Real Estate Homepage

Is your Real Estate Site Homepage Really Serving your Customers?

The most important page in a website is none other than its homepage.

It is more than a page that introduces your business to the viewers as it actually works as a guide. If one gets lost, one can always go back “home” and start again.

It is also the most valuable page that glues the entire site together. It basically works as a tool for the users to get to the page or content they want to see.

In Real Estate, the homepage needs to be designed to address the interests of the visitor. Why are they even there? What do they want? Read our Complete Online Marketing for Real Estate to understand what they really want.

Buyers come to a real estate website to buy homes. Sure, they maybe on different levels on the decision making process spectrum but all the same, they are there to make a purchase – maybe in a few weeks or even a few months’ time.

They make their purchase decision after considering all possible options available for them. Possible options meaning price ranges, home specifications, location, commute time to and from work or school, security and ten to twenty to a hundred more decision making parameters.

So how can we help them in their quest? With the use of our site, of course!

Let’s start with the homepage. Here are some popular content and site functions you will observe in most real estate websites:

The Navigation Bar or the Menu

the-navigation-bar-or-the-menu

The menu or navigation bar is usually seen at the top of a real estate website. It typically has these items on them which are either hidden or perfectly shown:

  • Home and/or Logo to redirect directly to the homepage
  • Search (drop down for price range, communities)
  • Sales (recently sold homes)
  • Blog (blog area of the site)
  • About

Some other common items are tools such as Home Mortgage Calculators, Market Reports and a Sign-up | Login area which gives full access to the MLS and other restricted areas of the site.

Additional Navigational Experience

additional navigation

Most of the time items or content of the entire site can be cut to portions and displayed on the homepage as “teasers” of what the entire site actually contains.

Think of it like playlists. In iTunes, one can set up different playlists, right? The exact same thing goes for real estate websites. We can display homes in a variety of ways.

Some of these playlists are pre-made popular search criteria like Search by Price, Search by Area, Most Viewed Homes or Recently Listed Homes. You can cut up your library into as many playlists as possible.

In some recent sites we’ve made, we have even sliced them up into categories such as Search by Design and Search by Features.

This is an ideal way to set up the homepage as it allows the real estate agent to summarize the site and let the visitors proceed as they wish to other pages.

Some of these pre-made searches are more efficient over others. People would generally hit Search by Price much more than Search Homes by Design. So it’s better to place the more powerful search categories on top of the others for faster access to those pages.

An Overall Feel – The Intuition

an-overall-feel-the-intuition

In a sense, Google, Yahoo and Bing all do the same thing – they reply to our search queries. Zillow.com, Homes.com and Trulia.com also kind of do the same thing. They display results of homes for sale with the specifications given by their users.

But how did it feel like while working on Google or Zillow? Why did they stand apart from the others by almost by a mile?

A good reply to this would be that the overall feel of using their search services are very satisfactory. We get answers quickly and accurately and their interface, though very simple, is effective.

Your site content may be amazing but if it does not feel right or if it seems out of place, then this may cause people to leave the site and not come back. Or yes, they may come back, but very reluctantly.

We want the homepage to have the right feel. First of all it should feel smooth i.e. no rough edges such as slow load speeds, errors, glitches and vague content.

Another element of amazing homepages is that they should allow for a deeper navigation within a few clicks.

It’s like a child jumping back and forth – almost predictable on the outcome and without breaking any sweat. It literally should be a “walk in the park.”

Here are a few considerations you should be aware of that can affect the smoothness and easiness of the homepage:

Fast Page Loads

page loads

Slow loading sites are a disservice to your customers. It’s like asking them to fall in line when they want your service right now. Remember, they will not wait for your site to load. Use Google Page Insights to check your homepage and have your developer score above 95% to ensure fast page loads.

Accurate Page Loads for Devices and Browsers

accurate page loads

Mobile and Browser site compatibility audit.

I do not use Safari much, but most of your customers do. You may not use an Android device but thousands of your customers do. Not having all devices and major browsers ready to display your content shows that you do not care enough.

Although this is a tiring and time-consuming process, we recommend using manual inspections. There are some programs that can help you detect non-compatibility but they have not been 100% accurate. In fact, they are still far from it.

Fast and Up-to-Date Search Results

search results

Overall Site Search Functions and updated MLS results.

Information is the agent’s biggest asset. Outdated information is not helping you be on top of your game.

