Category Archives: Marketing

3 Things to Know About Loyalty Programs

Photo by Charles Koh on Unsplash

3 Things You Need to Know About Implementing a Loyalty Rewards Program

What’s the smartest way to earn solid returns on your company’s marketing investments? In order to build recurring, long-term income from sales more and more companies are implementing customer loyalty programs.

It’s a fact that retaining customers costs far less than acquiring new ones, and people who already know your brand are more apt to purchase from you again.

Statistics show that established customers spend more per purchase, are happier with what they buy, and are a prime source of positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Loyal Customers Should be Rewarded

It makes sense to devote marketing muscle, and dollars, to existing customers. Every company does what it can to bring in new business, but because existing customers spend more and stay longer, there’s even more reason to market to them.

Loyalty programs aimed directly at your existing customer base are the ideal way to make these “golden” customers happy and keep them coming back.

What are the key benefits of loyalty programs like these and how can marketing professionals get in the game quickly?

  • First, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can learn from companies that have been playing this approach for decades, and playing it very well.
  • Second, you should look into using mobile apps to maximize the effectiveness of whatever type of loyalty program you choose to employ.

1. Loyalty Program Keep Customers Happy and You In Business

If we start to list all the benefits of loyalty programs, we could fill a whole textbook easily, so let’s boil it down to the benefits that all businesses experience.

When you develop your loyalty program, focus on the following benefits it will bring you:

It’s all about returning customers, not getting new ones

A good loyalty program will be specifically tailored to the needs of frequent customers, while one-time shoppers won’t benefit much from it.

If you want your marketing dollars to go where they’re most needed, that means they’ll be spent on the customers who always return. Those one-time buyers or shoppers who only show up for major clearance sales will not, and should not, be your primary loyalty program users.

You’ll get more feedback on what’s good and what needs improving 

Loyal customers tend to be much more vocal than a one-shot or infrequent buyers. That means you have more opportunities to engage them in writing, over the phone, and through text.

An engaged customer is ready and willing to hear about new products, special sales, seasonal bargains and other “inside” promotions designed for the loyal buyer.

You’ll be able to increase the value of shopping carts

Marketing to loyal buyers offers endless opportunities for companies to ramp up their average shopping cart amounts. You can offer discounts on related products and accessories, or suggest exclusive bundles.

After a certain amount of time has passed since their last purchase, consider rewarding the loyal buyer with a low-cost extended warranty or similar add-on.

You will be able to use the data you gather to predict trends and surges in demand:

The data you collect with various digital tools on loyal buyers can tell you all sorts of things about how to structure your other marketing efforts.

You can use comprehensive customer data to determine what items are best-sellers, which ones have seasonal cycles, and what new products might be profitable.

2. Loyalty programs help increase customer retention rates

Reams of data and marketing studies have shown that customer loyalty programs help keep the most frequent spenders in your camp.

In fact, such programs deliver revenue increases to the tune of 5 to 10 percent. Loyal customers spend 5 to 20 percent more and buy 5 to 20 percent more frequently than so-called “casual,” or one-time customers.

How an App can help you Keep Customers

Business owners should never neglect the potential effectiveness of mobile apps as part of the loyalty program scenario.

Consider that upwards of 90 percent of the time that people spend on their devices takes place within particular apps. On top of that, app development has become streamlined and widely accessible too.

Mobile apps do two things very effectively: they super-charge rewards programs and augment the current relationship you have with your customers.

Starbucks was one of the first big companies to use a mobile app as the central point of its customer loyalty program.

It’s allowed the coffee giant to collect massive amounts of useful customer data and calibrate its marketing efforts to the smallest detail. They left nothing to chance. 

3. How you Reward Customers Plays a Big Role

There are hundreds of ways to fine-tune a loyalty program. Here are the top choices among marketers who are familiar with the playing field:

Keep your Rewards Versatile:

All customers appreciate choices, and that rule applies to rewards as well. Most companies with successful loyalty programs offer between 5 and 20 different rewards and cycle part of the offer regularly.

Make rewards neither easy nor difficult to obtain.

There’s no sense in offering a reward that’s too hard to acquire or takes months to earn. Most customers won’t think much of such a loyalty program. They will also place no value in rewards that are too easy to obtain. Make your rewards reasonably challenging to earn and people will appreciate them more.

Build a “loyalty ladder” based on a number of purchases or amount spent.

