Tag Archives: Social Media

5 Simple Steps to Create Eye Catching Images for Social Media

5-simple-steps-to-create-eye-catching-images-for-social-media

Creating your own images for social media helps you stand out from the crowd, yes it takes more time and thought than just searching for a stock image to use,  however I guarantee the images you create will get better results than using a stock image, that lots of other businesses may have used.

With so much information being shared on social media using images to catch people’s eye and tell them what they are going to get if they stop to read your post or click to read more is essential.

Here are my top 5 tips for creating images that get you and your business noticed:

1) Make sure the image is relevant to your post

Using an image that doesn’t relate to your post will get the wrong person clicking through, while you ideal clients scroll past because they don’t slow down long enough to read the text.

using images in social media

In the image above, which picture is going to get the right people to read the article?  Having the wrong people click through to your website causes a higher bounce rate on your site, as someone clicks the link and then leaves your site quickly because the article isn’t relevant to them.

In the first image I might be trying to stand out by being different and quirky, using the picture of my son’s Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon, hoping that people will get the build connection.  However being obvious gets the right people to click through or stop to read your post.

2) Add text to your image

Adding the blog title to an image will tell people what they are going to get if they stop to read your article.

adding text to images for social media

Now with the title text added to these 2 images the Lego Star Wars one is telling people what they get, so the click through rate and bounce rate will both improve.

3) Always add your website and business logo to images

Adding your website address and business logo to images is very important, as it builds brand awareness and if someone shares your image using a screenshot, people that see it will still be able to see your logo and website.

4) Optimise the sizes of your images for different social media sites

A square image will work on Facebook and Instagram, but it won’t look very good on Twitter and for Pinterest you want to create images that are portrait rather than landscape and for a blog post landscape works better than portrait.  This is why I use Canva.com to create images, as there are perfectly sized templates for different social media posts and headers.

square image optimised for Instagram

The above image has been designed to share on Instagram and Facebook.

5) Be consistent with colours and fonts

Being consistent with the colours and fonts you use in your images, will help people relate the image to your business.  I use the colours of blue, red and white in my images as these are the colours in my logo.  Using lots of different fonts in one image doesn’t look as good as only using 2 or 3 fonts.  If you aren’t sure about this have a look at images you like and count how many fonts they use.

There are lots of other details you can go into when creating images but these basics should help you create your own images for social media, quickly and easily.  I am not a graphic designer but these 5 tips have helped me create images for social media that people interact with.  I create all my own images for social media using a combination of stock images and my own photos taken using my mobile.

Do you create your own images for social media?

If you have found this useful then please share it with your colleagues and friends.

If you live in Lincolnshire I have a Creating images for Social Media masterclass on the 13th October, 6 – 8 pm at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, email socialmedialincs@gmail.com to book a place.

Top 5 reasons for using Social Media Marketing to promote your local business

Are you using Social Media Marketing to promote your local business?

  • Do you have an independent shop or business on a high street of a town or village in the UK?
  • Do you want more people to come through the door of your shop or restaurant?
  • Do you have a business that serves local businesses?
  • Do you want an affordable way to market your business?

Lots of bricks and mortar businesses don’t have a good presence on social media and are missing a great way to get people to know about their business and to buy from them.  Whether it is because they think social media is only worth doing if you have a website or maybe they are too busy in their business to get the proper training.

There are many benefits of using social media marketing to promote your business, which I cover in another blog post What is Social Media Marketing? However, here are my top 5 reasons why your local business should be using social media marketing as part of your marketing strategy:

1) Social media helps you get found online

If you haven’t got a website then having good profiles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will help people find your business, when they search for businesses similar to yours online.  If you have a website you can use social media sites to direct traffic back to your website.  Also when people search for your business online your social media profiles will appear as well as your website.

2) Use a business Facebook Page as your main online presence

Following on from my first point, if you don’t have a website you can use a Facebook business page to provide information you might have on a website such as contact details, opening times, special events that you are hosting etc.  Although I would always advise people to have their own website as that is where you have control of what you want to achieve online.

3) Tell people what products you stock

A well thought out Facebook page with good quality images of the products you sell or services you provide will communicate to prospective clients what you do.

