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How to Optimise Content for Social Media Distribution

optimise content for social media

If you want to see the greatest amount of interaction and engagement on your posts through social media, you need to be sure you optimise content for distribution on those networks.

You can have written the most meticulously researched, expertly analysed article imaginable that is destined to change perceptions within your industry - but if you haven't spent a good amount of time (more time than spent writing, even) on distributing and promoting it, then don’t expect a huge ROI any time soon. Or ever.

The most successful content marketers aren’t always the best writers. They are the ones who understand the social media landscape. There are many reasons social networks are the ultimate content distribution platform. To start with, they offer the ability to easily integrate and share content. They also have the power to target a specific sub-section of users. This all maximises the possibility for widespread engagement, resulting in an insurmountable reach.

Why you need to optimise content for distribution

While the vast majority of marketers have a good grasp of the positives, not all of them are using social media to its full potential. The ones who are are the ones who optimise content properly for distribution.

Look at it this way. You may have pinpointed the correct network and the exact time of the day to post for the highest rate of clicks, but if you haven't properly optimised your headline, image or message to provoke a response from the widest variety of users, you can't realistic expect those clicks. Here is some of our best advice for optimising your content for social media distribution.

Get serious about your headlines

Writing a better title or headline for your content will not only work wonders for content distribution, it could also have a far better long-game impact on your SEO. Great content writers can spend hours meditating on the best headline structure as it is just as, if not more, important than the article itself.

No serious marketer ever wants to advocate clickbait, but it’s undeniable just how well a title that develops intrigue and hype at first glance can fare on the internet. If headlines aren’t your strong point or you’re looking for something to help direct you, we recommend CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool.

Remember, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from tailoring your original headline for each particular network. Distribution should be ongoing - it’s not a one post thing - so you can afford to A/B test different headlines and get a better feel for what sentiments, structures and power words get the best reaction with each audience.

Put more thought into your graphics

There’s little point in explaining the importance of visual content on social media; anybody who uses it will already understand. Content writers are also fully aware of how it can be useful to utilise graphics and other types of content (embedded posts, videos, etc.,) within the body of an article to reduce bounce rate. But crafting posts that get the most engagement goes beyond adding a generic blog title graphic.

Consider how you can merge your headline and your graphic to instil the most amount of intrigue and encourage the biggest response. In order to utilise networks such as Instagram, you can also create bespoke graphics making use of figures and specific specks of information from your article, and include the URL in your page header.

Get your colleagues involved in distribution

Humans trust other humans’ judgement more than they do that of a brand. Content distribution isn’t just about what you post as your business or organisation, it’s also about getting your colleagues and advocates involved too.

This is particularly important on professional networks such as LinkedIn. To make this a more attractive thing, figure out ways to integrate the comments and expert opinions of employees within your content. This will give them a sense of ownership and encourage their advocacy, while also having the positive effect of giving a heightened professionalism to your article.

Social Media For Startups: Three Steps to Success

Social media for startups

Social media for startups is essential. Used correctly, it can help shape your brand, create lasting relationships with consumers and reach out to potential employees.

Digital marketing budgets are now at an all time high, a result of a nation obsessed with social networking, online shopping and digital media. The nature of social means that you are able to benefit from instant feedback during the preliminary stages of your launch. Harnessing this potential is invaluable to positive evolution and cementing confidence in your brand.

So why social media for startups? Well, when you put them on paper, the benefits are obvious. Social networks offer an easy, direct passage to your audience. Targeted ads mean that you can put your brand message in front of those people (who could potentially become advocates) while it is still new and innovative.

Relative to other aspects of a digital marketing strategy, social media for startups also requires less investment in order to be optimised. Social networks offer just the right amount of customisation for your brand; not so much that you require an adept coder to look professional, and yet not so much as to restrict you to a white-label account.