Try to reward “more loyalty” with better and better items or rewards. It only makes sense to differentiate between someone who spends $100 and $1,000. That’s why all super successful loyalty programs have reward ladders.

Loyalty Pays Off For Everyone

Loyal customers keep you in business. Nurture the relationship you have built with them by going above and beyond to keep them happy. Each of their purchases should remind them that you appreciate them returning to you over and over again.

Let them know about new deals and sales via your own app. In a marketplace where consumers are already connected to mobile apps they like, it makes perfect sense to make a brand-related app the centerpiece of any loyalty program.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.


6 Tools That Will Bring a Digital Transformation to Your Small Business

Photo by Maria Agudo López on Unsplash

When you started your small business, writing out your daily to-do list and using a simple spreadsheet for most tasks was probably fairly simple and expedient. As your business grew, however, and you added staff, it wasn’t enough anymore to do what was easiest for you. Now you had staff, contractors, vendors, clients and suppliers to think about. Customers are also living in a digital world and expect the ease and convenience of digital tools.

There is no doubt of the need for even the smallest of businesses to embrace digital tools, but making the switch is not quite so simple. Just using digital tools is not enough, you need to make sure you have the right tools for your business. Here are 6 digital tools that can help make your business’ digital transformation a smooth one.

1. Trello

Trello is a visual project management app that can help keep your entire team on the same page and allow you to see at a glance where different projects stand. With Trello, you can create lists and quickly move items from list to list. Trello allows you to quickly see where bottlenecks are happing and move tasks to get things moving again.

2. Slack

Slack is a robust team communication and collaboration app that allows you to quickly search for keywords or phrases, create different channels for different projects, teams or conversations. Individuals can be notified of important information on a different channel they may need to be aware of without being bogged down by a lot of details they don’t need. No matter how small or large your team, Slack can keep everyone in the loop.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most robust programs you will find to handle all of your email marketing needs. From newsletters to campaigns, Mailchimp allows you to sort and filter lists to tweak, hone and fine tune your campaigns or set it up once and forget it. Mailchimp is one of the very best tools for busy small business owners.

4. SocialPilot

Social media may be one of the best things to ever happen to small businesses. Even the smallest of businesses can run effective social media marketing campaigns and use their social media accounts to create connection and build a loyal following. But keeping up on social media can be a challenge. Hootsuite is one of the most well-known social media management apps but it can also be prohibitively expensive. SocialPilot can do almost everything Hootsuite can do at a much more pocket friendly cost.

5. Office 365

Not all the best tools are new tools. Some of the best tools you may have been using for years, but don’t fully understand their full capacity. Most people are familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, but Office has expanded to include an entire suite of business tools including OneDrive, Exchange and Microsoft Teams. With low monthly subscription Prices, today’s Office may have all the tools you need at a price you can afford.

6. Zipbooks

Quickbooks has, of course, become one of the biggest names in accounting software, but that doesn’t always make them the best. In fact, many small businesses do not need all the features that Quickbooks has to offer or the price tag that comes with it. Zipbooks is a free accounting program that gives you all the tools and analytics you need to take your business to the next level and it’s made just for small businesses. Not only will Zipbooks help you keep your books, but it will also automatically send invitations to clients to leave reviews and provide smart insights about your most loyal and profitable customers.

One of the challenges of digital transformation is creating a smooth streamlined system from all the many tools that are available. In many cases, there are multiple apps and programs you can use that will accomplish the same thing. The important thing is to find the right one for you. If you use Office 365, you might find it more convenient to use Yammer than Slack, but you may prefer MailChimp over Outlook. You will, of course have to choose between a number of paid and free programs, but ultimately the goal is to find the best solutions for you. In some cases, it might be better to pay a bit more for one program that can accomplish 3 or 4 tasks than to use three different programs to accomplish those same tasks.

BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters


Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

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Category : Marketing

Technology evolves every year. From new and improved features, cutting edge gadgets, and further refinements to algorithms, the domino effect is that the marketing landscape is constantly changing over time. What has worked one or two years ago may not work today. So the name of the game for brands and marketers is adaptability. The upcoming trends present more opportunities in terms of audience growth and visibility, but the fact of the matter is also that the market is getting saturated. Because of this, staying ahead of the crowd can easily be the difference between taking the lead or falling behind in profits in 2019. Take a look at some of the trends thought leaders in digital marketing have predicted for this year.

