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:

picmonkey

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

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

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Note to our readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

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

Content

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

Timing

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

 Images

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

Hashtags

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

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

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

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

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

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

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

Competitions

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

Paid for Ads

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

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

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

Your Guide to an Action Plan

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

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

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

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

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

 

Google+ for Business

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Google Plus is quickly rising to the top of the social media platforms. With the SEO benefits that it offers along with the community building aspect, it’s really a smart choice when it comes to leveraging your brand’s social presence.

If you’re not quite familiar with G+, as yet, Google+ is a social network created by Google that offers blogging capabilities, community building, and virtual meetings (hangouts) all in one package. As a result of this social media platform being hosted by the number one search engine, any business that uses Google+ becomes more searchable i.e, more present online. See, Google knows what they’re doing: they started off slow with the search engine then, like the Blob, oozed out to explore different aspects of the internet it could master, as well. We’re not mad at them for that. Anyway, lets look at the bigger question:

Why should you use Google+ ?

Google+ offers a little bit of the best aspects from a variety of the different platforms, and then some! Take a look at these:

Blogging Capabilities

It enables you to blog, like WordPress, giving you another outlet to share your expertise. Not to mention the fact that most of us have Gmail accounts. Google+ enables you to pull the connections that you have on Gmail and reconnect with them here. So, that business partner you were emailing before, or your old colleague from a previous job can all reconnect with you on Google+ and be privy to your blogs. What does that mean for you? Well, a larger reach for one. Instead of being limited to the people who subscribe to your blog, you can share your blog with people with whom you’ve already built a rapport, as well. In addition to that, there are communities on Google+ dedicated to certain topics, and Google+ allows you to share the articles you write specifically within the communities of your choice. If you were writing something targeted to small business owners, for example, you can join a few communities dedicated to small business owners and share your article within those communities. This way, you know that your work is hitting people who are actually interested in the topic you’re writing about. What better way to build a following than that?!

On top of all that, are the hashtags. When you post an article, Google+ does a quick scan of your article and includes relevant hashtags for you to help sort the article into relevant categories. You also have the capability to include your own hashtags to your articles. If you include hashtags that you know are popular and relevant, your article gets even more reach enabling you to build an even larger following.

Networking

Let’s discuss these communities in greater detail. Google+ communities allow you to gain access to groups of members interested in the same topic(s) that you’re interested in. There are 21 categories to choose from initially ranging from Beauty and fitness to sports to auto and tech. Within those categories are specific communities created by members that you are able to join in on and network. This feature is unique to Google+ and a goldmine for business professionals like yourself. If you are an interior designer, for example, and would like to connect with other interior designers, there’s a community that lends to that. If you own a business catered towards animal rescue and would like to connect with other people who are interested in animal rescue, BAM! There’s a community for that. If you share your blogs within these communities and engage with the people within these communities, the options to build your network are endless.

Visual Appeal

If you’ve been listening to us, you’ve heard us say more than once that the visual aspect of marketing is just as important as the text: sometimes, even more so. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in marketing, images are an important aspect of getting people to pay attention to you. Google Plus embraces that by giving the images that you upload prime real estate on your page, and in a lot of cases, more real estate than the text. Sharing a link that includes images will generate a square thumbnail measuring 150×150 pixels, but sharing an image by itself will result in a much larger display of 497×373 pixels. Here’s a Google+ Cheat Sheet for Image Size Dimensions that might prove helpful.

Hangouts

Google Hangouts are a feature unique to Google+ that enable you to connect with people in a way that no other social media platform does. Google hangouts enable you to video chat with a group of people or one on one. This opens the door for a much more personable connection with your target market or within your industry. Google Hangouts are a great avenue to humanize your brand and let your followers know that you’re not a robot. It enables you to engage in a way unseen by other social media platforms. If you are a lawyer, for example, who specializes in tax law, maybe around March/April, you do a hangout to field questions from laymen who are missing out on refunds they could be capitalizing on. Or maybe you’re a nail technician with your own store. A Google Hangout could be used to run a quick tutorial on a popular nail design or nail painting technique. The possibilities are endless, and if leveraged the right way, can enable your business to grow immensely.

