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!

 

 

 

 

How Snapchat Can Be Used In The Fashion & Beauty Industry (Including Bloggers!)

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Hi everyone!

It’s Holly again back to give you some more insider information on Snapchat and how it can be beneficial to the beauty and fashion industry. Last week, we discussed how to set up and use SnapChat, so now that you’re a pro, it’s time to put your practice into good use and efficiently use the platform for your business or blog.

A lot of people might be wondering how the beauty and fashion industry can benefit from using a social platform such as Snapchat and the answer is simple – it builds a community. Releasing new products is all fine and well, but in order to make those products the most sought after items in the business, you will need to create some sort of community and hype around them which is where Snapchat fits in just nicely.

Let your followers become industry insiders…

As we mentioned in the “beginners guide to Snapchat”, anything you post to your followers will disappear in 10 seconds. To some this might seem like a pain, but actually, it makes your followers feel as though they are part of an exclusive club where they have had a ‘sneak peak’at something that a lot of other people might not have seen. It gives them a backstage insight to the industry and that is where the Fashion and beauty industry can use Snapchat to their advantage.

Fashion week is the biggest week on the fashion calendar which will see everyone from high street to designer brands showcasing their latest and upcoming trends for industry insiders and press. Unfortunately, us mere mortals don’t have the status to mingle with Kimye and Victoria Beckham so we rely on press coverage to let us in on the inside scoop. Now, brands are turning to Snapchat to document snippets of insider knowledge and backstage model diva drama for their followers to see. As each clip only lasts 10 seconds before it disappears forever and ever, followers will be left wanting more which will encourage social media interaction and even increased visitors to your website. (Remember, Visitors = Sales!). Brands such as Juicy Couture, Burberry & Alexander Wang all use Snapchat to promote their brands. If it’s good enough for them… right?

So, as a small Fashion brand, how can you use Snapchat for your business?

IMG_1007It works quite similarly for you as it does for the large companies. When new products are being created, perhaps consider capturing a snippet of a creative meeting, of fabric swatches, or of an upcoming advertorial for the season ahead. Because you are only showing a 10 second clip of it, you leave your followers wanting more as was mentioned earlier. This also works for beauty brands too where you can showcase new product ideas, color swatches and new packaging. As a beauty and fashion blogger myself, I can safely say I love this kind of content and even though I know the brands are trying to sell themselves, I fall for it hook, line and sinker. I want to buy the new products and I want to be the first to know all about them.

You can also send exclusive offers to your Snapchat users. So for example, you can take a picture of a dress and include the caption:

“20% off for Snapchat users using code 0000

the snap only lasts 10 seconds so not only will this encourage your viewers to act immediately, it also lets them feel as though they are part of an exclusive club. Of course, everyone wants to be part of an exclusive club, just like I want to be part of Taylor Swift’s Squad… Moving “swiftly” on. (pun intended).

Now that we’ve taken a look at how Snapchat is great for promoting Fashion and Beauty Brands, let’s take a look at how Fashion & Beauty Bloggers like me can benefit from using it.

I’ve been blogging for almost five years, and since starting out, I’ve probably signed up to around 20 different social media platforms. Some of them work better than others and more often than not, the ones I expect to work the least for me, end up being a huge source of traffic to my blog. One of those very platforms is Snapchat.

I initially started using Snapchat a year or so ago where I enjoyed sharing cute snippets of my cat wearing my slippers (still gets me laughing to this day) with my friends until one day I realized that I was being left behind. Other Fashion and beauty bloggers were using Snapchat to promote their blogs in ways I didn’t even think about.

As I mentioned earlier, brands like to showcase snippets of upcoming launches and bloggers are no different. Whilst bloggers invariably don’t have new products of our own to showcase, we are able to share with our visitors what is coming up on the blog in the coming week.

As scheduling is a vital part in keeping every blogger sane (trust me!), we invariably have our content planned for the week ahead and so this means we can show snippets of us typing a blog post and highlight eye catching segments such as:-

“The $3 mascara that wins the Volume battle hands down”

Then caption it “Coming tomorrow on my blog”.   Users will be enticed to see this wonder mascara and are likely to visit your blog to see it. Clever huh?

Another way for fashion and beauty Bloggers to use Snapchat to their advantage is to offer your followers something exclusive that they can’t find on your blog or Twitter. For example. If you are doing an OOTD IMG_1008(Outfit Of The Day)blog post then a still image is perfect for your blog, but on Snapchat you could record a
clip of a 360 degree view of the outfit where you zoom in on key features. For Beauty bloggers, you could show lip swatches of a new lipstick on your blog but to offer your snap chatters something a bit more, you can record yourself applying it and biting into an apple to prove the product doesn’t smudge easily.

Not only does this drive traffic to your blog but it also encourages more followers to your SnapChat.

Be sure to cross-promote your snapchat channel at the bottom of a blog post where something ‘extra’ is offered on Snapchat. Be sure to share your username across social media too and watch as your followers and blog visitors increase day by day.

