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Job Posting - Account Manager

Company Overview

OnlinePresentz is a multi-service digital agency with a core focus on social media programs and solutions. We apply our knowledge of social media and digital best practices to help our Canadian and international clients conceive and execute effective and measurable social campaigns and programs to meet their business needs. 

 

Our core service areas include:

  • Social Media Strategy and Community Management
  • Content Development
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Paid Advertising
  • Website Design

If you are an eager, versatile, creative, and hands-on professional with diverse interactive-agency experience in community management, online advertising and analytics looking to further your career in consulting and marketing project management, then we’d love to talk to you about joining the OnlinePresentz team! 

 

The Role

As a Client Account Manager, you will lead and coordinate digital programs to ensure that our partners’ goals, needs, and desires are absorbed and translated into well-executed output value. Under the guidance of the Director of Operations, you will serve as our counterpart of key client stakeholders in their marketing organizations through effective management of OnlinePresentz resources, scope, budget, timeline, and processes.  You will bring state-of-the-art knowledge about current and emerging social media practices to the role, and be expected to constantly remain abreast of best practices and evolve to better serve the team and our clients.

 

Your key areas of responsibilities include:

1.     Campaign Strategy Development

2.     Social Media Content Planning

3.    Social Media posting, response management and proactive engagement

4.     Content Scheduling and Quality Control

5.     Reporting and Analysis

6.     Program Management

7.     Client Care

 

Desired Skills & Experience

  • A minimum of two years experience with social media marketing
  • Demonstrated strong knowledge across a range of social media platforms and management tools
  • Understanding of, or experience with other digital marketing practices such as SEO, Google Analytics, Digital Advertising, Web Design, Graphics Design
  • Creative, organized, and excellent communication skills
  • Ability to thrive in ambiguous situations and able take proactive action towards a solution

 

Preferences will be given to candidates with the following credentials:

  • Demonstrated experience in leading a team
  • A portfolio of social media writing and case studies of successful social media projects you have participated in actively
  • Previous experience in consulting
  • Active use of personal social media channels

 

Expected Start Date

Immediate

 

Location

Calgary, AB

Interested candidates should send their resume to info@onlinepresentz.com expressing interest in the position. The timeline we have set for contacting applicants for an interview is on or slightly after Thursday, Oct. 13th 2016.

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Pinterest Video ads now available to marketers

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Pinterest Video ads now available to marketers

Pinterest dives into video advertising

By Alicja Gados

Pinterest users love video, and it shows with 60% growth in saved video over the previous year. Pinterest has about 100 million monthly users, and is now trying to turn that active user base into revenue. The company is trying to capitalize on the huge demand for video.  

Pinterest is relatively new to ads. They first introduced ads in 2014 in promoted pins.  Other services, like e-commerce capabilities have been added since then.

Promoted Video now available

As of last August (2016), advertisers in the US and in the UK can purchase video ads, a capability called promoted video. Video is important to advertisers, and Pinterest is leveraging on that fact to push it’s online advertising business. The capability is currently only available on mobile. These video ads will show up in users feed but will also appear in search results. The ads may also show up in different parts of the app over time, giving the video ad longevity. 

You'll be able to make a purchase from promoted videos on Pinterest. Image from Pinterest.com

You'll be able to make a purchase from promoted videos on Pinterest. Image from Pinterest.com

Video ads have already been aggressively pursued by other social media giants, including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and also search engine Google.  Going in on the fun, Pinterest will be competing against all these giants for the customers’ attention, and for their dollar.  But Pinterest has a unique advantage over these advertisers: more Pinterest users come to the app to shop.  Not only that, but 75% of all content on the site is created by business. Users of Pinterest specifically visit the app to get ideas and inspiration for things they would like to purchase.  Inspiration for things such as exploring ideas for house projects, researching fashion and style trends, or places to visit on a vacation or trip.

Each ad is shown as a preview in their activity feed, and if a viewer wants to see the full length of the video, they just click on the ad.

Pinterest Users are there to shop

Pinterest is one of the better choices when it comes to video advertising.  Pinterest is very visual, and viewers are much more likely to make a purchase. A study done by Mary Meeker shows that 55% of users of Pinterest are there to shop, in contrast with just 12% on other social media networks. A poll taken by Pinterest users reveals that 70% of users are motivated to take action after viewing an ad, and they are more inclined to buy.

Pinterest users are unique in that they are there to shop, so it’s natural for Pinterest to try and make it easier for them to do that. With that, they don’t have to push marketers views on users so much as offering a call to action.

Video has already been available on Pinterest for some time now, but now, video is available as ads for the first time.  Video ads are added to a line up of ads already available, including buyable ‘pins’.  You can read more about buyable pins this article from a few months ago.

How Pinterest charges for video ads

Pinterest will charge for ads and for video impressions.  An impression is every time an ad is taken from it’s source, and counts whether or not the viewer clicked on the ad or not.  Each time an ad is fetched, it counts as an ad ‘impression.’  Pinterest allows marketers to feature buyable pins below the video at no extra charge. 

Video ads have a 5 minute limit, but people have a short attention spans for long video that on average doesn’t exceed 2 and a half minutes. So many ads are much shorter than this.  What’s more important is marketers really need to ‘hook’ their audience in the first minute. (Certainly tolerance for viewing length depends on how viewers connect with what they are watching, as shown by viewers watching hours of Netflix shows or sportscast.) But Pinterest says they would most likely adjust the length allowed.

The number of videos uploaded to Pinterest has grown in popularity over the last year. Popular video content includes beauty and hair tutorials, workouts, home improvement how-to, cooking videos and other home construction videos.  The projected ad spend for video is estimated to be about $12.8 billion USD in 2018, up 60% from 2015, which was $7.7 billion. 

How the ads will look

Pinterest ads will be much like Facebook and Twitter ads, which autoplay from start to finish. The ad will also appear as a preview in a users home feed, and sound can be activated by clicking on the ad.

BareMinerals has used the ads to showcase beauty products for purchase.  The ads run through the native video player from Pinterest and marketers can browse up to six product pins (buyable pins) below the video. For example, a marketer can showcase how to use a product or multiple products in a video, then post up to six buyable pins under the videos to allow the user to make a purchase.

Current video ads on Pinterest

The video ad capability was rolled out with 12 selected launch partners. Among companies advertising with ads on Pinterest include Purina, Universal Pictures, General Mills, Behr paint, kate spade new york and bareMinerals makeup.

General Mills tested the videos with their Old El Paso brand, revealed that prompted video ads were four times more memorable than ads not using video on Pinterest (Source: Forbes.com).  Old El Paso likes the fact that users come to Pinterest to check out cooking ideas or show recipes and have a high engagement rate.  Video helps the company capture these users and showcase their products, with great success.

Clients observed high completion rates in video ads, compared to non video ads, regardless of video length.   

