Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How to Grow Followers on Instagram


Grow followers on instagram - Knomo example

Discover how to grow followers on Instagram.

In a world before social media, budding entrepreneurs could focus on word of mouth and other micro forms of local marketing. With 78 percent of the U.S. and 36.4 million of the UK population now on some form of social media, though, it’s become obvious that organisations must focus on reaching out to new and existing clients via these platforms. Unfortunately, some business owners have difficulty building an Instagram following, but by simply utilising the following tips, you can turn this around.

We’ve written about how to get started with Instagram as well as Instagram adverts and video, so this blog post looks at ways to grow followers on Instagram, once your account has been created.

Grow followers #1 – Socialise with Followers

The “social” part of social media is effectively what makes it so popular. People can reach out to friends they haven’t seen in years, but as it turns out, consumers also want to engage directly with the brands they use. This means that, when followers show up to leave comments on a photo, you should directly respond to these comments.

In doing so, you will let your followers know that they are appreciated. Even better, though, is the fact that they’ll be more likely to share your posts. This is a prime method of reaching out to new potential followers.

Grow followers #2 – Consistently Post to Instagram

Just like any method of business growth, you can’t treat Instagram like a second-class marketing ploy. If someone has taken the time to follow you on the site, it’s because they want to see what you have to show them. If you start dropping the ball here, they might just unfollow the page altogether.

Additionally, the more posts you share, the more likely complete strangers are to see one. Add this to the fact that Instagram pages with 10,000 to 100,000 fans consistently posted over five times more often than pages with fewer than 1,000 fans. This could potentially mean consistent posts result in more followers.

Grow followers #3 – Link Social Media Accounts Together

One great feature of Instagram is that you can link your other social media platforms directly to your posts. This means that for every image or video you post, you can push it out to Facebook, Twitter and several other social media accounts. Just like a co-scheduling app, this will save you substantial amounts of time on posting to different platforms.

On top of saving time, this method will also bring people to your Instagram. Whenever you share in this way, your other accounts will show that your post is coming directly from the site. This means your followers on Facebook and other platforms, which usually outpace Instagram, will have a simple gateway to your new favourite media sharing site.

Grow followers #4 – Make Use of Hashtags

Twitter users might have made the hashtag popular, but nearly every other social media outlet is now utilising the small sign. If you’re focused on business growth through digital methods, it’s time you started paying attention to the hashtag on Instagram as well. They work the same way Twitter’s hashtags work, so people will come across your posts just by searching for specific topics.

No matter what you’re uploading, always include hashtags. You’ll want to use words that are obviously related to your business, image or video. It never hurts to then search for these terms and see what other tags people are using along with them. And if you ever get the chance to piggyback on a currently trending topic, like Oreo did during the 2013 Super Bowl, you should jump at the opportunity.


Achieving business growth requires much more focus and diversification than it once did. If you’re capable of doing this, however, your organisation could be well on its way to the top. To accomplish this, you have to focus on reaching potential clients in every way possible. And if this means being more active on Instagram, it seems like an appropriate trade off.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

How to use infographics in B2B


Infographics convey complex B2B messages in moments.

How did infographics start?

Infographics pre-date the internet by a significant amount, having been used by even Florence Nightingale to persuade the Queen to improve military hospital conditions.

Ever-popular today, infographics remain a highly engaging, popular method of data analysis and explanation, with easily digested stats and information depicted using universally-friendly graphics.

Integrate infographics with digital marketing strategy

Infographics are an important tool in B2B marketing. Why? Not just because they look good, but because they’re a highly effective form of marketing communication and continue to be popular. As visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and in a B2B environment you want information conveyed as efficiently as possible, infographics are an easy choice for presentations, pitches, web pages, and briefs.

It doesn’t matter how simple or complex information is, it’s about conveying it in a straightforward way.

See this example of a B2B infographic on ‘the cost of app development

Infographics should provide value

The accessibility of infographics makes them a versatile form of marketing. It’s not just about having an infographic that looks pretty, however: it needs to be useful and provide value. An infographic should be the embodiment of a commonly requested explanation, such as customers wanting to know a certain policy, or even some facts about the history of a business.

We created an infographic showing the top 10 marketing models, for marketing managers.


Compiling an infographic shouldn’t be more complicated than other forms of marketing: after all, how many times have you put together a Powerpoint, some copy, or even video for a client? An infographic is simply an even more succinct form of conveying the same information.

3 Free tools to start with infographics

Infographic tool #1 – PowerPoint

At a basic level you can create an infographic in PowerPoint, The same background, on 4 slides with the content finally ‘printed’ on a custom page size and saved as a JPG.

Infographic tool #2 – Piktochart

Piktochart is an online resource with many templates and icons (popular with students), this free tool is user friendly and ideal for beginners.

Infographic tool #3 – Easel.ly

Easelly is another online tool. It requires registration and also contains many ready to go templates, where all you need to do is change the words on the screen.

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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Online deal marketplaces

Online deals

Read more about online deal marketplaces and how they work.

Many businesses use online deal marketplaces to promote their business and to increase their customer base. It’s an alternative method of distribution and an extra channel for business.


What are online deal marketplaces?

Online deal marketplaces are described as when a business sells the products or services of other businesses and make a commission based on sales. They tend to be used where businesses have over capacity and need to fill seats, rooms or move slow selling products.

It is a successful business model for many companies and it allows the online deal marketplaces to sell and make money, without having to create or stock their own product or service. It is often used as part of an overall online digital marketing strategy and is a tool for businesses promoting their products or services, without significant investment, other than registering, listing the products and adding some detail.


Who were the original online marketplaces?

The original marketplaces were

  • Amazon known for books initially but now covers nearly every category of product
  • Ebay has also evolved into a recognised secondary outlet for many well known brands
  • Etsy is known for craft items
  • Alibaba is known for business bulk sales


In addition to these marketplaces, there are others which focus on services more than products.


Fulfilment within online deal marketplaces

Where physical goods are involved, it depends on the marketplace. For some, the seller creates their own store (Amazon, eBay) and for others their name is not shown. In some cases the goods are shipped direct to the online deal marketplace who subsequently send or despatch each offer direct. Where there are no goods, they issues the vouchers from their own email system.

Where physical products are involved, it can be the responsibility of the original business to despatch the goods to the customer.


Examples of online deal marketplaces

These are three of the successful companies who make use of online deal marketplaces in the UK.


Online deal marketplace – example 1: Groupon


Although they are an American company, Groupon also have a website which is dedicated to the UK market. Groupon is a global organisation who sell the products and services of a wide range of companies. Businesses can list deals on products or services, such as beauty treats and spa days and things to do. Groupon is one of the most well-known online deal marketplaces.

Downsides include the length of time they apparently take to pay the original business. If you are considering for your own organisation, it’s worth assessing what percentage of your inventory or capacity you want to share via a marketplace. This decision can be easier when you assess the monetary value and how much cash flow delay you can sustain.


Online deal marketplace – example 2: Secret Escapes


The luxury holiday and break market is fairly saturated. Secret Escapes send ‘daily offers’ (like Groupon and limits the number of deals available for a specific place.

It is positioned as being more of a luxury and exclusive space, rather than one open to all. This can be reflected in its pricing.


Online deal marketplace – example 3: 5pm.co.uk


Another online deal marketplace is 5pm.co.uk, who offer an online booking service, which promotes restaurants, health and beauty salons, and pubs. It is used by customers who are looking for the best deal to suit their needs, but saves the hassle of searching for each one individually.

With 5pm.co.uk, customers have a one-stop shop for these services and can filter their selection based on the location and date. Businesses looking to advertise on 5pm.co.uk pay an annual subscription and commission on sales. It has enabled many businesses to fill seats which would otherwise be unoccupied and is usually part of a digital marketing strategy. 5pm.co.uk have picked up several awards, including the National Business Award, and they have deals throughout the UK.

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Advertising with Snapchat

20160826 Vimto toad snapchat filter

Read more about Snapchat ad options.

Advertising with Snapchat is becoming more popular with sponsored lens options and geofilters. Discover what these are with some approximate costs.

Snapchat sponsored lens

Snapchat sponsored lenses offer brands the unique opportunity to create an advert that consumers will enjoy interacting with and can send to others via the social media platform. Some of the biggest brands around the world are collaborating with Snapchat to produce their own sponsored lens, and have made them an integral part of their digital marketing strategy. Yet why are they proving to be so popular, how much do they cost, and do they have a long term future?

Many big name brands are creating their own lens

Advertisers and marketers working for big name brands are currently honing in on the potentially massive customer base a Snapchat sponsored lens could tap into. Pepsi Max was one of the first UK brands to create a Snapchat sponsored lens, when they offered users the chance to make a ‘Chelfie’ on Valentine’s Day this year. A can of Pepsi Max Cherry was poured into the mouths of users’ selfies whenever they moved, their heads turned into a giant cherry, and the animation finished with an explosion of the drink.

Cadbury’s Creme Egg sponsored lens also enjoyed enormous success earlier in the year at Easter. On 12th March, users could watch Creme Eggs flying from their own mouths and exploding to reveal the famous Creme Egg ‘Goo’. As part of their current #toadoff campaign to celebrate the launch of Vimto Remix, the soft drink brand’s sponsored lens transforms users into animated toads.

Extending reach using the Snapchat user base

With people sending the lenses to their friends and other Snapchat users, the potential increase in brand exposure and customer reach is attractive to marketers. For example, if major influencers such as celebrities share the lenses with their followers, the brand benefits from a massive amount of free exposure. Moreover, few other adverts enable the consumer to interact and engage with them in such a way, creating an enjoyable, unique experience that is completely personal to the individual.

How much does a sponsored lens cost?

Snapchat are keeping relatively quiet about how much they are charging for their sponsored lenses, yet according to Campaign, geographical restrictions, target audience and the day the advert is run are all factors that affect price. Business Insider UK say costs can range from $100,000 to $750,000, making it the most premium advertising product available from Snapchat.

Will sponsored lenses last?

However, whether sponsored lenses will maintain their popularity long term is questionable; only a select few of the many lenses produced so far have gone viral. What’s more is that advertisers have pointed out the difficulty in telling a story using a sponsored lens in the way other traditional advertising formats allow. Also, serious, high-end and luxury brands may struggle to create a lens that is fun and engaging. It therefore remains to be seen whether Snapchat’s sponsored lenses will stand the test of time.

Snapchat Geo filters

Snapchat’s surge in popularity among young people in the UK and around the globe has seen the corporate world make moves to take advantage of the platform’s unique characteristics in their online marketing strategies. The platform holder has been receptive to these advances by introducing on-demand, branded ‘geofilters’.
The geofilter feature has been popular with users of the platform since its introduction. Snaps taken via the platform can be overlaid with filters exclusively tied to places or locations. For example, users photographing the London Eye with Snapchat will get the opportunity to place a special London Eye geofilter over the snap that is only available to those in proximity to the Eye.

While undoubtedly a neat feature for the platform users, what makes it neater for the business world is the potential for this feature as part of social media marketing and digital strategy. After all, it’s thought that 60% of 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users in the UK today are using Snapchat regularly. As aforementioned, the potential in capturing this market isn’t lost on Snapchat.

Whilst previously free and not-for-profit, the platform first allowed branded geofilters in late 2015. KFC, which has enjoyed previous success with proximity mobile marketing, was the first major brand in the UK to use the service by allowing visitors to KFC chains to take snaps overlaid with branded Christmas messages.

Exclusive filters have even been created for films such as the latest in the Terminator franchise, with fans able to make themselves look like the Terminator – but, crucially, only if they attended participating cinemas to see the film.

The importance of photos and videos in today’s social media landscape is evidenced by the rise of platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. So with geofilters allowing for the creation of branded photographs that will be seen organically on Snapchat, the digital marketing potential is undeniable – particularly for businesses looking to run events tied to exclusive locations or times.

In terms of pricing, a day of coverage for a 20,000 square foot area in a UK city can be as low as approximately £10 – which should make geofilters a competitive tool in your digital marketing strategy.


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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Airbnb – 3 steps to success

airbnbTop 3 reasons Airbnb has been so successful.

Airbnb is an online platform allowing people to rent their living space to visitors. It follows many of the conventions of a peer-to-peer sales site, for instance both parties getting the opportunity to review one another to promote security and peace of mind.

Airbnb quickly harnessed the power of social media as it’s essential to get spotted online and to attract the right sort of attention. Although it was founded only seven years ago, the San Francisco-based company, Airbnb, is now a global phenomenon. Like many giants, it’s considered a disruptive force in the tourism and hospitality industry.

People often make the mistake of thinking success in business is a direct result of the novelty of the idea it’s based upon. The idea itself is important but only a small factor in a business’s success or failure. What matters is how the idea is executed.

So how has Airbnb achieved such influential status and widespread adoption? There are four key reasons:

#1 Growth hacking techniques

One of the main factors behind the early success of Airbnb was its growth hacking using aggressive online marketing tactics. Airbnb expanded very quickly by piggybacking on the reach of community listing site Craigslist. It employed creative tactics to do this by apparently posting fictional room ads on the site, messaging users who posted in the room ads category to spread the word about the Airbnb offering. These ninja development tactics resulted in rapid growth.

#2 Agile timing to meet demand

Airbnb’s founders also launched at a clever time: coinciding with a massive local conference that meant local hotel rooms would be in short supply. Offering alternative accommodation secured instant gratitude form both the guests and the hosts.

#3 Strong imagery

Travel is a visual product, with people attracted by beautiful beaches, stunning architecture and amazing accommodation. Image-led social media has been a boost to the travel industry. Everyone from agents to hotels and airlines use social media to engage with followers.

Airbnb recognised the need for strong imagery and in the early days, the site sought to raise the standards of room photography on the site by sending professional photographers round to shoot the properties being listed and improve the attractiveness of the site. This had the effect of making the site look more professional and adding greater security to the purchase decision. This encouraged more exclusive properties to join the site.

#4 Online availability

Data suggests that over one third of holidays are now booked online. Many clients browse for travel deals via their mobile phones. Social networking is a great way to attract clients even when they are not currently shopping, and to generate ideas about their next trip which will move them to book. These networks may be designed for socialising, but they also offer a place to view new opportunities and offers – and it is here that travel companies can make their mark. Airbnb adopted a ‘mobile first’ approach ensuring that potential customers could easily see, find and share great places to stay.

How other tourism firms use social media

Airbnb are not alone in adopting many of these techniques. We know that hotels operate using ‘flexible pricing’, changing rates as demand increases. Imagery is also essential from the inside of the plane to the hotel pool. This has not been missed as others have improved their imagery and adopted social media:

  • Booking platforms including LateRooms.com and Expedia have been nominated for awards due to their social media strategies. Both brands use a range of social channels to speak to their audience, and have seen a rapid growth due to these online campaigns.
  • Hilton Hotels and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line have seen a great engagement with millennials since they took to Twitter and Instagram to show off their premises and ships.
  • Airlines are getting in on the act too – KLM and Emirates have huge numbers of followers on Twitter and Facebook, while Etihad makes sure to post every day and keep its followers in the loop.



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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Podcasts for business

podcasts for beginners

How to use podcasts for business.

Podcasts are a useful online marketing tool for business. Podcasts are a cost-effective addition to the digital marketing mix and a great way of bringing your brand to life by building a more personal relationship with your audience.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio file that is made available on the internet, and can be listened to either on a portable media player or a computer. Generally, brands and personalities will create a series of podcasts to which users can subscribe: a subscription means that every new podcast will be sent automatically to the subscribers’ devices.

How to start podcasting for business

While podcasting can prove helpful for many businesses, there are three things that every brand should know before taking their first steps.

1. Create a sustainable podcast concept

Coming up with an idea for the first podcast is often simple. However, will you be able to run with the same theme week in, week out? While it’s important to fill a niche that has a strong listening audience, it’s equally important to ensure that it’s not so niche that you run out of ideas.

2. Invest in the podcast basics

While the microphone built into your computer may seem like the easiest option, you need to bear sound quality in mind. Poorly recorded podcasts will put potential listeners off from the start. It won’t be an expensive outlay, however; a basic microphone and headset can be bought online for under £100.

3. Share the podcasts

Once you’ve created your podcast, you’ll need to ensure that it’s listened to. But how do you find your target audience?

  • iTunes has an enormous, well-engaged base of podcast subscribers, and can’t be ignored; and asking your listeners for positive iTunes reviews will move you up the rankings and help your target audience to find you.
  • YouTube is also a good place to share your creations, while links to your podcasts should also be shared across social media platforms, on your website’s blog page, in your email newsletters – anywhere you can.
  • Search for other podcasters in your niche too. It’s possible that you can trade promotion of each other and both benefit from new fans.


Podcast distribution and tools

If you’ve had a podcast for some time, it’s important that you start to build its audience. This is where the question of distribution comes in. There are a large number of channels through which you can host and promote your podcast, but in general it’s best to pick one and stick with it. It might be tempting to maximise your reach by hosting everywhere, but all you’ll do is fragment your audience, harm your listener counts and create extra work for yourself.

Podcast tool #1

Soundcloud is a popular and common choice, as it offers good name recognition, embeddable podcast streams, and an intuitive comments system for listeners. While it’s not exclusively built for podcasts, it’s a highly flexible platform and at only £8 per month for unlimited hosting can be an affordable choice.

Podcast tool #2

Acast is a platform built specifically for podcasting, and, under the tagline “makes good stories great”, it combines a professional appearance with simple controls and is free. It allows uploaders to sell premium content directly to listeners – ideal if you have the occasional longer shows which require more time and effort. If you want to retain control of your material, you can provide an RSS link and Acast will automatically make the show searchable on the platform. Or you can join them as a hosted podcast and earn revenue through ads or sponsorship.

Podcast tool #3

If you have sufficient bandwidth on your server, HTML5 makes it simple to stream audio directly without the need for an external host. But you’ll need a strong social media strategy to make sure it’s seen by the intended audience, and taking this option can suck up a lot of money in hosting costs if your listener count is high.
As a business trying to connect on a personal level with your clients and industry, a podcast can be a great part of your digital strategy. It can help people understand your approach and listen in a relaxed way to what you have to say.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Short-form content essentials

Short form content

Discover short-form content.

Short-form content uses concise wording to quickly convey a message to readers and tends to be less than 1000 words in length.

Twitter is possibly the leader in this field and short-form content is used to catch readers’ attention and draw them into their paid, owned or sponsored media.

Why short-form content is needed

Readers tend to skim short-form content for important information as opposed to absorbing every word. Its short length means it is usually very easy to digest and maintain readers’ interest.


Where short-form content works well

Short-form content is particularly effective on mobile platforms, when readers may be busy or on the go and don’t have time to read something of length. As short-form content is so mobile-friendly, it has the potential to reach more people.


How to succeed with short-form content

Short-form content is often very visually appealing. It tends to feature a mix of words, images and videos. Examples of short-form content that can be consumed by readers quickly include:

  • Listicles, such as those produced by BuzzFeed
  • Infographics
  • Videos as some types of short-form content don’t feature any written words at all, like Vines. Using short-form videos as a form of storytelling is a new trend that is emerging on many social media platforms.

Short-form vs long-form content

There has been much debate about whether short-form or long-form content, which is typically around 2000 words or more in length, is more effective for marketing purposes. Although short-form can be read and digested quickly, it tends to only provide a quick overview of a subject. In contrast, long-form content is written to educate and inform the reader, yet needs to be interesting enough to maintain their attention until the end of the piece.

Rather than being used as click-bait to increase website traffic, as is sometimes the case with short-form content, whitepapers, ebooks and other types of long-form content can be used to build a site’s authority. Insightful, detailed posts hold genuine value for readers, who will return to the site in anticipation of more educational content.

In terms of SEO, long-form content performs better than short-form because it is likely to generate more backlinks, thereby increasing the content’s credibility. Surprisingly, long-form content is often shared more than short-form.

It’s wise to use a mixture of both short and long-form content as part of your digital marketing strategy. Short-form can be used to engage the reader, increase site traffic and reach as many people as possible, while long-form can help to build a site’s authority and demonstrate expertise.

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