Instagram is a great place to see pictures of sunsets and share photos of your food with your friends, but can the photo sharing app really help you drive traffic to your blog? While Instagram marketing is not as straight-forward as publishing your links on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram still presents a huge opportunity to build new audiences for your blog.
The key is to adapt your content to fit the platform, optimize for discovery, and incentive and direct your viewers to meet your goals. In this blog post, I will share five secrets to successfully drive traffic to your blog using Instagram.
1. Start with relevant quality content
Success on Instagram emerges from sharing compelling images. This is a photo sharing app after all. Follow all the best practices for photos that perform best on Instagram. Use some of the popular photo apps to improve the quality of your image. Consider elements or colors you can add or subtract that tend to increase engagement. For example, using the color blue, maintaining a dominant color and compositions with more space have been found increase likes on Instagram.
But if directing traffic to a blog post is your goal, the key is to make sure that the image is relevant to your blog post or topic at hand. Can you share a scene that is representative of your blog post? What about the visual expression of an emotion that underlies the post? How about visualizing a compelling quote from the piece?
Taking the time to prepare and optimize this image is the first step in attracting new eyeballs to your writing.
2. Utilize Captions
Yes, Instagram is about the visuals, but captions are an important part of the puzzle as well. Counter to popular assumptions Instagram offers a lot of space for lengthy captions. Up to 2200 characters to be exact. As writers, this is your place to shine.
Use the caption to tease your story. Give the audience a sample of your style and your structure. Draw them in with your words and tell them a snapshot of what they will learn from your full post. Give them just enough to make them want to read more. Since Instagram shortens your captions in a user’s feed, keep your most compelling information in your first two sentences.
Then tell them how they can read more. Make it explicit and direct. The easiest way to do this is by providing a new link in your profile and adding a “Click the link in my bio,” in your caption. Tell them what they will find when they click.
3. Add trackable short links
Instagram is weary of turning into a Twitter-like link machine. As a result there still remains just one place you can include a link to content. But the good news is you can update that link as often as you like. Take advantage of that offer.
Each time you share a new photo that connects to a blog post, change the link in your profile. Use Bitly or Google’s URL Shortener to create a short link. Not only do these give you the benefit of creating a short manageable link, they are also trackable.
Keep an eye on how these links perform. From this you can learn what is appealing to your audience. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
4. Use text-overlays to add call to actions and branded words in your photo
Your captions aren’t the only option for directing people to that link. Add those call to actions right in your photos. Use a tool like Canva to add a text overlay to your photo. This could be your domain name or a specific call to action like “Link in Profile” or “Visit blog for more”.
As regramming, the process of sharing an Instagram post from another user with your own audience, becomes a more common practice adding brand to your photos has become more important. Ideally someone would find your photo compelling and share it with their audience. With a text overlay, the new audience will see the brand or blog to visit to see more of your content.
5. Optimize for discovery
Now that you have a great photo, caption, and correct link in place, you want to get that photo out to as many people as possible. You can do this by understanding the platform, using the right hashtags and location tags, and posting at the highest traffic times.
Take a minute to research what tags are performing best in your given topic. Using Instagram’s Search & Explore feature you can type a hashtag to see the number of posts using that tag. Make sure you use the right combination of words or phrases to connect your content to the most popular conversation. Even better if your post relates to one of the most popular hashtags of the day. These are the trending hashtags that are being visited and shared by Instagram users as sorted on the Search and Explore home tab on Instagram.
Finally, sharing those photos at the right time. With so many photos coming through an Instagram user’s feed, your photo is likely to get lost if you post at a time when people are not engaged. From working with the thousands of bloggers who use our platform we found sharing photos in the morning from 8-10am, lunchtime, and evening from 7-9pm lead to more engagement. Use a scheduler like Viraltag to create your posts in advance and set to post at the optimal times.
Designing great posts optimized to perform best on Instagram that act as teasers for your blog content will lead to more traffic. Try out these techniques and let us know what you learn.