Moral of the story: Don’t sleep on Google Plus. Just get out there, create an account and explore the possibilities. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to chat! Feel free to leave comments below or mention us on Twitter!

 

Top 3 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Reasons Why You Should Love Advertising On Facebook Again!

making the connecion - LinkedinSo we’re back after taking a month off to enjoy a little rest and relaxation!

And what better way to kick off our return then with a post discussing all the reasons why we love advertising on Facebook again! So, as many of you know, back at the end of 2013 Facebook decided that make some changes to their algorithm that left a bad taste in the mouth of most marketers and businesses. We all have watched as page posts’ organic reach fell from 16% in February of 2012 to around 6.51% in March 2014, according to Edgerank Checker.

Many felt that Facebook was double dipping, charging advertisers to have their posts viewed by the very individuals they just paid to like their page. A lot of people were ticked off and began deleting their Facebook pages as a form of protest. There was even a YouTube video, Facebook Fraud, that went viral and urged many not to wast their time advertising on the platform. Let’s just say people we’re angry and many began to pull back their presence on the platform.

Truth of the matter is that from Facebook’s standpoint, their primary focus is on the general user not the business pages. We can only assume that they believed that by changing the algorithm they would maintain the integrity of the site from the user’s standpoint. However, now Facebook is a publicly traded company, which means it is now accountable to shareholders too. And shareholders want to see profits, which are only generated on Facebook through the ads that businesses run.

So we can only speculate that all of the Facebook Fraud backlash has led Facebook to make changes to the algorithm yet again as well as completely overhaul the process for advertising on Facebook to make it a lot easier on advertisers. So here are our top 5 reasons why you should love advertising on Facebook again:

1 6 ads for the price of 1. Now when you create an ad to drive traffic  to you website Facebook allows you to select up to 6 images that can be used to service your ad over the length of your campaign. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will all be approved by Facebook but if you adhere to the ad guidelines a majority should be approved. We love this because it’s a great way to see which ads make the most impact on your target audience. Facebook has now made it very simple to do some A,B,C,D,E,F testing on your advertising which means they next time you run an ad you can make the necessary tweaks for even better results.

2Watered Down. Previously when you ran an ad on Facebook you probably spent a good majority of your time trying to figure out what the heck they were talking about. The different steps to running an ad were not very well defined and left most newbies to the process scratching their heads or giving up on running an ad all together. Now once you’ve selected the appropriate objective for your ads, all you need to proceed is clearly stated for you on one easy to read page.

3Conversion Pixels. This small line of code allows you to track the actions being taken on your website by the traffic you drive there with your Facebook ads. Now the downside of this is: if you know nothing about code or even how to access the back end of your website; you’re going to need to have your web developer place the code for you which can be a pain. However Facebook has even simplified this by allowing you to email the person right from the ad set up with the pixel code and instructions on how to proceed. The good news is that once it’s done, that’s it! You can continue to utilize the pixel over multiple ads. Just keep in mind that there is a pixel for each type of conversion that can happen on your site, such as checkouts, registrations, leads, web page views, adds to carts and more. So if you need some help, make sure you simply add all of the conversion pixels that pertain to your site all at once. Once a pixel has been added, you’re ready to start tracking the actions of your audience and can begin to determine how to best convert those individuals into paying customers.

4 Hello, Power Editor! So Power Editor is still a fairly new addition to Facebook ads, and many business owners still don’t know it even exists. This may explain why Facebook made it more accessible in the new ad setup under audiences. If you’re not using this feature when running your ad, you’re wasting your money. What we love about this feature is that it allows you to specify who your target audience is, providing you with more control over who sees your ad. In working with different clients we’ve seen a number of clients run ads that were shown to “everyone”, not realizing that they could target their ads to an audience within 25 miles of the physical location. If you choose, you can be very specific in your ad audience, but we would advice you find a balance between broad and specific. You don’t want to be too specific and miss the opportunity to attract new followers. Nor do you want to run the risk of being too broad that your ad isn’t seen by enough of your target audience.

