Smart brands know how critical it is to have a strong social media presence. According to Statista, 81% of Americans and almost two billion global consumers have at least one social media profile. It’s become obvious that it’s not a matter of if your customers are on social media, but which platforms they’re on and what types of content they respond to most positively — especially for increasing sales.
So what trends and practices should your business be paying attention to right now? We asked members of Young Entrepreneurs Council for their social media predictions, and how brands can best leverage them for marketing success in 2018.
1. Selling On Social
With Facebook Marketplace, Instagram’s Shop Now button, Pinterest’s Buyable Pins and tools like Yotpo consistently evolving to increase product visibility and user engagement, we will see the number of brands selling on social skyrocket in 2018.
2. Higher Quality Video Content
Instead of brands using digital influencer channels for video content, they will leverage influencers to create the content. Influencers with high-quality content will make the biggest impact. Businesses need to continue building relationships with influencers in their niche markets to benefit from this.
3. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories were introduced not too long ago, and already they are seeing much success. In 2018, I see businesses leveraging the swipe up feature linking those stories to their websites, blog posts, etc. Getting new and existing users to swipe up and engage with your business is going to be an asset to the marketing mix this year.
4. Augmented Reality Filters
I expect to see more intelligent augmented reality filters on Instagram and Snapchat. Business leaders can take advantage of this trend by developing filters as part of their marketing campaigns that enhance the user experience, rather than interrupt it.
Live video marketing is becoming an influential form of digital content for businesses today and, if done right, it can have a very positive impact on your business. Creating live video content on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can boost search engine rankings, engagement and website traffic. Leverage it by doing live webinars, product demos, marketing hacks, interviews and more.
Customers will expect to have conversations directly with brands through interfaces like Facebook Messenger, click-to-chat ads in Google and other chatbot features. As people get accustomed to asking questions, brands need to answer those questions in real time. To do this, they need chatbots powered by AI and machine learning and a human understanding of their customers’ most critical questions.
7. Quality Content Curation
People are inundated with an absurd amount of content every time they go online. Every day sees the release of scores upon scores of articles, podcasts and videos, all varying wildly in quality. Using social media to curate high-quality content that is tailored toward your particular niche can increase audience retention and engagement.
8. Multi-Guest Videos
Social media is connecting likeminded people from all over the world. My prediction for 2018 is that we’re going to see more multi-guest videos where content creators will debate each other or share likeminded opinions in the same video. Whether they’re prerecorded or live, multi-guest videos are here to stay.
9. Video Ads
I think there will be more video ads and sponsored video content that will tie into people’s love of video. Watch what other companies do and observe what works to jump in.
10. Complex Ad Funnels
With more tools and a better understanding of social behavior, marketers will double down on complex advertising funnels to get visitors incrementally to the point of conversion. Instead of flashing a newsfeed offer to a sales page, they could use a video ad, followed by a quality piece of content, followed by an email opt-in, followed by a drip sequence leading into an offer.
11. Virtual Reality
Facebook is starting something called Spaces, a kind of VR version of Google Hangouts. As VR takes off, this kind of meeting space will be very popular with millennials and Gen Zers. Businesses may not be able to advertise directly on such platforms, but they should look for ways to enter the VR realm. For example, partner with an influencer to talk about your product in a VR setting.
If you enjoyed this round-up article and actionable tips from experts around the world, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to create content and bring audiences back to your site. Make sure you have a quality blog representing your brand online.
7 Surefire Ways on How to Make WordPress Site Secure
According to this study, 73.2% of the most popular WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attacks. Surprisingly, the reason is not that WordPress is inherently unsafe.
WordPress is backed by one of the hardest-working and most innovative security teams in the industry. These IT pros tirelessly ensure that the platform is well maintained and secure for users.
You may be surprised to learn that vulnerabilities are often caused by WordPress site owners themselves, through either negligence or ignorance.
You as a site owner cannot afford to neglect your website’s security, and it’s really not difficult to set up a security plan that will protect your site’s integrity. There simply is no excuse!
Here are seven simple tricks that you can implement right now to make your WordPress site more secure:
1. Set up your website’s lockdown feature
Hackers trying to force their way into your site? Set up a lockdown feature that will lock your site after a certain number of failed login attempts.
If your site is bombarded by failed login attempts, you can set up your site to go on automatic lockdown. This feature will prevent the culprits from entering a username and password from the login area. You’ll also be instantly notified of the suspicious activity.
There are two interesting plugins that provide this feature. You can’t go wrong with either, to be honest.
2. Implement two-factor authentication
Require users to provide two different login details to prove their identity.
As a website owner, you can choose how to implement your two-factor authentication scheme, often a password followed by a secret code or a secret question.
