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instagram news

The Best Instagram News This Year and What It Means For You

I haven’t been this excited about Instagram news since they introduced the ability to switch between Instagram accounts without logging out. Remember that?? You used to have to log out. Fun times.

Well this Instagram news is along those lines. The next big news marketers and business owners had been waiting on. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram has not had the ability to schedule posts. Up to this point, you could sort of schedule your content using a 3rd party app. But it wouldn’t schedule automatically, it still required a manual authorization to post.  So that meant you had to be pretty free and clear at the time you needed to post.

That has all, well mostly, changed. Instagram has updated their API to allow 3rd party applications to post for you. Cue the confetti!

Let’s look at what it means for you and your business.

You’ll need to use an application to schedule posts.

The feature is not part of the Instagram product.  You will need to use social media tools that are Instagram and Facebook Marketing partners.  You’ll need to stay tuned for when your preferred scheduling tool rolls this out.

This update is for business profiles.

Obviously, brands and businesses have a need to be able to manage and schedule content. This functionality is being allowed for that reason. Instagram says that support for non-business profiles is in the works for an early 2019 release.

Not everything can be scheduled.

This will not include ads, video, stories or multiple photo posts. Sorry.

Additional new features are being introduced.

According to Techcrunch, a new Instagram Graph API is being introduced and will include the ability to analyze metrics and insights about the business’s performance on Instagram, moderate comments and access the business’s mentions and add responses to them. It will also involve a new business discovery feature which will allow business profiles to view other business profile information and media.

A word to the wise:

Exercise patience. When new features are rolled out, there are glitches. I’m already reading some kinks with Hootsuite. The good news is, marketers and business owners have finally gotten what we’ve been asking for most to help our Instagram marketing a little bit easier. That’s definitely something to celebrate.

 

 

lead generation

Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem

GUEST POST: Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North

The lead generation component of your Internet marketing efforts is the engine that drives that campaign to greater success. What’s more, like any other kind of engine, that lead generation component is built from many moving parts that all need to be working together to deliver the best results. However, too many Internet marketers today go out into the marketplace with lead generation campaigns that are missing crucial elements. This causes them to miss essential opportunities because their lead generation campaigns aren’t operating at their highest efficiency. Many times, the reason these campaigns don’t function the way they should is simple — they were constructed without knowing how all of their pieces should fit together.

Here at professional SEO agency Straight North, our team members have spent a lot of time examining successful lead generation campaigns to understand what makes them work. After putting so many of these campaigns under the microscope, we’ve identified all the elements that these campaigns need to have in order to appeal to each of the unique types of visitors websites attract. For example, including case studies is an effective way to connect with website visitors who are serious about buying and conducting research; while highly sharable social media posts help attract people who may not even be thinking about a product or service until a friend shares the content.

These and many other components are essential for a lead generation campaign. Yet because there are so many of them, it can be difficult for Internet marketers to build their lead generation campaigns without forgetting anything. Just like building any other kind of engine, having a blueprint or schematic can be very important. That’s why we at Straight North have created the infographic you see below. Using it as a type of blueprint for your lead generation campaign can help ensure that you don’t leave anything out when building or revamping your campaign.

created by Straight North a professional SEO agency

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications including Forbes, Moz and American Marketing Association

twitter analytics

Using Twitter Analytics To Improve Your Engagement

How much planning do you put into your social media marketing? For many businesses, unfortunately, a haphazard approach is all that resources and time will allow. That’s often because companies may not realize what the data is that can help them use social media more effectively.

Take Twitter, for example:

Twitter is a great way to get potential new customers to discover your company’s products or servicesClick To Tweet

But unless you understand how to use the Analytics Dashboard, you won’t be able to gauge your reach or your engagement.

Of course, before you even measure and analyze metrics, you have to figure out how Twitter fits in to your overall company marketing strategy. Do you care if you have more followers, or do you want the people already connected with you to become more active? All those goal-oriented questions are important to consider first.

Let’s back up a bit and take a look at some Twitter stats according to Hootsuite:

Twitter has 317 million monthly active users.

