As an account manager of several web marketing clients, my goal is for them (and us) to be successful in growing their businesses. And we do that by aligning our strategy with their company goals, becoming partners who work together in this mutual aim.
Most of my customers want to sell more widgets or get more sales leads, and so we get them more website traffic so they can do just that. Who doesn’t like more customers, right?
If your company website leads or sales are growing, especially by having a content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, then continue to work your plan. That’s good business sense.
But let’s not stop at just continuing to do what works. There’s always more. It’s time to try new things.
When it comes to making money, one of my favorite things to do is to try new ideas. It’s fun to test them out and see if you can get a return on investment. Online marketing is no different: Find something that works and expand it. Then, find something else that works and expand it, too. Repeat the process.
Let’s assume you have an SEO and content strategy working for your business. Have you tested some paid digital advertising, yet? What about social media marketing; is that right for your business? And by social media marketing, I mean true strategy that drives results – not just playing on Facebook. How about email marketing to current customers – might you get them to spend more with your company with repeat orders?
There are so many avenues to explore when it comes to growing your business. If you haven’t gone down very far down those roads, there are likely goldmines to uncover.
If you own or manage a Facebook business page, you may have seen a new feature that allows you to add a Call-to-Action (CTA) button to your page. This button is a useful tool that will invite your Facebook fans to shop, visit, or contact your business via the website.
Here’s a quick step by step guide to creating your page’s Call-to-Action button.
Begin by logging into Facebook and switch your role over to your page’s administrator (this might happen automatically when you go to your business page). You will see a button on your cover photo that says Create Call-to-Action. You may also receive a pop-up box to begin this process when you land on your home page.
Choose Your Call to Action
A box will appear to begin stepping you through the CTA process. The first thing you will want to choose is the type of action you want your customers to take. If you have an ecommerce website or sell your product via a third party like an Etsy shop, you can choose the Shop Now button. Other choices include, Book Now (great for travel sites or hotels); Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Sign Up and Watch Video.
Choose the Destination
During the next step – you will enter the website or page where you want your users to land. If your site is responsive, you can enter your regular web address into both fields. If you have a page designed specifically for mobile users, you will want to place it in the mobile field. Once you enter your website information, select the next button.
Mobile App Uploads
The following two screens are prompts specifically for mobile devices. If your goal is to have your visitors go directly to your website just hit Next for the following two screens. If your goal is to have your users download an App or game, choose the App option from the next two dropdowns and upload your App’s deep link URL for both iOS and Android devices. Click the next button to complete the process.
Observe & Report
Your CTA button is now live on your site. You can view the results of your page’s CTA button from the quick-glance statistics. The high level statistics will provide you with the number of views your button received over the past 7 days. You can go to the Insights view of your page to further analyze these results.
It’s no secret that the Facebook algorithm–more and more designed to ensure that companies don’t get to advertise for free on the platform–has hit small businesses and pages hard.
The problem is, for small businesses, budget for Boosts and paid ads is likely non-existent (which is likely why you turned to Social Media as a way to communicate in the first place). And after playing with numerous “grass roots” workarounds it’s easy to feel like your page has turned from an effective tool to a nuisance.
But go revisit that page, Small Business Owner, and rebuild it. Here are 5 great tips to “beat the system.”
You’ve already figured out that your page posts will not reach every single person who “Likes” you. By employing tags, you garner new views from people who have probably never heard of you (yet), or have heard of you, but aren’t one of the lucky ones who organically receive your posts.
Tags can involve people, places, and things already available on Facebook, and depending on a user’s privacy settings, go right to the tagged user’s page. It’s like the stationary version of one of those dancing flipboard guys!
We love professional photographers. We really do. But nothing drives a page like Kaitlin–who happens to work for you–and her 40 photos she took with her iPhone of your event, product or service.
People LOVE to see pictures of themselves featured on a Social Media page. And when they see those pop up after attending your event, or interacting with your product, or happily smiling after a completed service, others see them too, which gives your page more views.
Separate albums for separate dates or events are an easy way to direct people to your page. Ask customers to tag themselves or tag their friends to create a fun sense of community.
