so that you can highlight the value of your Facebook Page, rather than just letting people know it exists.

The NFL, for example, used Twitter to cross-promote a Facebook Live video, driving Twitter followers to its Facebook page:



 

Aim for shares

Shared Facebook posts increase your organic reach, giving you a better chance of getting more facebook Likes. A share also indicates that someone felt strongly enough about your content that they were motivated to share it with their personal network, giving you additional credibility with an audience that may not already be familiar with your brand.

Invite existing contacts and employees to like your Facebook page

Facebook makes it easy to invite personal Facebook connections to like your business Page, but be careful about how you use this feature. Simply sending out mass invites is more likely to get you unfriended than to bring in Facebook Likes for your Business Page.

Instead, create a message explaining what value you think your contacts might gain from liking your Page. Make it about them, not about you.

You should also encourage employees to like your Facebook Page—both so that they can stay up-to-date with what you’re promoting as a brand, and as part of a larger employee advocacy strategy.

Promote your Facebook Page in real life

Don’t limit your promotion of your Facebook Page to the online world. Include your Page address on your business cards and corporate stationery. Designer Ana Bermejo uses the same handle across social networks and includes the icons on her business cards so contacts know where to find and Like her on social, including Facebook.

Or, if you host events, include the address on your signage.

People who are already interacting with your brand in real life understand the value you have to offer—make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook to access more of that value.

4. Post relevant, high-quality content

Facebook recommends you share “short, fun-to-read copy and eye-catching images to get attention.” What does that look like in practice? Incorporate these strategies to develop posts that are inherently likeable.

Include compelling visuals

A study published in the journal Management Science found that posts with photos receive significantly more Facebook Likes than text-only posts. If you don’t have a photo library of your own, there are plenty of free stock photo sites you can use. You could also try creating a unique infographic that conveys valuable information relevant to your niche, or even something humorous, like this graphic from WIRED that got 1,500 Facebook Likes.

Write great headlines

A compelling headline is key to getting attention for your post—but don’t veer into the realm of clickbait. Facebook offers these tips for crafting a great headline:

  • Make your headlines informative
  • Use your headline to set appropriate expectations about what the post contains
  • Be clear and accurate

Don’t be too promotional

Sure, you’re trying to promote your brand on Facebook—but people want their feeds to be entertaining and informative, not pushy and packed with sales pitches. In particular, Facebook found in a survey that followers do not like posts that:

  • Direct people to purchase a product or download an app (without offering any other valuable content or information)
  • Direct people to enter a contest without providing any context about why it’s relevant to the Page or followers’ interests
  • Reuse content from ads

That means these posts are less likely to generate Facebook Likes from the followers who see them. But they are also less likely to be seen in the first place, since Facebook specifically limits organic reach for Pages that are too promotional.

Give followers what they want

How do you know what type of content people want from you on Facebook? By listening to them. If the majority of the comments on your Page are customer service inquiries, try creating content that focuses on helping followers use your product better. For example, try a short video featuring “hacks” or alternative uses for your product, or a series of “how-to” videos or photos. Experiment, and pay attention to what people respond to.

Invest in video

On that note, if you seriously want to increase Facebook Likes and you don’t already have a Facebook video strategy, it’s time to create one. Our post outlining the 4 key ingredients of a perfect social media video is a great place to start. Once you’ve got those principles nailed, check out our post with six types of video social media marketers need to try, including live video and 360 video.

5. Engage consistently and at the right times

Post consistently

Facebook itself notes that “being consistent in the quality and types of posts you create can help people know what kinds of messages to expect from you and how they tie into your business.” Create a content calendar and schedule posts in advance to help keep your Facebook content organized and consistent.

Post at the right time

Hootsuite’s social media marketing specialists have found that doing so increases engagement, including Facebook Likes. You’ll need to do your own research to determine what works best for your audience, but we’ve found the optimal times to be 12–3 p.m. weekdays and 12–1 p.m. on weekends.

Be responsive and human

If you want more people to like your Facebook Page, you need to engage with those who already do. Unanswered comments or questions on a Facebook Page can be a huge deterrent for potential new fans. Remember, Facebook is a social network, and being sociable is a key way to make your brand—and your Page—more likeable.

6. Host a Facebook contest

In a poll by the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of marketers said that interactive content (like contests) is better for grabbing readers’ attention than static content.

Even better, liking a post is a popular form of contest entry—and one that’s allowed under Facebook’s contest rules (unlike “share to win” contests, which, while popular, are technically prohibited). For example, Funko got nearly 7,000 Facebook Likes on this like-to-enter contest:



To start collecting more Facebook Likes with a contest of your own, check out our post on how to run a successful Facebook contest.

7. Engage with other brands and communities on Facebook

Remember that Facebook is primarily a social network—so get social and start engaging with other brands that are relevant to your niche but not your direct competitors. A simple Like or comment on another brand’s post can help draw their attention and open up opportunities to work together to cross-promote your businesses so you both gain more Facebook Likes. Tagging other brands may also expose your Page to a new audience (that other brand’s followers)—but only use tags in relevant posts.

Look for communities of potential followers to engage with, too. Facebook Groups are a great place to find people who are passionate about subjects related to your niche, and offer you the opportunity to highlight your expertise. Just make sure your participation in Facebook Groups is helpful, rather than promotional, or you might find yourself kicked out of the group.

8. Use the Facebook algorithm to your advantage

Understanding the Facebook algorithm is key to increasing your organic reach—in other words, getting your Page and your posts in front of more people who could potentially give you a Like. At its core, the Facebook algorithm prioritizes the types of content we’ve already talked about: Quality content that is not overly promotional.

This should really come as no surprise. Facebook wants people to enjoy browsing their News Feeds, which means it wants to surface the best content to the top. Invest the time to produce valuable posts, and don’t be a spammy jerk. Facebook specifically highlights authentic posts that inform and entertain as having value recognized by the algorithm.

One additional way to take advantage of the Facebook algorithm is to try live video. The algorithm prioritizes live broadcasts, bumping them higher in the News Feed. If you have an event or presentation that would work live, give it a try. Check out our complete guide to Facebook live video for important tips before your first broadcast.

9. Run Facebook ads to expand your reach

Facebook offers very detailed ad targeting, so you can laser-focus your advertising efforts and make the most of your ad spend. Putting your brand in front of your ideal audience is a great way to pick up more Facebook Likes. There are two different types of Facebook advertising: boosted posts and ad campaigns.

Boost a post

By boosting a post, you can extend the audience beyond people who already like your Page. This can be a great option for a post that’s already proved to be compelling by bringing in a large number of Facebook Likes from people who already follow your Page.

Run a campaign

Facebook offers campaign objectives relevant to every type of business. Since this post is about how to get Facebook Likes, we’ll focus on the Engagement objective, which is designed to expose your ad to a wide audience to increase the number of post or Page Likes. For example, this ad from WealthSimple offers the option to like the Page with just one click.

how to get more Facebook likes

10. Learn from Facebook Insights

Analyzing Facebook Page Insights can give you a clear view of who your current fans are, which will help you better target future Facebook efforts. You’ll also be able to identify the kinds of posts that have the highest average reach and engagement, and use that information to create more of the content your audience wants from you on Facebook.

After all, learning from your mistakes, amplifying your successes, and giving your followers content you know they’ll enjoy are key ways to boost the quality of your content, and lead to—you guessed it—more Facebook Likes.

 

3 Successful Ways to Get More People Sharing Your Content on Social Media (For Webmasters and Blogger) 2018

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When it comes to social media marketing, exposure is the name of the game. Having high-quality content is great, but it means nothing if there’s no one actually reading it. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that brands and businesses from all over the world are doing everything in their power to increase their exposure on social media. At this point, there are a variety of ways that you can do this. And while certain tactics, like using social media ads or relying on organic traffic, can certainly be helpful, there’s nothing quite like word of mouth to get people talking about your product or service.



The average consumer today is more likely to do business with you if there are other people willing to vouch for your business.

Just take a look at the data that Impact found, analyzing the importance of word-of-mouth marketing.

4.1

Social Media Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool, but it’s difficult to get because it’s so reliant on what others say about you.

One of the easiest ways to get this type of validation is by getting your audience to share your posts and content on social media.

Of course, getting them to actually do that is easier said than done.

The average consumer isn’t likely to stand by a product or service unless they truly believe in it. Before you ask people to share, you first need to be sure that your content is worthy of sharing.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to ask your audience (both directly and indirectly) to share your content.

I’ll be the first to admit that this can be tricky, especially since every brand on social seems to wrap their posts up with “don’t forget to like and share this!” these days.

Standing out on social is going to directly influence how much exposure you gain through this method.

That’s why  I’ve put together a list of my favorite original ideas to increase sharing on social.

