Category Archives: Instagram

Teens & Tech – Instagram, Facebook, and Other Teen Fads

 By My Web Writersteens and tech

Teens are trend-hunters. They enjoy scouting out the latest and greatest clothes, technology and fads and being the one who introduces them to their entire network. Where they go many, many more follow. The same is true with teens’ use of social media. There is much we can learn about the future of social media by keeping a pulse on what teens are doing and saying on their favorite sites. Here are five teen trends worth knowing right now.

Video Challenges

Maybe you’ve seen some of the outrageous challenges being posed by teens to other young teens on YouTube, Vine and Instagram. Take this fad and turn it into a marketing positive. Give teens challenges that are safe, but fun.  You might find your brand riding the next viral video.

Snapchat

Snapchat allows users to share photos, but only for a brief period of time. The website highlights that you can snap a quick photo, regardless of whether it’s perfect, embarrassing or silly and share it with a small group of friends to “live in the moment.” Then, as quickly as it was sent, it permanently disappears. Snapchat’s feature has the opportunity to be innocent and fun, but also holds the recipe for danger – especially for teens. Just as the teen trend of “sexting” continues, Snapchat has started a trend where many teens will share proactive photos knowing Snapchat will delete the evidence moments later. But like any Internet technology, one small glitch in the system can cause a personal photo to be saved and shared across many other social media platforms. For anyone, especially teens, this would be a devastating outcome.

Moving Away From Facebook

This report from Digital Trends shows that teens are losing interest in Facebook. They are not logging in and interacting with their account as frequently as they used to and are finding other trends and forms of social media to replace the purpose Facebook once served. There’s no doubt that Facebook is among the most popular and most well-known social media platforms out there, which is exactly why teens are showing signs of being “over it.” They want to be on the cutting edge of starting new trends not following what’s already been discovered.

Moving Toward Instagram

While the teen trend is moving away from Facebook, it is moving toward Instagram. The most popular posts on Facebook tend to be the ones that include photos and Instagram takes this to a whole new level. Teens love experimenting with Instagram’s different filters and editing options that take the “selfie” to a whole new, stylish level. It’s a form of self expression and a way to see exactly what your friends are doing at all times. And because Instagram has yet to be deemed “too mainstream,” teens continue to flock to this social media platform.

Bullying Gone Viral

The days of the playground bully unfortunately still exist, except now the “playground” exists on numerous social media platforms. Social media bullies have been given an even bigger megaphone with which they can inflict public embarrassment and harassment upon others. This must be closely watched as an emerging trend because it is being encouraged and even glorified with the popularity of social media. And the repercussions are deadly. Edudemic.com states that 51% of kids say they’ve been bullied online and 49% say they have been the online bully. What can be done? Just like any trend, it will meet its demise once it’s deemed “uncool.” Whether you’re a teen, a parent of one or a fellow social media user who is connected with one, we can all do our part to discourage and counteract social media bullying through our own actions.

What else will teens come up with? It’s hard to say! The power and connectivity of social media has created a generation unlike any before it. But what can be expected is that the challenges and dangers of such trends will be equally as advanced as the technology that is used to create them. ~Stephanie


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Filed under Audience, Business Strategy, Capturing Audience, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing

Marketing Short-Clip Videos: Vine versus Instagram

By My Web WritersVideo Marketing new

Video clips are a heavily used resource for brand promotion and marketing. They are more interactive and captivating than images alone and have the ability to convey a message without words. While not everyone possesses the talent to create award-winning films, technology has provided us with a few key tools which allows us to come pretty close – at least on an amateur level. Two phone apps, Vine and Instagram have recently hit the market and are making quite a splash. Both allow for users to record short clips and make them go viral in seconds. While the uses of these apps may appear similar, their features and functionality make them quite different. With a closer look at each app, you’ll see that they have a core audience and key purpose in mind.

Let’s look at Vine…

Pros:

Through Vine, you are able to create video clips that are six seconds in length. The concept behind such a specific time frame is to create a clip that is easily consumed by viewers. It doesn’t require as much commitment or attention span as a video of greater length. Also, with only six seconds to capture a moment, you have to be more creative with what you shoot and how you edit it. Vine also allows for videos to be looped, giving them GIF-like qualities. Finally, Vine videos are able to be embedded which is ideal for sharing on social media and placing on your web site or in an email.