Mobile Optimization is a Top Priority

Google announced last year that it would be rolling out mobile-first indexing, an algorithm update that would prioritize the mobile versions of websites in determining search rankings. And with the surge in mobile users online over the past few years and projections that anticipate even higher numbers this year, this was a wise move. Digital marketers would do well to make mobile marketing development their focal point in 2019. This means much more than just having a mobile version of websites. Page load speeds for mobile sites and advertising content that’s optimized for vertical views are crucial areas that need attention.

Video Marketing

The increasing shift of internet users towards mobile has contributed to the rise of video marketing and vice versa. The impact of video is such that even Google made changes in its search algorithm to include video snippets in search results.

Natural Language Processing and Voice Search

Combined with the increased presence of mobile online users and smart devices that use AI, voice search through Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant has seen huge growth. For brands and digital marketers, this means that creating content with the use of long-tail keywords in ways that closely mimic natural speech and user intent is crucial to gaining and maintaining marketing success online. For a more in-depth look at what is about to come, here’s an infographic on digital trends set to take the stage in 2019, originally published on SERPwatch.io. Check it out and get informed about everything you need to know on the subject.

Best wishes, Josh Wardini.

Josh Wardini, Community Manager

About me Location Incapable Internet Enthusiast | Re-Designer of the World Around | Bodybuilder trapped in a Computer Geek’s Body. 


Link Building Best Practices for 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Link Building in 2018

Though mobile might be king, people still rely heavily on search engines. Whether they type out their search, or they ask their voice assistant, people search for things all the time. Perhaps they want an answer to a question, check what times a place is open, or simply search for a service or company that they need at the moment. Google will give them results, and chances are they will be happy enough with the first, second, or third result.

J.R. Atkins helps with link building

If you are not in these top three, or worse, not on the first page at all, then you might as well not exist in the eyes of Google. The ranking is not entirely out of your control, either. You can take several meaningful steps to rank better in the eyes of Google, allowing you to gain more traffic from the search engine. One such step you will need to take is link building.

1.    What is Link Building?

Link building refers to guest posting. It means you either write content for another site or have an agency write that content for you. These articles, videos, and even infographics need to be unique, engaging and optimized for SEO. The more diverse your backlink profile, the stronger it will be. The only characteristic you need to look out for is the trust factor. Sites that have been blacklisted for using spam techniques by Google are not a good fit. Small bloggers to big-time news agencies, however, are.

2.    What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the steps you can take both on your own site and off-site (with link building) that will work towards improving your site’s ranking on search engines like Google.

J.R. Atkins helps with SEO

3.    How Do You Stay on Top of SEO?

With new updates to the algorithm every other week practically, it is important that you invest in ongoing SEO services. If you don’t, your good ranking can fall behind because of some change to the algorithm that you haven’t kept up with.

4.    What is the Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat?

The reason why your ranking will fluctuate is that Google changes what it looks for to help its rankings. Before, it used to be the number of backlinks. Now it is the quality. Google will also look at factors like site speed and security as well, so it is important to stay within their guidelines and be the shining example of the perfect site.

J.R. Atkins offers white hat SEO

5.    How Do You Link Build?

Link building, before you get too excited, is actually quite difficult. It is time-consuming and will require the use of several expensive applications in order to manage. If you do not have the resources to take this on, then it is much better to rely on professional link building services. That way you can benefit from experience and ongoing monitoring to ensure that your link building efforts stay within Google’s guidelines.

Link building will never go away, but it has become more difficult as time goes by. Quality articles, quality publishers, and an emphasis on manual outreach are all goals to live by. If you don’t have the tools or resources to do this yourself, hiring an agency to do them for you is your best bet.


Take the Lead with Latest Web Design Trends

Take the Lead with These Latest Web Design Trends

In today’s increasingly internet oriented market, a company’s website is one of their greatest assets. As such, it is well worth the effort and expense to get your web design up to scratch in order to see your sales and conversion rate climbing. The folks at DesignAdvisor have created an enlightening infographic which outlines 15 of the latest web design trends in 2018.

If you’re not entirely convinced of the major importance of web design, let’s take a look at some of the numbers. Statistics show that 75% of users make a judgment (either positive or negative) about a company’s credibility based on the appearance of their website and 94% of users will simply bounce away from a website if they don’t find the design attractive or inviting enough.

This infographic will help you pinpoint some areas which may need beefing up on your website. For example: How easy is it to navigate your webpage? Is your layout eye-catching? Are you providing engaging content? What is your website’s loading speed? Surveys have revealed that most users expect a page to load within two seconds, and even a one-second increase can cause a drop in sales of up to 27%.