If you use the same tactics as everyone else, you’re going to end up with the same results and the same exposure.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to put in a bit more effort if it means having a more successful social media marketing strategy.

By the time we’re done here, you’ll be on the path to increased social media engagement and exposure.

Use influencers properly

For whatever reason, business owners (and certain pockets of the social media marketing world) seem to think that the use of influencers is some type of fad.

Honestly? I’m not sure that those people are looking at the big picture.

When you look at the role that celebrities have played in the world of marketing, it’s no surprise that social media influencers as we know them today have become so popular.

Consider for a moment the life of the modern consumer.

They most likely grew up listening to ad after ad on the radio or TV. They’re used to brands leading them on with inaccurate advertising.

The celebrity endorsements they’re familiar with typically involve an athlete or movie star talking about a product they don’t believe in or would never use.

It’s pretty depressing, right?

Then suddenly, the Internet came along and changed the way consumers interact with advertisements.



More specifically, they don’t have to interact with that many anymore. Ad blockers mean they only see a fraction of the ads they used to deal with.

Music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music market their premium services as ad-free listening experiences because they understand how much people dislike annoying ads.

The reality of the current advertising market is that the only hope you have is providing a compelling piece of content and hoping for the best, right?

Wrong.

Social Media Tactics

Tactics like the celebrity endorsements still work — they’ve just become significantly more targeted now.

Instead of trusting a vaguely familiar face for advice on what kind of headphones to buy, people are more likely to take their cues from an industry professional with a strong reputation.

Why? Because authenticity matters, especially when you expect to develop the level of brand loyalty necessary for a consumer to consistently share your content.

Social media influencers, or micro-celebrities as they’re sometimes called, are perfectly suited for the needs of the modern consumer.

For starters, they’re not just random recognizable icons. They tend to have a history with their audiences that puts other celebrities to shame.

Take your typical YouTuber. Aside from the content they post on their channel, they usually have at least one other method for engaging with their audiences.

Sometimes it’s a vlog channel that shows behind-the-scenes content or just snippets from their daily lives. Other times, it’s a personal Instagram account with completely unique content.

The point is that influencers aren’t just powerful because of the content they produce. They’re impactful because audiences feel a deeper connection with their brand and what they represent.

Speaking of the content they produce, it’s worth noting that it’s infinitely more targeted than most celebrities.

When a movie star does a commercial for a watch or car, no one expects them to be an authority on the industry in question.

But when you’re dealing with influencers on social media, you can bet that the person plugging that product knows a thing or two about the industry.

If you’re looking to understand the influencer scene on platforms like YouTube, look no further than Casey Neistat.

21.2

Here’s Casey Neistat teaming up with Samsung to promote the Samsung Galaxy.

21.1

And that actually leads me to my final point about influencers.

You’re not just investing in the size of their following or their brand recognition on the platform. You’re gaining exposure to a targeted audience.

When a random celebrity promotes a phone or a camera, you’re banking on their star power.

When Casey Neistat promotes your phone or camera, you’re banking on the size of his audience and the faith that his audience has in him.

Don’t just hire as many influencers as possible. Quality and relevancy are the order of the day when deciding who to work with to promote your brand.

If you manage to choose the right influencers for your brand, you’ll be amazed at the level of validation your brand will receive.

And why does that matter?

Because an increase in validation today means there’s a higher chance that your brand’s content will be shared on social tomorrow.

If you want that audience to share your content, there’s no better way to convince them your content is worth sharing than having their favorite influencer stand by your brand.

Contests, coupons, and UGC

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of keeping things simple and direct.

With that in mind, I’ll introduce my second method for getting more shares on social media: embrace the giveaway format.

Embrace the giveaway format.

I’m sure there are some people who’ll read this and completely dismiss the idea of giving anything away for free.

I can hear it already. “I’m trying to run a business here, Neil! I can’t just afford to give away free stuff!”

Listen, I get it. And if you can get the kind of exposure you want without having to resort to creative tactics, more power to you.



But if you’re struggling to increase the amount of exposure you get, a contest can be a great way to pump up your social media shares.

Mind you, the prize doesn’t have to be something enormous. It all depends on how you want to approach the process.

Just take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s Instagram page to get a better understanding of what I mean.

21.4

His #60secondclub rewards people who’ve turned on their notifications for his content by giving them a free book or T-shirt for commenting.

21.5

You could offer a single major prize for the contest to keep things simple.

Offer several small prizes to reassure your audience that there’s a chance they’ll win.

Mix these two approaches together by offering every sharer a small discount code with a major prize at the end of the contest for one random person.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Increasing your social media shares

If you’re really looking to increase your social media shares, you can combine the contest tactic with user-generated content (UGC).

A surprising portion of Airbnb’s most engaging images on their Instagram page are actually UGC.

21.6

For those of you who need a quick refresher on UGC, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Content that your audience puts together, which you then use as promotional material.

The only real problem with UGC is the fact that it’s a marketing strategy that relies almost entirely on your audience’s willingness to create content.

In other words, if they don’t feel compelled to create anything, you can expect a barren wasteland of content during your campaign.

Sounds like it’s high-risk, high-reward, right?

Social Media Solution

The solution that most businesses use is trying to come up with a compelling idea and promising to share the best content on their official social media platforms.

And while you should definitely still focus on those solutions, incorporating the content into your UGC campaign all but guarantees it’ll be successful.

The actual execution of your UGC can vary, obviously. All that matters is that the activity is compelling or engaging in some way.

Here’s a look at the Starbucks Red Holiday cup, which they use to encourage consumers to creatively customize and share with their friends.

21.7

Create a UGC marketing campaign with a contest where the only way to enter is by sharing their UGC on social media and you’ll be one step closer to increasing your online authority.

CTAs and social media share buttons

If you really want people sharing your content on social media, you need to understand the concept of friction.

At its core, friction is the thing that gets between your user’s actions. There are plenty of definitions for friction, but what’s important for you to understand is that it’s the enemy.

Anything that gets between your audience and the actions you want them to take is going to end up being something you want to get rid of.

The harder it is for your audience to take action, the less likely they are to take it.

If you want to increase the chances that your audience will take a particular action, try to remove as much friction as possible between where your audience is and where you want them to be.

Enter the call-to-action (CTA).

 

A truly efficient CTA revolves around your ability to guide your readers and ask them to do something specific. The more specific the ask, the more likely they are to actually do it.

The beauty of the CTA is that it doesn’t just have to focus on sales. There are few different types of actions that brands want their consumers to take.

Sales are obviously one of them, but there are other types of conversions like e-book downloads and email newsletter sign-ups that benefit your business without directly contributing to sales.

For the purposes of our example, we’re going to talk about a CTA that’s all about getting users to share your content on social media.

In order to pull that off, your CTA should be a few things.

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • One step

By ensuring that your CTA is straightforward and not convoluted, you end up with a CTA that clearly shows your audience what their next step should be.

I’m also a firm believer in the one-step CTA because multiple steps tend to complicate things unnecessarily.

Since this is about content, it’s likely that your CTA will be at the end of your blog content or video content.

No matter which you’re using, keep in mind that your CTA is more about making a value proposition than it is about presenting people with an ad.

 

People are going to need a reason to share your content. It can be something as simple as, “share this with someone thinks they’re always right,” or, “share this with any of your friends headed to college”.

CTAs may not be subtle, but they’re the solution to friction when it comes to increasing social media sharing.

Another important tool that you should be using to increase the number of shares you get on social media is the social media share button dashboard.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited pages that ask for social media shares at the end of their articles only to find that they don’t have any social media share buttons on their page.

This is one of the easiest ways to encourage people to share your content on social. The buttons basically remove any of the barriers between the user and the action.

Conclusion

If you’re worried about getting more shares for your content on social media, it’s important to understand what makes people share content.

Typically, it’s going to be 1 of 2 reasons. Either they were compelled by your brand or they were compelled by the content itself.

Assuming you’re already making content that’s compelling enough, the question then becomes, “How can your brand encourage people to share your content?”

Well, they can start by leveraging the social proof that comes from aligning with industry influencers.

Appealing to a targeted audience is definitely going to help increase your social media shares.

But you can go beyond that. Recognize that offering value via contests and giveaways is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your audience has a reason to share your content.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, learn to combine UGC and contests to end up with a campaign that’s as unique as it is compelling.

Make sure that you’re addressing the basics of social media sharing by providing your audience with easy-to-follow CTAs and a panel of social sharing buttons to reduce friction.

Getting people to share your content on social is 50% the content you produce and 50% the way you promote that content through your own social media platforms.

What’s your favorite method for encouraging social media sharing?

