10 New Facebook Features Every Marketer Should Know



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Source: F8 Update: 10 New Facebook Features Every Marketer Should Know

F8 2016 is in the history books, and there was certainly no shortage of brilliant new Facebook features and ground-breaking announcements from the social media giant.

In his Keynote, Mark Zuckerberg took us through Facebook’s 10 Year Plan with an emphasis on “developing a family of apps to share anything they want with anyone.” And although many of Facebook’s goals sounded highly ambitious, the company has already laid a solid foundation to successfully execute their plan. At the heart of it all, Zuckerberg’s message revolved around the connectivity of the planet and bringing people together one by one.

Now that the speculation of what might be at F8 is no longer, let’s jump into the 10 top announcements and new Facebook features we can all expect moving forward. We’d also love to share what that will mean for you as marketers and for your business.

Let’s go!

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1. Messenger Platform

As was highly anticipated leading up to the conference, Facebook announced at F8 that it has opened up Messenger Platform bots to all businesses. Or, as The Next Web called them, “virtual assistants.”

Messenger bots will give businesses the opportunity to connect with customers in new and unique ways with services from subscription automation to customized communications to e-commerce purchases. “I can guarantee you you’ll spend way more money than you want on this,” joked VP of Products David Marcus. “It’s very addicting.”

Facebook, Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Messenger Bots

What this means for marketers

Messenger bots will open up an entirely new way for users to connect with businesses and brands in avenues that were previously unavailable. Essentially, it’s going to fundamentally change the way we share and interact with social media. And given the 900M monthly users that Messenger currently boasts (that number growing every day), we are seeing a monumental shift from “public” to “private” social media right before our eyes.

Facebook mentioned that all businesses and developers will gain access to documentation and best practices around building their own bots for Messenger. If building bots is outside the scope of your business’ capabilities, Facebook will also be offering a list of “bot partners” along with their sophisticated bot engine.

2. Live API

Leading up to F8, it was no secret that Facebook was placing a huge emphasis on the importance of video on social media. That combined with Facebook’s effort to create immersive experiences for users, the announcement of the new “Facebook Live API” was welcomed by developers with open arms.

Live API offers “a new way for developers and publishers to join forces to build immersive and interactive live video experiences on Facebook.” In other words, businesses can now stream Facebook Live broadcasts from a variety of devices and setups, advancing previous notions of live video from personal phones alone.

Facebook Live, Live API, Drone Live, Mark Zuckerberg

What this means for marketers

Facebook’s video views and engagement are off the charts. In January 2016, Zuckerberg stated that users are watching more than 100 million hours of video per day on Facebook, with that number rising by the day. Marketers can expect Live video to be the #1 priority in the Facebook algorithm.

We’re also going to see some awesome things come from this API. Previously, users had to have a smartphone in order to live stream, but now brands’ options are limitless. Companies that jump on the trend early and figure out new and exciting ways to “go Live” will rise to the top of feeds everywhere.

3. Video Discovery

Just prior to F8 2016, Facebook launched a brand new mobile video browsing hub and video search engine on mobile devices making it easier for users to browse top videos as well as videos from their friends and family. They also integrated Live videos directly into the Facebook Search tab so that users can view Live clips in relation to trending news and topics.

There is an apparent push to be the leader in content discovery and distribution and not simply a channel where users happen to stumble across great content. Video gives users the opportunity to access real, authentic content from anywhere they are with easy-to-use search and share features.

Facebook, Video Hub, Video Search, Facebook Live, Facebook Video

 

What this means for marketers

For Facebook, becoming a content leader and driving people to watch more videos isn’t their only goal. They also are placing a huge emphasis on users sharing more video content as well. As The Information reports, Facebook is struggling to stop a decline in “original” sharing. While users are sharing news stories, they’re posting less and less content from their own lives.

The numbers were particularly true for users under the age of 30. Marketers can expect Facebook to gain a share of users back from Snapchat (the fastest-growing video sharing platform) as Live becomes more and more prevalent on social. We encourage marketers to experiment with Live as soon and as often as possible.

4. Profile Expression Kit

In 2015, Facebook launched profile videos which allow users to take or upload a video of up to 7 seconds to use as your profile video. Profile videos appear at the top your profile just like a profile picture.

Currently in closed Beta, Facebook’s Profile Expression Kit currently supports six apps: Boomerang by Instagram, Lollicam, BeautyPlus, Cinemagraph Pro by Flixel, Lollicam, MSQRD, and Vine.

Facebook Expression Kit, Facebook Profile, Facebook

What this means for marketers

Facebook’s Profile Expression Kit will be a great opportunity for businesses to bring their profile picture to life and show off their personality. Marketers can think of the kit as yet another way to connect with audience members in an authentic way. Those that do will stand out from the rest.

