6 Ways to Tell Your Personal Story

6 Ways to Tell Your Personal Story

6 Ways to Tell Your Personal Story | Social Media TodayA great way to engage your social media followers and build better rapport with your audience is by telling your personal story. 

To begin telling your personal story, you first need to decide exactly what message you want to put out there. This, of course, will depend greatly on your particular story and individual goals for your brand.

Here are a selection of different options to consider when determining how you want to approach your personal brand and tell your own story. The list is by no means comprehensive but it’s intended to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Discuss a difficult time in your life, and how you overcame it

One effective strategy for personal storytelling involves finding a challenging time in your life and talking about how you got past those challenges. By offering up your real challenges, and sharing stories of both successful and unsuccessful attempts to meet them, you can engage your followers while allowing them to learn new ways to overcome obstacles in their own lives.

Such stories are both educational and motivational, arming your fans with both useful information and the feeling that the struggles they themselves are facing are struggles that others have overcome.

This, in turn, can help them believe in their own eventual success.

2. Talk about a funny moment, that changed the way you think and feel about something

A great example of this strategy would be the old story of the truck that got stuck in a too-short underpass. Every solution all the experts on the scene proposed to get the truck out would damage either the truck or the underpass. Finally, a young child asked why they didn’t just let some of the air out of the tires then back the truck out, and the child became a hero for seeing the problem differently than all the adults.

Stories like this, like fables, illustrate simple life lessons in ways that personalize the learning, which can lead to deeper understanding.

3. Share something you learned during your career that changed the trajectory of your gifts

Most of us didn’t start on the career path that we’re currently following. A recent Wall Street Journal article estimates Americans change careers somewhere between four and seven times in their work-lives, and this means that a substantial number of your followers are either in the middle of, or are considering, a career change at any given time. As such, the twists and turns of other successful people’s careers can make for valuable, engaging reading.

4. Talk about how learning from the best mentors around you launched your career

Chances are, you didn’t get to where you are now without a few good mentors.

Since your followers are generally inclined to view you as a guide (or potential mentor), stories about how your life and career was influenced by significant mentors will not only enable your followers to get to know you better, but they can also reinforce the value of mentorship and community, while still conveying valuable business lessons.

5. Show how failing fast got you to success

Stories of dark times, crisis or unfortunate events, often lead to dramatic decisions or significant changes in directions. These can also make for engaging stories that build the value of your personal brand in the telling.

The particular value of this type of story is that it has near universal appeal, since almost all of us have faced those moments when we realize that continuing on as we have been is no longer a viable option and we have to change.

6. Find and share a deep moment that defined you

Take a look back at your career and compare yourself to who you are now. Chances are who you are as a professional has changed in a few significant ways.

Key into the events that lead to those changes and talk to your followers about what happened and how it changed you.

The more you can share the process you went through – in addition to the conclusions and results – the more engaging your readers will find it.

Key Takeaway

Again, these examples are not a comprehensive list of options for telling your personal story, they’re a jumping-off point, to get you started. The ones that lead you to feel excited are likely to be those that your followers will be most engaged by.

The essence of this strategy is to take a few key nuggets of learning, wrap them up with a few tasty morsels of who you are, and create a kind of mental appetizer that gets your followers thinking – and connects them in genuine ways to your brand and story.

The post 6 Ways to Tell Your Personal Story originally from Bryan Kramer | Renowned global speaker, best-selling author and trainer.

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5 Best Practices for Using Facebook Live

5 Best Practices for Using Facebook Live

5 Best Practices for Using Facebook Live | Social Media TodayIt’s no secret that video is where the action is on Facebook. Brand publishers are discovering that they can push their ROI even further by taking advantage of Facebook Live, a real-time, in-the-moment product that allows users (and select brands) to stream live video content in front of their audience. Early adopters are discovering that Facebook Live offers even better engagement than regular video content – and certainly much better engagement than photos and text-based posts.

The Economist is one brand that’s seen great engagement with Facebook Live this month. According to Digiday

“[The Economist’s] videos are averaging around 45,000 views, peaking at 2,000 at any one time and get around 500 comments, 10 times the interactions that links to articles get.”

Not all Pages have access to Facebook Live (yet). If your Page does, or if you want to learn how to make best use of Facebook Live on your personal profile, we’ve got some best practice suggestions for you. (Check out Facebook’s Tips page for more of these suggestions.)