 

 

Followers 2 Income: How to Create a Killer Instagram to Funnel Customers (For Online Marketing Pros) 2018

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More than 800 million people across the world use Instagram every month to share and view photos or videos. But they also use the platform to shop. According to Statista, Instagram will generate $6.84 billion in mobile ad revenue in 2018. That’s a huge increase from the $1.86 billion that they generated in 2016. Brands also receive four times more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook. Better yet, as many as 14% of users are likely to buy items directly from the app itself. Whether you want to sell products directly or to boost your brand’s exposure, Instagram is the best platform to do it.



Here’s how you can create a killer Instagram to funnel customers.

To get started, you should integrate Shopify with your Instagram account so that you can sell products right from your page.

Sell directly from your account with Shopify

Shopify is currently testing shoppable Instagram posts that allow customers to buy items directly off of Instagram.

This is a similar concept to what we’ve already seen with Buyable Pins on Pinterest.

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With shoppable Instagram posts, you can turn any post into a buyable one.

E-commerce stores can sell to buyers right in the Instagram app, and users will never have to leave the app to go to an external website.

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However, since this feature is only available to some brands as a beta release, LIKEtoKNOW.it is an alternative that you can start using right now.

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The service allows users to take screenshots from the Instagram platform and shop right from the app.

If you want to send users to your website from Instagram, you need to add a call to action (CTA) and a link in your bio.

Put a CTA in your bio to direct users to your website

There aren’t a ton of places to add in extra text on Instagram.

That’s why you should use the space that is available, like your bio, to add texts and links.

Use this space to insert a CTA that directs followers back to your website like this example from Topshop.

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They added “Click to shop” with a link to their site.

Your CTA doesn’t have to send people right to your site’s product page. You can use it to promote anything you want, like an app or a new blog post.

If you want to share multiple links from your bio, try using a paid tool like Link In Profile. With this tool, one single link on Instagram takes users to tons of alternate links.

Here’s what the single link will look like in your bio:

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Once a user clicks on the link, it will take them to a page that looks something like this:

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Another easy way to funnel customers is by working with influencers to gain impressions and increase your brand’s reach.

Collaborate with influencers to gain impressions and boost engagement

The Instagram influencer-marketing industry is worth over $1 billion.

Top influencers like Selena Gomez, who has over 122 million followers, can earn over $550,000 per post. Kim Kardashian earns an average of $500,000 per post.

The average cost of a sponsored post on Instagram is much less. It’s about $300.

Desi Perkins is a great example of an effective influencer. Perkins works in the beauty industry and has 3.6 million followers.

One of her sponsored posts from July 2017 earned over 72,000 likes.

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Your brand can find the same kind of success if you create partnerships with the right influencers in your industry.



You can leverage their following to bring awareness to your brand or products. And since their followers trust their voice, it won’t feel like an ad. It will feel like a recommendation.

To get started on your search for the right influencers, use a free tool like BuzzSumo.

Enter the topic that relates to your desired post, navigate over to the “Influencers” tab, and you’ll see tons of related influencers to choose from.

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Buzzsumo will give you statistics about each influencer, including their total number of followers, reply ratio, and the average number of retweets.

However, just because an influencer has tons of followers, doesn’t mean that they’re successful. A large portion of their audience could be fake.

That’s why the next step is to type an influencer’s username into Social Blade to view their analytics.

If their following is legitimate, you should see a steady increase.

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If there are a ton of increases and decreases, they’ve probably paid for a large portion of their followers.

The higher an influencer’s following, the more a sponsored post will cost. Choosing a user with a modest-sized, engaged following is probably your best bet.

Your followers can also raise brand awareness for you.

Boost brand awareness with user-generated content

User-generated content is an easy way for you to interact with your followers while also boosting your exposure.

A quick and simple way to do this is to create a shared hashtag that encourages users to share photos of your products.

 

For example, Wayfair’s hashtag is #wayfairathome.

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The tag is full of users sharing photos of products purchased from Wayfair.

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Brands can then repost this content and tag the customer who posted the photo. This allows you to get the most engagement possible out of one user-generated photo.

And as you’re building awareness, don’t forget about Instagram ads. They’re an obvious way to funnel customers. But there are a ton to choose from, which can be intimidating.

Target buyer personas in every stage of the funnel with Instagram ads

Facebook Ads Manager creates and manages Instagram ads. But you have to connect your brand’s Instagram page to your brand’s Facebook page to get started.

Once you’ve connected them, you can use all of the ad-targeting options that Facebook allows on your Instagram account.

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Once you select your audience, all you’ll have to pay for is the cost per acquisition.

If one of your Facebook posts got a ton of love, try using that post to create an Instagram ad.

Stories ads will appear in the “Stories” area of Instagram.

Create single-image and single-video Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads are the ads that users see between their followers’ stories. Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat stories since they disappear in 24 hours.

There are recommended sizes for images and video in Facebook Ads Manager that you should check out before you create an ad on Instagram.

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With Stories ads, you can choose between single-image or single-video ads.

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When creating your ad campaign, select “Reach” as your objective. Then, choose “Stories.”

Single-image ads allow you to create as many as six ads with one image in each ad. Every ad will look like a regular Instagram story, but it will have a “Sponsored” tag on it.

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All you have to do is upload your images. Be sure to check out your selections in the “Show Advanced Options” area to turn on advanced tracking features.

Single-video Stories ads consist of a 15-second GIF or video.

1499966252 844 this man is taking instagram stories to mind blowing new levels

To create a single-video Stories ad, begin by uploading your video or GIF. Just like single-image Stories ads, you’ll want to check out your selections in the Advanced Options area.

If you have over 10,000 followers, you’ll also be able to add links to your Instagram stories

This means that you can inserts CTAs in your stories that direct followers to “swipe up” or “read more.”

If you want viewers to check out a product, blog post, or page on your site, all you have to do is insert the link on your photo or video.

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Here’s what a post directing viewers to a blog post might look like:

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You can also include hashtags in your Stories.

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You’ll want to make sure that the hashtag you use relates to your brand and the photo or video that you post.



Aside from Stories ads, feed ads are another way to funnel customers right from the platform.

Use photo, video, carousel, and slideshow feed ads

Instagram feed ads are made up of photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and slideshow ads.

Photo ads are single-image ads, much like single-image Stories ads, but they will appear in a user’s photo feed. You can create as many as six ads with one image each.

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Single ads are probably the easiest ads to make. Start by choosing the images you want to include.

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Next, you’ll want to add a caption for the ad in the text field. You can add up to 300 characters, but Facebook recommends using around 125 characters per ad.

Add a website URL if you want to send people from the ad to your site.

The Display Link, Headline, and News Feed Link Description fields don’t apply to Instagram ads, so you can leave those blank.

Single-video ads, on the other hand, are made up of a GIF or video.

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Choose a video from your library or upload a new one to get started. Then, select a thumbnail generated by Facebook or upload a custom one.

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Include a caption in the text box just like you would with a photo ad. Add your website URL and a CTA button if you want to direct traffic back to your site.

You can also create carousel and slideshow ads. Both of them show off more than one image or video at a time.

Carousel ads include two or more videos or images.

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You’ll need to create cards for your ad. You can add as many as ten cards per ad. The headline, which is the first line of your caption, will be different for every card.

Captions, on the other hand, stay the same for all images and videos.

Add a destination URL for your CTA button and leave the description blank. Your CTA button will be the same for each card.

You should also leave the “See More URL” and “See More Display URL” sections blank. Those are for Facebook carousel ads.

Slideshow ads are basically carousel ads that scroll on their own. You can add up to ten images to a slideshow ad.

slideshow example

To make a slideshow ad, upload a premade slideshow or create a new one in Facebook Ads Manager.

You can customize the aspect ratio, image duration, and transition.

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You can also arrange your images and insert music.

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Once you choose a thumbnail, create a caption and insert a URL if needed.

Another unique way to showcase your products to funnel customers is to let users build their own products.

Let users build their own products

If you want to take your Instagram ads to the next level, use the picture and interactive navigation ad.

With this ad, users can build their own customized product right from the Instagram platform.

Mercedes-Benz created interactive navigation ads that allowed users to build their own Mercedes-Benz GLA.

The ad began with a welcome page, and it gave users the ability to select the color of their car, the wheel type, the roof, the grill, and more.

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For every selection, the ad took users to a new Instagram page with choices for their model until the car was complete.

You can create a similar picture and interactive navigation ad to grab the attention of users.

Be sure to add lead forms to your ads on Instagram, too.

Add lead generation forms to all ads

No matter the kind of ad you choose to run, you should add lead forms to each one. Once you create one lead form, you can reuse it.

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Lead forms allow you to run lead-generation campaigns on any Instagram ad that you post.

These lead forms include a contact form that users can fill out to get in touch with a brand or business. This is a quick way to gain email or newsletter subscribers.

Aside from asking users for their email address or contact information, you can also ask people custom questions.

