Instagram Adds New Editing Tools

Instagram Editing Tools

If you’re like the rest of the human population, you’re probably on Instagram everyday 🙂 Well, good news for the platform’s users: new photo editing tools.

Earlier this week, the popular image sharing social platform rolled out a new set of tools to help edit photos even more, including the ability to change an image’s contrast, warmth, saturation and more. With many IG users already turning to additional apps to help edit pics, it only makes sense for the platform to provide its users with tools they really want and need.

Instagram stated, “You take a photo to capture a moment, but often what you see in the photograph doesn’t feel the same as what you remember. From brightening up a photo of your dinner party to better capturing the warmth of a sunset portrait, these new creative tools help you bring out and share the beauty of the moment as you remember it—right inside the same simple Instagram you already know.”

Although it may not seem like a drastic change in the application, for many this means cutting out the middle man — or other editing apps like the popular VSCO Cam. Similar to how IG added video capabilities after Vine was launched through Twitter, this new addition will make many folks happy and consequently, continuous use of the platform.

Have you tried the new IG photo editing tools yet?

— Samantha

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3 Quick Tips to Be Successful on Tumblr

1. Be Authentic. Although this is nothing new, it is a good reminder for brands who try to push to many brand-centric messages to their fans. Instead, try to be real with people!

2. Test and Learn. Another important piece of all social and digital marketing, but one that is not implemented as much as it should be. Don’t fall in love with one idea — or get upset when something doesn’t work out as planned. Be flexible, learn & move forward.

3. Focus on Images. Although having great copy is always a must, making sure your images are just as amazing is important as well. Make your creative interesting, unique and eye-catching to get people to truly engage with you brand.

–Samantha

3 Tips to Improve Content Marketing & Search Engine Rankings (B2B)

When it comes to B2B (business to business) companies, here are a few tip to improve how you market content & more successfully turn up higher in search.

1. Create a corporate blog. A blog will not only add a personal touch to your company’s website, but it’ll be a great source of content that will ultimately help search rankings. Because blogs are indexed more frequently by search engines, especially when websites change, meaning that you’ll have a higher chance of showing up in a search, especially when new content is being added to the blog on a regular basis.

2. Make your content longer & higher quality. Some researchers have found that content longer than 1500 words will get more engagement on social media sites, including articles and blog posts. Content between 2000-2500 words often rank on the first page of a Google search. Although length can prove successful, make sure your content is of a higher quality and not spammy or worthless to your readers.

3. Long-tail keywords make it easy to rank higher. Why? People are used to searching, which has added to an increase of long-tail searches by 70% in the last decade. Having said this, people are also used to typing in longer phrases or complete statements when searching.

When it comes to your B2B website, make sure the content includes long-tail keywords to make sure that your site will rank higher when someone searches for that particular phrase. Thanks to content marketing, including more long-tail keywords will be easier and feel more organic when writing blog posts, including case studies and more!

— Samantha

Content Marketing, SEO

5 Social Media Tips NOT to Follow

Danger, Turn Back!

As social media strategists, we always talk about the best practices to implement — but rarely do we discuss which not to follow when executing a digital program. Here are a few tips to stay away from to be as successful as possible on social media:

1. Place all of your attention on one platform. Although it’s suggested to focus on the larger social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the largest audience, neither one is the end-all, be-all. Instead, take the time to find out where your audience is and try various platforms to determine where your business will be the most successful.

2. Have a presence on every social platform. We encourage you to try new platforms, but they may not all be the right fit for your company. Instead, choose a few that you see the most engagement on and be mindful not to spread yourself too thin. Remember: it’s quality versus quantity!

3. You should automate all of your posts. We’re all for scheduling tweets or posts to help make your life easier, but the majority of your content should be done in real time. Why? Because your company will come across as being more authentic, which will translate positively across platforms to your audiences, creating more brand loyalists.

4. Delete negative comments to protect the company. It may seem natural to delete not-so-flattering commentary about your business to save face, but it actually makes your brand look less transparent. Embrace all comments from users and react in a polite manner to increase the chance of changing a fan’s opinion, instead of pushing them away.

5. You don’t need to pay a cent with social media. Yes, many social platforms are free to use, but don’t be fooled! A successful digital strategy typically includes having a budget (whether small or large) that support an individual or team to monitor and engage with fans on multiple platforms, obtain analytics to measure ROI better and fund advertising or sponsored posts to get your message to the largest number of fans possible.

Tell us: What other tips would you recommend brands NOT to follow on social? 

— Samantha & Mike

Business Reviews to Change Future Facebook Marketing

Facebook Star Rating System

As you may have noticed, Facebook has begun to introduce their latest roll out: business reviews. In the same fashion that fans can rate movies or books on a one to five star scale, Facebook is now letting users rate brand pages in the same fashion. Such ratings have started popping up on varying business pages to the right of the company’s name at the top of the Facebook page.

