Archive for July, 2013

July 31, 2013

How to Use Instagram Video to Grow Your Brand

How to Use Instagram Video to Grow Your BrandGuest post by Ryan Harris.Photo-sharing app Instagram, best known for vintage filters and pictures of food, lets smartphone users take higher quality and better looking photos from their mobile cameras.Instagram is easy to use. Take a picture on your phone. Crop it, rotate it, and apply a filter. Maybe add a frame. Then upload your creation to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, or Foursquare.On June 20, Instagram got a makeover of its own when it launched Video for Instagram. The update allows users to record, modify, and upload 15-second videos.Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kobe Bryant, and Madonna, along with millions of other Instagram users, have already used Video for Instagram. Five million videos were uploaded just 24 hours after the launch.Madonna on Instagram video

Hard candy booty pop up class! Getting ready in the bathroom! NY her I Come ! by @madonna

Facebook owns Instagram, and Instagram alone has over 130 million active users. Its visibility, volume, and name recognition make it a great tool for businesses looking to grow their brand. Use Instagram with Facebook, and you have instant access to an audience of over 1 billion.Video for Instagram provides an even better marketing platform. As TV advertisers have known for decades, videos are one of the best ways to connect with customers. They’re more dynamic, more entertaining, and more interactive.And Video for Instagram has its competitors, including Twitter’s video-sharing app Vine, beat. Instagram has a lot more users – 130 million to Vine’s 13 million. And Instagram allows videos up to 15 seconds – the same length as a standard TV commercial. That’s a lot more air time than Vine’s 6 seconds, and a lot more space to creatively promote your brand.

How to create video on Instagram

Know your audience. Instagram users are young, hip, and savvy. They’re up on the latest trends. They value clean, simple aesthetics, and they like Instagram’s vintage feel. Market your Instagram videos to match them.Know your Instagram. Instagram provides tools to help make your videos look good. Shoot in a continuous stream or short snapshots. Adjust the color with one of 13 new filters. Choose a cover image that makes your video stand out. And you can even automatically steady shaky hands with the Cinema feature.Entertain. Do it right, and you can captivate even the shortest attention spans with your videos. Be original – no one wants to see recycled content. Be authentic.  Instagram is more about amateur art than cheesy advertising.Stay relevant. Instagram users know it best – Internet fads can be over in the blink of an eye. So be timely and relevant. Your audience knows what’s going on in the worlds of fashion, technology, and social media, and so should you.Video for Instagram has only been around for a short time. But many brands, from upscale clothing designers to sports teams, have already mastered the art. Check out these recent Instagram videos for inspiration:

Burberry was already one of the best brands on Instagram. But they cemented their spot at the top with their first Instagram video, a series of short scenes from a menswear show in London. The video includes snippets of music and conversation and London landmarks – and, of course, gorgeous Burberry products.

Burberry on Instagram

Ebay gets the simplicity of Instagram with their first video, posted the day after Video for Instagram’s launch. Captioned “Make the most of the longest day of the year,” the video shows a beach with the word “#ebay” written in the sand. A wave washes over the text, and the video pans out to a shot of crashing waves on a sunny day.

Ebay on Instagram

The New York Yankees recently posted an Instagram video of former player Paul O’Neill in batting practice. The video, which shows O’Neill laughing and celebrating after hitting one out of the park, is spot on. It appeals to baseball fans both young and old, and it perfectly captures the joy and enthusiasm of the moment.

New York Yankees on Instagram

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About Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris is an Internet marketing strategist and copywriter who specializes in helping business owners on a budget leverage the power of social media to develop brands and build loyalty. He writes for a wide array of tech sites including Connect with Ryan on Twitter or directly via email.

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July 31, 2013

Advertising: How Consumers Won the War for Their Attention

In this epic, must-see presentation, Hubspot explores the ENTIRE history and evolution of advertising to unveil how a comprehensive (yet digestible) timeline of advertising milestones led to an epidemic of consumer indifference, as well as what marketers can do about it to reach consumers in the years ahead.

Don’t be discouraged by the 472 slides — 29.39% of those are dedicated to awesome pictures and animations that make this a breeze to get through. Download a free copy of this presentation + a printable advertising timeline.

