Coined sometime in the mid-1990’s, though nobody is positive by whom, the term “social media” wouldn’t become household for another 20 years. Today, Facebook, Google, and other heavy hitters in the internet industry are making a push to get the whole world connected sooner rather than later, harkening to a future where everybody on the planet is always online, all of the time.
Older bloggers will remember a time before the Internet, back before AOL startup CDs marauded mailboxes monthly, and before the sound of the Internet groaning to life preceded every session of “surfing” the World Wide Web. Privacy was a different thing back then. It existed on its own, without the word “settings” or “policy” attached as suffixes. Finding somebody meant looking them up in the local phonebook, provided that they were actually listed.
Today, social media has replaced the archaic phonebook, and in the same way that we’ve lost the white and yellow pages, the line between the personal self and the professional brand has also been blurred. As the web has evolved and grown more complex as a technology over time, so has our relationship with the web itself. Our identities live online, as do our bank account numbers, our lists of friends, and every public tweet, status update, and pin.
We are no longer simply living with the Internet–we are living in it.
From Making a Living In It, to Simply Living In It
Once dismissed as an impossibility, we now live in a time where a business that can survive without the Internet, let alone a social media profile of some kind, is very rare. In the same way, human beings without connected social media profiles or a digital/social footprint are also rare. We all know somebody (who knows somebody that knows somebody) who lives “off grid,” but, for most of us, that simply isn’t possible–especially if that grid is how we make a living!
Kashmir Hill, writer for Forbes, calls our obsession with the Internet, and more specifically, with social media, “digital dope”. She points out that social media has permeated our lives so completely, that most of us won’t trust somebody if they don’t have a profile on the Internet, preferring to believe that they’re more likely hiding something than that they’re technologically illiterate or simply “opting out”. Some might even go so far as to call the inability to be contacted easily at all times “socially irresponsible”.
Interestingly enough, the rules (or what you might call the “social norm”) regarding internet visibility for both businesses and individuals have become almost indistinguishable–and this is why those with a career in blogging are poised so opportunely to succeed.
You Are a Personal Brand, Whether You Like It Or Not
Marc Ecko, in his 2015 book Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out, makes one of the most significant statements that a blogger in the modern era should pay attention to.
He says: “I am a brand, but I am not a label… you too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not. A brand is not skin-deep. Labels are skin-deep, but a brand–a true, authentic brand–is made of blood and bones, skin and organs. A brand has a heartbeat.”
This quote says a lot. It brings to attention the fact that even if you aren’t “self-employed” that you are still always visible to the rest of the world, “advertising” yourself via your social and digital footprint. That footprint is the closest thing the majority of this world will come to experiencing the “blood and bones, skin and organs” that makes up you. This is what the world sees as “your most authentic self,” and whether you think it’s mixed in with your personal brand or not, the rest of the world will associate your brand with the flesh and bone “you”.
The fact that fresh high school and college grads are regularly advised to review and purge their social footprints to appear more appealing during the job search serves well to prove this point, as does the fact that 48 percent of hiring managers in 2015 decided not to hire a candidate due to something they found on social media. With bloggers and blogs, the stakes are even higher. Both a blog and its writers are constantly criticized for their authenticity. A faceless brand, even if it does have a social profile, is bound to be much less trusted than a brand with a spokesperson.
In the same way, a blog without an author (beyond the “default” wordpress account it comes with) will not gain–and I daresay does not deserve to gain–the trust of its readers. Even bloggers that use pen names will either merge or create new social and digital footprints with and for those names. This is called providing social proof when applied to conventional business, and represents an opportunity for real people to connect with what they see as an “authentic” brand–but be wary. As the title of this article states, you can also be broken by your social footprint, and it’s much easier to do than you think.
Avoid Becoming Your Own Worst Legal or PR Nightmare
From Home Depot’s infamous race-related Twitter debacle to Pigalle chef Marc Orfaly’s reprehensible Facebook tirade, it seems like the world can’t go a week without somebody attracting the collective ire of the Internet. Watching what you say in terms of political correctness and authenticity are going to go a long way. To put it more simply, bloggers should always simply be polite and tell the truth. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive to be yourself on social media, or to say that you can’t make jokes or be risqué–it just means that you really need to watch what you say. One bad joke could mean the end of your career.
