Google Adwords: Step By Step Guide

IMG_2510Google as we all know, Is the biggest search engine in the world, but Google has many more services other than it’s search function. Google Adwords is a service where people like you and I can advertise our business. Blog or service, at the top of search result pages.

Of course, having a budget is essential for running an Adwords campaign, however, your budget needn’t be huge. For example, Google regularly offers vouchers for adwords. If you deposit $25 into your account, Google will give you an extra $75 worth of advertising to work with.

A lot of people reading this might be wondering how beneficial Google Adwords is to your website, well I can personally assure you, that a $50 campaign can take your article/service/blog/shop from having 0 visitors, to having 1000 overnight if you so choose.

Have we pricked your attention yet? I thought we might have!

So first thing’s first, let’s set up an account (it’s free to set up and will only take 2-3 minutes of your time.)

1 – Create a Google Adwords Account

First off, head on over to Google Adwords and click on “Start Now” and enter in your details – you will also be asked to confirm your email address. Once you have clicked the confirmation link in the email, head on over to adwords.google.com to sign in to your account.

2 – Decide On Which Locations You Want To Advertise To

Next up you need to decide on which part of the world you want to advertise to, which is where the analytics we discussed in the last article is so important. So for example, if the majority of your visitors are from the UK but you’re trying to sell a product in the USA, then you might want to advertise in the US. You can even narrow it down to specific states, cities and towns if you have a local business.

  • Click on “Create Your First Campaign” Button.
  • Click on “Campaign Settings” and then “Audience” before selecting which regions you would like to advertise to.

3 – Set A Budget

Moving onto the next part of creating your ad: deciding on a budget. Google will of course make budget suggestions but this is entirely up to you. You can set a daily budget that you’re happy to spend, whether that be $0.10 or $10 it is entirely up to you. You only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement, so each click might cost five cents meaning that in a $1 daily budget, you could receive 20 clicks (and 20 potential new customers!) from spending that dollar. You can change your budget at any given time and Google will never spend above the daily limit. Your ads will stop appearing in the search once the limit has been reached.

4 – Control Your CPC (Cost Per Click)

When you set your budget, so for example $1 per day, that $1 will consist of several clicks. It’s up to you how much you wish to spend on each click. The higher you bid, the more likely your ad will reach new customers. With that said, you are in the driver’s seat with this! You can bid whichever amount you like, many people starting out bid low (For example 10 cents) which will get you 10 clicks throughout the day.

Click on “Bidding And Budget” to change your CPC or to set ‘automatic bidding’ where Google bid an amount they think is most beneficial to your ad. Personally, I like to set my own CPC which can be changed at any time.

5 – Create An Ad!IMG_2511

Creating the ad itself is the most important part of the whole process. This is what your customers will see before they even see your website so it’s important to be appealing.

– Ad Title

This is your title so for example, if you had a bargain beauty product business, then your title might be “Buy Bargain Beauty Products” or “Find Cheap Beauty Products”

– Text Line 1

Be sure to include important keywords here as these keywords, when searched for, will appear in bold making the ad more likely to be clicked on as it appears most relevant to the user. An example of text in here could be “Bargain Beauty Supplies for Professionals”

– Text Line 2

This is where you make yourself unique and sell your service. For example: “Click To Save 20% Today” This is also known as a ‘call to action’ where you encourage the visitor to click

– URL

Simply enter the site’s URL for example www.yourwebsite.com

6 – Keywords

This is what people will type into the google search to find your ad. This is where it gets a little bit more complicated. However fear not, for I am equipped with all the tools and information you might need.

First thing’s first, don’t worry about getting it perfect straight away. You can easily delete or edit certain keywords if you find they aren’t working for you.

IMG_2515Here are my tips for choosing the right keywords:

  • Be Specific. Using keywords such as “Beauty” is too general and will likely show dozens of ads meaning yours is less likely to appear. I would recommend choosing “Beauty Supplies For Professionals” which Is more specific and niche to your website and will target customers who are looking for those specific things.
  • Start out with 4/5 keywords or phrases. You can then monitor which ones perform better and decide on which ones to remove and new ones to add.
  • Use the keyword tool! This tool is literally priceless and is completely free to use. Using this will show you how many people are searching for a specific keywords or phrases, how much competition there is from other advertisers and how much Google suggests you spend on each keyword.
  • Analyse your ad after a few days. Once a few days have passed, log back in and check how the keywords have performed. Google will show you how many times the ad appeared and how many times it was clicked on.

7 – Billing

This is the part no-one likes – parting with money! Haha! Here is where you enter your billing details. Here’s how to do it:

  • Click on “Billing” and then “Billing Preferences”
  • Select a payment method. You can choose between:
  • Postpay (automatic payments): American Express, JCB, MasterCard, Visa, Bank account payments (US bank accounts only), and debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa logo
  • Prepay (manual payments): American Express, JCB, MasterCard, Visa, and debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa log
  • Read and Accept the Adwords Terms & Conditions
  • You can also redeem a voucher here if you have one under “Promotional Codes”

8 – Done!