Here’s a list of other contents and functions within the homepage that need attention:

  • Site layout
  • Font consistency
  • Proportionally sized fonts and divisions of the page
  • Organized Navigational Sections (Search by Price, communities etc…)
  • Brand Content (About, Testimonials, Reviews, Sales, other achievements)
  • Contact Tools (Newsletters, Contact Us forms, Phone Number, Google Maps with Address, social accounts, blog updates)
  • City/Town Content – Not just for SEO, this content should prove that your site is the #1 resource for home updates, community knowledge, and market knowledge.

Art is important but design is when art and functionalities meet to satisfy a specific need.

The visitors are not in the site to be wowed. They are there because the homepage offers a service to them. Ultimately, the homepage and the entire site is the tool that helps them make their buying process easier and more effective.

So keep on at that homepage to see better results.

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Different Kinds of Facebook Ads and Their Benefits

Facebook: Why it’s a Good Marketing Platform

Out of all the social media sites that web users take part in, it’s an undeniable fact that Facebook wins by a landslide when it comes to determining the most popular as well as the most visited by internet users.

Compared to Twitter and Instagram, Facebook has the largest user base. According to Statista.com’s recent report about Facebook’s number of monthly active users, it showed that at the 2nd quarter of 2016 Facebook already has 1.71 billion monthly active users.

Those are some pretty sweet figures, right? Just imagine the number of people a network can potentially reach if this platform is utilized correctly.

Some marketers might have the mind-set that Facebook will not be able to cater to all types of businesses and maybe your business is one of them. But hear this idea out — for example, you ask 10 random people belonging to different age brackets what social media site they often use, chances are 9 out of 10 of them will answer Facebook. So what’s my point? – Facebook is where the people are. And by “people” I mean potential customers.

Setting aside the label for “the most popular social media website,” it doesn’t matter what platform you use to pursue digital marketing. Just because you think social media A is a better bet for your business compared to social media B doesn’t guarantee that it will garner good results. Everything still depends on the approach of your digital marketing strategy.

Going back, the main reason I stated that Facebook is a good marketing platform is not only because of its large user base but also due to the variety of ad options it offers marketers.

Facebook ad options

Before, Facebook offered over 25 types of advertisement options. Then it simplified everything leaving only what they considered as effective.  Now, only 9 main formats remain: Promoted Posts, Boosted Posts, Multiproduct Ads, Video Ads, Domain Ads, App Ads, Event Ads, Offer Ads and Page Like Ads.

Promoted PostsPromoted-Posts

 

Whether these are recent or old posts, you may promote them to get additional paid reach in the news feed of your fans as well as the friends of fans. Besides being placed on the news feed, promoted posts can also be seen on mobile feeds as well as Facebook’s right hand column. The most effective way to create promoted posts is through the Ads Manager because it offers targeted pricing and bidding options.

For the costs, page owners pay a flat rate for promoted posts in order to reach a certain number of users. Depending on the high level of engagement a post is able to get, there may be instances wherein people can still see the post even after the promotion has finished running. Through this ad option, a page can achieve a great increase on its organic activity.

Boosted PostsBoosted-Posts

 

Boosted post is a less complicated version of a promoted post. Simply click on the settings icon of a post and you’ll see the “Boost Post” option. Afterwards, you can set the budget and the duration of the boost as well as the target audience you want to engage in your post.

Selecting an audience is one of this ad option’s best features because you can choose to boost your post to either your fans (including their friends) or other specific targets. Some of the criteria used in targeting a specific target are age, gender, location and interests. You can choose up to 10 interests for your criteria.

Like Facebook promoted post, ad placements for boosted posts can be seen on the news feed, mobile feeds and Facebook’s right hand column. Two important things you should note you about boosted posts are:

  • This is only available to Facebook pages with 50 likes or more;
  • You are not allowed to edit a boosted post once it’s already running. The only option you have is to delete the first post, go back to the Power Editor or Ads Manager, edit the post and then re-boost it.

Multiproduct ads

multiproduct ads

Multiproduct ads (also referred to as carousel ads) is an ad format that is designed to help marketers generate more website visitors and drive better conversion rates to their page. This Facebook ad option allows businesses to display 3 to 5 images within a single ad post each having its own title, description and destination link.

