Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Distribute Content Effectively Across Multiple Channels

Your content is great. You’ve been applying new strategies and learning how to master the art of storytelling to make your content more engaging.

But now what? This is useless if you’re unable to distribute it to your audience.

I see this problem all the time when I’m consulting businesses. They have excellent writers who know how to write great blog posts, but nobody is reading their work.

The key here is learning how to distribute your content so it can reach the widest audience possible.

If you’re using only one distribution channel, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Some of you may be thinking, “If it’s on my website, someone will eventually see it.”

That’s not true. You can’t rely on your website alone for content distribution. That’s because people consume information in a wide variety of ways.

For example, if you have a B2B company, you should be aware that majority of your content is being viewed on desktop computers.

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B2C companies, on the other hand, need to put more emphasis on optimizing their mobile websites for Google searches.

But effective content distribution goes way beyond the types of devices your audience is using. Using multiple methods of distribution gives more people a chance to see your content.

Use this guide as a reference for how to successfully deliver content to your target audience. Here’s what you need to know.

Establish an active presence on all your channels

Your distribution won’t be effective if you’re adding content to each channel only once per month. If you want more views and engagement, the first thing you need to do is make sure all your platforms are active.

This is the best way to make sure that as many people as possible have regular access to your brand.

Start simple. How many social media profiles do you have? Create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube if you haven’t already.

You’ve been adding new subscribers to your email list, but how often do you send them messages?

People subscribed to your emails because they wanted to hear from you. They follow you on social media because they are interested in your products and services. Don’t let them down by going silent.

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While you should post often, make sure you don’t get too carried away. Otherwise, this strategy could backfire and you could be perceived as annoying.

We know that 57.5% of social media users unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought the brand posted too many promotions.

Find that middle ground. Post content daily, but do this without blowing up your followers’ timelines.

Understand your audience

As I said earlier, not everyone consumes content the same way. Conduct research to clearly identify your target market.

Once you know whom you’re trying to reach, it will be easier to figure out how to target them based on their consumption habits.

First of all, think about the platform you’re distributing on. This will tell you how your audience wants to consume.

For example, take a look at your Instagram followers. If you’re debating what you should post on your Instagram profile, stick to pictures and videos. It wouldn’t be effective to write short blogs in the caption of a photo.

Instead, focus your website on more text-heavy content, such as blogs. Send newsletters to your email subscribers. Keep your Twitter audience updated with short newsworthy headlines.

Does this make sense? Make sure the content is tailored to each channel based on your audience consumes.

But you also need to realize not everyone has the same social media preferences. Take a look at some of the differences between how Millennials and Baby Boomers consume content:

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If you’re targeting Baby Boomers, you’ll be better off using Facebook as a primary distribution method. Don’t use hashtags. Give them written content.

But if your brand is targeting Millennials, you’ll need to focus more on Instagram, hashtags, and photos to have an effective marketing strategy.

Timing is everything

So, you just wrote a new blog post. Now what?

Do you instantly share it on all your distribution channels at once? Not necessarily.

You can add it to Facebook on one day and Twitter the next. Add a promotion to your Instagram story a few days later to drive traffic to your blog post.

Here’s the thing. There is going to be some overlap between your followers on different distribution channels. You don’t want to bombard them all at once with the same marketing pitch.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. They open Facebook and see a link to your new blog post. Then they log into Twitter and see the same headline.

Later that day, they’re reading through their emails and see you emailed them a link to that blog post as well. This is overkill. Plus, it can annoy your audience. They want to hear from you, but not that often.

You also need to consider the actual day and time when you’re posting new content. The optimal time will vary based on the distribution channel:

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Use this as a guide to make sure that as many people as possible can see your posts. But this will depend on what you’re talking about.

For example, let’s say your brand is releasing some type of breaking news that’s time-sensitive. Obviously, you shouldn’t wait until the next optimal time to tell your audience.

You’ll want to get this information out on all of your channels right away. But if it’s just a general discussion topic that’s not time-sensitive, it can wait.

Make sure your content is relevant

The best content is always on topic and relevant to your brand.

Yes, I know that earlier I talked about breaking news as an example of time-sensitive content that should be shared right away.

However, that doesn’t mean you should be sharing every news story you hear.

For example, let’s say your company manufactures home furniture. There’s no reason for you to be alerting your customers with weather updates unless, of course, this weather is somehow impacting your business, such as a delay in shipping.

Also, earlier I said you should distribute content on different channels based on a specific time or day of the week.

