Category: Social Media Marketing

02
Sep

Instagram’s latest Improvements

Instagram has become a top contender as one of the most popular social media platforms in 2015. Next month marks Instagram’s 5th anniversary since it was first launched in 2010, and in those 5 years has managed to reach 300 million active users per month.

Instagram is a photo sharing social networking service that allows users to share pictures with others. Users have the option to set their profile to private if they don’t want the world to see their pictures, however most users are more than happy to share their pictures with others who have similar interests outside of their circle of friends. Photos can be easily searched by adding descriptive hashtags to each image. Because of this, many businesses have turned to this popular social media platform to reach and engage their audience.

Say Goodbye to Square Images

Recently Instagram has made a few changes to its app that has improved user experience. Last month they announced that they would no longer be restricting posts to square images. You now have the option to post both portrait and landscape images and videos. While square images has been an acceptable Instagram format for years, they realised that people were being cut out of pictures and some images were losing their overall effectiveness due to being cropped. Recently it was possible to use other apps to edit images beforehand by creating a white border, which then allowed users to post landscape images to Instagram, now this is no longer needed, making it even faster to share pictures.

Improvements to Direct Messaging

Instagram has also just announced improvements to the direct messaging feature that allows users to post images directly to specific people, rather than everyone who follows them. Users can now name their groups and share their private images with each other even faster than before. Replying to each other is also easier now as the conversations will be kept in one thread rather than having to create a new message each time.

These simple new changes have been welcomed by the Instagram community, and we look forward to what is install for them in the next 5 years as they continue to grow.

21
Aug

Benefit from using the right Hashtags

If you want your content to be seen by people outside of your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on social media, then it needs to be searchable, and the way to do that is to add hashtag’s. But the key is to make sure they are relevant, popular and trending.

If you combine relevant hashtag’s and post at peak times you will see a big difference in engagement from others with your content.

Here are some simple tips to get the most out of Instagram and Twitter.

Instagram

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtag’s per post. I recommend using 3 – 10 relevant hashtag’s, as quality over quantity is always the best rule to follow. Do a little research into what’s trending and associated with what you are posting.

In addition to using relevant trending hashtag’s, you also have to think about the timing of your post. Who are you targeting? What times of the day are they on Instagram? Posting in peak periods will attract more attention. You will find the peak periods are between:

7- 9am: People scroll through Instagram while eating their breakfast, or commuting to work.

11am – 2pm: This is the time slot when office people break for lunch. Social media is a time filler for those who eat alone, or even those that dine with friends and colleagues. Have a look around next time you are out; people spend more time looking at their phones that conversing with those around them.

4:30 – 7pm: Peak time for commuters after work.

Another thing to keep in mind with timing is the time zone. Which time zone are you targeting? This is important for brands especially as the target audience may not be in the same time zone as the person posting.

These peak times are generic world wide, but the only way to find the best posting time for yourself is to analyse your own target audience and experiment with timing and find out which times, and days, generate the best results.

If you match trending hashtag’s and post at prime posting times you will find you will attract more likes and followers usually within 20 minutes of each of your posts.

Twitter

As Twitter is constrained by 140 characters you have to be choose your hashtag’s wisely. For Twitter I recommend using only one or two. It is also better to separate your hashtag’s from your message rather than hashtaging words throughout your message.

There are about 6,000 tweets per second, so your tweet will move down the news feed very fast and can easily be lost in the noise of Twitter. That’s why adding at least one relevant hashtag to your post can give some life to your tweet when people conduct a search. Most people will search hashtag’s to narrow down what they are interested in reading. So keep this in mind when thinking about which hashtag is the best to use.

If you post regularly on Twitter you might want to consider using a scheduling program like Hootsuite or Buffer. They allow for add-ons like Rite Tag that analyse your hashtag’s, making it easier to choose the most relevant one.

Like Instagram, the time you tweet is extremely important, even more so on Twitter as your tweet can be easily lost in the flood of tweets per second. Again, most people check Twitter during the commute to and from work, but the key timings for Twitter are:

12 – 1pm: During the lunch break seems to be a favourite viewing time.

5 – 6pm: You will gain more re-tweets and favourites during this time.

