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
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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

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

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Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategy Template

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Your Guide to an Action Plan

SaleBased on experience we would say that the number 1 mistake that many businesses make when it comes to social media is not taking the time to develop a plan of action and then giving it an opportunity to work. Social media success does not happen over night, it takes time to develop a presence, to gain followers and to learn what those followers are most interested in. Having a plan in place, makes daily posting easier as you will have to spend your time wondering what to post next and when.

Here, at Purely Social, we always suggest action plans to our clients in order to assist them in visualizing their social media strategy. Action plans are a great guide to help you put your thoughts in order and reach your social media goals. You can actually create them yourself, if you have time to. It’s quite simple. Here are some easy simple steps to how we create our action plan.

  1. Analyze your current status. Before you move forward in creating a strategy for change, you need to analyze the current status of your social media presence. Take a look at any of the social media accounts you have already established and ask yourself these questions:
    • Are you using vivid, high definition, images?
    • Are you posting as frequently as recommended for that platform?
    • Are you captivating your audience and gaining engagement?
    • Where are your other shortcomings?
  1. Identify your reasons for being on social media. What are your goals? Are you trying to strengthen your brand, gain more business, humanize your brand? Before you jump on social media, you need to know why you’re there otherwise it’s pointless. It is important to set your goals as a team and in writing to ensure that you know where you’re headed and can easily analyze whether or not you meet these established goals.
  1. Ask yourselves the following key questions:
  • “Only We…?” What makes you stand out from the competition?
  • Can your company culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation?
  • Are you a conversational brand? Or could you be?
  • Where are your customers & competitors?
  • What is your source of rich content
  • What does social media success look like for Access West?

This will assist you in deciding which direction to take your social media marketing in, what type of content to post, what platforms to choose, and how to reach your target audience.

  1. Next, take a look at your competition both locally and globally. See if you can identify what they are doing well and what they are doing wrong. Analyze them based on the questions illustrated in step 1. This will also help you to see where you can gain a competitive advantage and show you where you stand in comparison.
  1. Now it’s time to decide which platforms you want to use. Take a look at where your target audience is and go there! It’s as simple as that. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to jump on too many platforms at once. It’s better to start on one or two and execute them expertly than to hop on all of them and execute them poorly. For example, if your business is a nail salon, Instagram is a great option to utilize, but if your business is an insurance firm, Instagram may not be your primary choice of platforms. This step is where you really take the time to browse through the platforms and do your research. Google Plus is an up and coming platform that is perfect for most business owners, Facebook, on the other hand, may only be suitable for those businesses targeting the 55+ audience, and Instagram is where you can reach the younger demographic. It is important to know all of this information prior to selecting which platforms to use for your firm.
  1. Identify which member(s) of your team will be leading the posting and create a schedule. Scheduling is the way we get things done in business, so a great way to ensure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do on social media. In order to create a schedule, you need to know the best times to post for each social media platforms. This is determined by when YOUR audience is on social media. There are default times for each network, but this doesn’t always mean that t will work for your industry, so it is important to research your audience and learn their social media habits. When you’re getting started, post several times a day at different times throughout the day and take a look at your analytics. That’s how you will know what is working and what isn’t working.

 

K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple & Sweet)

Keep it simple stupid graphic created by Purely Social Media with Canva

created by Purely Social Media with Canva

So recently while working on a project a colleague of ours kept referring to this acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple & sweet) and it struck a cord. We thought it wise to write a blog article on this acronym and how we believe it relates to social media.

First and foremost, time and time again we see businesses over-think and over-complicate their social media efforts. Keep in mind that social media is intended to be fun and a virtual space to engage with others, that’s it! If you make a sale or gain a new customer through social media that’s fantastic, but if that is the primary focus of your social efforts you’re going to seriously struggle. People are tired of being marketed to and they certainly don’t want you doing it on their social accounts, so when it comes to marketing your business on social media it’s best to get  creative but keep it simple!