To make it easier to tap into social media for startups, we’ve put together three simple steps that can make all the difference:

1. Create your strategy before your profile

Before you get going, you need to know what you want to achieve. This means creating your social media strategy before you even get round to creating your profile[s]. In order to achieve your goals, every little piece of content you include will need to stem from your strategy - and the best way to know that you have done this is to have it at the forefront of your mind before you get building. Define your goals; your primary and secondary objectives could be any combination of the following:

  • Build brand awareness
    All startups will, whether intentionally or not, be using their social to build awareness of their new business.
  • Distribution of content
    If engaging, unique and niche specific content is an integral aspect of your startup venture, you should be using social as a primary method of preliminary distribution, driving potential consumers to your website.
  • Increase web traffic
    This will stem from your content, and ultimately rely on how well you have disseminated your brand identity into your posts.
  • Locate and acquire potential customers
    The ultimate goal for most startup strategies is to locate and acquire potential customers - but to do so you must first understand which steps you will need to take to get there.

Knowing your objectives will also help define the tonality, feel and frequency of your posts, and also the variety of audience you reach out to. These things also have roots in your brand identity. Defining your objectives will allow you to reach your goals.

2. Choose your channels wisely and listen to your audience

Not all social networks will be suitable for your objectives. Consider where the majority of your audience will be hiding. While there may be billions of users on one network, this amounts to nothing if they are not the right sort of customer for your business.

Social media can be utilised just as well as a customer service tool - a priceless aspect of building a business. Use your channels to listen to your customers and see what they have to say. You essentially have yourself a focus group of potential consumers!

3. Experiment and be willing to evolve

Take advantage of these early stages of your business and allow yourself to experiment with different content styles and engagement techniques and see what works for you! Always be willing to evolve as you discover more about your industry.

Throughout the process of building social media for any startup venture, be sure to evaluate often and comprehensively. If you follow these simple tips, you are sure to be on track to getting your startup noticed - and that could happen a lot quicker than you first expect!

Simple Social Media Post Structures for Constant Growth

Social media post structures

Building an awesome and original repertoire of social media post structures is a great way to cement your social strategy for constant and continual growth.

From the smallest manufacturer to huge multi-national corporations, from the up-and-coming influencer to the biggest name in the social game, we can all struggle when it comes to juggling content originality and posting frequency.

Social media users are in a position where they have a vast amount of different businesses and organisations vying for their attention on a day to day basis. It’s incredibly important to ensure that you grow your pages with the correct audience in mind to ensure you are building a community of advocates for your brand. However, even if you have the most die-hard fan base imaginable, sooner or later repeating the same content is going to turn people away.

Why you need an arsenal of awesome social media post structures

Constant growth requires commitment to your audience. It’s all too easy to get despondent when your likes begin to tot up, but this is dangerous territory - if anything, at this stage marketers need to invest more and more into their posting strategy to ensure that their current audience remains interested and reactive.

Repetitive content turns off consumers, which in turn damages your reach. To keep those guys on your side you need to constantly be reminding them why they liked your brand in the first place. Doing this requires you to use a variety of social media post structures that invite engagement.

Here are a few ideas to help you on your way:

1. Industry expert knowledge and advice

Providing useful advice and guidance can be valuable content for businesses whose audience follow them for their expert knowledge. Couple this with original, expert content from your own blog and you're on to a winner. This can also be done as single entities without links to external content, however these posts should be limited.

Often marketers can over-rely on tips and advice for social media content, and at this point audience members begin to lose interest. It’s also important that you don’t rely heavily on piggy-backing clichéd post structures such as #WednesdayWisdom, #MondayMotivation and #FridayFeeling.

In small portions these social media post structures can help with reach and engagement, but using them as a primary part of your posting strategy looks lazy and uninspired, a process known at Giraffe Social Media as “Pirate Posting”. Yargh.

2. Topical posts

Using your posts to comment on relevant trending topics when they crop up can be a great way to diversify your strategy and generate significant reach and impact. If you’re savvy enough to make use of the relevant hashtags you put your content in prime position to be discovered by new users.

Be sure you don’t limit yourself to only engage with news and trends from your own industry. Take big media stories such as seasonal events and global tournaments and look these through the lens of your industry. This style of posting often results in a boost in engagement rates because it not only interests your own audience but also wider social media users

3. Start a social face off

If the trending topic allows, a great way to encourage engagement is to structure your post as a head-to-head and ask users to side with their choice. This can also be done with two similar products or aspects of your industry. Not only can this provoke a discussion, it can also provide beneficial insights into your community’s preferences which will help you to tailor your future content as suits.