You’ve now completed setting up your adwords campaign. You can of course, add more, edit or delete your ads by signing into your account and adjust your budgets to suit your requirements. If you have any problems, there are dozens of online support pages at support.google.com

Alternatively, of course you can leave any enquiries in the comments below or tweet us @purelysocialmedia

Thanks so much for reading and I really hope this has helped you.

Until next time!

Holly x

How to Increase Traffic to Your Website Using Pinterest

Increase Traffic to Your Website Using PinterestRegardless of your industry, Pinterest can increase traffic to your website. Obviously Pinterest works better for more visual businesses like those in the wedding, fashion, food and travel industries than what it does for accountants. But even with accountants, you can still pin helpful content that’ll engage with your target audience. For example, pins which relate to money saving and business tips will provide helpful content to business owners which may/may not be in need of a new accountant.

The way to make Pinterest work for your business is by helping and inspiring your prospective reader/client in order to direct them to your website. It’s not about building followers on Pinterest – it’s about using content to attract readers who will get your brand, love what you do & build loyalty to buy from you. Here’s how to get started:

Create a Pinterest Business Account

With a business account you get access to analytics, rich pins (we’ll discuss these in point 3), and the ability to promote your pins. If you’ve not already got a Pinterest account, click to create a business account. If you have a personal account already, click the following link to switch your personal account to a business one.

Verify Your Business Account

Once you have a business account on the go, you can now verify your Pinterest account. By verifying, you’ll be able to monitor the web traffic coming from your pins. Here’s how to verify using the metatag Pinterest generates:

  1. Go to your profile and click Account Settings.
  2. On profile, in the Website field, enter your website URL and click Confirm Website.
  3. Go on to the next page and see the metatag to put in the <head> of your website.
  4. If you’re using WordPress, login to your website and go to Appearances,then Editor and in the right hand sidebar click “header.php
  5. Within the header.php file, copy and paste the metatag Pinterest gave you. Insert this code in between the <head> and </head> tags in the file. Click to update file and it’s all go!

Apply for Rich Pins

Qualifying for Rich Pins is another advantage to owning a business account. As well as making your business look more credible, Rich Pins enables you to provide more information with your pin. Currently, Pinterest offer 6 formats of rich pins; articles, recipes, places, products, apps and places.

In this tutorial, we’ll use rich pins for articles to explain how to enable rich pins for your account.

The easiest way to set up rich pins is by using Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. As opposed to manually adding Pinterest’s metatags to certain places on your site, Yoast SEO does it for you!

To install Yoast SEO click Plugins, Add New and then Upload Plugin. Upload the .zip file for Yoast SEO and click Install Now.  Activate the Yoast SEO plugin by clicking Activate in the Installed Plugins section on WordPress.

Next, go to the new SEO section of your left sidebar. Click SEO and then click Social. Go to the Facebook section and tick the Add Open Graph Meta Data and press Save Changes. Once completed, click the following link to enable Rich Pins by copying a link to one of your blog posts by scrolling to the bottom of Pinterest’s rich pins validating tool.

NOTE: It can take up to 7 days for Pinterest to approve your rich pin application.

Organize Your Boards

In order to engage and gain a following on Pinterest – you need a flawless profile with boards that will attract your prospective reader/client.

Your first 8 boards are most visible. The first 4 are the most important. They show off your brand, show what you’re interested in and show what you do. From this, they’ll get an understanding of what you’re about.

One great way to create an eye-catching Pinterest profile is by coordinating the board covers and name titles. In the world of Pinterest, jumbled up images and mismatched colors won’t do. Your profile needs uniformity. Do this by implementing your brand colors on the board covers and having a style for your board titles. Each board also needs a relevant description that includes keywords your target audience will be using in their search for inspirational content.  

When organizing your boards think:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What content is my target audience looking for?
  3. What do they love?
  4. What content will help them?

Here is an example of a Pinterest profile which engages with its ideal audience:

 

Pinterest Print Screen

Melyssa helps bloggers and creative entrepreneurs build their businesses using their blogs, social media and email marketing. Her board is simple, matches her brand colors and most importantly – her boards are relevant to what her target audience will be searching. For example: entrepreneur tips, social media tips, blogging tips + email marketing tips.

Create ‘Pinworthy’ Images for Your Blog Posts + Other Web Content

Photography

If you shoot your own photography then great, you’re onto a winner! Your photography will be unique & help form your brand. But, don’t worry, if you don’t take your own photographs, there are heaps of websites that provide beautiful stock photography that is blog and pin-worthy (some are free, too!). Here are a few we recommend: Unsplash, Death to the Stock Photo and Pexels. Take note that tall thin images work best on Pinterest.

The Graphics & Text

You have the photography – now you need the graphics. You can use design software like Photoshop and Illustrator, but if you don’t have the budget, Canva is amazing for creating your own eyecatching pinworthy images for your content (like the feature image for this post. You can add your headline, change text size, add icons, adjust brightness and play with color. For inspiration for the most pinned images on Pinterest, check out this link to find out more.

