In an age of information inundation that finds us all bombarded with constant demands for attention from often irrelevant sources, one aspect of marketing communication has risen to take the helm: Content. Content marketing is the industry’s darling child, a lively and engaging character exuberant in its passion for creating value for customers and clients. Businesses are increasingly coming under pressure to provide such value, as resources and insights and even entertainment (quizzes, games, polls), not to simply create leads but to establish themselves as a go-to place for a lifestyle and philosophy that appeals directly to a target market.
Yet, while content is king (infographic piece shown below) its power and popularity often only contributes to the white-noise of internet advertising. Marketers and business owners are feeling the strain of first creating engaging content and then making sure it’s seen. Social media is undoubtedly the most efficient way of extending the reach of your company, but this has its own challenges – how do you set yourself apart, and how do you stay current?
The Social Face of Modern Business
Staying current is one aspect of maintaining traffic and popularity, as is the ability to craft a resource for your readers rather than a pitch for your product. Of course, ideally these two distinct intentions should be combined, with the pitch being the value you create. It breeds loyalty, secures lifetime customers, and is an active demonstration of your commitment to customers and clients as the main priority. We need to show a personal touch, with posts from named staff and wisdom from named directors whose smiling faces beam down from the top of the page. It’s about forging links.
From Hyperlinks to Hashtags
It is curious to note the resistance of many companies to provide links to other companies who might be deemed competition. An enduring mentality that says ‘if I send them over there, they’ll buy over there’, but what we miss in this logic is that people will not buy just because you’re the only place to buy it. In all likelihood, they scour your competition on a daily basis anyway, and the act of linking to relevant material may actually inspire trust in your clients. Still, we never see The Guardian link to The Telegraph. It may be that the broadsheets have not yet kept up with the changing face of the medium, for it stands to reason that customers will highly value links to sources and further information.
In 2007, the Hashtag evolved out of a need to connect conversations, to open up the broader vista of an international digital debate or discussion. Facebook has just adopted the hashtag, and Twitter more or less pioneered its use as a means of linking conversations by specific subject matter. Adding hashtags to your content connects you immediately to the pulse of your subject.
One Hashtag to Rule Them All?
The reluctance of digital broadsheets to link to similar stories and for businesses to link to similar services is a demonstration of the proprietorial nature of modern commerce. The hashtag challenges this, as it exists to bind. Yet, you won’t find subjects or topics linked with hashtags on Facebook appearing on your Twitter feed. The conversation is immediately limited, and to really make the most of the traffic – and of the warm leads generated by potential customers following leads of their own volition – you need software that can perform the task for you.
HASHCORE: Independent Information
HASHCORE is just such a solution. It performs the evolutionary leap of binding disparate feeds and allows you to do something seriously nifty – add hashtags to your website.
A website might struggle to stay current. Using Hashcore, you can add the hashtag to any number of pertinent and core themes. A website selling designer clothes might add #DolceGabbana, or the website for a touring band could add the hashtag #LadyGagaTour on the front page so that the front page remains a stepping stone to immediate updates.
What all of this allows us to do as businesses is provide something of value for our viewers, hoping – and often succeeding – to inspire loyalty and encourage trust. It turns content that can date into a resource of current discussion, and it also allows you to connect your website directly to Twitter, allowing you to increase Twitter followers and increase traffic to your site. The Hashcore software bridges social media and content marketing to create a seamless blend of the two, and with updates to the software like the ‘Join the Conversation’ box it both encourages and facilitates the interaction of customers, creating that friendly face that every business should aspire to, while at the same time delivering valuable information that could be used for market research.
This guest post was written by Sebastian Collorafi of Hashcore.com.
7 Quick Tips on How to Use Visuals to Engage Instagram Followers
If you want to grow a massive following online, you are going to need to not only create content for your audience, but also know where you audience likes to hang out. In most cases, through social media, this is going to be either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. In this article we are going to be focusing on how to better engage with your audience through Instagram, and how to best use video and visual marketing in 2019.
It’s one thing to have a ton of Instagram followers, but another to have a ton of engaged followers. The number itself may look impressive, but it’s less about the actual number of followers you have, and how many of them are actually paying attention and interacting with the content you post. The goal is to have people liking and commenting on your content – and if you’re lucky, re-gramming it on their own accounts with credit back to you as the original poster. Use these tips to create visuals that will engage your followers.