1. Stay Live a Minimum of 10 Minutes

The longer you’re live, the more time there is for users to tune in, get hooked, and invite their friends to join. Facebook recommends broadcasting for at least 10 minutes so that your audience can grow.

2. Be Personal

Call out commenters by name and address their specific questions and comments. Facebook Live is an incredible tool for building personal, human relationships between your brand and audience.

3. Be Purposeful

As with any communications tool, the medium can only be as good as the message. Before going live, seriously consider what kind of value your broadcast will bring to your users and brand. Evaluate your reasoning for choosing Facebook Live over an off-the-cuff prerecorded video or some other non-video format.

4. Give a Heads Up

Spontaneity is great, but if you know you’re going to be going live, tell your audience in advance. Also, you can tell your Fans to tap the “Follow” button during your stream so they’ll get notifications next time you’re live.

5. Make That Connection

Wi-Fi is the best option for streaming, but if Wi-Fi isn’t available, you’ll at least need a 4G connection to use Facebook Live. Nothing’s worse than losing a great session because of a weak connection.

Have you used Facebook Live? What was your audience’s reaction like?

The post 5 Best Practices for Using Facebook Live appeared first on BuzzPlant.

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5 Simple Ways to Improve The Performance of Your Tweets

5 Simple Ways to Improve The Performance of Your Tweets

5 Simple Ways to Improve The Performance of Your Tweets | Social Media TodayTwitter is one of my favorite social media networks. Besides providing breaking news faster than any network, Twitter’s a really great brand builder, but unfortunately many people and brands miss out on the benefits of the platform because it does have a bit of a learning curve and many factors play into the success of a tweet.

Tweetin’ ain’t easy – but it can be. Follow these 5 simple ways to improve your tweets.

1. Use Relevant Hashtags

The simplest way to improve your tweets and their performance is to use hashtags that are relevant to your business or piece of content in your tweets in order to help your tweets rank higher in search results. Stick to 1-2 hashtags per tweet. Try sprinkling them seamlessly into your messaging. 

2. Try Varying Visual Content: Photos, Videos, .GIFs

Visual content drives results on social and stats show that tweets with images drive significantly more engagement than those without. You should give Twitter videos a shot too – you can record or upload 30 second clips (soon to be extended to 140 seconds) with your Twitter app or import your own 30 second videos. Twitter has also added a ton of built in .GIFs for your convenience – click the little “GIF” box under the tweet composition box and you’ll find a listing of GIFs broken down by category so you can search for the perfect one.

A few things to keep in mind:

3. Analyze Your Best Time to Tweet

Timing is everything. 

An essential part to improving tweets and how they perform is getting them out at the right time, and the exact best time to tweet will vary by your audience and account.

With that said you can start testing some general times that seem to work. A recent study by Buffer broke down the best times to post worldwide based on over 4.8 million tweets. Their results included the following interesting findings:

  • Tweets sent between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. earn the most clicks on average
  • The highest number of clicks per tweet occurs between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., peaking between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m.
  • The fewest clicks per tweet happen in the morning (when tweet volume is particularly high), between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

5 Simple Ways to Improve The Performance of Your Tweets | Social Media TodayOnce you’ve played with these general times – try tweeting at all hours to see what your audience reacts to – you can use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets. I also use a tool called Tweriod, which uses a 1,000 follower sample of your audience and lets you know what time your audience is on and when your tweets will get the most exposure. I then look at all the results and get the best time to tweet per client. It’s a lot of work but well worth it.

The best thing you can do is test and analyze impressions and track click-throughs to find your perfect timing.

4. Include Links & Calls to Action

A key to driving traffic from Twitter is to include a link and call to action in your tweets. Links will take up 22 characters. Use a link shortner like Bit.ly or set up a campaign for you more advanced Google Analytics users to check which tweets are driving the most traffic – you’ll know what do to with them when you get to number 5 on this list.

5. Tweet More Than Once

Besides being consistent with posting (and tweeting often) don’t hesitate to tweet the same piece of content or push that landing page more than once. You may want to switch up images or messaging – but since Twitter is an ”in the moment” network, it’s okay to tweet content more than one time for engagement.

Grab your best performing, click-inducing tweets and send them out again for extra attention.

You can also use tweets to direct traffic to older, evergreen content.

If your tweets are flopping, or just not getting the traction you’d like to see, try these 5 simple tweaks and see what happens. I hope this post helps you boost the performance of your tweets.

