9 Social Media Marketing Tips For Instagram

9 Social Media Marketing Tips For Instagram

Social media marketing is becoming saturated so it’s more important than ever to make yourself stand out from your competitor’s and here are 9 easy to implement tips that you can try for yourself.

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Instagram Hashtags

The best way to get discovered on Instagram is by using hashtags.

Yes, I know that it is a pain typing in hashtags on your phone but you can cut and paste them in from this handy website:

http://best-hashtags.com/

Digital marketing services mullingar westmeath

All you do is type in an obvious keyword and this tool will generate a selection of hashtags for you.

digital marketing agency service mullingar westmeath ireland

Delete some of them that aren’t relevant and make sure that you include local areas such as #Westmeath, #Mullingar and other local towns and villages because on Instagram people follow hashtags so your posts have a chance of appearing in their news feeds.

Also, make sure that you mix the hashtags up and don’t cut and paste the same hashtags for every post because the Instagram algorithm will think that you are putting up spammy posts so it will show all your content to fewer people. 

Link your Facebook Page to your Instagram Page

You can do this by logging into your Instagram account on your phone by :

> Clicking on the hamburger icon (3 lines) in the top right-hand side

> Settings

> Account

> Linked Accounts

> Facebook & follow the prompts

The main advantage of doing this is that you get more functionality such as useful stats about your followers.

Plus,  you have to link both of these together to use Instagram on 3rd party scheduler tools. 

Also, anyone that is following your Instagram page will get notification from Facebook to follow your Facebook page too.

Original Images or Graphics

It is tempting to repost the same images but all social media algorithms see this as spam and will show your posts further down people’s news feeds.

It is the same on websites too, so try to avoid free stock photography whenever you can.

Scheduling Posts in Advance

Check out this short video on my Facebook Page that shows you how to use Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule posts here.

Pros – If you schedule your posts using Creator Studio your posts will appear higher up in people’s news feeds compared to using third-party scheduling tools such as UniClix.

Cons – You can’t see at a glance what posts are scheduled to go out on both Instagram or Facebook pages like you can on UniClix.

Social Media Scheduling Tools

There are free schedulers such as Hootsuite and Buffer that I have used on and off for years. But you are limited to the number of free posts; Hootsuite has 30 and Buffer has 20. That might sound enough but when you have 3 or 4 social media accounts it really isn’t.

For my clients, I tend to do a month’s worth of scheduled posts in 1 go and I use Agorapulse. It has unlimited posts and the reporting is excellent as I can print off a PDF and show it to them that saves me time.

Here are my recommendations for scheduling posts for Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn:

Free – Use Creator Studio to post on Facebook and Instagram & sign up to Hootsuite to schedule posts on Linkedin. You can also schedule posts for all 3 social media accounts using Hootsuite and you can see everything that is scheduled to go out on 1 page. Very convenient and free but the reach will be less. 

€11 euro pcm – Open up an UniClix account and you have unlimited posts for all 3 social media accounts and you see everything that is scheduled to go out on 1 page. This is very handy as you can sit down 1 weekend and have most of your social media posts done for the year, yes year. 

You can repeat posts too if you choose by spreading out the same post to be repeated every 3 months as people won’t remember. This will save you tons of time but again, the reach won’t be as high.

Post Natively – This means posting from either Creator Studio or Linkedin itself. It is time-consuming but you will reach more people. So the compromise is to post any important LinkedIn posts natively and schedule the rest.

Best Times to Post

This is important as you want to post when your followers are online so this is where schedulers come in handy.

Linkedin10am – 11am on a Tuesday is the best time to post throughout the week. If you are going to post more than once per week 10am – 11am on a Thursday followed by the same time on a Wednesday. If you are going post 5 times a week well, yeah you’ve guessed it’s 10am – 11am Monday to Friday.

So a social media scheduling tool is practical to do this as you need to be really organised to post natively during these times.

Out of office hours is a bad time to post on Linkedin as it really is a 9-5 platform.

FacebookThe best time to post on Facebook during the Covid19 pandemic is around 1pm according to Facebook because that is when most people tend to be online. Normally it would be 9pm.

