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There are many facts and tips about Pinterest traffic generation and marketing success floating around. Some of them are true and it is good to follow them. Other tips are old and simply will not work anymore. But some of the facts and tips about Pinterest marketing have the power to seriously hurt your marketing success.

The hard truth about Pinterest marketing is that it can be awesome when you get all the bits and pieces of the marketing process right. But Pinterest marketing can be an utter failure if you add just one piece of bad marketing advice to your activity.

I know – because I have fallen for some of the bad tips out there. And seriously, until you understand the Pinterest algorithm and the basics of Pinterest marketing, it is so easy to fall for some of the tactics that can kill your marketing. If you do not know how Pinterest works, you may never know why you are not seeing the success you were looking for. And at the same time, all those blogging gurus promise you that Pinterest is going to be the holy grail of traffic generation for bloggers.

Here are 6 surefire ways to ruin your Pinterest marketing and fail at Pinterest traffic generation.

1. Treat Pinterest as a social network

Pinterest is always listed alongside big SOCIAL networks like Facebook and Twitter. And that makes it easy to assume Pinterest follows the same rules as these social media outlets.

Image Source Shareaholic

But be honest, when was the last time you had a conversation on Pinterest? Do you engage with your followers? Do you believe the key to more reach, repins, and clicks from your pins is “engagement”? You may be up for a surprise.

Pinterest may be a social website – but it follows rules that are much closer to the mechanisms of the Google search algorithm. Keywords play a vital role.

IF you are up for failure, treat Pinterest as a social network…

2. Pinterest is for DIY, Recipes, and Travel – for all other niches go to Twitter

I have heard similar arguments for Twitter: My niche is not on Twitter – or Pinterest. Are you sure about that? I would not be so sure!

Pinterest is growing and it has an immense traffic power – that is one side of the story.

Pinterest is also a search engine. People actively look for information on Pinterest. And you may just have the information that people are searching for. Even Google displays some search results from Pinterest.

So if you think your niche is not that big on Pinterest, it may just come down to the fact that your competition is not that big on Pinterest but your audience may well be. You cannot tell just from seeing a ton of recipes and DIY projects.

If you want to miss out on all the Pinterest traffic fun – just ignore it for all the other niches.

3. Pinning more to automatically reach more people

That is simply not the case. While more tweets may just sum up to reaching more people, Pinterest has an algorithm in place that decides which content to show to which people. Posting more dos not necessarily result in reaching more people.

You have to earn your reach on Pinterest. Earning a ton of repins can boost your reach far more than pinning lots of new pins to Pinterest.

The recommended number of daily pins ranges from 30 to 80 – but you should always aim to earn MORE repins than you add pins to Pinterest!

Recommended Pin Frequency

Image Source Louise M

Plus, just pinning thousands of pins to Pinterest has another problem in the long run. Pinterest has a limit of pins that each account is allowed to make. Once you reach 200k pins you cannot pin another pin. That may sound like a lot of pins for now. But you may get there faster than you thought.

Do you want to fail with your Pinterest marketing: just keep pinning more and more pins without questioning your results.

4. Concentrate on more followers for more traffic

For Twitter and Instagram, marketing success is a numbers game: More followers mean more marketing power. (No, I do not mean fake followers. Those are worth nothing but vanity.)

Pinterest marketing success may well be a numbers game, too. But the number that counts the most is certainly not the number of followers.

If you love the follow-unfollow routine to get more followers, don’t invest too much time into it for Pinterest:

  • You will not get big results for Pinterest with the follow-unfollow anyway
  • You do not need many followers to drive big-time traffic from Pinterest
  • Once you get the Pinterest marketing algorithm right, you will earn new followers from sheer magic!

More followers will not hurt your Pinterest marketing but pursuing followers in order to grow traffic from Pinterest may not be your best option.

5. Create “beautifully designed” images – instead of pins

When I first became aware of Pinterest, I loved it. But I was totally intimidated by the need for images. I was also at a total loss as to what I could use as images for our articles.
And the answer would have been so easy:

  • Pinterest friendly format
  • Background image
  • A catchy headline (learn what headlines usually work well)
  • Text overlay
  • Make sure everything is easily readable

“Beautiful design” was just a concept I could not follow. I have no clue what that actually is.

I wasted so much time on creating ugly infographics, getting frustrated with images. But creating pins or rather some basic pin designs that work well for all our blog posts simply using the headlines or a variant of it – that is something that even I can easily do. So can you!

If you are looking for Pinterest marketing success, don’t get fooled by that useless tip that you need beautifully designed pins.

6. Join multiple group boards to get traffic from Pinterest

This was probably the worst tip I ever got. Using group boards to get more reach for your pins. It looked as if it was working for a time. Until I had all these pins sitting idle on dead group boards. And these pins that never had a chance of reaching any kind of success killed my account for a while.

Group boards have worked for marketing in the past – that is true.

Some group boards still work because they are active and the members repin stuff from the group.

But most group boards are just flooded with pins from marketers. The members have only one thing in mind: Pin more pins. They are not going to repin your pins from the group board. And that is what Pinterest does not want.

Just pinning endless stuff without any results from it is what Pinterest does not like – and certainly will not reward. If you still want to try your luck at group boards, make sure they are on topic – a conglomeration of random pins is definitely not going to show you good results.

Jumping blindly on the group board train will result in total frustration.

So, if the above are all wrong, what do I recommend you should do on Pinterest for traffic success? Here is the short version of what I think you should be doing:

  • understand the basics of the Pinterest algorithm
  • learn about Pinterest and the similarities to a search engine. Learn about the importance of keywords
  • Create some pin designs for your brand
  • Learn to create great headlines for marketing – then use these headlines on your pins
  • Create on-topic boards for your content
  • Earn more repins – pin more – work your way up from there
  • Pin strategically instead of blindly!

Do you want to learn more?

After years of loving Twitter, for the first time in our blogging history, Twitter no longer is our strongest social traffic channel.

It is no secret that we are always looking for new strategies to get more traffic. 

After playing around with Pinterest for some time now, I found the missing link in my Pinterest strategy. Suddenly everything else I had tried made sense – or it did not. That missing link made it all click into its place. And from one day to the next, our Pinterest traffic started to grow.

