Tag Archives: social media

Social Media Marketing For Beginners

Social media marketing, simply explained, is using social media networks to drive website traffic, increase sales and build your brand by connecting with your audience. You do this by creating great content, interacting with your followers, running ads, and analyzing the results.

Facebook: A Popular Social Networking Website

Individuals, of all different ages, enjoy meeting and communicating with other internet users.  Even though individuals of all ages use the internet to socialize, there are certain groups of individuals that do more than others. Those groups of individuals include students, both high school students and college students. For that reason, it is only fitting that there should be a social networking website that has a focus on these individuals. That networking website is known as Facebook.

Facebook may not be as well-known as other popular social networking websites, such as Yahoo! 360 or Myspace, but it is still popular.  That popularity is mostly among high school students and college students, mostly because Facebook focuses on these individuals.  With Facebook, you are required to register for a specific network. That network can either include the high school or college which you attended or are currently attending.  Once you have joined the website, you should easily be able to contact others who are in the same network. 

The network in which you join can be considered an advantage of Facebook, as well as a disadvantage.  See, Facebook does not work like most other social networking websites.  Instead of being able to communicate with all site members, you are limited to contact with those that are in your network, the high school or college you that selected.  The creators of Facebook state that this is for your own safety.  Although it is safer for your profile and personal information to be viewed by a small number of individuals, you may not necessity want it to be that way. 

Although a large amount of focus is placed on high school students and college students, Facebook has added another popular feature to their website. That feature is workplace networks. By joining a specific workplace network, you will be granted access to other community members who work for the same company as you. This feature is nice, especially since many companies have become large corporations or expanded across the country.  You may be able to make contact and become friends with a long-distance coworker that you never knew you had.

Another aspect of Facebook that you may find inconvenient is their lack of available information, before you decide to become a community member.  When viewing their online website, which can be found at http://www.facebook.com, it is hard to tell whether the site is free to use.  Most online social networking sites will make this known right up front, but Facebook does not.  Aside from the price, you should easily be able to obtain additional information on Facebook, before making the decision to become a member. This additional information may include how Facebook works, why you should become a member, how the invite process works, and general rules and restrictions that are in place.

If you are interested in joining the Facebook community, you should do what you should do with all other social networking websites, research.  By taking the time to research and examine everything that Facebook has to offer, you should be able to decide whether this popular networking community is what you were looking for.  There is a good chance that it will be, but if not, do not worry. There are literally an unlimited number of other social networking websites that you can join.

TikTok Marketing: What Is TikTok and How Can You Market on It?

Many people may not know what TikTok is, yet, but you may want to incorporate it into your social media marketing strategy. 

Even though you haven’t used TikTok before, you have most likely heard about it. Videos with the TikTok logo are all over other social media platforms.  

Currently, TikTok has roughly 800 million active users and in January 2020, it was reported to be the most downloaded app. It is now bigger than Pinterest and Twitter. 

It is very possible that TikTok is here to stay. It sounds like a goldmine for marketers, doesn’t it? You need to be very careful, however. People go on TikTok for entertainment and you have to be wise while taking your business there. 

This guide will teach you everything you need to know.

What Is TikTok?

It is a social media app for smartphones and is mostly about video content. TikTok users (otherwise known as TikTokers), take short videos, then post them on the platform after editing. They use hashtags to identify with popular categories. 

Much of the content posted is generally comedic. Popular genres include cooking how-to’s, cringe videos, lip-syncing and short skits. 

Challenges are an extremely popular phenomena on the platform. 

TikTok’s Specific User Demographic

41% of the total number of TikTokers are aged 16 to 24 years. This is the only information that the social network has released. But you can safely assume that 24- to 30-year-olds also make up a big percentage of the users. 

Here are other known statistics:

  • iPhone/Android usage: 52%/47% split
  • TikTok is available in 75 languages in 150 markets
  • 44% of TikTokers are female while 56% are male.

With these statistics in mind, TikTok would be great for your marketing strategy if your audience is young. 

Marketing on TikTok

You can either create original content or collaborate with influencers.

Working with an Influencer

TikTok has huge influencers, some of them with millions of subscribers. The influencers have already created a relationship with their audience and they can easily convince them to try your products. You basically pay them to promote the products or use them on camera. 

Anytime you are looking for influencers, remember that relevance is better than reach. 

Incorporate Original Content

Creating your own content requires resources, creativity and a lot of time. And you need viral content too. 

To make your content popular, you have to hop on trends. See what hashtags are trending. Use them to create your version. Remember to wisely incorporate something about your business. 

Another easier way would be offering tricks, tips, how-to’s or inside secrets relevant to your industry. 

Using TikTok Ads

If organic engagement seems too complicated, you can always use the TikTok advertising platform. 

Ad Formats on TikTok

According to TikTok, formats include but are not limited to square, vertical or horizontal images and videos. 

They have ad creation tool sets—Video Creation Kit and Automated Creative Optimization— to help you crate ads. 

The ads can appear in story, post-roll, detail page or in-feed. You also have the option to target a specific audience. 

TikTok have managed to keep their algorithm, especially for the For You page, a secret. 

Platforms like Instagram have been very transparent about their feed rankings. The same cannot be said of TikTok. 

They have not bothered to verify any details about how their algorithm works. 

However, the platform has been around for a while now. From observing personal first-hand experiences, you can get some valuable information about how the algorithm chooses what to show on the For You page of a specific user. 

Here are 5 key insights about the algorithm.

Each Video’s Performance Determines Its Exposure

If you have been using TikTok, you’ll notice that people with barely any followers get millions of views. The TikTok algorithm seems to focus more on an individual video’s interactions and less on the profile as a whole. 

When you publish a video, it will be shown to few users on their For You page, between popular videos. Just scroll your For You page and you’ll notice a video with hardly any likes.

So, if this video is well-received, TikTok will show it to more users. 

The TikTok Algorithm Considers Multiple Indicators

Some of the indicators that are considered include likes, comments, shares, video completions and rewatches. For this reason, genuinely informative or entertaining videos have a high chance of doing well. 

Geo-Location Determines Initial Exposure

TikTok videos are first shown to people in that geo-location. This is an observation. The location greatly influences the recommended videos on your For You page.

Small businesses can benefit from increased local brand awareness. And if your video is well received in your geo-location, it may be shown internationally. 

Tending Sounds and Hashtags Help

If you want to increase your content’s discoverability, you need to put more thought into Sounds and hashtags. 

Videos with trending hashtags in their caption have a high chance of being shown in Discovery pages. They may even be included in more For You pages. 

At the moment, it is not clear which hashtags will have the biggest impact. But it is assumed that #foryoupage, #foryou and #fyp increase the likelihood of videos making it to more For You pages. 

Other than using high traffic hashtags, you may want to include relevant hashtags as well, depending on your niche. The TikTok algorithm will understand your content better and show it to people who are interested.

In the same way, trending Sounds could boost your video’s visibility. 

Users on TikTok choose a sound to see all the related videos. And, obviously, trending Sounds will be prioritized. 

Even Older Videos Can Go Viral All of a Sudden

Videos on TikTok don’t have a short shelf life, as is the case on networks like Instagram. All your videos are being monitored constantly—and this includes the older ones. 

If your video starts getting more engagement, it may go viral. It doesn’t matter when you posted it. This usually happens when the hashtags or Sounds you used start spiking in popularity. 

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing, simply explained, is using social media networks to drive website traffic, increase sales and build your brand by connecting with your audience. You do this by creating great content, interacting with your followers, running ads and analyzing the results. 

Currently, the main social media platforms include Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Social Media Marketing: Overview

Initially, social media marketing involved publishing. Businesses shared content on social media hoping to generate traffic and make sales. Today, it is more than that.

Businesses now use social media in many other ways. Some of those ways include social media advertising, social media analytics and social media listening and engagement. 

Social Media Marketing: The Five Core Pillars


Before you start publishing content on social media, you need to come up with a social media strategy. 

What do you want to achieve? How can you achieve your goals using social media? Your goals may be to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, boost sales, create a community or generate engagement.

Which social platforms will work for you? instead of trying to work with all platforms, it is better to pick a few ones. Find the ones that your target audience is likely to be on. 

What content will you be sharing? You could share entertaining or educating content. This will depend on your marketing persona.

Planning and Publishing

A consistent presence is very important, especially for small businesses. Social media is used by about three billion people. Consistency increases the chances of these people discovering your business. 

On social media, publishing involves sharing a video, image or blog post. It is not different from sharing using your personal account. But with a business account, the best thing to do would be to plan in advance, instead of posting spontaneously. It is also wise to consider the type of content you publish, when to publish it and the frequency. 

Make good use of scheduling tools. 

Listening and Engagement

Conversations about your business will increase as your following grows on social media. People will private message you, tag you on their posts and engage with your content. 

Other times, there will be conversations about your business without your knowledge. And you have to monitor these conversations. If the conversation is negative, you have the opportunity to correct it before it becomes a big problem. 

For this purpose, find a social media listening and engagement tool. 


It is important to know how your strategy is performing. Are you getting more positive comments? Are more people visiting your profile and interacting with your posts? 

Social media platforms offer this information, but only on the basic level. There are other social media analytics tools that you can use for in-depth information. 


If you have funds to spare, you can use social media advertising. The ads help you reach more people, beyond your following. The advertising platforms have become so powerful—you can even choose who will see your ads. There are also advertising tools to help you manage the ads.

10 Powerful Instagram Marketing Tips (That Actually Work)

Instagram has become the top platform for sharing visual content. It boasts of more than 800 million active users monthly, 60 million daily posts and 1.6 billion “likes” daily. 

There are many popular influencers on the platform and you can become influential as well. All you need is great content to gain more followers and keep the ones you already have. If you have no idea how to do this, don’t worry. That is what you will learn here.

Get a Business Profile

Your account should be an Instagram Business Account. This could mean creating a new one or switching the current one.

To switch, go to Settings > Switch to Business Profile. 

Having a business profile comes with some amazing benefits. There is a contact button, you can publish ads without using Facebook ad tools, you will have access to analytic tools and much more. 

Utilize the Free Tools

One of the free tools you will be able to access is Insights. This means you can view engagement data, impressions and other statistics. Instagram can even show you the demographics of your followers. You will know their age, location, gender and active hours. 

You also get the statistics of specific posts so you know what kind of content your followers like. 

Product Teasers to Grab Attention

Advertisements can easily annoy potential buyers. Product teasers don’t make you look desperate and they make your followers excited about the product. A teaser could include an image of the product, a discount and CTA button. 

Have Sponsored Ads

The best thing about Instagram ads is that you can control how much you spend by setting a budget. 

There’s the option to show multiple ads or just one. 

Instagram ads are great because your target audience will see your posts, even though they don’t follow you.

Instagram Stories

These are efficient for generating leads. They are live for 24 hours only and appear as a slideshow. They will be shown at the top so followers don’t have to scroll to find them. 

Work with Influencers

Influencers already have a large following and they have built a relationship with their followers. Partnering with the right influencer will help you reach tons of potential buyers. 

User-Submitted Photos

What if you could get Instagram content without doing the heavy lifting? Let your users know that they can submit photos using your product. And if you use the photo, you will tag them.

