7 Tips to Market Your Brand on Instagram

Instagram, like Pinterest, is relatively new to the social media world, but it’s proven itself to be a great resource for marketers. Instagram even surpassed Twitter in the number of active users, despite the fact that Twitter is significantly older.

Considering Instagram is owned by Facebook, this probably won’t come as much as a surprise. Since it’s also owned by Facebook, Instagram is powerful not only on it’s own, but when used in conjunction with Facebook, too.

That being said, this post focuses solely how to market your brand on Instagram, which is a different entity than marketing purely on Facebook. For beginners and experts alike, these 7 tips to build and market your brand on Instagram can help your followers and momentum take off.

1. Make Good Use of the Hashtag

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Olive Garden created the hashtag “BreadNation” to create hype and promote their food truck.

While hashtag usage hasn’t really taken off on Facebook (and note: hashtags should be used sparingly at the most on Facebook), it’s a major component of Instagram for both marketers and casual users.

Hashtags on Instagram, like on Twitter, can be not only catchy, but also crucial to helping your images be in front of potential followers interested in what you’re discussing. It’s a great way to jump in on a hot topic or connect with new members of your target audience. And just like on Twitter, a catchy or clever hashtag can draw attention fast.

Branding your business with its own unique hashtag takes this one step further, encouraging users to post their own images and generating conversations centered around your brand and putting it in the focus of their followers, too. It’s actually possible, when done well and with enough momentum, to build an entire community around a single unique hashtag. Talk about building a brand, that’s an efficient way to do it; slap a hashtag on it to tell your users what your brand is all about.

2. Be Part of Your Community

Even if your business is relatively new and doesn’t have a lot of extra funds to donate, small acts of giving back to your community can make a huge difference. Whether it’s time, money, or effort, showing that you’re part of your community and that you care about it is a great strategy to market your brand on Instagram.

An example of how valuable this is: I chose my hair salon because I saw how involved with the community they were (though I admittedly saw this on Facebook, since Instagram wasn’t around then). They raise money through used-purse actions for breast cancer, for example, and attend multiple city and community events. That mattered to me.

A lot of businesses take part in community events or raise money for charities, even if they are just a drop-off point for charities (like toys for tots or Thanksgiving food drives). Snap a picture of your involvement and post it to your Instagram; your followers will take notice.

3. Take Followers Behind the Scenes

Instagram is one of the more casual social media platforms, making it the perfect place to present behind the scenes pictures of what’s really going on in your business.

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Lush Cosmetics takes followers behind the scenes, showing a team member researching new and better products.

Taking followers behind the scenes through your images can increase their trust in your brand, give them an idea about exactly what your brand is, and increase their overall loyalty to your brand. It helps followers feel like they know you, and that’s gold.

Add a truly personal touch to your marketing on Instagram, showing followers what really makes your brand you.

4. Be Unique

Easier said than done, right?

I once saw an Instagram account that launched a brand to success. In this instance, a jeweler marketed her business by taking pictures of her dogs wearing her jewelry (I wish I could find this particular account again, because it was both smart and adorable). Aside from the fact that the jewelry was beautiful, clever and unique marketing made her business stand out while building her brand. This is a great example of why being unique matters.

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Panera has several images all in a row of adorable kids with their products. The images are all eye catching and unique, and they feature unique images instead of just their food.

Thirteen year olds with an iphone have mastered the ability to create and edit high quality photos (and are admittedly much better at it than I am personally); attractive, high quality photos aren’t all that you need anymore, because if that’s all you’ve got, it just won’t cut it. You need images that are also eye catching and unique to stand out.

Think a dog wearing jewelry and you’re off to a good start.

5. Follow Your Followers

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Remember the above #PaneraDate? Panera featured an image a user shared with that hashtag on their own Instagram.

This is a really simple tip that doesn’t require a lot of explanation.

People like feeling like they matter, and they’ll pay attention to a brand that pays attention to them.

When someone follows you, follow them back if you have the ability to (some users are private, but it never hurts to request to follow them). That being said, avoid “hearting” their really personal pictures unless you have a very personal connection with them; heart their pictures if it makes sense given the context of your relationship with them.

Even if you don’t follow them directly, follow their actions as much as possible. If they use your brand’s hashtag, consider sharing it, either on Facebook or Instagram. Show that you appreciate the engagement, and respond to comments on your own images.

Follow your followers, even if you can only follow some of their actions. It will pay off when you’re beginning to build and market your brand on Instagram.

 

6. Link To Your Site Off-Instagram

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Instagram is great for building your brand, but part of marketing your brand is getting them off Instagram and to your actual business, too. On your Instagram profile, you should have a link to your main site and/or your Facebook in your profile.

In the descriptions of each image, there’s plenty of room for a description, a hashtag, and a call to action that sends them off Instagram to a specific page. You can aim to send them to a product page, to your Facebook, to your main website, to a blog post, anything. If you have a call to action, you can encourage they visit another site.

Not every post has to have a call to action, but when applicable, you should take advantage of the chance to stick a call to action in your description to send users off Instagram and potentially even get some conversions in the process.

7. Don’t Spam Your Followers

Facebook has come up with advanced algorithms to make sure that only a small percentage of your posts reach your target audience. As frustrating as this can be for businesses and Page Admins trying to market this way, in some ways it’s good—it keeps our content, as marketers, from spamming users so much they stop following us entirely.

Instagram does not have these advanced algorithms in place (at least not yet; they also get pictures individually posted, as there are no albums. Keep this in mind, making sure to space out your pictures, and to not completely overwhelm your follower’s feeds, especially considering that Instagram’s feed tends to be slower than the feeds like Twitter’s and Facebook’s.

