Starting out on Instagram can be a disheartening experience. Even with the flood of users accessing it every day, attracting new followers can feel like an agonizingly slow drip.

Don’t despair, though. With the right approach, you can turn your luck around. This article will give you 50 tips to help boost your follower count in no time.

1. Improve your Instagram experience with SocialMeep.

SocialMeep is the leading platform in Instagram automation. With its sophisticated artificial intelligence, it can target and interact with real users for you. This takes the workload off your hands, and will bring you rapid and organic growth.

2. Follow other users.

You can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t do the same for others. Use the Explore tab to find accounts whose personalities and interests align with your brand. Don’t hesitate in following users who don’t have many followers. They might appreciate the attention. There’s also a list of “Suggested Users,” which you can find by clicking the icon in the upper right on your profile and choosing “Find and invite friends.”

3. Give out likes and comments.

Feel free to like as many posts as you want. Give them to anything that catches your eye, or to any user who you think might enjoy your brand. Furthermore, leave a positive comment on these posts as well. Compliment them on their photography skills, or their choice of subject. You might just make somebody’s day and earn a follower in return.

4. Have conversations.

If somebody leaves a thoughtful comment on your post, you should write a reply back to them. Instagram is a social platform first and foremost. It thrives on connecting people and fostering meaningful interactions. So, get out there and make some friends!

5. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are an absolute necessity on Instagram. Without them, nobody would be able to find your posts if they didn’t already know your username. Hashtags are the primary way of searching for content.

Take a look at the most popular hashtags on any given day. Consider which ones you could contribute to in a relevant way. You can add up to 30 hashtags to a single post, although I wouldn’t suggest going any higher than a dozen. You don’t want your captions to get cluttered. Take it one step further and use a smart Instagram Bot to automatically engage with users within your target hashtag audience and convert them into followers. 

6. Create branded hashtags.

If you have enough followers, you could get your own hashtags trending. Just ask them to add the tag to their content. Doing this will extend your reach out further than before. You can also connect the hashtags to any campaigns you are currently running.

7. Make high-quality content.

Content should be your primary focus on Instagram. It is the key to gaining followers. If you aren’t putting out visually pleasing photos and videos, then you won’t get anywhere on the platform. Socializing isn’t enough. You need to put in the time, money, and resources to make your content look professional.

8. Develop a recognizable style.

Your aesthetics should reflect your brand’s identity. Think about what you want to convey with your content.

Are you serious and committed to your customers? Relaxed and fun-loving? Humorous and irreverent?

You can communicate these things through the compositions and colors of your content. This will give viewers a better understanding of the brand while viewing your page. If they like the image that you project, then you might win them over as a follower.

9. Light your photos well.

There are too many poorly lit photos on Instagram. Some are downright incomprehensible in how dark they are. Avoid this by making sure that your photos are bright enough to be clear. Just make sure that you don’t overcompensate and wash it out with too much light. This is where Instagram editing apps can really make you shine.

10. Feature faces often.

According to recent studies, people tend to enjoy pictures more if they have faces in them. In fact, Instagram posts with faces tend to get 38% more likes than those without. This makes sense when you think about it. Our brains are hardwired to recognize faces and interpret their expressions. So when somebody is browsing through a feed, faces are more likely to stand out to them.

11. Write fitting captions.

Don’t neglect the captions section of your posts. Some brands do the bare minimum with them, which is a mistake. A good caption can complement your content and even enhance it. The most impactful captions either provide contextual information, entertain the viewers, or provoke thoughts and feelings.

12. Ask viewers questions.

Instagram is filled with people who want to be seen and heard. One way you can provide this to your audience is by asking them questions. You can solicit their personal opinions and preferences, or get their thoughts on the direction on your content. Who knows, they might even provide some valuable insight that you could use in the future.

13. Post frequently.

If you aren’t active on Instagram, then not enough people will be able to discover your account. Try to post at least a couple times each day. Be sure to space out your posts if you post more than that, though. You don’t want to dump all of your content at once and clog people’s feeds.

14. Post at the right times.

Another thing to keep in mind is the times at which you are posting. Some studies have shown that posting at 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST tended to yield the most engagement on average. However, there are some days in which other times are better. Overall it seems to vary depending on which day of the week it is.

The best thing to do here is do research and pay attention to your intended audience. Take note of when they seem to be the most active, and when they are more dormant.

15. Incorporate your username on printed materials.

If your business makes fliers, pamphlets, signs, decals, or any other physical marketing, then you might want to include your Instagram handle somewhere. All you need is some space for the Instagram logo and then your username next to it. That should be enough to guide curious viewers to your account.

16. Call your audience into action.

If you want something, then you should try asking for it. Put a call to action in your captions to encourage interaction with your posts. A CTA can be a short phrase such as “tell us your thoughts in the comments,” “tag a friend who this reminds you of,” or “visit the link in our bio for more information.”

17. Keep consistent.

Viewers enjoy consistency. They like knowing what they’re going to get before they commit to it. It also gives your brand a sense of identity and reliability.

Try to maintain a similar tone across your posts. Find an attitude that fits your brand and stick with it. Come up with unifying themes across your posts, and follow them for awhile. Think about how your content flows together as a whole.

18. Be authentic.

Authenticity is one of the most respected traits that anybody could have online. It’s easy to understand why, as the internet is filled with phonies, imposters, and scam artists. Honesty and openness feels rare in comparison.

Be truthful and sincere with your audience. Don’t pretend to be somebody that you’re not. Address criticisms and admit when you are wrong. Viewers will find this refreshing and will be more likely to follow you.

19. Make an emotional appeal.

The strongest connection you can make with a viewer is an emotional one. If you can evoke joy, sadness, awe, inspiration, or wistfulness, then you will have accomplished something noteworthy. It will make you stand out in the vast sea of boring, dry marketing around you.

20. Be a storyteller.

Storytelling is ingrained in every culture. We tell stories to communicate information, entertain audiences, and make deeper connections with others. A well-told story can captivate people and bring them back for more.

Instagram has endless opportunities to tell stories. You can tell it in a single image, or in the captions of a post. A narrative can be formed between multiple pictures, or within the span of a short video.

