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Creating Engaging Social Media Images : Part 2 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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We all realize just how important it is to have top-quality, clean, clear, images as well as entertaining video or gifs to accompany our business messages. Part one of this blog article provided you eight very cool sites to help you create and share images, gifs, videos, templates, and more on your business social media accounts. These next eight free or inexpensive tools are ones you should also bookmark and consider using to create your next social media campaigns.

 

iStock

iStock is a collection of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos. They offer a lot of great, less mainstream, items that can be collected into boards for easy retrieval or organization. Royalty-free doesn’t mean that the images are free however, this service does cost money to use.

 

Over

Over is a popular free mobile app (for phones only) that allows you to add text, overlays, and blend colors on images.

 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey offers easy-to-use tools to create attractive social posts, cover photos, ads, and more. Boasting over 6,000 graphics and textures, hundreds of fonts, thousands of design templates, and even collages. They currently do not offer a free version.

 

Piktochart

Piktochart is another place where you can create infographics, presentations, and printables. You can begin this service for free of charge as well, which allows you to create a limited number of items, or choose one of their paid packages.

 

Placeit

Placeit helps you generate mockups or demos of your website or product being used in real life as well as logos, videos, and other designs. They currently do not offer a free version.

 

Skitch

Skitch is an Apple-only mobile phone app that allows you to add comments to any visual. Basically you take a snapshot of your screen and use arrows, text, stickers, and a handful of other tools to make your point.

 

Stencil

Stencil is another image creation/editing site that has both free and paid options. They currently boast of over 2,100,000+ photos, 1,000,000+ icons and graphics, 100,000+ quotes, 2,500+ fonts, and 730+ templates that users can access.

 

Venngage

Venngage offers a large library of social-media-ready templates and has a great user-friendly editor that is easy for just about anyone to use. The site is free for all basic functions and also has a paid version with access to select features.

 

 

Words are great but a high-quality image will get noticed and shared more than text alone. Bookmark, download, and utilize these great tools to help your social media posts make more of an impact.

 

Creating Engaging Social Media Images : Part 1 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Millions of social media images are posted daily.   Unfortunately, very few of the images are interesting enough to make people to stop and notice them. Most of them go completely unnoticed often because the images are low-quality, unappealing, not worth sharing, too sales-pushy, or just plain boring.

 

As a business you need to stand out and grab people’s attention. If your posts aren’t captivating your customers, it is time to change what you are sharing. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular free or inexpensive online tools to help you build a library of quality images, gifs, videos, templates, and more to boost your business’ social game.

 

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is a huge marketplace for stock imagery. They currently have a collection of over 90 million high-quality assets that you can choose from including photos, illustrations, videos, and templates. They offer a free pack of items when you sign up, however, there are fees to use the Adobe collection.

 

BeFunky

BeFunky offers a lot of graphics tools, layouts, and templates for just about any need. You can get 125 effects for free or sign up and pay for access to their entire library of high-resolution image effects and templates.

 

Canva

Canva is pretty versatile and offers preset image sizes and ready-made layouts for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest which adhere to their specific size guidelines. You can also use it for larger projects as well. They offer both a free limited version and a subscription version that provides you many more features.

 

Creative Market

Creative Market offers fully finished and ready to post graphics, fonts, website themes, photos, mockups, and a lot more. Everything has been assembled from tens-of-thousands of independent creators that submit new designs on a regular basis. They do offer some of their creations for free, six new free items every week, but most of their downloads cost money.

 

Easel.ly

Easel.ly is a source for infographics and reports; including charts, maps, graphics, and dashboards. They offer a much different set of visuals than either Infogram or Piktochart (both discussed below). You can start for free or choose their paid option.

 

Giphy

Giphy is a giant, growing collection of free animated gifs that are great for adding some movement to enhance your social posts. Motion makes things more memorable and posts with video or gifs are more likely to be shared.

 

Hootsuite Composer

Hootsuite Composer is a social media image editor and library that helps you create and prepare images that are appropriate to post across different social networks. Composer is a feature within Hootsuite that provides you access to a large library of images to enhance your posts with all of the usual functions including resize, crop, rotate, transform, filters, and more. You can even add your own logo. It comes with whichever Hootsuite package you’ve signed up for.

 

Infogram

Infogram is a great source for infographics and reports; including charts, maps, graphics, and dashboards. You can start for free which allows you to create a limited number of items or choose one of their paid packages.

 

The second part of this article will provide you eight more free or inexpensive tools you should consider using to create better social images.

What NOT to Do When Using Social Media for Your Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Using social media for business is not the same as using it personally. One insensitive post has the potential to ruin your business with negative coverage and a public backlash.

 

These are some of most common and damaging business social media mistakes:

 

Never build an audience that does not fit your ideal customer:

Your social media efforts should be focused on targeting your ideal customer and not those that don’t fit that profile.  Those managing your social campaigns must have a clear understanding of who is your ideal customer.  They need to execute a strategy that will appeal to and attract this specific group. Do not sacrifice your company’s overall marketing strategy for a few likes or shares from the wrong people. Doing so, will not generate revenues for your company and can generally harm to your reputation.

 

Never let an intern or consultant have free reign over your accounts:

As an established business, you have already spent time building your brand, your message and the proper tone for all your business marketing. Do not allow a temp ruin all your hard work with a bad post or poor idea. If you cannot handle your social media in-house, make sure that whomever you hire, has very specific guidelines on how to post for your business. Additionally, it is a good idea to make sure that you are the administrator and manager of all of your accounts.

 

Never delete bad reviews or complaints:

It doesn’t matter if the review or complaint is unfair, you do not want to remove it. Hiding negative feedback makes your company look like it is hiding something larger. Instead, use complaints as an opportunity to publicly fix problems. Just make sure that you are respectful and kind in your responses. Negative feedback coupled with a positive public response from your company can actually benefit your business.

 

Never ever argue or attack:

Complaints do happen.  Customers are occasionally unfulfilled by your offerings, or a customer can simply be having a bad day and your company ends as their target.  Do not under any circumstances publicly argue with or attack a customer. If you need to have a full discussion with an upset customer, always provide them a contact number or email address so that you can resolve the issue privately.

 

Never let pre-scheduled posts continue after a crisis:

This makes your company appear extremely insensitive. Cancel or postpone posts until a respectable amount of time has passed.

 

Never neglect the “voice” your company has carefully cultivated:

Your company’s online personality has been carefully crafted.   After you identify your ideal customer base, make sure your message appeals directly to them. Make sure that your posts will engage the right people with the right voice and message.

 

Never limit your posts to just promotional content:

You are a business and you are looking to sell something. Everyone knows that. Everyone is constantly bombarded with marketing messages that can become very annoying.  Mix it up with posts that are fun or more personal making sure they fit your company’s brand and ideal customer.

 

Never forget the purpose of the platform:

Social media is called SOCIAL for a reason. Ask questions, solicit feedback, and make sure to answer questions and comments directed to your company.

 

Never misuse a hashtag or meme:

Using trending hashtags is a great plan but only if these hashtags relate to your business. Don’t use trending hashtags or popular memes to attempt to insert yourself into a discussion that has nothing to do with your company.

 

Social media is a fantastic tool for building and interacting with a loyal customer base. It also helps your company stay relevant in today’s fast changing consumer landscape. However, the wrong moves can significantly damage your business and brand.  Do not allow these social media fails to create liability for your business when the right kind of meaningful social interaction is easy to do and offers real benefits for your business.

Tips to Maximize Social Media & Online Presence

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Social media has really taken the narrative control from the business and given it to the customer. There are simply too many options in today’s worldwide marketplace and those businesses that have learned to adapt are the ones that are going to continue to grow in our hyper-connected world. In reality, social media is a powerful tool that can drive business growth, but only when used correctly.

