6 SEO Myths That Prove We’re All Idiots





Humans will do anything to look smart and competent. Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel feed off of this propensity for hubris. And then we all benefit from it. Try it for yourself sometime. Go up to a random stranger and ask, “Do you think Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War?” (HINT: He wasn’t old enough to be President of the United States during the Korean War.)



Ironically, this behavior often exposes our ineptitude.

SEOs and bloggers are no different. We want to look like experts so bad we bullshit our way into corners all the time

Here are a few ways SEOs B.S. themselves all the time and really make themselves look like idiots.

1. Do What These Massive Brands Are Doing

When I was a kid, I played the game Lemmings. Often, I’d get bored with a particularly difficult level and just set up traps for my lemmings rather than rescue them. I’d watch them all follow the digger to hell and then hit the nuke button.

The fact a lemming is bigger and healthier looking than the other lemmings doesn’t change the fact it’s a lemming. That lemming still might be heading for a cliff.

Big brands aren’t always wise sages, especially when it comes to SEO. Think of it this way: a bigger brand has a much wider margin of error than you do. If they make a mistake, they can bounce back when you might splat at the bottom.

You’re also assuming their HR department knows what they’re doing when they hire SEOs and web designers. Often the philosophy of “throw money at it to make it grow” doesn’t work. And that’s exactly how some big brands function once they get the big cash.



Don’t be a lemming, seek real advice.

2. SEO is Snake Oil

Ok, SEOs typically don’t say this. They wouldn’t make any money this way.

But I’ve heard it from Google employees, bloggers, and anyone who just doesn’t want to do the work of ranking well. I even had a friend from YouTube tell me this, backpedal, and then say, “well, it’s just that the target is constantly shifting.”

There’s a lot of surface-level SEO information out there. And while it’s not exactly snake oil, it’s often not enough to have any real impact on your SERPs.

SEO is like psychology. It’s a soft science.

We can’t peak into the box and know what’s going on but we can observe the effects. Sometimes Google will give us a heads-up, but often we’re scrambling to patch holes after the fact.

This can make it seem like SEOs are behind the curve, but they’re more in the know than anyone else. It’s not an exact science, but it’s not snake oil either.

3. Worry About Keyword Stuffing

Seriously? What year is this? 2012?

Can we be done with the keyword stuffing thing yet? No? Well, I guess we gotta slay this beast while we’re here.

Sure, keywords still matter a *little* bit. But here’s the bite: they gotta be so natural, even you don’t see them as keywords.



Google’s RankBrain is now all about user intent. It’s so important to give users what they’re looking for that keywords almost don’t matter anymore.

Where Then Are Keywords Relevant?

Until our language goes fully pictographic, search engines will continue to take keywords into account. And you should definitely research a keyword to put in your title tag.

Otherwise, just be natural (grammatically correct, and concise, and…well, content is king, right?).

4. Content is King

Aw, what? Didn’t I just say content is king? Yeah, yeah, I know, plot-holes, right?

But this myth is just like the “write what you know” rule in writing. People take it, run with it and have no clue what the hell they’re even doing. And then they end up writing boring crap because their life is so boring.

Novice bloggers do the same thing with content. If you write it, they will come, right?

Wrong. You need more than just content (even great content) to make the SEO wheels turn. We’re looking at links, tags, design, usability, speed…

Yeah, content is just an important piece of the puzzle, one you can’t do without. But it’s not the end-all of SEO.

5. Links Are a Dead Horse

I’ve said this before, but the internet is — drumroll please — a network! Without links, you are just a powerless tool in a sea of well-connected and well-dressed geniuses.

It’s just that, like keywords, and content, links are only one step in many to get you to the SERP prize. No, don’t put a billion links in, but don’t ignore them either.

Don’t go buying links for cheap either. Negotiate for access to high ranking sites instead. And again, be natural.

6. Google is Penalizing You

I only cried once in Hockey. I’d just come back after time off from a broken ankle and I was reckless on the ice. I almost whacked someone in the throat with my stick. I ended up in the penalty box a teenage mess because I had lost skill.

Google’s algorithms aren’t referees. They’re a content elevator. When one site drops in the rankings, it’s because of a change in the algorithm they weren’t ready for. It also means another site was ready (knowingly or not).

There is no Google algo penalty box. There are referees at Google, but Google actually notifies you on the Google Search Console when you’ve violated their Webmaster Guidelines.

Talking about SERP rank changes like hockey penalties only serves to malign Google and cause confusion.

Don’t Be an Idiot

Humility is an underrated quality in our society. I’ve found that when you admit ignorance, you’re rewarded with knowledge.

Only idiots pretend to know eveything. If you’re on the SEO struggle bus, seek help. Your SERPs will thank you.

 

6 Things Small Businesses Should Outsource





There is a freelancer for almost every industry in the world. In this country alone, they make up about one-third of the workforce and that number is expected to increase to more than 50% in the next ten years. There are dozens of platforms online to help you find these workers. All it takes to find the right person for the job is a few clicks of your computer mouse. As an entrepreneur, you likely want to try to do everything. But with this horde of independent contractors all looking for work, why not focus your time and talents on your skill set? Which of course, is growing your business.



Delegation is part of the process of owning a business and growing it. You can’t scale if you’re trying to do everything yourself. Here are 6 things that small businesses can and should outsource to make their lives easier.

1. Accounting and Payroll

Taxes, invoices, and time sheets, oh my! Does this sound like a good time to you?

It shouldn’t. Because it isn’t a good time. You’re a busy person trying to get a startup off the ground and you’re going to try to do the accounting and payroll work yourself? Don’t be silly. There is only so much work one person can handle.

Accounting firms are really good at what they do. They know about tax laws, write-offs, and all sorts of ways around red tape. Sure, they’re going to cost you some cash. But in the end, they’ll end up saving you a ton of money and you’ll be thankful you made this move early on in the game.

2. Web Design and Development

Websites are a big deal. You can’t really open or operate a business without one. This is the digital age. If it doesn’t exist on the internet, it might as well not exist at all.



And if you’ve been doing your research, you probably know you can make a WordPress site with relative ease. You pick a host, a theme, and then you just create some content. Easy, peazy, right?

Not so much. If you’re taking your new company seriously, you want the best website you can buy. Luckily for you, finding a freelance WordPress developer who is out there building really nice websites at a reasonable rate can be relatively easy. You just need to know where to find them.

3. Content

Writing blog posts can be fun. But do you really want to spend your Friday and Saturday nights sitting in your office and racking your brain trying to think of headlines?

Proper outsourcing is all about delegating your weaknesses. Unless you’ve done a lot of writing in the past, know a ton about keyword research, and know how to properly do internal and external linking, you might want to leave it to a pro.

Finding a content writer is likely one of the easiest contractors to find. Sites like Problogger and Blogging Pro have job boards that are specialized. They are just for clients who are looking for writers. And writers know about them. In fact, most pro writers check these boards daily. Problogger and Blogging Pro aren’t the only ones around, but they’re definitely two of the most popular. I recommend giving them a shot. You’ll probably have a writer working for you in less than a week.

4. Administrative

Scheduling your own meetings and appointments isn’t just a hassle. These are the kind of tedious tasks that can make or break a new company.

Before you try to do some hiring, check out sites like Upwork, where you can find a Virtual Assistant. No more dealing with an assistant who isn’t getting the work done. These folks only get paid for time spent actually working. Expect to pay about $15-$20 per hour, but the bright side is that you don’t have to cover any benefits.



Some Virtual Assistants are so good you will wonder why you’re not having to pay them more. Interview your candidate just like you would a normal employee and find the person who’s right for your business. Ask for a portfolio and references and try to get a feel if they are actually interested in what your company is doing.

5. Marketing

Digital marketing agencies are all over the place. You probably never realized just how many are in your area until you started your company.

The reason they’re so abundant is no one wants to know about marketing. It’s one of the hardest parts of any business, not just new or small ones. Trying to do this all on your own, especially if you don’t have any experience, can cost you tens of thousands of dollars a year in lost revenue.

A great agency will be able to handle your email promotion, your social media, as well as your SEO.

Some even offer content packages.

Before you make a decision, you definitely want to spend some time vetting and researching agencies. Scammers pretending to be legitimate marketing agencies is a real problem. Start with tapping into your personal and professional networks to see if anyone has any recommendations. Then go online to look at reviews to help narrow down your list.

6. IT

More than half of all companies outsource their IT. The reason for this is based around cost. It’s way more effective to outsource your IT because many firms can scale as your company grows. The cost of hiring IT professionals for a startup is usually going to be higher than it’s worth.

But you do need someone to watch over you like an angel. This is what IT firms are all about. They help protect you from hackers and will help deal with technical difficulties.

Conclusion

I know this feels overwhelming. It was probably not too long ago that you were developing your app or prototype late at night in your basement while your family slept soundly. You worked into the wee hours of the morning and then had to go to a day job with hardly any sleep.

If you can make it through that phase, you can make it through anything. But you shouldn’t try to do it alone.

Hire the best and brightest people you have ever met, but outsource the tasks that are outside of your skill set. In the end, you will save money, have fewer headaches and stress, and have a small army of independent contracts that will have your back when you need them.

 

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!

 

What is the Future of Blogging? Exploring Some Ideas





With blogging being such a vast industry, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve. This means to think about the future and start making the tweaks right now instead of later. This is how some of the MOST successful people in the world started because they visualized the world now and where they think it’s heading. With that said,



You have to explore and understand what direction blogging is going toward. For example, if many of us would have visualized mobile usage then we would have made mobile-friendly tweaks earlier on instead of waiting last minute…right? I’ve worked with many bloggers over the years, all with several different years of experience. Here’s what I noticed happening and what you can do to better equip yourself going forward. Let’s look at blogging and where it is heading…



Brand Awareness

Have you noticed many of the top bloggers are focusing more on brand, which is mainly their personal names? Here are some of the MOST popular blogs I can think of from the top of my head: JohnChow.com, ZacJohnson.com, NeilPatel.com and MatthewWoodward.co.uk. It’s not as valuable as to use a keyword as your domain like SEO.com, etc., because people still find it hard to identify with the author. However, by building your brand around your personal name, it means more when people throw around your name in forums, content, and other communities.

In the future, more focus will be given to your brand equalling your personal name because it’s this aspect that will build your credibility as someone valuable within your niche.

SEO

Over the years, we have seen enormous changes within Google and this has been catered toward the user experience. Search engines are all about the user experience and making sure people find what they are looking for. However, this is not enough because searchers have to find valuable content and one that provides a complete solution so it’s up to search engines to provide this. Google has already announced changes like LSI keywords, valuable content, freshness, “target” keywords, and mobile-optimized. What’s next?



