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Choosing the platform where your audience is

benefits-of-choosing-right-platform-for-business

Last week we discussed the general differences of some of the social media platforms available.  Today we’ll go into deeper details regarding the primary audiences of each. If you know who your people are, you can then choose from where they hang out the most.  For simplicity, let’s do this in alphabetical order.

Facebook

As we all know, Facebook is HUGE. They have more than one billion daily users.

Facebook’s demographic stats:

  • 88% of users aged 18-29
  • 84% of users aged 30-49
  • 72% of users aged 50-64
  • 83% of users are adult women
  • 82% of users have some college education
  • 80% have an income between $30k-$49,999

Ways Facebook can help with business:

  • Using Facebook pixels o n your website keeps track of who your visitors are
  • Create very targeted ads
  • Social customer service
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Promote your local business

Instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook and has 400 million daily users.

Instagram’s demographic stats:

  • 59% of users aged 18-29
  • 33% of users aged 30-49
  • 18% of users aged 50-64
  • 38% of users are women
  • 37% of users have some college education
  • 37% have an income of more than $75k

Ways Instagram can help with business:

  • Creating and engaging with the community
  • Great for creative businesses
  • Precise ad targeting since it uses Facebook ads capabilities
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Connect and engage directly with your followers

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has more than 35 million monthly users.

LinkedIn demographic stats:

  • 34% of users aged 18-29
  • 33% of users aged 30-49
  • 24% of users aged 50-64
  • 56% of users are men
  • 50% of users are college graduates
  • 45% have an income of more than $75k

Ways LinkedIn can help with business:

  • Creating and engaging with the community
  • Great for creative businesses
  • Precise ad targeting since it uses Facebook ads capabilities
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Connect and engage directly with your followers

Pinterest

Pinterest has around 67 million monthly users and more than 14 million articles get pinned daily.

Pinterest demographic stats:

  • 36% of users aged 18-29
  • 34% of users aged 30-49
  • 45% of users are women
  • 34% of users are college graduates and another 34% has some college experience
  • 32% have an income between $30K-$49,999
  • 31% have an income between $50K-$74,999
  • 35% have an income of more than $75K

Ways Pinterest can help with business:

  • Drive traffic to your blog or website
  • Integration with your website allows your items/blogs/products to be “pinned”
  • Inspire your audience by curating boards
  • Be seen as an expert
  • Huge categories for those in the food and DIY business/blog

Twitter

23% of all internet users use Twitter, and there are more than 80 million monthly users.

Twitter demographic stats:

  • 36% of users aged 18-29
  • 23% of users aged 30-49
  • 25% of users are women
  • 29% of users are college graduates and another 25% has some college experience
  • 18% have an income between $30K-$49,999
  • 28% have an income between $50K-$74,999
  • 30% have an income of more than $75K

Ways Twitter can help with business:

  • Real-time messaging and very fast-paced
  • Share breaking news
  • Great for customer service
  • Increase brand awareness by responding and engaging quickly (and frequently) with followers
  • Discover what’s happening this moment with your customer, industry, and competition
  • Use trending hashtags to be seen more

YouTube

YouTube has over 1 billion users (almost one-third of all people on the internet)

YouTube demographic stats:

  • Around 41 million users are between the ages of 25-34
  • 54% of users are men
  • 45% of users have some college experience
  • 14% have a post-doctorate degree
  • 46% have an income of more than $75K

Ways YouTube can help with business:

  • Using videos as deliverables is increasing
  • Easily show how your product works, or how to solve a problem your audience faces
  • Show how to use your product in a way that surprises your customers
  • Become known as experts

Graphics

Here are some images that can illustrate some of the data explained above

choose-right-social-media

Source: Accion

 

social-platform-demographics

Source: Buffer

Conclusion

There’s definitely a lot of data here to digest. When choosing what platforms to use, consult all these facts and choose a platform where your target audience possibly spends time on. Consider if the types of deliverables you produce, or plan to produce, make sense for that platform. One other important factor is how much time you have available to produce, post and engage. Remember, you don’t have to be on all platforms. You can register your name in case you want to consider using them at a later time, but don’t feel pressured to start right away.

Download our FREE guide to choose your ideal platform:

Hidden Content

 

 

On how many platforms are you on right now? Tell me in the comments below.

How to increase your engagement when you choose the right platform

choose-platform-for-business

If you’re starting out with social media for your business or brand, you might be confused with all the platforms available. You might be wondering if you need to be on all of them, and if not, which one/s you choose?  That is a very good question, and we’ll dig deeper into this topic on this blog post.

Since there are many platforms available we won’t be able to cover them all, but we will discuss the most used ones. Let’s do this in alphabetical order.