IMG_1009Similarly to brands, bloggers can also offer exclusive deals such as competition entries and interviews to people who comment on your snapchat content. Again, be sure to blog about this on your blog and mention it across other social platforms to let people know that they can expect a lot from you on Snapchat.

 

 

Snapchat is also rumoured to be offering advertising opportunities in 2016 although this has not been confirmed.

So now that we’ve covered how Snapchat can be beneficial to the fashion and beauty industry, what are you waiting for? Get snapping and be sure to leave your usernames in the comments below!

Top 7 Mistakes Businesses Made with their Digital Marketing in 2015 & What Can Be Done to Fix it in 2016

marketing in 2015

It’s the beginning of the year – which means creating New Year’s Resolutions and thinking about the year ahead. We reflect on the positives, we notice our mistakes and we work on how we can improve. Instead of indulging in high calorie food like we do over Christmas, we start cleansing our bodies and working on getting back into shape. And – like our bodies, our business’ need to detox too. The start of a new year is one of the best times to analyse the results of our digital marketing campaigns, try new strategies and create a marketing plan for the year.

Take your business to new heights by eliminating digital marketing mistakes and digitally savvy in 2016 by following these tips:

checklist

Mistake 1: Not Using Analytics Tools

If you’re going to promote your products and services online, you need to be able to identify what’s working and what’s not. Tools such as, Google AnalyticsHootSuite and Buffer provides you with rich data that helps you build a picture of how your content and social media marketing connects with your customers. Check out these simple but essential things you need to monitor:

  • Your social media insights. If you’re using a social media schedule tools like HootSuite, Sprout Social and Buffer, you can create reports on how your social media is performing in a few clicks. This will help you compare results, monitor your following, identify your demographics and see how much traffic is being directed to your website. On Facebook, you can see what time your fans are online, the most popular times are when you should be posting. You can do this by logging into your page, clicking ‘Insights’ on the top panel and clicking ‘Posts’ on the left hand side.
  • See what’s popular on your website. Google Analytics provides you with a wealth of data which shows what’s popular on your website. Seeing what content brings in the most traffic can help you create future blog posts that are popular with your audience.
  • Identify what’s converting. You might be investing a lot of time and money into moving up the page rankings for a chosen keyword. The keyword might be directing lots of traffic to your website, but the traffic may not convert into enquiries. On Google Analytics you can monitor your SEO campaign so you can identify when to stop optimizing a keyword and concentrate more time and effort on another.

Mistake 2: Forgetting to be ‘Social’ on Social Media

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Not being social on social media is one of the most popular mistakes businesses make. Check out our article on 3 Ways Social Media Automation on Twitter is Antisocial.  Cut down on selling your products/services and engage with your following by following these strategies:

  • Run competitions. Everyone loves the thought of winning something. Show your customers value in following your social media profiles by running a giveaway in exchange for a ‘like’ or ‘comment’. This is an effective way of increasing your brand awareness, social media following and reaching your target audience.
  • Share your customer’s content. If your customers take a picture of your product, write a blog post reviewing your service/product – sharing it on social media will show your potential customers what your customers are saying about you.
  • Start conversations with your customers and relevant influential people. Social media platforms are a great place to respond to comments from your customers and build trust. Twitter is a great place to get talking to popular people in your industry to build relationships and increase your brand awareness.

Mistake 3: Avoiding SEO

If we want to find something out, we Google it. Google is a very powerful tool to get your business noticed by potential customers searching for your services and products you provide. To kickstart your SEO campaign, take a look at our guide to SEO and use the following tactics:

  • Find out the most relevant keywords for your industry. You can identify the most searched keywords for your business and area by using the Keyword Planner tool on Google AdWords. Once you’ve found the keywords, you can begin to optimise them on your website.
  • Use your keyword in page titles and meta descriptions.
  • Publish relevant blog posts to direct your potential customers to your website.

Mistake 4: Focussing on Promoting Your Services

You may find that a lot of us avoid information about businesses services. When we’re searching online, we are looking to find the solution to our problem. In place of promoting your products and services, start providing content that will show your expertise and gain trust from your potential customer:

  • Create and share helpful content. For example, if sell fitness clothing and gym equipment, writing blog posts and social media posts about workouts, healthy recipes and benefits of certain exercises will engage with your audience more than sharing links to gym tops and Additionally, by publishing helpful content, you can work on a wide range of keywords which will drive more high quality traffic to your website.

Mistake 5: Not Having a Budget for Social Media Promotion

Facebook has made it more and more difficult to reach potential customers without paying. Simply by having a small Facebook budget, you can engage with more people and increase your brand awareness. Here are a few posts to sponsor:

  • Advertise helpful content. If you’ve recently published a video, infographic or blog post that will help customers – paying to promote the post will help you connect with more of your target audience.
  • Boost competitions to maximise your engagement. Similar to sharing helpful content, making more people aware of your competition will help you engage with a larger audience and get more entries.