Cons:

On the other side of the coin, Vine does not give you the option of filters or editing for your videos. This means that how you shoot it is how you see it. Also, Vine videos can currently only be shared to Facebook and Twitter. Other social media sites like Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare and by email require extra steps to market your video.

To summarize, Vine is the best video app for someone looking to create a clip with a moving/GIF-like quality image that loops. It requires creativity to stick to the six second time limit, but the reward is that such a short clip will likely be viewed more times.  Vine is not for the masses. It appeals to a niche market of users who appreciate the talent it takes to create a short clip without editing or filter features.

Now let’s compare Instagram…

Pros:

In the battle of video apps, Instagram has differentiated itself from Vine by allowing users to create clips that are 15 seconds in length. This is a great advantage to the video’s creator who has more than double the time to tell a story. And telling a story is exactly what Instagram is designed to do! This length of time allows for a beginning, middle and end all within a quarter of a minute. Instagram offers filters to enhance how your video looks, image stabilization and the ability to delete the last clip. Unlike Vine, you can share your video to six different platforms including: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Email and Foursquare.

Cons:

Although Instagram has many advantages, it’s important to also consider its drawbacks. This app does not feature looping, meaning viewers must click to replay the video each time. Also, videos are not embeddable which limits how you can share and promote your work. Finally, the 15 second video length is a pro to the creator, but it can be a con to the viewer. With our ever-decreasing attention span, even 15 seconds can feel too long and you risk viewers tuning out or turning it off before your message if fully relayed.

To summarize, the Instagram video app is ideal if you want to tell a story in a brief period of time. The fancy features such as filters, stabilization and editing allow you to run a “mini cinema” from your phone and easily share it across your social networks. This app is made for the masses. But when trying to be everything to everyone, it loses its niche appeal. ~Stephanie


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Filed under Instagram, Social Media, Video Production, Vine, YouTube

12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

My Web Writerseaselly_visual

It seems like there are infographics to cover every topic. There are even infographics about infographics. What if you have information that you want to tell others, but there is no premade infographic that has all your information? It’s time to make your own. Stumped on how to do that?  Follow these 12 steps to create your own.

Infographic Prep Work

1.      Plan it Out. Know what information you want to give to your readers. Keep your message short, simple, relevant, and original.

2.      Be Specific. Give your readers more than superficial details. Go in depth. Be sure you have correct information. Correct and specific details build your credibility.

3.      Balance Information with Graphics. Infographics shouldn’t be too wordy, but they do need words to get your point across.

4.      Grab Attention with a Headline. Your headline brings in readers. Make it snappy!

5.      Keep Attention with Sub-Headlines. Sub-headlines draw your readers’ eyes through your infographic. Give your audience reasons to keep reading.

 6.      Match Your Tone to the Information. You do not want to detract from your message by making light of a serious topic. Humorous information loses appeal if it is presented in a serious tone.

You’re half way there!  Once you have the information portion of your infographic lined up, it’s time to focus on the graphics.

Designing Your Infographic

1.    Find a Template. There are many websites that offer free templates that you can use, but most of them require you to register with them.  The three largest sites are infogr.am, piktochart, and visual.ly.  There are also templates that work with Microsoft PowerPoint from this blog post. No matter where you get it from use a design that catches the eye.

2.    Choose Your Colors. Use color wisely. Too many colors look chaotic, but too few look boring.

3.    Choose Your Fonts. This is not the time to use every font you can. Focus on readability and restrict yourself to only a few font choices.

4.    Create Your Graphs. Just like with the sources for templates, there are many websites that create graphs for you. Microsoft Excel is also another source for graphs if your information is already in a spreadsheet.

5.    Create Space. As you are putting all the pieces together remind yourself, infographics that share too much information look messy. Allow some open space around your graphics for a more readable finished product.

6.   Put it Out There. After you create infographics, they won’t go viral overnight. You’ll have to work to get them noticed. Share them on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.

