The Right Way For Your #Brand To Do Instagram

Instagram, and the opportunities it presents, are big. It rivals Facebook for app downloads in the past year, and is hugely popular with millennials. Instagram connects brands with potentially millions of individuals, who can then connect brands with all their friends. But the culture of Instagram posts is different from that of Facebook status updates – the old strategies need a little tweaking.

Do Images And Video Right

Instagram is for images, first and foremost. Granted, visual content is always attention-getting – but on Instagram, it’s the star of the show. To be on Instagram is to post images and video, and to be popular on Instagram is to post the right images and video.

Be Sociable

Instagram is a social network, and as such, you should pay homage to the holy trinity of social media: like, follow, comment. Accounts and posts always do better when the people running them reach out to the people who will read them.

If you feel your brand is falling a little short on followers, consider following those who already follow brands similar to yours! And, whenever possible, feature your followers – reblog them (especially the influencers!), work them into ads and promotions, and generally make them feel like part of the team, which they are.

Know When To Post

Not everyone uses Instagram at the same time. If your followers are students, they’re less likely to look when class is in session – but if they’re stay-at-home parents, class time might be your prime time. Find out when your audience is present, so that your posts can have the best reach, and your interactions the most effect.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are how people search for things and find topics on Instagram, generally. If you want your posts to be more readily searchable, then it behooves you to hashtag.

Host All Your Images On Instagram

Making Instagram a repository for all your online images can kill several birds with one stone – it’s free hosting, it’s shareable, and each image can be paired with links to your other sites and social media accounts, driving traffic across your content network. Instagram works very well with Facebook and Twitter, and can easily draw extra engagement from followers on those platforms. It might not work for all your video, though – while short videos are great on Instagram, long videos are better stored elsewhere.

Mastering Social Media is One Key to Your Small Business Succeeding

Why Social Media is Important

Exposure

More and more people are turning to social media to help them decide what to buy and from whom. Businesses without a focused social media presence may not be considered established enough by some consumers. Some potential customers need the “social proof” and credibility that social media can give a small business, so help them make their buying decision. Social media is a place where consumers can “check out” your business — before they decide to do business with you.  You need to make it clear what you offer, what you stand for, and what customers you serve even in your social profiles.

Affordable

Social media is an extremely affordable way to spread the word about your business without a large marketing budget. If you want to help things along, paid social advertising such as Facebook ads typically cost a fraction of other types of advertising and give almost immediate results in terms of ROI. You can know in just 5-7 days if your strategy is working online.

Build Relationships

Not only does social media get your business name in front of more people, you can leverage it to develop relationships through consistent interactions. These relationships often lead to opportunities for your business to expand through collaboration with others, which can open up new opportunities. Social media exposure can often lead to mentions in news stories, media interviews, and other publicity for your business.

Boost Search Rankings

Studies have shown that social media increases brand loyalty, boosts SEO results and search rankings, and helps build an email list. It can also help you scope out the competition (without them knowing) and get feedback about how your business is doing.

Using Social Media for Your Business

Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest social media sites in the U.S., but there are many others that may benefit your business. You can use a scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule posts to all your sites at once too. This allows you to increase your social media presence, but understand each social site is unique, so it might not be such a great idea to post the same content the same way everywhere online. Customized content will maximize your success on each site.

One great way to promote your business on social media is to offer something of value for free. People are much more motivated to like and share your post if they receive something in return, and you can ask them to like your page rather than just the post for an even greater impact. You can gain hundreds or thousands of new followers to which you can market your products and services, which will be invaluable to your future marketing efforts.

Posting at least a few times every week on at least one or two platforms will keep your content fresh so people will keep reading your blog. And that will keep your business name fresh in their minds so that, when they are ready to buy, they will think of you. Besides all the business aspects of social media, it is also a fun way to interact with customers and keep them engaged with your business on a personal level. Friend me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram for more great tips on using social media for your business.

Food safety when using the microwave

Using a microwave to reheat food has become very popular over the decades, but there are some important things to remember to keep you and your food safe.

Safe containers are important while using a microwave so that your food stays protected from harmful toxins. It is best to reheat food in microwave-safe containers such as glass, ceramic, and plastic containers labeled for microwave oven use. Cover and stir or rotate the microwave-safe container periodically for even heat distribution and allow the moist heat to help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking.

Reheating foods is allowed if the food was properly refrigerated and did not exceed more than 2 hours at room temperature before the food was stored. Be sure to heat the food entirely until it reaches 165°F by checking with a food thermometer. The food must always reach this temperature, even if food quality is diminished in the process. Avoid overcooked foods by adding some water to the dish before placing in the microwave.