4. Just do more video

Do more video. Whether it’s raw, behind the scenes footage captured by a member of staff or a high-spec professionally produced video of a day in the life of your business, video gets way more engagement than any other type of content. Visual is integral to catching a user's’ eye.

Developments in smartphone technology and social networking features have also made the process of doing live video broadcasts 100 times easier. This is something you should certainly be doing as it literally personifies your brand and makes your audience feel they are part of an exclusive group.

5. Pose your questions as fill-in-the-blank responses

Every social media manager worth their salt appreciates the importance of asking questions to provoke engagement from their audience. In order to get the largest amount of responses possible it’s a good idea to make the process of responding require little energy.

Fill-in-the-blank quotes are a great way of achieving this. They provide users with a pre-structured response - and also the opportunity to be humorous, which many find hard to resist.

Choosing Fonts for Impactful Social Media Graphics

choosing fonts social media graphics
Choosing fonts that work is an essential part of ensuring you social media graphics successfully communicate your message to your audience.

A social media manager is two parts analyst and one part creative designer, with a sprinkling of customer care expert thrown in. To succeed in the creative part you don’t have to be an accomplished graphic designer. However, having some basic knowledge of typography and the impact that it can have will make all the difference.

Choosing fonts for your social media graphics is a simple enough process, provided you are aware of the basic principals of typography. Fonts are about way more than making something look nice; they have a whole host of other effects, including subconsciously accentuating and drawing attention to certain aspects of a brand.

When you make social media graphics its important to ask yourself what sort of impression you want to have on your audience. Obviously certain typographic decisions will be made by your brand for consistency’s sake. But beyond that, you want to be intentional with your typographic decisions.

Types of fonts and their personalities

Different fonts have different personalities - anybody who has ever seen a make-up brand next to that of a body-builder’s food supplement can tell you that. The fonts that you use will have an impact on how your brand is viewed.

There is a huge variety of different fonts and each will have a different feel, be that sophisticated, practical, elegant, cool, efficient, etc,. Most typefaces can be classified into basic groups. A number of sub-categories exist, but we won’t bother ourselves with those at this level.

Below is a list of how each basic group is often viewed/described. It is missing decorative types as these vary immensely and have an emphasis on high-spec design.

  • Serif: professional, traditional, dignified, classical
  • Sans Serif: clear, approachable, relaxed, personable
  • Script: fanciful, opulent, classy, unique
  • Monospace: plain, unassuming, technical, functional

It is worth mentioning at this point that comic sans is technically a script font, which is not opulent and certainly not classy. Rather, the script fonts that you would ever consider using (brush script, allura, and the like) can be described that way.

If you value your social media audience (or your brand in general) never, ever use comic sans.

Choosing fonts for your social media graphics

The best way to choose fonts is to take into account your branding and any fonts that you should obviously be using, and find other fonts that compliment these. The best social media graphics make use of a small pool of fonts, often only three or four, of which only two are used for each graphic.

Consistency is the key word here. Having this pool of fonts not only helps right now but will assist you in the long term as you create more graphics. Choosing which fonts to use will depend on what parts of your brand you want to compliment or accentuate.

There are a number of web services that will help inspire you to choose/pair the right fonts. Some of our favourites are Typespiration, Typ.io and Github’s Google Font Pairing Inspiration.

Once you’ve decided on the style of font you want to use, head to your graphic’s creation platform and get designing. If this is a web app like Canva (and you don’t pay for their reasonable premium service) then you will be limited as too what fonts they allow you to choose from. Otherwise, check out Google Fonts or Lost Type.

How To Build Your Brand with Facebook Live

Build brand Facebook Live
Harnessing Facebook Live as a key aspect of your marketing mix gives you a much better chance of building brand notoriety on social media. Here’s how to do just that.

I’m going to go out on a whim here and make a pretty bold claim about your marketing strategy and Facebook Live; you’re probably not doing enough with it. Okay, so maybe that is a sweeping generality, but it’s the sentiment that counts. Much of what can be achieved through Facebook Live can’t be replicated in other post styles, and many businesses don’t even bother with it.

As a social networking feature, there’s nothing particularly phenomenal about it. Live streaming is by no means a new concept. In fact, it’s been around since the darkest ages of dial up. But couple it with the largest social network around and suddenly you've got a really easy way to reach your audience with personal - and yes, human - messages.