Here are 20 fascinating facts included:

Advertising has existed as far back as 3000 BC!63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5 times before they actually believe it.You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.The first newspaper ad was in 1650 to offer a reward for 12 stolen horses.The first professional advertising agency was launched in 1841 in Philly. Advertising first became an academic discipline in 1900 at Northwestern.Unilever & JWT first partnered in 1902, creating the longest relationship in advertising history.A baby formula brand was the first to sponsor a blimp (in 1902).The first ad agency to launch a product was JWT on behalf of P&G in 1911, for their product Crisco.The first radio ad spot was offered in 1922: $100 for ten minutes!In 1929, Lucky Strike spent $12.3M on ads, the most in history to that point to promote just one product.The first TV ad was for Bulova Clocks & reached 4000 TVs.In 1946, the U.S. had 12 TV stations. By 2011? 1,700. Caller ID has been around to spot telemarketers since 1981.In 1993, the entire internet had 5 million users — or 0.45% of Facebook’s current user base.The first email spam was sent by Canter & Siegel law firm in 1994.In 1998, the average consumer saw 3,000 marketing messages per day.In 2009, the FTC instituted a series of regulations banning untruthful customer testimonials.In 2011, there were over 1 trillion pages online. That’s 417 pages for every 1 person!Google’s Eric Schmidt cites that “Every 2 days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.

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July 30, 2013

Infographic: What $100,000 in Advertising Buys

Spend $100k and you get a two-sided direct mail postcard sent to 100,000 people. $100k will get 4 broadcast commercial spots on Bravo seen by 1.85 million. $150k can get you one day of sponsored Twitter trends, an exposure of 18 million Twitterers. $200k will get you a Facebook display ad campaign seen by 266 million.

Marketers are feeling the effects of a shifting digital demographic. But breaking down the numbers highlights how transformative the mass media disruptions have become, as new channels wage an all-out war for our attention. How can we navigate this endless stream of choice to our advantage and make smarter marketing choices?


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July 30, 2013

Monetize Your Platform: How to Grow Sales With Your Online Platform

By Michael Stelzner
Published July 19, 2013 Printer-Friendly

Have you built your own platform?

Are you wondering how to monetize it?

To learn how you can use your platform to generate real revenue for your business, I interview David Siteman Garland for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview David Siteman Garland, who is the host of The Rise To The Top podcast. His video and audio podcasts are focused on equipping bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers to grow a sustainable business with their platforms. He also wrote the book Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business.

David shares how he grew his platform and the various ways he has monetized it.

You’ll learn how to get started generating revenue and the price points you need to look at.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Podcast: Play in new window | Download You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Why people struggle to make money with their platform

David says it’s a classic problem for most people. The platform space falls into two different categories.

The first one is when it’s a hobby. Here people have great content but don’t know what to do with it.

The second one is where you have the classic “Internet marketers” who have figured out how to make money but their content isn’t great.

David’s advice to those who have great content but struggle to make money is you have to remember that you’re positioned extremely well. If you have great content that’s a side hobby, you can turn it into a legitimate six-figure–plus business.

David started out the exact same way. What he and his friends have achieved shows that it’s very attainable.

the rise to the top home page David’s platform, The Rise To The Top.

You’ll discover why it’s a good position to be in if you’re a blogger, podcaster or YouTuber.

A lot of the time, people lack strategy on how to generate revenue. In David’s eyes, the hard part is building your audience, community and trust. Once you have all this in place, the monetization angle can be brought in pretty easily.

The hardest challenge is to start with no platform and no product. If you already have the platform, then you are 50% of the way there.

Listen to the show to find out how you can use technology to accomplish what traditionally businesses had to pay a lot of money for.

What is the platform you have built? 

David started his platform The Rise To The Top in 2008, when it was a simple interview show for entrepreneurs. His show now focuses primarily on what he calls mediapreneurs, who are people with a platform.

He currently has over 7 million community members.

the rise to the top interviews The Rise To The Top started out as an interview show for entrepreneurs.

When David was on the journey of building his platform, he realized he was pretty good at creating content, building his audience and getting out there. The main struggle for him was how to turn it into a sustainable, long-term business.

There are many ways to monetize a platform. It doesn’t come down to which one will be best, it’s more about which one you are really excited about and want to do. You have to feel comfortable with it.

You’ll discover the many ways you can monetize your platform.

From a content perspective, David publishes two brand-new shows every week on his platform. One is an interview and the other is a video for his The Rise To The Top and DSG TV YouTube channel. You’ll discover what both of these involve and the areas he focuses on and why.

Listen to the show to find out how David discovered the options he went with.

What you should do before you monetize your platform

David states that before you monetize your platform, the first thing you need to have is an email subscriber base. He has seen people generate six-figure revenue from hundreds of email subscribers. He has also seen people with 100,000 email subscribers struggle because they didn’t have a great strategy.

rise to the top email subscription Make sure you have an email subscriber base in place first.

It’s important to have a brand in place, which shows your site is legitimate. When people visit your site, it shows them you are serious. This will also increase the likelihood of your success.

Most people right now have something that they can monetize. You’ll find out one of the best ways to discover what you could create and package up to sell.

The main way that David generates revenue with The Rise To The Top is through his online courses. The monetization opportunity was right under his nose all along. You’ll hear how the opportunity came about and what he did to generate revenue.

Listen to the show to find out what the shift was for David and how it helped his business take off.

