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25 Ways Your Business Can Get Ahead on Social Media During the LockDown

25 Ways Your Business Can Get Ahead on Social Media During the LockDown

Times are tough right now. And though there are a lot of outside stressors that may negatively impact your business in the short-term.

With this extra downtime, there are countless opportunities where you can develop some new skills for your business that’ll pay off in the long-run.

Other than item #1, which I hold as the absolute top priority, the other listed subjects aren’t in any particular order.

Many of these items can be done while watching Netflix.

1. Build a True Community

I firmly believe that focusing on building a true community through your social media channels is the most valuable and important thing you can (and should) do during this trying time.

This is also the time to learn about your customers. Everybody has their unique story, and normally businesses and brands position themselves in a “Look at me” situation on social media. This ultimately results in poor engagement and stunted follower growth.

Take the time to listen to and learn about your customers. They should the most important thing to the brand, not the other way around. You might learn something new – that can help with profits later on too.

2. Connect with other business owners

Right now, you and other business owners are in the same boat. 

Instead of fearing competition, share each other’s content. 

This is a time of relation-building and collaboration. You have your own audience and they have theirs, why not share on each other’s platforms?

3. Social Listening

Outside of listening to your customers…this topic is more about using social channels to listen to what customers, potential customers, and others are talking about – not necessarily involving you or your business in the conversation.

Social Listening is when you can use tools to monitor certain trends, keywords and hashtags on Google, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms.

Hootsuite and many other social media platforms offer this tool, while there are other tools (like Mention) that offer this exclusively and more robustly.

Google Trends and BuzzSumo are great places to start looking up topics for free.

4. Study your competitors

Leverage your newly acquired social listening tools to also spy on your competitors. 

To take things a bit further, look and analyze their social channels. See what they’re doing both right and wrong.

Use Audience Insights in Facebook’s Business manager to look up the insights on bigger brands.

And for web analytics, sites like Similarweb and SpyFu will give you a peek behind the curtain without anybody finding out.

Here’s a snapshot from SimilarWeb.com

5. Update and Connect (with everyone) on LinkedIn

There are 2 places where it’s easy to go viral today: 

  1. TikTok (more about this one later)
  2. LinkedIn

SPAM messages aside, LinkedIn is developing into a more robust and social media platform. 

Expand your network here and engage with others. Endorse your friends and (ask them to endorse you back.)

6. Set up (and learn) Google Analytics

A quick YouTube video can give you enough insight on how to navigate and even create your custom dashboard to simplify viewing for the next time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saHtQCJR8c0

7. Set your Goals

Determine your 3 main goals for the next year as a result of your social media marketing efforts.

Determine your 3 main goals for the next 90 days, based on our annual goals.

Create monthly goal breakdowns/steps to help you accomplish the 90-day goals.

Identify key metrics and Key Performance Indicators to monitor.

8. Create a SWOT Analysis of your current marketing efforts

A SWOT analysis is a snapshot breakdown of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

You can do this exercise for yourself, personally, for your business, or for clients and friends.

Take a step back to objectively analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s not an easy task but a very useful tool to help you layout the right perspective for your business.

You can learn more about creating a SWOT Analysis here.

SWOT Analysis I made on Influencer Marketing for Elevator Studio

9. Create Content – Use apps like Wordswag, Canva, and Mojo

There are countless very cool apps for editing and creating content right from your phone and the web.

Here are my favorite apps: 

  • Wordswag is particularly helpful in recycling older content by adding a text overlay.
  • Mojo is an awesome video app that makes stunning Instagram stories and other clips
  • Canva is a desktop software that helps you create anything from an Instagram post to social media covers to infographics. 
  • Lumen5 is a web-based platform that effortlessly allows you to make advanced text-overlay videos (like Buzzfeed and Nowthis).
“News-styled” video created on Lumen5

10. Practice Making Videos (and Being on Camera)

Some people are natural on camera. Many (including myself) are not at all.

But video is the most easily consumable form of content. And it’s not that difficult to make. All you do is open up your phone and click on the record button.

And have something to say.

Tai Lopez has managed to build multiple 8-figure empires off of shitty selfie videos, so you really don’t have any excuse.

But remember, in producing content, focus on providing value. Don’t try to become a motivational speaker or aggressively sell your product/service.

Just. Provide. Value.

Another reason to start your content strategy with video is that you can produce multiple assets from a single video.

11. Schedule your content for the rest of the year

Yeah, that sounds crazy when you say it out loud.

You can at least get something scheduled out weekly for the year (52 posts) on top of creating an editorial calendar for your business events, special celebrations and fun national holidays to begin tailoring other content around.

12. Automate Your Social Media Posting

Last year, I was posting to over 30 social media platforms per day. Outside of my “day job”. And I still had time for my Netflix and naps.

How was this humanly possible?

I’m lazy.

I’m so lazy that instead of doing all this hard work, I just figured a way to automate posting to most of my accounts.

Zapier or IFTTT can be your best friends.

My current automation for posting to multiple channels is by posting to Instagram (that’s the trigger” and after the IG post, there is automation where that content is automatically scheduled to other channels via SocialPilot.

Zapier Automation.

Note:

You can use these automation sites for anything from Google Sheets to Quickbooks to Gmail and go as far as connecting your Roomba to Alexa. Social media applications are just a few of the countless integrations in these automation platforms.

13. Learn Facebook & Google Ads

Learning something like Facebook or Google ads can be intimidating. But there’s this amazing website called YouTube where you can learn anything for free. And there are some great tutorials on both.

It’s not about becoming an expert at this, but learning enough so that you can get self-sufficient and get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Both platforms also have their own tutorials and Google in particular even has a hotline where helpful employees will walk you through the process, step-by-step.

Ads Pt:2:

Set up basic, ongoing retargeting (that you can forget about). You can run a campaign as low as $1 per day. 

If you’re active on social media, you can set up a retargeting audience based on people who have engaged with your Facebook Page or Instagram. And you should also retarget people who have visited your site or blog.

14. Update Your Website

This can range from updating your privacy policy to installing an SEO plugin or refreshing some older blogs. 

Make sure your site loads fast and is mobile-friendly.

15. Build a Chatbot

An effective chatbot can significantly increase conversions. Especially if you run ads.

Take some time to build out a simple chatbot that answers the frequently asked questions you encounter in your business.

Manychat and Chatfuel are very common and robust chatbot platforms with built-in templates to help you build your own bot. And they both integrate with Facebook seamlessly.

16. Optimize Your Google My Business

In 2019, Google+ was laid to rest and nobody really noticed. And in turn, Google My Business has taken its foothold, especially with smaller and local businesses.

Google reviews are more reliable than Yelp reviews and they’re critical for a solid local SEO.

Having a strong local listing will also drive clicks, calls, leads, and sales for local businesses.

When Googling anything “near me” (i.e. dentist, food, mechanic, CPA, chiropractor…), the top listings have strong Google My Business accounts.

17. Conduct a Social Media Audit

Take a few hours to scan your channels, make sure your bios, images, links and contact information is updated and accurate.

Click here to can get access to my 90 Point Social Media Checklist (free).

18. Plug All the “Holes” & Leaks in Your Plumbing

All those intimidating and boring administrative duties, like making sure your Pixel is installed properly with the “Conversion Events” properly registered. Or just having an organized list of your social media logins…

Yes, it’s boring. Yes, it’s necessary.

19. Sharpen Your Email Marketing

Email marketing is still VERY relevant. Some brands don’t realize this — because they’ve been doing it wrong.

Like Facebook and Google, emailing platforms are constantly striving to make things more user-friendly.

And with the continued advancement of AI, sometimes it just takes a click of a button to do what would otherwise be seemingly impossible.