To create a new lead form, fill in welcome-screen details such as your headline, image, layout, and button text.

Next, select your questions, add a privacy policy or disclaimer, and create a “Thank You” screen.

You can also add a website link for people to click on once they have completed the form.

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Click “Finish” once you’ve filled everything out, but note that you can’t edit a lead form once you hit this button. If you’re still working on a form, click “Save” instead to edit it later.

You can download leads directly from Facebook once visitors begin completing your lead forms.

You can also connect leads to a custom relationship management system (CRM) like Salesforce or MailChimp.

By integrating a CRM, you can download and use leads faster than downloading them from Facebook since a CRM monitors leads in real time.

Then track how you’re doing by using an Instagram analytics tool to monitor the overall performance of your page.

Use an Instagram analytics tool to measure performance

After trying every tip on this list and spending money on Instagram ads, you’ll need a way to track your progress.

Sprout Social is a simple-to-use analytics tool that combines management tools with content creation tools.

With this tool, you can schedule new content on all of your social media accounts, including Instagram.

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You can also view the performance of individual hashtags or geotagged locations. Then, you can compare the performance for each metric by creating a downloadable report.

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And here’s the best part: Sprout Social offers a free trial, so you won’t have to pay anything to try out all of the features.

The Premium package is $99 per user per month for up to ten social profiles. The Corporate plan will cost you $149 per month for up to 15 social profiles. And the Enterprise plan is $249 per month for as many as 20 social profiles.

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You can change plans or cancel at any time.

Conclusion

Instagram is far more than just a social media platform. It generates billions of dollars in revenue for brands year after year.

Brands also get four times more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook.

That’s why Instagram is the best place to funnel customers, build sales success, and create brand loyalty.

The platform allows you to build a lasting, engaging, and convenient relationship with your customers.

For instance, you can sell products directly from your Instagram account or add a CTA to your bio to push users to buy.

If your goal isn’t to send users over to a product page, you can create a CTA that directs them to read your latest blog post or download an app.

Collaborate with influencers to leverage their following. Boost your brand awareness through user-generated content.

Target buyer personas with Instagram ads to reach users at every stage of the funnel.

Then create single-image and single-video Stories ads or feed ads like photo, video, carousel, and slideshow ads.

Let users build their own custom product by creating interactive navigation ads. And don’t forget to add lead generation forms to every ad you create.

Finally, use an Instagram analytics tool like Sprout Social to measure your progress.

If you do all of this, you’ll transform your Instagram into an effective funnel that turns your prospects into paying customers.

How do you funnel customers with Instagram?

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Taking and Optimizing Ecommerce Product Images

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According to DigitalCommerce360, 51% of users prefer to conduct their shopping with online e-commerce shops. While that number is increasing, it still leaves a gigantic portion of the world preferring to shop offline in real brick and mortar stores. To see, feel, and try products before they spend their hard-earned money. And that is one of the biggest e-commerce struggles: Overcoming hesitation and roadblocks like the inability to try the product before buying it. But thankfully, images allow us to capture the same sentiment. But it isn’t easy. E-commerce images can make or break your conversions.



We’ve all come across sites where the images aren’t good. They don’t showcase the product, and they don’t make us want to buy the product.

In e-commerce, images are everything.

You need to know how to take the best product shots if you want better conversions.

Here’s how to take amazing product shots on a low budget and optimize them for better SEO and conversions today.

 

Why premium e-commerce photos are critical for driving better sales

We all love Amazon. It’s our saving grace, right?

And that’s not just a “saying” or an assumption. People are truly addicted to Amazon, including me.

According to Statista, the net revenue of sales for Amazon in 2017 was 177.87 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion, not million.

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Since 2012, Amazon Prime growth has virtually skyrocketed. I bet you could text five of your close friends and at least three of them would have Amazon Prime subscriptions.

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According to the latest studies, Amazon is slotted to account for nearly half of all e-commerce sales by 2021. And that’s just Amazon alone compared to all other e-commerce stores combined.

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So, what’s behind their success?

Simplicity and ease of use. You can order products with a single click and have them delivered on the same day with Amazon Prime Now.

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Free two-day shipping is a massive selling point for Amazon buying too:

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Amazon makes the buying experience enjoyable and easy. With hassle-free returns, free shipping, and often lower or price-matched products, it’s a no-brainer to buy from them.

But even with all of this insane growth and value, a 2017 study by Retail Dive found some interesting results:

49% of consumers prefer retail stores to online shopping because they can “see, touch, feel, and try out items.”

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People still love the traditional retail experience of going to stores to test items before buying.

And it makes sense.

You don’t want to wait for a product to be shipped and delivered only for it to be a bust and not fit or work.

That means another week for returns and another week for delivery.

It sets you back tons of time and effort that could have been solved by a simple drive to the brick and mortar store.

eMarketer found similar results to the Retail Dive study, finding that in almost every single industry, shoppers in the United States prefer to purchase in-store:

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And these studies are very recent!

While it seems that online shopping is taking over, customers are still heading to their local shops to purchase items.

This presents a big problem and opportunity for online e-commerce shops:

Images are more important than ever.

You need to be able to communicate the same value and experience as touching, feeling and experience the product in a store.

You can’t simply slap a few images on your products and call it a day.

They need to be planned out and taken with intent. They need to communicate value and showcase how and why the product is going to work for the consumer.

Let me show you some examples of the best e-commerce sites right now and how they use images to drive online sales in a market that still loves offline buying.

What we can learn from the best e-commerce stores about product images

When it comes to good e-commerce product shots, you know one when you see it.

I bet you could think of at least five stores that have incredible product photos.



Maybe some that have even influenced you to buy or see that brand in a more favorable light.

Yes, good e-commerce photos are that powerful.

There is perhaps a no better example of amazing e-commerce photos as GoPro. They are the masters of getting you to buy through amazing visuals.

And it’s not just their amazing photos, but the strategy behind them.

For example, when you first land on a product page, you are met with the standard product shot that you expect to see:

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This is wonderful. It plays directly to their brand image while also giving a high-resolution photo for consumers to view.

Scrolling down, you also see the product in its prime use case scenario:

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With the product in actual use, consumers can visualize themselves using the product.

Scrolling even further, you see the GoPro on a table next to a smartphone:

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This photo conveys a dual purpose:

  1. The product is super small and compact enough to carry with you anywhere you go.
  2. GoPro has a mobile app to connect your footage to your phone instantly.

Incredible.

All with a few simple photos, GoPro showcased the product design and features, consumers using the product and it’s compact design that appeals to its fanbase.

E-commerce photos are more than just product shots. They are visual representations of how your product is supposed to be used, and they also convey the spirit of your brand.

Another amazing company that dominates e-commerce images is Alex and Ani.

First, they showcase the product with up-close high-resolution photos, allowing users to see every small detail on their jewelry:

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Next, just like GoPro, they display their bracelets in action to inspire style ideas in potential buyers and showcase what outfits and lifestyles match up well with that specific product:

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These e-commerce product images are far from standard photos. They evoke emotion and promote the brand mission.

With these examples in mind, you should now have a clear idea of where your e-commerce product photos need to be.

Brainstorm more on how you can show your products in creative ways.

Can you show your product in action?

For example, being used as your customers normally would use it? Or even shown on a customer like Alex and Ani do?

Once you’ve nailed down a few creative ways to showcase your product, it’s time to learn how to take better e-commerce product images even if you don’t own expensive equipment.

How to take better e-commerce product images on a low budget

Hiring a professional photographer to take shots of your products is expensive.

Top-tier professionals charge anywhere from $250 to $500 an hour, or even up to $2,000 or more per image.

But the truth is:

You don’t need it. You can take amazing pictures with your smartphone or a standard digital camera.

Here are a few key tips for taking better e-commerce product images without blowing your budget on outside hires or expensive equipment.

Tip #1: Invest in a flexible tripod to capture angles

One of the best items you can invest money in is a tripod. But not just any tripod.

For taking e-commerce shots, I recommend using a flexible tripod.

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Flexible tripods allow you to capture amazing angles on your products with a consistent, non-blurry shot.

And the most significant benefit is that you can attach a flexible tripod to just about any surface, railing or piece of equipment.

Meaning you can take outside shots and great photos to showcase your product and branding.

Plus, they are often incredibly cheap.

With just a smartphone and your flexible tripod, you can snap amazing photos of your products in minutes:

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And that brings us to our next point:

Tip #2: perfect your lighting

Lighting is a critical factor in producing better e-commerce photos.

If you can’t get good lighting, your shots won’t look professionally done.

In fact, it’s often lighting that sets apart the best e-commerce product shots from amateur photos.

It’s incredibly easy to spot poorly done product images where the lighting creates shadows and unfavorable angles on the product itself.

Before messing around with lighting, you should know the differences between both natural and artificial light.

