Tuesday, September 12, 2017

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing



10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
by Susan Gunelius 
Susan Gunelius - VIP CONTRIBUTOR

Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help elevate your audience and customer base in a dramatic way. But getting started without any previous experience or insight could be challenging.

It's vital that you understand social media marketing fundamentals. From maximizing quality to increasing your online entry points, abiding by these 10 laws will help build a foundation that will serve your customers, your brand and -- perhaps most importantly -- your bottom line.

1. The Law of Listening
Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives.

2. The Law of Focus
It’s better to specialize than to be a jack-of-all-trades. A highly-focused social media and content marketing strategy intended to build a strong brand has a better chance for success than a broad strategy that attempts to be all things to all people.


3. The Law of Quality

Quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.

4. The Law of Patience
Social media and content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. While it’s possible to catch lightning in a bottle, it’s far more likely that you’ll need to commit to the long haul to achieve results.

5. The Law of Compounding
If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more.

This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. Those entry points could grow to hundreds or thousands of more potential ways for people to find you online.


6. The Law of Influence
Spend time finding the online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and are likely to be interested in your products, services and business. Connect with those people and work to build relationships with them.

If you get on their radar as an authoritative, interesting source of useful information, they might share your content with their own followers, which could put you and your business in front of a huge new audience.

7. The Law of Value
If you spend all your time on the social Web directly promoting your products and services, people will stop listening. You must add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

8. The Law of Acknowledgment

You wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so don’t ignore them online. Building relationships is one of the most important parts of social media marketing success, so always acknowledge every person who reaches out to you.


9. The Law of Accessibility

Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience. That means you need to consistently publish content and participate in conversations. Followers online can be fickle and they won’t hesitate to replace you if you disappear for weeks or months.

10. The Law of Reciprocity
You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them. So, a portion of the time you spend on social media should be focused on sharing and talking about content published by others. 
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Monday, August 7, 2017

7 of the Coolest YouTube Banners We've Ever Seen


Written by Amanda Zantal-Wiener


What Makes a Good YouTube Banner?

Dimensions

A YouTube channel banner will take on different dimensions, depending on what platform is being used to view it. For example, a banner might have different dimensions when viewed on a TV, desktop, or mobile device.
For the sake of display consistency, then, Google suggests going with an image that's 2560 x 1440 px. It also sets the following guidelines:
  • Minimum dimension for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
  • Minimum "safe area" where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off : 1546 x 423 px
  • Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
  • File size: 4MB or smaller
Here's a helpful visual representation of those dimensions:
unnamed-48.png
Source: Google

Design

Let's start with a note about where dimensions and design intersect. You might think that 2560 x 1440 px -- Google's suggested dimensions we mentioned earlier -- seems like an exorbitantly large file size. But think about how your image would appear on a 30" smart TV or higher. With a growing number of options to view YouTube videos in this way, you'll want to make sure your channel art is large enough to display with quality on larger screens.
Also, take note of the "safe area" we alluded to in the first section. Your banner is essentially the biggest branding opportunity for when people land on your channel, so you'll want to make sure that it's well-represented in the channel art. That's why it might be best to make sure your company name and logo are placed in that space -- to make sure they don't get cut off and cause the viewer confusion as to who's behind the video content on the page.
If you're not sure how to take up the entirety of a 2560 x 1440 frame, video production company MiniMatters suggests "build[ing] the image from the middle out," putting the most important assets in the center, and going from there.
Finally, as to what to put in your banner, we like to follow a few basic rules:
  • Use a high-resolution image. A pixelated or blurry banner doesn't exactly signal that there's high-quality video to follow.
  • Keep it on-brand. While your channel art doesn't have to be a carbon copy of your logo or tagline, it should incorporate visual elements that you want associated with your brand, like certain colors, fonts, or keywords.
  • Your banner should represent what your company does in a timely fashion. For example, if you run a bakery and you're gearing up for summer, an eye-catching banner might be a high-res photo of a brightly-colored work surface covered with flour and a rolling pin, along with accompanying text like, "April showers bring May flours."

How to Make a YouTube Banner

"That's just great, Amanda," you might be thinking about these tips. "But where the heck am I supposed to get these beautiful design assets?"
Well, you're in luck -- it turns out that there are dozens of free resources for creating a great YouTube banner. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • Google: Why not start with the hosting platform itself? Google has its very own channel art templates to help you get started with your banner design. (Note: Clicking this link will prompt an automatic download of the zip file containing these templates.)
  • Canva: One of our go-to destinations for DIY design, Canva offers several free YouTube channel art templates that allow you to use your own art, or its library of stock photography.
  • Fotor: Similar to Canva, Fotor also offers a selection of free templates that allow you to use both your own visual assets or its own library of images.

