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!

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

15 Things You Should Do Before + After You Publish a Blog Post

15 Things You Should Do Before + AfterYou have spent time brainstorming your content, you have written your blog post and now you’re ready to press publish. If you’re looking for marketing tips, it could be that you’re missing a few basic SEO elements that can help boost the reach of your blog post. Follow our checklist of things you should do before + after you publish a blog post to get more people reading your post as well as improve your search rankings.

BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write An Engaging + SEO-Worthy Blog Post Title

8 out of 10 people will read your headline – but only 2 out of 10 people will click through to your post. That said – this makes the title the most important component of the marketing of your blog post. The title serves two purposes; it needs to include keywords for all that SEO value and be interesting enough to attract potential readers to click through to read your post.

An example of a not-so-engaging blog post title:

“What I’ve Learnt About Facebook For Business”

By re-working the title to include your keywords, your target audience and demonstrating your blog post will drive results, this blog post title works better:  

“New Business Owner? Here’s How to Grow Your Business on Facebook”

  1. Link to Old Blog Posts

Google likes to see inbound links in your content. One of the easiest ways to boost the amount of inbound links in your content is to hyperlink old blog posts. It will make Google happy as well as keep readers on your website for longer. Put together a list of blog posts that relate to the blog posts you’re about to publish and link them within your content. Remembering to make the anchor text the blog post title for example: How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following and not hyperlinking text like, ‘find out more here’.

  1. Is Your Blog Post SEO Optimized?

Now you need to ensure your blog post content is ready for Google. If you use WordPress, one of the best ways to check this is by installing the Yoast SEO plugin. It’ll make it easy for you to edit your page title and meta description. And – tell you how well your content scores for SEO. Here’s are few factors that’ll make your blog post SEO-tastic:

– Have you used your keywords in your content?

Try to make your keywords make up 1% of your content. But remember to incorporate them naturally within your blog post.

– Are your keywords in the page title?

Usually – a page title is autogenerated from your blog post title. But sometimes this won’t include your keyword and can look a bit messy. Scroll down the content of your blog post title in editor and you’ll find Yoast SEO. From there you can edit your page title to tick all of the SEO boxes.

– Do you have a meta description?

Similar to page titles, a meta description is automatically pulled from the content of your blog post. Use Yoast SEO to write your meta description to include a keyword and attract readers. Take a look at the meta descriptions of your competitors in the search results. Using their meta descriptions as a comparison, you can make your meta description stand out from the rest to increase your click through rate.

You can find more tips to step up your SEO game in our Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Break Up Text into Smaller Chunks with Headings

What’s more off-putting than a huge chunk of text? It’s a huge turn off. And – Google knows this.

Make it easier for your reader by breaking up your content into small sections and you’ll find people will stay on your page for longer. More engagement = more chance of winning your reader as a client.

– Read through your content and see where you can break it up. Once you’re finishing editing – Yoast SEO will give you a score as to how ‘readable’ your text is. Aim for a green light!

– Use header tags like <h1> </h1> around the headings of your sections.  In your headings you may want to include your keyword to please Google

  1. Use Branded Imagery

Our branding sets us apart from our competitors. And – setting a style for your blog post images will help enforce your brand. For each featured image use a set font, colour (from your website/logo) and style. Create a template to help make your images more consistent with one another. It’ll also speed up the process too!

  1. SEO Optimize Your Images

Like we optimize our content, we need to optimize images too. On WordPress, when you upload an image it’ll come up with ‘description’ and ‘alt text’ on the right hand side. Type in your blog post title into this – not forgetting to include your keyword!

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

After hours of writing on a screen, it’s so easy to miss a typo or miss something that doesn’t make sense. Take a break from your computer for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Return to your blog post with fresh eyes and read in small sections. Using this technique you’ll be able to notice more mistakes + make your blog post flawless.