Social features that build your brand

What is it that made your audience choose to advocate your business over your competitors? Simple. It’s your brand. And it’s your brand that will encourage future users to do exactly the same. Certain social networking features actively facilitate the process of building your brand by acting as something of an X-ray through fonts, colours and messages to inside an organisation, enabling businesses to show how this is reflected within.

Facebook Live is one of these features. That means that while it may not be a ground breaking user feature, as a marketing tool it’s pretty special. Alongside the general appeal of video, it carries a value of immediacy; a sense of being “in the moment” that social users can’t get enough of.

Here are some ways you could use it to build your brand…

Behind the scenes footage

With Facebook Live you are able to offer your audience a unique look behind the scenes into your business and how it works. Social media users love being exposed to a place they might otherwise never be able to see. However, the key here is to analyse and understand exactly what it is that your audience wants to see.

Should your stream be educational, sharing your processes? Or should you be focussing on particularly exciting production process or interesting work site? Understand that behind the scenes footage is a promotional opportunity, but to have any effect it needs to have value to users.

Special celebrations

If you can, don’t Tweet about it - stream it. Whether it's someone’s birthday or the Anniversary of your company launch, everybody loves a party. If your colleagues have got the afternoon off for tea, cake and cocktails, invite your customers to get involved too.

Streaming celebrations and events can be particularly useful if your company culture plays a major part in the development of your brand. It can certainly be useful for attracting the best talent to your business, but that isn't all; users are far more likely to value a business that obviously values its employees.

Expert Q&A sessions and Webinars

If you've spent any time undertaking marketing responsibilities to any extent, the likelihood is that you’ve been invited to at least 3,000 free webinars. The beauty of hosting these on Facebook Live is that you aren't asking for sign-ups, so required user investment is low. For that reason, users are far less likely to have reservations

Holding live Q&A sessions is also the ideal way to concrete your brand as an industry leader. With Facebook Live, you are able to listen and respond to questions as they come in. Not only does it encourage trust in your service, it’s a great way to showcase that you are comfortable under the spotlight.

Hosting focus groups and gain user feedback

Building a new product or service? Getting your audience’s perspective is incredibly valuable and could make all the difference in those crucial preliminary stages. On Facebook Live you can use Focus Groups to get user’s input on different creative and strategic decisions in the during the development process.

Not only a great way to conduct on the spot market research, it will make your customers feel valued and part of your brand.

The Best Social Media Marketing Chrome Extensions

Best social media marketing chrome extensions
These social media marketing chrome extensions can help streamline your processes and open up your strategy to even bigger results.

If you're not already utilising social media marketing Chrome extensions to help you to get the most out of your time, I urge you to start now. The process will undoubtedly help reduce the time it takes to undertake at least a few of your commonly used actions.

Discovering worthy social media marketing Chrome extensions

Nothing frustrates me more than discovering that a Chrome extension is little more than a marketing avenue for premium services. Therefore, when it comes to deciding on whether or not a Chrome extension is worth the time of day, I have something of a haphazard approach that I call efficient but many others would likely call lazy.

Essentially, if I add one to Chrome and see and immediate benefit from clicking, I will spend more time getting to know the ins and outs of it before making a decision. Alternatively, if there is no obvious benefit, that will be the end of it.

Obviously there are certain prerequisites that have to be met for certain Chrome extensions to offer any benefit at all. Twitshot, for example, requires you to already be on a valuable piece of content with available images in order to work. So I always make sure those prerequisites are met before passing judgement. (I may be a touch devil-may-care with my reviews, but I'm not a total maverick.)

Here are the ones that made the cut:

Twitshot

Some bold claims have been made about the inclusion of expanded images in Twitter posts. The one that the guys at Twitshot like to cite is by Belle B. Cooper of Buffer; “Tweets with expanded images get 150% more retweets”. Clearly this relies on you using the right images, but numbers like that are hard to argue with.

Twitshot is a simple but effective tool that extracts images from a link and attaches them to your Tweet. The image will then show alongside your Tweets, as opposed to an auto-generated preview.

RiteTag

RiteTag is the ultimate hashtag strategy optimisation tool. What sets it apart from its competitors is its ability to provide instant feedback on hashtag choices as you type. As far as social media marketing chrome extensions go, this one is basically an advisory tool.

The RiteTag extension has a colour-coded key to analyse the strength of your hashtag choices. Green represents good hashtags for immediate exposure, blue for hashtags that will help with exposure over-time, red for heavily-contested hashtags that will result in your posts being lost, and grey for hashtags with low-following rates.

Grammarly

When careful not with grammatical, bad can things happen. Spelling and grammar errors in posts can totally de-construct the credibility of your brand. The Grammarly Chrome extensions boasts the ability to catch over 250 different types of errors, even the uncommon ones such as comma misuse and a missing article before a plural noun.

Pocket

With Pocket you can save a variety of content to be able to view later. The Chrome extension is only part of it as you can save directly from apps like Twitter, Pulse and Flipboard too. The great thing about pocket is how it is expanding to be a content curation tool too. It will recommend content related to your niche and the sort of content that you have already engaged with.

ColorZilla

Finally, I wouldn’t be anywhere without a good colour-picker tool. If you are constantly finding yourself creating graphics in-line with your own brand colours then it is a no-brainer. Easy-access to colour codes is not to be sniffed at. For me, ColorZilla is the most user-friendly.

Got a social media marketing Chrome extension that you think should be added? Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

Why Instagram Inspirational Quotes Don’t Inspire Quality Engagement

Instagram inspirational quotes bad engagement
Inspiring engagement may be harder than it looks - but Instagram inspirational quotes graphics aren’t always the right way to go.

If you want to inspire more Instagram engagement (and by golly you do) you first need to revisit what engagement is and means. Firstly, Instagram engagement doesn’t just refer to big numbers under your images. It also refers to comments and how those two factors relate to impressions.

Depending on how they are viewed, each of these factors can say different things about how your Instagram audience view your posts, page and brand as a whole.

I'll use luxury accessories brands as an example. Do users express a desire for these products in their comments as a result of the images? Or are they more infatuated by the aspirational situations that models are in? This simple example could show that a product may not feature prominently enough and assist with the decision on what should be posted next.

Engagement on Instagram insights

Instagram’s in-app insights are very basic, showing one single number for impressions, reach and engagement. The engagement metric is an amalgamation of all likes and comments on your post - a number that video views doesn’t seem at the moment to play into.

Its important to note that this metric can absolutely be useful as a tool for you to compare and contrast the success of each of your posts at-a-glance. But to use Instagram engagement rates as a defining factor for future strategy you will have to go deeper and look at what users are saying and why they are saying it

Reading Instagram engagement as a metric and using it as a signifier for future content is an art in itself. But when it comes to Instagram inspirational quotes and motivational business advice, that gets even harder.

Why Instagram inspirational quotes don’t always mean quality engagement

It’s true that a load of businesses have built up a fairly strong strategy with Instagram inspirational quotes graphics, coffee wisdom and motivational quotes. But that number is now an awfully big one. Like, seriously big.

I want to be totally clear here; what works for somebody else doesn’t have to work for you.

If you have been posting Instagram inspirational quotes and change your strategy it may seem at the beginning that this results in a drop in engagement. Often this is because the hashtags that you were using before had been hijacked by automation services and bots. Or, as I like to call it, noisy marketers marketing noisily to other noisy marketers.

And when you think about it, the people you were marketing to with motivational quotes were the kind of people who already engage with that kind of content - namely your competitors.

Remember the brand-building potential of Instagram

Individuality is the key here. Many businesses have harnessed the might of Instagram to build their brand image. In any other case, posting what your competitors post would at best look like an attempt to piggyback their engagement. At worst, it would look like they were trying to totaly steal their brand image.

But with motivational quotes and inspirational business advice, we have something else entirely. So many businesses do it that users have seen it all before. Even if you log onto canva and throw your own fonts and colours on it, you still inadvertently fashion your pages into the shape of “generic business Instagram”. You don’t want that.

Here’s what you want…

You want to stand out. Instagram was created for individual lives to shine - so don’t feel you have to post what your competitors are posting. If you can create a strategy that focusses on frequently posting actual, original photos on a theme that suits you, do!