Various ways to make money with a platform

David talks about how everyone is in different camps when it comes to generating revenue and everyone will tell you that theirs is the best. You have to realize that it’s whatever resonates with you. All of them work in some way. It just depends on where you want to go.

Here is a list of different monetization strategies used by the top mediapreneurs. You’ll hear David give a pro and con for each category.

Sponsorships and advertisingOne-on-one personal coaching or consultingGroup coachingAffiliate dealsOnline events or in-person eventsYour own products

Listen to the show to find out the best option for you, if you have some unique knowledge that people are interested in.

Is it best to do an online course yourself or bring in other experts?

David has seen them done successfully both ways. The advantage with an online course is that you can do a lot of work up front and get paid for it over and over again. As long as you promote well, you can get paid for it without it taking up any more of your time.

These online courses sell at a premium price over any other kind of information product. When you sell something for a premium price, you’ll get premium buyers. You’ll need fewer of them to generate a huge amount of revenue.

the rise to the top products Online courses can generate a huge amount of revenue.

You’ll hear the different ways you can run a live online course and how to deliver it. If you decide to bring in the experts, make sure all the sessions fit together well.

David talks about how he and his customers/clients have the same goals, which is to generate freedom for themselves. You’ll find out why David loves this option the most.

When David created his Create Awesome Interviews course, he prepared every single thing in advance. Everyone got access on the first day and for those who bought within the first 10 days of launch, he offered bonus Q&A sessions. It’s a great way to reward the early buyer.

create awesome interviews The Create Awesome Interviews online course was all prepared well in advance of the launch.

Listen to the show to find out what David did with the Create Awesome Interviews course that took it from a $20K-$30K product to several $100K.

How do you decide what to charge?

David believes that there isn’t a magic number when it comes to knowing what to charge, but there is a magic philosophy.

You want to be at the premium end of your market. Besides the premium buyer and the effort you will put into this course, it comes down to positioning as well. Do you want to be the cheapest on the block or do you want to be at the high end?

offer for create awesome interviews You’ll get better-quality customers when you charge a premium price.

David encourages people to do what he did, which was to look at the top end of his market and his particular customer. You also need to check out other sources and determine those price points. You don’t have to work your way up to that range, you want to be in that price range.

You’ll learn what price range David goes with and a few things to keep in mind if you think you’ll struggle with charging a premium price.

At the end of the day, David encourages you not to sell yourself short. There is a myth out there that people will start with lower-end products before moving to something premium. This has been disproved by himself and others.

The way you feel when you make a sale and know that people are getting results from your help is amazing. You start to take pride in your business and you know that you have something legitimate out there.

Listen to the show to find out what advice Marie Forleo gave David, when he was struggling with choosing a price point.

What do you say to the skeptic right now who thinks “I can’t do this?”

David says that if you believe this, you will be in trouble. He had the same thoughts too when he started out. You just have to go through those objections one by one and think “What is the worst thing that could happen?”

You’ll discover what David believes is the magic sauce and how visualization can help.

Listen to the show to hear two examples that you should visualize to help you move past that mental block. 

I recently discovered a WordPress plugin called jQuery Pin It Button For Images. When anyone visits your website and they hover over an image, a Pin It button will appear. This allows them to Pin It to Pinterest. You can see this in action when you hover the images in this article.

This plugin offers a lot of cool capabilities on the customization side. One of the more important capabilities is that you can set the minimum resolution on which the Pin It button should show up.

jquery pin it button This plugin allows for easy pinning.

You’ll hear what we have it set on at Social Media Examiner and why this works best for us.

Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how this works for you.

Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on monetizing your platform? Please leave your comments below.

Avatar of About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He’s also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by Michael Stelzner »

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July 30, 2013

5 Tips to Bring New Life to Your Social Profiles

By Eric Siu
Published July 9, 2013 Printer-Friendly

social media how toWhen was the last time you updated your social media profiles?

Are they starting to feel drab or dated?

Your social profiles may be in dire need of a refresh!

And are you sharing the types of updates tailored to the latest platform designs and suited for today’s social media marketing?

With recent changes to major platforms, you may be missing out on using some of the cool new options.

To freshen up your social media profiles and take advantage of the latest updates, implement any of the following five ideas.

Google+ social profiles were recently redesigned. This represents a great opportunity to freshen up your Google+ profile and review your Google+ content strategy!

new google plus design The new Google+ design features 1, 2 or 3 columns of content, depending on the device being used.

Here are a few tweaks you can make to spice up your new Google+ profile.

Add a new high-resolution cover image. The current Google+ design standards require an image that’s at least 480×270 pixels. However, since these images can be blown up for much larger display sizes in some browsers, this is a great opportunity to update your profile with a new high-resolution photo.

Add larger media to the items you post. Some picture and video “cards” (Google-speak for the individual items that appear in the stream) display across multiple columns, giving users greater exposure to them. While visitors can’t control which items appear wider than others, you can increase your odds of having your content featured by changing the size of the images and videos you share to be at least 480×270 pixels.

Here’s an example from HubSpot:

full width google plus This image demonstrates what a full-width card looks like in the new Google+.

Add images to every post. The new Google+ design is all about visual content, so give Google what it wants by adding pictures or video files to every update you post. Visuals are a great way to make your profile appear more lively and engaging.

You’ll be taking advantage of the new features available with the new Google+ design and your profile will stand out above the others.

In December of last year, LinkedIn started rolling out the ability to add photos, videos and other types of rich media to profiles. But few eligible users are currently taking advantage of this opportunity!

If you’re serious about adding punch to both your personal and professional social profiles, adding media to your LinkedIn profile is an easy way to do it.

To see if you have access to these features, log into your profile and click the pencil icon found in the Edit Profile area of your Summary, Expertise and Experience sections. If you see a small icon labeled “Add Media,” you’ll be able to add rich media to create a freshened up professional profile on LinkedIn.

linkedin feature Note – LinkedIn is still rolling out this feature. If you don’t have access yet, be patient!

You’ll want to add some relevant rich media elements to your LinkedIn profile to look good and stand out.

Twitter profile headers have been available for quite a while, though the large number of plain grey rectangles still evident on user profiles indicates that this feature hasn’t yet been widely adopted.

To give your Twitter profile a quick graphic boost, create a custom header that communicates your personality or your brand’s messaging. Here’s an example of a fun header graphic.

coca cola twitter header Coca Cola’s Twitter header combines images and popular brand iconography.

If you’d like to create your own Twitter header to freshen up your profile, check out the free Twitter Header Creator tool.

Make sure you’re Twitter profile page looks good and add an engaging header image.

Social media users have noted that Google+’s latest redesign makes it look more like Pinterest. And Pinterest has moved forward with its own redesign. Its new design features simplified navigation, larger “pins” and enhanced social sharing tools – elements that are bound to please users.

What’s interesting, though, is that instead of rolling out the new look to all users, it’s currently offered on an opt-in basis. To gain access to these features, you’ll need to click the Get it Now button that appears at the top of your profile upon login.

pinterest get it now button To view Pinterest’s new look, click the red Get it Now button that appears upon login.

Because updating only changes the way your profile looks to you, why bother taking this step, and how does it allow you to freshen up your own profile?

What’s special about the site’s redesign is how easy it makes the discovery of new Pinterest boards and pinners. By upgrading to the new look, you’ll be able to form new connections and source even more interesting pins, making your own profile a more interesting resource for your followers.

You’ll want to update your Pinterest experience by adopting the new design.

One final way to freshen up your social profiles is to introduce Vine videos to your Twitter feed.

Vine videos are quick, looping videos that consist of six seconds maximum of video and audio content. As an example, take the popular “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” Vine – a recent viral success:

vine video of ryan gosling This popular Vine shows how effective six seconds of film can be in connecting with your audience.

Making Vine videos doesn’t require much time or money, as six seconds isn’t nearly enough time to develop a complex storyline or plot.

Create your own Vine video as a fast and easy way to freshen up your Twitter feed and engage your audience with visual content.

Your Turn

Use these five creative ways to make your social profiles more appealing today. Social interaction will continue to evolve around your social profiles, so remember to keep an eye open for the next design changes and new ways to share engaging content.

What do you think? Can you think of any other ways to freshen up a boring, out-of-date social profile? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments below!

Avatar of About the Author, Eric Siu

Eric Siu is an entrepreneur and internet marketer based in Los Angeles. He co-runs Storemapper, a store locator widget for e-commerce stores and other businesses. Other posts by Eric Siu »

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July 29, 2013

6 Ways to Use Facebook Apps for Business

By Jim Belosic
Published July 11, 2013 Printer-Friendly

social media toolsDoes your business leverage the power of Facebook apps?

Wondering how other businesses are using apps to better serve their customers?

Keep reading to discover many ways businesses are using Facebook apps.

There are many reasons why you may want to consider using Facebook apps. They can provide communication between your customers and your customer service team, allow people to sign up for and receive your newsletter or provide your customers with special rewards.

Each of these uses can help you create a deeper relationship with your customers and foster brand loyalty. If you use a fangate to conceal the content on strategic app tabs from non-fans, you can also increase the number of likes your Page is getting.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 ways to successfully use Facebook apps to build the reputation of your brand and reach your customer service goals.

Email remains a very popular marketing tool and sending interested users email updates in the form of a newsletter keeps them in the know about your business.

Use a newsletter signup app to collect email addresses so you have an additional way to communicate with your customers when they leave Facebook. You can even ask people to like your Page to reveal the newsletter signup form.

Publish status updates to tease newsletter content and then direct your fans to the app where they can sign up to receive the full newsletter.

The popular yoga and music festival, Wanderlust, has events all over North America, all year long. Wanderlust uses a newsletter signup app as a way to stay connected with fans and tell them what’s happening where and when.

wanderlust app Wanderlust’s app is nothing fancy, just a simple form to keep their fans in the loop of upcoming events.

The easier you make it for people to get in touch with you, the better.

Use a “contact us” app to allow your fans and customers to get in touch with representatives in specific departments within your company. This type of app helps you streamline the contact process and direct fans straight to whomever handles sales, customer support, press inquiries, etc.

You can link to this type of app whenever someone comments on a status update or asks for more information, keeping them inside your Facebook “property.”

Don’t let your timeline become a tech support forum—move the conversation to another channel. Use a customer service app to offload conversations that don’t need to take place on your timeline.

AOL knows their fans might be coming to their Facebook Page to receive customer support. To make it easier, they have built a customer service app that allow fans to submit their questions straight from Facebook. They also direct fans to their other customer support channels from within the app.

aol app AOL has an app that hosts a simple customer support form dedicated to its Mail product.

Small business owners who wear many hats should definitely use an app that will allow clients/customers to request or book appointments and reservations via Facebook.

You can ask for name, telephone number and times that customers want to come and then call them to book or confirm an appointment. This app is ideal for anyone who is in the service business, restaurants, hair salons, cleaning services, etc.

You can also iFrame in a more sophisticated reservation system that will actually make the reservation for your customers with something like OpenTable.

The Piano Bar uses their reservations app to book reservations and it also features an interactive map that directs customers to the restaurant.

piano bar app Piano Bar makes it easy for fans to find the restaurant once they’ve made a reservation.

There are certain times of the year when brands and businesses want to capitalize on upcoming holidays.

Halloween, Thanksgiving and the variety of December holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, etc.) are the obvious ones, but there are plenty of others throughout the year.

In the U.S., there are always huge retail sales events for President’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Then there’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July… and the list goes on.

Seasonal apps can feature contests, quizzes, coupons and just about anything else you might want.

The California Avocado Commission uses seasonal apps as a way to keep fans engaging with their Facebook Page all year long. Their current “What’s New” app links to a Fourth of July recipe contest and provides resources for avocado lovers.

california avacado app The California Avocado Commission frequently runs seasonal contests. This one was for the Fourth of July.

Reward your loyal fans and customers with access to special deals with a “Facebook exclusive” app.

Ideally your fans will get into the habit of checking your Page to see if there are offers available only to them. If you’re an e-tailer, you can even link fans from the app to your website where they can buy the deal. offers a “Mystery Discount Coupon” that fans of the brand access from its Facebook Page. Wouldn’t it be cool to discover that your favorite hotel in San Francisco was having a $79 a night special?

hotels app When you first come to the app, they request access to your Facebook Page and then start searching for a deal in your app 2 offers a mystery discount coupon to its fans.

Use a testimonials app where your customers can leave detailed feedback about their experience with your business. This feedback will give you valuable insight into what your existing customers like about your business and products, and what they’d like to see in the future. It’s also a place where they can leave suggestions for things you could do differently.

Your customers’ feedback is essential. Your customers tell you what they like about your product or services and what they don’t. They may also make requests for features they’d like you to add or other changes they’d like to see your company make.

Mutiny Kites, a top quality kitesurfing company, uses a testimonial app to hear about their kites’ performance from their customers. They also list the testimonials they’ve received from other satisfied customers on the same app.

mutiny kites Offering potential customers testimonials and customer feedback can help influence their buying decisions.

ShortStack fangates their testimonial app to grow their fan base while accepting feedback from customers.

shortstack testimonial Once fans “Like” ShortStack, they can give their suggestions for the platform.

Over to You

These are just a few ongoing ways you can use Facebook apps to achieve your business goals. Consider using the apps that best suit your needs. If you want to get started using Facebook apps, here is a comprehensive list on third-party platforms.

Many businesses are using apps every day to create stronger ties with customers and to increase the lines of communication.

What do you think? What apps have you tried? Is there one that you think every business should consider? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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July 29, 2013

How to Choose the Right Type of Facebook Contest

By Emeric Ernoult
Published July 1, 2013 Printer-Friendly

social media how toAre you thinking of launching a Facebook contest or giveaway?

Is your goal focused on recruiting new fans? Collecting qualified emails? Engaging your existing fan base?

How can you be sure the type of contest you choose fits your Page and your goals?

Choosing the right type of contest to run on Facebook can be a challenge.

To help you decide what will work best for your goals, here are six types of contests you can run on Facebook.

A sweepstakes is a great vehicle for collecting email addresses from existing or new fans.

Participants enter and a winner is chosen by a random draw on a specified date.

sweepstakes example A sweepstakes campaign shows your participating friends and provides various sharing features.

Sweepstakes are the contest of choice if you want to maximize the number of participants without spending a lot of time on the effort. But it has its drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know:

The pros: Sweepstakes are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The entry process is generally fast, which helps you to convert a higher percentage of participants and get more fans through the process quickly.

The cons: The user experience is a non-event. And they aren’t always as fun as some other promotion formats, so your participants’ experiences may not make an impression for your brand. A sweepstakes contest is not good for leveraging viral reach through share, invite buttons and any other of Facebook’s automatic sharing options.

If you want your participants to remember you next year, this is not the contest for you!

Instant-win contests are an excellent choice for recruiting new fans and they engage your existing fan base.

Instant-win contests are almost as simple as a sweepstakes, except the contest works like a slot machine. So users know immediately whether they’ve won or lost, and are encouraged to return for another chance.

instant win contest example An instant-win contest where you can see the latest winners.

Due to the fast-paced user experience, you’ll convert new fans more quickly. This promotion format is a little more fun than the sweepstakes, so it’s slightly more memorable and may leave a lasting impression for your brand.

The pros: Instant-win contests are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. This format is a good choice for maximizing the number of participants without your team spending a lot of time and effort on management. The user experience will likely be more memorable than the sweepstakes, as participants will not have to wait to know if they have the winning ticket!

The cons: The instant-win contest still doesn’t cut it as the ultimate brand awareness tool. Given the nature of the contest, you’ll probably not experience high virality through share, invite buttons and other Facebook automatic sharing options.

Choose one of the more “fun” contest options below if you want a contest to help you create brand awareness.

You’ve got a hot product, and your fans can’t wait to share what they’re doing with it! If you’re looking to engage and reward your existing fan base while driving up interactions on your Page, look no further: Facebook loves photo contests!

timeline activity Facebook frictionless sharing will share each participant’s vote on their timeline and on their friends’ ticker and newsfeed. Make sure your contest has frictionless sharing built in.

As votes play a role in the selection of the winners, some people will try to game the system. Be sure to choose an app that has built-in fraud protection and moderation.

photo contest example Here’s an example of a photo contest.

In the image above, the MV Agusta Brutale Page allows fans to showcase their bikes through a photo contest.

The pros: Photo contests are relatively easy for Page admins to set up. An excellent choice to engage your existing fans who must take an active role in the game by submitting their entry and/or voting for others. Fans will remember their experience more than with a contest that does not make them part of the process. Every vote a photo receives will contribute to your Page’s viral reach as the vote is shared on the voter’s timeline, ticker and newsfeed.

The cons: While fans love photo contests, the necessary effort required to enter may inhibit participation of existing and new fans. Poor fan recruitment also means poor email collection. If your goal is to collect a lot of qualified emails, stay away from the photo contest.

Managing a photo contest will require more time and attention than other promotion formats. You’ll have to monitor the game closely, which means you’ll have to spend much more time on the contest than on a simple sweepstakes or instant-win campaign.

Fan vote is the win-win contest for engaging your fan base. You’ll get helpful insights from your customers on your newest product or idea, and your fans get to participate in creating their next purchase.

Simply provide some examples of your next product model, color or menu item, and let your fans choose which one they like best!

fan vote A fan vote can also be just for fun: this fan vote contest lets you choose your favorite president during the 2012 presidential election.

While not as time-consuming as photo contests, fan vote contests come with the same great viral reach opportunity. Every vote will generate a story on Facebook.

The pros: Fan vote contests are easy for Page admins to set up and manage. This type of promotion is easy for fans to participate in, requiring just one vote to participate. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base. Fans who participate are generally interested in the outcome and will remember their experience. Every vote will contribute to your Open Graph viral reach.

The cons: Fan votes offer poor fan recruitment as there is usually nothing to win, but this can be improved by integrating a sweepstakes among your voters.

So far we’ve drawn a line between engaging your fans and recruiting new ones. A quiz does both.

Though quizzes generally don’t have the same draw as a photo or fan vote contest, they can offer a fun experience to the fans you already have. To drive up participation, you may need to offer a mixture of prizes to random participants and your highest scorers.

quiz question An example of a quiz to find out if you’re a Facebook marketing expert.

The pros: Quizzes are excellent for recruiting new fans (for popular organizations or themes) and engaging your existing fan base. The format offers a positive and memorable user experience and promotes viral reach through Facebook sharing options as participants share their score and challenge their friends.

The cons: Quizzes are time-consuming for the Page admin, as they have to write the copy for questions and answers as well as find one visual per question. Quizzes also require more work for setup. Because participants are asked to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions, participation may suffer.

Personality tests are another popular contest for fan engagement.

Brands can create personality profiles that reflect facets of their products and services and fans who take the quiz are given a brand-related personality profile based on their answers.

Participants and their friends love to discover and share each other’s profiles, so you can rack one up for viral reach.

personality test A personality test to discover which kind of Facebook marketer you are.

The pros: Personality tests work well for recruiting new fans and engaging your existing fan base. The format gives each user a positive and memorable user experience. Viral reach is extended through Facebook sharing options as participants share their personality and invite their friends to participate. With a little creativity, this type of contest can be a really fun experience for your fans.

The cons: As with a quiz, a personality test will be more time-consuming for an admin as they will have to write the copy for the questions, answers and profiles, as well as find one visual per question. This format also asks participants to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions so participation may suffer; presenting a creative and/or fun test will be key to getting a good conversion rate.

Don’t approach this type of contest unless you have time to draft creative profiles and questions to associate with them.

Facebook contests are a great way to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The contest you choose should depend on the experience you want to give and the goal you’re trying to achieve.

People who don’t know you well will be more likely to respond to something quick and easy. So when it comes to recruiting new fans, the simpler the contest process the better. The less effort required for people to enter, the bigger the number of participants you’ll have. Aim for a sweepstakes or an instant win.

Think about the experience your contest participants will have and what they will respond best to. When it comes to offering a “fun” experience, contests such as a quiz or personality test are much better options than a sweepstakes or instant win that offer hardly any experience at all.

What do you think? What is your experience with Facebook contests? What contest type do you love or dislike? Let us know in the comments section below!

Avatar of About the Author, Emeric Ernoult

Emeric is the founder of AgoraPulse, a Facebook marketing platform designed for agencies and businesses. He has launched the Facebook Page Barometer, a free tool to measure Facebook Page performance. Other posts by Emeric Ernoult »

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July 28, 2013

How to Use Instagram Video for Marketing

By Mike Gingerich
Published July 8, 2013 Printer-Friendly

social media how toDo you want to share short visual stories with your fans?

Have you experimented with Instagram video?

They recently unveiled a video feature for their mobile app that transforms their already-powerful photo sharing network into a multimedia dynamo!

Combine that with the fact that Instagram offers ease of sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and the future looks bright for marketers who take advantage of the new format to reach their online community.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 ways that you can use the new video feature to create visually compelling stories and promote your brand and marketing message online.

instagram intro Instagram video has some interesting features for social media marketers.

While potentially viewed by outsiders simply as Facebook “catching up” to Twitter’s Vine app, the new Instagram video feature actually offers capabilities that social media marketers will want to note. Here’s a look at what Instagram has to offer.

Length: Instagram Video offers up to 15 seconds of video recording. Vine offers a maximum of 6 seconds.Editing: Instagram offers users the ability to delete a segment from their video. With Vine, users must delete the entire video and start over.Filters: Instagram brings their unique set of custom photo filters to their video tool, enabling users to add a filter to their video. Vine offers no filters at this time.Audience: Instagram is currently used by over 130 million people. Vine’s audience is counted at 13 million users.Integration: The Instagram video feature is housed within the existing Instagram app, making it immediately accessible to all users who update the app. Vine is a stand-alone app.Cover Image Selection: Instagram lets you scroll through stills from the video and easily select the best cover photo for your video. This is important because the first impression can entice your audience to click through to view the video. Vine does not offer this feature.Facebook In-Line Viewing: One of the most important differences is that Instagram videos play in-line on Facebook for desktop users. Like YouTube and Facebook videos, a Facebook user can click and watch the clip right within Facebook. Vine videos must be viewed by clicking out of Facebook. Conversely, it’s worth noting that Instagram videos must be viewed on Twitter by clicking out of Twitter. instagram in facebook Instagram videos play in-line on Facebook.

With its photo features, Instagram already had significant uses for digital marketers. But with the addition of video, that value just grew exponentially!

Here’s an outline of ways you can capitalize on Instagram’s video feature for business.

Sometimes, a simple how-to video can answer your customers’ questions quickly and efficiently. Make a list of the most-asked questions your customer service department gets and use Instagram shorts to answer them.

For example, show how simple your product is to set up. Shoot step-by-step installation video segments and add narrations to give your viewers additional helpful information about your product.

product demo Product demonstration videos can be easily created.

Answering your customers’ questions with a short how-to video is a great way to add value for your community.

If a picture of your work is worth a thousand words, imagine what 15 seconds of video communicates.

Shoot videos of the work you’ve done for recent clients to create a video look-book for potential customers to browse through.

From a coffee shop showcasing the skill of their barista, to a salon showcasing client makeovers, the uses are unlimited!

verve on instagram Capturing creativity can inspire in-store visits.

A short video portfolio is a great way to highlight your work and stand out.

Fifteen seconds is a significant amount of time to promote your special offer or event with video. Flip the camera view mode to add a personal message to the footage of your product special.

Use the description field to emphasize and reinforce the video message and add a hashtag to track conversions or extend your reach.

event promotion Example of event promotion with Instagram video.

A short video of what you have to offer might be just the type of content you need to reach certain audiences.

Invite your audience to submit Instagram video with a hashtag to enter a contest, submit a hiring pitch or promote your live event.

Comedian Louie Anderson asked people to compete for a spot as his opening act in Las Vegas by submitting an audition video with the hashtag #Open4Louie. Louie’s team tracked the hashtag to review each video and reach out to the creators of those they liked.

louie anderson invitation Louie Anderson audition invitation.

Is your audience on Instagram? If so, this might be a great way to engage with them.

We often hear about how brands “need to become human.” Social media has blurred the lines with real-time, real-life engagement between companies and customers, creating a need for companies to be transparent and more open.

Instagram videos offer an opportunity for brands to do this in bite-sized, easily digestible nuggets that showcase their culture and style. They can help differentiate your company from its competitors.

hubspot HubSpot sharing a video of their new office space.

Videos and photos inspire the most engagement (comments, likes and shares) on Facebook. With Facebook integrating Instagram videos from inception, this can be a tool smart marketers use to boost community interaction on Facebook.

post to facebook profile Facebook users can easily post videos to their Facebook page sharing You can also simply use Instagram to copy the video URL and use the Instagram video in a Facebook Page post.

Instagram videos provide another tool for savvy Facebook marketers to use to build engagement with their community.


While the new Instagram video feature was only recently launched, the potential uses are vast! With Instagram already having an active user base of over 130 million users, this new tool offers some rich possibilities for marketers.

What do you think? Have you created any Instagram videos for your company? What results have you seen? Please share your ideas and examples below!

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July 28, 2013

Infographic: Social Media Impact on Commerce

Yesterday, I installed a Belkin F9K1106 Dual Band Range Extender in my parent’s house to try and get a signal in their guest room. I read all the reviews online and discussed it with a couple folks I know. I couldn’t find anyone with a definitive opinion and reviews were mixed; so, I just had to test it for myself. Unfortunately, the extender didn’t pick up and amplify the signal enough. However, since my parents have ethernet outlets (my Dad had installed 20 years ago when he built the home!), I was able to plug the extender into the wall, back to their router and it did the trick.

All of this played out in my discussions on Twitter, Facebook and Google+… with quite a few folks hoping that the solution would work so they could make the purchase. Social media drives commerce!

As everyone knows the use of social media platforms is growing at an exponential rate. To be exact, within the past 7 seven years the use of social media has grown 365 percent. Everyday millions and millions of people are expressing their feeling and experiences about products and services through social media. Therefore many companies are focusing their attention on social commerce.

This infographic, The Rise of Social Commerce from Australia’s Fedelta Point of Sale, delivers the big picture.


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July 27, 2013

New Magazine from Social Media Examiner: This Week in Social Media

By Cindy King
Published July 20, 2013 Printer-Friendly

social media researchWelcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

The team at Social Media Examiner launched My Kids’ Adventures this week. It’s an online magazine for busy parents who want to have fun adventures with their kids anywhere (in the home, the backyard or the great outdoors). It’s your go-to resource for articles on how to do really cool stuff with your kids (and grand kids). Be sure to check it out.

Tumblr Users Can Now Create GIFs With Webcams: “Tumblr users surfing on Chrome and Firefox v20+ can create four-frame GIFs with their webcams and load the GIFs directly to their Tumblr feed.”

tumblr webcam gif Make Tumblr GIFs with your webcam.

Google Updates Segmentation in Analytics: ”Google has ‘reimagined segmentation to make it even easier for new Analytics users, yet also more powerful for seasoned analysts and marketers.’” Some of the key updated features include User Segmentation, Cohort Analysis, Sequence Segment, Segment Templates and fully refreshed new UI.

google analytics reimagine segmentation Google Analytics is now even easier for new users.

Google Opens Maps to All: “The new Google Maps for the web is even easier to try out. No email invite needed.” You can now sign up and get instant access.

google maps home page You no longer need an invite to get the new Google Maps.

New Gmail Inbox Has a Social Tab: The new Gmail inbox separates your social media emails and puts them under a new “social” tab.

Be sure to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast hosted by Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner.

Each Friday Michael interviews social pros, revealing valuable tips and strategies to help you improve your social media marketing.

You’ll find the show everywhere you find podcasts, including iTunes and Stitcher.

What do you think? Please share your comments below.

Avatar of About the Author, Cindy King

Cindy King is the director of editorial for Social Media Examiner. She spent 25 years abroad in international business development and then built her own international business from scratch by using social business networking. Other posts by Cindy King »

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