A Branded Hashtag

This is one of the best ways to get engagement. Red Bull, for instance, has #itgivesyouwings. 

Your customers can post their photos using the hashtag and you will get user-generated content. Anyone can go though the hashtag to see posts about your brand.

Know the Right Time

Over-posting turns off followers. But you also want to appear in the newsfeed on a regular basis. So the wise thing to do is post during peak hours and days. 

Track the Appropriate Metrics

Measure your performance to see what needs improvement. Track follower growth rate and engagement rates.  

A Step-By-Step Guide To Becoming An Influencer In Your Industry

Influencers are the people others come to for advice. They have a genuine, loyal following because they add real value to their industries.

Influencers have insight and actionable information, and because of that they attract the eye of even major brands.

In short: Influencers have power.

It’s possible that someday soon you will have an amazing service, product or idea that will change your industry forever — or maybe you already do. Perhaps you already have a startup for that industry-changing service, product or idea and a crack team to make it work. What else could you possibly need?

Influence. Because without it, your amazing work just won’t get the buzz you need to really succeed.

This is the fear all entrepreneurs have, and no wonder. We have all faced it from time to time.

To get the attention your business needs, you need to become an authority, an influencer in your industry. Fortunately, this is within your reach.

Too often we believe that influencers are born, not made, and that we can’t learn how to do what they do. Wrong!

Influencers do not pop up overnight; they work their butts off to get where they are. Just ask them.

This practical guide to becoming an influencer in your industry will show you how to grow your following, build credibility, and develop your identity as an authority in your field.

It will cover educating yourself, creating compelling content, harnessing the power of social media, and engaging with your community. And it will share these tools and tactics with you step by step.

What Is Influence? What Makes Someone An Authority?

There is an endless stream of information out there, and everyone is looking for content that is actionable, credible, and powerful. Most of us are on the seeking side of things — we consume the best information we can find.

But authorities create that high-quality information. They consume, but they also create. As you produce more and more valuable content, you grow your influence.

Influencers engage in other authority-building activities as they create their information: They nurture useful, productive relationships and networks, and they continue to improve themselves and their work. Becoming an influencer is an ongoing process.

This matters because it dictates the necessity of engaging at a high level continually. As new consumers of your content find you, they will research you, what you do, and who you know as they watch your social media profiles and activities.

Social media is important today, and this won’t change. It provides a way for people to decide how valuable your work is, and how much they should trust you.

Influence is supported by metrics. Your numbers of followers, engagement levels of those followers and who they are, and your place among other influencers are things people can look at as they evaluate you. For all of these reasons, there are proven, concrete steps you can take to become a top influencer.



Facebook now lets you shoot 360-degree photos inside its app

Facebook has allowed users to upload and view 360-degree photos for a little over a year now, but the social media platform is also adding the ability to capture them, too. Starting today, both the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook app will allow users to create 360-degree photos without requiring a third-party app or camera.

Of course, since phones don’t have 360-degree cameras built in (yet, at least), the process resembles how you create panoramas in your phone’s camera app. To create 360-degree photos inside the Facebook app, scroll to the top of the News Feed and tap the “360 Photo” button. Then slowly spin around for a full turn, all while keeping the the graphic centered in the middle. When it’s finished, you can pick the “starting point” for the photo and publish it. You can even set it as your cover photo.

Since that capture process isn’t instantaneous, the update only applies to 360-degree photos for now. While Facebook supports 360-degree videos, you’ll still need to shoot those with a camera like the Samsung Gear 360, Insta360, or Nikon KeyMission 360, and upload them separately.



Dawn of the Social Media Influencer as Entrepreneur

Over the past week, I have been working with the model, social media star and actress Alexis Ren to launch her own brand, REN Active (http://www.renactive.co). Many social media stars have launched merchandise: most is usually the typical banal array of t-shirts, hoodies and caps sold at concerts and events by stars and celebrities. What distinguishes REN Active is that it has been beautifully crafted and designed in the very same minimalist aesthetic and style that her 10 million followers have already come to know from her. Alexis Ren has not only launched products, but a genuine brand with a message.

21st century society has become accustomed to the newly-formed celebrity of emerging You Tube talent, Instagram “hotties” and blogging fashion and beauty mavens. Over the past several years, so-called “digital talent” have matured from being the millenial outliers of the media world to being becoming part of daily life for middle America and the rest of the globe. Unlike the awe fans feel for traditional celebrities, actors and pop-stars, followers of social media talent are immersed inside the daily life and routine of the influencers they follow.


Because of this direct relationship between follower and influencer, a global marketplace has developed between brands and social media stars buying and selling their influence over the millions of constituents they react with on a daily basis.  An entire economy of agents, agencies, media networks and brand consultants has emerged around influencer marketing. Because technology is so closely linked with social media, never before has it been easier to target any particular demographic or measure the direct success of any influencer-based marketing campaign. In the “good old days”, it was just a well-founded guess how successful an expensive ad campaign gracing the pages of Vogue might have been. Today, a brand knows exactly how many consumers have clicked through to, commented on or “liked” any digital social media campaign they have invested in.


Major ecommerce and brick and mortar retailers are now also looking to partner and create joint ventures with social media stars and celebrities to help launch new businesses. From my own experience representing “new-age” digital talent, Walmart, Jet.Com, Target and even traditional department stores are moving into the game. A new class of incubators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are also emerging, seeing the opportunity to partner with social media talent by contributing their expertise, capital and management skills to help launch new brands.

Will Alexis Ren and her fellow social media standouts be the Ralph Laurens, Oprah Winfreys and Donna Karans of the future? No one really knows, but it is certain that they will have an impact on the landscape of media, entertainment and commerce in the foreseeable future.



How Rovio Fought Off Bankruptcy to Make Angry Birds

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Right?

For the maker of Angry Birds, everyone’s favorite time waster, it actually took 51 tries before they created the perfect casual game. Wired UK has an excellent profile of how the company battled back from bankruptcy to become one of the hottest entertainment companies in the world. It’s more inspiring than you’d expect.

First they had to save a company in crisis: at the beginning of 2009, Rovio was close to bankruptcy. Then they had to create the perfect game, do every other little thing exactly right, and keep on doing it. The Heds had developed 51 titles before Angry Birds. Some of them had sold in the millions for third parties such as Namco and EA, so they decided to create their own, original intellectual property. “We thought we would need to do ten to 15 titles until we got the right one,” says 30-year-old Niklas. One afternoon in late March, in their offices overlooking a courtyard in downtown Helsinki, Jaakko Iisalo, a games designer who had been at Rovio since 2006, showed them a screenshot. He had pitched hundreds in the two months before. This one showed a cartoon flock of round birds, trudging along the ground, moving towards a pile of colourful blocks. They looked cross. “People saw this picture and it was just magical,” says Niklas. Eight months and thousands of changes later, after nearly abandoning the project, Niklas watched his mother burn a Christmas turkey, distracted by playing the finished game. “She doesn’t play any games. I realised: this is it.”

I’ve long thought casual games are like pop songs. Everyone knows roughly what they’re supposed to sound like, but getting everything just right is stupendously unlikely. Since nearly every single casual game or pop song won’t be a hit, the key skill seems to be the right ear (or fingers) to feel when something isn’t good, but great. Or maybe you just have to get lucky.




Facebook Pages can now build their own communities

Today, Facebook is rolling out a new feature called “Groups for Pages,” which will let artists, brands, businesses and newspapers create their own fan clubs. The company says the idea stems from two reporters at The Washington Post who started a Facebook group called PostThis, where they interact with some of “the most avid fans” of the paper on a daily basis. Facebook says right now there are more than 70 million Pages on its platform, so this going to be great for many users who want to let their loyal supporters feel more connected to them.

The launch could further Facebook’s new mission statement to “bring the world closer together” and push it toward its goal to grow the membership of “meaningful groups” from 100 million now to 1 billion in the future.

Users can look at a Page’s Groups shortcut for any communities they’ve created. Pages can link an existing Group to their Page in addition to launching new ones.


For years, Facebook pushed people to create lists of specific friends to share different posts with, or to just fully embrace “openness” and share publicly. But it seems to have realized that people’s values and interests don’t always align with their geographic communities, or even their closest friends. Since the News Feed prioritizes showing content that gets lots of clicks and Likes, niche content could often fall flat and reach few people. Plus there’s the issue that Trump’s polarization of the United States has made sharing political content to Facebook a minefield of angry relatives and extremist high school classmates.


Facebook ‘Groups for Pages’ unlocks fan clubs

Facebook’s Hate Speech Rules Make ‘White Men’ a Protected Group

Is Facebook really training its content moderators to protect white men over black children?

Facebook, which topped 2 billion global users yesterday, has been working to fend off critics who say the social networking giant doesn’t do enough to police offensive content and online harassment on its site. But now those efforts may be backfiring following a new report that claims to show the awkward criteria the company uses to choose which content to censor.


A new report on Wednesday from ProPublica, which reviewed internal documents from Facebook, sheds some light on what appears to be the convoluted process through which the social media company determines which allegedly offensive posts are removed and the accounts that get suspended for hate speech. ProPublica reports that the internal guidelines that Facebook uses to train its content censors differentiates between groups such as white men, who fall under a so-called “protected category,” and black children. The latter belong to “subset categories,” which include groups of people whom Facebook would reportedly not protect from online hate speech, according to ProPublica.

The report went on to explain the reasoning behind Facebook’s seemingly confusing moderation policies, which look to censor slurs and other attacks against “protected categories” that are based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and serious disability or disease. Facebook posts including slurs based on those factors would be subject to removal. Other factors—including age, appearance, occupation, social class, and political affiliation—are lumped into unprotected categories based on the idea that they are less central to a person’s identity. Therefore, Facebook’s guidelines would call for slurs against “white men” (which are based on race and sex) to be categorized as hate speech over offensive posts aimed at “black children” (a group based on race and age).

The reasoning there would seem to be that two protected categories outweigh only one. It’s a solution that, perhaps, makes more sense as an algorithm than it does when put into practice with real people and actual offensive posts.

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Still, even if the logic behind Facebook’s policies becomes somewhat less cringeworthy upon further explanation, the company will undoubtedly still have to deal with the backlash stemming from the ProPublica report, which includes a pretty regrettable company training slide that asks moderators which groups Facebook protects and presents the options as “female drivers,” “black children,” and “white men” (with the latter group inexplicably represented by a photo of the pop ensemble the Backstreet Boys, no less). White men are the correct answer under the company’s reported guidelines.



At the very least, the company knows that its policies are not perfect. “The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, told ProPublica. “That is the reality of having policies that apply to a global community where people around the world are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share.”

Bickert offered a similar response last month, after the Guardian published more leaked documents showing examples of “disturbing” content that Facebook’s moderation rules would still allow to remain on its site. At the time, Bickert noted that moderating content on a massive scale “is complex, challenging, and essential,” but she also admitted that the company can “get things wrong, and we’re constantly working to make sure that happens less often.”

Facebook certainly isn’t the only digital company to face criticism for its handling of offensive content and online harassment, with Twitter among those also frequently coming under fire. In early May, Facebook hired an additional 3,000 content moderators (bringing the total to 7,500), and the company said it is deleting roughly 66,000 posts it identifies as hate speech each week as part of stepped-up efforts to combat online harassment along with offensive and violent content. Unfortunately for Facebook, the fallout from the ProPublica report is the latest stain on those efforts.



3 Tips to Create Content And Social Media Marketing That Sells

Powerful Social Media Targeting

As organic reach on Facebook continues to plummet to zero, investing in paid promotion is a necessity. One of the strengths of today’s social networks lies within the targeting capabilities available to advertisers. Social media platforms have amassed rich data on consumers that financial marketers can leverage.

Using your research and sales data, you can identify specific segments that can be targeted within social platforms. You can target people who are either engaged, married or pregnant, or those who are members of a credit union, or customers at a national/community banks. For example, 70% of people rolled over their 401k into an IRA due to a recent job change according to Oliver Wyman.

Here are some other great examples of targeting options available within Facebook, and the potential banking products that match with them:

  • First-Time Home Buyer – FHA Loans, Mortgages
  • Newly Engaged, Newlyweds – Mortgage, Joint Accounts, Savings Accounts, Financial Advisors
  • New Job – IRA Rollovers
  • New Mover, Recently Moved, Likely to Move – Checking Accounts, Mortgages, IRA Rollovers
  • New Vehicle Buyers & Shoppers – Vehicle Loans

2. Synch Sales With Marketing

To develop a sound content strategy, marketing and sales teams need to be aligned. They need to share knowledge, and agree on what qualifies as “good leads.” Working together, they should define common pain points and objections, plan upcoming initiatives and establish metrics for measuring progress.

A study by Marketo found that when both sales and marketing teams are both in synch, organizations became 67% better at closing deals and generated 209% more value from their marketing efforts.

3. Map Content to Personas

People have different needs and expectations as they get deeper into the sales funnel; accordingly, they seek specific information unique to each stage. Marketers need to develop the right content that speaks to prospects’ needs at each stage of the sales funnel. Personas and journey mapping can be a powerful way to determine appropriate messaging for different segments. Although it takes more effort to develop unique messages for different target audiences, there’s greater potential to make a bigger impact and produce better results. People want to feel like you are speaking directly to them. Let’s use the persona “Frank the First-Time Homebuyer” as an example for a quick content mapping exercise:

Awareness. Frank is newly engaged and is aware of a problem – he rents and feels it’s like throwing away money and isn’t sure if he can afford a home. Create content that helps him determine if it’s better to buy or rent and how much he can afford, like a blog post with a buy or rent calculator. This isn’t the time to hard-sell Frank on a mortgage. At this time, just introduce your financial institution and offer helpful advice for his specific needs. During this stage, drop a remarketing pixel on your website, so you can target Frank to return and continue to build awareness.

Consideration to Conversion. Frank is now considering a solution to his problem, buying his first home, but wants to know how to get the lowest mortgage rate, and is concerned about his ability to afford a 20% down payment. Create content that explains how rates aren’t the only factor in the final actual cost of a mortgage (to compete with online mortgage sites with super low rates and high closing costs), and share information on how he could get a home with no money down. You can also offer more calculators, information on how to get pre-approved or pre-qualified, and a mortgage checklist. At this stage, include a strong call to action to set up appointment with a loan officer or direct him to your online mortgage application.

Loyalty. Frank has become a happy customer and moved into his new home. Now is a wonderful time to introduce a referral program to get him to refer his friends, or ask to get a positive review on social media. Frank may also benefit from some of your other banking or loan products down the road so make sure you keep him engaged with your brand for the next time he’s in the market for another financial product.



Snapchat downloads are dropping off a cliff

Snapchat’s growth has slowed sharply during the past two months as Facebook and its Instagram app continue to knock off the disappearing-photo app’s features, according to an analyst report.

Downloads of the app operated by Venice, Calif.-based Snap Inc. are down 22 percent year-over-year through the first two months of this year’s second quarter, according to Instinet.

That’s a sharp about-face from the first quarter, when Snapchat downloads rose 6 percent. In the last two months, the slowdown has been steepest with iPhone users — down a drastic 40 percent, according to the report published Wednesday.

The analyst noted that Instagram has been copying Snap’s features, for example allowing users to create “stories,” or series of video clips grouped together in a single post.

On its first-ever quarterly earnings call last month, Snap management downplayed fears about Facebook copying Snapchat’s features. CEO Evan Spiegel also noted that the second and third quarters are slowest when it comes to advertising for Snapchat.

“We are surprised that a newly public company, supposedly early in its growth cycle, would see near-term results impacted by broader seasonal ad market trends,” Instinet’s DiClemente wrote Wednesday.

Earlier this year, a former Snapchat employee sued the company, claiming that Snapchat was inflating its user stats and growth metrics in marketing materials it distributed to advertisers.

In response, Snapchat’s lawyers called the claim a “musty, two-year-old allegation about a minor metrics deviation.”



A dad casually mowed the lawn with a tornado in the background

Theunis Wessels decided it was time to mow the lawn on Friday, and no storm was going to stop him.

His wife Cecilia went to take a nap and was woken up by their nine-year-old daughter who’d seen a tornado brewing and was upset that her dad wouldn’t come inside, The Canadian Press reported.

Cecilia snapped a photo to send to her parents back in South Africa, where the Wessels lived before moving to Alberta, Canada, and posted it on Facebook.

The photo quickly made the rounds on social media as people added their own interpretations of the photo — and expressed admiration for Theunis’ commitment to maintaining a well-manicured lawn.


As for Theunis, he told The Canadian Press that the tornado wasn’t as close as it looks in the photo, that it was moving away from him, and that he was “keeping an eye on it.”

US Air Force veteran Tairod Pugh dreamed of being Isis ‘martyr’

A US Air Force veteran has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for trying to join terrorist organisation Isis in Syria.

Tairod Pugh, aged 49, of New Jersey was found guilty of trying to distribute material support to Isis. He was stopped by security officials at a Turkish airport in January 2015 and was discovered to be in possession of a laptop containing 180 jihadist videos, including footage of a beheading.

They are also found a map showing border crossings from Turkey to Syria and a letter in which Pugh told his Egyptian wife that he wished to become a martyr.

“I am a Mujahid. I am a sword against the oppressor and a shield for the oppressed. I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic State. There are only two possible outcomes for me: Victory or Martyr,” the letter read.

Pugh, who declared that he was innocent in court, is the first person to be successfully prosecuted for an Isis-related offence in the US.



The Muslim convert served as an aircraft engineer in the US air force from 1986 to 1990 and worked as a military contractor in Iraq from 2009 to 2010. After leaving the armed forces, he worked as a civil aviation engineer in Kuwait.


Prosecutor Bridget Rohd said the defendant “turned his back on his country, and the military he once served, to attempt to join a brutally violent terrorist organization committed to the slaughter of innocent people throughout the world.”


“This isn’t about whether you’re Muslim, or Christian or Jewish,” Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis told Pugh. “This is about whether you’re going to stand up for your country, which has done so much for you, or betray your country. You’ve made your choice, sir. I have no sympathy.”



Reddit Users Can Now Add Their Location to Posts

Mobile users of online discussion forum Reddit will be able to let people know where they’re located.

Reddit, the self-labeled “front page of the internet,” has partnered with location check-in app Foursquare to use its data to power a new Reddit feature debuting today that lets users add their location to any post.


The new feature helps Reddit users add “content and interest” to their posts beyond the usual discussion of politics and pop culture by its 250 million users, Mike Harkey, Foursquare’s vice president of business development, said in a blog post announcing the partnership. He gave the example of users tagging their locations when posting food photos or discussing trips to their local parks. “Think of location in Reddit as an extra emphasis — at-the-ready like the perfect punctuation, or headline,” Harkey wrote.

For Foursquare, the deal marks the latest step in the company’s evolution from a social media app to its more recent incarnation as a “location intelligence” company. Foursquare has previously licensed its database of more than 90 million mapped locations—public places like stores, restaurants, or museums—to companies such as Uber and Airbnb, and the company also began offering up its mobile notification system to developers earlier this year.

Foursquare also pointed out that the location-tagging feature is optional, which is not surprising considering that many Reddit users prefer to remain anonymous on the site. Mobile users who enable location services will simply see a drop-down menu with options for tagging a location.


The move marks Reddit’s latest attempt to increase engagement as the site moves closer to the model of a mainstream social network. In March, Reddit started rolling out public profiles for its users and, last year, the company finally released mobile versions of the site with iOS and Android apps. Adding location-tagging is another way for Reddit to appear more like other social media sites, with some people noting recently that Reddit is beginning to look more and more like Facebook and Twitter.

Reddit has seen quite a few changes since co-founders Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman returned to the 12-year-old company in 2015, after interim CEO Ellen Pao stepped down in the wake of a user revolt over her firing of a popular Reddit employee. In addition to the site’s new features, the company’s makeover has seen crackdowns on online harassment and spam, with Ohanian shutting down two popular forums frequented by the “alt-right,” a group often associated with white nationalists and other racist groups.



School Accused Of Hiding Bathroom Assault Before 8-Year-Old Boy’s Suicide

The attorney for the mother of the 8-year-old boy who committed suicide in Ohio has accused the elementary school, where the boy attended, of hiding the truth of an assault from his mother.

Attorney Jennifer Branch, who is representing Gabriel Taye’s mother, told Fox 19 News, that reports of surveillance footage being investigated showing the 8-year-old boy being kicked and hit repeatedly in a bathroom and being knocked unconscious directly contradicts what Gabriel’s mother was told.

“Mom is called, and she’s told that he fainted,” Branch said.

But in the surveillance footage, according to a police report by Detective Eric Karaguleff, Gabriel was hit and kicked for five minutes while he was unconscious in a bathroom at Carson Elementary School before the school’s assistant principal, Jeff McKenzie, rushed in.

Gabriel’s mother took him to the doctor for what she thought was the stomach flu when he complained of stomach pain. She never knew that he was being bullied.

“Maybe this had been going on for years, and she had no idea, so she couldn’t help him,” Branch said. “She couldn’t protect him, and now she wants to know what was really going on.”

Cincinnati Public Schools released a statement on Thursday confirming that Gabriel had been found “motionless” but said that the events of the video had been “mischaracterized.”

“The article suggests that other students were beating Gabriel during this incident, a description that video evidence does not support. The article also portrays other students in the video as ‘aggressors.’ Video evidence does not support this characterization,” school officials said.




Forget 10 seconds, Snapchat now lets you replay messages forever

Snapchat was built on the concept of ephemerality: once you see a message, it disappears forever.

Starting Tuesday, Snapchat is making its messages feel less fleeting by letting them replay indefinitely. A new infinity icon will allow a photo or video message to be replayed forever until the receiver exits the conversation thread. Snapchat messages, called “snaps,” could previously only be seen for up to 10 seconds before they disappeared.

“We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy a Snap – even after replaying it – and we wanted to give you the option of allowing the recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’d like,” the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “After your friend finishes viewing the Snap and taps to close it, it will delete as usual.”

The change is a notable one for Snapchat, which in its early days earned a reputation for sexting because of how quickly its messages disappeared after being viewed. The app has since popularized the Stories format, which shows photo and video messages in chronological order that disappear after 24 hours. Facebook has aggressively copied Stories in its full suite of apps in recent months.

