Category Archives: Social Media

5 Ways to Take Your Instagram Account to the Next Level

So you’re using Instagram for your business. Good idea! Instagram, like Pinterest, is doing wonderful things visually for businesses and brands.

But to really stand out from the crowd, it’s not enough to simply snap a photo, slap a filter on it and hope for the best. In fact, this approach has the potential to harm your brand more than help it. Remember, you’re competing for “double taps” (Likes) along with professional photographers, celebrities, and brands that aren’t afraid to go to extremes.

So here are 5 ways to take your Instagram account to the next level.

  1. Include your account in your content calendar

To make the biggest impact with Instagram, always incorporate your images as a part of your regular content calendar. While one-off, spontaneous photos are always an option with the platform, having at least a general idea of the kind of content you want to post will help direct and guide your photographers throughout a week or month.

Take, for example, Saturday Night Live’s Instagram account. During the week, they take photos of the general arc of the show: first big pitch meetings, then writers working hard on sketches, then costumes and sets in progress, then celebrity rehearsal sightings. Come Saturday night, it’s all behind the scenes photos of performers running backstage, changing costumes, or joking around between sketches. All day Sunday they post follow up photos of big moments backstage, after party candids, or what performers do on their day off.

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Your business may not have a similar weekly arc, but you likely have certain sales cycles, big events or other promotional efforts that you can align content around.

  1. Use the advanced editing tools

Anyone can take any old photo and choose a filter, but to truly make photos outstanding, it behooves you to use the advanced editing tools first before using filters.

To use these tools, simply click the wrench after taking or choosing your photo from your library. Many of the adjustments available here can either fix minor flaws (low light), enhance detail, or make colors pop.

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  1. Use other apps to add a different dimension to your product or brand

If you want to add something outside the Instagram “norm” to your photos, you’ll need to edit or enhance through other apps. Aviary, Camera+, Afterlight and Snapseed bring even more advanced editing options to the table. PicStitch, WordSwag, FontCandy and Party! Party! are fun apps to bring photos together, add text or easily create .gifs. You’ll need to edit or deck out photos in these apps first, then send to Instagram.

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  1. Use video to tease other content or showcase products or services beyond stills

Instagram offers the use of up to 15 seconds of video on the platform. Some of the best uses of video are often when teasing or promoting other content (giving a short clip of a story to promote an upcoming podcast) or showcasing something that just can’t be shown in a still photo (acro yoga or hand-balancing to promote an upcoming class). Video is a powerful tool on Instagram; think carefully through how you can use video to enhance what you’re already doing with photos.

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  1. Monitor analytics

There’s no point in putting in all the work into any content without determining if it’s actually effective. While you could splurge on a robust tool like Simply Measured, some free tools can give great insights into how photos are performing on the platform. Iconosquare (formerly Statigram), is a free tool that gives insight into follower engagement, spread rate, filter and hashtag impact and account growth. You can use other tools like Klout to cross reference which content seems to be resonating best with your audience, as well.

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Once you are monitoring your Instagram content regularly, adjust your tactical approach as necessary. If fans are responding well to certain filters or hashtags add more into the mix, while phasing out content that has lower likes or engagement.

And of course, never be afraid to try something new and creative by showcasing your brand, product or service from a unique angle. Instagram users are hungry for great content to consume and tell their friends about!

5 Un-Tapped Content Resources in Your Own Business

We get it. Sometimes content creators are departments of one. Even if you have a few more on your team, constantly creating new content can be a challenge for small marketing and content departments.

Fortunately for smaller departments, it’s likely that you have untapped content resources right in your own business. Here are five you can seek out today:

  1. Your Boss

    What vision does your CEO, boss or founder have for your company this year? In five years? In ten? What did he or she dream about before taking this role or position? What does he or she believe will never change about the core values of your company?It might be difficult to get a fresh blog post from a busy supervisor or leader each week, but think of creative ways you can use your boss’ voice in your communication with your customers. Key leaders within your company likely have a bigger picture of your products or services. How can you use this picture to supplement your content?