Mistake 6: Not Having an Email Marketing Campaign

With 91% of consumers checking their email daily, email marketing could be the missing link in your digital marketing campaign. Get your email marketing started by:

  • Creating a giveaway to build your mailing list. Try building your database of emails by offering free downloadable guides as well running competitors in exchange for an email address.
  • Promoting your latest content. Like sharing your latest blog posts, videos and infographics on social media, you can use your email marketing campaign to share content and direct traffic to your website.
  • Advertising special offers. As well as promoting your products and services, running exclusive offers will help keep your potential customers subscribed to your mailing list.

Mistake 7: Not Using the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

In 2015 you may have not used social media to promote your business or you may have struggled to find the best platform to engage with your ideal customer. You can identify the best social media platforms by:

  • Understanding your typical customer can help you create content for your potential customer. For example, if you offer services for businesses, LinkedIn is one of the best places to network and promote your content, but if you’re target audience is people – Facebook is an ideal platform to share your content.

Summary

Get ahead of your competitors in 2016 by keeping your strategies up to speed with the constantly evolving nature of digital marketing. Start understanding your audience, showing your expertise, blogging to boost traffic and using social media to engage with your customers. That way – you’ll reach your potential audience, gain their trust and boost your sales.

 

Questions, comments, straight up disagree? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us on twitter or comment below!

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

a beginners guide to SEO

If you’re thinking about launching a business with little risk, the internet is an excellent platform to launch a business and have instant access to thousands of potential customers. The only disadvantage – anyone can do it so your business can be easily lost in amongst your competitors. That’s where SEO comes in. It’s the means whereby you show Google that you’re an expert in your field so they can rank you high in search results.

With 93% of online experiences starting on a search engine, working on the SEO of your website is an effective way to get you in front of your customers. In effect – search engine optimization needs to be an essential part of your marketing campaign.

Follow these tips to improve your SEO, get online enquiries and watch your business grow.

For great SEO results, content is king

Gone are the days of keyword stuffed webpages, spammy link building and black-hat SEO practices. Google has improved its ranking factors to penalize bad practices in order to get the loyal experts to the top of the search results. And – Google does this by indexing exceptional, useful content.

Get blogging

By blogging regularly, you get your business visible on Google by targeting a large number of keywords and getting more webpages indexed in Google searches.

Blogging is one of the most effective ways to get your target audience onto your website. In fact, 60% of consumers feel more positive about a purchase after reading content on a website; content is key. In effect – attracting customers on to your website via a blog post, is one of the best practices to get your target market to trust your brand and invest in you.

What’s more, HubSpot found posting 1-2 blog posts every month can generate 70% more online enquiries than businesses who don’t blog. If you are publishing relevant, useful blog posts 6-8 times per month, you can see an increase of 140% more enquiries.

Publish your content on other websites

In order for Google to place your website ahead of your competitors, you need to make Google value your website. Google calculates this by your domain authority. You can build your domain authority by getting your URL published on websites. So, the more Google sees you, the more Google values you.

Get your name out there by posting blog posts on high quality websites that are relevant to your brand. This will build links to your website and put you in front of an audience that are likely to click through to your website. For example, if you sell organic skincare products, get your content featured on health and beauty blogs and websites.

seo tips

Fix these Common SEO Mistakes 

  1. Not using Google Analytics

Monitoring your results on Google Analytics can help you see which keywords are converting and which  are not. You may find that you’re getting a lot of traffic from high-traffic keywords – but if they’re not converting into online enquiries, it’s worthless. By analysing results, you can tailor your content to include keywords to engage with the right audience.

  1. Not optimizing for local searches

If you’re business serves a certain area, optimising your website for local searches helps potential customers in your region find you. Begin by including your area in page titles and meta descriptions.

  1. Not optimizing the right keywords

When it comes to keywords, it’s best to be as specific as possible to get better search engine rankings and accurate traffic.

  1. Not using unique page titles and meta descriptions for every page & blog post

Every page needs a unique title that includes a keyword and a descriptive meta description that will attract a potential customer to click through to your website.

  1. Not using anchor text for internal links

When you’re linking to services or products in your web content and blog posts, make sure to use a keyword as the hyperlink. For example, instead of “click here” which holds no SEO value, use “social media management services”.

  1. Not creating shareable, useful content

To improve your domain authority and direct quality traffic to your website, you need to create extremely useful content that people will link on their websites and social media platforms.

For example, as a social media marketing company we publish tips & guides to provide our readers with content that’ll be a great value to their blogs and businesses, such as:

Top Five Tips for Blogging Success
A Beginners Guide To Periscope
5 Tips of Boosting Your Fashion/Beauty Social Media Page

Use these SEO Tips & Tricks

  1. Identify your keywords on Google AdWords

To find out your relevant keywords, sign up for a Google AdWords account and use the keyword planner tool to identify the most popular search terms for your industry.

  1. Use keywords in your page titles

Your page title is the first line of content that shows up in search results for your website. Every page needs a unique page title that includes a keyword at a maximum of 70 characters.