One of the more popular ways to implement two-factor authentication is to use an app that will send a secret code directly to the user’s phone. That way only authorized users can gain permission to log in to the website.
Again, there are plugins that will help you set up this authentication feature, each with their pros and cons. Test them out first to determine the plugin that best fits your needs.
3. Change your password regularly
Frequently changing your password is one of the simplest ways to secure your website, as it limits security breaches to all your accounts.
If you haven’t been doing this with all of your accounts, you’re more vulnerable to getting attacked!
It’s very common for people to use only one password for all of their accounts. That means once a hacker gets hold of your password, he can quickly access everything.
When you change your password, don’t forget to strengthen it by using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
Using LastPass to store and save all your passwords can make things easier. Install this add-on on your browser to automatically fill out the login details of the site. You can also regenerate a strong random password for your website straight from the tool.
4. Secure your website’s wp-admin directory
The wp-admin directory is responsible for breathing life in to your website. Once it’s breached, your whole site will be compromised.
To prevent disaster, you can secure the wp-admin directory with a password. Consider implementing a two-factor authentication scheme that will protect both the login page and the WordPress admin area.
5. Limit your use of plugins
As useful and crucial as plugins are to the success of your WordPress site or blog, most WordPress hacking incidents are caused by a plugin.
That’s why you need to be vigilant when choosing WordPress plugins and themes to install.
I’ve suggested plugins you can use for your site, so obviously I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use them. Unless you can limit login attempts using lines of code, for instance, it’s still in your best interest to use plugins for your site.
However, use the fewest plugins possible for your WordPress website. When you have no use for plugins, or even themes, delete them from your database immediately.
Look for plugin-free alternatives that you can use to supercharge your site instead. For example, if you want to redirect pages on your site, learn how to edit your .htaccess file instead of installing a plugin.
6. Get an SSL certificate
An SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, certificate is another effective way to protect your website’s admin panel. SSL encrypts data, which secures the data transfer process between the server and users’ browsers.
When your site is protected by an SSL certificate, it becomes very challenging for hackers to access your information. The best thing about getting an SSL certificate is that you won’t have to rely on plugin installations to secure your website.
Some domain and hosting providers offer free SSL certification for your site. However, if they don’t, you’ll need to buy a certification and manually set it up. The steps in this post will show you how.
7. Back up your WordPress website regularly
The best way to protect your website from attacks is to prepare for the worst. At the end of the day, having an off-site backup will help you restore your WordPress website with minimal downtime. With just one click, you can get your website back up as if nothing happened.
Again, you can use a plugin that will create automatic backups for your site on a regular basis. One of the best ones on the market is UpdraftPlus. With the free version, you can manually save a copy of your site to the cloud. The premium version lets you create backups on a schedule, so you’ll be ready if worst comes to worst.
Website security is serious business. However, many solutions are a piece of cake to implement. Follow these tips and you’ll be doing your part to keeping your website safe, even when hackers attack.
Blog Post Writing – Reasons Why You Should Task a Professional to Help You Write Your Blog Posts
“Too often, feeling intimidated becomes our excuse not to be awesome.” – Scott Stratten
Is your main aim in life to be a successful blog owner and to reach (and influence) thousands of people like The Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle’s blog: The Tig? However, you do not feel as though your writing skills are not up to par with some of the top blogs currently available on the Internet.
Fortunately, not all is lost. And, as the quotation mentioned above by Scott Stratten infers, feeling intimidated is not a reason to believe that you cannot start your blog. If it is your passion and dream, then it is essential to reach for your dream and start your blog. These sentiments might sound old and cliched; however, they are still valid in today’s hectic-paced, instant, post-modern world.
Therefore, the question that begs is how should you get your blog posts written? Bearing in mind, that it is vital to post engaging, informative posts.
The succinct answer to this question is to hire a skilled essay writer.
By way of an extended explanation, here are several additional reasons why you should appoint a specialist to write your blog content for you:
Provide high-quality content
A content specialist is well versed in the art and science of structuring a blog post, or essay, in a way that enhances and highlights the topic. It cannot be reiterated enough that the main aim of a blog post, or any website content for that matter, is to attract traffic and, ultimately, convert this traffic into income.
Track future blogging trends
A writing specialist will prioritize the importance of staying up to date with future blogging trends. As mentioned above, the Internet is full of content, from extremely poor-quality to high-quality on the other side of the scale. And, the high volumes of material that are available for consumption is only going to increase in 2019, and onwards. And the specialist writer will make it a priority to keep abreast of the 2019 blogging trends.
Thus, it makes sense to hire an expert writer to write your blog posts for you. It’s a win-win situation.
