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Monthly Archives: September 2015

7 Ways To Boost Engagement Using Visual Content

Creating not only engages the readers you currently have but can actually attract more visitors.  If you haven’t already, you should consider using visual content!  Use this guide to learn how to using visual content on your blog, website and media.

In this post you’ll find some useful tactics as well as tools that are easy-to-use and will help you attract more viewers to your blog, or website.

1) Animated GIFs Are Easy to Create

Using animated GIFs can expand your marketing channels and increase the possibility of your content being picked up by major publications and other blogs.

Amy Smarty of SocialMediaExaminer.com writes “Millennials (people reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) are known as Generation GIF. If you check out publications like BuzzFeed, Gawker and Deadspin or browse the front pages of Reddit and Tumblr, you’ll see animated GIFs are everywhere.”

There are many tools available to help you create these animated GIFs.  Here a few you can check out.

GIFMaker – allows you to create animated gifs, slideshows, and video animations with music online freely and easily, no registration required.

MakeGIF –  lets you create animated GIFs the free and easy way. You can also use it to modify an existing GIFs.  You can create from a variety of sources; YouTube videos, photos and webcam videos.

GIFS – with GIFS you can create high-quality GIFs online from YouTube videos. Simply select the portion of the video you want to turn into the GIF, you can even add captions.

Note: You can also create an animated GIFs by modifying an existing image.

2) Check out On-Hover Sharing Buttons

Adding hover social sharing icons on each image can be an effective way to encourage your reader to share your content.  A simple mouseover call to action will prompt them to share more readily.  It’s a surprisingly effective way to increase .

Hover Over Sharing Icons

Here are a couple of tools that can help.

WWW Social Share on Image Hover – is a WordPess Plugin that helps you to add icons on your Post . It will shows social media icons on hover the post images on your site.

Symphony Tools – is a widget that makes it easy for your visitors to share your posts to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tip: If you’re a Hootsuite or Buffer user adding a browser extension will enable their sharing buttons as well.

3) Reach Your Audience Through Emotion

Emotions plays a huge part in most people’s live, whether they recognize it or not.  Connecting with your audience on an emotional level leaves a long-lasting impact. When something sparks an emotional response, the viewer is more likely to share, comment on and remember it.

People respond to things they see more than any other form of stimulation.  Connect with your users on an emotional level and they will begin to associate those feelings with your brand.  Joy, anticipation, trust and interest can invoke positive feelings and encourage sharing.

4) Find Unconventional Holidays To Celebrate

From National Freedom Day to National I Love Lucy Day (which also happens to be my birthday), uncommon  holidays make celebrating hard to resist.  They also make for great ideas and inspiration for visual content.  They provide a source almost daily for new content!

Coca-Cola does a great job in their social media marketing with this.  They have incorporated images of cute Polar bears to celebrate National Polar Bear Day.

coca-cola national polar bear day post
Watch for other large corporations that do something similar, Budweiser comes to mind.

5) Ask your Readers to Participate

Encouraging your viewers to participate not only gives you additional content, but makes them feel appreciated.  Everyone loves to see their work being promoted, ask them for suggestions or to provide you visuals, this can also capture their attention on your social media channels. Request photos, logs, designs or anything else they feel would help support your brand.  All of the top channels in social media are great platforms for this type of campaign, try it out on your Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest feed.

Here are a couple of  ideas to get you started:

Caption Contest – provide a image then ask your followers to come up with a fun caption.  Engage even more people by using ads.

Selfie Contest – these type of contests can be so much fun!  Selfies are something most everyone can relate to now-a-days.

Think of something fun you can give them as a prize, Kenneth Cole offered fans the chance to win free shoes every month for a year.  I’m not suggesting you give the store away, but find something of value you can give your winning reader for participating.

And remember to ask your readers to share your contests; the more the merrier, right!

Contests can help you build a relationship and trust with your viewers.  It’s easy to trust a brand that encourages love and sharing.

6) Come up With some Interactive How-Tos

Would your readers find a interactive walk through to show how to use your product valuable?  Probably So!  Use an online tool like the Whatfix browser extension to help you create interactive flows in minutes.

How to backtrack an image using Google
Create an interactive walkthrough to show viewers how to use your product

See some examples of recent Whatfix flows.

7) Differentiate Content by Tailoring it to Your Audience

Identify how your audience responds to different visual content.  Create different types for each social media platform to learn what resonates best.  Try comics, videos, info-graphics or anything that will give you a ideas what they find appealing.  Even a single image with text can be very effective.

Some more examples:

Do you have a how-to guide that could be content for a video?
Create a SlideShare of visual quotes you’ve been tweeting.
Use a how-to video as content for a instructional graphic.
Use a existing presentation and create a video or Animated GIF.

