New to SEO? Here’s How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

New to SEO- Here's How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

Looking to open your business to the online world? SEO is the way to do it. With 93% of online experiences beginning on a search engine, getting your website and its content on the first page for your keywords will get your business noticed by your dream customers. By making yourself visible to your prospective client that is searching for things related to you, you are advertising your business without having to shout out about yourself. No one likes cold callers, right?

Some of you may already have a bit of knowledge of link building, but for the most of you, you’re looking for 5* information that’ll put you on the right path. What’s certain is that taking the time to create and carry out a link building strategy is the best way to zoom ahead of your competitors in the search results. In this blog post we are going to explain what ‘link building’ is, how it will help you reach out to your target audience and most importantly – tell you all about the best link building strategies that’ll get you seen and get people talking about you.

First, let’s discuss why you need to build links to your website.

Link building is now considered an art. Gone with days where black hat spammy SEO methods got you to the first page of Google. Google’s got clever. Bots now crawl the worldwide web to identify what websites are linking to you, whether they’re relevant to your website and whether they’re websites are trusted. A high quality link will:

  • Direct people onto your website straight from the link on the other website.
  • Improve your Domain Authority – in non-technical terms, the more quality Domain Authority websites that link to your site, Google will improve your Domain Authority and get you seen in the search results of your chosen keywords.
  • The anchor text (one of your chosen keywords) that is hyperlinked on the website linking to your site will give Google an indication of the topic/industry of your site and in return, improve your rankings for that keyword and increase your chances of getting those all-important page 1 results.

Here’s What You Need to ‘Link’

You Can Build Links Using Your URL

You can build links by simply pointing to your URL for example, www.purelysocialmedia.com. By building links this way, you’ll be working towards improving your overall domain authority which’ll increase all of your other web page authority.

Or, You Can Build Links Using Your Keywords

Before starting your link building campaign, you need to strategize what keywords you’d like to rank for. If you haven’t yet identified your keywords, you need to login to your Google AdWords account, click Tools and then go to the Keyword Planner tool. In the Keyword Planner tool type in the searches and topics related to your business, for example:

If you’re a digital marketing company like ourselves, we may expect our target audience to be searching for the following topics: ‘how to set up a Facebook page’, ‘how to gain followers on twitter’ or ‘how to build links to my website’.

Now – think of things your ideal client will be searching, these are things that you can explain in a blog post, type these ideas and scroll to the list of search terms. Here you will find the most related search term to what you’ve type in and a list of similar searches or in tech speak – ‘long tail keywords’. Pick one of these terms. This will be the keyword you will be looking to build links to from other blogs/websites. Before you start building links to this keyword, you will need to write a blog post about it and use the keyword in your title, URL and repeat they keyword within your blog post content. Once your blog is published you will have a URL on your website that you can point to from blogs/websites.

NOTE: If you’ve not yet optimized your website with your chosen keywords then take a read of our Beginner’s Guide to SEO. In this blog post you will find out our SEO tips and where your keywords need to appear on your web pages in order to get your website optimized!

Now we’ve discussed why and what you need to link in your link building campaign, here are the best ways to get those all-important links:

Get Guest Blogging

Build links, raise your online profile and direct your target audience to your website by submitting helpful + engaging blog posts to blogs and websites with a better domain authority than yourself. You can find out more about the benefits of guest blogging in our recent blog post.

Find Blogs Related to Your Business or Local Area (aka Blogger Outreach)

By building relationships with bloggers you will build links in return. Spend time finding blogs related to your business and/or area you trade in and contact them to see whether they’re interested in working with you. Here are a few ideas:

Ask Bloggers to Review Your Business

If you own a product based business, restaurant or bar, contacting a blogger to talk about your business in a review piece is a great way of getting a link. Most bloggers will take the free product, meal or drinks as remuneration for their post. However, more popular blogs and websites may charge a fee for doing this.

Pay a Blogger to Write About Your Business or Content Related to your Business (aka. Sponsored Post)

Sponsored posts are another way of building links to your website. Most bloggers will either charge a fee for these posts or ask whether you have a budget in mind. To work out your budget or to explore whether their fee is worth it you can request to see their media kit (a document which states their total page views and social media following) and check out their domain authority by analyzing their URL on the backlink explorer on Moz.

Submit Your Business to Business Directory Websites

You can build links to your website by listing your details and URL to business directory websites. But – you may need to pay a small fee to list your website on online business directories.

Create Great Content and Share, Share Share!

What’s more rewarding than seeing your blog posts liked and shared? As well as feeling great for writing amazing content – people linking to your content on their websites will direct traffic to your website as well as being beneficial for your SEO too!

Advertise on a Website

Like gaining a ‘link’ naturally through submitting guest posts, people linking to your content on their websites and sites reviewing your business – you can get a link by paying for an advertisement on a website. Although there’s the drawback of having to pay for the advertisement & only having the link for a short amount of time – paying to advertise on a website gives you the ability to get your business linked on a site with a high domain authority. And, once Google sees a high domain authority site linking to you – Google will give your authority a boost in return!  

Ask Your Customers to Link to You

Built a great relationship with your client? If they don’t know much about the benefits of SEO for their business, give them a run down about how link building improve their visibility on search engines and ask whether they will be interested in linking to your website in exchange for a link to their website from a page on your site. What’s there to lose?

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

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan

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

Here’s How Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business

Provide value

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

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

Enhance your SEO

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

Say goodbye to the‘black hat’ SEO days.

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

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

Engage with your audience + start conversations

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

Become an expert

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

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

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

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

  1. Get Blogging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Post 4: 1 week after launch

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

Blog Post 6: 3 weeks after launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everybody loves a free gift.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Facebook, Twitter + LinkedIn Posts

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

4x Twitter Posts

2 x Facebook Posts

1x LinkedIn Post

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

  1. Guest Blog!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Host a Webinar

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

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

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

How Personal Should You Make Your Social Media?

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We all have been there – we see a tweet that is borderline offensive but is hilarious and we’ve hit ‘favourite’ before we’ve even thought about the repercussions. As a Blogger of almost five years (and a self confessed social media addict), I can definitely empathise.

I have seen some bloggers go from zero to five thousand followers in a day because of a single tweet. With that said, on the flipside I’ve also seen some businesses go from having 120,000 followers and loosing more than 20,000 followers in an instant because they’ve offended people by being too personal, or by ‘liking’ something that can be disagreed with.

I know a lot of you reading this are businesses looking for advice on how personal to keep your social media and there are also a lot of Bloggers looking for the same information which is why this article will be split into two sections.

The rules for Bloggers and Businesses for social media are very different and so I wanted to keep this clear and individual for both genres.

First thing’s first, let’s talk about it from a business point of view.

1 – Businesses Should Keep It Professional With A Hint Of HumourIMG_2131

The title might seem pretty self explanatory but let me just go into a bit more detail. Businesses, whether you run an online shop or service, are seen as ‘professional’. I would probably expect some Bloggers to say something offensive or using profanity now and again, but I always expect a business to be professional. I don’t really want to see a business sharing their opinions or using profanity. If I am going to spend money with someone, I want to feel safe and know that if I choose to complain to the business, I will be met with professionalism. At the same time, I also want to know that the business is human and has a sense of humor.

2 – So, what is ‘too’ personal in Business?

Here is a list of ‘No-No’s’ for any business on social media:

  • Do not establish any online friendships on a business account
  • Do not use profanity in your statuses.
  • Do not ‘favourite’ or ‘like’ any statuses that contain profanity or potentially offensive statuses.
  • Do not engage in arguments.
  • Do not post any images that were not taken by you or that you do not have permission to use.
  • Do not engage in or post any political, religious or sexual discussions.

3 – What Should My Business Be Personal With

Now that I’ve given you a list of things you shouldn’t do, it’s only fair to give you a list of what to do.IMG_2130

  • Do respond to any messages of complaint or query about an order or otherwise.
  • Do always mention the person’s name in the response (it makes it more personal to the individual).
  • Do always thank users for their message
  • Do keep things light hearted. For example “It seems our website has been enjoying our relaxation products a bit too much! We’re working on getting getting the website working again and apologise for any inconvenience”
  • Do show respect. Be sure to post statuses of respect in regards to the deaths of popular people (celebrities) for example “Rest In Peace Whitney Houston. We will forever be affected by your music”.
  • Do post cute animal pictures. Everybody loves a cute cat!

These tips will definitely keep your business on the right path on Social Media. If all else fails and you instantly regret posting a status or make an embarrassing spelling mistake, then there is always the delete button. We’ve all been there!

Now moving on to Bloggers.

1 – Bloggers should keep it personal with a hint of business.IMG_2132

I’m completely reversing the formula in comparison to how businesses should behave on Social Media.

I’m a Blogger, so writing about how to behave on social media as a Blogger is really easy for me. I have literally made every mistake in the book so I can 100% talk with experience.

People read blogs to feel connected with someone. I read blogs because I like to hear their opinions on products, fashion and even politics. So it’s important that your social media feeds aren’t just filled with “have you seen my blog post? Visit www.no-one-wants-to-see-this-sort-of-thing12345.com.” type posts.

When users follow you, or visit your social media, they’re looking for a real time version of your personality. They want to connect with you and are happy to read about your daily activities and hear all about the first date that went wrong. What users don’t want to see is controversy for the sole point of being controversial and trying to get followers. It’s difficult knowing boundaries as a Blogger on social media as users still expect a ‘degree’ of professionalism from Bloggers as people of online influence.

2 – What Not To Do On Social Media As A Blogger

Here is a list of a few things I recommend a Blogger does not do on social media:

  • Do not get involved in arguments or heated debates. It just portrays you as a ‘troll’.
  • Do not post ‘click bait’ titles to your blog – followers see straight through them and invariably dislike it. (Click Bait titles are catchy titles such as “I’m Marrying My Dog?” when actually you simply say “I love my dog so much I’d marry him if I could” within a blog post that is completely different to the status).
  • Do not post images that belong to other bloggers unless you have their permission.
  • Do not start a campaign unless it is something you truly are passionate about and there are no other likeminded campaigns to get involved with. Followers see it as attention seeking and invariably unfollow.
  • Do not post controversial statuses just to get followers.
  • Do not criticise other bloggers or celebrities. Followers just think of it as ‘sour grapes’.
  • Do not post anything sexually explicit, religiously controversial or politically damning. You could be sued. Yes, it has happened to other bloggers.

These are the holy grail of social media No’ No’s for Bloggers so be sure to stick to them.

3 – What should I be posting as a Blogger on Social Media?

Here’s a list of a few things I would recommend posting as a blogger on social media:

  • Do show a BTS (Behind The Scenes) image – people love to see how you work when you’re creating content.
  • Do reply to people who take the time to tweet or message you. It’s just good manners and makes you more human.
  • Do post positive quotes and memes – these are a ‘favourite’ and ‘liking’ goldmine.
  • Do let people see snippets of your life, such as your meals, workouts, outfits and so forth.
  • Do get involved in discussions – politely!
  • Do advertise your blog content (2-3 times per day is most effective)

These ‘do’s will be sure to keep your social feed interesting at the same time as serving it’s purpose which is ultimately to drive traffic to your blog.As you can see, being a business and being a blogger are two very different things and as such come with very different ‘guidelines’ for social media.

One thing that does apply to both bloggers and businesses is that if you are sent a ‘troll’ like message which contains profanities and is derogatory to you or your business, then simply do not draw attention to it and ignore it. Rising to it encourages more comments of the same nature and makes you or your business look bad at the same time.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to comment below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Until next time!

Holly x

Email Marketing 101: How to Use MailChimp to Send Your First Email Newsletter

How to Use Mailchimp to send your first email newsletter

For every $1 you invest into email marketing, you earn $38. With such a staggering return on investment, a strategized email marketing campaign can bring in a hella amount of sales. To get the ball rolling, head over to MailChimp right away to register for your free account and then we can get your first newsletter on the go! If you are wondering why we’re recommending using MailChimp to send out your email newsletters, check out the benefits below:

  • You can use MailChimp for FREE if you have less than 2,000 subscribers.
  • MailChimp is a widely used mailing system you’re not short of software and plugins that’s compatible with MailChimp. 
  • And, as it is so popular, if you’re stuck with something, you can easily find advice & tutorials on absolutely everything!
  • It’s also amazing for those of us who aren’t so design savvy. MailChimp allows us to easily put together a beautiful email using the email text editor and add in images and columns using the drag + drop template.

So get yourself signed up for your free account, make yourself a drink and follow this MailChimp tutorial to get your email marketing campaign into full swing! By the end of this blog post, you will know:

  • How to create a ‘list’ of subscribers.
  • How to create a subscription form for your website.
  • What to include in your welcome email.
  • How to design and send your first newsletter.
  • Why you need to include a mailing address & how to change it.

1. Create Your First ‘List’ of Subscribers

First thing’s first, you need to create a list to start collecting email addresses. A ‘List’ is the area where your subscribers name and email address are stored. You can have as many or as little lists as you like for example, you could create a list solely for those who have downloaded a content freebie from your website and/or dedicate a list to your current clients.

To create a list, go to ‘Lists’, then press ‘Create List’ and then enter your list details (see below). In the “from” email and “from” name – you may want to fill in your contact email address and a recognizable name such as your URL or business name.

You may or may not be aware that it’s a legal requirement to include your address in every email you send out. If you have a business address this is easy. If not – you’re not going to be comfortable with showing your home address, so you may want to consider getting a PO Box.

2. Design Your Subscription From For Your Website

Creating a subscription form that suits your website’s style and brand colors is easy on MailChimp. You can quickly put together a form without the need to learn code by using the easy-to-use form customizer.

Follow these steps to get your sign-up form up and running – believe us – you can literally have one designed and set up in just a few minutes!

Click ‘Sign Up Forms’ and then ‘General Forms’.

You’ll then be taken to a ‘Create Forms’ page. Select ‘Sign up form’ from the drop-down menu under the ‘Forms and response emails’ heading.

Now to build your form. The key is to keep things as simple as possible. On the ‘Build It’ tab you can select what fields you’d like to use. Make it as user-friendly as possible by keeping the fields to a minimum. This will avoid people closing the signup form. Only use ‘first name’, ‘email address’ and at the most ‘last name’. You can remove a field by hovering your cursor over each text box.

Add a message by clicking the ‘click to edit the message’ box. Here you can add a branded image and a persuasive message to get people signing up to your newsletter (see print screen below).

image 1

As activation is required – mention in your content by asking your subscriber to check their junk email if their activation email doesn’t show up in their inbox.

To get as many subscribers as possible, you’ll need a lead magnet. Giving away content is one of the best ways to do this. So put some time aside to brainstorm and create a free download to offer to your potential email subscribers (you can find lots of advice on building your subscribers in our blog post – How to Grow Your Mailing List).

MailChimp makes the designing part easy. Click ‘Design It’ to choose your color scheme (our tip here is to stick with your branding colors).

Don’t forget to save the link of your sign up form. This’ll help you promote your email newsletter or lead magnet. And – you’ll be able to promote your URL on social media and on your blog.

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3. Create Your Welcome Email

You can create your ‘Welcome Email’ by clicking ‘Lists’, then select your list, click ‘Signup Form’, then ‘General Forms’, then find ‘Final “welcome” email’ from the drop down menu and tick the ‘Send a final welcome email’ option. Scroll down and you’ll find yourself on a page featuring the welcome email editor like below:

image 3

Now you can design your welcome email. In the same way you created your sign-up form, you can upload your banner logo/image, edit the color and add a thank you message.

If you’re adding a lead magnet to your welcome email (which we highly recommend) this is where you’ll add the URL so your new subscriber can download their freebie.

To get a unique URL for your lead magnet, save your free download as a PDF, upload to your media library on your website, once the PDF has saved, you will find the URL in the file details AND this is the URL you will add to your welcome email.

The welcome email automatically has the title ‘subscription confirmed’ but you can edit this to sound interesting.

4. How to Design & Send Your First Newsletter

Now you’re ready to design your first newsletter!

Click ‘Campaigns’, then ‘Create Campaigns’, click ‘Regular Campaign’, select your list, press next, add an interesting subject line and edit some other settings if you’d like.

Now to select a template. Depending on what you’re including in this newsletter, you can pick a template that’ll be best suited to your content. See an extremely simple email example below:

image 4

If you’re linking to your most recent blog posts, selecting a design where you can add images for each post with the option to write a caption underneath. If you’re using this email to promote a new service or product a design with a 1 column for a top paragraph and 2 to 3 columns below to lay out the benefits of your product may work well.

Next you can type in your text, drag and drop in your images, edit the header text and add URLs for your social media profiles. You can select your colors and fonts for your page, preheader, header, body and footer on the ‘Design’ tab.

Once you’re happy with your email or ‘Campaign’ (in MailChimp lingo), you can click ‘Next’ to save your template. The next page will give you the option to send out the email straight away or schedule it to go out on a particular date or time.

Now you have created one template, you can create multiple email templates to serve a range of purposes; promoting discount codes, special offers, new products, latest content, advice and a recap of your recent blog posts.

TA-DA! Your first email newsletter is finished! How easy was that?! Now you’ve gotten to grips with MailChimp, you can now plan your email marketing strategy to get your sales booming! If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below. 

5 Tools Your Business NEEDS To Survive

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The title might be a tad dramatic, but in all seriousness, these tools are the base of everything I’ve been discussing with you over the past few months. One of the main things I’ve always said is that even if I was broke and only made $10 in a year on my business, I would still invest that $10 in PR. “PR” covers everything from advertising to marketing and quite frankly, not a single business in the world can survive without it.

As I’ve said many times in these articles (yes, I know it’s boring, but it’s really important and I’m going to keep repeating myself until I’m blue in the face or at least until my fingers are from all the typing and whatnot) that you needn’t spend a single dollar to promote your business. It’s about knowledge and knowing where to go. If you spend an hour or two every week researching new tools and features to help promote your business then you’d be surprised at the amount of ‘free’ coverage you can gain for your business.

Sometimes narrowing down the vital tools your business needs to survive can be hard considering there are literally thousands of tools available online at the touch of a button. Here, I’ve narrowed it down to five just for you the lovely readers of Purely Social Media! (You’re welcome). These are in no particular order as these are equally as important as each other.

1 – A Survey Tool

Here’s something I haven’t really gone into great depth about here on Purely Social Media. Surveys are annoying when they are a pop up or if you need to answer one to gain access to certain content. However, a strategically placed survey (right column of the homepage) actually encourages your visitors to interact by completing the survey which also gives you some insider knowledge about your visitor.

Here’s an example of three good survey questions:

1 – Which gender do you identify with?

2 – Which age group are you in? (select below)

3 – Do you have a (free) membership with us?

We all know how difficult it can be to get a good demographic about who is actually our audience. Asking your visitors their gender and age group will help you to narrow down who your visitors typically are and can help you to cater content to that demographic. For example, if your average visitor is a female aged between 35-41 years old then you could write more articles tailored towards parenting, buying a home or tips on de-stressing (we all know having children and moving home is enough to give even the calmest of people stress!).

The final question “Do you have a (free) membership with us?” was chosen because of two reasons – one reason is because you make it obvious that they are missing out on something if they are not yet a member. The “free” in the question encourages your visitors to register a membership with you because they have nothing to loose. The second reason the question is a good one to ask is because it also lets you see the ratio of how many visitors are returning visitors to your website in comparison to new visitors. Again this allows you to cater your content to the audience.

The survey tool I would recommend is definitely Google Forms. It’s free, it’s easy to use and gives you a tonne of customizable options. There are dozens of online tutorials on using it, however Google have made it pretty straightforward for any users. I would recommend letting a survey run for a week and then changing it up a little to let your visitors see you are adding new content regularly.

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2 – Email Marketing (Newsletters)

Again, this is another one we haven’t really discussed at great length before. Newsletters can often be annoying and can back up in our email inboxes without ever being read. However, sometimes, if we are interested in the sender or the subject line, we will take the time to browse through those newsletter and on occasion will even find ourselves placing an order with the company.

Email Marketing (AKA sending a newsletter) is an advertising dream come true. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend flooding the newsletter with flashing banners, I definitely would recommend sending a weekly newsletter to your subscribers to let them know about any new offers, products or information you may have.

I would recommend using Mail Chimp for sending out your newsletters. Mail Chimp allows you to send 12,000 free emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers for FREE. Of course, there are paid options available if you wish to send more than the free monthly allowance. The software is easy to use and can integrate with your mail software to manage your contacts. Again, there are dozens of ‘how-to’ guides online if you need them.

If I had to choose one “DO” for email marketing, it would be to always have a hook subject line. The sender and the subject line are the first things you see in an email and having a ‘hook’ can make the difference between generating a sale of hitting the recycle bin. Here’s an example of a good subject line:

“Limited Time Subscriber Only Discount!”

By saying it is a ‘limited time’ discount, you give a sense of urgency which makes your reader more likely to click the email which will of course contain the discount, but will also contain a few advertisements too. By mentioning the deal is for subscribers only, you make them feel a bit special and as if they’re getting something that not everyone else will receive. This is a sales strategy that has been used for a long time but it’s one that continues to work!

If I had to choose one “Don’t” it would be: do not send anymore than one email per week. If you bombard your readers, you’re more likely to find your newsletter in the trash can before it’s even been read. You’re also more likely to lose subscribers if you send too many newsletters out as they see it as a nuisance. I would recommend sending a newsletter out once per week at the same time each week. This will let the subscriber know when they can expect to hear from you and might even look forward to receiving it.


3 – Social Media Management

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the dozens of other social media platforms are sometimes never ending. As I’ve said before on Purely Social Media, it’s important that you have a social media Management platform to help you with your social media accounts.

Buffer is a great app for social media management. Using the app is simple and straightforward. You simply type a status and an image (if you wish to choose one) and share it across whichever platforms you like at whichever time of the day you prefer. Scheduling is definitely a blogger’s best friend and will save your business a lot of time at the same time as promoting your content regularly. Buffer is free to use and can be downloaded on any smart device.

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4 – Affiliate Marketing

The blogging industry is huge and speaks for itself. Thousands of brands send products and information to bloggers in the hope that they will feature those products or information on their blog which could potentially drive thousands of new visitors and customers to your business.

It’s tricky knowing where to send your products. However what I would recommend is searching for bloggers either for free on Google search (by narrowing down results based on location and demographic) or by using paid for tools such as Buzzsumo is recommended.

As I’ve said before, you can do this for free – I would recommend going onto Twitter and writing a status about your request for bloggers and use some clever hashtags to find them. Here’s an example of what I mean:

“#Bloggerswanted to try out & feature a new skincare product. DM us for details! #journorequest”

That way you know that you’re only going to hear from people who are genuinely interested and are likely to feature you. It also means you can have a look at their Twitter profile and blog prior to sending a product to them.

5 – Contributors

Last, but by no means least, for today is Contributors. As you know, I am a contributor here at Purely Social Media and am compensated for my time and information. However, with that being said, I am only one blogger of millions. A lot of Bloggers will contribute to your site if you offer them something in return (not always money!). If you offer them “A front page advertisement of your blog for one month” in exchange for a 500 word article which they then will promote on their social media, you might be surprised at how many bloggers would be open to this.

Aged bloggers are less likely to take you up on this offer as we often don’t require an advertisement at that moment in time. However smaller, new bloggers might be open to it.

I would recommend contacting some bloggers and asking politely, if they would be interested in this. Some might not even respond to you, however some might be happy to contribute which again gives you fresh content for your site and if they are happy to share it on their social media then you might attract a whole bunch of new visitors or customers.

To top it all off, the blogger community is a popular one. Your name might end up being mentioned in the industry which can help to open up new doors for your business.

You’re definitely not the only ones looking for free exposure – it can be mutually beneficial.

Well there you have it, my top five tools your business needs to survive. I know it’s been a long one today but I’m certain your business will benefit from implementing even just one of these steps.

Let us know your thoughts and any other suggestions in the comments below or feel free to tweet us @purelysocialtip

Online Marketing 101: Identity Economics

ONLINE MARKETING 101-

The marketing industry comes with a myth attached to it. You’re told to focus on your customer as an individual. You are told to know the individual as well as your favorite shoes, profile them, study their thoughts, find out their wants, and match your advertising accordingly. Except – as the latest idea in economics goes – there may be no individual. There is only group. Or to put it in another way: The individual buys according to what the group says. Knowing more about this idea can give you another handle on how to market your wares. And maybe sell them more effectively.

Identity Economics: It’s The Group That Buys Your Products

Our marketing principles come from traditional economics. Reasoning goes that people have their wants and needs. You’ll sell your product if you find out what those wants and needs are and show your targeted client how you can help him better than anyone else.  This way of thinking assumes that the targeted client knows his needs and chooses independently.

Marketing is based on this traditional economic view. Almost every single marketing modality from customer-centric to relationship marketing pivots the customer as an individual.  Personalized marketing says draw up a thorough profile of your desired customer – clothes, breakfast, schools, and so forth – so you know exactly whom you’re reaching.  Social media marketing tries to forge cozy interactions with the client. That’s what surveys are for! They ask the desired client, “Pray pretty please. What do you want and how can I help you achieve it?” Metrics measure whether or not your customer has bought. If so, supply more. If not, repeat the process.

Only the decision-maker may not be the individual. It may be the group. In which case, your marketing may flounder unless you consider that angle.

Identity Affects Your Health, Wealth, And Success

Sixteen years ago, economist and Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof and professor of economics in Duke University Rachel Kranton, launched their theory of identity economics. The model says that our identity affects our health, wealth, and success – and everything in between.

Identity refers to the different groups that we belong to, such as religious, gender, national, class and so on. People identify with different groups at different times.

How can we relate identity economics to marketing?

People buy according to their group because they want to conform. This makes them feel good and gives them some sort of social status. So they eat what their group does, dress as their group does, send their children to the same schools as the group does, ad infinitum. Kranton and Akerlof concluded: If you want to motivate someone don’t look into every nitty-gritty about the person. Scrutinize the norms of the group.

For instance, I run a site that offers hidden jobs to freelancers. Recently, a person tweeted: “Thanks but doesn’t look secure … this site is flooded w/shady gigs…The site isn’t safe for any legit freelancer.” The visitor explained: “Indians don’t pay well/on time.” (Note: 5% of the ads are from companies that carry Indian names).

Ordinarily, I would have have rejected this visitor’s feedback as prejudiced. The theory of Identity Economics made me look beyond her as being an individual and made me consider her opinion as Group. I looked into whether or not she was my typical client. If so, I would have to reluctantly use her feedback as cue to restructure my marketing because I wanted to sell.

This case also made me wary of using my bounce rate as a metric of site success. Marketing analytics urge you to monitor your site’s statistics. But maybe visitors leave because aspects of your site conflict with their social beliefs. Maybe you retain only two or three people but these are the people you want.

Looking at the prospective client as reflecting the opinions of a group rather than the opinions of him or herself give you a different handle on your marketing.

On The Other Hand…

Identity economics has its limitations. Marketing research recently found that advertising backfires when it scrunches the person into a group. Cases include Jif peanut butter that targets mothers by noting that “Choosy moms choose Jif.” or DirecTV that advertises, “If you call yourself a sports fan, you gotta have DirecTV!” or Gamefly.com that urges video gamers, “You call yourself a gamer? You have to have it!” or when Chevrolet asserts that real Americans drive Chevys.

In each of these cases, those who were surveyed protested that they have a mind of their own. They disliked being lumped into a group!

So, social context is an answer, but not the whole. Our self-concept is made up of both a personal identity and a social one and, when marketing, we can profit by considering both.

How Can You Use Identity Economics To Improve Your Marketing?

  1. Target marketing to the group – I work for a solar company that markets itself on price and environmental concerns. Research, however, shows that people put solar panels on their homes when other solar-powered homes are nearby. I adjust my marketing accordingly.
  2. Boost the signal strengthCustomers tend to tend to select products that most clearly broadcast membership in their specific group. Subtly highlight those signals or omit them. For instance, blood donation levels go down when blood donors are paid to give blood. The social identity of giving is core to the motivation and this is the aspect that needs to be highlighted.
  3. Ignore bounce rates – Rather focus on how you can improve your product so that it helps your customers. People are always going to be influenced by their cultures and there’s nothing you can do about that. Focus on the product and keep on marketing. Your clientele will grow.

In short, people buy according to a variety of reasons. Social context is one of them. Knowing how group comes into the buying can open up cost-effective ways of improving your marketing. It is individual as well as group that decides.

Look into both to sell.

 

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

beginnersguidetoperiscope

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

usefultipsforfashionandbeautybloggers

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:

smartphoneimage

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

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!