Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

If your business doesn’t have a presence on Instagram, it’s time to reconsider your social media strategy. Here are the top ten reasons why Instagram is right for you.

  1. You need a new way to market to Millennials

The majority of users are in the 18-29 age group and chances are your business services Millennials, whether you know it or not. Due to everyone and their mother (in my case, literally my mother) joining Facebook that platform’s popularity has waned for both the Millennials and Generation Z. It’s not uncommon for members of my generation to be exclusively on Instagram, and since Instagram now has 400 million users and counting this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. So if you don’t have a considerable presence on Instagram you are not effectively reaching the Millennial market.

  1. If you’re looking for more engagement online, visual content is how to get it.

It’s a fact that visual content on any platform receives more likes, comments and shares than plain text. On Instagram visual content, whether it be graphics or video, is paramount. Of course, the caption for the photo or video is very important, but most often a “double tap” happens because the viewer likes what they see.

  1. In need of a digital portfolio? You’re in luck.

Instagram can work for many different types of business’ and industries, whether they offer products or services. For example, many hairdressers and makeup artists use Instagram extensively by posting photos and videos of their work and relevant tips. Ultimately, it turns into an easily accessible, free portfolio for those in the personal services industry.  With the help of relevant hashtags you can easily promote yourself and your work and gain not only a following of potential clients but connect with other colleagues around the world.

These Insta-folios are so effective, that it’s even landed someone a job or two.

  1. You want to connect to your audience, but don’t have a lot of time.

With the help of scheduling software like HootSuite it’s become even easier to create a full range of content for your followers to enjoy. Now you can post from a desktop computer, whereas before Instagram was a purely mobile app.

  1. You want to connect with other businesses in your area (and beyond).

Big businesses often team up on Instagram to expand brand awareness and engagement for both companies. (See #BlueApronXZola!). This is something small businesses should take advantage of as well. Contact other complimentary local or national businesses and ask if they’d be interested in cross promoting. The most popular way of cross promoting is a one-day “Account Takeover”. A takeover usually involves the complimentary business creating branded posts for your Instagram page and visa versa. This can be a win-win for both companies because it creates awareness of your brand in a different but relevant audience.

  1. Uninspired? Get insta-spired.

Instagram is full of inspiring quotes in attractive graphics. Whether you catch one on your photo feed or find one in the explore tab, there’s a quote graphic for everyone! If I’m ever experiencing the dreaded creative block I look to Instagram to find content to curate on my account. Apps like Repost are available for both on Apple and Android. Repost allows you to screenshot the original photo and copy the caption. That way you have a steady flow of content but you’re not stealing someone else’s work.

  1. Need quick and real feedback? Instagram can do that.

With the help of relevant hashtags feedback is just a post away. The best way to get feedback on your Instagram posts, your products, or anything else is to simply ask.

  1. It’s the perfect platform to reach niche markets

It is becoming more and more difficult to get your business noticed on Facebook everyday. If you’re looking for a bigger range of exposure you are required to pony up some cash for it. Fortunately that’s not the case with Instagram. Since such a low percentage of small business owners even Instagram, this platform is wide open for promotions and can provide a wealth of opportunities for your brand.

  1. Looking for more leads?

According to Shopify, Instagram has the second largest average order value.  Simply put, Instagram users are buying more high ticket items than every other social platform other than Polyvore.  So if you are struggling get leads that turn into sales, Instagram would be the platform for you to try. Not only do Instagram users buy more often than almost other platform users, but they spend more money as well.

  1. You can (finally) advertise on Instagram.

Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012, but just recently has Instagram started to venture into paid advertisements and posts. Advertising on Instagram is now available for all businesses, no matter what size and budget, through Facebook’s Power Editor. This is a great advantage for businesses who want to advertise on Instagram and Facebook concurrently since you will be able to view the metrics of both ads on the same platform. There are three different types of advertising spots: a carousel ad (multiple photos you can swipe left to see more), a single photo and a 30 second video. Like Facebook’s ads there are different projected goals and budgets to choose from.

