By: Britni Elizabeth
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Small Business Saturday #shopsmall
Using 3rd-party apps means relying on technology. And sometimes technology can fail.
3rd-party apps can be shut down or marked as spam at any moment. There are many benefits to using these apps, as well. Let's weigh out the pros and cons of using a few of these apps.
Instagram only allows for one link in you bio. As small business owners, we have so many goodies that one link just isn’t good enough, and we want to give our followers options.
Linktree offers a great service. They responded to the frustration many businesses and individuals felt over Instagram’s one and only space for a link. For brands who want to share a lot with their communities, the space for one, and only one link causes some stress.
As we mentioned earlier technology can sometimes stop working without warning. In 2018, Linktree crashed leaving many users unhappy, even if it was a temporary mishap that brought attention to a major issue. Most small business owners like to have control of everything their business is involved in. Putting all of those Instagram conversions in the hands of a 3rd-party app means that your company is vulnerable to another glitch.
Later Media offers their own version, called Linkin.Bio.
The aim of both Linktree and Linkin.Bio is to get users to your website faster, but thats just the issue. Instead of linking people directly to your website, you’re linking them away from Instagram to a site that isn’t yours. As we can see there are some trade offs to consider.
The best solution Britni Elizabeth Creative would offer is to build a landing page directly from your website. All you need is a mobile friendly website (if you don’t have that already, I would be more concerned with getting that sorted ASAP!) a blank page, some buttons and a header!
There are tons of different post scheduling apps, and some of them charge hefty fees for using them. Always looking to save money for small business we have found that Later and Planoly have decent "free" services worth mentioning.
Later offers 30 posts per month for free for 3 profiles, but you can only schedule your posts up to 2 weeks in advance. If you decide to take the paid route you also have the benefit of using this one single program to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Planoly offers 30 pre-scheduled posts per month for free, but only for Instagram. With the paid version you can also use this program to post for Pinterest. One interesting tool that separates Planonly from the rest of the post scheduling apps is that the paid version allows for the "shop" Instagram feature. This is extremely useful for retail and online stores.
Let's start off with the basics. What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? It is the process of getting website traffic "organically" from major search engines, such as Google, Bing & Yahoo. Webpages and other content are shown and ranked based on what a search engine determines to is most relevant to users. We have compiled a list of 10 factors that we believe are vital to improving your SEO.
1. Page Titles
These are used by search engines to display a page in search results. Your page title tells search spiders and users what your page is about. Google will display between 50-60 characters, keep your title short, compelling and most of all relevant.
Using keywords throughout your website is one of the most important SEO tactics. Think about how someone would search for information about your service or product. Keep in mind that over using keywords can be flagged as spam. No one likes spam. Search engines are smart; they are programmed to identify "keyword-stuffing".
3. ALT Tags
Aka alternative text descriptions. Images and videos on your site can have descriptive words added to its imprint. ATL Tags help search engines located your page using the keywords found in your image and video descriptions along with the text within your site. By adding these tags you increase opportunities for your site to be found.
A site map is a list of pages on your website. We recommend using a site map generator such as XMLsitemaps. It will allow for search spiders to locate pages quicker. Both spiders and users can reach their intended "destination" with fewer clicks.
5. Mobile Site
In 2015, Google did a study that confirmed mobile search officially surpassed desktop search worldwide. It's not surprising that, in 2017, a study by BrightEdge showed that 57% of all online traffic comes from a mobile or tablet device. What does this mean for your website? You site should give viewers the best user experience from all views; desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
6. Don't Use Flash
If you are building or rebuilding your website choosing a WordPress over a Flash-bases site will automatically increase your ranking with Google.
7. Update your content on a regular basis
Boost your SEO by updating older content and consistently produce new content. When you do this on a regular basis search engines consider this to be an indication of your site's relevancy. Blogging is a simple way to get that extra bump.
8. URL Structure
Your URL is the first thing that search engines use to determine your page ranking. Make your URLs short and relevant to the page topic.
9. Link Building
Aka Natural Links are when other webmasters, bloggers or website owners link to your content. If other websites link back to your content it is because they think that it is useful for their users and add value to their page. Learn more about Link Building.
Be sure to track your SEO success. You won't know if what you are doing is working if you do not keep track and monitor your progress.
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Want to BOOST your Instagram's visibility? Add hashtags to your Story!
Like many of us, you have invested a heavy amount of resources into your social media platforms. Creating, capturing and crafting the PERFECT Instagram account. Putting yourself into some delicate situations to get the best shot. Spending hundreds of hours testing different filters and coming up with amusing captions.
When you "do it for the GRAM" the goal is to get the most views for your incredible content. By adding hashtags to your Story, you can give you content a higher chance of being discovered by new audiences. As users search for popular hashtags on Instagram they will be able to view active, real-time Stories on that specific hashtag's page.
Instagram LOVES hashtags. It makes sense that they would make the Instagram Story feature 100% capable of supporting hashtag use.
In order to add hashtags your Story you can:
Hashtags can be placed directly on the image. Instagram allows you to use a little creative freedom when using text or stickers, with options like changing the font type, stylization, alignment, and much more.
Remember that over using hashtags in any form can come off looking "spammy," so be strategic with how you use these methods.
With the good, comes the bad. Placing hashtags in your Instagram Story (even if your profile is set to public) does NOT guarantee that your images or videos will be included in the Story of a specific hashtag page. The aggregation of the hashtagged Stories depends on your page's engagement and quality of content.
That being said, adding hashtags to your Story is definitely worth the try. Personally I have experienced 3x the amount of engagement when my Instagram Story has been included in the hashtag Story pool. With these features you have the potential to reach audiences in the thousands. Its no longer a question of if you should use hashtags in your Instagram Story, but how do you to use these techniques to your advantage.
