Monday, 30 November 2015


Targeting all one billion Facebook users may seem like the right way to get your brand out there, but you’d be wasting your money by reaching people who may not be interested in your message. Not only are you reaching users who are less likely interact with your content, but you’re also more likely to pay more per person for more eyes on your ad, especially when they’re not your target audience on Facebook. 

Instead of trying to reach as many users a possible, focus on targeting users who are more likely to engage with your content. The more relevant your ad, the higher your Facebook Relevance Score will be, which means the cost of reaching those users will be lower. Earlier this year Facebook rolled out theRelevance Score reporting metric, which takes into account the positive and negative feedback they expect the ad to receive from its target audience. The less relevant your message, the lower the score, and this could lead to higher costs because the Facebook delivery system is designed to show the right content to the right people. 

Not sure who to target? The Facebook Audience Insights tool is a great start to learning about your current fan base, acquiring additional fans or identifying new ones. The tool is designed to help advertisers learn more about their audience with information on geographydemographicspurchase behavior, and more. 


There are many ways to target your post, but don’t feel overwhelmed! You don’t have to use all of the targeting options at the same time. Here’s a list of targeting options I’ve found useful.


Is your product only sold in certain areas of the United States, or is your message only relevant to those in the Midwest? Instead of targeting all of the United States, focus on areas where your audience is located. You can target as general as the state level or as specific as the ZIP Code™ level. You can also target a 10-50 mile radius of a city or ZIP so you don’t have to spend time entering the ZIP Codes of specific locations.Facebook 2


Facebook demographics can be incredibly specific with characteristics that include education, employment, household, and lifestyle. Instead of a combining all of the characteristics in a single target, consider breaking them up into separate targets so that you’re able to optimize towards the better performing target.Facebook


Of all of the targeting options available on Facebook, this is my go-to target, as it tends to perform well every time. That’s likely because your message is likely to be aligned with what your audience already likes on Facebook.Facebook 4

Targeting is about both precision and experimenting as you discover how to reach the most relevant audience for your content. Facebook has all kinds of tools to help you test and learn, see what works, and optimize in order to reach the right people. When you do, it has great rewards.


Sunday, 29 November 2015

How to Kill it with Instagram Marketing

Image result for instagram logo

Are you using Instagram to its fullest potential?
If you have a visually striking product or brand (and even if you don’t!) and you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out on one of the biggest visual trends on social media today. And considering that images are often the most engaging aspect of social posts, that’s saying something.
Whether you’re new to Instagram marketing or you’re struggling to find the ROI of your photos, we’ve got a four-step process to help you kill it with Instagram marketing.
Step 1: Pre-Campaign Data and Insights
If you want to find success on Instagram, you’ve got to do more than just publish beautiful photographs. Your strategic thinking should begin well before you post a single image.
Before launching an Instagram campaign, consider exploring all of your available data and insights. What do you know about your audience? Who are they? What is their browsing behavior like? Where do they shop? What is their lifestyle?
If you are using a social insights platform, you should be able to apply what you know about your audience on other channels, like Twitter or Facebook, to your Instagram marketing to give yourself a great head start.
Step 2: Campaign Execution
Now it’s time to launch your campaign: Snap photos, create captions, insert hashtags and engage your audience.
Be sure that your bio is completely filled out, and that you are posting fresh, new content on a regular basis. Whether you’re running a one-off seasonal campaign or a long-term brand awareness campaign, you’ll need to keep your presence active in order to be successful.
Some tips for great Instagram photos:

  • Set your smartphone camera settings to “square” if available, so that all the photos you snap will be Instagram-friendly
  • Drive traffic to your website by always including a URL in your caption
  • Plan your Instagram photos in tandem with other posts across your social networks
  • Encourage your community to share photos of your product, using a branded hashtag
Step 3: Post-Campaign Measurement
After your campaign, or (better yet) at regular intervals while it’s running, you’ll want to capture metrics that show how successful your efforts have been.
Examples of Instagram metrics:
  • Number of comments
  • Number of likes
  • Number of followers
  • URL clicks
  • Branded hashtag mentions
What you measure will be determined by the goals of your campaign. Is it to drive traffic? Measure URL clicks. Brand awareness? You might want to look at comment sentiment and hashtags.
Step 4: Analysis
No social media strategy is complete without analysis. During your campaign, be sure to check in on the metrics you’ve decided to measure, and see whether they’re indicating growth.
You can analyze the demographic and psychographic makeup of your audience; the reasons why certain images performed better than others; what time of day gets the most engagement and more.
Analysis is a key component of a great Instagram strategy, as even not-so-successful campaigns can teach you what works and what doesn’t. By feeding this information back into your strategy for the next campaign, you’ll be in a better position to reach and engage your audience with your beautiful photos.
Try applying these four steps to your next Instagram campaign to better connect your content with your audience, and get the most out of your branded visuals.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

8 Easy Steps To Get More Repins On Pinterest

8 Easy Steps To Get More Repins on Pinterest

Would you like to boost your Pinterest presence? Would you like to get more repins on Pinterest?
If you want to focus on only one thing on Pinterest, it should be repins. Repins will get your pins more exposure. This exposure will lead to an increase in brand reach, your number of followers and overall sales.
Getting repins takes work. Today I have 8 things you can do right now to get more repins on Pinterest.

1. Contribute to group boards.
The easiest way to get more repins is by joining group boards and actively pining to them. By making use of group boards even people with no followers at all can instantly boost the number of repins they receive. The board owners have already done the hard job of attracting and building a loyal following. Your job is to find these highly engaging boards, get invited to join them and contribute pins that the board followers will repin. I am going to show you exactly how to do that below.
You can quickly find the most popular group boards by using PinGroupie.

Use PinGroupie to Find Popular Group Boards

Use PinGroupie to Find Popular Group Boards
On PinGroupie you can begin looking for group boards by choosing the ‘Category’ and then the ‘Order.’ The order can be followers, Pins, repins, collaborators or Likes. Followers or repins are the best orders to choose as they play a key role in finding boards where pins get repined a lot.
Next choose ‘Descending’ as the ‘Sort’ and click on ‘Filter.’ If you are looking for a group board with a specific title or description you can add the keywords in the fields provided.

Checkout the results PinGroupie Displays

Checkout the results PinGroupie Displays
This search will result in a list of group boards.
You should click on the names of the boards and check them out. This is an important step as you need to see what types of pins people pin on these boards. You can then determine if your audience takes part on these boards and if it would be worth your time. Checking out boards properly will also help you accurately determine their engagement levels. You can see if the boards are spam free, if the pins regularly get repined repeatedly or if only a few pins receive all the repins. You can also read the board description to check if the owner has listed any rules.
If you are satisfied with all the qualities of the board you can take the next step, get invited to join it. The easiest way to get invited to join a group board is by asking a contributor you know to invite you, as both the group owner and contributors can invite new contributors. If you don’t know any of the collaborators you should contact the group owner directly.

How? Here are three ways.
a) Email them:
Some group board owners make it easy for you to contact them by providing their email address and rules to follow in their board description. They are actively on the lookout for contributors. Hence they will welcome your email.
Contact Group Board Owners by Email

Contact Group Board Owners by Email
An example is the board Top-creative & Cool ideas. The owner of the board has provided his email address and instructions on how to request an invitation.
To get invited to join the board, first follow the board or board owner. You need to be following either one so they can invite you to join. Next, send them an email asking to be added to the board. You can use the email template below.

[Hi ‘Board owner’,
I have just been through your group board ‘board name’ on Pinterest and I really like it. You have built a great community. People share really entertaining and helpful pins on the board.
I would like to contribute to your board too. I promise I will only pin relevant images and stay clear of spam. I will follow all your board rules. Could you please send me an invitation?
Here’s a link to my profile ‘’.
Thank you
‘My Name’]

In the email include a few of your observations about the board and mention some of the rules you will stick to. This will give it a personal touch and increase your chances of being invited.
If they haven’t displayed their email address in their board description you should try to look for one on their website.
b) Message them:
If you can’t locate their email address you should send them a direct message on Pinterest itself. Some users will actually ask you to contact them this way in their board description. You can use the above email template for this message too.
c) Contact them via Twitter:
If you aren’t able to execute the above two methods you should contact the board owner via Twitter. Many people link their Twitter account to their Pinterest account so it should be easy to find it. Send them a Tweet (or a series) letting them know that you are interested in contributing to their board. You can also ask them to DM you their email address so that you can send them a detailed email.
After you join the group board begin contributing to it. For best results stick to the rules and pin only relevant images. If you Pin relevant images you will get more repins and the board owner won’t suspend you.
Don’t just focus on pining. You must take steps to build relationships with the other contributors of the group board. If you build a good relationship with them they will repin your pins and will invite you to join their group boards.
2. Pin original images.
Did you know that 80% of the pins on Pinterest are repins?

Most Pins on Pinterest are Repins

Most Pins on Pinterest Are Repins
This means that only 20% of pins are images which are pinned directly from websites or uploaded. The rest 80% are repins of these pins. Therefore, if you want to get more repins you should take the extra step of visiting the website on which the image is located and pinning it, instead of opting with the easy option of repining.
3. Write better descriptions.
study by Dan Zarrella found that pin descriptions that are about 200 characters get the most repins.

Write pin descriptions that are about 200 characters

Write pin descriptions that are about 200 characters.
Therefore instead of adding a few random characters to your description write a detailed well thought out description. This could be a headline or a description of the image or a premise to where the link leads to.
The same study by Dan Zarrella found that the 10 most repinable words are recipe, chicken, minutes, bake, cake, cheese, cut, bottle, step and mix. Therefore you should incorporate these words into your descriptions. Most of these words might only be relevant to food, but you can use words like recipe, minutes, step, cut, and mix for several topics. For e.g. you could use the word recipe for a headline like ‘Here’s Your Recipe for the Perfect Relationship.’

Use Popular Words in Your Pin Description

Use Popular Words in Your Pin Description
Check out more repinable words and pinable words in the above image.
Adding a call to action to your pin description can also increase engagement by 80%.

Please ReTweet Gets More Retweets

Please ReTweet Gets More Retweets
As we already know that tweets with the words ‘Please ReTweet’ get more retweets, you could experiment with using a call to action like ‘Please Repin’ to get more repins.
4. Create evergreen pins.
A Pinterest pin has a half life of 3.5 months.

3.5 Months is the Half Life of a Pinterest Pin

3.5 Months is the Half-Life of a Pinterest Pin
This means that it takes a pin 3.5 months to receive half its engagement. When you post on networks like Facebook and Twitter you usually create posts that are designed to receive maximum engagement over a short period of time. This is because their half-lives are extremely short. The half-life of a Facebook post is only 90 minutes, while that of a Tweet is only 24 minutes.
Therefore, if you want your pins to achieve maximum engagement (repins, likes and clicks) on Pinterest, you must do the exact opposite of what you do on other networks. You must create pins that remain popular for months. You can do this by ensuring that the content displayed on your pins stays relevant for a long period.
Quite often Pins I have Pinned years ago get several repins all of a sudden. This never happens on networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
5. Find popular pins.
You can find the most engaging pins on Pinterest by checking out the Popular section.

Use the Popular Section on Pinterest to Find Pins

Use the Popular Section on Pinterest to Find Pins
In the Popular section on Pinterest, pins that get repined the most are aggregated. It’s an easy way to find out what is trending on Pinterest. If you find some relevant pins in this section that you feel your audience will repin. Then you should visit the page on which this image is located and pin it because as I mentioned earlier 80% of the pins on Pinterest are repins.
You can also use this information to create similar original pins.
Another place to find popular pins is categories. The categories section will actually be a lot easier to use because the pins are filtered and you will only find images relating to that category.
6. Pin between 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am.
The best time to pin on Pinterest is between 2PM to 4PM and 8PM to 1AM.
The Best Time to Pin on Pinterest

The Best Time to Pin on Pinterest
Schedule your most important pins, the ones you want to get repined the most during these time periods. Saturday is the best day to pin. Scheduling your pins during these times on a Saturday can help. You can easily schedule your pins using ViralTag.
7. Promote your pins on other networks.
If you have already built up a loyal following on other networks, you can use them to get more repins. You can first Pin the image and then share the same image along with a link to the Pin on another network and ask people to check it out. You can also promote your Pins on your blog by embedding it in a blog post. People will be able to directly Pin it from your blog.
8. Study your analytics.
You can find out which of your pins are receiving the most repins by checking out your Pinterest analytics.

Your Pinterest Profile Analytics

Your Pinterest Profile Analytics
Just visit the ‘Your Pinterest Profile’ section part of your analytics and click on the ‘Repins’ option at the top.

Find Your Most Repined Pins on Pinterest

Find Your Most Repined Pins on Pinterest
You will then be able to see your most repined pins in the past 30 days. If you scroll down you will also be able to see the Pinterest boards with the most repined pins.
Make sure you click on the resultant pins as Pinterest will then direct you to the live pins. You can check out everything from the images to the description and see what you have done correctly. Figure out what factors are getting you the highest engagement. You can take advantage of this data to get more repins by Pinning similar images with similar descriptions to your most popular boards.
You must check out your Pinterest analytics every 2 to 4 weeks at least to see which pins and boards are performing the best.
These are 8 ways to get more repins on Pinterest. Once you begin implementing them you will see an increase in repins, Likes and clicks.

8 Tips To Get More Repins on Pinterest


Friday, 27 November 2015

Using Data to Segment and Target your Audience


Image Credit: Jeff Sheldon / Caption: Know where your customers spend their time

Data is all-important when it comes to successfully targeting your customers. There are many things that you can find out about them, even just from how they use your website. You can understand what kind of products they buy and what their browsing behavior is like. You can also discover their age, location, and perhaps occupation. Through social media or other sources of data, you can discover their other interests, whether they are a parent, what they search for, what they buy, and where on the internet they spend most of their time. All of this can be extremely useful.
Behavior is, first of all, a very important factor. You need to be able to market your product in a place where your customer will see it. If you know that your customers spend a lot of time on Facebook, for example, then you may invest in advertisements on this platform.
It is also important to know where they go when they look at your site. Do they head straight to a certain page, or come in through the homepage? Perhaps special offers and new products may be ignored if visitors are bypassing the homepage, meaning that you need to make them more prominent on other pages as well.
What your customer desires is the key to knowing what they will buy. Your task is to sell them exactly what they want, even if only in a broad sense. For example, if someone is a parent, you may present your product to them as an asset because it will help them to be able to spend more time with their family.
On the other hand, if your time-saving product is being sold to a young business owner who is single and dedicated to their start-up, then you might instead sell it to them as a product which will help their business to grow quicker. The product is the same – only the marketing message is personalized.
It is absolutely essential to follow your customer through every part of their relationship with your company, and ensure that their needs are well met. With a CRM you can set up marketing automation so that a customer receives an email after they sign up to your site, after they purchase something, and so forth.
It’s also important to keep an eye on their experience as a whole. Having a central data hub for customer information means that you can check back on prior support requests, complaints, and orders to give them a thorough and detailed response in all communication.
All potential customers will have objections about using your service or buying your product. Your job is to use the data to understand your customers and then answer those objections before they arise. You can, for example, run a survey to find out why customers did not buy on a particular occasion.
Let’s say the young business owner feels that your service is too expensive for them. To combat this, market it to them in a personalized way as being something that will save them money over time and help to build better profits.
Data can be used to significantly increase your sales if you know what you are doing. Give the right message to your potential customers in the right place, and support them through every step of their relationship with your brand, and you will find sales figures rising. This is a delicate process, and almost impossible to do without the proper use of data and a CRM. Once you get it right, your sales will go through the roof almost immediately.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Getting it right with social when everything we know is wrong


Though still relatively new to the marketing sphere, social media has undergone many incarnations. As a communication tool, what is its true branding value and purpose?

There was a time in history where the prevailing wisdom of scholars was that the Earth was flat; the brightest minds of their time were certain that reaching the end of the world meant reaching a cliff, rather than an unending continuation. When reflecting on the early history of social media and the views of the visionary class, you might be forgiven for thinking their opinions represented unwavering fact.
Consider just the following views, starting with sheer viability (especially in the wake of MySpace’s demise):
  • Facebook remaining relevant as audiences grow older? A fad that will age poorly.
  • Facebook scaling an audience? Impossible.  
  • Pinterest? Mom’s play site. 
  • SnapChat? Your kids' sexting app.
  • Of course earned media will always reign supreme!
The early wisdom of the social space was one of distance – it was not a place for brands and digital marketers. It wasn’t until brands noticed the ongoing dialog that the industry began to rethink this. Social platforms presented a new opportunity to connect directly with audiences, and, in a quick 180, brands began talking to people as if they were long-lost friends and family.
But the desire to make social the new source for customer service has also created as many problems as it has solved. Brands struggled to find balance between buying exposure and favor with earning trust and inclusion at every turn – that is, until the 2013 Super Bowl.

Everyone knows the story of the blackout during the game and how Oreo's real-time response via its "Dunk in the Dark" tweet changed everything we thought about social. With reported figures suggesting more than 500 million earned media impressions, this was a historic moment for the industry and a huge moment for brands.

Now brands had a new purpose – to find its own Oreo moment. Many have tried, yet few have succeeded - actually, most have looked laughably bad. But striving for Oreo greatness created a reason for brands to be on social, with smart, hip, culturally relevant content as the ideal target to hit.
Living in Missouri, the utilization of social media has created a very different experience over the past 18 months. I live less than 15 minutes from #Ferguson, so the social rise of #BlackLivesMatter and the efforts of ConcernedStudent1950 (@CS_1950) from University of Missouri are very close to home. They've all played out for the world to see, and this is largely because of social media.

For years, Twitter's conversation on the Arab Spring felt distant - as things happening across the globe and beyond our daily lives tend to do - but the events of August 2015 changed everyone’s personal perspective. Complex issues were truncated to 140 characters and dangerously debated in Facebook posts. Suddenly, for better or worse, social media was driving the story.
Once again, this abrupt shift social’s functional objective calls everything we thought we knew about these communication platforms into question. And, if everything we once believed to be true about social media has been proven wrong, perhaps the target for brands is more complicated than fulfilling the role of that quick-witted guy in the corner with topical joke and wink.
When I began this column, I was actually on a plane - the date: November 13, 2015. Taking a break from emails, I fired up Hootsuite only to discover that the world had been rocked by the news from Paris. In the aftermath, brands have respectfully shown support and compassion for the lives lost, acknowledging the larger tragedy. These responses represent progress and show early steps toward becoming social brands of the world.

So, did we have the role of brands on social all wrong? Now the answer seems obvious.
As brands seek to play a role in people’s lives, they cannot simply be there to add a funny quip or a solution to a simple problem. Just as scholars realized the world was not flat, this realization opens up a host of “Now what?” moments, posing a plethora of new questions: How can we do that? Who do we empower to do that on our behalf? And, to twist a famed Facebook mantra, are we ready to "fail fast" when the stakes are higher than ever before?
If the social media world is round, fully-formed, and connected, then brands have an opportunity to be both citizens and partners on the voyage ahead, thus creating a better place for all.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Building brand advocates in a connected world


To create brand advocates and ultimately increase conversion efficiency, connect and engage with audiences by leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook.

I saw the graphic below in a Facebook post the other day - take a look at the image below and ask yourself how do you relate to this?
I’m almost 60 and I certainly identify with the upper photo. But then it hit me - I actually live like the lower photo.
As I thought more, I realized both photos are the same:
  1. Both are shared experiences: in both, the experience is connecting people.
  2. Both are mental experiences: no one is actually looking at anyone in either photo.
  3. Both are reflective of current technology: the bass is electric.
What is really more significant is the comment written across the combined photos; it implies a values judgement based on generational differences in what it means to be connected - this matters from a business perspective.
To be sure, people of various demographic groupings do in fact use social technology in different ways, but equally, the use of social technology cuts across traditional demographics as well. It’s less important how people connect than that they do connect. Given the ubiquitous nature of social technology, people - all people - do connect.
Connections between people are built around shared experiences; people don’t just connect to connect, they connect to share. Where interaction used to require physical proximity (like playing music in a park) the equivalent interaction now only requires network connectivity, enabling customer experiences to be shared widely and quickly. This has purchase funnel implication at the mid-funnel consideration phase in ways that trump advertising – or the top of the funnel - that undermines point-of-sale and similar bottom-of-funnel tactics.
From a strategic marketing perspective, it’s important to understand that shared experiences, particularly experiences shared across digital networks by contemporary, tech-savvy consumers are as real as any shared physical experience. But too often marketers still approach the task of conversion from the perspective of a prior generation; that interruptive advertising (think “TV”) remains effective among a generation of cord-cutters and increasingly cord-nevers.
Marketing based on shared experience - the new norm for information exchange - is much more accurately modeled by the loyalty loop, rather than the purchase funnel. The loyalty loop, shown in the figure below, is a construct that considers the role of advocates and influencers connecting via social media as critical to the conversion process.
The purchase funnel is a linear concept based on an outdated understanding of consumers:
  • Drive awareness.
  • Capture share-of-mind.
  • Convert.
Want more conversions? Drive more awareness. Sure, you could also increase conversion efficiency, but in a medium that protects and promotes exaggerated claims - legally, it’s referred to as "puffery" - why go to the trouble of actually improving your product? Just claim that it’s better. Right?
Wrong. In the more modern view, the loyalty loop makes clear that advocacy – which are customers willing to actively recommend your product - are critical business success. Advocacy is built on the customer experience, not advertising. Consumers have redefined their media streams, limited their interruption via ad blocking, and now routinely share experiences with each other. Your active development of advocates by providing a superior customer experience is therefore key.
Assuming you have the loyalty loop working - think of this as your advocacy engine - the marketing question is, “How do you attract prospects into the loop?” Again, the answer is social technology.

Create a space where customers and potential prospects can ask questions

Have a place where consumers can get answers about your brand or product concerning what works, what doesn’t, how to fix things, how to upgrade, and so forth. By doing so, you can gain a significant SEO advantage and thereby attract new prospects. When someone searches for a specific brand, product, or service, very often, the top-ranked results are mobile-friendly discussion forums, blogs, and similar support sites - you can build on that.

Find and join other conversations already happening

With literally billions of people using social networks, there are nearly always conversations happening that are relevant to your business. Using your social engagement tools, you can find these conversations. You can review the content, authors, and other metadata associated with these conversations to spot potential sales opportunities as well as issues that prevent advocacy. Additionally, you can spot potential advocates and them share their experiences. All of this can be used to build participation in your developing loyalty loop.

In conclusion

The end result is worth the effort. Create the kinds of experiences that people enjoy sharing and that they will naturally talk about between themselves, and you’ll gain an advantage in a connected, networked marketplace. Whether it’s guitars in a park or smartphones in a backseat, the result in the same - when advocates talk about you and when your own customers share their experiences with others, you win.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

7 Creative Ways to Visually Brand Your Business on Social Media

7 Creative Ways to Visually Brand Your Business on Social Media

When you think of visual marketing, what comes to mind?
More than likely, it’s the vibrant, eye-catching images that filter through your social feeds.
They’re the ones that capture attention and drive action.
But what about the flip side? Those dark and blurry images devoid of any real meaning.
You know the ones. They clutter up your feed and leave you shaking your head.
If you’ve ever wondered what the secret is to creating visuals that promote a positive brand image, read on.
Because the reality is this.
With 63% of all social media content including an image, it’s time to increase your odds of winning the moment.
It’s that split second moment when you grab audience attention or lose the opportunity forever.
Below are 7 creative (and actionable) ways to establish a strong visual brand from my recent presentation at the Visual Social Media Conference.
Learn how visual marketing can redefine how you share content. But more importantly, learn how (and why) your audience interacts with it.
Dive in and don’t forget  – grab a copy of the full presentation at the end of the post.

7 Creative Ways to Visually Brand Your Business on Social Media

Did you know that:

  • 50% of users have re-posted a video or photo they came across online?
  • Content with an image receives over 94% more views (which equates to nearly double the views) than content without images?
  • Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without images?
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to interact with a company whose images appear on local searches?
Those statistics tell you everything you need to know.
Visual marketing is a powerful way to connect and interact with your audience.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Visual marketing has evolved, and with it, so must your online strategies.
The good news? There’s no need to go it alone.
There are many examples of businesses and brands using visual marketing right.
Just look at brands like Starbucks, Constant ContactMarketoNike and Chobani and you’ll see how they’re putting visuals to work.

What They Have in Common

Each one has created massive appeal through strong visual content.
From Instagram to Facebook, Pinterest, and Vine, companies with a strong visual presence are dominating.
And it’s no surprise that this type of content has struck a chord and found an audience.
In an online world where content moves at a lightning pace, visuals captivate, entrance and create an instant connection.
In fact, images are the single most important tool when it comes to your social media content optimization.
According to the Adobe 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization survey, more than 80% of respondents point to images as either “very important” or “important” in relation to their marketing optimization on social media.
But how can you use them to optimize your social media content and audience experience?

Understand the Types of Visual Content

  • Quotes
  • Data (infographics, etc)
  • Longform (ebooks)
  • Video
  • Gifs/Memes
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Tips and How-To’s
  • Questions
For me, combining each suggestion above works best. It keeps my content fresh and fun, never stagnant.
But what works best for me, may not be the case for you. For example, Chobani makes a delicious Greek yogurt. It’s one of my favorite morning treats and a great addition to any meal.
Following Chobani on Instagram gives me a ton of recipe inspiration. But one look at theirsocial media content and it’s easy to see that Infographics might not feel on-brand.
The bottom line? Determine what type of visual content feels like the right fit for your business and then identify how you will use it.

Step 2: Once You Know the What, Now Figure Out the How

Now it’s time to dig into how visual marketing will support your business. Like anything else, knowing what you’re looking to achieve before you get started eliminates the “throw it at the wall and hope it sticks” strategy.
  • How does this support your overall goals?
  • How will it create conversions?
  • Who will you make your audience care about it?
  • How will it make your audience feel?

Step 3: Know the 3 Keys to STRONG Visual Content

Key #1 – Consistent Color Range

Color impression accounts for 60% of the acceptance or rejection your product or service.That’s huge!
While there are many factors that affect how and why consumers buy, a recent Kissmetricsstudy shows that color plays a major role in the decision-making process.
Understanding the psychology behind each color will help you get inside the head of your consumer.
  • Black conveys a message of power and authority. It speaks to a stylish and timeless message, imparting a sleek, formal, luxurious or classic experience.
  • Yellow is seen as fun, joyous and optimistic. Brands like Nikon, Subway and Best Buy bear the brand of a bold, deep yellow.
  • Orange is my brand color and one that embraces every aspect of my business. It’s cheerful, inviting, encouraging, friendly and confident. Orange makes me happy!
  • Red is a color that is emotionally intense. When we see red we think of “strength, adventure, energy and love.” It is extreme, exciting and vivacious with Coca Cola, Virgin and Pinterest embracing this vibrant hue.
  • Blue makes us think of tranquility. It promotes a feeling of calm, and can symbolize loyalty. When we think about blue, we think of the words “unique, trust, reliable or clear.” Brands prominently displaying blue within their logo are Facebook, Dell, HP and Oreo.
  • Green causes people to think about nature. It’s calming and refreshing. Green symbolizes balance, growth, and freshness and can also speak to financial stability as green is the color of money.

Choose a Color That…

  • Best represents your company social media promotional strategy
  • The feelings you want to impart, and
  • The action you want them to take

Key #2 – Choose a Font that Matches Your Message

Fonts play a critical role in telling your brand story.
HubSpot found that using 3 font styles makes it easier to read content. I would increase that to 4 and find those that feel like you.
When determining font, ask yourself these questions:
  • Is my company fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
  • Is my content fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
Your essence is wrapped up into your branding. The fonts you choose play a big role in helping align who you are with the perception people receive.

Key #3 – Create Harmony in Every Design

Harmony is what happens when every aspect of your design is synergistic.
Nothing should stand alone or contradict the key takeaway of your design.
It’s finding the perfect balance and harmony within every element. Make them work together, complementing one another, rather than competing or detracting.

Step 4: Create Visual Content Your Audience Will LOVE

Now that you know why visuals are so important, your next step is to make images your audience loves to share.

Get Branded

Create branded cover photos that are consistent with your website, blog and offline marketing.Peg Fitzpatrick is an excellent example of streamlining all online properties into one consistent look and feel.

Create Images That Speak Your Audience’s Language

Design social media images that have your target market in mind. Know why your fans and followers hire your business (what “job” are they hiring you for) and the problems that you solve.
Now be that solution through visual marketing just as one of my favorite food bloggers, Pinch of Yum does in all of her designs.

Repurpose Your Content

You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel for your social media visual content. Look to your evergreen content and determine what can be repurposed into new media.

Design an:

  • Infographic
  • eBook
  • Webinar/Presentation
  • Podcast
  • Livestream (Blab/Periscope)

Build Thought Leadership

Use visuals to establish thought leadership and build credibility within your industry or niche.
Take quotes from your past articles, videos or presentations and create quotable social media graphics.

How to Use Quotes in Your Business

  • Ensure that your color palette, font and graphics match your company look and feel.
  • Know the goal of every quote you post. Is it for entertainment, elevating thought leadership or driving followers into your latest op-in offer?
  • Find a style that works for your brand and each social network. What’s receiving the most traction and interaction? Now duplicate that over and over.
  • Create an easy to use template in Canva. that allows you or anyone on your team to drop in text without the need to reinvent the wheel each time.
  • Look to companies with an established visual presence for inspiration. Rob Russo withBold Brand Fast is one to check out for a consistent brand image and message. You can see his latest tweet or Instagram post and instantly recognize the brand.

Step 5: Tackle Each Social Network Visually

Every social network is unique. Your visual content should be too. Design your graphics with each social network image size in mind.






Step 6: Use the Right Tools

As a business owner or entrepreneur, it’s not enough to create captivating visuals. You need to find an easy way to design them without spending a ton of time.
The five tools below are designed to ignite and inspire your visual design efforts allowing you to increase awareness, engagement and visibility…in less time.

Step 7: Promote, Promote, Promote

Can you believe that 56% of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants without any content plan in place?
No plan, no matter the industry, always equals imminent failure.
Get strategic and create a promotional strategy.

How to Create a Promotional Strategy

Strategy ideas:

  • Share across ALL social channels
  • Get Branded (partner and co-brand)
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships
  • Boost your posts
  • Join blogger and outreach websites/groups

Final Thoughts

The key to building a solid visual brand is to keep it fresh, relevant and exciting.
Consistently take stock of your visual marketing and your message.
Identify the needs of your audience and determine whether your visual content is still hitting the mark.
Bottom line: if you want to create differentiation through visual marketing, it’s going to take a commitment.
Analyze, assess and tweak. Have fun testing what works, striking what doesn’t, and creating a visual brand that stands out online.

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