How to Boost the Wow Factor of Your B2B Content Marketing with Visuals

B2B content marketing without visual content has become the ignored stepchild of content marketing. It lurks in the corners and doesn’t gain the limelight. Here’s the takeaway: In a content-flooded world, you won’t stand out without engaging visuals.

Do you hold back from investing in visual content for fear of complicated programs and a large investment? Fear no more! Visual content creation is easier—and more essential—than ever before.

You’ve probably heard it before—visuals are a must in the content marketing arena. It was true then, and it only increases in value over time.

Let’s review why visual content is so vital to your overall B2B content strategy, and what you can do to get in the game.

Why You Need to Leverage Visuals in Your B2B Content Marketing

Images Help People Remember Your Brand

Using well-defined styles in your visual content helps establish your brand in people’s minds. Create images that encapsulate your company’s personality and your brand will be more recognizable.

Add your brand’s logo to each image, and it will be an extra step that imprints your brand on the mind of your audience.

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Take this example from one of my blog posts. In every piece of visual content, I include my logo—here it’s centered at the very bottom. It’s not the primary focus, but it’s there so that people will associate the piece with my brand. Small details like this can go a long way towards enhancing brand awareness.

“Brands are creating content that informs and entertains customers with the intent to engage and eventually convert them.” –Juntae Dulane

They Trigger an Emotional Response

Visuals are a powerful tool in generating the right emotions in your readers. Psychology has proven that certain colors are inherently linked to emotions within the human brain.

For example, orange evokes playful and energetic emotions, while blue creates a trustworthy and overall inviting feeling. Colors play a major role in how your audience interacts with your content.

Even the symmetry (or asymmetry) of your image can add to this emotional element. You can create feelings of chaos or order, intimacy or isolation, all within the layout of your visual graphics.

Take this example from Cisco Security. The color blue inspires trustworthiness—the exact feeling you want from your security software. And the icons inspire confidence in the brand’s technical abilities.

B2B content marketing should include visuals that strike and emotional chord.

People Are on Content Overload

The internet is an overflowing sea of content — with more being added every nanosecond! So why do visuals help? For starters, 65% of people are visual learners, with the human brain processing images 60,000 times faster than text. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of power I want working for me.

The easier it is for your audience to process your information, the more they will retain, and the longer they will remain on your content.

Take this infographic from General Electric, with its statistical data and graphs. If this was made into straight textual content, it would be dry and boring. Yet, in this colorful and lively infographic, the information is easier to absorb with the key points easy to grasp.

“If you find that words alone fail to grab your audience’s attention, create infographics that would visually appeal to them”–Neal Schaffer

Social Media Demands It

Visuals are the media part of B2B social media marketing — it’s a key reason we log on and engage. If you want your content to be shareable, visual graphics are essential. When is the last time you shared an article with no image? Or clicked on a title with no image on social media? Mostly likely, rarely to never. That’s because images are the lifeblood of social media.

If you hope to incorporate social media effectively into your content marketing (it’s a necessity in this day and age), then images are an imperative.

Adobe shows how to create killer content that gets uber results. Take their Twitter page. Within seconds, they show off their visual content skills with video, a slideshow, and images associated with every post. Their variety of visual content keeps their audience happy.

A great example of using visuals in B2B social media marketing.

“Social media is the quickest, most efficient, and most cost-effective way to communicate your message to the world” –Neal Schaffer

It’s Great For SEO

Images play a humungous part in SEO best practices. Every image you use should be optimized for SEO—to do this, all you need is to use your target keyword in your image’s title, file name, and alt text. While this is not visible to site visitors, it will be visible to (and carry a lot of weight) with search engines.

Plus, every time that a visual element gets shared, it adds another backlink that improves your SEO.

8 Cool Tools to Add to Your Visual Content Creation Toolbox

1. Landscape

Every social network has its own dimensions for images—but doing them all by hand can be a chore. Make it easier with this handy tool from Sprout Social, which allows you to pick the dimension that looks the best for your social network.

2. Slidely

This tool makes it super easy to create an interactive multimedia slideshow. The combination of cool art effects, music, and your own images produces an engaging story Plus, it syncs with your Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr account to make visual creation a breeze.

3. Canva

This is really several tools in one. It allows you to pick specific, social-media-related sizes, and add from a library of free visual and text elements to create visually engaging and compelling images. Canva also has a variety of templates for a very professional look.

4. Flixel

This cinematographic tool brings your ordinary photos to life—almost literally. It adds movement to key parts of your photo, drawing in the eye and making the image pop.

5. Awesome Screenshot

Do you have an instructional post where you would like to visually walk people through the steps? This handy tool allows you to do this in minutes—take a screenshot, and then use this tool to mark it up with arrows, boxes, and text that will create a visual guide for your audience.

6. Infogr.am

Want to produce helpful infographics, but don’t know where to start? Infogr.am makes it an easy process—just choose your template, input your information (data, images, and branding), and watch the program bring your infographic to life. Once done, it provides easy-to-share formats so you can get the final product out to your audience.

7. Camtasia

Interested in adding video to your visual B2B content strategy repertoire? Have no fear. Camtasia is here. This tool is perfect for how-to and demonstration videos. It allows you to simultaneously take a video of your screen and add voice-over to bring your audience on a hands-on journey to your desktop.

8. VideoScribe

Many brands have found it useful to incorporate whiteboard animation into their video line-up. This online tool draws whiteboard-style using your own images. You can then add voice-over, as well as your own music. At the end, it will look like you hired a professional whiteboard animator to draw what this program does in a matter of minutes.

A Few Points to Keep in Mind…

  • In this age of social media, visual content is an absolute necessity for any B2B business
  • Visual content is an essential part of SEO best practices
  • Nowadays, people are overloaded with content and retain information better when it’s presented visually
  • Colorful images are a great way to engage your readers emotionally in what they read

And remember, making data come to life is easy when you pair good information with striking graphics. Download our ebook to see how.

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Now the ball is in your court. Visual creation is now in your hands—so easy that anybody can do it! Enhance your B2B content marketing with beautiful images that will make your audience go “wow.”

This article, written by Wendy Marx from Business2Community, originally appeared in The B2B PR Blog, and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Why is Reputation Important?

You may have heard it as a child, or had it fall on deaf ears during those precarious teen years. It’s the age-old adage, “it doesn’t matter what other people think of you, but only what you think of yourself.” It’s the easiest advice to give, the hardest to take, and one of those life lessons that gets repeated in nearly every coming-of-age story. It’s also false.

Crafting a positive reputation is different than simply leaving it up to the opinions of others. For an individual, developing self-esteem is an essential milestone for sanity and survival. It’s self-esteem that protects you when a stranger treats you like you’re stupid because you have tattoos, or as a criminal because of your skin color or because your religion has a bad reputation in some circles. You can’t control the biases of other people, but you can nudge positive or negative sentiment to a greater or lesser degree.

Reputation stems from a person’s judgment then blossoms into a cloud of darkness as it poisons the collective judgment levied on an individual or business. This new “identity” (reputation) becomes overlaid on like a blanket, becoming all someone sees. Today, this identity, others perceive, exists both in real life and online. Everyone, from teenagers to entrepreneurs to entire corporations, has a reputation— whether that is good, bad, or somewhere in between.

It Does Matter, to an Extent, What Others Think

So despite what your guidance counselor said in high school, it does matter, to an extent, what others think, what they say, and what they promote online. Because of the importance of reputation, as a society, we wouldn’t survive without the opinions of our peers. As a social species, we are hardwired to care about the opinions of others.

The Reward of a Good Reputation

The fastest way to a good reputation, whether at home or in the workplace, is to behave in a way that benefits your social circle. According to a US News article, traits like kindness, generosity, and honesty help to foster a good reputation in the workplace. It seems that group-oriented behaviors, especially, pay dividends when it comes to bolstering your reputation. This is true for people and businesses as well.

In fact, research has demonstrated that your closest social circle may be the main thing holding you accountable to actions. Without the impending threat of losing your good reputation among friends, there’s little to hold you back from doing the “wrong” thing. The reason it works is simple: a bad reputation among peers often leads to exclusion from the group. We know what it feels like to be left out, but in our ancestors’ circumstances, group exclusion could equate to death.

Why is Reputation Important in Business

Brand reputation isn’t very different from individual reputation in its importance. It’s been studied quite a bit in recent years, in light of the ease with which information is transmitted and falsehoods spread online, as well as the effect of reputation on commerce. At the beginning of 2017everyone was talking about “fake news” because of its effect on political reputation. According to Davies and Miles in the 1998 Corporate Reputation Review, reputation in business terms involves three things:

  • How others see the business
  • Who the business is
  • What the business communicates about itself

Managing a business reputation requires alignment of these three elements. When even one of them is out of balance, the company’s entire reputation can come crashing down. Here’s a closer look at the factors that shape a corporation’s reputation.

  • Visual cues. Name, logo, and all of the imagery related to your company or brand.
  • Mission, vision, or philosophy. The guiding light of a company’s internal culture, these elements have a ripple effect when it comes to corporate reputation.
  • Behavior of members within the organization. What people are saying or writing. Articles, word of mouth, news, social media, and online reviews.
  • The success of the business. A spot on the Fortune 500 list will contribute to a positive reputation, for example.

Who Maintains Brand Reputation

Clearly, brand reputation is a complicated machine. So who is in charge of it? According to a 2005 study by Rosa Chun, senior lecturer at Manchester Business School, it’s unusual to find an internal reputation management department that’s directly responsible for managing corporate reputations. Instead, it’s often a shared effort, with marketing and communications handling the external perceptions, while human resources manage internal culture. Many companies even outsource their reputation management to firms that specialize in this field.

Creating, curating, and maintaining a positive reputation for a corporation is no easy task, but one of the most important facets regarding human psychology is to be consistent. Research by Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management has shown that a customer’s loyalty to a company or brand relies more on familiarity than organic “trust.” Customers love to do what feels comfortable, so companies that are quick to change their identity in the face of a PR disaster may be more likely to lose customers in the long run. The better approach is often a slow and steady one, focused on rebuilding trust through multiple channels.

Why Reputation Matters

As we’ve explored, a positive reputation can provide group inclusion, while a negative one can ostracize you in a social setting, or lead to job loss or employment problems in a professional environment. The business outcomes of reputation are even more far-reaching, impacting how all stakeholders, from customers to shareholders to executives, behave toward the organization.

Curate a Positive Reputation

The digital era has invited with a whole new way of showing ourselves to the world, one that’s rife with complications for both individuals and businesses. When you’re doing business with someone on the other side of the globe, sometimes your reputation is all you have — so it’s in your best interest to make it the best it can be and to strive to curate a positive reputation.

This article originally appeared in Reputation X, was written by Kent Campbell from Business2Community, and legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples and Ideas from Top Brands

With 600 million users, Instagram’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s become a prime place for brands to show off their personalities and promote their products to the world.

With the introduction of Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, and a plethora of new features, the visual media platform continues to find ways to remain near the top of the social media ladder. This means you should probably start thinking about making Instagram a big part of your social media marketing strategy if it isn’t already.

Because the platform is constantly changing, it can be tough to keep up. What are the best ways to market on Instagram? What do people like best? How many darn hashtags should I use?

Worry not – I’ve compiled 20 examples of the best recent Instagram posts and crafted some awesome ideas that you can put to use in your Instagram marketing today.

Let’s get into it!

1. Suja


This giveaway campaign from Suja Juice is awesome because it’s themed around the 12 days of Christmas, making it relevant and engaging. I love that each day the giveaway prize is something slightly different, helping Suja show off their different products.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

The link in their bio (which they refer to in the caption) is a Like2b.uy link – this is a great way to use a monetization platform to link to content. Finally, Suja makes great use of multiple hashtags to reach as many people as possible with their contest.

2. Disney


Disney posted this photo to promote the release of their film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th.

First, let’s look at the photo itself – it features the stars of the film, including Felicity Jones and Mads Mikkelsen; the sheer fame of the people in the photo is sure to get people interested. Next, the setting is great – there are stormtroopers and other in-costume characters in the background, and the photo is taken in what looks to be a set piece from the movie.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

I like that Disney tags the @StarWars account, and uses the hashtag #RogueOne – this increases the chances that Star Wars fans who might not follow the Disney account will see the post on their Explore feed. Lastly, they direct viewers to their Snapchat and Instagram Story, helping to increase their follow on their other social platforms, too.

3. Marvel


There’s a lot of hype surrounding the arrival of everyone’s favorite neighborhood webslinger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel created a short video (a trailer trailer?) to promote the trailer’s upcoming release on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

First of all, I love that it’s a video, and that the video itself is unique. It clearly states when the trailer will come out, and when the movie’s release date is. The post features a hashtag for the movie and tags @jimmykimmellive to promote the partnership between the two companies.

Using videos to preview upcoming products is a great way to highlight things that a picture might not be able to capture properly. Make sure you add text to the video to let people know when they can expect it and where they can get it.

4. Tesla


This is a great post because it’s a nice preview of a piece of content that Tesla is hosting on their website. The video itself is just a short clip from the full piece of content – it gives away just enough for the viewer to understand the premise of the content and be “hooked in”.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

I like that they use a unifying hashtag, #TeslaStories, to link all of their posts like this together and to encourage fans to share their own stories as well. Finally, it’s a great strategy to use Instagram to drive traffic to your own blog or other content platform.

Using video to promote content is a strategy you can employ to convey a little more information than a photo might be able to. Make sure to include text in your video with a link to your content – especially because many people don’t listen to the videos they watch on their feeds.

5. Nike


Nike does a ton of things right here. Where to begin? The video is short, simple, and engaging. It features a clear shot of the product, cute drawings, and engaging text: “are we running today?” And, oh yeah – it features Kevin Hart, one of the most popular comedians around.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

What I love most is that the text is inviting and mysterious – viewers want the answer to the question Nike poses in the caption, so they’re likely to visit the page Nike links to. The page itself is a landing page for the Apple Watch Nike+, which features more information about the product. It’s a very cohesive and well-put together campaign.

If you want to push social traffic to a landing page, make sure your copy is succinct and inviting. Ask a question or pose a scenario that viewers can answer by visiting your page, and make sure the page matches the theme of your Instagram post.

6. Amazon


This post from Amazon is a simple success. Though it’s a repost, regramming content from fans and followers shows them you’re listening and actively engaging with the content you’re tagged in. I like that they have a hashtag, #PrimePet, for Amazon-related media featuring pets.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Amazon also leverages hashtags like #caturday and #boop to engage viewers who are interested in kittens. Best of all, the post is just a branding play – besides the Amazon logo on the box (but who’s looking at the box anyways), this is just a post that helps show off Amazon’s playful brand personality.

Make sure not all of your posts are about your products – use social platforms like Instagram to engage your consumers in ways you wouldn’t normally be able to. Social media is one of the best places to build your brand.

7. Adidas Originals


Adidas shows off their product launch know-how in this post promoting a new model of the Kanye West-designed Yeezy Boost 350 V2. The image is creative, featuring vivid virtual renditions of the shoe (and its box!). More importantly, the image also features the launch date and the link people should visit to buy the shoe.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Follow these practices when promoting a new product of yours on Facebook – post photos in the days leading up to it that link to a page featuring information about the product: where it can be found, how much it will cost, and product details. Sharing important information like this on your social platforms makes it more likely to reach more people, ensuring your product launch will be a success.

8. H&M


H&M takes advantage of the frantic holiday season by reaching out to gift shoppers with this post. The video is a simple stop-motion clip that highlights H&M branding and the concept of gift-giving.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

The real value of this post lies in the caption. H&M includes a CTA linking viewers to a high-value piece of content: a holiday gift guide to the “season’s best gifts”. By making the link simple to remember (hm.com/magazine), H&M maximizes the chances that people will visit the link, even if Instagram doesn’t support links in captions.

When using Instagram to drive traffic to your content, make sure you clearly communicate its value and make it easily accessible.

9. Louis Vuitton


Louis Vuitton’s 2016 Christmas campaign is a wonderful example of smart, seasonal content. By framing these posts as “holiday gift ideas” from the #LVGiftWorkshop, Louis Vuitton circumvents needing to avoid being overly promotional. During the holiday season, people are on the lookout for good gift ideas; Louis Vuitton takes the opportunity to introduce its wide range of products to its fans and followers.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

I like that the contest is clearly themed – using red and gold conveys the holiday motif and lets viewers on LV’s profile see that these posts are all connected, increasing the chance that they’ll click through a few of them.

When planning social media marketing for your products, keep in mind the big shopping times of the year like Christmas and Black Friday to push products on your Instagram profile. Consider creating coupons for these times of year to maximize sales.

10. Vogue


This is a great post from Vogue. Firstly, it highlights an influencer, Adriana Lima, and a big event, the 16th Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Though the video itself is pretty cool and I love that it’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the Victoria’s Secret models spend their time when they’re not walking the runway.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Vogue tags a location, and they include a CTA to click the link in their bio to see the full piece of content. This helps to drive their social traffic to another location where viewers can experience the full piece of content. The link in their bio links to their Likeshop page, which means Vogue can send their viewers to relevant pages without needing to change their bio link often.

Behind-the-scenes photos or videos are great ideas for content – they provide your viewers with a special look into how your business operates behind closed doors. This type of content is exciting for customers, who often only get to see your “polished” marketing materials.

11. Starbucks


Finally, a contest! Starbucks celebrates their iconic red cups and the holiday season in this post by encouraging fans to share their photos of their red cups to win a $500 grand prize. Photo contests are an awesome way to generate excitement among your followers, while collecting user-generated content that you can share in future social posts or use for other marketing initiatives.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

I like that Starbucks chose a theme for their contest (“Light Up Red Cups”), and that they have contest eligibility and prize information clear in the photo’s caption. Finally, Starbucks does a great job in this campaign of highlighting notable entries on their Instagram Story as the contest goes on.

If you’re looking to boost engagement, increase your reach and draw in new followers, a contest is the way to go. Use an app like Wishpond (or do it yourself!) and run a sweepstakes or photo contest. Encourage followers to share your contest on social with friends in exchange for extra entries to help it spread.

12. Forever 21


Forever 21 does a great job of capitalizing on the popularity of the new Star Wars movie by posting a Star Wars-related Boomerang post. Besides being topical, this post is great because it has a CTA directing viewers to a link in their bio where people can find their Star Wars-inspired clothing, as featured in the video.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Leverage different types of media, such as Boomerang videos, to catch followers’ attention. Keep your eyes out for trending news – whether it’s celebrity gossip, big movie releases, or world news. Post photos or videos on Instagram with your own brand’s take on current events, through things like parodies or references (but try to stay away from politics).

13. GoPro


This is one of my favorite Instagram posts for the 2016 holiday season. I love that GoPro partnered with an influencer who’s popular with their target market (in this case Travis Fisher, a water skier) and made it holiday-themed by dressing him up as Santa.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

In this post, GoPro runs a caption contest – a unique, engaging, and easy-to-enter contest type for Instagram users. The prize is attractive (it’s a GoPro) and the contest is engaging because the winner is the comment that gets the highest number of likes (Instagram recently implemented likes on comments). This is a genius move from GoPro, as it means entrants will be likely to share the post on their social channels so their friends will vote.

Run different types of contests so you can keep your promotion strategy fresh and exciting. Run thematic contests that encourage entrants to be creative – and incentivize them to share the contest with their friends.

14. BMW


This isn’t a campaign to promote a product, but it’s still a great post from BMW. In this set of posts, BMW thanks their fans for helping them reach ten million followers on Instagram. The caption in their “thank you” photo is sincere and the photo itself is creative and unique.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Thank your followers – your social media presence wouldn’t be the same without them. Though BMW as a car company probably can’t do this, think about giving out a small discount or coupon when you reach follower milestones, as a way to give back to your social communities.

15. Topshop


This is a great partnered post with an influencer. It’s seasonal – it highlights a “cute and cozy” winter look. I love that Topshop uses Like2b.uy, a monetization platform that makes it simple for the brand’s fans and followers to find and purchase products from its e-commerce shop.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

The influencer is popular – she has over 86 thousand followers on Instagram. It’s also great that she’s posted a similar photo from the same shoot on her profile, tagging Topshop and linking to their Like2b.uy URL. Topshop follows all of the partnered post best practices here, and it’s a great success.

16. YouTube


This is one of the most creative Instagram marketing campaigns on this list. YouTube created a campaign called #GuessThatVideo, to highlight the most memorable moments in YouTube history. Each post is a short video featuring emojis that represent an iconic video that went viral on YouTube.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

This marketing campaign is purely for branding purposes – it helps YouTube reinforce its position as market leader and the home of some of the internet’s most viral content. It also succeeded in getting thousands of Instagram users to guess which video each post was referencing, making it astoundingly engaging.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Asking your followers questions is a great way to get them involved with your brand, as it shows them you care about what they have to say. If you want to incentivize engagement, consider offering a prize for the best answer or the answer with the most likes.

17. MTV


MTV capitalizes on the popularity of artists like Ariana Grande and Drake as well as the Thanksgiving holiday with this Instagram marketing campaign. Each post features a video showing two hands pulling a wishbone (a Thanksgiving tradition); the video caption asks followers to vote for the album they think is better.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Again, this campaign is engaging as it gets people commenting and creates discussion in MTV’s comments. MTV leverages the popularity of others to help boost their brand’s reach on social platforms.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

You can try something similar – for example, let fans vote on their favorite color of your newest product, and then add a discount for the winning color. A strategy like this helps to drive both interest and sales – that’s a win-win.

18. Vans x Nintendo


As a both a geek and a sneakerhead, I love this campaign. Vans and Nintendo came together to create a line of Vans sneakers featuring Nintendo characters and products. This post, a video featuring a Mario landscape and an 8-bit Vans shoes, perfectly captures the spirit of the collaboration.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

It’s a product-centric post that doesn’t feel overly promotional, because it’s a creative and unique piece of media. I love that both accounts posted the video and tagged each other, and that the video caption includes an (easy-to-remember) link to the product pages, as well as a hashtag for this specific collaboration.

When you launch a new product, consider being creative and going beyond simple product photos. Think of interesting ways to highlight a new product – maybe a teaser, an artist rendition, or something else. This helps your posts stay away from feeling overly promotional, while still helping you share them with your followers.

19. PlayStation


In advance of the launch of the (ultimately disappointing) video game No Man’s Sky, PlayStation posted this extremely creative video. It imagines what a familiar interface (in this case, the iPhone weather app) would look like on one of the planets of No Man’s Sky. This is an awesome way to build hype for a product launch.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

Because it’s so unique, this campaign drew a lot of humorous comments from engaged followers interested in buying the game. It effectively highlighted the game’s art style and the premise of the gameplay itself in a simple post.

Think of creative ways to tip something familiar to your viewers on its head to highlight your brand or product. Doing something like this helps to pull viewers’ attention from their feeds and encourages them to comment and share the photo or video with their friends.

20. Red Bull


Looks like everyone’s hopping on the Star Wars train! This is a perfect example of a company using trending topics to their advantage in social media marketing. Red Bull takes something interesting to the general public (Star Wars) and something from their own brand (sports – in this case, fencing) and puts them together to create a visual spectacle.

Instagram Marketing: 20 Excellent Examples & Ideas from Top Brands

There’s no indication that this is the result of a marketing partnership between the two brands, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The comments are full of people tagging their friends, because the media in the post is exciting and relevant to their interests. It doesn’t do anything to promote Red Bull’s products, but you can bet the increased engagement is going to lead to strengthened brand recall.

Again, capitalize on current events to reach new segments and engage your current followers. These types of posts are very shareable – use this to your advantage by adding a link to an additional related piece of content or a relevant product.

Conclusion


And we’re done! There’s 20 of the best Instagram campaigns I’ve seen. They all employ targeted, precise strategies with clear goals in mind, which is what makes them successful.

Whether it’s through influencer marketing, unique and captivating video, or by leveraging current events, each of these campaigns is an excellent example of the potential of Instagram marketing.

This article originally appeared in Wishpond Blog.

This article was written by Carlo Pacis from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

4 Ways Brands Should Use Native Advertising In 2017

With customers and online users opting for ad-blocking whenever they can, native advertising takes on an even more important role in 2017. When your ad looks like it belongs with the content that the potential customer has chosen to view, you end up with significantly higher engagement, which translates to click-throughs and sales.

Here Are 4 Ways to Use Native Advertising in 2017

1. Feature User-Generated Content

Today’s customers respond to what they perceive as authenticity, showering their loyalty on brands that they consider authentic. When they see other consumers putting their trust in a brand, it gives customers permission to trust that brand as well. You can generate this kind of brand loyalty and trust by incorporating user-generated content in your native advertising. Consider it a type of word-of-mouth marketing that allows one neighbor to talk up your brand to another neighbor across an entire continent.

Your social media platforms are a great place to start when pulling user-generated content but don’t be satisfied with just Facebook posts or tweets. Take proactive steps to stimulate the creation of user-generated content by hosting contests or polls. Jason Keith, VP/group director, strategy & analysis at Digitas, suggests attitudinal surveys both to generate content and to see how that content is landing with your potential customers. Focus on measures of engagement and interaction rather than only counting click-through rates to see how customers are responding.

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2. Keep It Short

Whether you’re promoting content via a widget or a tweet, you want to keep native advertising short. Even shorter than you think you need. Think of the length of time it takes to check something out on Snapchat, and use that as a measuring stick. Use video and other visuals to grab the user’s attention, and, again, keep your offerings short. Many users click on a video only to see how long it is, clicking away if it hits even the minute mark.

Keeping your native advertising bite-sized doesn’t mean you can’t tell a story, however. Think through the content you want to communicate, then engage potential customers by doling it out in small snack form on your chosen platforms.

3. Make Your Native Advertising Mobile-Friendly

As Vladimir Bashkin, Business Development Director of Native Ad Network Adnow, points out, it’s increasingly important to make sure all your content, including your native advertising, is mobile-friendly, with mobile traffic expected to grow by almost 800% in the next year. Native advertising for some platforms, of course, such as Twitter or Snapchat, is likely to be designed directly for mobile use, but keep this need in mind as you plan your native campaigns. If your customer can’t read your content on a small iPhone screen, they’re unlikely to click on it and get the full message you’re trying to send.

4. Tailor Your Content to Match Your Channels

It may seem obvious to suggest using multiple channels to deliver your native advertising, but the decision to do this complicates your visioning and design tasks. The whole idea of native advertising is that it fits seamlessly with the in-stream content of the site you’re placing content on. That means you have to design your native ads uniquely for each platform you use.

Many publisher platforms will work with you to help you design content to match their editorial look and feel. The approach you take should differ depending on whether your ad will be fully integrated or a click-through that takes the user away from the original site.

Tailoring your content is also vital when you’re approaching the different social media platforms. All the major social media outlets, from Facebook to Pinterest to LinkedIn, let you insert native content, often in different ways. Do some market research work to understand which social media platforms your prospective customers are using. It doesn’t make sense, for instance, to tailor content for Pinterest if your customers aren’t there. Most social media platforms can provide you with ample data to help you make the right choices with regards to targeting specific consumers.

As the world of native advertising continues to grow and become refined, you have the opportunity to be part of this innovative world to expand your brand. Focus on creating and delivering an authentic message by the right channels, and look for a new and exciting response on the part of your potential customers.

This article was written by Steve Olenski from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Secret Formula to Hashtag Success

You are likely familiar with what hashtags look like (e.g. #Meltwater), but like most people could use a few tips on how to make them more effective for your PR efforts. Hashtags are fantastic for brands who want to expand their reach or solidify their community around an idea or event. Like everything else on social media, however, they require a more nuanced approach than you might expect from your microcontent. Let’s break down some of the key benefits hashtags bring to your online PR efforts:

Joining (or Leading) a Conversation

Hashtags got their start on Twitter as a way to track conversational threads, and conversation tracking remains a popular use case for them. It’s not uncommon to see people and brands create a quick hashtag when they start a topic, in hopes that it will catch on and become the anchor for that discussion. This has become so commonplace that on most social platforms where hashtags are active, they are also searchable.

An example of a brand creating a conversational hashtag that has become ubiquitous is Nike’s #JustDoIt. The hashtag which is sprinkled liberally throughout Twitter and Instagram, sometimes only tangentially references the original brand source.

Aligning with or Showing Solidarity to a Movement

Aligning with a movement is a vital part of the strategy we discussed in our post on Transparency vs TMI. Now that customers want to follow brands who share their values, brands who speak up about the positive causes they support get excellent traction online. As with trend jacking, mentioned below, it’s wise for the PR pro to proceed with caution here. Do your homework and make sure the cause is one that aligns with your values and your customers’ values before jumping in.

Expanding Brand Reach and Perception

Hashtags are excellent for expanding a brand’s reach and impact. There are several ways you can do this, whether it’s watching for and jumping into conversations about an existing brand slogan, like Nike has in our example above, using a hashtag to thread your visual brand story together on Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr, or starting a monthly Twitter chat about your subject matter area of expertise. As your short, easy to remember, consistent hashtag gains traction, you build a repository of brand engagement that lives on to keep expanding awareness and reach over time.

Event Participation

We’ve all seen the ubiquitous event hashtags out there: #SXSW (South by SouthWest), #Grammys, #NBCTheVoice, and more. This is one of the easiest (and safest) ways for a brand to use hashtags to either promote an event they run and encourage engagement by participants or to promote their attendance or participation at an important event. As with any of these hashtags techniques we’ve mentioned, you can create a Twitter Moment or a Storify to turn a collection of posts on a hashtag into a story, but this method of storytelling (embeddable on your blog!) works very well with events in particular. Above all else, if you make an event hashtag, keep it short! Character count limits can be an issue for users.

Customer Outreach and Support

Twitter, especially, has become a defacto customer support channel. Your customers are likely using this channel for customer feedback and support already–even if you are not! If you don’t have the bandwidth to create a separate account for support to maintain, you can easily create a support hashtag and use a monitoring service to track it (listen) and respond (engage). Remember: it’s always best to limit yourself to two public replies to a customer’s issue, then try to move them to direct message or email (politely).

Trend Jacking (Use with Caution)

Like anything else online, there are some sticky challenges with using hashtags a certain way. For example, “trend jacking” (inserting your brand into a trending hashtag associated with a developing news story, such as @WValderrama did for Art Basel) is an effective tactic that can easily become a double-edged sword. We’d recommend only seasoned PR pros try this, as it’s easy for a brand to come across as insensitive or gauche using this technique. The backlash for inappropriate trend jacking can be swift and vast, so use with caution and do your homework on the hashtag’s purpose and origin first.

Last, but not least, it’s important to know two things: where hashtags “work” (are clickable and useful) and how many to use per post per platform. Not all platforms encourage their use, and some platform users think “too many” is equivalent to spam. First, hashtags are best to use on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and Tumblr (they have yet to catch on in Facebook). As to the second, it depends on the platform. For Twitter more than two hashtags looks junky to the average user, for Instagram, however, you can use as many as you like, as long as they appear after the content. We hope these tips give you the direction you need to master the use of hashtags quickly and effectively. And remember, using a media intelligence platform to gain insight into hashtag trends as you go will allow you to see the impact using them is having on your brand.

As PR folks, our goal should be to present useful information that allows people to engage effortlessly, that’s why hashtags can be another tool in our communication toolbox. For more on how to unlock the potential for modern PR, download our ebook.

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How to Create Ridiculously Compelling Content in 5 Easy Steps

Have you ever wondered what makes for a great blog? What’s the secret? What makes you visit them over and over again?

Let me guess: It’s in the content!

Fun, helpful, striking content always attracts visitors and gets shared. And now you want to create your own blog, a great one just like all the ones you’ve seen.

It always feels amazing in the beginning. You’re filled with hope starting a new thing.

But wait a minute… Sure you’ve read lots about blogging, but you’ve never actually done it before. And the first time is always the hardest.

I’m not trying to scare you. On the contrary, I’d like to forewarn you about the obstacles that, I myself faced, when I started blogging. There’s no doubt that your individual experience is precious and essential. But if there’s a chance to learn about blogging traps and avoid them, why don’t you take it?

Here’s 5 quick tips I’ve learned from my blogging experience and those blogs I read daily.

1. Focus on your goal and audience

Focus on your goals and audience

Don’t start writing content until you’ve decided what you’re going to write about. The first thing to define is the focus of your blog: food, sports, fashion, lifestyle, education, business, or anything else you find interesting.

Do you already know who is your ideal reader? Define at the very beginning who might be interested in your blog. Try to be as precise as possible. Write as if you’re writing for only one person.

Write down everything about your ideal reader: age, gender, country, education, spheres of interest, and so on. Based on this, you’ll create blog topics and choose a writing tone.

And one more thing to pay attention to: You can write great content only if you’re interested in it. Find something in the middle between what you’re passionate about and what your target audience will probably like.

2. Organize your work

Organize your work

Here you should define how you’re going to post. And remember, you should keep all your ideas, notes, drafts, and other blog stuff in good order and in one place. Choose an organizer or planner, or store everything you work on in Google Docs.

Create a posting schedule so you are aware when you should start the research for each post and understand how to work blogging into your daily routine. If blogging isn’t the only thing you do, even one post a week will be quite good.

Readers should understand that every Monday, for example, they know they can come to your blog and see a superb post. It should be a habit both for you and your audience.

3. Post different content

Post different content

Got some fantastic ideas on what to write about on your blog? Great! Include them in your content plan.

If you feel you’re at a loss and nothing worthwhile is in your head, then it’s time for research. Looking through other blogs that you’re fond of brings you fresh ideas and helps to form a range of relevant topics. Also, you can analyze materials on these blogs and see what types of posts have more likes and shares. Just find some examples to look up to.

For the record, do you know what content attracts more visitors?

The first type: humorous and entertaining. Everyone, no matter their age or social status, likes some funny content from time to time. The pace of life is intense and people prefer reading (or better yet, watching) something entertaining.

Second: helpful. Who doesn’t love life hacks? Thanks to them we receive free knowledge and learn how to make life easier. It’s fantastic that somebody else figured out how to spend less time on daily activities and use ordinary things in alternative and creative ways, isn’t it?

Third: story. Well, you must be good at storytelling to create something engaging. Write about your own experience or the experiences of other people. Write something unique and individual, let your readers live the lives of other people. It always works and it’s always exciting. Everyone likes telling stories and listening to them.

And there are also a few criteria for the content you write. It should be varied, catchy, and original. Keep the following in mind:

  • Choose different types of posts for your blog (I’ll provide you with types of posts below).
  • Besides text posts, visualization is important too. Create more visual content; it’s always attractive, especially if it’s of high quality. Post infographics and illustrations. Even though you’re not a graphic designer, use magic websites such as Canva or infogr.am (also try visually and easelly).
  • On the Internet, plagiarism and copying are common, which is something you should always remember. Even if you care about writing original content, somebody else might steal your work. To check and see that nobody has stolen your unique content, use the Unplag plagiarism checker, and keep your eyes open!

Here’s a list of blog post types you can choose from:

  • Interviews – Ask influencers or other interesting personalities some questions.
  • Tutorials – Explain to your readers how to do something. It can be either text or a video guide.
  • News – Tell what happened recently and what’s trending now.
  • Research – Present your personal research on a topic and explain what your research shows.
  • Presentations – Prepare a slideshow on a topic.
  • Lists – Recommend helpful tools, methods, exercises, tips, and so on. Arrange them all as a list. You can also provide your readers with to-do lists.
  • Reviews – Review a product or tool, show how it functions, and what advantages and disadvantages it has. Express your own opinion on the product.
  • Infographics – Provide your audience with visualized data.
  • Memes – Let some funny memes reside on your blog. They always attract people.
  • Opinion posts – Share your views on certain issues.
  • Case studies – Describe a certain case and what can be learned from it.
  • Podcasts – Tell or show something interesting in your podcast and let other people download it.
  • Stories – Tell an inspiring story from your personal experience or somebody else’s.
  • Fiction – Post a short story or any other piece of writing. It’s a great type of content, of course, if your blog is focused on literature.
  • Guest posts – Interact with other bloggers, exchange experiences, and let them publish some great guest posts on your blog.
  • Contests – Involve your readers in an absorbing contest and give a prize to the winner.

4. Write, write, write

write write write

Before you create a good post, you’ll have to write several drafts. Some of them are going to be bad. Don’t be afraid to write bad drafts. It’s workflow and there’s nothing to worry about. Just work a lot, and write daily (at least note some ideas). Think of what’s going to be in your next post.

A skill that bloggers should master is writing powerful headlines. Firstly, you have to read other blogs, analyze titles, and choose those that personally attract you. Try to figure out what exactly attracts you to these titles. Secondly, read materials on writing strong titles. For example, I enjoyed a headline guide provided by Henneke Duistermaat, an experienced copywriter and marketer.

Also, don’t forget that all sources you use for your web content should be credible. It’s rule number one for everyone who writes: fact-check, copy edit, and rely only on trustable sources. For your part, don’t forget to give credit to those authors whose materials you use. Be an honest blogger, not a copycat.

And one last thing here. Thoroughly check everything you write. Don’t publish your post the minute you’ve finished it. Take some time away from it and then come back again to the draft. Make it as perfect as possible. And here’s what I advise as well: hire a proofreader. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great writer, everyone makes typos and mistakes, and a proofreader is a kind of test reader. Proofreaders take a fresh look at the text and suggest improvements.

5. Interact with your audience

Interact with your audience 2

Do you think after you’ve published a post that you’re done? You’re not. The most interesting parts come after publishing. Just tell them what to do: comment, check another blog post, share their experience or suggest solutions to the problem.

If your content is targeted in a proper way and topics you’ve chosen are interesting for your ideal readers, they’ll gladly comment on them. But sometimes even high-quality and original posts have few likes and shares. And no comments. You need to mend this. Provoke discussions, use calls-to-action and interact with your readers in any other possible way you can to get the discussion going.

Bloggers tend to make the following mistake: They receive a huge number of comments, but they answer none. Allow time for monitoring comments and providing your audience with responses. Be ready to receive hater comments. It’s an indispensible part of blogging – there always will be a person who dislikes or disagrees with what other people say. You need to develop a special attitude for such situations and take haters with a grain of salt.

Now that you’re on the road to creating ridiculously simple content for your blog, download our Jeff Bullas webinar on 5 Key Strategies to Grow Your Web Traffic. Learn how to get a ton of new visitors to your blog and website without paying Google or Facebook a cent.

 

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Image Sources: Gratisography and Unsplash

This article was written by Rose Scott from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

This post was originally published on this site on May 6, 2016.

How Does Your Brand Affect Your Customers’ Personal Experiences?

Have you ever wondered how Coke became so synonymous with cola, Hoover with vacuuming, or Google with searching the internet?

“Emotional connectivity,” says former Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts. “You want loyalty beyond reason and loyalty beyond recession.”

Emotional connectivity that becomes brand loyalty is what a true customer brand experience is all about. For every business seeking to thrive and create a lasting impact, emotional connectivity needs to be a mission-critical constant in their branding equation. Nowadays, customers no longer spend their money as a result of what they see and hear about brands; rather, they value brand and customer experience. Advertisers and brand managers are shifting their focus from creating simple brand messages towards building a lasting brand-customer relationship. Customers now equate brands with experiences, and they are willing to pay premium prices for excellent customer service and an outstanding retail experience. A single negative experience or unresolved issue is enough to make a client give up on a brand. Worse: a negative experience can easily become a negative review, and this can spread quicker than a wink online, thanks to social media and online review sites.

It’s vital for companies to connect with their customers on a deeper and more satisfying level – through positive customer experience. Here are five ways brands can create worthwhile and memorable customer experiences:

Make the Brand Stand out – in a Good Way

To customers, the uniqueness of a brand is what makes it stand out. The easiest way to do this is to create a memorable brand name. For instance, affixing the lowercase ‘i’ to its product offerings – like the iPhone, iMac, and iPad – has made each item a very recognizable Apple product.

Of course, Apple did not stop at brand recollection value; that alone would hardly make a customer use and keep using a new product or service. What makes the brand experience a meaningful one is when people use a product or service – and enjoy every minute of it.

In a fast-changing digital environment where each subsequent product tends to get more and more complicated, Apple went back to basics; the company decided to simplify everything. Apple built its brand by focusing not only on the features of each product but also on sleek and simple aesthetics – attributes that seemed like an afterthought to competitors. The strategy clearly worked; Apple has created a satisfactory customer experience that has morphed into a huge loyal brand following.

Adapt to the Changing Times

Staying current is a must for every brand that wants to endure over time. In the fast-paced Internet Age, doing so can be challenging, as evidenced by the many brands that have crashed and burned over the last few decades, like social media platform Friendster and mega-bookstore Borders. It seems like any brand that fails to stay relevant is signing its own death warrant.

Many businesses are finding ways to adapt to the changing times through social media, which has become an avenue for consistent, direct, and meaningful customer interaction. It provides tremendous insight into customer needs, wants, behavior, and engagement.

These days, having a website and a mobile app is pretty much non-negotiable, too. They provide information to consumers and help them not only to make informed purchasing decisions but also to resolve issues that could have a significant impact on how they perceive a brand.

Connect with Customers on a Personal Level

A personal touch can go a long way in strengthening a business’s branding. Gone are the days when one size fits all; customers now favor brands that offer and provide them with tailored experiences. ‘Tailoring’ can be as easy as having the customer’s name in an ema