When it comes to adding your text, your headline needs to grab people’s attention at one glance – so the text needs to be clear and simple.  

Join Group Boards

Joining Group Boards is a great way to build your following, show off your content, interact with industry leaders and prospective clients in attempt to increase the traffic to your website. Pingroupie is an amazing website which allows you to find Pinterest group boards which are relevant to your brand.

Filter your boards by ‘Collaborators’ – ones with higher members are more likely to accept.

You NEED to follow the owner of the group board in order to be accepted.
You may need to email the group board owner in order to be accepted.

Once accepted, try to pin 1-4 images to your group board in a day. Anymore than that then you might appear spammy. Build a good reputation by repinning other members content from the group board.

Curate Great Content for Your Pinterest Boards

In addition to pinning your own content, repinning content helps attract your target audience too.

Curate great content for your boards by following people in your industry, liking, commenting and re-pinning their content onto your boards.

The most likely content to go viral on Pinterest are how to posts, top resources, recipes, guides and checklists. Ensure your pinning seasonal and on-trend content too.

TIP: Pinterest is more likely to recommend your board if it contains lots of popular pins. Once a week go through your boards and delete the pins with low re-pins. This’ll make sure your boards appear to only show amazing content people love!

Schedule Your Pins

Scheduling pins helps save you time + allows you to schedule lots of images to be pinned to your board. Unlike most social media platforms, there are no popular times on Pinterest, Pinterest just likes to see lots of fresh popular content being pinned to your board daily. We recommend using ViralTag and BoardBooster to schedule your pins in advance. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to comment below or tweet us @purelysocialtip.

Launching a New Product or Service? Here’s How to Create a Content Marketing Plan to Reach Your Audience + Win Sales

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan

Nobody likes a cold caller or an in-your-face salesman that doesn’t let you get away. When it comes to investing in a product we want choices. We like to build trust and find out how it works. In a world where marketers can easily put their product in front of you on Facebook, through Google or pop into your inbox – the “hard sell” can quickly be deleted and ignored. To promote a new service or product, we need to engage, show you’re an expert and provide value. And – that’s why content marketing is key.

Here’s How Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business

Provide value

We love getting as much as we can for our money. And – as a species, we LOVE freebies! And, that’s why offering free downloadable guides and resources work so well. You’re giving your potential client much more than a product or a service. You are proving that you are the solution to their problems.

If your audience has spent time reading your blog or chosen to download a guide, they know you know what you’re talking about. And before getting told about your new product or service, they trust your brand.

Enhance your SEO

In addition to building trust, content marketing ticks all of the SEO boxes too.

Say goodbye to the‘black hat’ SEO days.

Google now sees good, helpful SEO optimized content as the #1 ranking factor your website. The more helpful content you publish on your website, the more search engines indexes you.

And – the more your content is found on a search engine, the more chance you’ll have of connecting with a potential client.  

Engage with your audience + start conversations

By default, we engage with people and emotions. Showing our personality through the content we post on social media, blog posts, emails, online forums – we build meaningful relationships. Our ability to interact is what builds customer loyalty and wins a sale.

Become an expert

We’ve touched on how we need trust to make a purchase.

If you’re making a claim that you’re social media services will increase sales. You’ve gotta give evidence for that skill set. Through your content marketing you can demonstrate your ability to solve problems. You can feature case studies and prove your products/services are worth investing in by posting testimonials.

Using a combination of content marketing strategies you can provide rich information that’ll build your authority and put you ahead of your competitors.

To gain exposure and build as much hype around your product launch as possible, here are a few ideas to connect with your audience and get your name out there:

  1. Get Blogging!

Your blog should be your first point of call. As well as boosting your SEO, your blog posts will be the platform for the rest of your content marketing to build on.

Your blog posts don’t need to explain your new product or service, they just need to include keywords, spark interest and get your readers engaged with the advice you are publishing.

Brainstorm blog post ideas around the topic of your product/service that’ll be published in the six weeks prior, during and after your launch following this rough timeline and structure:

Blog Post 1: 2 weeks prior offering a free content upgrade to collect email addresses (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 2: 1 week before (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 3: On the day of launch offering a free guide based around the theme of your product/service to build your email subscribers

Blog Post 4: 1 week after launch

Blog Post 5: 2 weeks after launch including a free worksheet based on the theme of your product/service

Blog Post 6: 3 weeks after launch

  1. Create Opt-In Freebies to Embed into Your Blog Posts

As detailed above, you’ll see that we recommend creating free downloads to offer to your readers in Blog Posts 1, 3 and 5. These ‘lead magnets’ will get people signing up to your mailing list so you can get to work on priming  your audience for your product launch.

Follow our guide to designing an email sign-up form that can be embedded into your blog posts so you can automatically send out your freebie.  