1 – Create Animated GIFs from YouTube Video
Millennials are a generation that can also be called Generation GIF. They’re all over publications like Gawker, Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Tumblr. Using them as part of your marketing strategy allows you to increase your chances of going viral on various platforms and getting picked up by major publications.
Use a tool like MakeaGIF to create GIFs using photos, YouTube videos, uploaded videos, and webcam videos. You can even use it to modify existing GIFs. You can also use GIFYT to make GIFs from your YouTube videos – choosing which portion of the video you want to make into a GIF and add a caption.
That said, you’ve got to do a bit of extra work to add animated GIFs to Instagram. Right now, there’s no native support for them – even though Facebook has it. It’s a bit strange that we haven’t seen it yet, but until it happens, here’s what you can do.
Because you can only upload photos and videos to Instagram from your camera roll, it’s best to use GIPHY (and the mobile app makes it super easy!) to upload your GIF to the platform, then get an MP4 added to your camera roll that you can then upload to Instagram.
2 – Look to Fun and Unusual Holidays
Sure, you can do all kinds of marketing promotions around major holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But, it’s more fun and engaging to take advantage of quirky and fun holidays like, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (January 11), Grilled Cheese Day (April 12), and so on. It’s even better if you can find “holidays” that tie into your business or niche.
In addition to creating content for these holidays and events, be sure to also use #hashtags as well. Just by adding a few of these in, your content can start reaching thousands of new customers and audiences around the world.
3 – Use Tools with Instagram Stories
The Instagram Stories feature has some pretty awesome features that make for extra engaging visuals, like the ability to add text, filters, stickers, and use colored backgrounds. But, you can use Boomerang to create something that’s like a GIF. It makes short videos on a repeated loop that you can use in stories or your regular posts. It’s possible to overdo it with Boomerangs, though, so use them sparingly and watch how your audience responds.
Beyond Boomerang, you can also use Rewind, which allows you to record video into your story, and then the footage is instantly reverse to create some pretty cool effects. Both Boomerang and Rewind are accessible from the bottom of your Stories home screen. All you have to do is click the one you want and start recording just by holding down the button. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
This is also possible to set up with ad campaigns on nearly all social platforms. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all using video to engage with their audiences, be sure to explore your options with paid video content, and using targeted audiences.
4 – Pay Attention to Color
Research shows people make judgements within 90 seconds of seeing a product or a person. That study also found that 62 to 90% of that judgement is based on color, so the colors you choose in your Instagram photos has the potential to make a big difference in your engagement.
Based on that knowledge, a visual analytics platform analyzed 8 million Instagram photos and found that mostly-blue images got 24% more likes than ones that had red as the most prominent color. That said, the study also revealed photos with a single dominate color got 17% more likes than those that had multiple colors – but only 10% of the images in the study had a single dominant color.
5 – Pay Attention to Composition
Instagram is known for their square photo format, which can take a bit of getting used to composition wise. Poor quality photos won’t ever get you the best possible engagement, so learning to take the best photos is never a bad thing.
Central subject placement, which is generally advised against in traditional photography, is great for square photos when the subject is strong enough to stand on its own and keep viewer attention. Make sure you fill the entire frame, make use of symmetry, and shoot photos in landscape then crop them to fit the square.
6 – Use Captions to Tell Stories
People really like to stay on Instagram, and it’s easy to do since you’ve only got one spot for a link and can easily make your posts shoppable so people can buy from you directly in the app. Whenever you have a photo on Instagram, use the caption space to write a story about it. Provide as much detail and context as you can, and expand on your image.
This not only helps engage your followers but keeps them interested in your content – and looking for the next story with the next post.
People expect (and love!) longer stories on Instagram, though this isn’t the case with Facebook. That’s why it’s important to learn and understand the nuances of each network, so you can do each one the right way.
You can, always, direct people to your Instagram Story for more information and detail – then save that story for use as a Highlight later on, if you wish.
With Instagram, it’s clearly not a case of any visual will do. Because everything on the network is visual, only the best of the best, and those related to what your audience wants to see will get you engagement. Practice makes perfect – so do what you can to learn about your audience and perfect your images and you’ll succeed.