Natural light is merely light produced from the sun. You aren’t using any form of lamp or electric source to produce light.

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Natural light is very vibrant, sharp and defined. You can see every bit of detail on the product above.

Now compare that to artificial light:

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Artificial light is often tinted yellow depending on what light source you are using.

So, when should you use each?

Natural light is best when the product is showcased outside. For example, if your product is used outdoors, use natural light. Is your product worn on a person? Use natural light.

Artificial light is perfect for showcasing particular products like a watch or a wallet, where you want to showcase every single detail in the product.

Experiment with both light types, but be sure to keep it consistent with all of your products.

Tip #3: use a sweep to produce cleaner images

Have you ever heard of a sweep before? Maybe not, but you have likely seen it in action on your favorite e-commerce shops:



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A photography sweep is an act of creating a ramp with posterboard paper that gives the effect of limitless white space behind your product.

For example, take a look at what your product looks like using a sweep compared to not using one:

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Sweeps are great for producing consistent white space that isn’t impacted by shadows, creases or changes in backgrounds.

And they can be produced in your own home for pennies to the dollar with craft store equipment!

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Fstoppers recommends using poster board as your sweep, held together with two pieces of foam and a metal clamp.

You can likely buy all of this for under $50, creating a small shooting studio that produces impressive pictures.

If you feel like switching up the background, you can simply tape new materials as your sweep instead of white poster board:

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These dynamic setups are cheap and easy to create, and they produce photos that look professional.

Combine this with your preferred lighting and your flexible tripod and smartphone setup, and you’ll be taking high-quality photos for almost no investment.

If you feel like buying the setup, Amazon sells high-quality backdrops that you can set up sweeps with:

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These cheap studios can be highly useful for larger products like furniture:

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Using the same technique of the sweep, you can clamp white posterboard paper to your system stand and take incredible product shots for cheap.

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of taking amazing product images for your online store, it’s time to optimize them for a better site experience and more organic traffic.

3 steps for optimizing your e-commerce images for organic search

Taking your e-commerce product shots is just the first step.

But optimizing them is a crucial piece of the pie that most often ignore.

But that’s dangerous because it can drastically impact your speed and organic traffic.

Follow these five steps, and your images will be optimized for search engines and real user experiences.

Step 1: Optimize for speed with compression tools

Speed is one of the most important aspects of keeping users around on your site.

According to a recent Google study, the majority of websites take at least eight seconds to load:

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The current best practice for load time is just three seconds, though.

Most websites are too slow and that causes massively high bounce rates that can impact your sales:

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Even just a few seconds can increase your bounce rate by over 100%.

And when you’ve worked hard to generate traffic, you literally can’t afford for them to leave without buying from you.

Especially if you are paying for the traffic using PPC ads.

Product images are often very high quality due to their high resolutions. This is wonderful for users to engage with, but also creates a slower site that can negatively impact the user experience.

It’s a double-edged sword.

BBC News found that consumers won’t wait more than three seconds for an e-commerce site to fully load its pages.

So, how do you reduce your image size without destroying the quality you worked so hard to achieve?

By using the right compression tools and file types. One of my favorite, simple tools is JPEGmini:

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Using this tool, you can reduce your file sizes by a ton without dramatically decreasing your quality.

This example above showcases a 6.5x reduction in file size with comparable quality.

Test a bunch of different products like this and find a software that you love.

Always run your product images through a compressor before uploading to your store to preserve your site speed and keep users coming back for more.

Step 2: Keyword optimize your file names and alt text

When taking dozens of product photos, it’s tempting to leave their file names alone.

“image_12”

But Google crawls your alt text and image names to pull data on relevancy for search engines.

Without this data, Google has no idea what your image contains because Google doesn’t scan images, they scan your metadata.

For instance, if you are uploading a new e-commerce product image of your necklace, you would want to give that necklace the product name as its file name:

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That product should be named: “Tiffany Love Lock Necklace.”

It’s simple yet perfectly describes what the product is.

After giving your photos clear and proper file names, you should always edit the alternative text of your images.

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According to Moz, “Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly.”

They are critical for sending the right data and signals to Google and should be present on every single image you upload to your site.

Here is a code sample of what alt text looks like in your source code:

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Alt text helps both with accessibility for users who can’t see and image SEO.

So, how do you write them? What do you include or exclude? What about keywords?

The trap that most people fall into with alt text is keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing should always be avoided. Don’t simply spam keywords into your alt text to describe your image.

The key with alt text is genuinely describing what is contained in your image and why it’s on the page.

For instance, if you are showing a product picture of a briefcase you sell, your alt text could look like this: “man holding brown leather briefcase in office.”

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This both describes the picture, the product and the function of it.

Step 3: Continually A/B test your photos

Image optimization requires continual testing and interactions of your photos.

Unfortunately, we can’t just set and forget photos and expect them to drive interest forever.

Consumer behavior shifts. People change. Opinions are always advancing.

Testing is the name of the game for e-commerce product shots. If you notice that your product isn’t selling despite having tons of relevant traffic, it could be that your images aren’t producing enough desire.

For example, one company found that its photos were struggling to do just that. They weren’t selling despite being high quality.

To combat this, they introduced user-generated content:

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By adding photos from real users of the product, they increased sales by 23%.

Why? Social proof and creating more trust by showing the actual product used by real customers.

This is a tactic that Amazon nails on every single product. Scrolling to the reviews section, you can see photos from verified buyers:

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These photos help to build trust and provide you another way to include photos of your products.

Try asking people in your follow-up emails if they can send pictures of the product or reviews to enhance your product pages.

Need some ideas for A/B testing your product shots? Here are a few to try out in your next test:

  • Try testing your product shots in different lighting: natural vs. artificial
  • Test how many product shots you offer to see if you include too many or too little
  • Test your product shots: are they showcasing your brand favorably or are they simply shots that people skip over to see the next?

Try recording live-user behavior or click reporting tools that can help you analyze what elements people love and which ones they ignore.

This can be great as they allow you to find what works and what doesn’t, meaning you only have to test once to realize that specific product shots, angles, and lighting aren’t working.

Conclusion

E-commerce is a growing industry that is on pace to dominate shopping.

But currently, people still love to shop in stores.

According to eMarketer, in almost every industry people love to shop in-store.

Why?

Because they can touch, feel and experience the product before throwing down money.

And that’s the one flaw of e-commerce: you can’t test before you buy. You roll the dice and hope it fits or hope the product looks good.

And if it doesn’t, you are met with a hassle unlike any other: returning and re-shipping your order until it works.

To combat this fear and improve your e-commerce conversions, focus on producing better images that convey more value and help users make decisions.

This can be anything from showcasing your product in use or using 360-degree photos and videos.

Showcase every usage scenario that you can think of to blow past roadblocks and remove hesitancy from the process.

Take the best product shots you can, and always be sure to SEO optimize them for speed and organic search.

E-commerce product photos are critical to success.

What are some of the best e-commerce product photos you’ve seen before that influenced your buying decisions?

 

 

Augmented Reality SEO: Expect The Future – Don´t Miss Your Opportunities (For Online Marketing Pros) 2018





Augmented Reality has the potential to revolutionize marketing as a whole in the next few years. Some estimates even claim that AR-oriented products like camera glasses could be in the mainstream as early as next year. And as more brands start to use augmented reality, there’s a good chance that it will start to affect the way that users browse the web. With changes this big on the horizon, it’s worth taking some time to look at what augmented reality has already accomplished in the last few years. This will help us see what is likely to change in the future, especially in regard to how it can impact SEO. My hope with this article is to show you that augmented reality is only going to expand in the future.



The sooner your brand prepares, the better off you’ll be when the dust settles.

So to start with, let’s look at what makes augmented reality so unique.

Then, we’ll talk about what’s likely to happen in the coming years.

Augmented Reality 101

According to most sources, augmented reality has been around since the early 1990s.

The United States Air Force reportedly created a complex system that also influenced the early stages of the 3D technology we know and love today.

But augmented reality has come a long way since those days.

With the advancements of the last decade and the smartphone explosion behind us, augmented reality now sits in our pockets on a daily basis.

People often confuse it with virtual reality, which typically involves wearing something like this:

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This may have been the first thing that you imagined when I started talking about augmented reality, but it’s a completely different application.

This article will focus solely on augmented reality, which is divided into three distinct and unique forms:

  1. Information overlay
  2. Virtual objects
  3. Digital packaging

Each of these has different applications that brands around the world are already using.

In the case of information overlay, it’s hard to find a better example than the quintessential augmented reality game Pokemon Go:

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This immersive app is an AR version of a decades-old classic game. It allows users to find and catch digital monsters for their collection.

By overlaying an in-app digital projection on top of a video feed, the game gives the user the feeling that they’re a real-life Pokemon hunter.