Final Thoughts

Instagram is a big force in the social media marketing world, and it offers the chance for your brand to be a lot more casual and “transparent” with users. It also gives you the opportunity to present users with great visuals and imagery that will help stay in the front of their memory, especially considering no pesky algorithms will filter your content out.

Instagram, perhaps more than even any other social media platform, should keep the focus on who your business is behind closed doors and what it represents, much more than being about what your product is.

Do you have an Instagram account for your business yet? What marketing strategies have you found useful? Have you seen increases on Facebook thanks to Instagram? Leave a comment and let us know!

For those interested in marketing in other platforms, we also have posts on how to promote your Facebook Page and how to promote your business on Pinterest.

 

What You Can Learn from Twitter’s Audience Insights

Twitter has taken another note from Facebook, mimicking Facebook’s Audience Insights and releasing their own.

Twitter’s Audience Insights is just as valuable as Facebook’s, and provides a lot of great information about how makes up your audience and how to best connect with them.

At the moment, we don’t really recommend Twitter Ads in general (depending on your specific audience and niche, this can be different for you) due to high costs.

That being said, using Twitter itself as a free marketing platform is a great way to promote and build your brand and your business (they’ve even made more changes to help with this), connecting with new audience members. Twitter’s Audience Insights can help you do just that.

How to Access Twitter’s Audience Insights

To access Twitter’s Audience Insights, you’ll click on your picture in the top right corner. This will open a drop-down menu, and you’ll click on “Analytics.”

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Once in the analytics section, you’ll click on “Followers,” which can be found in the top left corner of the Page.

twitter's audience insightsThis takes you directly to your Audience Insights page, and you can choose to view Twitter’s Audience, your audience, or a comparison of the two.

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What Twitter’s Audience Insights Tells You

Twitter’s Audience Insights can tell you a lot.

They break down the your audience into different categories, showing you what percentage of your audience fits into which category. They do this using information they glean from users’ onsite usage, as well as off-site information provided by third party company Datalogix.

The overview at the top of the page will tell you what their most common interest is, what type of lifestyle they follow, what type of buying style is most common, and their most commonly used wireless carrier.

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On the rest of the page, Twitter gives you the information about various statistics on your audience, including:

  • Interests: Twitter will show you the most common interests shared by your followers, and what percentage of your followers are categorized into having those interests.

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  • Occupation: Twitter shows you what percentages of your audience fits into different categories of occupations and types of jobs.

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  • Consumer buying style: This seemingly erratic category breaks down users into how they purchase, having everything from “value conscious” to “vegetarian.” Will all of these be relevant to every business? Of course not. But knowing if your customers are “value conscious” or prioritize “premium brands” can be good intel.

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  • Wireless carrier: Self-explanatory, this graph will show you what percentage of your audience uses what wireless carriers.
  • Household income: This section shows how much your average audience member fits into a household income category.

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  • Net Worth: Again, self-explanatory, this category shows you which net worth categories your different audience members fit into.

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  • Marital Status: Not as detailed as Facebook’s relationship statistics, this just shows what percentage of your audience is married, and what percentage is not.
  • Education: This shows the highest level of education completed, and what percentages of your audience have graduated from different levels of school.

How You Can Use Twitter’s Audience Insights

Just like with Facebook’s Audience Insights, this information can tell you a lot.

Sometimes the people you think will be your target audience aren’t really the ones who make up the audience that you actually have.

This can tell you two things—one is that you may somehow have missed your target audience and aren’t appealing to them. The other thing it can tell you is how to create content that is more geared to the audience you currently have.

You can adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly. For example, if you find that your audience prioritizes value and tends to be thriftier than what you previously thought, you can focus more on marketing strategies to take advantage of this information. For example, you can host contests with freebies, or advertise sales.

Similarly, if you find that a large portion of your audience has an interest in common that doesn’t directly relate to you, you can still use this interest to create engaging content. For example, if you see that a large percentage of your users like comedy, you can share more humorous content on your profile, and make sure to incorporate more humor into the content you create off of Twitter, too.

Final Thoughts

Twitter’s Audience Insights is a great tool, and it’s a good thing they’ve taken another note from Facebook to create it. I also want to note that their other analytics tools can be useful summaries, but their Audience Insights in my opinion is one of the strongest analytics tools that they offer.

To see more about different advertising options with Twitter, you can learn about Twitter’s Website Cards and how Twitter Ads compare to Facebook Ads.

Are you using Twitter’s Audience Insights? Has it helped you learn anything about how to better connect with your audience? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Increase Clicks with 3-D Image Carousel on Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads offers several unique features to help marketers increase their conversions, and their image carousel option for their ad system is a good one.

Facebook’s image carousel option for Facebook Ads allows businesses to advertise multiple products with just one ad. Users can scroll through different images that appear on just one ad.

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Facebook’s option for image carousel ads have recently been opened up for mobile ads, too, so we figured now was a good time to go over why you want to use them, and how to create them.

Why You Want to Use The Image Carousel on Facebook Ads

The 3-D Image Carousel, which allows you to feature three to five different images and/or products on a singular Facebook Ad, offers some awesome benefits.

First, it automatically helps your ad to stand out against everything else on their Newsfeed. Sometimes it’s better for your ads to fade into the Newsfeed for a more seamless integration, but in the case of the multi-products ads, it helps your ad to stand out in the best way possible. The image carousel ads have seen increases of engagement and conversions compared to other types of Facebook Ads.

A second benefit is that each image can direct users to different locations on your website. If they click one image, for example, they can be taken to that exact product.