 

So now you know the reasons why Instagram is right for your business. Are you still unsure you have enough time to use it to your business’ full potential? Then it’s time to call Content + Creativity! Our seasoned team will help you craft a clever, cohesive brand message that will span all your social platforms. Call us at 610.937.5178 or email us at info@contentandcreativity.com and we can discuss a custom plan to fit your business’ needs.

Crafting a Cohesive Brand Message with Instagram

Crafting a Cohesive Brand Message with Instagram

As the premier photoblogging platform, Instagram has grown like wildfire and brands were quick to take notice. Apart from maintaining company websites and separate social media accounts, large and small businesses alike have begun to explore the benefits of brand promotion through Instagram.

In early 2015 Instagram clocked in at 300 million active monthly users, and about 75 million use the social media app each day. According to the Pew Institute 53% of users are in the 18-29 age group while the second largest demographic is ages 30-49, which is 25% of the Instagram population.  If your business caters to these age brackets and has been looking for a new way to reach them, Instagram is the right platform for your business.

If you want your business to be a part of the Instagram success story, follow the tips I’ve outlined below.

 

Sync up.

Connect your Instagram to your Facebook. This can either be done when you set up your Instagram account or at any point in the settings tab. This way your photos will be on your Facebook newsfeed as well as Instagram and your current base of Facebook followers will know where to find you and like your Instagram page.

 

Hashtag every photo.

My partner Rhonda has previously written about the use of hashtags and how it can create a successful brand message, and we both recommend that every business should create their own unique hashtag. This will establish a feed of your content and your fans’ relevant photos that is easily searchable and viewed. Content + Creativity’s unique Instagram hashtag is #CCInstaWisdom and we tag any relevant quotes or social tips that may help our followers and the public audience.

Remember to put your lists of hashtags in the comment below your caption to avoid looking spammy. Try to keep it to 10 hashtags or less. You should use any relevant trending hashtags whenever necessary.  I must stress relevant. There’s nothing more desperate looking than a user tagging a photo with every trending tag at the moment.  It will make others unfollow and ignore you completely. Trending topics can be found under the bottom tab that has the looking glass icon.

 

When your audience speaks, LISTEN.

Whether you have a brick and mortar establishment or are strictly online, any business owner can appreciate a glowing testimonial or a positive exchange with customers.  In days past, when these conversations occurred you probably only told your spouse and kids at the end of the day. Platforms like Instagram now give you a place to share positive experiences with your customers to your audience. With their permission, take a photo of the customer or the email exchange and post it with a quick explanation of the situation.

I’ve written previously about how much of a timesaver curated content can really be.  A great way to gather readymade content and photos is to skim your unique hashtag using the search function in the explore tab.  Once you find a photo you like, contact the owner and ask permission to Regram their content. Regram is a free app that takes a screenshot of a specific Instagram photograph so you can repost it onto your page. It will give the proper credit in the photo which is very important. People don’t like seeing “stolen” content on your page, and will either unfollow or leave a negative comment. Despite the automatic attribution to the source in the photo itself, be sure to include a clickable link to the username in the caption. Some examples of what to post via Regram can be pictures of customers at your store, using your product or even fan art.

 

Don’t just post, interact.

Sure, a consistent posting strategy is important. I’ve written a piece previously about how to market to Milennials on Instagram and that was one of my most important suggestions. But offering great content will be only half of your strategy for success on Instagram. The other half is interacting with your followers and other brands. You can’t expect high levels of engagement on your posts if you don’t talk back!

Try exploring relevant hashtags in your field of business. Let’s say you own a local bakery and coffee shop in Philadelphia. You see a Seattle based coffee shop post their best cappuccino artwork. If you like the photo, double tap, which shows up as a “like”. Showing your interest in other brands doesn’t take away from yours, and in fact it may cause a user or two to check out or even follow your page.