Again, it is extremely important to think about your target audience and times that they access Twitter. So spend time experimenting with different times and make note when you receive more responses.

Bonus Tip

Another tip to try with posting timing is just before the hour and just after the hour. This seems to be popular as people use social media as a time filler while waiting. Most appointments are on the hour, so while waiting for appointments or meetings people turn to their phone, same for when they are finished.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will notice quite a difference in the attention your posts will receive.

25
May

Hashtag Fails

We all know the importance of adding hashtags to each post. If you want your post to stand a chance amongst the millions of other posts, then you need to add relevant hashtags. However, it is extremely important to do a little research beforehand to see if it is already being used for something else. Or if the letter combination can be interpreted another way that what you intend. As you will learn from the following major hashtag fails, a little prior research can save you a lot of embarrassment and backlash.

DiGiorno Pizza

#WhyIStayed

#WhyIStayed

Originally used by women on Twitter to share their experiences of domestic violence supporting Janay Palmer, after a video of Ray Rice punching her went viral. DiGiorno Pizza tweeted “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” without first doing a little research. They quickly learned their mistake and the post was deleted in minutes. They then publically apologized announcing that it was an honest and stupid mistake, as well as sending out personal apology tweets to everyone that they had offended.

Sephora Sydney Store Opening

#CuntdownToBeauty

When Beauty retailer Sephora opened its first store in Australia they received more media attention than they imagined, but not for the right reasons. Their intention was #CountdownToBeauty but with a small and unfortunate spelling error the tweet was #CuntdownToBeauty instead. Here is a lesson on proof reading everything before posting, as missing one small letter can create such a different word.

Susan Boil Album Party

#Susanalbumparty

Another unfortunate hashtag fail was from Susan Boyle’s PR team when they created the hashtag #Susanalbumparty to promote the launch party of her new album. A quick read spells out something completely different from its intended message and followers were invited to her ‘Bum Party’ it seems. After becoming a laughing stock online this was quickly changed to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.

Entenmann’s

#NotGuilty

#notguilty

Enternmann’s tweeted “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” right when social media was flooded with angry tweets over the Casey Anthony ‘not guilty’ murder verdict. They soon deleted the Tweet with a sorry message, claiming they were not referring to the trial in their tweet.

Kenneth Cole

#Cairo

#Cairo

Kenneth Cole himself made the mistake of tweeting an insensitive joke about the revolution in Egypt at a time where #Cairo was a trending hashtag in reference to what was happening in Egypt.

The Hobbit Movie in Switzerland

#Hobbitch

With the premier of the new Hobbit movie in Switzerland they decided to add their country code of ‘CH’ to the end of ‘hobbit’, which unfortunately no one bothered to realize the double meaning and insult they were advertising.

Halifax Metro Transit

#DoItOnTheBus

#DoItOnTheBus

Halifax Metro Transit’s slogan “Do it on the Bus” was meant to be an entertaining campaign to win back commuters following the previous years’ transit strike. Although the Director Eddie Robar admits they were after a “provocative and cheeky approach,” he probably didn’t expect it to go completely in the direction of sexual innuendos.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Death

#Nowthatchersdead

Although this is not a hashtag fail from a particular country, it’s worth a mention as the message has different meaning in different countries. When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died, people took to social media to mourn her with memories of her life in politics with the hashtag #Nowthatchersdead. This soon spread rumors across the United States that Cher had passed away instead.

Chester Literary Festival

#CLitFest

When promoting the Chester Literary Festival they decided to shorten the name of the event and create an easy and unique hashtag, unfortunately for them, the shortened hashtag is also an abbreviation of another word already. Who knows, maybe they were trying to liven up a boring festival and create some excitement.

Conclusion

Take a few moments to do a quick search on each hashtag you intend to use. And have a few different people check it out to grab their interpretation. This could save your brand a lot of embarrassment.

Image Source: VectorStock
15
May

Which social media platforms should you be using?

There are so many choices of social media platforms available today, so which ones should you is using to promote your brand?

Firstly, you need to think about your target audience and research which platforms they are currently using. Then, think about your brand and what type of content you intend to promote, as each platform is better for sharing different types of content over other platforms.