9 Blogging Communities You Can Join To Attract More Traffic To Your Blog
Blogging is essentially building relationships between you and your readers. That’s why it is essential for any blogger to continuously find ways to increase blog traffic and attract a wider audience.
You have to have a substantial number of regular visitors or subscribers to your blog in order for the knowledge you share to gain relevance and authority.
Doing so can be a struggle, especially when you’re barely just starting a blog for the first time.
Don’t you fret. If blogging is about building relationships and sharing knowledge, joining blogging communities wil, help make the job easier for you.
Here are 9 blogging communities you can join to build your network and attract more traffic to your blog
This Twitter-created blogging community lets you connect with like-minded writers and industry professionals. If your blogging style is less formal and less business-like, this is a place that you just might feel comfortable in.
Medium also gives you contributor profiles where you can include links to your website. People can follow you and get updates for every post you make.
2. Blog Engage
Blog Engage is a premium blogging community and social network. Despite the £4.99 monthly fee, the site still continues to grow with almost 3500 members to date.
As a member, once you submit a blog post, your content will be open for votes from all other members. The post that garners the most upvotes gets featured on the site’s homepage.
You can also add friends and join groups for greater community involvement.
Why join Kingged? Well, there’s the friendly and extremely helpful community members, for one thing. Then, there’s more! Three words, actually. Giveaways, contests and rewards!!! Still need more motivation to join? Here you go:
You can submit fresh or already existing blog posts under any topic of your choice. Great feedback from members regarding immediate results after submitting a post. Plus, you can choose to subscribe to paid packages where your content can be distributed across huge sources such as Mashable, The Huffington Post, CNN, etc.
Access an endless stream of fresh content from other influencers in your niche. Share your own content with them. If you need fresh ideas for your next blog post, you’ll find a lot of sources for inspiration on Triberr.
With Triberr, you can lookup and join Tribes of your choice via categories on their drop-down menu. Prior to joining, you’ll be able to see the number of members the tribe has and how far their reach is, based on where and how far their posts are being shared.
It’s a great platform to build relationships with because you can tell who shares your posts and how frequently they do. Users can view and share your posts directly to Twitter from the website.
Fast-growing and free to use, DoSplash is another blogging community where you can get upvotes upon submitting your content.
The most upvotes your blog post gets, the more natural exposure they receive. With DoSplash, it’s easy to get more engagement for your blog.
6. Google+ Communities
Maybe you don’t find Google+ that enticing as a social media platform compared to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. But as a blogger, you’ll definitely feel the advantages of joining Google+ communities.
It’s the best blogging community you can use to build millions of audiences. For one thing, almost everyone has a Google account these days.
I’m willing to wager 100% of people who have both android phones and internet access have a Gmail account. That’s potentially millions of people you can reach by joining different communities on Google+ and sharing your content!
Newbie bloggers rejoice! Inbound.org is a community that you can go to if you want to do more than just connect and build relationships with other bloggers and writers.
Especially if Internet Marketing is what got you interested in creating a blog in the first place, Inbound.org is the place for you. It’s the community where you can learn at the same time as your content gets promoted. Aside from internet and content marketing knowledge, you’ll also be able to exchange other useful information, like suggestions for the best social media marketing software, for example. More traffic to your blog + more high-value internet marketing info for you = win-win!
One of the top recommended blogging communities, BizSugar is a meeting place for active small-business administrators and owners. But no worries, membership is still free even if you don’t have a business.
There’s no end to the things you can do with BizSugar. Submit your own posts and blog content, vote, and comment on what other members share, exchange business news and marketing tips.
With a bit of effort, you can make getting into BizSugar’s weekly Top 10 members your goal to maximize the potential for content promotion and engagement.
9. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has continuously evolved throughout the years. It’s not just your online, ever-ready resume anymore.
Unlike the thousands of groups you can find on Facebook, LinkedIn Groups allows you to build a more professional and targeted network.
Share valuable insights in the group forums and share your content with thousands of members. Explore other topics of interest, like the qualities of successful bloggers, for example. That’s a good starting point for conversations and/or posts.
Your blog posts might even make it to LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn editors will then promote these for wider visibility and circulation.
