Category Archives for "Facebook"

Nov 14

Facebook Engagement & Reach: How To Social Media Training [VIDEO]

By Maria Peagler

The key to getting results from Facebook is in posting content that generates reach and engagement. So how do you figure out what kind of posts your audience responds to best?

This video looks at a simple way to identify which posts get the greatest reach and engagement so you’ll know what kind of content you should focus on sharing. Timestamps & transcript are below the video:

00:20: Identify How to Get Greater Post Reach & Engagement in Less than 30 Seconds

02:00: Second Facebook Post Type Insight Example

02:42: Comparison with Targeted Posts Excluded

02:58: Identify What’s Working Now

03:40: Why Status Updates Get the Most Reach

Transcript

This is Maria Peagler with Socialmediaonlineclasses.com with the fifth in a series on Facebook Insights videos. And in this video we’re going to be taking a look at how you can easily identify—in less than 30 seconds—how you can get greater post reach and engagement. Again, we’re going to go to your Facebook page Insights by clicking on See Insights. And we’re going to go to your Posts section. And you’re going to look at Post Types. And the area that pops up here is incredibly important because it shows you the most popular post types that you do. Not individual posts, but the kind of post, whether they’re photo posts, just a plain text status update, a link, it could be a video, it could be an offer. But you can see for my particular page, photos are, by far, what get the most reach and, overwhelmingly, the most engagement. So for this, it’s a no-brainer for me. It’s going to be a photo post. Links tend to get more engagement than a status update, but status updates get a far greater reach than links do. So what that tells me is that I might want to do a status update and just put maybe a shortened link on it so that it doesn’t show up as the type of link that you would see in a Facebook link post. So, overall, what I would do is anytime I do a Facebook post I’m going to put a photo with it and I can also add a link, but that photo is going to be what gives it the greater reach.

Let’s take a look at another Facebook page. And you can see here that it’s pretty much the same proportion. Again, photos are the most popular type followed by status and links. In this particular case, though, the links didn’t get as much engagement as mine did. For this page a status post gets a lot of engagement. But again, overwhelmingly, it’s the photo posts that get the greatest reach and engagement. You can exclude targeted posts, which are ones that are done with an ad. I don’t think that there are any on this page, but we will go back to my insights and take a look at that.

Okay. Back here we’re going to look on the insights back on my business page. Again, we’re going to go to posts because we want to see what the most popular post types are. I’ll click on that section. And let’s see. I’m going to exclude targeted posts and see if that changes anything. Well, it does. It does a lot, actually. I want to show this to you again. Right here for all posts, photo, status and link. Okay. If I exclude targeted posts that means that these are only the ones that are organic. Status posts are twice as popular as anything else. They don’t get the most engagement but they do get the most reach. And that, it’s a theory on my part, but here’s what I think this is.

A status update is easy for Facebook to store on its servers. A photo takes a lot of storage space, and so does a video. And so they automatically give status updates greater reach to save on their own hosting and storage costs. So a photo, they’re not going to give as great a reach, but you can see it still gets the most engagement. So that’s interesting. And then a link, again, gets the least reach and the least engagement as far as both clicks, likes, comments and shares.

So this is how you can tell what your most popular post types are. Identify those and do more of them. This is Maria Peagler from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.

Nov 11

7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers

By Maria Peagler

7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers.

Beauty vloggers are not professional marketers, but they are CRUSHING traditional branding & promotion with their own style. Find out how they do it.

7 surprising secrets i learned from beauty bloggers

I have a confession to make  . . .

I LOVE watching YouTube beauty and hair videos.

In fact, over the past year I’ve been consuming a lot of beauty vlogger content: I drastically changed my hairstyle from blow-drying everyday to going naturally curly, and I needed a lot of help in maintaining my new hairstyle.

So where did I turn?

YouTube, of course.

And after watching hundreds of hair videos, following beauty vloggers on multiple social networks, and seeing how they work individually and together — I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

Most of these ladies (and gentlemen) don’t have traditional marketing or technology backgrounds, but they are ROCKING their social media presence. I’ve observed them carefully, identified their secrets, and am sharing them so you can adapt them for your own marketing.

1. Beauty Vloggers are Prolific Content Generators

The YouTube beauty vloggers I watch are all generating new videos at least once per week, sometimes more often. Their #1 secret to their success is creating a generous amount of content.  Here are some examples:

Goss Makeup Artist is a UK-based vlogger who records videos from his home makeup studio. Nothing fancy, but look at the number of videos he has on his channel — over 700, and he’s earned 1.8 million subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Sarah Stevens (married now, not sure of her married name) started making videos as a high school student, continued on through college (filming from her dorm room), and now continues as she’s married, living and teaching English in Qatar. Again, she has a huge amount of content: over 200 videos and 14K subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Angie (doesn’t give her last name) has a beauty channel for menopausal women, and again, has over 200 videos and 46K subscribers. She crushes the idea that you have to be young to be beauty vlogger:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Louise Glitter, another UK-based vlogger, offers a plus-sized beauty channel that draws a loyal audience of 1.7 million subscribers! Notice she also has a video collection over 250+:

what i learned from beauty vloggersJenell Stewart is a black vlogger who focuses on natural hair styles and products for women with curly hair. She has over 500 videos and 105K subscribers:

what i learned from beauty vloggers

Notice how diverse these channels are? They come from men, women, young, middle-aged, all colors, sizes and nationalities. The one secret they all have in common is creating A LOT OF CONTENT.

 

2. Beauty Vloggers Share Their Editorial Schedule

What day is your favorite television show on?

You knew immediately, didn’t you?

The second secret of these beauty vloggers is they adhere to a publishing schedule and share it with their audience. They schedule their own “shows,” just as network and cable television do.

Goss Makeup Artist displays his schedule directly on his YouTube banner:

scrn_2014-11-10_12-54-21_PM copy

Are you letting your audience know when they can expect new content from you? Are you consistent enough to publish a schedule at all?

3. Beauty Vloggers Follow Content Themes

One of the trends I noticed early on in my video watching phase is that vloggers often follow established themes in their videos:

  • Reviews – reviews of products both provided by brands asking for the review and those they’ve purchased on their own.  Most vloggers were 100% transparent when they had been approached by a beauty brand and gave their candid review, sometimes being “I wouldn’t use this again.”
  • Empties – reviews of multiple products they’ve used up and saved for this video.
  • Hauls – sharing products purchased during a shopping trip. Not a review video, but a highlight of products they’ll be using and probably reviewing in the future.
  • Get Ready with Me – a how-to video of the vlogger showing their beauty or hair routine. Normally the video shows the vlogger getting ready and they add the narration afterward, so they’re not talking directly to you in the video.
  • Collabs – collaboration videos with a vlogger colleague.  These usually take two forms: either both appear in the video together, or they each do their own version of the video and link to the other person’s in the video description.
  • How-to’s – the tried and true how-to video, done in the vlogger’s own style.

