Tag : instagram

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2019 trends

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2019

Depending on how you look at it, social media marketing (SMM) has been evolving for more than 20 years. Ever since the 1997 launch of the very first social media site, Six Degrees, marketers have considered how (or if) they can use platforms to engage target audiences. For the first decade, SMM was primarily organic, as marketers tried to connect the way we do with personal friends. It still works to a degree, if done correctly, but in the last 10 years paid advertising has taken hold and continues to grow.

Yes, SMM presents opportunities for brands and businesses, but also tough challenges. The many platforms evolve independently, with changing algorithms, technologies, audience behaviors and preferences, and the occasional government regulation. That pace can be head-spinning, at times occurring abruptly or within a short span of months

Of the many resources that help us understand the SMM landscape, one of the most insightful is the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, directed by Michael Stelzner, co-founder of Social Media Examiner. The longest-running study of its kind, this 11thannual edition surveys how more than 4,800 marketers worldwide—representing all industry sectors and organizational sizes—currently use or plan to use social media.

The 2019 report is available to download, and we’d like to share here some of the interesting trends that it reveals, as discussed by Michael Stelzner on the Social Media Marketing Talk Show…

Facebook is trending down for the first time in five years. In 2013, Facebook was the most important marketing channel for 52% of survey participants, steadily rising to 67% in 2018 before slipping back to 61% this year. Why? Stelzner suggests that almost all organic activity is being repressed, perhaps in response to Facebook’s privacy and politics concerns of the last few years. According to 77% of survey participants, the platform is getting more complicated and providing diminishing returns on the effort.

Instagram continues to grow. In 2015, only 2% of marketers said it was their single most important marketing platform. Since then it has climbed respectively to 4%, 7%, 10% and now 14%, earning a rank only slightly above LinkedIn. Moreover, 69% plan to increase their use of Instagram. Marketers are especially interested in the popular Stories feature (reportedly, 100 million are consumed each day). Yet they are also still learning that Stories require well-planned, consistent, attention-getting content. Time will tell whether organic content continues to be effective on Instagram, or whether algorithms shift, pushing marketers to rely increasingly on paid content, as they have on Facebook.

Live video is weak, and will remain so without planning and investment. Much like Stories, the effective use of Facebook’s live video requires significant resources, time and patience to realize a return on investment. Meanwhile, the algorithms appear to be repressing the content. No surprise then that only 35% of survey participants use it, and 44% want nothing to do with it. Conversely, Stelzner notes, low utilization rates may create opportunities for those who can do it the right way.

Interest in Messenger bots is fading. Facebook launched Messenger’s chatbot feature in 2016 and by 2018, 70% of the survey pool wanted to learn more about them. This year, just 14% actually use them, 45% care to learn more, and 53% have no plans to use Messenger bots. As it turns out, the programming them is quite complicated, and marketers still question whether their audiences seek or expect meaningful engagement with bots, at least with current AI technology.

Diversification is critical.Some businesses may do well by marketing on just one or two social media platforms, but that is becoming increasingly difficult, especially on Facebook. Stelzner says the future there about privacy and groups, as exposure and reach become harder for those who don’t invest heavily. Thus, as they have since long before the dawn of social media, marketers must continue to innovate, strategize and discover the channels where they can best engage and serve their target audience.

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Instagram

How to Use Instagram for Your Business

It’s no secret that Instagram can help get your business noticed on social media. What tends to elude some businesses is how. With over 700 million active accounts on Instagram and more “Story” users than Snapchat, creating an Instagram feed that is going to help your business can seem daunting, but it can be an important tool if you can clearly show your audience why you are on this platform.

1 – Clarify your Purpose

Are you going to raise brand awareness, drive sales, increase website traffic, or engage customers? Being clear on the intent of the company’s Instagram account will help keep content focused and consistent. Keep in mind that Instagram’s demographics tend to run younger and they are looking for a specific experience when going on this site: something positive, authentic, and identifiable.

Start with crafting a candid bio blurb and use a profile photo that is consistent with your website and other social media platforms. Optimize your profile by including as much pertinent information as possible. Be sure when doing this to include a link to your website to drive traffic to your company’s designated page which you can track in Google Analytics.

You will need to know how to develop content for your profile vs your Instagram Stories. Keep in mind it’s not only why you use one over the other but how. With a 24-hour view-ability, the biggest differentiator are that Stories are more timely, personal and “on the go”. They can be video and images like regular Instagram posts, but can be interactive with fun overlays like polls and live hashtags. Instagram posts themselves should be much more planned and formatted within a cohesive visual theme.