It may seem like it’s made specifically for E-commerce due to its name, but the carousel ad can be utilized by other businesses as well. For example, publishing/media companies may be able to showcase a variety of stories in a single ad rather than creating multiple ones in promoting a couple of recent stories.

Video AdsVideo-Ads

Because of Facebook’s desire to compete with television advertisements, the company rolled out their own video ads that allow marketers to promote videos on Facebook. This type of ad is allowed in all three placements — desktop news feed, mobile and the right hand column. However, in order to promote a video, it must be uploaded directly to Facebook.

Facebook video ads is also a good option since it shows the number of times the video has been viewed. Note that a view will only be counted if the person watched it for more than 3 seconds. Aside from view count, it also provides a call-to-action at the end of the video.

Domain adsDomain-ads

Out of all the type of ad options Facebook offers, this is probably the simplest one. A business doesn’t necessarily need to have a Facebook page setup for it to use a domain ad. This can only be seen on the right hand column of Facebook and it contains a title, a short description and a website link. This ad option’s objective is mainly to drive traffic to a website.

App adsApp-ads

 

Promoting an app has been made simple by Facebook through its ad manager.

Facebook’s ad manager can easily acquire data from an app’s Apple App Store URL or Google Play link for it to be able to help you create an ad. This option allows placements on mobile feeds as well as Facebook’s right hand column. The main purpose of app ads is to help marketers increase the number of downloads for their business’s mobile apps and the user engagement it gets. Through this ad option, you also get to track how the app ads affected the number of installs and sales of your mobile application.

Event adsEvent-ads

The aim of this ad option is to increase the number of people who will RSVP to your event. An event ad may appear in any of the three placement options on the site. It displays all the relevant social information that Facebook users would want to know about your event. This includes the event name, time, where it will be held as well as their friends who may be attending.

Aside from that, it also pushes a call-to-action because it allows users to choose if they will or will not attend or just interested in the event. However, note that when creating an event advertisement, the event page must be hosted on Facebook.

Offer adsOffer-ads

 

Facebook’s offer ad option allows marketers to showcase their promotions and discounts to their page’s fans. It helps users claim offers which they can use in-store or online. When creating offer ads, it should be noted that the offer must comply with Facebook’s terms and agreements. In this ad option, social information is provided such as users that have claimed certain offers and for how long an offer is available to users. The placement of this ad may either be on desktop news feed, mobile or the right hand column.

Page like adsPage-like-ads

 

Facebook’s page like ad can be placed on either the side bar or the news feed. It works in increasing a business page’s user engagement mainly because it shows great social proof that other people – specifically the friends of a certain user – have liked a certain page. This makes it more relevant and attention-catching since Facebook users will know that some of their friends have already engaged on that page. A page like ad is also easy to setup compared to other Facebook ad options and it gets your page instant exposure to new fans.

These are the variety of Facebook ad options marketers can utilize. Aside from choosing what ad option fits your campaigns best, there are two more important key points every marketer should note.

Timing

Timing is Facebook’s biggest problem that people often fail to acknowledge. So when publishing a new post, give high regards as to what time you post it on your page. Consider asking these questions: Are you sure your page fans are online during this time? Will they be able to see your post in the recent stories? No matter how good a post is, it will only be wasted if you don’t pay close attention to the time you publish it. Don’t let this completely avoidable barrier ruin your social media campaign.

EdgeRank Algorithm

This is used to determine where and what posts appear on each Facebook user’s newsfeed. The algorithm gives high importance to three factors:

  1. The relationship between the viewing user and the creator of the story. The closer the relationship, the higher possibility it will appear on their news feed.
  2. Different types of Facebook posts carry different weights. Photos or videos carry the most weight, followed by links, then the plain text updates.
  3. The older a post is, the less value it has. Which means it won’t be seen on the news feed unless people continue to engage on that post.

There are several ways you can improve your page’s EdgeRank:

1.    Remember to be as visual as possible.

Publish photos or videos because it engages people more than regular status updates.

2.    Keep your posts short.

Facebook users have short attention spans and they would not normally read through a lengthy post.

3.    Publish relevant posts that will catch people’s interest.

Don’t over advertise your business. If you have a bakery, try not to talk too much about your brand. Instead, give your fans content that they would appreciate. For example, baking recipes and tips.

4.    Post daily updates.

This will ensure that your page fans will not forget about you.

5.    Communicate with your fans through your posts.

When you ask simple opinion-driven questions, people are more likely to engage on your post.