And now Pinterest is our most important source for social traffic – and growing fast.

And what if I told you that you can have the same traffic success from Pinterest.

Simply use our action plan, set it up and get it running for more traffic from Pinterest within days.

Are you interested? Check out our new book: “The Pinterest Traffic Code!”

The post 6 Ways to Fail with Pinterest Traffic Generation appeared first on The Social Ms.

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If you are promoting your blog, product or brand via social media, you have probably stumbled across the 80/20 rule of social media marketing. But the chances are high that you have heard this rule all wrong. Because misinformed “marketing experts” share a variant of this rule that is simply not true – and can in the worst case hurt your blog or business success.

Blindly following this “wrong” form of the 80-20 rule will cost you traffic to your website.

So, what exactly is the 80-20 rule?

Originally, the 80-20 rule for social media marketing stated that 80% of your social media updates should educate, inform your audience and be seriously useful or helpful. Only 20% of social media posts should be promotional.

The rule was important since far too many unknowing bloggers and businesses jumped on the social media train to promote their products – and got totally frustrated because nobody wanted to follow their promotional messages and their marketing failed thoroughly.

Social media seriously changed the way marketing works. Where previously a lot of marketing had to do with conveying a promotional message, social media needed more value in the majority of the updates – or people would simply not follow the promoter and the promotional messages lost their chance of reaching many people.

Today, it may seem rather hard to draw an exact line between promotional and educating content. Is a blog post promotional or is it informative? It depends… Is an Instagram photo of an influencer wearing a nice jacket on a trip to a nice location promotional or informative? Again, it depends…

And that makes the 80-20 rule not as relevant as it once was. What remains is the hint to effective social media marketing: Make sure your audience listens to you before you focus on getting the promotion to them.

What you can still take away from the 80-20-rule is that you have to post around 80% stuff that your audience wants to have – and you can mix in another 20% of posts that you want your audience to have.

Or as Jonathan keeps saying: In social media, you can post what you want as long as your audience likes what you are doing.

(Yes, that excludes everything that is hurtful, hateful, offensive or just bad taste.)

What people claim the 80-20 rule says

What is spread as the 80-20 rule often sounds a lot different from what the original rule said.

“Post 80% of content from other bloggers or content creators and only 20% of your own content.”

What is wrong with this modification of the 80-20 rule? Does is not make sense based on the original rule?

First of all, I think this modified 80/20 rule is simply bullsh?t from a follower’s point of view. If I follow a blogger on social media, I do so because I like their content. And I expect to receive their content on social media. That is exactly why I follow them.

If they now “spam” me with content from random people I might not even like, I am highly likely to unfollow the blogger because I am not getting what I wanted in the first place.

Example: If I follow SocialMediaExaminer on social media I do so because they create awesome informative blog posts that could be of interest to me. I certainly do not follow SocialMediaExaminer because they are awesome content curators – no clue if they are…

Sure, if you want to post often on social media and you do not have a ton of informative and helpful content that your audience wants to have, other people’s content can fill that gap. And that is where the modified rule most likely comes from.

In times when online content marketing was still evolving, many promoters did not have so much helpful content and still wanted their promotional message out on social media. Posting other people’s content was the solution to fill that 80% of helpful posts.

But as a blogger, your blog posts should be catering for the interest of your audience in the first place. That makes your own content absolutely adequate to be posted on your social media channels – even 100% of your own content.

Why does the modified 80-20 rule cost you traffic?

Now, consider this: You built a considerable following on social media. Each post you make on your social channels gets around 10 clicks (just to have a number here.) If you now make 10 posts on social media, these 10 social media posts will earn 100 (=10×10) visitors to a website. If 80% of the content you share is from other people, 80 of these website clicks will go to other people’s websites and only 20 will end up on your blog.

Now, consider that you ignore the modified 80-20 rule that so many people have told you to follow and post 100% of your own content because your blog content is helpful and of interest to your audience. 100 of the clicks on your shared content will now go to your blog (instead of just 20 clicks when you only post 20% of your own content.)

This simple change will 5 time your traffic from social media.

Does it work?

We have hundreds of useful blog posts that we share on social media. And we chose to ignore the (modified) 80-20 rule a long time ago simply because it did not make sense to us.

Sharing our blog content – and only our blog content – has helped us grow our Twitter audience to several hundred thousand followers.

Or look at Jeff Bullas’ Twitter account – not much content from other bloggers there…

Sharing our content on Pinterest has not hurt our traffic generation either.

Take a look at the Pinterest account of Social Media Examiner. They have an awesome following of 48k people. And they ONLY share their own content.

Why does other people’s content still have a rightful place in your social media strategy?

There are still some very good reasons to consider using other people’s content in your social media strategy.

  • when you do not have so much content that you can fill the need for information from it – use other people’s content
  • Content from more famous people can help you to grow your reach – and credibility on social media. Shares can also be a good way to open a conversation or get noticed.
  • Sharing other people’s content can help to get more engagement. Sometimes you can earn likes, shares, and comments from the content owner. Some of them will simply want to return the favor

If someone tells you that you should share more of other people’s content, don’t simply do it, ask why you should. It could be a good idea – but it could also be bad advice from someone who did not understand what the 80-20 rule was all about!

The post The 80/20 Rule of Social Media Marketing – and Why Getting it Wrong Can Hurt Your Success appeared first on The Social Ms.

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There is so much advice to be found about Pinterest and marketing on Pinterest that is hard to know which tips are still relevant and which are outdated – or even wrong. You have to figure out which advice to follow and which tips rather belong to the category Pinterest myths: Some of the outdated or wrong tips can seriously hurt all your traffic generation efforts.

I spent a considerable amount of time to try every Pinterest tip that I could find that made half sense to me when I read it. Some of the tips were right. Some tips were obviously useless and some tips blew my traffic efforts to pieces.

So instead of listing some more tips which can be good or bad, today, I want to talk about three quite common myths about Pinterest that are totally wrong and misleading. I will also explain to you, why these Pinterest myths are wrong, and why they can totally kill all your chances of success with Pinterest.