Snapchat’s change to one of its core features also comes a day ahead of the company’s first earnings report since it became a publicly traded company in February. Wall Street is looking for signs that Snapchat is still growing and that the competition from Facebook hasn’t taken too great of a toll.

Snapchat also added a few new creative tools on Tuesday, including the ability to draw with emojis and a “magic eraser.” A redesigned menu for the app’s editing tools will “provide a foundation for introducing even more creative tools for making fun Snaps,” the company said.

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The Future of Social Media Marketing

The world of social media marketing has changed drastically over the last couple of years, and it will continue to change. This makes staying ahead of the digital curve a critical factor in the success of businesses around the world. Understanding how to take advantage of new features social media platforms continually roll out is key and to do that, marketers have to be perpetually looking forward.

So what’s next in the world of social media marketing? For those looking to get the most out of their campaign, marketers will need to channel their efforts into live video, engaging influencers, and creating buzzworthy content. Let’s examine each one individually.

1. Live Video is the Way to Go

Video content has become an important avenue for social media marketers to reach their audiences. However, live streaming has proved itself to be an even more effective way to generate views. Studies show that people are watching live video three times more than pre-recorded videos on Facebook. The social media platform has even altered their algorithm to ensure live videos remain closer to the top in news feeds than pre-recorded content.

Videos have become imperative to marketing strategies, since they have a vastly greater organic reach than photo posts on most social media platforms. Also, live video takes things one step further by allowing your audience to engage with you directly. This makes live streaming an ideal platform for real-time Q&As, a great way to create brand advocates, and an effective tool to promote conversation about your product, service, and brand.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made the ability to go live incredibly easy. However, there are still some crucial aspects to consider before you make your live stream debut:

  • Make sure to test your connection. Use a dedicated hot spot to ensure that your live stream broadcast doesn’t drop unintentionally due to bandwidth issues.
  • Make your headline enticing. Your headline plays a major role in drawing in people to join your live stream. When creating a live stream title, make sure that you give the audience a reason to want to watch your content.
  • Promote before going live. An impromptu live stream won’t have nearly the same success as one that is scheduled and promoted. Promotion will help encourage participation from your audience.
  • Sound is important. Sound can make a huge difference in your live stream, which makes it crucial that you have the proper sound amplification.
  • Prepare for audience participation. Live stream allows a two-way conversation, and engaging your audience this way can be incredibly beneficial. It’s important to be prepared for potential questions and to monitor them so no one feels left behind.
  • Repurpose your live video. Just because you’ve wrapped up your broadcast doesn’t mean the live video has no further usage. You can repurpose your video by either posting it again at a later date, or even using portions of clips and GIFs from the stream.

2. Engage Influencers

Collaborating with an influencer has become one of the most effective ways to get a brand in front of a massive targeted audience. Influencers have proved themselves to be incredibly valuable to marketing campaigns, drastically increasing conversion rates and retention.


Considering the benefits that come with influencer marketing, it seems the only reason more businesses aren’t utilizing it is that they don’t know how or where to begin. Follow these tips to successfully secure and build a relationship with an effective influencer:

  • Work with a credible influencer marketing agency. There is much more value in developing a long-term engagement strategy with an influencer rather than a one-off stint. A qualified and experienced influencer marketing agency, can help develop the right strategy for you and will then find and build relationships on behalf of your company with influencers that best relate with your brand’s mission, goals, and target audience.
  • Build collaborative relationships with influencers. Successful influencer marketing takes a collaborative effort between the brand and the influencers, and the right agency can help ensure the collaboration efforts are as effective as possible. They are the experts of their arts and audience, and to get the most out of your campaign, work with the influencers to develop content that relays your brand’s message in an organic and authentic manner.
  • Build relationships. Don’t process transactions. When developing relationships with influencers, it’s crucial to find avenues that benefit both them and your business. When both parties are getting what they want out of a campaign, success is inevitable. Establish an influencer marketing program rather than treating it as an occasional project to ensure the most effective strategy is being put forward.
  • Use the right tools. There are a plethora of tools geared towards influencer marketers that will help you identify a campaign’s effectiveness and measure ROI of your influencer marketing initiatives. Use these tools to your advantage to ensure that you have chosen the right influencers for your brand and to help you better understand how to engage and measure your return on any investments.
  • Be creative. Influencer marketing is still fairly new and continues to evolve with each passing day. Think outside of the box and generate ideas of new ways to create and build relationships with your influencers. There are multiple uncharted avenues in influencer marketing that are just waiting to be explored.

3. Quality Content Is Key

The convergence between content and social media is continuing to become more frequent. It’s important that your business is rolling out quality content for your social media strategy to be successful. Content that resonates with users will prompt them to share it, which will only work to increase engagement.

Analyze the engagement your content is generating to understand what your target audience is responding to. This will help you learn to develop content in the future that further parallels the audience’s interest. Content and the audience have a relationship where they inform and depend on each other, which becomes amplified in the vein of live streaming.

Quality live video content can be reworked into an array of future content options, including:

  • Extract blog content. A blog post covering the video’s ideas and topics.
  • Produce multiple short clips. Highlights from the live video can be repackaged as 1-minute clips.
  • Create original memes and infographics. Eminent quotes from the live stream can be further promoted through graphics.
  • Develop podcasts. The audio from the live stream can be converted into a podcast.

Change is inevitable when it comes to social media marketing. Social media platforms are perpetually under renovation in hopes to serve users with innovative and unique features that separate themselves from competition. To stay ahead of the digital curve, it’s crucial to always be looking forward and finding ways to take advantage of what’s coming next.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/future-social-media-marketing-01836359#0KIizB1YtT2VBd30.99

Facebook closes in on two billion users

Facebook is on the verge of reaching 2bn members, with the social media giant closing in on a milestone that will move it into a select group of global companies.

The company is expected to report a blockbuster set of results this week, with revenues rising 45pc. It is expect to report that the number of people that log in every month will have risen to 1.9bn in the three months to the end of April, with the social network now set to close in on 2bn in the coming weeks. Only a handful of multinationals around the world, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble, can boast more customers.

Facebook has defied many expectations in recent years by continuing to find new users despite its size, with growth actually accelerating in recent quarters.

However, analysts believe the company will have to start running out of steam eventually.

“We expect [monthly users] to grow 14pc in Q1 [down from 17pc] as it decelerates due to the law of (really) large numbers,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets said.

Consensus forecasts are for Facebook to report revenues of $7.8bn (£6bn) and profits of $3.3bn, up 72pc on a year ago, when it unveils first quarter results on Wednesday.

Despite its continued growth, Facebook has been under renewed pressure in recent weeks over its ability to police the material shared on it. Its founder Mark Zuckerberg has promised to do more to address violence on Facebook’s live broadcasting feature, as well as the spread of fake news.



This Entrepreneur Skipped College and Made $1,037,100 In Five Months

Alex Tew didn’t give a damn about paying his “dues.”

At 21, he was about to start a three-year business management course at the University of Nottingham . . . but there was one significant problem: money. He didn’t want to be saddled with ridiculous student loan debt he would work years to pay off. Most students his age just shrug and accept that society “requires” them to play by the rules. Tew’s mind was in a completely different place.

After brainstorming ideas to make some extra income to pay off the loans quickly he decided to launch a basic website that would sell one million pixels on the homepage to advertisers for $1 each. A truly strange idea in 2005 that has since been copied ad nauseam.


Though Tew is from England, he thought “million dollar” was more attractive than “million pound” from a marketing perspective. There are more Americans online as well, so he decided to go with US currency. For the record, I think he was right!

The pixels are too small to see individually, so they were to be be sold in blocks of 10×10 for a minimum purchase of $100. Each advertiser could choose what pictures they wanted to display in their allotted space and to where they wanted the pixels to link. The plan was ingeniously simple . . . but Alex had no idea if it would actually work.

“From the outset I knew the idea had potential, but it was one of those things that could have gone either way,” he remarked on FT.com. “My thinking was I had nothing to lose (apart from the 50 Euros or so it cost to register the domain and setup the hosting). I knew that the idea was quirky enough to create interest . . . . The internet is a very powerful medium.”

The first few sales rolled in slowly — mostly to family and friends — propelled entirely by word of mouth. Word spread more quickly as people heard about the site. The BBC picked up the story and it blew up. Visitors poured in. Advertisers lined up. After only one month, the site had made more than $250,000. After two months, it topped $500,000.

Demand spiked around New Year’s 2006 when only 1,000 pixels were left. In the interest of fairness, Tew auctioned the remaining slots off on Ebay to the tune of $38,100. He’d just made $1,037,100 in five months. Media attention was largely praiseworthy, calling the idea a brilliant example of novel, innovative advertising and entrepreneurship in the internet age.


Naturally, others were less enthused. Don Oldenburg of the Washington Post called the site “a cheap, mind-bogglingly lucrative marketing monstrosity, an advertising badlands of spam, banner ads and pop-ups.” He went on to write “it looks like a bulletin board on designer steroids, an advertising train wreck you can’t not look at. It’s like getting every pop-up ad you ever got in your life, at once. It’s the Internet equivalent of suddenly feeling like you want to take a shower.”

Commentary like this always makes me laugh because it’s a prime example of how deeply ingrained the “pay your dues” mentality runs in many of us.

Oldenburg (perhaps appropriately named?) seems to imply that perhaps Tew doesn’t “deserve” such praise or reward because The Million Dollar Homepage doesn’t follow procedure. It’s way outside the box. It’s ugly.

At the very root of his complaint, he probably feels like Tew’s success wasn’t earned. I get it where he’s coming from. To witness a stupid, simple website like this make more in five months than most traditional employees make in an entire career might be infuriating and mind-boggling to some.

It triggers the same type of rage you feel when you see an invention on late night TV and think to yourself, “I could have thought of that!” I’ve been there. The urge to give in to jealousy and envy is strong. But, to the hackers, misfits and rebels of our generation, these types of massive wins by the underdogs of society are simply validation that we’re on the right path. Their success means that we can do the same.You are part of this new world and the opportunity to make such massive strides is yours as well as Alex’s.

Am I telling you to go out and build another Million Dollar Homepage? Of course not. It probably wouldn’t work. The allure was in the novelty. What you should be paying attention to is Tew’s trajectory and overall approach to creating his life. His willingness to take risks. His rejection of the “time spent” model and his playful approach to ethically skipping steps and getting ahead. This is how you need to start thinking.

Jace Hall told me years ago, you don’t need to pass through “B” to move from “A” to “C.” With creativity and hustle, you can live the life of your dreams now. Not in 30 years.

Oh, by the way: After the success of The Million Dollar Homepage, Tew dropped out of the business degree he was fundraising for in the first place. And not a single due was paid. Take that, establishment.

And lots of parents and grandparents won’t like this new truth. Even some of your friends won’t like it, because if you don’t have to pay your dues, that means you can be successful NOW. And that’s scary to a lot of people.

It’s pointless to think this isn’t true. Alex Tew and people like him prove it every single day. He built a simple website, advertised it and he made over $1 million in five months. No dues paid whatsoever. If anybody’s convinces you to let go of this antiquated mindset, let it be Alex.