The third major benefit you get when using the image carousel option on Facebook Ads is that you get to feature three to five images on one Facebook Ad. This allows you to feature multiple products or images, helping to make sure that your one ad appeals to more people, and your chances of getting those clicks and conversions increase.

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Fun bonus: Facebook automatically optimizes your ad for you with what they call “creative optimization,” where they will put the best-performing images and links up front for each person who sees your ad. They do the work for you to put your highest converting images up front, taking some of the work off of you.

Fun bonus number two: Facebook doesn’t charge extra for carousel ads.

Facebook just recently made the image carousel option available for mobile ads, too, so no matter what type of ad you’re running, you can still utilize this feature. As we always mention, if you think this type of ad could benefit you, it’s at least worth split testing.

Recommended Dimensions

Facebook offers recommended dimensions of images and text for optimal performance when using their image carousel on Facebook Ads. These recommendations are:

  • Image Size: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Text: 90 characters (This is what will fit across small screens)
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Keep in mind that, as always, your image cannot include more than 20% text on your image, and Faceboko now helps you determine how much text you have with their grid tool.

Facebook also offers a tip about how the recommend getting best results with the image carousel, recommending that you use specific product imagery when targeting returning or high-intent customers, but that you utilize lifestyle imagery with new customers.

How to Create Image Carousel Ads

To create image carousel ads, you’ll start by creating your ad as you normally would—you choose your objective, which in this case, must be either website conversions or clicks to a website.

You’ll fill out the targeting and budgeting information however you see fit, and on step 4: create your ad, you will choose “Multiple Images in one ad.”

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When you scroll down, you’ll see that they automatically have three slots for you to put in images, headlines, and links. You can increase these to five.

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After you enter in all the information, you can preview your ad, seeing how it will appear in all format.

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Recently released for mobile ads, you can now take advantage of the benefits of image carousel ads across multiple platforms and devices.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got products that are visually striking (or even tangible products that you know would do well on Facebook), using the Image Carousel is a great way to promote multiple products at once while increasing the chance that more users will see the one that will actually get them to click.

To see more about increasing conversions on Facebook Ads, you can see our free Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads, as well as read more about our FB Ads Formula, which has quadrupled conversions for members in the past.

 

Have you used Facebook’s image carousel option? What results did you get? Have you used them on mobile? Share your experiences in a comment below!

Facebook’s Place Tips: A Valuable New Tool for Local Businesses

With the whole world going mobile, Facebook is making sure to keep up. Facebook has recently announced and started releasing Place Tips as a way for local businesses to better connect with their target audiences.

Place Tips can be a huge asset for local businesses looking to promote themselves, especially to nearby users. Place Tips are still in the early process of rolling out, only available to businesses with a Bluetooth Beacon and users with the latest version of an iPhone app, but it’s still worth investing time to set it up.

Here’s what they are, what they do, and how to use them…

Facebook’s Place Tips: What Are They?

Facebook's Place Tips
Image courtesy of Facebook.com

Facebook’s Place Tips are an optional feature businesses can utilize them to advertise their business. Users can opt in to use them, and it helps them connect and learn more about the locations and businesses that they visit.

Facebook will determine a users’ location using cellular networks, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Facebook Bluetooth Beacons (which they recommend and claim to be the most reliable, and businesses can receive to help target users most accurately with Place Tips).

Each users’ Place Tips will be different from the next; they can see the pictures, reviews, check-ins, and experiences their friends have posted about your business, for example. This makes each user’s Place Tips highly relevant and useful to them.

 

Facebook will also feature other information about a business in Place Tips, such as posts from the business’s Page, upcoming events, or specific features and information like business hours, featured products, and menus.

Businesses are able to write a unique welcome note to greet users on the business’s personalized Place Tip, giving them the ability to control the first thing the user will see about them. Facebook recommends using this to highlight something unique to your store, saying “A bookstore could use the welcome note to tell visitors where a book signing is happening in the store, while a popular deli may share menu items that famous people have ordered.” Facebook's Place Tips

Place Tips allow you to automatically alert customers to what’s happening with your business right now while they are right there. There is, perhaps, nothing more effective than reaching a relevant customer with great information while they are standing right inside your business. This makes Place Tips an incredible valuable tool for local businesses, and is one all local businesses should be taking advantage of.

The only users who will receive Place Tips on their phones are the ones who are allow Facebook to access their locations, and who are currently in your store. The also need to have the latest version of the iPhone app and have Bluetooth turned on. Facebook users can disable Place Tips if the choose.

How to Use Them

To use Place Tips for your business, you simply need a Facebook Bluetooth Beacon (this is the best way Facebook recommends as of now). To see how to set up your Bluetooth Beacon once you’ve received it, you can click here.

Facebook is releasing these Bluetooth beacons for free to some businesses in the US, and you can request to get one here.

Facebook's Place Tips

They are releasing them in limited quantities for now, but it can benefit your business if you can get ahold of one sooner rather than later—especially while they’re free.

Final Thoughts

With more and more users going mobile, all new tools to reach them are valuable and should be taken advantage of. Place tips can help highlight what you most want to advertise about your business to people who are interested in knowing. Especially for local businesses, this could have a huge impact.

 

What do you think of Facebook’s Place Tips? Do you think this could increase engagement or excitement with your business, on or off of Facebook? Share your thoughts and let us know!

7 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business on Pinterest

Pinterest is one of our most-recommended social media sites to get started with for all businesses, so knowing how to use it is important. Thanks to Pinterest’s continually growing user base and activity levels, it’s getting more and more important to promote your business on Pinterest.