Keep focusing on SEO and make sure you add a combination of different keywords within your content. For example, long-tail keywords, LSI keywords, and those that are highly targeted. Next, make sure you use a combination of different anchors to build links to cover all the different keywords you have within your content. This will help your page rank for different more “targeted” keywords, increasing the user experience.

Content = Value

It’s all about value because something has to separate the best from the mediocre…right? Google has invested a lot of resources into finding out which sites and content is providing the best value. For example, they look at things like activity, bounce rate, links, DA, and PA to establish some sort of value bar. Going forward, you should be focusing on writing the best content for your readers even if this means cutting down the frequency at which you’re posting. Nothing can replace value, no matter what niche you’re in, so follow these steps before you write:

  • Research
  • Outline
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Share
  • Tweak

This will allow you to have enough information to find out when you have created something special or simply mediocre.

Relevance

How do you stop websites from manipulative link building? You can give people control over links pointing to their website like the introduction of Disavow. You can also strategically make sure it’s difficult for them to build unnatural links by focusing on things that really matter. Google has put enormous value on relevance because this shows the right intent. For example, websites will only link to relevant websites when the value is there…right? Why else would anyone link unless they are trying to manipulate the search engines? Going forward, relevance matters and will continue to grow in importance, but there is a great way to make sure you find value in this. How? Write the best content because then people have no choice but to link to you.

Choose Wisely: Your Logo’s Color Could Change How They Perceive You





People perceive power when they see the color black. Researchers once surveyed the stats for 52,000 professional hockey games. They found that teams who wore black jerseys received more penalties for aggression than teams that didn’t. While color doesn’t technically exist (without our eyes to interpret, color would merely be light waves), it has a profound effect upon our minds. It can change how hungry we are, whether we find someone attractive, and it can even make us nauseous. It follows that color in company logos could either attract or deter customers. Ask yourself, why are some logos more attractive than others? Most likely, it has a lot to do with the colors used.



Here’s what your company logo’s color tells your customers.

1. Your Logo Says You Smell Musty

A group of researchers asked 6 different cultural groups what odors they associated with different colors and vice versa. Across all six cultural groups, the answers were strikingly similar.

The group of researchers used smell markers and computer images. None of the colors or smells were labeled. This ensured that no semantic associations arose.

They found that color associations like brown for musty or pink for sweet were fairly universal.

If your business deals in food-based goods, you might want to be careful what colors you choose for marketing and logos.



2. Your Logo Screams GO!

When you take a look at the color orange, how do you feel? Colors often instill a sense that you should or should not do something. Researchers got curious about this kind of arousal and did a study on what kinds of emotions colors could incite.

They found that colors like yellow, red or orange incite feelings of action and arousal. These warm colors create associations in the brain with particular actions.

But the opposite is true of cool colors. If you’re looking to impune a sense of calm choose blue or a similar color. If you’re a psychiatrist who treats anxiety, you probably don’t want to use orange for your logo.

3. Is Your Logo Positive or Negative?

We’re all pretty much done with the Gap, I’m sure. But when you think of the gap, you see bright and airy. Their commercials always underlined this thought with white backgrounds and young people in pastels dancing around like life was nothing but cherry pie.

While their logo could have used a facelift, their general marketing color scheme shouted happy fun times. If you want to do the same with your logo, toss in bright colors.

Another group of researchers studied college students. They asked for associations with either dark or light colors.

The light colors elicited positive responses: happy, relaxed, excited. The dark colors elicited negative responses: anxious, bored, sad.



Unless you’re Hot Topic or a metal band, go for bright colors.

4. Double Up With Color and Letter in Your Logo

A weird and fascinating study found that we associate various letters with colors. They conducted this study on only English-speaking people, but it might have wider application.

We associate some letters with colors due to education. For example, if you’ve read The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne, you probably associate the letter A with red.

We associate some colors with letters without any education. The researchers found that illiterate children associated X with black. They also found that children associated any nonsensical shape with white.

Illiterate children associate shape with color. This is how we naturally make associations. But once we’ve learned a new association, we re-map our brains and overwrite the natural associations.

If you’re a blogger, you’re targeting a more literate audience. Consider letter and color associations when picking your logo colors. A little bit of research could turn up a host of useful associations.

5.  Strength Vs. Weakness in Your Logo

A study done in 1973 showed a correlation between color and perception of strength. Red and Black are strong colors and they give people a sense of strength. But white, yellow, and grey are weak colors.

If you’re putting on a tough trail race, go ahead and put red and black in your logo. People will feel strong and want to participate.

6. Put Red in Your Logo If You’re Looking to Attract

Researchers have conducted a ton of studies on the color red. They universally agree that it creates a feeling of attraction and desire or at least enhances this effect.

One team showed images of women to men and men to women. They would show the same woman to several men but change the background color alternating between red and white. They did the same with women.

They found that people rated the same person more attractive in the photos with the red background than they did with the white. They tried the same thing with clothing, alternating white shirts and red shirts. Same effect.

Do Your Research

Putting the science of color behind your logos will greatly enhance your brand image. Do your research and be careful how you choose your colors. What works from some regions may not work for others.

 

How Barbara Corcoran Turned $1,000 into an Empire – Entrepreneur Wisdom You Have To Read (2018)





I genuinely wish Barbara Corcoran would run for President. Not because she’s rich. Not because she has any kind of political experience (she doesn’t). But because of her humility and wisdom. Barbara Corcoran did not grow up rich. She lived in a two-bedroom apartment with ten siblings. She struggled through school due to her undiagnosed dyslexia and was often considered the “dumb kid” in school. She worked 22 different jobs before she became rich. It wasn’t until she met a guy in real estate that her life began to change.



1. Where Is Barbara Corcoran Now?

Now, everybody knows Barbara Corcoran for Shark Tank, a TV show where entrants get to compete for the attention of investors. Corcoran is one of those investors.

Her years of experience in real estate gave her a keen eye to suss out the best investment opportunities and shy away from bad deals. She’s the kind of investor Trump wishes he could be.

When sizing up contestants, Cocoran looks at whether the contestants can stand up to the scrutiny of the “sharks.” She herself muscled through a hard life when she was younger and always hires people who can do the same.

But before you start to think that Corcoran is some hard-ass with a penchant to hold herself above others, know that Corcoran never forgets where she came from.

While she is worth millions, she flies economy instead of first class. She even saves up her airline miles for relatives rather than use them for possible upgrades. Although, Corcoran does bring a gourmet meal onto the plane. She believes that it’s your responsibility to make the best out of every situation you’re in.

She waited until her 40’s to have children, but once she did, they were taught humility. When her son was five, he asked on a plane, “Why can’t we sit in those big seats?” Her reply? “Get a job.”



It sounds harsh, but when you’re raising children who never knew want or worry, you have to teach them the value of work. Gordon Ramsey treats his children similarly. He doesn’t let his children sit in first class with him because they “haven’t worked nearly hard enough to afford [it].”

Sold Her Company

Corcoran sold her real estate company for $66 million in 2001. It was a company of over 800 employees that she had built from the ground up.

She sold the company because she wanted to focus more on her children. But Corcoran, having lived a life of hard work, couldn’t just stay home. She began making appearances on shows like Good Morning America and the Today Show.

Then, in 2009, Mark Burnett asked her to join a reality TV show Shark Tank. This is the Barbara Corcoran we know now. Successful, rich, and a full-fledged TV personality.

But how did Corcoran get here? It all began with a $1k loan and a budding romance.

2. How Barbara Corcoran Turned $1k Into an Empire

In the 1970’s, Barbara Corcoran was a waitress at the Fort Lee Diner. She was only 21. She met a guy named Ramone Simone who offered her a ride home.

The two became friends and about a year later, Ramone suggested they start a real estate company together. They pulled out a one thousand dollar loan and split it evenly.

Naturally, they called the company Corcoran-Simone.



The off and on romance only lasted seven years. They broke up the company when Simone decided to marry Corcoran’s secretary.

At that point, Corcoran had one thousand dollars to invest again and she began her own company, the Corcoran Group.

Her First Sale on Her Own

Every entrepreneur remembers when they made their first dollar on their own without the help of a boss or a partner. It’s usually a fond memory.

Corcoran’s first sale was an apartment rental for the Gifunni Brothers, a building where she secretaried previously. It was an L-shaped studio apartment.

When she went to place the ad, she noticed that every other apartment offer read the same. She went to Gifunni and asked if they’d be willing to build a partition so she could advertise a den. The super agreed and she placed an ad that said, “1 BR Plus Den: 340.”

All other ads read, “One bedroom 320 a month.” She got 80 calls the next day.

Splitting the Business

Corcoran-Simone hadn’t officially split off at this point. And Simone showed up looking for his half of the new business. They split the clients 50-50 and Corcoran eventually moved a floor above.

She says that her choice to move up a floor was a positive psychological move. Being below the guy that dumped her for her secretary would have hampered both her mood and her ability to work.

Over the next twenty years, the Corcoran Group went from a one-woman show to a company of over 800 employees. Barbara Corcoran built an insanely successful career off of that one sale.

What Can We Learn From Barbara Corcoran?

Corcoran saw something other people didn’t. While her move to build a partition to create a “den” in her apartment rental was a gimmick, it set her offer apart from others.

When selling either a product or yourself, find a way to set what you’re doing apart. This could mean honing in on a vertical or merely flaunting what you’ve got. Are you better at something than most people? How can you use that to help or impress others?

Barbara Corcoran devoted her later years to setting herself apart. She claims that even now she works harder than anyone her age.

If you want more entrepreneurial advice, check out our other articles!

 

 

How to Make Money on Facebook and Earn Your Fortune: The Ultimate Guide for Marketing Students





Since its release in 2004, Facebook has fundamentally altered the landscape of the internet. What was once a simple online hub for meeting and talking with friends has now become one of the world’s largest companies with over 2.2 billion individual users! That means that today’s marketing students have a new avenue that offers more possibility than any before. With a little bit of ingenuity and a few minutes, you — and your audience — will experience a surge. Looking to do more on Facebook than just post about your day? Learning how to make money on Facebook is entirely possible. Here are a few quick ways to make money on Facebook.
 

Sell Old Goods on Facebook Marketplace

Craiglist is a great way to make a quick buck and clear your room of any old or outdated goods. Unfortunately, it’s also accumulated a bit of a reputation.



Facebook, understanding that they had a unique opportunity, decided to stake a claim in the user-to-user marketplace with its own offering, Facebook Marketplace.

On Marketplace, users can sell virtually anything and everything for a price they set. And since Marketplace uses geolocation, you won’t have to travel far to offload your goods.

Hone Your Social Media Management Skills

If you’re a marketing student, (see page to find a great online MBA program) you’re likely learning a ton of marketable skills in school. However, learning those skills and putting them into practice are two very different matters.



Get a head start on your career by partnering with local businesses to manage their social media profiles. It has the potential to be a mutually beneficial experience.