Here are the top 6 choices:

Facebook

Most companies should have a Facebook page. Facebook supports all types of content and allows you to display information about your brand including a call to action button linking back to your website. If your organization is new and your website is still under construction, then make sure you at least set up a Facebook page. There are 1.44 billion people on Facebook so it makes sense that this should be your first stop to start promoting your brand. Once you have set up your page and added some initial content, you can start promoting your page to generate likes.

Promoting your page and brand on Facebook is easy and direct. First, you select your target audience, which is based on location, age, gender and interests. Then, you select your daily budget that you wish to pay, and finally the duration of your ad. This is great as it allows you targeted advertising at a price you can afford.

Creating a Facebook page is important for SEO as Facebook is the second most visited website after Google. Which means it has a high ranking in search engines, so why not take advantage of this and let Facebook do some free promoting of your brand on your behalf.

Twitter

Twitter as you probably already know, lets users tweet a maximum 140 characters per tweet. So this limits what people can post, but at the same time with over 500 million tweets per day, 140 characters seems fitting.

Twitter is good for brands who have a lot of content to post. It is easy to get lost in the noise on Twitter, so if you sign up for Twitter you need to commit to it and make a schedule to post regularly. It is ok to post the same tweets at various times of the day, but don’t overdo it. Twitter is great for tweeting articles related to your brand and getting conversations going on specific topics.

If you use Twitter make sure you include relevant hashtags in each tweet so your tweets can be easily found in a search. Twitter allows followers and consumers to stay in contact with you through conversational tweets, so make sure you keep an eye on your mentions and respond accordingly and quickly.

Another important point to add when adding hashtags, do your research before using a hashtag to see what others are using it for already. You don’t want your brand to join the list of fails like Entenmann’s and DiGiorno Pizza that incorrectly used trending hashtags without first researching them. Or brands like JPMorgan and McDonalds who didn’t put enough market research into creating a promotional hashtag and quickly realized their idea of a positive promotion was either insensitive or an opportunity for unhappy customers to voice their complaints.

Instagram

Instagram is based on images and is perfect for brands of physical products. It has over 200 million users so it’s a good platform for brands to share images of their products. Instagram allows users to add up to 30 hashtags per post, but it is recommended to use between 3 and 10 hashtags per image, without over doing it. Again, use relevant and trending hashtags to make sure your images are searchable. This will result in more likes and eventually more followers.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is better suited for businesses who share written content like blog posts. LinkedIn is the professional version of Facebook with over 364 million users.

LinkedIn now allows users to customize the look of the page by changing the header image. You can share your company’s story, showcase products, advertise career opportunities and engage with followers.

Pinterest

Pinterest has nearly 50 million users with 71% being female. Its unique format allows users to bookmark images and content from the web by creating different pinboards. Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest doesn’t use hashtags; instead users create boards under different categories that are searchable by others. They can follow other users’ boards that are of interest to them. This is where brands can benefit from Pinterest, you can create pinboards with images you directly upload or pin images found on the web. Once a board is created other users can then repin your pins as well as follow your boards.

It is recommended to pin between 5 and 30 pins per day, scattered out throughout the day, if you have enough content.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest video-sharing platform at the moment, so if your brand has video content, chances are you will be using YouTube. Google owns YouTube, so another reason to choose this video-sharing platform over another.

If you have created a series of videos, you can link them together by creating a channel and add YouTube cards throughout your video which allow the viewer to click directly to your website. YouTube cards can include an image, title, link and a call to action button. After you have uploaded your video to YouTube, it can be easily embedded into your own website.

Google+

Google+ is newer to the scene, but a definite must for your business in order to rank high in Google searches. Its clean style is great for all types of content from images to written content to linking your YouTube videos. It also allows for hashtags, which is extremely important in order for your content to be searchable through search engines.

Analytics

The most important benefit from using social media to promote your brand is that each platform comes with their own analytics that allows you to monitor the activity of each post, tweet or pin. You can track which posts were more popular than others and at what times of the day generate more interest. There are many recommendations online that tell you which times of the day and which days of the week are the most popular to post content, but by monitoring your followers’ activity gives you a more accurate and measurable idea that you can use to your advantage to get the most out of your posts.