  1. Write engaging and optimised meta descriptions

Your meta description is the text underneath the page title in search results. Using 160 characters you need to attract potential customers to click onto your website. Include a unique selling point, what exactly you do and a keyword within the text.

  1. Include meta tags/keywords on every page

Assign every page with keywords that are unique to the page. Use a maximum of five keywords. Not forgetting that your chosen keywords also need to be included in the content of the page.

  1. Implement H1 tags in your page content

H1 tags is the largest HTML heading there is (they go up from H1 to H6). Using a H1 tag will help Google identify the keyword you’re optimising. In the HTML editor of your page or blog post, use H1 tags to lay emphasis on your primary keyword.

For example:

<h1>Social Media Management</h1>

  1. Add your keywords to your alt text in every image you upload

Like the written content on your website, you need to optimise images with keywords. When you’re uploading images, optimize a keyword in the ‘Alt Text’ of your image. The ‘Alt Text’ shows up when an image cannot be displayed. This also tells Google what you’re optimizing so they can index your images for Google searches.

  1. Title text

The title text describes the link’s content, to get the most SEO value, use keywords to describe the destination to tell Google to rank you for a particular keyword.

For example: when you’re hyperlinking a service, ‘Social Media Management’ will appear in place of hyperlinked text such as ‘find out more here’.

  1. Have a XML sitemap for your site

This is a map of your website and it tells Google what pages to index in searches.

  1. …as well as robots.txt

Robots.txt is a bit of code which helps search engines find your XML sitemap. In effect – this helps Google robots improve your rankings and help direct your target audience onto your website.

  1. Check your site speed

Slow loading times can make a user close your website. As Google wants to rank useful websites high in searches, your website needs to be accessible and easy to navigate. Factors to a slow web speed could be large image files, lots of adverts, unnecessary redirects, a shared web hosting provider (if you’re website gets a lot of hits), excessive scripts, broken links, too many plugins installed and a web design with a large file size.

  1. Optimise your website for mobile

In April 2015, Google rolled out an update that boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly websites in search results. So if you’re website isn’t optimised for mobiles and tablets, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

  1. Redirect links that have been changed or broken

If you have changed the URLs of your webpages or have URLs that don’t work, then links should be directed to a live page or a 404 page.

Want to find out more about SEO? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, tweet us at @purelysocialtip or send us an email beseen@purelysocialmedia.com.

Top Five Tips For Blogging Success

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The road to success is always paved with pot holes. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes, but if you know the right roads to take, you can bypass those potholes and have success without the hardship.

Take it from me. I learned the hard way! It is very easy to get lost on your way to the end game. I started out my career as a blogger simply reviewing products and begging PR firms to send me products. I did not realise that no one wants to read posts from someone bragging about how much free loot they managed to bag, not to mention that no one would even find that post. Turns out simply writing content and putting it online doesn’t mean it will automatically go viral if you don’t promote it (see our post on the best ways to share content here). As time went by, I soon learned how to perfect my blogging technique. Here are my Top Tips for Blogging Success to make your journey a little bit easier.

1 – Platform

Deciding which blogging platform to use can be tricky. However, it is an important decision to make! Changing your mind once you have established your blog can be very tricky and highly time consuming. There are two preferred platforms that bloggers use: WordPress and Blogger.

WordPress is a platform designed for more advanced users who may have experience in using plugins and HTML. The platform allows users to add more features into their blog and to incorporate downloadable features. WordPress itself is free to use, however you may need to buy a hosting package if you’d like a custom domain (Hostgator is popular amongst bloggers). Many of the plugins and templates are free to download and use, but there are premium paid for versions that provide more options.

Blogger on the other hand is a completely free platform which hosts your blog. The platform is open source and allows new users to design their blog at just the click of a few buttons. To add to this, the simple to use platform is also owned by Google which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

To summarise, if you know your way around the web and are pretty good with coding and would like customizable options, then WordPress could be the option for you. If you’re new to blogging or web design as a whole, and have limited to no budget, and prefer a more turn-key option then Blogger is likely to be your preferred option.

2 – Timing

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Timing your blog posts to publish on a specific day and time can prove to be successful with your visitors. Us humans are creatures of habit and so letting your visitors know that you will be posting new content on a certain day or time will encourage regular visitors to return at that time.

Timing your blog posts also helps you to target different time zones. For example, if you have a business in New York but think people in the UK will be interested in your content, then there’s a five hour time difference to take into consideration. Scheduling your blog post at 2pm UK time (9am New York) will mean New Yorkers will wake up to read it before work or whilst commuting, whereas the Brits will read it in either their lunch or coffee breaks. Scheduling is available on both WordPress and Blogger.

3 – Topics

Whether you’re a fashion blogger or a holistic therapist letting your visitors know about what you have to offer, it’s important you choose the right topics to not only attract new visitors but to keep those visitors on your blog.