Before you even jump into the social media space you need to ask yourself a few questions. (The following questions were presented by Mark Schaefer at Social Media Success Summit 2014):

  1. What makes your business unique? Why do your customer’s choose to do business with you? It’s worth it to take some time to survey your current customer base and ask they what it is about your business that gets them to continue to do business with you. The value that you think you bring to your customers and they value they perceive you bring are most likely quite different.
  2. What is your overall company culture and can it support a social media presence? Is your business flexible enough to make the necessary and timely changes that social media often calls for?
  3. Are you open to listening to others, building relationships and engaging with your potential customers? To be successful on social media you need to remove your brand’s ego and be open to and genuinely interested in learning about others. Observe what is happening in your space and then dive right into the conversation. If you plan to have multiple people within your organization participate in your social media, take the time to create some guideline and rules of conduct to avoid avoidable hiccups.
  4. What platforms are right for you? We’ve said it before and we will say it again you do not need to be on every platform at all times. It is best to take each platform one at a time and build a strong presence. Keep in mind that not everyone is on every platform so do your homework. Where are your customers and where is your competition?
  5. What will be your source of rich content? This question will be simple to answer if you’ve taken the time to really answer the previous questions. Blogs, podcasts and videos are all great sources of rich content. Determine how you can enrich and enhance old and existing content. Update older blogs, convert a blog into an infographic or short video. There are lots of inexpensive and free tools available to help business owners create unique and interesting content.
  6. The final and most important question is “What does success on social media look like for you and your business?” It’s best to get a few of the key individuals in your organization to contribute their thoughts on this topic as well. It’s best to set goals and define success so you can know when you’ve achieved it and set new ones. Just remember that social media success takes time and patients, trial and error, so be consistent and clear with your efforts.

Action Plan

Once you’ve taken the time to answer these questions now it’s time to create a plan. This is actually the first step we take with all of our clients. Create a plan of action. The number one issue with social media is that business can begin to feel overwhelmed with content creation and posting when there is no plan in place. Once you’ve done a little investigation into your competition and have determined what your source of unique rich content will be map out your week. For example, Facebook is not a platform that requires you to post everyday multiple times a day, but Twitter, on the other hand, requires multiple posts throughout the day and a higher level of engagement.

Map out your week and be sure to include weekend posts. Even though you’re on these platforms for business purposes most of your followers and customers are there for entertainment and interactions. People are consuming content on their commutes to and from work, on their lunch breaks, in the evenings and on the weekends during their down times. Post your content to be visible when the most amount of eyes are available. If you choose to post on LinkedIn consider posting between 6:30am and 7:30am or after 6pm. Writing a blog? Research shows that Monday’s at 11am is the best time to post; however, we have found that Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am are best for us.

Originally from J Campbell Social Marketing

Originally from J Campbell Social Marketing

Determine what type of content you will share on which days and to which platforms. Here is just a framework to help you understand and guide you in developing your own plan:

  • Monday: Answer frequently asked questions
    • LinkedIn 7am & Facebook 11:30am
  • Tuesday: Post blog
    • Google+ 12pm & Twitter 11am,12:15pm, 1pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm, 6:30pm
  • Wednesday: Share an infographic or video
    • Google+ 8am & Facebook 12:30pm
  • Thursday: Share a DIY or tips
    • LinkedIn 6pm
  • Friday: Share an aspect of your company culture or highlight the achievements of an employee
    • Facebook 9am & Google+ 11:45am

Keep in mind that you do not want to post the exact same content on the same day to multiple platforms so consider having 2 categories per day or re purposing old content. Another thing you can try is creating two images and two versions on copy for the same piece on content. But no one wants to see the exact same thing you posted on Facebook on Google+ 15 minutes later. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Think of social media as your bridge between Public Relations and Marketing in real time. It allows you the opportunity to engage and communicate your brand in real time. Keep it simple, make it fun and be authentic and you’ll soon find your social media success!

If you find yourself struggling, shoot us an email. We’d be more than happy to give you a few pointers to put you in the right direction. In the meantime, share this article with fellow professionals and small business owners who you think may be interested and let us know what you think! We love chatting on Twitter or in the comments below!

Top 3 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Professional

1

Social media marketing is a not a difficult concept. It’s pretty logical and straightforward once you understand the basics, but a lot of times, you simply don’t have the time to break it apart and figure it out. Social media management requires consistency, constant effort. It requires strategic planning and research, and can turn into a full-time job if you’re really trying to make your social media presence work for you. The problem is that you didn’t go into business to spend 4-8 hours a day on your social media marketing. As a small business owner or an independent business professional, that time can be spent doing other things for your business and focusing on your core values.

Most professionals understand the importance and value of social media management. Even so, social media management is usually the first thing to fall to the wayside due to the fact there is simply not enough time to execute an effective social media plan. That is where social media professionals come in. As social media professionals, we’ve dedicated our time and energy to focus on mastering the art of social media management. Due the fact that social media marketing is what we focus on, we’ve taken the time to learn how to make social media work for you.

Here are 3 major reasons to hire a social media professional.

1We know all things social media, just like you know all things pertaining to your industry. You wouldn’t let your local plumbing expert build you a car because your local plumbing expert is neither a mechanical engineer, nor an auto mechanic. If you want it done right, it just makes sense to hire an expert to do expert work. We always say not to overthink social media, but you really shouldn’t underestimate it either. If you want your social media platforms to be effective in helping to grow your online presence and increase revenue, this isn’t something you want to half-ass. Consulting a professional will help to point you in the right direction and enable you to understand where your focus should be pertaining to your social media account. Often times, we try to absorb too much at once, and when you’re trying to start, operate, and market your business, it’s hard to figure out what aspect to focus on. A good social media professional can help you assess everything and put it into easy, bite-sized pieces that can better fit into your schedule.

2You want to get to the next level in your business. We’ve encountered several clients who’ve done an awesome job in marketing themselves via their social media accounts along with other methods, and seem to be experiencing great success from their organic growth, but have gotten to a point where they don’t seem to be growing anymore and the strategies they’ve previously implemented have become less effective or completely ineffective. At this point, it makes sense to contact a social media professional to help you get from behind that brick wall. As professionals, we can assess your current strategy and pinpoint where the issue is and how to improve upon it. If you seem to have done a great job on your own, imagine what can be done if you bring us in to help out!

3You simply don’t have the time to figure it out BUT you know it’s important and want it done right. There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t have the time to do social media, the shame is when you completely ignore it and act as if it’s not important. (Shame on you!) Several social media professionals, including ourselves, offer the option of full implementation, where you essentially outsource your social media platforms to us and allow us to manage the whole kit and caboodle. This is where you absolutely MUST MUST MUST hire a professional. Social media professionals, the good ones anyway, can help you create an online identity for your business; not just a presence. An online identity is essentially your brand i.e., the culture of your business, its voice, stylistic aspects, appearance… all of those factors that are usually afterthoughts or non-thoughts to a non-professional are primary points of focus to true social media professionals. It’s the little things that set you apart from the competitor that a social media professional can contribute to your business when you don’t have the time. We take the time to understand and dissect your target market and mold your social media marketing platforms to fit that demographic.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…Basically it makes your life easier by hiring a social media professional. Those 4-8 hours it takes to make your social media what it needs to be to differentiate yourself could easily be spent focusing on the core values of your business/ personal brand. Even if you only seek consultation and don’t go for the kit and caboodle route, you can save time. If you can save an hour a day, 5-7 a week, 20-30ish a month, where would you invest that time? A nap would be nice, meditation, lunch, a new project, a craft, perhaps? As entrepreneurs, we struggle with time and often try to be too many places at once, with a social media professional, you can streamline all of that and be more efficient with the mere 24 hours a day that we are all allotted. It’s really a no brainer =D

As always, share your ideas with us. We’d love to hear what you have to say. We hope you found this post useful and informative. Please leave your comments below and feel free to connect with us on Twitter!