But that doesn’t work if you’re promoting an advertisement or offer that expires soon, such as a flash sale.

Take advantage of automation tools

As I said earlier, you’ll need to stay active on all your distribution channels. But I realize this can be a challenge.

You’re busy. I get it. I’m sure you’ve got dozens of tasks you think are more important than posting new content.

If this sounds like your situation, you’ll definitely want to try some of my favorite time-saving social media marketing tools.

Automated tools can make your life much easier. For example, take a look at Hootsuite:

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The platform allows you to schedule your social media posts automatically. This can save you a ton of time.

Now, you can write a new blog post and then schedule the post on the day and time that will get the most engagement depending on the platform.

It’s easier to do this all at once instead of manually posting each time.

You can dedicate just one or two days a week to schedule your posts and let the automation tools take care of the rest of the work for you. Plus, seeing everything in a calendar view on the platform will help you make sure the distribution is even.

Repurpose old content

This piggybacks on our last point. You’ve got to work smarter, not harder.

If you have some marketing materials or documents written a couple of years ago that are still relevant, you can reuse them.

You may have written a very informative blog post with lots of data and facts to back up your claims. But at the time, you didn’t have the marketing skills to get it distributed to a wide audience.

The views and engagement on that page were really low. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring that post back to life. You’ve got a couple of options here.

First, you can write a new article on the same topic, changing the title. Use your old post as a reference to make the writing process go faster.

Or you could republish an old post with updated statistics. Here’s an example of how HubSpot uses this strategy with its blog posts:

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Statistics change over time. This is especially true when it comes to marketing data. That’s why I always try to use the most recent sources to back up my data.

HubSpot recognized that the research they conducted in 2012 was outdated. So, they updated the statistics and republished an old post.

Your content must be shareable

Did you notice anything else in the HubSpot’s example above?

The post is plastered with sharing icons. Readers can distribute this content to others with just a click of a button through channels such as:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • E-mail
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Slack

Including these icons makes it much more likely that readers will share your content. Otherwise, you’d have to rely on them manually copying your link, opening a new tab or window, and then sharing it with their friends.

It’s too many steps to be an effective strategy that you can rely on.

There are other ways to approach this strategy as well. When you share posts on social media, you can try to encourage user-generated content as a distribution strategy.

Run a contest or promotion that requires a re-tweet, post, or share as an entry submission.

This will get your content in the hands of as many people as possible.

Leverage your relationships with influencers

As you can see, you don’t have to distribute content alone. In addition to your followers, you should form relationships with social influencers.

These people already have an active audience engaged with their posts.

When a social influencer shares something, their followers will be likely to follow up to find more information.

Don’t think you need to pay big bucks to work with a celebrity. In fact, you may have better luck working with micro influencers:

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This strategy is valid on all your distribution channels. Nearly 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase based on an influencer’s tweet.

Further, 70% of teenagers say they are influenced more by YouTube personalities than traditional celebrities, and 40% of Millennials say they can relate to their favorite YouTube stars even more than they can relate to their friends.

Make sure you find an influencer who speaks to your target market. It’s a highly effective way to distribute your content.

Track your results

When running any marketing campaign, you’ve got to use analytics tools to see how effective your distribution strategy is.

Most of your platforms will have these tools built-in. You can track engagement with your email marketing software as well as your social media networks.

If you’re using third-party tools to distribute content, they will provide accurate analytics. This is a great opportunity for you to evaluate your methods and make adjustments.

Stick with strategies that are working well. Fix the areas that need improvement.

Conclusion

Your content is useless if nobody sees it. That’s why you need to figure out how to get it in the hands of the widest audience possible.

The most effective way to do this is by leveraging multiple distribution channels.

First, you need to make sure all your channels are active. Understand your audience and give them content they want based on their preferences and platforms.

Focus on timing and relevance. To save time, take advantage of automation tools and bring old content back to life.

Make sure all your content is shareable. Use social influencers to help with your distribution strategy.

Always track your results so you can determine if your methods are successful. If you follow these tips, you’ll have higher engagement and conversion rates from all your distribution channels.

Which marketing channels are you using to distribute your content successfully?



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Friday, April 20, 2018

The Top 12 Tips to Running a Successful Video Blog

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic to your website and engage with your audience.

But for those of you who have been staying up to date about the newest marketing trends, you know that video content has been on the rise.

In fact, experts predict that 80% of the global Internet traffic will be videos by 2019. More than half of marketing executives say that video content is their most profitable ROI.

Blogs that contain videos have triple the amount of inbound links compared to blog posts without videos.