There are three basic reasons why you’ll want to join blogging communities:
- build friendships and relationships
- get support whenever you need a boost
- get honest opinions, critiques and helpful suggestions that will go a long way into helping you become the blogger that you dream of becoming
Being a member of a blogging community is a rewarding experience. If you’re not yet one, try and join any of the communities listed above and find out for yourself exactly how beneficial being connected can be.
Qoruz – Removing the Influencer Brand Vacuum
The role of online social influencers as an opinion leader and consumer decision influencer has been increasingly recognized and leveraged by brands in the last few years. Brands proactively seek these influential social media power users to promote their products on platforms like a blog, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
When brands perform outreach marketing with a specific objective such as strengthening their social media followership, driving traffic to their website, or brand engagement effectiveness with reference to earlier branding campaigns, bloggers usually find it difficult to present the data and statistics in a meaningful and an effective manner.
If you are a blogger and have faced this scenario before, there’s a solution for you – Qoruz. Qoruz is a new-age social intelligence platform that enables brand-influencer collaborations in the smartest and simplest ways.
What is Qoruz?
Qoruz has been developed by the India-based firm Datrux Systems Pvt. Ltd. The unique search, discovery, and outreach platform aims to create the largest database of influencers on the planet along with their quantified online social influence, and to connect brands and influencers in a single, easy-to-use and monitor interface, all in an effort to make influencer marketing more prominent and the mainstay for branding efforts.
Once you create an account on Qoruz, the platform synchronizes all your selected social accounts and blog statistics and shows real-time metrics to an interested brand. I like that they call it a blogger’s media kit; the term media kit is something that every brand, advertising/media, and PR agency understand and the term implies that it holds all the information a brand needs to decide whether to engage with the blogger or not.
Qoruz Bloggers Media Kit
Creating the media kit takes a couple of minutes. Sign up for free, here. You can sign up with a social media account, and Qoruz retrieves the details that you can further edit.
Your basic profile details are collected.
You move on to synchronize other social accounts. You can choose to skip the step and add these accounts later. Tip: Adding a brief introduction in the ‘About’ section and choosing your category of influence helps brands know exactly who you are and what’s your area of expertise, and accordingly only the most relevant opportunities come your way.
Once done, Qoruz will send an update to the registered email id with a link to your media kit page. For reference, you can see mine here.
Qoruz also integrates a work portfolio equivalent into your media kit. You can add previous brand collaborations from the profile editing page. The Featured In, Contributed In, and Brands Worked With sections are good ways to categorize your work and help a brand understand your work profile in a better way.
As of now, you can connect Twitter, Facebook Page, YouTube, Instagram, and Blog accounts.
To make it easy to spread your profile, you have a media kit link to share with potential clientele.
Points to Note
A couple of things to keep in mind. Note that these factors could change in future; therefore, do your due diligence.
#1 Adding a Blog
Qoruz offers the following three options:
My experience says that brands might not be really interested to associate with bloggers running blogs on the free WordPress and BlogSpot channels. Authoritative and influential bloggers usually don’t run a blog on a free WordPress setup, and BlogSpot doesn’t even come into consideration.
Alternatively, you can synchronize the blogs through Google Analytics API. It will give Qoruz access to the data of the intended blog.
#2 Restrictive Brand Linking
Maybe because Qoruz is new, I couldn’t add many of the brands I worked with in the profile because their automated brand fetching system wouldn’t show the name.
I tried adding Business2Community.com in the section for Contributed In but I couldn’t. Unless they keep updating their database for names, it will be tough for bloggers to present a comprehensive profile influence to an intended brand and vice versa.
Once your media kit is setup, you can expect to receive opportunities basis your influence and relevance. Since the platform is completely democratized and data-driven, your work and profile will speak for themselves, and bring the most relevant brands to your doorstep. There are six kinds of opportunities to avail:
- Event Invitations
- Product Reviews
- Sponsored Content
- Exclusive Passes
- Press Release
- Gifts & Rewards
Whenever a brand comes to your Qoruz media page, there is a prompt to Connect. Qoruz offers a unique communication portal called Messenger that helps brands and influencers get in touch and stay connected easily and consistently.
Qoruz is a brand and influencer collaboration platform, with the potential to redefine the way influencer marketing is considered and implemented in India right now. I will recommend it for two reasons:
- Concise and updated media kit that is shareable and updates in real-time.
- Global exposure to brands.
If you try out Qoruz or have already tried it, tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
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