When it first launched, it quickly outstripped other popular games in the app store and made millions of dollars.

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It was a clear win for augmented reality, and it’s the perfect example of how simple data overlays can be engaging for a wide audience.

The second classification of augmented reality that has gained ground in the mainstream is the use of virtual objects.

For an example of how this works, look no further than the Ikea Place app:

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This style of augmented reality allows you to create images that are reactive to the physical surroundings that the camera displays.

In Ikea’s case, they use your feed to let you see how different pieces of furniture fit into your living space.

You can use the app to view different styles and colors. This allows you to customize your order based on how well it fits inside your home.

This creates a worry-free purchase based on your own preferences and findings.

Michael Valdsgaard, the head of the team that ultimately created Ikea Place, shared his own thoughts about augmented reality’s impact:

Apple has solved the AR question and is bringing it to mass market. As for other things, we have to see what is going to happen. We think AR really will explode, and once I can put lenses in my eyes and see products and be interactive with them in the real world, that will be big.

Though he’s slightly speaking tongue in cheek, Michael makes a good point.

Augmented reality can possibly change the way we interact with everyday objects. And we can see that in its final application: digital packaging.

Digital packaging augmented reality is when a user can interact with a physical object in a way that reveals a deeper experience.

If you want to see how that works, check out the applications that Blippar has created in collaboration with Marvel and Nature Valley.

This application is really the culmination of all three types of augmented reality.

It overlays data on your screen, and it creates something in a physical space that is both engaging and interactive.

And, while augmented reality is still in its relative infancy, all three of the forms are getting ready to make a direct impact in the very near future.

We’ve already seen AR become increasingly popular over the last few years, and projections show that the market will only continue to skyrocket.

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The biggest applications of augmented reality probably still haven’t even emerged, which tells you just how fresh this technology is.



More importantly, it should catch your attention because major tech companies have started taking note of it as well.

Google has been especially vocal, and they even talked about it at length at Google IO 2017

According to the presenters in this video, they’re actively seeking out ways to make it easier for companies and users to create immersive augmented reality experiences.

And they’re not alone in that endeavor.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also confirmed that Apple is on the AR bandwagon as well.

So if Google and Apple are indicating that this trend is going to be more than just a trend, it’s worth looking deeper into how it’s going to affect your marketing efforts.

In Google’s case, it’s also worth evaluating how much of an impact augmented reality is going to have on SEO.

And Google has already shown us that they intend to use this technology in a disruptive way with Google Lens.

Google Lens allows users to take a photo on their phone and then interact with it to discover more information about its contents.

Check out the video they shared on Twitter when first introducing it.

This tool will ultimately change the way people learn about your business.

Instead of opening up a search engine on their phone, they’re going to open up their camera instead.

And when users change the way they browse, SEO changes with it.

So what can you do to ensure that your SEO stays in line with this revolutionary technology?

According to Google, you need to focus on creating micro-moments.

By preparing for these in-the-moment buying decisions, you can still win sales and stay at the top of your SEO game.

And as augmented reality gains more steam in the coming years, most SEO experts believe that there are certain expectations that you’d do well to prepare for.

Expectation #1: Local SEO will be more important

As one marketer put it, local SEO is going to be on steroids with augmented reality’s emergence.

One of the biggest distinguishing factors for augmented reality is that it uses your exact location.

You’ve already seen that there’s a huge potential for a service like Google Lens to create a more competitive local SEO playing field than ever before.

With services like Google Lens becoming more widespread, more users will be using augmented reality services to find businesses and read online reviews.

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Yelp, the local listings giant, has even had augmented reality as an Easter egg on their app since 2009.

This means that consumers will be able to fire up an augmented reality app to learn more about your business. And that means that your local SEO needs to be in good shape.

And as more brands adapt and create their own augmented reality apps and services, it’s only going to get more crowded.

But at this point, local SEO should be a huge part of your SEO strategy anyway.

Local searches are becoming so common that users are now assuming that their phones will automatically find local results.

According to research from Think with Google, it is becoming less common for users to search with the phrase “near me.”

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This isn’t because people don’t want local results. The nature of the searches shows that they do.

According to Google, mobile searchers now assume that their phones will automatically use their locations to pull up local results.

Local searches are now commonplace, and augmented reality makes it easier to be in front of your audience with minimal effort. Now is the time to get on board with local SEO best practices.

 

First and foremost, it’s a good idea to include your name, address, and phone number on your website.

And if you’re on any directory sites, make sure your information is consistent across the board.

Google tells us why this is so important:

Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.

Augmented reality depends on real-world location to help users find information about your business, so including basic information on your website and other listings is an ideal practice.

You also need to make sure that you’re on the popular directory platforms available to everyday users.

In one study, Moz found that “My Business” profiles through Google, Yelp, and other services are the top factor in local pack SEO rankings.

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That means that you need to create your free Yelp for Business Owners profile and register your Google My Business.

By creating a presence on these platforms, you know that you’ll appear in searches for businesses in your local area.

It also means that when a user is browsing around them using an augmented reality service, your business is sure to pop up on their screen.

Apps like Yelp and Wikitude are already providing this type of augmented reality experience based on geolocation.

This snapshot from Yelp’s Monocle augmented reality feature shows you some results I got by simply pointing it at my hotel room door on a recent trip to Utah.

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If I were to walk closer, I would be able to point my phone’s camera at the actual restaurant or business and learn more.

And by selecting one of the options, I would get to see the full Yelp profile with the reviews and everything.

Its competitor Google Lens works very similarly based on your Google My Business profile.

So setting up these profiles is vital for your augmented reality SEO.

By creating one of these profiles, you will automatically rank in your local pack searches.

Here’s what a Google My Business profile looks like from a mobile device:

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You’ve probably seen and even used these before, and you hopefully already have one set up.

It’s possible for your customers to set up these profiles for you, but you’d just be leaving your SEO to chance in that case.

If you don’t have one, this should be one of your top priorities.

Then, according to more of Moz’s data, your next big project should be to prioritize reviews and ratings.

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Business reviews are a force of SEO nature that you simply can’t ignore.

According to one survey, 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends.

And since 97% of consumers look at online reviews at least once per year, your business depends on good reviews to win more business.

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So if your online reviews are less than stellar, your chances of getting business from augmented reality will suffer.

It’s very likely that users will maintain the same vetting behaviors when using augmented reality to find a business.

They’ll still read your reviews, which means that you need to find ways to win good ones.

That means asking customers who had a good experience if they’d be willing to share on Google or Yelp.

But when you have good reviews, don’t be afraid to promote them. Your good reviews can help you sell more products.

In one instance, American Apparel noticed a that their customers would look up online reviews while looking at products in-store.

So they created an augmented reality app to make the process easier for them.

This innovative approach to harnessing augmented reality is the perfect way to bridge the gap between local SEO elements and better customer experiences.

With better local SEO, you’ll be in a better position to ride the augmented reality wave.

Expectation #2: Social media will adapt even more

Social media is another area of digital marketing that has a direct impact on your SEO, so it’s not surprising that augmented reality will have an impact on it.

How well you perform on social media can either positively or negatively impact your rankings, and that isn’t likely to change.

A recent experiment only serves to cement the idea that social media posts and engagement ultimately help all SEO efforts.

02 ImpactSocialEngage ProjectElephant

In their study, they posted a significant number of articles on Twitter and measured the before and after effects on their search engine rank.

The posts that they published organically or boosted saw dramatically better rates of improvement on Google.

And when they dove deeper into the data, the biggest reason seemed to be engagement.

07 SocEngagementRankChange ProjectElephant

So it’s clear that social media is important when talking about any type of SEO.

And in the case of augmented reality, social media platforms are doubling down and creating more opportunities than ever before.

For example, Facebook has been outstripping just about everyone in their efforts to get ahead of AR for social media.

facebook investment in AR

They’ve acquired 11 different companies in recent years that all have to do with augmented reality solutions.

You may have also seen the popular 360-degree videos that allow users to completely immerse themselves in what’s happening on their screen.

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This type of practice is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to augmented reality, though.

If you’re a Snapchat user, then you’re also aware of the new 3D images and effects that you can add to your stories and snaps.

They’ve also opened up access to their Lens Studio in an effort to allow more brands and advertisers to experiment with augmented reality’s capabilities.

These seemingly simple additions mark the biggest steps to date to start incorporating augmented reality technologies on social media platforms.

That means that using AR as part of your social media strategy has a high chance of impacting your overall SEO.

And you have some readily-available tools to help you do this, too.

For example, the ZapWorks platform is specifically designed to help small businesses start incorporating augmented reality technology with their brands.

Since they’re compliant with social media, they’re an ideal tool to start working on your own augmented reality strategy.

In one case, ZapWorks helped create an augmented reality experience at the International Advertising Bureau conference that saw a 55% increase in engagement.