The local business gets exposure and a bigger audience, and you have a chance to make some money while padding your resume.

Should you enjoy your experience as a social media manager, you may want to look into full-time career options. Per year, the average social media manager makes between $34,432 and $56,571.

Who knew you could make money on Facebook just by using the site?



Experiment With Affiliate Marketing

If you’ve spent any time learning about digital marketing, you’ve probably at least heard the phrase ‘affiliate marketing’ or ‘influencer marketing‘ in passing.

It’s a relatively new phenomenon that’s taken the web by storm, but it’s easily one of the most effective methods to make money on Facebook. Bloggers and vloggers get paid just to talk about products they like!

So how does it work?

Typically, a business will reach out to an influencer with a sizable audience. In your case, you may need to reach out first, but the idea is the same.

Then, once the details of the partnership are laid out, the influencer creates an original ad discussing the product or service in question. It may seem too good to be true, but influencer marketing is currently one of the biggest trends in the marketing world.

Final Thoughts on How to Make Money on Facebook

You may think of scrolling through Facebook as a waste of time, but figuring out how to make money on Facebook is quite simple!

 

 

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

more-shares-social-media




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

instagram-customer-funnel-follower




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.

pasted image 0 482

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.

pasted image 0 468

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.

pasted image 0 452

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.

pasted image 0 506

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:

pasted image 0 457

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

pasted image 0 493

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.

pasted image 0 472

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.

pasted image 0 491

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.

pasted image 0 497

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.

pasted image 0 473

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

pasted image 0 465

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.

pasted image 0 476

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.

pasted image 0 478

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

pasted image 0 489

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.

pasted image 0 455

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.

pasted image 0 480

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

pasted image 0 459

You can also include hashtags in your Stories.

pasted image 0 470

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.

pasted image 0 466

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

pasted image 0 467

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.

giphy

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.

pasted image 0 509

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.

pasted image 0 485

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.

pasted image 0 462

You can also arrange your images and insert music.

pasted image 0 499

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.

pasted image 0 475

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.

pasted image 0 450

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.

pasted image 0 502

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.

pasted image 0 512

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.

pasted image 0 541

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.

pasted image 0 463

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?

 

 

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.

pasted image 0 256

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.

pasted image 0 266

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?

pasted image 0 259

But the cost per click doesn’t matter. It’s actually irrelevant.

Why? Just look at the conversion rate for retail advertising: 3.86%

pasted image 0 257

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:

pasted image 0 244

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.

pasted image 0 241

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:

pasted image 0 253

In the audience manager, create a new custom audience, not a lookalike audience:

pasted image 0 255

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:

pasted image 0 240

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.

pasted image 0 247

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:

pasted image 0 248

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:

pasted image 0 265

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:

pasted image 0 245

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.

pasted image 0 246

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:

pasted image 0 263

For this data type, your column header in your spreadsheet should be: “value.”

pasted image 0 254

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:

pasted image 0 261

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:

pasted image 0 262

In the second step of audience creation, select the value column you created for your list as the “Customer Value” type:

pasted image 0 243

Next, confirm on the “Edit Data Mapping” screen that all of your identifiers are cleared and ready to go with the green checkmark:

pasted image 0 251

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:

pasted image 0 250

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:

pasted image 0 242

After selecting “Create Split Test,” choose the variable that you want to test:

pasted image 0 252

In this case, “Creative” is what you want to select.

On the left-hand side, you should now see the following:

pasted image 0 258

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:

pasted image 0 249

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?

Social Media is ‘Pay to Play’ in 2018 (How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck) – For Influencers Only

pay-to-play-social-media




Remember MySpace? It was one of the first social media platforms that revolutionized how people interact online. In those days and even in the early days of Facebook, people were still trying to get comfortable with online “friendships.” Some people didn’t join until a significant portion of humanity had already signed up. And even then, they were a bit hesitant. Now, however, people are acquainted with social media, how it works, and why it’s fun. They trust it and they enjoy it. Therefore, they use it. And in the days of social media discovery, everyone sort of wondered, “How are these platforms making money?”



Well, now we have the answer.

In a word, advertisements.

The more people that these platforms have access to, the more money they make from businesses wanting to sell those people their products.

And today, 62% of people living in North America have a Facebook account.

pasted image 0 553

Since Facebook sells all of that user data to advertisers, they make a lot of money.

Unfortunately, that also means that growing an organic audience on social media platforms is only becoming more difficult.

Because Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram want you to pay them money to reach your audience.

They don’t want you to be able to do that for free. At least, not easily.

While social media platforms might look like a simple and fun idea on the outside, the reality is that each one is a business.

Still, though, paying to play is well worth your time.

Not only does a massive portion of the human race use social media, but they use it regularly.

Over 75% of Facebook and Instagram users visit the platform at least once per day.

pasted image 0 547

And that means if you advertise on the platforms, people will see you.

Social media is attracting people like crazy, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

For that reason, many marketers and advertisers are still using the platforms to spread their products and message, despite the “pay-to-play” models.

Just take Facebook, for instance. 93% of social media advertisers use Facebook Ads.

pasted image 0 517

However, even the massive number of marketers and advertisers who use social media to sponsor their businesses struggle to quantitatively measure their effectiveness.

pasted image 0 555

And that’s a damaging truth.

Not just to your spirit, but to your pocketbook. Maybe if you’re only trying to grow an organic following on social media, then it isn’t as detrimental.

After all, you’ll probably invest less money while trying to grow an organic following.

However, social media platforms are intentionally trying to get you to pay.

So first, I’ll discuss why and how that’s happening on social media platforms and then lay out some strategies to help you get the most bang for your buck on your advertising efforts.

Why social media is “pay-to-play”

It used to be that you could grow a social media following with some creativity and determination.

Now, however, you also need dollar bills.

And the more you have, the better you’ll be able to reach your audience.

That is, of course, on purpose.

Social media sites want you to pay to reach your ideal market. They don’t want you to able to reach it for free, and they definitely don’t want you to be able to go viral without paying for it.

Over the years, that truth is only becoming more prevalent.

As social media platforms establish themselves, they can require businesses pay more to reach their target markets.

And they are doing so. Vehemently.

In fact, on average, brands only reach 6% of their fans without using paid advertisements.



Clearly, that isn’t very promising.

Additionally, average Facebook engagement is on a downhill slope.

pasted image 0 551

In other words, not only is it difficult to reach your ideal audience, but it’s almost impossible to get them to engage.

The answer, of course, is to run paid advertisements.

As Facebook’s stock price has increased, the average organic reach of business pages has decreased.

pasted image 0 511

Why is that?

Because, again, Facebook doesn’t want you to build a following for free. They want you to pay for it.

Just consider this promote button that they constantly encourage businesses to click.

pasted image 0 514

If you have a Facebook page, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You probably even receive occasional notifications telling you to boost your post for $5 or $10.

That is a great way for Facebook to make money. But it might not be a great way for you to make money.

And that boost button becomes even more tempting when you find out that Facebook won’t even show your post to all of your current followers.

Just consider this post. My page has almost 920,000 followers, but Facebook has only shown the post to about 15,000 people.

Is that just because only some people have been on Facebook at the time of the post?

No. No, it isn’t.

It’s actually because Facebook intentionally restricts how many people a page can reach with their posts organically. They want you to click that boost button, and they want you to do it as often as possible.

The more you do, the more money they make.

That is, of course, only one example of the increasingly expensive social media climate that advertisers find themselves in.

So what can you do to get the most bang for your buck this year?

Specifically, five things. Here’s what they are.

1. Understand your advertising goals

Since every advertisement is going to cost you cold, hard cash, you shouldn’t run one unless you’ve first determined what the goal of the advertisement is.

If you don’t know, then it’s probably best for your bank account to forego paying for an ad.

The process doesn’t need to be complicated, though.

Just start by taking a look at your funnel, from awareness to consideration to transaction.

pasted image 0 526

Then ask yourself where the advertisement falls within that funnel. What is the end goal of the ad?

Traffic? Conversions? Brand awareness?

The goal of your ad should directly impact the copy, image, and message that you send. If you don’t have a direct goal for your advertisement, then you shouldn’t run the ad in the first place.

Especially since an unsuccessful ad will cost you loads of money and time.

Naturally, there are a variety of different goals you can choose from.

This ad, for instance.

pasted image 0 529

Is trying to do something far different than this ad.

pasted image 0 533

One is trying to build brand awareness and strengthen Buffer’s brand image, while the other is trying to actually sell Buffer’s SaaS product.

One is top-of-funnel and the other is bottom-of-funnel.

Sometimes, you’ll want to run ads to a piece of content you created on your website.

Other times, you’ll want to simply sell your product.

Which goal you choose for your advertising campaign will also impact the audience you target.

If you’re trying to build brand awareness, then you might try to target people who’ve never heard of your business.

But if you’re trying to generate conversions, then it’s probably a better idea to run ads to people who already know about you and have indicated that they are interested in buying.

One thing’s for sure, though. If you don’t know what the goal of your advertisement is, then you don’t really have an advertisement at all.

Start with deciding a goal for your advertisement and don’t run the ad before you’ve determined it.

2. Choose the right social media platform

Each social media platform is different.

Some social media platforms are great for B2B advertising while others are great for B2C advertising. Still, some work for both.

Not only that, but each platform also offers different advertising options.

On Facebook, you can target custom and lookalike audiences, which we’ll talk more about it in a bit.

And on LinkedIn, you can target matched audiences.

With Pinterest, you can use Shoppable Pins.

Above all, though, Facebook shines through as the preferred option for marketers and advertisers everywhere.



In fact, 95% of marketers said that Facebook produces the best ROI for their advertisements.

As you can see, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn fall into second, third, and fourth place.

If you’re looking to advertise on social media, then you should at least consider those top four platforms.

Still, one platform will work better for B2B while another works better for B2C. And one will work better for SaaS while another works better for physical products.

How can you decide which platforms to use and which to ignore for the sake of your business and your ROI?

Well, if you’re marketing for a B2B company, then LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube should stand at the top of your marketing list.

pasted image 0 543

However, keep in mind that, on LinkedIn, you can’t do a very good job of selling your actual products.

For generating leads, the platform is remarkable. But for generating conversions, not so much.

Twitter is great for quick advertisements that drive leads and conversions. And YouTube is perhaps the best platform for building a meaningful connection with your audience since it’s based in video content.

Here’s a quick overview of each social media platform and their specialties.

pasted image 0 508

In particular, you’ll notice:

Pinterest is great if you have a female audience, Twitter has the largest penetration in the U.S., Facebook is mostly on mobile, Instagram is all about images, Google+ has 300 million active users, and LinkedIn is B2B oriented.

Those unique differences should impact the place you advertise and the advertisements you use.

And each one will cost you money because each social media platform is a business.