Examples of ads

Pinterest promoted video: The Secret Life of Pets

Universal Pictures is using Pinterest ads to promote their latest movie, The Secret Life of Pets. Image from Vimeo.com

Universal Pictures is using Pinterest ads to promote their latest movie, The Secret Life of Pets. Image from Vimeo.com

Universal Pictures was also one of the initial launch partners for video ads, and use the capability to promote their latest movie, The Secret Life of Pets. You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/179129607

Pinterest promoted video: bareMinerals makeup

Pinterest video ad for bareMinerals makeup with buyable pins below shown. Image from YouTube.com

Pinterest video ad for bareMinerals makeup with buyable pins below shown. Image from YouTube.com

The video ads show how to use their products, and feature product buyable ‘pins’ below the video on products that are featured in the video. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/k7-6B3erKEk

The current market valuation of Pinterest is $11 billion and the company generated $100 million in revenue in 2015.

Read more about Pinterest here.  

 

Sources and Further Reading

Pinterest.com  https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/introducing-promoted-video

Fortune.com  fortune.com/2016/08/04/pinterest-video-focus/ 

Adweek.com  adweek.com/socialtimes/promoted-video-pinterest/643642

 

Forbes.com  forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2016/08/17/pinterest-debuts-video-ads/#799c5a072b21

 

 

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Why wasn’t the Olympics available over social media?

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Why wasn’t the Olympics available over social media?

If you followed the Olympics in Rio this summer, you may have noticed that you had to essentially be glued to your couch at certain hours to catch live coverage, sports highlights, and results.  In the age where media is largely consumed on smartphones, why hasn’t this changed?

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How to engage your customers and fans on social media to build your brand

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How to engage your customers and fans on social media to build your brand

By Alicja Gados

It’s nothing new. The advice is prolific: you must engage your customers on social media! It’s easy to say, but to do it properly, there are some tricks and some advice you should know to really get it going.  You need to gain traction in the social media space for your brand, and start conversations with your fans, audience or customers.  This is the first step towards a sale. 

If you’re looking to build your brand, you’ll greatly benefit by sparking engagement with customers.  After all, social media is all about story telling, and you can leverage this to improve recognition of your brand.  Sparking engagement with your followers will help you build a stronger community.  Your fans are an important step to creating authentic content on social media.  So what are the best ways to go about doing this?

Listen

The most important first step is to listen to the conversations people are having in order to discover more about them.  Setting up hashtag monitoring on Hootsuite is one recommended way to do this.  With all the pertinent conversations filtered, you can find out what people are saying about your industry, your products, your competitors, too.  Sit back and try to gauge what they are thinking and feeling, and brainstorm ways to engage with them given this knowledge. 

Ask and answer questions

Ask your followers answer questions.  This will get the conversation started.  Exactly what to ask, will of course depend on your audience.  A campaign to promote hammock by outdoor retailer REI for example, ask their followers to send Instagram photos with a #NationalHammockDay hashtag. They challenged their community to find “crazy, cool spots to hammock.”  Photos were featured on REI’s facebook page. (Source REI Facebook page)

A great way of engaging the audience by encouraging creative photo submissions to create buzz around a certain product. Image courtesy of the REI Facebook page. 

A great way of engaging the audience by encouraging creative photo submissions to create buzz around a certain product. Image courtesy of the REI Facebook page. 

Your audience will ask you questions too, and it’s most likely they’ll use social media to do this. Never miss out on an opportunity to answer a question, even if you don’t have the exact answer. It’s important to acknowledge all questions and requested interactions.  

Keep responses positive and stay focused, your responses should be relevant to your business. 

It’s important to address negative comments and complaints as well.  Criticism is not always a bad thing, and can help you learn from the mistake, get more information about your target customers preferences and give you an opportunity to fix the problem.  The good thing is that this public criticism offers you an opportunity to fix it publicly. 

Give your fans attention

We have now an entire generation has grown up with smartphones, laptops and social media, and since social media is a main platform for social activities, would love an opportunity to get recognition out there.  When you give your fans recognition, you’ll also be getting user generated content. You can use this content on your other social media pages, your website and feature in advertising promotions.  The benefit to giving your audience attention is two-fold in that sense.

Outdoor retailer Backcountry.com encourages user submissions that have the iconic Backcountry.com "goat" logo sticker in various outdoor places, showcasing the outdoor culture at the retailer. Image courtesy of the Backcountry.com Facebook page.

Outdoor retailer Backcountry.com encourages user submissions that have the iconic Backcountry.com "goat" logo sticker in various outdoor places, showcasing the outdoor culture at the retailer. Image courtesy of the Backcountry.com Facebook page.

Have a contest

Contests can help your brand build followers and generate buzz.  The contest should include your audience in the most interactive way possible, by making them ‘do something’ and not just blankly submit their email to enter.  If your reach is too broad, you may attract people that only enter contests to win free stuff, don’t plan to use it and won’t interact with your company unless you are giving something away.  Your contest should ask your audience to submit a creative photo, video or design such that is relevant to your brand.  You can choose a winner yourself for best entry or better yet, ask other audience members to vote once you’ve narrowed it down if you have many entries.

Dedicated social service

To promote a consistent and specific social media strategy, consider having a person specifically dedicated to monitoring social media channels for your company.  If your company, and social media presence is big enough you may want a team dedicated to this task.  

Create community

This aligns with our earlier point about giving your audience attention.  When you promote other peoples content, this creates community and reciprocity: it encourages others to share your content as well. 

Ask for reviews

Reviews can go a long way to broadcasting your image, give you incentive to give great service and create a community of sharing.  Ask your customers to give you reviews on Facebook and Google. This will give you an incentive to show your superior customers service skills, make things right and gain publicity.  

Don’t forget about your employees

The data is staggering: your brand message will travel over 5 times further when shared by your employees than anyone else according to statistics uncovered by MSL Group.  A study by IBM has uncovered those leads endorsed with employee advocacy are 7 times more likely to convert compared to any other lead (source: Smallbiztrends). 

Edmonton coffee roaster Transcend Coffee posting a photo of staff enjoying coffee and asking readers to think of reasons why they love it.  Image courtesy of the Transcend Coffee Facebook page. 

Edmonton coffee roaster Transcend Coffee posting a photo of staff enjoying coffee and asking readers to think of reasons why they love it.  Image courtesy of the Transcend Coffee Facebook page. 

To start, select a few enthusiastic and willing employees for the task.  Assign a social media ‘task’ and once they’ve posted and shared it, collect data on which has garnered the most engagement.  You may want to assign a few people or one person to the task, depending on your needs and company size, but make sure the social media message is consistent and professional.

Repurposed content

Once content is done, it’s not necessarily used just for one purpose.  Repurposing content is a quick way to create new content. There are many ways to use it. For example, take a popular photo from the content and Pin it on Pinterest, asking a question if possible. Be timely with changing seasons and what is relevant in your industry. For example, a post published last year on “tips for hiking in the fall” can be posted each fall with new reasons to promote why these tips are helpful. Add new photos if you have them, promote new tips or gear updates that are relevant to the post, and send the reader to the original content.  This creates brand legacy and shows your expertise in a particular area. 