You might be hesitant to invest vast amounts of time and money into your website, especially in the initial stages of your business’s development. However, according to research, for every $1 invested in improving user experience, you can expect up to a $100 in returns. It just might end up being the best investment you make.

The abundance of interesting facts complimented by colorful illustrations sprinkled throughout the infographic makes it easy to follow. Another prominent feature is the case study cameos which speak for themselves by highlighting how various well-known businesses benefited by improving specific aspects of their websites. See what insight you can gain from it and take the lead with some of these latest web design trends.

URL:https://designadvisor.net/blog/web-design-trends/

Best wishes, Josh Wardini.

 


4 Habits of Online Shoppers All Businesses Should Know

Think about how easy life would be if you could understand and accurately predict the exact thought process of your customer base. E-commerce, in its most basic guise, is a system of supply and demand. Understand this demand, and you’re perfectly positioned to give your customers what they want.

J.R. Atkins teaches about e commerceSadly, it’s impossible to do this. After all, we aren’t mind readers! But don’t fret – while knowing exactly what people are thinking isn’t plausible, there are ways to monitor trends. With the help of online e-commerce platforms, you can work out where potential profits are won and lost. Today, let’s take a look at four habits of online shoppers and learn how to exploit them to boost funds.

  1. Smartphone purchase

With the world constantly evolving, mobile platforms are becoming an increasingly important aspect of any user journey. Shockingly though, this is where most e-commerce businesses are losing ground.

A recent study from Invespcro would highlight this, with their results showing consumer satisfaction was at its lowest when it came to the ability to purchase through a smartphone. Wise online store owners would do well to optimize this aspect of their business, in order to boost user retention and provide a fluid, smooth journey.

  1. Social shopping

Social shopping plays a huge part in the way items are advertised in the 21st century. If you’re selling a product which the customer can tangibly hold in their hand (rather than a service), promoting it on a social media account will help garner attention.

Marketing Land provides a detailed guide on how to get the most out of Pinterest in this regard. This is a platform which is particularly suited to showing off your stock. Dedicate real care and attention towards making listings look as good as possible.

  1. One-click payment

Along the same lines as mobile optimization, consumers are looking for the easiest possible experience when it comes to the checkout process. This is epitomized by the one-click-and-done method which industry leaders like Amazon and eBay have introduced.

In order to implement this, you’ll need to create a system which allows users to have a dedicated account set up on your site. This won’t be too hard and can be achieved with the use of aforementioned platforms dedicated to managing your store.

  1. Brand ambassadors

People are more likely to trust a face than a name they don’t recognize If you’re a smaller enterprise, it’s worth keeping this in mind. While a name itself is enough to appeal when it comes to larger companies, you may need to think outside of the box if you’re a start-up.

Having a friendly, relatable human face at the forefront of your brand is a great way of doing this. Consumers find it easier to trust that which they can see. If they feel a “real person” is on the other end, they’re more likely to hand over their cash.

Have these online habits given you food for thought? Be sure to keep them in mind when running your business. They should make a huge difference.

Guest Blog by Kristine Collins


Upping Your Instagram Game with Hootsuite

Use Hootsuite to Schedule and Manage Your Social Media Including Instagram

J.R. Atkins uses Hootsuite

Hootsuite has expanded its dashboard to make it easier for you to schedule and monitor your social media efforts on Instagram. Previously, Hootsuite provided you the ability to tend to your Facebook and Twitter platforms with ease, now you can do the same with Instagram. With an ever-increasing number of businesses and professionals taking to Instagram, this is a welcome addition from Hootsuite. 

There are a number of tactics you will want to consider utilizing to make the most of your Instagram account. Thanks to Hootsuite now being a resource for you, you can utilize this tactics and strategies with greater ease.

Don’t Post All Photos Immediately

 Many, if not most, Instagram users are in the habit of posting photos directly after taking them. This can result in images being uploaded to Instagram at points in time at which you will not garner the optimal impact for them. If you are using Instagram for business, you necessarily want to put up your photos at times in which they will have the biggest impact. 

Thanks to Hootsuite, you can take a photo and schedule it to go up on Instagram at a future point in time. You can accomplish this at one time and directly after taking the image. You do not need to carve out time, later on, to go back and post your image.