LinkedIn hits 500M member milestone for its social network for the working world

LinkedIn recently crossed an important and exciting milestone. We now have half a billion members in 200 countries connecting, and engaging with one another in professional conversations and finding opportunities through these connections on LinkedIn.

What does this mean for you?

This community represents 10+ million active jobs, access to 9+ million companies, and with more than 100,000 articles published every week it’s helping you stay informed on the news and views impacting your professional world. A professional community of this size has never existed until now.

But it’s often the small, simple actions today that can lead you to bigger opportunities tomorrow. And access to this community has never been easier because every new connection represents a potential new opportunity.

Your network can accelerate your career

With each connection you make, the total reach of your professional community grows and so do your career opportunities. Every connection…

  • Reflects an average of 400 new people you can get introduced to and begin to build relationships with;
  • Encompasses 100 new companies who may be looking for the skills and talents you offer; and
  • Represents connections to an average of 500+ jobs.



Pornhub launches ‘Snapchat for nudes’ so you can put filters on your genitalia

Pornhub wants to help you step your sexting game up and turn your dirty NSFW selfies into totally SFW nude pics – which is why the adult entertainment giant is launching its very own ‘Snapchat for nudes.’

Available for free on the App Store and Google Play, Trickpics is a simple image manipulation tool that lets you cover up your genitalia with various Snapchat-esque stickers and graphic animations. The app currently offers over 15 filters to choose from, but Pornhub promises more are coming very soon.

While Trickpics works merely for image manipulation tasks, you can use the app to edit your nudes and then share them with friends and lovers via third-party messaging apps.

The good thing is that the tool requires no registration, which means you can play with Trickpics as soon as you’ve downloaded it to your device. To use its filters, you can snap photos with your camera or alternatively load it with images from your gallery.


Among other options, Trickpics has various filters like the ‘Knock Knockers’ for the ladies and the ‘Dick-In-A-Box’ for the gentlemen. Although the app currently works only with images, Pornhub plans to eventually also introduce video filters.

“Selfies have become a popular form of self-expression it today’s society. They are essentially the self-portrait of the digital age, capturing individuals in all their glory,” said Pornhub VP Corey Price. “[Y]ou have the duck face, the bathroom pose, the obligatory gym pic, and, whether or not many of us want to admit it, the nude selfie.”

“We are proud to announce our brand new app that provides graphic animation which overlays an image’s NSFW components to create a SFW, shareable image. Our fans can now share sexy pics with a twist, in a fun way that evokes their creativity,” he continued.

In case you’re curious to browse through the cheeky filters, you can head to the official Trickpics page here. Pornhub has integrated an interactive filter gallery so you can easily check out its collection in action (you might need to disable your adblocker to use it though).

Now head to this page to download the ‘Snapchat for nudes’ and go spice up your genitalia pics with some fun filters.




Scale matters: Advertisers are opting for Instagram over Snapchat

Instagram is mimicking Snapchat, and Snapchat is feeling the pain.

Eight months since Instagram rolled out its Stories feature and just over a month since it launched ads on it widely, it has already surpassed Snapchat. The feature not only has more people using it daily (200 million versus Snapchat’s last reported 156 million) but is also increasingly attracting more ad dollars. Agencies tend to drift where the action is, and, right or wrong, the general feeling is Instagram is on the upswing while the early buzz over Snapchat is fading.

“Many of our clients are deprioritizing Snapchat,” said Tom Buontempo, president at Attention, KBS’s social media arm, who declined to provide names of specific advertisers but whose clients include BMW, Carvel, Novartis and Spotify. “It’s no secret that Instagram has Snapchat in the crosshairs.”

Instagram Stories, like Snapchat, lets users create multiple ephemeral videos and string them together for a 24-hour period. Brands have increasingly been using Instagram Stories, both to post organic content as well as to run ads. A combination of Instagram’s pure reach, targeting and retargeting capabilities and a more interactive relationship with reps has made Stories an attractive bet for brands. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s growth has been a concern for the past few months, with Instagram Stories’ rapid rise coinciding with its slow-down. Since Instagram Stories launched in August, Snapchat’s growth has fallen 82 percent, according to TechCrunch.

While Capital One, Nike, Ben and Jerry’s, and Netflix were among 30 brands that tested out ads on Instagram Stories before they were widely rolled out in March, brands including Honda, Apartments.com, Chobani and Five Hour Energy have run ads on the platform more recently.

Honda, which ran an ad on Instagram Stories for its “Flipbook Series” campaign on April 10, to market the Honda Clarity, chose Instagram over Snapchat for the campaign, because it let the brand tap into the scale of its 1.4 million-plus existing Instagram fans, said Mike Dossett, associate director of digital strategy at RPA, Honda’s agency. Brands already have large audiences on Instagram and often have to do absolutely nothing to get instant engagement at scale on their Story posts. Plus, they can easily tap into Facebook’s underlying infrastructure.

“From buying and optimization to measurement and reporting, Instagram ads (including Stories) are embedded directly within the Facebook ads ecosystem that buyers know and understand,” he said. “That undoubtedly removes a barrier for advertisers with entrenched processes or less nimble buying protocols.”


For Ben and Jerry’s, it was all about scale. The brand was a part of a beta test between January and March, and ran ads on Instagram Stories to promote its new Pint Slices. The ice-cream maker saw a higher CPM rate than its usual benchmark, according to Jay Curley, Ben and Jerry’s senior global marketing manager, and the brand plans to run more ads over the summer.

“In general, we want to serve up relevant stories to our fans wherever they are,” he said. “We have a robust following on Instagram, and people are not only spending more time there but also consuming Stories there.”

It’s also far easier to buy ads on the platform as opposed to Snapchat. Unlike Snapchat, which does not have self-serve advertising options outside of on-demand geofilters (although one for Snap ads is expected soon), Instagram provides marketers with a unified dashboard for buying and tracking ads, making it easier for clients to target and track analytics across a more unified dashboard, said Attention’s Buontempo.

The larger Facebook ecosystem also provides for more nuanced targeting, said Ben Kunz, svp of marketing and content at Mediassociates. Brands can reach people with specific interests in ice cream, for example, or match targeting to their own CRM lists, with all of Facebook’s data toys at their disposal. Instagram also has more flexible buying options, letting buyers buy ads on a performance-based cost-per-click basis apart from a cost-per-thousand impressions basis.

“Both Instagram and Snapchat stories are clever full-screen immersive mobile ad experiences, but taking over a mobile screen is no longer exactly rocket science,” said Kunz. “So it’s not the ‘billboard’ space that matters; it’s the quality of the data behind it. Better audience data always equals better advertising performance.”

Still, it’s not a zero-sum game. Clients have been increasing their Instagram budgets overall to tap into Instagram Stories, said Danielle Johnsen Kerr, director of social and editorial strategy at Deutsch, but they aren’t necessarily shifting already-allotted Snapchat dollars to Instagram. Snapchat’s young audience is still a draw for advertisers, and the platform has also been making efforts to ramp up on measurement and to roll out more self-serve options. Ben and Jerry’s, for example, will also advertise on Snapchat in the summer.

“But it is dependent on the audiences our clients are trying to grab,” she said.



Three Keys To Crafting Successful Videos On Social Media

Five years ago, companies would come to our agency with a fairly simple demand: “I need a social media video.”

To fulfill this request, we’d identify the customer’s target demographic, develop appealing creative for that group, and deliver a single video for the brand to publish on Facebook and potentially Instagram.

Due to the emergence of Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and a revamped ad platform on Facebook, creating one piece of content for video campaigns is no longer an effective strategy. Modern consumers have become masterful ad-skippers. According to a Mirriad study, 90% of consumers regularly click the “skip” button when marketing videos invade their browsing experience. Unfortunately for marketers, outlets like Snapchat and Instagram Stories only make ad-skipping easier.

Consumers have turned to social media platforms because they want to receive news, entertainment and information that is specifically tailored to their interests. Along the way, they’ve learned to completely ignore pieces of content and messages that don’t immediately grab their attention.


Dozens of social platforms exist and each one features a unique group of people with unique desires. It’s foolish to believe that posting the same video everywhere will drive results. If agencies and brands want their content to be seen, they need to make it fit into this highly selective climate.

The Bite-Sized Approach

Rather than distribute a single video throughout every social media platform, modern agencies should instead embrace a fractionalized approach in which the “big idea” (or the backbone) of a campaign is custom-tailored to each site.


This means strategically creating several videos instead of one big video — something my agency recently did for Red Bull. To promote the upcoming Red Bull Air Race in San Diego, we filmed stunt pilot Kirby Chambliss zipping around the sky while skydivers in wingsuits performed aerobatics around him. After shooting with over a dozen cameras, we cut the video into seven unique deliverables that would each fit seamlessly into a social outlet: Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, YouTube and Red Bull’s website.

Video marketing has evolved into an entirely different beast and we have to constantly adapt to stay relevant. Here are three principles that help our agency create successful campaigns in this new climate:

1. Urgency. TIME Magazine declared that goldfish now have longer attention spans than humans. Keep this top of mind when creating videos for social media, as you’ll have between half a second and five seconds to capture users’ attention.

Work hard to hook viewers with stunning imagery within the first few frames of the video, but no matter how tempting it is, don’t lure them in by flashing something irrelevant on the screen. Instead, try having the first few seconds of an ad provide a visual teaser of the best, most relevant part of the video.

For example, if you’re promoting a direct-to-consumer fashion line, starting your spot with a time-lapse unboxing segment will be much more engaging than simple product shots. After you’ve hooked the audience, you can cut away to the explanation of how your product or service works.

Movie studios, in particular, have taken note of the way digital audiences view content. Many promotional trailers — like this one for Jason Bourne — now broadcast brief ads for themselves before the actual trailer begins.



4 easy ways for real estate agents to boost their business with Google AdWords

With today’s online-first consumer marketplace, real estate agents must be as savvy with technology and marketing as ever to rise above their competition. Especially with the influx of millennials entering the real estate market, creating and maintaining a captivating online presence is a must.

Advertising through Google AdWords makes it possible for any agent to harness the undeniable power of online marketing, while staying cost-effective. The tool from Google allows you to select your desired audience and choose which search terms your ad will appear next to in the Google search results that relate to those keywords.

Putting the power in the hands of the advertiser, AdWords gives real estate agents creative and executional control. As a cherry on top, you only have to pay for your ad when the internet searcher clicks on it.

For real estate agents who are interested in opening a Google AdWords campaign, here are a few questions to consider from a user’s standpoint:

  1. Where will your ads take me? The last thing we want to see is for you to draw up a huge, elaborate Google AdWords campaign without thinking about what the internet searcher will land on. Before you put a campaign in motion, ensure your website is well-presented and well-written. If your site cannot easily handle all the leads pouring in it as a result of the advertising campaign, you’ve wasted your money.


  1. What do you want me to do? Make your call-to-action one of the first things the user sees when clicking through your ad. People online have notoriously short attention spans. Considering this, make sure they know what you want from them — their contact information, newsletter signup, or buying or listing a home with you.


  1. How can I work with you? Google AdWords allows you to easily list your business’ information and connect with the leads you’ve worked hard to garner. By having your address and contact information appear as part of your ad campaign, users will not have to frantically try to track you down and lose interest in the process. The most important thing for capturing a lead is making sure you are easy to get a hold of.