14 Social Media Tips For Attracting Gen Z Audiences in 2019
As the workforce and consumer market’s next up-and-coming demographic, Gen Z is an attractive target audience for many businesses. Depending on your company, you may want to consider this audience in your social media efforts to engage prospective customers and employees. However, it’s important to remember that each generation has their own unique preferences — what worked in attracting millennials, for instance, won’t necessarily work for Gen Z.
To help you target Generation Z on social media, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for some tips they’ve used to successful appeal to this audience. Here is what they advise:
I think that personalization is one of the best ways to appeal to Gen Z on social media. Studies show that more people want to see personalized content and advertisements than ever before, starting with Gen Z. We can use this love of personalized experiences to create content playlists and advertisements that appeal to this crowd.
2. Influencer Marketing
Studies have shown that the Gen Z audience relates more to influencers than celebrities, so influencer marketing on social media is a great way to connect with them. When they see someone that they can relate to using a product, they’re more likely to buy that product too. Influencer marketing is a form of social proof that the Gen Z audience can trust.
One of the best ways to generate leads for your business, especially with the Gen Z crowd, is by having a chatbot available on your social media account to answer any questions. Live chat reps are good for some tasks, but if a customer has a common inquiry, you could implement a chatbot to help resolve these questions or concerns in seconds.
4. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are widely popular with the Gen Z audience. Instagram Stories are great because they’re short and engaging, which is perfect for an audience with a shorter attention span. With so much content on the internet, it’s important to get information across quickly and in an entertaining way.
5. Answer Their Questions
Gen Z prefers to engage with businesses on a more personal level, so taking time to answer their hard-pressed questions when other brands ignore them can set you apart from the rest. Try to solve their pain points and figure out what they need help with so they look to you as an expert and appreciate what you can give them.
6. Video Content
Blog content is great and capable of getting millions of views, but Gen Z seems to prefer video content over traditional text. I like to mix it up by creating a blog post, then creating a short video version of the article for people who prefer this format.
7. Leverage FOMO
People, especially in the younger crowd, hate to feel like they’re missing out on anything important going on. That’s why using FOMO, or fear of missing out, is such an effective method to get their attention on social media. Make it sound urgent that they take some sort of action beneficial to your business. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. Focus Your Efforts
Facebook is trending towards the millennial and older group, while Tik Tok, Snapchat and even Instagram are much more appealing to Generation Z. Make sure you focus your efforts on the channels in which your audience exist, then produce content that resonates with them. Short videos, in particular, are very powerful for interacting with this audience.
9. Value-Driven Content
When communicating with Gen Z through my social platforms, I focus on providing some form of value in the content that I share. There is no audience as tech-savvy or as fluent and comfortable with different online platforms as Gen Z, and in turn, they will not be impressed by or respond to something that is not of value to them. Providing value allows you to cut through the clutter and resonate.
10. Mobile Experiences
Go mobile, because that’s where the Gen Z audience is. Smartphones are what they live by. This can supersede other strategies that might seem effective because, in the interests of the demographics, you have to go to the device where they’re at the most. On that note, your website should be perfectly optimized to mobile.
11. No Filters
If you’ve been following Gen Z on Instagram and other social media, you might have noticed that they don’t spend nearly as much time as, say, millennials to make their feed look polished. Many of them specifically bypass Snapseed and post straight from their phone. The “realness” of this world is what really attracts young people from this generation, so just be real and capitalize on imperfection.
12. Images and Memes
The younger generation has a short attention span. Get your message across quickly by using images and memes. Avoid any marketing message that takes more than 10 seconds to initially consume.
13. Behind-the-Scenes Content
Gen Z is a more self-aware generation. They use social media for entertainment as well as learning. Using video content to give them behind-the-scenes glimpses into the brand, creating how-to videos and using social media for telling compelling stories is the best method to boost engagement. They don’t want to be sold to, so brands need to forge organic connections through their content.
14. Corporate Social Responsibility
Use a social cause to drive your brand and product mission forward. Create social media campaigns and profiles that are associated with improving life. The majority of Gen Z care deeply about making an impact and they want to be aligned with brands and products that do just that. Do this in an engaging way, like through Instagram story, to build a more personal connection this generation craves.
Social Media is the Path to Generation Z
In addition to the many tips and marketing methods listed above, it’s also important to have an effective content creation and marketing strategy in place.