This post originally appeared on Dhariana Lozano’s blog.

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NBA and National Geographic Top Social Ranking, T-Mobile Sees the Highest Growth

NBA and National Geographic Top Social Ranking, T-Mobile Sees the Highest Growth

For the week of June 13, 2016 – June 19, 2016, U.S. brands captured more than 1.3 billion likes, shares, comments and retweets on content published on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Powered by Shareablee data, the top U.S. brands across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for each respective industry is shown in the ranking below.

National Geographic (Media Publisher) ranked No. 1 overall capturing more than 22.4 million total actions, led by Instagram photos of baby animals in the wild. NBA (Sports) ranked second with 20 million social actions, driven by Instagram posts from the NBA Finals featuring Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Anastasia Beverly Hills (Consumer Goods) scored No. 3 in the ranking with 5.5 million actions, featuring photos of users using the brand’s #DipBrow and #BrowDefiner products. Of the top ten, T-Mobile (Telecom) saw the highest spike in social engagement over the previous week at 123%. The growth was the result of 279% increase in Facebook actions, driven by posts promoting its presence at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

NBA and National Geographic Top Social Ranking, T-Mobile Sees the Highest Growth | Social Media Today

i Total actions metric includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, retweets and comments.
ii Total content includes all posts, tweets and media posted by each brand across platforms.
iii Actions per post metric notes the average number of actions garnered by each brand.
iv Total fans/followers includes fans/followers for each brand as of June 19, 2016.

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5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing has risen to become one of the top marketing strategies in recent times, with most organizations now investing at least some part of their marketing budget on a content strategy.

In fact, a recent survey by Content Marketing Institute found that nearly 76% organizations in the U.S planned to increase content creation in 2016

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

However, the same study also concluded that only 30% respondents considered their content marketing efforts effective.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

Having worked with several B2B and B2C organizationst, I believe lack of focus is one of the biggest reasons behind ineffective content marketing campaigns.

When your content strategy doesn’t have a clearly defined reader, and a very specific niche focus, it’s hard to differentiate yourself and engage readers.

And this lack of focus hurts local businesses the most.

Niche focus is the backbone of any local content marketing strategy. Everything from your website and blog design to the topics of your blog posts needs to be tailored for your local audience.

Content marketing often requires heavy time and resource investments – investing in a weak or unfocused strategy is the last thing you’d want to do.

Here are a few key points you need to consider while creating a local content marketing strategy.

1. Create a Strong Local Brand Image

Before you start creating content and driving traffic to your website, you need create a strong brand image that appeals to your local audience. This includes things like your website URL, design, brand name etc.

For example, a simple URL like Webdeveloper.sydney” immediately tells visitors that you’re specifically targeting Sydney based clients.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

Similarly, you need to mold your website design according to the preferences of local customers – the Indian website version of Coca Cola is a great example

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

When a local customer visits your website, you need to make him feel comfortable and at home. It helps you build rapport with the visitors and increases their chances of taking action on your site.

2. Create Actionable Blog Content Tailored for Local Audiences

The quality and usefulness of your blog content will ultimately determine the success or failure of your content marketing strategy.

When coming up with content ideas, you need to be as specific and targeted as possible. Identify the biggest problems within your target audience and create content that’s full of actionable insights.

To find content ideas that resonate with your audience, you can use tools like Ahrefs or BuzzSumo.

Both these tools can be used to identify blog posts and other content types that have performed well on different social networks. You can also find blog posts with the highest number of backlinks.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

Note down the best performing titles on a separate sheet and search for similar topics on Google just to get a better idea of the kind of content that resonates with your audience.

Again, focus is the key here.

For example, for a legal consultancy business in New York, targeting local customer, the following blog titles/subjects would make perfect sense:

“Registering a Business in New York: A Step by Step Guide for Registering a New Company”

“Divorce Cases on the Rise in New York: 17 Eye-Opening Stats from the Past Year”

Similarly, a Chinese restaurant in Seattle could use something like this:

“Chinese Food in Seattle: 5 Delicious Recipes You Need to Try Today”

In short, focus on the problems of your local audience and try to make a real difference with your content. Offer solutions that are actionable and effectively resolve problems.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, shared this great piece of advice with local business content marketers.

