June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Search Engine Journal put up a delightful article on digital marketing. The author went to a seventh-grade language arts class to explain what he does for a living, so the students could see that what they’re learning in class now will apply later in life. Just as interesting as what he taught, though, was what he learned from the students.
You can read the full piece, written by Glen Gabe, and the thoughtful comments on it. The article almost made me wish I was back in seventh grade at a similar presentation. Back then, though, computers were just starting to be used in the home – never mind the Internet.
In any case, these students wanted to know how they could use the skills they learned in their language arts class on the job. As Gabe noted, “almost every aspect of digital marketing involves writing, including blogging, SEM, content creation for SEO, video marketing, social media marketing, etc.” The students apparently learned a lot from his 25-slide presentation, but he also learned a lot from the questions he asked them.
He started by asking them how many use Google, and how many use Bing or Yahoo. Every student used Google to search, but none of them used Bing or Yahoo. Also, none of them realized that Google makes 96 percent of its income from ad revenue; likewise, they couldn’t tell the difference between sponsored results (ads) and organic results. Once Gabe pointed it out to them, though, “this question got the students thinking about why and how certain listings ranked highly.”
The real kicker came about a week later, when Gabe received a package with thank-you notes from the students. The notes showed that they’d really thought about his presentation, and it had an impact. The students understood how Google’s algorithms, and Panda and Penguin updates, exacerbated the need to produce high-quality content online.
But that’s not all they learned. Gabe’s explanation of paid vs. organic search really sunk in; many of those students will look at the top listings a little more skeptically. One noted that he “learned how we should be careful about what we post online, whether that’s pictures or writing, because it will be there forever,” and he wasn’t the only one. These kids will hopefully have less to worry about when it comes time to get into college or get a job, because they won’t make the kinds of mistakes about what they post that others have made.
A number of the students also took to heart some of the things Gabe said about blogging. One was impressed that you could become very popular from writing a blog. Another thought it was great that “you could find a problem, blog about it, and then people could find that to solve their own problem. That’s a very good thing. Without bloggers, companies wouldn’t recognize problems with their products.”
It looks like the future of digital marketing may be in good hands – even frightfully good hands, if a comment on the article from Josh Braaten is any indication. “I loved the insights and am excited (and even a little nervous) about how savvy the next crop of professionals will be,” he wrote. “I have a 16-year-old niece who is convinced she wants to be a content marketer, so I made her my intern. The level of quality she put into her first two articles rivaled many of the seasoned pros I work with.”
So what does all this mean? Well, online marketing will be around for some time to come – and probably, so will Google’s dominance. Google’s ad revenue is in no danger. But, perhaps most encouraging, a class of seventh-graders can grasp some of the most important SEO and SEM concepts; hopefully, so can your clients. That would allow for a truer, closer partnership. Good luck!
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Social media marketing seems to get more complicated every day. But you can’t ignore it. This article, the third in a series, focuses on several categories of social media and explains what they are, what they do, and how you can use them to reach your target audience.
In previous articles, I’ve touched on Twitter apps and Facebook apps and games. In this article, we’re going to move a bit beyond these two social giants. While some of the items I’ll discuss will be best known for their use on these networks, you can use them elsewhere as well.
The most obvious of these is URL shorteners. If you’re typing on a site that limits the character count of your posts (such as Twitter), these can come in very handy. The best known of these is bit.ly; you can create a free account or just shorten a URL as a one-off. Tinyurl serves the same function. The latter site notes that long URLs can break in email, forcing the recipient to cut and paste it back together. You might want to use shorter URLs in certain advertising to avoid such problems. It’s worth noting that some social media control panels (again, I’m getting ahead of myself) include URL shorteners as one of their features.
Use URL shorteners with caution, however; some people are wary of shortened URLs because they can’t tell exactly where they’re going. Indeed, some malicious hackers have baited users to click on shortened URLs, making the users vulnerable to attack.
Next is a group described as stream platforms. These include UberMedia, TweetDeck, twhirl and AOL Lifestream. All of these are designed to help users manage their social media streams and feeds. They can help users find posts of interest and schedule their own posts. While most of the ones I’ve listed focus on Twitter, AOL Lifestream covers multiple social networks, and UberMedia has been expanding beyond its Twitter roots. Stream platforms offer multiple tools to help you get a lot done from one place, whether it’s your desktop machine, laptop, netbook, or mobile device. Many include alerts, filters, various ways to customize and monitor your feeds, and more.
At this point, I imagine it’s pretty obvious how using a stream platform can help you manage your social media marketing. Isn’t it simpler to conduct your interactions from one place, even if you’re using multiple social sites? Just make sure the stream platform you choose covers the sites in which you’re most interested.
I only have room to cover one more social media marketing item in this post, so let’s go with social commerce platforms. Examples include Payvment, Moontoast, Shop Tab, Dotbox, and Vendor Shop, but to be honest, Business Insider’s infographic on social media marketing includes more of these than I can ever list.
So what, exactly, is a social commerce platform? Judging from these companies, it’s a way for businesses to reach out to their fans and customers and reward their loyalty – and the fans, in turn, can help promote the business. It’s not just loyalty deals, though; these companies will help you set up your shop on Facebook, monitor your social analytics, create special deals and one-of-a-kind offers directly to your fans, create engaging polls, and a whole lot more. A social commerce platform could get you engaging your fans and customers socially in ways you haven’t even imagined yet.
A word of warning, though: I know I said that we were going to move beyond Facebook and Twitter in this post, but it looks like most of these services focus specifically on Facebook. They may be great if that’s where you want to go to promote your business – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but if you have a wider strategy in mind, make sure you ask the right questions as to what they can and can’t do. Given how complicated social media marketing has gotten, however, it may be too much to ask to be able to use any one solution to cover everything.
That’s all I have for your this week. Next week, we’ll cover several more areas of social media marketing and SMM services. Have you found one that worked particularly well for you? Share it in the comments!
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
We’re doing something we’ve never done before, opening up community speaker submissions for MozCon! We’re doing this because MozCon is for our community and because community pitches at our SearchChurch Meetup in Philly were phenomenal.
If you haven’t heard, MozCon — our annual conference taking place July 25th-July 27th in Seattle — is SOLD OUT. We have 700 amazing people geared up to attend, including Roger Mozbot, and a set of delightful speakers talking about a broad range of subjects from link building to content marketing and more.
And now you can be one of those awesome speakers! We have four 10-minute spots.
Because our speaker submissions rocked for the event we threw at SEER’s SearchChurch, we wanted to hear from YOU again at MozCon. When we look at our MozCon schedule and realized there was some time we could shuffle around, nothing seemed better than to bring voices from our community right to the center stage. We’re looking for 4 people to deliver incredible actionable tips and tricks in SEO, social media, content marketing, analytics, conversion rate optimization, and any other great inbound subject.
The technical details:
Can’t wait to see all mind-blowing topics you come up with!
If you’re looking for a MozCon ticket, make sure you’re signed up for the waiting list. We’re currently seeing if we can open up more seats (and believe it or not, people do cancel). Our wait list is first come, first serve.
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Today I want to share with you some interesting details about research that I’ve done recently and which I have also presented at SMX Advanced Seattle. We also have a blog on our website where we post most of the interesting things that we are working on. From time to time, we also post articles that solve common problems that people in our industry face everyday. What’s interesting about these articles is that once they are published on our blog, in less than five minutes, they rank first in Google when searching for their title.
But it’s probably easy to rank first for such a long tail keyword right? How about a three-word keyword?
How about two words? Not bad with virtually no links and just a few shares, right?
Here’s another example. Second place from four billion results with no links to the article.
So what’s so special about these articles? Why is Google giving them so much attention?
First of all, it’s fresh content. Google loves fresh content.
Second, the article is good enough for people to share it on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. On average, these articles get about 50 to 100 shares total.
What would happen if you would have some very influential people share that content?
Martin Macdonald wrote an article at the end of March about someone who apparently ranked for “camper shoes man” on fifth place without any links to the page. Or so he pretended, because Martin has quickly uncovered his hidden network of links. If you haven’t seen this article yet, you should check it out, it’s pretty funny:
But let’s look at this story from a different point of view. What Martin tried to do here is prove the guy wrong, that he did need some good amount of links to rank for that keyword.
But he managed to accomplish something that even he did not expect. Martin’s article actually outranked everyone on the “camper shoes man” keyword with no actual links, only with some good amount of social shares. He even managed to rank second for “camper shoes”.
So what can you learn from this?
But are these social signals enough to keep that article to rank well? The answer, as you would expect it, is no.
The data from my research suggests that you get a good exposure for about a week and then you start losing your rankings. If your article is good, this will be enough time for people to start linking to you. Google will then pick up those links and add some important ranking signals to your article.
Unfortunately, that means there is still no long term ranking without some good authoritative links. So let’s find out what kind of impact do authoritative links have on rankings.
As you probably already know, Google has more than 200 signals that affect rankings. I have only chosen the ranking factors that are related to links in my research and I have grouped them into the following categories:
In the following charts, you will see the top 10 ranking pages for the keyword that I have chosen as an example. These are rendered on the X axis. Depending on the metric that is shown, the values for this metric will appear on the Y axis.
The line that you see in this chart is how a perfect correlation would look like.
Just keep in mind that you will not be able to see a very good correlation when we look at each metric separately. That’s mainly because all the 200 metrics that the Google algorithm uses work together and they don’t have that much value when taken separately.
Also, most of the charts only show data about LRDs because I wanted to eliminate any statistical errors coming from site wide links.
First of all let’s look at the quantity of links that these pages have. You can see here both links and linking root domains (LRDs).
There is a surprising large amount of links for the 5th and 6th positions.
Why aren’t these websites at the top of these results?
Let’s compare exact match and partial match LRDs.
You would think that a larger number of exact and partial links should indicate a better ranking. Well, not anymore. Welcome to 2012! The website on the first position has fewer exact match LRDs than the second website. Not to mention the 5th website.
This looks like having a large number of matching anchors is no longer the definitive answer to higher rankings.
Position no. 6 has a very few number of links with exact match compared to the others. That is probably why it’s not ranking higher. However, it looks like there is a big boost given by the brand signals, even though it has a lower relevance.
The red line shows the number of brand + keyword links. They may be counted by Google as both brand signals and partial match keywords, so many people nowadays say that they work really well. Plus these links look natural so you should not incur any penalties.
Let’s look at the first two websites in the chart above. The 2nd place has a lot more LRDs with exact match and they make up 70% of all the LRDs. What’s curious is that there are websites ranking in this SERP with less than 10%. Maybe their anchor text distribution is more natural?
Most of the websites ranking here have pretty high ratios of branded LRDs in their link profile just as it would be natural for any website. The first website seems to have a good combination of both brand and brand + keyword anchors.
The major exceptions, the 2nd and the 5th places make us think that with their large number of exact and partial links they would have ranked higher if only they would have a higher number of branded links.
Looking at the percentages, it’s easier to see that most of the top 10 results have more brand signals than exact match anchor texts.
The only exception here is number 2 which has a lot of exact match anchor LRDs.
But since we are comparing branded links with exact and partial match links, why not do a proper comparison?
Again number 2 seems to be the exception here. All I can say is that the Google spam team still has some work to do.
With a PA over 90, the 6th place should outrank everyone. But it doesn’t and we can only think that the reason for this is its lack of relevance pointed earlier in the anchor text analysis.
Most of the results have a higher Page Authority than Domain Authority, which suggests that most of their links are pointing to the page ranking in the results.
Even PageRank, taken by itself, doesn’t have a better correlation.
The new metrics from Majestic, Citation flow and Trust flow, show slightly different results for the 1st website that now appears to be less authoritative than the 2nd and 3rd.
Don’t forget that these metrics have just been released and they apply only to the fresh index, which is only for the links parsed in the last 30-45 days. It would be interesting to see these metrics applied for the historical index.
I have also added here Page Authority from SEOmoz to see how it compares with the new Majestic data. They look pretty similar, but I wonder what happened to the first result.
Here’s the distribution of all links by Page Authority. The two sites with most of the links, 5th and 6th places, are clearly shown here. Number 5 though seems to have a lot of low quality links to it, which are probably ignored by Google. And number 6 has a lot more links with higher authority.
But what happens if we combine Relevance with Quality? Number 6 is gone because it does not have enough links with this anchor text. The only thing that keeps it this high may be the brand signals.
If we remove the 5th place from the chart we can see that the other pages seem to have a pretty good natural profile, with 1st place taking the lead.
If we look at the distribution of brand signals, the 6th place not only has a lot more branded links than all the others, but these links also have a higher authority.
Now let’s combine all four categories: Relevance, Quality, Quantity and Diversity. The blue line is the average authority of the exact match followed LRDs (authority and relevance). The red line shows the number of exact match followed LRDs (quantity and diversity).
As you can see, these two lines are opposing each other. Where authority lacks, quantity compensates. So it looks like all these signals work together. Quantity is lowered by quality. Relevance is still the critical factor. Without it, neither quantity or quality matter.
“If you have 1 million links with anchor text and no brand links then you have a problem.”
I love this quote from David Naylor, and you should definitely do something about it if you are in this situation.
When I first started this research I had hoped that I could at least be able to tell you some of the secrets behind Google’s algorithm. But you know what I found out after gathering and analyzing all this data?
There are no secrets! The algorithm works for you.
Think about it this way.
If you create a great product, what anchor text would people use to link to you? That’s right, the name of your product. That’s a brand signal.
If you create some great content, how would people link to it? They will probably use some or all the words from the title of your article. Those are exact and partial match anchor text signals.
What happens when all these people share your content or link to it? You become an authority.
So you see, it’s not about trying to build authoritative links to your website, it’s about becoming an authority yourself.
Stop spending so much time trying to get these links the hard way.
You should spend your valuable time creating a great product that people would want to write about or creating that great content that people would want to share.
That’s how you become an authority!
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Hi guys. I’m Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media, and we are an internet marketing company that specializes in SEO, reputation management, link development, and social media marketing. I’m here today in the SEOmoz office, because our team is attending SMX Advanced. Many of you probably know of Outspoken Media because we’re doing live blog coverage of the conference, and I hope to meet many of you here today.
I want to go ahead and talk a little bit, with this Whiteboard Friday, about the difference between vendors and consultants. For us, that’s a really big thing. At Outspoken Media, we’ve been doing a lot of organizational development over the last couple of months, and it’s really turned our entire business model inside out. The reason that we got there is that we were recognizing that there is a lot of turnover with some of our clients, where there’s a situation that a middle manager would, perhaps, leave the organization, and in those cases, we would often get replaced. Why did that happen? It usually happened because we were just seen as a vendor. We were basically like the McDonald’s of link development, where someone came in and said, “I want X number of links and I want to improve my rankings and that’s it.”
But for us, we took ourselves much more seriously. Just because the client didn’t, there was some communication breakdown that was taking place, and we had to say, “Okay. How do we position ourselves to be much more trusted, establish a long-term relationship, really get to know their business model, and work with them to grow that business, not just meet, link and ranking metrics?”
So with that in mind, we brought on an organizational development consultant ourselves. His name is Shem Cohen, of Change Events. He’s phenomenal, and he sat down and said, “Well, you’re a vendor.” It really struck me, because I said, “No, I’m not a vendor. I’m not a vendor, because we’re actually ranking on our site with SEO consulting, and for years we’ve been calling ourselves SEO consultants.” He said, “I hate to tell you, you really are a vendor.” Finally I kind of let that settle and admitted it.
Once I recognized what a vendor was, it helped me to see where we had to get to, to become a consultant. So let’s talk about that today, because you might find yourself in the same situation as us, or maybe you’re the client and you’re not quite sure who you should be hiring. What makes more sense for your business?
On the vendor side, there are a couple of things that make you a vendor. With a vendor, you’re probably really good at doing something, which is great. However, that something is probably a highly specialized skill, maybe link development or content creation. It’s one kind of area. It’s not necessarily informing a full business strategy. So with the vendor, you’re usually responsible with taking strategy in from the client, and once you have that strategy, it informs the tactics and the tools and the implementation and the reporting that you’re going to do for that client. You’re responsible for those areas of your business, but the strategy is coming from the client. It’s not coming from you. So that’s kind of the main, main thing there is that you’re not really informing that strategy, except in rare cases. But for the most part, you’re kind of there on a project basis. Maybe there are certain rankings they want to achieve. They really want to bulk up the on-page optimization for a certain category or a new product launch. So you’re there for kind of a short-term thing, and maybe you actually do have a long-term contract of a year or more, but in those cases, you’re still on reporting on links or rankings. You don’t have full access to data. You’re not there on an executive level. You’re not informing the business strategy on their end. You’re just kind of managing your project.
So that’s kind of the main thing. What the client is typically having to report to you, and as a client you should remember this, you need to be holding the vendor accountable for the metrics that they have in place and for communicating with a single point of contact. Otherwise, things can kind of get a little bit confusing.
Vendors are great because everybody needs someone to get a job done with highly skilled labor. But, again, that vendor doesn’t really maybe have that long-term relationship where, if you’re a consultancy, you want to have the long-term relationships that you’re building up trust with. You can do a lot more in terms of SEO, and I feel better at the end of the day when we’re a consultant. So that’s a vendor.
Now what makes you a consultant? A consultant is someone who receives the business goals from the client, but then they communicate the strategy back to the client, and say, “What we’re hearing from you is this is what you want to achieve, but in order to do that we’re recommending that you pursue these different methods, which we’re going to help you with or maybe we’re going to actually bring on different resources or we’re going to help manage resources within your own organization and staff this project.”
You’re going to manage, potentially, other vendors if you’re a consultant. So you might be bringing other people in on projects that you’re in charge of, based on the overarching strategy that you’ve created for the clients.
This is also going to be something that’s usually relationship-based. You’re probably getting invited to communions for your clients’ kids and weddings and anniversaries, and all those things, because you love each other. So that’s much more relationship-based.
You’re also informing, on the consultant side, the tool selection for the client. What I mean by that is that, with the client and the vendor, the client will usually just go to the vendor and say, “Hey look, this is our CMS and this is what we have to work with.” With a consultant, they’re saying, “Hey, we’re not thinking that our current CMS is working. What do you recommend?” They’re asking you to actually tell them that. That’s a really powerful place to be, because now you can effect so much more change.
So internal tool selection and then on the ultimate side of the consultant relationship, you’re informing business decisions with the client. That’s really the most major thing, is that you’re changing their business. You’re there. You’re in this trusting relationship. On the client side, what you have to remember, with the consultant, is that in addition to communicating your business goals and your resources and your time frame and being truly honest and forthcoming with them, you also need to give them access to your different departmental resources and really let them know what you can truly do and what you’re capable of. More important, you need to give them access to your data. Sometimes that can be scary, but we can’t come up with a strategy or improve your business unless we have full access to that data. It’s reliable and we can help, maybe, sculpt that in analytics and choose the right program that’s going to give us the data that we need.
Then lastly, there are probably going to be multiple contacts on the clients’ side that the consultant is communicating with. We’ve probably met IT. In my case, I’ve probably bribed IT with donuts and gone down and visited them. In addition to that, we know your SEO team. We know your community managers. We know the executives. We’ve been there. In certain organizations, I know Distilled loves to go down and work out of the office. That’s a much more, kind of mutually beneficial relationship. Everyone’s on the same page. So there are multiple contacts and that’s okay, because you’re getting paid to do that kind of work.
So that’s the real big difference between vendor and consultant, and hopefully that helps give you a better understanding of where you lie in the hemisphere of SEO, from vendor to consultant, and independent consultants and big consultancies. There are all kinds of different terms out there. So let me know what you are, and hopefully this was helpful. Thank you so much.
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
When it comes to finding a local business, the Internet is one of the first places people go for information. With the rise of search engines, the ways people find local businesses have changed so dramatically that SEO.com is committed to serving smaller, local companies hoping to improve where their websites rank online. SEO.com President Ash Buckles reaffirmed this commitment while speaking Tuesday at an SLCSEM event in Salt Lake City.
To celebrate the company’s support of small businesses, SEO.com is giving away free search engine optimization services for small businesses. In the next six months, the company will select six businesses to receive free, local marketing. Companies may enter each month at http://www.seo.com/giveaway/ for new opportunities to win. Click here to view a video explanation of the contest.
Winners will receive free search marketing that includes keyword research, website optimization, business profile optimization, link building, citations, business profile distribution and ongoing execution, analysis and campaign management during the six-month period.
Because consumers turn to the Internet when searching for brick-and-mortar stores, local search engine optimization is a growing trend as search engines aim to deliver better results based on where someone is when they look for businesses online. With search engine optimization, businesses improve where their websites rank in the results when people use search engines to surf the Web.
Optimizing a map and business listing on Google and Bing are important first steps.
“Local search is vital because customers are looking for businesses online. Mobile searches have quadrupled in the past year,” Buckles said. “If local businesses aren’t visible, they’re seriously missing out on valuable foot traffic.”
While SEO.com remains focused on serving enterprise clients with national Internet marketing campaigns, local SEO services are ideal for shops, restaurants and those providing professional work like doctors, dentists, attorneys and accountants. Bryan Phelps, local search director for SEO.com, said Google leads the way in providing maps for those searching for local businesses online.
“We get businesses listed on the maps,” Phelps said.
But the challenge for many businesses operating locally is using limited budgets to utilize search engine optimization for building a strong online presence.
“We have seen a great need to offer SEO services for small businesses,” Phelps said. “Our services make the entry point for small businesses wishing to rank high in the search engines more feasible, while helping them reach the customers their business depends on.”
According to David Mihm, a local search expert who presented at Tuesday’s event, marketing experts have estimated that 30 percent of all Web inquiries, both desktop and mobile, relate to local search.
“Businesses could lose customers if their websites do not appear prominently in those local search results,” Phelps said.
He said his team has a deep understanding of how map algorithms work and the factors search engines use to determine where local businesses rank in the search results.
“Google and other search engines have dedicated a ton of real estate to local businesses. Our goal is to help push your company to the top of the search results,” Phelps said.
June 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Or if you’re Mark Zuckerburg it’s worth a billion dollars. Whatever it’s worth, or whatever Zuckerburg thinks it’s worth, we know photos are valuable. This is because pictures tell stories and Instagram is way to create your own story. In the first part of the series I gave examples of some companies that are using the SmartPhone application to their advantage. In this part of the series we’re going to take a look at how you can do the same by building a user base and maximizing your branding and online marketing efforts.
The photos you post on Instagram should be relevant to your brand and the message you want to get across about who you are. Following the 80-20 rule is key: post 20% of promotional photos and 80% of photos that relate to your brand without making your product the center of attention. Variety of pictures is also important. If you are a coffee shop, no one wants to see post after post of the same “perfect latte.” Think about what your customers consume and take information you’ve learned from Pinetrest or other social media sites to create a content strategy. If you’re not in an industry that is image based, you’ll have to get creative by posting a behind the scenes look at product design, funny employees or anything that followers wouldn’t be able to see in their daily lives that is unique to your product or service.
Sharpie is a good example of a company that posts relevant content that relates to their product without actually displaying their product through sharpie art work. Sharpie knows that there is nothing interesting about monotonous photos of markers. Images become engaging when you think about how people are using you product, and that’s how you can create a story. It’s this type of backwards creative thinking that companies should think about when setting a content strategy for any photo platform.
Using keywords and hashtags on Instagram photos are the small details that can help your internet marketing strategy in the long run. Just like placing keywords in the HTML attribute of photos (alt attribute) is important for regular photos, keywords should be placed in the title for Instagram photos. Photos will find their way online in many different places. The caption of your photo will also become your tweet and the caption on your Facebook post.
Hashtags are important because they are an easy way for people to find your photos and increase the number of follows and likes you get. Creating custom hashtags is an easy way to organize and promote contests, thoughts or images that are specific to your brand.
GAP used their own custom hashtag #bebright to gather photos of users wearing GAP at the Bonaroo Music Festival this past weekend. GAP had a booth where festival-goers could make their own tee-shirts. Be Bright is more than a hastag, it’s a type of contagious energy that GAP was trying to promote to get people excited about their brand.
Just like with Twitter, the more people you follow and the more engaging you are the more people will want to follow you back. Use Instagram’s search and hashtags to find people talking about your brand or relevant users. As a user you are allowed to tweet photos that other users have uploaded. You should also like your fan’s photos, follow them, comment on their photos and be as engaging and excited as possible.
It’s also important to note that being authentic and personal in your interactions is equally important. People don’t want some random marketer intruding on their social space unless they have something relevant to say.
Pretty Lights, an electronic music group from Colorado does a great job of engaging fans on Instagram. Pretty Lights created a custom hashtag #plpix where users upload pictures dealing with music, lights, reflections, colors and textures.
General Electric held an Instagram contest to “Be the Next Instagrapher” and win a trip to Wales to photograph of GE’s jet engine facility. Fans took and shared photos inspired by GE innovation and hashtaged photos with #GEinspiredME. Fans voted on the images and the winner took home $3,000.
You too can create a contest and gain a following. You can host a contest where the best photo caption wins your product or host a contest where the best photo that relates to your product wins the product.
Like Pretty Lights and General Electric, promote contest through special hash tags and post photos on social media platforms and your website. Announce the winner of the contest on your website in order to drive traffic back to your page and gain SEO value.
The simpler the contest, the better. The point is to start a conversation and promote social engagement.
TXMotorSpeedway hosted a simple contest: “3 days until @globalrallyx! Upload a pic of a number 3 or something representing “3″ with the hashtag #GRCisComing for a chance to win a signed @travispastrana @dcshoes hat!”
Geo-tagging is important for Instagram because it’s a way for people to find what’s around them. Geo-tagging can increase the chances of someone finding your photo and also discovering your storefront, art museum, factory, coffee shop etc. By submitting a geo- tagged location to Instagram, you’ll also be able to gather photos from your location and find more relevant followers.
Another way that marketers are using Instagram is to find influential users and pay them to take photos of an event or product. An influential user is someone that has a naturally large following (lets say 50,000+) and takes awesome photos. Marketers should think of this strategy like they would product placement in a movie or TV show. Companies like Delta and Barneys are already doing so.
The last and final piece of the Instagram pie is to crowd source your content, which ties into social engagement, through social bookmarking sites. Once photos find its place online it’s up to you what to do with them. Starbucks for example has created a slideshow of photos from users who have hashtagged #starbucks on their photos. This gets users excited about posting photos and gets them to check the website to find their photos.
Here’s a quick list of places to find and share your photos:
With a little bit of elbow grease and creativity Instagram can help you build brand awareness through social engagement and provide a clear message about who your company is. It’s a simple way create likeable, shareable, unique content with minimal effort that can spread across multiple platforms to help your brand and SEO.
I’d love to hear from you, do you have any more questions about using Instagram or other great examples of companies who have found success.