Images are incredibly important in the rat race for attention on social media. Recent studies show that when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. According to Buffer Social, tweets that contain images get 150% more retweets than tweets that don’t have images. Additionally, Buzzsumo reports that Facebook posts that contain images get 2.3 times more engagement than those with no images.
As an inbound marketing agency, a big part of our job is social media management. Social media marketing is important, and in today’s modern world maximizing your online presence is a must.
How do you maximize your online presence?
In a nutshell, you must consistently engage with your market on the social media platforms they frequent. This includes posting relevant content that your audience actually wants to see, and one of the most important aspects of that is putting out visually appealing content.
First, you must analyze your target market and find out what kinds of content they want to see. What entertains them? What fuels their passions? What interests them outside of your company? All of these things must be carefully considered before developing your social media plan of attack. Once you know the types of material and content that would be most productive for you to post, you should think about the best way to draw attention to them. The best way to draw attention to many things – social media included – is through visual stimulation.
Simply put, if you want people to notice your posts, you need to make them notice those posts via relevant accompanying visuals.
What will these visuals look like?
Different markets look for different things. The same things that will attract some customers will repel others – and that’s okay. Not everyone is your ideal client, and you can’t make everybody happy. Focus on what your specific target market wants to see, and produce that content. Sometimes, it will take the form of an infographic. According to MassPlanner, Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content! Or maybe, it’s an awesome photograph. Or perhaps a graphic, video, or gif. The type of visual content you’re posting should be different depending on the social media platform you’re on. For instance, Snapchat is better for posting behind the scenes, real-time shots of your products and office, and Instagram is ideal for posting images of the face of your brand.
Now, for the fun part.
Adding visual emphasis in your social posts might be easier than you think: hand-drawn graphics aren’t necessary for every single post. Simply putting text on an image boosts both visibility and interest. Our social media team developed a social media series centered around weird Texas laws for an online legal service, TexasLegalDocs. It was a great way to show off the brand’s personality while posting content that was both relevant and interesting to the brand’s audience.
Studies show that when the title of a blog post is in an image accompanying the post, the open-rate increases. The image below was used as an attention-grabber to direct traffic to a blog post about long term care for a financial planning organization we worked with. Statistically speaking, people like statistics, and putting one on an image can be a great way to get noticed.
Wendy’s does a fabulous job of managing their social media pages. In the post below, they’ve taken the most boiled down version of their offer possible and splattered it across an image with attention-grabbing color contrasts and mouth watering images. Someone scrolling through their Facebook feed couldn’t possibly ignore the point of the post, because it’s so delightfully simple and bright. If Wendy’s had written the exact same thing and put it in the text box rather than on an image, most people scrolling through their Facebook feed would probably never notice it.
Developing quality visuals for your social media plan can be challenging. Remember, quality is better than quantity in this case. It’s better to have fewer, more powerful posts than to damage your online reputation and lose followers over too many low-quality posts. Making sure your visuals are appealing and not just “noise” is just as important as finding the right medium to express them.
Managing a productive and successful social media presence is just one part of inbound marketing. Inbound changes the way that people see businesses, and it changes the way that businesses interact with and reach out to their customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the proven power of inbound, download our free checklist today: How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign.
First came telephones, then cell phones, and now smart phones. What once began as a simple concept has transformed into a massive culture shift worldwide. When I spent a summer in Uganda, most of the people living in the mud and stick huts I saw didn’t have so much as running water – but they had cellphones. In the U.S., you’d be hard pressed to go anywhere without finding people glued to their phones. Restaurant, bar, park, shopping mall, streets, cars, homes – you name it, wherever you go, mobile phones are sure to be there.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and mobile marketing is just one piece of the ever-changing puzzle. Technology updates constantly, and customers’ buying habits update with them. Because of this, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the current growing need for mobile marketing.
Consider these recent statistics:
- 77% of the U.S. population currently owns a smart phone (Pew Research Center) – and this number just keeps increasing.
- By 2018, an estimated 8 in 10 people will open their emails exclusively from their mobile devices (EmailMonday).
- Additionally, over 50% of smart phone users grab their cellphone immediately after waking up (Express Pigeon).
- A whopping 4 out of 5 consumers use their smart phone to shop (Carnival.io).
- 75% of users access the internet via their mobile devices (Carnival.io).
- The average user spends 4-5 hours per day on mobile (Branch).
- Currently, 69% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Branch).
- By 2020, 90% of U.S. sales will be influenced by digital, the majority of which can be attributed to mobile. (Data & Marketing Association).
