You may have heard of these two new socially driven platforms, Flawk and Yik Yak.
They are completely different, but they are both getting a lot of buzz, so let’s talk about them. One is good, and one is…well, not so good.
Flawk describes themselves as “a real-time platform for engaging with your twitter followers. Host a Q&A, share media, and interact with your followers like never before.” and their service promotes a more streamlined version of AMA’s (ask me anything) and Twitter Q&A’s. Flawk offers a host the ability to “chat” with their guests in real time. This is a much more engaging communication model because it offers one-to-one interaction – exactly what every fan is hoping for.
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On top of the chat window feature, you can watch the other flawker’s conversations at the bottom of the screen. Everything is run using twitter, so you don’t need a separate log in/password to remember. Check out their video, it’s short and sweet:
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This relatively new app has gotten a ton of attention recently because of the trouble it is causing. Now – we’re logical people here – we aren’t saying the creators of the app are bad people so let’s get that straight. What we are saying is that the basis of the app (anonymously saying whatever the heck you want) is a recipe for disaster.
Yik Yak is a free app that allows users to send comments anonymously. It uses geo-tracking to share those comments with any user who is nearby (the closest 500 users). Users don’t have to be logged in to see comments from other local users.
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This app has already been associated with instances of bullying, and TWO students have already been arrested for using it to make school-shooting threats.
Yik Yak makes money by charging you to send your message out to more than 500 users. Here’s how it all looks:
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If you’re wondering, yes I downloaded it to get those images, and yes, I have already deleted it from my phone!
So overall – Flawk…expecting it to gain some traction for all the right reasons; Yik Yak…expecting it to become even more infamous. Let us know if you use either of these already and what you think!
Blogging used to be online “diaries” – remember that?
Now we have a gaggle of social media platforms that provide us with at least 140 characters worth of constant diary entries…and blogging has become a way to make money. Even the people who are still using a blog as a “diary” have turned it into a business! This means if your business has a website, you should be blogging. Let’s talk about why:
Why Blog for Your Business? To Drive Traffic
Bringing people to your website is the point of all your online efforts (social media, etc.). You want your business to show up in searches when people are looking for you even if they haven’t typed in your exact business name. For example, if you own the “Spine and Orthopedic Center” office in Boca Raton, Florida, you want your website to show up when people search “spine doctor boca raton”. In order for a search engine to find your site relevant enough to show in those search results, your website must be doing lots of things! One of the most important things is consistently adding new, key-word rich content to the site. That brings us to the next point!
Why Blog for Your Business? To Add Key Words to Your Site
Blogging allows you to add new pages to your site on a regular basis, which tells search engines that your site isn’t stagnant. Within those blogs, you can (and should!) include specific key words you know your target audience will be searching for. In the case of the spine office, words to include would be, “spine”, “doctor”, “surgeon”, “boca”, “boca raton”, and on and on. Without utilizing a blog, there are only so many times you can include those key words throughout your website. The more you can utilize relevant words, the better chances you have at a search engine raking your site higher.
Why Blog for Your Business? To Gain Credibility
We know blogging isn’t just for personal use anymore; taking the time to research and write a professional, informative blog for your website tells your customers that you are passionate about your business. It showcases your knowledge as well as your commitment to providing the best information possible. Your online branding is essentially your “first impression”, new customers will look you up before hiring you, that’s a given! Blogging consistently says, “I make time to stay relevant in my field by reading about it and writing about it.”
I hope I have answered your question, “Why Blog for Your Business?” in a way that helps you understand it’s importance for your overall digital presence. If you have writer’s block, you can always reach out to us at Belle Strategies – if you couldn’t tell – we love blogging!
Love is in the air this week with Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday.
You can take advantage of the Valentines Day social media flurry over #love and #vday by creating some images that just scream “Pin ME! Share ME! Retweet ME!…etc.” It’s important to brand your images/designs even when it’s on more “generic” posts like the ones you see a lot on big holidays.
I’ve compiled a list of free Valentines Day or Love Inspired design elements that are 100% free!
I really love the luxurious feel of these:
This is just a treasure trove of Valentine’s Day goodness:
I can’t get enough of these fun, free fonts:
Here are some “younger” looking heart designs for the young’uns in your life:
Be sure to capitalize on the Valentines Day social media love! I hope you enjoy these freebies.