8 Cool YouTube Channel Art Examples

1) Death Wish Coffee Company

Death Wish Coffee Company.png
In 2016, Death Wish Coffee was named the winner of a small business marketing competition held by software company Intuit. The reward? A free 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 50. Since then, the self-proclaimed maker of “the world’s strongest coffee” has capitalized on that momentum by making sure its branding stays just as robust.
Its YouTube banner is no exception. It’s straightforward, but also, bold. The company’s logo is displayed as the channel icon, as well as a tiled watermark that doesn’t interfere with the text display. And that message doesn’t leave any doubt about what the brand does. “World’s strongest coffee?” Okay, I’m watching.

2) Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud.png
Seeing as turquoise is my all-time favorite color, there might be a touch of aesthetic bias in our selection of Adobe Creative Cloud’s YouTubebanner. But color can have quite an impact in marketing -- shades of blue, for example, have been found to invoke feelings of trust.
This banner doesn’t just make great use of color, though. In a single photo, it connotes creativity and visual quality -- two things that the Adobe Creative Cloud promises with its suite products. The person depicted seems to be creating something remarkable -- an ocean inside of a balloon -- with accompanying text to confirm it: “Make wow.” Plus, to learn more, social buttons are right there within the image.

3) Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit.png
Is anyone else hungry? It only seems right that the channel art for a food magazine like Bon Appétit should be, well, appetizing. And with a phrase that’s used as frequently as “bon appétit” -- before a meal or as the title of a pop song -- it’s important that folks who land on this YouTube channel know what they’re getting into.
That’s one thing that makes this banner so great. The branding is clear, from the logo icon to the iconic title text in the center of the image. Plus, the photo itself sends a signal of the type of content visitors can expect to consume -- no pun intended -- when they start watching the channel’s videos: All things food.

4) TauliaInc

TauliaInc.png
One great thing about YouTube banners is that they can be swapped out or modified whenever you want, time permitting. That makes them especially conducive to temporary promotions or campaigns. That’s what tech company Taulia did for “P2P Superheroes”: a campaign that shows how its software can eliminate difficult, time-consuming tasks, helping everyday professionals focus more on the work that matters and turn them into superheroes.
The banner communicates two things: 1) That Taulia is in the business of P2P (“procure to pay”), and 2) the brand really celebrates procurement specialists. And by using original, cartoon-like art, Taulia is turning what could be a dry topic into something fun and engaging.

5) Refinery29

r29.png
We’re big fans of showcasing the people that make your brand great. That’s one thing that Refinery29 does well, by frequently featuring its writers, editors, and content producers in its videos. As it turns out, they’ve all become quite popular personalities -- which is why the brand put them front-and-center in its channel art.
Creating a banner of this nature is two-fold. First, you have to find a way to incorporate your company’s talent into video content in a way that’s engaging and appealing to your target audience. Here at HubSpot, we have our blog writers, for example, recount important information from blog posts in video and audio summaries. Then, once you’ve produced enough of that media consistently -- and if it’s gaining the right kind of attention -- you can use those personalities to promote your channels.

6) TripAdvisor B2B

TripAdvisor B2B.png
TripAdvisor is a resource used by millions of travelers to discover and rate lodgings, restaurants, and much more information about endless destinations. But did you know it also offers B2B services for hotel and other property owners to make the most of their presence on the site?
We like to think of it as a B2B hybrid of review site Yelp and vacation rental site Airbnb. On the one hand, TripAdvisor B2B helps business owners create a profile with photos, descriptions, and other information that’s going to be helpful to travelers. But, like Yelp, it also allows them to monitor and respond to the reviews their businesses receive.
That’s represented in the YouTube banner by portraying what the site is all about -- travel -- but also depicts the act of visitors giving feedback on their experiences by way of rating symbols.