Writing controversial posts may bring in a few visitors but in terms of gaining credibility for your business, it certainly won’t do much good. Many bloggers write about topics that answer a question. This provides information for your visitors and encourages them to browse around the rest of your blog. For example, if you have a Holistic Therapy business, try writing about the benefits of holistic therapy in comparison to other methods, or perhaps a blog post highlighting a specific ailment that holistic therapy has successfully treated. These areas are fairly non controversial and will provide useful information to those reading. By veering off topic, your visitors will become confused as to what your blog is actually about.

4 – Design

Keeping your blog simple and easy to navigate through is just as important as having any content at all. Ever visited a successful website that was full of graphics and a loud background with obnoxious writing? No, that’s because users don’t find a ‘busy’ blog, a ‘friendly’ website. Many Bloggers choose to stick to a white background and accentuate it with one or two colours in the navigation or sidebar and banner. Every blog has a decent amount of photography which in itself adds colour to the blog.

In terms of photography, ensure you make your photo’s large and clear without being overly edited. Don’t stretch the photos or you risk significantly reducing the picture quality. Aside from that, whether you choose to use a big fancy camera or a cell phone camera, your photo’s will be one of the main attractions of your blog.

5 – Social Media

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Promotion is key to blogging success which is something we have talked about previously here on Purely Social Media. Many people leave out promoting their content on social media or tweet about it once and think ‘that’ll do’, however the truth is that your blog will never reach the masses unless you shove it in people’s faces and let them know it exists.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms amongst bloggers and all can be managed using different platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer where you can schedule your social media updates in advance. Scheduling your social media updates means you can take the time to carefully plan what you wish to say in your status and creating links to be included. A good job is never a hurried one!

The value of social media to your blog or business is invaluable. All it takes is for someone popular to retweet something you’ve said and it can receive thousands of visitors overnight. For those of us who are not quite fortunate enough to have famous fans, social media is vital whether you have twenty or twenty thousand followers. One more person seeing your content is one more than you had before.

Finally for social media, it’s important to use your platforms to interact with your followers/visitors. Whether you have a blog or a shop, it’s useful for helping with any issues or customer services. If you interact with your followers, you gain trust in your website and business which will encourage returning visitors and customers.

Summary

These five tips will definitely steer you and your blog in the right direction without spending a single dollar. I could easily have written a dozen more things to help you on your way but having a successful blog won’t happen overnight and you certainly can’t learn everything there is to know about blogging overnight either (trust me, it’s taken me more than three years and I’m still learnng!)

Until next time, make sure you let us know your thoughts by commenting or by tweeting us @purelysocialtip

5 Best Tips On Sharing Content

besttipsonsharingcontentHi everyone! It’s Holly here. I’m back once again to let you know a few tips I’ve picked up on sharing your blog content across the web so that even superstars like Johnny Depp can find it… A girl can only dream!

As we all have learned by now, blogging and content sharing go hand in hand. While having great content on your blog is definitely important, sharing that content is equally vital.

Imagine hosting a dinner party full of celebrities and forgetting to hand out the invitations. The dinner party has everything you could need to make it incredible, but no-one attends because you haven’t shared the information (or handed out the invitations). Blogging is no different. You could have an interview with Princess Kate Middleton on your blog where she gives you the inside scoop on her outfits for next season but if you forget to tell anyone that the interview exists, then no-one is going to look at it which is why sharing your content across the right platforms, using the right strategy and format is vital in making your content popular. Poor Kate..

Every time an actor stars in a new movie, you will see they are working the media circuit by appearing on chat shows and doing magazine shoots. This is because throughout these appearances, they are promoting their new releases to let the world know it exists. Celebrities are clever little creatures aren’t they? Well you can be equally as clever. Sharing blog content is a little bit different from appearing on chat shows, but it’s not necessarily hard to do.

So how can you share your content like the pros? Here, we take a look at different methods on how and where to share your content.

1 – Automatically share your content.

There are several platforms available that will automatically share your content to social media. Twitterfeed is the platform that many top bloggers use to share their content. Despite it’s name, Twitterfeed shares content across more platforms than just Twitter. Registering is as simple as entering in your details (name, email address, fingerprints.. (jokes)) and your social media handles. You will also be asked to allow Twitterfeed to post on your behalf thus allowing access on those platforms. Then, just sit back and watch as you let it do all the hard work for you. Twitterfeed shares content to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other platforms automatically, saving you time and effort. (meaning there’s time for creating more good content not to watch more episodes of Dr Phil on the television…)

It is also worth using programs such as Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule tweets to promote your posts at a later time to ensure you cover different worldwide time zones. When you go to sleep in the US & Canada, people in the UK are just waking up! Covering different time zones will give more people the chance to see your content.

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2 – Add A “Share this” link to every post

Have you ever been on a blog and noticed the blogger has their social icons and a “share this” link at the bottom of every post? Well that’s because they’re pretty savvy when it comes to sharing their content. That blogger is encouraging their readers to share their content for them meaning more people see it across different platforms. You could do your blog a huge favour by adding one of these social bars to your blog. Blogger offers an ‘add on’ for free and WordPress also have several plugins for this such as “Ultimate Social Media Icons” which will make things much simpler for you to implement.