5Campaign pricing just got simpler.  Simply tell Facebook how much you’re willing to spend over the duration of your campaign and let Facebook do all the math. We personally suggest selecting the lifetime budget option unless your plan is to have an ad that continuously runs, in which we would suggest selecting the daily budget. Understand that while Facebook may approve your ad and run it, your ad is competing for that space and therefore can get bumped by ads of advertisers willing to pay more per click or impression. Our advice is: if you select the manually set, price per click option, we advise increasing your bid to slightly higher then the price the system generates. Understand that when bidding, if you choose the pay per impression options your paying the every 1000 individuals who see your page. Paying per clicks ensures that you only pay for the people who appear genuinely interested in your page, because they clicked on your link.

As a side note, we want to stress that if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on Facebook ads make sure it’s worth it for you. To date, paying for page post engagements and page likes has proven to be quite ineffective from an ROI standpoint. Website clicks and conversions still remain the best option for measure the effectiveness of your ads against the money you spent.

As always we hope that you found this post useful and informative! We encourage you to leave your comments below and connect with us on Twitter!

Instagram for business: 5 things to consider

Untitled design (1)With the various different social media platforms all over, it’s difficult to discern which are appropriate for your business. If you follow our blogs, you know that we always say to be conservative when it comes to which social media platforms you sign up for. We’ve discussed when to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest and how they would apply to your business. Let’s keep that train going with Instagram.

What is it, how is it applicable for businesses, should I get on it, and all that good stuff.

Many, if not all, of you are vaguely familiar with Instagram whether or not you use it personally. Instagram is similar to Pinterest in that it is a primarily visual platform, but it does have very unique differences. For one, Instagram is mobile. Although you can access Instagram through a computer, you get all of the intended functionalities when you use its mobile feature, specifically the feature for cell phones. There is an app for tablets, but Instagram’s sweet spot is really on the cell phone.  That feature alone makes Instagram an awesome platform for marketing if it makes sense for your business.  Which brings us to the next question: Does it make sense for your business?

Does it make sense for your business?

A common misconception is that your business needs to be glamorous in order to be on any of these visually driving platforms i.e, Instagram, Pinterest, … This is 100% false and here’s why:

Social media allows you the opportunity to connect with and socialize with your target market at their level. An outlet such as Instagram humanizes your brand and acts as an opportunity to genuinely connect. Consider the intimate real estate that is instagram; the pictures that appear in a newsfeed are individually shown. You have the spotlight and the platform to genuinely tell your brand’s story without being salesy.

Consider this scenario: you’re a tire manufacturer. Nothing glamorous about that, but it could certainly be beneficial to be on Instagram. In this scenario, you could paint a picture of the history of the company. Maybe you’d include a photograph of the original founder from 1913 for throwback Thursday, or a picture of the whole family and the family pets just to show that there are humans behind the brand. It’d even be a wonderful idea to show behind the scenes how the tires are made from original design all the way down the production line to the shelves in the store. Instagram has recently adjusted its algorithm on the Explore tab to include a wider variety of pages you don’t currently follow. The Explore tab is now more personalized and tailored to included pages that users may actually be interested when previously it seemed that the pages were chosen at random. It includes content that people you follow have liked and content that is trending in the Instagram community. This expands your possible reach from just the people who follow you to those who they follow, as well. Previously, those featured on the Explore pages appeared to be top posters only. Now, everyone has a fair chance.

Now that I know that, how do I get started?