Image Source: VectorStock
14
Apr

7 Tips on Using Social Media to Plan an Event

Social Media cannot be ignored these days when it comes to creating a marketing strategy. It is everywhere, so why not use it to your advantage next time you host an event. With these simple tips, you can get the most out of Social Media and make it work for you.

1) Strategy Planning

Why is it that you are holding the event?
What are you hoping to achieve from it?
Is it to create brand awareness, promote your company, sell a product or to drive traffic to your website?

2) Target Audience

Who is your target audience?
What social media platforms do they use?
What time of day do they use social media?

If you know who you are targeting, then you can research their social media patterns and understand which is the best way to reach them. And what times during the day.

3) Create Pre-event hype

In the lead up to your event you can create some hype around it to get people excited before the big day. Examples of this can include sending out lists of key speakers, posting pictures of them or snippets of videos. If you are building the stand or stage for the event you can evoke excitement by posting progress pictures of everything coming together. You can also post pictures of the food that will be served or of chefs preparing the dishes in the kitchen.

Think about why people are coming to your event, what is it that they will be consuming there, is it food, information, entertainment, or to network, then use this to build hype and encourage interest.

4) Create a Hashtag for your event

Create a hashtag for your event and use it every time you post something to social media, this will make it easy for your guests and clients to follow. Encourage others to use your hashtag, which will allow details of your event to spread even further.

If you don’t already have one, create a hashtag for your company as well, that way, once the event is over, people can still tag you in posted content that relates to your company making it easier for you to track and monitor.

5) Monitor and Interact with your Hashtags and mentions

It is also very important to monitor social media for any mentions of your company or hashtags used. One thing most company’s lack in doing is to interact with the community. Anytime someone mentions you in a post, it’s a great way for a company to show how much they value their attribution by simply leaving a small gratitude message in response. This brings you closer to your customers and clients and adds a personal touch.

6) Encourage guests to ‘Check in’ and Tag your event

On the day of your event, encourage guests to ‘check-in’ on social media as well as using your hashtag for any posts that they make while at the event. Maybe even set up an area for guests to take a photo of themselves with a banner behind containing your logo and logos of other companies involved with your event. Another great idea is to have your own photographer available to take pictures of each guest as they arrive as well as throughout the event. If you take down the names of the quests in each photo, after the event you can upload these pictures to your company’s social media pages and tag guests in each. This creates excitement amongst your guests as you have added a personal touch by mentioning them in your own posts.

7) Post event

As mentioned, after the event you can upload pictures from the event to your own social media pages and tag guests that attended. Another good mention is to thank everyone for attending publicly, in a post. You can also email guests thanking them for their attendance. Here you can also ask for feedback on the event if you need some for future events.

Image sourced via Wikimedia Commons by Messe Luzern AG (Messe Luzern)

07
Jan

Get the most out of Instagram

Most people overlook the potential of using Instagram to promote their brand. You can post pictures of anything that is related to your brand which has the potential to strengthen your brand’s image.

Let’s look at a restaurant for example. You could post pictures of the interior of the restaurant, pictures of popular meal choices, or specials of the day. If celebrities come to dine, snap a picture (with their permission) and upload it. Or even snap pictures of everyday diners and ask them for their usernames so you can tag them in the pictures. You could post pictures of the staff out in the community helping out, or even of them out buying fresh ingredients for the days’ menu.

The list is endless on what you can take photo’s of and post, it’s up to your creativity and imagination to come up with different ideas that will engage followers and encourage new followers.

Here are a few things to know about Instagram and how to make it work for you:

Instagram is visual

As the old saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Our brains are mostly visual so we tend to remember more of what we see rather than what we read or hear. Looking through pictures on Instagram is effortless and many people check it out during their free time.

Hashtags

Hastags are important to each post because they allow users to find your pictures in a search as well as placing the image into different categories. This in turn will increase your audience by making it easy for people to discover you and become new followers.

Tagging ability

Along with each picture you can tag people and add a location. Going back to my example of the restaurant, this allows followers to know the restaurant location as well as where you are when out and about working with the community.