If there’s any way you can take video of what your page represents, you should definitely do so. Video is the best way to showcase what your brand allows to people who have never experienced what you have to offer.
Pro tip: when it comes to video, the shorter the length, the better. Anything video recorded should be between 6 seconds and a minute. Anything over a minute has the tendency to be overlooked (and yes, you can see if your visitors actually watched to the end of your video, as shown in the stats pictured below).
Before you let out the obligatory groan, hashtags are actually being integrated into Facebook more and more. The problem with hashtags is that they are not always used properly (and that’s probably why you gave that obligatory groan).
Make sure your hashtags are short and relevant to your post. #thisisnotanappropriatehashtag. Example: Search the hashtag #nintendo. Any search done on the internet or internally about Nintendo will automatically be grouped into the search results, giving your page’s post more of a chance to get a “hit” (view). The more clever you are with the grouping of your hashtags, the better.
Before the Internet, there were TV Commercials and newspaper spreads, and then those spread via word of mouth or became a part of the collective pop culture conscious (Cha-Ching, anyone?).
However, people are now entrusting the Internet (and sometimes solely the Internet) to carry their brand message for them. This is where it’s imperative to have a “Gang of Maniacs” (loose term) to be core supporters of your brand online, especially if you’re trying to build a presence on Facebook.
Start with your friends and family, especially if they fit your core demographic and support your mission. Then identify fans that are vocal online supporters. Reach out to a group of 5-10 and specifically ask them, individually, to support and share your Page and its content.
Many times you won’t even need to ask, but you’d be surprised by just how much this “Gang of Maniacs” wants to help and support you and your efforts online. And each time they Like and Share, they create more exposure for your Page, thereby short-circuiting that pesky algorithm.
No matter which tactics you employ in your overall Facebook marketing, make sure to monitor your analytics and adjust accordingly. Also remember that consistency is absolutely key on the platform, so no matter how you approach content, pick a frequency and stick to it.
So you’re using Instagram for your business. Good idea! Instagram, like Pinterest, is doing wonderful things visually for businesses and brands.
But to really stand out from the crowd, it’s not enough to simply snap a photo, slap a filter on it and hope for the best. In fact, this approach has the potential to harm your brand more than help it. Remember, you’re competing for “double taps” (Likes) along with professional photographers, celebrities, and brands that aren’t afraid to go to extremes.
So here are 5 ways to take your Instagram account to the next level.
Include your account in your content calendar
To make the biggest impact with Instagram, always incorporate your images as a part of your regular content calendar. While one-off, spontaneous photos are always an option with the platform, having at least a general idea of the kind of content you want to post will help direct and guide your photographers throughout a week or month.
Take, for example, Saturday Night Live’s Instagram account. During the week, they take photos of the general arc of the show: first big pitch meetings, then writers working hard on sketches, then costumes and sets in progress, then celebrity rehearsal sightings. Come Saturday night, it’s all behind the scenes photos of performers running backstage, changing costumes, or joking around between sketches. All day Sunday they post follow up photos of big moments backstage, after party candids, or what performers do on their day off.
Your business may not have a similar weekly arc, but you likely have certain sales cycles, big events or other promotional efforts that you can align content around.
Use the advanced editing tools
Anyone can take any old photo and choose a filter, but to truly make photos outstanding, it behooves you to use the advanced editing tools first before using filters.
To use these tools, simply click the wrench after taking or choosing your photo from your library. Many of the adjustments available here can either fix minor flaws (low light), enhance detail, or make colors pop.
Use other apps to add a different dimension to your product or brand
If you want to add something outside the Instagram “norm” to your photos, you’ll need to edit or enhance through other apps. Aviary, Camera+, Afterlight and Snapseed bring even more advanced editing options to the table. PicStitch, WordSwag, FontCandy and Party! Party! are fun apps to bring photos together, add text or easily create .gifs. You’ll need to edit or deck out photos in these apps first, then send to Instagram.