To learn more about what’s working best for bloggers, brands and content marketers on social media, click here for more tips and actionable methods you can start implementing today.
#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free
The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.
We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.
What is a YouTube Banner?
When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.
Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.
If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.
What are the Banner Specifications?
When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.
According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:
- Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
- Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
- Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
- Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
- File size: 4MB or smaller
What Should I Include in My Banner?
Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.
Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates
There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.
Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.
Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.
Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.
It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner
We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.
Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!
The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.
I make over six figures every month and so can you. Sign up below to get instant access to my exact blogging strategy!
Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce
The number of hurdles standing between online shoppers and completing transactions is dwindling. The path to purchase is getting smoother as retailers move toward frictionless ecommerce. Gone are the days where shoppers must visit an ecommerce website to buy a product, especially if they originally spot the product on a social media platform.
Nowadays, social shopping is capable of enabling people to reduce the number of steps to checkout by allowing them to buy without exiting social media. Instagram Checkout is the latest feature geared toward making it easier to complete deals. Here’s more on this announcement and its potential impact on the ecommerce industry as a whole.
First, What Is Frictionless Ecommerce?
When you hear the word friction, you probably think of resistance. This force can be useful, like using sandpaper to smooth down rough wood. Or this force can be a hindrance, like trying to slide a piece of heavy furniture across the floor. In ecommerce, friction is undesirable because it means shoppers are meeting resistance when they try to proceed through the sales funnel.
Frictionless ecommerce is something sellers are seeking out because it allows them to “integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments,” according to BLM Technologies.
One of these natural environments is social media, an activity in which many users are spending a larger chunk of each day. It only makes sense to try to sell to people there, rather than requiring them to visit a separate website each time they want to browse or buy.
The ethos behind frictionless ecommerce tells us reducing the number of steps it takes to buy products online will motivate more people to stick around for as long as it takes to convert. Less hassle translates into more sales and a better customer experience.
Of course, it’s still vitally important to set up a responsive, fully featured online store complete with secure checkout. After all, some people won’t use social shopping. Today, leading platforms like Shopify offer free ecommerce website builders to help retailers run their stores. Branching out into frictionless ecommerce in the form of social shopping will help merchants capture even more sales by offering shoppers flexible options.
Building a Trusted Brand and Following Will Still Apply
As you can imagine, with more than a billion active users on the Instagram platform, it’s going to get quite competitive when it comes to ecommerce advertising. With that being said, this is where traditional authentic and organic followers and engagement will come into play.
We recently talked about the power and effectiveness of using a tool like Kicksta to automate the audience targeting and engagement process. For ecommerce and online stores, this is one of the best ways to put your Instagram marketing efforts on auto-pilot, which also reaching new audiences daily.
This also leads to better paid advertising and remarketing options as well. Once a user starts following your account, you have a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to offer.
Set up a new Instagram ad campaign that targets your existing followers, then compare the results with your outside targeting and default ad campaigns. We are sure the existing follower audience set will perform much better. You can visit their website here and watch the short video on their homepage to see how the process works.
The Rise of Instagram Checkout in Ecommerce
Instagram is a highly visual platform, allowing brands to connect with users through engaging images, videos and captions. If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you know the feeling of seeing something you like and wanting to know more about it — or perhaps even conducting an impulse purchase it on the spot.
Instagram Checkout aims to tap into the marketing prowess of this app by “allowing users to complete product purchases without having to leave the app.” It’s all of the convenience of online window shopping without even having to go into the store, except people can still get their hands on the product. Plus, after Instagram users enter their payment data once, the app saves it for future purchases. Thus, the purchasing journey remains inside a single app — making it more convenient and tempting for mobile shoppers who follow their favorite brands online.
At the moment, Instagram Checkout is a feature in beta testing available to about 20 top brands. An advanced version will be available to more merchants down the line, which means we all need to prepare for the wider acceptance of social shopping. Once this becomes the standard, online users will crave ultra-convenient experiences.
Instagram Checkout is an exciting new development on the horizon for ecommerce brands, and stores must embrace the move toward frictionless ecommerce to stay competitive.
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