Facebook

No list would be complete without mentioning Facebook. It is the king, with more than 1.68 billion monthly active users, and 66% of those report using it daily. Even though their algorithm changes so much, and now it is much harder to be seen without recurring to paying for ads, it is still worth to try it out. At this time, there’s no other place to find that many users. By adding a pixel to your website, you can get a better sense of who your visitors are, and later on, use this information to retarget them. You know how most people are browsing the internet and have a window open with Facebook? Well, basically the pixel tracks those users, and you can then select them, or a portion of them, to create ads.

Instagram

This is the most popular platform right now, and it is backed up by that guy named Mark Zuckerberg, from Facebook. They have more than 400 million daily active users. It is a very visual platforms, and image quality is very important. The app allows you to post pictures, comment, share and send messages. It is great for brands, product, and service-based businesses. Since it is owned by Facebook, you can use their ads features, and the information you gather with the pixel, to create ads on Instagram. Most users on Instagram are aged 18-29, followed by those who are 30-49. It is a pretty big scope, and definitely a good idea to research if your target demographic is there.

LinkedIn

Mostly used for business networking LinkedIn serves as a medium to network with other professionals, keep customers and suppliers updated with industry news, announcements of new products and services, and even customer service. With more than 35 million monthly users, and 70% of those outside the U.S. it is a great platform to find users in other countries.

Pinterest

Although visual like Instagram, Pinterest is more of a search engine. It has more than 150 million monthly users. With Pinterest, image quality is also key, and vertical pics do much better than landscape ones. It is great for product-based businesses who now have the option of selling through Pinterest. Bloggers can also take advantage of Pinterest by sharing their content which in turns generate website visits.

Snapchat

Snapchat launched in September 2011 and now has 158 million daily active users. Their audience is younger, most of them (45%) between 12-24 years old.  Want to know another interesting stat? 76% of Snapchat users purchase things online. You can share images and videos, and this platform can share a picture that will disappear. Brands are embracing Snapchat due to its popularity and high engagement.

Twitter

It seems like Twitter has existed since forever, and this platform has 319 million active users. It is one of the platforms that is suffering the most due to the growth of Instagram stories and Snapchat. One of the great things about Twitter is how up-to-date it is. Anything that is happening or trending will be there. The U.S. Presidential election of 2016 greatly benefited Twitter’s user growth, especially since it is the way President Donal Trump uses to share his views.

YouTube

Video is all the rage right now, and I still need to get on it (truth!). Not only do you post videos, but it is also a search engine (like Pinterest). You can position yourself as an expert, review products, do how-to’s, among other things. They have around 41 million users between the ages of 25-34 and reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

How do I choose?

What you choose to use depends on a few things. You might use Twitter as a listening tool, Facebook to engage with fellow business owners and Instagram to share content with your audience. There’s no one right answer for everyone. One thing’s for sure, in whichever channel you choose to participate you must be active, engage with others and share high-quality content.

Growing an audience, no matter the platform takes time. You might as well choose one that you enjoy. Even though videos are all the rage right now, don’t get into YouTube if you hate it. Not only will your content suck, but you won’t be consistent either. Also, select one channel that you are good at. If taking photography isn’t your thing, then you probably shouldn’t be on Instagram (although you can use stock photography). If writing is your thing, then, by all means, stick to blogging and maybe share snippets on Twitter.

Conclusion

Not all platforms are created equally and choosing which one (or ones) to will depend on your target audience and your goals. Knowing what you want to communicate, what results you want and how you want your audience to respond are all crucial to selecting the best platforms to be. And remember, you don’t have to be on all of them. It is better to be focused and consistent on one than to be mediocre at 7. In next week’s blog post we’ll go deeper into which platform can be best depending on who your audience is.

Here’s a FREE Resource Guide you can download and print:

Want to read more?

The zero BS guide to choosing a social media platform for business

 

Why I want to marry CoSchedule

If you’re starting or are considering using social media for your business, it can be overwhelming. You need to figure out what you’re going to say and share. How often? Do I need to write original content every time? How long will this all take?… and so on. Just thinking about all those questions, and the ones that might come up will make most of us freak out.  Let me try to break this out for you: you don’t have to be everywhere. That would be a HUGE mistake. And with everywhere what I mean is you don’t need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.

The first thing we need to figure out is who your target audience is. When we know this, we’ll know where your readers are, and that helps us decide which platforms to use. That’s where having an excellent tool like CoSchedule comes in. It is THE tool that will help you manage the platforms you decide to use.

You can connect CoSchedule to:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • WordPress
  • Evernote
  • Bit.ly
  • Buffer
  • Google Analytics
  • Evernote
  • Google Docs

Got your attention? You can easily integrate the tools you already use and see it all in one calendar. Sweet!! You have no idea how much time you’re going to save by publishing to all platforms from one place.