 

Finally

Instagram is not the platform where you need to constantly churn out genius-level content. In fact, this should be the most lighthearted platform in your 4 social site arsenal. All you need to worry about is finding fun, entertaining and ultimately shareable posts for your followers to enjoy. Sometimes the silliest things can go viral on Instagram, so be on the lookout.  Happy posting!

Me and my #hashtag

Me and my #hashtag

After many years working in marketing and advertising I have learned that the big concepts driving these disciplines have not changed much but a lot of the little details in implementation are totally different. One of my biggest challenges is the smallest detail of them all. Hashtags. I always have to remind myself to use that one character “pound sign”, because when it comes to hashtags I am admittedly a late adapter. If you are humming, “… strolling down the avenue” right now you just may be in the same boat.

So what is a hashtag, and how and when is it used?

A hashtag is used for searching practically anything on most social media platforms. The word(s) that follow the # symbol can be a company name, brand name, event name or identifying abbreviation, a keyword or even a unique term used to start a conversation or promote a product. When using more than one word in your hashtag do not put spaces in between them.

Let’s say you own a shoe store and you sell Nike. Some of the hashtags you might use are #Nike, #NikeSale, #AirJordan, #WeLoveNike, #JustDoIt, #NikeGivaway, #CrossFit #NameOfYourStore and so on. How to use these hashtags really depends upon the platform.

Twitter

Hashtags were born on Twitter. They gained tremendous popularity as a way to search for information in real time, and from actual witnesses. A good example is the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Traditional news sources may have had trouble reporting due to censorship or the inability to get to the scene, but searching on Twitter for #Egypt resulted in hundreds of observations from folks on the ground.

These days hashtags are a must for businesses, and Twitter makes it much easier for a consumer to find exactly what they are looking for. Putting #Nike in the search bar brings up a page of options that include Live tweets, accounts with the word Nike in them, photos and videos and the most popular, this is retweeted and liked, tweets. For the most part, you won’t see more than three or four hashtags in a tweet, which is probably due to the character limitation on Twitter.

Let me take a detour here for a short discussion about trending topics. Twitter provides a list of the most popular current trends and how many tweets they are receiving. If a topic is relevant to your tweet you should absolutely use it as a hashtag in your tweet. If it is NOT, under no circumstances should you use the #trend – it is considered to be spam, turns people off, and may cost you some followers. You don’t want that, do you? On the other hand, if you can construct a tweet that comfortably incorporates your message with a trending topic by all means use the #trend.

Facebook

While a bit late to the party, hashtags are now quite popular – and in some cases quite overused – on Facebook. When you see a post with little content but a lot of hashtags you know that person is probably fishing for traffic more than attempting to provide useful content. This is not looked upon favorably.

When you do a search for #Nike on Facebook the first results will be any posts or mentions among the reader’s friends or groups they have joined. Then “Top” public posts appear in order of popularity, almost invariably with a great photo or video. Then you have the option of choosing additional search criteria such as People, Pages, Events, Apps, etc.

Instagram

On this popular photoblogging site hashtags are used extensively. The most important thing to remember is never use hashtags in the title of your post; always put your hashtags in the first comment below the photo. My partner Sara has a most excellent article on Instagram where you can learn much more.

YouTube

Hashtags are used minimally on YouTube, both in the video titles and descriptions. A search for #Nike brings up all videos that use the word, with or without the #, and in no particular order that I can discern.

Pinterest

Another site where hashtags are used sparingly by posters is Pinterest. A search for #Nike brings up all references to the brand, whether a hashtag is used or not. The pins that appear seem to in order of most popular, either due to the number of repins or the account itself. Pinterest also allows searches to be refined with choices such as (Nike) Shoes, Clothes, Outfits, etc.