 

Sources and Further Reading

Hootsuite.com blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-social-media-to-engage-customers/

REI Facebook page facebook.com/REI/

Backcountry.com Facebook page facebook.com/Backcountry/ 

Transcend Coffee Facebook page  facebook.com/transcendcoffee/

American Express.com americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/seven-ways-engage-customers-using-social-media/

Scribd.com scribd.com/doc/249863818/Infographic-Social-Employee-Advocacy

SmallBizTrends.comsmallbiztrends.com/2016/07/marketing-on-social-media.html

 Social Media Examiner  socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-to-include-fans-in-your-social-media-activities/

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CASE STUDY: MR MIKES' Caesar Challenge to Jimmy Kimmel

SUMMARY:

MR MIKES wanted to make a splash. A big one! The goal was to generate more awareness for their signature Caesar Cocktail through a stunt campaign. They requested our help getting through to Jimmy Kimmel on social media to ask him if he’d accept the “Caesar Challenge” and drink this Canadian Cocktail on Canada Day at his studio. Mission accepted and mission completed!

 

GOAL: Achieve brand awareness through the lead of trying to get through to Jimmy Kimmel and have him accept the challenge. 

CHALLENGES:

1. Getting a well known celebrity to take notice, consider the task and then be willing to participate

2. Short timeframe (5 weeks)

3. Budget restrictions

EXECUTION:

1. Developed an integrated, franchise wide social media content and engagement plan

2. Quality control to ensure consistent messaging across 30+ franchise network

3. Strategic social listening and proactive Twitter engagement with Jimmy's network

4. Crowdsourced content development campaign

5. Targeted Facebook and Instagram advertising support

 

RESULTS:

- 8,436 unique social media interactions

- Nearly 1 million people reached via digital advertising campaign

- Jimmy drank the Caesar!

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SnapChat introduces memories

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SnapChat introduces memories

By Alicja Gados

If you use SnapChat, you’ll know that what makes it famous is the short term nature of the posts, or Snaps.  This has made it very popular with the younger generation, allowing people to express themselves with creative photos and posts that expire – namely, things you don’t want to paste onto Facebook, where they’ll stay forever (even if you delete it).  The disappearing messages is what made SnapChat so famous, and now, they are making updates to allow users to save photos and videos.

New Memories Feature

The Memories feature, released July 6, will give more flexibility to users, and will undoubtedly change the way users use SnapChat.  The new feature will also allow users to share photos and videos created outside of the app. 

Now ‘snaps’ and ‘stories’ can be saved within the app for viewing or re-sharing later. The new Memories feature, will be a searchable image tool, and store images like an in-app camera roll.  The images or videos can be re-used to add to stories later, or re-format and post again. For example, a few old snaps can be strung together to make a new story, and reposted snaps will show up with a frame around them so users will know that it’s from the past. The user must manually decide to save the images, or they will disappear just like all snaps or stories.

Though many love the fact that the photos aren’t saved, disappearing snaps have been an issue to some people for some time. In other words, why would you bother putting in effort to create an image for your friends to enjoy if no one will ever see it again? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people, and in reality, if SnapChat is going to grow it must reach a broader audience. This means it must reach out and appeal to older people – not just to pre-teens and teenagers.  Is it a risky move to change something on the app that has defined it? Possibly, but it’s a necessary business step and a risk worth taking.

Adds Flexibility

Practically speaking, the new memories update will allow users much more flexibility over the content they create, and they still aren’t forced to keep their images online permanently.  Not only will you be able to save the image, now, you’ll be able to use the same amount of effort you use to compose photos for other platforms, such as Instagram, since now you can import photos from outside of SnapChat.

The memories feature is perfect for celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event. 

SnapChat on the Rise

SnapChat reports to have about 150 million daily active users, and is valued at an impressive $18 billion, as indicated by recently raised investor funding (source: Wall Street Journal).  This is a sign that it’s valuation is on the rise, and may eventually rival top social network site Facebook (Facebook is currently valued at about $342 billion).

Essentially, this news signifies that SnapChat has finally reached the mainstream. Just a few months ago, in January, the White House began an official SnapChat account (source: Forbes).  The Wall Street Journal is the first American newspaper to join SnapChat Discover. It’s growing, evident as serious establishments and businesses are taking it seriously.

The Wall Street Journal now uses SnapChat. Image from Niemanlab.com from YouTube.com.

The Wall Street Journal now uses SnapChat. Image from Niemanlab.com from YouTube.com.

SnapChat Memories for Marketing

We know that Snapchat can be great for branding (read our article on it here), but how will this new Memories feature improve marketing capabilities?  Now that Snaps won’t expire, businesses can use the platform to create a more coherent brand message.  

The company has already been working with publishers to add articles and videos that disappear after being viewed and is working actively to appeal more to advertisers.

Since SnapChat memories open the door to exhibit pre-produced photos and videos, it will inevitably lead to higher quality videos and photos.  Brands can upload pre-produced content that was meant for posting elsewhere: for magazines, YouTube, Instagram and more. A video made for Facebook can be compacted into a 10 second serialized ‘Story’.  The raw and unfiltered nature of SnapChat is what contrasted it with every other social media platform. Now, it doesn’t have to.

The risk is that brands may get ‘lazy’ and spam their content over all social media platforms. However, what works in one platform will not always work in another, since there are subtle differences in users and what they are used for.  Re-posting content will be cheaper and easier than buying ads from SnapChat, but this is something that SnapChat can control by altering their terms of service in commercial content, requiring commercial ads to pay for advertising. This will all be sorted in time.

Or perhaps we’ll see what happened with Facebook, where marketers (myself included) enjoyed posting ads for free, enjoying free Facebook traffic until they changed it to a ‘pay to play’ structure.  You’re still allowed to post ads on Facebook for free, but that point is almost moot thanks to the algorithm that selectively posts to users. Your post simply won’t have the organic reach if you don’t pay.

Since Instagram has also come up with a similar sort of algorithm, selective viewing, we can assume that one day SnapChat will too, once it’s value as an advertising platform is very clear to marketers.

To realize the potential of SnapChat for marketing, it’s important to know the SnapChat environment.  The app is based on, and encourages casual conversation and ideas, communicated through videos and photos.  Typically the app is used for documenting casual activities such as vacations, dinners with friends, and other daily social activities, and not professional behaviour.  Now with Memories, older people are using the app, and it’s likely that the casual environment of the app may change. Already, the stories capability was used to present a climb on Everest, which is no casual endeavor.  The pre-produced content wasn’t posted live, hence there was some control and thought given to how the account was given.  The story documented climbers attempting to summit Everest.

The Memories feature will be rolled out selectively over the next month, and users will be notified via email when it’s ready for them to use.  