  1. Your Co-Workers

    Whether you simply highlight your co-workers in an employee spotlight feature, or whether you identify natural content creators in other departments, your fellow employees can be a great help in your content efforts.We often conduct content ideation sessions with a cross-section of employees from the entire company. We’ve found that while marketers have their finger on the pulse of company messaging, other employees bring a unique perspective of the company based on their day to day dealings with customers, other employees or your product and service. How does your administrative assistant view the company? How about one of your repairmen who takes customer calls?

    These individuals are key components to how your company runs, and can bring ideas you may not have thought of to your content offerings.

  1. Your Customers

    We often advocate on TKGenius that you poll your customers to get content ideas, or even ask your customers to supply you with content themselves. So, how are they using your product? Are they taking photos of themselves getting a haircut in your salon? Did they recently enjoy one of your events and tell their friends about it on Social Media?Not only will your customers give you great ideas for content, they are often great content creators without even knowing it. One of our clients asks customers to submit photos of themselves or their children enjoying the brand’s snack foods, then features these customers on their Facebook page. These posts are always fun, and are often the most liked and shared on the page. All the administrator needs to do is post the photo and write a quick caption.

    Bottom line: your customers can save you time and give you the inside scoop on which content best suits them.

  1. Your History

    #tbt! Does your company keep copies of old newsletters? What about old photos, past versions of your products or old videos? All of this content can be resurrected to serve your current content efforts.For example, one of our clients has been in business for over 100 years. We regularly help them publish their vintage advertising campaigns, past photos and previous product iterations on both Social Media and their website. Customers appreciate these glimpses into the past, because they know they’re getting a quality product with a long history of success.

  1. Your Processes Your Processes

    How are your products made? Are there aspects of your production you could show customers? What about how you take calls? What part of “behind the scenes” might your customers like to know and understand? Do you have an interesting inter-office culture you could showcase? What about a specific event or charity your employees like to support?Transparency, when possible, is a powerful way to build trust with your customers. While you may not be able to show exactly how a product makes it from point A to point B, you might be able to show what it looks like when you pack a box to ship, or how a salesperson greets a customer.

    One of our clients will sometimes show through photos what a window installation looks like on a home. Customers appreciate this insight of the service because it both shows how knowledgeable our client is, and takes some of the mystery out of the service itself.

    Want more ideas on how to generate content for your business? Sign-up for our next Breakfast Bootcamp on Content Ideation!

    photo source

5 Unique Ways to Jump Start Content Creation

Maybe you’re neck deep in creating your 2015 content calendar, or maybe you’re creating a calendar for the first time. Either way, mapping out content for six months to a year can be a daunting task (here’s hoping you’re not trying to get it done in one fell swoop!).

As you look for inspiration to plan and create your content, it’s easy to run out of ideas, especially when you are immersed in the day to day activities of your brand and business.

Here are five unique ways to jumpstart your content creation when things start to feel a little rote and routine.

  1. Move
    Research shows that movement and exercise helps boost creativity. So when was the last time you got up from your desk and walked around your office? Take time to notice things around your business that seem interesting.Are there facts about your building or physical structure your audience might find interesting? What about people in your organization that are new that you could profile? Or does your company have employees that have worked for a record amount of time? Does your business have a specific culture? Special days, holidays, or employee milestones you observe?

    Not only will getting up from your area help get the blood flowing to your brain, it will help you notice things about your business you would never see from your office.

  1. Use Your Audience
    If you are not mining your audience for content, you are missing a huge opportunity to not only connect with them, but to also create content you know will land and resonate. Informal Social Media polls, your audience’s frequently asked questions, and even more formal surveys help to give you better insight into the kind of content they want to consume.If your audience is particularly creative or active on Social Media, you can ask them to contribute their content directly to you in the form of a contest (Instagram is a great medium for this tactic), or simply as a way to highlight how they are enjoying your product or service.
  1. Mind Map
    Content Ideas - Mind Mapimage source 

    I still regularly mind map for clients, friends and even myself if I want new ideas or a new perspective on a topic or problem. Mind mapping is particularly effective if you are looking to create new categories for content.The best thing about mind mapping, though, is that it’s a simple exercise to complete on your own or with a group. If using a group, invite people outside of your content department to join you…you never know what perspectives about your business they can bring!

  1. Re-Purpose
    No need to re-invent the wheel if you already have a great cache of content. Instead, go back through some of your most popular pieces of content and determine if you can present the content again in a new and fresh way. Can a great blog post be turned into a script for a new video? Can a popular video be re-imagined into an infographic? Can an informative infographic be the basis for a new white paper?Use your imagination and see how you can present content that worked in your past as content that works in your future.
  1. Get Inspired
    That’s right, Pinterest ain’t just for weddings! Keep boards full of photos, articles and videos that inspire you. Pin what your competitors are pinning. Follow your competitors and other companies in your niche or industry.Already Pinterest addicted? Use tools like Feedly to keep tabs on industry articles, blogs and keywords. Or use your walls or whiteboards to gather great photos. And of course, don’t shy away from simply taking in a great concert, art show or inspirational video. Sometimes our brains just need a taste of someone else’s creativity to spark our own.

    Want more help creating great content for your business? Check out our upcoming Breakfast Bootcamps!

Why Are YouTube Ads Getting Longer?

I’ve noticed something on YouTube lately. The paid ads are getting longer. Have you noticed? For instance, there is one 7 minute commercial from Johnnie Walker with Jude Law. On other channels, there are full 20+ minute episodes of a YouTuber trying to get people to notice and subscribe to a channel.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label YouTube Ad

What should a consumer make of these ads? Should they be taken as just some free content or are they commercial-based entertainment? Obviously the advertiser has a goal. Should we be buying these products? Should we watch the whole video? Should we subscribe to their channel? Are we supposed to click on the video?

Truth be told, I constantly find myself watching an increasing number of ads in the 5+ minute realm. Something about not having too much information crammed in over the course of just 30 seconds. I enjoy a good story. I enjoy being given the opportunity to invest my time in something that could be worthwhile (clarification: Johnnie Walker ads are not necessarily classified as worthwhile).

In one instance, I started getting full episodes from a channel that I keep up-to-date with. I have never subscribed to this channel, but had been checking it multiple times a week to watch new videos. Then suddenly I hear: “Hi! This is … Welcome to my Channel!” starting off the ad between two videos from the playlist I was in. At first I was confused: Did I accidently click on this video? Why am I watching this? What just happened?

Then I realized it was an ad. I skipped it after the allotted five seconds of watch-time and continued on where I was. Is this a sign that I should just subscribe to this channel?

The main thing that caught my attention about these new long-tail ads is that they can be quite captivating. And interesting. And motivating. To me, they are better than 30, 60 or 90 second ads.

I realize that a subconscious process begins in my brain when these ads begin. I feel like the maker of these videos actually took a substantial amount of time and resources to create this – and isn’t just trying to B.S. me into buying something. It’s almost as though the consumer/subscriber in me appreciates the attempt at convincing me to act.

If your customers are anything like me, putting out some of these longer, fun and more appealing ads through YouTube might not be a bad plan. Worth a shot, right?

Just remember YouTube, and subsequently Google, are fickle beasts.

What are your thoughts? Would you try longer ads for your brand on YouTube?

Are You Using Twitter’s New Analytics?

Ever wondered just how much of an impact your Tweets have? Is anyone REALLY listening? Are they even doing the basics, like checking out your profile?

Now every Twitter user has access to this information and more. Originally rolled out for verified users and marketers, analytics.twitter.com is available for all users who want to see how well their Tweets perform.

The new dashboards are a little like Google Analytics for Tweets, allowing users to drill down into each individual Tweet to see how it performs on the platform. Take a look at how many impressions your Tweets earned (the number of times users saw the Tweets on Twitter), the number of engagements (the number of times a user interacted with your Tweet), and the engagement rate (the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions).