What is even worse is that if you follow the wrong advice for too long, it will become rather hard and time-consuming to set your Pinterest account straight again and finally see the traffic success you are looking for.

Traffic from Pinterest is absolutely within your reach if you get your Pinterest activity right. But following even one wrong tip can be the reason that you will never see much success from your Pinterest efforts.

Here are the three most important Pinterest myths you should not fall for:

Pinterest is social

Pinterest is often mentioned alongside social networks like Facebook or Twitter. And that is kind of misleading. While Pinterest has some key features which you know from social networks like followers, likes and shares – it is not at all social.

Have you ever “talked” to anyone on Pinterest? Well, maybe in the messaging system, asking someone for the “ok” to spam them with messages, or to ask them to join their group board (see the second myth for more on group boards) – but there are no classical social media conversations going on on Pinterest. And engagement in the form of likes and comments on your pins are not what you are after if you are looking for Pinterest marketing success.

In reality, Pinterest marketing success is not even much about getting more followers.

The visibility of your pins is far less related to the number of your followers and far more to the number of pins and repins that your content gets.

So, if Pinterest is not social, what is it? 

Many processes and the Pinterest smart feed algorithm follow mechanisms that are much closer related to the Google search algorithm. Keyword research and the use of the keywords in the right places is very important. And what links are to SEO for Google search are repins to your Pinterest marketing.

Starting to think of Pinterest more in the line of a search engine than a social network, may well be the first step towards marketing success on Pinterest.

Group Boards get you traffic

There are still so many posts (and even paid books and courses) floating around selling group boards as the key to getting traffic from Pinterest. And that is soooo dangerous.

In truth, group boards can far more hurt your traffic efforts than help them. Why? Because when people discovered that group boards could provide you with additional visibility for your pins, people started to overdo it: spamming group boards was the new hype and creating group boards for the sole purpose of pinning more pins to group boards became the latest rage. And as always in marketing, too much of something that once worked is going to turn into spam – and become a tactic from the past.

Today, most group boards are spammy one-way streets: People are pinning as much of their content to these group boards as they can but no one ever pins anything from these group boards. And that means that pins on these group boards can have the same effect as spammy links in SEO: they can have your account and pins downrated.

Image: Random list of group boards found on PinGroupie

Group boards can still work if they are on-topic and active, but most of the time they don’t. And what is more: pinning a ton of pins to group boards has the power to kill all your chances of traffic from Pinterest!

Pinterest Success is about Design

When I started thinking about using Pinterest for traffic generation, I read so much about “beautiful design” that I was really intimidated. Did I really have to become a designer or pay one to create my pins to see traffic success from Pinterest?

I am no designer, I have no design skills whatsoever, and building a traffic strategy based on my design skills just does not seem like a good idea.

But in truth, Pinterest images that are highly successful to drive traffic to a website or blog, follow some very clear rules that have not so much to do with design or beauty. And even someone with rather limited design skills is well able to create images that will do well on Pinterest. And you do not have to hire a designer…

The hard truth is that it is much more important to follow rules for

  • image size
  • text overlay
  • readability, color and font sizes
  • background images

than the “beauty” of the pin design is.

Image: Examples Pin designs of pins that run well on Pinterest

Beauty is relative. I have seen pins that I (personally) find rather ugly – but I am fairly sure these pins do a very good job when it comes to driving traffic.

Some very easy to use tools that even have a free version that is fully sufficient can make creating your own pin design as easy as a piece of cake.

Follow some basic rules for pins and you will see more traffic from these pins than the most beautiful photos or designs would ever have brought you.

Final words on Pinterest advice – and how to identify Pinterest myths

For Pinterest marketing success it is often hard to decide which advice to follow and which tips to ignore. It helps, to understand the WHY behind something you should do.

Getting traffic from Pinterest is absolutely possible. But there is so much wrong advice floating around that you can easily follow the wrong tips and work your b*tt off without any considerable traffic success.

Identifying the wrong tips and figuring out what you need to do to grow your visibility on Pinterest and see your pins spread, can be hard. The above three Pinterest myths are just a few of the many pieces of bad advice that you could easily fall for.

Make sure that you question every tip you see and do not keep following all advice blindly: if something does not give you results, question if you should keep doing it.

If it is not working as promised you either got it wrong – or the advice just s*cked.

We have something new for you!

After years of loving Twitter, for the first time in our blogging history, Twitter no longer is our strongest social traffic channel.

It is no secret that we are always looking for new strategies to get more traffic. 

After playing around with Pinterest for some time now, I found the missing link in my Pinterest strategy. Suddenly everything else I had tried made sense – or it did not. That missing link made it all click into its place. And from one day to the next, our Pinterest traffic started to grow.

And now Pinterest is our most important source for social traffic – and growing fast.

And what if I told you that you can have the same traffic success from Pinterest.

Simply use our action plan, set it up and get it running for more traffic from Pinterest within days.

Are you interested? Check out our new book: “The Pinterest Traffic Code!”

The post 3 Pinterest Myths That Can Seriously Hurt Your Blog Traffic appeared first on The Social Ms.

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Tailwind is the most commonly used scheduling tool for Pinterest. While Tailwind as a scheduling app is widely known the analytics part of Tailwind seems to get a little less attention.

Time for us to take a closer look at Tailwind and its features for Pinterest.

(This post contains affiliate links)

If you are looking for a tool to help you make your pinning routine more efficient, save you time and allow you to be active on Pinterest when you are busy with other stuff – or on holiday – Tailwind is the one tool that most pinners will recommend to you.

If you want to decide if Tailwind is worth the money, you should also consider the other features of Tailwind which are:

  • Scheduling
  • Looping
  • Profile Performance
  • Board Insights
  • Pin Inspector
  • Tribes

Some of the Tailwind features can be accessed with the free account – some will only be available to you if you go for a paid account.

Plans start at around 15$/months.

Scheduling Pins from Tailwind

Scheduling is part of the paid features on Tailwind. The monthly plan allows you to schedule 400 pins per month – if you pay a year in advance you can schedule an unlimited amount of pins.