Beauty vloggers’ third secret is they follow similar content trends, making it easier for them to pick up viewers from other beauty channels.  Their videos are similar, but still different enough, to interest viewers who want to learn and watch other vloggers in the same space.

What content themes appear in your industry? Have you watched enough video to know these trends? If not, take some time to watch channels with large viewerships and identify their content themes.

4. Beauty Vloggers Optimize Their Social Media Profiles

The fourth secret of these savvy vloggers is the one I was the most impressed with: they take advantage of every opportunity to share their other social networks and their most popular content. They use their popularity on one channel to build their audience for their others.

Sarah Stevens has Facebook, twitter, Instagram and blog accounts in addition to her YouTube channel, and she points to them not just once, but twice on her banner area: once with hyperlinks, and once with icons under her title:

scrn_2014-11-10_12-55-20_PM

 

Sarah also optimizes each of her videos with links to her other social networks, how to subscribe to her YouTube channel, and her most popular videos. Shown below are the links she shares from the video people see first — her channel introduction video:

scrn_2014-11-10_01-51-13_PM

 

You can do the same whether you have a YouTube channel or not. Almost every social network offers the ability to link to your other social networks. You can do this in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Slideshare, and Google+.  You can also point to your most popular content in multiple ways on your blog.

Give people the EZ button so they can follow you, consume your content, and find your best stuff.

 

5. Beauty Vloggers Understand the Power of Images

Their fifth secret is one that showcases the power of images.  Yes, their main content is a video, but vloggers know the first glimpse anyone will ever see of their video is the thumbnail.

Here, Sprinkle of Glitter showcases her videos with thumbnails that usually have her looking directly at you and display a clear title:

sprinkles of glitter optimizes her video thumbnails

 

 

6. Beauty Vloggers Collaborate to Increase Their Visibility

I found it surprising how small the beauty vlogging world was. Each vlogger specializes in their own niche and often collaborates (called a “collab” video) with someone else in their niche to increase their visibility.

Rather than seeing each other as competition, they help one another reach a larger audience. That’s their sixth secret: they rely on colleagues to build their audience.

Here, Louise collaborates with another vlogger Karen, and links to Karen’s video and channels from her own:

sprinkle of glitter collab video

 

7. Beauty Bloggers Have True Relationships with Their Audience

Many of the beauty vloggers I’ve profiled here get their video ideas from their viewers — and give them credit for it, naming them in the video.

They often receive hundreds of comments, and respond to them individually. They have true conversations with their fans, answering questions, responding to suggestions, and even asking their audience for feedback and their own experiences.

Of course, being so visible means you’ll open yourself up to some “haters,” but these vloggers didn’t let that stop them.  In fact, they didn’t respond to haters at all.  And often their audience defended them against snarky commenters.

That’s the seventh and final secret: while many social media experts tout “relationship marketing,” these vloggers establish deep and loyal fan bases that buy the products they recommend, watch every video they share, and anxiously await their next one.

Summary

I must admit I completely underestimated beauty vloggers: I started out simply wanting to learn how to style a new haircut. What I ultimately observed, however, was much more than that.

Beauty vloggers demonstrate you don’t need to be a professional marketer to grow your brand. What it does take is passion, consistency, honesty with your audience, listening to them, talking to them, and making it easy for them to find you.

What beauty vloggers do you follow? What have you learned from them about beauty and marketing? Share in the comments below:

80/20 of social media marketing
Nov 04

How to Identify the 80/20 of Your Social Media Marketing: Where is Your Most Profitable 20%?

By Maria Peagler

80/20 of social media marketing

You’re going to thank me for this . . . .

I’m going to show you how to exponentially multiply your visibility, leads, revenue and profit in your business using the Pareto principle: that 20% of your effort that leads to 80% of your results.

As a small business owner, you need to be ruthless with how you spend your time. The marketing efforts that aren’t not paying off — ditch them. In a moment, I’m going to show you how to identify which marketing efforts are paying off and how to do more of them to grow your business.

Forget coaches who tell you how to get more time in your day and expensive consulting for someone to tell you how to grow the revenue in your business.

Today I’m going to show you how to do all of that yourself.

1. Identify Your Marketing Goals

Can you articulate the goals for your marketing? According to a recent survey of SMOC members, their top three business goals are:

  1. Grow their business
  2. Get more sales
  3. Develop a personal brand

Awesome! Now, exactly what is your plan for doing that?

If you’re not sure HOW to achieve these goals, take a look at my three-part series on setting SMART Goals/Creating an Action Plan/Measuring Your Results. It walks you through every step of that process so you can turn your goals into actionable tasks you can measure to identify your progress.

First, you learn how to set SMART social media marketing goals for your business:

How to Set SMART Marketing Goals

Second, you learn how to turn those goals into actionable tasks you can accomplish:

How to turn your marketing goals into an executable action plan

Third, you learn how to measure the results of your goals & action plan. This is the critical part of the process most people skip.  Don’t miss this post:

How to measure the results of your marketing - simply & easily

If you can’t articulate what your goal is, your customers don’t know what you’re asking of them. Tie your marketing to your business goals using the three-part series (it’s one of our most popular blog posts).

2. Identify What’s Working Now

If you’re already doing social media marketing, do you know which of your marketing efforts is is generating the most business? Being able to look at all of your marketing efforts, from social media to content generation to advertising, is neither simple nor easy. But it’s essential for you to prune the campaigns not paying off and double-down on those that are generating the most revenue.

If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) installed on your website, then do it now (or hire someone who can). Read this post on using Google Analytics with WordPress — it walks you through how to install it on your website, plus the most important reports for identifying what’s working now:

Google Analytics for WordPress

 

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of data GA throws at you. Don’t let that happen to you.  Read this post for the most important year-end metrics to measure using GA:

3 Year End Metrics to Measure

Also, you need to be able to read Facebook Insights and identify who your most profitable fans are. This post identifies how to use Insights to drill down to find where your results are in Facebook:


Facebook Insights Explained

 

Facebook Insights Lesson How to measure what matters in Facebook
Members-Only Content
Login to access this lesson

 

3. Automate Social Media Tasks Not Requiring Engagement

Social media marketing is an effective marketing tool, but it can be a huge time drain if you’re not savvy about how you spend your time.  Not every administrative task requires your attention.  Instead, identify what you can automate or delegate to a staff member.