Some things to add to your repertoire for email marketing is to focus on personalization, segmenting your audiences, testing catchy subject lines, mobile-friendly, and clear call-to-action.

20. Build Your Email List

Most sales from social media marketing aren’t a direct path to conversion. Meaning, if someone sees your pretty Instagram post, they normally don’t stop their scroll and pull out their credit card.

You want to leverage the power of social media to build your own email (or text message) list. There, you are immune to algorithm updates and can also organize and segment data better than any social media channel will allow.

21. Set Up an Automated Email Campaign

One of the best email marketing software on the market is Klavyio, but you can really do a lot with something as simple and easy as MailChimp.

Get your list organized and create an automated campaign. Meaning, if someone submits their email, they receive a sequence of emails over a period of time that shares your brand story while offering your service.

DripScripts is a great site that’ll guide you on how to write your own sequence.

22. Start a YouTube Channel (or build your existing one)

Or if you have one, start posting to it. Don’t’ worry about polished and produced content.

Just focus on providing value to those who may benefit from your service.

Or if you’re a local business (for example, a pizza shop), you can create content centered around your theme. Create DIY videos, highlight recipes, share Behind-the-Scenes content on what it’s like operating a small business. And remember, this is a long-term game. Document.

Forget about immediate sales.

You can learn a lot by following Gary Vaynerchuck’s lead from his journey in launching starting Wine Library.

23. Learn More About Funnels

The purpose of social media marketing shouldn’t be to get people to like your stuff. It should be for people to BUY your stuff.

With brands finally coming to terms with the fact that social media just doesn’t convert like it used to, people are getting more strategic in their approach.

This is a good thing.

The term “marketing funnel” has been around for a while, and with Russell Brunson’s Clickfunnels, the term has been slowly creeping into more “mainstream” business conversations.

These “funnels” fall under Direct Marketing, and they come with measurable results as compared to just getting brand awareness and keeping your fingers crossed.

Here’s a great article by Neil Patel to help you understand funnels.

24. Build an Influencer “Hit List”

Influencer marketing is the hot topic of today. And what’s even hotter are Micro and Nano Influencers.

These are people with smaller but highly relevant and engaging niche audiences. They tend to be a lot cheaper than Macro Influencers and often provide more value.

You can use the Facebook Brand Collabs tool to start researching your list. Or if you’re a local business, log in to Instagram and look up hashtags and geotags close to you.

Influencers (of all sizes) tend to have a contact email in their bio. And they do read their emails.

So start by creating a spreadsheet with their Instagram link, their email and any relevant other social channels and notes that’ll help you and your brand.

25. Learn About TikTok

TikTok is “the next big thing” for social media channels.

It is also the fastest growing social media platform in the world and (currently) over 500 million users. 41% of those are between the ages of 16–25.

For brands looking to harness the buying power of Generation Z, look here.

For brands that don’t know what to do yet…secure your brand handle and get a kid to start posting for you (within your guidelines, of course).

Though TikTok may seem like a “kid’s platform” today, you’ll thank me in a few years. It’s transforming rapidly.

Conclusion

Times are tough right now. And though there are a lot of outside stressors that may negatively impact your business in the short-term. This is the best opportunity to finally work On your business, instead of working in your business.

If you saw value in this blog post and would like me to help you develop a strategy for marketing your business on social media, please fill out the form below.

Click Here to Apply for a Free Social Media Marketing Strategy

20 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020

20 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020

2020 is going to be an interesting year for social media marketing. With emerging platforms, political campaigning, an increase in “user-friendliness” for the tech stuff, and Facebook pretending to care about humans, we can expect a lot of different wins surrounded by major disappointments.

Here, I’ve done my best to limit personal opinions and stick with the core list. (If you do want my personal opinion or “expertise” on any of the subjects, you can contact me on Instagram or at the bottom of this page.)

The 20 listed were (lazily) done in some subconscious order, but it’s definitely not a ranking system.

So let’s get right to it.

1. TikTok

It’s the next thing.

TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in the world and (currently) over 500 million users. 41% of those are between the ages of 16-25.

For brands looking to harness the buying power of Generation Z, look here.

For brands that don’t know what to do yet…secure your brand handle and pay some teenager to post for you (within your guidelines, of course).

2. Removal of Likes on Instagram

Fun fact: 50% of influencers who have experienced the removal of likes from their Instagram posts have seen a significant decline in social growth.

Instagram may justify their removal of likes to some humane cause for the sake of looking like they care for our psychological well being, but the fact is, Instagram wants more of your money.

And when you pay to boost your content, it adds up.

The removal of likes will be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, there will be more opportunities for freedom and flexibility in creating content without the social accountability of likes.

On the other hand, brands will have little engagement accountability when producing content, and as a result may promote content that’s boring and off-putting on social media, further declining their reach and engagement.

3. Realistic Goal Setting

The romance of social media is wearing off. The honeymoon is over.

This doesn’t mean social media is going away. It just means that businesses are more aware that they aren’t going to “go viral” when they post on their channels.

Which gives rise to new and smarter opportunities.

Brands should be looking at social media as a channel for storytelling and direct communication along the buyer’s journey, and hopefully turning customers into repeat buyers and raving fans at the end.

Instead of focusing on likes, it’s time to focus on more authentic engagements (saves, shares, comments with thought, story views, link clicks…)

4. User-Generated Content

Brands are getting savvier in leveraging UGC (user-generated-content). 

With the ongoing rise of influencer and micro-influencer marketing, brands are starting to take notice that reposting the content from influencers and leveraging that content for their ads comes with a significant increase in engagement and conversions.

There are many options to access UGC without paying for influencers. Restaurants and local businesses can simply look at the photos that tag their locations.

5. Videos

Shorter, Longer, Ephemeral, Vertical…

More Videos.

Video consumption on mobile devices rise by 100% every year. (Source

Video isn’t going away. It’s the easiest and most passive way for people to consume content.

Ads are seeing great results with an initial 6 second video, while Instagram is pushing their IGTV with longer-form videos.

It’s a good idea to develop content strategies for all forms, from YouTube to IGTV, to Instagram Stories and paid media content.

6. “Easy Access” Ad Campaigns

In 2019, Facebook and Google both revamped the interface for their ads platforms with the intent of streamlining processes while making things more “user-friendly” for newbie advertisers.

They both offer walk-thru and guided processes for entry-level advertisers. 

This is geared for small-business owners who often have to handle their marketing and don’t have the resources or budget to hire outside help.

Seeing that small businesses make up 99.9% of all businesses in the US, there is a lot of money on the table for Google and Facebook to scoop up.  

We should see more “user-friendly and guided” advertising options continue in 2020.

And more small businesses using these options. 

7. Increase in Cost-Per-Click / CPM 

Facebook ads, in particular, are still hugely undervalued. And it’s the best place to target new audiences, outside of word-of-mouth.

With more businesses entering the digital advertising frontier, we can expect to see an increase in demand. Which in turn, increases the cost per click.

8. Google My Business

In 2019, Google+ was laid to rest and nobody really noticed. And in turn, Google My Business has taken its foothold, especially with smaller businesses.

Google reviews are more reliable than Yelp reviews and they’re critical for a solid local SEO.

Having a strong local listing will also drive clicks, calls, leads, and sales for local businesses.

When Googling anything “near me” (i.e. dentist, food, mechanic, CPA, chiropractor…), the top listings have strong Google My Business accounts.

9. Creator Studio (and more “In Platform” Applications)

Facebook’s Creator Studio is a great place where you can schedule content for multiple brands for both Facebook and Instagram. And they’ve been pushing it pretty hard.

Another new release is their Brand Collabs Manager option where you can essentially shop for influencers directly through the platform.

(Personally) I’d like to see other platforms copy Facebook with this concept. (*hint hint* LinkedIn)

10. Brands Standing (or kneeling) for Something

We are officially in the Woke Era – especially in the United States where America has transitioned to a phase of social consciousness.