Chris Turitzin, Facebook’s product manager for News Feed ranking says that, “Page admins can expect a decrease in distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”
Facebook’s complicated ranking algorithm is not new, but it is consistently revised to make the user experience as enjoyable as possible. The revisions require social media administrators to stay in loop…what used to rank well in the past might not have staying power as changes to the algorithm affect each post differently. The newest revision comes after testing that showed people are inclined to interact with different types of content (opposed to text-only status updates) on Pages.
Social media admins are advised to use what Facebook calls a link-share: a link in a status update that generates a preview of the website you are linking to. In other words, do not embed the URL by closing out the preview. The first example shows an embedded link, while the second one shows a link-share.
Basically, Facebook wants you to stop clicking the “X” that removes the link-share feature. By clicking the “X”, you embed the link and turn the post into a plain text post.
Facebook is making it clear that plain text posts will not rank as high as posts using the link-share feature. If you’re a social media manager, this knowledge should help!
Up until recently, taking advantage of social media for marketing purposes was just a luxury. Now, it’s a necessity. Google Plus is one of the social media platforms you absolutely need to be utilizing if you have a website. Obviously, it’s owned by Google, and that means your Google Plus account creates credibility for your business website in the search algorithm.
Remember, Google also owns Youtube, so becoming active there will help too! All the different social media platforms can be overwhelming, but if you dedicate the time, you can really help your business through social media marketing!
Oh and…if there aren’t enough hours in your day for that kind of dedication…you know where to find us!
“How often should I post?” Posting to social media too frequently can work against you, so consider how many followers you have, and the type of business you are in. Some businesses attract the kind of followers who love lots of casual, frequent updates (photographers, local boutiques, hair stylists, etc.) and some businesses require more professional, less frequent posts – think quality over quantity – like most major franchises, authors, motivational speakers, etc.
No matter what you’re selling, make sure the content you post is actually interesting to your potential customers!
The quick tip above reminds businesses that they should post more than just their company information. Company information includes things like location, hours, contact info, sales, and inventory. Followers are interested in your company information, but you should engage with them in other ways too.
For example, if your business sells fashion merchandise, consider posting a photo of a fashionable celebrity or an inspiration quote about fashion. Create a posting ratio based on feedback you get from your followers. We hope this answers the “How often should I post” question! Have fun with it!
Facebook announced Tuesday morning that the News Feed will now feature a select number of auto-play video ads. These ads are being tested by a small group of advertisers. Luckily, these videos do not include audio at this time; you must tap the video in order to hear it. Tapping it will also expand the video and when it’s finished, you will see a carousel with more video ad choices for you to watch.
As of right now, only a very small number of users will even see the Facebook autoplay ads as they are still in their infancy. Good news for data usage: the videos have been “downloaded” in advance using your wi-fi and will not affect your data plans.
You may be thinking, “Well I’ve seen Facebook video ads for so long!” and you aren’t wrong. Video ads aren’t new, but the auto-play feature is. You may have noticed that many of the videos (not ads) are auto-playing in your News Feed already, that feature was recently released to get users comfortable with upcoming Facebook autoplay ads.
If you’re a business owner interested in this kind of marketing, you only need to save up roughly $1 million -$2.5 million for a 15 second video! Prices are rumored to be in that range at this time. Expect to see ads for major brands and films at first.
Image: Getty/Jonathan Nackstrand
Using the standard Facebook image dimensions will ensure that your images look as good as possible!
Driving traffic to a company website is the goal for most social media marketing strategies.
You’ve set up all your platforms, you’re posting and interacting with followers, it’s going great right? Well, if you’re spending so much time trying to bring people to your site through social media, you definitely want to ensure your website is helping bring people there as well.
Enter Yoast SEO.
We are a huge proponent for WordPress; we love building a site and providing our clients with some simple instruction so they can maintain it themselves and save money! If you’re working with a WordPress site, you have to get on the Yoast SEO plugin train. This FREE plugin provides you with everything you need to properly optimize your posts and pages for the search engines.
Take a look at the Yoast SEO panel. Choose a key word or phrase that sums up what the post is about, and then let the SEO checker tell you if you’re optimized.