Especially now, with the exciting new buyable pins coming out, Pinterest has proven to be an up-and-coming juggernaut in the world of marketing. To make sure you make the most of Pinterest as it’s available now, we’ve got 7 easy tips and tricks to promote your business on Pinterest so you can boost your exposure, client list, and profits.

1. Make Your Pins About More than Just Your Products

You have to think about your target audience on Pinterest and how to reach them. You need to make pins about more than just your products—they need to be completely audience focused, in a way that I think you could argue is more prevalent than other social media sites, including Facebook.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I love Pinterest, both professionally and personally (especially when it comes to the personal use!). If I’m going to spend my downtime on a social media site, it’s probably going to be Pinterest, and I’m not alone.

When you catch people in their leisure and they’re actively browsing in their categories of interest, it’s not necessarily difficult to catch their attention—if your pins are focused on them.

Some products are difficult to make appealing to Pinterest’s audience, so you have to find a way to make your products seem appealing to them. Lowes has done a fantastic job; understanding the large target audience of Pinterest, instead of posting pictures of their paint or floor tiles, they focus on how their products can improve your life and fit into your lifestyle. The offer organizational tips, all which link back to their DYI projects and their own products.

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Similarly, few people will click on a Pin (or save a pin) of just an image of some of Publix’s products (for those who don’t know Publix, it’s a great grocery store in the South). Publix has taken care of this by pinning recipes, which takes you to their recipes online, which encourages you to add all the ingredients to a shopping list, which you can then upload to their app.

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The pin from Publix…
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And the site it takes you to.

How can your business successfully target the interests of the audience on Pinterest? How creative can you get? The more audience focused you are, the better—that’s what will get you the results here.

2. Pin in the Right Category

Not pinning your pin in the best category for it will do nothing but have your marketing efforts come up short. There are a lot of categories, so it can be hard to choose, but it’s pretty important.

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I’ve seen Etsy sellers who advertise products like custom made Harry Potter lamps in the “home section,” when really they would be better placed (and ultimately find much more success) in the “books” category, where avid Harry Potter readers are more likely to stumble upon it.

Again, as we talked about in the section above, it’s not necessarily just about the category you think your product fits in—it’s the categories your target audience will be most likely to be participating in. If you can find a way to portray your business and product in a way that suits your audience and their category, you’ll be a lot better off.

3. Promote Your Pinterest on Your Website

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At the bottom of the image, you can see the PinIt button that will allow Pinners to pin the image directly onto Pinterest.

While the idea of this post is to promote your business on Pinterest, promoting your Pinterest on your website can actually help serve this purpose.

 

Putting a button enabling users to pin your product or page directly to pinterest is a great way to encourage them to do so. And the more people pinning (and leaving their own comments and descriptions), the more exposure you get. Sometimes it’s even better when it’s a pinner spreading the word of mouth instead of you promoting your own products, and these pins can carry more weight.

Have a link to your main Pinterest profile, but also feature Pinterest buttons on each product so that users can easily share it and save it. Who knows, they may even come back later to buy again, along with the other pinners who see their pin.

4. Don’t Forget About your “About Me” Section

Any time you can promote your website, you want to take advantage of that. Not only does this mean having a link to your website not just in the individual pins, but also on your public profile in a place that’s easy to see and easy to click.

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You can also write a quick bio of yourself and/or your business, and you can choose a profile picture. This is a great place to show the personality of your brand and your business. Keep in mind that while some people will know how you are when they find and follow you on Pinterest, some likely will not—this is where you can tell them.

5. Make Your Boards Interesting and Creative

You want to have more just interesting pins. Just like Facebook, it’s not just about the individual pins and posts, but about the entire profile overall and the impression it leaves.

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Your individual boards need to be exciting for people coming to your profile. For each board’s main picture, you should choose a pin that represents it well but that has a particularly appealing image. Each board should also have a great description, in the voice of your business, explaining what it’s about.

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Even if these are just small details, they add up quickly—it makes your profile appear more full, and it’s all about the small things to make your profile and your business stand out.

6. Keep it Relevant

While some pins will circulate for years on end (almost every time I’m on Pinterest I see the same Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe, which yes, is delicious), when you first pin them, you’ve got a better chance of them being received well (and shared) if it’s relevant.

Seasonal pins work incredibly well, no matter what you’re pinning. Even if only the description is seasonal, it can work wonders.

For example, I saw a pin from Lowes showing how to build organized closets just in time for “spring cleaning.” Another example is the pin below, promoted by Fage, which is a recipe perfect for summer that features their yogurt, and is more appealing to pinners than just an image of the yogurt would be.

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The more relevant your pin is to what’s going on right now, the more likely it is to get more responses, repins, and engagement at that time.

7. Use Promoted Pins

PScreen Shot 2015-05-12 at 12.00.30 AMromoted Pins are a great tool and, like Twitter, have a seamless integration with the rest of the site’s pins so that yours doesn’t stand out—but this is a good thing! You want your pins to stand out because of the great images and content, not because it stands out as an ad.

 

Promoted Pins help make sure that a lot of relevant users are seeing your pin, and it’s Pinterest’s paid advertising platform.

We’ve got another coming out soon explaining Promoted Pins and how to best use them, so keep an eye out for it!

Final Thoughts

Having great images and some catchy descriptions are a great way to get your pins noticed, but those factors alone aren’t quite enough to pull the weight of successfully promoting your business on Pinterest.

Like all social media platforms, when you’re marketing on Pinterest, a lot of thought has to go into how you’re going to connect with your audience, how to make your content truly stand out (and what the best way to deliver it is), and how to promote your business without it all seemingly like a cheap ad.

Pinterest is a great tool—if you don’t have it, we recommend all small and medium sized businesses get one. If you do have it, take a look at using it more. With buyable pins coming, Pinterest is making a big dent in the online marketing world and it’s here to stay.

 

Do you use Pinterest for your business? How do you use it? Have you tried Promoted Pins yet?

The Best Times to Post on Facebook for Businesses

When is the best time to post on Facebook for businesses?

This is a question that we get asked all the time. While we’ve touched on it in past articles, with organic reach declining it’s more important than ever to know when your posts will best be seen, and even when users are most likely to engage with them.

So how can you find the best times to post on Facebook? When are those best times?

If you want a lot of eyes on your posts and content, you have to know what times work best for you, and see which of them works best your particular audience.

In this post, we’ll show you our personal data on what we’ve found to be the best times for businesses to post on Facebook, as well as showing you how to your specific best times and how to schedule posts to take advantage of them.

Best Times to Post on Weekdays

Weekdays tend to be among the most popular times to post, and that’s not only because business hours are continuous (so if you’ve got a 9-5 employee working on your social media, they may only post here), but also because social media has become part of our routine.

During the week, there are few times when there won’t be at least some of your users are online if you have a lot of them. The hard part is finding the most concentrated times.

As a general rule, we’ve found that for our audience, posts uploaded at 10am or later tend to perform well. Posting early gives you the edge to still have your post in the Newsfeed later. Activity and our audience’s usage stayed consistent from 10am to about 7 or 8pm on weekday evenings, with peak times occurring often between 3 and 4pm, sometimes with peaks happening in the afternoon. You can see this information in our chart below:

best times to post on Facebook for businesses

Out of all the weekdays, Fridays tended to have the least activity, but they still did ok for traffic, still beating out weekends. That being said, weekends shouldn’t be dismissed, and they have their own best times to post, and their own value. 

Best Times to Post on Weekends

It’s important to keep that in mind when you’re posting on the weekends, your audience’s best times may be drastically different than another Page’s. A college student’s weekend—and the times they’re even awake—are very different than a thirty-five year with a 9-5 job during the week. While our data can help you, you’ll want to check your Insights for your own current best times, which we’ll talk about later on in the blog post.

Come Saturdays, don’t even think about posting early. While our Page Views started getting some views around 8am, engagement didn’t increase until a little later on in the day. After about 9pm on a Saturday though, just about all activity dropped off entirely, so you’ll want to post a few hours before that to still get some hits on your post.

On Sundays activity on our Page didn’t start until 9am. We had slightly more concentrated blocks of activity around 10 am and 4pm. Posting just before these times on a Sunday will be your best bet.

It is important to note that for our data, the most concentrated times with highest levels of activity did not happen at all on either Saturday or Sunday—they happened all on weekdays. That doesn’t mean weekends should be ignored entirely, but it’s good to take note that a lot of your focus and your most important posts should go to busy times during the week.

Best Overall Times for Businesses to Post on Facebook

So, what have we found to be the absolute best times—on the absolute best days—for businesses to post on Facebook?

These times aren’t just good times—these are what we found to be the absolute best times to post on Facebook for businesses.

  • Mondays at 2pm and 4pm
  • Tuesdays at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm
  • Wednesdays at 3pm and 4pm
  • Thursdays at 3pm, 6pm, and 7pm

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays all got activity—but not necessarily a lot of it. Friday got the most (with engagement factored in, which our chart doesn’t show), then Sunday, and then Saturday had the least.

If you want to post on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the best times are:

  • Friday 10am-6pm
  • Saturday 9am-6pm
  • Sunday 10am and 4pm

Again, for reference, here’s what our data provided us with:

best times to post on Facebook for businesses

As mentioned though, these best times work as a great guide line and are fantastic for split testing, but it’s important to be able to tune into your audience and really see what times work best for you, and for them.

Here’s how to do that….

Finding Your Best Time

With the differences in how different users utilize Facebook, it’s up to you to figure out when your best time is to post. These are the times that work best for us, and they’re a great starting period.

Again, to find the best time for your exact page and your exact audience, the best thing you can do is to test out a few posts on each of the suggested times listed above (and a few others, if those don’t work for you).

Your Page’s Insights is the best way to see what’s working for you so far, and to help you find the best times your audience is already active. When you go to your Insights, go to the Posts tab and it will automatically show you when your fans are online.

best times to post on Facebook for businesses

Test a few similar posts at set times over the course of a few weeks and monitor their progress on your Insights post tabs. From here, you can—and should—evaluate for reach (how many people are seeing your post) and number of clicks, likes, shares, and comments on each post individually.

Scheduling Posts Ahead of Time

It’s not enough just to know the best times to post; you actually have to have great content to post in them, and you have to make sure you’re hitting those time slots. One of the easiest ways to do this—to post the right content at the right time—is to create great content ahead of time and schedule it to post later, especially if you’ve got that 9-5 social media marketing employee who doesn’t feel like working unnecessary overtime.

Facebook now allows you to schedule posts and run them at a later time.

To schedule a post on Facebook, you’ll start from your Page’s Timeline. Click on the box where you can upload a new status, and type in your post.
In the bottom corner, next to the Publish button, you’ll see a drop down arrow. When you click it, you’ll have the option to schedule a post.

how to schedule a post on Facebook

It brings you to a screen where you can choose the exact time and date you want your post to go live. After you schedule your post, hit schedule, and you’re all set.

best times to post on Facebook for businesses

I also highly recommend Rignite for scheduling posts and campaigns, especially if you want to repeat the post at a later time or want your posts to extend cross-platform. We use Rignite, and it’s been one of the best resources I’ve got in my toolbox. You can see our Rignite review here to see if it will work for you, too.

