Improving Your Content Visuals

MainImage_we are a visual culture

Image Source: This is Infinite

Millions of online content are being consumed day by day. Social media has played a big part of this development as it made everything more accessible to most people. A lot of every day web users rely on the Internet for reading, browsing through and sharing news, trending topics and others. However, not all content stand out. A study by Skyword reported that articles with at least one image have 70% more views than those without.

I recently read an interesting article from Search Engine Journal that highlights the importance of content visuals. The article made so much sense to us that we wanted to share the key points with you.

Fix broken images
Some images do not load in other browsers. Images could be broken for several possible reasons. The most common reasons are (1) image may not exist or (2) the file path may be incorrect. It will be good to preview your content using several browsers to check if the images actually work. Also, avoid linking image files from your computer. Upload it to the back end and insert directly to your post.

Mind the size
Your photo may look really pretty in thumbnail size but what if I clicked on the “enlarge” button? Make sure your photo is just the right size. If it’s too small, it might be pixelated when enlarged. If it’s too big, it might take a long time to load the image. Very large images also slow down loading time of a page. A study from Kissmetrics reveals that a one-second delay in page response time can reduce conversions by 7%.

good image in small size

Image Source: Search Engine Journal

bad image in large size

Image Source: Search Engine Journal

Keep it relevant
Do not insert a cat image—no matter how adorable those eyes are—if you are writing about, say, poverty. Your images should all be related to your headline. Amateur images may also discourage readers to continue reading or to visit your page again; which brings us to our next point.

Fluffy cat with adorable eyes

Image Source: I Dress My Pets

Make it appealing
You don’t have to be a pro-photographer to get the perfect images you want. Keep your camera lens clean and aim for good framing. A little editing from your internal designers will help fix the edges and the colors. The Rule of Thirds is also a something you should practice. It gives a decent emphasis on the subject and while taking in the background.

Use your alt texts properly
It pays well to label your images properly using alt texts. Just in case the image does not show up, the alt text will give them an idea about what they’re supposed to be seeing. You do not have to go heavy on keywords. Your alt text may even include image location and the name of the photographer. What’s important is that your alt text should help Google identify that you are using a unique image.

Where to find the right images
There are a lot of paid and free image resources online such as Wikimedia Commons and Compfight to name two. You may also grab images from your fans on Instagram and Twitter. After all, sharing is a common practice online. Just be sure to acknowledge your image sources every time. Of course, it would still be good to produce and use your own images. This may require adjusting your budget but if it promises 70% more views, why not?

An enormous number of content is being generated from mobiles, laptops, computers, and apps every minute. The competition is endless. Content creators should, therefore, persevere in doing everything they can to get their content on top.

 

Visuals matter and we hope that this blog posts helped illuminate some of the reasoning behind this as well as some techniques for how to maximize the impact of your visual assets.  We leave you with a video from a marketing consultant Jay Baer with similar views on this topic.

The Improvements to Facebook Embedded Posts

Facebook Embedded posts allows you to easily embed public posts from Facebook to your blog or website. It was back in 2013 when Facebook initially launched this feature but recently Facebook flaunted some big and promising  improvements not only on the design but also on load times and the customization of width per user. Let’s go ahead and discuss what these mean..

“A new design that puts visual content first”

Yes, Facebook is now taking visuals more seriously than ever. We all know that posts that include media content such as photos and videos are more engaging than lengthy texts. Now, Facebook has listened and have updated Facebook Embedded Posts to show images and videos above the post’s text. Here’s an example:

Faster Load Speed

Facebook promises that Embedded Posts now load up to twice as fast compared to its first release. This is pretty good news especially when your article calls out for embedding multiple Facebook posts. You can now drop your worry that your reader might get frustrated because of the delays. Now, who wouldn’t love that? Again, thanks to the geniuses behind it – the Facebook engineers!