Recently I was going into local businesses doing a leaflet drop and telling business owners about my business.  In the village that I was doing the leaflet drop there was a small health food shop, that I often walked past thinking I must pop in there one day, when I have time.  When I popped into this health food shop to tell them about my business, I found out that they stocked products I usually bought online, because I hadn’t found any other local Health Food shops that stocked them.  If this shop had a Facebook page and had a logo in the window saying they were on Facebook, I would have followed their page and found this out a lot sooner.

4) Keep loyal customers up to date

Facebook and Twitter are great tools for keeping your business in the mind of loyal customers, as long as your content is high quality and relevant to your customers they will love seeing your updates appear in their timeline.

5) Allow loyal customers to recommend you to their friends

One of the biggest advantages of social media is that happy loyal customers can easily tell their friends and family about your great business and products.

Another bonus to using social media marketing for your business is that it is highly likely that your competitors might not be using social media yet.

However, before you set up a Facebook page and Twitter profile for your business, I would advice you to get some quality training from a social media consultant like myself, as training from an expert will help you get quicker results from your social media marketing.   Also working with a social media consultant to formulate a social media marketing strategy for your business will help you save time, enable you to measure how well your social media is performing and whether it is getting the results you want for your business.

I also help my clients to think how their clients might search for what their business provides and give ideas on what content those clients might find useful and engage with.

Are you a bricks and mortar business that gets good results with social media marketing?  If you are a hotel or B and B you might find my post about using social media to promote your holiday accommodation useful.

What is Periscope?

What is Periscope?

Up Periscope?  Most people will think of a Periscope as the device on a submarine that goes above the sea to enable the crew to see if there are any ships about.  Some people may remember making a periscope at school in science when studying how light works.

However Periscope is also a new app which allows you to broadcast live video streaming.

“Periscope – explore the world through someone else’s eyes!”

Periscope went live for iOS in March 2015 and for Android users in May 2015, at the end of August 2015 Periscope had over 13 million users and continues to grow.  I have just recently joined Periscope and so far have done 10 scopes, so I am still learning how Periscope works.  Initially, I didn’t think that I could use Periscope for my business, however I saw a Periscope by Denise Duffield Thomas that she had put on YouTube and she was talking to the camera and interacting with the viewers.  This inspired me to upgrade my phone so that I could use the Periscope app.

Below is a Periscope I recorded and uploaded to YouTube, it is an unedited version, so you can see me interacting with people, going off topic and generally rambling on.

Benefits of Periscope

I did my first scope talking to camera and it was really fun.  One of the benefits of Periscope is that when you are talking to camera live, you are being you, without a script and this helps you connect with your viewers.  It is a great way to showcase your knowledge and instantly interact with the live viewers.  Also because it is live there is less pressure to be perfect, as most people are either scoping when they are out and about or in their office.

One of the main benefits to Periscope is that it is in the now and people can interact with you live, asking you questions and answering questions you ask them.  However when doing a live Periscope it can be difficult to interact with people and stay on track with what you are talking about.

You can also show behind the scenes of your business or showcase your products live to your followers.

Periscope Basics

To broadcast (live video stream) on Periscope you will need a relatively new smart phone, so for Samsung users that is a Samsung 5 or newer, not sure about other smart phones.  If you don’t want to upgrade your phone you can watch Periscopes on your laptop, but you’ll only be able to find scopes if someone has tweeted about them.  Search #Periscope on Twitter to see some scopes.  The basics of how to use Periscope in this article are based on Android rather than iOS operating system.

Periscope-home-screen

The home screen shows recent broadcasts by people you follow.

To start your own Scope press the little red camera button at the bottom right of the screen.  You will then see the screen below.  Make sure you add a good descriptive title that will encourage people to watch your scope.  If you are on Twitter click the Twitter icon and share it on Twitter.  Then click Start Broadcast.

Start-broadcast

To start with you will be filming what is in front of your camera or what you are looking at and this will be used as the preview on Periscope so think what that will be, don’t point the camera at the ground.  Ensure your camera is in the portrait position rather than landscape.  If you want to get the camera to switch to recording you speaking, tap the top right corner of the screen.  Don’t wait for people to join the scope before you speak, say hello and thank people who are watching on replay for joining and introduce yourself and what you will be talking about.  You can talk for as long as you want on a scope.  You will get notifications at the bottom left of the screen when people join and if they type a comment, on the right side of the screen you might see a shower of coloured hearts. Although neither of these will be seen on a replay which has been saved to a phone, as in the YouTube video of my Periscope tips for beginners above.