21. Hold contests and giveaways.

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

You can get hundreds, possibly thousands, of Instagram users to flock to your page with a contest or a giveaway. To ensure that you gain followers, you can ask them to follow your account in order to qualify. You can also ask them to use branded hashtags or like certain posts to help spread brand awareness.

22. Have limited-time sales.

What’s the next best thing after free stuff? Discounts, of course.

Occasionally holding limited-time sales is an easy way to get more followers. You could make a post with a special coupon code, or put it in an Instagram Story. The latter will disappear within 24 hours, so it gives viewers more incentive to closely monitor your activity.

23. Geotag your photos.

If you are a business with a main store or central location, then geotagging is the way to go. Any images that you tag will appear on that region’s Instagram page, and consequently will be visible to anybody from that area who visits it.

24. Tag any relevant people.

Locations aren’t the only thing that you can tag. You can also tag other Instagram users. Do this whenever it is relevant to the content of your photo, such as if you take a snapshot of an influencer at an event. This will make it show up in their feed. Hopefully they’ll share your post in return.

25. Work with influencers.

Influencers are an essential part of any marketing plan. The reason they are so effective is because people trust them. They are seen as dependable, influential people within their communities, so their opinions about brands are valued.

Find an influencer that meshes well with your brand’s image. If they have an actual passion for your products, then it will shine through. Work out a deal that benefits both parties, such as sending them products for review.

Just don’t try to control their content if you form a partnership. It’s important that they maintain their authenticity and don’t seem like “sell-outs” to their fans.

26. Host a takeover.

A takeover is a particularly fun event that you can do with an influencer. This is where you give the reigns to your account to another user for awhile. It can really spice up your content and attract lots of new visitors.

27. Exchange shoutouts for shoutouts.

You’ve probably seen the #s4s hashtag if you’ve browsed Instagram long enough. It stands for “shoutout-for-shoutout.” This means they’re looking to trade mentions with other people. You can’t really lose when you participate in a #s4s agreement. Both parties involved get exposure to each other’s follower base, which will hopefully result in a crossover between them.

28. Share user-generated content.

Sometimes you’ll see incredible content from followers that features your brand. If you’d like to share it on your page, then try asking the user for permission to do so. Most of the time they’ll likely say yes. Putting a spotlight on UGC will motivate others to make content for you, in the hope that you’ll showcase their work too.

29. Cut down on filters.

When Instagram was first introduced, filters were a staple on the platform. However, in recent years, people seem to be using them less and less. Now it’s common for most posts to have no filter at all. So consider using them less, or not at all.

30. Spend extra time on editing.

Even if you don’t use filters, it’s still a wise idea to tidy up pictures before publishing them. You want your content to look the best it possibly can. So if you need to tweak the brightness or contrast levels, or crop the photo just right, then go ahead. It’ll be worth the effort if it results in a more appealing image.

31. Give viewers a peek behind the scenes.

People are always intrigued about what goes on behind the scenes of businesses. Need proof? Check out the countless television shows and web series that cover this topic.

One of the benefits of sharing behind the scenes photos and images is that it humanizes the brand. It shows your audience that there are real people working to make the products that they own.

32. Cross-promote your Instagram on other platforms.

Are you already established on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or any other network? Then don’t forget to let your followers on those websites know that you’re on Instagram too. Some of them might be unaware of your account, or never thought to look up if you have one.

33. Approach everything with a plan.

It’s never advised to dive in and improvise on Instagram. In almost every case, having a clear strategy has proven to be a better idea.

Create a list of goals that you hope to achieve, starting with the smallest and most practical ones. Figure out ways to accomplish them, and come up with backup plans if something doesn’t work out. Schedule your posts weeks or months in advance if you can.

Aimlessness is the central reason why so many accounts flounder and fail to see stable growth.

34. Team up with other brands.

Not everything has to be a competition. In fact, brands tend to prosper when they pool their resources and work together.

Perhaps there’s some sort of promotion you can run cooperatively with another brand, like a charity event or fundraiser. Maybe there’s a uniquely visual way that your products connect that would make for a neat campaign. Either way, you’re sure to reach a wider audience than you would alone.

35. Hide unwelcome tagged photos.

The internet is filled with trolls and haters. Anybody who has been on it for longer than a day can tell you that. Instagram isn’t unlike every other website in that regard. You will eventually run into some unsavory users who will try to drag you down and scare away your followers.

One way these types will mess with you is through abusing the tagging system. They might tag your username to some content you wouldn’t want associated with your brand. If this happens, don’t worry. It’s easy to hide these posts so people can’t view them from your profile.

Go to your profile. There should be an icon that looks like a person on a box, somewhere beneath your bio next to the bookmark icon. Tapping it will bring you to Photos of You. From there, tap on the settings icon in the upper right corner. It will give you a scroll-down menu of options, including Hide Photos. Then you can select the photos you want to hide and hit Hide from Profile to confirm.

Additionally, under settings, you can also choose Tagging Options. If you tap Add Manually, then all tagged photos of you will need your approval first.

36. Remove inappropriate comments.

Another thing that could be turning away potential followers are the comments sections on your posts. Nobody wants to join a community that seems hostile and contentious.

You can take care of this problem by deleting the offending messages. Tap the speech bubble beneath the comment, swipe left on it, and then click the trash icon. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be afraid to curate a comments section when necessary. It’ll turn it into a more inviting place for newcomers.

37. Participate in local events.

The internet isn’t the only place that you can make your Instagram presence know. You can even promote it in your own backyard.

Get involved in your local community. Hold events and gatherings that are exclusive to your area. These can be great opportunities to distribute materials that mention your Instagram account.

38. Share Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is a lot like Snapchat, but with more features. It’s been gaining in popularity lately and has surpassed its competitor in terms of users. That’s why it would be a shame not to use it.

The biggest advantage to Stories is that they can be discovered by users other than your follower base. Another upside is their temporary nature, which means you can spend less time fussing over them. Also, you can do live streaming video through Stories.

39. Produce lots of video content.

It wasn’t until last year that Instagram expanded its video capabilities. The maximum video length was expanded from 15 seconds to a full minute. Ever since then, video content has swelled in prevalence on the platform.