It may take a few tries to create the perfect graphic. If you have a relevant message and are using good information people will want to share it. ~Megan

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Filed under Content, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pictures, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr

How Can I Better Manage My Company’s Social Media Accounts?

by My Web Writers
Manage Social Media

For many of us, managing our own social media accounts is enough to keep us busier than we’d like. But when you’re given the responsibility of also managing your company’s social media accounts, this task should be given a fairly different approach and a lot more consideration. There’s no doubt that social media holds the power to become a business’s first impression for many of its customers. Because of this, a professional and well thought out social media management plan is critical for any company. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track of tackling this important marketing component:

Create an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar allows you layout all of your planned social media posts for the coming month. For a company structure where such posts need to be pre-approved by the owner, this is an essential tool. To create an editorial calendar, there are several templates you can find online, or you can simple create a calendar in a Word Doc and format it to fit your needs. All it needs to include is what you’re planning to post and for what accounts. Include the links to any videos or web pages to make for an easy copy and paste action when you do go to post. Finally, an editorial calendar is just as beneficial to you as it is to a company owner. You will be able to easily see how often you’re planning to post and if there are any holes you need to fill. While the calendar may take several hours to initially create, it will make the rest of the month’s social media posting nearly effortless.

Automate your regular updates.

In speaking of making social media posting effortless, what’s less effort than when something is automated? Web sites like HootSuite.com and TweetDeck.com both offer automated social media posting for little to no cost. Once you create your editorial calendar, you can easily plug in the posts and schedule them in advance so that the rest of the month your regular updates are firing off exactly when they should regardless of how hectic your schedule gets. Note: it’s great to use automation for the pre-written tweets and updates, but social media is meant to be live and in the moment. Don’t tune out from all the news and announcements that may crop up unexpectedly that should be shared on social media. Be sure to get these out ASAP the “old fashioned” way—manually!

Make it a group effort.

While one person in a company may be designated as the social media manager, it’s important to remember that social media is meant to be social after all! Make this task a group effort by allowing everyone to offer input on what should be promoted or emphasized on social media. Many of your co-workers might have great suggestions for a contest to run or a question to ask to spark discussion. This input will also help fill up your editorial calendar with fresh ideas without you wracking your brain each month.

Do less, but do it better.

Just as in so many other aspects of life, you simply don’t need to do it all! There are countless social media platforms available to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to use every single one. Your time is not best spent managing 15+ social media accounts at a mediocre level. Instead, focus on your top performing 3-5 social media accounts (the ones with the largest audience and most interaction) and spend your time making these exceptional. For many businesses, these will include Twitter and Facebook to start. From there, you may also find YouTube, Digg or Google+ to be beneficial. Depending on your business and the product or service that you’re selling, your social media focus might be different from other businesses—and that’s OK!

Not only should every social media platform be handled differently, so should every social media account—business or personal. Following these tips, you’ll be able to create a professional image for your company that is both effective and well thought out.  ~Stephanie

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, Pinterest, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube

Top Media Managers Reveal Ideas for Better Social Media Marketing

by My Web WritersTips from Top Social Media Marketers

Social media marketing does not often conform to steadfast rules or conventional wisdom.  It’s a skill and a talent that takes patience, practice and a natural ability in order to excel.  Here are just a few powerful quotes from the world’s most experienced and influential social media mangers:

“A large part of this relationship marketing concept is allowing yourself to be a little bit vulnerable and let people in.”(Mari Smith, Social Media Speaker & Author)

Mari makes an excellent point – social media is a platform to get personal and really let people in. For a company, this means showcasing your “human element” and letting your customers get to know you and your people on a more personal level than what can be offered through your web site or business card alone. And from time to time, yes, it’s perfectly OK and sometimes beneficial to express a dilemma, difficulty or weakness and ask your network for input.

“Make influencers a part of your movement, even temporarily, and they’ll understand the brand and its worth far greater than if you just invite them on a factory tour or send them free product.”(Jay Bear, President of Convince and Convert)

This quote connects with one of the key tips to all social media marketing, which is to talk with your audience not at your audience.  Engage your followers! The more you can make your network feel a personal part of something your company is doing, the more they are likely to build a deeper relationship and a vested interest in your brand.