Read more about SnapChat Memories and download SnapChat here

 

Sources and Further Reading

Marketingland.com http://marketingland.com/snapchats-memories-opens-stories-pre-produced-photos-videos-183403

Wall Street Journal wsj.com/articles/snapchat-valuation-nears-18-billion-1464301359

SnapChat blog http://snapchat-blog.com/post/146998839575/introducing-memories

Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2016/07/06/snapchat-creates-memories-tab-for-saving-snaps-to-watch-or-re-share-later/#18726fcac32e

Mashable.com http://mashable.com/2016/01/12/snapchat-is-for-parents-now/#E2ITW.WQ38q4

Mashable.com http://mashable.com/2016/07/06/snapchat-memories-feature/#T0gEmnmx3mq0

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Facebook live video: everything you need to know

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Facebook live video: everything you need to know

By Alicja Gados

Facebook is constantly on the go with regular product invocations in social media. The latest from social media giant is Facebook Live. You can now go live on Facebook, broadcasting to the largest audience in the world using your mobile device. Promoted as he best way to interact with viewers in real time, the Live functionality is a very effective way to answer questions, monitor live reactions and gather valuable data on how an audience reacts.  The applications to business are plentiful. People love watching video, so Facebook built a dedicated place to watch content within Facebook.  Current fans of a certain organization or brand will be able to keep up with the latest news from them.

You can instantly connect with the people and pages you care about most, your followers will receive notifications when you go live so they will be alerted to when you’re going live.

Availability

The Live functionality is available to all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android and Facebook Mentions. When a video of one of the people or groups you follow is live, there will be a red icon at the top left hand corner of the video indicating that there is a live video available.  The word “Live” is written next to the icon with a number of viewers currently viewing the video. 

If a video was missed it will be published on a page or profile so it can be viewed again and again. And the broadcaster can remove or edit the post at any time, just like any other post. The broadcast can last up to 90 minutes.

A social media innovation

The Live feature aims to capitalize on the recent trends of the immense popularity of online video viewing and instant updates. Live may change the way both marketers and consumers use the platform and may also influence coexisting users.  It may seem like a basic feature, offering live streaming videos capabilities to users that is already done well by such providers like Periscope and Meerkat.  But Facebook Live goes a bit further, notably since video to be retrieved anytime and the connection with other Facebook features.

If you’re a social media marketer, it’s important that you understand Facebook Live, even if you don’t plan on using it.  Facebook is recognizing an important progression in mobile technology and social media.

On the surface, it may seem simple. When you tap the live stream icon, you can begin to broadcast your video right from your mobile phone and write a description of the broadcast or event.  Your followers can views the video, whereby it will appear in their feeds, and at the end when you hit ‘finish’ to end the live broadcast, the video is permanently published in your timeline, leaving it available to be viewed again and again. 

How to use Facebook Live

Wildlife conservation group Explore.org uses Facebook Live to raise awareness. Image from their Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts).

Wildlife conservation group Explore.org uses Facebook Live to raise awareness. Image from their Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts).

There are a number of best practices that you can use, no matter what you are presenting, as explained by Facebook and listed here:

·      Announce ahead of time when you will broadcast

This will allow you to build anticipation in your audience and given them time to prepare should they have any questions.

·      Make sure you have a strong connection

This is fairly obvious, but don’t take it for granted.  You’ll want a 4G connection in case you can’t get a wifi signal (wifi will work the best).  If you do have a weak signal, you won’t be able to broadcast as the live button will be show up in grey instead of red.

·      Attract more followers

Try to attract more regular followers on the platform. Users will be notified when you go live, so the bigger the following you have the larger your Live audience can be.  Ask your audience to follow you using the “Follow” button on your live stream, and opt-in to get notified the next time you go live.

·      Write a compelling description

This is your chance to get your fans attention and let them know what your broadcast is all about. It should be accurate and compelling to encourage participation.

·      Engage with commenters and viewers

Address your commenters by name, they’ll be excited when you mention their name and answer their questions live.

How Facebook live innovates

Facebook Live is innovative because it takes advantage of the following trends:

·      Video. People love to watch video, and it’s only getting more and more popular as content marketers incorporate this trend into their marketing.

·      Real time updates.  Real time updates have become very popular in social media.  They seem more honest and sincere and require greater attention, which makes people pay attention more than to dated posts.

·      Availability. Though live video sharing already exists, Facebook makes it better by making the videos available after the broadcast is complete.

Interesting ways Facebook Live has been used so far

So what’s going on in the business world? Many businesses are already using the Live feature, such as explore.org to show wildlife videos. Here are a few more examples.

NASA

Zuckerberg demonstrating Facebook Live with a chat with three astronauts live at the International Space Station. Image from Mark Zuckerbergs Facebook page (available at: facebook.com/zuck/videos/10102866910495181/).

Zuckerberg demonstrating Facebook Live with a chat with three astronauts live at the International Space Station. Image from Mark Zuckerbergs Facebook page (available at: facebook.com/zuck/videos/10102866910495181/).

On June 1, three NASA astronauts took part in a special live chat with Facebook founder Mike Zuckerberg, about how astronauts spend their time in space.  The video was live streamed from the International Space Station and marked the first use of Facebook Live in space. The live-streamed video received hundreds of thousands of views while broadcast and 2.6 million views at press time.

In the video, NASA astronauts Jeff Williams, Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake are interviewed by Zuckerberg and focused on talking about things that training can’t prepare you for, and the truth about astronaut ice cream.

Check out the space video here.

McDonalds

Image from the McDonalds Facebook Live page (available at   
  
 
  
     
  
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   https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS/videos/10153531626362014/). 

Image from the McDonalds Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS/videos/10153531626362014/). 

McDonalds made a bold move, finally hosting it’s first Facebook Live video after avoiding live streaming videos to engage consumers for fear of criticism. The subject of their hour long video was an art show hosted by a comedian playing the part of “Bevin Burger,” who was shown to paint three burger inspired portraits in honour of National Hamburger Day, which was last Wednesday (May 25th).  The broadcast, to their surprise was well received with 80% of feedback at positive or neutral.   

McDonalds largest audience, which is 64 million followers, is on Facebook, so they decided to give it a try.  In the broadcast, they wanted to emphasize that their burgers are made with 100% real beef and have no preservatives.  The video got an audience of 1.1million people and 64,000 people engaged with it.  This video is actually really funny is non-promotional in nature. 

It is going to be exciting to see where marketers will take Facebook Live. Stay tuned!  

 

Further Reading  

Facebook.comhttps://live.fb.com/about/

Facebook.com  https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/best-practices/live

Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/04/26/facebook-live-everything-you-need-to-know/#187e3e777a82

Space.com space.com/33051-facebook-live-space-astronauts-mark-zuckerberg.html

PR Week.com prweek.com/article/1397277/lessons-learned-mcdonalds-first-facebook-live-video

Explore.org on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts

 

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WhatsApp launches desktop app for Windows and Mac

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WhatsApp launches desktop app for Windows and Mac

By Alicja Gados

On May 10th popular chat tool WhatsApp released a much anticipated, new desktop app giving users a new way to keep in touch. The app is now available on Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.9 and up and syncs with your mobile device.  The app mirrors conversations and messages from the mobile app, and acts like an extension of the mobile device.

With this update, you can message people when at your computer and stay off your phone.  The app runs natively on your desktop giving better keyboard shortcuts and all the benefits that come with using a computer versus a mobile device. It has support for native desktop notifications.

WhatsApp has been available on desktop before, using a web client called WhatsApp Web, initially launched in January of 2015. The new desktop app offers more support, the ability to use keyboard shortcuts, and to have messages open in a separate window instead of having it open in one of your multiple browser tabs.

What is WhatsApp?