7) Nuvolari Lenard

nuvolari lenard-1.png
The thing that stands out to us the most about this banner is its simplicity. It represents a Italian yacht design company Nuvolari Lenard, which is known for work that emulates a luxury and chic lifestyle. And while the channel art itself doesn’t portray anything specifically nautical, the use of capital letters and tiered monochrome does connote a brand that’s high-end.
Those kinds of digital aesthetics create what’s often known as aspirational marketing -- the kind that symbolizes something that’s unattainable by most, but still has a vast following of people “who covet the look and feel of the brand,” as Mediaboom puts it. Can I afford a yacht? Of course not. But seeing something like this makes me want one anyway, and makes me want to consume the video content pertaining to it.

Channel Your Creativity

It’s important to note that really cool YouTube channel art is just one part of a comprehensive video content strategy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your banner is, for example, if your channel lacks in quality video, or hasn’t added anything new in several weeks.
So, along with great design must come consistency. And as you begin to create both, you can turn to these examples for inspiration.
What are some of your favorite YouTube banners? Let us know in the comments.
landing-page-design-ebook




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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features Everyone Should Know About

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features Everyone Should Know About

Instagram-Tricks-compressor.jpg
Instagram has become the favorite social network of many -- and not just for teens or Millennials. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 32% of online adults use Instagram -- up 5% from the previous year. Compare that, for example, to 24% on Twitter.
Plus, folks don't just use Instagram casually -- 35% of them use it several times each day.
But for those who have never used the platform before, or those who just want to take their usage to the next level, Instagram has some lesser-known tricks and features. That's why we set out to find them and list them all in one place.

Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.

Whether you're a recruiter looking to showcase your company's culture, a marketer in the ecommerce industry, or an individual who's just looking to use Instagram in the best ways possible, there are tips and features here for you.
And for a quick overview of these hacks, check out this rundown from HubSpot ‎Content Marketing Strategist Megan Conley.
Note: Before getting started, make sure you're operating on the latest version of Instagram. At the time of posting, the latest version is 10.20 on iOS, and varies according to device.

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features

1) Get notifications when your favorite people post.

Never want to miss an Instagram post from your favorite influencers again? You can choose to get a notification every time a specific user posts a new photo. All you have to do is turn on notifications for each user individually.
To turn on these notifications, visit a user's profile, click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post, and choose "Turn on Post Notifications" from the menu that appears.
Turn on notifications.png
Want to turn post notifications off? Just follow the same steps. It's important to note that you must enable notifications from the Instagram app in your phone's settings -- here's how.
  • To allow notifications on iPhone/iPad: Go to "Settings," then "Notifications." Choose "Instagram" and then turn on the setting to "Allow Notifications."
  • To allow notifications on Android: Go to "Settings," then choose "Apps," then "Instagram." Select the option to show notifications.

2) See all the posts you've Liked.

Ever wanted to see the posts you've Liked, all in one place? All you have to do is go to your own profile and click the "Options" button -- a gear icon on iPhone/iPad, and three dots on Android -- then, click "Posts You've Liked."
Posts you've liked.png
To un-Like any of the posts you've Liked, simply go to the post and deselect the "heart" icon below it. Don't worry -- the user won't be notified that you've un-Liked the post.

3) Create a collection of saved posts.

In addition to being able to view all of the posts you've liked, Instagram also has an option to save or bookmark certain posts in collections that you create.
Start by going to your profile, and tapping the bookmark icon on the top-right menu above your photos.
Select bookmark icon copy.png
Select the "Collections" tab, and tap "Create Collection." Below, I've created one for food-related posts I particularly like.
IMG_2806.png IMG_2804.png
Hit "done," and you can start adding photos to your collection. To do so, tap the bookmark icon below the post you want to add.
Avocado Lime Cheesecake.png
Then, go back to your saved photos by following the previous steps. You'll see the photos you've saved -- to add them to your collection, select the collection you want to add to, and tap "Add to Collection." From there, you can add any of your saved photos.

4) See the posts your friends have recently Liked or commented on.

When you're looking to discover new people to follow on Instagram, there's nothing like asking your friends. There's a quick way to do that -- by viewing the recent liking and commenting activity of the people you follow.
To do that, click the heart icon at the bottom of the home screen -- the first thing that should appear is a list of likes and comments on your photos. Choose the tab near the top that says "Following," and you can see the activity of users you follow.
IMG_2807.png

5) Look through pictures without worrying about accidentally Liking them.