So you need to choose the platform that will provide you with the best ROI. That way, you’re not wasting your hard-earned cash on a platform that simply doesn’t work with your business.

3. Target custom and lookalike audiences

Here’s what you don’t want to do.

You don’t want to pay for advertisements, run them for weeks on end, and receive little-to-no attention.

Unfortunately, that’s often what happens when marketers run advertisements without taking the necessary precautions. Or at least, having the necessary knowledge.

Take, for instance, the audience you choose to target.

You can target everyone in the social media world with the right interests. Or, you can target people who are similar to your current successful audiences.

In most cases, the latter option is far more effective.

Fortunately, most social media platforms offer a variation of what Facebook calls custom and lookalike audiences.

pasted image 0 541

LinkedIn calls it matched audiences and Twitter calls it tailored audiences.

But the feature is largely the same across the board.

So what exactly does the feature do?

Well, it allows you to target audiences that are similar to your current successful audiences.

Imagine, for example, that you have an email list that is incredibly successful. Your open rate, click-through rate, and engagement rate are remarkable for your industry.

With customer and lookalike audiences, you can leverage that email list.

The feature allows you to do one of two things.

  1. Target your email list or some other predetermined audience.
  2. Target an audience that is similar to your email list or other predetermined audience.

The benefits of those features are obvious.

If you have an audience that is already successful, then targeting those same people or people with a similar attitude and demographic is likely to pull results.

In the case of Facebook lookalike audiences, advertisers experience higher-quality and scale than other advertising options.

pasted image 0 557

However, using the feature for one of your social media campaigns will usually require you to install a tracking pixel on your website.

This is what that looks like on Facebook.

pasted image 0 535

Fortunately, that’s quite simple and anyone can do it.

Most social media platforms will walk you through the steps to do so, and all you have to do is follow.

Once you’ve installed the pixel, that social media platform will receive data from your website to understand how your ad is performing.

How many people visit your website? How many people convert? Or how many people abandon their shopping cart?

That’s all available information if you install the required pixel.

Then you’ll be able to use custom and lookalike audiences, giving your advertisements the best bang for your marketing buck.

4. Run retargeting ads

Similar to customer and lookalike audiences are retargeting ads.

These allow marketers to show advertisements to people who have taken (or not taken) certain actions on their website.

Again, you only have access to retargeting ads if you install the corresponding social media pixel on your website.

Most social media websites, though, will allow you to run retargeting ads with ease.

Here’s how they work.

Someone visits your site, and the social media pixel tracks their actions. Let’s pretend, for instance, that they put an item in their shopping cart, but leave before buying.

Then, when they go on Facebook, they see an advertisement that targets them with the exact item they added to their cart, maybe offering an additional discount as an incentive.

pasted image 0 504

For obvious reasons, retargeting ads are more successful than their less-targeted counterparts.

But just how successful are retargeting ads?

Well, on average, they receive three times more clicks, and they are four times more likely to convert new customers.

pasted image 0 549

Here’s what a retargeting ad sometimes looks like. The person visits the website and then they see a sidebar ad on Facebook of the exact same item.

pasted image 0 531

The other regard in which retargeting ads help your marketing success is across different devices.

In today’s world, people use multiple devices. They view your website on their laptop and then Facebook on mobile.

As you can see in the chart below, the device percentages are almost evenly split.

pasted image 0 545

With retargeting ads and a social media pixel, the ads don’t depend on cookies, which are device specific. But they often identify the actual user.

That means even though the person visited your website on their laptop and then Facebook on their phone, the pixel sees the person instead of the different devices.

Clearly, that’s a win for your marketing strategy.

Here’s a retargeting ad, for instance, in which J. Crew Factory offers a discount for a user who abandoned their cart.

pasted image 0 520

And another example.

pasted image 0 537

And one more.

pasted image 0 539

Do that and you’re sure to get more bang for your buck out of your advertising dollars.

Retargeting ads are less risky than most other advertisements because they target people that, you know, are already interested in your product.

You just have to give them a little push before they buy.

Conclusion

As time goes on, social media is only going to get more expensive.

Each platform is trying to run a business, which means that they are trying to make money.

You are their customer.

And your customer is their product. Fortunately, the story isn’t all bad.

Social media is remarkable at finding and targeting your audience.

Even though you now have to “pay to play,” as long as you use your dollars wisely, you can use social media to advertise your products and grow your business.

The four things you want to focus on are understanding your advertising goals, choosing the right social media platform, targeting custom and lookalike audiences, and running retargeting ads.

Then, and only then, will you get the best bang for your buck in the expensive social media climate you find yourself in.

What strategy do you use to get the best ROI from your social media advertisements?

 

 

 

9 Ways to Beat Instagram’s Algorithm For More Followers and More Likes (For Influencers Only) 2018

more instagram likes and followers




Social Media platforms change with alarming frequency these days. For years, Instagram was a haven of chronological posts that almost guaranteed engagement as long as you timed your post correctly and shared something interesting. But that Instagram reality is no more. Recent changes offer users more control over their feeds, which means it may be getting more difficult to engage with your audience. Instagram’s users may be able to see fresher posts, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever see your content. That means you’ll need to change your approach if you want to stay at the top of the Instagram pile. And to do that, you have to know what actually works for other brands who have cracked the code.



This post will give you nine ways to do just that.

But first, you have to understand Instagram’s current landscape and how it affects your brand.

Breaking down the Instagram landscape

In 2016, Instagram announced their efforts to favor the moments you “care about the most” in your feed.

Since then, marketers have been looking for ways to optimize their content and stay ahead of the Instagram algorithm to keep engagement levels high.

As you’re no longer guaranteed to show up in a chronological feed, you have to find a creative way to stay in front of your online audience.

And as the press release indicates, Instagram’s current algorithm filters content based on your user’s previous behavior.

So in theory, the more your audience interacts with your brand, the more they’ll see your posts.

That isn’t exactly great news for most marketers though.

The overwhelming tendency is to treat engagement as the number one metric on Instagram, and all of these changes have caused engagement to go down.

success

So success on Instagram requires brands to find new ways to continue building engagement and follower count.

But to start engaging with Instagram users in the first place, you have to know who they are and what they’re like.

use

First and foremost, Instagram users are predominately young.

Your audience is primarily millennials for now, and they have different shopping patterns than previous generations.

And perhaps even worse, the average user misses over 70% of their feed.

That means even your best content isn’t guaranteed to be in front of your audience no matter what you do.

So if it’s so hard to get views and engagement, why focus on Instagram at all?

To understand that, you have to understand the raw marketing power of visual engagement.

According to research, visuals are a more retainable form of sharing information and news.

visuals

We retain vastly more information from things we see, which means visuals are important.

That makes Instagram, which is a primarily visual channel, an essential part of many brands’ digital presence.

Brands that create visually-appealing or artisan items often rely on Instagram to engage with their audience when blogging.

They use Instagram as an essential piece of their social media sales funnel, so success on this platform is life or death.

And studies have shown that people buy items they see on social media all the time.

purchase influence on social media 960x512

More than 42% of social media users have made a purchase simply because they saw it in their feed.

So finding a way to break the algorithm in your favor and increase your engagement can help your brand push sales through Instagram.

And to do that, you have to create content that resonates with your audience and fosters interaction between your followers and your brand.

Thankfully, there are plenty of proven methods that will let you accomplish that on a regular basis.

The nine solutions in this post are data-backed and brand-approved methods for boosting engagement.

And the first one you can start using right now.

Solution #1: Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the Snapchat-esque element of Instagram that allows users to create and share content that disappears after 24 hours.

Launched in late 2016, it’s quickly become a favorite of brands and users alike to share their days with their followers.

By October 2017, more than 300 million users were creating Stories on a daily basis.

stories users

Plus, more and more marketers are using Stories to help drive engagement with their brand.

stories dominate

But are Stories actually an effective way for brands to engage with their audience?

According to this case study, the answer is yes.

The designer brand Revolve has used Instagram Stories to create and share powerful campaigns on their profile.

In the case study linked above, they launched their #Revolveme campaign.

IMG 2939



The point of this effort was to find and share user-generated content that centered around their brand.

Customers could purchase clothes and then upload their own photos with the hashtag #revolveme in hopes of being featured in the brand’s Stories.

IMG 2940

While you might think that most of the Stories they share look like professional models, the reality is that they’re all user submitted.

That means they’re not only sharing their audience’s content, but they’re also getting free, high-quality content at the same time.

And the results speak for themselves.

stories

According to the study, the brand started having an average of more than 66,000 impressions on each Story.

With an exit rate of only 6.27%, it’s clear that their efforts were successful.

And since the brand is still sharing the #revolveme Stories, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll drop the campaign anytime soon.

So if you’re struggling to boost your engagement, start sharing your own Stories.

Solution #2: Hire a professional

Not everyone is destined to be a photographer, and that’s okay.

But Instagram is a visual platform.

Therefore, visuals are the heart of your work.

So if you’re not the best photographer, you may actually be hurting your brand’s performance in the long run.

And to make matters worse, you may not even have a camera that shoots a good picture according to today’s standards.

Just look at the quality difference in these two images from an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 8.

6s

This iPhone 6s image might look good at first glance.

But when you post it next to its successor from the iPhone 8, the differences really stand out.

8

The newer phone offers brighter colors and much better focus.

But if you’re stuck with an older model phone, chances are your audience will notice in your image quality.

So you have a few options when it comes to hiring a professional photographer.

You can certainly find someone local or even see if someone already in your organization has a talent for photography.

Or, you can turn to the online gig economy using a site like Upwork.

upwork

These freelance Instagram marketers can help guide the imagery that your brand uses to help you engage with your followers.

And since they all offer something a little different, you can probably find someone who matches both your needs and your budget.

But does a professional photographer actually make a difference?

According to Vulpine Interactive, it certainly seems so.

Vulpine Interactive was working on the digital presence of one of their clients called Sixthreezero Bicycle Company.

630

When they first started working with them, they noticed that the photography on their Instagram wasn’t quite on-brand.

One of the first recommendations they made was to change the photography and optimize their Instagram, which involved hiring a professional.

By combining their new Instagram approach with some other website initiatives, Sixthreezero saw a 300% growth in website traffic over seven months.

So if it helped this brand to hire a photographer, it’s worth looking into for your own business.

Solution #3: Stay true to trends

If you’re in an industry that changes a lot, you know how hard it is to stay current with just those trends.

So when you start exploring new trends in an unknown arena, it can get overwhelming very quickly.

And every year sees plenty of visual trends change and evolve as they go.

Just check out some of these images that are considered a part of this year’s trends.

visual trend

This image is meant to be a powerful visual that attempts to make a statement.

It’s dramatic, tells a story, and makes the viewer wonder what’s actually happening here.

But just look at that picture in comparison to this one:

visual trend 2

They couldn’t be more different.