It would be wise for most brands to stay away from racial or political topics, but there are some “safer” territories that most people can agree on. This would include planting trees (fighting climate change without saying “climate change”, clean water, education in 3rd world countries, etc.)

Of course, some brands should get directly involved with aligning their values (or their target demographic’s values). Nike with Colin Kaepernick is a prime example.

On the other hand, if it’s not seen as authentic, it could have a terrible backlash (i.e. Pepsi and Kylie Jenner’s epic fail in the heat of #BlackLivesMatter ((that’s also an example of “tunnel” vision and why large brands should not run their marketing and advertising in-house))). Ok, I digress…

11. More LinkedIn – Especially Personal brands

TikTok and LinkedIn are the easiest places to go viral on social media. 

And though LinkedIn is known to be exclusively B2B, it’s also a great place for people to build their personal brand. 

LinkedIn has over 300 Million Monthly Active Users and that will continue to grow.

We should see an increase of thought leaders harnessing the power of LinkedIn while business owners and executives (should) leverage their followings to build their personal brand while promoting their business’ benefits, features and values. 

12. Diversified Content & Distribution

Long gone are the days of posting links on Twitter and Facebook and expecting a flood of site traffic.

People now behave differently, and they consume content differently.

Fortunately, a single piece of content (video) can be (and should be) repurposed to multiple forms of content and distributed beyond basic social channels.

Gary Vaynerchuk articulates it better than anyone else in his Content Model.

13. Better Email Marketing

Email marketing is still VERY relevant. Some brands don’t realize this – because they’ve been doing it wrong.

Like Facebook and Google, emailing platforms are constantly striving to make things more user-friendly. 

And with the continued advancement of AI, sometimes it just takes a click of a button to do what would otherwise be seemingly impossible.

Some things to add to your repertoire for email marketing is to focus on personalization, segmenting your audiences, testing catchy subject lines, mobile-friendly, and clear call-to-actions.

View this post on Instagram

That calls for a promotion.

A post shared by The Bad Marketer (@thebadmarketer) on

14. Chat Bots

They’ve been around for a while but haven’t been utilized the way they should be.

Most inbound messages are questions. Frequently asked questions.

You could pay someone daily to answer all these questions…or you could pay someone once to create a bot to answer these common questions while vetting out the more serious inquiries for a personal touch.

And the crazy thing is that people don’t mind talking to a bot – as long as they know it’s a chatbot. 

Chatbots have shown to help increase ROI by up to 400%

Consumers just want a real-time answer, and a chatbot can easily answer 99% of these common questions.

Chatbots can also be added to your website, to your Facebook and, hopefully soon, to Instagram.

Facebook also owns WhatsApp and Instagram. And the messaging within these platforms is one of the most powerful features for converting clicks to dollars.

I’m going to guess (fingers crossed) that Facebook will allow Instagram’s API for chatbots in 2020.

If that happens, it’s a game-changer.

In fact, if that happens, contact me. And we’ll get rich together.

15. SMS Marketing

You may have been seeing celebrities and thought leaders say “Text me” in some of their social media posts. What they’re doing is brilliant.

They’re building an audience that’ll have 90% open rate and up to 45% conversion rate.

Those numbers are insane. (And I’d take the “45% conversion” with a grain of salt).

But still, with an open rate of 90% in text message marketing, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your contacts will see your message.

Brands partnering with celebrities and influencers can easily build their own list with this strategy. And they should.

16. Custom Filters & Gifs

As brands continue to fight for the top of the mind awareness, they will be looking to come up with more clever and creative ways to maintain relevance in social media.

Creating graphics, stickers, and filters is a great way to maintain that relevance in an interesting way.

Instagram has allowed individuals and brands to submit their own face filters via their Spark AR platform.

Fun Fact: if you add a custom face filter on Instagram and it gets popular, you can experience viral growth.

17. Micro-Influencers & Nano Influencers

Brands are starting to realize that they don’t need to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars on a celebrity to break into influencer marketing.

In fact, the way influencer marketing worked in 2016 is very different than it worked in 2019 and how it’ll work in 2020.

A single post doesn’t just sell everything off the shelves anymore (except on rare occasions).

Micro-influencers tend to be more directly engaged with their audiences and as a result convert better when it comes time to promote something.

This is essentially amplified word-of-mouth.

And for nano-influencers, (smaller following but high engagement), you can often simply trade your product in exchange for a shout out.

The micro-influencer strategy allows brands to spend less money while sometimes getting better results than a standard influencer shout out, including user-generated content and multi-niche traffic.

18. Giveaways

Giveaways and sweepstakes aren’t anything new, but lately, it’s been a great way to increase your following and engagement, often overnight.

Sometimes the best way to get people to do something is to incentivize them. I’ve personally seen the giveaway trend explode in the last quarter of 2019.

Giveaway Loops: Where a celebrity or influencer gives a handful of prizes, and in order to enter the giveaway, participants normally need to follow select accounts. 

I would expect to see this market get saturated rather quickly and with Instagram starting to punish those running the giveaway or by removing new followers.

19. Funnels

The purpose of social media marketing shouldn’t be to get people to like your stuff. It should be for people to BUY your stuff.

With brands finally coming to terms with the fact that social media just doesn’t convert like it used to, people are getting more strategic in their approach.

This is a good thing.

The term “marketing funnel” has been around for a while, and with Russell Brunson’s Clickfunnels, the term has been slowly creeping into more “mainstream” business conversations.

These “funnels” fall under Direct Marketing, and they come with measurable results as compared to just getting brand awareness and keeping your fingers crossed.

20. More Government Intervention

Legislation is looking to limit how companies track and manage user data. Right now, companies like Facebook and Google are able to share data with other companies and advertisers while capitalizing off this data with virtually no restriction or accountability.

These new laws will be designed for consumers to take back their privacy and give more access to their data.

What will this actually do for consumers? Not much. Because we give our info away freely and that’s not going to change.

But expect to see this topic more in the news, especially with the upcoming elections.

As far as influencer marketing, we could expect the FTC to crack down and make an example of a few influencers who avoid properly disclosing promotional content.

Conclusion

Will 2020 be any different than 2019? Yes and no.

We can expect to see more content. More video and mobile consumption. Consumers shopping more via mobile. And more competition.

There’s going to be more.

And as a result, algorithms will break our hearts and we’ll need to boost more posts with paid media.

And that’s ok, as long as there’s a solid strategy on how to convert those engagements into sales.

If you need a strategy for that, feel free to click the button below.

How to Find Viral Content for Social Media

How to Find Viral Content for Social Media

When you're building out your Content Marketing Strategy for Social Media, coming up with ideas can be tough. 

Or worse, you have an idea of how your social media should look without testing anything. These emotional and ego-based decisions are dangerous for your brand. Chances are, you'll fail online.

This is especially true if all you do is rummage through stock photos on various websites. Or study your competitors who are doing an equally crap job.

Stock photos only go viral in the form of dank memes. It's because they're a joke. And if your brand is using them, then you're a joke too. 

So, how do we find great, relevant, and potentially viral content?

Glad you asked.

Here, I'll show you how to mine Instagram for viral content. You can also use Pinterest or other sites, but seeing as Instagram is the most powerful and engaging social media platform at the moment...we will stick with that for this blog post.

First, make sure you're logged-in to Instagram from your computer (this is a desktop exercise, though a similar strategy can be done on your phone without using the following extensions.

Speaking of which, add the following extensions to your chrome browser.

If you don't have chrome, just leave now.

  • Downloader for Instagram
  • CloutHQ

Next, hop on Instagram (from your desktop) and start hunting for some "theme accounts." 