Interactive

Instagram allows you to interact with your audience. People can both ‘like’ and comment on your pictures. So it is important to monitor people’s comments and respond back. Don’t forget to include their name in your response so that they will receive a notification of your mention.

Contest tagging

Because Instagram is so easy to use and has over 300million users, it’s worth considering incorporating Instagram into your next contest. It is as easy as getting people to upload an image on a particular subject that links to your business and asking them to tag you in it. Not only does it get people interested in your brand, they have fun in the process.

Instagram is linked to other Social Media Platforms

It is easy to link your Instagram account to both your Facebook page and Twitter account, taking the effort out of having to update all three accounts. Or if you prefer different content on each you can easily promote your Instagram account on either of the two of them to attract more Instagram followers.

29
Dec

Combining Content Marketing and Social Media

The way brands and products are marketed these days has changed a lot since people turned to digital methods rather than the previous traditional forms of advertising. It is now possible for consumers to skip through advertising, making it harder for advertisers to reach or connect with their intended audience. This has forced advertising and marketing agents to find other ways to get their message out. A way to do this is via content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a way of promoting your brand and educating consumers in a way that motivates them to learn more, rather than be turned away from annoying advertisements. It is a different approach that encourages consumers to be more interactive with your website as well as enticing them to keep returning. It is important to keep existing customers happy and keep them engaged as they will in turn help you by sharing your content with others. Word of Mouth (WOM) is now more important than it was before, because consumers have the power to share and like articles with others that are linked to their social media accounts. This in turn generates more traffic, or visitors in other words, to your website.

Why is traffic important?

Traffic to your website is important as it increases brand exposure and has the potential to increase sales. Website traffic helps build an online community allowing a higher exposure rate for any marketing campaigns you create in the future. As Ortigas puts it, ‘It doesn’t matter if you have the best website if nobody knows about it.’ In other words, if you spend all that money on an amazing website, you will want as many people as you can to use it.

Using Social Media to Increase Traffic.

One of the most effective ways to increase traffic to a website is with the use of social media. The hype of social media only continues to grow, so why not use it to your advantage. Users are spending an increasingly amount of time on social media so it makes sense to attract new users in from where they spend most of their time.

Let the Content do the Work.

If you continually create engaging content, you will soon find that consumers will keep returning to your website. Combine it with marketing your content on relevant social media platforms to target potential consumers, you will entice users to visit your site, and you will soon see a dramatic increase in your traffic flow.

29
Dec

Why Social Media Marketing?

Social media has to power to reach a larger audience than older traditional methods of marketing and advertising. Facebook has 1.32 billion monthly active users, Twitter has over 271 million monthly active users, and Instagram has 200 million monthly active users, ranking them some of the favorite social media platforms in use today. It is estimated that Americans spend about 3 hours a day on social media, and companies like Facebook are using tracking software to keep track of users’ browsing habits which allows advertisers to target people with a more personalized marketing pitch.

Some of the benefits of social media marketing include; increased exposure, increased traffic, encouragement of loyal fans, marketplace insight, generated leads, improved search rankings, business partnership growth, improved sales and reduced marketing expenses. When you think about the potential of using social media for marketing campaigns, and for a fraction of the price, it is hard not to steer towards this new trend.

My blog with discuss various ways in which marketers can use social media to their advantage. I will also cover topics such as content marketing as this is becoming increasingly important for marketers to consider, as it is all about creating unique content and sharing it through the appropriate channels. The more followers you attract to your pages, only increases exposure and traffic as more people share and ‘like’ your content.

In the past, using more traditional methods of advertising, advertisers used to spend big dollars on campaigns in order to create reach. The main mediums include TV, print, outdoor displays, radio etc., and although these are still used today, it is not as necessary to spend the same amount of money and use such a variety of mediums for a campaign. I am not suggesting to stop using these methods all together, because they still do work, but use them along with a social media strategy to help create the reach needed.

The important thing to concentrate on is how to keep existing customers, and how to use them to spread your campaign instead of the old focus on trying to attract new customers. If you keep your current customer happy then it is easy to reach out to them, and through word of mouth they will do all the work effortlessly simply by liking or sharing your campaign.