The second photo is deadpan and almost static compared to the first, yet both are considered trendy.

While it may not suit your personal style, learning and adhering to these visual trends can help you engage with your Instagram audience and stand out from the crowd.

What’s more, you can also look at established trends on Instagram that other brands have seen success with.

60% of the top brands use the same filter and lighting for all their Instagram photos. It’s about creating a photo strategy.

Just look at Gucci.

Screen Shot 2018 05 01 at 10.03.28 PM

Or, Oreo.

Screen Shot 2018 05 01 at 10.04.52 PM

There’s consistency and strategy behind both.

Two of Condé’s publications, Vanity Fair and GQ, were able to drive traffic and see a return on investment after partnering with Dash Hudson by harnessing visual storytelling.

Condé Nast’s Director of Digital and Social Strategy, Rochelle Stewart, says, “Instagram is a natural fit for us as it allows our brands to tap into what they do best — visual storytelling, beautiful photography, imagery that is both inspirational and aspirational.”

It’s clear that creating a visual strategy for Instagram is crucial.

Posting with a consistent filter, images with faces, and tagging your location can help you engage more and stay in your audience’s feed.

You can even base your Instagram filter on your location if you want to get specific.

US Instagram

The point here is that other brands have noticed trends through trial and error that you can take advantage of.

If you focus on following these established trends with your own Instagram, you’re more likely to see the results you want.



Solution #4: Fire up live video

Live streaming is quickly becoming one of the most important things your brand can do.

According to a recent study, video streaming currently accounts for more than two-thirds of Internet traffic.

live video

That means it’s not only being created in vast quantities, but it’s also being consumed as well.

And since 2016, Instagram has allowed brands to launch their own Live videos natively on their app.

The results have been more than most could ever imagine, including the people behind the Old House Vintage Market profile.

In just one event, they gained 1,151 followers.

That’s almost 80% of their current following, and they got it in less than one day.

They even went back and re-recorded the video on a phone to make sure they could keep it.

If a small brand like this can use Live video so effectively, imagine what it could do for a brand that already has thousands of followers.

By engaging with a larger audience on Instagram, you encourage interaction and push yourself to the top of the news feed.

It doesn’t even have to be planned either.

Just fire it up and share what you’re doing right now or look for ideas that you can share.

As long as you can engage with your followers, you can grow your brand and crack the Instagram algorithm.

Solution #5: Post at the right time

If you’ve been around social media for a while, you’ve likely seen study after study that seeks to find the perfect time to post.

Instagram has plenty of those studies, and they’re definitely worth your time and attention.

According to this post from Sprout Social, Instagram sees the most traffic during the midday periods in the middle of the week.

Heatmap Instagram 1 1

That may mean that plenty of people are sitting at their desks browsing Instagram, but it also means you should be looking to highlight your posts at those times too.

But don’t take the above image as the final word on when you should actually post.

The above graph looks at engagement, not necessarily posting times.

To find that out, you have to take a look at what CoSchedule has cooked up.

best times days to post on instagram

This points you in the direction of posting early in the morning and just before rush hour traffic hits.

If you post in times where there’s too much congestion (or not enough), you could potentially miss out on engagement due to heavier filtering.

Posting for off-work hours seems to be the solution favored by brands that use Instagram, which means you may be sharing your content at the wrong time.

Instead, follow the advice above and try to find the times that give your brand the greatest amounts of engagement.

Solution #6: Reach more people with hashtags

If you’re like me, you’ve probably scratched your head a bit when it comes to hashtags.

While it seems like everyone is using them, they’re not always beneficial when it comes to social media.

But Instagram is an altogether different matter.

The uniqueness of Instagram’s visual platform makes it the perfect platform to utilize hashtags.

When a user clicks on a hashtag from a post they’re viewing, they’re taken to a page that shows more custom hashtags.

For example, check out this recent post from actor Chris Pratt:

hashtag

In it, he uses #farmlife.

When you click the hashtag, you’re taken to a list of every post that’s used that same hashtag.

hashtag 2

This invites the user to scroll through, find more images they like, and engage with more profiles.

So using popular hashtags appropriately can help you extend the reach of your brand and find new audience members.

And to do that, I highly recommend using a Chrome extension like Hashtest to help you find high-volume hashtags.

hashtest

All you have to do is input the hashtags you’re thinking about and it will give you instant feedback on how useful it is.

When you find the right hashtags, include them in your posts on a regular basis.

Your images will have greater reach, and you can appear more often in more feeds over time.

Solution #7: Use an influencer

When it comes to influencer marketing, no other platform comes close to Instagram.

collab

By far, influencers love to create and share brand collaborations on Instagram.

The visual, product-driven nature of the platform makes it the perfect place to create and share content that followers want to engage with.

That means you can use this trend to your advantage by finding influencers who are interested in your brand.

And influencers are seeing some major growth in just the past few years alone.

influencers

With new influencers and creators continually coming on the scene, the opportunities for your business are plentiful.

Take a look at how the ASOS Insiders campaign utilized influencers to help them sell their product.

This campaign focused on an exclusive group of young adult influencers who were hand-picked to show off the ASOS brand clothes.

ASOS Insiders Fashion Tips Style Advice ASOS 2

By tapping into the audiences that these influencers already had, ASOS created a global phenomenon that’s still very much alive today.

asos

As of right now, ASOS has more than seven million followers on their Instagram account.

That means with every post they share, millions of viewers have opted in to see their content.

But you don’t have to have a huge budget to pull this feat off.

You can find influencers with thousands of followers who would be willing to help share your brand.

It’s one of the fastest growing Instagram marketing areas, and you would be wise to start using it for your own efforts.

Solution #8: Share user-generated content

We looked earlier at how a brand used user-generated content in their Stories, but the application for user-generated content is much larger than you may have previously imagined.

Studies have shown that sharing user-generated content makes your brand more authentic and humanizes your company.

Screen Shot 2017 11 16 at 12.08.12 1024x500

That means that the more you share the content your users provide, the more they’ll feel that you’re actually relatable and worthy of their attention.

What’s more, it’s seen as “helpful” or “invaluable” to 99% of marketers.

Screen Shot 2017 11 16 at 12.16.30 1024x792

So sharing more user-generated content is the perfect way to help bring your brand back down to earth.

If your audience sees the opportunity to feature on your page, there’s a much better chance they’ll want to interact with you and create content for you.

Rent the Runway saw a huge amount of success when they started focusing on sharing user-generated content.

Over the course of their study, they discovered that they were also saving five to ten hours per week on creating content.

And more importantly, their engagement went up by 21% over their original content.

users

Simply by sharing more of their user-generated content, they were able to see measurable improvements in their Instagram page’s activity.

So save time and boost your own engagement by utilizing your own audience’s content.

You’ll likely find that this strategy can help you see the same type of success in your own efforts.

Solution #9: Host a contest

Instagram contests are the final tactic that can help your brand beat the algorithm and increase your overall engagement.

And according to the State of Instagram report, 39% of businesses plan to do more contests in the coming years.

contests

And when you look into the success that some brands have experienced, there’s no wonder why more businesses want to try this approach.

Take for example the MyNeoShoot contest hosted by Adidas.

Instagram marketing Adidas Neo 1024x611

In this contest, Adidas asked its followers to create images that were inspired by their brand.

The best photos were then invited to model in a professional photoshoot, and they even got Selena Gomez to help them spread the word about the contest.

As a result of the contest, Adidas generated 71,000 mentions of the #MyNeoShoot hashtag and gained 41,000 new followers.

So using a creative contest for your own brand can lead to similar results.

Just make sure you establish clear rules, or the whole process could backfire.

rules

Even if you don’t gain thousands of new followers, you’re almost guaranteed to get engagement from your current audience.

And that means you’ll be one step closer to breaking the Instagram algorithm, which means more reach and more engagement.

Conclusion

Instagram is a highly versatile platform that allows brands to engage with and sell to their online audience.

But changes to the algorithm in the last few years have raised a lot of questions about what actually works.

And with engagement being the number one goal of most Instagram brands, finding innovative ways to engage is more important than ever before.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that your brand can consistently engage on Instagram.

Utilizing Stories can help you create a brand that’s always on and sharing.

If you’re lacking in photography skills, consider hiring a professional to help you bridge the gap.

Staying in tune with recent trends will also help you know what type of imagery seems to work best for your audience, which will be more appealing in the long run.

And creating live video can help you stay in the limelight and boost your brand in ways you never imagined.

Then, by focusing on posting at the right time, you can increase your overall engagement and always be present when your audience will see you.

Don’t forget to utilize hashtags, and make sure that you’re looking for influencers who can help promote your brand.

If possible, share user-generated content to humanize your brand and be more relatable to your followers.

And finally, don’t hesitate to create a contest that promotes sharing and engagement even further.

You have plenty of options to choose from if you want to see success on Instagram.

All that’s left is for you to create your plan and execute it.

What are your favorite Instagram engagement strategies?

 

 

 

9 Expert Insights to Increase Your Organic Website / Blog Reach on Facebook (For Entrepreneurs only) 2018

facebook organnic search traffic




You’re probably already using Facebook to engage with your audience. Facebook has established itself as indispensable within the social media marketing industry with 62% of marketers naming it as the most important one in their strategies. But while 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly, 40% say they’re unsure whether their efforts are working. And that’s becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer. Because Facebook’s recent algorithm update prioritizes posts from friends and family, less content from business pages is showing up in users’ News Feeds. In fact, Facebook Ads expert Jon Loomer warns that measuring only actual, viewable impressions, as opposed to News Feed ticks, could see reach decline by up to 20%. And as organic reach drops, ad rates continue to skyrocket — increasing by 35% in the last quarter of 2017 alone.



So with organic reach on the decline and advertising becoming more expensive than ever, reaching your audience on the platform isn’t as easy as it used to be.

But it also isn’t impossible.

Fortunately, Facebook offers a comprehensive set of analytics reports for business page owners.

And in this post, you’ll learn nine ways to gather actionable data from these reports, then use that insight to increase your organic reach.

Why organic reach matters

There’s been a continual decline in average organic Facebook page reach over the past few years.

And while that may not be news if you’ve been following the social media marketing industry, there was a more drastic drop from 2016 to 2017.

median organic post reach

This means that marketers across the board are reaching fewer of their followers with the content they post.

But why does this matter?

Can’t you just spend some money and boost your posts so that they reach more users?

That would be the obvious solution — but personally, I don’t recommend it as an alternative to working on your organic reach.

 

Boosting posts, even with a well-executed strategy, is a temporary approach. Once you stop paying, you stop getting results.

Plus, the posts you boost will typically involve directing users to informational content on your site.

And while that can help you earn traffic, that traffic doesn’t generally convert at a high rate — meaning that the ROI you see will likely be low.

So while boosting posts is an effective way to generate a spike in traffic to a page on your site, it ultimately won’t lead to long-term results.