So it’s understandable why you might be interested in starting a video blog.

Based on all of these numbers, it’s no secret that people love to consume video content. But establishing yourself as a prominent video blogger can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before.

There are so many factors to take into consideration.

What kind of equipment should you use? How do you behave in front of the camera? How do you promote your new video blog?

You’re not the only one who has recognized these video trends. Research shows that businesses are planning to add more content distribution channels in the next year.

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Do you see a common pattern in the top three responses? All of these are platforms for video distribution.

So for those of you that need some pointers for launching a new video blog or improving your existing one, you’ve come to the right place.

These are the top 12 tips to keep in mind if you want to run a successful video blog.

1. Invest in a high quality microphone

Audio is one of the most important aspects of your video blog. People need to be able to hear what you’re saying.

Having a quality microphone can help make sure that you’re not wasting any time recording your blog. Sometimes, you’re going to have poor video quality. It happens.

But even if your video sucks, you can always salvage the audio and use that for something like a podcast. Or you can use the audio to voiceover a presentation or something else that’s not live.

Your computer has a microphone built into it, but you can do better. Even some cheap cameras don’t have the best microphones.

If your video blog is something that you want to take seriously and do often, high quality audio needs to be a priority.

So which type of microphone should you get? I’ll be honest with you, I’m not an expert when it comes to this type of equipment. You’ll need to do some research yourself.

But with that said, you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on this investment. You should be able to find what you need for roughly $100 or less.

Just make sure that you’re able to balance your audio levels with the microphone. Test it out each time before you start broadcasting so you don’t waste time recording audio that’s unusable.

Know your environment. Where do you plan on recording the most?

There are certain microphones that are meant for different things, such as being in a large room with echoes, outdoors with high winds, or in areas with crowds and lots of background noise.

So find a microphone that’s suitable for your broadcasts. It’s worth the investment.

2. Make sure you have proper lighting

We’ve all seen videos that look unprofessional. Everything from those low-budget local commercials to your family home videos.

It’s unacceptable for your video blog to look like this. So it’s important for you to understand the concept of a basic three point lighting setup.

lighting

Sure, sometimes you’re going to be filming on the go. So it’s not always reasonable for you to be carrying around an entire studio worth of lights with you.

But if lots of your video blog content is going to be filmed in your home or apartment, you should definitely have these lights set up like the example above.

Lighting can do so much for the quality of your video. These are the three terms that you need to get familiar with.

  • key light
  • fill light
  • back light

Your key light will serve as your primary light. For the most part, it’s placed on the right side of the camera and should be roughly three feet higher than your eye level.

The key light will be the brightest of these three lights. Angle it at a downward angle so it replicates the sun and has a natural lighting effect.

Due to the angle of your key light, there will be a shadow. So you’ll need to a fill light on the opposite side of the camera to eliminate that darkness.

With two lights placed in front of you, you’ll need a back light behind you so that it looks natural. Otherwise, you may have some dark shadows on your shoulders.

The back light should be diffused so it’s the least bright of the trio.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your lights, but you should keep in mind that inexpensive lights won’t last forever. So if you’re in this for the long haul, it may be worth it to invest now and save yourself some money down the road.

Whenever you’re shooting outside of your home or office, you need to position yourself properly with natural lighting resources.

Use the sun to your advantage when you’re filming outdoors. Try to position your camera so the sun would be at the same angle as your key light.

3. Add captions to your videos

Not everyone will be watching your video with volume. So you’ll need to add captions to your content.

You’ll have much higher engagement rates if your video blog has captions. Videos with captions have 40% more views. Furthermore, the chances of a viewer watching your entire video increases by 80% if you make closed captions available.

Are you planning to share your video blog on Facebook? Take a look at these numbers.

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85% of videos on Facebook are watched on mute. So it makes sense that captions can increase the view time by 12%.

Think about all of the different scenarios when someone will be watching your video blog. They might be at work, at school, or in a room full of people that they don’t want to disturb.

Do you watch all videos with the sound on? Probably not. So make sure that you add captions to all of your video blogs.

4. Get yourself a decent camera

Let’s get back to talking about your equipment. In addition to a microphone and lights, you’ll also need to have a reliable camera.

Again, I’m not saying you need to go spend thousands of dollars on this. Just make sure that you take certain factors into consideration before you make a purchase.

Depending on where you are going to be filming, you won’t always have access to a power outlet. So battery life is really important if you’re filming on the go.

You should also consider the size of your storage cards. You’d hate to be in the middle of filming great content and run out of space on the camera.

