Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

Facebook:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

References:

COM0015  Blog #3..Professional Networking Now and in the Future

COM0015 Blog #3..Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Since enrolling in this Algonquin College online 5 part Social Media Course January 2017, I have personality run into customers face to face  that I have had conversations with online. Whether it be coordinating their relocation or selling them items from the Allways Gently Used part of the business, it has been awesome to put a face to a voice.

With some clients I have remained in touch though social media, by phone or with them just dropping in with a friend to see what has recently arrived in the Gently Used section.

This year the moving company I work for has been busier than the year prior, it seems that the social media advertising has been working for us in a positive way!  We love it when a potential client mentions to us on the initial call,  I was on your website and decided to give you a call.  My employer and I sit down as time permits to touch base and go over ideas along with discussing just how things are going overall.

At lot of it has been by the trial and error method to date. It is like getting used to a new pair of shoes it takes a bit to feel comfortable and mold them to your feet. My employer has noticed an increase in total moves along with increase in revenue (R.O.I has risen).

Nearing into the month of November in past years we would be thinking about either laying drivers off or cutting each employee back in hours. Lately we have had to turn some last minute bookings away because we have been booked solid, usually 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Being booked 6 to 8 weeks in advance is good for the company which seems to run smoother when all the pieces fit like a puzzle. It also works to our advantage because it leaves us time to work out any last minute issues that may arise from the clients relocation.

With trying to balance out time for my personal life, taking online courses and working full time it sometimes makes it hard to juggle all at once. Especially when work is busting at the seams with not enough time in a day!  You have to prioritize very carefully and have a game plan along with a “what if” secondary plan. Since we are reaching the end of the 5th and final course I will now be able to balance the workload easier. I will be able to concentrate and update our sites and start a blog giving interesting idea’s and information. I have recently touched upon posting some experimental posts on You Tube, I plan on furthering this adventure in the near future. Every so often I enter into Google Search mover smiths falls to see what pops up under sites and images. When we first ventured with social media nothing appeared, it is a whole new ball game now!

Nothing like  finally a great fit !   

It can happen to anyone.

That has the ambition to succeed in life !

 

COM0015 Blog3shoe picture1

 

 

COM0015 – Blog #2:  Social media masters and disasters

We are in a golden age of social media campaigns. There are so many organizations and personalities demonstrating a strong grasp of the principles of social media that are taking it into new and interesting territory. That said, there are still some out there that haven’t quite gotten it right.

Selecting two to highlight and one to poo-poo was a challenge, but these ones really stand out for me. All three happen to have the benefit of having a lot of money behind their communications.

The Masters

20th Century Fox for “Deadpool” – The character Deadpool is so free and foul-mouthed that the marketers are able to get really creative and silly with social media. For example, they have created a series of fake movie posters that they put up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which make a wide spectrum of pop culture references (e.g. the painter Bob Ross, movies like Flashdance and Goonies). The posts also appear fairly regularly (every few days), and make use of timely hashtags. A great example of the campaign’s understanding of the importance of timing and relevant content was during the Superbowl, which saw “Deadpool” tweeting about the state of play in the game (“I loved Tom Brady in La La Land”) using both Superbowl hashtags (#SB52) and Deadpool hashtags (#DPtheSB). This increased the reach of the Deadpool tweets (putting the movie on the radar of anyone watching the game) and also enabled people following the @deadpoolmovie acccount on Twitter to read just his commentary.

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Photo: @VancityReynolds

In addition, actor Ryan Reynolds, who plays Deadpool, regularly posts from his personal Twitter and Instagram accounts using Deadpool’s “voice”. Reynolds already had a solid social media presence and approach before getting the role (try Googling “Ryan Reynolds good at social media” and you’ll see tons of examples of his strength as digital storyteller), which makes him a great amplifier of Fox’s Deadpool promotional efforts.

Disney for Star Wars – Yep, another movie example. I’m a big Star Wars fan (I’m still crying about the end of The Last Jedi), which is why I chose to highlight their social media strategy. The Star Wars social media campaigns appear on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, where are their posts appear with regularity (for example, about three posts every day on Twitter, one or two per day on Instagram, with more frequent posts in the run up to the release of new trailers or movie openings). In addition to using these platforms to show traditional promotional shots and trailers, they also show behind-the-scenes material, interviews with the cast and crew, fan art, and Snapchat filters. In particular, I find that the behind-the-scenes offerings are a great way to make the movie and its stars feel more accessible to followers, and the fan art is a great way to engage; it’s an easy way to generate content for the feed without the company having to create something new.