It’s vital to keep up with technology and trends in order to stay relevant in the fast-paced industry of marketing. Because of the recent boom of smart phones, if you want to remain front and center in your customers’ minds, mobile marketing is a must.
So, how can you reach your audience through mobile?
- Optimize your website for mobile. If someone visits your website from their phone and your site isn’t mobile friendly, chances are pretty good that your prospect isn’t going to stick around to wrestle with it. Instead, they’ll head over to the competition. Important factors you should keep in mind when optimizing your website for mobile devices: make sure your page speed is lightning fast, design for large clumsy fingers (no tiny buttons or buttons that are placed too close to each other!), and use HTML5 rather than Flash, since some phones aren’t equipped with that plugin.
- Create a strong and interactive social media presence for your business. Social media is a great place to show off the personality behind your brand, and to really connect with your customers. Respond to comments, thank people for follows and re-tweets, and make sure you’re consistently posting quality, relevant content that will make people glad they’re following you. Fortunately, you don’t have to create an account on every single platform out there. Instead, find out where your target market is hanging out on social media, and be there. For almost everyone, it’s a good idea to be active on Facebook, but for some businesses, meeting your target market where they are will mean being active on LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat as well.
- If it makes sense for your brand, create an app. Research shows that mobile users spend most of their time in apps other than in website browsers. When people download your app, you have increased your brand visibility exponentially, and created a direct marketing channel to that audience. Thanks to push notifications, you can be even more present in your customers’ everyday lives. Apps are also a great way to build customer loyalty and engagement! Customer loyalty features are a giant incentive for your customers to download your app, and a great way for you to surprise and delight. Last but not least, if your business sells merchandise, creating an app can streamline the checkout process and make purchases fast and easy, with the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of future sales.
- Keep up with your email marketing – and make darn certain that you have a great mobile version of those monthly newsletters. Email marketing is an incredibly valuable form of inbound/content/digital marketing that can keep your audience engaged and informed. With most newsletter creation programs, there are easy-to-configure options for mobile optimization of your newsletter design. Since so many people open their emails on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly newsletter can make the difference in whether a person unsubscribes from your list or not. When optimizing your newsletter for mobile devices, it’s a good idea to use a one-column design. Make sure your fonts aren’t too small, use images sparingly, and stay away from too many calls to action.
Mobile optimization is one of the best ways to reach new customers and nurture relationships with existing ones, and it can be one of the most affordable, effective ways to enhance your current marketing strategy. Optimize your marketing strategy for mobile – your future self will thank you.
If your business is actively content marketing, chances are pretty good that you’ve run across a few dry spells and rough patches in conjuring up new content. After all, constantly churning out brand new quality content that appeals to your target audience can be quite a challenge. Do you want to save yourself some time and a migraine this weekend, while creating content that will drive visitors to your website forever and ever? Master the art of creating evergreen content.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is content that is permanently useful, relevant, and timeless. For example, an ebook of recipes will be useful for the rest of the foreseeable future. An ebook about how to use Facebook Live, however, while useful at the moment, probably wouldn’t be relevant for the rest of the foreseeable future. While the first example is good information on a subject that will not change, the second example could change in a day. Things that are constantly changing, such as technology, are great topics to write about. They are not, however, evergreen content that will remain useful to your audience forever.
Why create evergreen content?
Creating evergreen content can save your team bucket loads of time down the road. Instead of continually producing brand new content every day, investing in evergreen content can save your valuable time by allowing you to repurpose content that you’ve already created.
When you share content on social media, for example, according to Facebook, your posts are only organically seen by 16% of your followers. That’s a staggeringly low number, my friends. On the flip side, however, it means that you are able to re-post the same content multiple times without risking people feeling overwhelmed by you over posting. [This has to be done well, however – don’t repeat the same post! When posting about content that you’ve previously posted about, make sure your new post is fresh and brings out different aspects of the content that you haven’t previously mentioned.] This way, you get the most bang from your buck, and maximize the content that you’ve already spent time on.
In addition, evergreen content boosts your SEO. By creating content that people are going to keep searching for forever, you’re setting yourself up for unlimited hits on your website. Evergreen content, in other words, is one of the best ways to drive consistent traffic to your website permanently.
So, now that we know what evergreen content is and why you need it, let’s jump into the good stuff.
How do you create evergreen content?