Let me show the different ways I use it.

Sharing a social message

Want to share a message? Image? Link? From one window you can do it all.

Share a social message to several platforms

Want to send it to more than one platform? No problem.

Not sure if you saw above, but there’s this fantastic feature to post at the “best time.” No longer do you need to worry about when to post on each platform. Another thing was done for you! If you still want to have more control, you get the option to post whenever you want to. Here’s how it looks after a few messages:

Schedule a blog post

Social campaign to promote your blog post

Another way to use it is with WordPress. After you finish writing your fantastic blog post, you can schedule it on CoSchedule. But why stop there? You’ll have better results if you promote and share your blog post more than once.

Here’s where the social media campaign for your blog post comes super handy. You can create a complete schedule of where and when you want your blog to be shared. This post includes an amazing description of how to do it.

Use the Chrome extension

Another way I use it is with the Chrome extension. While browsing, I can share anything by pressing the CoSchedule button. And we see the same window as before.

My productivity reached new levels when I started using CoSchedule. I can see in one place how my editorial calendar is looking. I can view if I have any gaps and can schedule a new message, or drag-and-drop from another date. Consistency is key when it comes to social media, and this makes it so easy to manage. Depending on which tier you are using, you have the option of using the practical ReQueue feature. Another easy way to help fill your calendar. After specifying your ideal posting frequency, the app takes care of filling up the empty spaces with the content you want to reuse.

Since we are talking so much about everything related to content, it is great to know about this tool. CoSchedule has a trial version, and it ‘s nice to be able to test it out for yourself and see if it can work for you. I’ll be very honest, even though I consider CoSchedule great, if you have a WordPress blog, it will make it exponentially better.

Want to see it in action?

I hope you give it a try and let me know how it works. Here’s a referral link if you want to check it out. {Full disclosure: I will get a discount if you use that link to sign up}.

 

 

 

What is content strategy?

I hope you read my previous blog post. I was very honest as to why content creation sucks for me a lot of times. That was part of the inspiration for this serie. I want to know how to make it easier for me, (and you), to create content even if it not always easy or enjoyable. By learning, and practicing, I am hoping we can all provide better content. There’s enough average going around. Will all my blog posts be awesome? Of course not, but this is a process of getting better at it.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about everything related to content: content creation, content curation, content strategy, and content marketing. To better understand the terms we must start with some definitions. In this blog post, we’ll talk about content strategy and what it is according to different sources. I chose more than one so that we can get a better understanding.

What is Content Strategy according to Wikipedia:

Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media. ”

 

What is Content Strategy according to Distilled

“a content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective. The purpose of a content strategy is to:

  • ensure your content is consistently aligned with your brand message and values
  • ensure your content enhances your credibility
  • ensure your content helps you stand out from the competition
  • ensure your content delivers against your objectives

What is Content Strategy according to UXbooth

content strategy is the process that ensures content is published, edited, republished, repurposed, and archived at the right times. It’s also the process that plans ahead for content that needs to appear in multiple places, sometimes at specific times so that that information can be personalized to the audience.”

 

What is Content Strategy according to The Content Wrangler

“A content strategy is the analysis phase of a business problem that determines how content can be improved, either on the editorial or technical sides, to become part of the success story. In practical terms, a content strategy is the analysis and planning process to develop a repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire content lifecycle. A content strategy also provides context, so that the vision can be implemented in an integrated way, to meet business goals and project objectives.”

After reading all these definitions here’s how I summarize it: content strategy is the planning of

  1. what type of content will be used
  2. how it will be delivered
  3. who will it be delivered to
  4. what goals will they need to meet
  5. how will we measure it

Just with this, we can see that this is not a one size fits all kind of thing. We must carefully choose what our target audience wants and how we can we deliver that to meet their needs and achieve our goals.  In our next post, we’ll discuss how to get started with our content strategy and define
how we’ll create our content. If there’s something I can add, and give you a sneak peek is this: our content needs to stand out for people to choose us over any other blog or social message. Seems like a hard task? It is, but let’s work on it together.

Tell me below: do you have a content strategy? What are your biggest roadblocks?

 

 

Impostor syndrome: I sometimes hate creating content

Creating content sucks… at least it can be a lot of times. I find myself having a hard time writing, doubting myself. I have impostor syndrome. Starting a business on my own, people don’t know me. I don’t have the social proof, the numbers or the stats. How can I show people that I am legit, that I know what I’m talking about and they can rest assured that by hiring me they will get the results I am telling them? Trust me; you’re not the only one who has had these thoughts. Maybe you’re not even starting and still have thoughts like this? What are we to do? I’ve read many times that a blog is a must. Not only to help in your SEO efforts but also to make you known. As a one-woman show, I feel that blogging is harder because it is not a personal blog. My blog is my business. It has the power to help me or hurt me significantly. And that puts a lot of pressure.