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3 – Use The Blogging Community!

Bloggers are a supportive bunch and as long as you support them, they are quite happy to return the favour. Here are a few ways to use the blogging community to your advantage:

  • Comment on other blogs. This is something we have covered in previous blogs but it’s still a really good way to share your content. If you comment on other blogs with a relevant comment and drop your link at the end, that blogger and other commentors are more likely to visit your blog. Here’s an example of a good comment to leave:

“Please tell me this skirt is available to buy in the UK? I really want the red version to wear for my Christmas party. You look amazing in it! (insert your blog link here)”

By adding this kind of comment, you have asked a question (meaning the person is more likely to visit your blog to reply) and you’ve made the comment personal to the content proving that you’re not just looking to drop your link.

  • Join Twitter Chats! Every day different twitter chats are ongoing using different hashtags such as #lbloggers #fbloggers #bdib and #bbloggers. Hundreds of bloggers (and brands) join in these chats and talk to other bloggers and share each others content to their followers.

Joining a chat is really simple and anyone can do it. Just search on Twitter for one of the hashtags to see when a chat is live. You’ll be surprised at how many visitors you receive and also by how many blogger friends you will make!

3 – Competitions

Again, something else that has been touched on previously is competitions. Running your own competition on your blog is a fantastic way to share your content and encourage visitors. You don’t need a huge budget to run a competition, anything from a gift to a voucher works well and is welcomed with open arms on social media. In fact, it’s a visitor gold mine.

If for example you have a $20 voucher to give away, then write a post about the voucher on your blog and share it on social media encouraging your followers to “follow” and “retweet” your content. This method will literally have your content seen by thousands of users which will encourage more people to follow your blog. If you run a competition once per month, as an example. You are likely to see a decent increase in visitors and content sharing.

4 – Search Engines

Waiting for your new blog post to be picked up by the search engines can have you waiting for months on end. If you want Google, Bing and other search engines to pick up your content quickly, it might be worthwhile manually submitting your content. It’s really quick and easy to do and if you add the Bing and Google submission tools to your favourites as part of your blogging routine, it will quickly become something you automatically do. Search engines might still take some time to rank your content using this method but it is definitely worth trying out.

5 – Summary

To summarise, sharing your content is probably equally as important as creating good content. Using word of mouth is great for telling people when a new shop has opened in your area, or to let people know that there’s a new yoga class opening but not so effective for letting people at the opposite side of the country (or even the world) know about your latest blog post, which is why these methods for sharing your content are so important.

If you have any tips and tricks to tell us, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below or tweet us at @purelysocialtip
.

A Beginners Guide To Periscope

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You’ve probably heard the buzz going around about Periscope and wondered what it was or if there was any point in trying it out.

Our take? You should at the very least check it out and see if there are any innovative ways you can apply it to your business (any public platform is a potential advertising platform right?). But, there’s no need to rush into it just yet. Think of it as more of an appetizer than a main course. You can use it in addition to your other platforms, but it’s not very substantial on its own.

So, What is Periscope?

Periscope is a video-sharing platform developed by the masterminds at Twitter. As with most of the other social platforms, Periscope comes to you mainly in the form of an app. The main difference between Periscope and other video sharing platforms like Youtube, Snapchat, Meerkat or Skype, however, you can share what is happening at that very instant with your followers. If you’re skydiving, for example, you could broadcast it with your followers whilst you’re doing it. (Although we wouldn’t recommend bringing your phone with you while jumping out of a aircraft, you do have the capability to broadcast it should you choose to.)

How Can You Use Periscope For Business?

There are several ways that you can utilise Periscope for your business whether that be a shop, blog, or a treatment service. There are a few ways you can use Periscope to help your business.

Live Demonstrations

If you have a treatment or service style business, you could instantly broadcast an example or live demonstration of it. This could also work well in the beauty industry where companies could stream makeovers to show examples of their work.

Live Q&A 

Everyone feels safe when a ‘live chat’ option is available on a website for customer enquiries. Now you can take your business to the next level by offering a Live Q&A session once per week (as an example) where users could send you their enquiries and you can answer live on camera.

Data Sharing 

If you work with people in different locations, Periscope is perfect for keeping in touch with employees and colleagues. For example, you could talk your colleague through a customer issue or stock enquiry. You could also arrange a staff meeting live on Periscope (whilst you lie on the beach and enjoy your vacation – bliss!).

Advertisements

You can also use Periscope to run instant promotions for your followers – for example – you could offer 20% off exclusively to your Periscope followers and let them know in a live Broadcast. Not only does this increase sales and attract new visitors, again it is a new way to interact with your customers.

GETTING STARTED

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How Do You Set It Up?

Periscope is fairly straightforward to set up. You just need an iOS or Android equipped device and around ten minutes of your time to get started. Here is a step-by-step guide on getting started on Periscope:

  1. Download the app

Head across to the Periscope website from your smart device and download the app for either iOS or Android. The download is free and should only take a few moments to complete.