Haven’t heard of WhatsApp? Facebook owned WhatsApp is the biggest messaging application in the world, boasting more than 1 billion active users. It’s only worked on the phone until now. The company has impressive growth, growing by about 1 million users a day.

You can create chat groups or individual chats, sending photos, videos or locations.  It works great to keep in touch where roaming or long distance fees may prevent communication, and great for keeping in touch with friends or family that live far away. The business applications for the platform extend easily from these capabilities. Group texting available on WhatsApp is already very popular among many businesses and organizations. 

WhatsApp for business

Messaging apps are the latest trend in social media for companies targeting customers, and earlier this year, WhatsApp has finally invited businesses into its massive user network. Chat apps are becoming more and more popular these days as they are more efficient, and quicker than sending emails.  

WhatsApp can be used in business in order to open new channels to get in touch with customers. Examples of some of the main ways that customers can be reached are in: customer assistance, support in real time, online ordering, feedback as well as team communication and coordination efforts in offices.

WhatsApp: no longer just for your mobile device. 

WhatsApp: no longer just for your mobile device. 

Business messaging tools

One of the most popular tools for communicating on chat platforms is called Slack. Slack has done well in the workplace communication environment.

Slack is a popular group-messaging app that’s used in workplaces. Since it started, it has collected 3 million daily users, and it’s now valued at almost $4 billion US. Based out of San Francisco, its main success has been with tech startups, where it is widely used for workplace communication.   

Apps like Slack have done really well on the desktop. Slack is generally used as a workplace tool while WhatsApp is used for personal messaging for friends and family. In the workplace, people use it to chat to fellow workmates about where to go for lunch and some use it to communicate with customers. 

Since Slack is popular with workplace and business use, that leads to a lot less temptation about mixing work conversations with personal ones, such as may be the case with WhatsApp, which is already well established in personal communications.  But the upgrades will certainly make it more appealing to business and professional use, especially if special features are added on over time that will make office communications more professional, such as an administrator portal.   

How WhatsApp makes money

WhatsApp is now totally free to use.  Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion (an impressive 950 times it’s 2013 revenue). They used to charge a 99 cent fee in countries where users had credit cards and are more likely to pay for apps on their mobile devices, like in the UK and the US.  Now with the acquisition, WhatsApp has a lot of its costs covered and no longer needs to charge a fee.

So now since Facebook owns WhatsApp, there is more pressure for the app to make money.  Two years ago when WhatsApp was bought, the company was largely left alone to discuss its growth while under Facebook.  But now that the user base has reached an impressive number they will likely start to find ways of charging. 

This year WhatsApp has announced that it will introduce tools to allow you to use the app to communicate with businesses and organizations.  For example, this can be anywhere from inquiring about a delayed flight from your airline to asking your bank about recent transactions. 

Messaging and Chats for business an emerging trend

Many businesses are already using the basic form of WhatsApp to communicate with their customers.  In Hong Kong, this practice is already very common: in certain restaurants, you can book a table by texting it on the app.  You can send a news tip to BBC using WhatsApp. These interactions are basically the same WhatsApp capabilities put to a different application. But businesses need more: they want analytics, ability to target and message a large group of customers at once and automated messages. Automated messages, or ‘bots’ are becoming really popular for businesses on messaging apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger. 

WeChat for branding

WeChat uses chat for branding particularly well.  Luxury brands Burberry, Coach and Chanel are using this app to gain customers. WeChat business users can sell products directly to more than 600 million available users. This app is particularly popular in China, where WeChat is the most popular online resource for information on luxury goods.

Burberry uses WeChat to inform customers about style trends, news, new arrivals, popular products and link them back to their website.  They communicate to their customers visually by using stunning photography and videos to create a sense of nostalgia for their products. The app is also used for customer service, and most requests are answered within 24 hours.  

WeChat is probably the leader in bringing business to the messaging platform, and content based marketing in messaging. It’s likely that WhatsApp will follow some of their model.

What’s next for WhatsApp?

WhatsApp has plenty of examples to chose from where to go with its new business strategy. Since WhatsApp founders dislike advertising (they have been reluctant to sell ads in their app) they will likely stick to limited corporate users to simple and focused capabilities.  Perhaps it will allow a few select corporate customers access and at some point charge them for the service.    

If you don't use it yet, you can download WhatsApp on their website

Further Reading

Forbes.com forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2016/05/11/whatsapp-finally-launches-desktop-apps-for-windows-and-mac/#3c60bb08133a

Forbes.com forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2016/01/18/whatsapp-businesses-free-1-billion/#5301b54cb6bd

Bloomberg.com bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-31/slack-tackles-corporate-america-with-a-little-help

Digiday.com https://digiday.com/brands/burberry-coach-chanel-win-wechat-users/

 

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What is Snapchat and why is it great for branding?

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What is Snapchat and why is it great for branding?

By Alicja Gados

Do you use Snapchat? Or do you consider it to be just an app for those technologically savvy millennials? You may be overwhelmed by the app, or not even understand how it works.  The latest update will make it easier to use, and has incredible applications for branding, much like Instagram.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat has enjoyed a relatively fast rise to notability in the digital and social media tech world.  Launched in September 2011, it already features 100 million daily active users.

Snapchat is a social network where users can send and read 140 character messages. It allows you to share short snippets of your time: your post is shown only 1-10 seconds maximum. Personal chats are available only once, and then they disappear once your audience has viewed it. Snapchat also has ‘Stories,’ which are viewable several times, but only for a maximum period of 24 hours.

The app allows you to take photos and videos, and add captions. You are very limited to how much you can add on a caption: only 31 characters. To bypass this, say it on video and say your caption out loud. You can adjust the amount of time your photo will show up on the Story list, and then you can share it with a specific individual or as a story, viewable for 24 hours. 

Initially, the app was popular among pre-teens to instantly post whatever content pre-teens post, not always socially appropriate. Because the posts expire, it encourages kids to post whatever is on their mind or they feel like posting, without that data being saved in a long line of text for their parents to discover.

Why is Snapchat so popular?

Snapchat was created to address the issue and stress presented by longevity of personal information on social media as shown by increasing ‘untagging’ of certain Facebook photos to avoid negative association hanging around on the internet forever, such as in the face of job interviews. It’s nice if you just post something that you feel like posting, and not have to worry about regretting posting it later. Posts won’t follow you around forever, and this is what makes it so popular.

Snapchat is one of the most addictive apps out there. As of February 2016, users were watching a staggering 8 billion videos daily! In fact, there are over 100 million daily active users in developed countries, and even more worldwide. Of those, 60 per cent actually contribute content in ‘Stories’ and photos. This is a high level of active engagement. In terms of all social media users in the US, nearly one fifth of these users use Snapchat.

A bit more impressive data: every second, Snapchat users share 9 photos.  Daily video views top out at a total of 10 billion. The proportion of people who like it because their content expires, or disappears, is roughly a third of all users.  It’s a huge draw contributing to the popularity of the app.

History

Snapchat is an image messaging application software product created by four Stanford University students.  The main idea was to allow users to communicate with images that disappear shortly after being viewed.  Met at first with a bit of skepticism from their peers, the product was eventually rolled out and became a very quick success, and continues to grow at a staggering rate even given the highly competitive selection of social media products. 