When creating evergreen content, there are a few things to consider. First, what keywords are both profitable and relevant to your business? What things do you want your website to come up for? Consider basing your content around those keywords – subtly, without banging your audience over the head with it. Then, make sure you narrow your ideas down, and make sure each piece of evergreen content is specific. If your focus is too broad, you may lose a good portion of your potential audience. People want to know exactly what they’re going to get, and they don’t want to waste their time with things that aren’t what they were looking for. Last, write your piece with authority. If you state something as fact, make sure you’ve clearly included the evidence to back it up, or your audience may grow wary and skeptical. If they’re going to go spend the time going through what you’ve got to say, they want to be certain that it’s foolproof information that’s worth their effort. Time is money, and there are roughly 103,324,122 things vying for your audience’s attention when they come across your article/blog/ebook/etc.
There are several types of evergreen content that are fairly simple to create. Here are four of them:
- How-to’s: No matter what it is that your company does, there are a plethora of how-to’s that would be interesting to your target audience. Hair salon? Write a how-to on caring for split ends. That’s something that people will be searching for forever (curse you, split ends!), it will drive people to your website, and your followers will definitely want to read it. Electricity company? Write a how-to on preparing for a power blackout. Whatever your business is, there are plenty of timeless things your audiences will be googling from now until the end of Google.
- Checklists: People like lists. Create them as a blog post, or as a downloadable content offer. Either way, people will want to read them. Travel company? Create a list of “What to pack on your trip to Bermuda”. That’s going to be a timeless list that probably won’t change much (if at all), and there will be a never ending pool of people who have never been to Bermuda that will definitely want your list.
- Regular Lists: People are always googling things that will inevitably lead to “list” – type content, even if they don’t realize it. For example, just a handful of the things I’ve personally googled in the last few months that led me to incredibly helpful “list” posts are: “Best veterinarians in Fort Worth”, “Best drugstore mascara”, and “Best queso in Dallas.” And what did I get, when I googled these things? I got lists. Some of them, I noticed, were years old. Had the information changed? Nope. Was I happy to have found these lists? Oh, yes.
- History of__: If you weren’t a fan of high school history class, I have great news! Your evergreen “History of…” posts can – and should – be interesting. Again, the goal is to find topics that your audience would actively care about, and write about that. Do you own a bar? Write about the evolution of beer. Include some mouth-watering visuals (and sprinkle in some humor, if it fits your target market), and boom: more evergreen content that will never change, and will always be interesting.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a minute to build up your arsenal of evergreen. Remember, this content is going to be around a while, and will very likely be some of the most viewed content you ever publish, so quality is better than quantity. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t built in a day!
Many marketers, business owners, and social media management companies spend extensive amounts of time analyzing data. They gather reports, analyze them, and determine the ROI for their current marketing strategies. They do this (as they should) so that they can see what’s working, what’s driving people to their website, who is coming to their website, what they’re doing there, and so on. However, there’s a growing number of site visits that are coming from seemingly nowhere. If you’re not accounting for this mysterious traffic, you’ve got a giant blindspot.
You may or may not have heard the term “dark social”, but do you know what it means? And more importantly – what it means for you? No, it’s not an underground system of tweets and Facebook posts written by wizards and gang bangers. Dark social, simply put, refers to the phenomenon of invisible sharing across the web.
What it is:
Dark social is data shared through url copying and pasting that you have zero visibility of. For example, a visitor on your website likes the video that you just posted online. Rather than use one of the social share buttons that you so helpfully included, the visitor copies the url code at the top of the browser, and pastes it into an email to dear old grandma so that she can enjoy the video as well. When dear old grandma opens the email and follows the link, the only information you have as the website owner is that your page got another hit. What you don’t know is who it is, how they found the link, or where they came from, and Google Analytics won’t help you – any analytics tool you’re using will incorrectly consider the visit to be direct traffic. So, despite your best efforts to analyze the data of your website, what you’re stuck with is continually rising numbers of traffic that are deceptively stuffed under the wide umbrella of “direct traffic”.
Why it’s a problem:
Not everyone wants everything they share to be visible to all their social media followers. So, dark social is here to stay. People will always need a private way to share something, and you simply can’t afford to turn a blind eye to it. If you’ve attributed the origin of your website traffic to the wrong source, you’re missing out on valuable insights, and throwing off your entire marketing strategy. You stand to risk significant consequences by ignoring this.
What you can do about it:
Fortunately, since the discovery of dark social (the term originally coined by Alexis Madrigal), improvements have been made in the tracking and analysis department.
- Pay attention and monitor the trends: With each new problem that arises in this digital era, a new solution is created by a brilliant entrepreneur ready to make money off of solving our issues (and thank goodness for that). Right now, we have a few options for tracking dark social sharing. They aren’t perfect, but if used correctly, they can be incredibly helpful in getting around the dark social phenomenon. Sharethis, for instance, works by adding social share buttons to your website. What makes them special, however, is the ability to measure the copy and shares of your websites urls. While you can’t track who received the share and went to your website because of it, you can track who did the initial sharing.
- Change the way you use Google analytics: You’ll need to create a separate advanced segment specifically for dark social. In this segment, you should exclude the analytics from tracking anyone who went to your home page first upon reaching your website, and include anyone who would be considered “direct”. In this segment, you’ll have a better idea of how many people are reaching your pages through dark sharing (unless they’re physically typing in the exact url code, like http://blackboard.anchormd.com/what-are-smart-marketing-goals, which is pretty unlikely).
- Develop dark social buyer personas: Buyer personas, or ideal customers, are a very important aspect of business and marketing plans. In addition to your traditional buyer personas, it might be a good idea to develop one or two around your dark social audience. This persona will start out as a blank slate, but the more you track your dark social data, the more you’ll know about your persona.
Social media is constantly changing. These days, staying relevant in the business world means staying on top of the social media trends! If you’re looking for a social media management company, or even just some advice, Anchor is just a phone call, email, or pigeon carrier away.
Inbound Digital Marketing
Why would a company need or use inbound digital marketing? Traditional marketing is interrupting whereas inbound flips that concept on its head by giving the power to the consumer.
Let’s face it, this internet thing is probably here to stay (he wrote sarcastically). We’re living in an On-Demand society where trends are moving towards buying things on Amazon Prime instead of walking into a store, getting topical news from social media and having dinner brought to your doorstep with a few touches of a smartphone.
Inbound Marketing not only cuts through the digital clutter; it provides a way to get in front of the customer precisely when they’re looking for someone like you. There are things you can do today to start driving and converting more leads online. Here are a few ways of getting the right traffic to your site.
Blogs are a great way to get information out there. They’re also a great way to connect with your audience. But they’re ALSO a form of search marketing. Relevant content can be rewarded with higher rankings in search engine results. Higher organic rankings means inbound (and unsolicited) traffic to your blog. You probably already have content related to your business so find good new ways to recycle that to help build that traffic!
Social Media Content
The first step is to monitor your social networks. Take a few minutes and look around. Find a few consumers out there and see what types of posts they are engaging. This is an opportunity to build relationships with these folks. Share interests, connect with them and engage them with content that is educational and relevant.
Fun Fact: Only 44% of B2B and 39% of B2C companies have a documented content strategy.
“Hey, I have one of those”. Great. There may be some things inbound digital marketing can help to increase relevant traffic.
You want to attract consumers to your site and one of the best ways to do that is to have a website that is search engine friendly. That means, the great content that you are using on your site is what will show up when consumers are searching for identified terms and topics. You might want to create some landing pages for those to increase the relevancy of the page topic.
Create an Offer
What can you offer consumers that others won’t or can’t? Is it a specialized video, case study on results, whitepaper, infographic, webinar, slideshare deck or whatever else you can think of. Use some content that’s great that your market would be chomping at the bit to get.
Create a Landing Page
Now that you have your content, build a landing page around it. You want your consumer to have that awesome piece of collateral you decided upon above but you want to make some type of exchange. Get their information! Your market will be willing to give you certain private information (think name, phone, email) in order to get your great content! This always reminds me of that great line from Good Will Hunting, “You like apples?. [response] Yeah. [end response] Well I got her number, how do you like them apples?”
Fun Fact: Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7 times more leads than companies that have less than 10 landing pages
Since consumers don’t want to be sold to, the best thing you can do is to educate your market. Keep recycling your great content and use it to enlighten others. You’ll increase your credibility with your mailing lists and can become a bigger resource for those willing to buy what you’re selling. This also creates a solid foundation on which to build and carry out relationships.
Not many folks are willing to buy from a stranger, so try not to be one! People don’t like when their door is knocked on unexpectedly and in today’s world, not many people are buying from these door-to-door salesman. They want to be in control of their buying behavior so let them! Hold their hand and help them understand, through a series of communications, why their educated decision matches perfectly with what you’re offering.
Inbound Digital Marketing is all about filling the spectrum of creating and nurturing relationships with your consumer. From the first site visit to the final email, you can walk with them on their buyer journey of your marketing & sales funnel. If some of this is new information to you and you haven’t implemented these strategies yet…
If you need some help, give us a shout. We do this every day.