Achieving and maintaining strong organic reach, on the other hand, can boost your lead generation efforts.

And, having a strong organic reach, can contribute to your sales funnel — making it a much better goal for your Facebook marketing strategy.

How to access Facebook Insights

To access the data that Facebook provides on your business’s results, you’ll first need to navigate to your page and select “Insights” from the menu bar.

insights menu

The main dashboard shows a summary of the previous seven days.

This summary includes data for your total actions on page, pageviews, page previews, page likes, page reach, and page recommendations.

It essentially gives a general overview of your weekly performance, as well as how that performance compares to the previous week.

From here, you can click any of these summaries to access more detailed information or scroll down to see data for your five most recent posts.

This section will show the date and time of each post, the post’s type and caption, as well as the reach and engagement achieved.

The reach metric will also display both organic and boosted numbers if you paid to promote any of your posts listed over the previous seven days.

Finally, your dashboard will also display weekly performance summaries of up to five pages that you’ve designated as “Pages to Watch.”

This feature is designed to help you easily compare your page’s performance with your competitors’ pages.

You can add up to five pages to track. Then this report will display each one’s total page likes as well as their increase in page likes, total posts, and total engagements.

How to use Facebook Insights to increase your reach

So, reaching your audience with organic content is essential for achieving significant results with Facebook.

But if your current approach is just to share links to new content whenever you publish it on your site, it’s unlikely you’ll see the kind of organic reach you want.

Success on the platform requires careful strategy and planning.

And when you use Facebook’s built-in reporting feature, Insights, you can learn valuable data about your audience.



This data will help you create a strategy tailored to their interests and browsing habits.

So if you’re looking to improve your results on the platform, here are nine ways to use Facebook Insights to measure your performance and improve it moving forward.

1. Use the Likes, Comments, and Shares report to identify high-performing content

One of the most popular metrics amongst Facebook marketers is reach.

You can access this data by selecting the “Reach” tab from the column on the left of the page.

Here you’ll see a report showing how many people saw content from your page on any given day.

This is a helpful report for getting a general idea of how many people read or saw your posts over a given time period.

But it doesn’t show which content they saw or whether any of those people engaged with it.

Of course, you can use this graph to identify any spikes in reach, then use those spikes as a starting point for digging deeper into your reports.

In that regard, it makes sense to glance at this report whenever you check in on your page’s results.

But you can’t draw definitive or actionable conclusions from it.

After all, your goal isn’t just to know what your organic reach is — it’s to increase that number.

And one of the best ways to do that is to focus on creating more engaging content.

When a post does well in terms of engagement, this signals to Facebook that users find it interesting. As a result, they’ll distribute that post to even more users.

This means that to achieve high organic reach, you need to create content that generates engagement from your audience.

And you can access this data in the Reactions, Comments, Shares, and More report.

Instead of focusing on reach, this report will help you identify the days on which your content sparked the most reactions among your audience.

Again, this report doesn’t show individual posts — so looking at this data alone won’t tell you which content generated a high number of likes, comments, or shares.

But once you’ve identified days on which your page saw high engagement numbers, you can use that insight to narrow in on specific posts.

This can serve as a starting point for identifying high-performing content.

Plus, you can use it to gauge your overall engagement levels over time.

And while many Facebook marketers mistakenly focus on reach, making engagement-related metrics a priority will give you a much more accurate idea of what you’re doing well.

2. Use the Posts report to compare individual posts

After you’ve used page-wide metrics to get a general idea of your Facebook results, you can use the Posts report to learn more about the performance of individual posts.

Under the Posts tab, scroll down to “All Posts Published.”

This report will list each of your recently-published posts individually, as well as the post’s type, targeting, reach, and engagement.

With this data, you can easily identify the top-performing posts on your page for any given time period.

Here again, though, you’ll want to focus on engagement instead of reach alone.

This is especially important when you consider what this metric really indicates. Every time one of your posts appears in a user’s News Feed, it adds to your reach count.

And when you think about your own browsing habits, the problem becomes apparent.

Many of us tend to scroll mindlessly through our feeds, only stopping when something catches our attention.

And if this is the kind of “reach” you’re generating, it means very little for your business.

If users don’t stop to read your content, their view is essentially useless.

When a user likes, comments on, or shares one of your posts, however, you can be confident that they spent at least a few seconds with your content.

This makes these metrics more reliable indicators of a post’s success. Plus, they can give you a better understanding of which types of content are most interesting to your audience.

Then, you can use this insight to create more of the content they like — leading to more engagement for your page and improving your overall organic reach.

3. Use the Post Types report to learn what your audience wants

Another helpful data set within the Posts section of Insights is the “Post Types” report.

This will show the performance of your most recent posts. But instead of displaying them individually, it shows data based on different types of posts.

When you publish content to your page, you can either post it in the form of a photo, status, link, offer, or video.

This report will show which of those types tend to resonate best with your audience.

After all, every audience is different.

And while visual content performs best on social media, you won’t know for sure if that’s because of your followers or other types of content they prefer until you dig into your own data.

Of course, as a caveat, it’s important to note that the actual content in these posts can have an impact on your followers’ responses.

So if you’ve only published one or two posts within the reporting period, your data may be skewed based on their content.

As a result, this report is most helpful when you’ve been publishing new posts on a regular basis.

But once it’s had enough time to collect significant data, you can use it to shape your content calendar and overall strategy.

The more you post the type of content your audience likes to see, the more effective you’ll be at generating engagement and reaching your goals on the platform.

4. Identify what’s working for your competitors

Looking at post performance is a great way to gauge what your audience wants to see more of. But it’s important to remember that you aren’t limited to monitoring your own content.

Much like with virtually every other form of digital marketing, doing a bit of competitor research is a great way to improve your own strategy.

And Facebook makes that process easy, as long as you know who your competitors are.

From the Posts tab, select “Top Posts from Pages You Watch.”



This report shows data from pages you’ve identified as competitors. And if you haven’t done so yet, you can add to it by selecting the “Add Pages” button at the top of the report.

Then, you’ll see the top content from each of the pages you’ve chosen to monitor in terms of engagement.

The report also includes direct links to each post, making it easy to see the exact content that’s working for your competitors.

Assuming that your audience shares similarities with the audiences of the pages you’ve chosen to monitor, this can be an extremely valuable insight for your business.

Spend some time investigating which post types are working for other businesses in your industry, what kinds of topics they’re posting about, and the tone and style that they use.

Of course, you should never attempt to replicate another company’s strategy directly.

But this is a great way to learn how to most effectively connect with your audience — so that you can create a clearer plan for your own approach.

5. Learn when your fans are online

Many Facebook page admins struggle to identify the best times to post on social media.

If you spend time creating content, you want to make sure that your audience actually sees it — and timing can play a big role in that.

Fortunately, determining when your audience is online doesn’t need to be a game of guesswork.

Facebook provides all of this data under the Posts tab. Simply select “When Your Fans Are Online” from the menu at the top of the report.

Here, you’ll see data from the previous week, showing your total number of fans active on each day of the week.

Then, once you select a day, you can see how many users were active during each hourly interval based on your local time zone.

With this report, there’s no need to guess when you should be posting to reach your audience.

Create a schedule based on when you know they’re most active online, and you can be confident that you aren’t missing any opportunities simply because of timing issues.

6. Use the Net Followers report to track your audience’s growth

Your organic reach depends on many different factors, the most notable of which is Facebook’s algorithm.

But your posts will only ever show up in the feeds of users who’ve chosen to follow you — meaning that your potential organic reach is limited to that number of users.

That means that it’s important to keep an eye on your audience’s growth.

Fortunately, this is an easy metric to monitor using the “Net Followers” report, which you can find under the Followers tab.

While many page managers focus solely on their total number of followers, that metric doesn’t tell the whole story.

When it comes to growing a page, retaining your current followers is just as important as earning new ones.

And this report can show you how you’re doing in that regard.

Plus, if you’re losing followers, this can help you learn why.

If you notice a significant number of unfollowers on a specific day, you’ll want to take a look at what you posted that day.

This can give some insight as to what kinds of content your audience doesn’t like.

This way, you can avoid publishing the kinds of content that cost your page followers — and continue to grow your audience.

7. Use the Actions on Page report to see how Facebook drives important business goals

As with any marketing channel, your goal with Facebook marketing isn’t simply to generate attention on the platform itself.

Ultimately, you want your efforts to translate into meaningful results for your business.

And fortunately, some businesses have seen these types of results remain consistent — or even increase — despite the overall decrease in average page reach.

For example, in one Scribewise study, the company saw a 67% increase in site traffic due to Facebook from December 2017 to January 2018.

fb traffic

So while many social media marketers were panicking about drops in reach, their results actually improved for a more meaningful metric than how often they appear in users’ News Feeds.

And the data in the Actions on Page tab can help you gauge whether your Facebook marketing campaigns are making an impact.

This report shows whether users are taking actions that translate into off-page results.

Actions like asking for directions to your business, clicking your phone number, visiting your website, or clicking the action button on your header.

Depending on your business and social media marketing strategy, not all of these actions will be relevant.

For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, you wouldn’t expect your followers to ask for directions.

But you would want them to visit your website or click an action button that directs them to shop — and this report is where you can see whether they’re taking those steps.

So to make the most of this report, you’ll first need to determine what kind of action you’re hoping to drive with your page.

And if you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to create a custom action button. This will show up in your page’s header and direct visitors to take a step that’s important to your business.

action button

Click “Add Button,” and you’ll be prompted to select from a pre-set list of button types.

which button

You can opt to direct users to book an appointment, contact you, visit a specific page on your site, shop or make a donation, or download an app or game.

Once you’ve added your button, you’ll be able to track how many users click it in the Actions on Page report.

This will give you a clearer idea of how your Facebook strategy is contributing to your overall marketing goals.

8. Use Video Insights to monitor performance

Today, video is one of the best ways to engage Facebook users. In fact, 12 of the 14 most viral Facebook posts in 2017 were videos.

Facebook has even explicitly stated that video generates more engagement.

It’s clearly a compelling medium — so it should come as no surprise that 81% of marketers are using it as part of their strategies.

And videos don’t have to be complicated or involve high production values to generate results, either.

Just take a look at how Inspiralized uses videos created with Instagram’s Boomerang feature to attract their audience’s attention:

pasted image 0

So if you’re not using video yet as part of your strategy, there’s no reason not to try publishing a few simple posts and see how your audience responds.

Then, once you do, Facebook’s Video Insights are a great way to monitor your performance.

Click the Video tab, and you’ll first see an overview of your page’s Video Views.

video views

This report counts each time a user watches three seconds or more of one of your videos as a view.

But if you scroll a little farther down the page, you’ll also see a report showing only views of ten or more seconds.

10 second views

If your video is less than ten seconds, Facebook will instead use this report to show users who watch 97% of it.