I believe in you.
If you can think it, you can do it.
#inspiration #monday #mightnotbemonday

Why You Should Never, Under Any Circumstances, Buy Followers

why you should never buy followers
If there is one thing you should never do when building a social media strategy it is buy followers. Of all cowboy social media tactics, it is the worst.

Listen carefully; in the world of social media marketing, there are no shortcuts to quality results. In fact, you could be right in saying that there are no shortcuts at all. You may be able to reach your goals quicker, but the only way to do that is to revisit your social media strategy and either increase or shift your investment to a different focus.

It’s natural to want to expect immediate results, especially when immediacy is almost expected. Sadly social media marketing can often work out as something of a slog. Certain quick-fix techniques have been heralded as cheap and easy ways to smash your goals. But that is far from the truth.

Buying followers may be a way to see bigger numbers, but I’ll say it again; the only thing that will speed up your path to your actual goals is increased investment in an already expert strategy. In most cases, these numbers are empty, meaningless and potentially harmful. So you definetely shouldn’t buy followers. Here’s why:

Fake followers can’t interact properly because they aren’t real people

If you buy followers you aren’t buying followers at all. You are just buying numbers. What follows you is a collection of fake or innactive accounts that offer absolutely nothing to your brand. You can’t expect them to interact or engage with your content. And if they do, it will just be incredibly spammy auto-comments that actual, real people can spot a mile off.

Their inactivity can result in a reduced organic reach

Social networks use intricate algorithms to determine the strength of your content and ensure it gets in front of the right amount of users. Engagement is a key signifier for the quality of your content. If tonnes of people engage with your posts then the social networks will consider your content quality and serve it and similar posts to more and more people. When you buy followers who simply don’t engage the opposite happens, resulting in a reduced organic reach.

They can destroy the credibility of your pages and your business

As I mentioned earlier, real users know when you buy followers. An account with big numbers should have content that supports and upholds those numbers. Also, auto-comments by fake accounts are quite clearly just that. Users know and will lose trust and respect for you brand as a result. Nobody wants that.

They totally fluff up your metrics

If you buy followers you have no way of differentiating between real and fake followers. This will really mess with your metrics. You have absolutely no way of working out genuine audience behaviour from that of robots. You are no longer able to work out what aspects of your strategy are getting you the biggest return and invest in them. It’s just not worth it.

You can end up being marked as spam

When you buy followers all of these things - decreased organic reach, high-rate of auto-comments, disinterest by genuine users - work to systematically sabotage your page. Because of how social media algorithms work, your posts will eventually begin to look like spam - and spam just attracts spam. Which means you will just end up being a can of spam. Spammy spam spam. You might even have your accounts suspended as a result… which at that point could actually be a blessing in disguise.

In conclusion, don’t buy followers.

Just don’t do it. If you were thinking about it, take the money and invest it into a different aspect of your strategy. Promote a post. Even if it amounts to nothing, at least you won’t have inadvertenly sabotaged your social pages.

The Best Free Social Media Tools For Small Businesses

Best free small business social media tools
By leveraging the right small business social media tools you can ensure awesome results from your strategy - and these are the best tools around.

You could say that a social media strategy was only as good as its best social media tools. It’s not true; a social media strategy is ultimately only as good as the marketer who devises and employs it - but you could say that all the same.

Why? Well, every social media marketer makes use of social media tools to help streamline their processes and maximise the amount that they can achieve. For small businesses, this process can save heaps of precious time and energy that can be much better invested elsewhere.

This index of free small business social media tools is an updated version of a previous list that I combiled back at the beginning of 2016. Each of these small business social media tools I have tried and consider worthy of mentioning.

1. Coschedule’ Headline Analyzer

Nothing boosts a social media marketing strategy quite like the addition of an awesome content marketing strategy. That’s our jam here at Giraffe. Seriously, if you want to get more from social media, start writing awesome web content that your audience will value before posting and promoting it. You can thank us for the results later.

Coschedule’ Headline Analyzer provides quality scores on the strength of article titles and headlines in relation to social media engagement, particularly the likelihood of shares. It also helps to determine the likelihood that a blog title will be beneficial to your SEO.