Below is a screenshot of a typical day during the pandemic for my own Facebook Page:

Facebook ads mullingar westmeath

But remember it will revert back to 9pm when the pandemic is over.

Instagram – This varies from page to page. 

So the easiest way of finding this out is to click on the hamburger icon (3 lines) in the top right-hand side of your Instagram page on your phone. Then click on > insights and then > audience and scroll down to the very bottom and there is a graph that will indicate what times your followers are using the platform and what days your followers are most active on.

Then just make sure that your posts goes out then.

Interact with your followers

So many businesses just churn out content but building up online relationships by interacting with your followers is worth it.

I follow as many local businesses as I can find on Instagram as people tend to look for web designers and digital marketers locally.

So make sure to comment on your follower’s posts in a sincere not spammy way and you will stand out to them and they will be more inclined to work with you in the future.

I spend more time doing this than posting and it has paid off as over the last 2 months I have tendered for 3 websites with this method:

  1. I am currently building a website for a beauty salon because I interacted with their posts on Instagram and as a result of that their posts appear in my newsfeed, so when I saw them reach out for a recommendation for a web designer I made contact and the rest is history. If I never interacted with them in the first place their post would never have appeared in my news feed.
  2. I tendered for another website for a local business after commenting on their Facebook post. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that one, but it is a tactic that I still use.
  3. Today I was chatting to someone about a new eCommerce website and that came about by me commenting on their Instagram posts. Then a month or so later they got in touch and I will be submitting my quotation tomorrow.

How to Grow your Instagram Followers

I have saved this tip until last because this is my favourite and best tip and it’s so easy to do that you will wonder why you never thought of this before.

This tactic also works really well on Twitter too.

Find local competitors and just simply follow all of their followers, that’s it. You’ll find that some will automatically follow you back.

Only follow 30 or so per day because Instagram will stop you if you follow too many in a short space of time.

So if they are interested in your competitor’s content, well they are exactly the followers that you want.

But if you have the time go on to each of these followers pages and like 3 old posts because they will get notifications that you liked them and that will make you stand out as a potential good follower, so they will be even more likely to follow you back.

BONUS – Links in Facebook or Linkedin Posts

When your website is live you will probably want to put a link to a blog post to encourage your social media followers to visit your website. But the likes of Facebook & Linkedin don’t want to encourage their users to leave their platform so they will show these types of posts further down in user’s news feeds.

But there is a way around this by putting up a post, adding an image and mention something like read more about this by clicking the link in the comments section: 

social medai marketing Instagram

Final Thoughts

I picked up all of these tactics over the last few years working on some established local social media pages such as Mullingar.ie, Fagans Toymasters, Mullingar Christmas Market to name a few.

I have also attended various courses to brush up on this constantly changing digital space.

So check out the social media courses with Westmeath LEO as I have taken a few of them over the years and they are really good. I recently attended an Instagram course and Facebook ads course as these platforms are constantly evolving.

Currently, these courses are free as they are online but they are usually held in County Buildings in Mullingar in a classroom environment. But after Covid19 there will be a mixture of both.

Find out more here:

https://www.localenterprise.ie/Westmeath/Training-Events/Online-Bookings/

So if social media marketing is part of digital marketing strategy you need to be up to date with it.

If you have any queries regarding social media marketing or digital marketing in general, get in touch.

Gary

 

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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The Ultimate Trading Online Voucher Guide

The Ultimate Trading Online Voucher Guide

As a digital marketer and a website designer in Mullingar, Westmeath, I think this grant is amazing for SME’s that are looking to trade online for the first time or to upgrade.

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Fair play to the government that took a proactive approach by increasing the Trading Online Voucher from covering 50% of the cost to 90% to help business trade online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under this grant, an eligible business may apply for funding to a maximum value of €2,500 or 90% of eligible expenditure (exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser.

Some of the business owners that I speak to assume that the Trading Online Voucher is all about an eCommerce site and selling products. But there is much more to it than that as let’s say that you are offer face to face consultations you can do these online and get paid for them in advance all within your website which is classed as trading online.

What type of businesses are eligible for the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Businesses that have limited or no e-commerce presence
  • Businesses with less than 10 staff
  • Businesses with turnover less than €2m
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least 6 months
  • Businesses must be located in the area covered by their Local Enterprise Office.