Use video to tease other content or showcase products or services beyond stills
Instagram offers the use of up to 15 seconds of video on the platform. Some of the best uses of video are often when teasing or promoting other content (giving a short clip of a story to promote an upcoming podcast) or showcasing something that just can’t be shown in a still photo (acro yoga or hand-balancing to promote an upcoming class). Video is a powerful tool on Instagram; think carefully through how you can use video to enhance what you’re already doing with photos.
There’s no point in putting in all the work into any content without determining if it’s actually effective. While you could splurge on a robust tool like Simply Measured, some free tools can give great insights into how photos are performing on the platform. Iconosquare (formerly Statigram), is a free tool that gives insight into follower engagement, spread rate, filter and hashtag impact and account growth. You can use other tools like Klout to cross reference which content seems to be resonating best with your audience, as well.
Once you are monitoring your Instagram content regularly, adjust your tactical approach as necessary. If fans are responding well to certain filters or hashtags add more into the mix, while phasing out content that has lower likes or engagement.
And of course, never be afraid to try something new and creative by showcasing your brand, product or service from a unique angle. Instagram users are hungry for great content to consume and tell their friends about!
Social media use is at an all-time high, and doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon. Today, it is more important than ever for businesses to stay connected with their consumers online and in the social space.
Here are the top three ways companies can optimize their websites to help promote social engagement:
Add Social Share Buttons
Whether you want your audience to share your latest blog post, newest product or most recent press release, social share buttons help encourage your online audience to interact with your content across platforms.
Keep these tips in mind as you add social share buttons to your website:
Draw visual attention to your social share buttons to help encourage clicks and shares
Try not to overwhelm your audience with too many social sharing options
Include social share buttons on mobile and responsive sites, so they are easily accessible across all devices
Embed Social Feeds
Embedded social feeds publish posts from your company’s social media accounts directly on your website. For example, if you place a Facebook widget on your website, it will display all of your company’s photo posts, video uploads and status updates directly on your homepage, in real-time.
Here are a few tips for embedding social feeds on your site:
Only embed content from social channels that make sense for your audience
Post photos and videos on your social channels, to incorporate added visual elements on your website
Include copy within your website that encourages engagement with the embedded social feed
Establish a Company Blog
A great business blog could become the social foundation of your website – if you do it right. To promote social engagement, publish sharable content that is relevant to your target audience, and include interactive elements like social share buttons.
The more your readers connect with your blog, the more likely they will be to engage and interact with its content.
As you create your company blog, keep these tips in mind:
Ask questions in your blog posts to promote social engagement
Curate content from other reliable sources to help establish credibility
Invite industry influencers to guest blog, to represent a variety of voices and opinions
How do you create social engagement from your company’s website? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
We get it. Sometimes content creators are departments of one. Even if you have a few more on your team, constantly creating new content can be a challenge for small marketing and content departments.
Fortunately for smaller departments, it’s likely that you have untapped content resources right in your own business. Here are five you can seek out today:
What vision does your CEO, boss or founder have for your company this year? In five years? In ten? What did he or she dream about before taking this role or position? What does he or she believe will never change about the core values of your company?It might be difficult to get a fresh blog post from a busy supervisor or leader each week, but think of creative ways you can use your boss’ voice in your communication with your customers. Key leaders within your company likely have a bigger picture of your products or services. How can you use this picture to supplement your content?
Whether you simply highlight your co-workers in an employee spotlight feature, or whether you identify natural content creators in other departments, your fellow employees can be a great help in your content efforts.We often conduct content ideation sessions with a cross-section of employees from the entire company. We’ve found that while marketers have their finger on the pulse of company messaging, other employees bring a unique perspective of the company based on their day to day dealings with customers, other employees or your product and service. How does your administrative assistant view the company? How about one of your repairmen who takes customer calls?
These individuals are key components to how your company runs, and can bring ideas you may not have thought of to your content offerings.
We often advocate on TKGenius that you poll your customers to get content ideas, or even ask your customers to supply you with content themselves. So, how are they using your product? Are they taking photos of themselves getting a haircut in your salon? Did they recently enjoy one of your events and tell their friends about it on Social Media?Not only will your customers give you great ideas for content, they are often great content creators without even knowing it. One of our clients asks customers to submit photos of themselves or their children enjoying the brand’s snack foods, then features these customers on their Facebook page. These posts are always fun, and are often the most liked and shared on the page. All the administrator needs to do is post the photo and write a quick caption.