“Let’s say someone rounded up all your content and placed it in a box like it never existed. Would anyone miss it? Would you leave a gap in the marketplace? If the answer to this is no, then you have a problem”

3. Develop a Targeted Guest Blogging Strategy

Guest blogging is a super effective strategy when it comes to branding and reputation building – it’s one of the best ways to ‘borrow’ credibility by featuring your business on high authority blogs and magazines in your niche.

You need to make guest blogging a part of your local content marketing strategy, however to really benefit from it, you need to identify relevant blogs in your niche which are also popular among your target audience to ensure your content is reaching the people you want.

Google search is an easy way to find relevant guest blogging opportunities. Search for your niche keywords + “write for us”, “guest blogging”, “guest author”, “contribute” or other related terms.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

Twitter is another place where you can look for guest blogging opportunities.

90% of the time when people write guest posts on high authority blogs, they Tweet about it as well. Search for them on Twitter.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

You can approach such blogs with your own guest contribution – but make sure that the blogs you choose are directly related to your industry and your audience, otherwise you won’t get any benefit.

4. Leverage Local Trends and Hashtags for Targeted Social Media Promotion

Following local social media trends not only helps you create relevant content for your audience, but also makes it easier for you to promote your content to the right people.

You only need to keep an eye on the trending topics in your target area, and use relevant hashtags while promoting your content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram etc.

Twitter is the best place to find trending topics – most of the time, the topics that are trending on Twitter also trend on other social networks.

You can change the trend location of Twitter to your city to get an understanding of exactly what your local audience is talking about.

5 Key Components of an Effective Local Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media Today

Another way is to simply search for your city or location on Twitter to see related conversations.

Social media is about engagement and interaction, so you can’t just use these trending hashtags with your Tweets and expect people to notice you, this approach usually doesn’t work.

Instead, you should become a part of the conversations happening on social media, engage people and build relationships. In between, you can push your content on Twitter (and other social networks) with relevant hashtags.

5. Engage Your Local Community in Offline Events and Activities

When you link your online content marketing activities with local offline events, it can become a hugely effective combination.

As a local business owner, you’re much more connected with your community since you work and live among them. You can use this reach to fuel your online content marketing efforts as well.

Use your blog and social media content to promote events and encourage people to participate. It not only helps you understand their needs much better, but also builds credibility and creates brand loyalty.

Wrapping Up

Content marketing is one of the best ways for local businesses to connect with their target audience, differentiate themselves, and truly demonstrate their industry knowledge. It can help you earn expert status in your local community and help you build a loyal brand following.

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How Pitney Bowes Uses Social Selling [Podcast]

How Pitney Bowes Uses Social Selling [Podcast]

How Pitney Bowes Uses Social Selling [Podcast] | Social Media Today

How does a global technology company that powers billions of transactions across the world of commerce make use of social selling?

To find out, I had a great chat with Paul Lewis of Pitney Bowes. Have a listen on iTunesSoundCloud or keep reading for a summary of our conversation.

Tell us about Pitney Bowes and what you do there?

“Pitney Bowes is a global technology company. We offer a wide portfolio of products and solutions, all of which enable commerce in the areas around customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping, mailing and global eCommerce.

I’ve been with the company for coming up for three and a half years, and I’ve got a dual role whereby I oversee global social media activities for the software solutions part of our business, but in addition to that, I also lead the global social selling program.”

How did you implement social selling within Pitney Bowes?

“This started out basically as a pilot program. I would say there were a couple of factors that kicked off this initiative. Firstly, it was a case of those folks that were working in the sales or business development capacity were finding it incredibly difficult to generate new leads and new opportunities via what I would class as being your traditional methods, i.e., cold calling. And whilst obviously the marketing activities that we were running which take in various different channels were working well, we need it to become a little bit more savvy anyway, and start to think, dare I say, outside the box and become just a little bit more innovative.

And I think what kicked it off was back in, I think, 2013 at a sales kick-off event that we were running in the US. And we had a panel discussion, and we had a customer who was invited to be part of the panel, and he, at one stage during this discussion, stated that he started and ended his day on LinkedIn. And that kicked off the alarm bells, so to speak, because you think, “Hold on a minute, we’ve got a senior exec here from a big organization who’s just stated that he’s spending time in the morning and at the end of the business day on LinkedIn. How many other people like him are doing the same thing?” And so that was where we really started to begin to explore what we now know as social selling.”

What’s next for social selling?

“It’s a tough question. I’m going to take a real broad approach to this. I think that there could be an element of predictive analytics coming into social selling whereby you can predict based on previous activities that somebody has carried out, what they might be doing going forward. I’m certain that if we look at social selling, it’s mainly, let’s say over the past few years, been focused around your large enterprise organisations. I can see it now though within Pitney Bowes, but more and more small- to medium-sized businesses are now having a presence on LinkedIn, as well as individuals. And I think that the SMB marketplace is going to boom on LinkedIn as well.

I think social selling is going to become increasingly visual. So like you were touching earlier on with SlideShare and with YouTube, I think the video element and the visual element is going to be a huge part of social selling going forward. So there’s that aspect, and possibly the convergence really of lots of different social channels.

I did touch upon this earlier on whereby you look at an individual’s LinkedIn profile, and then if they’re on Twitter, you go and have a look at that. I think it’s going to be even wider. So is the individual on Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll start to take a much broader view, not just LinkedIn. Although I would say probably most of the engagement and the outreach to kick start that dialogue will take place on LinkedIn, but I’m sure that other social platforms will really begin to play a big part in the overall social selling landscape.”

Links for your clicking pleasure:

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Insights from #SEJSummit Chicago Speakers by @wonderwall7

Insights from #SEJSummit Chicago Speakers by @wonderwall7

Our speakers at the Chicago SEJ Summit, happening this Thursday (July 23), bring a breadth of information that covers so many areas of SEO, mobile, content, and more. We’ve compiled a few of their best insights in anticipation for the conference.

There’s still time to join us at our Chicago SEO conference this week, which gives you actionable takeaways you can take to work the next day.

Akin-Tosyali

“With the expansion of digital tracking systems and more insight into individuals at the device level, the search industry has evolved to be a viable direct marketing channel, allowing you to address your customers as individuals at scale.” -Akin Tosyali, Grainger

Allison-Fabella

“We {SEOs} work in a very complicated environment… we SEOs need to do a better job tracking and reporting back in terms that the c-suite understands.” -Allison Fabella, CareerBuilder

Amy-Vernon

“Be a resource when possible. Don’t assign news value to something that lacks it, but don’t ignore something just because it’s only worth two lines instead of 750 words.” -Amy Vernon

 

Carolyn-Shelby

“In order for you to accomplish any of your content marketing goals (build brand awareness, generate goodwill/warm fuzzy feelings toward your brand, bait some links, or help beef up your own site’s content), you HAVE to use some SEO. You can’t not.” -Carolyn Shelby, TRONC (formally Tribune Publishing)

Erin-Everhart

“If you’re just getting into content, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to immediately outrank the brands who’ve been doing this a while on the primary keywords. Dive deeper into your product offerings and try to get as specific as possible with your content so you can narrow the competition gap.” -Erin Everhart, The Home Depot

Gary-Illyes

“The expectation is that content should load super fast and be easy to explore… Accelerated Mobile Pages are web pages designed to load instantaneously– they are a step towards a better mobile web for all.” -Gary Illyes, Google

John-Curtis

“There is no one bar for quality, and Google can’t define what quality means for your site. Only someone who understands where opportunity lies by understanding the business and IT challenges can know how to impact quality.” -John Curtis, Walgreens

Jordan-Koene

“Preparation and planning is fundamental to success, without a clear plan teams are ineffective. You need preparation to help move your organization in a positive SEO direction.” -Jordan Koene, Searchmetrics

Ryan-Jones

“Don’t be so quick to discredit the little things, because even the smallest seemingly inconsequential ones can be extremely powerful en masse.” -Ryan Jones, SapientNitro

Can’t attend our Chicago event? Come to SEJ Summit NYC, happening November 2nd, 2016. Announced speakers so far include Google’s Maile Ohye & John Brown, and ClassPass’ Joanna Lord!

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
All in-post Photos by Paulo Bobita

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10 Strategies to Grow Your Instagram Following by @kwanstaa

10 Strategies to Grow Your Instagram Following by @kwanstaa

When Instagram first launched in 2010, many businesses didn’t feel that their business was suited for this story-telling visual app. However, the app has grown immensely with over 400 million monthly users active and 80 million average photos shared per day.

Today, there are a number of companies on Instagram achieving great results. Those boring, service-based businesses that didn’t feel think Instagram was a suitable platform have started their journey on Instagram.

However, these businesses are facing a big challenge. When it comes to generating engagement and gaining followers on Instagram, it can be a little difficult because you can’t create “like-building” campaigns through advertising, like Facebook. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can’t share links and “feed” articles into your profile. Although it may seem hard to grow a fan base on Instagram, there are a number of different strategies that can be implemented to increase your Instagram following.

1. Link Your Social Media Accounts

Now, before you start posting on your Instagram account, make sure your Instagram profile is properly set up. In addition to adding your name, website link, and a brief description of yourself or your business, link your Instagram account to other social media accounts you own. This allows your friends to know you’re on Instagram and for you to see which of your friends are also using Instagram.

Instagram Link Accounts

2. Add an Instagram Tab on Your Facebook Page

For business owners with a Facebook Page, you can easily integrate an Instagram tab onto the page.

Head over to this page.

It will guide you to a page that allows you to select the Facebook Page in which you want to link your Instagram account too. Once you’ve authorized Instagram to have access to your Facebook, a tab of your Instagram account will be created.

This is a great way to drive you Facebook fans to your Instagram profile. Since your Instagram page is only suggested to your Facebook account’s friends, adding an Instagram feed on your page will allow your fans to know that you have an Instagram page and increase you Instagram following.

Capture

3. Feed Your Instagram to Other Social Profiles

Although I don’t recommend this strategy, since your tags and messages may not always transfer appropriately over to other social media platforms, feeding your Instagram images to Facebook and Twitter can drive users back to your Instagram profile. Users that didn’t know you’re on Instagram and following you on other platforms are able to find you there as well.

If you want to feed your Instagram images to your Twitter or Facebook, you can enable the option through your settings. This means when you share an image on Instagram, the caption and a link to your Instagram photo will be tweeted to your Twitter account. For Facebook, the image and caption will be fed onto Facebook. On your post, it will show that it is from Instagram.

4. Research Relevant and Quality Hashtags

Hashtags allow you to expose your account to the right individuals. When you add hashtags to a post that can be publicly viewed, the post will be visible under that hashtag page.

That’s why having the right hashtags is important when building your followers on Instagram. When you hashtag relevant and qualitative hashtags, you’re more likely to expose your brand and account to individuals with common interests and goals as you.

Before you decide using specific hashtags, you want to do enough research to see if the hashtag is currently being used. Is the content associated with the hashtag too offensive? Is it in the same context in which you want to share your information? Would you like to be associated with the other content that is shared within this hashtag?

One of my favorite tools to use is tagboard. It allows you look at all the posts that are used being used for specific hashtags. These tagboards allow you to gauge how popular your hashtag might be.

digitalmarketinghashtag

Another great way to see if your hashtag is popular is simply searching it in Instagram itself. Instagram will suggest different variations of the hashtags related to the one you’ve inserted. It will also show you the number of posts that are related to the hashtag as well.

Instagram Screen Shot

5. Research Your Competitors

In addition to researching hashtags to use, you should also take a look at what your competitors are doing. Find out what influencers or individuals are posting and hashtagging on their Instagram profile.

Which posts are performing best on the page? How often are your competitors posting? What types of content are they publishing on their Instagram page?

6. Following and Liking Other Photos

Now that you have a better understand of all the hashtags and have a list of the ones you want to use, you can find other accounts and photos to engage with. Instagram has an amazing community of individuals and building followers can be easy if you have the right strategy.

Of course, you want to strategically engage with users who will potentially like your profile as well. I recommend looking into each of the hashtags and liking pictures that stand out to you and make sense for your brand. For example, if you’re searching for #digitalmarketing, take a look at the content being shared there and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who is sharing this photo?
  • Is this account relevant or related to your business or brand?
  • What is the likelihood of this account liking the content you are sharing?
  • Will you follow this person back?

If you said yes or most likely to all these questions, then you can consider liking some of their images, commenting on the content, and/or following their Instagram profile.

7. Adding Hashtags to Your Posts

This sounds easy, right? But hashtagging needs to be strategic. Some may argue that you shouldn’t use too many hashtags, but there’s a way to hide some of the ones that aren’t as important.

When you’re adding hashtags to your caption, make sure you choose the ones that are most relevant to what you’re sharing. I recommend using 2-3 hashtags in your caption.

If you want to additional hashtags for your photo, you can do so by adding it as a comment. This allows you to hide hashtags and avoid having them dilute your caption.