Well, it’s simple. Just sign up… Just kidding. Here are some actual steps to help get you started:

  1. Check out Instagram’s blog. It details how other businesses are using the platform and offers some tips that may prove helpful to your business.
  2. Do some hashtag research. A cool function of Instagram is that it allows you to search by hashtag and see all of the things posted relevant to that hashtag. With this functionality, you can be sure that you are using targeted hashtags that are reaching the groups you intend to reach.
  3. Sign up for an Iconosquare account. Iconosquare, previously known as Statigram, is a site that provides you with analytics and metrics for your Instagram account. With this, you can track your followers, find new people to follow, and create a marketing strategy. It even tells you whether or not the hashtags you’re using a popular and offers suggestions of hashtags that may be relevant.
  4.  Follow other accounts that are of interest and relevance. As with any social media account, it only works if you have a following and follow others. Follow all types of people, NETWORK! In the tire company example, you may want to follow other tire companies, or car related accounts, if you’re in a small community, it may be beneficial to follow other users within the community. This helps you establish a presence, and also may help you to show up on the Explore tabs of other people within your target market.
  5. ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE.  We always say this! It’s very important to always be engaging, because, well, it’s the whole point of social media. Engagement enables you to connect and network, not to mention it shows that you’re actually human and not a robot broadcaster.

As always, let us know your thoughts. Do you use Instagram for business? What do you think about using it for non-glamorous industries? Tell us about it in a tweet or email! We love chatting!

Why are you on Social Media?

Why Are You on Social Media-

Last week we completed our Content Calendar series and it really got us thinking about a few things… Things about your business, how you use social media and why?

Over the past few weeks we’ve been in the process of discussing our services with some new potential clients and we’re starting to notice a few things… For one, many business owners know that they should establish a Social Media presence, at least that’s what everyone keeps telling them, but they aren’t really sure what to do once they are there. So begin by asking yourself: how should my business be represented on Social Media, and how should we position ourselves to stand out from the rest?  These can be tough questions to answer but are necessary to the development and execution of your strategy.

It is our opinion that the role Social Media plays in your business’ online presence can fall into one of two categories:

Your Social Media drives traffic to your website, playing a key role in lead generation and sales conversion.
or
Your Social Media simply supports and beefs up your online presence.

For example, there are some industries that are just ideal for social media. Fashion, beauty, physical fitness and photography work well because they are rich in visual content. Followers and fans of these industries get the behind the scenes tour for their favorite brands and personalities. Social Media is an opportunity for these brands to have fun and engage with their followers in a way that would not be possible through their websites. Unfortunately, this utilization of Social Media does not lend itself to every industry. For example what are the chances that you will be compelled to  follow an accountant on Facebook, an exterminator on Instagram or the local dry cleaner on Pinterest? Pretty slim to none, right?

Well truth is you just might depending on your interaction with that particular business. This is where category 2 comes into play. As we previously mentioned we have been in talks with two potential clients regarding how we can assist them in developing and sustaining a presence on Social Media, one client operates a young dental practice and the other sells various insurance packages to local businesses. Neither of these businesses would be considered glamorous in the world of Social Media Marketing and neither are rich in a steady flow on exciting visual content. Does this mean they shouldn’t be on Social Media?

Of course is doesn’t! It just means we’ll need to be calculated… We explained to these clients that they will need to shift their view of the role Social Media will be playing in their businesses from category 1 to category 2. For these types of businesses we’re not looking to drive traffic from a platform to a website, but rather we are looking to create a Social Media presences that allows visitors from their websites to get a good sense of what that particular business is about. There are tons of dentist out there, so how will a patient decide between them? Well for one they’re going to ask around, read reviews and visit the offices’ website. But what will be that determining factor that helps seal the deal…. It very well might be their Social Media presence.

We explained to these clients that Social Media is an opportunity for them to share with the world what makes them special and unique. Social Media is a great place to highlight their company culture, explain various policies and  showcase their knowledge in a particular area. It’s also a great way for them to interact with their customers in a more relaxed setting. Everyone likes getting a birthday card in the mail, but imagine receiving a birthday wish from your Dog Groomer via twitter. You’d feel pretty special and a bit tickled for the unique interaction!