Bottom line: your customers can save you time and give you the inside scoop on which content best suits them.
#tbt! Does your company keep copies of old newsletters? What about old photos, past versions of your products or old videos? All of this content can be resurrected to serve your current content efforts.For example, one of our clients has been in business for over 100 years. We regularly help them publish their vintage advertising campaigns, past photos and previous product iterations on both Social Media and their website. Customers appreciate these glimpses into the past, because they know they’re getting a quality product with a long history of success.
How are your products made? Are there aspects of your production you could show customers? What about how you take calls? What part of “behind the scenes” might your customers like to know and understand? Do you have an interesting inter-office culture you could showcase? What about a specific event or charity your employees like to support?Transparency, when possible, is a powerful way to build trust with your customers. While you may not be able to show exactly how a product makes it from point A to point B, you might be able to show what it looks like when you pack a box to ship, or how a salesperson greets a customer.
One of our clients will sometimes show through photos what a window installation looks like on a home. Customers appreciate this insight of the service because it both shows how knowledgeable our client is, and takes some of the mystery out of the service itself.
Want more ideas on how to generate content for your business? Sign-up for our next Breakfast Bootcamp on Content Ideation!
Maybe you’re neck deep in creating your 2015 content calendar, or maybe you’re creating a calendar for the first time. Either way, mapping out content for six months to a year can be a daunting task (here’s hoping you’re not trying to get it done in one fell swoop!).
As you look for inspiration to plan and create your content, it’s easy to run out of ideas, especially when you are immersed in the day to day activities of your brand and business.
Here are five unique ways to jumpstart your content creation when things start to feel a little rote and routine.
Move Research shows that movement and exercise helps boost creativity. So when was the last time you got up from your desk and walked around your office? Take time to notice things around your business that seem interesting.Are there facts about your building or physical structure your audience might find interesting? What about people in your organization that are new that you could profile? Or does your company have employees that have worked for a record amount of time? Does your business have a specific culture? Special days, holidays, or employee milestones you observe?
Not only will getting up from your area help get the blood flowing to your brain, it will help you notice things about your business you would never see from your office.
Use Your Audience If you are not mining your audience for content, you are missing a huge opportunity to not only connect with them, but to also create content you know will land and resonate. Informal Social Media polls, your audience’s frequently asked questions, and even more formal surveys help to give you better insight into the kind of content they want to consume.If your audience is particularly creative or active on Social Media, you can ask them to contribute their content directly to you in the form of a contest (Instagram is a great medium for this tactic), or simply as a way to highlight how they are enjoying your product or service.
I still regularly mind map for clients, friends and even myself if I want new ideas or a new perspective on a topic or problem. Mind mapping is particularly effective if you are looking to create new categories for content.The best thing about mind mapping, though, is that it’s a simple exercise to complete on your own or with a group. If using a group, invite people outside of your content department to join you…you never know what perspectives about your business they can bring!
Re-Purpose No need to re-invent the wheel if you already have a great cache of content. Instead, go back through some of your most popular pieces of content and determine if you can present the content again in a new and fresh way. Can a great blog post be turned into a script for a new video? Can a popular video be re-imagined into an infographic? Can an informative infographic be the basis for a new white paper?Use your imagination and see how you can present content that worked in your past as content that works in your future.
Get Inspired That’s right, Pinterest ain’t just for weddings! Keep boards full of photos, articles and videos that inspire you. Pin what your competitors are pinning. Follow your competitors and other companies in your niche or industry.Already Pinterest addicted? Use tools like Feedly to keep tabs on industry articles, blogs and keywords. Or use your walls or whiteboards to gather great photos. And of course, don’t shy away from simply taking in a great concert, art show or inspirational video. Sometimes our brains just need a taste of someone else’s creativity to spark our own.
I’ve noticed something on YouTube lately. The paid ads are getting longer. Have you noticed? For instance, there is one 7 minute commercial from Johnnie Walker with Jude Law. On other channels, there are full 20+ minute episodes of a YouTuber trying to get people to notice and subscribe to a channel.