And major brands have started dabbling in augmented reality social campaigns as well.

Oreo incorporated a mix of augmented reality and social media to help create a massive scavenger hunt that incorporated more than 20,000 retail locations.

And most recently, Nike has been turning heads with an augmented reality campaign that incorporates Facebook Messenger.

Nike Flow Short preview 800x356

The campaign was so successful that the featured shoes in the experiment sold out in less than an hour.

This is just the start of what you can expect to see with augmented reality on social media.

As its popularity grows, it’s going to be more important than ever to boost your engagement by creating innovative augmented reality experiences.

It’s extremely likely that brands will discover new ways to use this technology to help users interact online, and these changes will play into your overall SEO efforts.

Expectation #3: More immersive website experiences will emerge

One of the elements of augmented reality that many haven’t considered is how it will affect your website.

With augmented reality starting to dawn on the physical world, it’s easy to ignore what it can achieve in the digital space.

It may surprise you to learn that it’s possible to implement augmented reality on your website, as this video demonstrates:

While this is a basic example of what you can accomplish, it displays the potential for your website to become more interactive and immersive than ever before.

And when you start making changes on your website, you start getting into the bigger picture of user experience.

It’s no secret that how a user experiences your website has an impact on your SEO.

Analytics like bounce rate and time on page play a large role in Google’s ranking of your website.

So the new question is, how can you create a user-friendly augmented reality experience that adds to your user experience and potentially helps your SEO?

The technology is still emerging, so the future is somewhat unknown.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t already established best practices to consider before experimenting on your own site.

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Environmental design is one of the key concepts of augmented reality, so it makes sense to consider it first.

Your user is viewing your augmentations through the “window” of their smartphone, so it’s vital to consider how you want your user to interact with everything.

For a user on a website, that includes elements like scrolling, load times, and other important SEO features.

You see how complex the issue can become.

Then, you have to decide how your audience will interact with your augmented environment.

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Do you want your site to change as your users scroll?

Or, will it change based on how they click?

All of these are newer user experience questions that websites will have to test, answer, and then modify.

And finally, you have to remember that your user experience in any format should center around a story.

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It will be important to find a way to tell your story without interruption and in a way that builds empathy.

If you want an idea of what this could look like, consider Immersv, a company that helps brands build AR ads. They have already implemented a modified augmented reality feature to their own website.

As you scroll down their homepage, you interact with a 3D environment that changes with your scrolling.

immersive

It’s simple, but it catches you off guard at first and provides a glimpse of future applications on a website.

The brand also promises some impressive results for businesses that want to use their services:

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And that’s just the start of what this technology could lead to.

As augmented reality progresses, other possible uses could include things like holographic emails and interactive 3D models.

We still can’t know whether or not these things will ultimately reach the mainstream, but they’re worth considering and testing as the technology continues to grow.

Conclusion

Augmented reality is already changing the technology landscape, and it’s highly likely that the SEO world will change with it.

And with these innovative technologies creating such a unique way to engage with your online audience, it’s hard not want to start using it for your brand.

As Google, Apple, and other major companies start to push the technology, we’ll be able to learn more about which changes you should make to help your SEO efforts.

But in the meantime, there are a few likely ways that you can focus your SEO efforts to help you prepare for the future.

Local SEO will be more important than ever with tools like Google Lens gaining popularity and becoming easier to use.

That means that your Google My Business and reviews will be more vital than ever if you want to win new local business.

It’s also very likely that social media platforms will start to expand their use of augmented reality.

Facebook is already pursuing it, and a few brands are seeing success with 360-degree images and larger augmented reality campaigns.

And finally, it’s worth considering how augmented reality could impact your website’s design.

While we still can’t know for sure if mainstream web design will incorporate augmented reality, it’s very possible that it could become more popular in the coming years.

Whatever happens, it’s a good idea to keep your ear to the ground for future developments with this technology.

It could possibly change marketing and SEO as we know them, and that’s worth your concern.

How do you think augmented reality will impact SEO in the future?

 

 

 

How to Use Lifetime Value to Create a Facebook Audience That Actually Creates Conversions (for Online Marketing only) 2018

facebook lifetime value converions




Facebook has been in hot water lately. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news, you know what I’m talking about. And it doesn’t help that 62% of small business advertisers on Facebook don’t find successful conversions. More specifically, they “miss their targets.” Their audience targeting is flawed, and they can’t reach the right users to sell their products and services. Facebook simply doesn’t work, right? Wrong. I’d be willing to bet that the number one cause of failing or giving up on Facebook Ads is audience-related. After all, you can’t sell PPC agency services to an audience that only cares about SEO. Audience targeting is the bread and butter of Facebook.



While that sounds like an enticing feature, your entire campaign will depend on it. Even simple mistakes in targeting will throw your audience off, potentially targeting the wrong segment or users too early in the funnel for sales.

Thankfully, I’ve been there and done that. I wasted tons of money on Facebook Ads that never reached my targets.

But I also found a surefire way to reach the right audience on Facebook:

Customer lifetime value lists.

What is customer lifetime value and why should you care?

What even is customer lifetime value anyways? Does it matter? Why should you care?

Well, I am here to answer those for you.

Customer lifetime value is perhaps the most important metric you can ever track.

According to Google, it’s defined as the prediction of net profit associated with the entire relationship for a single customer.

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In more simple terms:

Customer lifetime value is how much a single customer spends with you before leaving.

It’s that simple, but it’s of the utmost importance.

Lifetime value literally guides every decision you make in business.

Let me give you an example:

You run an online e-commerce store, and you sell relatively cheap products like discounted sunglasses and cheap style items like necklaces.

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Your average product costs about $25.

So you begin advertising with PPC to drive some traffic and hopefully convert some sales.

You realize that the average cost per click for retail sales is $1.35. Doesn’t seem too bad at first, right?

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But the cost per click doesn’t matter. It’s actually irrelevant.

Why? Just look at the conversion rate for retail advertising: 3.86%

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That’s a pretty low conversion rate compared to other segments.

For the sake of this example, let’s round the conversion rate up to 4%.

It would take 25 clicks to drive a single conversion if your conversion rate is 4%.

Now multiply the clicks needed (based on the conversion rate) with the cost per click:

25 * $1.35 = $33.75

Oops.

Now you can’t expect to turn a profit because your average sale is just $25.

And this is where lifetime value comes into play.

This is why lifetime value is the most important metric in any campaign:

Doing the simple math on a single order, you can’t afford to bid on AdWords for what you sell.

But that’s not true if you have a good lifetime value. For instance, how many times a year does that customer return? Two? Three times? Ten times?

If they do, you’ve only paid $33.75 to acquire them one time. And if they spend $25 multiple times, you’ve quickly doubled, tripled or exploded your original acquisition costs.

And then it becomes easier and easier to sell to them. You’ve already acquired them, giving you tons of free ways to sell: email, phone, etc.

You can launch a new email campaign to existing customers for free in just minutes to increase sales and drive up their CLTVs.

Increasing the lifetime value of your current customers is the key to driving massive profits.

Once you’ve done that, you begin to see compounding effects in every other metric.



Increased lifetime values mean you can spend more on acquiring customers because you know that they will spend $XX over their lifetime with you.

And you can begin to ignore CPC.

When it’s all said and done, lifetime value reigns at the top and should always be your guiding metric.

But Neil, what does this have to do with Facebook audience targeting?

Let me show you.

Lookalike audiences on Facebook are key

Using CLTV as a metric, you can create lookalike audiences on Facebook that target only the best of the best customers you currently have.

Lookalike audiences are simple in nature, yet highly effective:

They utilize your current customer data to find new, alike targets on Facebook.

Matching demographic data with affinities, interests, and more, you can create whole new audiences with the same background as your current customers.

It’s one of the best ways to generate an audience quickly.

And they work.

AdEspresso conducted a $1500 test on Facebook to analyze the performance of lookalike audiences. To do this, they tested 1%, 5%, and 10% audience matching:

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With lookalike audiences, you can customize the audience size by % of the country/area you are targeting.

For instance, selecting “1” would be 1% of the country you advertise in.

AdEspresso put these to the test, finding that 1% audiences, while obviously smaller in nature, converted best.

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According to AdEspresso, the lookalike audience at 10% had a 70% higher cost per conversion than the 1% size audience.

Because of the extra costs, the 10% audience produced 40% fewer clicks, too.

The 1% audience drove 115 leads with just $500 in ad spend.

That’s a cost per lead of just under $4. That’s pretty cheap for high-quality leads.

One company found a 2x increase in conversions and an overall ROI of 186% using lookalike audiences to grow their sales.

By incorporating lookalike audiences, Andrew Hubbard was able to produce nearly $40,000 in revenue from $4,159 in ad spend, generating an 876% return on investment.