The tasks I like to automate:

  • posting to Pinterest – because it requires little engagement and we use the Pinvolve.co app to automate this process
  • posting to multiple social networks — use Hootsuite to post once and have it go to all your social accounts
  • creating a library of content — we create a content library by adding each social media post URL to a Google Spreadsheet file.  We automate this task using IFTTT.com.
  • repurposing content – my assistant creates our Weekly Top posts from the most recent lessons, blog posts, and forum Q&A here at SMOC
  • automating blog post creation — be careful with this one. The only time I automate a blog post is when I upload a video to YouTube: I created a recipe in IFTT.com that creates a blog post draft automatically that contains the video.  We then edit the blog post, add an awesome title, a transcript and time stamps.  I do have social media services clients, however, for whom we’ve created an entire blog post automation process: these clients are working multiple jobs or on the road 50 weeks out of the year. Their staffs are overworked already and dread writing blog posts.  So we created a process where they can automatically create blog posts generated by tasks they were doing already.
  • create content in 10 minutes – yes, this is an authentic tactic I use. Not all the time, but when I’m pressed for time, this workflow saves the day.  In fact, I created the framework for this blog post using my 10-minute tactic.

Summary

No matter where you are in your marketing journey — beginner to advanced — identifying the 80/20 of your social media marketing is critical  to streamline your efforts, be more efficient, and grow your brand.

I’ve shared how to identify your 80/20 goals, create an action plan, measure your results using both GA and Facebook Insights, as well as how to automate tasks that don’t require your individual attention.

Which is your favorite tactic? What did you find was the 80/20 of your social media marketing? Tell me in the comments below:

 

visual storytelling infographic
Oct 29

Visual Storytelling for Brands

By Maria Peagler

 visual storytelling maria peagler

Editor’s note: We’re continuing our Visual Storytelling theme this week with a look at how brands can market using visual content, along with examples of those doing this well.  You can listen to my interview (or read the transcript) of my interview with Ekaterina Walter, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling here.

The human attention span has dwindled to eight seconds — less than that of a goldfish — according to a 2002 BBC article. With so many competing websites, social networks and entertainment on the internet, how can brands make their message stand out, be remembered and generate results?

Visual content: our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Done well, your story told in a visual way, sticks with readers far better than just words on a page or screen.

What is Visual Storytelling and How Does it Benefit My Business?

Visual storytelling encompasses far more than just using visuals in your marketing: it’s about telling your brand’s story — what your purpose is & what you stand for — in a visual way.  I like to think of it as Start With Why meets The Back of the Napkin meets Made to Stick.

Marketing your brand visually makes your message sticky: your audience remembers it, engages with it, and is far more likely to actually consume it.  Here are visual content statistics:

  • Web posts with visuals are 180% more likely to get engagement
  • Visitors spend 100% more time on web pages with video
  • Press releases incorporating video get 45% more traffic
  • Web posts including infographics get 12% more traffic

If you’d like more traffic from highly engaged visitors who are more likely to buy from you, visual content is a highly effective approach.

What Visual Content is Best for Your Brand?

The type of visual content you should use depends on several factors, including what’s easiest for your team (or you) to create, as well as your audience demographics and where they hang out online.  While Vine is a great place to find 18-20 year-olds, it won’t be effective for reaching baby boomers. Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest are better suited for that audience.

Identify your audience, discover where they are online (and offline), and target them according to your business goals.

Tell Your Story Using Simple Images

A brand who does this well is is Northern Valley Auto Body in Englewood, NJ, as shown here on their Facebook page.  They take before & after photos of the cars they repair, as well as in-process pics.  Not only is it fascinating to see how they work, the story their images tell is one of trust and transparency: the usually off-limits to clients body shop has completely opened their doors and invited you to watch their process:

visual storytelling case study

Photos of in-process restorations instills a sense of trust in their brand.

Notice the simplicity of this visual story: photos taken in the garage with a smartphone and uploaded to a Facebook album. No filters, no captions, nothing but photos of their work. This didn’t take a graphic design team, but one person who stopped long enough to document the brand’s work.

Educate & Entertain Using Video Tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company opened their doors during the height of the U.S. recession, and their odds were so slim of making it they were covered by Wall Street Journal reporter Meg Cox (a quilter herself). How founder, Jenny Doan, not only survived the recession but became the largest employer in her small town is all due to her free quilting tutorials on YouTube.

missouri star quilt company tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company grew their brand to the largest employer in their town using YouTube video tutorials

Jenny’s videos are simple, brief, but show her personality and simple ways to make a quilt from pre-cuts: fabric pieces already cut into shapes ready for quilters to sew together. Not only do her videos market the shop’s inventory of pre-cut fabrics, they also help reduce her labor costs, as pre-cuts don’t require an employee to cut a piece of fabric for every customer, as do bolts of fabric.

Jenny’s early videos were rough, with poor lighting and showing her sitting at a sewing machine. But, viewers weren’t concerned with the production quality: they loved Missouri Quilt Company’s videos, and some of their most popular videos are their oldest, garnering over a million views.

Reach Business Clients Using Presentations

Marketing Experiments is a well-known brand in the marketing industry that uses presentations and videos to reach their target audience. They offer hour-long “clinics” where they share the results of their case studies, research, and do live optimizations of brands who need their advice. They offer the clinics live, but also upload the replay to YouTube, and the shorter slide deck to Slideshare:

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments offers their “marketing clinics” on video as well as slide deck presentations

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments uploads their presentations to Slideshare for those who don’t want to watch the entire video

 

Speak Your Audience’s Language with Infographics, GIFs, Memes

Here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com we use infographics to offer quick guides to social networks:

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

Dr. Pepper uses GIFs, Hubspot has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to marketing memes, the White House creates Vine videos, and brands aplenty are on Instagram. So no matter who your audience is, you can reach them using some form of visual content.

Create Your Visual Roadmap

To get the most from your visual content marketing, establish your roadmap: your brand’s strategy and execution plan, by answering these questions:

  • what does your brand stand for (and how does it differ from your competition)?
  • what is your brand’s purpose?
  • what are your business goals for your marketing?
  • what are your customer’s pain points?
  • what marketing efforts are working now?

Your answers shape your business’ unique visual roadmap, making your brand unforgettable to your audience, and resonating with them in a way no plain text ever will.

What type of visual storytelling is your business doing and what have been your results? Share your story in the comments below.