The latest Stories Highlight function lets you pin any one of your Stories to your page and lets people click within your bio to view it if they happened to miss it within your Story itself. Think of it as your own video message waiting for people to see when they want to learn more about your company!

Instagram’s Insights function will also help you understand follower demographics, what stories get “likes”, profile visits or website clicks.  Then you can refine your messaging guidelines based on what is getting “likes” or comments.

2 – Help your Customer Find You

Since Instagram uses an algorithm to serve up content vs. serving it up in chronological order, it is important to make your posts more “visible” to users by using different tools within the app:

  • Geotags: For traditional “brick and mortar” businesses adding your business location to your posts will help people locate you, they can “check in” when they visit you and search for posts in their current location. You can also “re-gram” their posts (also known as User Generated Content or UGC) should they use your geotag.
  • Connecting to other Instagrammers: Just like in Twitter, the ‘@’ symbol is how you tag others within your post caption or Story. Be sure to engage with users on their pages too!
  • Hashtag: Adding hashtags to your post caption can also help you reach a larger audience. It could be a trending hashtag or something specific to your brand. The more the better; but remember only have a few hashtags within the caption and create a comment under your post with an additional 20 hashtags. It keeps your original post clutter-free.

3 – Tell your Company’s Story

Moving beyond regular photo posting, Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016 and has become more popular than Snapchat. The Stories function can be a collection of up to 10 photos or short videos, highlighted at the top of the Instagram home page.

As with regular photo posts, being clear on the intent of the “story” is important.  Popular business stories include:

  • Giving followers a “Behind the scenes” look at work
  • Sharing your company’s culture to help people understand why your business is more than just a place to work
  • Highlight customer stories with your followers – positive feedback or suggestions you will be implementing based on customer input
  • Show how-to clips on the amazing things your company does
  • Utilize these nifty Instagram Hacks and take advantage of some of the additional stylistic features Instagram offers to make your content pop even more

These video insights into your business can also be done with a LIVE broadcast using Instagram.  Real-time broadcasts are a great way to promote events, celebrations or capture news as it is happening. Instagram will also ping your followers each time you go live with a “catch it before it’s over” urgency. This is a major perk to utilizing the LIVE feature.

4 – Starting Ads

Just like in Facebook, you can advertise on Instagram, but you can utilize features specific to Instagram, like Stories, to promote your business. Instagram does give you the streamlined capability to manage your ads simultaneously on both Instagram and Facebook. This framework includes four options to display ad content (Photos, Videos, Carousel or Stories).  There are also lots of ways to target your audience including location, demographics, interests, behaviors and more!  These precise ways of targeting people means you don’t need a huge budget for ads. Analyzing results to see who you are reaching is important to refine your message or ad spend.

Knowing your audience and how to reach them is key to being successful on a social media platform. Instagram for Business is positioned to help companies reach their target audience and backs it up with data, too! If starting out your company on Instagram seems daunting, remember that’s what Social Drive is for!

#doyouinstagram? #instagood

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profilepic

2017 Image Sizes for Social Media Profiles

When it comes to posting images on social media, size matters.

Image sizes most definitely play a role in the effectiveness of a social media post. Most social media networks require a square image for profile pictures. Adjusting the dimensions of a profile image is relatively easy. It is a bit more challenging, though, ensure sure that the size of your cover and header photos are correct.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Check out our guide below to help you navigate the changing landscape of optimal profile images.

Facebook: Use a logo or image that represents your brand as your profile picture – this image will be viewed across the social network. A more creative image is ideal for the cover photo and will only be visible to people who visit your Page. The optimal dimensions of a shared image are:

  • Profile picture: ≥ (Greater than or equal to) 180 x 180
  • Cover photo: 828 x 315
  • Shared image: 1200 x 630

Twitter: The maximum image size for a profile photo is 100 KB and a header’s is 10 MB. Your profile picture appears everywhere on the network, so choose wisely – first impressions count! Use the cover photo space to incorporate a creative image applicable to your brand. You may share up to four (4) images (max size of 5 MB for photos and 3 MB for GIFs) in a tweet.  Twitter will resize these images, as necessary, as long as a 2:1 ratio is used. This size will effectively fit in followers’ streams.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Header photo: 1500 x 1500
  • Shared image: 440 x 220

Instagram: By nature, Instagram is a visual medium. Keep text to a minimum and keep the focus on visuals and photos. All images are square, with an aspect ratio of 1:1

  • Profile photo: 110 x 110
  • Shared image: 1080 x 1080
  • Photo thumbnail: 161 x 161

LinkedIn: The network has recently undergone a massive change in layout. The new optimal cover photo dimensions are listed below. The dimensions of the new cover photo are wide, so resize appropriately.  If need be, create a photo with an outside border. This will look better than stretching the image wide. In addition, the ideal image size for a shared links is 150 x 80.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Cover photo: 1536 x 768
  • Company logo: 100 x 60
  • Shared image: 550 x 375

Google+: Although the Google+ profile picture displays as a circle across the network, the optimal dimensions listed are those of a square photo. Take note of the way your photo displays once updated and make adjustments accordingly. Also, keep in mind that shared images may appear in Google search queries related to your post or business.

