Archive for the ‘Social Networking, Media, Marketing (SMM/SMO)’ Category

Best Practices and Tips for Businesses Using Instagram for Marketing

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular websites/apps used by tech-savvy teens and adults worldwide, however it still leaves many marketers and CEO’s scratching their heads when it comes to how to use Instagram for marketing.

First of all, every company and industry is different, and Instagram quite honestly can be challenging for some markets. Furthermore, it may not be appropriate for every company. It all depends on your target audience and goals.
How to use Instagram for Marketing

Find Your Audience

If you want to use Instagram for marketing, it’s important first and foremost to find your audience and begin to follow these user accounts. Do not just come up with loose guidelines for following users however, as following too many people too quickly can be viewed as spammy.

As a tip, it’s best to find power users and follow these accounts to start. Try to really form an authentic relationship with these power users by introducing yourself and offering valuable information/content that relates to their lifestyle and interests. Since you have identified them as power users, most likely there is going to be an aspect of their life that fits well with your company content.

Give Love to Receive Love

Once you have established good relationships with your audience on Instagram, you need to start using these relationship to benefit your company goals. Essentially, you need to give love to receive love! For example, shout-out to your top influencers in your posts and they will be much more likely to return the favor and even share your posts with their audience.

It’s also important to stay up to date on best practices and avoid spam tactics like paying for followers or using spam hashtags like #followforfollow. Leaving ridiculously long comments is also not great and often results in your comment being removed, so keep your messages short and sweet on Instagram.

Get Creative

Many B2B companies struggle with using Instagram because their products or services are not image-friendly. In instances like this, you can brainstorm creative ways to utilize the photo-marketing platform. For example, create a graphic template where you can plug in interesting facts and statistics that relate to your market. Like we do on Instagram.

Hashtag Research

Next, do some research to choose the most relevant and highly-targeted hashtags that relate to your industry. Beyond that, look for hashtags that relate to each individual post in order to further tailor your Instagram marketing campaign.

Cross-Promote and Track

Once you have done your preliminary research done, grown your list of followers, and published your fabulous content on Instagram, it is vital that you cross-promote your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else that is appropriate. You’ve already spent your time and energy crafting your Instagram marketing campaign, you may as well leverage it across multiple platforms to get the most out of each post.

Finally, as with any digital marketing campaign, you need to track success using Google Analytics and other marketing analytics programs. Make note of specific posts that perform better than others and try to identify underlying themes that make them more popular so you can incorporate this knowledge into future campaigns.

Do you have any challenges, tips or stories about your experience with Instagram marketing? Feel free to share with us.

How to Generate Leads with Pinterest

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Not a trend, Pinterest is here to stay…at least for a while. Here are some facts to back the hype for using Pinterest for your business and quick how-to for getting started on generating leads through this social media platform:

  • As of September 2013, there are 70 million users on Pinterest
  • There are about 500,000 Pinterest business accounts.
  • 80% of total Pinterest pins are repins.
  • Pinterest has approximately 2.5 billion monthly pageviews.
  • Amount per order that Pinterest shoppers spend: $140-180

how to generate leads pinterest

Share Multiple Types of Content

First, it’s a great idea to share different types of content on your Pinterest account, because there are essentially two types of leads you can generate through Pinterest content: direct leads and indirect leads. Direct leads point users to a landing page on your site where they can enter their information in exchange for your content (such as a newsletter or coupon). Indirect leads are when you share a piece of content on Pinterest that points users to valuable information but is not the final destination landing page where they share their personal information.

Board Variety, Range and Simplicity

Second, create a wide range of boards that your potential customers will want to discover. As a tip, Pinterest users love practically anything that is Do-it-yourself, so if you can think of a way to provide content that shows people how to create or do something valuable related to your industry you’re off to a good start.

Also, don’t overcomplicate your board names. Keep them simple and catchy so they can be easily found when users search for specific topics.

Image Pinning Best Practices

So, what about the types of images you should be pinning? While there is no exact science to pinning quality content, there are some tips you can follow based on recent Hubspot data, such as:

  • Tall images get re-pinned more
  • Red/orange images get pinned more than images that are primarily blue
  • Brand images without faces get 23% more repins than those with faces
  • Bright/light images are re-pinned 20x more than very dark images

Next, it’s important to use the description box wisely. You should describe the pin in a sentence or two and also include a shortened URL with tracking parameters so you can measure the success of your Pinterest campaigns. Also, add a hashtag or two if relevant to your image so that people can discover your pins more easily.

Promotion and Distribution

Finally, promote your pins across other social media channels and be sure to monitor the success of your Pinterest marketing efforts with the use of Google Analytics and other marketing tools.

Happy Pinning!


Marketing Tools 101: Facebook Graph Search Update

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By now you’ve probably noticed the search bar at the top of your Facebook feed, and you may also be wondering how it works and how it can benefit your role in online marketing.


Originally, the search feature was released in March, however it had limited search abilities. It was only able to search for people, pages, and apps. Now, Facebook has expanded its Graph Search abilities so that people can search for status updates, photo captions, comments and even check-ins.

This means that the Facebook graph search now has data that is useful to you as a marketer. For example, let’s say you are putting together a promotional event for your company. You can now monitor Facebook posts about your event with Graph Search. Other opportunities include:

  • Searching by hashtag
  • Tracking brand mentions
  • Researching Facebook Fan interests to develop new content
  • Analyzing product use, reviews, etc.
  • Searching for a product

You can also now search based on location and time, opening up a wide range of possibilities for local search and real-time marketers.