Scheduling on Pinterest is fairly simple: You set a schedule when you want your pins to get pinned – and then you start filling your schedule with pins. Tailwind will then make sure that your pins are pinned at the time that you set.

You can easily add or remove time slots for scheduled pins.

The easiest way to add a pin to your schedule is via the Tailwind browser extension which you can install via this guide.

The browser extension will allow you to schedule pins directly from any website as easy as pinning it to Pinterest. Simply hover with the mouse over an image on a website and click the Tailwind symbol that will open.

A new window will open that allows you to choose boards and change the pin description.

But… if you schedule one pin at a time when you are supposed to pin multiple pins per day will make it fairly time-consuming. Even if you add multiple boards to any pin that you schedule, it still takes a ton of time.

It gets quicker if you use board lists. You can create any number of board lists. This way you can group all boards on one topic together – this way you can for instance schedule all pins related to blogging to all your blogging boards.

If you schedule the same pin multiple times to various boards with Tailwind, you should use the „Shuffle“ feature, to make sure that you pin various pins instead of the same pin over and over again.

Bonus Tip: If you are on a tight budget and not yet sure if you want to invest money into a paid Tailwind account, you may still want to use Tailwind scheduling. While you will not be able to actually send the pins to Pinterest automatically on the free account, you can still “schedule” the pins and then log into Tailwind a couple of times a day and send the pins to Pinterest manually using the “pin now” button.

This way you can do the rather time-consuming “scheduling” once a week or however often your queue runs empty and the actual pinning will only take a couple of minutes per day.

Looping

Scheduling on Tailwind asks you to schedule new pins every other day. However many pins you schedule, there will come a day when your schedule runs empty.

That is where the „Looping“ feature called SmartLoop comes into the game.

You can use loops for your evergreen content and schedule the same pins to the same board over and over again. Tailwind will make sure that you do not repeat the pins too fast. Depending on the number of pins in your loop you can set a schedule for the loop like:

  • pin once a day
  • pin three times a week

Smartloop is a paid feature. With the basic (paid) Tailwind account you get a limited amount of pins you can loop. If you want to loop more pins, you can buy SmartLoop Powerups.

Profile Performance

With this report you get a ton of information about your Pinterest profile without having to count followers, pins an repins.

You can see

  • the follower growth of your account
  • the number of pins you made
  • the number of repins you earned.

Tailwind also gives you some statistics on your past account performance:

  • Virality Score: The average number of repins your pins get
  • Engagement Score: The average number of repins per follower per pin
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of pins with at least one repin.

Don‘t panic if your account performance factors are not very high – especially not if your account is already a little older.

Tailwind takes into consideration ALL pins you made in the past while Pinterest looks more closely on the more recent account performance. While old underperforming pins can keep your Tailwind factors low, good performing recent pins will have Pinterest make your pins more visible.

These factors are good indicators if your activity on Pinterest is working to build an audience and traffic: If the factors are growing, you are doing something right.

Board Insights

For Pinterest marketing success, you want your boards to earn a high number of repins – no matter if they are your own boards or group boards.

Tailwind gives you some very helpful „Board Insights.“ With a free account, you only get board insights for your own boards and not the full numbers. With a paid account you also get Board insights for group boards.

To give you a quick impression on how well a board is doing on Pinterest, Tailwind gives you two factors:

  • Virality score: The number of repins per pin
  • Engagement Score: The number of repins per follower per pin

The problem with these factors is that they take every old pin on a board into account. If a board used to be engaged and active with a ton of repins, this may not be the case today – or the other way round but the engagement factors on Tailwind may still be low or high no matter the recent activity on the board.

This makes these factors a little hard to interpret.

But the board Insights still tell you a lot about the activity of a board. You can see the number of new pins and new repins from the past 7 days for each board. If the number of repins is lower than the number of pins, not every new pin gets at least one repin.

You are looking for boards where the number of repins is considerably higher than the number of pins. On these boards, your new pins have a chance of „heating up.“

Pin Inspector

Tailwind also gives you a list of your best-performing pins. You can learn wich pins from which boards earned many repins.

This is a paid feature.

This will, for instance, help you to figure out which of your pins get a lot of repins and on which group boards your pins get repins.

Tribes

Tailwind tribes are a kind of share for share group. If you are a member of a tribe, you can add some of your pins to the tribe and „ask“ other tribe members for shares of this pin. In return, you have to share some pins from the tribe to your own boards. How many pins you have to share to earn the right to add one of your pins to the tribe varies a little. Most tribes ask you to share one or two pins for each pin you add to the tribe.

There are a couple of ways to find tribes from your niche:

  • search on Tailwind
  • look for blog posts with lists of tribes

When you are new to the Pinterest game, Tailwind tribes are a good opportunity to get your content and website out to a larger audience and earn a couple of pins.

But using tribes is fairly time-consuming. You need to watch your tribes and see how the members of the tribe react to your pins. Only keep using tribes that give you new pins for your content. Some tribes will not work for you – don‘t waste your time on them.

If you are already seeing some success from your Pinterest efforts, you should question if the time you have to invest in using Tailwind tribes pays off.

Final words on Tailwind for Pinterest

Using Tailwind will certainly make your Pinterest life a lot easier and help to save you a huge amount of time while growing your audience and traffic from Pinterest. However, if your budget is very low you can still use Tailwind to help to schedule your pins with a little manual action from your end.

The paid account gives you a lot more than just the scheduling feature. Especially when you are new to the game and still figuring out what works in your favor and what does not, Tailwind can help you to grow faster.

The post Tailwind For Pinterest: More Than Just Scheduling appeared first on The Social Ms.

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Videos get more and more important as social media content. Facebook has various video formats that you can use, as Facebook live, Facebook video posts – and Facebook stories.

There is also a trend in social media towards more unofficial and less formal content. Brands infuse personality and a feeling of accessibility by using storytelling in combination with more fun and less designed content.

A format that makes full use of all these developments in social media is a content format called stories. This type of content on social media vanishes after 24 hours. Stories are often less perfect and orchestrated content that includes more personality.

What are Facebook stories?

Stories originally came up on Snapchat and rose to incredible fame.