Cooking raw meat in the microwave is safe but the food must reach proper temperatures. Raw beef, pork, and lamb should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground meats should reach 160 F and all poultry should reach 165 F. Use a lid or cooking bag and always rotate the food midway by stirring or rearranging for thorough cooking. Let the food stand for at least 10-15 minutes before consumption to distribute heat evenly and finalize the cooking process. Always use a temperature probe to check the temperature before service.

Thawing food in the microwave is permitted as it provides a quick method for frozen foods to thaw to avoid conditions and times that may maximize bacterial growth. If food is thawed in the microwave, it must be cooked immediately. The use of slow cookers and low temperature ovens for thawing frozen foods may result in favorable temperature for bacterial growth, so these methods should be avoided as well.

Microwave cooking can be safe if the proper precautions are taken. Regardless of what the purpose is, your food will not be safe if it was not handled properly to begin with. Here are a few reminders for safe food handling to prevent a hazardous condition later on:

  • Always purchase fresh, wholesome foods by looking at the “sell-by” and “use-by” dates
  • Take purchased foods home immediately to limit time spent in the temperature danger zone
  • Keep perishable foods no longer than 2 days before cooking or freezing
  • Raw eggs in shell may be kept up for 3-5 weeks but hard cooked eggs should not exceed 1 week
  • Never leave raw or cooked foods outside of the refrigerators for more than 2 hours including preparation and service times
  • Keep a clean kitchen and always wash hands frequently during food preparations

With these tips, we can keep ourselves healthy and safe! 

Results Ranking Value

Every business is trying to reach the top page of Google search results — this the principal aim of any SEO strategy. But what is the value of a first-page ranking? The answer varies for every keyword, making it possible to determine exactly how much a ranking is worth to you.

  • Calculating Values

To value your current rankings, you need to calculate the return on investment of each of your organic search listings. The best tool to use is Google Adwords, which provides all the information you need about individual keywords. You can use the data to determine the traffic value of each keyword. A simple calculation for traffic value is earnings per click multiplied by the number of searches multiplied by the click-through rate.

  • First Page Compared To Later Pages

If you feel disappointed by any of your traffic values, find out where your keyword is currently ranking. It is much more useful to have a ranking on page one than on a later page. This becomes obvious when you consider how few searches end up at the later results pages. According to Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92% in recent years. Second-page results are far from a close second coming in at below 6% of all website clicks.

Furthermore, you need to include ads and searches without clicks in the equation. Only 15% of traffic clicks on an ad or tries a different search. The remaining 85% clicks on results, according to Zero Limit Web. However, this does not mean that you necessarily have a good chance of receiving any of this traffic if you appear on the first page. You need to be near the top: The first five results receive 67.6% of clicks, whereas the remaining five just receive 3.73%.

  • How To Reach The Top

Researching the best keywords and including them in your content is just one way to improve your rankings. If you want to reach the top pages, you need to go a step further.

  • Optimize your entire site. 

Google will penalize all your pages if your website fails to meet quality and usability standards. We encountered a situation like this when we began working with a company that develops and manufacturers multi-spectral infrared and thermal cameras. The business wanted to promote its brand but had been unable.
Before we began publishing content with targeted keywords, we needed to the fix broken links and other errors Google had flagged.
To fix internal broken links, we use tools like Search Console, Screaming Frog and AWR. These tell us the page the link originated from and where the link is pointing. It is sometimes possible to carry out mass changes, such as in the case that a formatting error prohibits proper links from being populated. In other situations, we go to each page in turn to update the broken links.
The other errors Google had flagged on the camera site included 404 pages and broken or moved images. We fixed and updated these links to ensure a uniform user experience across the site, and updated the sitemap files and robots by removing broken and incorrect links in them. As soon as Google re-indexed the site, the pages started climbing in search results for all keywords. Now, more than 58% of the company’s keywords are on page one.

  • Make pages mobile-friendly.  

If you’ve ever struggled to read a page or navigate a website on a mobile device, you’ll know how frustrating this can be. Google is also aware of this and favors mobile-friendly content.

  • Gain authority. 

You need to show Google that your website offers quality information and is a source that users trust. This involves posting frequently, improving engagement with articles (through social media efforts), and guest blogging. After initiating a strategy that took all the above into account, one of our clients increased impressions by 280%.

  • Focus on links. 

Links play a number of roles in ranking. First, Google looks at the wording of hyperlinks in content to determine what keywords are associated with the link being used. For instance, “find out more” is better than “click here.” If too many links include the same anchor text the link may be considered suspicious or unnatural.