For apps that incorporate the Profile Expression Kit, it will allow users to upload the videos they take using that app directly to their profile picture in a few simple clicks. For those app developers, they will enjoy the attribution in the Facebook news feed… A win-win!

5. Virtual Reality

One announcement that had the crowd excited at F8 was Facebook’s unveiling of their professional-grade 360-degree video camera to film virtual reality (VR) footage. The Surround 360 contains 17 cameras and costs a whopping $30,000 to build.

For personal VR devices, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer gave audience members a live and quite amazing demonstration of Oculus Rift. Facebook is calling this technology “social VR” – connecting two or more people in a virtual world. “Proximity would no longer determine who you spend your time with,” explained Yaser Sheikh, head of Oculus research.

Facebook, Virtual Reality, VR, Oculus Rift

What this means for marketers

Virtual reality is still very much a niche market. Technology is expensive and the computing power needed to create and run full 360 videos is massive. So for the time being, VR is limited to big-budget businesses willing to pay to tap into the VR trend.

Marketers can keep their eye on the development of personal VR devices and production techniques. Creating 360 videos is a top priority for many tech companies, and so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the rapid development of affordable and more efficient devices.

6. Quote sharing

Have you ever had any trouble when trying to share a specific quote from an article or book from a mobile device? I know I have! Facebook’s new Quote Sharing feature aims to make it extremely easy to share quotes and even add your own thoughts or comments before you share to Facebook.

As you may have guessed from the feature name, Quote Sharing will help users share quotes or lines or text directly from an article, book, or app to Facebook. Facebook is again showing an acute focus on user experience within their mobile platforms.

Facebook, Facebook Quote Sharing, Quote Sharing

What this means for marketers

Publishers will now have the access to a tool that lets them build share quote buttons directly into their web pages and apps. Which of course could potentially mean more sharing of their content on Facebook simply because the user experience is much smoother.

It’s a simple feature, but a feature that represents a brand new way for people to snag their favorite pieces from articles and post them to Facebook – All while driving more traffic back to the publishing website.

7. Save button

Imagine the awesome features of Pocket, but specifically for Facebook. Facebook’s new “Save” button is now open for use and allows users to save things they find across the Web – like a new outfit or a Buffer blog post (!) – and save them for viewing later.

Like other platforms that offer this same service, Facebook confirms that you’ll be able to view saved links later from any device. Those familiar with the Facebook “Save” button will be pleasantly surprised that it works seamlessly across the web.

Facebook, Save Button, Facebook Save

What this means for marketers

Although savings links isn’t a revolutionary product feature for marketers, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Facebook “Save” button in terms of engagement, link tracking, and post success. With Facebook moving to a focus on Instant Articles, it will be interesting to see how post analytics are integrated together.

Businesses that measure the amount of “Saved” articles they are receiving on Facebook will get a good idea of what’s working and what’s not. This can help guide strategies and formulate post or content ideas for the future.

8. Account Kit

Account Kit helps developers to grow their apps by giving people a choice to sign in with their phone number or email address without the need for a password.

account-kit

What this means for marketers

People can use Account Kit without sharing any information from their Facebook profile—they don’t even need a Facebook account to use it. By removing these major barriers to entry, Account Kit could help marketers to increase sign-ups and expand your audience.

One early success story for Account Kit is Saavn, a music streaming app, which saw over half a million registered phone number users and a 33% increase in daily new registrants within the first two months after integrating Account Kit phone number login.

9. Instant Articles

Though they have been around since May 2015, Instant Articles were opened up to all publishers of any size on April 12 at F8.

Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles – which Facebook say can take up to 8 seconds to load. Instant Articles provides a whole host of interactive features that help stories come to life on mobile, including auto-play video and tap-to-zoom image galleries.

instant-articles

What this means for marketers

Instant Articles could be an excellent way to extend the reach of your blog content and generate more engagement on Facebook. As a starter, the early stats Facebook released alonsgide the annoucemnet look encouraging:

Instant Articles received 20% more clicks than mobile web articles from the News Feed
Once someone clicks on an Instant Article, they’re 70% less likely to abandon the article before reading
They are shared 30% more than mobile web articles on average

You can check out our complete guide to getting set up with Instant Articles here.

10. Crossposted video

To simplify posting video, Facebook launched a new way for publishers to crosspost videos easily within and across Pages owned by the same Business Manager account. Page owners can now give other Pages in their Business Manager permission to reuse a video and also create new posts with a previously uploaded video without having to re-upload it.

crosspost-video

What this means for marketers

Video has been a huge focus for marketers on Facebook over recent years. And with many brands creating multiple Pages to engage different audiences, often the same videos are reused across different posts and Pages. This feature will simplify the video sharing process for many marketers and also make it easier to track performance across multiple pages.

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11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!)



Why Social Media?