The physical size of your camera should also be at the top of your priority list. Make sure that it’s small, easy to hold, and convenient to transport.

If you don’t have your camera with you at all times, it’s not the end of the world. You can definitely use your computer or smartphone for some videos.

But if you are really serious about becoming a successful video blogger, carrying a high quality camera with you everywhere you go will give you the opportunity to film great content any time you have some inspiration or see something that’s cool and worth filming.

You should also know the video format that your camera records.

Popular formats include .mov, .avi, .mp4. This is important to know depending on how you plan to edit, export, and share your videos. You want to make sure that the format can easily be converted.

5. Find the right screen capture software

Sometimes you won’t even need a camera to video blog. Well, at least not for all of your posts.

If you want to show your audience how to do things on your computer, you’ll need to be able to record your actions with software like ScreenFlow.

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You’ll have to pay for the software, but it’s worth it if you plan to do any screen recordings on your Mac.

For those of you who are PC users, you can use something like Camtasia instead.

There are other options out there too. But these are my top choices for Mac and PC. So you can use them as a reference point in terms of price and features if you’re shopping around.

6. Be personal and engaging

Part of being a successful video blogger means that you need to have a great personality. So don’t be shy, timid, or boring.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, let it shine.

Remember, this is your video blog. So there aren’t any rules when it comes to the type of content that you’re sharing.

Just be aware that anything you say or do could affect your personal and professional brand. So I’d recommend staying away from controversial topics. But go for it if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Mix up your content so it’s engaging. Nobody wants to watch the same thing every day, week, or however often you plan to upload a new video.

7. Give your audience a reason to watch

This relates back to our last tip about engaging with your audience. There are some questions that you need to answer about the direction of your video blog.

What is the point of your video? Are you teaching your audience how to do something? What are your qualifications?

Sure, video blogs can be entertaining, informative, or both. But you need to make sure that your audience has an incentive to watch.

Unless you’ve got one of the best personalities in the world, nobody is going to want to just listen to you talk about your day.

Understand what your audience wants and give it to them.

8. Learn how to edit effectively

You’ll need to know how to edit your videos before you publish and upload them. Just make sure you don’t go crazy with this.

Lots of cuts and edits don’t look professional. If you’ve got a Mac, you can use basic software like iMovie to get the job done.

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It’s great if you’ve got multiple iOS devices that you’ll be recording on.

For windows users, Movie Maker is the equivalent free software.

These tools are necessary because they can help you accomplish basic needs like trimming clips and piecing videos together.

You can adjust the audio and things like that as well. Just don’t go overboard with too many effects or it will look unprofessional.

9. Encourage users to comment

Another way to keep users engaged is by enticing them to comment on your video blogs. This can be easy if you position your videos accordingly.

Ask for their opinions. Try to spark a discussion or a debate.

If you take a stance on a particular subject, say something like, “Well let me know what you guys think in the comments section.”

Respond to comments as well. This is a great way to keep people coming back to your content even when you haven’t uploaded a new video.

If you’re handling this effectively, you could be getting new comments on videos that you uploaded months or even years ago.

10. Host an interview

If you think your content is getting stale or you need to spice it up with something new, bring guests onto your video blog.

Sure, people may love you. But seeing the same face over and over again could get old and boring.

So bring in an expert on a particular subject. Do you have any connections to an athlete, movie star, or some other celebrity? Even if they are a D-list actor, a fresh face can help you build hype for your video blog.

If you don’t have those kinds of connections, just ask your friends. I’m sure you’ve got someone in your circle or in your family who is funny and has a great personality.

It’s all about keeping your content fresh. So don’t think that your video blog needs to be about just you every time.

11. Distribute your content

Once you’ve recorded a video blog, you’ve got to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. YouTube is the best platform for video distribution.

All of my video content starts on my YouTube channel.

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The great thing about YouTube is that you can always repurpose your videos after you add them to your channel.

Post these videos to social media. Add video blog links to your website. Send video content out to your email subscribers.

If you’ve got a written blog as well, you should be writing about your video blogs and embedding links in your content to drive more traffic to your videos.

Again, I’d start with YouTube first. But some video bloggers like to use other distribution channels as well, like blip.tv or Vimeo.

12. Keep recording

You won’t use every piece of film that you record. So don’t be afraid to tape as much content as you can.

That’s why it’s important to have a camera with you as often as possible.

You can always filter through the content later and discard it if it’s not that great. Or save it to your archives and maybe find a way to use a clip for a later broadcast.