There is an opportunity for every industry to utilize social media effectively , it just takes some creativity and a little trial and error. Defining what your intentions are when it comes to creating a Social Media presence will not only save you time but confusion as well. Don’t set out with the intention of  doing what everyone else is doing, take the time to study the social accounts of other businesses in your industry. What are they doing well and what do you feel they could lose? Figure out what works best for you and be prepared to try many different things before settling on the strategies and tactics that are ideal for you!

As always we are most interested in hearing from you! Have a comment you’d like to share, or maybe you have a question you would like answered. Leave us a message below or email us at purelysocialinfo@gmail.com. We can wait to give you the advice or help you desire!

Content Calendar Part 4: Strategy

Creating AContent Calendar

Our Content Calendar series is finally drawing to an end, and we appreciate how you all have responded to the insights we have provided here…

In Part 1, we discussed the importance of creating a framework for your content.

In Part 2, we highlighted the significance of measuring your efforts on social platforms.

And last week in Part 3, we walked you through the development of your content calendar and what it should look like.

Today we’re going to discuss with you creating strategies for implementation that get results.

Let’s begin with a fresh take on things. Social Media Marketing is still immature in the world of business and many small business owners still just don’t get it or know how to effectively use social media for their business. Don’t be stubborn with your marketing and lack the flexibility that social media marketing calls for. Classic marketing attempts to segment “consumers” into demographics. We all are familiar with the concept and most likely do the exact same thing with our own customers. However, defining a customer or followers by a demographic is a little out dated. Demographics are generally used in polls of public opinion and marketing to group individuals based on a variety of socioeconomic points. Until recently, we could all easily be grouped into our appropriate demographic and marketers enjoyed creating messages tailored to appeal to these different demographics.

Thanks to industrialization and globalization it’s becoming harder and harder to define these demographics. The best example of this shift is in luxury brands that have seen their customer pools widen as consumers with lower incomes began to desire and buy luxury goods.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner looking to use social media to grow your bottom line? Well, for one it means your segmenting your customers based on the wrong factors. Grouping people together based on their zip code, annual income or level of education simply doesn’t work…. Why? Probably because people are INDIVIDUALS, who deserve and desire to be treated with a level of respect. Grouping individuals based on “social market” factors turns a person into a number. Today’s consumer is not a number, they’re individuals who make informed purchases that they believe align with who they are on a fundamental level. What you should be looking at instead is your audience’s online intended actions. What will someone do with the information, services and products you provide?

It never ceases to amaze us just how many businesses overlook the treasure trove of information they could simply obtain by surveying their customers. Stop trying to figure out what works and start asking your customers what they like, want and need. A simple survey can help you determine what new products and services to offer, identify trends and highlight customer intentions! There are tons of online survey tools out there such as SurveyMonkey, KwikSurveys and SoGoSurvey, etc. Take the time to learn about your customers and how they feel about your brand. You want to develop a mindset for your organization that is focused on the wants and needs of the customer, to avoid doing damage control as a result of customer dissatisfaction.  Another great tool that can help you determine the intentions of your online audience is the Intent Index. The truth of the matter is that much of the information you seek is actually available within your organization in sales and service reports as well as in client records and inquires. Your online analytics can help as well, telling you what key words people are using to find you and where they are coming from.

Social

Image via iStockphoto

The goal behind focusing on your audiences’ intention is about obtaining more insights with less advertising, it’s about stepping into the customer’s shoes and out of your business bubble. Create a culture in your organization that encourages your team to create content based on the insights and information they have available to them. When creating campaigns for our clients we like to work backwards, in the sense that we like to always have a clear understanding of what their end goal for that particle campaign will be. Ask yourself what actions do you want your customer and followers to take after seeing your campaign, is it clicking a link, opting in, sharing, commenting or maybe you want to inspire them to create their own content around your brand. Whatever it is, you have to have a clear understanding and create a campaign that drives your desired actions.

Your social media strategy is simply a road map or guide lines for your desired intention. Take the time to analyze the appropriate social platforms for your business, as previously mentioned don’t be afraid to grow one platform at a time as you navigate your social media marketing. Determine how you  want to engage and with whom, develop your social voice and create a culture in your organization that empowers your team to be your loudest advocates. Creating a strategy that works should not scare you, in fact this entire content calendar series was roots in helping you to develop a successful strategy.