This step is more of a hack than a feature. To look through someone's Instagram photos without "double-tap paranoia" -- the fear of accidentally liking a post you didn't mean to engage with -- scroll through Instagram feeds with your phone set to airplane mode. Without internet access, you won't be able to Like a photo, even if you accidentally double-tap it.
The pictures won't load in the first place if you start on airplane mode, though. You'll have to go to the feed first to load the posts, then turn on airplane mode, then start scrolling. When you reach the end of the first rows of posts and want to load more, simply turn airplane mode off, let more load, and then turn it on again. Cumbersome? Maybe a little, but it could be worth the paranoia mitigation.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone/iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and click the airplane icon. Or, go to "Settings" and then "Wi-Fi," and switch "Airplane Mode" on.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an Android device: Swipe down from the top of the screen. Then, swipe from right to left until you see "Settings," and then touch it. Touch "Airplane Mode" to turn it on.

6) Clear your search history.

We swear -- this blog post isn't all about how to convince people you're not an Instagram creeper. But many of us can relate to the desire to clear our online search history everywhere, including on this particular social channel.Luckily, you can.
To clear your search history, go to your own profile and click the "Options" button (a gear icon on iPhone/iPad and three dots on Android). Scroll down and click "Clear Search History." When prompted, click "Yes, I'm sure."
clear search history.png

7) Reorder filters, and hide the ones you don't use.

If you use Instagram a lot, chances are, you have a few favorite go-to filters, and others you never touch. To make editing photos easier, you can reorder the filters in your editing window, and hide the ones you never use.
To reorder or hide filters, add a new post and begin editing it. When you get to the filters page, scroll to the very far right of your filters options and click "Manage."
Manage Filters 1.png
To reorder filters, hold your finger down on the three grey lines on the far right of the filter you'd like to move, and drag it to reorder. To hide them, deselect the checkmark to the right.
Manage Filters 2.png

8) Use Instagram as a photo editor (without having to post anything).

Perhaps you love Instagram's filters and editing capabilities, but aren't quite ready to post the photo to your account -- right now, or ever. To use Instagram as a photo editor without posting anything, all you need to do is publish a picture while your phone is on airplane mode.
First, be sure you have "Save Original Photo" turned on in your settings.
Save original photos.png
Then, turn on airplane mode -- see instructions in #5.
Next, follow the normal steps to post a photo to Instagram: Upload the photo, edit it, and press "Share." An error message will appear saying the upload failed, but you'll be able to find the edited image in your phone's photo gallery.
Upload failed.png

9) Insert line breaks into your bio and captions.

When you write a caption in Instagram, you'll see the keyboard doesn't give you an option to press "Enter" or "Return." The same is true for your bio. So how do all those people put line breaks in there?
No return key.png
It turns out that all you have to do is press the "123" key in the bottom lefthand corner of the keyboard, and the "Return" key will appear on the bottom right.
Return key.png
I know this tip sounds simple, but a lot of people miss it -- myself included, until a colleague clued me in. We've seen some elaborate solutions out there for hacking through this problem, like writing the caption copy in another app, then copying and pasting it into Instagram. Thankfully, it's much simpler than that.
10) Hide photos you've been tagged in.
When someone tags you in a photo or video on Instagram, it's automatically added to your profile under "Photos of You," unless you opt to add tagged photos manually (see the next tip).
To see the posts you've been tagged in, go to your own profile and click the person icon below your bio.
Tagged photos.png
Then, to hide the posts you've been tagged in from other users, click the three dots in the top right of your screen and choose "Hide Photos." Select the posts you'd like to remove from your profile, and when you're done, tap "Hide Photos" at the bottom of your screen. When prompted, tap "Hide From Profile."
Remove tags.png
This won't remove the posts themselves from Instagram, but it will remove them from your profile, so you and others can't access them.

11) Adjust your settings to approve tagged photos before they show up in your profile.

As we mentioned in the previous step, when someone tags a photo or video of you on Instagram, it's usually added to your profile automatically. But, you can change your settings to enable manually selecting which photos you're tagged in that show up on your profile.
To add tags manually, follow the same steps above to get to the photos in which you've been tagged, and click the three dots in the top right of your screen. Tap "Tagging Options," and select "Add Manually."
Manually add tags.png
You'll still be notified when someone tags you in a photo. Once that happens, to manually add a tagged photo to your profile, tap the photo you were tagged in, then tap your username and select "Show on My Profile." And if you'd rather it not be visible, choose "Hide from My Profile" instead.
IMG_2842.png

12) Browse posts from certain locations.