How it works

The app is used mainly for creating multimedia messages called ‘Snaps’ that can be edited with various effects, filters, text, captions and drawings.  ‘Snaps’ consist of photos or short videos.  Also, these snaps can be filtered in the ‘Story’ and ‘Discover’ functionality.

Story and Discover functions

In a ‘Story’, a semi-public story thread can be either private or public. The story can be viewed by invited users (unless it’s public) for a set period of time specified by the user, given a range of only 1 -10 seconds, after which it expires and disappears.   

Stories are displayed chronologically as they are posted.  Each story is posted for 24 hours.  You can also post ‘live stories’, which allows users to post on-location at specific events, like hockey games, baseball games, concerts or music festivals to contribute to the overall story of the event.   Last year, this function surpassed the popularity of private ‘snaps’ posting, and is currently the most popular feature of the app. 

The ‘Discover’ function was introduced last summer, and it contains ad supported, short form content from major publishers that are seen between half a million to one million times per day.  The Discover service has grown the service from merely providing photos into creating chronological arrangements of photos and text, or ‘stories.’ This gives the app a primary focus on entertainment.

Traditional chat function but with full attention

There is also a direct messaging and video chat feature. This competes with traditional messaging products such as Facebook messenger, but is unlike those chat programs in one important way, by giving a positive indicator of getting the persons’ full attention, rather than a negative one. 

Virtually all chat programs have a ‘negative’ indictor, meaning the ‘online’ or ‘available to chat’ means the person is there, but may not want to talk to you. And the person wanting to initiate the chat sees that. The Snapchat difference is that the indicator is positive, meaning a user is here and giving you your full attention. This is called the ‘Here’ function, and is said to prevent awkwardness that can come from other chat apps with typing indicators.

Recently, the latest version of updates was released. Called “Chat 2.0”, the update includes voice chat, video and audio notes and stickers. The latest upgrade allows you to access video and audio conferencing, the ability to post notes and share your recent camera photos. Users can easily move between text, video and audio chat modes as desired.

The new changes move the company into a broader sphere of tech users, ones that allow them to compete with WhatsApp, Facetime and Skype. 

SnapChat for brands

Not just for the kids: Snapchat is serious marketing business.

You may have noticed that the brands and influencers you like to follow may mention their content on Snapchat.  Bloggers, editors and entrepreneurs love Snapchat because of how easy going it is, and not everything must always be perfectly styled like it does on Instagram. It adds a bit of realism to those creative brands, showing how an idea is curated and can help you optimizes your brand. 

The fact is that Snapchat has engaged users extremely well. The high level of engagement will be a huge draw for advertisers, particularly for brands.

Creating a community is much easier now that we have social media, and Snapchat is no exception.  Snapchat can be great for your brand. Users are a technologically sophisticated bunch, which makes the social media platform attractive for business: 75% of these users purchase products online.

Thanks to the Discover and Stories functions, brands like Coca-Cola, General Electric, National Geographic and CNN are using it to connect to their fans. There are 100 million people using it daily. Compare that to twitter, with 320 million monthly active users.

When planning your Snapchat and other social media strategy, be sure you know what your brand is about and how you want it to be seen by your fans.  Read more on why and how to involve your employees in your social media strategy.  

Learn more about Snapchat here.

Further Reading

Wired.com wired.com/2016/04/how-to-use-snapchat-guide-millennials/

DreamGreendiy.com dreamgreendiy.com/2015/05/29/how-to-optimize-snapchat-for-your-brand/

Mashable.com mashable.com/2016/04/26/how-to-use-new-snapchat-chat-features/#gnTIz0z3q8qP

Kissmetircs Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-brands-can-use-snapchat/

Expanded Ramblingsexpandedramblings.com/index.php/snapchat-statistics/

Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapchat

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PicsArt is the app of art lovers

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PicsArt is the app of art lovers

PicsArt is the app for art lovers

By Alicja Gados

PicsArt is the latest leading photo editing app on the Apple operating system (iOS) and Android. It allows users the flexibility and capability to transform their photos into works of art, creating inspirational and thought provoking pieces from their photography.  Over 75 million people are using this app every month, and this is growing. It has a rating of 4.5 stars on the apple App store and over 2.5 million reviews. It’s the most popular photo-editing app on the market today.

If you like using Instagram, you’ll probably love PicsArt.

What is PicsArt?

In the app, users can create drawings, paintings, and edit photos. It is a full-featured photo editor and collage maker. The app has literally hundreds of editing tools, including masks, special effects, frames, overlays, stickers and text. The artistic capabilities from the site are impressive.  The user base is already half as big as Pinterest, and has already reached around 75 million active monthly users.  PicsArt has been downloaded about 250 million times. The apps users are predominantly young female in the 14-24 age range. 

On PicsArt, you can edit a new photo or import one from your camera roll, but also import from Facebook, Picassa, Flickr or Dropbox accounts.  Many people like to share their PicsArt creations on Instagram. The focus of PicsArt is on co-creation and public sharing, differentiating it from Instagram. Instagram’s 400 million monthly users generally follow their own friends, celebrities and influencers, with some choice of editing tools.

PicsArt features professional photo editing tools available to everyone. Image from the PicsArt website. 

PicsArt features professional photo editing tools available to everyone. Image from the PicsArt website. 

 

PicsArt offers a much broader range of editing and drawing tools than that, and on PicsArt, you can add clip art, cut, paste and re-arrange your photo, and add text bubbles. The goal of PicsArt is to remove the barrier to creation. They want everyone, regardless of skill level, or artistic prowess, to be creative.  They give users these tools to be creative, to collaborate and share their work regardless of their background. 

PicsArt is well suited to those who want more control over their own edits, but so far, not as more for those who want to spend time browsing other peoples’ pieces.  It requires some time getting to know how to use the program. You’ll need to invest some time in learning how to use all the different features.

Promoting Collaboration

The app also allows users to invite their Facebook friends to collaborate on their photos, allowing them to edit photos in non-parallel. They can also share videos of the drawing process. The app can show users step by step how the collages are created. PicsArt created the #freetoedit hashtag and encourages users to tag their image that way, to allow the rest of the community to edit the design.

Use PicsArt to create stunning visuals. Can you use this for branding? Absolutely. Image from @minthuyen posted on the PicsArt website.

Use PicsArt to create stunning visuals. Can you use this for branding? Absolutely. Image from @minthuyen posted on the PicsArt website.

 

Next for PicsArt

As they grow, the company will release more image filters, simpler editing tools and a process that will allow creations to be made even faster and posted sooner.  They also want to make it easier for users to find creations that will spark their interest, to increase the number of users of the app.  They find that most users actually spend more time creating content than viewing, and in order for the app to become more collaborative, users must be able to find, view and interact with those pieces that resonate with them. The users home screen shows users selections of images with labels such as daily inspiration, most liked, top weekly and monthly, and new or featured users. This will be expanded.

History of PicsArt

The company was founded in Armenia and first launched on the Android platform in 2012 and iOS fairly recently, in 2014. The app collects revenue from advertisements, sponsored contests and selling special image editing upgrades, such as special font and image packages in the app store.