  1.  Sign In

Sign in using your Twitter username and password (it’s quick and easy to create an account if you don’t have one already). Then, you can follow any users you wish. We suggest following top influencers in your industry for starters.

  1. Create Periscope ID

We always suggest that you keep your username consistent across platforms. This isn’t always possible, but stay as close to it as possible so your followers know that it’s you!

How to Broadcast?

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via Simply Measured: “How to Create the Perfect Post on Any Network”

Making a broadcast is just as simple as setting up the app was.

  1. Simply tap the icon at the bottom of your screen to start a broadcast
  2. Give your broadcast a title – for example “Charity Skydive”, or “Staff Meeting November 2015” to let your followers know what you’re doing.
  3. As soon as you are ready to hit the big screen, hit “Start Broadcast”

Simple, huh?

As with all social media and advertising platforms, there are key things to remember when promoting your brand:

Plan Ahead.

If you are hosting a broadcast to the public, having a script on hand will make you much more prepared. Write points down on sticky notes and place them in a convenient area in front of you during your broadcast to ensure you stick to the topic and stay on track. This will cut down the time and will stop your viewers from becoming bored.

Be Punctual.

If you advertise across Twitter or Facebook that you will be starting a new broadcast at 6.30pm, make sure you are broadcasting at the right time. You’d be amazed at how many people are instantly turned off if you are late to something. It can look unprofessional and will not promote your business in the way you had hoped.

Timing.

On the subject of being punctual, as with all social media, timing is key. If you broadcast at 1am on a Tuesday night, the likelihood of many (if any) users tuning in to your broadcast is slim. If you are hosting a business meeting with your colleagues, then broadcasting during working days and hours is the obvious time.

If you are broadcasting to your followers about a new beauty or holistic treatment then chances are people might be more inclined to tune in during the evening after work hours and after children have gone to bed. Ensure you avoid “meal times” and “travel times”. As far as what day to broadcast, ensure you consider when your target audience is available.

Lastly, always ensure you promote your broadcast on other social media platforms prior to your broadcast. Let your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers know at least 24 hours in advice and consider using a hashtag at the end, for example:

“New Periscope Broadcast with exclusive news and promotions at 6pm on Wednesday #purelysocialmediaperiscope”

This will encourage your followers across other platforms to follow you and tune in to your broadcast.

Be Descriptive.

Ensure that the title of your broadcast is descriptive and “hooks” the followers. Explain what they can expect and hook them in with something that will make them stick around, so for example:

“Tune in for this live demonstration of (insert treatment) and get a chance to WIN a treatment of your choice!”

Here you are explaining what your broadcast is and also entices your follower to tune in until the end by offering something for them. (Muwahaha, sneaky right?)

Interaction.

The great thing about Periscope is that users are able to send you questions or comments while you are broadcasting. This is ideal for customers and for interacting with colleagues. Engagement in key! People love to have a personal response to their queries, which is why responding to your followers live during a broadcast will encourage followers to watch more.

Finishing Up.

Once you have finished your broadcast, your followers will be able to watch it for 24 hours once it has ended. You should take this opportunity to promote the broadcast on social media once more.

At the end you will be given a breakdown of:

  • How many people viewed your video
  • How many people “Loved” your video (You can “heart” a broadcast)
  • How many people re-played your video over the 24 hours

This information will help you to see which broadcasts worked better than others and will let you see how different timed broadcasts work.

Final Verdict?

Periscope is definitely a useful tool for your business regardless of what type of business you have. The app is quite new to the social media circuit, but is definitely packing a fair punch. Periscope is set to stick around for a while, so getting the hang of it now will be an advantage to you.

If you still need more help getting your Periscope account together, or you need more information on how it can be beneficial to you, check out this article, or read their blog.

As always, you can feel free to leave us your comments below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

 

Useful Tools for Beauty and Fashion Bloggers

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When blogging first started being a “thing”, there was just a person behind a screen who wanted to vent about their lives and their passions in that moment. Nowadays, blogging has become a full time career with hundreds of people monetizing their hobby, and with time has come a slew of new tools to help make blogging easier to manage -whether that be with content, social media or images.

Here are a few tips from one beauty blogger to another to help you make the most out of your passion.

Scheduled Posts

Being able to schedule blog posts has become every bloggers best friend. Many bloggers feel the need to post everyday or every other day and so being able to write up two or three blog posts at one go and schedule them to appear on your blog at a specific time or date is definitely essential to blog maintenance. Whether you use Blogger or WordPress (as most bloggers do) each platform gives you the option to schedule your posts. No more working weekends – Hurrah!

Photo Editing

Many bloggers spend hours on end perfecting their pictures, whether that is of a product or of your makeup or outfit, you can end up spending the entire day photographing something and still find that once you upload it, it still looks boring or the lighting looks awful. Nowadays there are several tools you can use to help you edit the lighting and add in all sorts of fancy embellishments to your images.

Picmonkey as an example is a bloggers favourite tool as you can edit and design images without downloading software or registering to the site. If you prefer to use apps, you can download “afterlight” which is a free app where you can apply filters and lighten the images on your phone.