Common topics

Hopefully, your topic is not such a popular one, but mine? Social media! Yeah, what else can I say that hasn’t been said? Since my business is social media management, whatever I write should show myself as someone who knows what she’s talking. Imagine if I wrote an article about Instagram and said not to use hashtags. How will that help me? It will hurt me, and the possibility of being chosen as someone who can help you drops to zero. This terrifies me because not all topics are white and black. Yes, I am human. And we all learn from our mistakes, or at least we should. I just don’t want to make a huge mistake that can hurt me exponentially. And what happens? I don’t write, I keep delaying it. Because somehow it seems easier. If I don’t write anything, I don’t put out a crappy blog post, and I will not say something ridiculously stupid.

Being an expert

There are tons of experts and influencers out there, people who know their stuff, have huge stats and followers, people who are book authors, and are like celebrities. How can I compete with them? Puny me, solopreneur woman starting this right now? The truth is, I don’t compete with them. I can’t compete with them. What I can do is learn as much as I can from them, and hopefully, apply what I learn and make my value proposition unique.

One of my biggest struggles is choosing why I want to write about a certain topic. There is such a thing as content overload… there is so much content going around and not enough time to consume it. We must also be realistic and accept that there’s a lot of crap. I don’t want to put just another blog post out there. That won’t help me or the universe.

Perfection

Life is not about being perfect. That’s the truth about all this. Not doing something because we don’t think we are good enough helps no one. But how are we going to learn? I’m not saying let’s write whatever comes to mind and hope that it sticks. Sure, let’s research our topics. Some things we learn in the process. Let’s be human. People buy from people. Let’s show them that our lives are not perfect, that we don’t know everything, and that we are smart enough to say it out loud.

How can we differentiate ourselves? By saying what others don’t want to say. By providing another side of the story. That’s what I’m doing right now. With this blog post, I hope you learn that you are not alone. That words don’t always fall freely into the paper. (Of course, that was not the case with this blog post. I just kept typing and typing. How I wish that happened more often!).

Because content creation gives me a mix of dread and excitement, I will be exploring it further. I want to know how the experts deal with it, what techniques others use, and how we mortals, can take advantage of this. Yes, creating content can suck big time. We don’t know everything. We don’t need to love every step. But we shouldn’t give up because of this. Join me on this quest to learn more, and to practice often.

Tell me, how do you feel about content creation? Does it come naturally to you? Do you have a method? I’d love to hear!

Motivation Monday – February Edition

Every now and then we need some motivation. Maybe it’s a Monday (or a Tuesday, or any day of the week), or you had a setback, a personal problem showed up. I like to have a list of quotes handy for whenever I need it, and today I want to share some of them with you.

This is the first edition of Motivation Monday. It will be a monthly series with inspiration and motivational quotes. I will include some images you can use on your social media accounts, or however you like. No attribution is necessary, but if you use the images and want to tag me, I’d love to see them.

A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and winks. -Gina Carey

 

These mountains that you are carrying, you were supposed to climb. -Najwa Zebian

 

Broken crayons still color.

 

Mermaids don’t loose sleep over the opinion of shrimp.

 

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet. -Bob Marley

 

The only difference between a flower and a weed is judgement.

Want to get the images with these quotes? Enter your email below to download.

How Will hashtags Make Your Instagram More Successful?

Instagram for your business guide G2 social media

Chances are, you’ve probably heard about Instagram. What you might not know is that it is a platform not limited to personal accounts and selfies. You can use it for your business too. Not all companies would use Instagram the same way but let’s see if you believe you can benefit from this.

What is Instagram?

In its more simple definition, Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing site that enables its users to take pictures and videos and share them either publicly or privately on the app. People and businesses share photos and videos of just about anything. It can be what they’re doing, what they’re eating, where they are.

According to this report that I found via the amazing Peg Fitzpatrick, 92% of all social media engagement is happening on Instagram. They say it is the “new Facebook.” How’s that for shocking? Does that make you more interested in this platform? Instagram is a visual platform, which means your pictures need to be AH-mazing! Well, you should always use amazing photography. Your images need to attract the reader. If they don’t like the picture, they will not click on it, and it’s game over.

How do I get Instagram?

Instagram is a free app, and it belongs to the folks at Facebook. You download it to your smartphone, and from there you post whatever you like. You can use it from the web, but will not be able to post from there. You can comment, like and search, but not post. To join you just need and email account. You get to pick your username, and that’s about it. Keep in mind that if you have a business, you can choose a business account instead of a personal account. There’s no charge for it either, but you get the advantage of having statistics right from the app. It is not a must, but it is highly recommended.

What do I post to Instagram?

The short answer is whichever picture or video you want. You can even do live videos. If you choose to start using Instagram, you need to have a strategy. It all goes back to who you want to target, and what do you want them to do. Are you using Instagram to find clients? Are you trying to get brands to notice you? Do you want to find other people to collaborate? Depending on what your answers are, you might have a different approach to what you post.

Even though this is not a unanimous opinion, most people agree that your feed should have a cohesive look. Some people/businesses are very rigid with this, but others don’t. Having a very curated feed is a matter of preference and something we all need to try and measure what our target audience likes the most. Before you post, think of your feed as a story of 9. Whenever you attract someone with your picture, and they want to take a look at your Instagram profile, they will see the latest nine posts. You want them to get a feel of what to expect from you. Is it all over the place? Do you consistently post pics in black and white? Can they see your brand colors throughout the feed? Defining your feed aesthetics will take time and something I am still in the process of figuring out.

Another aspect that not everyone agrees on is including pictures of you, your family, etc. Even though people like to know who they are buying from, or at least some of them, there are others who believe that business and personal pics do not mix. Again, this is something that you will have to decide for yourself and your business.

Will you edit all the pictures in the same manner? Will you use the same filter? If you choose to use text in the images, will the font be the same? In summary, here are some of the things you can post:

Pictures of your products
Behind the scenes
Exclusive offers
Faces behind your company
User generated content
Quotes
Tutorials
Notifications of new blog posts

Don’t tell me I need to create all that content!

Deciding what to post, and how you obtain it is up to you, and your business needs and funds. You could take your pictures, or have a professional take them (of your products, you, etc.). You can also purchase, or download stock photography. Visit this post to see a list of free stock photography sites. Another kind of cool way is with user generated content. Maybe you use a hashtag for your business, and you ask your users to use it and tag you. You can then use those images in your account and tag them. The result? More engaged audience. They will want to post and tag you just to have the opportunity to be reshared (and feel like a celebrity!).

I have a great picture, now what?

Let’s start with the caption. The reality is that you don’t have to include a caption. Should you include one? Probably. Especially if you’re posting a picture with no text on it, the caption is the way you let your audience know why you’re using the image. There’s no one right answer to what you need to include in your caption.

It can be something directly related to your picture.
A personal story
Long journal-type of entry
Something funny
Some tips, or how-to’s
Testimonials
Quotes
Ask questions/opinions
Captions give you the opportunity to reel your reader in, make them relate to you. Don’t worry, your image and your caption don’t need to match.

What are hashtags and do I need them?

Hashtags are a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign (#). It started with Twitter, but in Instagram, we use them to discover other accounts and to get followers. On Instagram, you get to use up to 30 hashtags. These are words, or phrases people might use to find you.

What hashtags do I use?

When choosing hashtags, we must remember who we’re trying to attract. To start, I would suggest you compile a list of words and phrases that relate and describe your business, words that your target audience might use to find you, and words that describe them.

So you’ve compiled your list, now what? It’s research time! You see, a LOT of people are on Instagram AND using hashtags. Remember that 92% statistic above. So we have to be selective of our hashtags, this is one of those situations in which more is not necessarily better. Why? Let’s say you use the hashtag #love. At the time of this publication, there are close to 990 million posts with that hashtag. Yes, you read that number correctly: 990 and six zeros after that. Do you think your picture will stand out? The short answer is no. Ideally, a hashtag with less than 1 million is better. Less than 500,000 is best. Otherwise, when people search for that hashtag, your post will not be seen because so many people are using that same word and your pictures keep scrolling down in the feed. When we discuss specific businesses in the following posts, I will include hashtags that you can consider. Start from there until you find ones that match your needs, your business, your customers.

How many hashtags do I use?

Instagram allows users to include 30 hashtags with each post. I recommend you use all 30. Why? Because with each hashtag you get another opportunity of getting found and get into the top posts section. After you’ve researched your list of hashtags, you should end up with at least 30 of them. I will not recommend you type each of the 30 hashtags into your post. First of all, it’s a waste of time, plus you can accidentally mistype one of the words. (This happened to me, and I found out after I had posted a couple of occasions!). I type my list of hashtags in my notes app, and from there I copy/paste them. Even though you can have different hashtags for every picture, it is not a recommended strategy. If you’d like to add variety to your images, you can save maybe 26-28 hashtags to use always, and then use those few others with different ones.

You might be wondering if your caption will look cluttered with so 30 hashtags. And it can be. So how do you do it? You add them to your first comment. Having all those hashtags copied and easily accessible comes very handy. It now takes me less than 10 seconds to do it. Right after I post to Instagram, I go to my already opened Notes app, copy all the hashtags and paste them into the first comment. That’s it.