LinkedIn

Hashtags are almost nonexistent on LinkedIn. The only people using them are either in marketing and social media, or they’ve copied and pasted a tweet or Facebook post and left the hashtags in. A search for #Nike brings up companies or divisions of companies named Nike, or people whose names have the word NIKE in them. My favorite of those is Nike than Nagula Raja.

Google+

If you are looking for additional hashtags related to the one you are using, Google+ provides a list of helpful #suggestions. A search for #Nike results in every post that includes the word, with or without a hashtag, in chronological order.

Every marketer and company dreams of launching a campaign that goes viral and brings in tons of leads and sales as a result. Creating a unique hashtag that takes off is just another tool with which you might be able to achieve that goal. With that in mind, I hereby present my personal hashtag in the hope that I can accurately convey my appreciation to anyone who made it to the end of this article:

#ThankYouForReading

Use Facebook to Increase Your In-Store Traffic

Use Facebook to Increase Your In-Store Traffic

Have you noticed how difficult it is to get people to visit your brick-and-mortar store these days? Consumers are really taking to shopping online more and more as evidenced by the fact that internet sales have enjoyed quantum leap increases every year. Plus much of your offline advertising is wasted dollars as print publications continue to decline, and broadcast media is just too expensive.

So what’s a small, independent retailer to do?

Optimally you would sell online, but this can be very costly and time consuming. You would probably need more staff to photograph and write copy for products, a webmaster to make sure everything is working properly all the time, and someone to package and ship. A more practical and economical alternative would be to use Facebook to promote your store and product line.

Grow your audience.

Once your Facebook business page is set up you need to get followers. The simplest way to do this is to advertise on Facebook itself. It’s cheaper and more effective than offline ads and Google AdWords. You can target your audience by age, gender, interests, and most importantly for local businesses, by zip code. Make the ad enticing and you will get more page likes. Offer a discount coupon, notice of a sale, or some incredibly useful – or even controversial – information to pique interest. You can also promote a post from your Facebook page itself for a more detailed description.

Cater to your audience.

Now that you have people viewing your page and posts it’s time to give them what they want. Of course that includes notifications of sales and events, but also new products and trends in your industry. Spice it up. Don’t just present a new product, show that product in use with a video or series of photos. Link to a fashion magazine page where the product appears, or a news article about this product being the best or most sought-after of the year. Also add a little helpful “how to” once in a while.

Make sure that all of your customers have a reason to like your Facebook page. Have cards or flyers in-store promising “Facebook only” deals and discounts. Add the same Facebook blurb to all of your offline advertising and mailings.

Go to the next level.

At some point each day every one of your customers checks their email. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be there in the inbox when they do? Here’s an easy way to set that up. Set up a single page website and offer a substantial discount coupon in exchange for an email address. Then with an autoresponder you can keep in contact with your entire list. This is an inexpensive – and in some cases totally free! – way to remind your customers that you welcome their business.

Move beyond Facebook to other social platforms. If you sell a physical product you absolutely want to be on Instagram and Pinterest. Business-to-business companies always benefit from having a LinkedIn page. Twitter is the best social site for garnering leads. And uploading videos to YouTube is a great way to move your website up in page rankings.

Are you having trouble getting started with social media? In addition to our full service integrated social media services we also offer limited time consulting. We will set up your sites, create content and an editorial calendar, and hold your hand until you are ready to go out on your own. Contact us today: Content+Creativity at info@contentandcreativity.com or 610.937.5187.

Successful Social Media Strategies for Real Estate Agents

Successful Social Media Strategies for Real Estate Agents

Marketing on social media is the perfect method for realtors to generate leads and interest for their listings. The most successful real estate agents are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and most see better results than what they would achieve by mere advertising alone.

Here are some tips to get started.

Create a blog and post on a regular basis.

Although showing the houses you have on the market is important, you also want to disseminate useful information about home buying and selling or home owning. Your goal should be to become an authority in your market and a trusted source of information, as well as the realtor people think of first when they are ready to make a move. Followers of your blog will remember how knowledgeable and helpful you have been and reach out.