  1. Set up an Email Sequence that’ll be sent to Your Freebie Downloaders & Mailing List

Email marketing is a great way to prime your audience for a service or product launch.

  • Brainstorm + write an email sequence of around 6 emails.
  • Send out 2 emails before launching.
  • And – send your mailing list 4 emails on or after the launch.

Here’s an example of an email sequence to your mailing list or after your freebie is sent out:

  1. Advice surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  2. Show how you/your business benefited from your product/service – the more personal the better – it’ll show what you’ve learnt from your journey and help your audience connect with you.
  3. Product launch email – feature case studies, your USPs and briefly mention your product/service. You may also want to link to recent blog posts related to the topic of your product/service.
  4. If you’re planning a webinar or Q&A on Periscope – send an email out to promote what they’ll learn from you & mention what you’re clients say.
  5. Pitch your product/service – mentioning an exclusive discount to email subscribers.
  6. Mention that it’s the last 24 hours of your discount and briefly go over the benefits of your product/service.
  1. Promote Your Freebies on Facebook Ads

Everybody loves a free gift.

As well as creating a post to promote your product/service launch, use Facebook Ads to promote your free downloadable guides.

People are more likely to trust a business that offers them free information in place of an advert of a service you’re offering.

In your Facebook advert, use your email sign-up URL to send out the freebie to your audience. You can find out how to find the email sign-up page URL in our How to Create an Email Newsletter Guide.

By creating a Facebook Ad, you can hit your demographic, offer a freebie to provide valuable helpful content that’ll show off your expertise and collect email addresses to add to your mailing list.

Through your mailing list you can start conversations with your potential customers, promote your recent content in your email newsletter and hopefully sell to them further down the line.  

  1. Facebook, Twitter + LinkedIn Posts

Write posts to direct traffic your blog posts and your new product/service for each social media network. For each link we recommend writing:

4x Twitter Posts

2 x Facebook Posts

1x LinkedIn Post

If you’re a member of a Facebook or LinkedIn group, post your content in places where it will be of most use.

  1. Guest Blog!

An amazing way to reach your target audience AND improve your website’s SEO is by guest blogging. Here’s how to promote your product/service through guest blogging:

  • Firstly, research businesses/blogs/websites which has a similar target audience to yours.
  • Email them to see whether they accept guest posts.
  • Brainstorm blog post ideas surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  • Arrange to publish your guest blog around on or after your product/service launch.

Find out why publishing content on sites is useful your website’s SEO in our article: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Upload Images to Instagram and Pinterest to Promote Every Blog Post

Create a pinworthy image for every blog post you create. Pin this to your boards + shared boards to get as much traffic as possible.

On Instagram, publish images featuring a question that relates to the content of your blog post. By posting these images to your Instagram with relevant hashtags you can hopefully kickstart a conversation with your potential audience.

  1. Lead a Q+A And/Or Tutorial on Periscope

An amazing way to show your expertise and connect with your potential clients is by using Periscope. Here you can host a livestream of a tutorial or Q+A related to your product or service.

What’s best is that your audience can interact with you and other watchers in the chat running at the same time as your live stream. Unlike educating your audience through a blog post, Periscope allows you to connect with your audience as well as your audience engaging with you.

You can briefly mention the benefits of your product/service and direct watchers to your website to find out more.

New to Periscope? Find out all you need to know in our Beginner’s Guide to Periscope blog post.

  1. Host a Webinar

Webinars are an awesome platform for generating revenue – they’re becoming increasingly popular too! Here are a few ideas for your webinar:

  • Think of one of your FAQs or what your potential client would like to learn from you. Use this idea for the basis of your webinar.
  • You can host the same webinar 2 or 3 times.
  • Pitch your product/service at the end of the webinar.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below or reach out to us on Twitter! We love to engage!

6 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

6 ways to increase traffic to your websiteIf you’ve recently started a business or recently invested money into a new web design and you’re not generating as many enquiries as you’d hoped – here are 6 surefire ways to get your ideal customers onto your website and kickstart your online sales:

Is Your Website Optimized to Appear in Search Engine Results?

Ensuring your website is optimized with basic SEO can boost your traffic tremendously! Follow these easy-to-follow tips to help you move up the search rankings for your keywords:

Identify Your Keywords

Using the Keyword Planner Tool on Google Adwords is the key to identifying the keywords you should be optimizing for your business. Once you have found keywords, it will help you get your ideal customer onto your website.

Update Page Titles & Descriptions

Once you have identified your keywords, you can update all of your website’s webpages to include your keyword in your site’s page titles and meta descriptions. Just in case you’re not sure, here’s an example of a page title & meta description:

search result

Adding your keywords to your meta data will ensure Google ranks your website in your target customers’ search results. If you’re a WordPress user, download the Yoast SEO plugin – it makes the process so much easier! Once installed, go onto the editing page of every page you need to update, scroll down and you’ll find the Yoast SEO text box where you can easily edit the title & meta description for each page.

Improve the Content on Your Web Pages

Google favours pages that users spend a lot of time on. Make your content look great by helpful content, breaking up large bits of content into smaller easy-to-read paragraphs and adding engaging images. Do you have pages with less than 300 words of content? Do you have pages that don’t look as great as other pages? That don’t include the keyword your optimizing? Start by implementing the following SEO practices on to your website:

Add Image Alt Tags

As well as adding keywords into your written content, include your keywords into the ‘Alt Tag’ on every image you upload.

Increase Your Site Speed

Google increases the ranking of websites will higher site speeds. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to analyze your website’s performance. If your PageSpeed is low – Google will suggest changes to improve the speed of your website.

Do You Blog for Your Business?

Blogging is one of the best ways to get your target audience on to your website. When you begin brainstorming your future content, your audience is your top priority. Think: what would help my audience? What search terms will be audience be using? What’s my target audience interested in? For example, if you offer hypnobirthing classes to help women have calm births, your ideal target audience will be searching for calming ways to ease labour. As your business is the answer to that search query – a good starting point for blog posts will be blog posts based on tips to ease labour, breathing exercises, pregnancy tips and motivational birth stories.

Here are a few ways to create engaging blog posts that attracts traffic:

  • Use the Keyword Planner Tool to find out most searched terms to strategize your content
  • Make your blog posts easy to read by using small paragraphs with bold engaging headings
  • An eye-catching title
  • Include links to your services pages and other blog posts that may help your readers
  • Post attractive images that complement your branding

Social Media Marketing

One study found that a staggering 93% of our buying choices are influenced by social media. Here are a few ways to master your social media marketing:

Get Your Branding on Point

Use specific fonts or colours on your website? Carry your website branding onto your social media profiles to create a recognizable, strong brand. As visual content attracts more attention than text alone, start by:

  • Creating images that uses the same font and brand’s colour scheme to publish with your tweets and status updates.
  • Branding your Pinterest boards.
  • Using your colour scheme and fonts in your Instagram profile.

Post Regularly

Gain a steady growth in your social media following by publishing content regularly onto your channels. The more people who engage with your brand, the more traffic will be directed to your 6 ways to increase traffic to your website checklistwebsite.

Be Relevant

Reach out to your target audience by sharing your blog posts, relevant articles, news in your industry and useful written, visual + video content. Even though you’ll be posting other people content – you will be connect with your potential customers and making relationships with people in your industry that may share your content with their audience.

Be Active in Relevant Communities

Building a community around your business is a catalyst for getting your business mentioned and shared online. Delve into the world of social media networking by finding Twitter Chats, Facebook Groups and online forums dedicated to your industry. For example, if you’re an organic skincare brand, you could share your knowledge and connect with your target audience in green beauty twitter chats, Facebook groups and online forums.

Your Email Marketing Campaign – Do You Have One?

With 66% of consumers making an online purchase as a result of email marketing, prioritizing email marketing is very important. Here’s how to get started:

Create Valuable Content to Build Your Email List

I’m sure you’ve landed on a website that either has a pop-up or side bar content offering a free eBook, course or guide in exchange for your email address? If you’re looking to connect with your audience, show your expertise and build your mailing list – this really works. Start by brainstorming ways you can help your target audience.

Create & Send out a Regular Email

Your email doesn’t need to be fairly complicated at first. You could send out a simple but engaging round-up email of all of the content you’ve posted throughout the week, over the last 2 weeks or month. This way you’ll direct traffic to your website and stay in the mind of your audience by appearing in their inbox regularly!

Guest Blogging

The higher your domain authority, the higher you’ll appear in search results. A great way of building your domain authority is by guest blogging. By posting helpful content on websites you’ll engage with a new audience and direct traffic to your website and create that all important, domain authority boosting back-link back to your site. Start by finding websites are leaders in your industry or post similar content to your website and contact them to see whether you can guest blog on their websites. You can also find websites that are seeking guest bloggers on Twitter, forums and Facebook Groups.

Update Old Blog Posts

Instead of writing new blog posts – you can direct more traffic to your website by updating old content. If you have been blogging for a while, you may have a lot of blog posts that could benefit from being improved. Start by looking at your Google Analytics to identify old content that’s popular with your audience.

Add a ‘Pinnable’ Image

Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic. Make your feature image ‘pinnable’ by making sure the images matches your brand and creating a vertical image for each post.

Link Relatable Content

Google likes to see inbound links in your content. Got a blog post that’s focussed on a similar topic? As well as pleasing Google, linking relatable blog posts will help keep the reader on your website.

Update the Blog Title

Your old blog post could benefit from improving its title to include a keyword or to attract more readers onto your blog post.

Add Keywords

Do you mention keywords in your blog post? If not – add them naturally within the content of the post.

Create a Content Upgrade

Could your blog post benefit from offering a worksheet? Or a more detailed guide? Creating a content upgrade will offer value to your readers, show off your expertise and help build your mailing list.

Using Hashtags Effectively On Social Media

IMG_1389Everyone from Kimye to Politicians use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Some people even use it in day to day conversations nowadays. #Guilty.