 

To see more about being successful with Facebook marketing and Facebook Ads, you can read more about our FB Ads Formula here. You can also see more about how to promote your Facebook Page (without paying to) in this post.

Have you found the best times to post on Facebook for your Page? What time works best for your audience? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

Make Purchases Directly on Pinterest with New Buyable Pins

Some exciting news has recently been announced for online businesses, or businesses who do any amount of ecommerce work. Pinners will soon be able to purchase directly from Pinterest, not even needing to go off-site.

buyable pins; make purchases directly on Pinterest
Image courtesy of Pinterest.com

Pinterest—a popular social media platform resembling an online scrapbook for wishlists, recipes, and a variety of other assorted interests— is a relatively new platform, but a frequently used one. Its ad platform is also climbing the ranks, first with their Promoted Pins, and now with buyable pins.

So far, it looks like buyable pins are going to break into the platform only on iPhone and iPad users at first. There’s no word if or when buyable pins will be available for Android and desktop users, but my guess is that once they hammer out any issues and are ready to expand, it will eventually become available to all platforms.

How Buyable Pins Work

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 6.29.57 PMBuyable pins is a massive breakthrough for Pinterest, and will likely have a huge affect on marketers and pinners. Some exciting news: there is no added fee for either merchants or users to purchase directly from Pinterest. My guess is that this may change once the feature has really taken off, with Pinterest potentially charging merchants an extra fee once it’s been proven how valuable and profitable buyable pins can be—which I really believe they will be.

When the feature launches, Pinterest plans to have around 2 million items ready for users to purchase.

Starting at the end of this month, pinners with mobile apple devices will be able to purchase items directly off the pins themselves, without ever leaving Pinterest. Pinterest’s servers will never actually touch or be able to access customers’ card or payment information (options for which currently include Apple Pay or credit cards), keeping their information secure, but they still only need to enter their card information into the app once.

Pinners will be able to identify “buyable pins” by a blue tag on the pins themselves. Buyable pins will appear in every part of Pinterest, including search results, recommendations, and in the feeds. If using the search options, users will be able to place a price limit and prevent higher priced items from showing up in their feeds.

buyable pins on Pinterest
Image courtesy of Pinterest.com

The pins will still appear alongside regular pins, including those pinned by users and not marketers. This will give them a seamless integration that has worked particularly well for platforms like Twitter, and has so far kept Pinterest a favorite marketing tool.

What This Means

As an avid pinner myself (I use Pinterest as a marketing tool professionally, and a virtual cookbook with thousands of recipes saved on my personal account), I can only imagine how profitable the new buyable pins will be, both for Pinterest (once they inevitably start charging) and businesses alike.

Pinterest will now not only expose potential customers to new products and companies, it can lead to major increases in impulse purchases.

Before, if customers fell in love with something, they had to leave the site to purchase, potentially going through several more screens and/or transactions to do so. Now, it will be simple, and with purchases made easy, I’d be shocked if they didn’t increase.

Pinterest has been doing a lot of work to improve their value to marketers and businesses, recently refining targeting features for their already-launched Promoted Pins platform.

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann stated that 80% of people purchasing from Pinterest were doing this from their mobile devices, hence their choice to start releasing the feature to mobile devices first.

Final Thoughts

While Pinterest’s Promoted Pins already seems to be fairing well for them, buyable pins could propel Pinterest into a top spot in the social media advertising ranks. Businesses could see big jumps in revenue, which I’m guessing will happen, leading to more and more businesses will using buyable pins.

 

What do you think about buyable pins? Would you create buyable pins for your business to sell products once it’s available?

 

Increase Site Traffic with a Website Card on Twitter

Twitter Ads; Website card on twitter ads We don’t always talk about Twitter much on this blog, particularly since we focus on Facebook Ads, but Twitter itself is an important social media platform (one we recommend all businesses have) that increases exposure and potentially traffic to your site.

Twitter as a marketing platform offers a great deal of value. The very nature of Twitter makes it a natural environment for posts to get shared frequently, potentially even going viral, and creating a great deal of awareness about your brand.

Twitter Ads has been working hard to improve their platform to be more competitive with Facebook Ads, too. They’ve recently added Website Cards as another improvement to their ad platform, giving businesses another tool they can utilize. For businesses that use Twitter Ads, it’s a great feature, and it’s one that you should consider testing.

What is a Website Card on Twitter?

A website card on twitter is a new tool Twitter recently released with the goal of helping users to connect with your business and increase traffic to your site, increasing conversions in turn. It is part of their paid ad platform, and it allows you to give users more context and information about your site on your Twitter Ad campaigns.

The website card is made up of an image, a button, and a link to your site. Each of these components are a link to your site, so if users click anywhere on it, they’re automatically taken there. The idea is to give users more information about your business, and thus more motivation to click to it and increase your site traffic.

website cards on Twitter

By Twitter’s own statistics, which yes, may be a touch biased, Website Cards have been shown to drive 43% more engagement to your main website off of Twitter. Even if most users don’t get that massive boost, even a partial boost is one to take a look at, and at least worth testing out.

Twitter Ads can be more expensive than Facebook Ads, and often are. However, their ads also have higher click-through rates, so if you’re really seeking to boost traffic to your site, a website card on Twitter could be the way to go.

Now that we know what this tool is, we can take a look at how to set up a Website Card on Twitter Ads to start sending more traffic to your website….

How To Set It Up        

To set up a Website Card on Twitter, you have to run a Twitter Ad campaign with the objective being to increase website traffic or conversions.

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In the section of ad creation where you compose your Tweet, you have the option to create a website card. You’ll enter in your website URL, an image, a headline, and a call to action.