Related Resources

Visual Social Media Webinar*

Your First Business Video Webinar*

Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Google+ Image Sizes Cheat Sheet*

Instagram Marketing Infographic

Instagram for Business Case Studies

How to Build a DIY Stock Photo Library for Social Media

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Build a Stock Photo Library Using Canva

Your First Business Video Checklist

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2014

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2012

* denotes members-only content

social media marketing in europe
Oct 14

What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe

By Benjamin Kepner

the-flags-of-the-european-union

 

What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe

A primer for U.S. brands on how to approach social media marketing in Europe. A guide to cultural differences, privacy concerns, corporate restrictions and more.

1. Mind the Gap

Europeans have fewer contacts in social networks because they are selective in whom they choose to interact with, and have a higher resistance to sharing, compared to Americans. Therefore, your campaigns must offer a higher incentive to share.  Europeans value their data privacy as a universal and individual right; only 31% of all U/S. companies restrict social networks compared to a whopping 60-80% of European companies.

2. Respect Cultural Values

Do extensive cultural research to determine formal and informal language differences, color sensitivity, and time of day, week and year norms.

  • Language barrier: How you say ‘you’ in languages like German, French, Spanish or Italian is critical. All of the languages mentioned have a formal and informal version of the word ‘you,’ which makes choosing your tone of voice very important. Observe how users are talking to the brand, then mirror their language.
  • Stricter time schedule: Between 2:30 and 5:30pm, Spain typically holds siesta, where businesses shut down.  In the Netherlands, it is rare for people to work after 6pm since family life is highly valued. Summer holidays begin June to August too, with most countries taking extended vacations or not working.
  • Color: Different hues carry cultural messages depending upon the country. For example, using orange in your cover photo could be great for a brand heavily concentrated in the Netherlands since it’s the color for the Dutch Royal Family, but it may not be as well received in other countries due to political reasons.

3.  Understand Platform Perceptions

When it comes to platforms of choice, the social media landscape in Europe is divided:

VK

VKontakte

Facebook

Eastern Europe still uses VKontakte , similar to Facebook, with a stronghold of users in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus accounting for more than 60 million active accounts.  Facebook is present here too, and its user base continues to grow in these countries, but the world’s favorite social network currently claims 12.4 million monthly active users across these three countries combined.

Facebook dominates in Western Europe, with 37 countries accounting for a total of 232.2 million active users – roughly 19% of the platform’s total global user base.  As with internet penetration, Iceland also leads the way with 70% of the country’s population using Facebook in the past month.  Malta puts in an impressive showing at 58%, with Scandinavian countries rounding out the rest of the top five.  European Facebook users account for the lowest share of fans in the world, following an average of 12 brands.  Europeans usually  interact with a brand only if they have a customer service issue and they see Facebook as a quicker way to be heard and get help.  Europeans also prefer to share a positive brand experience on social media rather than a negative one.

Twitter

Not every country embraces the use of Twitter. German celebrities do not use the channel as much as American ones, and the character count doesn’t always work with the average length of words in their language. Most Europeans also share only with people they know, so they aren’t as open to proactively engaging with brands on Twitter.  General advertising infrastructure isn’t as sophisticated outside of the U.S., and advertising revenues per user are significantly lower in Europe.

Whatsapp

Whatsapp

Twitter faces competition from local websites, mobile applications and services that provide real-time communications, like Whatsapp or Line. Spaniards love Whatsapp so much it’s now used as a verb here, “Whatsappeando.” JAJAJA.

Try mobile campaigns on Twitter, as that seems to be where most Europeans spend their time.

Spotify

Spotify was created in Europe, and according to Kevin Brown (Spotify’s European head of media relations), of the company’s 40 million users, 10 million are paying listeners. The service is also rapidly adding users in England, with over 1 million new active listeners.

spotify

Spotify

Use Spotify to your advantage by running contests or starting a collaborative playlist to give you a chance to interact with your customers and let them show off their musical tastes.

Bands, radio stations or concert venues can hold contests for fans to create a setlist for the tour and give away concert tickets to the winning playlist.  Spotify had a “Selfie” station at the Bilbao BBK Live Music Festival I attended to encourage you to share your concert pictures and have fans vote for the best ones on social media using hashtags.

Your store or restaurant could start a collaborative playlist for people to suggest songs to add to your background music. Feature a few new songs from the playlist every week. Join in with your customers’ music discovery. It’s a fun way to keep your business in the front of their minds.  It gives your brand more exposure by creating a memorable experience for your followers.

4. Study European History

From first-hand experience, I can tell you people are proud of their country’s history.  However, Western Europe is at least two years behind the U.S. in terms of social media adaptation.  Thought leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss change the status quo with their ideas for social media innovation.  However, since they’re all American, Europeans seem quick to dismiss their ideas, claiming that they’ll work only in America.

Europe lacks role models to inspire among European countries due to cultural and language differences. Connect with them by learning their cultural history instead. Business owners need to immerse themselves in cultural education.

5. Get Mobile

An app or social media campaign tends to spread across its culture only, especially considering language barriers.  Mobile use in Europe is three times higher than America.  Learn to develop mobile apps or location-based social media marketing campaigns.  Try multilingual campaigns  and gauge performance.  Remember, 50% of Europe is bilingual and many regions in European countries speak three languages.

Finally, ensure you include multimedia as part of your strategy by including Pinterest and Instagram.

6. Learn from European Businesses

Alexandria Ekkelenkamp, Press officer of the European Union, says they use the Dandelion model – a hub-and-spoke model that can be particularly relevant to multinational brands “where companies act nearly autonomously from each other under a common brand.”  Brands can improve internal communication and the flow of information to better inform consumers’ interactions with brands.

Jochen van Drimmelen, KLM’s Online Reputation Manager, says KLM used a cancer victim social crisis unavailable upgrade problem and turned in into a positive alternative to satisfy the customer’s question.

Lilach Bullock of UK Sociable says, “When doing business in another European country, it’s important to do a little research beforehand. One of the most important things to remember is that every country is different from the next, and so you need different tactics for each one.”

Summary: Think Global, Act Local.

‘Glocalisation’ is a concept that European marketers, in particular, should understand their target markets (as seen on Hubspot). Being ‘glocal’ means creating a local adaptation of a global strategy by understanding local cultures.  Hiring a local and diverse staff can make your efforts in Europe a successful strategy as well.

Oct 10

What’s New in Social Media: 3rd Quarter Round-Up

By Admin Tester

A lot has changed in online marketing over the last 12 weeks — here’ s your go-to resource for all the new content (in addition to your classes) at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com for 3rd quarter 2014.  Bookmark this page so you can return to it when you need answers fast!

Growing Your Business

  1. How to Get More Sales from Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT]… http://bit.ly/1saBkFT
  2. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue… http://bit.ly/1Dwadbh
  3. How to Get More Sales from Your Website Webinar Replay & Resources… http://bit.ly/1wE3Uxs
  4. How to Rebrand Yourself and Launch a New Career … http://bit.ly/1wE30RM
  5. Online Training for Different Learning Styles: Social Media Training … http://bit.ly/1p2ZOt1
  6. The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America: Minimum Viable Education… http://bit.ly/1xIwdiG
  7. College Guide to Landing a Job… http://goo.gl/cSGgxQ

Online Marketing Strategy

  1. How to Create a Stock Photo Library [VIDEO]… http://bit.ly/1rpIhRj
  2. The One Thing You Should Do on Social Media Every Day… http://bit.ly/1BJartz
  3. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File… http://goo.gl/1MmZOK
  4. What to Look for in Online Social Media Training… http://goo.gl/TwNfCe
  5. How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes Flat… http://goo.gl/ASRgDi
  6. Learn How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Your iPhone… http://goo.gl/1S6BY9
  7. Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing Webinar Replay & Resources… http://goo.gl/VSws0E
  8. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others… http://goo.gl/vlSrVq
  9. How to Brand & Watermark Your Images [VIDEO]*… http://goo.gl/RPLoQv
  10. The State of Social Media for Small Business… http://goo.gl/CQsfMa

Facebook

  1. How Facebook Just Made Your Life Easier … http://bit.ly/1sbeE8k
  2. How Often Should I Post to Facebook in 2014?… http://goo.gl/JKzeiD
  3. How to Get Double Duty from Every Facebook Post… http://goo.gl/O2vc4R
  4. HUGE Facebook News: Google Search Now Links to FB Posts Using Hashtags… http://goo.gl/1OmYJc
  5. What Facebook ISN’T Telling You About Its Latest Business Page Redesign… http://goo.gl/RE5ksc
  6. Member Exclusive: How to Create a Facebook Timeline with a Clickable Button… http://goo.gl/298g7m
  7. Facebook 2014 Changes — What You Need to Know (INFOGRAPHIC) … http://goo.gl/yA18p8
  8. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links… http://goo.gl/EykVJ2
  9. How to Find Which Apps You Have Installed on Facebook… http://goo.gl/8zD7A7
  10. Monthly Coaching Video Clip: How to EASILY Increase Your Facebook Post Reach… http://goo.gl/3CUc3o

Instagram

Instagram Marketing Infographic… http://bit.ly/Zdc2dC

Google

Google+ Image Size Cheat Sheet… http://bit.ly/WZoqfw

Twitter

Twitter Image Size Cheat Sheet… http://goo.gl/wrUI4T

Pinterest

Pinterest Contest Swipe File… http://goo.gl/BjJuaE

Best of the Best

  1. 2014′s Best Social Media Marketing Infographics… http://goo.gl/PZFaZ0
  2. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2014… http://goo.gl/Fg32VL
  3. Our Top Presentations — Get ‘Em Here!… http://goo.gl/x5uFMu

Oct 08

How a Local Candy Store Uses Social Media to Generate Sales after TV Exposure [CASE STUDY]

By Maria Peagler

In this exclusive case study, you’ll learn how a local candy store’s appearance on national television doubled as an opportunity to learn how to make better use of social media. You’ll discover how they connect with their customers—near and far—in just a few hours a week.

Case Study: Sweet Pete’s

Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Sweet Pete’s is an all-natural confectionery founded by Pete Behringer. Pete’s mother opened a chocolate shop when he was 12, and he opened the doors to his own sweet shoppe in 2010. In addition to all-natural and organic goods, Sweet Pete’s caters to special diets with vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and other special options. They also offer classes and parties for those interested in making their own treats.

On April 1, 2014, Sweet Pete’s made an appearance on CNBC’s “The Profit” and made a deal with Marcus Lemonis to move from the Springfield neighborhood to a bigger space in downtown Jacksonville with a better kitchen and more foot traffic. The appearance generated sales and increased their following, and Sweet Pete’s maintains that momentum using social media to stay in touch with existing customers and attracting new ones.

sweetpetes_logo

Sweet Pete’s By the Numbers

  • Facebook Fans:  11,900+
  • Twitter Followers:  2,600+
  • Instagram Followers:  600
  • Time Spent Weekly on Social Media:  3 – 4 hours

Learn What Works and Stick with It

sweetpetescasestudy_01

When they first started out with social media, Sweet Pete’s didn’t have a huge following and did their own thing when it came to social media. After their Marcus Lemonis deal, his team helped Sweet Pete’s improve their marketing efforts to their growing customer-base.

Here’s how Sweet Pete’s got their social media efforts to rake in customers:

  • Learned how to use social media from social media marketing experts
  • Computer-savvy staff who really understand social media management and execution strategy
  • Promoting parties, new deals, seasonal items and specials
  • Photos of products and the team in-action get people engaged
  • Short status posts that don’t demand too much time or attention

By learning from experts and paying attention to what their audience responds to, Sweet Pete’s only has to invest a few hours each week to see results. They see an increase in sales after sharing deals, parties and classes on their social networks, and giving their audience a behind-the-scenes look helps keep them engaged, especially with non-local customers who can’t visit them in-person.

sweetpetescasestudy_02

They also use polls as a quick, fun way to get customer feedback and feature products in a non-pushy way:sweetpetescasestudy_03

How You Can Adapt This Case Study for Your Own Small Business

Any small or local business can learn from Sweet Pete’s strategy to improve at social media marketing and engage better with customers:

  • Always be professional
  • Allow staff with the social media knowledge and expertise to take the lead
  • Know your audience and pay attention to what they want
  • Have fun! Don’t let social media become a burden

Sweet Pete’s Efficient Approach to Social Media Marketing

Members – login to get the details on how Sweet Pete’s stays on top of their social media strategy in just a few hours a week: click here to login!

Not a member? Start learning today by becoming a Socialmediaonlineclasses member.  Click here to learn more:

Sep 17

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Most Popular Infographics from First Half of 2014

By Janice Deleon

Infographics are some of the most popular resources we offer here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  Here are member favorites from the first half of 2014:

Social Media for Local Business

How do you decide where to spend your time marketing your local business?
So many social networks and marketing options can be overwhelming. How can you ensure you’re focusing on tactics yielding the most return on investment (ROI) for your local business? Rely on the Social Media for Local Business infographic.  It reveals the eight most powerful social marketing platforms for local businesses; use it as a menu to pick and choose the ones the suit your brand.

social media for local business

State of Social Media for Small Business

We posed questions to Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members (almost 300 of them!) to take the pulse of social media for small business in 2014.  Some results were expected, while others were shocking.  All are shown in the infographic below.  (Following the infographic is a brief explanation of the finding for each question)

state of social media for small business

Facebook Marketing Infographic 2014 Edition

Get your Facebook marketing infographic. Quickly tap into 1 billion customers on the world’s largest social network. The infographic helps you get better results from Facebook in 2014.

College Guide to Landing a Job

Learn how to land your dream job earning double what your peers are in the same industry. Learn from Petra, an Socialmediaonlineclasses.com member who found out the hard way: “Flunked the job interview for a dream job because I don’t have social media skills. Gonna be smarter next time!” — P. Keasberry, Socialmediaonlineclasses.com member

College Guide to Landing a Job

WordPress Build Your Website in an Hour

Learn how to create your own WordPress website (or blog) in one hour.  The goal isn’t for you to race through creating your own website, but for you to learn that you can build a credible & professional website in an afternoon.

WordPress Build Your Website in an Hour

Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Networking

How can you make sure you’re profiting from their latest changes to build a profitable network?  Study the Ultimate Guide to Profitable LinkedIn Networking infographic.  It outlines 64 powerful tactics in eight categories; use it as a menu to pick and choose the ones the suit you & your business.

Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Networking

UPGRADE TO GET EVERY CLASS NOW

 

 

The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America
Sep 10

The Lean Startup Approach to Education & Employment in America

By Maria Peagler

The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America

Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration, posted a commentary on his tumblr blog last week about American college graduates being over-educated and under-employed:

“Too often in modern America, we equate “equal opportunity” with an opportunity to get a four-year liberal arts degree. It should mean an opportunity to learn what’s necessary to get a good job.”

Reich then continues to recommend two-year degrees at vocational schools as a common-sense approach to securing a top job that opens the door the middle class in America, without the huge debt.

The Lean Startup Approach to Education

America is widely heralded as the global hotbed of innovation using the Lean Startup method pioneered by Eric Reis: almost every major social media platform originated here, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and more.

But where is the lean startup approach to education?  If the minimum viable product (MVP) is necessary for a lean approach to business, shouldn’t a minimum viable education (MVE) be the wise approach to a career, especially in an employment landscape littered with college grads saddled with college loan debt?

How relevant will your four-year degree be in ten years, when your job no longer exists? Middle-aged journalists who once had flourishing careers at The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal are out of work because their industry was disrupted by digital alternatives.

Isn’t a better approach to get the MVE for your first career, and then pivot your education as your career and your industry evolve?

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m a lifelong learner, and I got a four-year degree when it was AFFORDABLE.  I paid my entire way through college, getting Pell Grants, student loans, and juggling three jobs.

My family lived below the poverty line, and I was able to get a degree from one of the top journalism colleges in the country. But I didn’t graduate with a burden of enormous college loan debt.

Since then, I have NEVER once considered going back to a university to further my education.  Why?

Because there are so many better alternatives to learning that are quicker, more up-to-date, and less expensive.

Minimum Viable Education Resources

While public and private universities in American have raised tuition every year far above the inflation rate, a more sane approach to education has been burgeoning:  online learning.

Lynda.com, Skillshare, TeamTreehouse, and yes, here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, you can get a great education in the digital sector.  Here’s a rundown of what each offers:

Learn Software Applications with Lynda.com

Pros: Classes on almost every major software application, including current and previous releases.  Lynda’s classes are a wonderful fit for creative professionals, as they offer courses on photography, animation, and other creative careers.  They’re also best for apps  that have new releases, like Windows 11 or Photoshop CC 2014, as they debut a new class with each new release.

Cons:  For social media platforms, Lynda’s classes are unable to keep up with the constant pace of changes.  They also do not offer a forum or access to instructors when you have questions.

Learn Creative Business Skills with Skillshare.com

Pros:  Classes on business, design, fashion, photography, film music, and technology.  I’ve taken Skillshare classes, and they’re a “light” approach to online learning, with an average of three lessons for each class.  They offer a multi-media curriculum and often curate their content from other sources.

Cons:  Available of instructors to offer feedback to students is inconsistent: some are great, others never show up. But the low price-point of their classes makes it worth it to try out and see what you’ll learn.  Some instructors are not great teachers, but are great practitioners, so you often need to be patient through long videos that could be shorter.

Learn Web Development with TeamTreehouse.com

Pros: Classes on web development that include Sass, Ruby on Rails, Javascript, WordPress, Android app development, PHP, HTML, business skills and more. They offer a great variety of classes, an online forum with monthly challenges, all for a low price point.

Cons: I was pleasantly surprised by TeamTreehouse.  Their founder comes from an affiliate marketing and vitamin business background, and like so many others in the last five years, entered the online training arena when it became possible using lean startup technologies.  While I have not taken a class from Treehouse (their shortened name), an SMOC intern has, and she was quite pleased with the learning platform.  They offer a free trial, which I would definitely take and see if you can get feedback or help when working on a coding project.

Learn Social Media with Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Pros: Classes on every major social network and search engine optimization, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Slideshare, WordPress, YouTube, and more.  Offers a forum for questions, 1:1 coaching with its founder, as well as additional resources like infographics, bonus webinars, and case studies, all for a low price point.

Cons:  Students get a certificate of completion when they finish all lessons in a class; no testing or exams are necessary. Certification is from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, not a third-party such as the American Council on Education (ACE), as that would triple the cost of classes here. Don’t offer classes on smaller social networks like Tumblr, Reddit, Delicious, or Digg.

Get a Digital Education for Less Than One Year’s Tuition at a University

You could take classes from every provider I’ve listed here for less than one year’s tuition at a public university.  You’d have a well-rounded  education from the recognized providers in photography, animation, Photoshop, Adobe Creative Suite, logo design, music production, web and app development and social media.

Each provider offers a free trial so you can take a class and see if it’s a good fit.  When’s the last time a university offered that?

You could have an impressive collection of skills for your resume, but how would you get the experience every employer wants?

Become an intern, an apprentice for a professional you admire, or volunteer your time for a non-profit who can sorely use your skills.  You get practical experience for your portfolio and build important professional relationships that will help you find a well-paying job in your new industry.

So yes, Robert Reich, there is a better way.  All made here in America, available for a global audience.

 

Facebook image size cheat sheet
Sep 09

Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

By Maria Peagler


The internet in increasingly dominated by visuals.  Yesterday, Dan Zarella, aka the Social Media Scientist, said he believes the future social media is in visual content.

Pop quiz — what size should a Facebook post image be? Don’t know? Don’t worry!

Here’s our Facebook Image Cheat Sheet to the rescue! We’ve applied the 80/20 rule, helping you to remember the 20% of Facebook images you use 80% of the time:

Facebook image size cheat sheet

 

Want to embed this cheat sheet on your website? We’d be honored.  Use the code below:

Share this Image On Your Site

Please include attribution to https://socialmediaonlineclasses.com with this graphic.

Facebook Image Cheat Sheet by Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

How to generate content in 10 minutes flat
Sep 05

How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes Flat: Content Generation in the Real World

By Maria Peagler

Our Content Marketing Made Simple bonus webinar is a favorite with our members here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com. I generate a LOT of content here:  what you see in this blog is only about 10% of it.  Our members get access to our classes, infographics, webinars and way more.

How do I do it as a busy entrepreneur, wife, and mom?  I fit my business into my life.  I actively look for snippets of time I can use to work on content while I’m doing something else as well.

Here’s a brief look at the tactics I’ve developed to create cornerstone content in just 10 minutes.   Timestamps & transcript are below the video:

00:15:  10-Minute Content – how we do it

00:25:  Dictate Content (I do this while walking on my treadmill desk and in carpool line!)

01:15:   My Favorite App for Dictating Content

01:26:  How I Dictate Content — Step-by-Step

02:59:  How to Get Content from the C-Suite Easily

03:40:  Create Content Using Templates (tip from when I managed a group of writers)

04:16:  Use Templates for Blog Posts, Images, Slide Decks, Audio, & Video

05:30:  Repurpose Your Best Content

05:45:  Examples of How We Repurpose Content Here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Transcript

Now I know you’re all wondering about number 3, 10 Minute Content. Is it really possible or is it a gimmick? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is possible and here’s how. You can dictate your content into your smartphone. I do this frequently. I don’t do it every time, but, I have set up for myself a treadmill desk and I do it so that I can get my exercise in so I’m not sitting in front of a computer all the time and I also do it sometimes in carpool line. You know, I’m sitting in carpool waiting to pick up my kids, you know, I’m not talking on the phone but I am talking into my phone and I’m going to show you how you too can do this.

You can dictate into your smartphone using an app. Now, there are several apps that you can use for this. I use Evernote, which I’m sure you’ve heard of, it’s a wildly popular note taking app, but you can also use dictation apps like Dragon Dictation, there are lots of apps that you can use and here’s how you do it. In Evernote, when I’m creating a new note, it has the cursor right here and it’s ready for me to type on my smartphone. Now, I’ve got my smartphone here and I’m doing it this way. Instead of typing it, I click on this microphone button here and I talk into my smartphone and Evernote will take 30 seconds of dictation and transcribe it into text. Now, if you’re doing this in a relatively quiet room it does an excellent job, I’m actually amazed at how well it does. If you’re in a loud room, not so much, but you can dictate 30 seconds of content at a time and then at the end of that 30 seconds, it will paste that content in, you just click on that microphone again, and you dictate your next 30 seconds of content and by doing that you have saved yourself a ton of time typing in a blog post or a white paper or a PowerPoint presentation and then, you can copy and paste this into WordPress or Word or whatever it is that you are using to create your content. You can even email this to yourself. So that’s one way of creating 10 minute content is by dictating it into your smartphone.

Let me also tell you, if you are a small business owner or if you are someone who is in a small business who is tasked with doing social media and it’s really hard to get your CEO’s time, this is a way that you can do this. Go to lunch, you know, when you’re in the car on the way to a meeting, you know, something like that, interview the CEO, you know, get him or her to talk, you know, do an interview, do it by phone there are actually phone apps that you can use, that I’ve used, to do interviews and then you can have that transcribed. You know, doing something orally is actually a really quick way to generate content for people who are just super busy.

The second way that you can create 10 minute content is to use templates. Now, I can tell you that we did this a lot when I was at ExecuTrain(?) and I was managing a team of about seven technical writers. We didn’t create anything from scratch. We did everything from a template and it saved so much time and I still do it now. It helps not only maintain quality and consistency if you have multiple people generating your content, it also saves a lot of time. You can have a template for any type of content that you create. My blog posts, many of them I use, I create starting with a template, especially the ones that are announcing my bonus webinars, that’s the same blog post every time, I just change out the content and the image for the webinar. All of my infographics and checklists I start with a template. I will take a template then fill in the new content and change the colors. Same thing with multimedia, this presentation came from a template. I didn’t even create the template, I purchased it and somebody else did the design and I filled it in. You can do the same thing with videos, you can get a video intro for your business, you can get music for your podcast, and use those over and over again. That helps with your branding and it also cuts down on the amount of time that it takes for you to create that content.

Thirdly, and finally, the last thing that you can do to generate 10 minute content is to repurpose your best content and I’m going to give you some examples of this. Whenever I do a bonus webinar, like this one, you get this content in several forms. It probably started out as an article, but you’ll get the video replay, you get an audio file, and the audio file doesn’t take me any time to do. When I’m editing the video, all I do is save this as an audio file and it takes one minute to do. That does not take a long time. Then I also repurpose the content in an infographic or checklist. So you can take your content, in the way that’s easiest for you to create it and then outsource it or delegate it to a staff member to have them repurpose it into whatever content is best for your audience. If you’re a business to business brand then you would look at doing a white paper or a PowerPoint presentation. If you’re a business to consumer brand, you would look at doing images, possibly some infographics or a video.

Top 10 Articles from 2014
Aug 28

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Most Popular Youtube Videos of 2014

By Admin Tester

Over on our Socialmediaonlineclasses.com YouTube channel, we debut brief how-to videos tutorials to help you make the most of your time on social media. Our most popular videos of 2014 help college students, local businesses, and a lucky makeover winner, as well as teach you how to do Facebook ads, Hootsuite, and more.

#1. College Guide to Getting a Job | Webinar, Slide Deck, Infographic

Learn how to land your DREAM job w/simple steps that differentiate you from every other candidate.

#2. Social Media for Local Business Webinar

How local businesses can use social media to get an ongoing source of new customers. An excerpt from the members-only webinar at https://socialmediaonlineclasses.com.

#3. Easy Facebook Ads on a Budget

How to get 900X Reach by creating a $35 ad in 5 minutes.

