No Professional Stuff. Be Natural. Leverage INSTASTORIES.

I know, I have been there too… You are about to create a piece of content — a nicely done cappuccino in your café or a beautifully pictured house that you want to sell. But how the heck do you begin? With no professional equipment or experience — you want to produce the best content for your social media profiles, business website or email campaign, right?

Well, how do you go about it? The key is you don’t have to be perfect, in fact, that’s part of the magic of this medium! Be natural, be spontaneous, and be active. Your new audience will expect funny, educational, engaging and UNPROFESSIONAL content. In a world where marketing aims for the ideal, your audience wants someone or something that they can relate to. A picturesque cappuccino is nice to look at, but what about a customer savouring their morning drink, only to burst out laughing because they have foam on their upper lip? Capture it and share it! Sometimes less is more. And something is always better than nothing

In this article, I will show you how you to use a (relatively new) medium that not only allows you to share your unprofessional and spontaneous content, but REQUIRES IT! This medium is called Instagram Stories aka Instastories. As the name says, it can be used on your Instagram profile (both personal and professional). Below see an example of what an Instastory looks like:

AirBnB Instastory
AirBnB Instastory

Let us first clarify what Instastories are. They are vertically shared pictures, videos, animations that were originally used by Snapchat. After some period of time, Instagram and Facebook implemented them and extended their platforms. Instastories disappear after 24 hours which makes them an instant, spontaneous and engaging piece of content.

But why should you actually care about them? How are they relevant to your business? As we regularly discuss in other articles, webinars and private Facebook groups, ask yourself a question before you get started: Can I reach my audience on this channel? Instagram is used daily by one billion users and Instastories by more than 500 million people. That truly means 500.000.000 people. Every. Single. Day.

Going back to where we began. You are probably asking yourself: “Do I need professional equipment, a best-of-breed creative studio with the best of the best?” Not at all. Be natural, be spontaneous, and certainly, go ahead, and be unprofessional! This platform requires it. Your audience expects you to be natural. They expect to see what’s going on behind the scenes and what your daily updates are — share with them the best moments that can describe you or your business. Tell STORIES! Because that is what this platform is about.

Let’s break the stereotype: You do NOT need to be a professional to create great, engaging content for Instastories.

Let’s get practical. How do you really begin?

  1. The premise is: You already have your business/ personal Instagram account (if not, get one).
  2. Visit the Instagram app and tap your icon (with the + sign) on the top panel/ or simply swipe right.
  3. The interface where you create Instastories will open up. Choose either to make a picture, create a video or choose any of your pictures/ videos in your gallery. The options you have when it comes to content creation are hundreds (check out all the features like Boomerang, Live Stream, polls or uploading Gifs to your story).
  4. After you are done, click “Send to” and choose either your Instastory platform (yes, this is the one) or send it to some of your friends/ followers.
  5. Done. Your Instastory will now be public. Make sure to check the results afterwards. You can see who watched your story (within the first 24 hours of posting it) and how they reacted.

You know how to get started. Get inspired before you jump into the content creation. See a series that shows some examples of really nice — BUT STILL UNPROFESSIONAL — Instastories which you can do within a few seconds.

There are plenty of cool features that you can use to make your content visually more appealing. Amongst them, there are live streams (even shared streams with other coworkers, partners, and followers), galleries of Gifs, options such as slow motion or boomerang effects, coloured backgrounds, many text fonts, polls, quizzes and questionnaires (ways to engage with your audience), chat windows and tons of emojis. Again, choose what correlates with your business image (branding). I may be repeating myself, but less is sometimes more…

Key takeways:

  • Instastories offer an opportunity to reach out to your audience — potential customers/ followers.
  • Be yourself! Be natural and spontaneous, when creating Instastories.
  • Do not insist on the best-of-breed equipment — less is sometimes more.
  • Follow the 5 steps stated above to get started with Instastories.
  • Inspire yourself with our Series of great examples of Instastories.
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One Channel Dependency Might Kill My Business!?

Is all your revenue coming from one source? That's a huge risk! Using a single sales and/ or marketing channel to market your business might be a fatal mistake for you. Single-source dependency means over-reliance on one thing and that could ruin your business. It's like having no backup. As much as you diversify your effort into various marketing channels and revenue sources, it’s unavoidable that you find a disparity in results. But that’s not to say you should stop doing it. You never know when a small revenue driver can become your main income and vice versa. 


Some businesses are dependent on one revenue source so they make themselves unduly exposed to forces outside their control. What if that source is over?


For lots of businesses this source is Google, when sales are primarily driven through Google Ads. And they take huge hits when a new competitor outbids them. 


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5 Effective Ways to Sell Houses with Online Advertising

Gone are the days of driving through different neighborhoods and searching for houses and apartments with the for-sale sign. With around 50% of new homeowners finding their new homes online and only 7% finding it through the traditional yard sign it is easy to see why online advertising is becoming very important and effective in the real estate industry. More and more buyers are using the internet to search and find their dream house and it is easy to see why. Today’s technology allows us to search for any corner of the country for properties from the comfort of our living rooms.

So, with everything happening online here are 5 effective ways to sell houses with online advertising.

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Show Others How Much Your Customers Love You (Leverage User Generated Content)

If you run a social media profile, you've probably thought of what to put on your content calendar. You want to create and publish something that truly brings value to your audience and resonates within them, right? User generated content can help you not just fill your content calendar, but truly bring something that gives a new perspective to your business. 


User generated content, as the name suggests, is content that is voluntarily created by your best customers – brand advocates – and shared so that their audience can see it. It is basically the best thing your customers can do for you – refer their friends to you/ share your product(s) or speak about your service(s)!


Imagine you are an owner of a gym that is visited by dozens of customers daily. What if some of them posted a photo to their social profile, exercising in your gym and saying something nice about your place. Wouldn't that be great? Could that bring you new customers? Absolutely.


79% of users say user generated content has a high impact on their purchasing behaviour. That simply underlines what we've stated earlier.


In 2014, Starbucks came up with a White Cup Contest which, guess what, is focused on user generated content… You can read more about the contest here. The only thing we will say is that they collected over 4,000 pieces of content! That just goes to show the true power of brand advocates. Your business can do that too – probably on a smaller scale, but you can. Remember that every one of your best customers can bring you another one. Your brand advocates grow as your business grows…


User-generated content brings in authenticity

If you say your product is the best, some people might believe you straightaway. But isn't that statement much stronger when made by someone who is already a loyal customer and has no other interest in regards to promoting your brand? User generated content brings true authenticity into your content and, thus, gives others another perspective of your business.


Social proof

People love seeing the product they aim to buy has great reviews! It gives them proof that their purchase won't be a mistake. Social proof – proof by someone other than the business itself – is a strong weapon and we encourage you to use it in your content calendar. Look at Amazon. Their products have thousands of reviews, which makes it far more valuable and far more worth it to buy for new customers.

Amazon reviews

Let us look at some other examples of great user generated content shared mainly on Instagram:

Get your audience on board. Talk to your best customers and motivate them to create a good product review, unboxing video or simply a happy picture while using your product or being at your cosy place (café, gym, etc…). Those who love your product will happily help you get it in front of other customers, trust me.


Micro Influencers

The use of influencers is a trend that has been here for some period of time. Brands work with people who gather an audience that fits their plan. Simple as that. They often collaborate with celebrities who are followed and trusted by millions of people, experts in a given industry, or gamers that record their gaming sessions. If you can find someone who has your target audience, team up!


The fact is that you don't have to work with widely known influencers, pop stars or famous athletes. Find so-called micro influencers who help you reach a smaller audience, but with higher precision. The cooperation won't cost you a fortune and results will follow, as well!


Micro influencers, in most cases, generate higher engagement with their audience and are more passionate about increasing their audience. If you start cooperating with them at the beginning of their journey, your business relationship can grow into something that constantly helps you achieve your business goals and to build a wider (and more relevant) audience.


The best collaborations, nonetheless, are the ones that are natural and not “too obvious”. Give some micro influencers in your surroundings your product, let them play with it and tell you whether they like it or not. Those who do are your best fit. They will happily (and naturally) promote your product within their audience.


In this post we've stressed the strength of your customer base and your audience – motivate them to tell the world about your stuff and let them bring you new business. Find new alliances with micro influencers, let them fall in love with your product and enjoy the fruits of your (hard) work!

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6 TOP Marketing Metrics Every Brand Needs to Track

There are hundreds of metrics you can measure today. That's the biggest advantage, as well as, disadvantage of digital marketing.

The truth is you can measure almost anything.  You can build a detailed report with real time data, refresh and make those business decisions based on precise data, visualize insights in all those bar charts, funnels, pie charts, cohorts, heat maps, numbers, percentages, etc. That's what the theory is about.

And I partially agree with that, but the reality may be a bit different. Yes, this is important for large companies that, thanks to comprehensive measurements and reports, can optimize their processes and save a significant amount of money.

However, at the SMB level, the situation is quite different. You probably don't have an IT department full of specialists and data analysts who are able to invest hundreds of hours to set up your data platform, connect dozens of data sources, transform the given data and from that, build strong reports. Also, you probably don't deal with a billion dollars in revenue, so sophisticated analytics can be counterproductive because you don't have enough quality and precise data to optimize individual processes and earn a significant savings.

I'm not trying to say that you should completely ignore data analytics. Rather, it is about finding the right balance between not getting overwhelmed with data and gaining valuable insights that can help your business.

In this article, I’ll cover the most important metrics that actually give you valuable insights into your business and online marketing efforts. At the same time, I will highlight the metrics that are less effective and easy to misinterpret.

What Are Those 'Marketing Metrics'?

Klipfolio, an analytics tool, says: Marketing Metrics are measurable values used by marketing teams to demonstrate the effectiveness of campaigns across all marketing channels.

Sounds a bit complicated, but in other words, marketing metrics are numbers that tell you how effective your marketing efforts are. You set a goal, and your metrics tell you, whether you have achieved it or not. Based on this you can make a change and try a different approach.

Example: My goal is to get 100 website visits per 50 USD invested in Facebook ads. My metric in this case is Clicks. Two scenarios could take place:

  1. I get 100 clicks and it cost 50 USD. Great! I have achieved my goal.
  2. I get 15 clicks and it cost 50 USD.  It is clear that I have not achieved my goal and I need to fix it. The solution could be to change a description or image.

Why are Social Media Metrics So Important?

Metrics can tell you, how effective your efforts are and help you to make changes before you spend hundreds of dollars.

Digital marketing is unpredictable, and a strategy that worked well the last couple of months could eventually become less effective or stop working entirely. Metrics tell you immediately if your efforts are paying off.

Common Mistakes

Setting the wrong goals and misinterpreting engagement metrics is pretty rife. Let's check out some common scenarios. Maybe you will even spot some of your own mistakes.

Treating All Social Media Platforms the Same

You probably wouldn't speak English in Portugal. The same principle applies when it comes to social media. Every platform works in a slightly different way, has a different user base, and people behave differently. Your message shouldn't be the same for all platforms. We wrote an article about demographics and the specifics of individual social media networks, so make sure you read it to understand how all those platforms work and what makes each one different.

Tip: You don't have to be a marketing PRO to master campaigns across multiple channels. Try tools like groost that simplify this process.


Focusing on Likes

I'm not saying that likes are not important. But in and of itself, they mean nothing. Nowadays, it is possible to buy likes for posts or a page for a few dollars, but it doesn't help your business at all. It usually does the opposite. It is necessary to look at the number of likes in context of the given situation.

Measuring Everything

You can measure almost anything you can think of and probably much more. I understand the allure of this idea, because in the beginning it sounds amazing…the theory about having precise real time data on a beautiful dashboard... but reality is usually different. In most cases, you can end up with an over-complex dashboard where you could easily get lost. It takes a great deal of time and energy to make this work.

Ignoring Analytics Completely

The extreme opposite of measuring everything is measuring nothing. With the vast amount of information around us, it's understandable that one would just want to ignore everything. But with this approach, you are probably losing your money and throwing its potential out of the window. You can't tell if your spending on social media advertising is effective or if you are losing money, if you're not analyzing what is working vs. what is not. You don't need a complex dashboard with many metrics to keep proper tabs on this.

Metrics to Focus On

You know it already, there are hundreds of metrics out there. But you should focus on those that are most important for you and your business. From our perspective, these are the ones which you should be keeping track of:

Reach

Reach tells you, how many people were able to see your content. It doesn't mean real views, rather it refers to potential views. If someone with 1,000 followers retweets your tweet, your reach increases by those 1,000 different people, but not every single one of those people may see it.

A higher reach is better, but if you don't get enough leads or engagement, something could be wrong.

Leads

This metric tells you, how many direct contacts you got. A lead is a person or even a company that is ready for a follow-up. This person has usually reached a stage where they are ready to become your customer.

Engagement

Engagement measures the amount of likes, shares and comments your content or ad received. This metric tells you, how much your content is resonating with your followers. It's an important metric to check when optimizing your content strategy.

The engagement rate is influenced by many factors like platform, number of followers, industry, time of posting, etc.

Tip: See our article on What to Expect from Social Media.

Conversions

This metric is an exact number of how many people targeted, eventually became paying customers. Remember, that this isn't just about this exact number. It has to be compared with the Conversion Rate, which is a percentage metric that shows you a ratio between visitors and converted customers.

Conversion rate may vary across industries and required action.

Tip: See our article on What to Expect from Social Media.

Revenue

This is a monetary metric telling you, how much revenue your ad has generated. At the end of the day, this is what counts.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI demonstrates how your marketing time, energy and money spent are contributing to your company growth. You always have to know how much money you spent on advertising and how much money it has brought. It tells you, if and how effective your advertising efforts are.

ROI (%) = (income/spend)*100

Your ROI should always be higher than 100%, otherwise a given strategy was ultimately, a waste of money.

Where to Start with Your Social Media Metrics

Well, now you should understand the basics of Social Media Metrics. But the most important thing to understand is how to implement metrics in real-life scenarios. These are 4 steps to successfully start your measurements.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

In the beginning, find some time to write down your goals. All social media platforms could be used in many ways. What do you want to accomplish? The more specific you can be, the better. 

Here is a list of examples to help you brainstorm:

  • Bring more people to my website
  • Increase views of my social media content
  • Other goals…?

Tip: We made an article about defining goals, where you can read all about the process behind it.

Step 2: Create a Set of Metrics

The next step is to understand which metrics to use, to see if you are achieving your goals or not. This process is quite easy. Basically you are trying to find those numbers, so you can recognize how effective your efforts are. Your goal should fit into the following categories:

Awareness – Use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?

Engagement – Look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?

Traffic – Track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?

Advocates and fans – Track contributors and influencers. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?

Share of voice – Track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?

Step 3: Measure

Social media platforms usually do provide some basic analytics. For most cases it's enough, so if you're new to analytics, start small. In our case, we built groost. analytics right inside the app.

Tip: If you want to see groost in action, sign up here for free.

Keep in  mind that social media interactions happen in real time. Look for a tool that allows you to access data immediately, without delay. You can't afford to wait weeks or even days for a report. Having real time data allows you to react and make quick changes, in order to stay effective.

Step 4: Monitor and Make Changes/Decisions

To make all previous steps valuable, take a data-based action. Don't forget to see data in a wider context and compare it with industry benchmarks. 

Ask yourself…

  • Did I achieve what I was expecting?
  • How are these metrics doing?
  • Am I missing something?

These questions will help you optimize your social media analytics process.

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How to Build Your Personal Brand

We’re all used to connecting the term ‘brand' with relationships to companies and products. However, that’s not what we’re going to talk about right now. A personal brand is kind of like a stamp that defines your persona and how people see it. In the past, personal branding used to be only about business cards, logos and websites. Today, it’s much more diverse. (Although websites are still useful for anyone building their brand and if you'd like to know more, you can read about this topic here.) Anyone who has access to the internet and social media can showcase themselves as an expert, build an audience, and attract clients that might be interested in their business. It’s a connection between how you see yourself, how you communicate with others and how they see you. Now, where do you start and how do you build a brand for yourself?

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How Digital Advertising and Ad Pricing Works

The world around us has become digital. More than half of the people living on Earth are connected to the internet. That's almost 4.5 billion people. The interesting thing is that this all happened in only 28 years. Yes, 1991 was the year, when the World Wide Web, today's internet, was publicly launched.

Digital Around The World (Hootsuite)

But the biggest internet usage increase came with the arrival of social media platforms. 80% of internet users (January 2019, Hootsuite) are also active social media users. The leading platform, with 32% market share is Facebook. Combined with ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp, it makes 66% market share. Globally. In any case, YouTube, with 27% market share can be considered the second largest platform.

Popular Social Media Platforms

Facebook's market capitalization was 632.43B USD as of January 16th, 2020. This number makes Facebook the 5th biggest company in the world by the market cap. Even bigger, is the Alphabet (Google). It took 3rd place with a 1000.7 USD market cap.

You might ask, why are these companies so big, when their products are mostly free to use? The answer is advertising. Google and Facebook are the world's biggest advertising platforms. Companies spent around 170 billion dollars on Facebook and Google Ads in 2019 alone, and this number is still growing.

Major Global Digital Ad Sellers (eMarketer)

The fundamental difference between traditional and digital media is given by data that these platforms are generating. They capture every interaction of its users, so they know every user in detail. It allows targeting ads with many options, such as gender, age, location, relationship, income, home, interests, connections, generation, life events, ethnic affinity and much more.

Online Behaviors

You and your business can take advantage of it and use this platform to advertise your services or products to a very specific audience for a reasonable price. Usually a lower price (compared with traditional “offline” ads media) brings digital advertising closer to small businesses and freelancers.

Unlike traditional media, advertisers only pay for interactions. There are many cost structures digital advertising platforms are using and these are based on marketing objectives and overall campaign goals. 

CPC

Cost Per Click is the most common cost model used by almost all digital advertising platforms. It charges you, as an advertiser, for every single click completed by a user. It means that your ad contains an external link that redirects users to your website. The average CPC on Facebook is 1.72USD, but it varies across industries.

CPV

Cost Per View is a model built for video ads. You, as an advertiser, are charged every time a Facebook user sees your video. Keep in mind that Facebook considers a video as “viewed” after only 3 seconds.

The average CPV price is relatively low, somewhere between 1c to 15c, but it varies across industries. Price per view should always be compared with other metrics, like CTR, to see if it is effective.


CPM

Cost Per Mille is a pricing model, where you are charged per 1,000 impressions. An impression is when an ad is delivered to a user’s feed. If you are looking for an increase in brand awareness, this is how you will be charged.

CPA

Cost Per Action (Acquisition) is similar to CPC. You are not charged per single click, but for a specific action a user completes on your website. It can be form filling, an app install, event registration or for scheduling a meeting.

The average cost per acquisition on Facebook is 18.68 USD.

CPL

Cost Per Like is a cost model used for gaining business page likes. It is good for building brand awareness. It is usually low cost, so this could be a cheap way to promote your business page. Keep in mind, that this is effective only when your page is active and publishing content consistently.


At first glance, it might look complicated and confusing. But at the end of the day, this is what you and your business needs. It is a groundbreaking feature, because you can focus on reaching your target audience and through that, you can make your campaigns more cost-effective.

How is ad cost determined?

I mentioned several times that ad cost varies across industries and platforms. There is no fixed price per click/action, it is the subject of many conditions. Now, I will explain to you how it works, so you can create better and cheaper ads.

Google

Google's advertising platform, Google Ads, is a keyword-based PPC platform. It shows ads in a search based on the keyword the user is searching. It means, that if a user is searching “family car”, Google will show ads related to this keyword. If you're selling family cars, your ad shows up right in front of the user’s eyes. 

Unfortunately, it's not that simple, because you are probably far from being the only one who is selling family cars and advertising it. Google needs to decide whose ad to show. This process is called Ad Ranking. It takes your maximum CPC bid and multiplies it with the quality score.

Ad Rank = CPC bid * Quality Score

CPC bid

A maximum price you are willing to pay per a single click. This setting is completely in your hands.

Quality Score

Google's rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. It depends on multiple factors…

  • Click Through Rate – if your ad has a lot of views, but only a few clicks, it is a sign that your ad might be irrelevant
  • Landing Page Quality – if you are advertising “family cars,” but your landing page is focused on a sports car, Google will decrease your Quality Score
  • Relevance of your ad text
  • Relevance of keywords
  • Historical Google Ads performance

The higher the Quality Score is, the better price per click you will get. 

CPC = (Ad Rank of ad below you / Quality Score) + 0.01USD

CPC Calculation

Facebook

Facebook and Instagram ads, unlike Google's Search ads, aren't based on keywords, as these social media platforms work on slightly different principles.

Factors, that influence the cost of Facebook Ads are:

  • Ad objective
  • Bidding 
  • Audience
  • Ad quality
  • Industry

Ad objective

An ad objective is a clear and specific aim of an ad. It determines who Facebook shows your ad to. This can have an extreme affect on its cost. There are 3 main objective types that are divided into specific actions.

Awareness

Ads with the Awareness objective lead to increasing brand and local awareness, as well as gaining a higher reach and interest in your product or service.

Consideration

If your goal is to get people thinking about your product, drive more traffic to your web or generate leads, you should focus on this category.

Conversions

If your goal is to convert Facebook users to customers, then these types of objectives are for you.


Campaign Objectives

Bidding

The next factor that influences ad price is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay. It's called bidding. You set a maximum price manually (or automatically, where Facebook calculates the best price for you) and then it competes with other advertisers in an auction. Take note that a higher price doesn't guarantee that your ad shows up. Facebook considers ad quality and user experience.

Audience

An audience, or target audience, is a group of people you aim your ad at. There are over 350 audience attributes to choose from, so you can be very specific.

Ad quality

Facebook is a visual platform and is considered to be a personal space for its users, where they are looking for creative and interesting content. So your ads should be, of course, creative and interesting. They should also be visually appealing, able to evoke emotions and they should match users' interests. This is what Facebook considers when scoring your ad.

Industry

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, ad pricing varies across industries. Here is a table that you can use as a benchmark and with which you can compare your results.

The Cost of a Click

How can you lower your Facebook price?

Optimizing an ad price isn't an easy process. There are thousands and thousands of combinations and it can take years to find the right formula. You basically have 3 options to optimize your costs.

Become an online advertising specialist

That's perfect advice, right? I know, this is probably not the best way to go for most people, because it takes a lot of time and energy to become a specialist. Being a social media specialist is a regular full time job, so if you are not ready to quit your current job, then this is probably not the way you want to go. 

Hire someone, who is already an advertising specialist

Hiring a freelance specialist or agency can be a way to effectively advertise. This option is usually more expensive, especially if you are a one-man-show and your marketing budget is tight.

Use marketing automation tools that make it easy for you!

There are dozens of marketing automation tools on the market. These tools simplify the whole campaign creation process for people, who have no time to learn everything necessary and don't have a sufficient budget. That's why we created  app. It helps small businesses run their campaigns without extra knowledge needed. Try it here, it's free!

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