Twitter users are likely to be millennials with thirty-six percent of users aged 18 to 29 years oldClick To Tweet
  • Twenty-nine percent of online Americans with a college degree use Twitter.
  • Most have an above average income. Thirty percent of online Americans who earn $75,000 or more use Twitter.
  • Gender is evenly split: 24 percent of American online men use the service, and 25 percent of women.

There’s a saying that goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is also true with social media marketing. To use Twitter effectively, you must be familiar with your metrics. The Twitter Analytics Dashboard is accessible for all users to use from their desktops at analytics.twitter.com.

Your Twitter Analytics dashboard shows your reach, engagement, and other important statistics. These metrics can help you to learn more about your followers, how to have better interactions with them, and help you to determine the best times to tweet in order to increase engagement, and discover what content works best for your audience.

Make your Twitter marketing worth your time. Improve your engagement by monitoring your Twitter analytics: watch your metrics, adjust your activity, and watch your Twitter results improve!

Want to dive deeper into Twitter insights? This graphic can help.


Simple Twitter Analytics Tips

By SurePayroll

engage

How To Best Engage With Your Social Media Audience

Social media marketing is an opportunity to publish relevant content, grow your follower base, generate thought leadership and to engage with your audience. Engaging with your online community is a key part of your social media strategy. An audience who is engaged, likes and trusts you. Engagement builds relationships, relationships ultimately lead to sales.

Engagement is a key part of growing your online community.Click To Tweet

Here are some suggestions on how you can engage your audience:

Make Connecting Easy.

For years we’ve seen social media buttons popping up everywhere.  These buttons can be used strategically. Use them to draw attention to platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter. Do you have a presence on Instagram that you want to direct a particular audience to? Or a platform where they can get customer service? Be sure to always provide a valuable reason they should connect with you. Don’t just tell them to follow you, tell them what’s in it for them.

Humanize the brand.

No matter what you do, you’re marketing to a person. People are much more comfortable talking and connecting with people rather than entities. They are more comfortable talking to a face as opposed to a logo.  Show you’re “human” in these ways:

  • Show the faces and names of people behind the brand.
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes moments.
  • Use less jargon and more conversational language
  • Use your sense of humor!

Don’t worry about the numbers.

Having a huge following is great, but you want to do it the right way. The tried and true method of sharing consistent and valuable content, responding timely, and being authentic, is what works best. There’s no point in having a huge number of followers who don’t engage you. Building relationships online is no different than offline – it takes time.

Help make your audience a more informed one.

You know a lot about your industry. And your audience is probably following you to gain some of that knowledge and insight. Share with your community and help them become more informed and educated. Pay attention to questions your audience asks and answer them in a blog post or on your website in a FAQ section and provide resources they can use to learn more.

Listen.

There are conversations happening on the internet all the time among your target audience that relates to your brand. To engage this audience, you have to know where to find these conversations, and figure out how to engage with them. This is called social listening. If you can find relevant discussions within your industry, adding thoughtful information and value without selling is a great way to engage. You can find those conversations through keyword searches and listening tools.

Create a schedule.

Creating a content calendar and posting schedule will help you maintain consistency. These days, we all have a lot on our plates.  Your audience will appreciate consistent, clear, concise communication.

Think about some of your favorite brands on social media. What keeps you engaged? Please share in the comments below.

 

marketers

5 Awesome Marketers To Follow On Social Media

There are many smart, talented marketers online who offer valuable, useful content. This list happens to be a list of five marketers who I know and respect.

We can all use content that is insightful and relevant, and these marketers offer just that. Click To Tweet

There are definitely more I could mention. I may need a follow up list! For now, here’s round one! Check out their articles I reference and be sure to follow them online.

Sherron Washington – The Marketer’s Marketer

Sherron is a well rounded marketer who knows how to simplify the concepts of marketing. She is a marketer with graphic design, public speaking and social media marketing skills. I once described her content as “putting it where the goats can get it.” It means that’s it’s super easy to understand. In 2017, Sherron will host an annual conference for the third year called, “Market Simple: The Summit.” She also writes for both Black Enterprise and Smart CEO.

Check out Sherron’s website and follow her on social media.