J.R> Atkins and Hootsuite

Take Advantage of Iconosquare

 In addition to using Hootsuite to up your Instagram game, take advantage of Iconosquare as well. These two apps, when used together, can go far in assisting you to make the most out of your Instagram account.

 Iconosquare is designed to analyze your Instagram engagement over time. With this data, you can ascertain what points in time during the course of any given day you can anticipate the highest level of engagement. Armed with this information, you can schedule your Instagram posts using Hootsuite at those optimal junctures in time.

 Use the Front Facing Camera for Selfies

 Like many people, including business owner and professionals, selfies tend to make up a considerable percentage of imaged uploaded to Instagram. More often than not, these images are taken using the rear-facing camera on a smartphone.

 The reality is that the rear-facing camera, the one on the back of your phone, has a notable higher resolution. You should start using that camera to take your Instagram selfies. Yes, you will need to practice to master using this camera. In the end, you will find that your Instagram selfies will be of a significantly higher quality.

 Use the Over App

 Another app you can use in conjunction with Hootsuite when it comes to your Instagram images is Over. With Over, you can easily add text to your images. The combination of photos and text oftentimes makes Instagram images more appealing, more compelling to your followers. As with other apps, you can take an image, add text, and conveniently schedule its uploading to Instagram for a future time. 

Lighting Problems? Convert to Black and White

 If you’re struggling to balance out the lighting on an image intended for Instagram, and are beginning to think your efforts are proving futile, convert the photo to black and white. This simple tactic eliminates issues you may be having in regard to a full-color derivation of an image. In addition, black and white photos can prove to be stunning on Instagram. 

By incorporating Hootsuite together with these tips and tactics, you will put yourself in the position to get the most out of your Instagram account. In addition to getting more out of your Instagram account, you will optimize its usefulness and effectiveness in an efficient and time conserving way thanks to Hootsuite. 


Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.


2018 Retail Trends You Will Likely See

Retail Trends Likely to Dominate the Scene in 2018

Trends and predictions are part and parcel with the start of a new calendar year. One area in which trends are analyzed at the beginning of the year involves the retail market segment. There are a number of retail trends that are likely to dominate the scene in 2018.

Grocery eCommerce will Blast Off

A major 2018 retail trend will center 2018 Retail trends on grocery eCommerce. A primary reason a focus in 2018 will be on grocery eCommerce is associated with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and Walmart’s decision to up its game when it comes to online grocery marketing.

Prior to the latter part of 2017, U.S. citizens lagged behind their international counterparts when it came to grocery eCommerce. All of that is expected to change in 2018 due to a significant uptick in the number of U.S. consumers who will embrace grocery eCommerce.

“Traditional” Retailers and the Realization that They Must Change

Forbes, the widely read business J.R. Atkins on retail trendsmagazine, traditionally makes predictions pertaining to retail trends at the start of a new year. In 2018, the magazine focused on one major trend to pay attention to in the retail market segment in 2018. Specifically, the “big trend” to watch for in 2018 is that a multitude of retailers, from different market segments, will finally concede that they must embrace change.

Embracing change does primarily involve so-called traditional retailers, including those stores that have been in business for more extended periods of time. These enterprises have long held firm to the principle that retailers determine what a customer should desire to purchase. These enterprises also believed that retailers held the keys as to how customers shop.

In reality, that has not been the case for quite some time. In fact, in the digital age, customers truly to define the shopping experience on all levels. 2018 is marked to be the year in which retailers reluctant to accept this reality will finally do so.

With a notable number of traditional retailers closing their doors forever, many others muttered the mantra that 2017 was a year to survive. Those that made it into 2018 are expected to be seen realizing that they must change and embracing that process.

Integration of Crypto Currencies

2017 say the cryptocurrency world 2018 Retail Trendsgarner attention from the media and large swaths of the public. By the last quarter of 2017, a growing number of retailers were also starting to take notice of cryptocurrency.

Thus far, cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, has been regarded as an asset class rather than a type of currency or form of payment. A trend among some retailers in 2018 will the integration of cryptocurrency into their sales systems. As part of this effort, some retailers will take the step of holding onto whatever cryptocurrency or currencies they elect to accept from consumers. This will eliminate the fees associated with conversion to U.S. dollars following a cryptocurrency purchase.

Tech-enhanced Store Staff and Elimination of Checkout Counters

Another significant trend to keep a 2018 tech retail trendslookout for in 2018 is the further tech enhancement of store associates. Accompanying this trend will be an increasing elimination of checkout counters in stores.