Many people are concerned about their privacy with this new Facebook Graph Search feature, since lots of folks do not want their old stories to be able to be pulled up easily. Especially young adults who may want to keep their college party pictures deeply buried in their timeline. In fact, there are many articles coming out recently telling people how to update their privacy settings so that most of their information does not show up in Facebook Graph Search.

Even with a percentage of Facebook users updating their privacy settings to avoid the Graph Search, there is still a goldmine of information available in this handy little tool that marketers can use to create effective campaigns.

How are you planning on using Facebook Graph Search in your marketing? Share your thoughts with us.

Ads In Your Instagram Feed? Yes.

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Closely following in the footsteps of Pinterest, Instagram announced this week they’ll start adding ads into users feeds over the next few months. The theme here? A need to build a sustainable business. The issue? The only solution seems to be ads.

Facebook bought Instagram last year for $1 billion with the intent to “add ads when the time is right”, says Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has received much lash back from users on its placement and treatment of ads and while Instagram has indicated its 150 million users will be able to hide ads they don’t like they will still be showing ads from brands users don’t follow with a “focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community,” Instagram said in their post.

Similar to Pinterest, they wants the ads to “feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands.” My hope is that brands truly think of their audiences and create really thoughtful and provoking advertisements, but who is to monitor that when revenue is being generated? My fingers are crossed.

What are your thoughts on ads being added to these darlings of social media? Tell in the comments below or on Facebook.

Pinterest Starts the Shift to Promoted Pins

Friday, September 20th, 2013

In a letter from CEO and Co-founder of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, Pinterest announced their planning for the future by announcing today that they will begin experimenting with promoted pins. Silbermann warns that they’d like to keep Pinterest around for a while and that pretty much means it is time they start making money instead of spending it. They haven’t started charging anyone or any business for promoted pins yet nor were any details provided.

We can assume they’ll first do some user testing to see where the most optimal placement is for these promoted pins through the user feed. Silbermann mentions their first test will be to “promote a few pins in search results and category feeds. For example, a pin for a Darth Vader outfit from a costume shop might be promoted in a search for “halloween.”

Their promise for promoted pins?
Keep them tasteful without flashy banners or pop-up ads.
Transparency – Notify users if someone is paying for what you see, or where you see it.
Pins should remain relevant so that you’re actually seeing items you are interested in, like a delicious recipe, or a jacket that’s your style.

They also promise to make improvements based on user feedback.

What do you think of the idea of promoted pins coming to your Pin Feed? Will your business start using this type of social advertising?

More Opportunities for Businesses on Facebook With Ads and Pages

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Three big items were announced this week from Facebook, bringing further opportunities for businesses.

1) Timelines for brand pages

With Timelines added to new brand pages a whole new world is open to exposing audiences and fans to your brand and allows brands to be more effective at conveying their identity on Facebook’s platform.

When you visit a brand Page in Timeline layout, the experience becomes more personal. A prominently displayed section on the landing page shows how many of your friends like the brand, as well as your friends’ public mentions of related topics.

“The goal is to make Pages more engaging and more social,” said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for ads.

Page administrators have new options at their fingers too. An admin panel hides or expands on command, meaning you don’t have to navigate to a separate page to make changes, updates or improvements. The panel includes notifications of activity on your Page and chart-based performance data. Best of all, you can now respond directly to private messages without added hassles or obstacles, a feature also directly accessible from the admin panel. – Sam Laird, Mashable

2) Real-time Insights and other new metrics

Pages Insights now shows your last 500 posts (going back to last July) and tallies the total number of engaged users, People Talking About it and virality. The latter measures the percentage of users who commented on the post, though sentiment isn’t taken into account. - Todd Wasserman, Mashable

For marketers, this is a new way to understand how competitors are performing on Facebook. Businesses can use that information to establish benchmarks for their own efforts. Most marketers have little to compare their Facebook growth and engagement to. For a long time, the only way to know how companies were doing on the social network was to look at total Likes. This became a skewed metric as more pages began to buy fans and launch programs that inflated their numbers but didn’t result in lasting engagement. With more public insights, it will be harder for companies to appear more successful than they truly are. – Brendan Irvine-Broque, Inside Facebook

3) New ad formats and applications

An article on The Australian said Facebook has invited marketers and journalists to New York to discuss new, potentially lucrative advertising opportunities designed to lure its 845 million-strong user base.

It is expected Facebook will try to integrate ads into people’s experience, so that friends’ posts about brands are showing up alongside their news links and puppy photos.

“Facebook is making serious money from ads right now, but they are not making serious money from major brand advertisers, and that’s where the ad money is,” said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group.

On Mashable, Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with eMarketer, told Bloomberg that Facebook still has to win over much of Corporate America. “It really comes down to brand advertisers,” she said. “They just need to do a better job of convincing the big advertisers that ads are effective and that they perform.”

Additionally, an article in Internet Retailer mentioned that the social network announced it is adding its Sponsored Stories ad format to Facebook’s mobile application and also adding those types of ads to the Facebook log-out screen. Sponsored Stories enable advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application. The move marks the first time mobile users will see ads on the social network.

Facebook is also adding back the free Offers program, which enables merchants to offer discounts via their Facebook pages.

Consumers will initially see about one Sponsored Story a day, Facebook says. “We want to make sure that over time the marketing messages are as good as the content that you see from your friends and family,” said Caroline Everson, vice president, global marketing solutions.