There are tons of tools on the web to help here are a few that may help and generate more ideas:

DirJournal – make your site or landing page more engaging

GifDeck – convert your SlideShare into a GIF online

FirstSiteGuide – guidance from a  collection of web geeks who believe in a web for everyone

Once you’ve gotten started with your marketing plan you’ll want to gather data and determine what gets the most engagement.  Look at what the leading traffic boosting and click generating visual content leads to purchases.  Check and see what others are commenting on and sharing too, look at where they share it also it may give you more insight into what is working well.  You may want to start creating different content for each of your social media channels.  Use the information you glean and tailor future content.

You can use analytics software like Fanplayr to help you identify patterns emerging. 

In Conclusion

Visual content has a growing influence on social networks and is popular on every platform.  Whether you look from Instagram or Pinterest images to Twitter and YouTube videos, viewers relate to a visual message.  Boost your engagement by using what readers are looking for.

I’d love to read any feedback you may want to share.  What tactics are working for you?  Did you find this information useful?  Feel free to share in the comments section below.

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5 Tips To Help You Get Started With Periscope

Are you new to ?

Maybe you still think it’s part of a submarine.  Join the crowd!  Periscope is the latest hot sensation for personal live broadcast via the internet.  Many companies, public personalities and everyday folks are already avidly using this new technology.

Broadcast fro your Smartphone

Put simply it’s a fun way to broadcast what you are doing at the present moment from your Smartphone.  Say you’re at a event and want to share what’s happening with your friends and followers or maybe you have a training session you want to share.  Start your broadcast and live feed the happenings real-time.  Anyone can join you, post comments or questions and send you love (in the form of hearts on the screen), the more they tap the screen the more love you get!  Once completed your broadcast will go into replay mode and will stay active for 24 hours, after which it self-destructs.

Here are 5  that will help you get started

  1. There are most likely many more accounts than actual scoping at this point, but take heart in know that it’s fairly easy to get started and not that scary.  I recommend watching a few broadcasts first to get the hang of it, them jump in and try one yourself. It’s a little intimidating to push the red button and go live, but everyone gets nervous and it will pass, just have some fun!
  2. Put your phone in airplane mode or do not disturb before starting a broadcast. This will eliminate the possibility of ruining your broadcast should you get a call during the event.
  3. Comments & questions can only be left during the live broadcast, A nice work around for this would be to include that others watching later during the replay they can tweet you questions or comments if needed.
  4. Engage your audience by asking questions, for feedback and hearts is OK too.  Most people love to share and express their 2 cents.  Be sure to thank everyone for joining and let them know you’d love their feedback.
  5. Discover like-minded people using Periscope by using hashtags.  Various communities are already using Periscope, find them by looking through hashtags.  You can also share your broadcast via where hashtags will also be very useful.

With 15 million (yes… MILLION) users, Periscope is the place to be. Whether you are building a personal brand, have a or an established , or simply enjoy engaging in online communities, you need to join Periscope.

Source:  5 Things You Need to Know About Periscope

I have only done one broadcast, so far, and a number of people I didn’t’ even know joined and asked questions; I even got 17 hears on first broadcast which was only about 4 minutes long.  It really was quite fun!

Join me on Periscope here.

The Benefits of Google + for Your Small Business

Consider whether Google Plus is right for your small business

+ boasts over 500 million enabled accounts, of which 135 million are considered “active”.  Approximately 60% of them login to their account every day. It’s a fast growing social media platform and will enhance your ability to get found locally.  Because of its integration with other platforms YouTube, Gmail you can help establish your business quicker.

Ways Google+ can help

  • share or +1s on posts influence SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) results & help boost exposure
  • your posts are indexed to Google immediately
  • use appropriate keywords and headline tags
  • Carousel results get factored in for local searches differently than organic results
  • Google “reviews” most important factor in inclusion & ranking

Create or join Communities they will give you a place to build your network as well as a location for your customers to mingle, ask about products or give feedback.  
How to add Google Communities to your Google Plus page

Flexibility includes things like circles, which can help you brand yourself more closely by filtering your posts to a specific target audience. The ability to host Hangouts gives you a place to be face-to-face with your followers and customers.

Suggestions & Tips

Unlike many other platforms, G+ has a specific place for you to add other social media links in your profile, take advantage of that!  Make certain you include a photo of yourself in your profile, put a face to your name.

You can add hyperlinks to your profile text, for example create backlinks to some of your website pages.  Be sure not to over stuff your profile with keywords or Google may penalize you.  Sharing other people’s posts will also create backlinks to your profile, so share, comment & +1 posts you find helpful.  Engage with others and they will start engaging with you.  Remember to connect & verify your website to your page.

Some useful tips

  • When adding people to your circles, many will add you back, so search for like-minded companies and individuals to get your following started.
  • Did you know that posts with a photo get 5% more clicks? Add photos whenever you can.
  • Research and use hashtags, when creating your post suggestions will come up as you start typing.
  • G+ is also one of the few SM platforms that allows you to use animated GIF If your audience likes them, go for it!
  • If you are using a WordPress platform for your blog and have an automatic social sharing plugin, you will need to give it authorization to post updates to your G+ account, check in account settings.