What type of expenses are covered in the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Building a new e-commerce website
  • Upgrading your current eCommerce website
  • Converting your current website so that it can trade online
  • Implementing online booking systems such as appointment schedulers
  • Implementing online payment platforms
  • The cost of Internet-related software
  • Developing an app
  • A digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing the digital marketing strategy including SEO
  • Training to manage an online trading activity
  • Subscriptions (excluding transaction costs) to low cost online retail tools
    Online advertising such as Facebook ads (up to 30% of all other approved costs)
  • Photography (up to 80% of all other approved voucher costs)
  • IT consultations

This is how it works once your business has been approved

Let’s say that that you want a bit of everything or need some advice on where to spend this grant to be the most effective, just get in touch with me by booking a video or phone call here and I will point you in the right direction in a non-salesy way.

Gleeson Digital can do everything apart from building you an app, but we can recommend some really good Irish app developers.

So let me put this into perspective.

First, you need to get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office. For those of you that are in Westmeath, you will need to contact the Local Enterprise Office Westmeath that is located in Mullingar. You can email them here localenterprise@westmeathcoco.ie.

Then you will have register with your Local Enterprise Office to attend a webinar that will explain everything that you need to know in detail and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

You will need to get 3 quotations and you can pick whichever website designer or digital marketing agency that you choose. You don’t have to opt for the cheapest one.

So let’s say that you want a new website, need a digital marketing strategy, some Facebook ads and some photography that costs €2,800 + VAT which comes to €3,444.

You will have to pay your web designer or digital marketing agency first and then the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you in a matter of weeks. But please note that you will have to provide proof that you have paid in the form of a screenshot of your bank statement.

€3,444 you pay
€2,500 the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you
€   944 net cost

Other information that you need to know

  • Claims can be made in either 1 or 2 instalments for completed work
  • Expenditure on the various project components can only be claimed once
  • All third party/suppliers must be bonafide businesses that can provide details of their tax registration and provide an up to date tax clearance certificate
  • Applications must be accompanied by quotations from 3 local suppliers.

Final thoughts

The first round of this grant that was launched in April was valid for 9 months and the latest round is only valid for 4 months.

So reading between the lines you can see that this grant will be phased out so you need to act fast as funding may run out or the grant may well get cancelled as the pandemic comes to an end. It will then revert back from 90% to 50%.

This a great opportunity to give your whole online presence an overhaul so don’t miss out by assuming that it doesn’t apply to your business.

So if you want independent advice on the best way to allocate the Trading Online Voucher for your business in the form of website design, digital marketing strategy, photography, SEO etc. you can book a free consultation with me here.

For example, if you already have a WordPress website you might not need to pay for a whole new website. It may be possible for us to allocate your budget wisely by simply adding an online store to your existing site so that you can allocate some money to driving the right type of traffic to your website using SEO or Facebook ads.

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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How To Be More Productive Working From Home

How To Be More Productive Working From Home

I have a virtual office in my nearest town in Mullingar because I prefer to work from home and I have been working from home now on and off for over 20 years. In fact, I was working from home before the term “remote working” was invented. 

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I don’t really need a virtual office to be honest but I have one because it helps my business rank number 1 on Google locally.

I have toyed with the idea of hotdesking but it isn’t practical as I am spending more and more time on video calls and I prefer to have some privacy for that. I could rent a self-contained office in Mullingar but the money would be better off being spent on my cash cow, Facebook ads because that generates new clients for me like clockwork.

It is fair to say that my feet are firmly placed in the working from home camp and it has only really been in the last few months or so that I have finally managed to get that happy work-life balance that so many people struggle with.

So here are my top tips to stay productive when working from home and you have probably heard of some of these before but I am sure that there are 1 or 2 that you probably haven’t even considered:

Get out of bed straight away

I was at the BizExpo in The Citywest Hotel in Dublin earlier this year and I listened to Donna Kennedy, one of the speakers, who is a business coach. She mentioned that if we managed to be 1% more productive than the previous day we would achieve so much more over the course of a year.

So I mulled this over for a few days and came up with getting out of bed straight away and starting 10 minutes earlier every day so now I get up at 5am and start working at 6am.