The Disasters

The tough part about spotlighting the disasters is that there are so many kinds of bad ones that you are more likely to tune them out/stop following them. There are the ones that post too often (I find that some journalists are really bad for posting too often), or whose posts are irrelevant or unfocused (I would argue that the Facebook group “Ontario Proud” is a good example of this, but as Jesse Brown noted in a November episode of the podcast Canadaland, called Inside a Right-Wing Meme Machine, while their approach breaks so many rules of good social media, it is proving successful, and has more followers than some mainstream newspapers).

And then there are the ones that are bad because they make a massive mistake on social media; these are the ones that are more memorable. For me, in recent memory, I would say that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) would benefit from a refresher course in social media.

skynews-hawaii-missile-false_4204986

Photo: Sky News

As you may recall, back in January a tweet went out from the HEMA account saying that a missile strike was imminent, creating panic among Hawaiians. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it HEMA couldn’t figure out how to reassure followers that it was a false alarm for a full 17 minutes. The moral of this story is that if you don’t have staff or senior management that understand how to use the tool (or who can’t remember their passwords when it counts), no social media plan that you develop is going to succeed. This case also highlights the importance of building websites or selecting social media tools that are well designed, with the user in mind. In an interview for CBC Spark, Genco Cebecioglu, director of user experience at Junction Design noted that the HEMA incident “could have been avoided by employing good design principles… there are certain assumptions one can make when designing for usability. For example, when people look at a page, they see colours and shapes first instead of text. To improve upon the current design [of HEMA’s missile warning system], the options could be grouped more appropriately, with important and severe options color-coded or given an icon.”

What about the little guys?

As I mentioned off the top, the social media masters and disasters that stood out for me were backed by a great deal of money. But of course, the great thing about social media is that a strong strategy can be put together on a shoestring. So, who are some smaller organizations with tighter budgets that have caught your attention?

COM0015, Blog 2: Photography on Social Media: The Good and the Not-So-Good

Perhaps the strongest social media strategy I’ve been from a follower’s perspective is at the National Gallery of Canada. They share a lot of information about what exhibits they have, retweet what other people are posting and only occasionally make a sales pitch. The National Gallery has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, making full use of the major social media platforms. What makes their social media strategy so impressive is how they use each platform differently, with little overlap of images or other content. A Facebook post about the new Canadian Photography Institute provides interesting information and images. They retweet quite a bit from their followers and following, and not just my share of their tweet on the Josef Sudek exhibit. Of course, it is the season for gift giving and the National Gallery does do some sales promotion, but it keeps the sales to a minimum.

Not quite as good is ViewBug because it shares articles freely and highlights many different photographers, not just the winners of its contests. It has Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (although just launched three months ago with three posts and nothing more) accounts. But what surprises me from a photo-sharing website, is that ViewBug has an Instagram account. I mostly monitor ViewBug’s Twitter account, which is often repeated on Google+ (an area that needs improvement), not only shares serious articles like Photography: From Hobby To Full Time Job and Top Tips to Become a Great Fashion Photographer, but has fun sharing photographers’ images.

One would never know by visiting the Vistek website that they even have social media accounts because there are no logos or links to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and whatever other platforms they may use. As well as having too many advertising posts that directly sell to followers, Vistek spends more time with drones than cameras. Even its Facebook posts to its own blog is direct sales marketing. Its YouTube channel provides some how-to videos, which can be handy, but they end with a statement to “Pick up a [insert product here] from http://www.vistek.ca today!” Rarely does Vistek retweet messages. Having a constant stream of ads only leads to people unfollowing them. Vistek needs to spend more time interacting with the photography community and joining or starting conversations. They need to start listening to the various conversations. Once they have a feel for that, they should start commenting and sharing their expertise on those conversations. All of this will help inform them about what photographers want and need to be able to provide that. Asking for feedback would also help them engage their audience.