  • Profile photo: 250 x 250
  • Cover photo: 1080 x 608
  • Shared image: 497 x 373

Pinterest: The ideal pin has a width of 238 pixels and scaled height to match. Expanded pins have a minimum width of 600 pixels. Use larger images for more engagement (more likes or re-pins). Only width is fixed, allowing height to be scaled up.

  • Profile picture: 180 x 180
  • Board cover photo: 214 x 100
  • Pin size: scaled height x 238 width

YouTube: The optimal channel cover photo dimensions vary across the platforms on which YouTube will be viewed. The optimal size for a desktop and television display (2560 x 1440) vary from the optimal size for a tablet (1855 x 423) or a smartphone (1546 x 423). Use this space to share what kind of content your audience should anticipate to view on the Channel. In addition, YouTube is a video sharing site, with an optimal 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

  • Channel icon: 800 x 800
  • Channel cover photo: Varies

Tumblr: Choose an image that represents your brand, as the profile picture is visible across the networks – next to the ‘Follow’ button on your profile and as a thumbnail, site-wide. Images up to 10 MB are allowed, except GIF’s (maximum size of 1 MB). In other words, Tumblr has the capability to use very high-quality images.

  • Profile picture: 64 x 64 
  • Image post: 500 x 7501280 x 1920 maximum size

Snapchat: All photos taken in the app are 1080 x 1920. Custom geo-filters must be created in this size to be applied properly on a photo taken within the app. Visit our post on creating a custom geo-filter to learn more about the process.

  • Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

Lastly, while optimal profile picture and cover photo sizes are important, there are still other sizes to keep in mind. This post from Hubspot features a great infographic with an in-depth explanation of the optimal sizes of all visuals for each network. We suggest re-sizing your profile picture to fit the ideal square dimensions of each platform. Also, we recommend creating a different cover image for each network, as those dimensions vary greatly.

We’ll talk more about Snapchat in our next post, but keep in mind that your geo-filter should fit within the above dimensions of 1080 x 1920. Also, the layouts of the profiles may change soon. We advise you to keep an eye out for the latest updates and how they affect you.

Sources:
Make a Website Hub
Constant Contact

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Insta logo

Let’s talk about the ‘gram

Over the past couple weeks, Instagram has made some major announcements.  We break down what’s going on with the ‘gram below.

instagram logo

First off, let’s talk about the new update, which was announced last week.  One of the most noticeable changes is the logo. The signature camera & rainbow remain in the app’s new flat-design logo. The company’s other apps (Boomerang, Layout, and Hyperlapse) also underwent logo re-designs.  The app also received a re-design, from the brand’s classic blue and white combo to a muted black and white.  This new re-design reflects Instagram’s idea to let the photos really shine through.  The outcry across the Internet has been mixed, with many preferring the old logo – many people either love it or hate it.  Just this week, Forbes shared some designers’ interpretations of a logo re-design.  On the flipside, Instagram recently shared users’ interpretations of the new logo.

Photo via @paulodevalle

Instagram made the following statement on its blog last week:

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

The ‘gram faced similar backlash when the algorithm change was announced a few months ago.  Those changes have yet to go into effect.

This past week, Instagram also made an announcement that many business owners and brand managers are happy to hear about – the company has announced that it is testing analytics offerings.  In addition to maps and contact info, some of the offerings include:

  • Demographics
  • Impressions
  • Reach

Many social media managers (including all of us at Social Drive) have been patiently waiting for this update.  Recent updates — especially view-counts and 60-second video — have been beneficial to brand marketers.  Instagram has not divulged how much of its user base is testing the new business tools but has stated that it is “testing new business tools coming to Instagram in a few months.”  These new updates mirror those of Facebook’s brand pages.  As for additional changes, we’ll see what the future holds.  The one change we’re patiently waiting for:  in-app or desktop scheduling for brands.  Are you listening, Instagram?

For more info on all the recent updates, visit Forbes, TechCrunch & Entrepreneur.