#4. Facebook Marketing How To: Makeover for Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter

Need more sales from social media? Learn 10 ways to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get more leads, more sales, and convert those leads into buyers.

#5. Pinterest Marketing How To: Makeover Your Boards to Drive Sales

Pinterest How-To for Business: drive leads & sales from your Pinterest account. Watch as I makeover already excellent Pinterest boards to generate leads, sales, become one of your most profitable marketing tactics.

Makeover your boards to drive sales from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

#6. Facebook Marketing: 5 Minute Targeted Marketing Plan

Spend only 5 minutes every month identifying the TOP 4 Insights to create your own targeted Facebook Marketing Plan. Insights tell you What Works Now, so you don’t have to keep up with every algorithm change Facebook makes.

5 Minute Facebook Marketing Plan from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

#7. Hootsuite How To: Master Hootsuite in Just One Hour!

Hootsuite How To Tutorial in this webinar: you’ll learn how to: * Post one time and send it to all of your social networks * Schedule posts for a future date and time * Add photos and videos to posts * Shorten links to fit them into Twitter’s 140 characters

Master Hootsuite in just one hour from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

#8. Facebook Posts: Guarantee Your Fans See Yours

How to guarantee your fans see posts from your business page. Crush that lowly 17% post reach by doing this single step! Share this video with your fans so they know how to Get Notifications from your business page.

Facebook Posts: Guarantee Your Fans See Yours from Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Now it’s your turn: which videos was most helpful for you and your business? Have you used Youtube? Tell us in the comments below.

Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Most Popular Presentations of 2014
Aug 20

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Most Popular Presentations of 2014

By Maria Peagler

 

It’s back to school time for students around the world — why not you too? Get caught up on the best presentations we offer here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com. They cover a wide range of topics, from Social Media Strategy to Facebook to Pinterest.  So bookmark this page and return to if often when you need a refresher on your social media skills.

Facebook Marketing

We’ve updated our Facebook Marketing Infographic and break it all down for you here.  64 tactics for a possible 4 million different campaigns!

Pinterest Marketing

People LOVE Pinterest and the fabulous inspiration they can find there. Find out how one solopreneur turned Pinterest into millions of views on her YouTube channel:

Social Media Action Plan

Learn how to develop a unique social media strategy for your business AND how to execute it. One of our most popular presentations on Slideshare.

Slideshare Marketing

Slideshare is a great place to upload your PowerPoint (or Keynote, Google Presentations too) and share them with the world. It’s a hugely underestimated social network that provides great search engine optimization too.

Now it’s your turn: which presentation was most helpful for you and your business? Have you used Slideshare? Tell us in the comments below.

Aug 18

How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library for Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

By Maria Peagler


Editor’s Note:  Amanda Jensen is a summer intern at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com.  She’s a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. 

You’ve probably heard about the importance of adding images to your Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook posts. Large companies are able to hire professional photographers to take photos for their websites, and still others subscribe to stock photo libraries.

The bad news? As a small business owner, these options may not work for you or your wallet.

The amazing news? You and your team can take your own photos for free, without a fancy camera or professional training! Here are four steps that you can use to start building your own stock photo library:

1. What Do I Need?

Professional photographers use fancy cameras with multiple lenses. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy camera or lots of equipment to take great photos.

If you already have one of these fancy DSLR cameras, that’s great! If not, don’t worry, any point-and-shoot digital camera will work wonderfully. If you don’t already own a camera, you can find one at a reasonable price from places like Target and Wal Mart.

For the best photo quality, I recommend a digital camera that is at least 10 megapixels. You can find this information on the outside of the box your camera came in, or in the owner’s manual.

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a removable SD card to store your photos on. Some cameras come with one included in the box, but be sure to double check that you have one!

2. What Do I Photograph?

Now that you have the right equipment, it’s time to start taking pictures. Here are a few suggestions of WHAT to photograph:

  • Your products – If your business sells things like food, quilts, or other physical objects, take photos of them! It will show people what you offer.
  • Your staff – You’ve invested in a great team, so make them the stars of your Facebook page.
  • Related images – Photos of keyboards, houses for sale, or blank tax forms are great. Anything that has to do with your business. (Hint: Use the macro setting on your camera to take close-ups, and use a photo editing site to add cool effects).
  • Nature – Leaves, trees, sunsets, etc. are all great options that will brighten up your business page! (Hint: Use a photo editing site to blur the images and add text to them. Inspirational quotes are great)!

3. Rule of Thirds

When you’re taking photos, always use the Rule of Thirds. It’s an important guideline to follow, and will ensure that your clips and images will be as visually appealing as possible.

Simply put, the Rule of Thirds divides an image into nine squares. (It’s basically like putting a  Tic-Tac-Toe board over an image.) Many digital cameras will show you the grid on the screen as you’re taking the photo, but if not, it will appear in any photo editor when you try to crop an image.

This photo is a great example of Rule Of Thirds. Notice the grid on the photo.

This photo is a great example of Rule Of Thirds. Notice the grid on the photo.

The subject of a photo should ALWAYS be located at one of the four places where the lines on the grid cross, instead of in the middle of the frame. It will make your photo look more balanced.

Notice how the flower is located at one of the intersections, not the middle of the frame.

Notice how the flower is located at one of the intersections, not the middle of the frame.

4. Editing Tools

Now that you have your photos taken, it’s time to edit them.

There are TONS of different programs that you can use to edit your photos. Some, such as Adobe Photoshop, are  expensive and complicated. Others, such as Pixelmator, are more reasonably priced but still a little difficult to master.

For beginners, I recommend using a free website called Ribbet. Creating an account is easy, and you won’t have to download any special programs for your computer. Also, the site will store your 100 most recent photos in your online library.

Ribbet is a fun, easy tool for beginning photo editors. Plus, it's all online for free!

Aside from basic edits like cropping and photo rotation, Ribbet also offers lots of fun filters that are easy to use. It’s any easy way to turn your photos into a work of art for you business pages.

Ribbet has lots of awesome effects that are available to you with your free account.

MEMBER BONUS: Who Should Build Your Library?

SMOC members: login to see exclusive members-only secrets about who should build your library and how to turn it into a huge content asset. LOGIN HERE.

Not a member? Start learning today by becoming a Socialmediaonlineclasses member.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you’ve learned how to build your own stock photo library, it’s time to take the next step. Your photos can be uploaded to any social media sites, but Facebook is a great place to start.

Not sure how to post a photo to Facebook?  Still wondering why images are so important to a successful social media campaign?

Members can find all the answers with our Facebook 101 course!