How frequently do I need to post?

Consistency is key with everything in social media, (and life!). Ideally, you should post daily, between 1-3 posts, spread across the day. Posting frequently allows you to reach people in different time zones, and in different moments of their days. Not everyone accesses their Instagram during working hours, for example. At what specific times to post, is another trial and error aspect. First, think of your audience. Are they business owners? Maybe they’re not online during the day. Are they stay-at-home moms? Maybe early morning, or evenings. After you’ve posted several times, Instagram’s analytics will give you more information about your followers. It includes their demographics and what times they are online. With this information, you can tweak your posting schedule. Whenever trying a new plan, keep at it for a few days and measure its engagement.

Will my business benefit from Instagram?

There’s no right or wrong answer. There are businesses where the answer might seem obvious. What are your goals with Instagram? Is it to get more clients? Is it to get more people to your email list or blog? If you’re certain that your target audience is on Instagram, you should give it a try.

How to post to Instagram?

Let me show you how I do it:

Select the picture (crop if needed)

Choose filters and edit as you wish

Write, or copy/paste your caption. You could add your location. If you connected other platforms like Facebook and Twitter,  you could also share automatically.


Before I press “Share” on Instagram, I open my notes and copy all my hashtags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I press “Share, ” and this is how it looks


Right there where it says “add a comment”, I paste all my hashtags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in that last image, the comments are hidden.At the end of the day, social media is about being social. That means that you need to respond and talk with your audience. Did they comment on your picture? Thank them. Or better yet, ask an open-ended question to create conversation. These will increase your comment count and help you appear in your follower’s feed. Last year Instagram changed their algorithm. No longer does your feed show in chronological order. The new algorithm shows you what they believed you’d enjoy the most based on the amount of engagement (likes and comments) it received. The more engagement it receives in the first few hours, the more probable it will be that it shows on their user’s feed.

I hope this blog post has helped you get started with Instagram. There’s a lot to do, but it can be lots of fun also. At the end of the day, social media is about being social. That means that you need to respond and talk with your audience. Did they comment on your picture? Thank them. Or better yet, ask an open-ended question to create conversation. These will increase your comment count and help you appear in your follower’s feed. Last year Instagram changed their algorithm. No longer does your feed show in chronological order. The new algorithm shows you what they believed you’d enjoy the most based on the amount of engagement (likes and comments) it received. The more engagement it receives in the first few hours, the more probable it will be that it shows on their user’s feed.o

I know this post turned out pretty long, and trust me, there are still things to be said. You can expect a second post with even more details and some more advanced techniques.

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When is the Best Time to Start Your Content Calendar?

Social Media Content Calendar

If you read anything related with social media, you’d undoubtedly encounter the terms “social media calendar” , “content strategy”, “content calendar.

“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” ~Doug Kessler

What is a social media content calendar?

This article by Hootsuite defines social media calendar as “A social media content calendar should organize the way you curate and create content, and help develop your editorial strategy. A social media calendar cuts extra time out of your content marketing strategy and helps you allocate your resources wisely, to help ensure your brand consistently publishes high-quality, well-written, high-performing content pieces.”   

There are different ways to create a content calendar, but some include a spreadsheet. Below I will include some apps you could use to help you view and automate your posting. Depending on how much content you have and are planning, your calendar can be broken down by month, weeks, days, hours, topics. In it you will also add the social media platforms you use. There’s no one way that will work for everyone and you will need to experiment.  The idea is to have one place where you can visualize and keep track of all the content that will be shared, when, where and by whom. Pretty cool, huh?

 

Things to keep in mind when creating your best content calendar in the world (Your world!)

  1. Plan your strategy
  2. Be clear on who your target audience is, and post on the social media platforms where they hang out.
  3. Research your keywords.
  4. Identify the key metrics you want to measure: more engagement? more traffic? more conversion?
  5. Create a balance between quantity and quality. Posting a lot of crappy content will not help you.
  6. Find your voice: will you use a business tone, casual, personal?
  7. Social media is all about engagement. Don’t forget to respond to comments and questions.
  8. Make sure your audience knows what you want them to do. Sign up for your email list? Download a checklist? Add calls to action (CTA).
  9. Using images increases clickthroughs and sharing. Don’t rely only on text.
  10. Make your life easier, use automation. There are many apps that can help you.
  11. Post a variety of media: texts, images, videos, quotes, links.
  12. Created an epic post? You need to promote it. Don’t expect the masses to find you.
  13. If your post is evergreen (useful always and not dependent on a season or event), reuse it.
  14. Add useful content from others. Have a mix of curated content, your content, and promotions.
  15. Research optimal times (and frequency) to post your content for more engagement.
  16. Edit and review before publishing.
  17. Optimize your posts (and images) for SEO.
  18. Be sure your site is mobile-friendly, since the use of mobile devices is constantly growing.
  19. User generated content can increase engagement in addition to supporting your calendar.

