Lead Generation Strategies For Lockdown And Beyond

Now, more than ever, it is time to take a good look at your current lead generation strategies to see how they can adapt to the global shifts caused by COVID-19. All over the world, businesses are starting to look at new and improved ways to reach customers, during the lockdown and beyond. Remote marketing has opened up a whole new world for businesses, with many industries being forced to consider new ways of growing sales. The digital space especially has an opportunity for increased growth, with a number of channels and strategies on the rise.

How to Create and Optimise Instagram Stories for your Brand

Instagram Stories are vertical, full-screen photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours. They appear at the top of the app and last 15 seconds maximum.

500 million people already use stories daily and their popularity keeps increasing. This makes Instagram Stories a great tool for businesses to reach and engage larger audiences.

Given its potential, we think it will be interesting for your brand to learn how to create and optimise stories for better results.

How to Create an Instagram Story

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a story:

Step 1: Click the plus button at the top of the screen and choose “story” from the different options available or swipe left.

Step 2: Tap the switch-camera icon on the bottom right for a selfie shot.

Step 3: Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture or press and hold it to record a video. There may be smaller circles to the right and left of the white circle. Those circles are some of the filters that you can use for your shoot.

Step 4: Click the blue plus button to use photos or videos from your camera roll.

Step 5: Tap the sticker icon that appears at the top of the screen to add GIFs, polls, questions, reactions slides or location, and hashtag stickers within others. Tap the music icon if you would like to add music too. Finally, if you would like to add a link to an external website, click the link icon.

Step 6: Choose a typography and add text (if needed).

Step 7: Once the story is finished, click the “your story” button.

Tips to Optimise Your Stories

Now that you already know how to create Instagram stories, let’s dive into the best practices to optimise them. Make sure you follow these tips for an increase in your overall sales.

  1. Plan the content. Posting stories regularly is key to keeping your audience engaged, but you will waste a lot of time if you create one story at a time. To be able to be consistent and see results, brainstorm and prepare the content in advance.
  1. Shoot vertically. Shoot all your content in vertical format (9:16) right from the beginning for better results. Be mindful of the file size too. Instagram will only accept up to 30MB for images and 250MB for videos. Lastly, do not add text or stickers at the top or bottom of the screen as your username or the reply button may prevent users from seeing it.
  1. Keep branding consistent. Consistent visuals help followers identify your brand and strengthen brand recall. Therefore, consider using brand colours and fonts on your stories to help followers recognise your brand as they scroll through their stories without reading the username. People are always in a rush and they usually do not pay attention to who has published what.
  1. Add captions. 40% of people watch Instagram Stories without sound. Adding captions to stories is a great way to leverage your messages to this 40%. Besides, captions make the content accessible to a larger audience. Hearing-impaired people, for example, will only be able to understand your stories if they have captions. Although it only works for video, there is an Instagram feature to generate captions. To add them, click on the sticker icon located at the top of the screen and tap the captions sticker. Once added, check if they are correct and make changes if needed. You can also change the caption font and colour and relocate and resize the text by pinching and dragging.
  1. Add animation. On average, images last 5 seconds while videos last up to 15. But the truth is none of your followers have ever watched images for 5 seconds. Something you can do to hold your viewer’s attention for longer is to add animation. For example, consider using GIFs, reaction slides, or animated texts.
  1. Encourage audience interactions with polls, questions, and reaction slides. Poll, question and reaction slide stickers are key to drive engagement and increase a brand’s visibility. Besides, they are really useful to get insights into your audience and to assess what interests them.
  1. Include a call to action (CTA). When you create a story, you have to clearly indicate to viewers what you want them to do afterward. What most brands do is drive users to their website. Those who have more than 10K followers usually add a link to their stories along with a “swipe up” sticker at the bottom of the screen while those who have less than 10,000 followers drive people to the link in their bio as in a normal post.
  1. Create highlights. Instagram Stories do not have to disappear after 24 hours. You can pin them at the top of your profile under the highlights section to extend your bio information. Try to create a highlight per theme to present the information clearly and add brand-related visuals as covers. These highlights will be key for those users interested in your brand and that want to learn more about your values, products or services.
  1. Go live. Instagram Lives are another way to drive engagement. Besides, Instagram is currently trying to push them as the next big thing, so each time you go live, all your followers will receive a notification that will help you increase your brand’s visibility.
  1. Track your success with Instagram Stories Analytics. Assessing what is working and what is not is key to improve your overall performance. Therefore, switch to business mode, view the analytics for your Instagram Stories, and tailor your strategy accordingly. To see the Insights for your Instagram Stories, head to your profile and select the Insights icon in the top right corner. Next, scroll down and tap “Get Started” in the Stories section.

Wrapping Up

Instagram Stories’ popularity is increasing every year. Creating content for this platform is then key for a business to keep up-to-date and reach and engage larger audiences. Thus, if you are a business owner, consider following the previous step-by-step guide and tips to increase overall performance or sales.

Digital Marketing Trends For 2021

There is no doubt that digital marketing is a constantly shifting landscape, with each year bringing new trends to the table. In the last year or two alone, we have seen the rise of AI that has opened up the digital space to offer a far greater level of customization than ever before. We have also seen smaller shifts in how customers are reached, along with steady shifts in various digital marketing channels, from SEO to social media. One of the greatest things about digital marketing is its ability to adapt as new technologies are discovered and new ways of reaching customers are explored.

As we get closer towards the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, we’re taking a look at some of the most noteworthy digital trends that are emerging. Keep reading to find out how you can keep your campaigns up to date as you embrace new and emerging strategies to take your results to the next level.

Digital Marketing Trends For The Year Ahead

Although blindly following trends is not at all what digital marketing is about, staying aware of current trends is an excellent way to discover new strategies and approaches that can maximize your results. The best way to get the most from any trend is to integrate it within your broader digital strategy. This is why a multi-channel or omnichannel approach becomes the most effective way to get the most from your digital marketing efforts.

Some of the most interesting digital marketing trends for the year ahead that we will certainly be watching include the following:

Storytelling

Storytelling is not exactly a brand new concept in itself. Using the many new digital marketing methods that have become available will allow you to take your storytelling to a whole other level, however. The marketing sphere has become saturated with millions of campaigns across every conceivable channel, from video to text and social media. The days of bland, faceless content that appeals to a generic audience are over. Instead, what we are moving towards is an approach that integrates storytelling for a far more personal touch that allows audiences to make a genuine connection.

There are many ways that you could integrate storytelling into your digital marketing campaigns. Social media is naturally one of the most effective channels for this, but you could also look at maximizing your video campaigns with the addition of real-life people such as your team members. You could also use your website to show customers who you are. Behind the scenes content, photos of your team and other relatable content will all help you better tell your brand’s story.

Zero-Click Results

Google Snippets continues to shift the way that people find information in the SERPs. Rather than having to click through multiple results, users can get a quick snapshot of content directly from the search. Zero-click results are set to continue to rise as Google enables rich content in the SERPs. The result is a far simpler search experience and a far more streamlined search that delivers faster results for users.

For brands, this means making use of Snippets to present a condensed snapshot of your content that can be used in the SERPs. It also means that your content will have to gain attention quickly in order to be clicked on rather than scrolled past. Make sure that you optimize your pages carefully to get the most from this trend.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. If anything, AI is set to expand even further as we enter 2020 and beyond. From chatbots that provide a better user experience to customers to automated features that further add value, AI is spreading across the digital marketing landscape, into search, mobile marketing, eCommerce marketing, and many other areas.

Simply adding a chatbot to your site and then hoping for the best is not the way to go. Instead, you will need to also look at how you can optimize your chatbot and AI features to provide a better experience for your audience. Do some research into how you can enhance the customer experience and make use of testing to see what is working and what is not. This is the best way to get more from AI without ending up over-automating your website.

Live Video

Live video is another trend that is continuing to grow each year. Since Facebook launched its Live feature, in the moment video has become a popular feature for brands across all markets. What makes live video a valuable strategy is its interaction and engagement. Unlike traditional video, which is recorded and then published to platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, live video is filmed at the moment, with interaction that is also done at the moment.

The result is a far higher level of engagement. Viewers have the chance to ask questions or make comments and brands get the chance to interact directly with their audience throughout the video. Once the video has been done, it remains on social media pages, meaning that it can be viewed later if audiences missed the live viewing. There is also a chance to create hype and build excitement prior to the screening, to maximize views once the live video starts.

Visual & Voice Search

Google continues to pave the way when it comes to innovative search. Some of the biggest trends to watch in the search department include visual search as well as voice search. In visual search, images can be uploaded through an image search or a link to an image can be added. Pinterest is also making use of this feature. With voice search, searches can be done without having to type, using voice to ask questions. This follows the rise of Siri, Alexa, and other tools that have made way for such technology.

To make sure that your site can be found easily using both visual and voice search, it is imperative to optimize your website for both types of searches. Pay special attention to the keywords you use, the way you name image files, and the meta and content you use within your website pages.

Push Notifications

Finally, we have push notifications. Another trend that has slowly but surely been emerging in recent years, push notifications to use website browsers to send instant notifications to users. With email marketing regulations tightening all over the globe, brands are looking for new ways to reach audiences all the time. Push notifications offer a simple, minimally invasive way to send out messages at the right moment, while your audience is currently on your website.

Notifications that are based on behavior triggers are especially effective. In eCommerce marketing, these notifications can help to remind customers of items left in abandoned carts, inform customers of upcoming sales or special offers, and even share limited-time deals or discounts. Multi-media notifications can also be enabled, working hand in hand with calls to action to further encourage users to engage.

Digital Marketing Trends

With a brand new year around the corner, we’re looking forward to seeing how the digital landscape will continue to adapt and grow. These digital marketing trends will certainly be worth watching as the new year gets underway.

3 Reasons To Avoid A Generic Social Media Strategy

One of the biggest advantages of having a comprehensive social media strategy in place is that it ensures a consistent flow of original content rather than a flood of generic posts. Many businesses make the mistake of seeing social channels in isolation rather than looking at the bigger picture. The risk of this approach is posting the same content across every channel. While it may seem like a good way to save time and effort, this tactic can end up doing far more harm than good.

How A Generic Social Media Strategy Hurts Your Growth

Keep reading to find out how a generic social media strategy could just be the worst thing you could do for your business.

Why is it never a good idea to proceed with a generic social media strategy? Can a generic strategy really do that much harm to your growth? Let’s take a look…

1. Social Media Channels Do Not Exist In A Vacuum

Most people follow brands on more than one channel. When you assume that every platform has its own, completely separate audience, you run the risk of sharing social media content that is essentially the same across every channel. The problem with this is that you lose an opportunity to reach customers when you have a one-size-fits-all strategy rather than a unique strategy that is designed to offer original content across each unique channel.

2. Generic Content Makes You Seem Unoriginal

Imagine for a moment that a customer follows you on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. That customer also reads your blog. Would they stick around to see the same updates shared across every channel? Or, would they quickly lose interest? When your content is systematically shared across every channel in a way that is less than inspiring, your entire brand will start to seem boring, unoriginal, and uninspired. This is never great for engagement.

3. A Well-Rounded Strategy Should Be Diverse

That means not only sharing unique content that is designed for each specific channel but also incorporating content that is not from your own website or blog. If you are worried about sending traffic to other websites, it is worth noting that sharing external content can actually help you grow your own presence. A well-rounded, diverse strategy makes your business look good. It also helps to position your brand as an industry leader who is up to date on industry trends.

Rather than seeing social media as a chore, aim to see it as a way to connect with your audience. This way, you will avoid a generic social media strategy and continue to provide your followers with fresh, original content.

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