 

Regardless of the size of your business, here are 20 tips that will help to maximize your online presence:

  1. Make sure that your posts are not just informative but also interesting or playful. Additionally, make sure that your content is eye catching so that people will stop and look.
  2. Video is always the top dog on social media so try to pepper in videos as much as possible.
  3. Shine a spotlight on customers to show them how much you appreciate their business. Post customer testimonials and make sure that you respond to each and every one of them.
  4. Make your customers part of your business by encouraging them to photograph themselves using your products or services to share with their own followers.
  5. Make clever or funny memes that relate to your business.
  6. Insert yourself into a larger conversation by creating content related to a national holiday that everyone is already talking about.
  7. Make yourself an expert in your industry with tutorials or other educations videos.
  8. Put together an interactive series (video, calls, and/or web chat) to engage with your customers on a regular basis. Let them ask you questions and make sure that you give them compelling reasons to “attend” your sessions.
  9. Figure out what your customers are talking about and strategize how you can solve their problems or address what they are looking for.
  10. Launch limited time offers and exclusive discounts to your followers. Get creative with your giveaways to help grow your followers. Also, make sure that you tie your giveaways to other online events or promotions.
  11. Team-up with other like-minded businesses to offer better giveaways or promotions that help both businesses.
  12. Make sure to promote any of your business milestones. People want to have a personal connection with the businesses they give their money to make sure they can get to know you and celebrate with you.
  13. Go “live” and create hype around your new products, in-store events, tutorials, and more. These videos really help humanize your company as well.
  14. Use “stories” to boost your post to the top of people’s feed without having to pay for it.
  15. Make sure to follow up on any comments or complaints posted to you because they sought you out and are looking for a response from you so don’t disappoint them.
  16. Make it easy for someone to find, call, email, or order from you directly from your social media.
  17. Connect with and get involved with your local community. People feel good about buying from companies that care.
  18. Always remember to reward loyal customers. Create a database and send out periodic reminders for discounts for events such as birthdays or anniversaries.
  19. Put together a referral program that incentivizes people for referring customers.
  20. Utilize social media influencers to help generate buzz about your products or services.

 

Today, customers demand that companies notice and engage directly with them. Making your business more approachable and more open to your customers will really pay off in the long run. The easiest and least expensive way to do so is through good quality social media posts and diligent direct communication with your target audience. If you can make them feel like they are part of your business journey, they will not only come along for the ride but they will bring friends!

Rules for Social Media Success

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Social media is an integral part of most of our day to day lives. It seems like everyone is on social media from celebrities to businesses to everyday folks. As a business, if you want to succeed in today’s world, you must be on the social media platforms that target customers and you must learn how to use it properly.

 

Tips:

 

  • Have a specific goal

Social media is a great way to engage your customers.  If you run a business, it will also generate leads.   You need to specifically define your social media goals and select promotional techniques that will achieve it.

 

  • Select one platform

It is a great idea to have a presence on all social platforms that you think are relevant to your business.  To be truly successful on social media, you should select the one platform that provides you the best exposure and become an expert on that platform.

Every platform has its own unique target audience or users.  For example, LinkedIn is geared more towards working professionals, Yelp is better for the service industry, Pinterest is more targeted at the creative community, and so on. Select the one platform where you know your customers are and spend your energy on it. Learn the ins and outs of how that platform works, get to know the benefits and drawbacks, and truly attempt to connect with your audience there.

 

  • Get ready to pay for it

In today’s hyper-connected world, if you aren’t paying the platforms you simply will not gain the exposure you would like to have. You need to budget in social media ad campaigns.  Otherwise your information, and business, will become buried in the worldwide marketplace. The good news is that these types of campaigns don’t need to be super expensive. You only need to spend a few dollars a day to promote a post, tweet, or video and gain the following you are seeking.

 

  • Hire expert help

It is always best to hire an expert who specializes in the social platform of your choice. They can help you properly setup and run ad campaigns, measure the success of the campaign, target the correct people, and help make tweaks or suggestions for improvement. This is money well spent.

 

  • Be ready to fail

Typically, you will end up running multiple ad campaigns at the same time and most of which will fail miserably. That is ok, not every campaign will be a hit (even if you are paying a pro). You will need to try different tactics and methods to hone in on the ones that work the best for your offering. Do not be discouraged when the first few campaigns don’t go as well as you expect.

 

Gaining a loyal social media following that helps you grow your business is not quick or simple.  With the proper techniques and the right team, you can achieve your business goals. Make sure you are utilizing the correct platform, become an expert at it, hire the help you need so you can focus on the business side, and don’t be too discouraged if the results don’t come immediately.

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