Default Width Per Publisher

Facebook now saves the width that you set when configuring the embed plugin so that you don’t have to set it again for future embeds. Say, you set it to 500px width when you use it today, next time you embed a post the width is still set to 500px – saving you the hassle of setting up the width again that best matches your blog. This is a very small update but indeed useful. We love it when things are made as easy as they should be.

facebook_embed_width

New Resources to Discover Posts that are Worth Embedding

Want to be kept in the loop of what’s going on  around the web? This update is for you! A total lifesaver especially when you want to be on top of latest events and trending topics that you’d like to share with your followers. Here are the two new resources that can turn you to a news anchor:

  • FB Newswire – a resource that makes it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook pages and people around the web.
  • Trending – shows you the most popular topics that are being talked about on Facebook, the coolest thing about it? It’s displayed on the right side of your News Feed. While this feature has not been rolled out to all countries, we believe that it has a lot of potential and should be made available to everyone.

Analysis

We think that Facebook is trying to be more adaptive in everything that users are looking for. They have a good understanding that each user has different needs and skills, and so they’re making things more customizable and at the same time user-friendly. Their focus on improving the design is impressive, however, tweaking it most of the time leads to users asking for more enhancements in the future.

Questions and Predictions

A few things we have in mind…

How far will Facebook go in terms of enabling the user to customize the Embedded Posts? Will they stick to their branding or will they allow users to customize it even more to match the user’s/company’s branding? An added CSS stylesheet, perhaps?

Currently, users are redirected to the Facebook post when they click on the Embedded Post in a blog. In the future, will users be able to like/comment on the post directly in the blog post where it is embedded? We’d love to see an update soon where the embedded post functions more than just a hyperlinked image.

How far will it take for the Trending feature to be rolled out to the entire public? This one is really promising and shouldn’t take too long before the excitement fades out.

Any other questions or predictions you see in the future? We’d like to hear them so please leave a comment below and let’s keep the ball rolling. We’re pretty sure Facebook has a lot more exciting updates for us soon!

References:
https://www.facebook.com/help/1401671260054622
https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2014/06/11/improvements-to-embeds/
http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/11/facebook-overhauls-embedded-posts-with-killer-new-features/

Influencer Marketing: What It Is and How To Make It Successful

Influencer marketing has been around for quite some time but many do not fully understand what it is and its worth. Let’s take a closer look on what we should know and how to use that knowledge moving forward.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves the process of developing relationships with influential people who influence your target market’s buying decisions. You want to find individuals who have a voice in your industry who in return can do the talking for you.  Instead of reaching only your current audience/followers, you reach out to a couple of influencers and they give you the potential to reach their followers, which could be double, triple or even ten times greater than your current following. Now doesn’t this sound great and more efficient?

Who are the Influencers?

Well, why don’t we take it from Jess Estrada, the founder of Fresh Jess Media, the lifestyle blog Fresh Jess, and an influencer marketing pro.

jess_estrada

Why Brands Should Care About Influencers?

Well, we let the data do the talking..

influencer_infographic

 

How Can These Influencers Help Your Brand?

There are different ways these influencers can help you in getting more exposure and being known in the industry. Here are some of them:

  • They can write about you – Needless to say, influencers are well-trusted in the industry. So once they write about you on an article/blog post, it’s so much like recommending you to their audience and you will finally get the spotlight that you’ve been rooting for.
  • Permit you to guest blog on their website – Their site is already established and have proven to be a great source of quality content, so once you get your content up there, you are instantly sharing the credibility with them.
  • Share information about you on their social media channels – Apart from the blog followers, they also have a good amount of followers in their social media channels. Convince them to share some news about your company in these channels and tag your company if possible.

 

The process of reaching out and partnering with an influencer shouldn’t expected to be easy. It could be tough but it’s certainly worth it once you have created a partnership to help get your brand name out there through someone your audience trusts. To cut it short, give the influencer all the reasons why he/she needs to partner with you and do not expect to get a “YES” each time. If you don’t get an answer, keep looking and work on improving your online presence.

How Can We Make a Successful Influencer Marketing Plan?

The key in every process to make it successful is to plan strategically. And as you go along, this plan could change according to the results of your efforts. What matter is you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. Here’s a guide on how to get started:

Define your target audience.

Identifying who your target audience is is the first step in mapping out a marketing plan. If you don’t have a firm understanding yet of who this is, dig deeper in the results of your past content and check out who’s clicking on them. For example, Facebook analytics allows you to see valuable data of your audience such as age, gender and location.

Find the influencers and build a relationship with them.