Timing and EdgeRank are two important factors marketers need to take note of when publishing a post on Facebook. These two becomes more significant if you are consider using Facebook ads.

The biggest mistake in Internet Marketing

I would like you to meet three of my friends I meet daily.

the-biggest-mistake-in-internet-marketing---johnbettysean

Here’s John, in the center, he is an interior decorator. After doing business in his city – mostly through referrals for the last 5 years — he has seen some of his competitors do very well using internet marketing and he knows he can do better than them.

On the right is Sean. He is fresh out of college. Being an amazing software programmer, he decided to make his own proprietary software to E-commerce businesses. He has a good product but nobody knows Sean and his software called “SeanSoft.” He wants to aggressively compete in the E-commerce space and mark his right to his market share.

On the left is Betty. She is almost turning 50 and she sells real estate. She is amazing at what she does but she is losing leads because of having no Internet presence.

They all decide to call and work with an internet marketing agency.

They are given a “cure” to their problems and this is what they are told:

  • Make a website (‘Cause your current site is outdated or has bad user interface or some other reason)
  • Do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and rank for your keywords. And for this, you will need content and links.
  • Do social media (Get into the Buzz) and be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook Live, Instagram, etc.
  • Create Amazing content.

You get the scenario—if you see the activities needed to be done, it’s daunting. John, Sean and Betty are now thinking: “I can’t do this myself. I need to hire someone”.

The three did hire internet marketers and crossed their fingers hoping it would work, or at the very least, get returns on their investment.

Things did not get as planned.

John gets the visibility he wants but he just can’t get more business deals. He was asked for a lot of quotations for his service but no one really hired him. All smoke, no fire!

Sean needs to have a lot of patience since his business is very fierce and competitive. However, he has been waiting it out for the long term turn-around.

Betty is now ranking for some keywords, but no one’s really calling or filling her forms. Her marketer posts 20 times per week on Facebook and if they are lucky, their posts get 2 “likes.” No shares, no page likes.

By now, I need to re-introduce you to a word that comes to mind on such circumstances — frustration!

If you re-cap the entire story. You will notice something strange in the way the internet marketing was planned for our three friends. Although everyone had the same need — more business — everyone was cast into a format.

John needed clients for interior decorating. He got some site visits but it didn’t convert. The same thing happened to Betty. Sean, however, had nothing. He’s just waiting for his SEO to turn.

Getting better ranks and more followers does not guarantee anything. There is no truth to it whatsoever. This is based on an old volume marketing technique which does not apply to internet marketing because of an inherent thing that people do a lot these days which is “short-listing”.

The biggest mistake in internet marketing is not having a truly unique value proposition than the competition and making that the focal point of everything.

Now let’s revisit John. We know people like his work because he has got word-of-mouth referrals and has been existing to this day. This says something about the quality of his work. If he got some visits due to SEO but nothing turned to money is probably because his site said nothing about why he should be hired.  The mistake here is he went into SEO without a message.

Sean was told to do SEO as well, but SEO would take a long time for his niche. He should have been working on Twitter and other social media platforms instead, trying to reach people directly and asking for product demo sessions with tech journalists or potential clients. Marketing on YouTube would also have worked really well instead of waiting for his SEO to bloom.

Betty has spread herself thin. She gets “x” amount of SEO and social hours performed by who she hired but both are failing. There seems to be more promise currently in the SEO side of thing and her social is not amounting to anything. It would have been wiser to work more on SEO and her value proposition in her site.

So, do you need to be anywhere and everywhere? Absolutely not. All you need is something that is “sell-able” that offers a value proposition unlike any competitor and then send the message out in any way. It may not be Google, YouTube… It may be just an E-bay account for all we know.

So don’t spread yourself too thin. Just focus on improving your product and service to such a point that it outpowers the competition and decide how to spread the word from there.

 

 

What does an SEO actually do?

We had an interesting conversation during our meeting today.

While thinking of making “cool” topics, Redkite Account Executive, Haziel from SEO said that it was getting hard for her to really explain what she does at work to her friends and to people who don’t know much about internet marketing.

Nobody really understood her occupation!

No one understood what Haziel does

 

This was backed up by our Content Generation Specialist for SEO, Phoebe.

 

PB

So, this is a piece we would like to dedicate to those who work for the SEO industry.