But regardless, it’s important that you’re always recording so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Telling your audience about an experience is one thing, but being able to show them the video to back it up will make your video blog that much better.

Conclusion

With video trends on the rise, it’s a great idea to start a video blog. But with so many other people out there doing the same thing, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd.

Take the tips that I’ve outlined above and apply them to your video blog if you want to be successful.

You need to start off by doing simple things like getting the right equipment and editing software.

After that, it comes down to your personality and marketing ability to get your video content out there for people to see.

Follow these basic concepts and your video blog will rapidly grow in terms of traffic, view time, and engagement.

Which tools, software, and principles have you used to drive more traffic to your video blogs?



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Sell Pictures Online: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

In this day and age, it’s easy for anyone to call themselves a photographer. After all, the accessibility of great quality cameras that ship with our smartphones has made the barrier to entry to the “photography” world almost non-existent. The…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to Make $100 a Day (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

Make 100 Dollars a Day

How to make $100 a day? If you could scrounge up an extra $100 a day, five days per week, you’d be bringing in approximately $2,000 extra per month or over $24,000 per year over and above your day job.…

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How To Get Free Subscribers On YouTube

Before reading any further, you have to ask yourself one question. Am I committed to staying authentic, or am I willing to do whatever it takes, even if it’s ethically questionable, to succeed on YouTube? Do one Google search for…

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How to Increase Your Ecommerce Revenue by Leveraging Social Commerce

The ecommerce industry has become a very competitive space over the last several years.

In fact, more than half of Internet users across the globe made a purchase online in the last year. Younger generations with a strong purchasing power lead the way in this trend.

In fact, 67% of Millennials would rather shop online as opposed to going to a physical store. This is great news for your ecommerce brand.

Yes, obviously you’ve got lots of competition when it comes to selling products online. But if you have the right tools and marketing strategy, you can do a lot of things to gain an edge over your competitors.

You should know how to design a homepage that converts. It’s also important for you to know which elements add credibility to your website.

While all of this is necessary, it’s not enough. In addition to your website, you need to be taking advantage of as many platforms as possible to effectively sell your products.

That’s because you can’t always rely on consumers navigating to your website. You need to make sure your products are readily available for purchase in places where your customers spend lots of time.

Enter social media networks.

Just like ecommerce, social media continues to be a growing trend. There are nearly 2.5 billion social media users across the globe.

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Experts predict that this number will reach 3 billion by 2021.

Your ecommerce brand may already have an active presence on social media. It’s a crucial marketing strategy, but you can take this approach one step further.

Use social media to sell your products.

If you’ve never done this before, you may not know where to start. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how social commerce can boost the revenue stream of your ecommerce shop.

What is social commerce?

Let’s start with the basics.

Social commerce is a relatively new concept. The term was first used in 2005. But since then, its meaning and application have evolved.

With social commerce, you can sell your products through a third-party platform. More specifically, the platform you’re selling through is a social media network.

For example, if a Facebook user sees something they want to buy, they can do that directly through Facebook’s interface as opposed to having to navigate to the seller’s website.

This is great news for your ecommerce store. If you’re relying on consumers to visit your website after seeing an ad that promotes your products, it’s hurting your conversion rates.

Why?

It’s too many steps. Sure, you’ll still see some conversions. But simplifying the steps in the purchasing process will boost your conversion rates.

Take a look at the impact social media has on buying decisions:

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The majority of consumers say they rely on social media to guide their purchasing decisions. When a consumer sees a product on social media, the chances of them buying it go up.

An additional 31% of people say they use social media to browse for products they are interested in buying.

For ecommerce businesses, it’s a no-brainer to implement a social commerce strategy.

Make your products available on Facebook

If you’re new to social commerce, Facebook is the most logical place to start. Eventually, you’ll add this feature to your other social media pages as well, but this is the best place for you to get your feet wet.

As I said earlier, social commerce is still new. Not every consumer has jumped on board with it yet.

But the majority people who have made purchases through social media platforms are doing so via Facebook:

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As you can see, roughly 35% of social media users say they have never bought something through social media. But nearly 50% of social media users say they have used Facebook to make a purchase.

This makes sense. Facebook has always been a trendsetter in the social media world.

Their platform is extremely friendly for both everyday users as well as brands.

Facebook business pages have the ability to leverage this platform in several ways to drive sales.

First, they can list products directly on their page.

This feature mimics the appearance of a standard ecommerce shop we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Second, Facebook also implemented a “Shop Now” button that brings users directly to the brand’s website.