These are accounts that aren't personal, selfie-filled monuments highlighting the best of someone's probably not-so-real life. But accounts filled with engaging content tailored for a specific niche.

For example, if you're looking for remarkable real estate content, you can simply look up the hashtag for #realestate or #milliondollarlisting or #luxuryhome  and Instagram will show you some top posts. 

In the feed, the first 9 posts are essentially "viral" based on whatever Instagram is weighing at the moment. And all the posts below the top 9 are based on Recency (just recent posts - so disregard them).

Focus on these top 9, and click on the accounts that are posting them. Most of them will be Theme Accounts.

You should then click on that blue upside-down triangle, and another bunch of theme accounts will pop up. Add them into your browser and start scoping out the accounts. 

After you select a handful of these Theme Accounts, it's time to use your Chrome Extension, CloutHQ.

This extension will show the top 5 posts from the 60 most recent ones. 

On each Theme Instagram Account, click on the CloutHQ extension and select on all the top posts.

Finding viral content

Once you find the right content, use another Chrome extension Instagram Downloader & download the content you want.

 **AND BE SURE TO COPY THE ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATOR AND TAG/MENTION THEM LATER WHEN REPOSTING**

Back when I started out, I didn't realize the importance of crediting content creators. But it's very important. 

Most of the time, content creators are totally cool with you reposting their content as long as you don't alter the image, add logos and be sure you credit them.

Occasionally you'll find someone not cool at all. If you're a larger brand and want to prevent any potential drama, just shoot them a DM on Instagram and ask for permission to repost their content.

You can also DM a bunch of photographers in your industry and ask to repost. 99% of all the people I've asked said YES.

Conclusion

The idea behind mining this kind of content is that we are now curating content based on engagement. People have shown that they like this stuff and they will very likely engage with it again.

If you're a content creator or have a marketing team and photographer, use this strategy to create a "Mood Board" so that they have a direction to go moving forward on your content strategy.

And if it works on Instagram, it'll work on the other platforms. Because the content is that people are caring about.

It's that easy.

Using Twitter to Create Content for Other Social Media Platforms

Using Twitter to Create Content for Other Social Media Platforms

Even though I'm not particularly fond of Twitter other than for complaining at companies to expedite the customer service process...Twitter is actually a great platform for creating content. The content works surprisingly well on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How?

Screenshots of Tweets. Simple as that.

This works well for all types of brands - and especially for personal brands.

How to do it?

Just tweet out some inspirational quotes or funny quotes or your replies to other tweets. If you need ideas, literally google "inspirational quotes" or "funny motivational quotes" and just type out a few tweets of your favorite ones.

Then screenshot those tweets and mix that in with your other content on social media.

This strategy works amazingly well. And it's insanely simple.

Some Examples:

If you'd like a custom FREE social media marketing strategy...

Here’s a Free & Easy Hashtag Tool for Instagram 🤓

Here’s a Free & Easy Hashtag Tool for Instagram 🤓

Let's chat about Hashtags.

For someone reason, this is a touchy subject with the social media nerds. Probably because everybody is an "authority" while having different opinions on the subject.

I always post 30 hashtags in the first comment of every Instagram post. For myself and for clients. Why? Because it works for me.

If you post them in the first comment, IG will still catch them as long as you do it quickly. Like within a minute.

How do I find the best Hashtags? www.displaypurposes.com
It's a free site and super awesome.

You can even type in multiple keywords. Like "sandiego" and "entrepreneur" to get a mix of location and broad tags.

How many should you post? I post 30 every time in the first comment. It works...Some people say post 12 or 15 but have never shown me any data to justify their theory. I'm open to learning why...just PLEASE show me the DATA!

Please note, you'll want to test different hashtags for different posts.

Also note, I learned a way to add 60 hashtags to a post and tested it. Several times. Didn't work for me. Stick with 30 or less.

Also also note, if your content isn't remarkable then no amount of hashtags will help you go viral.

You can have the fanciest fishing rod on the beach but if the fish don't like your bait, they're not gonna bite.

Below are some successes I've recently had from my account and a couple of clients. Each, a very different niche.

One client is a cannabis brand, another is a farmer personal brand and the middle screenshot is my personal account.

instagram hashtag success

A Final Note

Every Instagram account is different. With their own internal algorithm and audience.

There isn't a "one size fits all" solution. But for hashtags, this has really worked well for me and all of my clients.

So always test new things. Be firm yet flexible with your strategy. Try out different types of content. Steer your content strategy to what people really like (engagement). And have fun with it.

People aren't logging into Instagram to be bored by brands. You need to be "thumb stopping" with your content.

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How to Determine Real vs Fake Influencers for Instagram Influencers

How to Determine Real vs Fake Influencers for Instagram Influencers

There is always an exception to the rule, but generally, real influencers with authentic growth will have a smooth and linear pattern of growth, while someone who's buying fake followers will have a more jagged pattern with drops of followers on days they're not buying followers.

How to Turn Your Video into 4 More Types of Content

How to Turn Your Video into 4 More Types of Content

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“Content is King…and Marketing is queen and she runs the household.”  – Gary Vee

Content is the foundation of any marketing strategy. Good or bad.

Unfortunately, a lot of brands are swinging and missing –  and they’re throwing millions of dollars into the abyss while ruining the user experience of interneters. 

And if you have great, value-driven content, you’re going to attract the right people. And they’ll bring their friends.

On top of creating good content, you also need to distribute it effectively. What good it a fancy fishing pole and premium bait if you don’t toss the line in the water?

Fortunately, with the digital age, distribution is more efficient and cost-effective than ever before.

Some examples are, YouTube, emails, blog posts, social media posts, podcasts, etc…

Each digital platform has its subtle and not-so-subtle nuances. With one solid video, you can create a blog post, a podcast, more video clips, even memes.

Here, I’m going to outline a strategy to start getting great ideas for creating value-driven content for your target audience.

These are strategies for people in a hurry who don’t have time (or the passion) to write.

First, let’s start by not thinking too hard. Use your brain power for what you do best and allow the internet to give you ideas for content topics.

Get Content Idea Topics from Quora

Quora is a question and answer forum with over 300 million monthly active users. There are millions of people that visit the site every month and they ask questions. Experts (and people who think they’re expert). Answer these questions.

This strategy will work for any niche.

And how do you provide value?

By answering the questions that people are asking within your market. And these aren’t high-end things. To get the most eyeballs on your content, create it for the broader audience.

This will help get you in the habit of generating content and getting ideas for that content. And then you move the right people down your marketing funnel from there.

If you’re a business coach, type Business in the search bar. It’s that easy. Or you can type “Startup” or “Entrepreneurship”. And there’ll be a list of related subjects on your right.

You’ll see that 31 million people are following the topic of Business, alone. 

Next, click on FAQ’s, where you’ll find 5-10 questions that the world interested in Business are asking.

If you’re an expert, these questions will be a no-brainer.

Now let’s get on with creating your content… 

Creating Your Content

  1. Record a video covering your topic
  2. Clip the best 30 sec-minute bits and optimize for social media posts
  3. Have the video transcribed & turned into a blog post
  4. Upload your video to Anchor and convert to a podcast
  5. Use your top quotes or gems as meme content

1) Recording Your Video

Hammer out a video or two answering each question. 2-4 minutes should suffice. 

Everything should be as simple as possible. But not simpler. – Albert Einstein

What do we do first?

All you need is a smartphone. You can invest a little tripod (I bought a great one for $12 on Amazon) or you can do a selfie video.

And don’t fuss about high-quality production. You can always have a video editor clean things up…Polished videos do not equate to conversions.

Tai Lopez makes eight-figures in annual revenue with his selfie videos. And they are far from high quality. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for you.

Tai Lopez’ selfie video

With your smartphone, spend a few minutes answering these Quora questions.

