How to Create Your Instagram Aesthetic

How to Create Your Instagram Aesthetic

With a social media network like Instagram you need to keep your images interesting visually and think about design elements in order to gain more followers. The aesthetic of your Instagram can help you grow into an influencer if people like and respond to your style. It is important to stand out and consistently post images that are appealing and creative.

When creating your aesthetic, the first thing to think about is your audience. What kind of images or content do they want to see? You will want to create a design and style that resonates with them so make sure to do research and find out what your target followers are interested in.

In order to create an aesthetic it is crucial to be consistent with similar colors and themes. Come up with a color palette that you think will go well with your brand and blend the images together so that they don’t seem disconnected or jumbled. You should also be consistent with lighting and filters so that you have a visual theme that doesn’t vary too much.

Aside from color schemes you should also stick to themes of subject matter as much as possible. This might depend on your business, brand or the message you are hoping to communicate with followers. Focus on things you are passionate about and are consistent with your brand.

To maintain your Instagram aesthetic you also need to think about how your images look on the grid and not just the individual photos. That means considering the “big picture” of what your page will look like when users are viewing the whole profile. You’ll need to have a good mixture of images that still relate to one another without being too repetitive.

Once you set up your Instagram aesthetic it can be simple maintain as long as you stick with your theme, color palette and the story of your brand.

Should I Boost My Facebook Post?

Should I Boost My Facebook Post?

A basic Facebook post might be able to get a certain number of views organically but businesses that want more people to view important posts might be interested in other options. Facebook offers the “boost post” option as a way to get a particular post seen by more users if you pay a fee. Boosting a post is a quick and easy way to get a Facebook post to show up in more people’s newsfeed and increase the likelihood that they will respond and gain an interest in you.

One of the reasons that boosting a Facebook post can be helpful is if you are not reaching the particular audience that you want to reach or you simply aren’t getting enough views. Normal posts can often only reach a small percentage of your audience and businesses with an advertising budget might find boosting them more effective. Boosting can be a bit limiting however, compared to other advertising options but it can provide a quick solution if you want a particular post to be seen.

Boosting a post does not include some of the more nuanced options that are available with normal Facebook ad features. With boosting you can’t customize or target a certain audience if you want the post to be seen by particular people. Although it will bring a particular post in front of a wider audience, you can’t necessarily specify certain demographics.

For businesses that want their post to receive more likes, shares and comments or simply more views overall then boosting the post may be a good option. For more advanced types of advertising it will be a better choice to create a Facebook ad so that you can target certain groups to see the post. Boosting can be helpful for a quick increase in interaction on your page.

How to Add Music to Instagram Videos

How to Add Music to Instagram Videos

Instagram videos can be a useful way to connect to followers with images you create and share. Videos are a great addition to any Instagram account, no matter what your page is about and what your goals are in using the platform. To give videos an extra level of appeal you can add music to go along with the images and share something people will really enjoy.

People often find that adding music to videos that have static pictures can make the images more interesting especially when they are using the ‘stories’ feature on Instagram. Videos with a slideshow of images need an audio track to make it feel more complete. Unfortunately Instagram doesn’t offer a built-in editing tool that allows you to add music to the videos you upload.

Even without a built-in feature for adding music many people find ways to include an audio track with their video. There are different options and possibilities when it comes to adding music to Instagram videos whether you are creating posts for your business or just for family and friends. Spending a little bit of extra time on audio and video can make a more dynamic post that is likely to get more feedback.

Mobile Apps for Audio

Although many professional companies working on their Instagram account might use a desktop computer to add audio with video editing software, the average person won’t spend as much time on it. Since typically most people record videos with their phone it would be an extra step to transfer the video to the desktop and then back onto their phone once they’ve added audio. Fortunately there are mobile apps available that can make it easy to add audio tracks to a video you have recorded.

A number of different apps available on smartphones are specifically designed to take video you have recorded on your phone and merge it with an audio file. Most of the apps will only allow you to use audio files that are saved to your device so as long as you have some tracks available on your phone you can easily combine them with your video. Some of them even have other useful features to enhance the video such as adding text or filters.GoPRO

Some of the mobile apps that allow you to merge audio files with your video include Vidlab which allows you to search for audio files on iTunes or Google play so you can purchase them for your video. Other apps include Videoshop which allows you to also edit video clips and combine them together, flipgram which includes content creation and social sharing as well as Quik by GoPro. Quik can automatically create stories and allow you to add audio, filters and even interesting effects such as stop motion.

Adding an Audio Track

To add music using one of these mobile apps you simply need to to download them and select your video and the audio track that you have on your phone. Some of the apps include stock audio that you can use for your video if you are concerned about copyright infringement or if you don’t have a track available to use. You can also add your own music but be aware of the necessity of crediting artists in certain cases.

You can usually use the app to adjust the starting point of the music and where it appears in the video. If you have a video editing app you can also add more video clips and filters to put together a more elaborate presentation. Once you have created the final version of the video you can simply export it where it will be saved on your phone to be uploaded to Instagram.

Most of the mobile apps are straightforward and simple to use but there are tutorials available online if there is something specific you are having issues with. Once you are familiar with the apps options it will only take a few minutes to add audio and quickly upload your video after recording it. Being able to edit and create videos on your mobile phone can save a lot of time and allow you to share more interesting posts when you are on the go.

Occasionally videos can be flagged for having copyrighted content so make sure you credit the artist if you can. Overall, music can be a great way to make your videos more worthwhile to followers who want to see unique and high quality posts. Even if you aren’t interested in using any of the other editing options, simply adding an audio track can make videos more appealing.

Adding music to Instagram videos is an easy and effective way to engage followers with your posts and get more people interested in your content online.

Is Spotify a Social Network?

Is Spotify a Social Network?

Most people use Spotify simply to stream music but with all of its options for connecting with other people, it very closely resembles a social network. Although Spotify isn’t technically a social network, it could potentially develop into one if the company adds more of the same features that it already includes. The music service in the future could add options such as commenting or sharing to make it a musical version of Facebook or Instagram.

Spotify is set up in a way that is very similar to social networks because users have a profile, can add friends, view a newsfeed of their friend’s activity. Users on spotify can even follow artists in a way similar to the “liking” option on Facebook to follow celebrity profiles. Spotify’s interactions are limited however to following friends and artists without the ability to respond to their activity.

People can personalize their spotify profile almost as they would with a social networking site. They can create playlists, get recommendations based on what they listen to, and look at album reviews. Spotify also has a huge number of people that use the service with more than 140 million of them and 50 million paying for the premium version for their mobile phones.

With many of the building blocks of a social network, Spotify could easily make the shift to be another type of platform where people can communicate while also listening to music. It is unclear whether Spotify plans to move in the direction of becoming a social network but it might benefit from more users and a better sharing experience if it allowed users to comment and interact with each other. Not everyone will be interested in a more social aspect to Spotify but it could be an interesting change to our listening experience.

Do I Need to Watermark My Images Online?

Watermark Images

If you are a photographer, artist or simply are posting original images online you might be considering the pros and cons of watermarking. In certain cases watermarking can be a useful way to put your name or logo on all of your images so that you will be credited anytime someone shares or reposts your photo. In theory it is also a method to help prevent people from taking your images and passing them off as their own online.

Watermarking can benefit photographers in some ways because it acts as a way to “sign” their art so that people see their name or logo and can begin to identify them more easily if the images circulate online. If someone wants to find your work, watermarking will make it much easier for them to know who you are.

One of the downsides to watermarking is that it does not always keep people from taking images and reposting them as their own. People can often find ways to photoshop out a watermark or simply crop it out if they don’t care about being respectful of the artist. This is an unfortunate reality and can make watermarks irrelevant if the goal is to prevent image theft.

Another thing to consider is that often the appeal of an image can be diminished by the use of a watermark. It can interrupt the artistry of the photo and distract the viewer, making the image less beautiful or interesting. There is also the possibility that viewers online will be less likely to share the image if it is watermarked because of the decrease in the image’s appeal.

Deciding whether to watermark your image can depend on your own personal preferences on how you want your images to look and what your goals are for using them. Weigh the pros and cons before watermarking to determine if it is right for your work.

10 PR Techniques for Boosting Your Brand

10 PR Techniques for Boosting Your Brand

When you cut yourself, do you look for a Band-aid or a plastic bandage? How about when you need to blow your nose, do you ask for a Kleenex or a tissue? What about when you are having lunch at a fast-food restaurant, do you order a Coke or a cola?

These labels are proprietary eponyms, and they are the climax of brand awareness. The brands are so well-known that they have taken over the generic names for parallel products in your own language.  For a product or brand to become a proprietary eponym is the peak of brand awareness. (sorry, Pepsi).

Although you may achieve this with your business, that does not mean you cannot do more for your brand awareness. You just need the right techniques for boosting your brand.  

Though there may not be a quick fix for making your product a household name, the following are 10  brand-boosting strategies to assist with launching or continuing your efforts. You may not be as popular as Frito-Lay, but it can not hurt to try, right?  

Along with these techniques, I found this post on the best PR Tools and Software that is a great resource.

The following is the ten leading pieces of advice for boosting your brand.  

1. Referral Programs

Who does not like perks? Users will happily spread the word about your service or product when they know they will get an added perk. Dropbox, for example, is a brilliant referral program that can growth hack any business.

Dropbox offers current users an extra 500 MB of storage space for each referral they make up to 16 GB. Before Dropbox became so popular, this referral program helped generate loads of word-of-mouth advertising, which is why it is so successful today.  The strategy contributed to a massive number of registers and saving the company billions in advertising dollars.

2. Impressive Guest Content

Great content is everything to a website. One way to help get your brand established on the web is to provide gorgeous looking, extra valuable content to share as a guest on other blogs. Despite what others may tell you, guest posting is a robust method to have your name known in your industry.  

However, cheesy content will not cut it—you will need to guest posting high-quality stuff, or you will do more damage than good.  By creating valuable, memorable content, you will make a lasting impression when you readers share you with their audience.

3. Infographics

Infographics are a colorful and smart strategy to share interesting marketing stats and data. These content dynamos often get shared near and far, making them a fantastic tool for building brands and thought leadership.

A really good infographic can gather thousands of social likes and shares while bringing in thousands of valuable links as well.

4. Freemium with Credit

There are tons of online products that will let a user choose a free version (freemium) which includes a credit line or watermark. It will also allow users to upgrade to a paid version which will permit the user to replace the mark with their logo or remove it altogether.   

Even though users will choose the free version, they are still promoting the brand to other users. That leaves the door open for many new users to go for the paid version.

Offering a freemium product means getting your brand in front of more viewers, which will build your brand by pulling in paying customers.    

5. Local Partnerships

Another excellent brand building technique is to get associated with local partnerships. That is incredibly vital for local-oriented companies. However, it can also be applied for other companies as well.

Partnering with local companies to hold joint intro festivals and seminars are very lucrative for all parties. You can donate to local charity events and sponsor local sporting events and teams. Having your brand plastered all over events and festivals can do massive things for your brand.    

6. Car Wraps

Who does not stop to look at a car completely wrapped with excellent graphics? The tried-and-true strategy for building your brand is a having a car wrap. A car wrap is a customized graphic design that most often covers an entire car (except windows).    

They attract a massive amount of attention, and it is a fabulous way to guarantee wherever you go, people will become familiar with your brand. Wrap your personal or company vehicle and see what happens.  

7. Freebies

FreebiesNo matter what it is, everybody loves free giveaways! All you must do is plaster your brand name on Frisbees, pens, koozies, basically, anything and give it away at local events.   

8. Social Media Contests

Hold a social media contest where users send a video or photo and let others vote for their favorite contestant. Those who take part will share the link with family and friend to gain votes. In return, you are building your brand awareness as a result.   

9. Social Focus

With social networks growing by leaps and bounds, trying to cover social media marketing on each one is a fool’s errand. If your company best avenue is on a specific network, do not be afraid to place most of your energy into just a few.

For example, if you have a lot of photos on your site, Pinterest and Instagram may be your best bet.  Twitter may be the way to go for B2B businesses.

Understand where your target audience hangs out and place your focus on those networks.  You will not want to abandon other social media sites entirely, however, save your best efforts for what you know works.

Not certain about your main network? Dig around into analytics to find where your heavy hitting referral traffic is coming from the most.  

10. LinkedIn Publishing

As mentioned above, guest posting is a fantastic avenue for getting your brand name out across the web. Recently, LinkedIn began allowing users to publish to post on their website via a publishing tool. If your post garnishes enough attention, it could end up on the LinkedIn home stream for numerous users.

As a bonus, a post attached to your own LinkedIn account helps launch you as a thought leader. You also can establish your company post and blog there—just be sure to promote and share your post once they get published.  

With these techniques for boosting your brand, you will be a leading brand in no time. Keep in mind that even Pepsi did not become a super-star brand overnight. Consistency and determination are what you put your brand out to the world.  

4 Important Rules to Make Marketing Videos More Engaging

4 Important Rules to Make Marketing Videos More Engaging

Engaging videos are able to retain, interest, stimulate, and connect with viewers – all of which are important for marketing. And while it is true that videos are naturally quite engaging, you will have to tap into and leverage that potential.

As you can imagine there are lots of factors that affect how engaging your marketing videos will turn out to be, but as a good place to start there are four important rules that you need to follow:

  • Plan it so that it has a short duration

Try to plan every marketing video so that the duration is short – somewhere in the 15 to 60 second range. The fact of the matter is the shorter the video the more likely you are to be able to retain viewers, and more of them will be around for you to convert them with your call to action.

Considering your video is going to be short, it must also be direct. That means that you need to strip away any fluff during the planning phase, and distill it down to its most basic elements.

  • Optimize the first few seconds

During the first few seconds (normally about 8 to 10 seconds at most), most viewers make a decision to either keep watching or click away. That is why you need to optimize the first few seconds so that you are able to best convince them to stay and continue watching.

One of the most effective ways to do that is to get to the heart of the matter and let viewers know what the video is about and more importantly how it will benefit them. Let them know what problem of theirs it could solve, or what they stand to gain.

  • Design the video to provoke an emotional reaction

The most engaging videos are invariably the ones that provoke an emotional reaction, which is why funny, inspirational, sad, touching, or even outrageous videos go viral so frequently. Be sure to use that fact in your marketing videos, and design them to provoke some kind of emotional reaction too.

While it can be tricky to pull that off, using storytelling elements that make viewers feel invested in the subject is a good place to start. Also always remember that it is easier for viewers to connect with people rather than faceless objects or brands – so frame your video accordingly.

  • Track, experiment, evaluate and analyze everything

Ultimately the key to making your marketing videos more engaging, is to improve them iteratively over time. For that to happen you’ll need to track their engagement, experiment and try new things, then evaluate and analyze the results.

If you do all that, you should be able to slowly but surely learn more about your target audience, and be able to tailor your videos so that they are more engaging to them.

Of course in addition to these rules, it is important that you create videos that are visually interesting and impressive enough to capture the attention of viewers. For that you may want to try using Movavi Video Editor as an MP4 editor that will help you to compile, tweak, and improve your videos to your satisfaction.

Within Movavi Video Editor you’ll find pretty much all the features you could possibly need to come up with engaging and impressive videos. It can be used to merge clips together, trim out unwanted parts, enhance the video quality, apply special effects and filters, add captions, include audio tracks, and much more.

The best part is that while you may be worried about how complicated it can be to edit videos – there’s really no need for concern with Movavi Video Editor. Simply put it will provide you with an intuitive and user-friendly experience that will let you edit your videos quickly and painlessly – even if you have absolutely no prior experience at all.

5 Reasons Why Yelp is Important for Your Business

5 Reasons Why Yelp is Important for Your Business

Small or growing businesses need to take advantage of every opportunity they can to get more exposure and bring in more customers online. Yelp was created to help people find good local businesses that they can trust to deliver good products and customer service. For businesses, yelp can also be a vital part of your marketing strategy.

Yelp has more than 80 million unique visitors every month and many of those visitors write reviews about their experience with a particular business. Fortunately the vast majority (about 78%) of those reviews range from neutral to great with very minimal negative reviews. People can use yelp to find your business and read positive recommendations about what you do.

These are some of the main reasons Yelp is helpful for business owners:

1. Influence People at the Right Moment

The moment when someone is looking for a business on Yelp is at a critical point when they are ready to make a purchase. If they see your Yelp page and read a positive review they can be easily influenced to use your business and possibly continue to be a customer for years to come. When people are reading Yelp reviews they are usually on the verge of becoming a customer and a couple positive reviews will be enough to get them into your store.

People use Yelp not just as a way to see what businesses are close by in their area but as a way to help them make purchasing decisions. Most Yelp users make a purchase soon after seeing a listing and they may write their own positive review if they have a good experience at your establishment.

2. Respond and Interact with Customers

Should you receive any negative reviews or complaints on your Yelp page, you can use the site as a way to address these issues either publicly or privately. This can be a powerful tool to make your business appear invested in each customer’s experience and responsive to correct any potential issues. You can show empathy and caring for people who have a bad experience which can still leave people with a good impression of you in spite of the negative review.

You can also interact with people that leave positive reviews to show that you appreciate all your customers and their feedback about what you are doing. Thanking people for their positive response can help encourage more positive reviews and communication between you and your customers.

3. Create a Brand Image

Yelp

With a Yelp business listing you can add your own content so that you have more control over the way your business is presented. Yelp customers can add their own photos along with their reviews but they may not always be the best images. Adding your own photos to the business listing can be a good way to tailor your brand image and make your Yelp page look more appealing.

You can claim your Yelp page and upload your own personal business photos so that people have a better first impression of you. Creating your own Yelp listing or claiming an existing one lets you have more control over the content that is available for customers to see.

4. Use Yelp as an Authority

In terms of internet marketing, Yelp is useful for website rankings and getting your business seen online. In SEO terms, Yelp is considered an “authority” site meaning that it can carry more weight and help boost traffic to your site. If you claim your Yelp listing you can add a link directly to your website and it will boost your rankings in Google.

With a link to your website people can read a brief overview of your business and then click through to a landing page where they will have more information and can make a purchase or reservation.

5. Make it Easier to Find Out About You

With Yelp you can add listings that provide people with crucial information about you that they can see immediately when they search in Google. Your Yelp can list your location in Google Maps, your business hours and a description of the items you have. Restaurants can have a menu available for customers to view online.

Having this information readily available through Yelp can make it much easier for people to find your business and make a quick decision about whether to visit your store. This is especially useful for mobile or voice searches when people are looking for information on the go. Someone in the area can find you because your location is close and they know you are currently open.

If you don’t have a Yelp listing or haven’t claimed an existing one there are numerous benefits to getting more involved in Yelp. With Yelp you can provide a way for customers to find and interact with you so that everyone benefits.

8 Tips to Become a Guest Blogger

8 Tips to Become a Guest Blogger

One of the most effective strategies in building up more traffic to your website or blog is to create content specifically for other more established companies. Guest blogging on other websites can be an easy way to see a huge jump in traffic and get people more familiar with you and your brand. Using the existing visibility of another business can give you a much needed boost as you make more connections online.

Becoming a guest blogger can be a major benefit to you but it can take some effort to get involved in this type of blogging. You’ll need to know how to give the company what they want so that you can both mutually benefit from the exchange. Once you become a frequent guest blogger you can enjoy a steady flow of traffic to your page.

There are some tips on how to become a guest blogger:

1. Write High Quality Content

Before attempting to blog for another company make sure that your writing quality is up to par for what an established business or “authority” blog would expect. The subject matter of your blogs should show a certain amount of expertise and be free from any grammatical errors. Most importantly your content should be interesting and appealing to readers in a way that encourages people to like, share and interact with the post.

2. Start Small

If you have never attempted to guest blog before and are relatively unknown, you will have to work your way up to eventually posting on authority sites. Look for smaller, lesser known sites that might be interested in publishing your content. Find blogs or sites that are in your same niche industry and represent the type of brand that is similar to yours.

3. Work on Your Guest Post Pitch

In order to connect with another site and ask them if you can write a guest blog you will need to be able to sell yourself and your brand in a way that convinces them it will be a beneficial exchange. Developing a good “pitch” is essential in helping you to get other businesses interested in posting your content. Write a template email for your pitch that tells them who you are, why you are a fan of what they do and how your expertise can help them.

4. Customize Your Pitch for Each Company

It is helpful to have a template for when you offer to guest blog for someone but don’t send out a generic email to every person you contact. Make sure to customize the pitch and be specific about what you like about them and tailor your writing to the style that they represent. The more specific you are the less your email will seem spammy or insincere.

5. Look at Existing Guest Posts

Whatever type of blog you are hoping to guest post for, it is important to have an idea of the tone and style that they expect from their bloggers. Read and review their existing guest posts so that you can fit your style to what they present to readers. You should always produce the best content that you can but make sure to customize it to suit each blog and you will have more success.

6. Don’t Get Discouraged

When you are just beginning to try getting your content on other blogs there may be many cases where the company rejects your pitch or simply ignores you. The rejection may not have to do with you or your writing but just that they don’t need a certain topic or aren’t looking for a new guest blogger. Don’t take any rejection personally and make sure to continue pitching to as many blogs as possible.

7. Interact with Other Blogs

Becoming a guest blogger can be easier when you become a part of an online community and are already interacting with other sites. If you leave comments on the site and express interest in what they do by engaging with them you are more likely to leave a good impression. When you are already communicating with people on the site they will recognize you as someone who has valuable opinions and cares about what they are doing.

8. Promote Guest Posts

If you do become accepted as a guest blogger make sure to promote your post as much as possible. The other site will appreciate it if you share their content and contribute to promoting them on your own site. Do all you can to benefit the host site and they will be more likely to ask you back to blog again in the future.

The more guest blogs you write the more you will build your reputation as a writer and be able to experience the benefit on your own website. Word hard and write often and you will begin to see the results you want.

Are Social Media Influencers Right for My Brand?

Are Social Media Influencers Right for My Brand?

One of the more recent trends in marketing that has become a staple for businesses online is the use of social media influencers to recommend and sell products. Building an audience on social media can be difficult for struggling brands that need to get the word out about what they do. Social media influencers provide an outlet for businesses to more easily reach people on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Some brands might see social media influencers and the impact they have but wonder whether it will really work for them. Do social media influencers work for every type of brand? It is in fact possible to find the right influencer for your brand as long as you know who your target audience is and where to find them.

The myth that social media influencers and the platforms they use are only for millennial audiences is not true. Older generations use social media and can also be influenced by recommendations online but you need to find the place where your demographic “hangs out”. Social media influencers can have a tremendous impact on your brand if you use them to your advantage.

Understanding Social Media Influencers

The reason businesses are so interested in social media influencers is that they often speak directly to a large audience online. Influencers have built up their own following simply by being themselves and creating interesting content that people want to see. Their followers tend to listen to what they say and trust in their taste because it always comes across as completely genuine.

Even though followers of an influencer may feel that this person recommends products based on their own positive experience, the reality is that many are paid to promote certain brands. However, people see them as an authority in their field of influence and because of their existing relationship with their audience, influencers can have an affect on people’s purchase decisions. Social media influencers have a larger than normal following, but also usually have a niche audience that they are speaking to.

A common and increasingly popular example of a social media influencer is the “beauty guru”. This is a person on YouTube or Instagram that has been recognize by their followers as having special knowledge or expertise in makeup or beauty related products. They often test out new products, create tutorials or find creative ways to review or talk about beauty items.

Social media influencers exist in all kinds of different niches and as long as they are seen as an authority on a certain topic, people will be influenced by what they say. An influencer could be a celebrity, an industry expert, a content creator or just everyday people that become well-known online. No matter what type of brand you have, there is most likely an influencer that can help you promote your products or services.

Identifying the Right Influencer

How do you find an influencer that works for your brand? The first thing to think about when looking for a social media influencer is what you consider to be your brand message. You need to know beforehand what you want to say about your brand and what you want people to know.

In addition to developing your brand message you also need to know who your target audience is and what kinds of things they are looking for. Your target audience needs to be both people you want to reach and those who are more likely to be interested in purchasing your products. You don’t want to waste effort marketing to an audience that would have no need or no interest in your brand.

Once you have a better idea of your target audience you will need to find an influencer that has many followers in that audience. This doesn’t mean looking for an influencer with the most followers but looking for someone that matches your brand the most and speaks to the right demographic. Your influencer should share a similar message to your brand and an audience that is more likely to buy from you.

A great way to start looking for effective influencers is finding people that already like and mention your brand online. When someone genuinely loves your company their message is going to feel more authentic to followers and they won’t see it as an advertisement. If they are already interested in your brand then it is more likely they are good fit as far as their message and the type of content they create.

When you find the right social media influencer you will be able to have a direct channel to communicate with your target audience. Start developing relationships with social media influencers now so that you can create more loyal fans online.