  1. Delete Unnecessary Words From The URL

Once you’ve typed in your blog post title, a URL will generate automatically from this. To ensure your URL scores well for SEO – start by deleting words like ‘the, a, because’ to lay more emphasis on your keyword and main components of your blog post title.

AFTER YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write Social Media Posts & Share onto Twitter and Facebook

After you publish a blog post, write a series of unique posts to promote your blog post on social media. I usually tend to write around 8 tweets and 4 Facebook posts for each blog post I publish. Once written, schedule them to go out over the next 4 weeks.

After scheduling, insert all of your social media posts into a content bank so can schedule them sporadically with other posts to keep your social profiles updated and drive traffic to your website.

If you’re not using a scheduling platform yet – take a read of our How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following blog post to find out our list of recommended scheduling websites and plugins.

  1. Pin Your Image onto Your Pinterest

You may know this already – but Pinterest is soon becoming one of the best social media platforms for driving traffic to your website. After you publish a blog post ensure your images gets uploaded to the following:

– Pin your image to a blog post board, aka a board used solely to house your blog posts images.

– Pin your blog post’s image to other relevant boards on your Pinterest. Once your blog post has been uploaded to your blog post board, pin your image to any other relevant boards on your Pinterest. That way you will maximise the reach of your pin as you’ll be putting it in front of an audience who follows your boards.

– Upload your pin to shared group boards. If you’re not already a member of shared boards, search for boards relevant to your business so that you can share your pin with both people who are a part of the group board and who follow the shared board.

  1. Post Blog Posts in Relevant Facebook Groups

Similar to shared Pinterest boards, there are tonnes of Facebook groups where you can post your content. Join groups that are relevant to your business so you can share your knowledge to an audience who could benefit from your blog post.

  1. Upload An Image to Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to show off your branded images. After you publish a blog post make sure you upload an image to your Instagram profile. Not forgetting to include hashtags to reach an audience that are looking for content like yours. You’ll find top tips in our post Using Hashtags Effectively on Social Media.

  1. Talk About Your Blog Post in A Round Up Email

Everyone has their favorite go-to places for content. For some of us it’s Facebook, some can’t stay away from Pinterest and some of us like getting their updates through email.

After you have published a blog post, write a quick 30 word summary of your blog to feature in your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly round up email to drive traffic to your website.

If you haven’t got an email marketing campaign in-action, make some time to brainstorm ideas for content that you can exchange for an email address. For instance, if you’re a healthy lifestyle brand, creating a ‘20 Lunch Recipes That Are Budget Friendly + Help You Lose Weight’ guide as a lead magnet for your mailing list campaign. LeadPages is an easy-to-use campaign to help get this set up for you!

  1. Link Post in Old & Relevant Blog Posts

Like including links to old, relatable blog posts before you publish a blog post, linking your new blog post to old content will work in the same way. Readers who land on your old blog post will be shown a new blog post that may interest them will help reduce your website’s bounce rate.

  1. Tweet People Talking About Your Blog Post Topic

Get conversations started with people talking about your topic. Type in relevant search terms or words associated to your blog post and you’ll find people talking about it in some way. Mention that you’ve written a blog post that’ll help with their problem and engage with their previous tweets/photos. It’ll help direct people on to your website as well as boost your Twitter following.

 

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.

 

Using Hashtags Effectively On Social Media

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

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

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

So, moving on to using them the right way…

Frequency Of Hashtags

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

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

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

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

IMG_1392Research Your Hashtags

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

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

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

Holly

How To Use Instagram In The Beauty & Fashion Industry

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

So how can you use Instagram to promote your business?

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

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

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

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

 

Using Hashtags Effectively

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Gain Followers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi Guys, Mika here!

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

visible web

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

I invested three hours a week using Deep Web engines.

Within that first month, I gathered 375 visitors.

What is the Deep Web?

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

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

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

Why I used the Deep Web

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

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

Method

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

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

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

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

Here are the results.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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