I have a love hate relationship with hashtags. When they are used correctly, they add to your content and attract new followers/customers/UFO’s. Used wrongly, and they can be pretty annoying to see. Sometimes you see people typing a 20 character status on Twitter and use the extra 120 characters on hashtags – #wrongwaytousethem! There’s a thin line between tolerated and completely intolerable. So, lucky for all of you, I am here to tell you how to use them effectively to benefit your business or blog.

Being a Blogger of almost five years means you get to hear about all of the funny mistakes I’ve made over the years, knowing you will never face the embarrassment of making the mistakes I have. I once posted a picture on Instagram of my cat and used the hashtags “#cutecat” “#CatsofInstagram” and uhm… “#Faceoftheday”. For starters, I had clicked the option to automatically share my Instagram posts to twitter and Facebook and because of this “catsofinstagram” was completely irrelevant on the other platforms. Aside from that, let’s move onto the elephant in the status “Face Of The Day” obviously does not relate whatsoever to my cat picture. I only used it because it was a popular hashtag. I ended up receiving about 5/6 notifications telling me I was using “Click Bait” (where people use catchy titles or hashtags to encourage people to click on the item despite it being irrelevant) and those people unfollowed me. I didn’t even have an excuse for it, I genuinely just wanted more people to see my status. #Fail.

So, moving on to using them the right way…

Frequency Of Hashtags

Twitter was the originator of the hashtag. Originally, people thought the idea would never catch on but Twitter blatantly have had the last laugh with hashtags being used across all social platforms from Instagram to Facebook and even Pinterest.

According to Twitter, using two hasthtags in your status doubles the chances of engagement, meaning you’re more likely to receive a comment, a ‘like’ or even a follow. If you’re really lucky, you might even be retweeted which opens the door to many more people. With that said, using three hashtags actually drops this chance by 17%. Facebook is a hub of hashtags, but personally, I use only one hashtag at the most.

For Instagram, people don’t really seem to be too put off by hashtags and I think that’s partly because they don’t look so dominant in statuses – for example, the image is the dominant feature of the post and the hashtags are written in blue making them less prominent than the black you see on Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to go wild with hashtags on Instagram but always keep them relevant. We all know that #fitspiration or #f4f are popular hashtags but they’re no good to you or your visitors unless your image relates to them. If, for example, you are in the beauty industry and are posting an image of lipsticks, then you might opt to use “#beauty #makeup #lipstagram #lipsticks #faceoftheday #pretty #bbloggers” – all of these are relative to the content meaning you’re more likely to get interaction from the people who see your post, such as a ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘follow’ (if you’re really lucky, you might even get a regram which is basically Instagram’s version of Retweeting).

It’s also a good idea to use your business name as a hashtag to help spread the word about your brand. It’s also a good way to keep track of others talking about your business as it’s likely they will use the hashtag.

IMG_1392Research Your Hashtags

You needn’t pluck hashtags from thin air or be in the know about which ones work best, you can use online tools which will help you decide which hashtags will work best for you. I use Hashtagify.me for research, and if your business has a local presence, you might want to consider using Trendsmap which is tailored to your preferred location.

Aside from that, you may want to try doing your own research. You could try using one hashtag across your social media platforms for one week and see how they perform before trying a different hashtag the following week and so on. This will help tailor your results to your very own business and will make it much more personalised rather than from a wide demographic.

Communities

Mainly on Twitter, but also on Instagram, are communities who have similar interests and they all use a specific hashtag where those people will ‘like’ or interact in some way. These communities also host ‘tweetchats’ on Twitter where once or twice a week users gather and use the hashtag to participate in a discussion which has a different theme each time. This sounds a little bit complicated so I’ll give an example. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I obviously participate in related chats. Hashtags used for these are #bbloggers or #fbloggers and each week, a new host will tweet a question using the hashtag. For example:

“Welcome to #fbloggers – Q1 – What are your thoughts on runway to high street fashion?”

Anyone searching for the hashtag on Twitter (using the search feature) will be shown this tweet and any other tweets using the same hashtag. By responding or contributing to the chat, you will definitely see some interaction. I regularly receive around 10 new followers in each hour long chat (and I’m not even the host!). Just be sure to interact with other people by replying to them with a comment, or retweeting people. Be sure to always use the hashtag in your responses so other people can see them too. Just be smart with it – if you have success using a hashtag, be sure to use it as often as you can (just not more than once in one status as we have already discussed).

If you’re lucky enough to be the host for the chat (you can either start your own chat or request to be the host for another one by contacting the appropriate hashtag profile) then you can get literally hundreds of new followers – I hosted a chat once and it was trending for an hour because of the amount of interactions there were. It really is a follower goldmine.So, now that you know all about how to use hashtags, it’s time to get to work! We here at Purely Social would love to hear all about your success with hashtags and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or drop us a tweet @purelysocialtip

Thanks so much for reading this article! I look forward to returning with more useful information to help your business or brand.