With the new ability to follow hashtags, users will have a new way to scroll through their usual feed and potentially land on your content. Your posts have the capability to show up automatically in the feeds of potential new followers
Instagram has aways preferred the use of specific hashtags making this new feature a pretty big deal.
When a user follows a hashtag the suggested posts will start to appear in their feed. If they decide they no longer want to see this content they will also have the ability to reject a hashtag from their filter by selecting "Don't Show for This Hashtag".
This information will tell the user's unique algorithm to sort out the kind of content this particular person enjoys. If multiple posts from one profile are flagged in this way the content will be flagged. In turn this will effect the rest of your content in a negative way.
We live in the digital age, knowledge spreads like wildfire and the parameters we try to confine “Digital Marketing” within are growing at an exponential rate. Digital marketing encompasses ALL marketing activities that use digital devices. This includes online and offline activities. To devise the most effective strategy you need to learn which of the 10 most important types are best fit for your business to invest.
1. Content Marketing - The art of storytelling and distributing valuable information to raise brand awareness.
By building a relationship with potential customers you become a partner rather than an advertiser. Consistent distribution of quality content builds “consumer trust” with your product or service, driving profitable customer action. Content marketing is a digital marketing tactic that overlaps with other types of digital marketing.
2. Social Media Marketing - Promoting a product or service with the use social media platforms and websites.
Advertising your product through social media is done by sharing information, engaging with followers, fans, partners, and even competitors. Through these platforms you are able to communicate with potential customers to increase product or brand awareness. Not all social media is made the same. In fact, each social media network has a different set of standards in which their users consume information. Adapting to these differences is essential for your product to get the most exposure. Some social networks can help product sales skyrocket depending on your situation, product and content. Know your market and learn how they shop for your type of product or you could be investing valuable time and money into a platform that just wasn’t meant for your business.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - The process of optimizing content and websites in order to rank closer to the top of search engine results, such as a Google query.
Search engines pick and choose which websites are to be listed for search terms based not only on keywords mentioned on the website, but also with any additional links that click back to the website. “Link Building” is the term used for these type of links. If you would like to read more about link building read my article. Keywords or key phrases found within the copy of a website, its content, and the links that lead back to a website are directly related to SEO. There are a variety of strategies you can use to optimize your website for search engines, but like many other search engines Google has strict rules about what tactics are allowed and what are not allowed. This is sometimes called “White Hat” or “Black Hat” marketing strategies. A few pointers on Google Approved White Hat techniques can be found in this article.
4. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - A form of internet marketing that increases visibility in search engine results through paid advertising.
A business will pay the search engine a predefined amount of money in exchange for displaying a marketing message at various locations within the search results of specific keywords or phrases. Google Adwords is the most common form of search engine marketing. SEM, promotion of a website with paid traffic from search engines, is a form of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising.
5. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) - A form of internet marketing in which a social media network offers the opportunity to place ads within the feed of social media users.
Social media networks, like Facebook, analyze the habits and data of their users. This information is used to place targeted ads when businesses purchase Pay-Per-Click Advertising. A Pay-Per-Click campaign is very similar to a SEM. Just like we mentioned earlier when we talked about content marketing, the lines between many of the digital marketing techniques we discuss will blur.
6. Affiliate Marketing - As a performance-based form of digital marketing, businesses pay individuals to advertise and sell a product.
The rates of affiliate marketing are typically more expensive than Pay-Per-Click, but has a smaller financial risk since affiliates are only paid on conversion of sales. This style of marketing is popular with bloggers and high-traffic website owners. Individuals that make money from selling other people’s products to their audience are often called “Influencers.”
7. Email Marketing - Sending a commercial message to people through email is called email marketing.
It is sometimes hard to believe email marketing is considered to be one of the best converting marketing channels. In a broad sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be categorized as email marketing, but most times we are talking about sending regular updates to email subscribers. It is essential that these email updates are providing valuable content to keep your audience engaged with your brand. Over time your business will build and nurture a relationship in which a percentage of your audience will convert into customers. Be careful with purchasing lead lists and bombing your audience with promo messages. It can appear as spam to your audience. The best email marketing results come from subscribers you personally earned and cultivated the relationship. This list of subscribers can turn into your best digital marketing asset.
8. Radio Advertising - Commercial radio stations sell airtime to deliver simple but powerful messages to a targeted group of consumers that can potentially be interested in your service.
Majority of radio advertising is filled with catchy jingles that eventually become annoying. I can hear the “411 Pain” commercial playing in my head right now… Goes to show you that's some good advertising if I can remember the ad without even having the radio on. And let’s not forget about digital radio stations. Apps like Pandora play commercials in between songs until you upgrade to their paid version.
9. Television Advertising - A video commercial aired between the breaks of regular TV programming.
I think most of us are familiar with this one. Although, many people avoid watching actual TV because of those short, usually annoying, videos that break up our favorite TV program there is still some marketing success in TV advertising. We all have heard or even watched some of those memorable Super Bowl commercials. One major downside to advertising on TV is the lack of audience targeting. Digital TV has also emerged through technological advance.
10. SMS Advertising - This permission-based form of advertising is sent straight to your smartphone as a text message.
Customers have to opt-in to receive a text message advertising from a company before they can start receiving marketing texts making it particularly effective.
As technology continues to evolve other forms of digital marketing will develop. I am sure there are currently other marketing tactics out there that I did not mention, but if you are in the midst of building a digital marketing strategy this top 10 list is definitely an adequate guide to help you on your way.
Need further help or advice from an expert schedule a complimentary consultation.