Using a notes app on your phone, add 5 dots and separate each dot on a separate line. You need to ensure that each dot is on a separate line so that your hashtags can be hidden appropriately. Once you’ve done so, add your hashtags below the last dot.

hashtag comments

Note: Instagram only allows up to 30 hashtags per post!

Then, copy and paste your note and add it as a comment to your photo.

It should look something like this:

Hashtag CommentsScreenshot_20160615-230334

8. Run Contests

Once you’ve started growing a follower base, you can hold contests and campaigns that can attract more users to your page.

For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running a contest. You can either ask users to like, comment, use a specific hashtag, or ask your followers to tag a friend.

When you ask users to tag a friend, it exposes your brand and page to more Instagram users online. It is an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach.

9. Post Consistently and During Optimal Times

Create a schedule for your Instagram. Your followers expect you to remain active on Instagram. When you’re posting consistently for a week and then disappear for a month, you may lose some of your followers. Therefore, you want to ensure you’re keeping your Instagram page active.

Also, you want to post during times that are most engaged. According to Latergramme, the best times to post on Instagram is 2:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. eastern time. During these two times, your followers are more likely to engage with your Instagram post and pay attention.

With Instagram testing detailed analytics and reporting, this will provide better insights for individuals and businesses on their performance. Similar to Facebook’s Page analytics, the Instagram analytics will allow you to dive into follower data and tops posts.

10. Instagram Advertising

Finally, try putting some advertising dollars to promote you Instagram profile. You can create effective carousel ads through Facebook’s Power Editor and promote your content.

If you’re running a specific contest or marketing campaign, you can utilize Facebook advertising to push the content in front of more audiences. With the ability to target your customers based on their interest and behaviours in Power Editor, you can ensure that your posts will be viewed by Instagram users that will be interested in your business.

While some of these strategies may work better than other, find the ones that work well with your business or yourself.

What are some other successful strategies have you implemented for your Instagram account?

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: tulpahn/DepositPhotos.com
All screenshots by Cherry Kwan. Taken June 2016.

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12 Tips for Executing a Successful Rebrand

12 Tips for Executing a Successful Rebrand

Rebrands can make big headlines and offer brands fresh starts, such as the case of Budweiser with America and Tribune and tronc. But they also come at the expense of brand and search equity – and, like marriage, perhaps, can only be done so many times.

Here’s a look at when it makes sense to rebrand – and how to successfully pull it off.

When Should a Brand Rebrand?

1. To Gain New Associations

As Kim Saxton, clinical associate professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, put it, our brains are essentially like 3D maps and brands own spots on this map, which she called a brand’s perceptual license. This is what a consumer perceives a brand can and does do.

“The human brain is like a huge categorizing machine,” she said. “We have to make sense of the information coming in.”

Therefore, if the association a brand has among consumers is not what it wants, it makes sense to rebrand, she said. The Tribune brand, for example, had a long legacy of newspaper publishing behind it, which is not as modern as, say, brands like BuzzFeed, Mashable and the Huffington Post. Therefore, the change is logical in terms of aligning with what would be interesting to a different – younger – audience segment, she added.

Budweiser, too, was struggling in the market as it is not a light beer, it is not owned by an American company and it’s a big domestic brewer at a time when craft beer is hot, Saxton said.

“So they did something temporary to get back to the cultural values and perceptual license they want to have, which is summer, patriotism, July 4,” Saxton said. “Beer is always more highly sold in the summer and that’s why it’s just a temporary thing.”

Brannon Cashion, global president of branding firm Addison Whitney, agreed one reason to rebrand could be to correct something that isn’t working, such as an outdated logo or a name with outdated or negative connotations.

“Your brand should be one of the most impactful assets for your organization and if there is an aspect that is not fulfilling this role, then a new brand could be worth exploring,” he added.

2. To Better Reflect the Business As It Evolves

Per Cashion, if a brand portfolio significantly changes, such as adding new offerings or acquiring new brands, the pre-existing brand may no longer accurately represent the portfolio and a new name/image could better communicate the value of the offering.

Ashleigh Hansberger, co-founder of branding and digital agency Motto, agreed a brand that changes its business model may also need to rebrand to reflect those changes.

“The diversification or new division of a business warrants a rebrand for clarification,” she added.

This also includes changes in ownership.

“Under new rule, values, vision and priorities may change,” she said. “That’s a great time to make sure strategy and creative align to reflect the new goals, vision, message and personality.”