Either way, this report is an excellent way to see which of your videos are effective in engaging your audience.

If a user spends ten or more seconds watching your content, they’re clearly interested — and that means a lot more than the type of view included in the standard reach metric.

From here, you can also click any video to access more data about that individual post.

individual video insights

This data includes peak live viewers, average watch time, and total minutes viewed.

9. Learn who your followers are

The more you know about your followers, the more effective you’ll be in creating content that’s relevant to their needs and interests.

You can access Facebook’s data about who follows your page by navigating to the People tab, then selecting “Your Followers.”

It’s important to note that by default, Facebook will show data on your fans, not your followers.

And while you’ll often see these terms used interchangeably, there’s an important distinction to make.

Fans “like” your page, but may have opted not to see your posts in their feeds. Followers, on the other hand, have indicated that they want to see your content.

That means that while these audiences may be extremely similar, followers are a better indicator of who’s seeing and interacting with your posts.

Conclusion

Engaging your audience on Facebook is no longer as simple as remembering to publish a new post once or twice a week.

But using the reports above, you can gain valuable insight into your audience’s interests and browsing habits.

Focus on engagement rather than reach because someone who is engaging with your content is more likely to buy than someone who just scrolled past it on their News Feed.

Compare post types and individual posts to see what’s working for you. Then check out what’s working for your competitors.

Once you know what types of content your audience likes, find out when they’re online and post at peak times so they actually see it.

And don’t forget video. It’s one of the best ways to engage your audience.

Try a few video posts and see how your audience responds.

Finally, track your audience growth and business goals to make sure your content is connecting.

When you shape your strategy around what they want to see, you’ll be much more successful in achieving the reach and engagement you want.

Which metrics do you find most helpful when monitoring your Facebook marketing success?

 

 

 

Twitter Hack Your Way to 10,000 Twitter Followers with 7 Tips (For Twitter Users Only) 2018

gain twitter followers




What if I told you that you could get 10,000 Twitter followers by optimizing your Twitter strategy? What if I also told you that it would be pretty easy to do? Well, I’ve got nine simple, straightforward, and super effective tips to hack your way into having a huge Twitter presence. But isn’t Facebook the biggest social network? Shouldn’t Facebook be where you’re concentrating your efforts and growth-hacking endeavors? Absolutely not. Twitter is still among the top social networks today for users with over 330 million active users.



Yes, Twitter could be the secret ingredient to connecting with the biggest possible audience.

And I’m going to help you do it.

But first…

Why do Twitter followers matter?

Sure, Facebook is the biggest of the conventional social networks with the most monthly active users.

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 8.42.14 PM

But you shouldn’t underestimate Twitter’s importance or utility just yet.

It’s a global powerhouse.

Even though nearly a quarter of Americans use Twitter regularly, much of Twitter’s user base — an impressive 79% of the user base to be specific — consists of international users.

This means that Twitter allows you to connect easily with a global audience.

And it’s a global audience that continues to grow quarter to quarter, year over year.

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 4.11.36 PM

There are other factors to consider, too.

Such as how Twitter’s millennial audience is a coveted one from a marketing perspective.

The data shows that about 40% of all American millennials are on Twitter — a larger percentage than any other generation.

It also shows that most Twitter users are college-educated with annual salaries of $75,000 or more per year.

The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials Infographic

Not only are there tons of millennials on Twitter, millennials more frequently use social media as a tool for discovering new brands.

Statistically speaking, millennials are an ideal target demographic for many companies because they’re stronger consumers.

So why not reach out to them where they live?

02 index graph 2017 q4

Millennials eat out more, love trying new products, and they’re always looking for unique experiences with brands and companies.

In fact, the rise of the millennial generation has forever changed the world of marketing, from the strong focus on video to the rise of influencer marketing, and the emphasis on emotional connection.

There’s another reason Twitter is so attractive to marketers, and that’s because it gives you 100% reach.

But there’s a caveat.

When you post to Twitter, your tweets are only seen by your followers or when your tweets are shared with others’ followers.

You have 100% reach only with your followers and their followers.

This means 100% reach on Twitter doesn’t matter if there aren’t people seeing your content.

And according to recent research, 74% of the people who follow small and medium businesses on Twitter are following these businesses because they want updates on future products.

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 3.34.07 PM

Additionally, nearly half of those who follow brands and businesses are more likely to visit those companies’ websites.

So your Twitter followers will often become people who visit your website and invest in your brand through purchases.

Fortunately, I can help you get followers quickly and effectively.

Nine ways to get Twitter followers fast

1. Optimize your Twitter profile

The first thing you need to do is complete and optimize your Twitter profile.

Due to the platform’s redesign, you’ll approach certain aspects of your Twitter profile a little differently than you might’ve before.

For example, profile photos are now round instead of square, which helps to distinguish user profiles from the square images that appear in tweets.

round twitter profile picture

Many of the changes are cosmetic and served as a simple update, helping Twitter be more 2018 and less 2000-and-late.

For all the power you stand to gain by using Twitter for your business, not having a professional, up-to-date profile can be a major turn-off to prospective followers.

So one of the first steps on the road to amassing tons of followers is to make sure your Twitter profile rocks.

Your profile picture is the centerpiece of your Twitter profile.

It’s the part of your Twitter profile people probably notice and look at first.

Aside from your username, it’s the one profile element that doesn’t just appear on your profile. It’ll show next to your tweet in the other users’ feeds when you post.

So you should choose a photo that’s appropriate for your business or brand.

Whether you’re using a professional photo of yourself or your brand’s logo, you want to make sure that the most important elements appear toward the center of the image.

Due to the circular format, anything that appears toward the edges of your profile photo won’t show on your profile.

1K6TR kBVIEc A7xwQyhIrQ

It’s even a good idea to resize your image. Although you can upload higher-res files, your profile image doesn’t need to be any bigger than a 400px by 400px square.

Here are some examples of how these profile image best practices can be implemented:

Bitfinex — a cryptocurrency exchange company — uses their logo for their profile image.

Bitfinex bitfinex Twitter

Similarly, you can see New York Magazine’s iconic logo as the profile pic used for their Twitter account.

New York Magazine NYMag Twitter

However, Virgin Group founder and colorful businessperson Richard Branson uses a photo of himself. The photo looks professional yet casual and relatable.

Richard Branson richardbranson Twitter

Not only is this smart for promotional purposes, but it also helps people make stronger associations between your brand and logo.



Your profile photo should draw attention because it will be the identity that your followers will come to see behind all the content you post on Twitter.

Using a branded logo as a profile image, like Louis Vuitton, is an easy and quick way to get followers to recognize your posts instantly.

pasted image 0 368

But beyond the profile photo, there’s the ‘Bio.’

This is the area of your Twitter profile where you provide a little — just 160 characters in total — information about your brand or business.

Here’s an example from the Washington Post’s Twitter profile:

Washington Post washingtonpost Twitter

As you can see, the goal of your profile is to give a prospective follower an idea of (a) what your business is and (b) what they can expect by becoming a follower.

But there’s another reason why your bio is important: it’s searchable.

Of course, you’ll want to include all the essential info, such as your website, location, and possibly a phone number.

You’ll want to include keywords that are relevant to your brand or company in your bio.

A great example of the use of keywords in a Twitter bio is PlayStation.

PlayStation’s bio includes common variants of the company’s name as well as their products’ names, such as “PS4” for “PlayStation 4.”

A consumer tech outlet called Gadgets Now uses keywords in the bio, too.

Another element you can include in your Twitter bio is hashtags.

News network CNN incorporates a single hashtag in the bio.

CNN CNN Twitter

CNN’s hashtag is a great example because “Go There” happens to be a slogan for the network, emphasizing ingenuity and tenacity in journalism.

So the hashtag reinforces the network’s desired brand image.

Additionally, your bio can be an opportunity to show some personality, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.

Content marketer and author Ann Handley’s profile is an excellent example.

Ann Handley MarketingProfs Twitter

Ann’s use of the phrase “waging a war on mediocrity in content marketing” is accurate and effective while also showcasing her personality.

Once you’ve chosen your profile photo and written your bio, the next step in a great Twitter profile is to find (or even create) your header image.

Jay Baer jaybaer Twitter

Though it changes from time to time, the current dimensions that your Twitter header image should be are 1500px by 500px.

This can be a great opportunity to reinforce your brand or to promote your latest product or service.

coca cola twitter

If you have trouble finding the right image with the appropriate dimensions, you can use a tool like Canva to create your own header image for free online.

The great thing about Canva — besides it being free I mean — is that there are tons of existing templates you can use as a starting point.

pasted image 0 367

By either searching for a specific type of template or browsing by category, Canva makes it extremely easy to create a great-looking header image for your Twitter profile.

twitter header 01

Using the diagram I’ve provided here, you can make sure all the essential elements of your header photo don’t cross into any of the grey areas.

The blue part is the “safe zone” where all your important and branded information should be.

Creating a strong profile with a great picture, header photo, and bio is the first step toward conveying credibility and trustworthiness.

Now that you’ve spent some time ironing it out, your profile will leave a strong impression on visitors who view your profile, making them much more likely to follow you.

2. Engage with your followers

Although your follower count is a convenient metric, many social media marketers have begun putting more stock into engagement than followers.

In fact, Socialbakers account manager Jeraldine Tan actually considers follower growth an outdated metric.

“It is extremely important for brands to stop looking at outdated metrics like fan growth,” Jeraldine said in a recent article posted on LinkedIn.

“The overall fans number doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming your content.”

So if you have a million Twitter followers but your posts get zero engagement, what are those followers really worth?

Jeraldine’s perspective is reinforced by Incite Group’s State of Corporate Social Media Survey, conducted in 2017.

0

According to Incite’s data, there’s no correlation between the number of followers and engagement, meaning that more followers doesn’t mean more engagement.

But when followers interact with and share your content on Twitter, their followers see that engagement and often become curious. The engagement serves almost as an endorsement.

So engagement does lead to increased reach and visibility, which, in turn, yields more followers.

In his recent Forbes article, Joe Escobedo says, “Shares build customer confidence in your brand.”

We even see engagement “given a higher weightage than likes” on social media such as with some of Facebook’s recent algorithm changes.

But interactions your followers are having with your Twitter content isn’t the only type of engagement you should care about.

Screen Shot 2018 04 08 at 9.58.24 PM

If you really want to grow your Twitter audience, you should be actively engaging back with them.

Responding to the comments and mentions of your followers reinforces their engagement and makes them more inclined to engage with you in the future.

Engaging with your audience yields more tangible results, too.

Brand social actions

According to data from Sprout Social, 48% of social media users cite responsiveness as the top characteristic that prompts audiences to purchase from a brand or company.

Fortunately, engaging with your Twitter audience is easy to do and something you can start doing right away.