Today’s post comes from The Book Designer – a site the continuously produces great information for authors – experience as well as the beginner. If you haven’t already subscribed to this blog, please do. For now, sit back and learn!

Source: 11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!)

You’ve heard it a million times (or at least several hundred times): Indie authors need to use social media as part of their online marketing strategy.

I’m sure you’ve seen lists of reasons why, but let’s look at the most important reasons social media is so important for authors:

It will refer traffic to your blog, website, the landing page for your books, and Amazon.

There is a large community of indie authors who are willing to help you promote your book and form supportive alliances.

You’ll find new readers on social media.

Social media helps you to market your books.

You can get to know professionals who can show you how to improve your book marketing efforts, write better blog posts, tune up your author website, and more efficiently use social media. You’ll can also meet editors, designers, book reviewers and bloggers, and publicists.

Over time, social media will help you to build your community.

You’ll meet readers who can become your “Super Fans” or belong to your “Street Team.”

When you host giveaways and contests, you’ll need social media to spread the word.

With social media, you can inform your followers and readers about new blog posts you write.

Social media will allow you to build relationships with your readers.

Social media allows you You can sell to a worldwide audience.

Now let’s look at the reverse scenario. This is what happens when you don’t use social media:

Friends, colleagues, and family members can still purchase books from you.

You might be able to sell to readers in your local community, and through local bookstores and coffee shops, but the success of your online sales is likely to be limited.

There is no Number 3.

Indie Authors Who Use Social Media Successfully

The Internet abounds with examples of Indie authors who use social media to further their publishing careers. Success can be defined in two ways: Some people publish books to expand their clientele and business; others use it to have successful writing careers. In other words, they get to quit their proverbial day job and focus on their writing.

Let’s look at examples of successful Indie authors:

E.L. James is the author 50 Shades of Grey and the book’s sequels. She’s also a New York Times bestselling author and, has successfully used Facebook and Twitter.

Joanna Penn, thriller and nonfiction author. She loves to use Twitter, where she has 65,300 followers. Joanna is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the U.K.

Bella Andre started with a traditional publisher and then turned to indie publishing. She’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author with 166,000 Twitter followers.

Anne R. Allen is the author of eight comic novels and has a wildly successful blog.

Charles Duhigg is the author of The Power of Habit. He began as an Indie author, joined Goodreads, started a group, was noticed by a publisher, and became a New York Times bestselling author. He’s now the author of two books.

Mark Dawson is a thriller author who has focused on Facebook, where he has 15,547 likes. He has successfully used Facebook advertising to market his books and teaches indie authors how to replicate his success.

Indie Authors Who Could Be Enjoying More Success on Social Media

Unfortunately, examples of unsuccessful Indie authors are commonplace. (Apologies in advance to these authors, whom I selected at random.)

Andrew Melvin is the author of The Mischief of Rats, which he published in 2014. He uses Twitter occasionally. How’s he doing?

His book isn’t ranked on Amazon

No one has reviewed his book even though he published it two years ago.

Henry Martin is the author of Mad Days of Me. He has a Twitter profile but hasn’t tweeted since 2015. How’s Henry doing?

He book is ranked at 5,715,025 on Amazon.
Has nine reviews on Amazon.

How to Get Off to the Right Start on Social Media

Where do most people make mistakes? As soon as they open their social media accounts. Whether they decide to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another network, it’s important to think about how you want to portray yourself online.

If you don’t upload a professional image of yourself, people may not take you seriously. For example, would you bother to follow this guy?

Robert twitter example

So, if Robert isn’t the guy in the picture, who is he? And what’s his name? If he’s written books, you can’t tell from his bio.

Using a string of numbers or letters in your username makes your “handle” appear spammy. You will also remain incognito on the Internet, especially if you only use your first name. Remember, your user name needs to match your brand and should ideally use the name that appears on your book covers.

In your bio, establish yourself as an author. Here’s a concise author bio that includes two books the author wrote, and leads readers to Amazon. Instead of a link to Amazon, you could include a link to the landing page for your books, or to a call to action to grow your email list.

Robert Lane twitter example

The next step is to add a header image on Twitter or a banner image on other networks. (Note: Pinterest and Goodreads don’t allow this option and on LinkedIn, the banner image is incredibly narrow.)

Here’s an excellent example of a banner image on Facebook made by using the online graphics tool, Canva. A replica is on the author’s Twitter account.

Robert Lane twitter banner

Another mistake that authors make is connecting their Twitter account to a Facebook account. Don’t do this. If you integrate them, your tweets on Facebook will appear spammy.

On LinkedIn, I decided to use an image for my own account that incorporated my brand colors.

Frances Caballo twitter banner example

Stephanie Chandler
, an author and founder of the Nonfiction Authors Association, created a banner publicizing an upcoming conference.

Stephanie Chandler twitter banner example

Social Media No-Nos

You’ve seen what not to do when you open an account. Now let’s look at actions that are considered to be bad behavior on social media. Avoiding these behaviors will go a long way to making your social media experience more enjoyable and more fun:

Don’t repeatedly ask your followers to buy your books.

Don’t send direct messages that ask a follower to read a post, read a book, or look at your stories.

Don’t post several Facebook status updates in a row.

It’s best not to pin several images on Pinterest in a row because you’ll flood your followers’ newsfeeds. Doing this is equivalent to sending ten tweets in a row or five Facebook posts in a row.

Don’t join Goodreads for the sole purpose of promoting your book. Join as a reader who is interested in connecting with other readers about the love of reading and the books you enjoy. Talk about the books you loved and why. Share real reviews.

Don’t randomly start following readers on Goodreads. You only get 5,000 friends on Goodreads so spread your love wisely.

Don’t use the default egghead image as your avatar on Twitter or leave your header image blank.

Don’t use a picture of your dog or cat for your avatar on any social media accounts.

Don’t predominantly post about yourself on social media.

Never fail to connect with authors in your genre and/or other Indie authors

Don’t buy a lot of advertising on social media and ignore engaging with readers

Never ever be rude.

Free Webinar: Join Me to Learn More About Getting Results on Social Media

I spend every day all day helping indie authors get great results on social media. Now I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you.

 

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

The post 11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!) appeared first on The Book Designer.

Instagram Primer for Indie Authors



Is your audience on Instagram? Do you have an account? Pearls of wisdom from The Book Designer. Enjoy!

Source: Instagram Primer for Indie Authors

According to a report by Digital Marketing Research, as of March 2016, Instagram had 400 million monthly active users and captured the attention of 20% of all Internet users.

Part of its growth might be due to the mother of all social media networks, Facebook. After Facebook purchased the app in 2014, Instagram’s user base soared by 60%. Then again, Instagram grew so quickly just because it’s an image-based app and any social media network based on imagery is bound to succeed these days.

Hard to tell.

There are conflicting reports as to what social media network is the fastest growing. The data seems to change from month to month, or at least, it did in 2015. That year, Adweek, TechCrunch, and Global Web Index each reported different statistics.

It was also in 2015 that Pew Research Center reported that Instagram was the fourth most used social media network, behind Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use. If you write:

young adult

new adult

dystopian

teen and young adult romance

and science fiction novels

then you need to spend time connecting with your readers on Instagram.

Some agents are recommending that all authors, including nonfiction writers with an older readership, also use Instagram. Perhaps it’s because of Instagram’s meteoric rise. But if your audience isn’t on Instagram, does it make sense to use it? I’m a huge proponent of saving time on social media by only spending time on those networks where you’ll find your readers and your colleagues. But with Instagram’s popularity, it might make sense for you to follow Jane Friedman’s advice: grab your username anyway. After doing that, play around with Instagram and see whether it’s worthwhile for your genre and readership. If it isn’t, leave Instagram, focus your energy on other websites, and return to it later to test it again.

The beauty of Instagram – and this is why it’s easy to test it – is that it’s effortless to incorporate it into your life. You’ll see why if you keep reading. For now, let’s leave the statistics behind and talk about how to sign up and use this tool.

How to Join Instagram

Profile Image

Joining this network is easy. Sign up by navigating to Instagram.com on your PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. It’s best to use your smartphone because Instagram is for the mobile web and you’ll need to be on your mobile (or tablet) to add your profile image. As with other social media websites, don’t use your book cover or image of your favorite pet as your avatar. Use the best picture of yourself that you have.

Every time you add a new network to your marketing arsenal, represent your brand as best you can. What is your brand? You. Some writers become irritated at the mention of the term author brand but denying that it exists doesn’t deny its importance. Everything you do and say online reflects upon you so every step you take online, every post, every image you upload, needs to support your author career in as positive a manner as possible.

Username

When you select your username, use the name on the cover of your books. Build your brand around your author name, whether it’s:

your birth name

a name you predominantly use

or a pen name

Bio

Complete your bio, which Instagram restricts to 150 characters, and add your author website address. Don’t forget to check the box next to Similar Account Suggestions so that Instagram will suggest additional users for you to follow.

Desktop and Laptop Restrictions
You’ll be limited in what you can do from your desktop or laptop whether it’s a PC, Mac, or laptop. You can sign up, complete your bio, follow people, view your news feed, like images, and leave comments.

But you can’t add or change your profile image from your desktop or laptop. Most people carry around their smartphones in their back pockets or purse so start using your mobile when using Instagram. Alternatively, use your tablet if you bring that with you more often. (I haven’t tested Instagram on a Kindle reader, such as Kindle Fire. If you use Instagram on that tablet, please let me know in the comments below.)

As you’re out and about, visiting your favorite café where you write or taking a walk in the woods or a lovely path, snap images with your smartphone. Then, upload them directly to Instagram. Select a filter for your image if the image appears too dark or too bright, and post it.

Now this next step is what makes Instagram simple to use. As you post your image to Instagram, you can also post it to other accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. While I don’t recommend syncing Twitter to Facebook or even Instagram to Twitter (unless you’re selective about what you post), linking Instagram to Facebook is seamless. The comment and hashtags you write for your Instagram post will integrate smoothly with your Facebook profile. This is how to connect your accounts:

Navigate to your Instagram profile on your smartphone.

Tap the gearshift in the top-right corner.

Click Linked Accounts and select the websites you want to sync with.

How Authors Can Use Instagram

Authors have taken to Instagram, expanding their brand, and letting readers learn more about them than what they write or blog about. Check out these examples:

Tyler Knott Gregson

You’ll find Tyler on Instagram where he’s known as Tyler Knott, an #Instapoet on this app. He’s a successful poet who rose to fame by using Instagram. He creates quote images and posts them mostly on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s one of his poems displayed as an image:

Tyler Knott Gregson image

Here’s another image he took of the sky.

Tyler Knott Gregson image2

Jane Friedman

Jane was excited about the inclusion of an essay she wrote in an anthology and announced its availability with this picture of the cover. Granted, it’s not an exciting cover, but it’s still a good use of Instagram.

Jane Friedman image

Orna Ross

Orna likes to take pictures of her surroundings, which gives her readers and colleagues a sense of the beauty where she lives.

Orna Ross image

Joanna Penn

A nonfiction and dark thriller author who writes under the name J.F. Penn, Joanna a self-described taphophiliac (she loves visiting cemeteries) so it makes sense that she would post this image.

Joanna Penn image

Crissi Langwell

While attending an Indie author event at a library, Crissi took an image of a display of her books.

Crissi Langwell image

Share:

the cover of a new book about to be released

images from your hometown

images of the desk where you write

If you have a favorite café where you like to write, take a picture of the sign or the front of the building.

If you love dogs, take a picture of your dog doing something fun.

When you have a reading, ask someone to snap a picture of you, preferably not when you’re standing behind a podium but during a moment when you’re animated, laughing, or engaging with an attendee.

Most of all, test this app and have fun with it.

When to Post on Instagram

The easiest time to post is right after you take a picture or create one. You can also plan your posts.

According to Latergramme, a scheduling post for Instagram, the best time to post is between 2 am and 5 pm EST, with 5 pm being the most opportune time.

The best day to post is on Wednesdays, but if you start using Instagram, you’ll need to be consistent and post more frequently than once a week.

When you start out, post images when it’s convenient for you. As you gain followers, you’ll figure out when the most engagement occurs and tailor your timing.

Scheduling Apps for Instagram

Once you start using Instagram regularly, you might want the option to schedule images in advance.

Onlypult

With this app, you can upload images and videos from your computer, not just your smartphone. Onlypult also provides analytics. Plans start at $12/month.

Latergramme

This tool enables you to upload images from your computer, iPhone, Tablet, or Android, plan and schedule your posts, upload videos and manage multiple accounts if you have more than one. On a free account, you can upload 30 posts per month.

Schedugram

With this tool, you can organize campaigns or schedule images one-by-one, manage multiple accounts, create content, and add bulk uploads at once. For a single account, the cost is $20/month.

Takeoff

Use this free app to schedule images to Twitter and Instagram simultaneously. You’ll find it on iTunes and at Google Play where it’s called Publish.

Instagram Best Practices

Here are a few best practices to get you started.

Use hashtags here just as you would on Twitter. Although hashtags haven’t taken off on Facebook, you can use them as well.

Don’t be afraid to reveal a bit about your personal life. Images of you take while hiking or cycling or just about on the town add an interesting layer to your brand.

Always be authentic.

Don’t be promotional, unless you’d like to inform users of a contest.

Build your community of readers and colleagues by liking their posts and commenting on them. Be as engaged with them as you’d like them to be with you, what Joanna Penn refers to as social karma.

How do you use Instagram and what apps are your favorites?

Photo: pixabay.com

The post Instagram Primer for Indie Authors appeared first on The Book Designer.

The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Following



Source: The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Following

The post that I’m sharing today comes to us from Jeff Barrett from the Hootsuite blog. Hootsuite for those who are unfamiliar is social media management software. I find their blog to be very informative. Check it out.

There is strength in numbers on social media. Even if you’re not trying to be an influencer, social capital has its value. Whether it’s purely perception or designed for lead generation, the size of your audience matters now.

When I speak, my audience is usually entrepreneurs or aspiring media professionals. The most common question I get from both groups is, “How do I grow a following?”

That’s a tough question. Like with a lot of pursuits, there is no single answer. It can be achieved in a variety of ways. But from someone who has built an audience, I can share what I have learned. And this may surprise you, I would have done some things differently.

Reach beyond your audience

Most of the advice I see for growing a following centers around content. Expecting that better content alone will grow your following is like believing in unicorns. It sounds amazing, but there is no proof. Content is important but it’s only part of the mix. You also have to think beyond your existing audience. Determine how to appeal to other audiences.

For example, I’m in PR. If I only talked about PR and appealed to PR professionals then there would be a cap to my growth. So I slowly, strategically and methodically began to identify and connect with groups one degree separate from my own. I started talking about advertising and entertainment. I created humorous content around pop culture—carefully tying it all back to my PR experience. Because of this, I could talk about pop culture. I began interjecting myself into all trending conversation. This year I have started talking about politics because it is, to an extent, related to PR. Being funny about the political circus got me in the door—now I’m starting to speak intelligently about the Syrian refugee crisis and brokered conventions.

Trust content

No person is just one thing. Share more of yourself, branch out and you’ll be able to grow your audience. There are a million ways to find and connect with new audiences, but you have to make that connection stick. Responding to questions from your audience quickly and honestly, and providing feedback are great ways to engage. Live streaming and podcasts are both great ways to allow people to get to know you. The more people know about you, the deeper they can connect.

People connect with real people over robots. Engaging with your audience in an authentic way is one of the strongest ways to build connections and engage others.

Maximize points of visibility

Look to sources outside of social media to help elevate your following. This is something I didn’t do enough in the beginning. You can spend all day on social media trying to grow your following but one media appearance can achieve months’ worth of work. Create as many points of visibility as you can. Go on local news, guest blog, do whatever you can at first but continue to keep networking up so you can increase opportunities for visibility.

Q&A with Twiends CEO Dave Sumter

I’m only one opinion. So I asked a friend—Dave Sumter, CEO of social directory Twiends—because he works every day with a mass of people looking to build a following.

What are the do’s and don’ts in building a following?

There are a lot of ways to achieve follower growth. Generally the best approach is to be honest in your intentions when connecting with new people, interact well, and add value to everyone’s feed. This may sound like a lot of fluff, so let me give you some real world examples:

Don’ts: Buying followers on any service that quotes you X followers for $ is a big no-no. These are all generally fake accounts created with the sole purpose of following you. Another bad option is resorting to interaction tricks—such as following large groups of people and then unfollowing them after they’ve followed you (known as churning). Both of these approaches will make your follower count go up, but will not add value to you or your followers. And both could land you in hot-water with Twitter.

Do’s: This side of the camp is actually full of great options, such as featured promotion, Twitter ads, contests, targeted content, Twitter chats, and many more. It’s best to try and grow your audience and engagement at the same time. A common approach is using something like Twiends to do broad-based featured promotion, or Twitter ads to do targeted promotion, and then use contests, polls, Twitter chats, visual tweeting, and daily interacting to grow engagement with those new followers. Twiends and Twitter ads provide the reach, and the later options provide the ‘conversion.’ Most people skip the later part and move straight to ‘broadcasting.’ This unfortunately doesn’t work—as in real life you need to take the time to bond with people before they’ll listen to you.

Why is having a large online presence valuable?

There are so many benefits to having a large online presence, most notably being able to get your message out and influence others in line with your goals. Whether it’s getting the word out about a new initiative or asking for feedback about something important, it’s an incredibly useful tool in this new digital world we live in. It’s like being able to walk into a room and ask 100 people what they think about an idea. In the past, companies had to spend thousands of dollars doing customer research, now anyone can do it multiple times a day.

The real power though is that this can be done in a casual and conversational way, continually and forever. You can build real connections with your customers, peers, colleagues, or with anybody who shares your interests. You can provide real-time support to those who need help, build your brand, or even subtly plug your product. But it does take time to build, and it’s not just about adding followers. That’s just the first step, and it should be combined with building a great timeline, building engagement, and of course connecting with people at a slightly deeper level.

 

The post The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Following appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

How To Build An Instagram Following From Scratch



Source: How To Build An Instagram Following From Scratch

How To Build An Instagram Following From Scratch

Right before our eyes, Instagram is becoming a social media powerhouse.

It is penetrating more and more of the population every day, with over 400 million monthly active users.

It plays on the visual obsession of our minds, and taps into the short attention spans of a generation. A bit like a combination of Twitter and Pinterest.

Along with its rapid growth, comes a unique marketing opportunity for brands. And if you’re not ready to ride the wave, you are missing a big opportunity.

Now is the best time to get started with Instagram – it’s popular, fun, growing, and has huge engagement levels. Not to mention a LOT of brands aren’t making the most of it yet.

Whether you’re creating your personal profile or managing your company’s account, the following tactics will help you build an Instagram following from scratch.

1. Map out your strategy

Before anything else, you need to create a strategy for your Instagram activity.

Here are some questions to help you flesh out a plan:

What are you trying to do on Instagram?

You want to build a community that engages each other to create positive change; you want to drive followers to your website and convert them into paying customers.

How will Instagram grow your business?

Having a group of brand enthusiasts will spread your message large and wide and sell your products for you. Drive targeted traffic back to your website. Strengthen brand awareness and foster new partnerships.

What do your audience want on Instagram?

Instagrammers are in constant “scanning” mode – they either like something or they don’t. Instagram is about capturing real moments, so you need to talk to your audience in their language: be positive, be inspiring, be authentic. Nail down your client avatar and see where a bunch of them hang out.

What words, hashtags and filters do they use? Who do they follow? Check out the top 100 hashtags from Websta and search relevant keywords and discover popular accounts. 

Once you get the basics down, you can start building your Instagram following.

2. Create your profile

Setting up your Instagram profile is quite easy and you only have to add your information in a few sections:

Choose your profile image

It should be relevant to your business –your logo, or a photo of your product:

Starbucks profile - how to build an instagram following

Add your bio

When you’re not an uber popular brand, your bio has got to be more compelling. You can use up to 200 characters to create your bio and tell people why they should follow you and what’s in it for them.

You can spice it up with various symbols:

Symbols - how to build an instagram following

You can directly access your bio through this link and search for characters and symbols here.

Also, you can encourage followers to share images relevant to your business using your own hashtag.

Add your website URL

Adding a link to your Bio is easy and helps to put your followers down the path to purchase. Just make sure the link takes them to a mobile-friendly landing page.

Foundr Magazine - how to build an instagram following

3. Setup a content plan

First, set goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) so you know where you’re going. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference:

Goal: A desired outcome.
KPIs: Key metrics showing whether your performance is good enough to reach your outcome.

Here’s an example:

Goal: Have 1k followers .
KPIs: Number of likes, comments, shares, mentions, shoutouts.

Once you set your goals, create an editorial calendar to automate your input and make sure your goals become inevitable. Tools you can use: Iconosquare, ScheduGram or Simply Measured (or a good old spreadsheet).

Only share images that best illustrate the story your brand is trying to tell, and trigger emotions that make people feel part of your story. The anatomy of a successful Instagram post is beautiful imagery, compelling overlaying text, post descriptions, mentions, hashtags and emojis.

Here are the most effective types of posts:

Brand-related images

As humans, we’re wired to make judgments and attach emotionally to everything we see. Sharing beautiful images is a great way to communicate complex messages to your audience and make them feel certain ways: curios, excited, happy, proud, nostalgic, hopeful, etc.

The biggest names on Instagram are harnessing the real power of visual storytelling. So, whether you have images of your products or of results created by your products (e.g. happy clients), use Instagram to creatively communicate why your business matters.

Starbucks post example - how to build an instagram following

See how Starbucks uses creative images to communicate their message in a unique way. They focus on a powerful storytelling approach that includes their logo and feelings associated with their product.

Reactive storytelling

Reactive storytelling is a combination of a hot trend and a compelling marketing message. This method lets you leverage an everlasting truth, a timely event or idea to build an instant connection with your audience.

Big brands like Oreo are using reactive storytelling successfully to create viral content that generates buzz and immediate response from their followers.

Oreo - how to build an instagram following

Inspirational quotes

The ultimate recipe for viral, buzzy content is to trigger strong emotions. Inspirational quotes are a great way to get more shares, likes, comments with your brand. The stronger the emotion, the more likely people will react to your content.

Inspirational quotes - how to build an instagram following

If you’re starting from scratch, prepare 10 images and spread them throughout the next three days. In terms of engagement, a Track Maven report shows that big brands get an average of 37 likes and comments for every 1k followers. This means that if you’ve got 100 followers, you should expect to get 3.7 interactions (likes and comments) per post.

4. Build influencer relationships

Aside from growing your audience, you can reach out to influencers in your niche and build all sorts of partnerships, like Free offers for Shares or Paid Shoutouts. The easiest route is to network with Instagram Direct.

Just like Snapchat, Instagram Direct allows you to send photos and videos to others (privately) like a private message on Facebook. Only you and the recipient can see it. Use popular hashtags in your niche to spot the influencers and DM with an offer.

5. Manage your profile

Now that all the elements are put into place, you need to keep an eye on your feed, followers and niche. Iconosquare is a very easy to use tool that lets you view and browse Instagram from within their interface and offers a lot of data (e.g. growth charts, engagement rates, best times to post and more).

A web viewer for Instagram is Squarelovin.

Square lovin - how to build an instagram following

This tool lets you see how many photos you’ve shared, the total number of likes and comments you’ve got, how many accounts you’re following. You can also see followers based on their location, your follower growth rate, new and dropped followers and more.

Final words

Instagram is a pretty straightforward platform, no need to over-complicate it. Remain clear and creative in your communication and interact with your audience every day. Instagram is a mobile-based platform, so any URLs you share should lead people to mobile-friendly pages.

The amazing interest in visual content is only going to go up in the future, so there’s no better time to get started with Instagram than today. It’s the best platform to share your authentic brand message and develop a unique voice in your community.

But Instagram’s real value consists of seeing how people interact with your brand and how they’re spreading your message. Last but not least, make sure you integrate Instagram with other social outlets to increase your influence and reach to as many people as possible.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Instagram and see how it’s working for your business, so share your experience in the comments below.

Guest Author: Sarah Williams is a Berlin based entrepreneur and lifestyle blogger. On her blog Wingman Magazine she helps people to discover their true potential, have better relationships, boost careers and feel great in their own skin.

The post How To Build An Instagram Following From Scratch appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

 

Important Goodreads Changes You Need to Know about Now by @sugarbeatbc



The rules on the various social media platforms are continually changing. The article below discusses a change in following terminology on Goodreads that was put in place in the spring. The old terminology is still in place in most of the books on the subject. To read the full article, click here.
Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.40.01 PM

So have you heard about the latest changes on Goodreads? 

What are your thoughts?

 

Maybe you are busy writing and haven’t heard about the latest announcement from Goodreads. Let me explain.

 

Before March 19th (the day of the announcement), authors were allowed to collect friends and fans. There were several differences between the two categories. The important differences were two-fold:

 

  • Goodreads only allowed account holders (both authors and readers) to have 5000 friends. (Just like a personal profile on Facebook.) Although I’ve seen several examples of authors with more than 5000 friends, the accepted cap is set at 5000. Fans, however were unlimited.
  • Fans, not Friends were notified when the author posted to their blog (provided their blog feed is connected to Goodreads) This is an important feature as it allows readers to keep up to date with authors via Goodreads.

To read the rest of the article, click over here to Rachel’s Blog.

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This Is The Reason Facebook Pages Are Still Useful For Authors



Facebook is a social media that is constantly being mis-used. It’s also the one place where everyone is an expert. If I had a penny for every wrong piece of advice with respect to FB…well, you know that saying…Hope you enjoy this piece on Facebook pages; originally published here.

So, Facebook has been in the news AGAIN! This time for making what some people seem to think are HUGE changes to the platform. I’ve read a few blog posts that have suggested Facebook is going to make people pay for their business pages. This is simply not the case, as you can see in this latest release by Facebook that outlines the upcoming changes.

Part of my motivation for writing this post is to educate authors so that they know where to go to get accurate information. It’s all right there in Facebooks’s Terms of Service (TOS).This isn’t a difficult document to read. It’s not full of legalese. It’s downright pleasant in terms of TOS documents!

My motivation also comes from how often I find incorrect information out in the blogosphere. There are a number of pieces of advice circulating that go against Facebook’s TOS. This advice is great if you want to have your Facebook account terminated :(.

I believe that advice people give should include the proper way of doing things, just like when someone is taught to drive: they should be taught the rules first. Once you pass your driving test, you can decide if you want to follow all the rules all the time.

car

Especially that rule about keeping both hands on the wheel….How can you drink your Timmy’s if both hands are on the wheel? (Canadian joke)

Timmys Coffee

The same exists on Facebook. You should understand the correct way of operating your Facebook account and if you choose not to follow the rules, you make that decision.

 

To finish this post, view the original here.

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Facebook or Twitter? Here’s Why You Should Choose Both



Ever wondered which social media you should be on? I believe that you should be where your audience is. This article on Rachel Thompson’s blog helps you understand the differences and the purposes behind the various choices.
2kaboompics.com_Grey Felt Journal TO DO LIST on a white desk copyIn my new series on answering YOUR questions, Morgan Dragonwillow asks: If you could be only on one, Facebook or Twitter, which would you choose and why?

Well, it all depends on what your goal is. Want to build relationships AND improve your overall SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Twitter. Want to build relationships but are not all that concerned about SEO? Facebook. 

Just to make your head explode, I’ll throw in a teeny tiny bit about Google+ and why it still matters. And to really frustrate you, I’ll tell you that you can’t be on only one social media channel, because guess what? Your reader base isn’t in only one place. So unfortunately, the question (though great! So thank you for asking, Morgan), is inherently flawed, but I’ll do my best to answer it from my perspective. I won’t even go into Instagram and Pinterest (both of which I love), but you can read more about Instagram here, and Pinterest here and here, specifically for authors.

Think you can’t do it all? I say you can! I’ll explain how and give you tips, too.

To read more on this post, click here to go to Rachel’s original post

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