While photography is still the most favored medium on Instagram, that shouldn’t dissuade you from making videos. Some brands have found enormous success in making it their primary form of content, such as Red Bull.

40. Include some emojis.

A recent study found that adding emojis in your captions often leads to a higher rate of engagement.

Think of them as colorful splashes of emotion that liven up your writing. Not only do emojis save you character space, but they can also convey tone and ideas.

41. Optimize your profile.

Every part of your profile should be optimized for maximum appeal. This includes your profile picture, name, and bio. Make certain that everything looks good, reads well, and represents the brand.

42. Make sure your account is public.

If your account is private, then nobody will be see your content. Rectify this by going into the settings on your profile and disabling Photos are Private.

43. Invest in Instagram ads.

Instagram offers a variety of advertising options. Your ads can come in the form of photos, videos, or carousels of multiple images. You can also buy ads for Instagram Stories.

44. Review with analytics.

Utilizing an analytics tool can assist you in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Hootsuite, for instance, can tell you which posts resonate with your audience the most. It can also give you detailed information about your followers.

45. Don’t be pushy about sales.

On Instagram, it’s better to blend in than stand out. Nothing makes you stand out more than being blatantly promotional. Viewers generally don’t like it when brands are overly pushy, as it feels like an intrusion into their casual browsing.

46. Pay attention to trends.

Keep track of the latest trends and styles. Capitalize on them whenever it fits with the brand, so that you can remain fresh and current.

47. Keep an eye on the competition.

Carefully observe your competitors. What are they doing to get followers? What mistakes are they making? Knowing these things can aid you in formulating your Instagram strategies.

48. Use apps to create collages.

A beautiful collage can make for an alluring piece of content. Try using Instagram’s own Layout app to make your own. It’s intuitive, totally free, and available for both iOS and Android.

49. Carefully curate your feed.

Always have a bigger picture in mind. Think about how each post will look alongside each other in your feed. If your page has visual cohesion, it will draw more followers in.

50. Find a niche and fill it.

Some brands try to be everything for everyone. They go for the widest market possible and end up stretching themselves too thin in the process.

Remember that it’s perfectly fine to occupy a specific niche. The audience may be smaller, but they are more enthusiastic. This usually results in greater levels of engagement, especially with groups that feel ignored or underrepresented.

The Kardashians make somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post. Top bloggers can charge anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 for an Instagram content collaboration. It’s clear that those who have a significant and loyal Instagram following can monetize it.

There are a number of ways to turn Instagram followers into financial success, including becoming an Instagram influencer or micro-influencer, launching a social media consultancy and starting an ecommerce business. Here are 10 proven ways you can build a successful business around Instagram followers.

1. Become an Instagram influencer.

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular among marketers of all stripes. One study found that roughly 95% of marketers who use some form of influencer marketing believe the strategy is effective. That means it is likely that more and more marketers will be in need of Instagram influencers of all kinds.

While it will be difficult to amass millions of followers, even micro-influencers have an important role to play. Micro-influencers with a small number of passionate Instagram followers can successfully work with brands of all sizes to deliver a highly targeted message to prospective customers. Brands like Mercedes, Reebok and KitchenAid use Instagram micro-influencers as part of their social media strategy.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

The software engineer who started the account CoderGirl (above) has built a following of loyal tech enthusiasts. As a result, she has been able to form valuable partnerships with tech-related brands like Vettery.

2. Start a social media marketing consultancy.

Amassing a large Instagram following is no easy task. It requires a deep familiarity with Instagram marketing best practices. Rather than become an influencer yourself, you can help brands craft more effective Instagram marketing strategies by becoming a consultant.

Reaching out to small- or medium-size brands through Instagram direct message or email can be an effective way to get your foot in the door as a social media consultant. Or you can use freelancing platforms like Upwork to connect with businesses actively looking for help with social media marketing. You can also reach out to social media marketing agencies to see if they are looking for contributions from freelancers like you.

3. Launch an ecommerce store.

Instagram marketing has served as a driving force behind the success of a number of popular ecommerce brands. From fashion companies like Brandy Melville to health brands like Women’s Best (below), Instagram is well suited for ecommerce.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Instagram provides brands with a platform to show off interesting products in a way that is attractive to prospective customers. Furthermore, Instagram has recently released a number of new features, such as the “buy now” advertising button, to help ecommerce stores.

4. Develop a lifestyle brand.

Unlike an ecommerce store, a lifestyle brand usually offers the target audiences a wide variety of products and services catering to those who wish to live a particular type of life. Examples include GORUCK, Burton and Patagonia.

Instagram serves as an ideal medium to launch a lifestyle brand, since the platform provides marketers with an excellent way to showcase activities and products aligned with a particular point of view.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Take a look at GORUCK’s Instagram profile. The channel showcases GORUCK products, outdoor activities and GORUCK community events as a way of evangelizing a particular way of life that prioritizes physical fitness and social responsibility.

5. Begin a media company.

Rather than selling a product or service, you can use your Instagram audience to launch a media company that sells ad space. Instagram can be used as a channel to distribute new pieces of media content to the target audience.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Media companies of all sizes, from the New York Times to Vox News (above) use Instagram as a way of sharing important photos, videos and quotes with Instagram users.

6. Become a professional storyteller.

Assuming you already use Instagram to tell compelling stories through images, video or Instagram captions, you can monetize this ability by helping brands to construct compelling narratives.

10 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Becoming a professional storyteller is a bit different from becoming a social media marketing consultant. A storyteller is usually the person who is developing content on behalf of brands. Take Zach Houghton as an example. While he does use his personal Instagram account to promote various destinations and activities via sponsored posts, he also helps organizations to tell compelling Instagram Stories through his consulting.

7. Charge people for in-depth gated content.

If you have developed an audience of truly dedicated followers, you can always charge them to consume longer-form content. Instagram can then become an effective marketing channel to distribute preview content that encourages your followers to purchase the full piece.

Jimmy Chin used Instagram to do just that. Chin amassed nearly 2 million Instagram followers. He then went on to create the movie Meru, which was essentially a long-form version of the content he frequently posts on Instagram.

8. Go on a professional speaking circuit.

Becoming a professional speaker can be a great way to build a well-regarded personal brand. One recent estimate found that the average professional speaker makes around $6,000 per speech.