As soon as I wake up I count to 5 and I get up on 5. It gives me motivation and a sense of achievement first thing as I used to be a bit of a ‘hit the snooze button kind of guy’.

This simple tweak to my morning routine gives me momentum that makes me so much more productive because not only have I done a day’s work by lunchtime it feels like I have an extra 2 hours worth of work under my belt too.

I am naturally a night owl, but I could see the results early on so that encouraged me to keep it up.

So if you work from home and have a packed house starting early while the rest of the house is asleep really gives you a feeling of getting a head start on the day.

Don’t check emails first

Some people feel that they are productive answering emails first but the downside is that you actually get stuck answering queries for other people rather than doing your most important tasks first.

I check emails 3 times a day and the first time is at noon, then 3.30pm and one last check at 5.00pm to make sure that all incoming emails that are sent during office hours are replied to the same day.

Getting notifications every time an email arrives and answering it straight away is madness because it breaks your concentration in what you were doing beforehand and ruins your momentum.

Have an allocated room

If you have the space in your home try and use a room that you only use for work. Maybe you can squeeze a desk in a spare bedroom, or even buy a garden shed and work in the garden, I am serious! Or, you can pick up a converted 20ft shipping container for around €5,000 that would last you over 20 years. That works out at only €250 per year!

Once you have somewhere that you can close the door to after your days work you will find it easier to switch off.

Only use your desk or laptop for work

The novelty of working in bed with your laptop soon wears off especially when you get pains in your shoulders and neck.

What I try to do is use my laptop for work at my workspace only which is a spare bedroom that has been converted into a fully functional office and I use my phone to go online for personal use. Because if I start to use my laptop I get back into work mode and switching off from work is essential for that work-life balance that we are all looking for.

Get dressed for work

Every Sunday night like clockwork I iron 5 blue shirts. I got that tip from Gerry Duffy.

For those of you that have ever met me during office hours may well have noticed that I always wear a blue shirt. I do this because when I put on a blue shirt it gets me into work mode.

Sunday night’s ironing usually takes place while listening to a podcast that tends to get me back into thinking about work for the week ahead.

I also wear a back brace when sitting at my desk too because I slouch naturally when sitting down. I noticed a few years ago that I was walking with my head/neck leaning forward and that was because I was using a laptop at desk level and was leaning in to read it. So now I have a screen that runs off of my laptop at the right height.

The back brace serves as part of my ‘work uniform’ too.

Go for a walk at the end of the day

This really is a game-changer and 1 of my top tips.

I have never had a problem starting work because I really love what I do and I have stopped getting distracted as most people do by walking out to the kitchen, opening the fridge, looking in and then closing it again.

Come on, admit it you have done it too!?

My problem has always been switching off afterwards and I have often just gone back to tweak a website and been up to the early hours losing track of time and end up being wrecked the next day. So I found that getting changed out of my ‘office uniform’ and going for a walk not only clears my head but is a defining moment of the end of my workday.

An alternative to this is to take a shower because this also gives you closure.

Make your time accountable

When I worked in accountancy practices I had to fill in timesheets where every 15 minutes was allocated to a client or non-billable work. So I incorporate that into Gleeson Digital not just for my team but for myself too.

The advantage of this is that I can work out the time spent on individual projects which helps to highlight any areas that took too long so that I can train my team further and, be more accurate in pricing similar projects in the future.

Also, have you ever had a day where you have put the hours in but felt that you haven’t really got much done? Well, doing timesheets puts an end to that because it makes you more accountable.

Reduce face to face meetings

Video calls are more accepted now due to the Coronavirus crisis that changed the way we work since it reared its ugly head in March 2020, so try to schedule a video call rather than face to face meetings as much as possible it saves so much time.

I am seriously thinking of doing only online meetings Monday to Thursdays and leaving Fridays free for face to face meetings.

Travelling to and from meetings isn’t productive.

Listen to music when you work

I have found that listening to music makes me concentrate better. But if it is too overpowering it can be distracting. So I tend to listen to “easy listening music” through my laptop in the mornings on the radio using IE Radio. I find that listening to Q102 does the job nicely for me.