Check out this example from the DressLily Facebook page so you can see what I’m referring to:

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On their Facebook page, you can see the “Shop” button on the left menu. This brings their customers to the screen you’re looking at now.

But if customers click the “Shop Now” button on the top of the screen, they will get brought to the brand’s website.

It’s important you take advantage of both of these buttons. As we previously saw, not all consumers have adapted to the social commerce trends. You don’t want to turn their business away. Some people may not be comfortable yet buying directly through Facebook, so giving them the option to visit your website is necessary.

To set up purchases directly through Facebook, you’ll need to associate a Stripe or PayPal account with your page.

Each of these charges 2.9% of the purchase plus an additional $0.30 per transaction.

I realize that these fees may be higher than the credit card fees on your website, but it’s just something you’ll have to accept.

Even though the payments get processed through third-party companies, you won’t need to use those platforms for collections. All your orders can be managed directly from your Facebook shop.

You’ll have real-time information and access to your current, pending, and past orders purchased through Facebook.

Sell on Instagram

Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012. It’s no surprise Instagram has seen so much success over the past several years.

On an average day, 95 million pictures and videos are published on Instagram. The implementation of their “Shop Now” feature is turning them into a social commerce powerhouse.

Here’s an example of how West Elm implemented this feature with a sponsored Instagram advertisement:

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Imagine a user scrolling through their timeline. They’ll see not only the posts from profiles they’re following but some ads as well.

Just like a regular Instagram post, these ads can contain several photos and videos. It’s called a carousel ad. If the first image captures the user’s attention, they may scroll through the others to see what else this brand is selling.

Either way, the “Shop Now” button remains part of the post the entire time. It’s an effective way to increase conversions.

As we discussed earlier, the more steps involved in the purchasing process, the worse your results will be.

If your current Instagram strategy is having a post on your profile with a caption that says “link in bio” to entice purchases, it’s probably not a huge success. There’s too much friction.

But the “Shop Now” button simplifies the process and makes it easier for users to buy products in just a couple of clicks.

In addition to carousel ads, you can advertise using a single photo, single video, and slideshows. The slideshow creates a video by automatically looping up to 10 photos.

You can also change the CTA button of your ad to “Learn More.” Here’s an example from Rumble Boxing:

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This button takes users to a landing page where they can get more information about classes and schedules. From here, they’re able to make purchases as well.

Selling through Instagram ads is great because you’re able to decide which users will see your posts.

You can customize your advertisement based on your goals, such as:

  • brand awareness
  • reach
  • local awareness
  • traffic
  • engagement
  • lead generation
  • conversions
  • product catalog sales
  • store visits

All these options are available when you build your business on Instagram.

Add buyable pins

As an ecommerce shop, you need to have an active presence on Pinterest as well. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, I’ll briefly explain how it works.

Many users like to browse through the platform for inspiration, ideas, and products they’re interested in.

For example, someone may use Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate a room in their home. When they like something, they can save the post or “pin” it to one of their boards.

Pinterest is great for businesses because it has a feature allowing the businesses to set up buyable pins for ecommerce shops. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

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When a user sees this table when they’re browsing on the platform, they can make a purchase with just a few clicks.

Your customers can pay with their credit cards or Apple Pay. This is great news for shoppers browsing on their mobile devices.

With this feature, buyers can complete the purchase process with just one click, which will increase your conversion rates dramatically.

Recent studies show that 73% of Millennials would like to have the ability to make all their payments from mobile devices.

Apple Pay helped Cocoweb increase conversions on their mobile platform by over 20%. Zin Home also saw a 20% increase in sales after implementing Apple Pay.

It’s important for you to establish your social commerce strategy on mobile applications that process transactions. In addition to Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest needs to be your priority as well.

Leverage social influencers

No social commerce campaign would be complete without the help of social influencers.

Micro influencers increase your product credibility and boost sales revenue. Once you form relationships with these influencers, you’ll have them post content to their personal profiles.

It’s a viable marketing strategy. That’s why the majority of businesses are increasing spending on influencer marketing over the next year:

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This strategy is continuing on an upward trend. In the last 12 months, there has been a 325% increase in searches for “influencer marketing” on Google. If you haven’t been researching the topic, it looks like your competitors have.

Another reason why influencer marketing works is because it’s profitable.

Research shows that influencer marketing has a return on investment rate that’s 11 times higher than that of other content marketing campaigns.

Working with social influencers to promote your products will go hand in hand with your social commerce strategy.

Conclusion

It’s tough for ecommerce shops to stay relevant in such a competitive space.