 

raj

 

Let’s take a peek into what SEOs do so that Haziel and Phoebe can forward this link to anyone who wants to understand what they do a little better.

Things needed by the SEO:

 

Fact #1

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It means optimizing webpages and websites to rank well in Google, Yahoo, and Bing (the major search engines).

As you can see, for a particular search query “Top paying jobs in the Philippines,” there are millions of results. It can be quite an achievement to be on the top 10 (first page) and that is why businesses need to rank in search engines – otherwise,  their sites will largely go unnoticed by Search Engine Users.

Google competitive result

So SEOs simply get sites from from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile.

getting-something-

 

Fact #2

Search engine experts need to be skilled at understanding ranking factors very well. They need to be very technical and creative at the same time and spend most of their time doing On-page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

A. On-Page Factors (these are the items that can be tweaked, enhanced within the site to rank)

Site Performance MeterSite Performance

It is one of the fundamental jobs of the SEO to make sure that the site in question is crawled accurately by Search Engine bots. They want their focused and other content pages for the public to be crawled, indexed, and displayed in Google results. They do that by using tools in Google Search Console such as Sitemaps and Fetch.

The other side to this is that they should also make sure that none of the secured pages are getting indexed. We do not want search engines displaying our admin pages, pages that content information from private database information, etc. This is largely done by tweaking the Robots.Txt of the site and setting certain parameters to such pages such as “no-index, no-follow.”

Site structureSite Structure 

Some websites are just structured very poorly and it is the SEOs job to make recommendations on better navigation and site structure. Google loves to index pages that are grouped beautifully into relevant folders.

Example:

Good Bad site structure

The two have plenty of significance in categorization that can have SEO impact and influence User-navigation experience. Who searches for shoes based on color first and then the style? People will get more accurate results by searching “Boots for Sale” rather than “black shoes for sale”

That way, pages can be correctly categorized. However, this is often done if the site is being made from scratch. If the site has already existed for a while, then SEOs cannot do much here and will have to work with the site in the way that it is – unless the clients are willing to right the wrong information architecture of the site.

Web page optimizationWeb Page Optimization

Now that the pages are being indexed and displayed in Google, it is the work of the SEO to look for better ranking using their webpages. This is done by optimizing the content of the site including meta data.  So they research, research, and research and then write, write and write!

Semantics and ContentSemantics and Content

When writing content for the site, SEOs practice to keep a balance at all times between being creative and technical.

(Creative) They write for the enjoyment of the audience 90% of the time, but they also need to remember that their content needs to be optimized for ranks so they allocate 10% of their writing to make sure that their pages are semantically in order with their SEO goals (Technical).

AuditingAuditing

All SEOs perform monthly or weekly audits per SEO campaign. You can think of audits to be similar to diagnosing a website – kind of like looking at symptoms, testing, and coming up with “treatments” to make a site/page perform its level best.

 

B. Off-Page Factors (these are activities performed outside of the website)

link building chainsLink Building 

When the On-page (section A above) is dealt with and the SEO is satisfied with their sites performance and the sites’ interaction with the Search Engines, it then becomes the task of the SEO to start creating links coming from other websites to the website in question. Links have to be carefully researched and validated to be of quality. They must also contain the correct information. When an SEO tries to “short-cut” this process, they end up making too many lousy links that is more of a hindrance to SEO than anything else.

Once again, they research, research and research and then they build links.

Without these links, Google would never know how to gauge the popularity of the sites. Google would not be able to favor to the sites that the SEO is trying to rank. Instead, Google would rank sites seem to be most relevant to their users. So this one is a huge deal.

Blogging Brain for SEOBlogging 

Although a part of a link building process, blogging serves many purposes. Blogs dynamically make sites more “beefed” up with relevant information for the user and the search engines. Blogs allow for the site to have continuous content updates and finally they are wonderful for sharing in social media.

Content DistributionContent Distribution 

What good is a blog if no one knows about it? This is the part where SEOs and copywriters “re-invent” their blogs into smaller pieces of mini-content (Tumblr, WordPress, and other shorter-formatted blogs) and into micro-content (native social images with micro twitter sized posts). The same content will then be responsible for  generating traffic via other content sharing sites and social sites.

So this is what SEOs do on a daily basis, and since technology and how people consume content keep changing, SEOs have to keep honing their skills forever. They have to get better at mobile, image concepts and a whole lot more.

It is a line of work that has a very bright future, but it is not without its challenges.

At Redkite, we have developed an SEO program that works for local and international clients. We love what we do and we are glad that now, you understand our process and what our staff actually do.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please share. Thanks!

 

The Art of Avoiding Random Acts of Internet Marketing

Almost every start-up or a business wants to do this:

  1. Get a domain
  2. Set up email
  3. Get logo done
  4. Start a website
  5. Do SEO to the website
  6. Do social media marketing
  7. Do email blasts
  8. Rinse and Repeat #5,#6, #7 and #8

 

We all know this particular formula. It’s pretty simple and can be delivered by anyone – which is also exactly the reason why many fail in internet marketing. The simplicity itself intended starts to actually seem to be more daunting.

For example, in the music industry, things can be this simple theoretically: 

  1. Make band name
  2. Get guys in the group
  3. Write songs
  4. Record and Perform Songs
  5. Promote Band
  6. Rinse and Repeat #3, #4, #5 and #6

By now, you understand how simple lists (like the ones above) can take years or even a lifetime to build.

Try Googling, “why does internet marketing fail” – the sites that appear in the results can be summarized into a recurring word – “lacking.”  Internet marketing fails because the people behind the business lack:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Uniqueness

When you “lack” these qualities, the alternative would be to do things randomly. Marketers are always in the NEED to do something – either their bosses are breathing behind their necks to get things done or they are their own boss and they feel they should write 20 blogs this month, make 20 links, have a Facebook following of 10,000, and do Snapchat or Periscope just because it’s the latest trend!

The best way to get around this faux-pas is to plug-out, breathe, and think why it is what we do?

Why are we even doing this in the first place?

If there is no real and genuine purpose for the content or the link, why are we even there?

Some really good information out there can help you level up your game.

Here is RCS (Real Company S#!@) coined by Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive at MozCon 2012 and 2013. These are a must watch! I highly recommend you watch this as it will be a wise investment on your part to build your own insights into internet marketing.

RCS (Real Company Stuff), is the opposite of doing Random Acts. From now on, every activity that you do and perform, base it on doing Real Company Stuff. The best way for me to explain this to internet marketers is by telling them to not consider themselves as “out-sourcers” but as “in-sourcers.”

I ask them to think like what the client company would do if they had their own dedicated Search or Social experts in their own company and if their lives depended on it, what decisions would they make? What would they prioritize? How would they track their work and results?

This is how we perform at RedKite. We like to think of ourselves as doing RCS for our clients as if we were “In-sourcing” and removing any Random Acts of Internet Marketing.

Read how our Redkite SEO outsourcing services are based on actual “in-sourcing” ideas which support RCS thought process from concept to execution.

How to Utilize Instagram for Online Businesses

How Can Instagram Help Your Business

Instagram is a free online mobile app that enables users to share photos and videos. These photos and videos can also be shared in other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

Here are some facts about Instagram:

1

So how can Instagram help you and your business?

A lot of people use Instagram for personal purposes such as “selfie” pictures and food photography. But most users underestimate the power of using Instagram when it comes to business sales. There are roughly 130 million people who are using Instagram and there is a big chance that some of them could be your clients one day. So utilize Instagram properly if you intend to help your business boom in social media. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  1. Complete and optimize your Instagram profile.
  • Make your profile public so that everyone can view your images.
  • Use a clear profile picture, whether it is your logo, your product(s), or your personal photo.
  • Always include a website link in your profile.
  • Put on an impressive description. The description must clearly describe your business including your products and/or services.
  1. Enrich your following and followers. You can do this by connecting your Facebook and Twitter to your Instagram account so that all of your feeds would appear in your other social media accounts. This is to let your current audience know that you have an Instagram account.
  2. Urge engagement. You can do this by having photo contests once or twice a month (or as frequently as you prefer). This is to keep the interests of your audience alive. You can also do this by connecting it to your Facebook Fan page.
  3. Utilize Instagram’s video function. You can take a quick video of your products, your office, or your services to let your audience know you better. This would let you gain more trust from your audience.
  4. Never stop educating yourself. Always be alert to the latest trends about Instagram. Also, read some advice on how you can properly optimize your business on Instagram by checking out Instagram business advices and tips here: http://blog.business.instagram.com/

Instagram is a simple social media platform. All you have to do is take a picture or video, add some filters (if you prefer), and upload it. You just have to know the right products to sell and the proper images to upload.

Since we are talking about several tips on how to use Instagram for your business, it is better to provide you with some tricks on how to properly treat your audience. The following data are based on the research by http://www.agorapulse.com/blog/instagram-pictures-filters-hashtags.

  1. Add more Hashtags (#hashtags). The more you use hashtags on your photos, the higher visibility they get.
    2
  2. If possible, don’t use filters on your photos. Photo filters don’t work well on business and brand campaigns on Instagram.
    3
  3. Disregard color saturation.
    4
  4. Include faces in your photos. It seems like users like photos that include faces in their subjects.
    5
  5. Understand how users react to color schemes. Instagram users tend to like those images with cool colors.

6

We hope that these tips can help you and your business run a good campaign on Instagram. Just play with the images and understand how users react to them. From there, create tweaks and better plans for your future posts.

How to Utilize Pinterest for Online Businesses

How Pinterest Works

Did you know that Pinterest brings more traffic to your website than LinkedIn, Google+, and Youtube combined? Yes, this is true! Which is why we want you to know how important Pinterest is to online businesses.

1

Before we start, let’s pump you up with some cool trivia about Pinterest:

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I bet you didn’t know about that! We didn’t, too – we just found out about this last month!

Okay, let’s get down to business and start off by understanding how Pinterest works. The following are the common features of Pinterest:

  1. Buttons
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    On Pinterest, you can Pin, Send, and Like a pin.
  2. Board

    Every time you want to pin something, you can either add it in your current pin board or create a new one. The board is the collection of pins that you “pinned.”

  3. Pin Board
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    This is the collection of boards that you have pinned.

How Pinterest Can Help Your Business

Now that you know how Pinterest features work, let’s dig into how Pinterest can help you and your business. Pinterest shows endless potentials for your business,but first you need to build up your account and engage with other people. Here are steps on how you can do it:

1. Build your Identity (Personal Branding): You need to know what industry category or categories you should dive in to. Like this page – Pinterest used this as their sample account.

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Their account is all about gardening, DIY products, health, and foods.

As you can see, they have established their account to be known for specific industries that are affiliated with each other. The idea here is to provide useful information to your audience in a fun way. After that, comes the introduction of your own products. You can mix your products along with your other pins on your boards.

The most important thing about your pins and boards is that you need to provide users useful and educational information that can help them anytime. By creating boards that contain ideas, people, places, and events, you are able to help and inspire your users instead of sheer advertising.

NOTE: You don’t have to create your original content for your pins and boards, you can just research and get those from other pins of users and carefully combine them in your board(s). You can incorporate any link here like Youtube Videos, Slideshare slideshows, Instagram images, etc.

2. Incorporate Pinterest to your own personal blog or website. Pinterest used this http://www.westelm.com/shop/new/top-pinterest-pins/ as an example.

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On this web page, they compiled the products that gathered the highest pins on their Pinterest account. This is an ideal way in keeping your audience’s interests and promoting your social media account at the same time. This is a two-way traffic getter – website to Pinterest; and Pinterest to Website.

3. Broaden your scope: Expanding your reach is a fun way to market yourself and your products. You can do this by creating communities and groups via Pinterest’s Group Boards. In Group Boards, you can collaborate with popular pinners in Pinterest. These popular pinners surely have a lot of followers, and if you share a group board with them, your Pinterest account will be able to get more exposure especially if they share your pin boards. This can also increase your followers.

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Having a high number of followers is always a good thing. They are your audience. They are your potential customers. So engaging yourself in to Group Boards could be beneficial. This also makes you one step closer to having your business be known.
4. The Incorporation of your products: Once you have established your account on Pinterest (by letting yourself to be known on your chosen industry or category), it is now time to start uploading your products and services together with your pins.
The benefit of this is that the traffic in your website will increase as your pins get re-pinned and shared by users, given the fact that you have established a good number of followers, and your images and posts are compelling enough.

And from there, it is up to your website to convince your visitors in purchasing your products or services.

5. Analytics: This may not be part of the Pinterest website but it is always important to have your monthly website/blog visits be monitored. This is for you to know if Pinterest is really driving traffic to your website. Analytics will also help you understand if people like the content of your website and how effective your Pinterest strategy is.

Now that we all know how to utilize Pinterest, it is now time to get that Pinterest account sorted and have fun pinning as your business gets recognized.