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics 2

The data also shows demographic information about your followers. Check out the gender breakdown of your followers, their location and interests, and who your followers follow to give yourself better insight about your community on the platform.

While cross-referencing this data with other tools like Google Analytics, BufferApp, Hootsuite or Simply Measured will give you a more complete snapshot of just how well your content is performing, this is a good step from Twitter to allow users the chance to craft a more strategic approach to the platform. As a bonus, use the same dashboard to set up Twitter Cards and really boost the media experience for your followers and customers.

Check out analytics.twitter.com and let us know what you think!

3 Reasons Pinterest is Good for Business

If you’re like me, Facebook is where you go to creep on people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you go for news and current events, Instagram is where you go for cute pictures of cats and dogs, and Pinterest is where you go to get inspired.

pinterestWhat makes Pinterest so unique is that it creates a desire to explore and engage. When users see a delicious recipe, they want to eat it. When they see a DIY project, they want to try it. When they see a nail polish color they like, they want to buy it. Pinterest is visual, product-focused and interactive, and if you use it correctly, it can be a marketer’s dream. Here’s why:

  1. Pinners have purchase intent – When pinners browse product boards, they are actually looking for things they want to buy. Pins that incorporate pictures, prices, availability and reviews typically do well because they offer all of the information pinners need to make a purchase.
  2. Pinterest helps you understand your audience – Pinterest boards tell hand-crafted stories about what pinners care about. When you know what users have pinned in the past, it’s easy to target them with similar products moving forward.
  3. Repins connect you with new audiences – Pinterest connects people through shared interests. If a user repins your product, it instantly gets visibility from an entirely new audience that might be interested. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but this word of mouth connects directly to your e-commerce site.

Although it may have a reputation as a crafter’s dreamland, Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that can lead to very real business results. Try it out, and see for yourself!

Facebook Still Drives Traffic

We have discussed Facebook’s organic reach decline on TKGenius for the last several months. At the risk of angering big and small brands alike, Facebook slowly reduced the organic reach for business pages over the last year, resulting in some brands leaving for other platforms such as Twitter and Google+.

Was this a good decision on the part of the brands saying “Adios”? Probably not. As new traffic numbers are released by Shareaholic for the second quarter, the infographic below shows that Facebook is still by and large the biggest driver of traffic.

shareaholic

As you can see, referrals began to climb from March to June, but really took off in the second quarter, with Facebook driving 23.39% of ALL referral traffic in June, with Pinterest coming in a distant second. This is an increase of more than 150% from last June, allowing Facebook to continue to be the dominant force in social media.

Pinterest, the darling of the web, also saw a dramatic increase over last year. Image as content is getting more and more love from users – proved by the more than 69% in growth since last year.

Coming up third in referrals is Twitter. While Twitter remains very popular among users, it doesn’t have the reach that Facebook continues to garner. Most brands use it for branding alone as opposed to trying to actually drive traffic.

What does all of this data mean to you? Basically, Facebook, even with the organic reach nosedive, performs. It will still provide the best ROI of any of the social media platforms out there. Facebook changes just enough to keep users interested. The newsfeed changes constantly, creating an environment where users can’t help but to read, click, share, like and save. It still provides an enormous amount of interaction for brands and the traffic numbers speak for themselves.

So, did you decide to just muddle through Facebook’s organic reach decline, or did you choose to abandon ship and spend your online marketing dollars elsewhere? If you left, we’d love to hear what you’ve been doing instead of Facebook.

Photo Credit

Social News: Facebook Eases the Pain of Managing Multiple Business Pages

Do you manage multiple Facebook business pages and/or ad accounts?

If the answer is yes, you’ve likely felt the mind-numbing pain and frustration of trying to keep all of your accounts straight. Up until now, Facebook hasn’t made it easy for users to manage multiple pages.