Reasons to use a social media calendar

  1. Provides reference to know how your content is performing, and allows you to make necessary changes.
  2. Have important dates for your business and your followers in one place.
  3. Your team can be on the same page. All copywriters or guest posts will know when their deadline is due.
  4. Ensure that your content is shared on all social platforms and that your queue are not empty. Don’t neglect one platform
  5. Gives you a complete view of any days that are empty or lacking posts.
  6. Allow plenty of time to do research for a post and adjust the timeline.
  7. Scheduling doesn’t mean that it won’t feel real. But expecting to post daily, when ideas strike will create plenty of trouble and unnecessary stress.
  8. Did I mention consistent posting?

Where can you find ideas and inspiration?

Ok, so you understand how important is it to have a content calendar and all its benefits. But, do you have to write original content for every day, and every platform? You could, but you don’t have to. It is always a good idea to have a notepad (digital or paper) or file where you can write down any idea you get. There’s no need to filter them, that’s for another time. The important thing is to record them and later on you con research them and create something useful. Inspiration can come from anywhere: the subway, a visit to the park, a TV show, your dreams. But, if you need more ideas, here are a few:

  1. Read industry blogs and news.
  2. Read the comments of those blogs and news, and take note of what people say and ask.
  3. Does your audience ask you the same questions again and again? Consider writing a post about it.
  4. Poll your audience. Who better to tell you what to write about?
  5. Visit Q&A sites, like Quora. Not only can you get ideas, but you can increase credibility by answering questions there
  6. Take a look at what your competition is doing and figure out if there’s something they’re missing that you can write about. (This is not about copying them1)
  7. Know an influencer or expert? You could interview them and share the video, podcast, blog post, or better yet: all!
  8. Make a post about your own research
  9. Create how-to guides
  10. Compile a list of your favorites (tools, blogs, influencers, etc)
  11. Share your opinion, especially if different than most, about an industry topic.
  12. Have a lot of posts? Recreate some in a different format (video, ebook), or update them with new insights.

How much should you post?

You are inspired, have created content to share, but now are wondering if this is a one-time-sharing kinda deal, or how does it work?

Not all social media platforms will tolerate the same posting frequency without feeling like spam. There are a lot of studies and there’s not a unanimous decision on what those numbers are. Here are some guidelines to start with, but be sure to test what works with your audience.

  • Twitter – minimum of 5 times a day, up to 20
  • Facebook – once daily
  • LinkedIn – 1-2 daily
  • Instagram 1-2 daily
  • Google+ – 1-2 daily
  • Pinterest – minimum of 5 times a day

Oh, and remember, this doesn’t not mean that you will publish your 5 (or 20) tweets at the same time. That will definitely feel like spam. You want to schedule them to be published when your ideal audience is online.

 

Examples of Social Media Calendars

Not all calendars or schedulers will look the same, but here are some to give you a rough idea.

social-media-calendar-twitter
Sample Twitter calendar schedule via Hubspot
social media content calendar
Sample content calendar via Hootsuite
Editorial Calendar from CoSchedule
Sample Editorial Calendar from CoSchedule
Social Media Calendar by Social media examiner
Sample Social Media Calendar via Social Media Examiner

 

Want to automate your social media calendar? Here are some apps:

I know it seems like a LOT of work, and it can be. Somethings can be automated and whenever possible you should take advantage of that. Even more awesome is the fact that some apps are free. Browse around, ask questions, and try a few. Obviously not all apps have the same features, so experimenting is a must.

Buffer

Post Planner

CoSchedule (my fave! With a referral link if you’d like to try it)

Hootsuite

Awesome blog posts for social media calendars

This has been a longer post than usual and there is SO MUCH information online. If you want to read more, here are some of the posts that I used for inspiration. I wish you the best!

5 Reasons why a social media calendar is important for business

50 Common mistakes new content marketers make

How to Schedule Social Media Content for Next Week, Next Month, and Next Year

The Complete Guide to Choosing a Content Calendar: Tools, Templates, Tips, and More

How to Create a Social-Media Marketing Plan From Scratch (Infographic)

The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Content Marketers

Stop Guessing: Here’s a Social Media Strategy That Works

5 Steps to Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy for 2017

Planning Social Media Content? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions

7 Types Of Awesome Social Media Content Your Brand Can Be Creating Right Now

10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes

20 Types of Evergreen Content that Produce Lasting Results for Your Business

 

Have any tips on creating a social media content calendar?  What is your favorite automation app? Let me know in the comments.

How to make your blog stand out in a world of cliché photos

How to make your blog stand out with stock photography

Let’s be honest… when we first think about stock photography the first images that come to mind are those cheesy office employees all smiling. And let’s not even mention the super happy receptionist with the headset. Fortunately, we are not limited to those types of pictures anymore. If you don’t have the budget, or are on a very tight deadline, using stock photography can be very helpful.

First of all, why do I need pictures?

Photos can make your blog more personable, relatable. They say a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Having “that” image that can add to the feeling you’re trying to communicate and make your readers stick around longer. Not to mention that when you plan to share your amazing blog post, having images makes those links more likely to be clickable (and sharable). According to Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94% more total views. How’s that for a reason to use pictures?

 

Why is stock photography better, or good?

  • Well, it’s better than nothing, at least most of the time. (Assuming you’re not stealing images from anyone!).
  • It’s is cheaper than a custom photoshoot.
  • It is quicker, you can download immediately.

Reasons stock photography suck:

  • They can be totally cliché if you don’t take the time to look for good quality ones.
  • Anyone can buy them, so more than one person can use the same image.
  • Not much room for editing and customization. Most images you have to use them as is.

How can I use stock photography?

(Please read how you can use each image. Some require mentions, links backs, while others don’t)

You can use stock photos in your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Some licensing even permits using them in things you’re going to sell, for example, t-shirts.

How to use stock photography creatively within your design work

Ok, so you’ve decided to give stock photography a go. Now what? My first recommendation is to make your images SEO friendly.

 How to make images SEO friendly

  • Use .jpg, .gif or .png
  • Rename every image. If it has several words, use hyphens (-) between words.
  • Don’t forget to fill the alt-text box. This is what search engines use to understand what that image is. Preferably use a description of what the image is. It is considered one of the most aspects of image SEO.
  • Use the title tag to add a description.
  • Consider using captions.

Want to read more about images and SEO?

SEO 101: Optimize Your Images and Make Them #SEO Rockstars in 4 Steps

How to Optimize Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

Your Guide to Optimizing Images for SEO

10 Tips for Optimizing Your Images for Search

The Ultimate Guide for Web Images and SEO

 

Now that you have a good idea of how to use those pics, here’s a this list of 120 Free Stock Photography sites. I’ve got you covered. Highlighted are some of the most famous/awesome ones.   Please read the terms before using them. Not all pictures within a site have the same terms of use.

Zikkin
123RF
500PX
Abstract Influence
Albumarium
All the Free Stock
Amazing Textures
AMG Media
Ancestry Images
Barn Images
Big Foto
BucketListly Photos
Burning Well
Cepolina
Compfight
Creation Swap
Creative Commons Photos
Creative Convex
Creative Vix
Creattor
Cupcake
Death to Stock
Designer Pics
Digital Dreamer
Dreamstime
Epicantus
Every Stock Photo
Fancy Crave
FindA.Photo
Font Play
Foodies Feed
Foter
Franken Photos
Free Digital Photos
Free Images
Free Large Photos
Free Media Goo
Free Nature Stock
Free Photos Bank
Free Range Stock
Free Stock Image Stock
Free Stocks Org
Freely Photos
From Old Books
Gold and Berry
Good Free Photos
Gratisography
I’d Pin That
IM Free
Image After
Image Finder
Image Temple
ISO Republic
Jay Mantri
Jéshoots
Kaboom
Kave Wall
Kreanille Design
Lensicle
Libreshot
Life of Pix
Lime Lane Photography
Little Visuals
Lock and Stock Photos
Made in Moments
Magdeleine
Makerbook
Mayang’s Free Textures
MMT Stock
Morguefile
Moveast
My Stock Photos
Negative Space
New Old Stock
One Left Media
PD Photo
Peek Space
Pexels
Photo Crops
Photo Everywhere
Photo Stock Editor
Photober
Photopin
Photype
Picjumbo
Pickup Image
Picography
Pixabay
Pixel Perfect
Public Domain Archive
Raumrot
Re:splashed
Realistic Shots
Refe
RGB Stock
Scatter Jar
Shutteroo
Skitter Photo
Snapwire Snaps
Splashbase
Splitshire
Startup Stock Photos
Stock Up
Stock Vault
Stockpholio
StockSnap.io
Stokpic
StreetWill
Studio 25
Superfamous
The Light Painters Loft
Tookapic Stock
Travel Coffee Book
Unprofound
Unsplash
UPICM
Viintage
Wikimedia Commons
Wylio
Yeah! Stock Photos

Tell me in the comments? What is your favorite stock photography site?