What should a consumer make of these ads? Should they be taken as just some free content or are they commercial-based entertainment? Obviously the advertiser has a goal. Should we be buying these products? Should we watch the whole video? Should we subscribe to their channel? Are we supposed to click on the video?
Truth be told, I constantly find myself watching an increasing number of ads in the 5+ minute realm. Something about not having too much information crammed in over the course of just 30 seconds. I enjoy a good story. I enjoy being given the opportunity to invest my time in something that could be worthwhile (clarification: Johnnie Walker ads are not necessarily classified as worthwhile).
In one instance, I started getting full episodes from a channel that I keep up-to-date with. I have never subscribed to this channel, but had been checking it multiple times a week to watch new videos. Then suddenly I hear: “Hi! This is … Welcome to my Channel!” starting off the ad between two videos from the playlist I was in. At first I was confused: Did I accidently click on this video? Why am I watching this? What just happened?
Then I realized it was an ad. I skipped it after the allotted five seconds of watch-time and continued on where I was. Is this a sign that I should just subscribe to this channel?
The main thing that caught my attention about these new long-tail ads is that they can be quite captivating. And interesting. And motivating. To me, they are better than 30, 60 or 90 second ads.
I realize that a subconscious process begins in my brain when these ads begin. I feel like the maker of these videos actually took a substantial amount of time and resources to create this – and isn’t just trying to B.S. me into buying something. It’s almost as though the consumer/subscriber in me appreciates the attempt at convincing me to act.
If your customers are anything like me, putting out some of these longer, fun and more appealing ads through YouTube might not be a bad plan. Worth a shot, right?
Just remember YouTube, and subsequently Google, are fickle beasts.
What are your thoughts? Would you try longer ads for your brand on YouTube?
Ever wondered just how much of an impact your Tweets have? Is anyone REALLY listening? Are they even doing the basics, like checking out your profile?
Now every Twitter user has access to this information and more. Originally rolled out for verified users and marketers, analytics.twitter.com is available for all users who want to see how well their Tweets perform.
The new dashboards are a little like Google Analytics for Tweets, allowing users to drill down into each individual Tweet to see how it performs on the platform. Take a look at how many impressions your Tweets earned (the number of times users saw the Tweets on Twitter), the number of engagements (the number of times a user interacted with your Tweet), and the engagement rate (the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions).
The data also shows demographic information about your followers. Check out the gender breakdown of your followers, their location and interests, and who your followers follow to give yourself better insight about your community on the platform.
While cross-referencing this data with other tools like Google Analytics, BufferApp, Hootsuite or Simply Measured will give you a more complete snapshot of just how well your content is performing, this is a good step from Twitter to allow users the chance to craft a more strategic approach to the platform. As a bonus, use the same dashboard to set up Twitter Cards and really boost the media experience for your followers and customers.
Check out analytics.twitter.com and let us know what you think!
If you’re like me, Facebook is where you go to creep on people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you go for news and current events, Instagram is where you go for cute pictures of cats and dogs, and Pinterest is where you go to get inspired.
What makes Pinterest so unique is that it creates a desire to explore and engage. When users see a delicious recipe, they want to eat it. When they see a DIY project, they want to try it. When they see a nail polish color they like, they want to buy it. Pinterest is visual, product-focused and interactive, and if you use it correctly, it can be a marketer’s dream. Here’s why:
Pinners have purchase intent – When pinners browse product boards, they are actually looking for things they want to buy. Pins that incorporate pictures, prices, availability and reviews typically do well because they offer all of the information pinners need to make a purchase.
Pinterest helps you understand your audience – Pinterest boards tell hand-crafted stories about what pinners care about. When you know what users have pinned in the past, it’s easy to target them with similar products moving forward.
Repins connect you with new audiences – Pinterest connects people through shared interests. If a user repins your product, it instantly gets visibility from an entirely new audience that might be interested. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but this word of mouth connects directly to your e-commerce site.
Although it may have a reputation as a crafter’s dreamland, Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that can lead to very real business results. Try it out, and see for yourself!