One fun thing you can do on Instagram is browse photos and videos from a specific location, or taken near your current location. I like to do that when I'm planning a trip somewhere, or want to check out a new restaurant and scroll through the pictures taken there.
Here's how to do both of these things.

To Browse Posts From at a Specific Location:

You can either search for a specific place, or you can click into a geotag on an existing photo.
To search for a specific place: Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring you to the general search page. When you click into the search bar at the top, four tabs will appear. Choose "Places," and type in the name of a place. When you press "Search," it'll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.
Places search bar.png Places East Cambridge.png
To look at posts with a certain geotag: Go to the photo that's geotagged with that location, and click the geotag. It'll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.
Search geotag-1.png IMG_2848.png

Browse Posts Near Your Current Location:

Follow the same instructions above to get to "Places." Tap the search bar, and select "Near Current Location."
Near current location.png
Choose which geotag you'd like to browse from the options that appear. Let's say I chose to browse posts with the Museum of Science geotag. When I click "Museum of Science, Boston" on the menu, I'll see the top and recent posts that were geotagged at that location.
IMG_2853.png IMG_2854.png

13) Drive traffic to an external website.

One of the biggest frustrations people have with marketing on Instagram is that clickable URLs aren't allowed anywhere except the single "website" box in your bio. If you put a URL in a photo caption it'll appear as plain text, meaning users would have to painstakingly copy the URL, open a web browser, and paste or type it in there.
One sneaky way to get people to visit your Instagram profile, which is where that one clickable URL is allowed, is to use your photo captions to encourage people to visit your profile for a link. Then, update that URL frequently to point to your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer.
Check out the example from food magazine Bon Appétit below. This photo's caption provides a text call-to-action to visit the user's profile so you can click the link related to the post.
Then, in Bon Appétit's profile, you'll see the link itself. Update this link frequently to point to your latest content or offer.
Link in bio.png
Plus, if you have a verified Instagram account, you can also add links to your Story. Right now, that feature is still being tested, so you can read more about it here.

14) Hide ads you don't find relevant.

Instagram tries to show you ads that are interesting and relevant to you. You might see ads based on people you follow and things you Like on Instagram, or the third-party websites and apps you visit.
If you see sponsored posts you don't find relevant, though, you can let Instagram know and slowly teach its algorithm what you like and don't like to see.
To hide ads on Instagram, tap on the three dots to the right of a post labeled "Sponsored," and choose "Hide This."
IG sponsored posts.pngIG hide ad.png
From there, it'll ask you to share why you don't want to see the ad anymore.
why-no-ads.png
You can also opt out of seeing ads based on sites and apps off of Instagram and Facebook from your device's settings. Note that even if you choose to opt out of seeing these types of ads, you'll still see ads based on your Instagram and Facebook activity.
  • To limit ad tracking on an iPhone/iPad: Go to "Settings" and choose "Privacy," then "Advertising." From there, choose the option to "Limit Ad Tracking"
limit-ad-tracking-iphone.png
  • To turn off interest-based ads on Android: Go to "Google Settings," then "Ads." From there, choose the option to "Turn off interest-based ads."
opt-out-interest-based-ads-android.png

15) Send photos privately to your friends.

Posting photos with all of your followers or with the public isn't the only way to share content on Instagram. You can also share them with individual or multiple users, kind of like a Facebook message or group text message.
You can either send a new photo to friends, or send a photo that you or someone else has already posted.
To send a new photo privately, upload a photo and begin editing it, as you would when editing a new post. When you get to the "Share" page, tap the top where it automatically says "New Post," but when prompted, select "Direct Message." From there, you can pick and choose whom you'd like to send the photo to.
New post or direct message.png
You can access your direct messages at any time by clicking the mailbox icon at the top right of your homepage.
To send an existing photo privately, start by opening the post you want to share -- it can be your own or someone else's, as long as the latter has a public account. Next, click the paper-airplane-like icon below the post, then select who you want to receive it when the "Send to" box appears.
Share photo IG.png

Insta-Hacks

I might be biased, but Instagram is one of the most fun (and visually appealing) social apps around. And now, with these tricks, you can use it to an even fuller extent.
Plus, many of these features can help to enhance your brand's presence on Instagram. Now, you know how to use the app more efficiently, to make sure you're only tagged in photos you want to appear on your profile, and have even more ways to engage with the people who you'd like to be discovered by.
What other lesser-known Instagram features do you love? Let us know in the comments.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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