How to Use Visual Content for Real-Time Engagement

Is visual content part of your social media strategy?

Is your content flexible enough to engage fans in real time?

Your audience is never more primed to share content than when they’re “in the moment” at an event, on location or while experiencing your brand.

In this article I’ll show you four ways you can use visual content to motivate real-time interaction.

Why Real-Time Interaction

If you want fans to take an action (e.g., share an image, post a picture or enter a contest), you need to tap into the moments when they’re most likely to do it. And those moments are usually during an event, not after.

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People aren’t likely to share when the excitement is over and they’re back home on their computer faced with more deadlines and too much content to sift through.

Here are four ways you can tap into real-time experiences to engage your audience with visual content and encourage them to take action.

#1: Make It Easy to Shoot and Share

Do you have a physical place of business? There’s no better time to ask someone to share visual content about you than when they’re on location experiencing your brand.

The 1888 Hotel in Sydney has been dubbed the “World’s First Instagram Hotel” because the staff actively encourages guests to document their stay in real time via Instagram.

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A fitting title for a hotel named 1888—the same year Kodak’s Box Roll camera was released to the market.

The hotel uses everything at their disposal to motivate people to share as much visual content as possible. They have a custom hash tag, a fun place for selfies, iMacs with featured photos, photo walks and Wi-Fi and iPads in every room for frictionless sharing.

As soon as guests arrive at the hotel, they can start their visit by taking a fun selfie. 1888 Hotel features a selfie space with classic picture frames ready for Instagram action.

Guests at 1888 Hotel can’t resist the selfie corner and love getting creative with hash tags.

The hotel encourages guests to tag their photos with #1888hotel so they can see their photos streamed live to two iMac computers in the lobby, as well as on the hotel’s website.

The hotel encourages even more participation by choosing a photo of the month and rewarding the photographer with a free night’s stay.

Guests love seeing their images showcased on the two iMacs in the lobby.

But why stop at hotel selfies? 1888 Hotel worked with local bloggers to develop an Insta-walk that showcases the most “Instagrammable” locations in the local Pyrmont and Darling Harbour area. Guests are encouraged to take the walk during their stay and share images to Instagram (with the hotel’s #1888hotel hashtag, of course).

Got some time before your room is ready? Take a stroll with Instagram!

The Insta-walk is a brilliant idea because guests don’t just use the hotel hashtag in their photo captions, they also use other popular Australian travel hashtags, resulting in further exposure for the hotel.

Wi-Fi is paramount to frictionless sharing, so the 1888 Hotel provides free Wi-Fi in the lobby and guestrooms. But they take it one step further than most businesses: They provide access to an iPad in every room, complete with social sharing functionality, ready to go.

Take every opportunity to make it easy for your audience to share in real time.

General Manager Andrew Adams-Smith believes real-time marketing is a big part of 1888 Hotel’s success since opening in 2013. “Instagram is integrated into our whole culture. All of our staff members have Instagram accounts and anyone can reply to posts.”

1888 hotel doesn’t do any advertising, relying solely on social media and earned media (free PR). As such, 1888 Hotel is a great example of the power of real-time visual content.

#2: Ask for Contributions

If your business is completely online, you can still ask fans to share visual content about where they are and what they’re doing at a particular moment. For example, podcasts are entirely audio, but with a little creativity, hosts can incorporate visual content in fun ways.

You’re most likely familiar with Mike Stelzner’s Social Media Marketing Podcast if you follow this blog. Recently Mike ran a contest to win a copy of his book Launch and 30 minutes of “ask me anything” Skype time with him.

Mike announced the contest during the podcast and asked his listeners to take a picture of where they were when they listened to the show and share it in the comments. The result? Almost 400 comments and counting. Approximately 100 of those comments were photos from around the world like this one:

Even if your business is digital only, you can motivate fans to share pictures.

Sometimes asking your fans to share is all it takes to get a new kind of interaction and draw attention to your business. Make sure you ask everyone to use a specific hashtag so you can track the engagement and respond in real time.

#3: Expect the Unexpected

It’s hard to plan memorable moments. They just happen. Be ready to respond quickly to unexpected events because your timing is part of creating awesome content that fans want to share while the event is still happening.

Remember the famous 2013 Oreo Tweet? Ad agency 360i took just 5 minutes to conceptualize, design and caption the image that was tweeted worldwide just 10 minutes after the power went out at the Super Bowl.

Oreo set the bar for rapid response with visual content—the tweet was a hit and the online chatter continued overnight.

Being a first responder with visual content can massively increase your chances of engagement. Fans look to join in on the conversation as it happens.

#4: Plan Ahead

Prepare to lead or join conversations that are popular with your community by planning targeted content ahead of events.

Dunkin’ Donuts does this extremely well—so well, in fact, they’re often referred to as the brand that hijacks events with content, whether it’s the World Cup or the Grammy Awards.

By planning ahead, Dunkin’ Donuts is able to join in on (or initiate) popular conversations:

The good news is that any business, no matter how small, can identify the events customers are most interested in and then post about them.

Casey Lightbody, a marketing consultant from Brisbane, has a target market of international women for her Empowered Women network. She released this image on Facebook early in the morning on International Women’s Day:

Plan ahead! Make and share an engaging image related to a current event.

Even though hers is a relatively new business page, Casey was able to achieve a significant number of shares.

Source –  How to Use Visual Content for Real-Time Engagement

 

4 Points to be Followed by Every SEO Company to Boost Traffic & Sales

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Do you ever analyze past SEO mistakes while hiring a new company to increase your organic traffic? Probably not, because that’s how most of the websites go about it. It’s time to investigate the reasons of loss whenever you see a drop in your sales & traffic even after spending enough on optimization experts fee.

Don’t sit back thinking that you have hired the best SEO firm

Usually companies take it quite easy if they have SEO professionals to take care of search engine rankings. But, that’s a big mistake as to get sales you must have both relevant traffic and a conversion focused website. Not all SEO companies take this into account and so achieve half of results. To attain potentially convertible traffic first ensure that your SEO strategy implies:

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Research Based Plans

It is a must to adopt research based planning amid the stiff competition for search engine rankings to ensure results. Using smart tools for keywords and competitor analysis is essential if you want to be safe from the consequences of guesswork & weak estimations. These tools give robust figures that eliminate the risk of misjudgments.

User Focused Practices

Add value to search engine results by meeting Google standards and offering best user experience to online users who seek solutions to their queries. Don’t depend on black hat SEO to get higher rankings. Indulge in ethical linking to get steady results.

Don’t waste your time & money in old SEO practices

Apply Modern Techniques

Unique Content

Google prefers content so avoiding it can cost you heavily. What kind of content shall be used for optimizing search engine is the most important question to unravel. If your past SEO efforts could not meet desired goals, then poor content could have been the reason. Analyze now & change your approach.

Follow on page & off page content guidelines to improve your domain authority and boost search engine rankings. This may also save you from Panda hit as that focuses on improving content quality on Google.

Social Sharing

Social media is a great source of attracting traffic and it helps you improve the online presence on web as social domains have high domain authority, attract great deal of users and always rank higher in SERPs. They also act as good source of quality backlinks but if you really want to own all of this, you have got to ensure that your social media content is user engaging & shared on regular intervals. Consistency is the key to success when we talk about social media benefits.

Not sure which package will be suitable for you? Our SEO experts can help you out.

Discuss Your Requirements

Ably Soft, as the global SEO partner for many websites applies all these techniques to work and ensures improved results. Our clients’ stable rankings give us opportunity to suggest similar techniques to other online businesses too. If you lack information on improving your web traffic, then consult us.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Finding Your Audience In Social Media

Social media marketing platforms are constantly evolving, so newcomers are at a disadvantage compared to those who’ve been around the social media block over the last decade. There are more platforms to learn, more features to leverage, and larger audiences to engage.

For small or new businesses venturing into social media marketing for the first time, focusing on the fundamentals is key. In this two-part series, we’ll do just that.  Read on for a guide to getting started, including defining your target market and choosing the right channels to reach them.

Step 1: Defining Your Target Market

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Before diving into anything, start by defining your target consumer.

Demographics are important, but key insights into the what type of person they are, their likes and dislikes, etc., will give you stronger direction later for creating engaging content.

If you’re like most small businesses, you likely don’t have a professionally developed marketing strategy with person as defined for your target consumers. The great news is, these don’t take a rocket scientist (or professional marketer) to create!

Start With The Easy Stuff: Demographics

Putting pen to paper and defining the more obvious characteristics of your audience is the best place to start. If you’re not familiar with these key characteristics of your target market, you’ll be lost in the long term. For an HVAC repair business, your target customer might be a homeowner. Homeowner: it’s a start, but wouldn’t tell a writer much about how to craft content your audience will appreciate.

To further define the demographics, ask yourself the following questions, thinking of the customers that currently drive most of your business today.

  1. How expensive is your product or service? Do your customers need to fall into a certain income class to afford you?

  2. Is your product or service specifically for men or women? If either, think about your typical customer. What is their typical age? Are they married? Do they have a family? Who makes the purchasing decisions?

  3. Where is your target customer physically located? Are they local to you? In the neighborhood or neighboring town? Do you have an online store and want to appeal to customers across the country? Do you have a storefront or do you travel to your customers to provide service?

  4. Is your product or service ethnically neutral? Does it appeal to people of a certain ethnicity?

By the end of this Q&A exercise, aim to have the following key demographics outlined: age, gender, location, income level, occupation, marital/family status, ethnicity and education level.

Now, What Makes Them Tick? Defining Psychographics

Now that you’ve nailed down the basic information about your target market, it’s time to start thinking about who they are as people. This is the key step to crafting appropriate content for your social media marketing, blogging strategy, and even your traditional marketing efforts.

I’ve found that many small business owners can get lost in the idea of psychographically defining their typical consumer. To guide this thought process, collaborate with your front-line employees — those who work most directly with your customers — and ask the following questions:

  1. What are your customers’ likes and dislikes and what does that tell you about them?

  2. What types of television shows do they watch? What magazines or website might they read?

  3. What are their values?

  4. What kind of lifestyle do they lead? How does your product or service fit into their lifestyle?

In this exercise, you should also look at your product or service. These questions can help you better understand your target customer:

  1. What features appeal to your current customers the most?

  2. When do they use the product (or hire you for the service)?

  3. Do they use it in a certain way?

Aspirational Customers: Not Today, Maybe Someday

If you’re looking to expand business (perhaps you’re more of a novice than a beginner), think about your “aspirational customers.” An aspirational customer is someone who may not buy your product or service today, but perhaps this is the kind of business you’d like to do more of.

Our original example of an HVAC repair company may consider business owners as aspirational customers because they would like to do more commercial business, which is more lucrative than residential.

Perform the same two Q&A sessions above for your aspirational customer. Remember to keep this separate. You might not use this target market in your immediate marketing strategy, but defining it is the first step to achieving your goals!

2 Pro Tips For DIY Defining Your Target Market

  1. If you get stumped at any of the above steps, take a look at one of your competitors that performs well. If they are already doing any social media marketing, review their content and strategy to look for clues as to whom they believe their target customer really is.

  2. Write it all down. Once you’ve outlined your demo and psychographics, you might realize you have several target customers. Give each of them a name and persona. This will help you (or whomever helps with your creative) relate to them and craft effective content.

Step 2: Choose The Right Networks To Reach Them

One of my favorite infographics of all time, puts a purr-fectly matched personality to each social network (pun intended).

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There is a vast menu of social networks at a marketer’s disposal today. Truly knowing your target audience will help you select the proper networks to reach them.

BI Intelligence recently released a report on demographics of social network users. Business Insider reported on the results, including some of the key takeaways:

  • Fast-moving consumer goods will perform better on Facebook than luxury goods because the user base skews younger.

  • Twitter is primarily a news source for its users.

  • Pinterest is the place to be for food and drink related products or content, as well as family or parenting content.

  • Instagram’s audience is primarily female (with projections to even out by 2016) and between the ages of 18 and 44. Clothing, accessories and entertainment-related brands find Instagram attractive for this reason.

Coming up in my next column, we’ll review beginners’ steps to starting up your content strategy, best practices, and how to stay organized!

Source –Social Media Marketing Column

The Top 10 Brands With the Most Influential Content Marketing on LinkedIn

Forbes is the global brand with the most influential content on LinkedIn, according to a recent report from the social network.

The ranking was based on data from LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score tool, which measures member engagement with a company’s pages, groups, employee updates, influencer posts, and sponsored updates.

The second most influential brand on the network is The World Economic Forum, according to the analysis.

The rest of the top 10 are media outlets and tech companies: Inc. Magazine, Microsoft, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, HP, Salesforce, IBM, and Mashable.

An earlier study in February by LinkedIn found high-tech and media companies are generally the most effective content marketers on the platform, with the top 10 brands in each category earning the highest average scores.

Other industries with a number of highly effective brands on the platform include professional services, financial services, education, manufacturing, and consumer goods.

LinkedIn also shared the most influential brands in 16 individual countries as part of the recent report.

The geographic breakdown revealed a wider range of industries compared with the overall top 10 list. For example, one of Canada’s most influential brands on LinkedIn is an educational institution (Queen’s School of Business) and one of Indonesia’s is a hospitality business (Club Bali Resorts).

For more findings from the report, check out the infographic:


Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/25510/the-top-10-brands-with-the-most-influential-content-marketing-on-linkedin

The Top 75 Must-Read Online Marketing Blogs

Last year, we compiled 75 Marketing Blogs that covered conversion, content, email, paid search, SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media marketing. Of course, there are many more awesome blogs out there. So today, we’re going to expand that list and add 75 MORE must read blogs for you to consume that cover marketing and business inspiration!

All-in-One Marketing Blogs

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    1. Econsultancy Digital Marketing Blog (RSS) – Latest digital marketing and ecommerce insight, analysis and opinion from multi-award-winning team of analysts and experts. Read the blog and search press releases.
    2. Unmarketing (RSS) – UnMarketing by Scott Stratten is for those that believe business is built on relationships.
    3. Heidi Cohen (RSS) – Heidi Cohen’s blog provides marketing related insights, grounded in digital, direct and social media marketing; served with a creative twist simplifies the complex concepts behind today’s evolving business challenges into an easy-to-understand format that facilitates readers’ grasp of new topics.
    4. GetElastic (RSS) – #1 Subscribed Ecommerce Blog. Get Elastic blog is meant to share ecommerce best practices and better ways to manage the digital relationships. It covers mobile, search, social, and multichannel marketing.
    5. Adobe Digital Marketing Blog (RSS) – Covers advertising, analytics, social media, targeting, mobile, and more.
    6. Chris Ducker (RSS) – Chris Ducker helps entrepreneurs catapult their small business into the 21st century by utilizing ‘New Business’ marketing strategies such as blogging, online video, podcasting, outsourcing, social media and more!
    7. WebProNews (RSS) – Breaking news in tech, search, and social media.
    8. Marketo (RSS) – Catch the latest trends and proven best practices in modern B2B marketing on the Marketo blog.
    9. B2B Marketing Insider (RSS) – B2B Marketing Insider by Michael Brenner discusses the latest on social business, content marketing, and more.
    10. Business 2 Community (RSS) – An inside look at business news and trends focusing on Marketing, Strategy, Leadership, Branding, Public Relations, Technology, Social Media, Mobility, Media and Entertainment.
    11. Digital Marketer (RSS) – Covers search, social, mobile, conversion, traffic, and ecommerce.

Analytics

    1. Occam’s Razor (RSS) – Avinash Kaushik is the author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. He is also the Co-Founder of Market Motive and the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google. On this blog he presents ideas to empower companies to make evolutionary leaps in their digital strategies.
    2. Eugen Oprea (RSS) – EugenOprea.com provides Web Analytics, WordPress, SEO and technology advice in general to help people build a remarkable presence online.
    3. Annielytics (RSS) – This blog provides marketers with bite-size tips, strategies, tricks, and warnings in the pursuit of gathering and visualizing data.
    4. Analytics Talk (RSS) – Digital analytics for businesses by Justin Cutroni.

    More information on this topic related visit here