Depending on your area of interest, you may be able to market yourself as an industry influencer if you are able to build a large enough Instagram following. Often, event organizers are interested in working with speakers who are able to promote an event to an audience of prospective attendees.

Becoming a professional speaker can also help you to build a larger Instagram following, which can in turn create a cycle of more speaking gigs thanks to a large online presence.

9. Use your following to land a new day job.

Perhaps your Instagram account is something you simply maintain for fun. If that’s the case, it can be used to advance your career by showing your current or future employers that you are regarded as an industry expert. Consider mentioning your Instagram presence (if relevant) the next time you interview for a new position.

10. Survey your audience to develop a new product or service.

The key to developing a successful business is learning the wants and needs of the target audience as quickly as possible. Instagram can provide you with convenient access to prospective customers if used correctly. From there, your Instagram followers can help you to launch a new product or service, and may even become early customers. 

Conclusion

Instagram has already helped celebrities big and small to establish new revenue streams. The platform can help readers like you launch a successful business venture, assuming you are able to build a dedicated following.

From becoming an Instagram influencer or consultant to launching an ecommerce business or media company, once you have a loyal Instagram following a wide variety of monetization options become available.

UPDATED: October 2020

Hi Brand Managers – and fellow Instagrammers, the Holiday isn’t over yet, you can still pull off a wonderful social media marketing campaign.

There are three commonly used social media campaigns that can help your brand regardless of the stage of your social media marketing presence. Whether you are still building a brand community or are more focused on your social media ROI, you can successfully leverage these common campaigns by focusing on your campaign strategy.

1)  Contests

Contests  are one of the most widely used campaigns out there. They are low maintenance and, with most social platforms, are relatively easy to implement.

Use if:

  • You are more focused on community building.
  • Your timeline is tight.
  • You are able to provide offerings for the winners.

Do:

  • Use rich relevant design to grab the attention of your community and reach out to a new audience.
  • Offer new or favorite products and services to raise more awareness
  • Take advantage of paid advertising. Sweepstakes are counterintuitive and result in less social sharing.

Don’t:

  • Require extensive demographic data.  Consumers tend to have privacy concerns and may not participate.
  • Rely solely on the sharing features of social media to promote your campaign. People purposely tend not to share Sweepstakes to increase their chance of winning.

2)  Charitable Campaigns

Charitable Campaigns are more popular around the holidays and often benefit from the spirit of giving and sharing that people practice this time of the year. These campaigns are great for building customer and brand relationships. In a study reported by “NewMediaandMarketing”,  68% of the consumers cited shared values as the reason of their loyalty towards a brand.

Use if:

  • You are more focused on raising awareness and gaining a loyal community base.

Do:

  • Provide information on your targeted goals and details for the audience you are reaching to.
  • Share the results of the charitable contributions with your audience after the campaign is over. .

Don’t:

  • Require extensive personal information from the contributors.

3)  User Generated Content Competitions

User generated competitions bring the greatest social amplification as they require the user to promote their own content in order to participate and win. These campaigns can be very innovative and often go viral.  Note – these campaigns work best if they are custom made and have a dedicated community manager.

Use if:

  • You are looking for greater social amplifications
  • You have a more extended timeline.
  • You have enough resources to implement and moderate the campaign.

Do:

  • Work on a strong strategy and story for your campaign.
  • Think about stories that involve using your product or services.
  • Consider options that provide content moderation

Don’t:

  • Build the campaign around stories that are not relevant to your product and services just for the hope of going viral. Having the stories center around your products and services can help with your brand promotion and awareness.

Social media is no longer dependent solely on community building.  If you do not start with a strong strategy, it is unlikely that you will get the desired value from any of the aforementioned campaign options. Webtrends not only provides the competitive strategy and implementation solutions for your future campaigns but also provides an award winning analytics solution to measure and optimize your campaigns.

Source: blogs.webtrends.com

Embrace Social.

To get customers talking about your company, you need to give them something to talk about. There is nothing more word of mouth worthy than surprising and delighting customers.

Using a dataset of more than 2 million link-containing retweets I compared those that contained an “!” and those that did not.

Great as it is, the internet has one dark side among others – anonymity! Today, it is more difficult to know which online personality is real and who is not with thousands of conversations going on each second. This deception is common on twitter with so many people opening parody accounts. As it is, that’s one of the negative side of Social Media we may have to live with. How do I mean?

Someone, somewhere in the corner of his room decides to create another personality other than himself. He calls it the online version of himself. He chooses a name such as Tom Smith. Then he proceeds to create email accounts such as tomsmith@yahoo.com, tomsmith@gmail.com and the likes. Off to Facebook and Twitter he goes. He creates accounts on as much Social Media platform as he has access to. As if that’s not enough, he then creates another personality for another purpose and goes through the same process.

With these accounts, he ensures he uses different tones on each. He can even set different locations for each. And so on, just to hide his real identity. Both good and bad have been through this method. Many have fallen victim of this. At times, people get into deep conversations with a stranger just because he/she has been following them on twitter for over 6 months only to discover that they’ve been talking to a fraudster. The deed has been done. BUT, his good tweets won’t make it easy believe at first sight. You see, “It’s too easy to be and say anything with the anonymity of the internet.”

Here are five quick tips for dealing with anonymity:

  • Always strive to take your friendship beyond the internet. Request for a meet-up somewhere, somehow. He doesn’t show up after few attempts and always gives an excuse for it? Err, you just caught him. Do not take him serious henceforth.
  • If you can’t meet-up offline due to distance, identify someone who has an offline relationship with such person. Ensure it’s someone you’ve met (and not another anonymous account) and trust.
  • You can also request a video chat via Skype. Often may be.
  • Treat confidential as confidential online, recipient notwithstanding.
  • Be smart. Always!

So, should you stop interacting with people you’ve never met? NO! Doing that will defy the whole idea behind the WWW. Just ensure you have bankable proofs before you get deep with anyone over the WWW.

Someone, somewhere in the corner of his room decides to create another personality other than himself. He calls it the online version of himself. He chooses a name such as Tom Smith. Then he proceeds to create email accounts such as tomsmith@yahoo.com, tomsmith@gmail.com and the likes. Off to Facebook and Twitter he goes. He creates accounts on as much Social Media platform as he has access to. As if that’s not enough, he then creates another personality for another purpose and goes through the same process.

With these accounts, he ensures he uses different tones on each. He can even set different locations for each. And so on, just to hide his real identity. Both good and bad have been through this method. Many have fallen victim of this. At times, people get into deep conversations with a stranger just because he/she has been following them on twitter for over 6 months only to discover that they’ve been talking to a fraudster. The deed has been done. BUT, his good tweets won’t make it easy believe at first sight. You see, “It’s too easy to be and say anything with the anonymity of the internet.”

Here are five quick tips for dealing with anonymity:

  • Always strive to take your friendship beyond the internet. Request for a meet-up somewhere, somehow. He doesn’t show up after few attempts and always gives an excuse for it? Err, you just caught him. Do not take him serious henceforth.
  • If you can’t meet-up offline due to distance, identify someone who has an offline relationship with such person. Ensure it’s someone you’ve met (and not another anonymous account) and trust.
  • You can also request a video chat via Skype. Often may be.
  • Treat confidential as confidential online, recipient notwithstanding.
  • Be smart. Always!

So, should you stop interacting with people you’ve never met? NO! Doing that will defy the whole idea behind the WWW. Just ensure you have bankable proofs before you get deep with anyone over the WWW.

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I’m pretty excited about the new look to the Facebook News Feed!

Let’s face it, a big business like Facebook doesn’t make these decisions lightly; without a lot of thought, research, testing and such. Yes, they’ll likely get some flack from this change. Some of us like change more than others. And, hey, that’s what makes the world interesting.

But I happen to like what I’ve seen of the change so far. I’m thinking that the change may be a big improvement for business Pages, most of whom struggle to find interesting content to share that also, at least occasionally, promotes their business and makes it into the Facebook news feed.

Yes, Facebook is a social platform and fans do not want to be barraged non-stop with advertising messages. That said, brands – small and large – use social media to build name recognition, relationships with potential clients and to improve their bottom line. As much as we might like to do it just for fun, few of us can afford to do so.

So how will this change be an improvement for business?

The layout of the news feed provides a variety of options for people to choose to view what they would like to see, one of which is ‘Following’, in other words ‘Pages’.

Why is that good? Here’s why: the ‘Following’ tab will be listed, along with all the other options, in the drop down menu at the top of the page for fans to choose.

The menu (listed below) is one that regular Facebook users are likely to take advantage of when signed in, if they want to view anything other than the default (Facebook ‘Top Stories’ sorted) News Feed:

  • News Feed (the default)
  • Most Recent
  • All Friends
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Following
  • Games
  • Groups
  • See All

When one of the menu items, other than default is chosen, it looks like Facebook will include all posts in that grouping in the order they were posted (no screening).

And chances are, if I’m looking through the list of news feed options available I may be more likely to, at least periodically, check into the ‘Following’ news feed.

The default news feed will continue to be screened by Facebook and only show ‘top stories’, but not the other news feeds, from what I’ve seen so far.

Assuming this is the case, brand Pages are more likely to be seen by those who have ‘liked’ their Pages, because they now have two shots at appearing in their news feed:

  1. Chosen as a ‘Top Story’ by Facebook based on their criteria
  2. In with the crowd, unsorted, on the ‘Following’ Page

Of course, none of this guarantees brands will be more successful with Facebook but it will remove the ability to blame Facebook for not giving us enough exposure in the news feed.

We’ll now have two opportunities to get in front of our audience and it’s up to each brand to do their homework and deliver to their fans what they’re looking for in order to gain a following.

Facebook is touting this new look as:

  • Goodbye Clutter | Hello bright, beautiful stories
  • Bursting With Color | Vibrant new visuals bring your News Feed to life.
  • Fresh Feeds | Get Facebook just how you want it with your choice of feeds.
  • Everywhere You Go | See the same clean look wherever you use Facebook – on mobile, tablet, or web.

From first glance, I think it may be a winner!Source: Social Media Today

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Reading time: 2 min

Social recruiting is becoming a better alternative for recruiters/hiring managers in winning the war for talent today. As we all know by now, social recruiting has come of age in recruiting and it is changing the traditional ways of recruiting.

Social media has become a new battleground in the war for talent. Companies that don’t play at all risk being left behind – but who’s leading the pack? This infographic from Recruit Loop has all the answers you desire.

Infographic Takeaways

  1. Facebook has the biggest talent pool, with 1.06 billion active monthly users, whereas Twitter has 500 million and LinkedIn has 200 million.
  2. 89% of recruiters have made a hire through LinkedIn.
  3. Google is the most desirable company to work with in 2013, and has one of the biggest Twitter followings too.
  4. Defence Jobs Australia is the YouTube company career channel with the most amount of views – over 5 million. 

There are other tools available – such as Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ – each with millions of users.

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Reading time: 1 min

Today companies are gradually embracing social recruiting in their recruitment efforts by utilizing LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to advertise job openings and communicate with interested candidates.

While social media is a worthwhile tool for recruiting potential candidates for your organization, it’s easy to make simple mistakes which may cost you and your company time, money and ultimately, the opportunity to reach your top recruit.

Recently, HireRabbitBlog compiled a list of 7 key social recruiting mistakes and why you should avoid them:

#1: Not creating a clear social media recruitment strategy

Social recruiting can create countless opportunities to connect with a vast number of prospective candidates, but your recruiting plan needs to be strong and well-organized before you jump into the game. With so many social media networking sites, it is easy to lose sight of your recruiting goals unless you strategize.

A Twitter account or Facebook page won’t be helpful, for example, if you don’t have time to update or communicate with people. If you don’t have the manpower to cover all bases at one time, you may instead deter top-notch applicants instead of attract.

 #2: Not defining your targeted audience before posting

It is important you first define your targeted audience and determine the most appropriate avenue for your organization. Having a well-defined target market is essential to growing your social presence. Just as it is expensive and inefficient to try and target everyone with traditional advertising, you will have more success in social recruiting if you target a specific niche. To zero in on your targeted channels consider demographics of your targeted candidates, analyze where they spend their time and research the competition.

 #3: Not taking the time to build a relationship

They say most of the online community is not actively looking for a job, so use social media to introduce future contenders to your company. While social networking offers the opportunity to create immediate bonds and social connections, it’s much more rewarding long-term to first build trust. Take the time needed to build your company brand and a rapport so you attract the best employees when the time is right.

#4: Failing to create an attractive social presence for your company

In this social media savvy world, people tend to move on quickly if something doesn’t interest them right away. As a recruiter, it’s important to catch a potential employee’s eye and create an image. Ensure your social media presence has interesting, yet informational pages so visitors don’t just breeze by them. Utilize branding opportunities available on your social pages and give candidates a reason to spend more time with your brand.

#5: Not posting relevant content

Nobody likes spam. Some recruiters make the mistake of sending out generic messages to their entire audience base when in fact this strategy is more likely to frustrate people who otherwise would have been interested in your company. Try to tailor your messages to a group within the same profession and/or job category so potential employees don’t start ignoring your posts or block you. The point is to build lasting networking relationships – not sever them.

#6: Not utilizing social media to reach the next generation

It’s easy as a recruiter to leave out a very important networking base — college students. Young people waiting to enter the job market are probably the most savvy when it comes to social media networking which makes them completely reachable without having to spend money on multiple campus visits.  Social media is a great tool for you to identify, attract, and hire the very best fresh graduates while cutting down on your recruiting cost.

#7: Not taking training and/or guidance

If you don’t feel you know how to recruit effectively using social media, be sure you reach out for help. If formal classes are not available, request sample company messages, profiles and a list of dos and don’ts so you can make the most of social media. In addition, request a list of the organization’s best practices and powerful stories to maintain a good supply of content.*Post culled from HireRabbitBlog

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Reading time: 3 min

The official twitter client, TweetDeck, today got updated. According to the official TweetDeck blog, the upgrade cuts across all supported platforms including web, Chrome, Mac and Windows.

This update makes TweetDeck easier to use with design enhancements, personalization options and the addition of several frequently-requested features.

Below are the changes we noticed in the new tweetdeck:

  • New Theme: One of the most noticeable changes in the new TweetDeck is a change in the colour theme. The default black theme has been modified, becoming a little lighter than the previous. Not just, a new theme is now available in the dashboard. The new lighter skin “offers dark text on a light background.” Now, users can “instantly” swap between both themes by clicking on a button located right beside the Tweetdeck logo on the upper left corner. 
  • Font: TweetDeck now allows users customize their font size in the settings pane. This new addition offers merely three options to choose from – Small (13pt), Medium (14pt) or Large (15pt) font sizes.

To get the new TweetDeck, simply re-launch your tweetdeck and you’ll be prompted to update.

What do you think about the new Tweetdeck?

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Reading time: 1 min

Best. Statistic. Ever. Makes me feel better about flying, but sorry for those designing banner ads.

They say that a kitten dies every time someone uses a bullet point in a presentation, so I shudder to think what’s going to happen the next time someone clicks on a banner.

Banner ads. The ugly stepchild of online marketing. Just trying to hang out in the top-right corner, minding their own business. They never asked to be overused. They never asked to be animated GIFs. But they certainly didn’t want to be ignored.

Yet, here we are, about to discuss how little action they get, and how they’re being usurped by another form of advertising. Poor little rectangular bastards. 75,000 wasted pixels in an otherwise useful area of your page. Destined to be thrown on the marketing scrap heap, never to be seen again…

Scratch that. Banners aren’t going anywhere. Yes they’re annoying. Yes they are essentially useless. But they’re here to stay, in all their 300x250px glory. They just have to compete with what’re known as ‘Native Ads’, which, as we’ll learn, have some significant advantages.

What’s a native ad? In 197 characters or less.

Native ads are contextual paid ads that appear in your content stream, designed to augment the user experience by providing semantically relevant supporting content, without breaking the flow of information.

But placing ads in content is bad, right?

It certainly is. The typical method for injecting ads is to use interruption marketing tactics to plant banners and text ads directly into the middle of a piece of content, forcing you to look at them in order to experience the whole article. People – me included – despise these ads. They provide no contextual benefit and diminish the value of the content they appear in. You can probably blame Google for this, as most of the bad behavior seems to have been built around the mass adoption of AdSense as an advertising platform.

There’s a reason for the epidemic known as banner blindness. People never liked banners and decided unconsciously to tune them out, focusing instead on the real content on the page. If you infer the same reaction to ads placed inside your content, you can imagine how unpleasant and interrupted the content consumption experience would be.

However, done correctly, ads inside content can be effective. This is where native ads come in.

So how are native ads different?

To extend the definition of native ads a bit. You can think of them as sponsored content designed to “blur the distinction between editorial and advertising in the eyes of the consumer”, according to Pilgrim Advertising. What this means, is that despite the ads being paid for, they are placed more carefully, with a heightened level of knowledge about where and how they are being used. The result is that they appear more like ‘useful supporting content that just happens to be paid for’. Read more about native ads.

The benefits of native ads

The infographic below was created based on a study to compare differences in behavior and perception between native ads and banner ads. Using eye tracking tools and surveys, the following insights were uncovered:

Native ads are more visually engaging: Native ads in the study were looked at 52% more frequently than banner ads.

Native ads drive higher brand lift: They registered a 9% lift for brand affinity and an 18% lift for purchase intent, compared to banner ads.

Native ads are more likely to be shared: 32% of respondents said they would share the ad content with a friend, compared to 19% for banner ads.

Native ads are consumed in the same way as the content they appear in: Consumers actually registered that they looked at the native ads slightly more than the content itself.

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Reading time: 3 min

Entrepreneurs and small business owners often ask me how to make their businesses more social. While there are several ways to kick start your social journey, your website is definitely a good place to start. Your website is your first point of call for your customers and potential leads, therefore, if your website is not social enough, chances are that your social results will be limited. Today, we consider 3 ways to make your website more “social-centric”.

  1. Add social sharing buttons: Social sharing buttons are the buttons that allow your visitors share the contents on your website. Without social sharing buttons, it will be difficult for your visitors to share your pages, offers, blog posts etc directly from your website. Truth is your site visitors will mostly likely ignore sharing your pages if they can’t find a button that allows them do it with one click. I recommend placing your social sharing buttons either above each content (page, post etc) or below. You may also place it sideways or use any of the floating sharing buttons available. This depends largely on the overall layout of your website. Just ensure you place it where it can be easily noticed by your visitors.
  2. Social Profiles: These are buttons or widgets that link people to your social media profiles. If your visitors like the content of your website, chances are that they’ll want to go beyond sharing it, they may be interested in following you or liking your Facebook page. So, make it easy for them by having links to your social profiles. As a matter of fact, placing links leading to your profiles may not be enough. I recommend using the like button for Facebook as a widget so people can like your Facebook page directly from your website within a very short time. In the same fashion, instead of just linking to your Twitter profile, get the official Twitter button that allows your visitors follow you directly without leaving your website.
  3. Social Splash page: This is a tricky one and many often discourage it. However, since we installed it on SocialMeep, for instance, our following and likes increased by 50% within  a short time. This is the small dialogue box that pops up once you load a website. Instead of displaying some other messages, install the types that allows first-time visitors like your page, follow you on Twitter etc. This is a fast way to increase your following and likes and it sends a message to your visitors that “hey, we’re on Twitter, Facebook etc, so follow us…”

These are just three ways to make your site a little more social. If you’re hiring a developer, ensure he or she implements these based on the general orientation of the site. **Replace website with blog in case that is what you have. The same tactics apply.

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Reading time: 2 min

Best. Statistic. Ever. Makes me feel better about flying, but sorry for those designing banner ads.

They say that a kitten dies every time someone uses a bullet point in a presentation, so I shudder to think what’s going to happen the next time someone clicks on a banner.

Banner ads. The ugly stepchild of online marketing. Just trying to hang out in the top-right corner, minding their own business. They never asked to be overused. They never asked to be animated GIFs. But they certainly didn’t want to be ignored.

Yet, here we are, about to discuss how little action they get, and how they’re being usurped by another form of advertising. Poor little rectangular bastards. 75,000 wasted pixels in an otherwise useful area of your page. Destined to be thrown on the marketing scrap heap, never to be seen again…

Scratch that. Banners aren’t going anywhere. Yes they’re annoying. Yes they are essentially useless. But they’re here to stay, in all their 300x250px glory. They just have to compete with what’re known as ‘Native Ads’, which, as we’ll learn, have some significant advantages.

What’s a native ad? In 197 characters or less.

Native ads are contextual paid ads that appear in your content stream, designed to augment the user experience by providing semantically relevant supporting content, without breaking the flow of information.

But placing ads in content is bad, right?

It certainly is. The typical method for injecting ads is to use interruption marketing tactics to plant banners and text ads directly into the middle of a piece of content, forcing you to look at them in order to experience the whole article. People – me included – despise these ads. They provide no contextual benefit and diminish the value of the content they appear in. You can probably blame Google for this, as most of the bad behavior seems to have been built around the mass adoption of AdSense as an advertising platform.

There’s a reason for the epidemic known as banner blindness. People never liked banners and decided unconsciously to tune them out, focusing instead on the real content on the page. If you infer the same reaction to ads placed inside your content, you can imagine how unpleasant and interrupted the content consumption experience would be.

However, done correctly, ads inside content can be effective. This is where native ads come in.

So how are native ads different?

To extend the definition of native ads a bit. You can think of them as sponsored content designed to “blur the distinction between editorial and advertising in the eyes of the consumer”, according to Pilgrim Advertising. What this means, is that despite the ads being paid for, they are placed more carefully, with a heightened level of knowledge about where and how they are being used. The result is that they appear more like ‘useful supporting content that just happens to be paid for’. Read more about native ads.

The benefits of native ads

The infographic below was created based on a study to compare differences in behavior and perception between native ads and banner ads. Using eye tracking tools and surveys, the following insights were uncovered:

Native ads are more visually engaging: Native ads in the study were looked at 52% more frequently than banner ads.

Native ads drive higher brand lift: They registered a 9% lift for brand affinity and an 18% lift for purchase intent, compared to banner ads.

Native ads are more likely to be shared: 32% of respondents said they would share the ad content with a friend, compared to 19% for banner ads.

Native ads are consumed in the same way as the content they appear in: Consumers actually registered that they looked at the native ads slightly more than the content itself.

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Reading time: 3 min

When running a giveaway, either through your own website or through a 3rd party, you need to have a set of predetermined goals in mind so that you have a clear roadmap to success. Here are 8 tips to help you get the most out of running a giveaway.

1. Set Goals to Determine an ROI

First and foremost, what are you looking to get out of running a giveaway? Do you want more exposure for your brand, more sales, more likes on Facebook, or followers on Twitter? You must go into your promotion with predetermined goals, so that when it ends you are able to measure its success. I see way too many companies running giveaways with no predetermined goals in mind. When all is said and done, they end up feeling like they got nothing out of it, aside from it being some “fun” marketing ploy.

To set goals and track them, you can do something as simple as opening an excel spreadsheet before you run the giveaway, creating a list of the goals you want to set.

2) Sales? Probably not…

When running a giveaway, it is important to understand that you most likely won’t see sales pouring in. You may get a few sales, but don’t make sales your number one goal when running a giveaway. I’ve worked with many companies that measure the success of their giveaway based on the number of sales they received. If they did not get as many as they were hoping for, they are usually unhappy and feel as if their money was not well spent.

The problem with this train of thought is that no marketing tactic can ever really guarantee sales; giveaways are fantastic for lead generation, where you foster a relationship with your new customers, leveraging them for sales at a later time. Running a giveaway is just another marketing tactic and there will always be a cost associated with it.

If you have ever used Google Adwords or Facebook Ads you know that you have to spend a good chunk of change to get enough people to click through to your website. Even after they click, it is still JUST a click – nothing more. Your job isn’t done even after you have paid for a click; you still need to make sure those people are able to make it through your sales funnel to make a purchase. The same goes for a giveaway: you need to make sure that you have structured it correctly so that you are able to reach your goals, whether that is to capture leads, get more likes, followers, etc.

But of course, if you’re really itching to get more sales out of a giveaway, then…

3) Offer a Discount 

Providing entrants with a discount that they can redeem for products/services on your site is a great way to increase sales. Most companies either run a giveaway, or just offer a coupon, but from my experience, combining the two is more powerful.

Offering a coupon without a giveaway means that the coupon is out in the wild for anyone to see and use. People may see the coupon and say “Sweet! I’ve been wanting to buy something from them, now is the time!” Then, they get distracted. A few days go by and they completely forget about using your coupon to make a purchase. In fact, they don’t purchase at all. Unfortunately, you have no idea who this person is, or how to reach them.

However, when running a giveaway, you can offer a discount once the user has entered. This means that you have captured them as a lead, usually by collecting their email address, and you can effectively re-market to them to remind them about the coupon if they don’t end up making a purchase. A good rule of thumb is to provide a coupon for the duration of the giveaway and have it expire a week after the giveaway ends. This will encourage people that didn’t win to make an impulse purchase.

4) Interact on Facebook

Interacting with your current and new users on Facebook is especially important during a giveaway. Remember, these platforms are not meant to be used as a one-way form of communication; do less pushing, and more pulling. When you get those 500 new facebook fans, your first post shouldn’t be “HEY NEW FANS BUY OUR PRODUCTS NOW!”

Instead, engage and build a relationship with them. Much like going on a first date, you want to make a good impression in order to keep them as a fan and to eventually convert them into a customer.

For example, let’s say you run a company that sells mattresses — start out with something like “Welcome to all of our new fans. Are there any problems that you have with your current mattress that keep you up at night? Let us know, and we’ll see if our certified mattress experts can help find a solution to your problem.”

This opens the floodgates for your fans to start leaving comments talking about their sleeping problems as a result of their mattress. You then chime in and respond directly to each customer, helping to find a solution to their problem. Remember, building the relationship with them first is the key to turning them into customers who are likely to buy from you in the future.

5) Interact on Twitter

The same goes for Twitter – use it as a platform to interact with your new users, not as a platform to constantly push out tweets about your products.

Another great way to take advantage of Twitter is by using Twitter Search. This allows you to search for any keyword or phrase that people are currently tweeting. So, if you run a mattress company, you can run a search for “I hate my bed’, and you will see results from people that have recently tweeted that phrase. You can then reach out to them, let them know about your mattress giveaway, and start building a relationship by asking why they hate their mattress and what you can do to help.

6) Promote to Your Own Audience

This one is simple and should be a no-brainer. Promote your giveaway to your email list and to your audience on social media. Put a graphic on the homepage of your website linking to the giveaway.

What is the point of running a giveaway if your current audience doesn’t know about it? Sure, you may just want to bring in new people for your giveaway, but you would be foolish to ignore the fact that your current audience could bring in more of their own friends and family which you would be missing out on.

7) Promote on Giveaway Directories

Adding your giveaway to a directory can bring in a lot of traffic, but keep in mind that it is mostly non-targeted traffic and sweepstakers just looking for freebies. However, if your goal is to get as much traffic and as many leads as possible, you’ll want to submit to these sites.

Here is a great list of giveaway directories to submit your giveaway to.

8) Utilize Facebook Comments 

Utilizing the Facebook commenting system in your giveaway is a great way to continue the conversation and bring in more people. Many 3rd party giveaway tools have Facebook comments built right in, but if you’re building a custom giveaway page, use the Facebook comments plugin.

If you structure your giveaway correctly, you should be able to ask users a question that they can reply to using Facebook comments. For example, if you’re giving away a mattress you can ask: “Which mattress would you choose from our selection if you win?”

This simple question will drum up hundreds of comments because it encourages people to browse your website to find the mattress they want.

Another great thing about Facebook comments is that when you reply to people your comment will show up with your company name. Don’t forget, when a user leaves a comment, Facebook usually displays that in the newsfeed for their friends to see, which brings in more people.

Recap

  • Set goals to determine an ROI. Do not go in blind hoping for the best when running a giveaway.
  • You most likely won’t get many sales from a giveaway, if any at all. You should be capturing leads and interacting with your new fans to convert them into future customers.
  • Discounts when combined with a giveaway can help to drive sales.
  • Promote the giveaway to your current audience, and if you’re looking to get as many leads as possible, submit to giveaway directories.
  • Use Facebook, Facebook comments, and Twitter properly to increase engagement and interaction with your audience. Remember, less pushing more pulling.
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Reading time: 7 min

Today, more companies are gradually accepting to get social. However, many of these companies have decided to change the meaning of getting social. This is what it means to many companies: Open a Facebook page, Create an account on twitter; Post a few updates within one week on both platforms and Leave it dead.

Funny thing is the CEOs of these companies sometimes get out a press release for creating a Facebook account. Some others go ahead to include it in the end of the year report. Yet, these profiles remain dead.

Before drafting this post, I perused the profiles of some of these big companies. Dead! Dead! Dead! If you’re a manager reading this or you work in one of those companies with dead profiles, here are three ways to get your profiles back alive:

  • Outsource: Since, tweeting and posting on Facebook is a pain in the ass for bosses, a good option will be to entrust that responsibility to a reputable social media agency. They’ll help with online PRs and establish an effective social media presence for you. While this does not come free, the rewards cannot be over-emphasized.
  • Hire an Intern: There are now numerous communications undergraduates looking for companies for their industrial attachment, get one of them to manage your social media profiles. There are even graduates who are passionate about social media and are desperately looking for companies to learn (as an unpaid intern). Hire one of these people and guide them in the management of your profiles. As social media transcends just tweeting endlessly, these people can perform critical analysis and supply you with social data that can make your company more effective in serving your customers. They can also help respond to complaints from your followers/fans.
  • Schedule up front: Your company doesn’t consider social media a good idea to spend your marketing budget on? At the same time you don’t consider hiring an intern a good idea? Then you’ve got to get your hands dirty. To make it easy, most of these social media platforms have schedule features (or third party apps). Schedule updates over a long period of time when you’re less busy and let the app do the rest for you at needed times. At least, it’s better than leaving the profiles dead. The downside of scheduling is there’s usually no-one respond to customer’s queries especially those generated from a particular update.

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Reading time: 2 min
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