Film these with your phone horizontally so that it’s optimized for YouTube. I’ll mention later how to use it for other social media channels.

So now you have a video. It’ll take some practice if you’re not used to it. I personally hate being on video. Have an outline of what you’re going to say if you get easily sidetracked.

For these videos, YouTube is the primary place to house them.

Fun fact: YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, second to Google. Who owns YouTube.

You can also use these two/three/four-minute videos on LinkedIn and Facebook. 

2) Clip The Best Bits For Social Media

With your main video, there are likely a few gems to glean and tailor for your social media channels.

So with this video, there’s gonna be a solid 45 seconds, 30 seconds, or minute where you’re just like, “Wow, that’s fire.” Crop that out. Extract it. And now you have a smaller sized video.

Crop the short videos into a square format and use that for social media and use these clips for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’d actually recommend you meme them (adding a headline + emojis will help you get more views).

Use Inshot (app) to square up the clips and meme them…or use a video editor.

And if you want to really fancy things up like the personal brands who are crushing it…Brad Lea, Andy Frisella, Gary Vee, David Meltzer…

There are a dozen people on Fiverr that’ll do it for $5 or less. I know a few of them. I’ve used a few of them. They’re great.

All you need to do is send them samples of the videos you like and say, “Hey, I like this. Edit my video like this guy, here’s my logo. You’ll have it back within week.

Brad Lea’s Instagram video

3) Converting Your Video Into A Blog Post

Now you take that video and you go to rev.com. And you upload the video there. And what it’s going to do is transcribe that video and put it into a Word Doc.

Now you have a transcription of the video.

And if you write, you can go in and you can edit it yourself. If you don’t write, hire an editor to put it together in a nice blog post. I’d recommend someone on Upwork or (again) Fiver for this.

Expect to pay about $35+ depending on the length. And don’t be cheap or that’ll cost you more in the long-run.
(This blog post was originally from a video I shot and transcribed…) 

4) Podcast

And the next thing is to take your video and upload it into Anchor for a podcast. It’ll strip the audio for you and syndicate the podcast to a handful of other platforms. Including iTunes. 

5) Make Some Memes

Maybe there was something in your video clips that really stood out. Like a single phrase where you’re like “Wow, I’m a genius.”

Take a nice photo of yourself and overlay that phrase using Wordswag. (This app is a game changer.)

Or again, you can find someone in Fiver who does this for a living. I use a guy based in Pakistan who charges me $0.80-1.30 per post and it’s as good as those guys spending thousands. Often better. 

From Graphic Designer on Fiver. Cost: $1
Created using Wordswag App

BONUS: Amplify Your Engaging Content

As you continue to post and distribute your content across platforms, some posts will perform better than others.

Add a few ad dollars behind those posts. And consider running an ad campaign with the top videos with an offer attached.

Running ads with content that has proven engagement will help give you a lower CPM and CPC.
You can also syndicate your blog posts and try to get your content in other people’s networks.

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Conclusion

So here’s what we covered:

Let the market determine what kind of content you should produce…and then use the following strategy to recycle, re-engineer and distribute that content.

  1. Record a video covering your topic
  2. Clip the best 30 sec-minute bits and optimize for social media posts
  3. Have the video transcribed & turned into a blog post
  4. Upload your video to Anchor and convert to a podcast
  5. Use your top quotes or gems as meme content
  6. Amplify and syndicate your content (especially the good stuff)

And remember, don’t worry about a polished video. Get in the habit of creating content. You can always improve over time. To start, all you need is your phone, the ability to talk, and the ability to cut and paste. And shell out a few dollars to a virtual assistant to clean things up.

Credits To This Strategy

After publishing and sharing my post, a lot of my internet marketer friends came out of the woodwork and said they wrote the same article. After looking at their articles, many parts were eerily similar. Though mine is still funner to read.  😉
This tells me 2 things.

  1. It’s a solid strategy because people I really admire in this space have also written about it.
  2. This isn’t an original strategy – and I didn’t make it up even though I look really smart with my glasses.

I used Gary Vaynerchuck’s main strategy and toned it down so that it’s easy for anyone looking to build their brand. So main credit goes to Gary Vee.

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How To Get Cheap Instagram Followers Using Facebook Ads | Case Study

How To Get Cheap Instagram Followers Using Facebook Ads | Case Study

The world of social media is weird. It's a place to share experiences and highlight adventures while making new friends and connections, it's also breeding ground for instant gratification and deception as many continue to fabricate their own world.  Often, dangerously so.

I know of "influencers" who have bought hundreds of thousands of fake followers while blasting each post with tens of thousands of paid likes just to feed their ego.

It's like filling a stadium full of mannequins and a soundbite of people clapping over a megaphone.

I won't allow my clients to do this.

That said, it's natural to want to be an influencer. Especially if you have done remarkable things in your life and want to share your experiences with the world. And especially if you're paying someone to manage and grow their personal brand.

One of my personal brand clients really wanted to grow his personal brand but didn't want to spend thousands on an influencer campaign. Working with a tight budget, and having minimal success with the follow/unfollow method, we decided to test a little-known growth hack.

We used the Facebook ads platform to run swipe-up ads on Instagram and drive traffic directly to his account.

The Strategy

The ad was simply a giveaway where users were instructed to Swipe Up, Follow, and DM "Win" to enter in the giveaway. The prize was a $100 Amazon gift card.

This strategy, using a very basic ad and very basic targeting, got us just under eleven cents per follower (based on ad-spend).

how to grow my instagram

The Test

  • Campaign: Traffic with your Instagram handle as the URL
  • Target: Worldwide with a couple filters
  • Ad Placement: Instagram Stories
  • Budget/Term: $10/day for 10 days ($100 total)

Immediate Results

The client account began with 9,688 followers and ended with 10,600 followers.

  • 912 new followers
  • $0.1096 per follower (ad spend)
  • 3,935 swipe-ups (clicks)
  • $0.03 per click
  • 4.3 clicks = 1 follow
  • 239,451 impressions
  • Lagos was the largest growing audience

Long-Term Results

Due to our strategy for growth, a 45-day follow-up showed a 38% decrease from the new followers, with a net "new" following of 562.

This is natural and can be expected with these types of "growth hacks".  Since people aren't following based on character or content, just simply to win a prize

  • Long-term cost per follow: $0.178

This can be expected for any account using this or similar strategies. Though you're growing with an authentic audience, they're in it to win, not for your content. Once the incentive to win is gone, it's just a matter of time for people to unfollow.

The few people who utilize this strategy run weekly giveaways to keep the audience engaged. This is a good strategy to keep an audience around and engaging but doesn't guarantee an increase of conversions for your business. Especially if you're growing an audience outside of your target market.

Instead of giving away an Amazon card, you can give away your products and use the same strategy to grow your audience. Using a more targeted audience, you'll see a higher cost per follow, but you'll be growing your fan base with the kind of people who should be following you.

Budgeting Projections

Based on the previous data, you can expect the following results to gain specific milestones:

Short Term:

  • 10,000 followers => $1,100 in ad spend
  • 100,000 followers:  => $10.960 in ad spend

Long Term:

  • Approx 6,200 followers from $1,100 ad spend
  • Approx 62,000 followers from $10,960 ad spend

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Conclusion

Though the client was extremely pleased with the immediate growth and didn't seem phased by the decrease in new followers, this kind of growth hack isn't ideal for just any brand.

For personal brands it's ok. In order to keep the audience going strong, you'll need to continue to give away prizes.

For other brands, giving away other items and products relative to your brand would be ideal.

Instead of targeting worldwide, I'd recommend you use a custom or Lookalike audience based on your pixel data. Though this may cost more per follow, they're much higher quality and likely to stick around as long as they like your content.

A similar strategy could be used to build email lists.

Disclosure

In this case study, I based the cost-per-follow on ad-spend only and didn't factor in the $100 gift card. Factoring in the $100 would double the cost per follow in this situation. But would also skew the data as most personal brands and growth hackers will likely spend more than $100 for a campaign.

 

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9 Social Media Strategies For Your Cannabis Business

For those growing a business in the cannabis space, social media can be a very bittersweet affair.

It seems as if the gods of Instagram and Facebook have given us the wings to fly only to take away the sky.

One day you can have a post go viral and the next day get your account banned.

A little over a year ago, Ganjapreneur reported that Facebook shut down six Alaskan dispensary pages. These dispensaries were using Facebook as their main form of advertising. It was a heavy blow to their business.

This may be a shock to many businesses in the cannabis community. For Facebook, it is just another day.

Since then, Facebook has continued their crackdown. And with the recent and ongoing scandals putting the social media giant in the light, Facebook is even more uptight and insensitive while proving itself time and time again to be completely tone-deaf to anything less than a fortune 500 company.

And for brands in an edgy market like cannabis, it's even worse. Even with the right targeting, it is a direct violation of the terms of service for Facebook (and several other social media platforms) for marijuana dispensaries to advertise.

This should hit close to home for a lot of businesses in the cannabis space who are continuously barraged from all directions with restrictions while trying to build a legitimate and sustainable brand.

And social media is the ideal space to promote a brand and business – especially for the 420-friendly crowd.

Cannabis audiences tend to be highly engaging and are generally way cooler and more fun than other demographics, which makes them ideal for social conversions.

But for those in the cannabis space who are looking to generate some revenue, do not be discouraged.

Here, I’m going to share some key digital marketing strategies to help you get direct results for your cannabis business using social media and other online platforms.

1) Don't Be Too Direct

Veteran stoners understand the fear of getting caught ridin’ dirty. It’s a scary thought. I’ve definitely experienced the dubious red and blue piercing the milky haze of a hotbox.

And though, the fear may have dissolved a bit thanks to legalization in many parts, knowing that your business can be harmed or stunted can be quite terrifying. Maybe even more so.

This is a major pain point for a lot of cannabis brands marketing on social media.

One workaround is to build a theme or personal brand around your business.

If you’re a dispensary, don’t register yourself as one on Facebook. Be a branded theme, not a shop.

This way you can be bigger than you are. Especially if you are planning on building a large brand in the future.

As a theme, you can run ads to grow your network and build your contact lists. Instead of focusing on your product, focus on the community, the culture, and relevant valuable insights.

You can build your page with content that is cannabis-themed though not directly trying to sell anything.

And be very careful of the websites linked from your Facebook page. Facebook will look at them!

It would be safest to have a separate landing page or blog with an opt-in to collect contact info – with no cannabis/smoke/product images.

So, what’s the point on having a vague cannabis brand?

2) Build Your List

Marketing on social media is more like the art of seduction than it is an OxyClean pitch (no disrespect to the late Billy Mays).

The ultimate goal for your marketing on social media is to get the prospect’s contact info. Get them off the platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc), qualify them, close.

A contact can be their phone number for SMS marketing or their email for email marketing.

Keep in mind, major platforms like MailChimp (for email) will also ban accounts if you're trying to sell cannabis directly. It's best to provide value by educating and embracing the culture.

And use SMS marketing for direct promos and sales.

Once you have an email, you can engage in a more intimate setting with a more direct conversation.

Email is a safe bet, and an ideal strategy for any business – not just canna-business.

So what's the easiest way to get these contacts?

3) Use Influencers

Influencers and large theme pages (like @weedhumor and @marijuana) work especially well on Instagram in terms of site traffic, viral brand awareness, engagement, and growth.

If you have a specific promotion and do not want to risk ads, influencers are the way to go.

This is a great strategy for larger brands (vapes, edibles, etc. who aren’t regionally focused), and leveraging local influencers can be a hit for localized brands too.

Micro-Influencers & Brand ambassadors are perfect for both large and small brands. If you have a local business, you can easily for the micro-influencers in your area based on locations and hashtags – the stoners should be easy to pick out.

Aim for people that have 1000+ likes per post.

Local influencers are great to have come to your live events too.

Another add-value to both micro and macro influencers is the content they can create.

Influencers tend to know the nuances of remarkable content better than most brands. Because that's how they grew themselves. Allow them creative control and work content creation in your deals.

4) Search Engine Optimization

Every day for lunch I do the same dumb thing. I google "food near me". Unless I'm craving something specific like buffalo wings, then I google "buffalo wings near me".

And I'm not the only one who uses google like this.

If you're building a national brand, I'd strongly suggest creating a blog with value-driven content, investing in some legitimate PR for backlinks, and hiring an SEO expert to help you rank for the right keywords.

Location-Based SEO

There are several platforms that will manage and distribute your business info to every available search engine from Google to Bing to Yahoo and Yellow Pages. I'm currently using Yext for one client (their choice) but I'd personally recommend Synup.

5) Events

Hosting events away from your dispensary can be a great workaround too.

A stoner pizza party or BBQ at a rented mansion or another venue can be a fun great way to grow your following, curate fun content and establish relationships with potential customers and vendors.

Pay a few influencers to promote the event and show up and invite any 420 journalists - if done correctly, you'll build long-term relationships and immediate impactful results.

Incentivize people to register with their email and create content.

A red carpet with a backdrop is a great photo opp. Animals are great too. I went to a party with an Alpaca and was blown away at how this magnificent beast dominated the selfie game.

6) Engage & Follow Within The Community

Social media is social. It's important to build an authentic and engaging audience within the right community.

Instagram is an ideal place for cannabis businesses to build their brands and communities.

Most people see a value in a big audience. But there are many of those people are buying fake followers and paying for fake likes on every post to maintain the facade of influence.

Don't buy fake followers.

It's better to have 1000 real followers who engage with you than a million fake followers. But of course, you'll likely want more than 1000 followers.

For Instagram, start by finding the right people and engage with them. Some places to find the right people on Instagram:

  • Hashtags
  • Location/Geotags
  • Large 420 pages

(the screenshot below is of recent posts of people who checked-in at a MedMen dispensary...this is your audience!)

You can also follow specific hashtags so that the top content with that hashtag will show up in your feed.

For large pages like @weedhumor and in cruising through targeted hashtags, you can click on a post, click on the Likes for that post, and then you could follow and engage with all the people that liked those post.

This is a great way to build a targeted audience based off of engagement.

As you build an audience, don't neglect your fans. Be sure to follow back, reply to comments, reply to DM's, post to (and repost) Instagram stories.

Twitter: Similar to the Instagram growth strategy, you can do something very similar on Twitter, go to your competitors (or indirect competitors’) top tweets, click on a tweet, then click on the retweet button and follow everybody who re-tweeted those posts of your competitors and indirect competitors.

Here, you’re following the most engaging people that follow them, and they’ll likely follow you back.

You can also reply to comments on their pages. Just don’t be a troll, there are a lot of shitty people in this industry already.

On Facebook, it’s a little bit different. Here I would encourage you to leverage your personal profile to engage within specific groups related to cannabis. And consider building your own Facebook Group.

When you post content in groups, only post things of value. Links to blogs do not perform well in Facebook groups, or really anywhere on Facebook (organically).

 

If you're interested in a free social media marketing strategy checklist for your brand, you can get it here.

 

7) User-Generated Content

A kickass way to build relationships while curating amazing content and consistently fill your social feeds is by connecting with talented content creators, reach out to them and ask to repost their content provided you give credit.

There are a lot of amateur photographers and video makers are out there who create amazing content and would be thrilled to have it shared the world.

And if you really like their photography and videos, offer a trade of product for consistent content.