The one benefit that brick and mortar stores have over online retailers is face-to-face human interaction. Increasing the tech availabilities of retail staff, and eliminating the checkout counter, is thought to be a sure way to enhance the overall human interaction between patrons and staff at retailers in the brick and mortar world.

The Rise of the Robot

2018 will not be the year in which 2018 Retail trendsrobots start to populate retailers floor space in the brick and mortar world in large numbers. There actually will be an uptick in the visibility of robots and automation in brick and mortar stores, but the real trend in robotics will be behind the scenes in retail fulfillment centers.

Major online retailers, with Amazon leading the way, will incorporate robots into the work of more of their fulfillment centers in 2018. In 2017, Amazon had robots in action in about 20 percent of their fulfillment centers. That number will increase, and noticeably so, in 2018. Similarly, other retailers will utilize robots more broadly in their fulfillment operations during 2018.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

 


7 Practical Tips for Facebook’s New Algorithm

New Year is a time when many of us make resolutions and Mark Zuckerberg is no exception. However, this resolution may have a big impact on many lives, both personal and professional. In his quest to improve Facebook and help people feel more connected, Mark announced a new “Facebook Algorithm Change.” This change will elevate personal interactions in the newsfeed while de-prioritizing content from business pages and publishing companies.

Facebook Algorithm Change

WHAT DO THESE FACEBOOK ALGORITHM CHANGES MEAN TO INDIVIDUALS?

Latest Facebook algorithm changes are designed to improve our personal experience on Facebook:

  • We will see more content from our family and friends vs. random pages we followed. Creating a better connection with people we care about.
  • The meaningless viral videos will no longer be promoted on Facebook. The expected result is that we will waste less time browsing through these.
  • Interesting, thought-provoking conversations will find a way into our newsfeed more often.

In theory, these are all great changes designed to create a much better Facebook experience for all of us.

WHAT DOES FACEBOOK ALGORITHM CHANGE MEAN TO BUSINESSES?

If you are using Facebook to promote your business expect to see both reach and engagement for your business pages to decline. You will likely have to come up with new ways for your content to be seen.

We’ve summarized 7 practical tips to help you succeed with Facebook marketing after the latest algorithm change

J.R. Atkins Facebook marketing

1 – ADD LIVE VIDEO

New Facebook algorithm will favor Live Video, especially video with engaging content.

This may mean that we will see a lot more poor quality videos recorded in the car. It may also mean that some brands will step up and deliver unique, entertaining, thought-provoking and educational content.

To develop a simple live video strategy, try the following:

  • Schedule a weekly live series to talk about breaking news in your field
  • Break down one of your core offers into a series of “how to” live videos
  • Create featured interview series with top experts in your industry

Facebook algorithm changes will continue to come and go, but building your brand via memorable content will stay. It is your chance to shine. Determine a central theme to your brand and create a live video strategy around it.

2- CREATE CONVERSATIONS

Focus on a meaningful conversation. The goal is to increase active networking on Facebook vs. click-bait posts asking people to tag friends.

Many marketers may opt-in for “shock and awe” type of questions. While these may create some hype around a specific post, these are hardly a way to create a lasting brand.

Instead of going after short-lived entertaining types of questions design a longer-term content strategy:

  • Focus on interesting, relevant, engaging questions and ways to create a dialog.
  • Ask questions that may create a discussion and tap into differences of opinions.
  • Listen to your customers and post answers to their most burning questions.
  • Engage people via polls.

Monitor engagement on your posts and constantly refine the strategy to focus more on the posts that are performing best.

3 – FOCUS ON GROUPS

Groups have been a great way to create a community around your brand. Facebook algorithm change does not impact content posted in the groups.

While groups are harder to build and manage, group members are more connected to each other. As a group admin, you get to design and enforce the rules.

Some of the most successful groups are uniting members within a particular niche and/or a common goal. These common goals can be:

  • learning a new topic and sharing best practices, top challenges, questions.
  • going through similar experiences and making recommendations on resources, approaches; celebrating wins and overcoming failures.
  • Sharing strong passions and interests.

The possibilities are endless when you combine passionate people in the same group.

4- EXPLORE MESSENGER

Messenger created an unprecedented platform of connected people. Individuals can connect to one another in a matter of minutes. No wonder that popularity of marketing via messenger exploded in the past year.