  1. Can you work in my area? The beauty of Google AdWords campaigns can be found within its customizability. Ads can be tweaked for variables like ZIP codes or specific neighborhoods so they can pertain to each unique user. Since real estate is such a community-based and location-specific industry, you can get extremely targeted with your advertising campaign to personally reach every lead.


Real estate agents are now able to take control of their own digital marketing. In an online-first marketplace, this becomes increasingly important. Google AdWords gives you the power to customize your campaign to connect with the right leads for your business. Keep these considerations in mind before putting together a cohesive AdWords plan, and users who land on your site will appreciate the personal touch.



How to Go Viral and Make Yourself Wildly Rich

Remember Candace Payne, the “Chewbacca Mom,” from literally three weeks ago? I know you do, because she was completely unavoidable; the four-minute clip of her laughing while wearing a roaring Chewbacca mask quickly became the most viewed Facebook Live video of all time (or at least since people actually started using it about six months ago), racking up more than 150 millions views.

Last week, it was revealed that Payne has made almost $500,000 since streaming her video, reaping rewards in the form of gifts, fees from talk-show appearances, and a handful of all-expenses paid holidays.


Of course, Chewbacca Mom is just one of many viral stars who’ve made serious, life-changing sums following their 15 minutes of fame. In the past year alone, Swedish vlogger PewDiePie earned an estimated $11.8 million via his YouTube videos, while the Sunday Times reports that British beauty vlogger Zoella earns at least $71,000 a month.

But how feasible is it for the average person to make it to that point? YouTube has more than a billion users, who collectively watch 4 billion videos every day. According to experts, 71 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every hour. Since the average clip lasts around 4.12 minutes, from the moment a new video is uploaded, users are competing with over 1.4 million other videos, not counting the trillions of videos already on YouTube and other similar platforms. The odds of going viral are so low that marketing and production company Curveball Media Limited has claimed users have “more chance of getting shot, dating a millionaire, or being flown by a drunken pilot than getting 10,000 views” on a video.

But if by some stroke of sheer dumb luck your video does go viral, how do you capitalize on that and cash in? I spoke to viral content studio the Viral Factory’s founder, Matt Smith, to find out.

VICE: The Chewbacca mask mom has supposedly made almost $500,000 off a single video—how is this even possible?
Matt Smith: I haven’t looked at the last view count, but the first way is obviously just monetizing the video. YouTube and Facebook will pay tiny amounts for each view, as long as you’ve gone into your account and switched on the relevant advertising deals, so effectively, whenever you look at any video with advertising around it, the user is getting paid. So [Payne] will be getting a check from Google because obviously her video’s been seen gazillions of times, and that’s a decent chunk of change.


In fairness, it sounds like a lot of that sum has been given to her in the form of various gifts, rather than in cold hard cash.
Yeah, I heard that Kohl’s sent her some money, and I imagine she will be getting appearance fees. She was on [The Late Late Show with] James Corden, and I’m guessing she made some money off of that. There will also be agencies like us who go, “My god, she’s really hot right now—what can we get her to endorse?” I don’t know specifically about her, but I know there are plenty of other fifteen-minutes-of-fame internet celebrities who have done quite well out of appearing in ads.

Like who?
Well, for instance, “Overly Attached Girlfriend,” the [girl who was a] massive meme on YouTube and Reddit with the crazy eyes—we did a video with her for Samsung that she got paid for. We had the initial idea, but she helped us with the execution and the writing, because obviously it was her character. We flew her out to London, and she’s the main aspect of the video. That’s one thing I can tell you about because we did it, but I’ve seen lots of others, like the Delta Airline inflight safety video. It’s got Charlie Bit My Finger, it’s got the hamster, it’s got the rainbow guy… it’s got the bloke from the Will It Blend? campaign—just loads and loads of internet celebs. They would have all been paid quite decent money to be in that, and there’s a whole bunch of them. It’s a thing now where those people are legitimate celebrities, so they get paid and they get featured in stuff.



Is it feasible that everyday YouTubers and Viners could make this kind of money, or do they need something to go wildly viral before anyone takes real notice?
In theory, anyone could do it. A lot of the people who have had their fifteen minutes of fame are pretty much ordinary people. The Chewbacca Mom is so obviously an ordinary person, which is one of the reasons the video is so great, because you’re totally with her. She’s so obviously just having fun and laughing her head off; there’s no agenda behind it, there’s no nothing, she’s just an average kind of Joe—or Josephine. So yes, it can happen, but you have to do something different. Although she’s a normal person, she’s done something actually pretty exceptional. That video is gold. You know, if we as an advertising agency who specialize in making viral videos tried to make that video, I think we’d fail. It’s almost impossible to conceive of it and direct it and cast it and make it as a film. The fact is it was great because it was completely spontaneous and off-the-cuff.

So it was just one moment of magic?
The odds are fairly stacked against the chances of your average person achieving that. But once it’s done, I think increasingly there are mechanisms that there weren’t ten years ago. I’ve met quite a lot of people at various conferences who had exactly that fifteen minutes of fame, but a while ago, and they found it very hard to make any money. In fact, some of them were upset by the fact they had all the downsides of fame and perhaps they didn’t necessarily want all that attention, but they made zero money from it because the structures weren’t in place. Now, they would probably be contacted by agents.

What kind of structures are you talking about?
YouTube has a representation system where they will talk to brands, and they will put forward their celebrities, so if you’re a girl who does makeup tutorials on YouTube and you’re really popular, YouTube will put you forward to makeup brands, fashion brands, etc, and help you monetize that. I know for a fact there’s a talent agency in LA that specializes in accidental YouTube celebrities. So these days, if that happens to you, even if you’re not that keen on the attention—some people obviously love it, some people hate it—but at the very least, you can make a few bucks. I mean, £350,000 [$500,000] isn’t bad, is it?


Take me through your working process—how are you able to determine what will go viral and what won’t?
As I said before, I think stuff like the Chewbacca mask is really tricky from a creative point of view. What we do is write loads and loads of ideas, and spend bloody hours thinking, and going, “Is that going to work or will it not work? How do we make it work?” We get it wrong sometimes, but more often than not, we get it right because we have the resources that the clients give us to spend on production. We can get really good people involved, we can use photo production, special effects, etc. So that’s one way. It’s not failsafe, but it’s decent.

How long after uploading something are you able to tell if it’s going to be successful or not?
Well there are algorithmic ways to predict viral content, so Facebook probably knew before more-or-less everybody else that the Chewbacca mask lady’s video was going viral, because they would have spotted it even when it was only seen by very few people and shared by very few people. I’m pretty sure it would have shown up on someone’s dashboard somewhere, saying, “This thing is going crazy—it’s on an exponential curve and it’s being shared a lot, far more than anything else we’re seeing today.” Again, YouTube has that. They can spot something that has been made and that is trending or starting to trend pretty much before everyone else does. So those are the two ways [of telling if something is going to go viral or not]; one is predicting it by just being very creative and making good stuff, and the other is, once the content is finished, if you’re the content distribution platform owner and you’ve got sophisticated algorithms, you can probably spot it.

What tips do you have for people who want to go viral and make loads of money out of it?
Think very carefully. That’s what I tell my own kids. They go, “Oh, Dad, can you help me go viral?” and I say, “Oh really? You want to go viral? Why do you want to be famous?” It’s crap being famous. It’s nowhere near as good as you might think it is. Just take a deep breath and go, “Why am I doing this again?” because you’ll have the piss ripped out of you. You’ll become a target—especially if you’re young. But if you’re someone who goes, “Well, actually, I just really want to be famous, so I’ll put up with the downsides,” I think on the internet it’s all about being human. Show your real self and then do something kind of exceptional, but as a normal human being.



Before You Scroll, Try This Mindful Social Media Practice

How many times a day do you check into your social feeds? How many times do you hit refresh in one visit? Our need to be social can backfire on social media, when we accidentally activate the comparing mind, which is a source of much unhappiness. Of course, this can happen offline, too. But the toll looms larger online, with of all those perfectly curated images of people’s lives inviting us to compare our insides to other people’s projection of their outsides.

For teens and tweens, who are actually hardwired for self-consciousness, the constant comparing and curating, which used to end with the final bell of the school day, when kids could go home and put on their sweatpants, is a twenty-four-hour-a-day job. Socializing and social comparison begins first thing in the morning and ends last thing at night. Predictably, psychology research consistently shows that social media is making kids unhappier and more narcissistic.

The sheer volume and instant nature of digital media means that when we log in, we are drinking from a fire hose of emotional stimulus. We can be anywhere in the world and be met by friends’ posts that trigger joy, resentment, sadness, laughter, grief, jealousy, and more—all within moments. None of us, adults or children, are wired to take in that much emotional content at once without reacting.

Research also reveals that social rewards and punishments feel the same online and off. If someone interacts with us in a positive way online, we get the same neurochemical rewards in our brain as we would in person. When we (or our children) are rejected or ignored online, we get the same feeling of rejection as we would in person. More interestingly, the sense of emotional attack activates the same part of the brain as physical attack does. Emotional pain is just as painful, just as real, as physical pain, whether it comes from the virtual world or not.

Mindful Social Media

Yes, social media is contributing to a new era of adolescent (and adult) social stress, but when we accept that it is here to stay, we can also see it as a new opportunity for connection and mindfulness, if we build it. Mindfulness tells us there is insight to be found in anything when we approach it with mindfulness, and that even includes social media.

Try this social media mindfulness practice to explore what your favorite sites are communicating to your subconscious:

  1. Find a comfortable, alert, and ready posture. Shrug your shoulders, take a few breaths, and bring awareness to your physical and emotional state in this particular moment.
  2. Now open your computer or click on your phone.
  3. Before you open up your favorite social media site, consider your intentions and expectations. As you focus on the icon, notice what experiences you have in your mind and body.
  4. Why are you about to check this site? What are you hoping to see or not see? How are you going to respond to different kinds of updates you encounter? By checking your social media, are you interested in connecting or in disconnecting and distracting?
  5. Close your eyes and focus on your emotional state for three breaths before you begin to engage.
  6. Opening your eyes now, look at the first status update or photo, and then sit back and close your eyes again.
  7. Notice your response—your emotion. Is it excitement? Boredom? Jealousy? Regret? Fear? How do you experience this emotion in the mind and body? What’s the urge—to read on, to click a response, to share yourself, or something else?
  8. Wait a breath or two for the sensations and emotions to fade, or focus on your breath, body, or surrounding sounds.
  9. Try this practice with one social media update, or for three or five minutes, depending on your time and your practice.

Noticing how social media makes you feel can help you discover how to use it more mindfully. As you become more aware of the emotions you’re actually inviting into your day when you visit social media sites, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how often to visit those sites.

And, keep in mind, the science of social media is more complex than we might think. For example, research shows that the more we look at others’ carefully curated social media status, the worse we tend to feel. But, the opposite is also true: if we look back at our own updates, we often see the positive aspects of our life presented and tend to feel better. So consider scrolling through your own updates sometimes, as you look at everyone else’s.

Technology does not define us, despite social media trying to put us into categories and reduce us to a series of likes and interests. Examining and changing our own relationship to technology opens the door for us teach through example and to practice new ways of making technology foster community and wellness.