But you should look at these trends as an opportunity as opposed to a struggle. To gain an edge over your competitors and increase sales revenue, make your products available for purchase on as many platforms as possible.

Take advantage of social commerce shops in addition to your traditional ecommerce website.

Start with Facebook. The majority of consumers who have bought products on social commerce platforms have used Facebook to do so.

But you should also leverage other social networks as well, such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Use social influencers in conjunction with your social commerce strategy to maximize your brand exposure.

How is your ecommerce company using social commerce platforms to drive sales?



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Monday, April 16, 2018

How to Generate Leads with Facebook Ads

Social media marketing has become one of the most effective ways for businesses to have success in the digital era.

In fact, 95% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 follow brands on social media. Facebook leads the way in this category. According to Statista, Facebook has 2.2 billion active monthly users.

You can see why it’s so appealing for brands to have a presence on this platform. I hope  your company is on Facebook to.

To have success marketing on Facebook, you need to be active on a daily basis. Post content to your profile. Share photos, videos, and run promotions.

Facebook allows you to broadcast live videos to your followers. You should be taking advantage of that as well.

In fact, live videos are such an effective marketing strategy that it made my list of the top marketing trends to look for in 2018. Lots of these promotional tactics can be done  free.

But if you really want to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level, you need to run advertisements on Facebook.

Why Facebook? Well, in addition to  having the highest number of active monthly users compared to other social platforms, Facebook ads deliver a high ROI:

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Obviously, running these ads isn’t free. But knowing that such a high number of marketers say  this platform delivers the highest ROI compared to other social media networks should make it worth your while.

That said, nothing is guaranteed. Not all advertisements on Facebook are successful. That’s why I created this guide.

If you are new to Facebook ads or need some improvement running your existing ones, this guide is for you. I’ll show you how to set them up and generate leads for your business.

Set your goals

First things first. Why are you running this ad? You need to determine your goal ahead of time.

There are a few reasons for this. First, you want to make sure  the ad you’re creating is aligned with your goals. It’s also much easier to measure the success of a campaign if you have a goal in mind.

But another reason why you’ll need to set up a goal first is because Facebook will ask you what you’re trying to accomplish when you’re putting the ad together.

Here’s a look at different marketing objectives for you to choose from:

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As you can see, there is as an option for lead generation under the consideration column.

This will help you collect information from Facebook users interested in your business.

The cool thing about the lead generation campaign is you can set up a split test when you’re running it. I’m a big advocate of using A/B testing to maximize efficiency.

You can run tests of your campaign based on elements such as placement, audience, and delivery optimization. This makes it easier for you to measure your results and make any necessary adjustments. But we’ll discuss this concept in greater detail later.

You can also select one of the choices from the awareness column as an alternative method of generating leads.

Selecting the brand awareness option will aim to get your ad exposed to people who are most likely to pay attention to your message. A reach campaign, on the other hand, will expose your ad to the highest number of people possible.

Identify your target market

Next, you’ll have to determine who will see your ad.

No matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in, it’s important you know your target market. In fact, knowing how to identify the target market of your startup is one of the first steps of creating a business.

Those of you who have been in operation for a while should have done this years ago.

That said, it doesn’t mean this selection will be cut and dry. You may have a diverse target market. Is this ad for everyone?

For example, let’s say your company sells a wide range of products and services. There’s a good chance you sell items intended for men and women of all ages.

Based on the goal  you’ve previously defined, your ad may be geared toward a specific segment or a larger target market.

Here’s an example of how you could set this up based on your audience:

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As you can see, this ad is targeting men located in California. They are between the ages of 18 to 24 and speak English and Spanish.

Facebook allows you to get specific here. This is great because you can create multiple ads based on different segments of your target market.

Generic ads intended to reach a massive audience won’t be as successful. But if you target a specific group of people with your ads, you’ll be able to generate more leads.

All the information used is based on what each user puts in their Facebook profile. Keep in mind, this won’t be 100% accurate.

You’ll get some people who lie on their profiles about their age, gender, location, etc. But this shouldn’t be drastic enough to skew your results.

Set your budget

After you select your target market, you’ll have to determine how much money you want to spend on the ad.

Facebook makes it easy for you to set this up. Here’s what your options will look like:

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This example uses a daily amount. But you can also use the total amount you’d like to spend on the lifetime of the ad.

Even though I set the daily budget to $20, it won’t always be exact. That’s because Facebook automatically shares your ad based on the most opportunities.