Targeting Photographers and Models

Flash Designs Studio has five target audiences: photographers, models, stock agencies, people wanting family portraits and businesses wanting event photos. FDS has targeted the first two in marketing efforts so far, so let’s focus on them. These photographers and models are in Ottawa, ethnically diverse and artistic, visual people.

Most photographers who attend workshops and Meetups enjoy photography as a hobby, while some use it as a retirement business (local key players lead these sessions, as FDS soon will). As photography can be expensive, most in this target audience have post-secondary education, established careers and good salaries with disposable incomes. Most are open to sharing their images and insights, as seen at clubs and Meetups and on Facebook and online forums like PhotoNEWS, Photo Life, Outdoor Photography Canada and Canadian Geographic’s photo club (national key players).

While most photographers are men, models are young women who are in post-secondary school or just starting their careers and have modest incomes. An effective strategy has been doing “time-for-print” shoots; the only payment for models and FDS is to build each other’s portfolio.

According to Facebook Insights, 64% of people reached are female and 45% are ages 35 to 54. According to Google Analytics, 54% of FlashDesignsStudio.com visitors are male and 61% are ages 18 to 44. While 95% of Facebook visitors are Canadian, 43% of website visitors are Canadian and 24% are British (some of the more active Twitter photographers).

FDS does not have enough Twitter nor Instagram followers to generate statistics. These platforms and blogs are not as popular as Facebook with these target audiences. Instagram’s former square format and Twitter’s former text-only format may have deterred these groups. Advertising saturates Twitter feeds, possibly further deterring use. Because of this, FDS focuses more attention on Facebook than any other platform.

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

OutsideofBox.png

So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

5 reasons why you need a video marketing strategy

the-rise-of-social-video-in-2015

Effective social media marketers understand that engaging people on social media requires establishing some kind of connection with their audience. 

While social media connections can be made in a number of ways, there is one primary motive that underpins all human connections and is common to all social engagement.

The secret to connecting with people on social

To truly engage a customer through social media, a social media marketer needs to provide them with something of value.   This involves making a value proposition. 

Value propositions can take several forms.   Some of these can include:

– a financial value proposition (saving someone money).   

save money

– a practical value proposition (saving someone time).

save time

– an emotional value proposition (providing someone with a positive emotional experience).

make someone laugh

While there are literally an infinite number of value propositions that can be made, a social media marketer needs to determine how they are going to present this value proposition.  That’s where the importance of social video comes in.

The magnitude and increased value of social video

Social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t mince words when it comes to social video.

Screenshot 2016-04-18 15.13.33.jpg

Here is how Gary Vee puts it: 

The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, the content you need to be thinking about creating and marketing on social for your business is video. Period.”

He goes on to say, in no uncertain terms:

“No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose. And in case you haven’t noticed, the platforms of distribution for video content online have shifted drastically over the last 18 months. Facebook is getting more daily minutes watched than YouTube, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions, and video on Twitter has taken listening and one to one branding to a whole new level.”

The recent meteoric rise of social video is evident in the staggering increase of videos being produced and watched every day. 

To make this point, recently Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced at the company’s third-quarter earnings call, that Facebook is generating 8 billion video views per day.   

According to data from Facebook:

The number of video posts per person has increased 75 % globally and 94 % in the U.S.

The amount of video from people and brands in the Facebook News Feed has increased 3.6 times year-over-year.

More than 50 % of people who visit Facebook in the U.S. every day watch at least one video.

According to a report by Cisco, by 2019, video will account for 80 % of global internet traffic.

Given the increased importance of video in the digital and social media landscapes, following are 5 reasons why social video is critical to a company’s marketing efforts.

1. More social networks are rolling out native video, demonstrating its growing value.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all have their own video features. And then there are the platforms whose main function is social video sharing, such as Vine and YouTube. For live video there’s Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook, which has updated its News Feed algorithm to favour live video.

2. Social video owns the all-important 18 to 33 year-old demographic.

Millennials are spending less time watching television (if they even still own one) and more time watching video on their mobile devices and laptops. It is estimated that by 2030, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce, making it hard to ignore video platforms that resonate well with this key audience.

3. Video is unique in its ability to connect with viewers.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many more words is a video worth?   There can be no denying that the combination of moving pictures and accompanying audio has the ability to move and engage people like nothing else.