Holly

How To Use Instagram In The Beauty & Fashion Industry

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Often I’m asked how I keep up with so many different social media platforms for my beauty blog. The answer is simple: research! Before deciding on four of the platforms that I thought are most beneficial to my business, I took some time to do research and really see what platform was best for me. See more about that process here. Of all the social platforms I’ve used, Instagram is easily one of my favourites as it is effective for promoting my blog content and interacting with my followers. Not forgetting to mention that I’ve found gaining new followers to be relatively easy on Instagram (Bonus!).

So how can you use Instagram to promote your business?

Well, there are a few elements of Instagram to explore including using hashtags effectively, promoting your brand and how to gain new followers (we’re even discussing the pro’s and con’s of ‘buying’ followers #controversial). First, let’s talk about Instagram in general.

Firstly, Instagram is a photo sharing app. You can only access your Instagram via a cell phone or smart device. Initially, when I started using it, I found this frustrating because I wanted to access Instagram on my laptop or desktop PC when I was working rather than going on my phone and accessing it. Now, however, I actually prefer Instagram being an app rather than a website because it makes it more personal. As you will know if you read these articles regularly, I’ve mentioned that being personal is a followers goldmine. If you offer a personal touch to your online presence, people are going to interact with you as they do with their friends or family on social media. Not only that, but you can post to Instagram during your social hours without having to load a computer. #LazyBlogger…

In terms of content, keeping the pictures close to your business theme is recommended to ensure your potential followers know what they are to expect should they choose to follow you. Don’t be afraid to post up a cute cat picture now and again though, it shows you’re human and who doesn’t love a cute cat? (I’m Holly and I am a cute cat addict). Try to keep your content unique – no-one is interested in seeing the same thing on several accounts. New content is what engages your visitors.

Oh and for those of you who are like me and prefer to pre-schedule, you can also use Buffer or other social media management apps to time your instagram posts. You can thank us later.

 

Using Hashtags Effectively

The social media world is centered round hashtags right now. People are using guaranteed big search items like the Kardashians dropped into everyday statuses and conversations to attract a larger audience. Some hashtags attract a bigger audience than others, but just because a lot of people may see your post, doesn’t mean those people will click on it or interact with you. To effectively promote your blog, brand or business, you will be looking to encourage interaction on your social media pages. Very seldom will anyone visit your website or business based on a sweeping glance. More likely, is that they will visit if they see something relevant to what they’re searching for.

If you load a search engine and search for ‘popular Instagram hashtags’ you will see everything from #instadaily to #happy and #winitwednesday amongst dozens of others. While those hashtags are fantastic for posters who have daily content, who have a happy picture to share, or are hosting a competition. In the beauty and fashion industry other hashtags are proven to be most effective. Top beauty and fashion hashtags include:

  • #bbloggers (beauty bloggers official hashtags where other bloggers see the content – many of my followers are actually fellow bloggers so don’t forget to reach out to others in the same industry as you!)
  • #OOTD (Outfit of the day where people searching for this are looking for fellow fashionistas and fashion inspiration)
  • #hairspiration (gorgeous hairstyles from colour to styles can be found under this hashtag)
  • #fashion or #psfashion (pretty explanatory and #psfashion is for plus size fashion)
  • #makeuptutorial (short video clips showing mini makeup tutorials)

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Of course, there are dozens of other hashtags that can be used, so take a look at Top-Hashtags to take a look at more.

Using the hashtags in your post is simple. Steer clear of adding them throughout the status and always use less than seven in each post. A lot of people recommend using three or less, however as a personal opinion, I don’t mind seeing five or less and a lot of other instagram users have similar thoughts.

Here’s an example of an Instagram post using hashtags:

*insert image* – Loving this gorgeous eyeshadow. Who else thinks copper eyeshadows are beautiful? #bbloggers #makeup #copper #beauty

How To Gain Followers

Normally on social media, you can spend hours on end commenting on statuses and will get little to no followers. However Instagram is a whole new ball game. By searching for hashtags in the search feature, you will find thousands of users with similar interests to yours. Simply ‘liking’ their photo and commenting can encourage that user to not only follow you, but to also interact with you.

People like to be part of something popular, so once you get above 200 followers you are more likely to see an increase in followers simply by posting regularly. Which brings me to my next point, buying followers.

This is a controversial one because a lot of people dislike the thought of ‘buying’ followers. A lot of people might think there is no point in buying followers (I, myself, choose not to but it doesn’t mean I never will). Because people like to be part of something popular, you’re more likely to gain followers when you already have a lot of followers which is why some bloggers use sites such as fiverr.com to buy followers. It’s not against any rules as long as the accounts are active and comply with the standard user rules of Instagram so this is really a personal choice.

You can also promote your Instagram posts if you have a decent budget. For more information on this head on over to the Instagram help pages.

One thing is certain, Instagram is a social media platform that will always be around. With literally millions of users posting daily, the advertising and promoting potential for your business is endless.