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.”(David Alston, Chief Adoption Officer – Marketing Cloud at Salesforce)

When you have something important to say, it’s tempting to fire it out on every medium available to you. While a press release or media advisory are great tools for communicating with traditional press, these won’t work for social media marketing. Furthermore, every post for every different social media account should be slightly tweaked to connect with that specific audience. How you say something on Twitter (with #’s and @’s) won’t resonate on your Facebook page. Create thoughtful and genuine posts for each social medium and your information is more likely to engage and less likely to blend into the white noise.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” (Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com)

Social media is powerful stuff. And though almost 100% of users would agree to this statement, we all too easily forget how quickly information can catch like wildfire and spread. For positive information you want promoted, this is great. But if you have a disgruntled customer, this could be devastating. This is even more reason to be careful with your actions and words on social media than in the real world because of how easily it can be shared with thousands or millions of other people with the click of a button.

“Social networks aren’t about Web sites. They’re about experiences.” (Mike DiLorenzo, NHL social media marketing director)

If you want to create the absolutely most effective social media to represent your brand and market your business, you must create an experience that is memorable to your networks. Social media is, after all, what broke the mold on traditional marketing. Your options are limitless as to how you can create a unique viral marketing campaign. Don’t settle for the easy or the obvious, continually push yourself to set a new creative standard.

“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
(Erin Bury, Sprouter community manager)

This quote simply says it all – and if it could be made a banner on every social media web site to remind us of this before we post an update, it would save many people and businesses from the all too common social media “uh oh’s!”

Woven inside each of these quotes is a valuable lesson worthy of adding to our set of social media tools. While the authors may come from various degrees of experience and schools of thought, these quotes reach far broader than just social media marketing – and if you think openly – can applied toward many aspects of our business and our life. ~Stephanie

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Filed under Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube

Social Media Interaction in 2014: What’s Your Plan?

Updated by My Web Writers2013 SM plan

You reflected on the old and planned for the new. You set goals for your career, health and finances in 2014. Just as you will benefit from these positive changes, so exists the opportunity to follow through on those resolutions for your business or blog. As you lay out your plans for growing and improving your business over the coming year, you should take special consideration to your strategy for social media interaction. Whether you would like to improve upon an already successful implementation or simply get a social media presence started, there is no time like the present to make this improvement. Here are some essential tips to include in your social media interaction plan for 2014:

Base your planning off of insights.

Every plan should first begin with research and with social media there is a myriad of resources available to you. If you’re planning to improve your existing social media interaction, first look at your insights from 2014. How many new Facebook fans did you gain? Twitter followers? How interactive were people with your status updates? All of these things will give you an indication of where you’re currently excelling and where you need to place your focus for the New Year. If your plan is to finally create a presence on social media, you won’t have personal insights to go off of, but you can benefit by learning from others. Read blogs, search Google and take note to your competitors’ social media presence. All of this will help you focus your planning where it will be most effective.

Think multi-faceted.

To maximize your social media interaction and effectiveness for 2014, you cannot rely on just one medium. There are countless sites and platforms that can help you reach a broader audience so don’t limit your plan to the top 2 or 3. While having a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin makes sense for nearly all businesses, you should always refer back to your mission statement and target audience to see what other types of social media might be useful. The general rule of thumb is to focus on 3-5 social media accounts and use them exceptionally well. Also, when you find information you wish to share, but sure to coordinate this effort across all of your social media. How customers find you on the web is varied and often unpredictable. A multi-faceted social media presence will ensure you’re fully utilizing all of your tools to reach your target audience.

Consistency is key – set realistic goals you can maintain.

As a business owner, you wouldn’t open a new storefront and fail to staff it with employees to interact with your customers, correct? The same is true for your social media accounts. When you commit to creating a social media account, it’s paramount that you also commit to filling out the profile with professional information and consistently updating the newsfeed with fresh content. This closely ties in to the second point of setting realistic goals you can maintain. Such a commitment for 3-5 social media accounts is doable, but not for 15+ social media accounts. By narrowing down your social media platforms and using only those that most effectively reach your target audience, you will also keep your social media interaction plan realistic and attainable.

You should never have to pay for your friends.

Neither in life nor on social media should you pay for your friends. It’s appropriate for your social media interaction plan to include increasing the size of your network, but you should do so organically. Beware of services that promise to deliver a “too good to be true” increase in your fans or followers. It’s almost certain that it will be too good to be true. Because they’re bought and not earned, these additions are unlikely to be genuinely interested in your brand and therefore unlikely to interact with you or buy into your services. Instead, aim to build your network by interacting with other people and pages, regularly updating your content and promoting your social media accounts everywhere (email signatures, e-newsletters, web site, blog, business cards and more).