Justine Sacco provides the perfect example of a tweet gone wrong and how it can flip a person and their brand upside down. For anybody unfamiliar, Sacco, a PR rep with 170 followers at the time, tweeted a racially insensitive joke before boarding an international flight to South Africa. By the time she landed, her tweet was the number one trending topic on Twitter. She ended up deleting her account after being fired by her employer, and goes down as one of the most well-known victims of online shaming in recent history.
In the most extreme cases, losing your job, damaging your personal brand, and pissing off the entire world is just the tip of the iceberg. Just as social media can be used as evidence in civil suits, misuse of social media can also bring business lawsuits to self-branding entrepreneurs and bloggers. Inc.com’s advice on how to avoid a social media lawsuit mentions that copyright and trademark laws, FTC advertising laws, privacy laws, and laws concerning illegal app development are what most brands usually end up in hot water over violating. Illegal app development is the doozy here, as bloggers that use social media for promotion are generally most at risk of running illegal social media contests without even knowing it.
Just Be Nice and Tell the Truth
The takeaway here is to remember that you, as a blogger, are the living, breathing, flesh and blood embodiment of your blog. Your social media efforts, and, in effect, your social footprint, can either be one of your greatest tools for driving traffic, or your personal brand’s death knell. Liz Borod lists 10 excellent tips on Mashable for bloggers looking to beef up their social media, but the most applicable piece of advice bloggers can follow regarding their social footprint can be summed up as such:
Be authentic, be professional, and be nice–otherwise, don’t be surprised if you end up as one of the most hated people on the Internet.
5 Ways to Get More Instagram Likes to Drive High Converting Traffic to Your Blog
I am surprised that Instagram is still an overlooked traffic source for bloggers. With over 1 billion active users, it is the second best social networking site in the world for reaching potential blog readers.
Unfortunately, not everybody that uses Instagram has great results. You need to understand how the Instagram algorithm works and find compelling content that inspires people to visit your site.
Instagram gives more visibility to content that receives more likes. Once your posts start getting more visibility, you will be able to refer people to your profile page and encourage them to visit your blog.
Here are some proven strategies to boost your Instagram likes, which will drive more traffic to your blog.
Get Followers to Create (Original) High Quality Content for You
Content is king. That is just as much a truism with Instagram as blogging. Unfortunately, coming up with compelling content can be tough on your own, especially if creating visual content isn’t your specialty.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to do it on your own. Conscripting your followers to create great content for you can work wonders.
Adidas Neo got their followers to take pictures of themselves wearing Adidas products. They chose the best pictures and featured them on their Instagram profile.
You may not have as large of a following as Adidas, but you can still get your existing blog readers and social media followers to help you come up with great visual content. Many bloggers offer contests to people that share images. There are a few tips to pull this off effectively:
- Don’t make it sound like they are doing you a favor. Make it feel like they are making a contribution to other people. For example, if you run a weight loss blog, ask for pictures of people engaged in weight loss activities to inspire others.
- Offer some valuable incentives to make it worth people’s while. This could be a coupon, cash reward or simply some exposure on your site.
You will be surprised by how well this can work.
Experiment with Local Hashtags
You may run a blog that appeals to people all over the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try marketing to people at the local level. If you have a blog post that is relevant to a specific city, try using local hashtags. They can get a surprising among of publicity with people in that area, since people notice hashtags that are more specific to their area.
Run a “Like to Enter” or “Tag to Enter” Campaign
There are a lot of ways to run contests on social media. Getting people to share content is a great idea if you need more fresh images to share on your Instagram feed.
But what if you already have lots of great images, but don’t have a strong enough following? You may be hurting for likes.
Running a “like to enter” campaign can be a great idea. You can tell people that they just need to like a post to be eligible for a reward. It is as simple as that. Can you imaging how many likes you could earn by promising a chance to earn a $30 reward if people simply needed to like your post? That might be far more cost-effective than running a like campaign on Instagram or Facebook.
Another idea is to run a “tag to enter” campaign. This is a campaign where people need to tag two or more friends in one of your Instagram posts to be eligible. The idea here is to help you reach more followers than you otherwise would.
One of my colleagues created a like to enter campaign for her mommy blog last year. It helped her increase her Instagram visibility by over 60%.
Consider Buying Likes
Many people are very skittish about buying likes on Instagram. However, this approach can actually work very well. You just need to make sure that you go with a right provider for this service, as quality and timing is the key when buying Instagram likes. In order to reach people that are interested in your content you have to make yourself visible on Instagram. And that’s exactly what buying Instagram likes does, it make your posts visible for more people. Make sure to use a company that has quality accounts and fast delivery speed (30 minutes or less). A key point when using this technique is to buy Instagram likes as soon as possible after uploading a new post. Instagram likes from BuySocialMediaMarketing come within minutes after placing an order which makes it a perfect boost to get more visibility for your posts on Instagram.
Use Your Email List to Create Lookalike Ad Campaigns
Running an ad campaign on Instagram will take a larger budget, but it can pay off very well if you target carefully. You just need to find people that resemble your existing blog list.
Unfortunately, you can’t use your Google Analytics data to create a lookalike campaign. You need actual email addresses.
This means that you may want to use your existing email list to build a lookalike campaign. Bloom and Wild did this last year and gained a tremendous number of Instagram likes with their profile as a result. They had a large email list already and were able to use that for their campaign. They found that you don’t need a huge budget to make it work. It just takes a little ingenuity and a great understanding of your audience.
You Don’t Need a Huge Budget to Get Instagram Likes
Getting more Instagram likes can substantially increase the visibility of your content, which will translate to a lot more traffic to your blog. Once you understand the types of approaches that yield the most likes, you will start noticing impressive results!
5 Social Sharing Buttons to Help Increase Blog Post Engagement
Billions of people are active on social media and you never want to miss this insane amount of power for your own blog.
This is the reason blog owners should use tools for increasing social media engagement that leads to increasing your blog’s performance.
Being a blogger, you write valuable content for your audience. And while you do that, you must make social media do the job for you.
One of the easiest ways to integrate social media is to add social sharing buttons to your blog. These prove to be effective in building blog engagement because it encourages your readers to share your content with just one-click.
Think about this: when you work hard on your content, you know it deserves attention.
Aside from boosting your blog engagement, social shares also act as social proof.
The more shares you can muster from your social buttons, the better off your blog will be!
Below are social sharing buttons you should consider:
Social Warfare is a powerful social sharing button tool made for WordPress users. It has a one-click install and unlike others, it’s already filled with complete features so you don’t have to install more add-ons for extra optimization.
Its free version already comes with cool features but it also comes with a pro version that includes link shortening, analytics campaign tracking, and a hover pin button for Pinterest.
Social Warfare also boasts its Share Recovery tool. If you ever change your domain name or go from HTTP to HTTPS, the plugin will restore and recover all your social shares.
Last, it also allows for third-party developers to extend the plugin’s functionality even more or as needed.
AddThis contains with useful features for social sharing and is a trusted tool over 15 million downloaded and installed on their domains. It has over 200 social media integrations and all its features are mobile-friendly.
AddThis has a unique feature which shows various pop-ups to audiences. These pop-ups appear to visitors based on their interests and show them related posts and some recommendations they are likely to read.
You can also enable its inline feature where you can add social sharing buttons inside the paragraphs of your content. This tactic reminds viewers and may increase the chances of readers sharing your content.
AddThis is easy to use and offers a simple dashboard that’s easy to navigate even for beginners. If you want to know what your metrics are, you can export and analyze your blog’s social performance through their tool.
They offer a basic and free plan but you will get more added features if you avail one of their pro plans.
Sumo is one of the top marketing tools that offer a holistic approach to help you grow your website.
Its drag-and-drop setup is so easy so even if you install this on the first day of your blogging days, you won’t have a problem.
It also has a widget that can show the most popular content on your blog based on the share counts. This urges your readers to read the trending posts on your blog.
One unique feature of Sumo is its highlighter. This lets your readers highlight any texts on your content and share it on their social media profiles. This feature is useful if you use quotes and short phrases that are shareable.
Sumo also has smart buttons where they optimize which sharing options are most effective on each different pages on your blog. For example, if your post is more popular on Twitter, then Twitter gets to be on top of the other buttons.
The pro version provides more features such as UTM tracking, ability to remove branding, and a top-of-the-line support.
Buffer’s unique social sharing tool makes social media management a breeze with its powerful automation.
They also have a feature called Buffer Button where your users can schedule their own shares through their own Buffer accounts. This is useful for bloggers alike who want to share your posts at any schedule they prefer.
The offer a free plan that is already perfect if you’re only managing one or two different social accounts but if you need more you can always upgrade to their pro and business plans where you can manage over 25 social media accounts and get added features.
AddToAny is a lightweight tool that integrates well with Google Analytics. AddToAny ties all the metrics it received and mirror it on your Google Analytics dashboard. This is helpful if you want to keep your analytics tacked in one place.
Their icons are customizable so you can edit its colors and styles and add other custom integrations that match your blog’s branding. Also, they use Scalable Vector Graphics for their icons to make sure that their tool loads fast and won’t affect your blog’s loading speed.
Last, it enables you to activate a floating social sharing icons bar that is always present on every page of your blog.
This tool is easy to set up since there is no registration required to access its full potential.
Whichever tool you choose from the ones above will improve your blog’s post engagement little by little when done right.
Social media buttons fill the small gaps of your content and your marketing, however, remember not to overdo it. It’s obvious when you look desperate in trying to make your audience share your content and it might cause the opposite of what you intended to do.
A one or two easy-to-spot locations that sit before, in the middle, or at the end of your articles is enough. Remember that your social media buttons shouldn’t distract your audience’s reading experience.
While it looks like a small addition, using social sharing buttons provide high returns to your blog.
16 Ways to Take Advantage of What Instagram Has to Offer
Instagram is a visual wonderland, especially for brands. It’s an opportunity to attract more customers — particularly those belonging to the millennial and Gen Z demographics — and showcase the best of what you have to offer. Just take a look at some of the most followed Instagram accounts and you will see why and how the top brands in the world are taking advantage of what this social platform has to offer.
However, something we all know too well about social media, is that Instagram can also be a time suck if it isn’t leveraged correctly. You want the best of both worlds: being able to reap the benefits of Instagram without spending all of your time on it.
We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to best leverage what Instagram has to offer while still staying true to your business.
1. Showcase Beautiful Photos
This seems simple, but it is easily forgotten. Instagram is for photos. Share great ones that are relevant to your brand and ones that your audience will appreciate and want to see. If your industry just isn’t something that can involve relevant photography, focus on another social platform that’s more fitting.
2. Use a Tool to Plan Photos in Advance
Use a tool such as Planoly, Plann or Later to batch plan your posts in advance so you can see how they look together visually on the grid. I also use Instagram Stories to show potential clients a peek behind the scenes on real projects so they feel more connected to our team before they start working with us.
3. Find a Theme
Make sure your page has a consistent theme. When people land on a brand’s page, they should see content that looks uniform and planned. A person will make an instant decision on whether or not to follow your page based on if the aesthetics are worthwhile to show up in their feed. Use tools like preset Lightroom filters to give each photo a similar feel.
4. Embrace Storytelling
Instagram Stories has become a powerful tool for storytelling, and even more so for activating your audience and driving sales. Get a business IG profile and organically earn 10k followers so that you can utilize links in your stories. If you’re creative, thoughtful and provide entertainment and value, you’ll reap the rewards. Don’t forget to make the posts visually stunning and interesting.
5. Create Photo-Friendly Spaces
Creating a few standard spaces you can reuse regularly will speed up your Instagram workflow, as well as help establish a brand feeling. You don’t need a professional studio, but a well-lit neutral wall or a corner table set up for product photography will make staging Instagram photos routine.
6. Be Original
Don’t copy the style and type of content used by other advertisers and influencers. Millennials and Gen Zers can sense when a brand is trying to appear hip and young and they will interpret it as trying too hard. Instead of following current trends, find your brand’s identity and stick to it.
7. Find Your Target Audience
When building a professional Instagram page, it is paramount that you know who you are targeting, how to find them and what they want to see. Instagram can connect you with clients, potential employees and like-minded people who just want to enjoy your content. Make the decision of what Instagram will do for you and work toward that specific goal with every post.
8. Include Up to 30 Hashtags
Instagram users love using hashtags to discover new content. Get additional visibility for each Instagram post by including up to 30 relevant hashtags on each post. Research these hashtags on a tool like WEBSTAGRAM or Keyhole. Then, once you identify hashtags with high volume and high relevancy, include them on posts to reach your target audience and attract new followers.
9. Post Frequently
In order to stay relevant on social media, especially on Instagram, brands need to post frequently. One guru in the space who I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk, posts seven to eight times per day. I post at least once per day, but typically more. Also, be consistent with your imagery when posting on Instagram. Make sure to have a consistent look across the board.
10. Make It a Contest
Photo contests are a great way to engage with users on Instagram. Ask customers to post images, preferably ones using a new or promoted product, and have them tag it with a specific hashtag for the contest. Ask users to vote on their favorites and then pick a winner. A well-planned contest will build brand awareness and help you engage with new customers.
11. Write Great Captions
Sure, Instagram is a visual platform, but the caption of your post says a lot, too. Also, be consistent when posting — especially because the new algorithm is not chronological anymore. Post more!
12. Be Human
Instagram photos that perform best showcase lifestyle stories, not static images. For example, when posting a product, have a smiling woman on a beautiful beach with her friends. Fans are more likely to relate or aspire to that image. That’s because Instagram was originally created to capture people’s lifestyles. It is an artistic platform on which people tend to interact with those who post happy, beautiful images of their daily lives.
13. Focus on the Customer Journey
The creative you use has to be based on the stages of the funnel. Is the ad focusing on awareness, consideration or decision? What will resonate most with your audience based on their buying stage? Use creative that resonates most with your audience’s buying stage and psychographics.
14. Boost Your Content With Ads
While Instagram is one of the best platforms for user engagement, your content may still get lost and not reach its full potential. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the photo or witty the caption if no one sees it. It’s worth investing some money into boosting a post via Instagram Ads to reach a larger audience and ensure relevant users are seeing it.
15. Reach Out to Influencers
It can be a long, time-consuming process building up an engaged audience on Instagram. A quick and easy shortcut is to reach out to social media influencers who did the hard work for you by building up their own following. Finding a natural way to connect your service or product with their brand can be extremely effective and tremendously time saving.
16. Showcase Authentic Moments
A reposted inspirational quote, a stock photo that’s been heavily edited and other images that are clearly not from where you live and work should be avoided. We see right through that stuff. Content that does best in terms of engagement is usually produced by you, imperfections and all.
The Future of Social Media and Your Brand
The writing is on the wall. SEO and desktop usage are making their way out the door. Social media and visual content is now king! Take the time to examine each of the expert tips and best practices, while also implementing them into your existing content creation and marketing efforts.
Also be sure to consider your options with automated social media marketing tools and how to start taking advantage of influencer marketing within your niche market. The better you tackle these
Search Blogging Tips
Blogging11 months ago
How to Start a Fashion Blog in 8 Simple Steps
Blogging2 years ago
6 Tools For Boosting Content Marketing Results Over The Holidays
Blogging1 year ago
6 Steps for How I Nabbed 6500 Comments on My Blog
Search Engine Optimisation2 years ago
7 SEO Analysis Tools Every Blogger Needs to Know
Blogging1 year ago
57 Must-Read Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended by Entrepreneurs
Blogging1 month ago
3 Tips on How to Grow a Local Trade Business with a Blog
Blogging1 month ago
1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting
Blogging1 year ago
How to Become a Nimble Blogger