We would love to hear your thoughts on Instagram (and what your thoughts are on buying followers!) so please do feel free to leave your comments below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Cracking the Deep Web: How to Get Steady Customers Fast and Free

Hi Guys, Mika here!

As you know, we’ve been increasing our team to include a few new bloggers varying in expertise. The newest member of our team, Leah Zitter, has a wealth of experience in SEO and the deep web. This week’s article is an introduction to just that. Enjoy! 

visible web

Three years ago, I used the Deep Web to promote my website that offers hidden jobs for freelancers. As far as I know, I was and remain the first person to do so.

I invested three hours a week using Deep Web engines.

Within that first month, I gathered 375 visitors.

What is the Deep Web?

The Deep Web consists of all sites that are hidden from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, or DogPile. Regular search engines can only retrieve information from pages that are accessible to it or that are large enough to be discovered. But there are many other groups on sites such as Twitter, Behance, Ryze, forums, password-protected business sites, Tumblr, Reddit, or up-and-coming blogs that are inaccessible because they are too small, password-secured, or not registered with search engines.

The science journal Nature notes that Google only indexes 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. This means that about 3000 out of 1 web pages are hidden from engines. Think of the ocean and the hiddenness below. The ocean is your worldwide web. Underneath is your deep or invisible web. This is where your clients chat.

I sought tools that could probe this hiddenness so that I could connect with them.

Why I used the Deep Web

Part of the reason I turned to the Deep Web was because I was looking for other ways to conduct free surveys. I also wanted to probe my targeted person’s subconscious needs. I wanted to connect with them in as real a way as I could and show them I could help them. For that to occur, writing articles was not enough. I wanted to talk with them; to capture their words for help so that I could refer them to my service. Along the way I sought their opinion. The engines that probe the deep web helped me do this. They helped me make some of my posts viral.

I collected 78 FB followers from zero in 2 months and gathered references from those who tweeted their thanks.

Method

I spent 8 months tracking down uncommon engines that dated since 2000. I investigated those that survived. Engines dip in and out of existence regularly, so, for instance, I wrote a few articles on MetaSearch.org only to have that amazing search engine die within months of those articles  being published.

I also read books on the deep web such as The invisible Web: uncovering information sources search engines can’t see by Chris Sherman and kept up-to-date with events on the Deep Web via researchbuzz.me.

Thirdly, I probed and used some of the methods of certain HR recruiters who had devised their own systems for spooning out hidden names.

Most important, I am a research scientist with an advanced degree in logic and formal training in Search Engine Marking. I used that training to fiddle with different keywords and algorithms running some for a few months before adding or replacing with others to see which terms, posts and sites were most popular and effective.

Here are the results.

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for advertising and marketing on forums and groups

Boardreader – You’ll want to use the ‘Advanced Search’ to help you make the most of this site. Few engines need as exact keywords as this does. Surprisingly, I found the Imbd option helpful.

Omgili –‘Oh My Gosh I Like It’ really does help you find communities, message boards, and discussion threads on any topic. Type in your key words (I used ‘looking for freelance _’) and access Discussion Posts or Blog Posts. You may find News Articles helpful.

Webring – Find people and groups who share your interest. It is small (because its relatively new) but its members are more earnest than on FaceBook and you can engage with them at greater length than you can on Twitter.

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for advertising and marketing on social media

Socialbearing.com – This engine helps you drill Twitter. It is excellent for tracking real-time conversations.

Twazzup.com – This is a new all-in-one Twitter search engine. Twitter has other search engines that you can use such as OneRiot and Louis Gray, but the helpful thing about Twazzup is that you can type in whatever interests you and Twitter returns all – noise and all.

Smashfuse.com – Terrific. Smashfuse travels FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Flickr among others. It is also fast. Minuses: It lacks advanced options. (I add date or country to the keyword or I simply use general keywords. The latter option is probably best).

Deep Web Engines: Top 2 for advertising and marketing on blogs

Blogsearchengine.org – This engine swims through stumbleupon and delicious. Minus: It lacks advanced options.

MeltwaterIceRocket.com – This is one of the most powerful blog search engines. It searches blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and sites on the worldwide web. I  use the advanced search options to type in certain words such as ‘ paying submissions’, the date (‘today only’) and tag – which searches for words in the post. Example [tag: writer telecommutes].

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for getting eyeball-boggling content

Dotmos.com – It helps you dig news in your field that you may less likely see on the common search engines. I use it for real-time conversation and for creating content.

GigablastGigablast is an open source engine. You’ll find its advanced search options below the blue border of its title. I sometimes also use ‘Ixquick’.

Tiptop insight engine – This engine captures news. If you’re savvy with your keywords, it can help you capture real-time conversations. The engine needs permission from Twitter to grant you access but it digs up from pages that are well beyond Twitter.

Interesting, right? Feel free to reach out in the on twitter, via email, or in the comments below with any questions, comments, or if you need help implementing. We look forward to hearing from you!