Your blog can be a page on your company-provided website or you can set up a free and easily maintained personal page at a site such as WordPress.com. Wherever you blog its important to remember to post regular update, even if your posts are fun or timely but have nothing to do with real estate. The content on your blog becomes your material for posting on the social sites.

Post Photos

Use Facebook and Instagram as extensions of your blog. For Facebook, you can create a detailed photo album for each listing. Unlike personal pages, your professional realtor Facebook page should be without any privacy restrictions. That way anyone in the general public can view what you have to offer, and your content is much easier to share.

Instagram is purely visual, so you can be creative with this medium. Post a photo collage or a quick video of your listing. Videos can also be used for testimonials, quick house tips or whatever might be helpful to your followers. Don’t forget to post hashtags so all of your photos and videos can get the exposure they deserve! Some of the many popular hashtags for realtors are #realestate, #forsale, #realtor, #househunting and #homesforsale. It would also be wise to create a unique hashtag for yourself that spans all social platforms. That way it will be that much easier to find all of your listings and important information.

Network

Any realtor will tell you that a large part of success in the industry is due to networking. Not everyone is looking for a house right at this moment, but perhaps in the future they will, or they may run across someone else who will. You want your name to be the first that comes to mind when the opportunity presents itself.

LinkedIn is a great social platform to connect with colleagues or people you’ve done business with in a more professional setting. As with the other social platforms discussed, LinkedIn is an extension of your blog. You want to get in on the conversation on LinkedIn. Join relevant and local real estate groups, respond to questions and mingle with other agents. Also publish your complete blog posts, because your articles become part of the LinkedIn feed and will be seen by many people.

Interact directly with leads

Both Facebook and Google+ are great for interacting with potential leads. Google+ has a tool called Hangout where you can host a video conference. This would be a great way to impart real estate wisdom to potential homebuyers with an even more personal connection than your blog. With Google Hangout coffee shop meet-ups is a thing of the past. Also, this is a great way to meet with a larger number of people at once and not feel like you are taking that much time out of the day to do it.

First step for Facebook is that you should make it a point to have your own professional page for your real estate clients and colleagues to follow. As a part of the millennial generation, I can say for sure that most people my age are more likely to check Facebook before even going to Google. This can be because the ease of Facebook’s search engine or just simply we are always on Facebook.

Facebook is another avenue where you can build the accessibility of your brand. You want to be a realtor that others come to for real estate advice and help. Linking back to your blog posts along with posting relevant curated content is how you establish that accessibility. Being a realtor relies on extremely responsive customer service, so you need to be visible and where your customers are.

Amp it up!

After you become comfortable with your social media marketing you may want to add email marketing to the mix. You can develop your mailing list by offering a free report that is of interest to your audience in exchange for an email address. Advertising on the report on Facebook should result in a growing list of subscribers. Your content could be a newsletter, a personalized market report, or just notices of your new listings and sales.

 

Do you need a clear social media strategy but don’t know where to start?  We can help design and execute a cohesive brand message that will make you stand out from your competitors. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity or call us at 610.937.5187 and let’s create a custom social media strategy together.

Make a Difference: Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Make a Difference: Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Five years ago I started my journey into the Social Media business and throughout the years I’ve worked with a number of non-profits, charities and religious organizations. One thing they all seemed to have in common was their desperate need for a stronger social media strategy, especially one that they could keep up with.  Unfortunately, smaller non-profit organizations run into some issues with this, either because they don’t see the value of social media or simply don’t have it in the time or budget to have someone working on it on a full time basis. Oftentimes it’s left to someone with little to no experience with social media, which results in less than stellar results.

 

Countless opportunities to reach a new audience.

People of all ages partake in social media every day. Facebook has become the frontrunner of all social media sites, but there are many thriving, popular online communities where your cause can find a home. You can grow your audience organically or run ads on various social sites to gain enthusiastic followers and donors. It is possible to target your ads towards a local audience, a professional group or anyone who expresses interest in your cause or similar worthy endeavors. And targeting high-income individuals can greatly increase the chances of larger donations.

 

Brand explosion is just a viral video away.

Who could forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? A simple video campaign that challenged friends, colleagues and family members to choose between donating $100 or to drench themselves in icy cold water raised over $115 million dollars for the ALS Association in 2014. What a truly incredible feat.

Of course not every campaign could come close to the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the potential of a viral sensation both to raise money and awareness is always possible. Also, video marketing can help promote your next big event. Creating a unique hashtag attached to all the details about the event can help condense all the information for your followers, and is also a way for you to easily monitor what people are saying. Any amount of buzz around the event through social media is a surefire way to bump up attendance.

 

Activism made easy.

When someone believes in a cause they tend to share it with their followers and friends over various social networks. Over the years, Facebook has helped facilitate activism and charitable giving through their native apps like “Causes”. As a non-profit with a growing online fan base, it would also be wise to reach out to other relevant non-profits over social media and plan to team up for an event. Smart phones are making it even easier to connect with your audience online. Invest in mobile advertisements for new followers, donations or to promote your next event.

 

Public relations are in your control.

You know how difficult it is to get the press to cover your organization’s activities and events, and when they do they often get things wrong, or focus on an angle that isn’t helpful. Your social sites are where you can direct and control the information you want the public to know. Social media can be a way to provide your audience with some insight as to where the donations are going and how your activities are improving the local community and the world. It is also a place where the organization can project its integrity and good reputation.

Non-profits, more than any other type of entity, will live or die by how well they are perceived by their supporters. There are countless websites that provide information about how money is allocated for each charity, and the last thing you want is for these websites to be publishing false information and hurt your reputation.  It is unfortunately very common to have the first search term in Google be your company’s name followed by FRAUD. Don’t let this happen. Be proactive with your online presence. It’s better to deal with a social media crisis as it’s happening than after it’s too late to repair the damage.

Now that you are aware that getting your non-profit organization involved with social media marketing can result in a larger audience, more donations and higher public visibility you may want to know how to get started. We can help! Contact Content + Creativity info@contentandcreativity.com or 610.937.5187 to find out what we can do for you.

If You Can’t Make It, Curate It.

If You Can’t Make It, Curate It.

Constantly creating unique content for your business’ blog and social media accounts can be an exhausting task. Thankfully, that’s where curated content comes in. What is curated content? Anything that’s not created by you or someone on your team that may be helpful or relevant to your business’ industry and/or customers is defined as curated content. Curating content is an effective and time-saving way to fill up your editorial calendar. Here are some simple ways to make shared information sustain the buzz around your brand online.
The Great Time-saver
As was previously mentioned, creating appealing blog posts, articles, social posts and whatever else can be time consuming. The time spent on writing could be taking away from your social life or even running your business effectively. Sometimes your most highly regarded content that you put your heart and soul into doesn’t get the level of engagement it deserves. To combat this, second party content should be used to fill up your editorial calendar. This way your social profiles are filled with content and it would take much less time than writing all the goods yourself.

Not an expert on a relevant topic? You’re in luck…
Whatever industry or industries your business may fall under, it’s likely that nobody is an expert on every little nuance. That’s where content from opinion leaders or experts come in! This could be helpful when trying to fill your suggested 40% of monthly informational content on your social pages. (link to graphic I did). Remember to introduce the curated content in a way that will link back to your product or service. Otherwise, what would be the point of posting it?
Let’s say you own a landscaping business. HGTV posts an article on what to plant when you have a relatively shady outdoor space. If you offer garden design services to your clients this would be a great informational post to share. You could lead into the article reminding your audience that you can create a custom garden design and to “leave the work to us”. That way, the article wouldn’t take away from your business but rather give potential leads an idea before contacting you.

The jokes write themselves
If you’re not much of a jokester, *appropriate* memes are a fun and quick way to get engagement from your audience. I must stress *appropriate*, whatever that may be for you and your brand. If your audience is on the younger side for example you probably have the ability to push the boundaries of taste and language. Just be aware that controversial posts can often yield controversial results.
Now that you have a better idea what curated content is, it’s time to find it. This will certainly depend on your industry, but a good place to start would be mailing lists you are subscribed to, Google alerts or relevant groups either on Facebook or LinkedIn. Wherever it comes from, if it’s relevant to your business and doesn’t take away from what you’re promoting then you should probably post it! With curated content you’ll never have to worry about time gaps in you posting schedule again.

 

Are you looking to revamp your posting strategy? Are you not getting the engagement you think your content deserves? We can help design and execute a cohesive brand message that will make you stand out from your competitors. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity or call us at 610.937.5187.

INFOGRAPHIC: Social Media Posting Strategy

INFOGRAPHIC: Social Media Posting Strategy

 

In previous blog posts we’ve talked about the importance of mixing up the types of content you’re sharing to your audience. Try this posting strategy outlined above and see if it works for you.

Whether you’re a newbie to social media or a seasoned pro that just doesn’t have the time, we’re here to help. We can create a custom social media plan to fit your business’ needs and budget. Call 610-937-5187 or email us at info@contentandcreativity.com.

Facebook Is NOT Your Portfolio.

Facebook Is NOT Your Portfolio.

facebooknotportfolio

Our team is meeting and pitching to a lot of new accounts these days. Oh, by the way, if you are looking for help with your marketing and social media and would like to partner with a terrific company that has unlimited creative ideas, tons of experience, and is easy and fun to work with, I have included our contact info at the bottom for your convenience. Now back to my story.

In doing the research for client proposals I’ve visited dozens of Facebook pages and one thing jumped out immediately: too many companies use Facebook purely as a showcase for their work. Photo after photo, before and afters, or just before and afters and most of the time never labeled. Ad nauseam, ad infinitum. There is virtually no engagement with fans, and nothing at all to break up the picture albums.

Hello? What part of SOCIAL media do you folks not understand?!

Imagine engaging in this type of behavior offline. You go to a party armed with 20 lbs of albums full of your children’s pictures. Upon meeting someone for the first time you spend the next half hour regaling that person with the wonderfulness of your kids.

“This is little Johnny winning the baseball trophy last year. And here is Suzie accepting the high point award for her age group at the swim club. Oh, and this is Suzie’s prom dress, which of course she made herself. Isn’t she beautiful? Did I mention that Johnny won the Geography Bee last year?”

Would you be surprised if your new acquaintance wandered off rather rapidly towards the guacamole dip? How insulted would you be to learn that taco chips are preferred to your ongoing, mind-numbing narrative? Is this how people behave at parties? They’d better not. The same is true for Facebook.

Facebook is not your portfolio. Facebook is where your content goes to make friends.

If you treat Facebook as a gallery for your work you are not only missing the point but you are also missing many opportunities.

Put a human face on your company.

Does the company owner or an employee coach a local kids’ team? Put up a picture. How about featuring an Employee of the Month, and describe how great that person is and why. Do you attend local events? Share the experience. Potential customers don’t only want to know that you do good work and are reputable; they also want to be able to relate to the people doing the work at their home.

Find out more about your customers.

Learn about their preferences by asking questions that are not open-ended. For example, rather than ask, “What kind of counter top do you like?” Say, “If you were to renovate your kitchen in the next few months would you get a) granite b) marble or c) butcher block countertops?” Or “Which pavers do you think looks best? a) slate b) brick c) concrete d) stone?” You will get much more engagement if you suggest the answers instead of forcing people to think.

Provide useful information.
Your audience craves the kind of information that you probably take for granted. New product releases or better ways maintaining their home are appealing to most people. Remember, you want to be viewed as the authority in your industry, and the more you appear to be up on current trends the better you will be positioned as such.