Take the time to write out your social media strategy, begin by determining what your main objective for using social media will be. Maybe your looking to easily facilitate a conversation between you and your customers, or you wish to support your vendors who have a smaller online presence. You can choose to educate or learn from others, whatever your objective is clearly state it for all in your team to know. Next, define how you intend to utilize each platform and how each platform with support the other’s. You may choose to use each platform to support a different area of your business. We’re firm believes that content and messaging should be tweaked to be unique to any particular platform. Give your audience a reason to follow you on multiple outlets to get a complete story or only on a few to get the information they desire. Either way but measurements in place to assess your efforts and be prepared to make changes when necessary. Most of all have fun!

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read this article. Be sure to leave an comments or questions you have below!

Content Calendar Part 3: Drafting a Calendar

Finally, let’s discuss the process of drafting a content calendar!Creating AContent Calendar Part3

If you have not had an opportunity to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this Content Calendar Series, we strongly advice you do.

So, as we previously mentioned,  a Content Calendar is a great way to organize your thoughts and efforts. To successfully leverage social media for your business, your efforts MUST be calculated! And by calculated we mean that everything you do from a marketing standpoint has to be measurable. In part 1 we discussed creating  a framework of content topics as well as the importance of  developing Master Copy Lists to pull from when posting to your preferred social platforms.  We cannot stress to you enough that you DO NOT have to be on every platform all the time, you should get comfortable with one to two platforms at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Social Media is a 24/7 medium and it can be exhausting trying to be present on multiple platforms simultaneously.

Grab all of the information you’ve compiled and pull out a dry erase board, calendar, or notebook; however you best organize your thoughts, go with it! First you’ll want to jot down all of the dates of important events related to your business. These should include your Google+ Hangouts, Networking Events, Blog Releases, Sales, Holidays, Charity Events, and anything that you do of interest related to you business. Word of wise, if you have a less than glamorous product or service you sell, i.e. insurance, gardening tools, computers, rather than littering people’s feeds with sales ads, attempt to share with them your company culture. Show people what makes you and your product unique!

Pencil or type all of these events into a calendar that you can refer to as you build your content calendar. Aim to map out at least a month to a quarter in advance. We advise constructing your content calendar in an automated site such as HootSuite, SproutSocial, Buffer etc. Using the times suggested by your analytics (you should be updating this at least monthly), create posts centered around your events calendar. Make sure that your content is a nice mix of images, videos, quotes, and compelling copy… Sprinkle in some appropriate humor, be genuine and occasionally speak from the heart!

We want to automate the content that is imperative to the marketing of your business, because then that frees you up to truly be social, engaging with your followers and others. If you want to get noticed on social media start noticing and acknowledging others. If the time is taken and  the measures are in place, you will save energy as you begin to understand what’s working and what’s not. The largest hurdle you will have to over come is the limits of your creativity and willingness to create original content. The digital currency of your brand is it’s content. So be prepared to do it yourself or hire some help.

When you review the content in your calendar you should ask yourself a few questions… Is this visually appealing? Is this entertaining or informative in any way? Will this look good on a mobile device? It is projected that by 2020, 80% of all media will be digital with a global media consumption average of 90 hours a week. Don’t get swept away in the sea of content. Invest the time in great content or your just wasting your time!

global-media-consumption-per-week-by-medium (1)

Image via The Brand Builder Blog

 

Your content calendar should be designed to be flexible. If after a month things aren’t working, then begin to tweak your content and try it again. You will have to be patient and play around with things before you figure out what works best for you. But once you do you will just fall into a rhythm. Social Media is not cookie cutter so what works for other businesses might not work for yours.  Be prepared to experiment and have fun!

Set goals to achieve, such as growing your followers, engaging with others, increasing blog views or hangout attendance. Creating a plan to get noticed, reduce your stress, and work smart!

We would love to hear your insights or questions… So please be sure to leave a comment below.