4. Businesses are leveraging social video in increasing numbers.

A 2016 survey by the Web Marketing Video Council found that 61 percent of businesses are using video as a marketing tool. In the previous year, 66 percent of those businesses were not using video at all. It’s clear that companies are quickly recognizing the growing power of video.

5. Social media videos can deliver impressive Return on Investment (ROI).

72 percent of businesses who use video say it has increased website conversion rates.

In fact, a recent study showed some impressive statistics regarding video conversion rates.

social-media-statistics-india-study-2015-8-638

The statistics clearly demonstrate that video is increasingly dominating the social media landscape.  Organizations would do well to increasingly harness and leverage video to provide added value to their stakeholders and customers.

For more information on the growing role of social video and tips on how to use video to expand your social reach, following are some links of interest:

The rise of video marketing on social and how it affects your business

Why Video is the Social Media Trend to Watch in 2016

A Guide to Social Video, and Where it Fits in Your Marketing Plan

I want to hear from you

* Have you ever participated in a live video broadcast using an app such as Facebook Live, Periscope or Meerkat?  If so, what was your experience like?

* Will the rise in video on social media impact the way you do social?  If so, in which way will you be changing your social media habits and practices?

I want to hear from you.  Please join me in the conversation.

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

COM0015: Assignment 5 – Event Participation

Location, location, location!!

So many of the social media events that I truly wish to be at are usually hundreds of kilometers away. BlogHer, for example, is an exceptional gathering hosted in Toronto. Ottawa, however, has had the Ottawa Social Capital Conference which I had the pleasure of attending a few years ago, but, sadly, only ran for a few years.

When perusing online for some heavy-hitting-awesomeness that is hosted online, the price figure attached is mindboggling. I wasn’t sure what, or how, to continue.

I happened across the thought of when I’d hosted our Condo Corporation’s AGM at our local library to search through other workshops that might be available through their boardrooms. Success!!

Ass 5 image of link of workshop

And, best of all…if you have a library card? It’s FREE. J

This particular workshop was hosted by Lara Wellman, of Lara Wellman – Digital Marketing. I’d had the opportunity to meet her in one of my previous attendances at the Social Capital Conference and her speaking abilities resonate both with those people who are just beginning in social media, to those who have already established themselves and are looking for new techniques and/or tips to broaden their success online.

“I specialize in helping small businesses increase their visibility and grow their customer base using online tools. Through an array of services such as workshops, coaching and strategic planning, I make clients comfortable with social media and other web tools and teaches them how to optimize their use.”

Event WorkshopSome of the attendees were small business owners who were just starting out in the world of adding social media to their business tool kits. I was one of two bloggers and was able to relate how social media has assisted my health advocacy across multiple social media platforms. I was able to learn how to define the key messages of my blogging: two general and two personal. One such message I determined to be: “Choices empower you to be a better patient.” It was nice to get back to some of the most often overlooked basics. I was able to briefly network with a Nutritionist student and relate some of my experiences in the online health communities.

 

Lara’s validation of the manner in which I promote myself across various platforms was summed up in her statement, “Even if you want to reach an entire country, how to market to each [platform] will vary.” It made me refocus on the nature of language and storytelling to best relate to which audiences are using which media platforms.

One key idea that Lara presented was the benefit of email marketing. This may be something for me to look into in the future in order to provide more of the resource information that my followers seek, but enjoy the blog itself for its value of providing insight into the journey itself. Another idea for me to look into, which terrifies me to no end, is the opportunity to monetize my blog. Thus far, I’ve resisted simply because some of the major websites my blog is listed on will not accept monetized blogs. Something challenging to consider as I move it forward, for sure.

I would highly recommend looking into attending a workshop like this in the future. I think the availability and location adds a distinct ease of attendance. I certainly appreciate the time that Lara offered, free of charge, for those who need a little bit of focus and direction as to where to take their online, social media journey to success.

Have you had a successful experience at a local professional networking event?

COM 0014 – BLOG # 6 – Once Upon MY Time

What’s your favourite story?  Can you think of one… just one?  No.. me neither… except… it has a beginning, a middle and eventually ends, right?

Welcome to my never-ending story 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride.  Any story you have in mind yet?  Message me… I’m keen to hear and eager to learn what makes everybody tick.