Incorporate social media into every other business strategy.

All other components of your business plan for 2014 should weave into and build from one another. Social media interaction is only one aspect of successful branding and marketing. But when combined with advertising, SEO and public relations, it creates a powerful and comprehensive strategy that really starts reeling in powerful results. If there’s an important message you want to spread, make sure you know how you’ll drive it out on social media. If there’s a special deal you want to promote, make sure social media is considered into this marketing strategy. The more you build social media into your business strategy, the easier it will be to maintain and utilize.

Just as achieving any New Year’s resolution takes a great deal of time and commitment, improving your social media interaction is no different. You must recognize the value it holds for you and your business to find the drive to make these changes. Keep in mind these core essentials when outlining your social media interaction plan for 2014 and you will have a head start toward a successful year! ~Stephanie


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Social Media Interaction in 2014- What’s your Plan?

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Filed under Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube

Social Networking for Business; Success Stories from Three Brands

By My Web Writers

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The importance of social marketing in today’s businesses can’t be understated. There are countless ways that companies try to capture the attentions of Internet users, striving for thumbs ups, shares, +1’s, tweets, pins, and likes. As Google has started taking these social media indicators into account, the democracy of social media makes an even bigger impact. A creative, consistent approach to using social media, to actually interact with consumers, sets some brands above the others.  Just consider these three brand’s social networking, success stories:

Mod Cloth

Created by Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger when they were still in college, over the last couple of years, ModCloth has become one of the fastest growing apparel retailers. The brand specializes in retro-inspired independent designers and vintage apparel. Social media is a prominent part of the brand and the website, as ModCloth highly encourages customer involvement. Through the perpetual Be the Buyer program, customers vote on which styles the company should stock. Occasionally, the company also runs design contests or “Name It and Win It” contests to name pieces of apparel, facilitated by Twitter (the brand has 800,00+ followers) or the ModBlog. Run by a team of “social butterflies,” the social marketing side of the business helps generate and sustain buzz around new products and promotions. In an interview with Thoroughly Modern Marketing, social media manager Natasha Khan explained that the contests on sites such as Twitter and Pinterest help generate consumer interest and earn new customers. For example, “Every month we do a Twitter topic mashup! For example, one month, we asked our followers to mash up fashion terms and famous books using hashtag #literaryfashion. The contest gained us not only fans, but attention from acclaimed poet Margaret Atwood.”

Oscar Mayer

Recently, Oscar Mayer sent comedian Josh Sankey on a trip across the country with only Butcher Thick Cut Bacon to barter with—no money. The journey was logged at BaconBarter.com as well as through a variety of social media outlets including Sankey’s twitter feed, the brand’s YouTube channel, and Facebook page. As the story progressed, Sankey received an onslaught of tweets from an audience entertained by what he was able to trade bacon for. Further, the antic-based ad received coverage from mainstream news sources such as The Huffington Post. Sure, bacon’s already having a cultural moment, but, despite a hard year for farms, Oscar Mayer took advantage of the zeitgeist and created a bacon story that people would follow, increasing the social networking of their brand.

Etsy

As the go-to hub for handcrafted and vintage goods, Etsy and Pinterest are a match made in heaven and the brand has taken advantage of the naturalness of that pairing. The brand uses pinboards on Pinterest to showcase goods as well as how-tos and informative pieces from their blog. Their popular treasuries and gift guides work excellently as pinboards, promoting sales as well as interaction between consumers and the site. Hubspot notes, “You can of course connect to the thousands of items for sale on its ecommerce site, but Etsy’s account also shows you how you can make your own products and how to put their products to work in your daily life, which again, emphasizes the lifestyle philosophy that Pinterest promotes.” In this way, the brand uses Pinterest to make already existing components of their site more accessible and bookmarkable for users.

Even if you don’t have the budget or base of one of these big brands, you can still make social media work for you. Check out our Social Media Tips for Small Businesses for ideas on how to amplify your voice in social networking. Or, see Mashable’s Infographic on Social Media Marketing for must-have facts about social networking. ~Kasey

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Filed under Business Strategy, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube