photo credit: Kristian Karlsson
photo credit: Kristian Karlsson

Earlier this year we tested the Customize Snapshots feature plugin, which allows users to draft and preview customizer states. For the past several months Weston Ruter and his team at XWP have been working on adding the ability to schedule Customizer changes. This would allow users to stage content as a set of customizer changes, such as building new pages, adding a collection of widgets, and updating menu items.

Customize Snapshots version 0.5 was released last week, introducing scheduled publishing and frontend browsing for snapshots. Two new buttons are available at the top of the Customizer for launching snapshot previews and scheduling changes to publish at a future time. The save button changes to ‘schedule’ when a future date is selected.

schedule-snapshot

The UI in the admin has been expanded to include a link in the snapshot edit post screen for viewing the set of changes on the frontend. A new link in the Customizer allows the snapshot to be inspected, taking the user back to the snapshot’s edit post screen in the admin.

insptect-snapshot-admin

Version 0.5. also adds initial read-only REST API endpoints for snapshots, allows for previewing AJAX and form submissions, and introduces several other technical improvements that are detailed in the changelog.

Customize Snapshots is an example of the kind of functionality that Ruter’s customizer transactions proposal enables. This proposal is part of the long-term plan for removing some of the limitations of the Customizer and getting the feature more deeply integrated with WordPress’ powerful publishing capabilities.

The feature plugin is also compatible with the Customize Browser History plugin which syncs the browser URL in the Customizer with the preview URL, appending the current panel/section/control autofocus parameters. This allows users to navigate freely within the Customizer preview via forward/back buttons and menu items, without breaking the preview.

Recent advancements in the Customize Snapshots and Customize Browser History plugins, along with Ruter’s experimental Customize Posts plugin, are paving the way for the possibility of having the Customizer handle front end editing. If you want to get a hands-on demonstration of some of the more advanced Customizer capabilities that WordPress core contributors are working on, install all three plugins and take them for a test drive. Development for each is managed on GitHub and feedback is welcome.

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business-analysis-charts-data-ss-1920 (1)Dashboarding and data visualization are hot-button topics in the analytics industry, and for good reason. Effective dashboards can democratize access to data across an organization and help foster a culture in which data is used to drive more and more decisions with demonstrable business outcomes.

However, in my experience consulting with enterprises across a variety of industries, I’ve found that too often, dashboards are all hat and no cattle. In other words, the effort, time and money invested in dashboards too often result in disappointment and frustration.

To help you avoid this same frustration, I’ve outlined three common issues with dashboarding projects.

First, it’s very common to find that dashboards don’t have a clear role, or don’t uniquely address a need for stakeholders within an organization.

Second, and on a related note, the organizational conversation about dashboarding tends to immediately jump into a debate about tools — which tool has which features, and so on — before due consideration is given to the data sources “upstream” of the ultimate dashboard.

Ask yourself: Do you trust that data? Are data updates automated, or do they require manual upkeep? In short, is it even worth building a dashboard before addressing data “supply chain” issues?

Finally, organizations sometimes neglect to consider the alternatives to dashboards. Even reliable, easy-to-use dashboards commonly go unused — because stakeholders actually have better alternatives.

Clearly define the role of dashboards

It’s critical to align with stakeholders on the role of dashboards. Doing so allows you to clearly define the scope of your efforts and manage the expectations of your stakeholders long-term.

It’s very common to get involved in dashboarding projects whose scopes quickly reach “boil the ocean” status.

In other words, dashboards are supposed to answer, in detail, every possible question and cover every hypothetical eventuality. Different stakeholders add different requirements, and the result is the dashboard equivalent of urban sprawl — dashboards that are crammed with charts and tables, making it difficult to get to the limited amount of stuff that’s important.

So what should the role of dashboards be? For enterprises with a central analytics team (or agency) serving a wide variety of stakeholders, dashboards probably don’t need to answer every possible stakeholder question.

Instead, dashboards should help stakeholders quickly and easily understand when trends in relevant KPIs are changing, so that they can, in turn, ask more informed questions. Armed with these better, more clearly defined questions, analytics teams can serve their clients much more effectively, with specifically tailored analysis and recommendations.

On the other hand, in an environment where analytics is more self-serve (i.e., there is no central analytics team to serve stakeholders), dashboards likely need to provide a deeper level of detail and interactivity. There’s probably also a commensurate need for user training so that data consumers feel comfortable using and getting value out of more complex dashboards.

Either way, before you get into a vendor selection process, and certainly before you start building dashboards, you should have a candid, realistic conversation about the role of dashboards. Nailing this down up front helps ensure that you’ll ultimately build something that your users actually want and helps you manage expectations along the way.

Don’t jump straight into feature and tool comparisons

Even after you’ve aligned on the goals of dashboards, resist the urge to jump next into vendor selection. Stakeholders may come to the table with their own favorite vendor — based on prior experience, marketing or something else.

But before you start debating the merits of Tableau, Domo, Klipfolio, Google’s new Data Studio or one of the many other visualization tools on the market, consider several other important issues first. For example, how many data sources will you need? What does the quality and reliability of that data look like?

You might be surprised how often dashboards get built on top of data that stakeholders don’t trust, or data that is difficult to work with in some way. It’s easy to see how this leads to user frustration. For example, you build a dashboard intended to provide real-time visibility into KPIs — but the KPIs themselves aren’t updated in real time. Suddenly, your “real-time” dashboard only updates daily, weekly or whenever your data entry intern has extra bandwidth.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of which dashboarding tool is the right one for the job, build out a “map” of your various data sources. Do an audit to assess whether the data contained in those sources is reliable, trusted and usable.

If you find that certain data sources require attention, either address them before building a dashboard or remove them from the scope of your initial build. Once you’re confident in your data sources, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the ingredients you’ll be working with — and you’ll be more ready to wade into the assessment of competing features and tools.

Consider the alternatives

This one’s easy, but frequently overlooked. What are the alternatives to a dashboard, and are they already in place?

Consider an organization looking to build dashboards around web analytics data. What if many of your stakeholders are already Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics “power users?” Do they need a dashboard? Will they use one if you build it? Perhaps not — and that’s okay.

It may well be that in an environment where users are comfortable accessing data with the tools already in place, dashboards aren’t necessary. Just don’t find that out after you choose a tool and put in the work to build out a series of dashboards.

Sticking with our example, even if your stakeholders aren’t power users of GA or Adobe Analytics, they still may not use dashboards — and for good reason. Are they able to request “deep dive” analysis from an analytics team or external agency? I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty unlikely to spend time learning how to use a new dashboarding tool when I can commission a detailed analysis instead and have results back on my desk in the near future.

Think about the options your stakeholders already have. If they’re comfortable with the tools already available or have resources at their fingertips that make dashboards redundant, you might think twice about whether dashboards make a lot of sense.

Ultimately, we all love dashboards that help organizations grow a more data-driven culture. But that doesn’t mean that any good-looking dashboard will easily win wide adoption in your organization.

Consider what unique role dashboards can play; think about the data sources you’ll need to connect to; and assess the alternatives that your stakeholders already have. By going through that process before selecting a vendor or building dashboards, you’re much more likely to end up with a data visualization solution that makes all your stakeholders happy.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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The trouble with paid advertising is that there’s always some guesswork involved. No matter how much audience data you’ve acquired, you still have to speculate on what copy, headlines, and images are going to be most effective for your paid Facebook marketing campaigns.

This is typically where marketers come up short when they create advertisements for Facebook, and they don’t see the desired conversions. Thankfully, you can easily create ad variations to test against each other and get those conversion rates up.

If you want to avoid wasted ad spends when you launch your campaigns, try to avoid these big mistakes that can kill your conversions:

1. Non-Compelling Visuals

There’s a little bit of art that goes into advertising, but only just a little. When you get too wrapped up in artistic storytelling with vague images or stock photos in your ads, you can easily miss the mark with your audience.

Another bad approach is cluttering your ads with text. Facebook used to limit text in images to no more than 20% of the image real estate. A recent update removed the text overlay limitation, but images with a lot of text will have their reach reduced.

7 Major Facebook Advertising Mistakes to Avoid | Social Media Today

Whether you’re using a video or an image in your advertisements, focus on making it highly relevant to the offer and engaging to the audience. This is a great opportunity to leverage user-generated content with eye-catching visuals of customers actively using your product or service.

Facebook posts with images, including advertisements, see 2.3x more engagement than those without, so put the extra effort into sourcing the right visuals for your ads.

2. The Headline Has No Hook

The headline is the boldest part of your Facebook ad and it’s the first thing your audience will see next to the image as they scroll through their feed. If you’re not sure how to craft the best headline for your ad, then aim for specificity over trying to be witty or clever.

In the ad above from Popslate, the headline they’ve used is dull and ineffective. They tried to be clever, but the headline doesn’t really communicate anything useful to the audience.

The best headlines for your ads should be as specific as possible by telling the audience what they’re going to get and why it’s important for them to pay attention. This is where you want to promote your value proposition.

3. Bad Copy

The copy of your ad offers the opportunity to expand on the value proposition within your headline. This is where you communicate your offer and make a compelling argument by highlighting a key benefit of your product or service. The copy needs to clearly address an interest or pain point for your audience in order to be most effective.

7 Major Facebook Advertising Mistakes to Avoid | Social Media Today

In this Wendy’s ad, the copy is cryptic and doesn’t hit on any of those important points, outside of mentioning the price. There’s still plenty of engagement because the video pulls in the eyeballs of hungry audience segments and Wendy’s is a well-known chain with plenty of brand power. But if a smaller company replicated this, it would be a big waste of ad dollars.

This ad is also completely missing a calling-to-action, which brings me to…

4. Poor or Missing Call-to-Action

In the above Wendy’s ad, there is absolutely no call-to-action. This is a missed opportunity. Surely they want people to go out and purchase the combo they’re promoting, so why not come out and say it? At the very least, the ad should encourage people to do something like, “Tell us your favorite side item in the comments” or “Throw out your sack lunch and stop by Wendy’s today.”

Anything is better than nothing.

You never want to leave it up to your audience to decide what to do next after you engage them. If you want them to take a specific action, then tell them. The simple act of telling them what to do with a compelling call-to-action will improve the conversion rates for every ad you create.

5. Poor Audience Targeting

You shouldn’t launch a single ad on Facebook until you have a good idea of who your ideal customer is or what community you’re attempting to build. If you’re selling expensive watches and you know your target audience consists of upper-income urbanites over the age of 30, then you’ll do yourself no favors by targeting lower-income users from 18-55+.

It’s easy to aim for breadth over depth with your audience targeting, but casting a wide net will only waste ad dollars on clicks and engagement that won’t yield returns.

Likewise, if you’re too narrow with your targeting, you’ll leave out a large number of audience segments that would have been likely to convert.

 

7 Major Facebook Advertising Mistakes to Avoid | Social Media Today

Take the time to research who your audience really is. Conduct customer surveys and pull demographics from your Facebook insights to find out who your biggest supporters are.

You should also install a Facebook pixel on your website to gather behavioral data that mingles with demographics, and then use that information to create a lookalike audience of people who haven’t engaged you yet.

I recommend setting up layered targeting (demographics, psychographics, interests, lifestyle) that helps you find a happy medium between narrow and broad.

6. Targeting the Wrong Objective

7 Major Facebook Advertising Mistakes to Avoid | Social Media Today

When you create Facebook ads, you’ll need to choose an objective – like sending the traffic to a website or garnering likes and engagement. Make sure both the ad copy and the thing you’re trying to promote match the objective and the user intent.

If the audience is enticed by your offer, but your ad drives them to your Facebook Page for a like instead, then you probably won’t get the desired conversion (download/purchase) at the end of the campaign because they couldn’t find your real offer.

For campaigns meant to drive traffic to your website, you need to make the call-to-action and value proposition relevant to that action. Don’t promote general social activity or some vague brand message if you want them to visit a landing page or product page on your website.

7. Targeting Specific Dates and Times

7 Major Facebook Advertising Mistakes to Avoid | Social Media Today

Unless you know with absolute certainty that the bulk of your audience is online and looking at their Facebook feed at a certain time or day of the week, don’t place unnecessary limits on the runtimes for your advertising. You might catch a few leads, but you’re significantly hindering the visibility of your ads, which means a large portion of your audience will never see them.

It’s a great way to stretch out an ad spend over an extended period, but it’s a poor way to get the conversions you’re looking for.

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layers

Layers, the WordPress page builder that installs as a theme, has ended the exclusive arrangement it had with Envato for more than a year. David Perel, co-founder of Obox and Layers, announced that any new Layers themes and plugins will be sold within their own marketplace, instead of through Envato.

“Our exclusivity agreement meant we could not distribute or sell Layers products anywhere else but on Envato,” Perel said. “Initially this agreement worked out very well for us because their massive audience gave us plenty of exposure. However further down the line we found ourselves wanting to do more in terms of bundles, promotions, and discounts, which is not possible on Envato.”

After a little more than a year selling on Envato, Layers was downloaded more than 250,000 times and its community of third-party developers racked up $280,000 in revenue. This roughly equates to each download being worth one dollar for the Layers market, which includes 160 different items.

Perel said that the company is not exiting Envato entirely but will be focused on building its own marketplace, starting with new products.

“We will always sell products on Envato (such as our Social Commerce plugin which does better on their site than any of ours) but for the foreseeable future all new Layers products that we create will be sold exclusively on our site.”

Why Layers’ Distribution Channels Do Not Include WordPress.org

Layers doesn’t meet the requirements for themes hosted in the official WordPress directory, because it includes plugin-like functionality. Perel and his team attempted it more than once, and even own the exiting outdated ‘Layers’ theme on WordPress.org, but they are currently unwilling to separate out the extra functionality into plugins.

“From day one we always knew that Layers would be a hybrid and we did this for a number of reasons,” Perel said. “A big one is ease of use for new users. We don’t want them to have to download a theme and then a plugin just to get started. Secondly, if we split out the functionality into it’s own plugin then we’d spend most of our time trying to make it compatible with every other theme and framework out there.”

Perel said that the company’s ultimate goal with Layers is to improve the usability of WordPress while including enough functionality to get a business website off the ground.

“The method we’ve chosen now may be frowned upon by some in the community, but overall it’s worked out really well for us,” Perel said. “Because we’re not battling with compatibility issues our support volume is relatively small, so much so that we’re able to offer support for free to anyone who uses Layers – be it the free theme or a premium theme.”

Perel said that they are still exploring ways to split the functionality into a plugin but will not do it until they find a way to preserve the usability that is currently built into the product.

Layers Moves to Create Its Own Distribution Center

Perel declined to share how much revenue Layers and the company’s in-house products have made through the Envato marketplace but said that he is trepidatious about ending their exclusive agreement.

“Envato has been a great partner for us and going on our own is a bit scary but we believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Envato has millions of customers so it’s almost impossible to outgrow them but we wanted more control over what we could release, how we released it and for how much.”

Envato helped Layers’ small four-person team build a large customer base in a short amount of time. Like many other WordPress theme authors, Perel used Envato as a proving ground and launching place to test the market. He said that the success of selling the commercial version of Layers on their own site proved to the team that controlling the marketplace would be a strategic move.

Perel said the team is working to establish their site as a go-to place to buy premium Layers themes and extensions. Initially this will only include products built in house, but the long-term plan is to open it up to third-party developers.

“Once we have a clearer understanding of marketplace requirements and checkout flow, we will reach out to third party developers,” Perel said. The team has not set a timeline for opening up the marketplace but will move in that direction after they prove that their products are doing well in the short term.

“We have no guarantees that it will work – no one can see the future, but we’re pretty confident in our ability to make it work,” Perel said.

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PinMeTo provides local marketing for national brands on Facebook, Google+, Google Maps, Apple maps, Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest, and more

Management of a digital presence that can reach and affect customers locally can be a challenge for any business. That challenge is exceptionally difficult for companies that have several locations across the country, all with varying business information and data (hours, contact numbers, addresses, etc.). As consumers continue to embrace a mobile-first experience at a constant rate, the importance of maintaining an impactful digital presence becomes increasingly important.

In the wake of that challenge, marketing platform PinMeTo has developed extremely effective solutions that allow small and major brands alike to maintain a consistent, effective online presence. PinMeTo’s ability to localize the presence and performance of franchise-sized brands results in considerable success regarding engagement, performance, and exposure.

PinMeTo Tools Provide Local Marketing for National Brands

Using PinMeTo, national brands can gain a local presence on Facebook, Google+/Search/Maps, Apple maps, Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest and essentially every other app, platform and service out there. It utilizes the platforms that customers use the most to contact businesses, find and post reviews and follow for future updates. The tools include:

  • Dynamic Text-Templating: Automated posts to one, some or all of your pages. Despite the automated posting, the fields contain locally relevant information.

Local Marketing for National Brands - PinMeTo Dynamic Text Template

  • Filter and Segment Locations: Management of content or special offers in a specific city without disrupting every page existing for separate business locations.

Local Marketing for National Brands - PinMeTo Can Filter and Segment Locations

  • Post Scheduling: A calendar/clock to schedule posts when your audience is most active and engaged.

Local Marketing for National Brands - PinMeTo Post Scheduling

  • Local Insights: Data summaries that outline how consumers react and engage with the content you’re posting. Includes impression, reach, photo views, link clicks and overall performance to a single post on a single location.

Local Marketing for National Brands - PinMeTo Local Insights

The results of PinMeTo have gained the attention of software and digital authorities, such as TechCrunch, as well as a slew of positive reviews and success stories, and the numbers don’t lie. Based on an analysis of PinMeTo’s clients, the increase in exposure and brand presence is little less than dramatic in value increase.

Local Marketing for National Brands - PinMeTo Results Stats

Getting Started

Through the PinMeTo website, you can request a demo for your business and get a feel for the benefits the service has to offer you. You can also subscribe to their newsletter for the latest in location marketing trends, tools and ideas, and follow their blog to keep up with their growing success.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Images: PinMeTo, HigherVisibility

This article, "PinMeTo Is Key to Your Local Marketing" was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website

We all want to make our content go farther. No matter how many followers you have on social media and no matter how many people visit your website every month, sometimes your great content just doesn’t get as much mileage as it could.

Your most loyal readers will read your content, of course. While feeding your existing audience great content is important, your existing audience is limited.

There is a much larger audience who has yet to even hear about you or the awesome stuff you’re writing.

So if your goals include giving your content a second life and continuing to grow your audience, Medium can definitely help you.

What is Medium All About?

Evan Williams and Biz Stone founded the crazy popular blogging platform in 2012. It touts itself as the place where “everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you.”

You can think of Medium sort of like Twitter for long-form content, except it has an algorithmic timeline that tells you what stories you’re going to be interested in.

I’ve been publishing on Medium for just over a year now and have discovered many great benefits.

If you haven’t yet taken the leap, here are 10 insanely good reasons you should syndicate your content on Medium.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out my follow-up post: 7 Medium Optimization Tips to Make Your Posts Go Hot

10 Reasons to Publish on the Medium Website

1. Medium Has A Great Import Tool

If you have blog content anywhere on the web, Medium can import it. All you have to do is click on the “Import a story” option.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - Medium Has A Great Import Tool

After you’ve imported it, you can edit it however you want. Change your title, move around the images, and play with the formatting until you’re ready to hit publish.

Medium even adds a line at the bottom of your imported post that says where and when the post was originally published, including a link to the original post.

2. You Can Take Your Audience With You

If you’ve already built up a good-sized social media following, there’s good news: yes, you can take your audience with you to Medium. So you basically have a built-in audience with no effort on your part!

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - You Can Take Your Audience With You

You can link your Medium profile to your Twitter and Facebook IDs. Medium will then figure out which of those users are also on Medium and connect you with those people automatically.

3. Engagement Metrics Seem Real

Medium will tell you how many people viewed one of your stories, as well as how many people made it to the end. The average reading time is pretty amazing, usually between 7 and 11 minutes.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - Engagement Metrics Seems Real

Engagement on Medium is much better than on Twitter. You could get millions of impressions on Twitter, but only 50 actual clicks on your content. That’s because users are spending all of two seconds on your tweet before all the other new tweets start flying by.

If you post something that’s memorable, inspiring and interesting, your content might just make a stronger impact on Medium than it had initially.

4. You’ll Reach A New Audience

Medium’s algorithmic timeline will open your content to a different audience that otherwise never would have heard of you. Essentially, Medium helps create a new audience for you, regardless of whether you already have a big audience. (Your audience could always be bigger, right?)

The key is getting people to recommend your posts. On Medium, it’s all about hearts.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - You'll Reach A New Audience

As you can see here, based on an analysis of several hundred posts, I’ve calculated that the more people who click on the heart icon posts, the more likely it becomes that you’ll show up in other people’s timelines, including those people who don’t yet know you.

If you can get 200 hearts within 24 hours, you will likely end up being one of the top stories of the day — a Medium unicorn! Those top stories get featured prominently on the website and in the app.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - Hearts Matter

In addition, Medium sends out a personalized email digest to users, where they will share two or three of the top stories for you.

5. You Could Get Discovered By Big Publishers

Many large publishers no longer accept applications from authors. They’re tired of being inundated with terrible pitches. Sadly, it’s turned into a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation.

However, publishers are still finding and adding new contributors to their sites. How? By scouting for popular authors on Medium.

As long as you’re consistently publishing great posts, and you have talent and creativity, eventually you’ll hit a home run. Maybe, just maybe, a Business Insider, Huffington Post, or New York Observer might ask to syndicate one of your posts — or even ask you to become a regular contributor.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - You Could Get Discovered By Big Publishers

6. There’s No API

Medium has no API. Although APIs are essential in some ways, they also sometimes ruin social networks. Probably 99.9 percent of spam (like fake followers and people scheduling and tweeting garbage content) is due to aggressive API usage.

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - There's No API

Unlike on Twitter (which is ridiculously noisy), the signal to noise ratio on Medium is pretty good. Way more of my 52,000 Medium followers seem legit compared to your average Twitter “followers”, and the lack of noise has in part helped me become one of Medium’s top authors.

7. Certain Industries Do Really Well

Medium won’t be right for everybody. However, certain industries have really great, established audiences.

Topics that do really well on Medium include:

  • Life learning
  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Startups
  • Culture
  • Technology
  • Politics

Marketing posts do OK, provided that you’re not overly tactical.

8. You Can Generate New Social Media Followers

You initially use Facebook and Twitter connections to create your Medium audience. But then a funny thing happens. Medium will start helping you generate new Facebook and Twitter followers.

One thing I do is put an “About the Author” footer in all my articles, which includes links to all my social profiles — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram — as well as, of course, a link to my company website.

Medium is actually the number-one driver of traffic to my Facebook page!

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - You Can Generate New Social Media Followers

9. You Can Run Your Own Publication

Another great way to gain exposure is by starting your own Medium publication. So even if people aren’t following you individually, but they start following your publication, it’s highly likely they’ll start being exposed to your content anyway.

I started a publication called Marketing & Entrepreneurship that features tips and news on social media marketing, online advertising, search engine optimization, content marketing, growth hacking, branding, and more. It has over 10,000 followers as of this writing.

Quite a few brands have actually given up on traditional blogs and now just publish on Medium.

10. Minimal Effort!

This is crazy. Look at these stats — all just from syndicating columns I’ve already written and published. Nothing new or original required!

10 Reasons to Find New Audiences by Publishing at the Medium Website - Minimal Effort

Hopefully this helps you understand the awesome power of Medium, especially for your personal brand. You can gain an impressive amount of traction by republishing your existing content with minimal effort.

Bottom line: There’s a lot for you to love about Medium. So what are you waiting for?

Republished by permission. Original here.

Images: WordStream

This article, "Find New Audiences Publishing at Medium" was first published on Small Business Trends

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As part of their “Creative Series”, Instagram’s providing tips for brands to help them improve their performance on the platform. Their latest installment focuses on direct response ads and ways to get your Instagram audience take action, but the notes provided are actually pretty general and can be applied to most brand marketing on the platform.

Here are their three key tips to improve your Instagram posts.

1. “Stop Their Scroll”

Instagram’s business team advises brands to consider how they can grab people’s attention as they scroll through their feeds, noting that using a single focal point in their images can be an effective way to make people stop and take notice.

3 Tips on How to Improve Your Instagram Posts (from Instagram) | Social Media TodayIn this example from Everlane, there’s only one core subject of the image, there’s nothing cluttering the background or diverting viewer attention. This can be an effective way to stand out, for one, but also to bring clarity and focus to your product/s.

You can, of course, use background images for context, but the important point to note is that you want to ensure the key element – the product you’re showcasing – remains the thing that people notice, that stands out and draws attention.

Also, remember that the vast majority of Instagram users are using the platform on a mobile device – your Instagram images need to be optimized for mobile.

“Think about the size of each element in your photo or video, and then view it on your phone before sharing.”

2. “Connect When They Look”

Instagram also notes the importance of incorporating branding elements in your Instagram posts.

Branding is an important part of having people remember your ad after they’ve viewed it. And it doesn’t have to be blatant to be effective. Instead of posting your logo at the top of a photo, include elements of your brand such as your storefront, packaging or products in an authentic way.”

3 Tips on How to Improve Your Instagram Posts (from Instagram) | Social Media TodayThis is a great note – people are generally on Instagram to see inspiring or interesting images, the focus is largely on art or aspirational desires. As such, the brands that can deliver great images with subtle, natural branding elements stand out.

Nike and Michael Kors, for example, do well at this with their Instagram content.

3. “Inspire Action”

Instagram notes that:

The most successful ads tell consumers what they need to know – who is this advertiser, what’s their value proposition and how can they learn more or even purchase this product?”

As you can see in this example from Ray Ban, there’s a clear value proposition, it puts the product into the consumers’ world – that type of definition and connection can help better contextualize what your product offers and why they might want to purchase it.

In terms of learning more and making a purchase, Instagram advises brands to also consider their call to action buttons and ensure they’re using the relevant option for the desired response.

“While Learn More may work great for consideration, Shop Now may work better for conversions.”

These are some great, general considerations for branded Instagram content, beyond just direct response campaigns alone. And with more than 300 million people now active on Instagram every day – and likely more switching across at the moment to check out their new ‘Stories’ feature – it’s a good time to be getting involved and looking to build your brand’s Instagram presence. 

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