Profile Photo = 250 x 250 up to 500 x 500 (take in to consideration it will show circular)
Cover Photo = 480 x 270

You can find a cover photo template here

Google Cover Photo Template

For more info about other G+ benefits follow Google Plus For You they have tons  of good tips and suggestions.

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5 Ways To Help Manage Your Online Presence

Have you ever worried about your online privacy?

Worried About The Latest Data Breach

What about the of the data you have entered on the various website locations you frequent?  How about your bank, or maybe some software you purchased from one of the major online sources?  Check out these tools that can help you manage your presence online before it’s too late.

Information Superhighway

  1. Have I Been Pawned (https://haveibeenpwned.com/) can help you determine if your data has been compromised in any of the latest data breaches in the news.  Check your user names & email addresses today!
  2. Mail Drop (http://maildrop.cc/) allows you to create a one-time address for your online deals and promotions.  These mail boxes will self-destruct if untouched for 24 hours.  Check it out next time you need to enter a to further access something online.
  3. Just Delete Me (http://justdelete.me/) can help you cancel accounts on sites you no longer use.  They’ll help you shut down those pesky old accounts you no longer need.  Check out the almost endless list of sites they have included in this service.
  4. Privnote (https://privnote.com/) can help you send a private note with a unique URL should you not want to leave a paper trail for your correspondence.  Check it out next time you need to be 007!
  5. Should I Remove It? (http://www.shouldiremoveit.com/) This one’s my favorite! I install different apps and programs on my laptop all the time during the course of research. Sometimes I forget to go delete them, sometimes I need to know if it’s adware, junkware or other unwanted programs residing in the background.  They can help you determine… should you remove it!  To free up some space on your hard drive today, check it out!

Added Bonus!

Here’s an added bonus, Dead Man’s Switch (https://www.deadmansswitch.net/) will send one final email in your name.  As long as you keep checking in, the email will remain in que and not be sent.  Once you pass the reminders and check in time voila the email is sent.  Use cautiously in case of your demise or if you decide to leave the information superhighway for good.

There’s nothing wrong with having a high profile on the web, but too much of a good thing can lead to plenty of bad things. These tools can help you get stuff done without revealing too much to hackers, marketers, and other assorted snoops.

Curated from  5 Great Free Apps For Minimizing Your Online Presence | Fast Company | Business + Innovation


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Your presence on Pinterest

Benefits and Guidelines for

Pinterest is the last of the major Social Media sites that many business have a presence on, that I will cover in this series.  With 270 Million unique users each month it is a  great place to post visual content to reach your target audience.  Approximately 85% of the users on Pinterest are female, with 42% being adult females.  If that is your target market, it’s a great place to be!  It’s very easy to setup and use for posting visual content.

Your presence on Pinterest

There are both personal and business accounts available on Pinterest and you can actually have both if you prefer.  Should you choose to simplify and already have a personal account you can request to have it converted to a business account, or they may actually send you an invitation by email.  The primary difference between the accounts is Analytics and Rich Pins.  I won’t go into detail here about rich pins, you can read more in the help section on Pinterest, but they offer more options with your pins.

After creating your account you’ll want to create “boards”, where each would have a different keyword focus.  You can however pin one image to multiple boards if that is something that makes sense.  Some of the more popular topics and boards on Pinterest are how-to-guides, DIY crafts and recipes.  Boards are also a great place to get ideas for your own content and insight into what people are interested in.  Build connection and relationships over shared interests through the multiple boards you have or you visit.  Learn what inspires people and gain insight into the things you can share.  Pinterest makes it easy to engage with your customers, clients & friends through a variety of topics like hobbies, crafts, DIY, cookery, interiors, beauty and fashion.

Tips, Tricks & Suggestions

As with all channels make sure you complete your profile and the profile header for each board you create, this will help showcase your personality.  Don’t forget to include your website and complete the verification process where possible.  I would suggest taking some time to research various boards by reviewing what your friends and industry are doing to get ideas of how you would like to organize your pins.  This is flexible and changeable so you don’t need to spend a lot of time, just enough to get some ideas on how you want to proceed. Engage with other users by commenting, liking or sharing relevant pins to your own boards, others will begin to reciprocate

When designing your website or blog, make certain you include plenty of images and a “pin it button” so others can easily share what they like.  This will also create back-links from Pinterest to your site and help drive more traffic to your site.  Statistics have shown that product images pinned with a price are more effective and have a better click through rates.  Be sure to include a Call To Action in the description if applicable too!

Remember: When pinning a image you can edit the link information to redirect to your website if needed.

If you’d like to see what people are pinning from a specific website or from your website or blog you can easily find this information by entering the following:

http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com/  [replace domain.com with your domain name]

Image Size

Recommended Width = 540px
There is no vertical limit, so you can increase the length where needed to include content.

For more Information or To Get Started

To get started simply go to   http://help.pinterest.com/en/

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How to edit a Pinterest pin Visit Site URL

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