In the example below, this video was trending on #weedporn, I doublechecked the content creator, and they have a page of amazing content and an audience of only 14k.

This is a great opportunity for a collaboration.

8) Mantis

What better place to advertise to the community than to the actual cannabis community? Mantis is the advertising platform that runs display ads on cannabis blogs and publications.

With 35 million unique visitors and over 100 million monthly impressions, Mantis will display your 420-friendly ads on over 500 different publishers, including

  • Leafly
  • Marijuana.com
  • Cannabis Culture
  • Grass City
  • The Weed Blog

They also have the option to geo-target and retarget.

9) Think Dirty

Let's face it. The cannabis industry is a bit edgy. Even with the posh brands and the "non-stoner" movements, the green rush was a black market just a few years ago.

With that in mind, there are web traffic sources that offer advertising options with low standards and low cost-per-clicks to match. Porn sites.

A Notable Nod: Weedmaps

I'm not going to get into detail on Weedmaps, as you should already be on and active there. Many cannabis businesses have frustrations with the platform as it's essentially "pay to rank", but when you have limited options, it's important to do your best with what you have to work with.

  • Make sure your profile and promos are up to date
  • Have clean product images
  • Update your Deals
  • Update your Media
  • Have the appropriate website and social channels linked
  • Reply to reviews, good and bad

Some Final Points

Using these strategies won't guarantee that your social accounts are 100% safe. But it’s a way safer approach while getting real results.

That said, if you were in a risky business like cannabis, you need to take risks. Consult your attorney, and consider the workarounds.

If you do intend to market aggressively on social, create some backup accounts. You should make another Facebook page and start an ad account there, and keep a backup Instagram.

There is always be a chance of getting an account banned. And from personal experience, I know that not everyone in the cannabis space is cool.

While I’ve had many friends lose Instagram accounts due to competitors flagging them, it happens.

Social media is meant to be social. Don’t spam, don’t be overzealous. Just make friends, build fan bases, work with cool influencers, and throw a couple dollars being the safe content.

Do that, with a mindset of building a contact list for a more direct approach, and you’ll see a strong return in your efforts.

Thank you for reading my post!

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12 Sure Fire Social Media Strategies For 2018

2018 has been a crazy year so far in the social media world. With the Cambridge Analytica scandal coming to light (and the congressmen showing their complete inability to ask a technical question – No Senator, I do not think those internet cookies come in a chocolate chip). To ever-changing updates and algorithms optimizing for relevance while scrambling for security and a war against bots…all the while digital media platforms are competing against each other (Facebook & Google are basically a duopoly) or in a complete state of disillusioned entitlement (ahem, Snapchat).

Some advertising agencies are even going back to the traditional forms of media like TV and um…paper?

Why? It’s not because digital marketing isn’t effective. And it’s very unlikely that they’re doing it as a “statement” though it may be presented that way. It’s really because most marketing and content strategies are ineffective. And it normally almost always has to do with their content.

What I am going to cover is some tips and tricks (lets’ call them “hacks”) to help you get the most out of your social media efforts. Content strategies and distribution.

This article focuses on three core social media channels for brands: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And how to get your content in front of the most eyeballs possible at the lowest cost.

If you’re reading this on LinkedIn, you’re already doing something right. And If you want to know more about LinkedIn strategies, I’d suggest following Suzanne Nguyen and Goldie Chan. And Jeff J. Hunter.

YouTube is also extremely relevant—and the second largest search engine in the world—you can use the video content suggestions in the Candy & Substance section below to upload to your YouTube channel.

1) The “Secret Sauce”

Don’t overcomplicate social media. There are plenty of fancy marketing buzzwords and even more of those guru-ninja’s who tend to overcomplicate simple processes. And there are complex processes that do require specialists.

The secret sauce to maintaining an engaging social media channel is to post quality content consistently while engaging with your target audience and occasionally putting a couple dollars behind the right stuff. Before we dive in, here are some statistics to emphasize the importance of standing out in today’s digital frenzy.

Every minute there are:

  • 3-million new Facebook posts
  • 500 hours worth of YouTube videos uploaded
  • 66,000 Instagram uploads
  • 449,000 tweets sent
  • 8-million Google Searches
  • 14,400 new WordPress posts
  • 150,000 emails are sent | (Source: SmartInsights)

2) Lies, Damned Lies and Analytics

Social media is social. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or Pinterest, people use social media to display themselves to the world the way they want to be seen.

Unlike the conventional business world, however, marketing on social media is a bit different because your main competitors aren’t other businesses. They are the friends, family members, and social acquaintances of your target audience.

If you’re wondering why your content isn’t being liked or shared, ask yourself, “Is this content something that is going to make other people look and feel good?”

When in doubt, look at the data and analytics. All the major platforms offer their own version. You can also subscribe to a variety of services that will collect your social data and organize it in a way that is easy to interpret.

I see this question asked all the time in social media manager groups on Facebook: “What’s the best analytics platform for Facebook?”. If you’re not sure of the answer, I’ll give you a hint…Facebook.

3) Content Hack: R&D—“Research & Duplicate”

I used to call it “ripoff and duplicate” but people are just so sensitive. Either way. don’t actually steal content from other people.

Study other techniques and styles that have performed well (i.e. gone viral) on social media and duplicate the efforts while tailoring content to suit your brand. Look at the top performing posts of your indirect and direct competitors, study their content. Look at what successful strategies you can apply to your content.

And if you’re not sure where to look, start with memes. If you don’t think a brand can be built with memes online, then I guess, Fashion Nova, Tai Lopez, The Clever Investor, Gary Vee, and Wendy’s aren’t brands. (this last part was said sarcastically. they are brands.)

It is important to focus on engagement when studying content. Likes, Shares, and Comments. Comments, especially where other people are tagging their friends, are a solid indicator of success.

Create content for your business by modeling the top performing posts of your competitors. You can even boost these posts to the people who like your competitors’ page. You can use an array of free stock photo sites to source copyright-free images, then reconstruct the content for your brand.

Create this content on Canva, Photoshop, and there are now dozens of great apps like Wordswag and Typrorama that you can use on your phone. I literally create content on my phone while watching Netflix.

The image below was created on Canva while using a stock image from Pixabay.

Some awesome free stock image sites:

·      https://unsplash.com/

·      https://pixabay.com/

·      http://www.gratisography.com/

·      https://www.pexels.com/

·      https://stocksnap.io/

·      http://freestocks.org/

4) Content Strategy: Candy & Substance

Suzanne Nguyen is a master of content strategy and always creates content that is digestible and re-watchable. She used to leverage Facebook’s live video to interview social media mavens like Gary Vaynerchuk and yours truly. And now she’s taken over LinkedIn.

Suzanne not only leverages a combined fan base while building her personal brand but also creates content that can be recycled for other platforms like a website or on YouTube.

You can do the same by interviewing experts and customers in your field.

Dennis Yu—top-shelf Facebook advertising expert—suggests that you create videos interviewing your customers. Find things that are interesting and leverage people with high authority, create a 1-minute video—and don’t sell. Then develop a hyper-specific audience and spend $1 per day targeting these people—strategy outlined later in this post.

Candy Content: Another simple yet elegant tactic of Suzanne’s is in creating a series of short video uploads which is often a collection of posts she’s done on her stories throughout the day.

Create video clips to make short, bite-sized and information-rich videos. Both Snapchat and Instagram Stories are great for this practice. These often have emojis and filters to help capture attention and add a playful tone to a professional message.

Always keep your target audience in mind—not every social media channel is appropriate for every audience.

5) Boosting Posts: Unicorns + $1/day on Facebook

First off, before spending any money on advertising, bear in mind: “No amount of paid media is going to turn bad creative into good content.” – Gary Vee

In order to find the good stuff, hunt for unicorns. Larry Kim is the ultimate Unicorn Whisperer, and one of his many brilliant tactics includes testing your content on LinkedIn and Twitter and then posting the most engaging posts on your Facebook page. This strategy will help increase your organic reach and engagement.

To take it up a notch, boost them after they have proved themselves worthy of a dollar. Facebook will even suggest which posts to boost based on their performance.

If something is performing at 90-95%, add a dollar or two and boost to the people who like your page and their friends. By the way, if you’re boosting posts, Facebook will start making the suggestions for you.

The $1/day strategy by Dennis Yu is a brilliant and very cost-effective approach to establishing brand awareness to a targeted audience whom you can later retarget with a more direct ad.

Side note: If you’re focusing on engagement and reach on your Facebook page (vanity metrics and social proof for y’all social media managers trying to look good), make sure that your boosts aren’t also promoted on Instagram.

However, if you’re focusing on link clicks or lead generation (as you should be), Instagram is fine to run the ads. You’ll see the option when you boost, though, for traffic and specific conversions, you’ll definitely want to explore the ads manager on Facebook.

6) Twitter Optimization & Automation

Twitter is a great social media platform for getting some extra traffic to your website while building a community around your brand. You don’t necessarily need a large fan base, either.

Simply use the right hashtags and post quality content and have it continuously tweeted through an automation app like Social Jukebox [now, I say this but don’t actually use social jukebox. It was a bit glitchy – just enough for me to say “f*ck this”. That said, it is a cool idea and hopefully the glitches have been worked out by now].

I personally schedule my (and all my client’s tweets) via Buffer and use the structure below. And I’ll rebuffer the top tweets while adding new content over time. It’s OK to recycle content on twitter because nobody will notice. And if they do and say something, then congratulations, you got a conversation on Twitter.

·      You can optimize your tweets by using MuchBetterTweet (see image below)

·      Use Hashtagify.me to find the optimal hashtags on Twitter

7) Instagram Post Optimization

In order to gain optimal reach and engagement on your Instagram posts, use the following tips. Each suggestion will help open your content to more people. Hashtags are particularly useful in getting more likes per post.

  • For Instagram hashtags, use DisplayPurposes. This is an online app which will give you the optimal hashtags based on the keywords you provide…try using 2 to 3 keywords at one time. And if you’re a retail location consider using your town as one of the keywords.
  • You can post your 30 hashtags in the first comment—just do it quickly for them to register (if you disagree with this strategy, then you’re wrong. Go ahead. Argue in the comments. I need the engagement.)
  • Tag and mention people and brands in your posts when relevant—using the @ followed by their name
  • Try different image filters to maximize aesthetics
  • Check-in at a location when doing your posts. This doesn’t need to be the town you are currently in. But people looking in the area will also see your content. I check-in all over the world but honestly never leave the square mile where I live.

8) Instagram Stories & Live

Stories is a total Snapchat ripoff and has been a huge success for both Instagram and the brands using the feature.

Posting on Instagram and not using Instagram Stories is like sex without foreplay.

Stories allow for a more intimate conversation with your audience. Stories are great for telling stories (yup), sharing behind the scenes content and sharing lifestyle stuff.

Posting 3-6 Stories per day can have a tremendous impact on your reach, engagement and brand awareness. Gary Vee says do 7-25. That seems like a lot, but he knows what he’s talking about.

Take advantage of new features which include @-mentioning other people and adding hyperlinks (swipe up!) to your website or blogs. Geotags, hashtags, and there are new features all the time. Just try them out. More than once.

Live is another killer function. It’s great for the algorithm, great for reach and if you’re doing something really cool or interesting, you might as well show it off. Live videos will also be available for 24 hours, similar to stories. AND you can do shared livestreams.

If you’re in a strategic partnership or working with an influencer, this is a great option to really get some eyeballs on your message.

9) Posting Times & Frequency

A common question people ask is, “When is the best time to post?” The answer is a double-edged sword—, especially on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re posting at the optimal time, chances are, so is everybody else.

When you post at non-optimal times, you’re not competing as heavily with everyone else. With less competition, you may get more engagement. So instead of fretting when to post, just post.

Try things out and find your own groove. You’ll know what performs well based on the number of likes, shares, and comments you receive.

Facebook & InstagramLess is often more. Don’t think you can force your fans to engage with your page by adding more content.

The best method is to post sparingly—3 to 5 times a week—on Instagram or Facebook. 10 times a week should be a maximum, depending on your brand. Don’t forget to boost the most engaging posts.

Starting out on Instagram, you can post 3-5 times per day. If that seems like too much work, settle for one time per day. Oatmeal is better than no meal.

Twitter: More is more. Twitter is an extremely loud social media platform, consider it the junk drawer of your social channels. Feel free to post as many times as you want, whether once per day or every half hour.

If you want some real data, read this: Best Times to Post on Social Media: 2018 Industry Research

10) Endgame: Emails & ROI

Why talk about emails in a social media article? Well, the ultimate goal for businesses using social media is to increase sales and maintain relationships with customers for continued sales.

Email tends to convert at a much higher rate compared to social media.

Social media is the ultimate tool to capture those emails, however. Communications via email tend to be much more intimate than a string of comments on Facebook. “If you have 2,000 email subscribers, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter, this is what you will get:

  • 435 people will open your email
  • 120 Facebook fans will see your message (probably not anymore lol, thanks Zuck)
  • 40 Twitter followers will see your message”(Source: Martin Zhel of MailMunch)

Leverage your social channels to build your email list.

11) Giveaways

Gifts and raffles are great incentives to get someone to submit their contact info. If you’re a tax consultant, offer a tax-preparation checklist. If you’re a restaurant, offer a free dessert, tacos, whatever. Get creative.

I actually just ran a little giveaway for my Shopify and was getting $0.50/email with super-basic targeting (I could have gotten the emails down to $0.20). I used the platform, ViralSweep. It’s $50/mo but if you plan on doing this a couple times per month, it’s totally worth it. Especially if you already have an audience or are working with influencers.

12) Don’t Buy Likes

If you’re buying followers for your accounts, you’re not a growth hacker. You’re just a hack. If you do this, then congratulations, you just played yourself. Seriously. It’s not good for your profiles.

Adding fake followers (or buying “real followers”) to your social accounts and assuming that they will engage is like filling a restaurant with mannequins thinking that they’ll order and eat.

You’ll be fighting an uphill battle against ever-changing algorithms if you adopt this strategy. I have seen Instagram and Facebook accounts decrease in engagement after a client has purchased likes for their profile.

The algorithms will take into account a lack of engagement in proportion to the fan base and continue crushing reach until the profile is more irrelevant than it was before buying the followers.

OMG Even More Hacks

  • Use Buffer, a very user-friendly and cheap social media management tool, to schedule your tweets, and then rebuffer your top tweets. Actually use it to schedule to all platforms if you want. $10/mo
  • Share all of your blog and YouTube content to Google+ (wait, this still exists?)
  • Create blog topics based on the engagement of other posts and FAQ’s you come across in your industry (not sure where to start, go to Quora and look at the FAQ’s for your industry.
  • Convert top blog posts into videos and top videos into blogs 
  • Leverage influencers for both content and major pushes (Yes, it requires a budget. And I know plenty of people willing to spend $30 on lunch but not invest in in ads or influencers. SMH)

Conclusion

Remember, social media is social. In order to get your content shared, you need to create content that will make people want to share it. Be remarkable. If you don’t know what that means, read Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

When creating content, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and answer the questions that they are asking. Provide value. Show the solutions to common problems in your space. It is not a crime to give away free and valuable information—unless you work for the government.

The ideal customer will be the one who sees your value and respects your position of authority and is willing to pay for your expertise. Build and distribute, the right people will come. Hopefully.

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