At TKG, we manage multiple business pages and advertisement accounts – and it can get quite cumbersome to navigate from account to account, in addition to having the risk of using incorrect payment methods on different advertising campaigns without a way to switch between payment methods.

All of that has changed with the launch of Facebook’s business manager tool. Marketers, rejoice!

The new tool will allow admins more control and keep everything in one place.

Here are the basic steps to get your Facebook business manager account setup:

Step 1: Login to your Facebook Account

Step 2: Go to http://business.facebook.com

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click get started.

setting up facebook business manager

Step 4: Read the “Getting Started” page, then click “Next”.

Step 5: Enter Information about your business, then click “Next”.

Step 6: Enter your business name and select which page you want to use as your primary business page. Please note that you need to have admin privileges for the page you would like to use as the primary. Click “Next” to move to the next step.

Step 7: Enter your personal information to setup your business manager user account, then click “Next.”

And just like that you are set up to add business pages and ad accounts. From now on, you will need to go to http://business.facebook.com to manage your primary business page.

Try it out and let us know what you think! Does the change help your business?

Do Social Media Best Practices Work for You?

best type of tweetIt’s easy enough to read article after article on general best practices for Social Media. We’ve even posted some of those general best practices here, because they are great guidelines for businesses looking to get started or to enhance their Social Media efforts.

While these general best practices are named so for a reason (they do indeed fare well on Social), there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Adhering blindly to any practice without monitoring and testing to ensure its best for your audience can often mean plummeting results in engagement or followers.

Businesses and brands who use best practices as initial guidelines only, and move forward to develop their own unique formula for Social usually fare well in the mercurial world of selfies and viral Kickstarter campaigns. Here are some ways I’ve been seeing how non-general-best-practices have been working for clients lately.

1. “Normal” Tweets

Twitter upgraded its platform to be much more visual. In fact, a Twitter feed is now virtually identical to a Facebook feed, with links, photos and videos blended seamlessly together in a single stream.

While this visual experience can make for a richer interaction with your brand, some of our clients are actually seeing better results with “normal” Tweets, or Tweets that are simply statements or questions, with no photos, videos or links attached.

The important thing with normal Tweets is that they contain compelling, shareable or engaging content to help them stand out from photos or videos. Often, they come in the form of a question, a fact, or even just a witty take on a service or brand promise.

2. Tagged Posts and Mentions

Facebook, of course, swings heavily visual, especially with recent updates including more video in feeds. If you’re running a Page on Facebook, however, you’ve probably noticed that even visually compelling posts have taken a nosedive in organic reach.

You’re not alone. Recent algorithm changes have hit Pages hard, meaning that less and less of your content will be seen organically by your fans (the platform is gradually moving toward a world where brands will likely need to pay for, oh, just about any exposure in individual user’s feeds).

However, we have seen some better than average engagement with posts that not only feature a photo, but also tag or mention other businesses or brands in the photo caption or status update. Not only does this tactic seem to push the post a little further into the feed, it can be a great help to fledgling pages that need as much exposure as possible.

Do be careful here, though, to use this tactic in a natural and friendly way, since it can very easily morph into spam.

instagram clean photos3. “Clean” Photos

When sharing photos, especially on Instagram, it’s tempting to overuse enhanced controls and filter options. Sometimes these filters can be used to great effect…and sometimes, well, less is more.

For some of our clients (and even TKG!), we’ve seen higher engagement with photos with no filters, or with filters that only subtly enhance or alter the photo.

While I’m currently monitoring from month to month to check numbers against each other (it’s possible that certain hashtags are coinciding with no filter posts, or that we simply haven’t stumbled upon the “right” filter for our audience yet), it is interesting to note what is working in the present. In a sea of harsh burnouts and overly wide frames, it does appear that simple, well-lit photos are outshining layer after layer of poorly used tilt shift.

Again, best practices are named so for a reason, and they’re always a great place to start for your brand or business. But as the competition to be heard continues to increase on Social Media, it’s more important than ever to closely monitor analytics and insights and adjust general best practices to your best practices.