3. To Demonstrate a Maturing Brand

Further, Hansberger noted some startups begin and grow without having a professionally designed brand. In those cases, rebranding becomes an important step for them to be taken seriously as they scale and challenge more established brands.

4. A Rebrand is Not a Quick Fix for a Poor Image

A brand clearly extends beyond a name and a logo to include a story and values, as well as user experience, among other elements. And, for his part, Donald Giller, senior project director of visual marketing and brand communications firm BrandEquity, noted in the case of countering a poor image, a rebrand does not make sense until the organization is confident changes have been made to correct whatever caused the poor image to begin with. And, even then, brands should remember recreating a brand is a long-term commitment.

What Does This Say About Brand Equity?

But that’s not to say a rebrand – such as tronc perhaps discovered after less-than-positive feedback to its rebrand – does not come without risks. And high on the list is potential damage to brand equity.

According to Saxton, brand equity matters more than ever because in part consumers are inundated with media and must focus what they pay attention to and therefore tend to rely on brands they know and trust. That means brands that have firmly entrenched equity – like, say, Google, Apple and Coca-Cola – tend to hold on dearly to the brands they have established. And instead of rebranding per se, larger brands can acquire smaller brands if there are untapped niches they want to target, like lifestyle brand VF Corporation, which owns brands like The North Face, Wrangler and Nautica.

But for brands that don’t have comparable equity – be it in terms of brand, capital or both – here’s what to consider prior to taking the plunge with a rebrand:

5. Research Your Existing Brand

According to Cashion, brands should look into their current brands before deciding upon a rebrand to discover what aspects are still valuable and should remain similar, as well as to identify what is contributing to the need to rebrand.

“Additionally, find out what your audience is saying about your brand, which could be very helpful in determining the direction of the rebrand,” he said.

Further, Giller said if brands are plagued by problems like performance, they should address those issues before considering a rebrand.

6. Don’t Change Just to Change

“Some rebrands come from a need to align with current trends or to make the brand more modern or because new leadership is looking to create a change,” Cashion said. “A rebrand is not a light undertaking and can have a long-lasting impact on your overall brand, so the decision should not be made lightly.”

Saxton agreed a rebrand is a huge move and brands must plan to invest accordingly.

“Branding is not, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Saxton said. “I think sometimes people underestimate the money and time it takes to build a great brand.

7. Ask the Right Questions — and Answer Honestly

Per Eric Brantner, founder of blogging resource site Scribblrs.com, these pre-rebrand questions include:

  1. What am I hoping to gain from this and how will rebranding meet that goal?
  2. Am I really just bored with my brand and could I achieve the goal with just a brand freshening?
  3. Can I handle the consequences of a rebranded site falling the search rankings and what’s my plan to get my search presence back?

8. Choose Something Distinctive

Noting again the brain is a categorizing tool, Saxton recommended brands find a distinctive new brand that will yield a clean spot on consumers’ brains so they can therefore build new associations around it.

9. Give Consumers a Story – And Make It Consistent

A brand’s new story should include elements like why the brand came to life, what its purpose and personality are and what consumers should believe about it, Saxton said.

According to Hansberger, rebranding also requires a thoughtful plan because brands can become a mishmash of assets unless there is clear direction and purpose.

“If organizations lack visual and verbal consistency from using incongruent logos, typography, color palettes, imagery, messages and tone of voice, the brand will suffer from schizophrenia,” she said. “The way to solve that is to create a greater sense of continuity across the brand, and to overcome the inefficiencies, frustration and confusion that result in not presenting a consistent face to customers.

10. Make Sure You Can Acquire the Right Assets

Per Dallas McLaughlin, digital marketing strategist at ad agency The James Agency, brands need to consider whether they can secure all of the necessary third party entities to execute a seamless rebrand, such as Twitter, Facebook and domain names.

11. Carefully Consider the SEO Impact

A rebrand also potentially means loss of visibility tied to mentions and reviews of the old brand, McLaughlin said. Further, late adopters may show up online expecting to find the old brand.

“It can be done, but there must be a well-executed plan which covers all social, SEO, IT, PR and traditional elements so the business does not lose any ground in the ongoing battle for digital share of voice,” he added.

12. Get the Timing Right

Giller noted rebranding is not a good idea in the heat of, say, an employee relations problem as the full understanding and support of staff are critical to brand performance.

“But the typical ups and downs of an organization’s employee relations should not interfere with a strategic branding initiative,” he added.

Post from Lisa Lacy

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