Now, this is where it gets tedious. Got patience? Well you might need more because it’s not going to be easy. Avoid sending a cold email and expecting to get a response. Remember that building your credibility and presence online should not solely rely on the influencers. Be engaging and create quality content in order to be noticed. Here are a few steps to help you connect with influencers:

  • Engage using social media. Share their posts that you find interesting and leave a comment why you think the post is worth sharing. Feel free to provide your own insights, however make sure that you comments are based on facts and well-thought of. Tag them if possible for higher chances of getting noticed.
  • Don’t be freaky, do not focus on just one person. If you keep sharing stuff from the same person over and over again, at some point you start to look like a stalker. Work with other authors who may not be as famous but could be valuable.
  • Seek for the opportunity of meeting in person. Attend conferences where these influencers are usually invited. Personal interactions are more tangible than online conversations. Influencers are great people to talk with and they are often considerate to people who come to them because they know how hard it is to get where they are. You just need to show that you’re worth connecting with.
  • Be consistent. This is one of the most common mistakes marketers commit. Once you’re able to connect with influencers and they start sharing your content, keep in touch and never abandon the relationship.

Why Other Brands Are Not Successful

Other brands are not successful because it’s either that they rely too much on the impact of influencer marketing or once they are connected with the influencer, they neglect the importance of staying in touch and they just abandon the relationship.

Always remember that building a credible online reputation is your responsibility. Providing solid and valuable content is the best way to establish yourself online. Do not forget that influencer marketing is only a way of enhancing your reputation and it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy.

Got any tips you’d like to share with us? We’re always happy to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below!

References:

5 Powerful WordPress Plugins for SEO

Plugins are undoubtedly helpful in maintaining a WordPress site which is not only user-friendly but also SEO-friendly. But out of over 33,000 downloadable plugins (at the time of writing) in the WordPress directory, what are the powerful WordPress plugins for SEO? We’ve come up with a list below of some of the most powerful WordPress plugins for SEO that we can highly recommend. This is in no particular order as we believe that each of them is unique, useful and a must-have.

5 Powerful WordPress Plugins for SEO

yoast

WordPress SEO By Yoast

What’s SEO without this ultimate SEO weapon? We’re not suprised at all that this awesome plugin already has over 12 million downloads (at the time of writing). This plugin is very easy to use and takes away the hassle of technical implementation of SEO. WordPress SEO by Yoast handles every SEO element you need for your site, from setting your keyword to adding a custom meta title and description. It deals with all the SEO configurables you could ever think of for a WordPress site.

redirection

Redirection

One of the most useful and practical plugins out there is the Redirection plugin. Bad link is obviously not good for SEO and neither it is for user experience. The Redirection plugin monitors and keeps track of all 404 errors and allows you to easily correct them with 301 redirects. You can even set it to automatically create 301 redirection whenever a post’s or page’s URL changes. It’s definitely a life-saver especially when migrating a website.

w3

W3 Total Cache

Site speed plays a big role in getting good search engine rankings – this is where W3 Total Cache plugin gets into the picture. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving the server performance, reducing the download times and allowing the integration of content delivery network or what we commonly known as CDN. It promises 10x improvement in your overall site performance if configured properly.

pagination

Simple Pagination

Did you know that pagination plays a crucial part in SEO? Yes, you read that right. Apart from user experience that you can get from adding pagination to your website, Google has always recommended that pages do not include more than 100 links in order for spiders to easier crawl and capture the site’s architecture. This SEO best practice is made easy by the Simple Plagination plugin. One thing we also love about this plugin is that even if it’s pretty enough and comes with 6 stylesheets, it’s highly customizable to your needs.

simple_share

Simple Share Buttons Adder

Adding sharing capability to your website is obviously a great way to increase traffic and improve your SEO value. The study conducted by Searchmetric reported that social sharing behavior is even more strongly correlated with high page rank. The Simple Share Buttons Adder plugin makes everything simple and easy. In a few clicks, you will be able to make your site more powerful. The best thing about this among other social sharing plugins is that it is very flexible, it allows you to pick an image set that best suits your design or if you’re still not satisfied, you can just create your own! That’s one of the things we look for when searching for plugins, the functionality and the flexibility of the design.

There you have it – our favorite WordPress weapons slash plugins for SEO! Do you have a similar SEO plugins list that you’d like to share with us? Leave your link below so we can have a look.

References:
NeedTagger
searchmetrics
Search Engine Land

How to get a topic trending on Twitter

HOW TO TREND ON TWITTER

Yes, that is the question everyone asks. Getting a hashtag to trend is by no means an easy job, and most attempts fail miserably.

Trending topics are a huge addiction on Twitter. They are like eating chocolates. Once you get a taste, you want more. Some even tag it as the daily Oscars of Twitter – the most popular things people are tweeting about at any given moment. And if you hit the right volume, it will be featured on Twitter’s list of most discussed topics. So, when does a hashtag become a trending topic? What can you do to make a topic trend on Twitter? Let’s take a closer look to understand the basic guidelines for how to get a topic trending on twitter.

1) You cannot trend a topic if you tweet more frequently.

You think adding a hashtag to every tweet will make it to the trends list? Nope, that’s not how it works. Hashtags have to be diverse and collective. You have to make sure that more and more people are using the same hashtag, more frequently at a steady pace.

TIP: Gather your friends or the people of same interest who can really support you or make the conversion more interesting so that more and more people can use that hashtag. If possible, ask influential folks on Twitter to support you. Get him interested to your topic and convince him to retweet a few tweets of yours with the hashtag.

2) The number of people tweeting about a hashtag matters

Yep, that’s right. The most important factor for a topic to trend depends on how many person are tweeting about it. Let’s put it this way, it’s ideal to have a hundred people tweet about a single hashtag less frequently, than 5-10 people tweeting the same hashtag more frequently to make it trend.

TIP: Look for the right parties and individuals who relate well with your topic to help you spread the buzz. Tag and invite groups who are truly interested in the hashtag who can share relevant content and information. Also, use other social media networks to invite your friends, agencies and companies to join the hashtag.

3) Time Zones matter

Try to start your trend in a time zone that’s beneficial for your audience. Avoid times when when major news stories are trending. After all, you cannot expect to out-tweet Justin Bieber’s latest breakup or an NFL premiere.

TIP: Avoid the U.S. east and west coast prime times. It’s easier for foreign trends to rise up, particularly locally, when most of the United States is asleep. Here’s a research which tells you the best time to tweet.

 

Additional tips:

  • Have a personal approach. Give your followers an impression that you are a real human being. Provide fun tweets to your followers. Aside from informative tweets, show some emotion in the tweets so that you will seem more friendly and approachable to your potential followers.
  • Ask your followers to “Please retweet”.  According to this article, two of the top five most common words that will get you a retweet are “Please retweet” or “Please RT.” This technique is simple and effective. And it should always be incorporated with a prize for the most retweeted tweet.
  • Pre-plan quality tweets. If you just have an event hashtag, help people participate by giving them something to retweet. These will make sure they get featured as “top tweets” for the trend. It would be also good if you consider running an ad against your hashtag.

So there you have it, some clues on how to make a trending topic on Twitter. These are some tips that I’ve seen work. What are your recommendations? Let us know in the comment below.

5 Facebook Post Strategies for Better Engagement

Many if not all people measure Facebook engagement by the number of likes and shares that their posts get. While this isn’t a bad idea, we still believe in the power of using Facebook post strategies to engage in real conversations. This not only helps you gather likes today but also enables you to build  better and longer relationships. We love the idea of firing up a conversation that most people can relate to. Let’s go down to those ideas so you can get started right away.

Strategy #1: Image Quotes

Quotes in an image have been around for some time simply because it is effective in capturing people’s emotions. Combining quotes with a question does wonders in getting people to converse with you. People often feel something similar to what others feel but putting those into words are never easy so a simple quote can make them feel that it’s not a lonely world after all. Take a look at the example below from Amy Porterfield, Social Media Strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. image_quotes

Strategy #2: Commend Someone Special To You

People love it when they’re recognized for their awesomeness. Aside from the fact that you get to give recognition to people that matter to you, the opportunity to spotlight people in your life with meaningful posts and messages also serves as a great way to be known as someone very grateful and appreciative of people around you. Aside from the fact that those special people deserve to be acknowledged, it communicates to your audience the type of person that you are. The example below from Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg says it all. commend_someone

Strategy #3: Commend a Group of People

Similar to the second strategy but this time putting an amazing group of people instead of an individual to the spotlight. Doing this not only gives you the opportunity to give recognition to a group but also gives you exposure to a larger audience. If you get lucky, maybe some of your audience is part of that group you’re commending and will appreciate the recognition you’re giving them. See below example how marketing expert, Stu McLaren, did it quite well for single parents.

commend_a_group

Strategy #4: Be Human – Share Your Moments of Joy and Even Sadness

No matter how successful or unsuccessful each of us are, at the end of the day we are all human! While some people want to talk strictly business using their page, we believe that being too professional prevents establishing deeper connections. After all, Facebook is naturally meant for socializing, not plain business marketing. Showing your human side and relating to other people’s emotions help you establish a lifelong connection with your audience. Michele Cushatt, a motivational speaker, author and content consultant, knows exactly how it is to build deep connections. She spreads happiness, motivation and courage through her posts. Just by going through her wall, you get a very deep sense of what kind of person she is and how she values her family more than anything else in the world.

be_human

Strategy #5: Embrace Your Vulnerability

Yes, you read that right. It is when you become too perfect that you lose connection with people. Either your ego feel too good to be with random people or they think you’re too good to be true. Always remember that being vulnerable is part of life and that’s what makes us all human. When you do share it, people connect with your message because they can relate and they’re glad that they aren’t alone. See simple but clever example below from Michele Cushatt once again.

 

vulnerability

Conclusion

Finding the balance between business and life for content is important in sending across the right message. Don’t be afraid to experiment because if you do get scared, it won’t surely do you bad but it also won’t do you any good. When using social media, always remember that you’re talking to people which means emotions are going to get involved whether we like it or not. Being too salesy or too aggressive in impressing your audience won’t look good on you.

Got additional Facebook post strategies you’d want to share with us? We’ll be happy to hear them so please leave a comment below.

 

The Newly Unlocked Twitter Analytics Dashboard: What to Expect

Analyzing data is addictive. Knowing how your tweets perform gives you the opportunity to improve your strengths and work on your weak points. Comparing how one tweet performs over the other is a good way to evaluate what went right on the former and what went wrong on the latter. Back in July, Twitter launched their very own analytics dashboard. It’s pretty much like Google Analytics for tweets, it allows you to track the performance of each and every tweet you sent. The not-so-cool part? It was only open to advertisers and verified users. Yeah we totally get the frustration but hey, not anymore!

Just last month, Twitter opens analytics dashboard to everyone! That means we can all start squeezing the juice out out of the sexy Twitter analytics data. The dashboard is now activated for accounts that have been open for at least 14 days and primarily tweets in English, French, Japanese, or Spanish. The dashboard of course is not available to accounts that are restricted, protected, or suspended.

What to Expect and How to Use It

1) The Tweet Activity Dashboard shows you detailed information about how your tweets are performing.

Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

You can instantly see and compare impressions, total engagements and Retweets month over month. You can also open the Tweet details page to view how many Retweets, replies, favorites, follows, link clicks, and embedded media clicks each Tweet received. Another thing we love is that you can export the metrics data into a CSV file, which gives you the opportunity to use it if you would like to create your own custom report.

2) The Followers Dashboard allows you learn more about your current audience.

analytics_fullservice_followers

Image Source: Twitter

You can track the brand’s follower growth and shows a breakdown of your followers, including interests, location, and gender. This gives you the opportunity to better understand the strategy you need to impose on the network.

3) The Websites section allows you to track Website URL mentions and clicks.

You can add domains for your brand’s websites to the analytics dashboard to track how often URLs are mentioned in Tweets and clicks to your sites. This is a good way for you to measure the traffic that you’re bringing to your site from your tweets.

4) Twitter Card analytics provides insight into how your Twitter Cards are being shared

Twitter Cards allow you to attach rich media experiences to Tweets about your content. Once you have a better understanding, you can work on improving on the metrics that matter such as URL clicks, app install attempts and Retweets.

You can start playing around with the newly unlocked Twitter analytics dashboard here.

References: