Epic fails on Content Creation for Facebook Post

 

“Good content always has an objective; it’s created with intent. It therefore carries triggers to action.”

It is no secret that Facebook seems to be the place every brand wants to get into especially when it comes to eyeballs. Every time you send out a post from your page to followers it only gets a 1 percent organic reach. The one percent organic reach is for pictures and links. Video on the other hand gets you more, maybe to the tune of 4 percent in a day.

Facebook defines organic reach in terms of unpaid post that pops up on your newsfeed. This means that you may have a truckload of followers but they won’t see your post unless you paid Facebook to reach out to them.

During my 2 year observation on Facebook post, I run a page which I use to obtain metrics. I have managed to get a 10 percent reach in two days using a very sly method of commenting on other Page post using my Page persona. This is very hard work and for a 10 week old post, I am able to hit a 50 percent reach of my followers.

Recently I took the global car brand from BMW to task.

Obviously they haven’t a clue on what works and I told them to create content when posting instead of just putting up a picture.

Engagement counts to each Posting 

When you post a picture, like the above, telling followers hey, custom job for you mini, why not do this? Then the picture stands alone, without a link or a FB content, then you are in trouble.

Facebook measures each post with an engagement. So if people liked it and clicked on it, then it gets shown to more unpaid followers. This grows and grows but it tops off at 50 percent. When people leave comments on it, it also gets circulated around for longer period. And this is what creating meaningful content is all about.

Brands who are not serious about this should only post pictures only content to Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Pinterest is a bit iffy here as its quite nebulous. People collect pins which are pictures with content links but you don’t know if they get viral like herpes when you pass it around. Once you take into account that females like Pinterest more, then you could have more gender specific content created.

Brands like Mini should know this. If they give ideas to people with no wear to start, then it is useless. The picture stops there and without the content to keep it going, it dies. The top picture illustrates this.

Mini should ask itself what the picture is suppose to generate. Eyeballs, likes or Clicks?

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  • There is no URL to lead to a content page but the picture entices you.
  • The introduction creates a expectation that you can get a custom job.
  • It ends with a question, “how would you customise your MINI” without even telling people how it can be done.

This is why brands must have partners.

For the above Mini campaign, it makes sense for Mini to partner Avery Dennison for car related vinyl wraps or Dupont Standox for a full custom paint job.

Once the content is created, both Avery Dennison and Mini can share in the Facebook post, giving the content a longer life span instead of a one off, emotional Like on a page. Facebook isn’t Instagram and vice versa. If your goal is to get people to like the image, then it is in the wrong place. The FB Page algorithm has already killed it for you whereas for Instagram, there is still a chance of getting unpaid eyeballs if the person is already following your Instagram page.

The Difference in Gaining Followers versus Boosting Post

Thanks to the money grubbing ways of Zuckerberg, you have to differentiate between paying for new followers or just reaching out to existing followers.

Reaching out to existing followers of your FB page is through boosting your Post, while gaining new followers is like putting up Ads for your Page to attract new followers. Both are very different and you should never confuse the two.

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Boosting a page is crucial if you want to get content out to the open for all to see. But gaining followers is just the act of getting people to Like your page, and hopefully in the process, get them to subscribe to ALL your notifications. This is secretly hidden away within the Like button and by people who Like your Page doesn’t mean they will get all your notification on content. This is a secret that Facebook doesn’t want to share with you. If you knew how many were subscribed to your Content notifications, you won’t be paying FB to show it to your followers.

This is why it is important for Brands to reward followers with physical items. It could be a keychain, a unique sticker or even a goodie bag.

 

Good Content means a Long Shelf Life

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In difficult economic environments, the first thing big brand budgets get cut are those in advertising. It makes sense because like brand advertising, no one is going to notice when the economy faces difficulties. Selling to a exhausted market is like selling ice boxes to eskimos. This is where meaningful content comes in because of its long tail nature.

Useful content gets recycled and used for a very long time. And for Facebook post, this is perfect. It is a slow burn process. Since Facebook algorithms work in the way that you only pay for what you are getting, it makes perfect sense to engage people with such post if you don’t intend to pay for them.

What’s more I am all for featuring unique content.

People are not going to be grateful if the SAME content they see appears in their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. This is another bad habit that Brands do partake in.

For the follower, what good is it to follow your favourite brand page on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram when they see the same stuff all the time? Makes no sense. Followers could just subscribe to just one and leave the rest out. But here, you need them to follow you because….you have unique content for each social stream.

On Facebook alone, you need to have at least 35 content Likes or Comment Engagements before Facebook gives you another 1 percent organic (unpaid) reach. This is a tough proposition.

So when it comes to a bull market, advertise. In a bear market, you create content with a long shelf life. That way, you brand stays in shape for the long haul and when the bulls come around again, you have your long tail content to thank. People will remember the brand and that’s what counts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic Fails in Social Media Content Marketing

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There was a time when Content for Social Media Management platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite and even Klout made sense in its hey day but not anymore.

The amount of effort (unpaid) that goes into creating content and then having no eyeballs to appreciate them is a reality we all have to deal with some day. You now have to get on board with all social platforms, be online 24/7 to answer queries and find the time to manage your real business while at it? That’s true too. Forget the hired hand who blogs for you. He won’t do it for free so that in itself is a cost factor.

All social media platforms will give away some freebies but these freebies do not always justify the effort you put into creating content for your followers.

Your efforts are bound to fail if you don’t want to understand that content marketing is like any other advertising or advertorial campaign that is backed up with plenty of ad spend. Here’s why.

Facebook Organic Reach is a Costly affair

Facebook is like the high class hooker from New York. If you don’t have the money then there is no honey. Social Media Management platform gurus will always tell you that you have to decide on your objective and strategy for Facebook but NEVER tell you that you need to budget lots of cash for this effort.

Yes, creating content takes effort. But signing up to a Social Media Management platform is not going to get you the eyeballs you need for branding of conversion success. The platforms cautiously omit telling you this as they want you to take the bait, hook, line and sinker before you realize that your budget isn’t enough for a year long campaign. How much does it cost? Let’s assume you are doing this on your own for a small business, spend probably US$100 a week on promoted post to your followers on Twitter and Facebook. That’s US$400 a month, and let’s throw in that package from Hootsuite, which at the lowest is US$120 a year. That’s about US$5,000 a year, excluding the cost of a hosted site. And this is just for a a small business. Let’s factor in a 3 fold ROI to justify that return on investment. You need to pull in US$15,000 in revenue returns to your small business to spend that sort of cash.

Facebook has zero organic reach. Twitter won’t give you the time of day too if you are not going to pay so signing up for a promoted tweet is a must.

People who start on Facebook do not understand that each post cost them money to show to your followers. These are the same blokes who liked you page in the past but come back to play candy crush with their online pals on Facebook. Do they notice the notifications on their menu? Nope. So the best way to reach them is to force feed a post onto their timeline.

Here is how Facebook wants your moolah.

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Every FB post (unpaid) to your followers will yield roughly 1 percent reach. That means if you have 1000 followers, you post will reach about 10 people per 1000 followers. To get your post on all their timelines, you have to spend money. Lots of it…and this is just to build awareness.

All FB post to your page is best suited for branding and awareness building. It does not help you get more followers. To get more followers, you need to promote your page which is actually a subset of their advertising master plan. You have to advertise either on the timeline or on the sidebar [sidebar advertising isn’t available on mobile platform].

If you are interested in a straight out conversion from your advertising budget, you need to advertise to a regional or country specific audience. This is where you measure ad spend versus return on investment (ROI).

In old world advertising terms, if you spend US$100, you should get at least US$300 return in investment (3 fold ROI). This unfortunately doesn’t quite gel these days in any social media marketing plans if you take into account the money you have to spend on FB or Twitter, and at the same time sign up with a Social Media Marketing Platform [at a cost of over US$120 to US$600 a year depending your requirement]. So once you go down this path, you have to take into consideration the amount of money you have already spent without even going into the advertising details of each social media platform.

Facebook is not responsible for the quality of eyeballs you get on their platform. In the old world advertising, you advertise with a magazine like Tatler or Monocle because the people who read it are…well, are your specific target audience who would buy a whole wine cellar as a hobby. That means these eyeballs command a premium if you advertise with them. FB and Twitter is by no means a quality platform as any Tom, Dick or Harry can start multiple profiles as seen in the Click Farm business. Instead, you are given a choice of location, target age and probably some of their more fanciful hobbies as a potential audience profile.

Getting followers for you blog, Pinterest board, Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter can be done in only two ways. The paid way is to get people to click a link to your content and become a follower. The other is the splatter method.

The splatter method is when you follow people to get them to follow you back. It is like a follow for follow tag currently popular with some folks hoping to break into to the social circles. I call this a splatter method because you have no idea who you are following most of the time, except maybe that they like what you like or live within the same locality as you do. This is not quality advertising for your content as people who have similar interest as you do may not live within a 1000 miles from you. So unless you are running a brand awareness campaign, or offer online shopping, chances are those post will be ignored. But all this takes effort on your end to search and add them.

Videos give you Better Reach on Facebook

Here is another clue. Video is the next big thing on FB. They have even tried to introduce self streaming videos to the annoyance of mobile users.

Posting videos to your FB page will automatically give you a 5 percent reach as compared to a link or text post. So for every 1000 followers, you have a chance to reach 50 of them for free. You want more eyeballs? Sign up for their Premium Video Ads for ROI.

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But before you say it’s a good deal, let me ask you, how much time and effort did you spend on shooting, editing and planning for that short video? Is 50 eyeballs enough to satisfy that need? Go figure and write Santa a note about getting some Facebook credits for next Christmas.

Twitter is no different than Facebook

Yes, unfortunately that is true. You pay for what you get and in the end, you just gotta justify your ad spend. Twitter’s organic reach is hovering at an all time low. It just fails to suck up those eyeballs and convert that into measurable ROI.

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That’s why these folks are betting big on ‘live’ streaming since that is a buzzword they can still use to justify their dollar denominated advertising plan. Vine videos haven’t taken off in a big way except with college kids and people with too much time on their hands. Instagram has video to further add to the basket of eyeballs wanting moving images and finally, there is live video which could be the future for Twitter on Periscope.

Tumblr isn’t for Everyone

The young of heart may be your next target niche but no one told you that Tumblr is still a very American centric social and content discovery platform. You are not going to reach out to that same age group in Japan, Korea or for that matter Vietnam using Tumblr.

Even though Tumblr maybe way better than WordPress.com in some ways but in the end, you still have to pay to get discovered.

Ever since Yahoo bought them out in May of 2013, featured ads has been appearing in user’s content stream. This is both good and bad news.

The good part is that hashtags can still be used a strategy to find your future or potential customers and generate the sort of brand awareness you need to start. However if you want a straight cut ROI on your ad spend. You probably have a better deal signing up with Tumblr to show those ads.

Pinterest is Instagram on Steroids

Let’s face it. Starting a board on Pinterest is a time consuming affair. You can either curate or create content for each board. Who gets to see these boards? Only fellow users who are out to get more pins.

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Since Pinterest is image centric. You can’t help but draw similarities between them and Instagram. Both require User inputs and that’s you I am pointing at.

Both work the same way and since each board is in itself the description of the pins, you can’t help but think that the board itself is a hashtag of sorts to categorize content.

Pinterest also has promoted pins, and with it an advertising plan to suit your target audience. The same can be said of Instagram when they started to introduce promoted content (advertise content) to specific region of users.

There is no such thing as a Free Lunch

I like to call social media campaigns as a Freemium Advertising Gateway as you have to ante up on those dollars to find some sort of success.

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The only free social platform that is devoid of any advertising right now is Google+. That’s because Google has much grander ambitions than to charge you for your post as they have the search engine to back that all up.

Getting a ROI on investment on any social media marketing campaign will cost you money. Don’t think it is cheap as even Americans feel it is far too expensive.

If you can spend the time to crate content but can’t spend the money to promote it, you are doomed. At every level, you cannot think for one moment you are getting a free lunch. That’s why Social media has become a Freemium platform. Once the social media networks hooks you, they hope you get dragged under the water with their advertising masterplan.

Success in any business can only be measured by ROI. How much you aim to get out of it in the end to sustain your business empire is crucial. It’s not just about eyeballs but quality eyeballs. This sad fact, unfortunately, is lost in translation as one grabs onto social media…thinking it was the elusive pot of gold to their online success.

Start with a Web Presence

A web presence is a web site. If you haven’t got the time of day to do one then social media marketing isn’t for you. There are plenty of free hosting sites which can of course establish your de facto web presence. My own recommendation is strikingly.com, which gives you a free web page for your product, company, portfolio in the simplest design terms. It has easy to use templates and you just key in the text and fill in the pictures. I will give you my reasons why this should be the first step towards establishing your own web presence first before any social media marketing can take place, but you already know that having an actual web site speaks volumes about your online dedication. So take the first step. Start your web presence with a site before attempting social media.

Social Media Marketing for Noobs

It doesn’t take a lot to know that the English speaking world has only a few social media properties which make any sense, or cents if you care to invest your time and money in the hope of a return. Contrary to popular belief, it is not as complicated as it seems though many social media management platforms like to think so.