According to TechCrunch, the new rating system is available to a small group of pages –for now. In addition to the new search functions added to the platform last year, the business reviews will show up when fans search for particular topics like “restaurants nearby”, etc.

A spokesperson from Facebook noted, “Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.”

It has yet to be determined whether or not the rating system will be mandatory for brands to use on pages. If they do become a default, brands will need to rethink how they are engaging and marketing to fans, as the page will inherently function more as a customer service platform. Because many users have varying reasons for Liking a page, an in-your-face star rating would certainly play a part in whether or not one engages with it — just as it does for other review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Personally, we’re looking forward to see how this roll out will impact small businesses in the future.

Tell us: Have you seen the new business rating system on Facebook pages? If so, how do you think it’ll impact upcoming marketing efforts?

— Samantha

Small Business Growth Through Digital Media

Social Media & Small Busines

In today’s world, small businesses must accept and embrace digital media.  Having said this, there are often limiting factors (from financial to a lack of knowledge) that can impact companies from figuring out how to successfully integrate a social strategy with an already existing more-traditional marketing strategy.

Reports from the National Small Business Association’s 2013 Technology Survey state that one in 10 small companies do not have a website and about 30% of them don’t use social media.

Thankfully, there are many options for small business to engage with their customers, partners, etc. through digital media. Whether it includes Facebook posts, tweets or videos, the options are endless — and quite easy to execute if the right strategy is developed beforehand.

Small Business and Social Media

For those who don’t believe in the benefits of social media or don’t believe that they have enough time to entertain such ideas, they’re missing out on wonderful marketing opportunities. If used correctly, small businesses can not only grow their own communities and overall brand awareness, but their sales as well. 

According to PQ Media, “digital media usage among U.S. consumers is estimated at nearly 15 hours per week. By 2017, it’s expected to hit 19.30 hours per week” (USA Today article). By these numbers alone, it’s clear that to be top of mind for the consumer, one must be active within social media. This doesn’t mean you have to bump an important project off the books, but instead think of it as a benefit to the company (rather than a burden). By taking a little time each day to be active (monitor what people are saying about you, post interesting updates, form relationships with the audience, etc.) you can create brand loyalists that can take your company to the next level.

It will take time, but it will be worth it. Here are a few ways to get started!

  • Find out what others are saying about you. Google or Bing your company and be 100% aware of what you find as a result. Turns out, your customers (both current and future) are doing the same thing and it’s critical to know what people are finding.
  • Market your social presence everywhere. Add social information (like Facebook and Twitter links) on business cards, your website and within emails so as many eyes as possible see your digital efforts and can later connect with the brand online.
  • Insert your company into the conversation. Don’t post company-centric information only. Instead, find out what your fans are talking about and post/tweet with something that relates! For instance, if you’re own a exercise company, try posting lifestyle-themed content like healthy recipes or exciting workout tips to keep your audience engaged and wanting more.
  • Be successful on mobile. Over half of the adult population owns a smartphone, while slightly less own a tablet as well. Because of this, your company website, social presence, etc. must show up clearly and work properly for those who are not on a desktop computer.

Tell us: What is your small business doing to enter the digital world?

— Samantha

5 Ways to Make Successful Social Content

Create Successful Social ContentLet us break it down for you: Here are 5 ways to make successful content on social media. Although we could come up with a handful more, we think these will help your company get on track — fast.

1. Create reasonable social goals. Goals are important for any marketing strategy to be able to measure success — and discover areas for improvement. Coming up with goals that are attainable is a totally different story, so make sure yours are possible to reach!

We suggest coming up with goals (regarding analytical data) for each piece of content created. Start with X number of Likes on Facebook, increase number of RTs on Twitter by X amount, have X number of people share your piece of content per day/week, increase engagement on social platforms by X amount over the next month, etc.

2. Get to know your audience. Fully knowing who you’re talking to is key to creating the best content to promote your brand. Start by completing research on your target audience and determining what they find interesting and sharable.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, enter the conversation that your fan base is already having. Track hashtags, search keywords and truly practice “social listening.” With this data, you can more appropriately create content that will inherently fall into place with what your audience is currently interested in. Therefore, your brand will be pushing creative that feels natural and approachable.

3. Make valuable content. After you determine what makes your audience passionate, come up with content that is useful and/or taps into people’s emotions. By providing content that adds to a fans life, such as helpful tip or funny joke, your fan will not only share it, but they will most likely come back for more. Don’t forget to switch it up! Try images, videos, true or false questions, fill in the blank, etc. to keep your audience engaged.

Manage a restaurant? Try sharing an easy, delicious recipe that your fans will want to try. Run a cleaning business? Try giving your fans a useful, unique tip for picking up around the house. Own a baby clothing company? Tap into the funny moments when raising a child to evoke emotions that most parents may feel.

4. Be consistent. You’ll hear us talking about consistency a lot. Why? Because creating consistent content better defines who you are as a brand within the social space and keeps your fans loyal and interested (versus disloyal and confused).

If you use Instagram to create your imagery, make sure that you stick with similar filters for each post or tweet. Do you speak to your fans with a specific tone of voice? Make sure that you define it completely and continue to use it across all platforms.

5. Keep your content easy to share. We all want our content to go “viral,” but the first step is making sure that content is easily sharable. Make sure social buttons are visible on your website, blog, etc. — especially above the page break on a website. If posting or tweeting, your copy should be short and concise so people are more inclined to share on their wall or with a friend.

Lastly, remember to brand your images. When your logo is on your creative, your brand will be shared when your content is shared. Note: keep your logo/branding small, so people are more inclined to share the piece of content and don’t feel as if they’re simply promoting your brand.

Got more tips? Share them with us below!

— Samantha

Where Sports Fans Engage on Social Media

Sports fans

Big sports fan? Ever talk about the game on FB or Twitter? You’re certainly not alone.

Catalyst’s annual fan engagement study studies sports fans to better determine where they play on social media — and where marketers can better reach them! In Catalyst’s recent study, the team surveyed 2,100 sports fans (16 and 64 years old) who follow the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football, college basketball and soccer.

A few top points are highlighted below, but check out the full infographic below

  • Surprisingly, only 57% of fans surveyed “liked” a brand/sport team page to show their support — versus 61% who “liked” a page for a coupon or discount.
  • Although more fans are on Facebook in general, Twitter is the most popular platform on a game day.
  • Post game, Instagram rises in popularity, when fans are most likely sharing images from the game or viewing party.

Catalyst Sport Infographic

 

— Samantha

Social Media Profile Photo Sizes

Customizing social profiles is important for any brand! Profile photos represent your company within the social space and should be clean, bold and consistent across all platforms.

Read on to find out more information on specific profile photo sizing, so you can make the most of your social profiles and learn the tips to best optimize your content!

Facebook: 

Facebook Profile Photo Size

Profile photos on this popular social platform are square (minimum of 180 x 180 pixels), so it’d be in your best interest to use an image with these dimensions or upload an image that is large enough that when cropped, will include the most important information, logo, etc.

When it comes to cover photos, choose wisely. This is a larger image than the profile photo, so it will be the first thing that a user sees when they visit your page. Although the minimum measurement is 399 x 150 pixels, your cover photos should be 851 x 315 pixels. Note that smaller images will stretch and as a result, will look pixilated and low-resolution.

To make sure that important information in your cover photo isn’t covered by your profile photo, note that your profile image is 23 pixels from the left side and 210 pixels from the top of your cover photo. Try uploading a JPG file that less than 100KB for best results. If your picture includes a logo and/or text, use a PNG file.

Twitter:

Twitter Profile Photo Size

Similar to Facebook, profile photos on Twitter are square — but much smaller, which means that you will need to choose a clearer, bolder picture. Although the main profile photo displays as 73 x 73 pixels on your profile on Twitter.com (and a tiny 48 x 48 pixels in a tweet), you can upload an image as large as 2MB (but will need to crop accordingly).

The header image should be 1252 x 626 pixels, up to 5MB. This photo will show up behind your profile photo, but don’t forget that your Twitter handle, bio information and URL will show over the image. As a result, we suggest choosing an image that won’t take away from the text in the forefront!

YouTube:

YouTube Channel Art Specs

FYI: The YouTube channel icon or profile photo is directly linked to your Google+ profile photo. Having said this, if you don’t have a Google+ account, you can still fully optimize your channel with custom images and various downloadable templates.

The “channel art” or cover photo will automatically scale to fit the size of the screen that it is being displayed on. Try an image with dimensions of 2560 x 1440 pixels for the best results. Note that the smallest size for “channel art” is 1546 x 423 pixels. As a result, make sure that nothing important (logos, etc.) are in this area so they won’t be cropped unintentionally.

Have more questions? Just ask! 

— Samantha

Three Ways Brands Successfully Use Vine

When Instagram introduced their video feature, many thought Vine would soon be on its way out. While Instagram may have the advantage when it comes to number of users, we still see great opportunity with Vine, especially for brands. Vine offers a fantastic platform for brands to connect with their audience in a whole new way. Below, we have highlighted three such ways brands are successfully tapping into their Vine following.

1) Announcing New Products

New product promotion is always incredibly important to a brand. After all, whats the point of developing the latest and greatest if nobody knows about it? Here are two examples from Twitter and Puma of how to effectively promote a new product in six seconds:

2) Behind the Scenes

People love seeing behind the scenes footage. Whether it’s from the Super Bowl or the Grammys, audiences love exclusive material that the average consumer might not get. Here is a Vine from a Kate Spade fashion shoot and one from an XBOX event:

3) Straight Up Entertainment

One of the best ways to succeed in social media is simply create content people want to share. Regardless of topic, the more people linking your content, the bigger audience you reach. Here is a cool video from Urban Outfitters on glow-in-the-dark body paint and another one from Oreo, who may have just revolutionized your ice coffee:

-Mike & Samantha