There are three main strategies for actively engaging with your audience:

Responding to comments and mentions

Old Spice reply

Direct messages

pasted image 0 360

Live chats” on Twitter

Buffer Chat session

Responding is certainly the simplest and easiest of these strategies, but it’s also effective.

It’s as simple as this:

When a user tweets to you or comments on one of your tweets, respond.

The acknowledgment will give them a sense of validation.

If you can make the exchange memorable in some way, they may actively seek out your content in the future. So don’t be afraid to show a little personality.

816413631722246144 png 700

In a similar vein, you can take this concept to the next level with Twitter’s DMs, or direct messages.

A lot of big brands and companies are finding success with DMs, including 1-800-FLOWERS and T-Mobile.

Twitter CustomProfile 338x600

Finally, you have live Twitter chats.

Public relations professional Janet Murray considers live chats an incredibly effective marketing strategy for Twitter.

According to Janet Murray, one way to get even more out of your live chat is to like and retweet other participants’ replies.

“Retweeting the posts of [other users] is a great way to build relationships,” Janet says.

She offers another useful tip: When you’re responding to other participants’ tweets, “don’t forget to use the hashtag so people can follow along.”

Or if you want to tweet someone privately, simply “don’t include the hashtag.”

Buffer — a well-known social media management app — hosts weekly Twitter chat sessions using their own hashtag, “#BufferChat.”

image40

As far as actually hosting the chat, tools like Tweetchat, tchat.io, and Twchat can turn your hashtag into a more chat-like live stream.

You can access the live Twitter chat directory on Twubs without even needing to register for a free account.



pasted image 0 365

Additionally, you can put your own live chat on Twubs so that others can find it more easily.

Another tip is to either post your questions or ask your followers for some questions ahead of time.

Buffer Chat Questions

When it comes down to it, actively engaging your audience reinforces the decision to follow you.

Plus, their own followers can see how interactive you are with your audience, which makes a strong impression at large.

3. Stay active by creating daily/weekly/monthly Twitter routines

If your goal is to gain followers, I can’t stress enough the importance of staying active.

It’s not enough to post a few times a week or even once per day like you probably do on Facebook.

You could even lose followers if you’re not tweeting regularly.

how often to post on social media infographic 2

According to CoSchedule, you should post curated content — quotes and retweets — three to seven times per day. Including your own original content, it should be about 15 tweets daily.

But do you have time to sit on Twitter 24 hours per day to make sure you’ve got awesome tweets going out at all the right times?

That’s where your routine can be a life-saver.

The best way to create your Twitter routine is to create separate daily, weekly, and monthly routines.

Peach Header Packing List

Automate and schedule out your posts in advance with a tool like IFTTT.

Your daily Twitter routine should consist of things like following and unfollowing other users, replying to DMs and mentions, and responding to comments on your tweets.

On a weekly basis, you should focus on broader and more long-term aspects of your marketing strategy.

Your monthly routine should include things that could result in big payoffs down the road.

As such, it largely includes networking with industry influencers, which tends to increase your Twitter reach and visibility.

4. Plan and schedule your Tweets

Compared to a non-chronological network like Facebook, the time of day you post on Twitter matters.

Because if your tweets are posted when your followers aren’t on the platform, those tweets won’t be seen.

And less visibility means less engagement, less traffic, fewer followers.

So the logical solution to this problem is to post when the most users are on the platform.

Recently, Sprout Social compiled data and found that average global engagement on Twitter is highest on Fridays from 9 to 10 AM.

Heatmap Twitter 1

During that time, there are as many as 350,000 tweets sound out per minute.

The problem is that during that time, you’ve simply got more tweets to compete with, too.

That’s where knowing your audience comes in handy.

Different demographic groups have different usage habits when it comes to Twitter.

For instance, there are differences between businesses and consumers.

Twitter content that targets businesses — or B2B content — performs best during business hours.

Content that’s consumer-oriented — or B2C content — performs better on the weekend, according to CoSchedule.

The same study also found that branded content does better overall on Wednesdays.

Branded content like this tweet from Coca-Cola:

Branded tweet

So optimal performance on Twitter means knowing your audience and knowing when you can reach them.

Twitter gives you an audience overview right inside the Twitter platform. With this information, you can tailor your content to your audience’s demographics and interests.

twitter analytics overview

Just go to analytics.twitter.com for information about your audience, including what topics they’re into, what type of consumers they are, and even the wireless carriers they’re using.

Additionally, you can use Tweriod to find out which times of day your followers are most active.

Once it has the chance to pull your data from Twitter, you’ll see something like this:

Best time to tweet 1

The graph provides a different-colored line for different days, showing you the times and days when you’ll have the most exposure.

In fact, Tweriod leaves no room for error as it will clearly tell you when you should be posting on Twitter.

landing

With this information, you can choose the best times to tweet to your audience for optimal engagement and reach.

 

From this point, you can proceed in one of two ways:

You can make sure your daily Twitter routine coincides with your audience’s most active time of day, or you can schedule your tweets to post during that time.

Just know that you need a constant flow of content posting to Twitter, and the best resources to make that happen are readily-available data and possibly a tweet-scheduling app.

5. Make sure there’s value in your tweets

Twitter marketing is like any other type of marketing in that you’ll experience the greatest success with high-quality content.

With so much competition in most industries, great content helps you stand out from the crowd.

pasted image 0 361

Great content is even more important when you’re trying to build your audience on Twitter.

It’s as simple as this:

Good tweets get likes, comments, shares, and followers. Bad tweets don’t.

So what separates a good tweet from a bad tweet?

Value.

Every time you tweet, you must provide value to your audience.

Because when your content is deemed valuable and relevant, your audience is more likely to connect with your brand.

But isn’t value subjective?

Yes, but only to the extent that what’s considered the most ‘valuable’ can vary from one person and demographic to the next.

It’s no lie that people tend to prefer content that’s informative or educational.

This can include an infographic, how-to article, or even current events coverage.

pasted image 0 363

Others put more value on entertainment.

This can include things like memes, gifs, funny videos, or even the actual entertainment industry.

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 2.33.06 PM

Then there are those who want to be inspired.

Inspirational content largely equates to popular quotes as well as inspirational true stories (weight loss, rescued animals, etc.).

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 1.40.21 PM

But let’s not forget interactive content.

Interactive content refers to things like polls, quizzes, web browser-based games, etc.

pasted image 0 359

Interactional social media content posted by Buzzfeed brings in more than 75% of all total traffic.

pasted image 0 355

Another common type of content on Twitter is promotional.

Typically, promotional content consists of advertisements, coupons, customer testimonials, etc.

Coupon

Each of these types of content represents a particular perspective in regards to value.

And when people find value in your tweet, it gets more engagement. That’s just the way it works.

pasted image 0 356

Of course, this is another reason why knowing your audience is important.

You gain a better sense of what they find valuable and can personalize your content accordingly.

6. Pick the right tweet to pin to your profile

Pinning a tweet is like putting a spotlight on that tweet, calling the attention of anyone who visits your Twitter profile.

There are a couple of ways you can approach choosing the right tweet to pin to your profile.

The first strategy is to pin a tweet that has performed particularly well.

If it gained lots of attention from your followers when you initially posted it, the tweet will probably appeal to others who are visiting your profile.

pasted image 0 369

It will certainly get more views and is likely to get more likes, comments, and shares as well.

Since new tweets push older tweets further down in your timeline, your newer followers are unlikely to ever see your best ones.

That would be a real shame.

But pinning a tweet that was well-received by your followers will ensure that profile visitors and potential followers get to see it, too.

It’s also common to pin a tweet that highlights a temporary promotion or an upcoming event that your business is involved with.

Pinned tweet

When the promotion or event is over, you simply unpin the tweet and pin a new tweet for your next one.

Another strategy for choosing the right tweet to pin is to pick a tweet that promotes your business or brand.

For example, if you tweeted a link to an interview you participated in.

pasted image 0 364

In effect, it’s actually someone else’s promotion of your brand or business, but you’re pinning it to highlight the value that others have placed on what your brand offers.

Another strategy for tweet-pinning is to pick a tweet that contains some sort of call-to-action at the end.

pasted image 0 358

Calls to action are just as great a strategy for tweets as they are for blog posts and long-form content.

You want to make sure the tweet provides real value.

Much like a job interview or a business pitch, a pinned tweet gives you a small opening to make a big impression.

7. Link to your Twitter account on your website and other social media profiles

It may seem counterproductive to be diverting traffic from your website to your Twitter profile.

After all, don’t you want traffic going to your website so they can make a purchase?

But recent surveys have shown that your social media profiles are just as effective for content marketing as your own website.

Barchart accessingconsumermarketing

This makes a lot of sense.

So to a large degree, sending traffic to your website actually gives you more opportunities for conversion.

Of course, you don’t want to simply drop a raw link into the body of your website.

Instead, you should link to your Twitter profile in a way that’s a bit more professional.

It could be as simple as attaching the link to an icon.

pasted image 0 362

If you want something a little fancier, you could even link to your Twitter profile by embedding a tweet into your website or blog:

pasted image 0 366

Simply go to publish.twitter.com where you’ll find options to embed a grid, tweet, timeline, or a button.

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 3.03.45 PM

All you need to do is copy the link you want to use and paste it into the prompt at the top of the page.

pasted image 0 357

Similarly, you should link to your Twitter profile on other social media.

For example, Facebook gives you the option to include your Twitter username in a specific section of the ‘About’ section on your Page.

It gives any of your Facebook followers who also happen to use Twitter the ability to access your Twitter profile easily.

Because if you have people following you on other social networks, there’s a good chance that any of them using Twitter would want to follow you on that platform, too.

Conclusion

You might think that Facebook is where you should be focusing all of your efforts to build an engaged audience.

But Twitter is an international platform with millions of users. It’s just as valuable (if not more valuable) for racking up an audience.

Getting as many as 10,000 Twitter followers doesn’t have to be hard.

First, you need to optimize your profile. Add a high-quality profile picture, since it’s the first thing people will see when they come across your brand on Twitter.

Complete your bio and don’t forget a header image, too.

Start engaging with your followers by responding to comments, mentions, direct messages, and live chats.

Create a Twitter routine you can stick to. If you aren’t active, your engagement will dip. Make a daily, weekly, or monthly Twitter schedule.

Make sure that what you’re sharing is valuable. Share interactive content, like a poll, quiz, or infographic for best results.

Pin a relevant tweet to your profile. If you have an ongoing promotion or upcoming event, tweet about it and pin it to the top of your page.

Finally, be sure to link your Twitter account to your website and on your other social profiles for maximum exposure.

Each of these pieces of advice would yield substantial growth to your Twitter following.

But when they’re all employed, you stand to see some pretty phenomenal gains and an overall boost in your brand’s performance.

What are your favorite Twitter growth hacks?