It’s valued at about $250 million. Approximately 25% of the user base in in the US, and the rest are more or less evenly scattered throughout Asia, South America and Europe.  The company now has an office in San Francisco.

In 2014-15, the app was the most popular free app in the Apple app store, and so far in 2016, still remains in the top 20 of photo and video apps downloaded in the US.  Thought you were overloaded with social networks? Many people did think so, but they still flock to PicsArt, signaling that it is filling a new niche. The opportunity to beautify and create works of art through photos and sketches and having the power to tell the story in their own words is something people didn’t even know that they wanted until they had the capability to do so through PicsArt.

Similar apps

There are some similarities with other programs, specifically PicsArt, Flickr and 500PX. All of these apps deal with images and creativity, but they have a different product focus and mission. The difference is that PicsArt is for everyone, not just professional photographers and visual artists. PicsArt supports other artistic mediums, such as drawing, and not just photos.  It doesn’t support just a single creative capability; in fact, it supports different communities and utilities to work together to create something together. The mission of PicsArt is to offer professional level creative tools and features to anyone, allow them to share it with the community, who can also collaborate on the creation.  It’s open source and collaboration intensive.

In the future, we might see that there is a big opportunity for brands to use this tool as part of a marketing strategy, similar to Facebook and Instagram. Marketers can encourage their followers to collaborate on creative images. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the next few years.

Using PicsArt to promote Earth Day, and the 'free to edit' theme.  Image from the PicsArt website.

Using PicsArt to promote Earth Day, and the 'free to edit' theme.  Image from the PicsArt website.

If you’re more interested in discovering other people’s photos, Instagram or EyeEm work better in that regard.  But PicsArt has enough to satisfy the photo editing needs. The app leaves little lacking.

Picsart is expanding very quickly, and recently got $20 million to grow user base in Asia, mainly China and Japan.  The funding came from DCM Ventures.  There is some stiff competition with plenty of locally made photo apps already in the market (like Line Camera and editing apps like Camera 360), but PicsArt hopes to set itself apart with it’s community of 75 million active monthly users with it’s intention to increase engagement and collaboration in the app.  

If you want to check out PicsArt, check out their webpage. A tutorial video is helpful in getting started.

Further reading

Forbes.com forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2016/02/28/picsarts-first-product-vp-wants-to-make-the-app-the-biggest-digital-art-community-in-the-world/#362f0b297a35

Techcruch.com techcrunch.com/2015/08/27/eric-edge-joins-picsart/

PicsArt website. picsart.com

Techcruch.com techcrunch.com/2016/04/20/picsart-asia/

PicsArt Tutorials. picsart.com/tutorials

 

 

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The new Instagram algorithm and what it means for your business

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The new Instagram algorithm and what it means for your business

The new Instagram algorithm allows you to see the moments you care about first

By Alicja Gados

You may be surprised to know that you can miss an average of 70 per cent of your feed on Instagram.  Since Instagram has grown so much in the last few years and because there are so many users, people are posting more photos and videos and many of the interesting feeds and updates you want to see simply are not displayed.  In order to improve your user experience, much like facebook, Instagram has released an algorithm so you will see more of the posts that you care about the most. 

The algorithm takes into account whose photos you visit the most often, and the ones you interact with given a like or comment. The order of photos or videos displayed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in that content. It’s also based on your relationship with the person posting and the posts’ timeliness.  The new algorithm will basically optimize the order of your feed. Everything that you used to see will still be there, but now it will be prioritized according to what they think you will like first.

This new algorithm makes sure that you won’t miss all your favourite posts.  For example, if your best friend posts photos from their travels around the world, or your food aficionado friend posts meals of their favourite restaurants, you’ll still see them.                                            

What does this mean for marketing?

There was a lot of panic in the industry when Instagram announced the news feed algorithm.  This is because of what happened on Facebook, which coincidentally (or not) is the parent company of Instagram.  The Facebook news feed algorithm has limited the reach of brand pages by a huge amount, so organically, brand pages are lucky to be reaching 16% of their fans. In fact, organic reach went down from 16% of followers in 2012 to 11% in 2015, according to Facebook data (source: Ad News).

When the Facebook algorithm first came out, average reach from pages was 2.6 per cent, and less than 2.3 per cent for large pages, those with over a million ‘likes.’ So larger brand pages felt the sting more than smaller pages. 

Instagram users have spent years developing their audience for Instagram, creating specifically targeted content for their users, fear it may all be lost. However, this is not likely to happen for several reasons. First of all, unlike Facebook, Instagram does not have brand pages, so brand content can’t be specifically targeted or segregated the way it is on Facebook.  So Instagram content can’t be treated differently given the nature of the accounts.  Instead, Instagram will now give you more of what you wanted to see in the first place: so if you have an audience engaged around your brand, then you won’t loose it.  The idea is to give users more of what they want. So if you already have a solid following, you won’t be affected.

Instagram aims to improve user experience, and they will do that by delivering the content that your audience wants to see.  The more time spent on the platform the better from a business perspective, and gives more opportunity to monetize that audience.

If your Instagram strategy is not working for you, you really need to consider revising it.  Figure out what your audience engages in and keep giving them opportunities to continue engaging. 

The platform is based on expression, creativity, and art. It’s a very visual platform.  It’s not always easy to do, but there are many examples of creative expression that may inspire you for what you can do for your brand page.  These points may allow you to get a new angle and start thinking about how to build an effective Instagram presence.

Your Instagram strategy

So are you wondering where to go from here?  The algorithm will challenge users to create better content. Some brands may struggle to adapt as they look at Instagram as an advertising platform, rather than a creative platform.  The update challenges marketers with the need to share unique content.  Traditionally, brands already account for less engagement on Instagram, brands will automatically appear less in feeds.  The news is bad for brands who have not been putting the energy required into their ads, and will have to improve their approach, as Instagram follows the “pay to play” strategy of Facebook.  If you’ve already been putting in a solid effort with creative content, good for you, you’ll continue to enjoy the audience that you have built.

Some believe that users will move away from Instagram now that some organic reach may be lost. Time will tell, but in the meantime, you should improve your Instagram marketing strategy by posting engaging content.  Here are five tips on how to do this.

1. Connect with people

Share your personality. Share a human connection to your Instagram presence. Though this may sound somewhat abstract, try let your imagination soar and look at things a different way, a way that describes you, reveals a bit of your personality and welcomes others to connect with you.

Example: This photo of a grizzly bear invites you to connect with nature in the Yukon, and showcases the wild side of Yukon Territory.

Image from the Travel Yukon Instagram page.

Image from the Travel Yukon Instagram page.

 

2.  Tune into your passion

What inspires you? Use Instagram to post images that inspire you. Whatever your passion is, there are communities on Instagram that share those passions with you that you can target.

Example: This aerial photo of Barrier Lake in the mountains, from Canmore Kananaskis tourism is inspiring.  

Image from the Canmore Kananaskis Tourism Instagram page.

Image from the Canmore Kananaskis Tourism Instagram page.