You can easily updated your page title, URL, main content, and meta description to include the key word or phrase more (in a natural sounding way) to ensure the post is optimized.
We especially love the super easy color system they use to indicate if you’re doing a good job. Like a stoplight, red is no good and green is great!
The Yoast SEO plugin is user friendly, effective and we highly recommend it! You can find everything you need on their website here.
A new wave of internet scams is showing up on Instagram where bogus accounts lure users into providing personal information. You’d think we’d all know by now that you shouldn’t provide your name and address to strangers online right? Online shopping is secure (always look for the SSL Certificate folks)…but social media platforms do not provide that type of security.
We’re seeing a large number Instagram scams in particular because of it’s casual atmosphere. Here are five tips to make sure you aren’t part of the one in ten people who fall for a social media scam this year!
Don’t engage with accounts that have the “giveaway” in their name.
Check to see how much they post, and what kind of content it is. If there isn’t much going on – it’s likely a scam!
Don’t ever click a SHORT URL!
Check out their profile; are they following anyone? If not, it’s probably a scam.
And of course…never provide your personal information!
Lots of companies are using social media platforms for giveaways the right way; so don’t give up online contests all together! Just remember the tips above and use common sense to make sure you don’t end up involved with these Instagram scams.
*Image courtesy of Instagram
Let’s do a quick Photoshop filter tutorial today. Instagram filters have become so popular, but the final images are too small to print and frame. If you want to achieve an “antiqued” or “vintage” filter and maintain the high pixel count, you can do it in Photoshop.
I downloaded this free image to use as an example from the wallpaper site www.wallpapersus.com.
The first step is to find (or create) an antiqued texture with lots of vintage touches. This will serve as our “filter”. I found this one here.
Open your main image in PS, and then create a new layer (ctrl+shift+N). Insert the texture onto the new layer.
Next, change the Blend Mode of the texture layer. I suggest trying a few of the different modes to see what works best. Sometimes, the colors on your texture layer are too bright to work well with “screen” but look great with “overlay”.
I used overlay to achieve this initial filtered look. I brought the opacity down to 80%.
The colors in this photo are lovely, but if you want to go a step further, consider adjusting the hue and saturation. To do this, add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Select Layer>Add Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation.
Click ok with the preset options. Then, click “colorize” and adjust the hue to create a sepia tone-style look.
Looking good, right?
Next, select (ctrl+shift+E) to merge the layers down. If you want to make your image even more “vintage” by adding a grainy look, go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise.
By checking “Gaussian” and “Monochromatic”, you can get a very old-timey look easily.
That will cause your image to look like this:
To go even further, consider using the Burn tool to darken some areas (I did the corners and the shadows on her arms and legs).
Here’s the final result!
LinkedIn is an excellent place to be if you’re seeking new employment. Recruiters are constantly searching for job candidates! If you want to pop up in those searches, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile to include buzz words.
You’re probably used to seeing profiles that look like this:
Notice the generic title I’ve listed. It’s vague and doesn’t indicate where my expertise lies. LinkedIn asks you to choose an industry, so you can see I’m working in the eLearning field and that’s about it. When people are searching on LinkedIn, they usually only see your name and title. Take a look at this generic search for eLearning:
Now let’s look at some properly optimized titles:
To include the RIGHT key words in your own profile, follow these two easy steps:
1) Make a list of your skills and professional accomplishments.
You might be a Manager or a President, but those words don’t matter as much (in this case). Determine what you want potential connections, recruiters, and employers to know about you. Have you increased sales by 500%? Did you write a successful marketing e-book? It’s okay if you don’t have any specific examples like the ones listed above; industry key words are more than enough!
2) Incorporate those key words into your profile.
Take a look at my title description now:
Now, anyone searching the major terms used in the eLearning industry are going to find me, and so are people looking for design work. Before the changes, none of those people would have seen me because my “formal” title is too vague to accurately convey what I can do.
I recommend spending a little time on step one. Do some research on others in your field. You can also ask those closest to you; sometimes they can shine a light on skills and accomplishments you haven’t considered. Enjoy!