I don’t listen to music in the afternoons as I tend to be hopping on and off video and phone calls then.

Don’t use social media at all during office hours

It’s so easy to get lost down the rabbit hole that is social media and before you know it is lunchtime and you wonder where the day has gone.

I read recently that the average person is spending over 4 hours per day online on a personal basis and over half of that time is on social media.

I removed all my social media apps from my mobile phone as it was scary the amount of time that I was spending on the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin.

I check it on my laptop instead. Yes, I am one of the 2% of people that uses the desktop version of  Instagram.

Scrap the traditional to-do list

The problem with the traditional to-do list is that we cherry-pick what we prefer to do and other more urgent tasks take priority so certain tasks always remain on the to-do list and never get done.

I spend the mornings doing client work and leave my to-do list until after lunch.

I use this grid system to prioritise the most important tasks but I always start on the item that has been on the list the longest regardless of how urgent it is:

Then I slot these tasks into a diary between scheduled phone and video calls in the afternoon. If there are any items leftover they go into the urgent and important section for the next day.

I have tried all sorts of digital to-do lists but find that writing it down in this grid initially and then scheduling time for each task in an A4 diary that I leave open at my desk is the most effective way. Because once it is digitalised it is out of sight and out of mind.

Take regular breaks

In the offices that I have worked in, the only breaks that I ever saw people take were cigarette breaks and lunchtime, that’s it.

To be productive you need to take more breaks than that. Personally, I work for 55 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.

I leave my office/desk for those 5 minutes and either make a cup of coffee and start to drink it in the kitchen and finish it off at my desk or throw darts at a dartboard for 10 minutes.

As a result of this, I go back to my desk fully refreshed which allows me to work 10-12 hours a day without feeling exhausted.

As long as you leave your desk and do something completely different you will return fully recharged.

Start early

I am sure that you have heard of starting early before. But Mark Walberg takes this to a whole new level as he gets up at 2.30 am and goes to bed at 7.30pm. Now that isn’t for me but don’t knock it because it works for him as he was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood in 2017 earning $68M!

I have tried all kinds of hours but found the feeling of working early and getting a day’s work done by lunchtime is amazing.

I get more work done and have always found that if I kept regular hours I am not doing anything of any significance that will benefit my business after 9pm anyway.

Have a set routine

I work the hours that suit me so whatever hours that you decide that works best for you make sure that you always start at the same time.

If you don’t it is a slippery slope of starting later and later and your workload just will pile up.

This would be my routine for the week, assuming that I don’t have to leave the office on Monday – Thursday:

Monday – Thursday

05.00 – Alarm is set to go off at 5am but I am usually up before then. I am out of bed within 5 seconds of waking up, I write my goals/affirmations into my diary, drink a pint of water and head off for a walk where I listen to audiobooks. No breakfast, no meditation, no shower as now it is work time.

06.00 – I always do client work in the mornings as I am more productive and my concentration is much better then too. Plus there are no distractions such as phone calls.

12.00 – I reply to emails for the first time and chip away at my to-do list before lunchtime.

13.00 – I take no calls during this sacred hour that is all about switching off.

14.00 – Returning phone calls to clients, video calls & project management. I ask my clients to ring in the afternoon as I can’t always take their calls in the morning and they are fine with that.

15.00 – Check emails for the second time.

16.00 – Do small tasks as it makes me feel productive towards the end of the day. Plus I can usually feel my brain slowing down at this stage.

17.00 – Reply to any emails and call it a day. I leave the spare bedroom office just after 5pm and never return to it until the following morning at 6am. I never answer my phone outside of office hours or during lunchtime.

18.00 – Go for a walk to unwind and to think without my phone.

19.00 – Watch YouTube or Netflix (wearing white/blue light reduction glasses) or read a business-related book.

20.00 – I turn all screens off so that I can start to unwind for bed. I don’t watch TV Monday to Thursday and the only thing that I watch on TV is sport at the weekend.

21.00 – Bath and I write my goals and affirmations into my diary and do some visualisation before nodding off around 10pm.

Friday

Friday has like a half-day vibe for me because I don’t do any client work at all apart from returning emails. I go out for lunch every Friday as I want to recreate that ‘Friday feeling’ that is hard to get when you work from home.

I work on my businesses such as improving my website’s SEO (I have an obsession with it at the moment), marketing, working on getting new clients for the week ahead and checking the numbers.

I always schedule time to learn something new on a Friday otherwise it will get put on the long finger.

Saturday

I work on Saturday mornings before I turn into an armchair sportsman for the rest of the day at 1pm watching either darts or snooker.

Saturday morning is a bit like Friday with that half-day feeling where I either read, write for clients because I feel like I am writing against the clock during office hours.

Sunday

Yep, I work every day.

Monday – Thursdays is at full throttle but the other days are more laid back.

I read a business type of book for 30-60 minutes during the week and will aim to finish them off on a Sunday morning. Because that way I can make notes on the book and put a plan together so I can put into action what I have learnt to implement it into my own businesses.

Final thoughts

I work around 60 hours per week, not as a badge of honour but because I really love what I do and growing this business and my new business Gleeson Digital Academy is so rewarding, which can only be achieved by putting the work in.

I might have to go down to a 4 day week in January 2021 when I start a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing as that will take up around 15-20 hours per week. But by then I will have a project manager to ease my workload so I should be able to juggle everything.

These tips work for me and it took me a while to get to this stage where I feel that I am much more effective working from home rather than in a traditional office. So give a few of these a try and experiment as I am sure that you will find a few things that work for you.

If you don’t take a more systematic approach to your whole work-life balance you will be thinking to yourself “am I living at work or working from home?”

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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Why You Need a Good Content Marketing Strategy

Why You Need a Good Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blog posts and social media posts, to entertain, educate or inspire your target audience. It does not explicitly promote or advertise your brand but it is intended to stimulate interest in your products or services.

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If you want to win in today’s digital world, your success is going to rely on quality content that meets user intent. With every Google algorithm update, Google has stressed the importance of relevant content and improving content quality is the number 1 piece of advice.

To establish what relevant content means to your brand, you’ll need to know who your audience is and what queries they are typing into search engines. Based on the gaps in your existing content and that of your competitors you’ll need to develop content campaigns that are specifically designed to achieve your marketing goals.

Content marketing is a very measurable discipline that is essential in making your online presence generate the right results for your business.

What is the Difference Between Content Marketing & Sales Copy?

If you want to make the most of your content marketing, you’ll need to understand the difference between content and sales copy because all forms of written text aren’t equal. Industry experts, journalists and bloggers are less likely to share your content if it is too heavily branded that it is obvious that you are trying to sell your products or services as it wicome across as looking a bit spammy.

Sales copy is created for advertising and marketing purposes, and its aim is to sell. It is written to persuade potential customers of the value of your offering and convert them into leads. Sales copy may detail product specifications, calls to actions and unique selling points.

Content extends far beyond sales copy: it can tell a story, educate, help, inspire or entertain your target audience. Content isn’t just text, it can also be videos, infographics, images, graphics and many other digital assets.

The difference between sales copy & content is that sales copy aims to sell your products and persuade people to convert, whereas content aims to engage your audience and build brand awareness.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

So if sales copy sells and content marketing engages and builds brand awareness, surely sales copy is the more important of the two? Not necessarily, because good content marketing can increase your organisation’s expertise, authority and trust factors. It actually establishes your brand as an authority in your industry.

Solid content strategy can also win backlinks – improving your website’s SEO, domain authority and driving traffic to your website. However, unlike other strands of digital marketing, content helps you reach your audience in a non-salesy organic way.

Choosing Your Content Marketing Metrics

There are various metrics out there that can help you measure whether your content strategy is proving effective.

Try measuring on your website’s unique page views, the average time spent on the site and the number of social shares that your blog post have received assuming that you have a social share plugin on your website, if not we can install one for you.

To find out whether it helped your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you should monitor how your content ranks, how much organic traffic it receives and how visible it is in search engines. The number and quality of backlinks to your content page can tell you how well your content was picked up by your target audience, the press, bloggers and industry experts.

We can set-up Google Analytics for you if you don’t already have it installed on your website. We can then tell you whether your visitors performed any actions after engaging with your content such as visited other pages, what pages they viewed and if they performed any conversions. Even if your web visitors did not convert directly, all is not lost because accurate tracking will show you whether they returned to your website at a later stage to go further down your sales funnel.

Defining Your Content Strategy

Once you have defined your content strategy goals and decided on your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) metrics, it’s time to start the content strategy process.

Your first step is the research stage, in researching and defining your primary and secondary customer personas. Followed by persona mapping, social listening and search intent modelling to gain the necessary insights into your audience and the various opportunities. Don’t forget to analyse your best-performing blog posts and that of your competitors, that can help inspire you and identify content gaps.

Then it’s time for brainstorming. By now you should be armed with the results of your research that will give you ideas for creative content ideas.

Creating Your Content Marketing Plan

By now you should have some ground-breaking content ideas so a content plan is needed.

A content roadmap is the best way to ensure that your campaigns are complementing, rather than competing against each other. The best way to do this is to put links in a blog post that have similar content. You can also space out similar topics in your content timeline too. Timing is important as you might also want to look at key seasonal dates and events throughout the year to gain more traffic.

So if you have an eCommerce website that sells products that are ideal for gifts, perhaps crating content around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas time should work for you.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is a medium to long term strategy that is designed to build brand awareness. But you can’t bring brand awareness to the bank and cash it in whenever you want. So make sure that you have a short term strategy running side by side that will actually generate a consistent amount of leads every month for your business such as Facebook ads or YouTube video ads.

If you need any advice about content marketing strategy or a short term digital marketing strategy that generates leads for your business, get in touch with me. I am equipped to help you meet your marketing goals, no matter how ambitious they are.

– Gary

 

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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3 Reasons Not to Use Stock Photography

3 Reasons Not to Use Stock Photography

I understand that most of you don’t have the time to be taking pictures for every social media or blog post so using the many free stock photography sites is such a time saver.

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But unfortunately, there is a downside to them if you use them on your website or social media accounts.

3 Disadvantages of Using Stock Images Online

1) Google states that they are looking for unique content so that means images that haven’t been used online before. The more you toe the Google line the higher up your website will appear in the search engine results pages. So if SEO is important to you, stay away from stock photography.

2) Social media news feeds have algorithms too and if they see images that have been used before they will consider your post to be spam and show it further down user’s news feeds. If your business is on social media appearing high up your follower’s news feeds is quite important, isn’t it?

3) I see stock photography used time and time again on websites and I think they have a really unauthentic feel about them because most of them look cheesy & fake. Visually, I think they are OK for blog posts, but not your main pages. If I see a website that uses stock photography I can only assume that the website has been rushed.

The Compromise

I actually use stock photography for my main images in ALL my blog posts because like everyone else I don’t have the time to be taking fresh pictures or knocking up graphics in Adobe Illustrator. So I put a filter on them at around 80% opacity in Photoshop and in most cases that does the trick.

If you reverse search an image online you will find out if this has worked. So all you have to do is:

Visit www.google.com/imghp, then click on the camera icon.

Click on the “upload an image” option.

Then click on “choose file” and upload your image.

Wait for the results and in this case, you can see that my previous blog post image has only appeared on my web page.

Originally, the first layer of the image from my previous blog post was a stock image, then I added an orange layer on top of that with an 80% opacity and the final layer was the text.

However, I do have 1 image on my home page that hasn’t passed Google unique image test, despite using a filter, but it is only temporary. Because for now, it serves a purpose because the appearance of the home page is more important than SEO. The image will be replaced in a few weeks or so when I will take a “real” photograph and use that one instead.

Final Thoughts

You have to be practical here and decide if having unique images that haven’t been seen before online is important to you or not. Perhaps you don’t have the luxury of being that pedantic with images and you aren’t that fussed about appearing higher up in social media news feeds or in Google’s rankings.

Personally, I think appearing higher up in social media feeds and higher up in Google’s search engine results pages is very important and is, in fact, what digital marketing is all about. So I will make the extra effort.

I do use stock photography on websites on a temporary basis from time to time, but at least you know the downside and you can make the decision that is right and practical for you.

Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

So you have spent thousands on your website and you have just realised that your website isn’t generating that much traffic from search engines, so the chances are that your website needs an SEO overhaul.

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The best place to start is with an SEO audit that will highlight areas that can be improved upon so that your website climbs Google’s rankings.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation is the process of making a website or website pages appear higher up in search engines such as Google. The higher up they appear the more likely that users will click on these search engine’s links to your website.

The 7 key stages of SEO are:

SEO Audit

The great thing about digital marketing is that there aren’t many grey areas regarding how successful any type of campaign is and search engine optimisation is a typical example of this because everything is measurable.

The purpose of a website audit is to identify as many issues affecting organic search performance as possible such as:

  • Technical SEO problems
  • Website structure problems
  • On-page SEO problems
  • Current website domain authority 
  • User experience problems
  • Content gaps and opportunities
  • Website loading speed

So in addition to spotting current website issues, the audit also serves as a starting point where initial statistics can be compared to the statistic in the coming months or years to follow that will show how effective the search engine optimisation campaign has been.

Keyword Research

One of the first things that we do before we even design or build a website is keyword research. 

Keywords are terms or phrases that are typed into search engines which should be strategically placed in the website multiple times so that the website appears higher up in the search engine results pages. But please note that if this is overdone, which is known as keyword stuffing, Google will penalise your website for this as it sees this as spam and an underhanded way of trying to beat the algorithm. 

Using the right keywords is one of the most important components of search engine optimisation. 

On-Page SEO

Now that we know what your target market is searching for on search engines, it’s time to dive into on-page SEO which is the practice of creating web pages that answer searcher’s questions. 

Once we have the keywords or keyword phrases that search engine users are using we can amend the website accordingly to make it “Google-friendly.” We do this by updating strategically placing the keywords into the website such as amended content or text, updating page titles, changing the titles and alt tags of images; to name a few.

Technical SEO

Now that we have created valuable content based on our keyword research, it’s important to make sure it’s not only readable by humans, but by search engines too.

So as the name suggests this is the technical part. If I can compare on-page and technical SEO in an analogy, the on-page would be how a car looks and the technical search engine optimisation is all about the engine.

I will keep this section brief but careful attention is needed in the following areas for search engines:

  • Increase the loading time of a website & it’s individual pages
  • Optimise images so that they load quicker
  • Instruct search engines which website pages to index
  • Inform Google what the pages are about using schema markup & the canonical tag
  • Ensure the website is mobile-friendly

Blogging Using Keywords

This is admittedly similar to the on-page SEO that I mentioned earlier but blogging should be an ongoing part of your digital marketing & search engine optimisation strategies.

Blogging has 3 main advantages for SEO:

  • It can increase your domain authority
  • Google gives extra juice to websites that blog consistently
  • Your blog posts can reach a wider audience if it is done properly

A great tip is to keep the important content above the fold for desktop users so that they are encouraged to read the article. Above the fold means in the top part of a page before scrolling down.

This is harder to do for mobile as you have fewer characters to play with so make sure that the first couple of sentences are interesting enough to keep your viewer’s attention. 

Link Building & Establishing Domain Authority 

So we have created content that potential new customers are searching for, that answers their questions and that search engines can understand, but those qualities alone don’t mean that your website or website pages will rank. 

To appear high in the search engines results pages you have to establish authority. That can be accomplished by earning links from authoritative websites, building your brand and nurturing an audience who will help amplify your content by sharing it on their social media accounts and by commenting in the comments section of your blog posts.

Google confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for search engine optimisation. Authority websites tend to link to other trustworthy sites and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites.

Measuring & Tracking Results

If you can’t measure something how are you expected to improve it?

It’s no different in SEO. We track everything from rankings and conversions to domain authority scores to help prove the value of SEO. Measuring the impact of our work and ongoing refinement is critical to your business’s SEO success.

While it’s common to have several SEO goals, establishing one specific primary end goal is essential. Then we can work towards that.

Final Thoughts on SEO

SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy because it is a great way to generate the right traffic to your site. But don’t get hung up on the number of website visitors from search engines because quality traffic is much more important.

I tried not to get too technical in this blog post as some of the SEO jargon can take some explaining, but if you need any advice on improving your business’s SEO to grow, get in touch.

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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