Simply put:

Lookalike audiences are amazing.

Here’s how you can set them up using lifetime value to increase their effectiveness and create a Facebook audience that finally converts.

Step 1. Set up your custom audience

To get started with using lifetime value to create a Facebook audience, head to your Facebook Business Manager dashboard and navigate to the “Audiences” section:

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In the audience manager, create a new custom audience, not a lookalike audience:

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While you can do it either way, I prefer creating a custom audience first, as you can select LTV right off the bat instead of after creating your audience.

Next, select “Customer File” as the type of audience you want to create:

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Customer file simply means that you will upload a batched list of customer data on your current customers.

This is the file that Facebook will then take to match other customers and potential audiences for your campaign.

Next, select “Include LTV for better performing lookalikes.” This option will allow you to create a file with lifetime value metrics.

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So, how does that work?

Essentially, you will be assigning each customer on your list a different value.

Depending on what platforms and products you sell, this will either be very fast and easy or somewhat time-consuming.

If you run an online e-commerce store with Shopify or BigCommerce, you can find your lifetime value data easily:

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In any of these customer data sections of Shopify (or BigCommerce, if you use that) you can find customer data on lifetime value and how much they have spent.

If you can do this, you’ll be able to export your customer data easily.

If your business is more consulting or lead-based and focused on landing clients or accounts, you will have to do a bit of digging.

Look at your current clients and see how much they spend with you per month. For instance, does their current contract with you show a spend of $1,000 a month on services?

Or maybe you sell software online. You can then look at their current tool plan to see how much they spend each month and how long they have been a customer.

That’s lifetime value.

Once you have lifetime value for your customers, you will plug that data into your spreadsheet and Facebook will target the highest lifetime values in their matching process.

This simply means that customers on your customer file with high LTVs will be matched first. Facebook will look at their individual data and match to similar users who have a high chance of spending a ton with your business.

Next, read through the lifetime value information that Facebook gives you if you still need a clear understanding of how it works. It’s sometimes complex:

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After you’ve accepted the terms and conditions, you can now begin to create your custom audience.

In this step, you will need to create a list that you can export in CSV or TXT file formats. These are the only two formats that Facebook currently accepts for uploading a custom file.

The data that goes into your customer file should be plentiful:

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Try to fill in as many of the custom identifiers as you possibly can.

Remember: more metrics and identifiers = higher specificity and better matching.



This may take some time to get depending on what systems you use, but it’s going to be well worth the effort.

When adding this data into a spreadsheet, you want to follow Facebook’s Customer Data Prep Guide.

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In each new column for each data type, enter the column header first, followed by the format of each under “Examples.”

Be sure to format correctly according to their guide and the image above.

Once you’ve added all of the data that you need, you can create a final column for customer lifetime value:

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For this data type, your column header in your spreadsheet should be: “value.”

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Under the “value” column, enter the customer lifetime value for each customer in the following two formats:

  1. $500
  2. 500.00 USD

Either one of these will work just fine. Keep the data consistent if you can.

If you are struggling to format your spreadsheet, you can always use Facebook’s file template to your advantage:

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Once you’ve created your list, you can take a deep breath! The hard part is finally over.

Give your new audience a familiar name to ensure that you can find it in your account:

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In the second step of audience creation, select the value column you created for your list as the “Customer Value” type:

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Next, confirm on the “Edit Data Mapping” screen that all of your identifiers are cleared and ready to go with the green checkmark:

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Now upload and create your audience!

Now comes the fun part: creating amazing ads that will speak to your new audience.

Step 2. Ad creation for your new lookalike audience

The first part of the process is done. Creating your lookalike audience with LTV as the main factor is the perfect starting point.

But now the second part requires you to get a bit more creative:

Creating ads that appeal to your new audience.

But before you jump into ad creation or default to what you have done before, here is something critical to keep in mind:

Funnel stages.

Since you are targeting a brand new audience that likely hasn’t heard of your brand before, the creation of your ads along with your calls to action will be critical for success.

Sending this new audience an ad that asks them to buy from you immediately probably won’t work that well.

Why? Well, they aren’t brand aware. They haven’t engaged with you enough to know about your products or consider them yet.

The key here is to warm them up. To get them familiar with your brand and get them engaging with your content.

Keep in mind, since this audience is a lookalike, they will have knowledge of your industry. They have probably even researched products that you sell before.

Meaning you can offer them something in the middle of the funnel.

That means anything from lead magnets to coupons to webinars and more.

Anything that incentivizes them to sign up for your email list or to get them to become a lead without asking them to buy too fast.

For example, you could start off by sending them ads for a webinar if you sell digital products and services:

I use this strategy all of the time.

It’s a great way to offer tons of value to new people without over-selling in the beginning stages of their journey.

If you sell too fast, you risk them opting out quick.

Another great example of a successful middle-of-the-funnel Facebook Ad is from HubSpot:

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Offering free, value-based content, they can hook in users to give them their email information.

It’s the perfect lead magnet that doesn’t ask the audience for too much but provides tons of value in return.

Brainstorm ideas that will promote engagement with your brand without selling too hard.

 

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to split test your ideas with ease.

Step 3. Split test your creative to find your perfect value proposition

Thanks to Facebook, A/B testing has never been easier. With ad split testing directly on Facebook, you can quickly test multiple ad variants against the same audience to see which resonates better.

This is one of my favorite tactics when brainstorming new ideas to see how an audience reacts.

When it comes to lookalike audiences for LTV, you know they’ve done research in your space. But they aren’t brand aware.

This means you are skating a thin line between the awareness and consideration stages of the buying process.

While it sounds good, it also makes it difficult to nail down the proper call to action that will resonate with them.

And that’s why split testing is key. With split testing you can find the right value proposition for the audience, leading to massive wins.

Split testing works, too: One company split tested ad types to the same audience, finding that one variant outperformed the other by 336%.

To start split testing on Facebook, head to your Ads Manager and create a new ad set based on your goals, enabling the split test feature:

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After selecting “Create Split Test,” choose the variable that you want to test:

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In this case, “Creative” is what you want to select.

On the left-hand side, you should now see the following:

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You can begin to create different ad variants for Ad A and Ad B.

If you want, you can even test another ad.

If you have multiple ideas that you want to explore with your new audience, run 2-3 (maximum) at a time. Otherwise, you risk spreading the results too thin.

When running this A/B split test, be sure that you only tweak the creative.

Don’t mess with your audience or placements. Keep the same lifetime value lookalike audience and the same placements, and you will get clear results on how each offer was received.

Run this test until you get a minimum of 250 conversions. That’s the formal guideline from CRO experts at ConversionXL.

Having a minimum of 250 conversions will result in better statistical significance in your tests.

At the end of the test, analyze which ad drove more revenue and profit and proceed with that creative.

Step 4. Remarket non-converting users to close the gaps

Remarketing is one of my most favorite ways to bring back users that didn’t convert.

And while this lookalike lifetime value audience is going to convert great for you, it’s unfortunately not possible to convert everyone.

Trust me. I sure wish it was.

To combat this, remarket the audience you just created, capturing traffic from all non-converting prospects.

In the Ads Manager, you can create a new custom audience based on your lookalike audience.

Depending on how you structured your ads in the lookalike audience campaign, you will choose how you want to create the new audience:

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One of my top ways to remarket on Facebook is by targeting people who engaged with my Facebook Ads in the past few days.

I then exclude anyone who interacted with my CTA button to weed out potential converters.

If you want, you can also create a secondary remarketing list of just people who engaged with your call-to-action button but didn’t convert.

These two remarketing options can go a long way in regaining lost traffic and potential conversions.

After you create those, you have just created a fullscale funnel-optimized lifetime value audience.

You can’t go wrong with this setup, and you’ll be driving conversions faster than you thought possible.

By targeting for LTV, you are ensuring that your new lookalike audience is primed and ready to convert.

Warming them up with split testing will help you narrow down your value proposition and find the right creative elements that appeal to users.

Then, close the gaps with remarketing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

 

Conclusion

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world.

And it packs amazing features to reach your target audience.

But even so, missing your audience is still relatively “easy” to do.

Most small businesses report having this problem of “missing their targets.”

And I’ve had the same thing happen to me: wasting advertising money on audiences that don’t convert.

But I’ve found a surefire way to drive sales on Facebook from all of that testing:

Customer lifetime value audiences.

Lifetime value is the most important metric there is. It can inform acquisition and all of your advertising spend.

Try creating this customer lifetime value audience on Facebook to capture the most interested users and drive your profits through the roof.

Set up your new lookalike audience with the lifetime value feature on Facebook. This will help you target customers most like your top spenders for increased revenue.

Next, create the most compelling ads and split test them for better performance.

What audiences have you tried and found success with on Facebook?