While you are watching a scope you can interact by giving people hearts by tapping the screen. You will be assigned a different colour each time you log on to to a scope.  There are no limits to the number of hearts you can give someone, so be generous.  Sometimes if you join a very popular Periscope you might not be able to comment.  To comment tap the bottom left hand corner where it says “Say something…”

You can share a live Periscope or a replay by swiping the screen up and clicking share broadcast where you can share on Twitter or to your Periscope followers.

How-to-share-a-Periscope

If you haven’t watched a live Periscope here is a screenshot of the hearts and comments on a Periscope by Alex Pettitt, who I recommend you follow on Periscope for great tips.

Alex-Pettitt-on-Periscope

When watching a replay on Periscope you can still give hearts by tapping the screen but you can’t comment.

After a live Periscope has ended it is available to view on Periscope for 24 hours, then it is unavailable to watch unless you have recorded it to your phone.  To save your Periscope broadcasts to your phone on Android go to your profile, by going to the group of people icon (search) and then click the person in the circle at the top right of the screen. Then go to Settings (cog icon) and swipe the Autosave Broadcast at the bottom so it turns blue, now every Periscope you broadcast will be saved to your phone.  Make sure to download them to your computer regularly or you might run out of memory on your phone.

You can do a private Periscope and only invite certain people that follow you, although I haven’t done a private scope yet or been invited to one, but this could be used to do a group coaching call or other training for a group of clients.

Periscope-Search

To find people to follow on Periscope tap the 3 people icon and then at the bottom right click the magnifying glass and type someone’s Twitter username and then when you find them just tap the icon with a person with a + next to their name, see image above.  To follow people that are on a Scope swipe the screen up and tap on a user to see their profile and follow them.

If you found this useful please follow me on Periscope & Twitter @SocialMediaLinc and subscribe to my YouTube Channel and share this with your followers.

Useful links

Official Periscope site

Alex Pettitt’s website

 

 

 

 

30 days to Twitter Success

Social_Media_Lincs_Twitter_Profile

Is 30 days to Twitter Success right for you

  • You haven’t been on Twitter for long or haven’t even got an account then this course is ideal for you
  • You set up a Twitter account ages ago and haven’t really got to grips with how it works, the last time you logged on it had all changed so you logged out again
  • You have been on Twitter for a while, you have a couple of hundred followers and are following 1,000 accounts, you want to find out how to get people to follow you and how to get people retweeting what you tweet.
  • You have an account but don’t go in to Twitter, as your Facebook or Instagram account are linked to it and send updates to Twitter automatically
  • You are think about employing someone to manage Social Media for your business, find out how frequently they should post for you, the sort of content to share and to gauge whether Twitter is working well for your business

Still not sure that 30 days to Twitter Success is for you read on to find out what you will be learning about on the course

What you will learn on 30 days to Twitter Success

Week 1 – The Basics

  • Why completing your profile is important
  • The basic layout of Twitter – Home & Notifications
  • What is a tweet & How to Tweet
  • What to tweet & How to use bitly.com
  • Replying to Tweets & retweeting

Basic_Twitter_Tips_Profile

Week 2 – Building an engaged following

  • Who to follow & why
  • Follower/Following ratio
  • Numbers or engaged following
  • Using Lists
  • Using Hashtags
  • Search on Twitter

Week 3 – Rules of Engagement

  • How to engage successfully
  • Networking hours
  • Retweeting
  • Frequency of Tweeting
  • Direct Messages
  • Trending Topics

Week 4 – Advanced Techniques

  • Advanced Search
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer, Social Omph comparison
  • Scheduling Tweets
  • Creating and using images on Twitter
  • Useful Apps
  • Linking Social Media platforms

There is space in the course to add topics that people on the course want to cover or to spend extra time on a certain topic.