Use Facebook as a gateway to your website.
That’s where you really want people to go, right? Your website should be the place where potential customers can find out everything about you, what services you offer, the company ownership and history, and all contact information. Here is where your want your portfolio to be, either as a separate page/tab or optimally as part of a blog page. There are search engine benefits to updating your website often, too. So every time it makes sense to do it, add a link to your website in your Facebook posts.

Have fun!
Pictures of cute kittens and puppies and funny memes are kind of silly for a business to use, right? WRONG. These are the types of Facebook posts that get shared and have the greatest potential to go viral. If you want a great and inexpensive way to spread the word about your business consider be funny, whimsical or cute occasionally.

If these Facebook suggestions seem like too much work we can help. As promised, here is our contact information: Content + Creativity – www.contentandcreativity.com, 610-937-5187, info@contentandcreativity.com

Social Media Advertising – A Primer

Social Media Advertising – A Primer

In a perfect world, social media should provide you with free, organic traffic and leads for your business. In reality, sooner or later you will need to advertise to fully profit from the value of social. Advertising your business on social media platforms can be expensive, complicated and downright scary at times. But the benefits can also be great when it’s done right. One of the simplest ways to get started is to promote content that already exists, such as a post on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter or a pin on Pinterest. That way you don’t have the added headache of creating a separate ad.

Here are the first steps you should take:

Set a Goal; Craft a Message.

While creating awareness for your business or brand is a worthy goal that alone will not necessarily get people to click on your ad. You need to decide what you really are trying to achieve. Do you want visitors to your website, sales of a product or an increased email list? This will determine the type of call-to-action you will include in your ad. Call-to-actions can take many forms such as “Learn More”, “Buy Now” and “Visit Website”. And don’t ignore the power of the word “FREE”. Giving away a free report or sample is without a doubt the best way to increase clicks, email opt-ins and interest.

Target Carefully.

It’s a big Internet out there but insofar as your business is concerned there is a finite number of people you would want to pay money to attract. These are otherwise known as customers and leads. On most platforms you can direct your ads to a particular market by age, gender, location and interests. You can also find your buyers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by targeting those who already like or follow a competitor or any other business that you believe have followers who would be interested in you and your business. And do not forget to use relevant keywords as #hashtags. This will expand your ad reach beyond those who you are paying to attract.

Test, Test and Test Again.

As the famous department store mogul John Wanamaker said many, many years ago (see the actual quote above) it’s difficult to know how, when, where or even IF your advertising efforts are worth the time and money. But it’s much easier today with all the data and analytics available, right? Well, here’s a little secret: Even the most experienced and successful marketers have had to test various ad messages and strategies before they arrived at the winning formula. Typically, marketers conduct what is called “A-B testing”. That involves running two exact same ads while changing only one aspect of one of them; the visual, the offer, the call-to-action, etc., while everything else remains equal. Then you take the winner of that A-B test and test for another element, and so on. In the end you will know what strategy works best and gives you the most return on your investment.

The truth is you could be wildly successful on your first try, by accident. You might be satisfied with results that could have been better had you tested and perfected your ad. Or you could waste a lot of money for little or no results at all. That’s why I strongly recommend that you start out with a very small budget and no expectations. Social media advertising is a learning experience – for everyone!

As I said above you can promote existing content on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, but you can also run ads on LinkedIn and YouTube, or even promote your Google+ content across the web (but not on Google+). Each platform has a link on its homepage to describe the process of creating and purchasing an ad. Every platform has different specifications and limitations. And then there’s bidding on keywords, just to make your decision as to how much you need to spend even more confusing. Oh, you also need to know that these platforms change the rules and process periodically.

Did I mention that social media advertising could be complicated and scary? It doesn’t have to be. Contact Content+ Creativity at info@contentandcreativity.com or 610-937-5187. We are here to help!