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right For You


Not every social media platform is right for everybody, and a lot of times, people tend to gravitate towards the one they like to use the most, which is primarily Facebook. 
But it really depends on your business, who your customers are and where they are spending their time. That’s the place that you need to be.

the top six platforms right now, especially for small business owners or medium sized businesses. Those include:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

  

Facebook

Let’s start with Facebook. The biggest thing about is Facebook is that it is much more of a friend platform. Who’s on there? Well, your friends, your high school friends, your neighbors, etc. Yeah, your customers can be on there, too. But one of the biggest mistakes I hear people say is, “I want to separate my personal account from my business accounts.” Yeah, you could do that, but it’s not a great idea, because here’s the bottom line: your personal account gets seen by all your friends. Your business accounts, or what I call brand accounts, are only seen by people that go to it. The reason for that is Facebook wants you to pay to get your business seen on Facebook. So, here’s what I suggest that you do for Facebook.

Number one, focus on your personal profile. Make sure that you’re spending time putting good stuff in there. If you’re putting things like quotes and fun stuff in there and not being too controversial, then occasionally, you can post things like, “Hey, I’m having this event,” or “Check out my webinar, my podcast, my blog” — whatever.

The other thing that’s really, really big on Facebook is groups. If you want to communicate with your customers, create a group around your customers and invite them in. Never add people to a group without their permission. That’s just bad juju. You don’t want to do that.

So, using Facebook is going to be mostly personal friends, but also some customers, depending on your business, especially if you’re in the consumer space. You still want to post things to your Facebook business pages or brand pages, but you may have to share those to your personal wall, so it’s hard to separate.

The other thing to think about is using groups to promote your business.

LinkedIn

The second platform I want to talk about is LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn is primarily a business-to-business platform, but again, it’s your personal profile that counts. You are still yourself, communicating to a whole bunch of other people. Yes, you can have a business page, but not a lot of people spend time on it. So the same advice for Facebook applies here. Post some great stuff, share some good articles. I post all my blogs, my podcasts; if I find a good article in Inc Magazine, I’ll post that there.

You can also create groups and do similar things that you would do on Facebook, but LinkedIn groups tend to be more business-to-business and it’s a little harder to get people to engage in those. But, it’s not a bad idea to try.

Again, on LinkedIn, you want to focus on your personal account. It’s the most important asset that you have. Spend time posting great stuff and interact with messages and things like that. Follow people, especially your customers. They’re not hard to find. Find people that are going to be beneficial to your business-to-business life.

Twitter

The next one is Twitter. Now, Twitter is different, because on Twitter, you can post all you want, all day long and nobody really cares. You could post the same thing ten times. You can also have multiple accounts inside of Twitter. So for example, I’ve got one specifically for Brian Basilico. Then I’ve got another one for my books called Not About You, so I share information about my books on that one, and then anything else like my blogs and my podcasts are all posted to Twitter that way.

You can get direct messages on Twitter, and you need to interact with people on a one-to-one level. Really, the bottom line is that a lot of people just post things and don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter. If you’re going to be on Twitter, I suggest checking it at least once a day to see if anybody sent you any direct messages, if you have notifications, and what people are sharing. Again, you’re looking at this as a personal business, but also you can have your brand pages or your brand accounts, and you can have as many of those as you want. The more you add, the harder it is to control, so obviously focus on what’s most important to you.

Pinterest

The next one I want to talk about is Pinterest. Number one, Pinterest is primarily based on visual. Number two, a lot of it is crafts and food and things like that, but there are still great opportunities for you to post your stuff. On Pinterest, you can have a personal account and you can have a business account. I spend the vast majority of my time working on my business account. That is where I post pictures from my blogs and my podcasts, with the intention of drawing people back to the website so I can get some listens and some views and things of that nature.

What you want to do is make sure that you’re exporting the images from those blogs and podcasts to Pinterest, to your business account, by creating a pin board specifically for each one. So I have one for blogs, I have one for the Bacon Podcast, I have one for Bacon, and I have a handful of other ones. So, that’s a visual platform that you really should focus just on your business side.

Will it get you some traffic? Absolutely. Maybe not a lot, but it’s at least worth posting your information to.

Google+

The next one is Google Plus. Now, a lot of people don’t think Google Plus is a valid social media network, but if you’re a content creator, it absolutely is.

When you post things to your business profile, it’s business.google.com, and it’s linked to your Google Plus page, which is linked to that business. That content gets indexed by Google, giving your content the ability to be found in searches better.

So Google+ is a place that you’ll want to play around with, especially if you’re a content creator. Make sure that you’re doing it on a regular, consistent basis, and use things like Google Analytics to measure it.

Instagram

The final social media platform I’d like to discuss is Instagram. Now, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and the two of them can integrate together. Instagram is also primarily a visual platform. It’s all about pictures. You can also post videos. You can combine a bunch of videos sequentially into stories. If you’re a visual communicator, it’s a great way to do it.