 

3.  Grab attention

Make people stop scrolling by showing them something that really commands their attention. Many tired, old ideas can get a new look. We’ve all seen our share of inspirational quotes in the same font. Think of a new way to present a common idea that will resonate with people.

Example:  Not just a tired mountain shot, this photo from Tourism Jasper is stunning, and romanticizes the call of the open road and sense of adventure.

Image of Jasper National Park from the Jasper Tourism Instagram page.

Image of Jasper National Park from the Jasper Tourism Instagram page.

 

4.  High quality, striking images

If you can’t create a compelling video from your users, consider using impressive visuals like bright colours to make people stop and stare.  Your attention to detail is very important, and will not go unnoticed.  With the variety of free photo editing software out there, it won’t take you long to create something very visually appealing.

Example: The Brooklyn bridge has certainly been photographed enough times, but this image presents a new way of looking at it with attention to symmetry and a single splash of colour from the umbrella.

Image of the Brooklyn Bridge from the New York Instagram page.

Image of the Brooklyn Bridge from the New York Instagram page.

 

5.  Something new

Get really in touch with your creative side. Think beyond what the platform is used for, and invent new ways to amplify it. 

Example: Rocky Mountain Soap presents us with a recipe for London fog tea while introducing their latest soap creation. The image suggests peace and relaxation, qualities which the brand wants to be associated with.

Image from the Rocky Mountain Soap Instagram page.

Image from the Rocky Mountain Soap Instagram page.

Instagram is a very visual platform. Get your company involved, and have fun with it.

Further Reading

Instagram Blog blog.instagram.com/post/141107034797/160315-news

Facebook.com facebook.com/marketing/posts/10150839503836337

Ad Week adweek.com/socialtimes/locowise-march-2015/619104

Social Media Today socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/5-tips-creating-better-instagram-content-and-avoiding-algorithm-restrictions

Ad News adnews.com.au/news/the-new-instagram-bad-for-brands-good-for-content

 

 

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Crucial SEO Considerations for your Website

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Crucial SEO Considerations for your Website

Crucial SEO considerations for your new website

By Alicja Gados

If you’re building a website for your new business, you probably already know that search engine optimization (SEO) continues to be a major consideration. Your website needs to be easy to find. Organic search continues to be the number one way users find websites. So this means that you need to concentrate on some important principles when building your website.  So what should you focus on to begin with? Consider these eight things.

1. Structure of the URL

Let’s start with the simplest: the URL. The URL needs to contain keywords that you would like to rank for.  Make sure that pages within your site follow a hierarchy that is easy to decipher. Keep the naming convention logical, using hyphens and not the underscore symbol to separate the words.  For example do something like this (note: these are made up links for illustrative purposes only):

www.travelalberta.com/things-to-do/winter/skiing-snowboarding/resort-list/resort-packages

and not something like this:

travelalberta.com/activities_1/winter_sport/short_list/price_list

By reading the first URL you pretty much know what you’re going to get: a list of ski resorts in Alberta offering special packages. 

The second URL is confusing, just by reading it you won’t know exactly what the site is pointing to.  Be clear: Google is smart, and will figure out what you are trying to say.

2. Use of keywords

Speaking of keywords, there is some confusion surrounding the use of keywords in your content. How important are they?  Should they be an exact, specific match or just a broad one, and what about keywords in your meta description? Generally, you should only use keywords when it makes sense with your content. Don’t force the keywords where it doesn’t make sense. Don’t disturb the quality of your writing just to force a keyword in the content. Natural language is recommended.  Again, Google is smart and will figure out your message.

The main takeaway is to write content for your audience, and the rest will take care of itself.   

3. Meta Data

You need to optimize two pieces of meta data: the title and meta description.  These not only help search understand what your content and web page is about, but also they appear in search engine results pages, so it’s important that your target audience very clearly understands your message.  You need to make your content as specific and clickable as possible to your target audience. 

Your title should be 60 characters or less, including spaces.  Avoid getting too wordy and be as specific as you can.  Wondering what that looks like?  This title has about 53 characters in it including spaces: 

“15 Spring Wildflower Hikes to Do in the United States”

Descriptions should be 140 characters or less, including spaces. If you use a site like Wordpress as your website editor, it will tell you this right in the description.  An example for the same blog as above:

This description is 132 characters and summarizes the content nicely.   

“The snow is melting and things are getting greener as spring emerges in the U.S. Check out these 15 trails for the perfect spring wildflower hikes this season!”

The meta data is a great place to compete for clicks. Use it to encourage clicks to your website from the search results page by making your description enticing and interesting. Make sure each page on your website has unique titles and descriptions. 

Optimize your content for search engines.

Optimize your content for search engines.

 

4. Blogging

These days, regular blogging is pretty much a standard requirement for most businesses, and doing a good job at it is critical for SEO.  There is really no good reason not to have a good blog and regular content. You need to ensure that your blog is an integrated part of your site: this will strengthen your brand.  By integrated, it should have consistent look and feel and use the same perspective, ‘voice’ or persona. 

5. Consistent styling

All your content should be styled consistently across your site.  Often, pieces of content on a website are styled individually, and this negatively impacts the consistency of the site.  This means the use of headings and subheadings that are the same across articles. Make it look as clean and tidy as possible, and changing styles in the future will be quick and easy, with less chance of things looking ‘off’.

6. Content

This has become one of the most important concepts in SEO. No longer can holders of parked pages with no value added be successful as before due to the Google algorithm punishing these sites and rewarding sites with good quality content.  Your content needs to be relevant and valuable. The blogging component is one of those important aspects, but you can use quality content in many other areas such as product descriptions and category pages.

Here are examples of where you can use good quality content:

·      Landing pages

·      Category pages

·      The home page

·      Product descriptions

7. Optimization for Mobile

We cannot stress this one enough. Responsive design is important as mobile is a huge component of the internet, and forecast only to get bigger. In fact, we’ve already passed this tipping point around 2014. The majority of media is consumed on mobile devices rather than desktops (source: Conscore.com).

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile.

8. Navigation

User experience is number one here.  Once users get to your site thanks to your great content, layout and descriptions, you need to make sure they can navigate the site effectively once they get there.  If your customers can’t navigate your site, and have trouble using your site effectively, you’ll never earn mentions or links.  It’s important to have an idea of how to link items within the site. Do this by listing the pages and categories that you need and identifying which are important, decide which pages need to be accessed from where. Think logically. If you are talking about how to pack for a hike, you’ll want to link to product pages where your customers can buy the actual products you’re talking about. 

Once you have that figured out, design your main navigation menu accordingly.  Then start to think about sub headings in the main navigation bar for categories, and so on.   Consider which components of navigation will be most important for your mobile layout.

Need some help? Get in touch with us.

Further Reading

Search Engine Journal.com searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-9-seo-considerations-building-new-website/115627/

The Digital Lion.com thedigitallion.com/5-crucial-seo-considerations-for-new-websites/

Comscore.com comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2014/The-US-Mobile-App-Report

Tech Crunch.com techcrunch.com/2014/08/21/majority-of-digital-media-consumption-now-takes-place-in-mobile-apps/

Images from Pixabay.com

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