30_Days_Twitter_Sucess

All this for only £50 less than £2 per day




 

 

Pinterest – Top 10 tips for getting referral traffic to your site

Pinterest-How-to-generate-referral-traffic

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest may be a relatively small social media site in relationship to the likes of Facebook, but do not underestimate it, it is a powerful site if used correctly.  Every Social Media site is different and to get the most out of each Social Media site it makes sense to find out how to use that particular site and join in the community.  Although Pinterest is grouped within Social Media, it is quite different to Facebook and Twitter, and you might find it helpful to think of it as a mini search engine, as people that love Pinterest and use it regularly will go there and search for things they love and want to pin. Social-Media-Lincs-on-Pinterest I use Pinterest to organise blog posts that I may need to refer back to and that I think my followers will find useful.  I also pin for fun, fashion, gift and home ideas I like, Dr Who, recipes that I will most probably never get round to making, Green living and motivational quotes.

So who is using Pinterest?

Is your ideal customer a women between 25-44 years old, who is educated and is a middle to high earner?  Then you should think seriously about starting to use Pinterest.  If your business is in any one of these categories you definitely need to be on Pinterest, Food & Drink, Crafts, Women’s Fashion, Weddings, Travel.

So here are my top 10 tips for getting more out of Pinterest

1) Always make sure you link your pins

Because one of the great things about Pinterest is the quality free referal traffic this is one thing you do not want to get wrong.  An unlinked pin will say image, next to like on the pin rather than visit site, an unlinked pin will just take you to a jpeg image rather than the specific page that the image was pinned from.  To make pinning easier add the pin it button to your tool bar, go to help in Pinterest to get the right pin it button for your browser.  Always link a pin to the page where you found it, as the idea is you are making your content easy to find, if you send me to your home page rather than the blog post or product page I won’t bother trying to search your site I’ll just leave. Example-of-unlinked-pin Great pin but it doesn’t take you to the blog post.

2) Start thinking of Pinterest as a search engine rather than Social Media site

When Pinterest started out it was seen as a Social Media site for sharing and collating images, however it is so much more.  People who love Pinterest will use the search facility in Pinterest before they go to Google to find information and products.  Do you sell products? Ever thought of using Pinterest as an online catalogue?  Keep an eye out for people that are pinning your products directly from your site and repin those pins.  There are 3 ways you can search on Pinterest – pins, boards and pinners so this is where you want to be adding keywords in different areas of Pinterest so that you get found for your keywords.

3) Always complete your profile

As with all other social media sites always complete your profile with a profile pic and complete the bio using keywords that you want your business to be found for, so that if someone is using your keywords and searching in Pinners you will appear.  If you are using Pinterest for business you should have set up a business account.  Linking your Pinterest account to your Twitter account is a good idea as then you can share some of your pins on Twitter so that existing followers can see you are on Pinterest as well.  Don’t Tweet all your pins though.

4) Titles of boards

Although Pinterest is based on pictures you need to use words in the right places to get your pins found via search as mentioned in 2.  The first place to use keywords is in the titles of your boards so if you are a wedding planner rather than naming boards, cakes, dresses, jewellery, shoes, hairstyles, etc you need to use the words that your clients will be typing into search such as chocolate wedding cakes, vintage wedding dresses, Gothic themed weddings so that your boards and pins will be found in search.  Your boards and pins will also come up in Google searches too if they described well.  If you have an about me board call it your name or business name for example Jackie Elton/Social Media Lincs rather than about me. Cake-boards-on-Pinterest The difference between using cakes as a title and wedding cakes as a title for your board. Wedding-cake-boards-on-Pinterest Also if you have been on Pinterest for a while and you may have boards called Products I Love, Books worth reading, Animals, My style, For the Home.  (These were generic boards that were present when you opened your Pinterest account.)  If they have a lot of pins on change their names to Social Media Books worth reading or something that sets you apart from all the other boards with those titles.  Don’t believe me, do a search using those board titles and see how many boards appear.  However, if you don’t have many pins on these boards, repin the pins and delete the boards.  You want your Pinterest account to stand out and look professional. Generic-boards-on-Pinterest Examples of “products I love” boards

5) Describe all boards & Categorise your boards

As I have mentioned you want to be putting your keywords in places that help your profile, boards and pins to be found.  Therefore describe what you board is about, such as Vintage wedding ideas including wedding cakes, dresses and ideas for venues.  Add your boards to categories, some businesses fit into the available categories easier than others, like weddings, travel or food and drink, opposed to Green Living.  This means if someone is browsing via categories your pins might be found. categories-Pinterst

6) Describe pins

When I started out on Pinterest several years ago, when it was relatively new, I didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t using it for business.  I would pin something and the description would be something like gorgeous, love it, wow, pretty.  Apologies if you ever find any of my early pins.  Obviously from a keyword and Search Engine perspective these are useless.  Don’t use too many words but do describe your pins using keywords.

7) Create your own unique images

80% of pins are repins, this is an important statistic, if you want to stand out on Pinterest.  It basically means that there are a lot of the same pins on Pinterest, so if you create your own pinnable images for your blog posts then these will stand out and if they get repinned they stand a higher chance of being repinned.  There are so many great, easy to use design programmes and apps that there is no excuse for not producing your own visual content.  Canva.com is easy to use as is PicMonkey if you like taking pictures with your phone PicsArt is a great app.  I use it for creating quote pictures.  If you are really short on time and aren’t good at design then make some quote images using Quozio.com.

Read my post about creating your own images to share on Social Media for some ideas on what you could create.  You can also pin YouTube videos, so if you create your own YouTube videos you can pin them too.

8) Re-arrange your boards

The first 8 or 10 boards are the first thing someone sees when they click on your profile so it is the first impression they get of your business.  However, if in the middle of summer the first board they see is a Christmas ideas board followed by a Valentine themed party board, they may not bother looking further down your boards and see your Summer Party ideas board or your great about me board.

9) Cover Images

Cover images are really important firstly these are bigger and are what people will notice when they first come to your profile, so they need to be beautiful and a good representation of your individual boards and your business in general.  They are what make people want to see what else is on your boards.  The Cover Image is usually the first pin that you pin on a board so if that isn’t the best cover image change it by hovering over the cover image and then click change cover.

10) Secret Boards

Use Secret boards to pin things that you don’t want your followers to see, this could be ideas for a new product or project, pins from competitors, blog post that you find interesting but that don’t fit with your business brand.

There is more to Pinterest than I can put in one post but these are the basics and some of the common things that people could do better.

This article first appear in issue 10 of Business Rocks online magazine.  If you would like to work with me to get Pinterest working for you, send me an email at socialmedialincs@gmail.com or fill in the contact form.

Why can’t I follow any more Twitter Accounts when I am following 2001 accounts

Twitter Followers/Following

How to prevent an uneven ratio of Following to Followers on Twitter

When you are starting out on Twitter, following 2001 other accounts on Twitter, seems something you don’t need to think about, however if you try to keep your folllowing/follower ratio roughly 1:1 it will save you time later on.  Here are the magic numbers that Twitter has set to stop spammers, once you are following 2001 people on Twitter you won’t be able to follow anyone else until you have 1819 followers and then after that you can only follow 10% more people than are following you.

For example if you have 2,000 followers you will be able to follow upto 2,200 people.

Here is what Twitter says about following limits

How can you keep a ratio of 1:1

  • Firstly make sure your profile is up to date with a picture and good bio describing you and what you tweet about, this will help people to see you as a real person/business not a spammer, so more people are likely to follow you back.
  • Start by following people you already know and who know you
  • Follow and engage with people on networking hours, such as #Lincshour or #Womeninbiz, by following and engaging with people that are active on Twitter you will quickly build a friendly network of followers that will engage with you and may retweet your tweets.
  • Being seen to be actively involved in conversations on Twitter will also help you to be seen by others and show you as someone that is friendly and approachable rather than someone who is only their to promote themselves.
  • Follow people who are interested in similiar things to you.

When starting out on Twitter alot of people get involved in follow back events, I’ll follow you in the hope you will follow me.  This is okay if all you care about are the number of followers you have, however it doesn’t build a network of interested and engaged followers.

In 2014 I will be launching my Social Media Online Training course, which will train people to use Twitter & Pinterest to grow their business by building a community of engaged followers that love what you do and share it with their community.  Sign up to my email newsletter to find out more and be able to join at a incredible price only available to my newsletter subscribers.