2. Yoast WordPress Plugin

Yoast is the number one search engine optimisation plugin for wordpress. Users set their chosen keyword for each article they post and are given simple tips to increase the likelihood that they will rank well for that keyword. These include increasing the frequency of the keyword throughout different parts of the content such as headlines and alt text for images. It also gives you little coloured dots which signify the strength of each aspect of your article - and nothing compares to the feeling of turning all those tiny specks green.

Technically it is an SEO tool… Come to think of it, both of the first two examples weren’t really small business social media tools… However, articles put through Yoast commonly experience more click throughs from social due to the optimisation. So certainly worth using. Plus the extra benefits are definetely not to be sniffed at.

3. Socialrank

Socialrank is a simple to use platform that allows you to identify, organise and manage both Twitter and Instagram followers. As small business social media tools go, this is one that will help give you genuine insight into the strengths of your following such as who your best followers are and what they are about. With the use of filters you can see, amongst other things, who your most engaged and influential followers are.

4. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is the preferred social media management tool of millions that allows you to schedule, engage with and grow your audience across all of your social networks from one place. It also offers social analytics. Free features are limited but there is a selection of affordable pro plans available.

Although I have used Hootsuite in the past, it isn’t currently in our arsenal of in-house social media marketing tools. This is mostly down to the pricing structure which can escalate quickly once you start to add extra accounts and services. However, as small business social media tools go, the free version can certainly be useful if you only have a few channels to manage.

5. Tweetdeck

If Hootsuite isn’t for you, that’s completely fine. There are plenty of other social media scheduling tools out there of varying quality. While scheduling for Instagram may be a serious task (there are ways, but they are difficult), Facebook’s in-built scheduling tool is perfectly adequate. It may hiccup every now and then, but with that many users you can be sure that it will be fixed soon enough.

For Twitter, Tweetdeck is a great tool that allows users to create and schedule Tweets, alongside a bunch of other features like creating custom feeds. These can come in really useful for spotting opportunities for interaction. While it may not have as many advanced analytics as Hootsuite’s paid version, that doesn’t stop it being the preferred choice of many social media marketers.

6. RiteTag

Hashtag strategy - what is it? Well, it’s using hashtags. Sounds simple, right! It’s not. Shame. What makes RiteTag one of the best small business social media tools is that it gives instant feedback on your chosen hashtags to help you decide which to use as part of your strategy.

Using the right hashtags is integral to seriously expanding your reach, but left to our own devices we are all guilty of having a few that we always use. We do so mistakenly thinking that they are powerful when they are actually just a waste of characters. If that’s you, I can’t recommend RiteTag highly enough.

7. DrumUp

Depending on how important external content (that is, content from other websites) is to your social media strategy (and the likelihood is that it will be to some extent), DrumUp can be a great tool. It has multiple functions which recommend content for you to share or curate based on your keywords, direct to your dashboard.

The dream is that your content marketing strategy would eventally become so good and so frequent that you would never need to go looking for content to curate - you would always have a steady stream coming from your blog. But until then, DrumUp is a great tool.

8. Canva

I’m pretty sure we are sponsored by Canva at Giraffe… If we aren’t and you are from Canva, get in touch. We are always raving about it. Absolutely everyone in the office makes use of it to create professional looking graphics for social media posts. It’s simple, easy to use and comes with a whole host of graphics, layouts, fonts and images. Power users - hit up either of the two below resources to get more out of it…

9. Pixabay & 10. Pexels

If Canva is the sword of Giraffe Social Media, Pixabay and Pexels are the shield and… force-field? Something like that. Anyway, these two sites are perfect for finding images under Creative Commons CC0. In laymans terms, this means you can do absolutely anything you like with them. Seriously, anything. And you won’t have to thank anybody.

There are a few things to consider when making use of stock images though. Ideally you only want to make use of them as one-off graphics - don’t make them key to your brand such as a permanent placeholder for the homepage on your website. The reason is that many consumers have seen the majority of them before and can spot them a mile off. But one-off use is ideal.

11. Websta

For my sins, I have only just started using Websta and I must say it is fabulous. It provides everything you would expect from a social media management tool - key analytics and insights, custom feeds and the ability to explore content - while allowing you to view and interact with other users’ posts. Instagram’s in-app analytics are currently basic at best - Websta takes those one-step further.