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A great benefit to the Website Card tool is the great variety of Call to Actions you can choose from, which offers consistently more options than Facebook’s call to action button.

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This allows you to add extra content to catch the attention of users and increase those clicks, sometimes boosting engagement but most often increasing website traffic to your site.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, any tool you can use to increase traffic to your website is a good thing—especially if it’s easy to use and cost effective. Considering Twitter Ad’s already high ratio of click-through rates, adding another tool onto your campaign to increase clicks to your site can be a great way to get that extra boost of traffic that you need.

What do you think about Twitter Ads? Have you used their Website Card feature yet? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

 

We’ve got our Beginner’s Guide to Twitter coming soon, giving you all the information you need to succeed!

7 Common Mistakes Bloggers Make That Kill Their Blog

Setting up, maintaining, and running a popular blog isn’t as easy as it sounds. In addition to doing everything right, you have to make sure you don’t do anything wrong.

There are 7 common mistakes bloggers make, most of which end up killing their blog—sometimes before it ever even really gets started.

1. You Don’t Post Consistently and Frequently

Frequency is one of the most important aspects you should consider when planning out your blog posts. Your posts need to be consistent in their frequency, and that needs to be fairly often. We post two to three times a week, but even one post a week is fine so long as you do, indeed, post every week.

blogging mistakes bloggers make
I make sure to post a minimum of two posts a week on this blog, in addition to guest posts on other sites.

Having four posts one week and no more for another month and a half doesn’t do much good, even if it’s the same amount of content. Without frequency, people stop coming back to your blog to see what’s new.

In addition to frequency, your posts should stay consistent in common theme, voice, and quality. If you’re able to keep your post consistent with all of these qualities, you’ll be a lot more likely to build an audience and keep it intact.

2. Your Posts Aren’t Long Enough

Posts that are only 200-300 words aren’t long enough to be informative, helpful, or even really entertaining.

common blogging mistakes bloggers make
You will automatically rank higher in search engines if your blog post contains more than 300 words.

Every now and then a quick post alerting followers to a special event is one thing, but overall, your posts need to be significantly longer, aiming for at least 1,000 words. If they’re much less, there isn’t enough content to be worth reading in most cases.

Keep your posts long enough to have substantial information and you’ll be good to go.

3. Not Doing Your Research

Just as with everything else in business, being successful with blogging has a little to do with luck and networking, and a whole lot to do with hard work in the form of research and preparedness.

There are a lot of things you need to know before you ever get started on each blog post. You need to research:

  • Your Audience: If you haven’t figured out who your audience is or what they’d like to read, you don’t have much to go on. While you do get to choose what you want to write about, you also have to keep your audience in mind—after all, if no one wants to read it, it won’t make a difference at all.
  • Keywords: Keyword research is so important, especially if you’re ever going to want SEO to help your site (which, at least eventually, you will). In order to make sure your blog post is seen, you need to understand what keywords tie in well with each post, and optimize the post for these keywords. Fortunately there are some really great tools that help bloggers and site owners research keywords. I recommend WordTracker and WordStream.
  • Your Competition: Not researching your competition is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When you take a look at the sites and blogs that will be youre direct competition, you can learn a few things, like what content they have performs best, what your target audience is responding to, what keywords they are using, and—most importantly—what you can do to make your site different and offer something unique.

In addition to researching each blog post and making sure the facts you’re providing are correct (there is no faster way to lose credibility than to post wrong information), you need to do research than what you’re posting in each article, too.

Research and preparedness will pay off, even if it takes a while and doesn’t seem worth it. Trust me, it is, and neglecting this research is one of the biggest and most common mistakes bloggers make.

4. Using Weak Titles and Headlines

People won’t read your post if your headline can’t even catch their attention.

For the record, this is something I personally struggled with, despite having had a penchant in college for titling creative works. I originally made the mistake of thinking “7 Mistakes Made on Blogs” would be better than “7 Common Mistakes Bloggers Make that Kill Their Blog” because it was simple—that, however, isn’t enough.

When creating a title for each blog post, there is a lot to consider—certainly a lot more than I’d realized when I first got started. You need to keep several factors in mind to create a strong headline. Your title needs to be:

  • Keyword Oriented: Whenever possible, you need to feature the keyword you’re targeting in the title of your blog post. Even if SEO isn’t your endgame, it still shouldn’t be ignored. If you’ve got your keyword(s) in your title, you’re already on the right step. There’s a great plugin you can use to help you optimize for keywords, which you can read about here.
mistakes bloggers make
Google checks if your focus keywords is in your title, among other locations.
  • Descriptive: Your title and headlines need to be just descriptive enough that it tells visitors what they will be reading about. When users see your title, it needs to give them a basic idea of what they’re reading. People won’t click if they have no idea what page they’re going to next.
  • Brief: For all of my fellow Parks & Rec fans out there, you know how Leslie is always coming up with titles for news articles, and the titles always seem to take a solid two minutes to say? That’s the opposite of what you want. While you want your title to be descriptive, telling readers what’ll read, you also need it to be brief. An eight word maximum is a good place to stay around—descriptive, but not as long as the post itself.
  • Interesting: In addition to being both descriptive and brief, it is crucial that your title is interesting and eye-catching. Your title needs to make users want to click and want to read that post. It should offer value, often either in the forms of entertainment or informative value.

5. Not Being Audience-Focused

Some bloggers think more about what they want to write about, instead of what readers want to read. While you do get to write about what you want to write about, you also need to really consider your audience and your readers. After all, if no one wants to read it, what’s the point?