Here’s an example of an image that has been edited using Picmonkey to add filters and overlays:

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Taking Photos

Pictures are equally as important to your blog as content. If you have good photography then you make your blog look and feel more professional which not only do visitors love, but so do companies who might be interested in sending you their products or wish to advertise their brands. There are a few things you can utilise to make it that bit easier:

  • Buying a large sheet of thick white paper or card is inexpensive but can help make your product pictures look much cleaner and professional. Beauty products in particular are notoriously difficult to photograph with reflecting and mirrored packaging causing shadows and catching your reflection. Adding the white background can help to eliminate some of that.
  • As for lighting, many bloggers use ring lights and soft boxes but these can prove to be pretty expensive (wave goodbye to the handbag you’ve been saving up for!). You can find some good deals for these on Ebay or Amazon but there is a much cheaper alternative. There are lamps that have a swivel neck on them and no shade that are available to buy for less than $15 in your local homeware stores.  Buying two of these and some powerful light bulbs can give good lighting without breaking the bank which for beauty and fashion bloggers is ideal.

Tip: Aim each lamp at either side of the object and photograph from above to avoid shadowing.

  • In terms of actual camera equipment, of course there are dozens of DSLR camera’s available at different prices. For those of you who don’t know what a DSLR camera is, “DSLR” is short for “digital single lens reflex”, Basically, they use a mirror behind the camera lens that directs light towards the viewfinder when you’re composing a photo. It all sounds complicated right? Well, all you really need to know is that the pictures from a DSLR camera are significantly sharper than using a standard point and shoot camera. If you’re interested in investing in a DSLR camera but are not really sure which one to go for, then the one that is favoured by beauty and fashion bloggers is the Canon 600D. There are of course others available but this one is great for being able to change or add lenses and the video quality is also pretty good if vlogging is your thing.

Aside from DSLR’s, there are high quality ‘point and shoot’ camera’s which do the job pretty well. Again, Canon have pretty much nailed it when it comes to quality – anything with a high MP (above 12 megapixels) and has a good digital zoom (10 x or higher) will do the job perfectly. Pretty much every camera has a display on it nowadays but just in case, be sure to look for this so you can view your images prior to uploading.

Smartphones invariably have good camera’s nowadays too so don’t be afraid to snap your outfit or a beauty product you’ve been loving if you haven’t got a fancy camera.

Here’s a picture of beauty products that was taken using just a smartphone:

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Whether you decide to use a smartphone, DSLR or digital camera, buying a tripod is definitely recommended, particularly for outfit posts or for taking selfies of your makeup or hair. You can pick one up fairly cheaply; however, if your camera is heavy or expensive (like a DSLR) then you might want to consider spending a bit more cash on a higher quality tripod. If you are using your smartphone, you can still use a tripod – take a look on ebay for “Smartphone tripod” where you will be able to pick up a holder for your smartphone that will screw onto your tripod for about $5 (including delivery).

Social Media

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, social media is a vital for making your content reach new audiences. There are a few tools that you can use for scheduling tweets, facebook posts and even Instagram posts.

Buffer is an app that you can download and use to control all of the mentioned platforms and will allow you to schedule updates at your preferred time and date. It will even allow you to send your updates ‘as and when’ the app thinks is suitable. Another great platform to use is Hootsuite which does pretty much the same as Buffer, except you can use it on desktop PC’s and laptops too. Both apps are free.

Google Analytics

A lot of bloggers already use Google Analytics to track which posts are performing well and to check their audience stats however some don’t use it because they feel it s difficult to use or mistake it for adwords. Adwords is a paid for advertising platform, whereas analytics simply tells you all of your visitor statistics including their age, location and how long they stayed on your website. It even tells you which backlinks you have and where your visitors clicked from to get to your blog. It’s definitely worthwhile using and is actually quite straightforward to use. There are thousands of online tutorials and help pages on how to use Google Analytics so go ahead and erm, ‘Google’ it… Pun intended!

Commenting & Interacting

Finally, the best thing that we could recommend is to interact with like minded people by commenting on other blogs and leaving your links in the comment. Make sure your comment is actually interesting and relevant otherwise those pesky spam filters will ‘junk folder’ your comment instantly. Here’s an example of a good comment:

“Great advice! I always forget to put a top coat on once I’ve finished painting my nails and then wonder why they chip so easily! Which top coat would you recommend? Thanks again! (insert blog)”

As you can see the comment interacts with the blogger and lets them know you’ve taken time to read their post. You also encourage them to reply to you either by visiting your blog or by replying to their own comment. Bloggers love nothing more than to know their work is appreciated and a comment lets them know that they’re not just typing into an empty space that no-one reads. You’d be surprised by how many followers, comments and visitors your blog will receive if you ‘pay it forward’ by interacting with other bloggers.

As always, we here at Purely Social Media will be updating with more advice to improve your blog each week so be sure to add us to your favourites or tweet us @purelysocialtip