By now we’re all super familiar with the “story” function that seems to be built into every major social platform at this point. What was once a unique feature on mobile app Snapchat, is now all the rage on Instagram, trying to break through on Facebook and rumoured to be launching as a built-in camera feature on Twitter soon.
Whether you use the feature religiously on or you’ve never bothered to check it out, it’s important to know what value it adds and how it can be used as part of an Instagram strategy to help you reach further and engage better.
Stories Vs. Posts
The first thing we need to determine is what the difference is between the two and how you can strategically decide what type of content to post where on Instagram. Social media has always been about sharing small snapshots and tidbits from our lives over the course of time and Instagram’s newsfeed does a wonderful job or organizing those for us in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Unfortunately, the news feed is where the algorithms come into play which means sometimes your narrative can get lost or your messages can unintentionally annoy or bombard your audience due to the system making guessing and trying to assume what people want to see and when.
Stories provide a fix for these challenges by literally stringing together the narrative and keeping it moving.
Ease of Use & Accessibility
The major value of stories is undeniably where they’re located on Instagram and how people engage with them. When your content is front and centre at the top of the app at all times, your audience is much more likely to see it and dive in to explore as organic impressions can be all over the place and based on previous engagements.
Compared to Snapchat, Instagram’s integration of the feature is much easier to navigate. Plus, thanks to the popular app, Instagram’s audience was already quite familiar with the functionality so it was easily and quickly adopted.
The Big Benefit
Stories present a unique opportunity to post as much as necessary and not have to worry about being penalized by the algorithm. They’re fantastic for more grassroots, raw content that encourage engagement and input with features like the Question button or the Poll option. Businesses can have fun using GIFs, filters and stickers to jazz up their content and can also tag other users, locations and even include hashtags to be part of a larger collection of stories curated by keywords.
Stories place your content front and centre and instead of forcing your audience to consume it, the feature give them the power back when it comes to what they view and for how long. If people are viewing your content in stories, they’re doing it because they want to and they’ve gone out of their way to check out what you’ve got to say.
It seems like every week there’s a new update to the stories feature! While some directly benefit users, some are also great tools for businesses so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Instagram “New” story at the top of your feed to stay up to date with the newest updates.
What new feature would you like to see incorporated into Instagram stories?
Technically we could swap the date in the title with any date in the last 10 years and this would still be a relevant message, but for the purpose of keeping this current, let’s stick with 2019. The marketing opportunities within the realm of social media marketing have done nothing but grow exponentially for years on end and we’ve all been witnesses. Whether we’re spending our personal time exploring these platforms to stay in touch with friends or land a new job, or we’re doing research to see how they could help our startups or employers send their messages out into to the world, social media has become an unavoidable part of our every day lives. So much so, that brands and businesses have caught on and it’s more clear than ever that this is where you need to be to succeed.
That being said, are you keeping up with the times? Are you two steps ahead of your competitors or five steps back? If you’re going to make any resolutions in 2019, make one to really sit down and find your place on social media so you can invest accordingly.
Whether you’re skeptical (seriously? STILL?!) or just need some reminding, here are five reasons why you really really really need to invest in social media marketing for your business in 2019:
It Provides Authenticity
As a society, we’re far past the point of trusting everything that advertisers say. We’re skeptical, educated and bolder than ever when it comes to our outlook on marketing so as a business, you need to adapt. Social media gives your brand a channel to push out messages on a regular basis, that aren’t robotic advertisements, and stay in touch with consumers by offering a transparent view into your company that lends itself well to the overall genuine vibe that all consumers are searching for.
It Helps Strengthen Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the acronym that we’re all familiar with but aren’t quite sure what it means or how to achieve maximum success using it as part of a marketing strategy. Luckily, you don’t have to know much to know that updating social media profiles regularly can help you show up in relevant search results on Google.
It Works Well With Your Other Advertising Initiatives
Research has proven that 81% of consumers research a business online before they make a purchase so where you show up, what information is provided and how you come off to the world are incredibly important. Social media campaigns are just one part of the puzzle. Make sure that when you’re running a promotion or campaign on other platforms (newspaper, radio, television, magazines, in-store handouts etc), that your social channels match. It’s all about using them as part of an overall strategy.
It’s Cost Effective
Seriously, for real. While the platforms themselves are free to join, it’s no secret that we’re not all exactly equipped and confident navigating them on our own. Even if you pay for assistance with platform maintenance, the cost breaks down to just dollars per day and isn’t your time worth much more than that? You could also invest in custom training sessions to help you feel more confident setting and achieving goals online. Either way, the cost is a fraction of what you’d pay for a one-off magazine ad the size of a business card. Plus, the skills you learn are much more valuable in the short and long term than the real estate on any one magazine page.
It Builds Engaged Communities
Regularly updating your social media channels means you’re giving consumers a chance to learn more about you and what you offer. When followers interact with your content, their personal connections can see that they’ve endorsed and supported you and that’s worth much more than a 15 second radio spot ever will be. Over time, an engaged online community builds on itself in ways that other mediums just can’t compare with.
So what are you waiting for?
Reach out today and let’s get social!
Tis the season for new ideas, concepts, giveaways and promotions but is your business ready? It’s one thing to have some cool ideas, but will all of your content come together in time to make an actual impact online? The holidays offer such a short window of opportunity as time seems to fly towards the end of the year. It often isn’t until Halloween passes that we realize what’s coming next from a marketing perspective and we’re often caught with our hands still in the candy bowl, wrapping up these promotions as the fall season comes to a close.
The key to success with holiday promotions is more than just giving people a discount on something they need/want, it’s about making sure they have enough time to make purchase decisions and that they’re reminded of you and your awesome products/services as much as possible during this short window of time. Need some help slaying your holiday content as we approach December? These five tips will help you put it all together in time!
- Tell a holiday story
The easiest way to make an impact with your holiday content is to tell a story and tug at those heartstrings. The holidays are ripe for emotional expenditure so make sure your social content does more than just earn you double taps. When it comes to content, think more quality storytelling and less direct selling.
- Use stories for complimentary content
Think outside the grid and plan content for your Instagram stories that compliments what you’re sharing and promoting in your posts. Take it a step further and consider incorporating live video to help amplify your messaging and push through the holiday clutter!
- Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing works…and there’s stats to prove it! Finding a few on-brand, high-influence social media users to amplify your message can have a huge impact. If you’re not sure how to choose influencers or where to start, consider looking up some research tools and ask yourself whether each influencer you look at has the aesthetic, audience size, and engagement you’re looking for.
- Run paid ads
There’s no doubting that paid ads can have a huge impact for small businesses, if they’re done the right way. When it comes to the purchase cycle, the holidays are the peak of consumerism so getting into that cycle with a series of paid and targeted ads is a no brainer. Do some research on your audience to determine what they like, want, feel and need so you can curate your ad content accordingly. Think beyond geographic and demographic targets and look deeper for your core audience that’s likely to purchase/sign up/join.
- Create a schedule and stick to it
Stay a step ahead of the crazy holiday season by creating a schedule that works for you/your team and using it to fuel everything you do online. This will help you plan our promotions, reminders, contests and more with ease as you move through the weeks leading up to Christmas.
We’ve all been there; juggling 20 tasks at once, pretending to be a graphic designer and fiddling around website code like you’ve done it a million times before and aren’t in the least terrified to break everything. As a business owner it’s not unusual to wear many hats at once, and often times, limited marketing budgets make this more of a reality than we’d like to admit. But whether you have a plethora of incredibly useful skills, or you’re a one-trick pony that specializes in one realm and crushes it daily, there are definitely some apps, programs and tools out there that can help you make the best of your unique situation and needs. There’s a time and a place to step back and let technology help so just give in and let it happen. Your schedule and your brain will thank you!
Let’s be honest, very few entrepreneurs have what it takes to navigate the Adobe Creative Suite of programs and blast out incredible branded content. Even those who do have the skills, might not be able to find the time. Cue these great tools that can help you do everything from gather inspiration for content, create collages, add text, motion graphics and more.
There are very few people who actually enjoy writing and find it a simple task to accomplish. For most entrepreneurs and industry employees, writing is not fun and for some, it’s downright terrifying. Luckily, there are some pretty cool tools and apps you can use to step up your writing game and get the support you need to communicate your ideas clearly.
So you’ve got some great photos but need to touch them up a bit without uploading everything into a complex computer program and pretending you know how to use the hundreds of special tools they offer. These apps and programs can make this process a lot simpler and keep your editing contained to your device where the photos already live.
We could all use some help when it comes to scheduling updates on our social media accounts, especially since the list of platforms seems to be never ending these days! There are a bunch of popular industry tools that provide free and paid options which are bound to make things a lot less stressful when it comes to sourcing content, scheduling and maintenance.
We embrace spring cleaning for our homes and our lives with open arms but what about our digital lives? Aren’t our social media accounts just as in need as our closets when it comes to purging and organizing? If your digital life could really use a good cleanse, consider these simple tips that will have you feeling better in no time:
Clean up the Clutter
We’re all guilty of using social sign ins across the internet because let’s be real, creating a new account login every single time we want to use an app or service, is way too time consuming. The problem is that many of us have been using social media for a decade so every time we use Facebook to authenticate a login through another app or service, we can end up with hundreds of apps that have access to our information on a regular basis, even if you haven’t accessed them for years. While we’re not asking you to stop using social sign in, it’s important to keep an eye on which apps have access so you can purge unnecessary connections. To do this, head to your Facebook page and click the arrow in the blue bar at the top of the screen. Select settings and then choose “Apps and Websites” along the left hand side. You’ll see a list of active apps that you have given access to and you can remove items right from that screen by selecting them and choosing Remove.
Polish Your Reputation
It’s no secret that your online reputation matters and employers are searching candidates on a regular basis. How would you fare if your employer looked you up today? While we all do what we can to protect our privacy and ensure we’re sharing and engaging appropriately, it can be hard to track down all the not-so-great decisions we made prior to caring about the workforce. Use a service like Scrubber Social to clean up embarrassing posts all the way back to the creation of your account so you can stop wondering what people are unearthing from the past when they look you up on social media platforms.
Give Your Accounts A Purge
It’s not hard to accumulate hundreds (or thousands) of followers over the course of time on each social media platform and while it’s always nice to have reassurance that you’re worthy of a follow, who you follow back mindlessly is half of the problem. Go through your social media accounts, specifically the accounts that you follow, and don’t be afraid to purge accounts that just aren’t serving you any more. Whether they were accounts you followed to enter contests or businesses you connected with years ago that you just don’t like anymore, removing them will lighten the load in your newsfeed and help you better curate the information you see and interact with on a regular basis. Tread lightly though, the last thing you want is to upset an old friend and cause an argument over an “unfriend” scenario. If you’re on the fence about removing someone on Facebook specifically, try the unsubscribe button instead so you can avoid their updates and all the drama of fully removing them from your circle of friends.
Create New Habits
Moving forward, the best way to stay on top of your social media accounts is to create new habits so you’re always conscious of the decisions you make. Get into the habit of daily maintenance that can make things easier for you in the long run and help you stay on top of things with minimal effort.
We’ve all been there; hunched over the computer, organizing our content in a third party software so we can blast it out over the course of the week and feel like we’ve accomplished something. While sourcing content is half the battle, figuring out when to schedule it to maximize engagement can be tricky. Instead of playing the guessing game next week, consider these updated stats that outline the best days and times to post your awesome content:
We use social media in just about every stage of travel. We discover where we want to go while scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram. We’ve ditched guidebooks and translation guides in favour of apps like Lonely Planet and Google Translate. We’re avoiding travel agents and instead, are using Expedia, Kayak and other travel hacking websites to get us the best deal. Then once we’re off on our adventure, we use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Snapchat to keep our family and friends updated with our epic moments as we go.
I recently arrived home from an epic vacation in Costa Rica and while I turned off my notifications and took a hiatus from managing accounts, I did sign into my personal profiles to keep my family and friends in the loop with all my adventures. I recorded videos, posted boomerangs and filled my Instagram feed with photos as I made my way through my ten day adventure. As I develop into a more avid traveller, I’m discovering that social media plays a large role in how I research, plan and share my travel experiences.