Messenger bot campaigns boast 88% open rates (compare to an email open rate of 20-25%). Creating a messenger ad strategy for your brand will ensure that more of your messages are seen. Avoid being spammy on messenger. Rather focus on a specific goal:

  • Tap into messenger bots to create advertising strategy. ManyChat and ChatFuel are two of the top bot solutions.
  • Create a conversation with your followers via automated conversations or improve customer service.
  • Deliver valuable downloads to your followers via Messenger Ad campaign.

Messenger is an excellent way to keep in touch with your audience. Even if you are not ready to implement the strategy today, start planning for it.

5 – PRACTICE REMARKETING

Adding a paid social media strategy to your mix is a great idea (especially, with the ongoing algorithm changes). Some marketers speculate that the change will drive the cost of advertising up.

Targeting new audiences via ads may become quite costly. Facebook’s latest changes will lead to less time spent on social networks. This, in turn, will mean less ad inventory and higher cost.

If your page has built a significant following, you can tap into this audience via remarketing. Remarketing is easier than you think. Try some of these simple remarketing techniques:

  • Show a lead magnet people who engaged with your page or your page posts.
  • Invite people who watched 25% of your videos to visit your website
  • Retarget your website visitors with a low-cost offer

Even if you are not ready for retargeting today, Install Facebook Pixel to start learning about your audience.

6 – LOOKALIKE TARGETING

Lookalike (LLA) targeting allows you to exponentially expand reach to people who are similar to your best customers. Instead of guessing who your audience is based on geography, demographic and interest targets, you can try the following lookalike audiences:

  • Lookalike audience based on your email subscribers (you can upload a custom list to Facebook)
  • Lookalike audience based on your website visitors (you will need to use Facebook pixel data for that)

LLA targeting is a Facebook goldmine. You have a benefit of tapping into an extensive Facebook database of information on all of its users – and you do that at a fairly low cost.

7 – EXPERIMENT WITH OTHER PLATFORMS

Let’s face it – This is not the last algorithm change by Facebook. With Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to “Fix Facebook in 2018” we may see more changes that will require all of us to rethink how we market.

It may be time to look at some other platforms:

  • Niche Platforms (e.g. House, Quota, Reddit) – research niche platforms in your industry and join the conversation. These platforms may not have the massive audiences Facebook offers. However, as the rule, their members are more engaged and loyal
  • Visual Platforms (e.g. Instagram and Pinterest) – both are excellent sources of traffic for any eCommerce business
  • Conversational Platforms (Twitter) – these platforms may not be as glamorous, but they are still an amazing source of growth

Constantly evaluate platforms that may enable you to get better results for a higher ROI.

CONCLUSION

The final word is still out on what Facebook algorithm changes mean, but if you start applying these simple tactics today, you will get ahead of the game.

Interested in further brainstorming your Facebook marketing strategy, apply for a FREE 15-minute consultation with our team.

 

Thank you to our partner TreDigital for proving the content for this post.


5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

With over 500 million active users per month, it’s clear that Instagram is no small player in the world of social media. There is plenty of potential for brands to leverage and broaden their outreach. But how do you cut through the noise and navigate a platform with such vast scope? You learn from the pros, of course. Here are seven Instagram tips that your competitors are already following right now. By taking these on board, you will be well on your way to mastering Instagram for your own brand.

5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

Are you on the lookout for content marketing advice to improve your overall strategy? Check out our previous post.

Show what your online business does in a creative way

Show what your online business does in a creative way

credit: fedex

Instagram is the perfect social channel for you to showcase the visual element of your brand. No matter what you do, there will be a creative way for you to document and showcase it. Consistent, visual storytelling cuts through the mediocre noise on Instagram. To grab people’s attention and build an audience that anticipates your next post, you need to get creative with how you share your ideas and tell your brand’s story.

Take FedEx, for example. This brand successfully uses images of their delivery service and combines it with posts of happy customers receiving parcels and flowers. This tactic not only makes an otherwise rather functional and unglamorous service look attractive, but it also serves to tell the brand’s story by giving it a human face.

Brainstorm the different processes your business is involved in, and how they affect your customers. With this information, you can create stories and come up with ways to creatively show how your brand’s day-to-day operations work.

The most successful brand storytelling involves bitesize micro-stories that tie into your brand’s values, mission and customer experience. You want to develop a strong brand presence on your Instagram feed that represents your overall brand image. Check out this post for more examples of visual storytelling.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with Instagram stories

Instagram Stories are a new function, recently rolled out across the social network, which allow you to use a slideshow of videos and images that remain accessible for 24 hours. This feature is in direct competition with Snapchat’s stories, but has the additional benefit of being linked to Instagram profiles. This means that with an Instagram profile for your brand, you have the opportunity to not only bedeck your feed with visual marketing, but to get creative with film and a story to really engage your audience.