We give thanks to @corey_bos at HUBSPOT for an excellent article about creating great social media content fast! Let’s look at her tips:
“How you can whip up some blog posts quickly to feed your social media presence:
Reach out to guest bloggers — they’ll create your content for you!
Curate content — round up the best blog posts, data points, infographics, etc. on various subject matters.
Jot down the answer to a common question — people love a good FAQ.
Publish excerpts from existing content, like ebooks and white papers.
Conduct a quick interview — either on video or via email — and let your subject matter expertise blow your audience away for you.”
You can download these tips and many more in her e-book here!
Professional blogging requires writing skills and creativity; but it takes more than that to put together 150+ words if your goal is to bring in new and continued business. I’ve put together a top five list for you to see exactly what every effective business blog needs!
1) Get Out There.
Being visible to your readers is crucial – and that means more than just having a clear link to your blog on your homepage. Your blog URL should be in the bio sections on your social media pages, as well as in your email signature (if that applies).
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps new readers find you. Consider what your post is about and what key word(s) your potential readers would use to “search” the topic. Include the word(s) in your URL if possible, and utilize it throughout your post. Don’t overdo it though; search engines are smart enough to tell if you’re overloading the key words!
2) Blog Regularly.
It seems a little obvious, but I have to point out that consistency is key when it comes to blogging for business. As long as the content of your blog is interesting, relevant, and/or useful – more is always better. Determine how frequently you can post while ensuring your content still fulfills the above requirements, and then make a schedule you can stick to. We recommend no less than twice a month, but each business is different!
3) Utilize Social Media Buttons.
Aside from standard search engines, social sharing is the best way new readers can find your blog. Make sure to have social media icons on your blog so people can share it with their followers. Like it, tweet it…whatever they are doing with it – it’s helping people see your content (and that’s the goal)!
4) Appeal Visually.
Incorporating images and video into your blog can be done in a way that still conveys the level of professionalism your business wishes to uphold. Don’t be afraid to appeal to your readers with visual aids, just make sure you don’t use copyrighted materials. In fact, using properly named imagery will increase your search optimization!
This little guy is named “topfive.png”. Part of our logo is in the background, and our website’s URL is right there too.
Listen people – proof your copy! An effective blog is one that develops credibility for your business. Well-crafted sentences, proper punctuation, and proper spelling are all musts! It seems a little silly that this is on a top five list considering your 2nd grade teacher taught you to double check things, but it deems repeating. Your readers are researching you and determining if they want to give you their business…typos are a turnoff!
For a business, Twitter has long been an easy way to keep in touch with customers at little to no cost. Twitter ads aren’t new, but we’re seeing the capability of Twitter Ads enhancing in ways that can benefit businesses both large and small.
Twitter ads offer the unique ability to target and track users in more ways than other social platforms can. Clicks, follows, replies and retweets are all offering up stats that can be dissected in a multitude of ways:
- by @handle
- by device
- by gender
- by interest
- by key word
- by location
For companies diving deep into the analysis of a social campaign, these kind of metrics allow for easier and more detailed split-testing opportunities (and we all know how hard it is to measure ROI in the social world without that). These robust options are making it easier for anyone to utilize Twitter ads in a way that optimizes their investment, regardless of budget.
Twitter ads offer two types of campaigns: Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.
Promoted Account Twitter ads helps advertisers gain more followers. Twitter ads lets you target potential followers who are similar to your current follower base OR those who are similar to another Twitter account (you can even upload a specific list of @handles if you want). You can also target new followers based on interests.
Promoted Tweets offer three types of targeting: keyword search, keyword timeline, and interests in timeline. Keyword search Twitter ads is the same as other paid-search ads across the internet; promoted tweets show up when key words you bid on are searched. Simple! Keyword timeline will likely get you increased impressions and engagements (compared to timeline search) because Twitter users aren’t as actively utilizing the search bar as they are engaging in their timelines. Last up is interests in timeline; this option works exactly the same way Promoted Accounts work. Target followers (in the timeline) with the same interests as your current followers, other’s followers, or upload a list of @handles.
The best part about twitter ads is that you feel like you’re getting a deal every time you invest in a campaign. The platform’s wider opportunity for engagements means your overall CPE (cost per engagement) means your money is working harder for you here than other social platforms.