 

Mandy Edwards – Social Media Advertising 

Mandy was one of my first virtual colleagues in the social media marketing industry. We started off in private Facebook group of small business owners, then continued on as contributing writers with Social Solutions Collective blog.  When I first started seriously implementing social media advertising into my strategies, I sought out the person who in my opinion had the experience and knowledge that could help get me started by answering my many questions and who could understand where I’m coming from simply because we are both in the business of social media marketing, and that was Mandy. Grab her Facebook Advertising Workshop Guide. Also, a BONUS: Mandy’s ME Marketing Services employs Jenn Hanford, a superb writer who lends her skills to Mandy’s blog. Check out her posts here for tips on such things as starting an e-commerce business and creating a digital marketing strategy 101 for boring brands.

Robin Strohmaier – Website Design, and Maintenance 

Wanna know what’s new with the latest WordPress update? Need some SEO tips? Do you need a great resource for WordPress plugins? You should follow R and R Web Design, AKA Robin Strothmaier. Not only does she specialize in website design, marketing and SEO, she’s a superb writer. Check out this blog post on Chrome’s Non-HTTPS Not Secure Warning and follow her on Twitter where she curates important content on website marketing and maintenance.

Brooke B. Sellas- Marketing Through Conversation

When I think of Brooke I think conversation!  That has become synonymous with her brand. Her website explains that successful social media means conversation, back and forth dialogue, and an ongoing exchange of ideas. Adding, “A simple hello can lead to a million things.” Brooke is a marketer I respect for her smart, savvy approach to marketing.  One of Brooke’s latest blog post gems talks about rethinking your Facebook strategy. “If you’re looking for your Facebook strategy to garner results and ROI, you’ve got to pay to play.”

Dorien Morin – Video Content

Do you know how powerful video content is but still haven’t gotten in the game? (Kinda like me.) Are you still trying to figure out Facebook live and how you can use it for your business? I’ve got you covered. You need Dorien Morin of More In Media. She’ll teach you how to incorporate video in your marketing strategy by shortening the learning curve, teaching you the tools you need and the tips to get you to lights camera and action.

Check out her post 3 Unique Facebook Live Uses To Grow Your Business.

Who are some of your favorite marketers that you follow on social media? Please share in the comments below.

employee advocacy

Employee Advocacy: Word of Mouth Marketing

Social media is a new form of word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing can be very powerful, so it makes sense to have your employees advocating on behalf of the company via social media. According to an article by Fast Company, leads through employee social networks convert seven times more often than any other leads.

People trust people more than they do brands. This is why employee advocacy makes sense.Click To Tweet

Employee advocacy also allows you to improve your reach. By asking your employees to share your messages, you can instantly boost your audience by leveraging their networks. Employee advocacy happens when employees share content on social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc;.

Before you dive in, here are a few things to consider:

Establish Guidelines

Set up company guidelines for what your team should and shouldn’t share on social media. Provide a brief training and best practices for sharing messages online.

Define Your Goals

What are you trying to accomplish? Is it brand awareness? Are you trying to direct traffic to your website? You can’t manage what you can’t measure.  Set goals and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will show when or if you’ve reached your goals. Determine what the value of your followers and likes really means and find ways to measure those results. 

Offer Incentives

Offer incentives to encourage employees to take the time to promote your company on social media. In turn, ensure those active employees are sharing messaging that is in alignment with your marketing goals. Offer incentives for sales leads that come through employee social media accounts.

Make Workplace Culture A Priority

Strong workplace cultures attract and keep talented people, and directly improve the bottom line. People will want to advocate for the company if they feel good about being there, and believe in the product or service. Workplace culture directly effects performance. It is improved and cultivated by strong relationships.

In addition,

Establish a company culture that is social media friendlyClick To Tweet Don’t be afraid to share suggested messages from your marketing or social media teams, inspiring employees to create their own with their own voice and style.

Track Progress

Employee advocacy can be a little scary letting employees post on their own on social media accounts. However, authenticity is very effective, so you want it to truly be genuine to be effective. As long as employees have an understanding of guidelines and policy, employees should know how to represent appropriately, but monitoring will be important to make sure employees aren’t posting anything inappropriate and inflammatory. Track progress to gauge which employee posts are most successful at accomplishing goals and recognize those employees who do it well.

Social media marketing takes time, effort and strategy to see results. With patience and analyzing your efforts, you are on your way to reaching your goals.