Write optimized content
Content that is optimized for optimal ranking on the Internet’s prominent search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo need to be carefully structured so that all of the search engine’s ranking algorithms can crawl through the content finding the keywords and key phrases that the blogger wishes to emphasize. Secondly, and equally importantly, it is vital to ensure that the material contains secondary keywords as well as other phrases that are pertinent to the topic and primary keywords.
For example, if the blog post is on how to score goals when playing football, the writer needs to include phrases that are relevant to football and how to play the game. The modern search engine algorithms are known to search for all of these different types of phrases. If they aren’t found, then the content runs the risk of achieving a low ranking on the Search Engine Results Page. And this negative result is not beneficial to the blog’s overall ranking and traffic figures.
Branding Your Blog: How to Make an Impact to Your Readers
People often think of branding as an exclusively visual component of their website or blog.
And while choosing a logo and coming up with a creative tagline or design plays a crucial role in your branding strategy, there’s actually more to branding your blog than meets the eye.
Before we proceed, ask yourself these questions:
Have you ever stopped to think about what your target market actually thinks of your brand?
What do your published content, your tone on your social channels, and your overall image say about your brand?
You see, to create a holistic brand for your blog, you also need to consider the non-visual aspects of it as well.
Therefore, if you want to generate more traffic to your blog, you need to develop a brand that will attract and engage your target market.
Here are some tips on how you can make an impact on your readers through branding:
Bank on beautiful yet functional design
When it comes to making the right impression on your target audience, there are two blog design elements that you need to focus on – your logo and layout.
Having a logo is important because it doesn’t just symbolize your brand’s identity. It also invites people to get to know you.
Your logo is one of the first things that people see. So if you want your blog to stand out, you need to have a professional logo design that will capture your brand’s core principles.
Renderforest logo maker is one of my favorite tools because it quickly gets the job done without the tedious process.
When it comes to your blog’s layout, it’s not enough that you post kickass content on your blo., You also need to make sure that your blog’s design is optimized for conversion.
Here are three tips to help you create a lasting impression.
- Use large, beautiful feature images to support your content – Using high-quality images is a great way to draw your readers’ attention to your blog. The current trend is to use large images that will compel readers to read your blog articles.
- Highlight your best assets – If you’ve been blogging for a while now, you probably already have a couple of articles that perform better than the rest. Put your best content forward by showcasing them on your blog’s main page.
- Improve your blog’s load speed and UX – Always check your website for lag. Remember, there’s no point in having a beautiful blog if it will take forever to load.
Deliver content that your audience craves for
Your blog’s driving force will always be your content.
This is why, if you want to turn visitors into loyal readers, you need to continually create compelling content that will keep them coming back for more.
Your content should not only clearly represent your brand as a blogger, but also the values that your blog stands for.
When creating content that is tailor-fit to your target audience, make sure to choose your topics wisely. You want to give your audience information that they’re explicitly searching for.
As a freelance writer, I help create customized content for clients using an SEO tool like Serpstat. It helps me to research for low-hanging fruit keywords, scout the competition for opportunities, and more!
If you want to learn how I use Serpstat to implement my content marketing process, check out this review I wrote about the tool.
Interact and engage through comments
Another way that you can make an impact on your readers is to connect with them on a more personal level.
Something as simple as replying to blog comments can make a significant impact on your readers.
When you reply to your readers’ blog comments with insightful and helpful information, you’re not only inviting them to interact with you more, you’re also showing them that they matter.
Or you can reverse engineer the process by commenting on other blogs.
Take a cue from Ryan Biddulph, founder of Blogging from Paradise.
He goes out of his way to leave insightful comments on everyone’s blogs.
Due to his ubiquitous comments, readers can’t help but associate his blog with the quality comments he leaves. As a result, Blogging from Paradise is now one of the most popular and respected blogs around.
Ryan discusses his commenting strategy in his interview here. You can copy his tactic so you can help create a good image of yourself and your online brand.
Get busy on social media
Your interaction with people shouldn’t stop with your blog.
Take the discussion to a broader audience by getting busy on social media!
Your social channels like Facebook and Twitter are not just tools for getting your message out there. They can also be used to reach out to your audience and build your brand.
While there’s a lot of competition on social media platforms these days, you can set yourself apart by following these tips:
- Develop your brand’s personality – Your target audience will be more likely to engage with you when they can relate to your brand’s personality. While developing your brand’s personality may take time, you can find your unique voice by considering your company culture, audience, and values.
- Stick to your content strategy – Stay consistent by picking a few topics that are related to your specific niche. This way, your audience will easily associate you with the industry that you’re a part of.
- Reach out to influencers – Influencers can help you reach out to a broader audience. Building relationships with key influencers in your niche will help you amplify your branding with minimal effort.
How about you – any tips you know that can help others with their blog’s branding? Comment below and share your insights!
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