This goes back to researching your audience and knowing your niche. Sites like Quora, Yahoo answers, or industry forums (for us it’s Warrior Forum) are really useful tools when you want to see what your audience is talking about and what questions they’re asking.

The goal is to provide value in your posts, whether through entertainment or information. Answer questions or offer entertainment that your audience will want to read, and your posts will be shared and read much more frequently.

6. Not Having an Email Sign-up

In the cases of most “serious bloggers” who are using blogging to expand or boost their business, the ultimate goal isn’t to necessarily to get people to their blog—it’s to get leads from the people who come to the blog.

blogging post all bloggers make
You can also offer incentive to sign up, as we did in the form of a Mindmap.

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Without a pop-up or easy-to-spot sign-up form that prompts visitors to subscribe to your e-mail list, you won’t get those leads, and more often than not, they’ll forget to come back to your site to visit if you aren’t reminding them to.

7. Working on Auto-Pilot

If you’re blogging casually, approaching it as a casual past time is perfectly fine. If, however, you’re using it to expand or grow your business and/or client list, you can’t function on auto-pilot. Working on auto-pilot without plans for expansion, or adjusting strategies when needed, can be one of the fastest ways to kill your blog—even if it’s going strong at first.

You have to track the stats on your blog; we recommend using Google Analytics. It’s also important to come up with new ways to bring traffic to your blog, and to make sure your posts are getting the same (or better) traffic and responses as the last one.

Just because you did research once doesn’t mean that’s it—it’s important to continue to research, to come up with new ideas, and to continue to grow. You wouldn’t put your business on auto-pilot, but so many people do it with their blogs.

Final Thoughts

Blogging for business and careers is no easy task, especially when your business is relying on content marketing and blogging for its expansion. There’s a lot of thought and work that needs to go into each post, but if you can avoid these 7 common mistakes bloggers make, you’re on your way to growing your blog—and your business.

For more tools for bloggers, you can read about how to form a content marketing strategy, tools all bloggers need, and an inside look to our content marketing strategy.

Take Facebook Ads Off of Facebook with Audience Network Ads

Facebook Ads have proven to be highly effective as an ad platform—once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Some marketers greatly prefer Facebook Ads even to other highly popular platforms like Google Adwords.

Until recently, the only true limitation of Facebook Ads (aside from not always being beginner-friendly) is that these ads only stay on Facebook. While you could reach everyone in their extremely large audience, you could only show them ads on Facebook itself, and never to those who don’t have a Facebook.

Thanks to Facebook’s Audience Network Ads, this limitation no longer exists—you can actually take Facebook Ads off of Facebook entirely. Facebook’s audience network ads were announced and released about a year ago, but Facebook has recently released new tools for publishers to make it easier to create and run these ads.

What are Audience Network Ads?

The idea of Audience Network Ads is to allow Facebook advertisers to extend the reach for their ads. Audience Network Ads allow advertisers to place their ads in other mobile apps—mobile apps that aren’t Facebook. It allows for “the power of Facebook Ads, off Facebook.”

If you have a mobile app, you can advertise for your business with Facebook Ads on it, as well as advertising on other mobile apps.

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Facebook’s Audience Network Ads allows for the same featuring as their regular ads, including options like custom audiences. They started out with only featuring this type of ad when you’re seeking to drive installs or engagement on an app, but with the goal of expanding to more marketing objectives in the future.

In past tests, Audience Network Ads helped the US Navy increase their campaign reach by 33%, which is incredibly substantial when you think about what those numbers are. Rosetta stone digital marketing director TJ Hunter echoed this, noticing that these ads were highly successful in driving users to install their mobile app and reducing cost-per-impression by 40% while reaching users whose engagement and likelihood to purchase was 30% higher than “comparable” platforms.

 

The New Tools and Improvements of Audience Network Ads

For starters, a big improvement in the Audience Network Ads is that the participating apps have increased by 5x since October of 2014. That alone is a pretty massive increase.

Another improvement to audience network ads is the updates to the ads, how they look, and how they function. These updates and tools include:ss

  • Native Ad Templates: These ad templates focus on a natural, integrated placement for your ad that increases conversions, as Facebook’s research determined that banner ads at the top or bottom of screens are typically ignored entirely. These templates are best on native ad best practices. Within these templates, publishers can customize features like font, ad height, background color, and more that make the ad more integrated.

Facebook's Audience Network Ads

  • Native Ad Management Tools: Facebook is also introducing “a new way to manage multiple native ad requests to ensure that the highest performing ad is delivered at the right time to the right person.” The native ads manager will help you “pre-fetch” up to 10 ads at a time and deliver them in “the best order,” making it easier for you.
  • Horizontal Scroll: Facebook developers have found that building and optimizing a horizontal scroll (or “h-scroll”) increases ad engagement, and can increase the number of ads shown. Not surprisingly, they have created a horizontal scroll to fulfill these purposes.

How to Use Audience Network Ads

audience network ads Facebook

Audience Network Ads are like mobile ads—it is a placement option.

Audience network ads are available for all users, and don’t require any extra effort or advanced ad strategies.

To run Audience Network Ads, you simply select “Audience Network” as a placement option for your ad campaign. Like with all other ad placements, you can choose to only run an Audience Network placement campaign, or you can choose to run your ad on all placement options.

 

Final Thoughts

The opportunity to extend the reach of your Facebook ads and actually take your ad off of Facebook entirely is really exciting, especially given the case studies of success (higher engagement, conversions, and reach) that we discussed above.

What do you think about Audience Network Ads? Have you used them? Will you?

To learn more about techniques that can enhance your Audience Network Ads, read more about the importance of ad placement here, and about how to increase overall click-through rates on all of your ads here.