Certain days, the ad spend may be higher, but other days, it would be less to keep the daily average at $20. You’ll get charged based on each impression.

You can also set start and end dates for your ad. Or you can let it run continuously and stop it manually when it’s time.

Choose the format for your ad

Not all ads are the same. Facebook lets you choose which type of advertisement you want to run. Here are your options:

  • video
  • image
  • collection
  • carousel
  • slideshow
  • canvas

Video and image are both pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll explain what the others mean.

A collection is when display different items from your product catalog. It encourages users to shop by looking through a few items. Based on what you’re selling and the target market, these items will be customized for each person.

This is a great strategy for sales and conversions—but not necessarily lead generation. You can still use it as a marketing strategy.

Carousels allow you to display up to ten different videos or images within one advertisement. Each one would have its own link.

Slideshows use images, text, and sound to showcase your ad. Canvas ads can be opened as a full-screen display, and they are fully optimized for mobile devices.

Mobile ads are Facebook’s highest source of revenue.

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That’s because businesses recognize how many Facebook users access the platform from their mobile devices.

In fact, as of January 2018, more than 95% of users access this social media network from smartphones.

But let’s get back to selecting your format. Each format has certain rules and restrictions. I’ve highlighted some of the top specifications for each one you need to keep in mind when designing your ads.

Video

Max length: 240 minutes

Ratio: 9:16 to 16:9

Text: 125 characters

Headline: 25 characters

Description: 30 characters

Sound and captions are both optional for your ads; however, it’s highly recommended that you include these features. Also, if your video thumbnail has more than 20% text, it may not have high delivery rates.

Image

File: png or jpg

Ratio: 9:16 to 16:9

Text: 125 characters

Resolution recommendation: minimum 1,200 x 628 pixels

Just like with videos, if your images contain more than 20% text, it can negatively impact the delivery rate. Make sure to limit the text on your picture ads.

Collection

Minimum image width: 600 pixels

Minimum image height: 600 pixels

Aspect ratio tolerance: 3%

Headline: 25 characters

Text: 90 characters

Carousel

Minimum cards number: 2

Maximum cards number: 10

Maximum video size: 4GB

Resolution recommendation: minimum 1080 x 1080 pixels

Link description: 20 characters

Canvas

Text: 125 characters

Minimum video length: 1 second

Maximum video length: 240 minutes

Bitrate limits: No limit for files under 1GB with 2-pass encoding

If you’ve got a vertical video ad with an aspect ratio taller than 2:3, it needs to be masked to 2:3. It’s recommended that you upload the highest possible video resolution based on the file and ratio limits.

Determine the placement and measure your results

Next, you’ll decide where you want your ads to be placed. Here’s a visual representation to show you what I’m referring to:

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You can place your ad on a mobile newsfeed, desktop newsfeed, or right column advertising bar.

Mix this strategy up. This relates back to A/B testing you’d need to run to see which version delivers the best results.

Keep track of everything. See which ads are working and which ones aren’t generating enough leads.

It’s important that you constantly rotate your ads. You don’t want your audience to keep seeing the same ads over and over again.

You should also try to market to different audiences. Just make sure everything always looks professional. Focus on your call to action. Change that as well to see how that changes the results.

Advertise on Instagram

In case you didn’t know, Facebook owns Instagram.

It’s really easy for you to run Instagram ads from the same place where you’re setting up your Facebook campaigns.

Instagram has become such a popular marketing medium that 70% of hashtags on this platform are branded. Furthermore, 71% of businesses in the United States are using Instagram to promote their companies:

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They’ve surpassed Twitter in this department.

If you want to stay competitive, you should be running paid ads on Instagram in addition to running them on Facebook. It’s easy to do since you’re setting them up through the same platform. You’ll just need to make a few extra clicks.

Conclusion

Having an active social media presence is an effective way to promote your brand at little to no cost. But if you want to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level, you should consider running Facebook ads.

These ads are perfect because Facebook offers tools specific for lead generation.

They are easy to set up as well. Just follow this guide as a reference to steer you in the right direction.

Start with your goals. Identify your target market. Set a budget.

After that, you’ll have to figure out which type of ad you want to run and where you want to place it. Keep all the ad specifications in mind when you’re going through this process.

Measure your results. Rotate your ads and make adjustments based on how successful they are.

You should also consider running ads on Instagram. Since those ads will be controlled from the same platform as your Facebook ads, it will be just as easy for you to set up.

If you follow these tips, you can turn your Facebook marketing strategy into a lead generation machine.

What types of Facebook ads are you running to generate more leads for your brand?



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