The other thing about Instagram is that it’s primarily based on a cell phone as opposed to a desktop, whereas all of the other platforms I talked about are primarily desktop but can be done on a cell phone. I find desktop on all of those a little easier, but on Instagram, you can’t do a lot on your desktop, so you have to use your cell phone.

Another thing that you can do on Instagram as well is you can have multiple accounts. You can have up to six accounts associated with your Instagram app, but each one has its own separate log in. But once you’re logged in, you can switch between them. So for example, when I do my Bacon Podcast, I put pictures up there.

The one thing about Instagram that you can’t do is you can’t add links, so what you need to do is use hashtags to get people to find your stuff. The only place you can put a link in Instagram is inside your profile.

Update Your Online Marketing Strategy with These 10 Tips

You know all of the basic ways to market a business online: create content, use social media, buy online ads. But your competitors know all of those methods too. So you need to step up your efforts if you want to stand out. Here are some new ways to update your online marketing from members of the online small business community.

Make Your Content More Relevant in Search

In order for your content marketing to be effective, people need to easily be able to find it. And search engines are a big part of that. To learn how to make your content more relevant in search, check out this Content Marketing Institute post by Marcia Riefer Johnston.

Avoid These Common AdWords Mistakes

AdWords has been a major tool for online marketers for years. But in that time, many have made costly mistakes that have lessened the effectiveness of their ads. See some of those common mistakes so you can avoid them in your own efforts in this Search Engine Journal post by Susan Wenograd.

Create Processes for Regular Web Maintenance

Once you’ve created a great website for your business, the work isn’t over. You have to perform regular web maintenance. And creating processes can help with that. Benjamin Brandall provides a helpful checklist for doing so in this Process Street post.

Make Your Business Happy with These Landing Page Benefits

Think you don’t need to use landing pages as part of your online marketing strategy? Think again! In this post, Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat shares why you’re wrong to believe landing pages are unimportant. BizSugar members also shared thoughts on the post here.

Learn the Art and Science of Retargeting

Retargeting gives businesses a unique opportunity to procure more repeat shoppers online. But there’s a lot that goes into this process. Learn the art and science of retargeting in this Target Marketing post by Patrick Kuehn and Daniel Ripes.

Implement These Marketing Automation Workflows

Online marketing can be a time consuming undertaking. But you can save time and increase effectiveness by automating certain processes. In this SUCCESS Agency post, Mary Blackiston suggests seven marketing automation workflows that you should implement in order to save time.

Use These Affiliate Marketing Strategies for Success During the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching, providing opportunities to boost sales with unique holiday promotions. And affiliate marketing can be a huge part of your strategy. In this Marketing Land post, Adam Weiss offers some affiliate marketing strategies you can use for success during the holidays.

Boost Retention Rates with These Customer Support Hacks

Online marketing isn’t just about gaining new customers. You also need strategies for retaining current ones. The customer support hacks listed in this Post Funnel article by Sam Hurley can help in that area. And you can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Avoid These Common Blogging Mistakes

Blogging has been a popular way for businesses to promote their offerings and earn extra income for years now. But some are still just getting started with blogging, meaning they could be more prone to mistakes. To learn more about some of the common mistakes to avoid, read this Basic Blog Tips post by Erik Emanuelli.

Maximize Your Email Marketing Strategy with These Platforms

Through all of the changes to online marketing tools and platforms, email remains a powerful way to communicate with customers and potential customers.

4 Steps to Avoid an Online Reputation Crisis in Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you know it takes months — and even years — to earn the trust of your customers. Losing credibility, however, takes very little time — and its impact is far greater.
Negative Online Reviews: A Bigger Risk for Small Businesses

A scathing review posted online is often enough to hurt your growing business. It could be a negative review on your Facebook page or a Google review that potential customers see when they look you up. That’s what data from reputation management firm ReputationManagement.com seems to suggest.
Research shows businesses are at risk of losing 22 percent of their business when potential customers find just one negative article on the first page of their search results. It goes without saying, negative comments are something businesses in general and small businesses in particular cannot take lightly.
Steps to Avoid an Online Reputation Crisis

Luckily, there are some simple things small businesses can do to mitigate the damage of negative reviews.
1.Monitor
The first step to avoiding business loss caused by negative reviews is to monitor what customers are saying about your business. You must pay special attention to niche review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor where negative feedback has greater ramifications.
2.Be Proactive
Do you have a team of social media experts to take care of your digital footprint? If not, it’s probably a good idea to hire some specialists now.
Social media experts can help you monitor your online reputation and create comprehensive plans to achieve a more positive brand image.
3.Take Action
It’s important to respond to online reviews — regardless of whether they recommend your brand or not. When responding, be patient and tactful to engage customers.
4.Review and Learn
Constant evaluation of the reviews you receive online can help you analyze the efficacy of your plan. It can also help you recover public opinion.