When Snapchat turned down an offer from Facebook to buy Snapchat, Facebook “copied” the story concept and took it first to Instagram and then to Facebook.

Stories are images or videos that are really short. Often there is more than one story strung together to a sort of slideshow or a series of short videos. The images or videos can easily be edited within Facebook. You can add text, emojis, stickers. You can tag accounts and you can ask for feedback.

Stories vanish after 24 hours.

The stories on Instagram and Facebook have a very prominent place thus attracting more views from followers than “normal” posts to the feed.

This means that stories have some marketing power that can be leveraged by brands if they use stories wisely.

How can brands profit from using stories

Stories are a more authentic and creative format: While social media posts tend to be very designed and perfect, the time-sensitive nature of stories allows for more personal and “imperfect” content. A photo published in a story does not have to be taken by a pro, messages on the images can be more fun and posted on the spur of the moment.

BUT: You need some extra content for your stories – stock images will not do the trick. You have to invest the time to create and brand the story content and tell a story with it.

Stories have a prominent location on Facebook: While brands have to fight hard for visibility in the Facebook feed (or pay for it with advertising), stories show up on top of the feed – and the competition for stories is still not so big as for a spot in the feed that you have not paid for.

Stories are shown very prominently at the top of your Facebook feed. What better place can you imagine for any post from your Brand’s fanpage? And all that without having to pay for the best spot!

Facebook provides analytics for stories that allow you to learn a lot about your audience and how they respond to your stories:

Image source: Facebook Help Center

Stories are a very popular format in most platforms – but not yet overcrowded on Facebook
The stories format has proven its power on other platforms that introduced it before Facebook. Many Instagram users rarely post an Image Update while they use the story option daily with multiple snippets of their daily life.

Image source: Techcrunch

Even if stories are not going to get hyped that much on Facebook, it is predictable that there is immense power in the rising popularity of Facebook stories. And this popularity is still not hidden behind ad payments.

How can brands create stories for fanpages

1. To use Facebook stories for your brand, you need a Facebook fanpage for the brand. If you do not yet have a fanpage, create one. Make sure that you have filled out all important parts of your fanpage, including header, name, image, connect website, etc.

2. To create a story for a brand fanpage, you have to be an admin of the page. This seems to be natural since only admins can post content to a fanpage.

Once you have a fanpage and are the admin of the fanpage, you can start creating your Facebook stories.

You can create Facebook stories on the desktop version of Facebook, however, the app seems to provide you with more options when creating your stories.

Go to your Facebook fanpage and scroll down until you see the “Your Story” area. Click on the “+” and add your story. You can take a photo or video directly in the app or use an image or video from your image library. Various editing options allow you to add text, stickers and even draw something on the image. Use these options to add a personal touch – and make the story recognizable as a brand story.

Since you can use prerecorded images and videos, you have the option to create and edit your story with an external tool before you upload it to Facebook.

There are endless options to create good brand stories. If you do not know where to start, a good way to come up with ideas for your stories is to simply browse around and see what other brands – even your competitors – are doing in their stories. Take a look at stories from outside your niche. Don’t just do the same (lame) stuff others are doing. Come up with your own ideas.

How can brands get more engagement on stories

Never just promote: Your brand stories should never be a long list of product posts. Be more creative. Why not show your products in various life situations, post stories of your company life, ask your customers to provide content like images of your products or even testimonials – maybe even funny ones.

Stories are not there to stay – but you can even “test” what responds with your audience and re-use the best as social media posts that are going to stay.

Go “behind the scene”: Show personality, show the people working at your brand, show how a product develops, show the delivery process in a story of many stories, show more from your brand that otherwise will not be public knowledge.

You can even create a kind of “insider” community with the visitors to your stories and reward them with special bonus codes or quizzes that only show up in the stories.

Publish time-sensitive updates: announcements, competitions, special offers or discount codes. If you have something you want to go out today, publish it in your story.

Don’t just copy: Yes, when we are starting something new, we like to check what others do with it. And stories from brands you follow can be a well of inspiration. But always keep in mind that your audience is unique. What works for another brand may not work for you. Try things, and get inspiration, but watch your analytics and results. See what works and develop your own story strategy.

Brand your stories

Make sure everybody seeing your story also knows that this story is coming from you – or rather your brand! It will be hard to earn all the benefits from your stories if people do not even recognize you as the author of the story.

How about Instagram Stories on Facebook?

If you are using Instagram stories for your brand, you should consider using the stories on Facebook, too. Since Instagram belongs to Facebook, cross-posting from Instagram to Facebook is easy to do.

Simply go to your “Story Control” panel on Instagram and check the ”Share your story to Facebook” option – sorry the screenshot is in German – my Instagram is set to German.

Final words on Facebook Stories

Facebook stories are still a huge opportunity to earn visibility on Facebook without paying for advertising. But you have to keep in mind that you need the content for stories. Posting your blog posts may be ok on your fanpage, but it will not do the trick in your stories.

For success with Facebook stories, you have to think about the stories you want to tell and how and where you can find or create the images or videos that you can post as your stories. If you can answer this question, you can start right now to publish your first story.

The post How to Succeed With Facebook Stories for Brands (or Blogs) appeared first on The Social Ms.

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The following is a guest post by Lindsey Kolowich. Lindsay is looking forward to beautiful fall weather in New England. You can find her trying out new banana bread recipes, playing squash, or cheering in the stands at Fenway Park. She loves creating educational content for marketers – check out her team’s recent video course on SEO. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter at @lkolow.

A sinking feeling in your gut. A spike of adrenaline. Maybe a little sweating.

Whether you’ve posted something to your company’s social media account that you didn’t mean to or didn’t realize the implications of, or you’re on the receiving end of a high volume of incoming criticism, your brain is probably kicking into panic mode — and it’s in these moments that having some sort of a plan is so critical. That way, you can put out the fire instead of inciting further damage.

Sometimes, social media mistakes are as inconsequential (and adorable) as your colleague inadvertently tweeting a picture of their baby bump to the company’s 400,000 Twitter followers. Other times, they can be more serious and have a huge effect on your business.

At HubSpot, we do our very best to apply the principle of “use good judgment” to everything we do. But our company (like most companies) is run by humans — and humans make mistakes. When a mistake happens, you can expect people to take to Twitter or other social media channels to reach your company. After all, anger is the emotion that spreads most easily over social media, according to a 2013 study.

In the face of a social media slip-up, HubSpot Director of Media and Analyst Relations Katie Burke suggests following this three-step process:

  1. Ask yourself whether this is a real crisis.
  2. If it is, own it. (Quickly.)
  3. Have a plan.

Let’s take an up-close look at each of these steps — using examples along the way of real companies that have dealt with real social media disasters.

1) Is It a Real Crisis?

The moment you realize something’s wrong, you might be tempted to flip out — but don’t. First thing’s first: Take a deep breath and think about whether the incident is actually a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

“Know what is a crisis and what isn’t,” advises Burke. “Far too many people overreact to everything and take themselves way too seriously.”

For example, let’s look at what happened to British bakery chain Greggs. In August 2014, due to a glitch in Google’s algorithm, Google users who searched for “Greggs” saw not the official company logo, but an unsavory version of one sourced from Wikipedia parody uncyclopedia.wikia.com. Here’s the bleeped-out version:

Although the fake logo itself wasn’t a mistake, the fact that it appeared in place of Greggs’ real logo was an unintentional error on the part of Google. Thousands of people alerted Greggs’ social media team to the issue on Twitter. The folks at Greggs could have freaked out at Google. Instead, they recognized that the mistake wasn’t a huge deal and chose to be super chill about it.

Hey @GoogleUK, fix it and they’re yours!!! #FixGreggs pic.twitter.com/d5Ub7qtrLG

— Greggs (@GreggsOfficial) 19. August 2014

To which Google responded:

Sorry @GreggstheBakers, we’re on it. Throw in a sausage roll and we’ll get it done ASAP. #fixgreggs pic.twitter.com/THXuMubrQq

— Google UK (@GoogleUK) 19. August 2014

No harm, no foul. The good humor continued in Greggs’ responses to consumers on Twitter.

There’s something wonderfully human about Greggs’ response to Google’s screw-up. When appropriate, responding to an issue like this with humor and good-naturedness can make a brand more likeable while keeping stress levels down.

2) If It Is a Crisis, Own It

Imagine you are the person who tweeted a pornographic photo from the US Airways Twitter account and didn’t notice for an entire hour. You’ve weighed whether it’s a real crisis and decided that yes, it is — in fact, it’s a total PR nightmare.

So what do you do now? The key here, says Burke, is to own the mess — and fast. “Far too many people run from their mistakes for 72 hours and hope for things to pass. That’s a huge mistake. The best companies in the world own their mistakes quickly and work rapidly to remedy the mistake. Actions speak way louder than words, so to the extent that you can match your mistake with an action, all the better.”

After deleting the offending post, US Airways tweeted:

We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.

— US Airways (@USAirways) April 14, 2014

Later, a spokesperson for US Airways would say it was an honest mistake: “We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response,” the spokesperson wrote to Business Insider. “Our investigation has determined that the image was initially posted to our Twitter feed by another user. We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer. We immediately realized the error and removed our tweet. We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future.”

This is a good example of mitigating the outrage — not with humor, but with sobering transparency. To salvage credibility, it’s best to be authentic and honest on social media instead of ignoring or skirting an issue.

3) Have a Plan

It doesn’t matter how careful you are: A social media slip-up could happen to anyone, whether you sent a rogue tweet or are fielding responses on social media about another part of your website or marketing activity. Every social media team needs to have some sort of idea of what to do in a bad situation.

“A lot of the effort wasted in a company is trying to connect dots,” says Burke. “For crisis situations, you need a plan to connect dots quickly so you focus your energy on solving the problem, not gathering the right people to solve it.”

At the very least, know who to go to if something happens — and never go it alone. “I think it’s really important to consult with others in a time of crisis,” says HubSpot’s former social media manager Brittany Leaning. “I always asked the PR team for a gut check or second opinion on these things.” With big slip-ups, delete the offending post and consult with the person who handles PR at your company or your boss to see what next steps should be taken. 

Just remember: While dealing with social media mistakes can be very stressful, they can give you an opportunity to figure out why it happened and make adjustments to your training, management, and communication to be better prepared for next time.

The post How to Quell a Social Media Nightmare appeared first on The Social Ms.

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You probably have some of these on your blog, too: The blog posts that you created with care and love but which somehow never found a lot of love with your audience. Or blog posts that did get a little attention from your audience but could simply do with a little more affection.

Today’s post is about giving these blog posts a new wave of blog traffic.

Not every blog post deserves a second chance. And some posts are not relevant anymore. Do not try to get attention to an old and boring story that was yesterday’s news. But evergreen content that still includes a ton of valuable information is well worth the effort to try and make it take off the second time.

1. Create a new headline

Are you aware of the power of headlines?

If your blog post did not get the attention it deserves and your blog post promotion did not give you the results you expected for one blog post: Check the headline. Think about if the headline would inspire you to click through to the article?

From 8 out of 10 people who see your headline only 2 will read the post.  But most bloggers – especially new bloggers – spend far more attention on the body of the post than the headline. And that can result in utter failure of the post.

Image Source: Quicksprout

If you want a second chance for your blog post, try another headline. Maybe a list headline is a fit? Or a how-to headline?

Does your headline inspire curiosity?

Learn more about creating perfect headlines to earn more clicks and shares in this post.

2. Create a new tweet

Do you have an audience on Twitter? Do you tweet your blog posts? How often do you tweet them? Did you make perfect tweets?

You can absolutely use Twitter to give your blog post a new life and traffic. If you created a new headline, you should also create a new tweet using this new headline – maybe not even just one headline and tweet, try two or three.

Create perfect tweets:

  • Use an image – or Twitter card.
  • Use a fitting hashtag (or two).
  • Ask for a retweet

Don’t just tweet your blog post once. If your post is evergreen, so are your tweets. You can reuse the same tweet every couple of days. Keep tweeting your content. If you have more than one tweet for your post, you can use all of them again, and again.

Tweet with Twitter card

3. Create a new pin

If you are using Pinterest for blog post promotion, but your post did not heat up the first time around, simply create a new pin and share it to Pinterest again.

Pinterest favors fresh content. It is much easier to make a new pin spread than trying to heat up and old pin that has been sleeping for some time now.

Examples of pin designs that get repins and clicks

Make sure that your pin uses a design that responds well with Pinterest:

  • Use a Pinterest perfect format
  • Use text overlay
  • Use background images that fit your niche
  • Use fonts that are easy to read – even on mobile and with an image background

You can find more information on pin design in this article.

4. Tweak your SEO

Sometimes older posts rank just close to the spots that would give you traffic but not quite good enough for you to see much traffic coming from Google search. Or the post does rank well for some keywords, but people do not click through to your content.

There are a couple of very easy-to-do tweaks to your SEO that could make all the difference. Rank your content a tiny bit better in the search results or make more people click through to your content.

  • Check your meta description. The meta description of a blog post includes the text that Google uses to show beneath the headline of the post in the search results. Sometimes we bloggers optimize the meta description for keywords we think that the content could (or should) rank for. The keywords that the post ranks for in the end might be something else. Either a related keyword or a longtail keyword. Simply optimizing the meta description
  • Link to the post from other posts on your blog. That can easily be done. And it will help to show Google that you think this post is important. Internal linking is often neglected but is a very important factor for search ranking that you can influence.
  • Update the post with more related keywords and an additional paragraph of new information. Google prefers fresh content. Updating old posts can put them far up the list of search results.
5. Start a discussion on the topic in a group

This strategy takes a little more effort than the other tips. You need a group that fits the topic. You need an active group – not just a promotional shouting place. You should not simply post your blog and leave. Start a discussion, ask some questions, answer comments. Your blog post can be part of the discussion – you can cite something from it or you can recommend it for further reading. The more you are part of the discussion, the better this will work.

Make sure that you know the rules of the group before you act. Some groups have rules that forbid you to share links to post – simply to avoid being spammed with unrelated content from people who otherwise are never active in the group.

6. Research a Question on Quora

Answering questions on Quora can give a consistent stream of traffic. Make sure you answer a closely related question. You can copy part of your post into the answer and link to the post for further reading.
What you are after are upvotes on your answer to very active questions. It will not help to answer questions that are irrelevant or outdated. But some questions on Quora are active for years – and all the time the best answers that are upvoted to the top of the list of answers have tremendous traffic power.

Final words on new blog traffic for older post

Never underestimate the traffic power of old content. That is why you need evergreen content on your blog. It will make your traffic generation so much easier and help you to earn consistent traffic to your blog.

That your posts did not take off the first time you created them does not mean that they do not deserve more traffic or that they are not good enough.

Some simple tweaks and new social media posts can easily boost the traffic to these posts. Often the second attempt will give the post much more traffic than the first. After all, you learned more about blogging along the way, did you not?

Do not blindly spend all your time on creating content. Promoting your content is at least as important as content creation. And creating a second wave of traffic for your existing posts is a very valuable traffic strategy!

The post 6 Ways to Give Your Blog Posts a Second Wave of Traffic appeared first on The Social Ms.

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Blogging is fun and it is a lifestyle. But blogging is also a business. If you want to turn your blog into a business many bloggers have to slightly change their blogging approach. Blogging best practices can help you to do that.

Instead of writing what they want, and how they want to write it they suddenly have to consider another point of view on their blog: Their audience and customers.

Where previously your blog could be anything from a collection of stories to a notebook for thoughts and a colorful mix of topics, you now have to put more focus into your blogging and consider how your audience will perceive and like what you do on your blog – and what is more, you have to think about how you can even reach an audience.

Make your blogging life easier with the following 6 blogging best practices and tips that will help you stick to blogging – and make it grow!

1. Stay On Topic

Think about the blogs you follow? What are they writing about? Are they mixed topics where you only follow because of a small part of the topics or are you concentrating on blogs with a clear topic focus?

In reality, it is much easier to grow a loyal and interested audience if you concentrate on ONE main topic. The reasons are manifold.

  • If you have a clear topic you can concentrate on finding an audience for exactly this one topic.
  • It is much easier to explain what your blog is about.
  • People are not bored or even annoyed with all the other stuff they are not interested in.

I know that sometimes it may seem easier to find enough ideas for blog posts if you choose a variety of topics. But in the long run, it makes everything else about blogging a lot easier if you stick fairly closely to one topic – or rather one target audience.

2. Focus on your audience

A blog is not a diary. A blog is written for an audience – or it will never have an audience. If you want to grow your blog audience, you have to provide something on your blog that some group of people wants to have and consume.

The more you know about this group of people that you want to address with your content, the better can you get at creating exactly what they are looking for.

Blogging is not about creating content that you want to create. Blogging is about creating content for a group of people. If you excel at that you will be able to grow an audience for your blog (if you work for it…)

3. Find a Schedule/Frequency

Once you have a significant number of blog posts on your blog that are still relevant, you may not have to create a new post every day. In this case, you should rather focus on two other things:

  1. create high-quality blog content instead of just focusing on the number of posts you can create. Rather create one post that is important and includes a ton of information, is well researched and uses some helpful images. This will get you further than a handful of posts that have no real value for your audience.
  2. Find a schedule that works for you: Publish a post every Monday, or twice a week, or on the weekend. Whatever suits you as a schedule can be ok, but make sure that your audience knows what they can expect. When does it make sense to look for a new post?

A schedule will also help you to stick to blogging regularly. If you know your next post is due on Tuesday, you will find a way to create it. If you have a loose schedule like “ Oh, I will need a new post soon,” there will come the time when everything else will be so important that you keep postponing your new post – and for your audience, your blog looks almost abandoned.

4. Solve Problems

If you can solve problems that a group of people has – these people will not only like your blog, they will need your blog. The more important and pressing the problem is the more impressed will they be if you help them solve their problems.

If it is a big enough problem, this may be the best starting point for turning your blog into a business.
Talking about problems that your audience has, will often also inspire engagement. Questions, comments, hints, and tips will come in if you address a common problem. (if you are not talking about something very embarrassing, that is…)

5. Promote the hell out of your content

This is what many bloggers are not aware of when they are starting out. A large part of the time you spend on building and growing your blog needs to be spent on promoting it.

Writing posts is only a small part of your blogging life. And even before you publish your first post, you need to have a first idea where and how you start getting visitors to your blog.

The times when new content on the web found an audience naturally through Google are long past. No matter which niche you are in, there is already someone there who wrote blog content about it.

Google and search engine optimization will need some time to build up for a new blog. And if you do not promote your blog, Google might not even notice that your blog exists – or rather ignore it because it has no audience so it is not important.

If you need some tips on how and where you can start promoting your blog and get traffic, start with this blog post.

6. Find a daily routine

Blogging always includes some recurring tasks that you have to do over and over again. Whether it is posting to social media daily, or answering comments on your blog or writing emails. The most important truth about these things is: They need to be done. Again, and again.

Some tasks may seem annoying and won’t give you many results when you start doing them. Because success comes with continuity and consistency.

No social media channel was instantly famous or giving huge amounts of traffic. They have all needed time to grow an audience. And success came with consistency.

The above 6 blogging best practices should be a must for every new blogger. If you are not aware of them you will have a hard time starting your blog and turning it into a business.

Starting a blog can be overwhelming and intimidating. Following the above tips will help you to make your new blogging life a little more organized and goal oriented.

And whatever you do and wherever you are right now on your blogging journey, keep in mind that every successful blogger you see today was exactly where you are today a couple of months or even years ago. They (We) all needed time to grow and learn. No blogger was born perfect in every aspect of blogging. Some things we all had to learn.

The post 6 Blogging Best Practices to Help You Turn Your Blog into a Business appeared first on The Social Ms.

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The following is a guest post by Devin Morrissey. Devin writes in his garage and examines car parts in his office.  He aspires to be an eternal student, writing wherever the web takes him.

You’re watching TV and a commercial for the latest wonder drug comes on. It promises to help you think more clearly, focus better, and accomplish more. It seems to solve all the things you’ve been struggling with. You can’t believe your luck! When you go to the doctor’s office to ask about this new pill, he looks confused — the drug isn’t actually designed to do any of that.

Like many industries, prescription drug companies have to market their products. While there are plenty of responsible drug companies out there, others create misleading ads filled with misleading information. When they neglect to comply with regulations, they can end up owing a lot and losing customers at the same time. Some of the biggest pharma marketing mistakes have resulted in fines in the hundreds of thousands. One benefit, though, is that marketing companies can learn big lessons without making the same mistakes themselves.

Prescribing vs. Marketing Drugs

Physicians are legally able to prescribe drugs to treat conditions that the drug is not FDA-approved for. However, violations occur when drug companies promote those drugs for non-FDA reasons. Before a drug can be marketed to treat a specific condition, the FDA must approve it via a clinical trial. Consumers are generally in the dark when it comes to the truth about prescription drugs, and they often turn to marketing promotions for their information.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

When drugs are promoted for off-label uses, they can have detrimental effects. In addition to breaking the law, marketing companies can encourage individuals to use drugs that can leave them sicker than before. Some drugs even have a high risk of death when used to treat certain conditions. Even if the drug doesn’t have a direct negative impact, it can spark addiction in the user. Even seemingly harmless drugs, like painkillers after major surgery, can become addictive or increase health risks.

The Major Lawsuit Against GlaxoSmithKline

In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline had to pay $3 billion in civil and criminal charges after promoting three pharma brands in unlawful ways:

  • Paxil: Promoted to treat depression in people under 18 years of age, though it was never approved by the FDA for this use. Paxil’s label even says that its use can worsen depression in people under 18.
  • Wellbutrin: Promoted for ADHD, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, and weight loss, even though it was only approved as a treatment for major depressive order.
  • Avandia: Promoted without the inclusion of safety data regarding potential heart issues.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson’s Settlement

In 2013, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and parent company Johnson & Johnson settled for more than $2 billion in both civil and criminal cases after promoting three prescription drug brands in misleading ways:

  • Natrecor: Though this drug was approved by the FDA for treating patients for a specific heart condition, it was promoted to treat less severe heart conditions.
  • Risperdal: Approved only for schizophrenia, this drug was promoted to prescribers to treat an array of symptoms in dementia patients, including anxiety, confusion and depression.
  • Invega: Though the specific promotions are unclear, this drug, which treats schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia, was promoted for other uses and misled people regarding its effectiveness and safety.
What Marketing Companies Can Learn

You don’t have to make mistakes yourself in order to learn from them. In many cases, you can see where other companies have failed and learn from their lessons:

Develop Products Carefully and Test Rigorously

Juno Therapeutics developed a way to fight against tumors, but several patients died as a result of the treatment. When it comes to anything that could potentially put your customers at risk, don’t rush. The need to be the first on the market can mean putting out a product that isn’t ready for the public and can have irreversible effects.

Photo by LexScope on Unsplash

B2B Companies Still Have to Think About Consumers

Pharmaceutical marketers focus on doctors a lot of the time, forgetting about the people who are actually going to be using the drugs: patients. Brands that cater to other businesses still have to think about the consumer who will eventually be purchasing or using the product or service. B2B companies may want to aim some of their marketing at the public, which could put them in a better position to sell to B2B companies once they know there’s interest out there.

Tell the Whole Story Without Jargon

As we’ve seen time and time again, pharma marketing fails when it doesn’t tell the whole story or when it adjusts the story to fit their needs. Brands need to be authentic in order to gain trust. While you may be able to sway some customers right now, eventually the truth about your products or services is going to come out — at which point you could lose everything. Even if you’re not putting others at risk with misleading advertising, you’re definitely putting your company and finances at risk, not to mention your reputation.

Final Thoughts

Marketing is not easy. Brands have to figure out their customer pain points and then deliver solutions. Companies that cut corners may unethically convince customers to pay up, but that doesn’t result in anything positive for the customer or the company. It may take longer and be the more expensive route, but taking the time to create your own strategy and build trust with customers is what really pays off down the line.

The post Marketing Lessons Learned From Drug Companies’ Mistakes appeared first on The Social Ms.

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