Social Media Marketing Evolves

As social media platforms evolve, adding new tools, mobile offerings, and enhanced personalization, indie authors are evolving with them. Facebook, Twitter, and the other major platforms are more crowded than ever, requiring authors to find more creative ways to be heard above the noise. Compounding this challenge is that these platforms have been adjusting their algorithms to filter posts for perceived relevance. (For example, this summer Instagram introduced a new way of ordering posts “so you’ll see the moments you care about first,” as the company described it in a statement.) This results in promotional messages being pushed lower on users’ feeds or filtered out altogether, putting added pressure on authors who are seeking ways to attract followers and gain attention.

One way around this is for authors to put greater effort into tailoring their social media messaging. “It’s important for authors to interact in an organic way—don’t set up your Facebook page and just say, ‘buy my book,’ ” says Carol Palomba, social media manager for the author submission service Writer’s Relief and its Self-Publishing Relief and Web Design Relief divisions. She has taken to advising the indie authors she consults with to avoid promotional language in their posts and, instead, to “talk about yourself, where you’re getting inspiration from, and share what would be of interest to readers and followers.”

Another way to stand out in a crowded social media landscape is to pay for ads outright. That has been the experience of Mark Dawson, an author of 25 self-published novels who has found significant success promoting his books through paid Facebook ads. He currently spends almost a quarter of a million dollars a year on Facebook ads alone, and has expanded from using them to sell his own books to teaching other self-published authors how to do it for themselves through his Self Publishing Formula service.

Since 2013, Dawson has experimented with a variety of online and social media platforms. He has found that Twitter offers “cheap, targeted clicks” that work well when he is going after a preexisting audience. For example, his spy/action novels share elements with the books of James Patterson, so he has created ads that explicitly say: “Do you like this book? Then you’ll like my book.”

“By looking at the whole thing holistically, you can put together an ad that is compelling,” Dawson says. “Then users click over to the store or sign on to my mailing list.”

Dawson has set up Lead Generation Cards on his Twitter account so that people who follow him receive a mention tweet back (not seen by others) that encourages them to sign up for his mailing list in order to receive a pair of free books. He emphasizes that building a mailing list is one of the most important ways to use social media, calling it “one of the most valuable assets authors can have these days. I can launch a new book into the top 100 on Amazon with the right email campaign.” And, thanks to the evolution of ad technology, it is getting easier for authors to use their promotions to directly sell books. The expanding availability and use of buy buttons on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere allows for direct calls to action to be embedded into ads or profiles, decreasing the number of steps a potential customer must go through from seeing a promotion to making a purchase.

Dawson says that, though Google Ads have worked for him, their high cost makes them less appealing. He has been doing some experimenting on Pinterest and LinkedIn as well. But it’s Facebook that has proved by far the most valuable for Dawson.

That’s not to say that it’s simple to succeed on Facebook, especially as its popularity has grown. When Dawson began using Facebook ads two years ago, “there was no one doing it,” and he was getting a substantial return on investment for his advertising dollars. This has tapered off as more authors and other marketers have embraced the service, and clicks have gotten more expensive and the audience less receptive.

But the number of potential readers on Facebook and the service’s tools to target them appeal to Dawson. “I can say, ‘Find more people like the people on my mailing list,’ and if you have enough points of accurate comparison, you can get a lookalike audience to send your ads to,” he says. While his mailing list is approaching 70,000 addresses, by delivering ads to a lookalike audience, the potential audience rises to millions, rather than tens of thousands.

Value in Video

An increasingly popular social media tool is livestreaming, which allows authors to directly interact with viewers, fans, and prospective customers, whether answering questions during a q&a or tracking their live reactions during a cover reveal. The recently launched Facebook Live has seen steady growth in number of livestreaming accounts and views. For authors struggling to stand out in a crowded newsfeed, the platform is ideal, as Facebook has been working to promote the service and those who stream on it. At least at the moment, if an author goes live, his or her friends receive a notification.

“You will get attention from folks who haven’t been watching what you’re doing,” says Julie Broad, speaker, indie author, and founder of Rev N You Training Inc., which specializes in tips for investing in real estate. Broad has used video to promote her books and events for years, but she believes that now is a particularly good time to get into livestreaming. “Next time you’re in a cool spot that will make for a great background or you have something really exciting to share around your book, go live,” she says.

YouTube Live is also a tool that she has found useful. Using that, Broad livestreamed a fund-raising event she held to promote her 2016 personal-improvement book The New Brand You. She did three burpees (a full-body strength-training exercise) for every person who bought three books at the event, called Burpees for Books. Proceeds from the sales went to the Canadian Red Cross and Believe in Youth.

In addition to offering real estate tips, Broad advises people on how to build their personal brands. She has found some of her greatest success with YouTube videos, which allow for longer messages and tips, and which she has used since releasing her first book, in 2013. While she continues to use YouTube, she has updated her approach to the service in intervening years. “YouTube now favors videos with higher quality when they show recommended videos—for example, HD- and 4K-shot videos are more likely to show above lesser-quality videos with similar content,” Broad says. She adds that she also has found that “good content is not enough to get attention.” As with so much in indie publishing, even if it’s self-produced, it doesn’t have to look it: good lighting, professional editing, and sleek use of sound effects and titles are all important.

Beyond the Big Guys

While Facebook and Twitter are the biggest platforms for authors seeking to interact with their readers, more-niche services appeal to authors who are especially looking to stand out. “There are more platforms than ever before, so that means there is more opportunity than ever before to connect with readers through social media,” says Keith Ogorek, senior v-p of marketing at Author Solutions. “The key is to really understand where your potential readers are gathered and use that platform to reach them.”

Ogorek says authors have found success with BookGrabbr. The service allows authors to share extended previews of their books with readers who post about the books on social media sites, with BookGrabbr then tracking analytics and impacts on sales. Though it’s a paid service, Ogorek has found that “it can really help a book get discovered and shared through your social network.”

The key, Ogorek says, is to focus on the particular platforms or services where readers are most likely to be. Romance authors will find a ready audience with highly visual posts on Instagram and Tumblr. Offering quick tips in Facebook Live or YouTube videos works well for self-help. Authors will find success by zeroing in on certain platforms, and on specific services within those platforms, and learning the nuances of what works and what doesn’t.

To help make sense of all of this, analytics have gotten better for authors. Rather than just looking at how many followers they have, authors can assess how engaged they are, how influential they may be, or how to reach others who are similar.

Ogorek urges indie authors to use these questions to guide their investments in social media and go beyond simply working to increase their numbers of friends or followers. “You are better off having 100 people follow you who have 1,000 followers who they can reach than having 1,000 who have 10 followers,” he says.

It is also key for authors to commit to platforms for long enough to see results. Those expecting instant success will likely be disappointed. But authors who embrace the process, gathering data from the analytics and using that to shape their decisions, are far more likely to learn from each step of their social media marketing efforts.

“There’s time involved,” stresses Palomba, of Writer’s Relief. “I’ve had people who run a Facebook ad and feel disappointed because it didn’t result in a lot of sales.”

Self Publishing Formula’s Dawson expresses a similar sentiment. “I’ve heard people say, ‘I spent $50 on Facebook ads and they aren’t working,’ but this takes time,” he emphasizes. “Some hit on the right combination early; others have to test a bit to get there. You need the data, need to test it and continually figure it out before you start to see a return.”



4 Steps to Selling More Books with Less Social Media

When I ask new email subscribers to tell me their number one book marketing challenge, the answer is overwhelmingly the conundrum that is social media: it takes too much time, and the results are difficult to measure. I agree.

Without a solid understanding of how social media does and doesn’t work, authors resort to the splatter method. But trying to hit every social media channel is a poor marketing strategy. On the contrary—you can successfully sell more books with less social media in four steps:

1. Find, build and target your proprietary audience.
2. Choose a primary social media channel for engagement and selling based on five specific criteria.
3. Designate social media outpost channels to direct potential fans to your primary social media channel.
4. Create a content system designed to foster engagement first and sell books second based on authentic author interaction with fans.

Authors in my online classes are amazed at the amount of time this primary channel system adds to their writing schedule and how effectively they can reach readers on just one channel.

Step One: Find, Build and Target Your Audience

The first step to selling more books with less social media is finding, building and targeting your proprietary audience. Nobody writes a book for everybody. To sell effectively, you need to define your target before you shoot. In this step, there are three main strategies: discovery strategies, content strategies and growth strategies.

Audience Discovery Strategies

Finding your readers shouldn’t be like playing Where’s Waldo. Here are a few tactics to find out where your readers are on social media.

• Survey your own readers. If you don’t know the social media preferences of your readers, ask them. You can send out a free survey on Survey Monkey or Google Forms to all your readers via email and social media posts. Find out who they are (demographics), where they spend their time on social media, and what other authors they read.
• Check free general use statistics on Pew Internet and other free data sites. Pew Internet provides the most reliable and extensive data on social media use worldwide. There are reputable marketing sites like HubSpot, Buffer, Marketo, Nielsen, Social Bakers and others that also publish free periodic data reports on social media use.
• Check your social media channel data. Most major social media channels will give you data about your followers.
• Check with your professional associations. Some writer organizations, such as Romance Writers of America, offer data about the genre’s readers to members.

Audience Content Strategies

Today, many of our marketing efforts are backwards. We think a platform will deliver an audience, but a platform simply delivers a message to an audience we have already built.

We can develop specific content for our audience once we understand who they are. In Jeffrey Rohr’s book Audience, he explains that our proprietary audience is made up of three parts or segments of people. They have different motivations for being there, different buying habits, and are in need of different information. Rohrs explains:

• Seekers are looking for something of personal interest. You gain them by giving them the kind of relevant content they are looking for. They are usually not ready for personal contact. They are seeking information, not connection.
• Amplifiers are looking for content as well, but for their own audiences. They will magnify the reach of your content by sharing it with a motive of gaining credibility or helping their own audience. These are often reporters, influencers, advocates, consultants, reviewers and bloggers.
• Joiners are your most valuable asset, according to Rohrs. They are the mother lode because they respond to your calls to action: subscribe, follow, pin, register, join or buy. They willingly give up their personal information for value. They volunteer to be marketed to. And they will share valuable content with their friends.

When it comes time to crafting valuable, engaging content, this is our backdrop. We’ll look at content extensively in part four of this series.

Audience Growth Strategies

One of the most common mistakes authors make in social media marketing is not understanding how to use social media, websites, email, and other media to actually grow their audience, not just to sell to them.

The best example of implementing this strategy is email marketing. You use your email list primarily for communicating with fans about new releases and sales, and to publish newsletters. But you also use social media to grow your email list with sign-up forms, solicitations for advance reader teams, and other loyalty tactics—all ways to effectively grow your reader base.

When used correctly, social media is a vehicle you can use to be found by new readers, engage fans at a deeper level, and grow your following.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll delve into how to find the best primary social media channel for sales and reader engagement. It’s time to start spending less time marketing and more time writing.



Three social media marketing techniques to try out this year

Here are three features on the three most popular social media platforms that you might like to try out this year.

1. Publish on LinkedIn

It’s not just Influencers who can post to LinkedIn anymore—we all can. In fact the beauty of posting an article to LinkedIn is that you already have an existing audience who may check it out and share it with their friends. LinkedIn is the social media platform for business, so you typically get a lot more traction with your articles than if you posted, say, to Facebook instead.

Give it a go and share some useful tips, stories or anecdotes via an article from your personal LinkedIn profile. Just go easy on the hard sell. You’re there to educate, first and foremost. If people like what you have to say, make sure there is a link back to your website or a call to action to contact you via your LinkedIn profile. If you earn their trust and teach them a thing or two, you may just find it a very valuable source of leads.

2. Instagram Stories

If you haven’t noticed, the world is going crazy for Instagram. It’s now even got the exact feature that made Snapchat so popular. I’m talking about Instagram Stories, which allows you to record short videos and post them for your followers to see. The beauty of Stories is that you don’t need to worry about over sharing because they don’t actually stay on your profile … in fact, they disappear after 24 hours.

This is a great opportunity to humanise your business and give people a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your world. While you’re there, it’s worth posting a few pictures or videos to your regular profile, so followers can get a feel for what you’re all about. Remember, you can include up to 30 hashtags in the first comment area to maximise your visibility on Instagram.

3. Facebook Live

Doing a live broadcast straight onto Facebook might make your heart start racing a bit faster, but I still encourage you to give it a go (or find someone on your team who’s game!).  

The thing I like about Facebook Live is that you just hit the “Go Live” button and you’re off and racing. Nerves aside, all the other barriers have been eliminated. You don’t need technical skills to operate a video camera (you simply tap one button), you don’t need fancy editing software (it’s live and it records as you go), and you don’t have the excuses that used to hold us back with video. 

You know what excuses I’m talking about; with normal pre-recorded videos, many of us insist it must be ‘professional’, ‘scripted’, ’branded’ and ’highly produced’ to be good enough to publish. This means we inadvertently we delay ‘shipping’ the video and we miss the chance to share it with the very people who can benefit. Facebook Live is all about being real, authentic and interactive. Yes, the stakes are a bit higher and it’s scarier because it’s live streaming but I reckon you should try it out and see if you like it. You can communicate with customers, share what’s happening behind the scenes and maybe even have some fun!



WhatsApp will let you recall that message you accidentally sent to your mom

It is not fun when you accidentally send someone a message, but thanks to some sharp eyes, it appears as if WhatsApp might assuage those fears with the ability to recall and edit messages, XDA Developers reports.

Discovered in WhatsApp’s public beta, being able to recall and edit messages are not features that can be turned on — they are disabled by default, so they might not be ready for prime time. Even so, you can theoretically tap a message to then recall it, while you can edit a message through the overflow menu. It is unknown whether you have a certain amount of time to call back a message, but it will be nice to have these features for those prone to typos or for those times when you send a message to the wrong person.

Elsewhere, it appears as though WhatsApp will let you delete a status from the Status tab through a trash can icon in the action bar. Unfortunately, this feature is also disabled by default in the public beta, so folks might need to wait for a server-side update to get things rolling.

The upcoming features come as WhatsApp recently updated the iOS app version that includes the ability to queue messages, even when there is no Internet connection. The Android version has had that feature since 2016, so the update was more of a need to bring the iOS version to parity.

The news also come a few weeks after WhatsApp told Digital Trends that the security “backdoor” reported by The Guardian was deliberate. According to the company, this was to prevent “millions of messages from being lost,” with plenty of security researchers coming to WhatsApp’s defense and The Guardian altering its use of the word “backdoor.”

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/whatsapp-beta-messages/#ixzz4WskowNWQ
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | DigitalTrends on Facebook


3 Keys for Producing Engaging Social Media Content

The goal of good social media content is interaction that leads to loyalty and trust. And the keys to good content are not a mystery. Marketing studies have been conducted on how people buy, what kinds of social media content they respond to, and why.

To sell books on social media, you need to make a connection to your reader. There are three important keys that will help.

Key 1: Be a Good Listener

The first key to creating content that engages your fans is being a good listener. Do you know what your fans want to talk about? What interests them? What are they following, posting about, commenting on?

There are two basic parts of being a good listener: knowing your audience and knowing what they are talking about. Keep up to date on your target group’s lifestyle trends. Are the bulk of your readers under 25 years old? Over 50? What are the issues and trends that age group is talking about? Be aware of their hot button issues, what they’re passionate about, what angers them, and how they spend their money. Pinpoint topics of conversation that dominate groups they’re in. What are their favorite TV shows and movies? Every generation has its stories. Know them.

Key 2: Know the Psychology of Social Media – What Drives Connection?

Companies spend millions of dollars annually trying to find out exactly what motivates people to connect and buy. Fortunately, many of those studies are available for free in online blog posts and from organizations like Pew Internet, Marketo, Buffer, Nielsen, Statista, Social Times, and others. The following checklists will help you define the types of posts that perform well on social media. All are taken from research studies done in the last two years:

The 4 Most Popular Types of Social Media Posts: What Gets the Most Engagement?

1. Text with images. There is nothing that engages on social media like images. If done well, they are a magnet for the eye in a constant stream of fast-moving social media content. They say “stop and look” if even for a brief moment. In order to get someone to click, the image should amplify or tease the content, not just a cute picture of a baby or a cat.

2. Posts designed to get comments. There are a number of ways to get people talking. The first is to give them something interesting to talk about. Start a conversation. Leave the door open for a conclusion, post your opinion on something in a way that will make them want to add theirs. Ask a question.

3. Posts that have secondary promotion. A secondary promotion is one that refers to a book but doesn’t come right out and say, “Buy this book.” This could be a picture of you at a book signing or your book in the window of a bookstore. Or it could be a picture of a box of giveaways getting ready to be mailed after a big contest. Maybe a picture of a glass of champagne that you are using to toast the end of a book draft. You get the picture. It keeps you and your books “top of mind,” as we say in marketing, but isn’t asking for a direct sale.

4. Posts with links. Hook your fans into the story, include a good image, and then give them a link to click on. Links are necessary in a selling post, but when you are posting an interesting article you find online, include the link as well. It usually populates a nice image that will catch the eyeballs as well.

6 Things Your Fans Want from You on Social Media

What do your fans want from pages they follow on social media?

1. Giveaways/Discounts. Not everyone is searching for freebies all the time, but people like to be rewarded occasionally. They like a chance to win something, and they like discounts. You don’t need to overdo this, but your interactions need to occasionally include generosity.

2. Advice. People want to be advised. What’s the best kind of diaper to use? How do you break up with somebody? Social media has become the new encyclopedia and advice column rolled into one. People like answers, and they crave the input of trusted voices.

3. Warning. A sign of caring is to help people understand the dangers around them. This isn’t telling them which presidential candidate to vote for; it’s letting them know about scams and common dangers. I know—for some of you this is telling people who to vote for, but resist the urge to go there on social media. Save that for private conversations, unless you only want readers with your same political views.

4. Amusement. Laughing is good for your heart, your health and your soul. If you can make people smile, giggle and guffaw, they will be more likely to engage with your next piece of content. Just watch appropriateness here. You don’t want to make fun of people, unless it’s yourself.

5. Inspiration. We all love to hear stories of people who beat the odds, who overcame a difficult situation, or people who did something wonderful for someone else. The triumph of the human spirit is inspiring. This includes inspirational quotes.

6. Amazement. People, animals and nature can do some pretty surprising things. What makes you say “wow?” Is something so astonishing that you have to watch or look or read? Is it something we’ve never seen before? I find many of these types of articles on BuzzFeed and similar news sites.

6 Emotions to Connect With

This category answers the question about the emotional appeal of social media. What emotional connection makes people keep coming back? People want to feel:

1. Happy. Again, people love to laugh, smile, feel good about themselves, others, and their world.

2. Inspired. Inspiration is a key to perseverance. Let’s face it—the world can be a cruel place. Inspiration gives us confidence and courage.

3. Compassionate. Compassion is the capacity to care about people and things outside ourselves.

4. Informed. It’s not just FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that drives people to want information. Help people stay on top of news, cultural trends, what’s going on with your books, and much more.

5. Supported. People want to feel that they’re ok and that others identify with their lot in life. Be a friend to everyone, and look for posts to share that celebrate diversity and hope.

6. Connected. We humans have a driving need to connect with others. No man (or woman) wants to be an island.

Key 3: Every Post Needs a Call to Action

The last key has to do with the nuts and bolts of marketing: every post needs a call to action, whether implied or stated. The actions that followers take on social media are weighted by a platform’s algorithm. For instance, in Facebook’s algorithm a share is worth more than a comment is worth more than a like.

Your job in every post is to get your fans to take an action on a post so the algorithm will open the doors and let more fans see the post. That defines your engagement rate: the number of fans who take an action on a post against the number of fans you have. We want fans to like, click, comment or share. The higher the engagement rate means the more fans will see the post.

The three key elements to social media content will help you craft posts that connect with followers, build loyalty, and ultimately help sell your books without having to constantly post “Buy my book.”



Jake Paul Raises $1 Million for Social Media Venture

Jake Paul, a social-media star and actor, has raised $1 million in funding for TeamDom, his company dedicated to promoting and incubating internet talent and their content projects.

The funding was led by China’s Danhua Capital, which focuses on early- and growth-stage investments. Other investors include Horizons Alpha’s Edward Lando, Vayner Capital’s Gary Vaynerchuk, Abe Burns (of Sound Ventures and A-Grade Investments), and Adam Zeplain.

Paul, who is TeamDom’s founder and CEO, said the funding will be used to recruit more talent managers and other staff; to develop and monetize influencer products; develop a TV show; and to produce more branded content.

“Social media isn’t just an alternative to traditional media — it’s turning the traditional model on its head and totally shaking up how consumers make decisions,” he said. “We know the world of social inside and out, and we offer unprecedented expertise, scale and process for this lucrative new frontier.”

Paul, who rose to fame on Twitter’s now-defunct Vine, has 4.1 million followers on Instagram, 1.8 million on YouTube, and 1 million on Twitter. The 20-year-old, who made his TV debut in Disney Channel’s “Bizaardvark,” is the younger brother of Logan Paul, who’s also a big social star and actor.

TeamDom operates Team 10, which Paul describes as “social-media talent label” akin to a record label in terms of providing development and promotional support. Team 10’s roster collectively has over 40 million followers and 7 billion video views. Members include Jake Paul, AJ Mitchell, Alex Lange, Alissa Violet, Lucas and Markus Dobre, Neels Visser, Stan Gerards and Tessa Brooks. Last October, Jake Paul and other Team 10 members went on a 14-city U.S. tour produced by DigiTour.

TeamDom, based in West Hollywood, currently has 10 full-time employees. The company also runs a talent incubator, Team Fuze, that identifies emerging talent and Team X, an agency built to bridge the gap between American influencers and China’s closed-off social media ecosystem.

“What really differentiates us is, all these influencers have millions of followers but they’re not doing anything strategically long-term to build their businesses,” Paul said.

Dovey Wan, managing director at Danhua Capital, said TeamDom will fill the vacuum for brands trying to reach consumers through influencers. “TeamDom is the only player in the marketing space that has this new paradigm baked into its original source — not only a vast network of young influencers but a mighty facilitator to help more young talents rise up,” Wan said.


Jake Paul Raises $1 Million for Social Media Venture