12. Later

Marketed as “The simpler way to plan your visual content marketing”, Later is a scheduling tool for Instagram that allows users to schedule and manage their posts ahead of time. Is it that? Well, it is true that Later allows you to spread out and create a steady stream of content - but it does take some investment. That said, if you use Instagram a lot then these kind of small business social media tools can be a God-send.

13. Website Grader

Hubspot’s Website Grader gives a full report on the strength of your marketing efforts across all of your digital channels. This includes, you guessed it, social media, but also content and SEO. Certain information can seem a little iffy from time to time but it is still really useful if you are strapped for time and looking for immediate direction.

14. Uprank

Uprank is an advanced research tool that analyses and provides data on the strength of your brand’s digital marketing, including website architecture, SEO and social media. It then generates and delivers a digital marketing strategy tailored to your site in the form of comprehensive tasks. Great as a starting point - but lacks the creative and innovative aspects needed to develop an awesome social media posting strategy.

15. AdParlor

AdParlor lets you create free mockups of ads for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. This can give you a much better idea of what your finished campaigns will look like to users on these networks. The brand new interface is sleek and easy to use. As small business social media tools go, this is one that can be perfect to help develop your social media advertising strategy, with scalable and downloadable mockups, instant previews and in-line character limits.

Simple Instagram Tricks Beyond Better Content That Actually Work

Instagram tricks beyond better content that actually work
Instagram is about way more than sharing photos. Start using these Instagram tricks and soon you will see more users engaging with your brand.

Social media marketers are insight-obesessive. For this reason, nothing delights me more than when a friend of mine who isn’t a devoted full-time social media marketer helpfully informs me which social networks are big business.

No really, I mean it.

Okay, I will admit that this is due in part to the fact that I take great pride in pointing out when people are incorrect… which is probably an aspect of my personality that could do with revisiting. But it’s mostly because this passion gives me great insight into how each network is currently viewed by users. Most recently it was this line…

Mate, it’s all about Instagram now. All about IG. IG is 🔥 right now.

Just how my friend managed to express the fire emoji verbally I’ll let you decide, but it definetely happened. Normally I would have taken the opportunity to start a discussion about the positives and negatives of single-network social media strategies, but instead I found I had to agree with him. Instagram is, for the mean time at least, most certainly 🔥.

Instagram tricks that work

It’s all well and good to say that one particular social network has the edge over others for inspiring engagement (ten times the average engagement of Facebook to be precise), so long as you explain how that engagement can be unlocked. Luckily there are some simple Instagram tricks that can give you an edge over your competitors and ensure that you are getting the most out of your activity.

Be super specific with your goals

If there is one of our Instagram tricks that casual marketers could do better with its being super specific with their goals, because many don’t really have any beyond “post something great, get likes”. Instagram can be great for keeping your audience aware of the inner-workings of your organisation, but it has much more potential than that - potential that deserves to be stretched! If you want to see more purchases of a particular product, be bold and make that your goal. Create a marketing plan focussed around constantly promoting and bringing awareness to that product including partnering with influencers, and you will hit that goal.

Initiate active following

The best way to grow your following in Instagram is to unashamedly steal your competitors followers. Unfortunately there aren’t any Instagram tricks for engagement in the traditional sense; you want an engaged following, the only way to grow it is through engaging. Utilise hashtag research to identify large accounts within your industry or niche and then begin to engage with their following - like and comment on users posts and follow them, give them a few days to respond before unfollowing any that haven’t followed back and repeating the process.

Attempt to influence the influencers who influence your influencers

This may be a mouthful, but at it’s centre is a strategy that is surprisingly easy to swallow. Influencer marketing is big business, especially on Instagram. Paid shoutouts can be great for certain users, especially e-commerce and bespoke products. However, by taking time to identify not just the influencers you want to potentially reach, but those that influence those influencers, you can substantially cut your budget as your products are likely to be picked up by those other users.

Use Facebook Insights to decide on partners for Instagram

If you’re considering about utilising influencer marketing on Instagram, one of the best Instagram tricks is to check out Facebook’s Audience Insights in order to discover the best users to partner with. The best way to do this is to create a custom audience and upload your customer email list, then click on Page likes. This will give you the best insight into what your audience is interested in.

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