These can be put in their place with the following infographic. Easy to understand and sans the usual sales talk you hear from Internet Marketeers.

Social-infographic1Social Media marketing, what’s that all about? Good Question.

There are a sizeable number of them that claims to be the be all and end all management tool but I beg to differ. They all allow you to manage your social media connections, and from the chart alone you’d get a good idea on what’s how there in the Anglophone world.

Even though Facebook is localised to suit many non-English countries, there exist a huge community of social media platforms that is out of bounds of this chart. For example in Japan and China, Facebook is a non-connector. And those two countries make up the first and third largest online consumers in the world by revenue generated online. They consume everything from games, online content to e-commerce to downloadable porn.

What’s more, Japan has it’s own social network that are targeted at their own native market. Facebook to them is just an afterthought. Then you have China, where Facebook is…banned.

Internet Marketing for Social Media

Almost all Social Media Management sites casually forget to mention that you need to have engaging and useful content on hand before you start any Internet marketing. WTF? You mean I can’t pose a selfie to get the ball rolling? Not unless you’re an up and coming porn star.

Making awesome content takes talent, but none of the Internet Marketing agencies will tell you this upfront. You could of course do it on your own by using one of the many social media marketing tools. Just look up Buffer, Hootsuite, Oktopost, Zoniz or marketmesuite, all of them want your money at some point so be forewarned.

These social media marketing and management tools are aimed at different consumers but somehow, when you look at them closely, they all seem to offer a cookie cutter type social media marketing solution. They give you the freedom to schedule post, manage your Facebook Page and get all the statistics associated with it but none of them tell you how to make awesome content for your social media feed. They all assume you already know how to create awesome content in the first place. However there is a way out, you can always curate your content from various other sources. This is by far the cheapest option if you don’t mind sitting around the whole day looking for stuff on the Web or Internet. It is a very labor intensive workout so remember to make a big pot of coffee before you start.

Checklist for Content Development

To make things easier for you. Just consider the following:-

  • Can you write decent copy in English? And by this I don’t mean ‘SMS text’  with emoticons.
  • Can you take a decent photo that people will often admire? And I am not referring to pictures of food or selfies you post daily on Instagram.
  • Can you stage and capture a decent video clip for sharing? By this I don’t mean those borderline porn clips you share with your girlfriend or boyfriend on Snapchat.

If you happen to answer ‘no’ to all of these, please get help coz you are gonna need it. How much you are willing to spend depends on you. There are cheap and super cheap content developers. I hear that a 15 second Bollywood video production cost you only $1.95, so if that’s your budget, go for it. But be forewarned, you get what you paid for.

The Low Down on Social Media Marketing

The start and end point for all your awesome content is always the same. You want to bait as much traffic as you can. This is the basis of all Internet Marketing strategies.

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Once you have your content settled, then it’s time to hit the social media circle. Post, cross-post and cross link all your content with the various social media networks. Which to choose? I leave it to you.

I have designed the simplest diagram I can think of for Noobs. There is a more complex one that I will share on a later date. So get cracking on those awesome content!

Content Development: Ride High with Memes

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If you are a poet, with a flair for putting pictures and words together, then you should be a memetic creator. Now this is not new…according to sources within Wikipedia.

Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins‘ 1976 book The Selfish Gene.[1] Proponents describe memetics as an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer.

The meme, analogous to a gene, was conceived as a “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is “hosted” in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen—when adopting the intentional stance[1][2]—as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host. As with genetics, particularly under a Dawkinsian interpretation, a meme’s success may be due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its host.

Today, we only know how to make one as a vulgar insult. Not something that is inspirational. And these so called social memes are far more popular than pictures of your dog or cat? Who I am sure you all adore.

Traffic Mining using Memes

To use and abuse Memes, you gotta know how a hosting platform works. For one, Instagram is a cool place to gain followers but not Facebook. Facebook’s discovery searches are inadequate for people to browse posted content. Your only hope is that your Page fans or network of friends share your content to get discovered, what’s more, not all content can be seen on Facebook if you don’t already have an account.

G+ has an open approach but your content can be share within special interest groups—such as those who make ant hills or curate used bicycles. But the downside is that if your content doesn’t gain traction, it will quickly fall into the abyss of other-content. There are just too many post in some places that it can be frustrating to put something up that people will notice.

Flickr is not a place to share memes, though some do it. As a hosting platform for content sharing, Flickr does a pretty neat job doing it but people who join flickr are more likely to be photography aficionados, and not just people out to consume content.

Tumblr for some reason is a good place to host both pictures and blogs. The platform has matured into a content aggregator and people who are fed up with the technicalities of blogger or WordPress can jump onto Tumblr with such ease like ducks to water. People even come to Tumblr to get their daily dose of content so it’s probably a good place to start. Tumblr also allows you to set a click thru link right onto your blog if curiosity gets the better of them, this very useful for generating inbound traffic to your home site.

Your photos or memes have to be worth some eyeballs if it was lovingly created. I won’t go into detail about discovery and getting likes as we have to look into developing the content first.

Instagram is very meme friendly. I don’t have to explain this, just browse and explore and you’ll know what I mean.

Mobile Apps are Weapons of Choice

In the past, you had to rely on an image editing desktop software like Photoshop or Corel Draw just to add some text or watermark onto an image. Today, all this can be done via the humble mobile app.

There are several free ones both for Android and iOS but let’s not kid yourself, not all of them work that well. Some apps listed here are just finding its way around, others have made great strides to form their own support community. I will list some which I have tested.

Photofy

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A great little tool for Instagram type post. Churns out square format photos crops only but it has a lot to offer in terms of fonts and designs. The app is free to use and you can buy the paid version which basically gives you more freedom to include your own designs or logos—a must if you have world domination plans.

Rhonna Design

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Good to go and for iOS and Android too. The iOS version is more astute while the Android version was so yesterday. But they get the job done. This is a paid app so you have been warned.

Text Cutie

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Definitely for the younger audience. Not my style though but it might work for you if you are reaching out to a younger audience. Free to use for now but I suspect that there may be in-app purchases for more options.

SnapStory

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An iOS app only for now, it gives you access to rudimentary text layers over your photos. It is still finding its way around and needs a lot of work. Still, it is free for now.

Over

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Over is only now available for iOS. It might make it to Android someday and until then, we can only hope it does. This app is easy and fun to use and you can select any aspect ratio you wish to use when cropping your original images. This is a free app with options for in-app purchases of more designs.

Graphics & Text on Images will be the new Internet Drug

People are going to tire out on those selfies one day and why not add those text and graphics to spice things up? There are only so many ways to skin a cat so to speak and passing this around could prove to be addictive. People who are creatively challenge will have no idea where to start so they would probably repost those images you created with religious fervor. Either way, as long as you point it back to your site, you win.

Content Development: the Instagram Connection

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I have images that make great content but I don’t know how and where else to post it aside from Facebook and G+, is there other ways to post picture content to generate traffic? What makes for interesting content? Could it be that people would be interested a picture of a product?

Pictures are worth a thousand words so they say but how do you say something with a picture? It could be casual, funny, interesting or just plain spectacular but in order for you to do this, you should have some basic understanding on what makes a good picture—the subject of the image should be of interest to people.

When it comes to picture posting, Instagram has been one of the dark horses for commercial websites hoping to milk some traffic. The potential is there but how and who should use it?

Pictures are worth a thousand followers

Instagram started life as an iPhone only app and they took a long time to get onto the Android bandwagon. Today, it has roughly 45 million monthly active users. That’s not a bad number for a photo sharing site. Compare that with its rival Streamzoo which has 43,000 active monthly users. Obviously you know the winner here is Instagram. Starting an account is easy. Download the app to your iPhone or Android device and you’re ready to post stuff.

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Maintaining any social media account takes effort. Creating or curating content for an audience is similar to spoon feeding them with tasty morsels of food. If it’s not tasty, they are not coming back for more.

Good for Instagram, Good for Google? 

Unfortunate but true, Google doesn’t boost your rankings based on your Instagram post but the idea here is not to drive Google search traffic to your Instagram feed but drive instagram traffic to your website. The simplest ways is to get a nice picture up and put a shorten web link alongside your Instagram will do the trick. Go with bitly.com or @urljuicer —these will help link your URL on your website to a post. Instagram post is indexed by Google but in order for them to show up in the search result, the search query must include the word “Instagram”.

Instagram has over 40 million monthly users on a site, so you can be assured that the traffic is worth milking. Similar photo sharing sites like Mobli (330K monthly active users) and Pheed (about 50K monthly active users) show much lower figures but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely.

Boosting Traffic and Followers

Learn to use the hashtag to describe your product or service. Instagram has been credited as a good place to find anything from food porn to bootleg firearms fashioned by the Mujahideen. Once you are comfy with a hashtag of your choice, use that in all your post to alert similar minded people. Adding people to your account can be done via a discovery method within the mobile app.

Instagram’s hashtag is very useful for brand building. For example if you registered a trademark called “Rock my Socks” then your hashtag on Instagram should be #rockmysocks. Simple isn’t it? Sprinkle that over your post to start your own branding. Be sure to add other relevant hashtags to your post, like maybe #fashion, #wearables or even #talibanporn.

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The next trick up your sleeves is to follow people and get them to follow you back. Easy if you know what makes for good content. Difficult if all you ever post are boring photos of your dog. The hashtag does wonders for your post to be found by others and some have been known to put all sort of hashtags onto a post in the hope someone out there will see it. Even though it is an effective means to tag everything under the sun with a hashtag, please remember that doing so is akin to spamming and for this, the community will declare jihad on you.

Baby Steps For Instagramers

Instagram is by far the most effective image marketing platform as all post have to be visual. You can even post short videos on it. The stop motion shooting pioneered by Vine app was adopted and copied by Instagram to keep its user base intact. But Vine is only for video, and it doesn’t support photo posting.

Adding total strangers to your account and expecting them to do the same is probably a bit lame but that hasn’t stopped people from doing it. The success rate varies so you have been warned.

Plan everything in advance and never do something you’d regret later. You can delete a post on Instagram later but by that time, things could get out of hand so don’t slack.

Leap frogging into Instagram

Celebrities often develop specific content for Instagram followers. First, no one wants to see a dozen self whoring image of yourself in front of a camera. They want variety and if someone is going to do it for you, it better be someone else and not you. This again begets the question, what makes for quality content so that people who follow you will end up clicking the link to your site??

Always Post Interesting Pictures

If you are a wedding photographer, then post pictures of some work in progress shoots. If you are a bakery, then shoot some pictures of your latest creation. Product shots needs to be hashtagged properly before it can be found. Square format pictures are very easy to compose in-camera so if you keep getting it wrong, please consult an optometrist.

Don’t be a Cam Whore

Cam whoring is fine. Take that selfie and post it but don’t overdo it by posting one, with the same pose but with different clothing just to show you know how to dress. It gets lame and followers will get bored and unfollow you. If you run a shop selling fashion accessories or clothing, don’t model those clothes yourself. I know you can but trust me, someone has to be behind the damn smartphone to shoot the pix. Those self shot pictures only make your head look big.

Location Whoring is a Must

People often forget to do this, create the check-in in Foursquares and make sure you have it right. Use that in all your Instagram post. Remember to post pictures with the location in mind (should you have more than one outlet location) so that people who bother to look you up can drop in and buy that bootleg rice wine you’ve been telling people about.

Make Short Videos for your Followers

Ever since Instagram took the video route, people have posted videos on some of the most boring things I have seen. That said, it won’t hurt to do a good short video. Take time to plan it. Make it funny. People love that sort of stuff. Even if you are selling fashion accessories, stolen weapons, dildos to cupcakes, I can think of a hundred ways to shoot it to make it viral. You can edit a movie, put into your iPhone and upload it but it gets cropped to a square format automatically so you don’t have a choice when it comes to the aspect ratio.

Do What is Humanly Possible

Forget those space fights or SFX scenes you caught off some Disney movie, Instagram isn’t that kind of video capture service. And should you have scenes involving humans, well, you can’t do this alone. Trust me, unless you were born a cephalopod, chances are you won’t have that sort of reach to do this.

You need two people to get things done—one person in front of the camera acting the whole scene, the other person with the smartphone, ready and steady to shoot. If you are a stop motion buff, you can plan a whole sequence without ever involving a paid or slave actor (part time labor). And remember to have fun while you’re at it!

How to Maximize on User Generated Content

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I want Content and I don’t want to generate it, what should I do? Can I have a legion of followers? What does it take to get people to generate that Internet buzz for me?

Let’s be clear on one thing, not all businesses will benefit from such an exercise. If you run a service, chances are people are not going to generate content on your behalf so the first thing to know about this elusive and sometimes confusing art of creating user generated content (UGC) is that it is more pertinent to retail type operations.

For SEO, user generated content is crucial for you to climb the ranks. Pictures, location addresses, GPS information, reviews, blogs all work in tandem to push your page rank up. As long as something related to you is featured under a different domain, it will count towards your popularity.

Whoring up to UGC?

Technically, UGC is a loose term that applies to any content that are generated by strangers or fans for you. It could be a fan page, or a posting of themselves spending time at a business establishment. Customers will post pictures of your products to Facebook, Instagram, G+, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquares, Pinterest, etc and this will in turn allow you to be found by total strangers who may just be looking for something of that ilk. This means you gotta be interesting, or having interesting products.

What Businesses can benefit from UGC?

Food businesses, product retail and any sort of produce whoring will qualify for UGC. Retail business that offer unique products, food and beverage, events like a customary strip show.

They key here is that your retail business needs to have content to generate web traffic on a large scale by allowing potential buyers to interact with the sold products. Yes, it is a bit like letting strangers get intimate with your personal belongings.

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How to Pimp Your Business

A large number of businesses are not UCG friendly or do not pay enough attention to it for content creation. Too lazy? Too busy? Don’t worry. There are a number of rules for UGC and here is a list.


1. Allow Photography on your Property

Yes, you heard me. Photos speak volumes and if you don’t allow people to snap photos, what good is UGC going to be when people do not get to see what you have. Checking into Foursquares of Google Places is one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. No pictures rules just plain suxs. Unless your main clientele is made up of blind people who have no apparent appreciation for your decor, you’re going to be left out in the cold.

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Many businesses do not like any sort of photography to be done without their consent but this is a mistake. They have this overbearing fear that what they rivals will seize upon this opportunity to copy and destroy what you created. Such fears will only dampen your belief in UGC. Getting more business is all about generating commercial traffic and not about protecting image rights. Your first goal is ensure people generate content to encourage commercial traffic as your survival depends on it.

Those in the Food and beverage industry such as cafes, themed restaurants and even food truck businesses will benefit immensely from user generated content. Once UGC goes viral, you can be assured that people will come to experience it for themselves on what they have seen or read about on social media.

2. Create a new Customers Experience

Your property should be decorated or designed to please the eyes. Colors and the right interior design will help you to win new clients when they see the UGC generated on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Any business can create a pleasing or colorful atmosphere with the right lighting and color choices. Got a giant statue of Venus or a life size Action figure? That’s the first thing customers zoom into. Make sure you get the right lighting as that matters too.

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3. Set-up a Free to Use WIFI Hotspot

One of the most overlooked of UGC is the provision for free wifi for users to surf. Why? Because mobile data is expensive! Foreign visitors, day trippers from across the border and low bandwidth data subscribers will not post stuff onto Faeebook or Instragram unless there was a way of doing it for free.

There are ways to protect your business wifi hotspot with the right software. You can read some of it here, but I am not going into detail on how to set up a wifi hotspot for your business as not all wifi routers are made the same way. Setting one up can be both a complicated or easy affair depending on the router manufacturer who gives a damn about making it user friendly.

Day trippers, holiday makers, tourist and foreign visitors who do not speak your language would like to express themselves with pictures and not all of them will have easy access to data connections. By providing the means for them to connect to their social sites, you are giving them a chance to write about you and this is what UGC is all about.

4. Create Location Check-ins for all Social Media

Location sharing is all about putting your business on the map and this can be done via Foursquares, Google Places, Facebook or any service that offers up a point of interest (POI) for mapping. By creating the check-in location yourself, you are making it easy for customers to use that GPS location to share with their friends. You’d be surprise how many businesses are not listed on Facebook or Google Places to make it easier for people to find you and share your location.

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Don’t let users create any ambiguous location check-in. This is detrimental to your business especially when the GPS data is wrong. It could be a block away from your actual location but it’s not their fault for doing this but you should be on hand to prevent this by creating the location check-in  yourself.

5. Engage your Customers with Events

Every event that your customers take part in will generate content. Often business owners think that it takes too much time to organize one but you forget that people need to be excited and to stoke that excitement you need to engage them with simple and meaningful events.

For example, if you happen to be in the F&B business, you can always organize an event for wine tasting, food tasting or even a food presentation lesson. Product distributors are always on a look out for means to host a roadshow and what you need to know is to find a way to connect your business through them at your property. What you need to do is to ante up on the organization skills provide the part-time labor to run the event and you’re done.

By tapping on the social honey pots who love generating followers for your social media profile, you get to promote your business through social media networks without doing any lifting.

UCG with Bloggers

Bloggers are the unsung heroes of UGC. They generate ad target traffic by providing content and search engines know that. So if you happen to have a whole army of bloggers who update regularly and writes about you, then you’re going to be a star on the search engine rankings.

In the old days, it was magazines and news reporters who gave their spiel and helped to promote you to the public at large. Today, the powers of social media hold sway.

Bloggers need content so it is a two way street. By cultivating them, you are helping yourself. Don’t just rely on one blogger. You need a whole team of them and the best way to evaluate them is to find out what domain and blogging platform they work on. Some work for free, others work for beer money. Once you have several different postings from bloggers, it will boost your chances of being found not only by customers, but it will also boost your search engine ranking.

What are Content Spinners?

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Love’ em or hate them, content spinners are the boon and bane of the online world. But for those of us who can’t write a paragraph to save our own lives, content spinners become manna from heaven. You load up a stolen page of content, put it through a content spinner and out comes freshly pressed copy, or so you think.

Copyscape Escape

When you steal an entire written page and have that mashed up to look like it was new, there are bound to be problems. First, let’s not delude ourselves that a program with some grammar coding will do the trick.

Content spinners  replaces certain keywords with a Thesaurus equivalent. When you start using spoken verbs and nouns to describe something unique, a machine will fail to understand what you mean and just offer you what it thinks would be an appropriate replacement.  This is how it backfires and you don’t have to go far to test this logic.

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The bottom are spun content and you can see how it goes wrong. The term “demanding” has been replaced with “more requesting” with Spinbot while Best Free Spinner uses the term “additional requiring”. Funny isn’t it? I think a five year old could point out that mistake from a mile. Then again, this could be where award winning comedy writers find their stuff.

Paid Content Spinners

Never trust a computer to output borrowed or stolen content. That said some conniving souls think that it can be done on the cheap. You can avail yourself to the many services that are on offer these days. It’s like dealing with the mafia, you want someone beaten up, it will cost you this much, if you want him permanently tipped over, it will cost you that much, and so on.

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Content Spinning by the Content Mafia?

There are content mafias who use real people to do the job. The hitmen of choice? Writers from third world countries whose second or first language is English. These content mafias farm out ‘assignments’  to writers in places such as the Philippines and India—where they regurgitate the misappropriated content like a bulimic and send that back to you. You get what you paid for and if you’re not happy with the spun content, you can’t have your money back.

Engaging your Audience

Content comes in many forms but are divided into two distinctions. One is that they don’t have a dime of sense while the other is about sharing knowledge or any form of savior faire.

How does Google’s new Hummingbird SEO pick up on content? The secret here is that the new algorithm recognizes how people speak. When you write as you speak, the clarity is in how you structure the words to mean something. Though it is too early to tell if Hummingbird can pick up localized ‘slang’ or ‘creole’, it is safe to say that it can pick up content spun by Spinbots for their ungainly use of grammar.

Content is suppose to engage your audience and not entertain them with some thesaurus inspired double speak. Content spinner that promises you NEW and ORIGINAL content are  lying like born-again politicians.

Even if you did invest into a Content Spinner, you haven’t hit a home run without first cleaning up the mess it created. Worst still is when English isn’t your first language. You won’t have a clue what those spun articles could mean.

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search result for organically grown dildos?

Where can I find Free Content?

Facts will always be facts, you can’t steal facts from another person but how you express it to an audience matters. Hiring a writer to write from a fact sheet is probably the easiest way to developing your own content. Places like Freelancer.com and Guru.com are hives for such talent. If you can’t afford it, then maybe you could ante up on those Google adwords campaigns. That will work for sure. No content required either.

Ok stop groveling.  If you thought I had misled you into thinking that you had to pay for all sorts of content, well don’t because here’s the clue. Go get yourself a journalist/blogger account with PR Newswire.

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Part of the ranking consideration with Google’s SEO in the past (and the foreseeable future  too) is to see how may people carry the same information hosted on different domains. So PR Newswire basically disseminates the press releases and news to journalist and bloggers to write about. The more you bloggers write about these items, the more credible it sounds and up goes the Google Page Ranking.

PR Newswire  offers services to bloggers but at this point, it is just press released. Look for the relevant content from the listed post to find your story. When I was an editor for a magazine, I use to go through all the press releases and if I found something interesting, I would call them up for a more intimate story. Press releases are often very dull, boring and to the point. It can put fishes to sleep if they could read.

To develop original content, just start asking some questions and get some personal quotes from the relevant sources, it will make your content shine. However you still need to have a content strategy in place before you get all comfy.