Here are some things that you should know about Instagram stories:

  • Stories are displayed at the very top of your follower’s timelines
  • They can be used to display your behind-the-scenes content. This is often less staged and lower quality than the permanent posts on your profile
  • The story function really enables you to experiment with different types of content and see which gets the most engagement. Photos, short videos, Boomerangs, Rewind videos, and live videos are all available for you to get creative
  • The additional functionality of face filters, text and stickers allow you to really customize your posts and make your mark. It’s very easy to edit your posts on the go

Your posts will autoplay in the chronological sequence they were added, and you can post an unlimited number of times. This feature only works on the mobile app. Check out these unique brands to see how other people are making innovative use of Instagram Stories.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

As mentioned, brand storytelling is a really great way to interest your audience and add an extra dimension to your image. The more story you can provide, the more you open your brand up to engagement and conversation.

Some customers are naturally curious about where their products come from, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to answer their questions with your Instagram feed. For example, if you are a Fairtrade company, you could show your customers where you source your raw materials from.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

credit: fairtrade USA

The Fair Trade USA instagram does this to great effect. This non-profit organization shows exactly who crafts or handpicks the raw materials that go into fairtrade certified products. By doing this, their target audience can buy these products, safe in the knowledge that they are cruelty free. This kind of story is what evokes empathy from audiences and encourages them to buy products.

If you have an interesting brand story, don’t be afraid to show it off. Perhaps you started off as a hobby crafting jeweler to help keep food on the table? Let your audience know about your story and why you started your brand. Any kind of shareable information that connects you to your audience is very useful for social media. 

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

credit: mary orton

Another really great way to broaden your outreach on instagram is to harness the power of collaboration and employ an influencer. Micro-influencer collaboration aligns your brand with their values and mission. This often works more effectively than using hashtags, as the act of following hashtags is often more manual for the user. Banana Republic promoted its clothes to audiences that are defined by their sense of style and interest in fashion. The micro-influencers selected were fashion and lifestyle focused, and this helped Banana Republic to reach a large, but targeted, audience of consumers.

Micro-influencer marketing might be the biggest thing this side of 2017, but don’t worry – you don’t necessarily have to part with a large sum of money to hire their services. Consider offering them some free products to sample, and perhaps they will post to their Instagram feed or story without payment.

If you want to integrate micro-influencers into your marketing strategy, there are a few things you should know first:

  • You should consider whether your chosen micro-influencers fit in with your brand and values. Ultimately, you want to piggyback from their established presence and gain access to their following. You need to be sure that their demographic is the right one for you to gain maximum ROI
  • If you are a local or smaller business, consider finding micro-influencers from your local area, with a local audience. This would allow you to be hyper-targeted with your outreach
  • When searching for the right micro-influencers to work with, you should aim for followers with a similar amount of followers to you, otherwise, you may risk not being taken seriously

 For more tips on how to collaborate on Instagram, this article is for you. Once you’ve decided which influencers to target, it’s time to make contact. Consider emailing them directly, rather than direct messaging them on Instagram. Emails tend to get higher response rates, as direct messages are often overlooked.

Analyze the performance of your posts and build on them

As with any marketing strategy, it’s really important for you to analyze the performance of your Instagram posts to make sure that you’re barking up the right tree. You need to make sure that you are spending your money in the right way, broadcasting the right kind of content, and targeting the right audience.

There are many apps and subscription services that allow you to track hashtags, engagement levels and mentions of your brand on social media. Keyhole tracks all of these, and even integrates seamlessly with online store creators like Shopify. This means that Keyhole can access all of your ecommerce business’ data in real-time, and give you the most up-to-date reports. Trackmaven is another great product that puts you in the driver’s seat of your social feeds.

Whether you choose to go down the micro-influencer route, or have a go with Instagram’s new story function (or perhaps all of these ideas!) – don’t forget to consistently analyze your engagement levels. The truth will be in your metrics, and data is essential to constantly improve on your marketing strategy and make sure you’re investing your budget in the right areas.

Which of these tips will you take onboard? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Blogger: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing consultant and freelance writer, working with large brands to grow their reach. She loves sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them reach success.


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