Technology has done more than make travel convenient, it’s also made the process a lot more eco-friendly with advance digital checkins for hotels, e-tickets for events and boarding passes that can be scanned on our phones. It’s also helped simplify our packing routines by squeezing multiple functions into singular devices like smartphones.
It’s even helped us surpass one of the biggest previous barriers known to travellers; understanding and using foreign languages. It’s eliminated the need for phrase books by giving us the insight we need in the palm of our hands through apps like Google Translate and Duolingo. Technology has also made the entire process easier and safer when it comes to electronic payments.
Aside from technology impacting travellers individual experiences, businesses and tourism boards are also getting in on the action with branded and location-based hashtags promoting certain regions or activities. Businesses are also using chat bots on social media to answer questions, deliver tailored customer service solutions and provide added value to travellers. No matter how you spin it, technology has drastically changed the travel industry and will continue to impact it as more advancements are made. No one knows for sure what the future will hold for travellers, but you can bet it’ll be pretty cool!
How has technology made your personal travel experience better?
You’ve probably heard about it by now; the new king of content aka influencer marketing. There’s no denying that customers are smarter now than ever before. They don’t trust brands like they used to so they look to real humans to recommend products and services and that’s exactly how influencer marketing was born. If you aren’t familiar with what it means or how it works, you’ll want to take notes because it’s already a huge force in the marketing industry and it poised to continue growing as the years pass.
Easter is a holiday that tends to creep up and catch us off guard every year because the date is always changing! Even if you aren’t the religious type, it’s a time to celebrate spring, eat far too much candy and spend time with family. To me, it’s a little reminder that beautiful weather is on its way and that makes me happy! Ironically, my birthday this year falls directly on Easter Sunday so the holiday is taking on a whole new meaning for me haha! It’s the perfect excuse to indulge in even more goodies and treats. Even though it’s not your birthday and even though you may not be big into the holiday itself, as a business there are many ways you can get involved and encourage your followers/fans to engage:
- Host A Virtual Egg Hunt
Want to get followers/fans involved and encourage them to engage? Host a virtual egg hunt! Create a few custom social media posts with hidden Easter eggs and hold a competition to find them. Both Instagram and Facebook would be great platforms to incorporate for a hunt. You can even offer a prize for finding all the eggs that creates incentive for them to continue engaging through the holiday weekend or the week leading up to the big day.
- Create Seasonal Social Graphics
Changing your cover photos or incorporating easter graphics into your content schedule is a simple and fun way to get involved with any holiday and Easter is no exception. Remember to keep it bright and colourful and don’t be afraid to show off your team (think easter bunny ear selfies, easter egg competitions etc).
- Encourage Followers/Fans To Share Moments
Whether it’s taking a photo of their Easter table or sharing their creative Easter egg decorations, there are plenty of ways to encourage user-generated content for the long weekend. Whether you decide to host a contest or you just want users to share content for fun, there are a lot of options at your disposal. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to give people enough time to share and make it easy for them to do so.
- Host A Special Sale/Event
A long Easter weekend means that there’s more to the holiday than egg hunts and chocolate binging. People will be looking for things to do and experience over the course of the weekend so why not host an event or share a limited-time promotion? Whether it’s generating a simple Easter promo code for your online shop, hosting a family-friendly easter event at your location or including hourly specials to entice more visitors to come through the doors, there’s a lot of ways to have fun with it! Regardless of what you choose, don’t forget to create graphics that will help you promote everything online.
From the rise of grassroots influencers to society’s response to fake news and misinformation, the world of social media marketing is ever changing and 2018 is no different. If you want to stay current and ensure that you’re leveraging platforms to their full potential, understanding upcoming trends is the key. Below are the six main trends you should take note of as we move further into 2018:
- The Rise of Micro-Influencers
- Focus on Generation Z
- Twitter’s Bot Crackdown
- The impact of Call-Out Culture on Brands
- More Brands Will Use Messaging Platforms
- Social Media Marketer Battling Fake News