If you have found this useful please share it with your community.

Why is it important to use images in your blog posts?

Meercats - using images in blog posts

Is it wrong to use cute animals like Meercats to promote your buisness?

If you read any basic article about starting your own blog, somewhere it will mention the importance of using images in your posts.  This post is not just about why you should use images in your blog posts but why you should use your own unique images rather than stock photos.  At present I have 2 blogs, Green and Natural Living and Social Media Lincs, I have always found it easier to use my own unique images in my Green and Natural Living blog as I take my camera with me when I am out and about, or I take my own photos of things I am sent to review.   However using your own images for a business advice or social media advice blog is harder but it is possible and there are reasons why you should use your own images.

  1. Social Media sites are becoming more image based so having an image or 2 in your blog post will make it look better when shared.
  2. Pinterest is a great way to generate traffic to your blog, as it is image based if your blog post doesn’t have quality images people won’t want to pin it.
  3. Using stock photos means that other people might also use the same image, so they don’t help your business stand out.
  4. Orginal images stand out on all Social Media channels and are more likely to be shared especially on Pinterest.
  5. Using your own images means you don’t ever have to worry about copyright.

With todays technology it is easy to get creative with images, using a digital camera and free software such as Picasa you can produce images with text on quite easily, as I have done above, as well as creating collages using different images.  Once you have mastered Picasa, you can also use it to create images to use with all your social media sites like your facebook cover pic and google header image, and even your blog header as I have done.  Here is a great video tutorial on how to use Picasa to design a Facebook Cover pic and here is a useful infographic – ultimate social media sizing cheat sheet by Lunametrics with all the dimensions of different parts of social media profiles.

If you don’t fancy doing this yourself why not contact Ali at Creative Hands Marketing for some help with designs work.

You can also create Wordles to use in blog posts like the one below that I did for a post about Pinterest or you could create your own infographics, although I haven’t done my own infographic yet.

I love Pinterest

Wordle about Pinterest

I hope this has been useful. For more links to informative blog posts and infographics follow my boards on Pinterest.  Please let me know if you get creative with images on your blog by leaving me a comment below.

 

Can any business use Pinterest?

I love Pinterest

Pinterest is a great social media site to promote your business, it isn’t as frantic as other social media sites so what you share will remain searchable and visible for longer.  Pinterest is a brilliant tool for businesses that have good images of products, which can then be linked back to a site where the products can be purchased.  However, even businesses without products with pretty pictures can use it to build their brand identity and help prospective customers get a feel for the business.

For example, if you own a hotel or B and B you can create boards with pictures showing your venue, the food it serves and local attractions.

If on the other hand you are a Virtual Administrator then you have to get a bit more creative and have boards that show your personality.  You could have boards with useful blog posts, your office and how to be more organised.

Remember for Pinterest, like other social media sites, content is still king.  So if you want to be repinned you need to have fantastic pictures, which link to good content.  Some of the most repinned images are quotes and recipes.

What do you like to repin? Let me know in a comment below.

If you would like to learn more about Pinterest have a look at my Pinterest Passion Coaching package.

5 things to tweet about!

When you are starting out on Twitter one of the most common questions that people ask is, “What should I tweet about?” To start with you wonder whether anyone will be interested in what you have to say. These ideas can be used for Twitter but can also be used for updating your status on Facebook and Google +.

Firstly ask yourself why you are using Twitter? The answer should be, to create relationships with business contacts or customers. Keep this in mind when you are tweeting. You also want to be interesting, informative or helpful so that people follow you.

Top 5 things to tweet about?

1)     Say a friendly hello

If you have followed someone and you want to start interacting with them, send them a friendly hello tweet.

2)      An interesting blog post

If you have a blog then you can promote your own posts. Or you can share blog posts or other links that you have found informative or useful.

3)      A link to a video

This could be a How to Tutorial, a music video, a video you have done or a funny video you have found on YouTube.

4)      Retweet a tweet

If someone has written a tweet you like or agree with Retweet it. Or if someone has mentioned you in a tweet saying how great you are, then Retweet it.

5)      Thank you for the follow

If you want to interact with someone, thank them for following you.

What do you tweet about?