WELCOME TO THE
"Work smarter, not harder." We've all heard it before. As entrepreneurs we know that all too well. In the spirit of working smarter, I've got some fantastic, FREE tools that will totally transform your social media game! They will help you if you are running your business full time, chasing your dreams with a side hustle, or anything in between - so let's get started!
Finding free, quality images has never been easier. My go-to site for royalty free images is Pexels.com. Once on the site you can search for images just like you would in Google. Download or save the high quality images directly to your computer without having to worry about copy rights or anything like that! This site can do what it does because photographers submit their images in hopes for exposure (or out of the kindness of their heart.) It is in best-taste to give the photographer credit though and definitely do not claim the images as your own.
Adobe Lightroom can be downloaded for free on your mobile phone. This photo editing application will allow you to adjust brightness, tone, sharpness, and much more for your photos. Ever wonder how photographers get those perfect, bright white images? Well, along with their fancy cameras, this is their secret and it's seriously a game changer!
If you want to get serious, there is a paid version you can purchase for use on your computer that will allow you to do even more.
Canva is perfect for creating the correct size images for Facebook, Instagram, stories, etc. This drag-and-drop editor allows you to lay text over your images, make simple photo collages, and create custom graphics for a perfectly put-together look!
Bitly.com is great for when you want to shorten a website URL. For example, say you are a realtor and would like to post an image of a new home listing that you created on Canva, but you also want to provide a link to your website so potential buyers can look at the listing for more details. This would be the perfect time to shorten your website link so you can put it directly in your post without taking up two or three lines of text.
If you create a login, you can also customize the last half of your link and can even track link clicks. If you want to get really fancy, you can choose to pay for the version that allows you to customize your entire link so it doesn't say bit.ly at the beginning of it.
Tell Me More
Now tell me if I missed any of your favorites in the comments below! What are some free tools you use to up your social media game? I'd truly love to know!
What’s the difference?
Simply put, boosted posts differ from ads because they are not created in Ads Manager and don’t have all of the same customization features.
Too simple? Okay, let's dive a little deeper.
A boosted post is a post to your Page’s timeline that you can apply money to in order to boost it to an audience of your choosing. This is the simplest way to advertise on Facebook. When you boost a post, it will show up in your audience’s news feed as an ad. You can also select Instagram as an ad placement for your boosted post. You can choose a post that’s already present on your Page’s timeline and boost it. When you boost a post, you’ll tell Facebook 3 things:
While boosting a post is still considered an ad, Facebook ads are created through Ads Manager and offer more advanced customization solutions. There are many advertising objectives to help you reach your specific business goals and the audiences you care about most. For example, you may have a goal of simply reaching more people and building brand awareness or maybe you'd rather drive traffic to your website. You can choose your marketing objective for the ad.
A boosted post may initially optimize for Page likes, comments, and shares or overall brand awareness, Facebook ads can optimize for app installs, website conversions, video views, shop orders and more.
When to use Facebook ads vs Boosted posts
If you want audience engagement on your Page or to develop your brand awareness, boosting a post is a great way to maximize visibility and grow your audience. To create more advanced ad types and campaigns with a more targeted or specific audience, use Ads Manager.
Still confused? Let's chat! Drop a comment below or send me a message through Facebook or email!
We all know by now that social media is something that we need, but some of us may be paralyzed by the idea of starting.
According to Hootesuite, 68% of Americans are on Facebook; making it the top choice for reaching the broadest audience. Compare that to the 35 percent of Americans using Instagram, 29 percent using Pinterest, and 24 percent using Twitter.
Here are some simple steps for beginners to make social media stress free.
Make a goal.
Decide what you would like to accomplish on social media and base your posts around this. Some of my goals are: to teach and serve my audience with meaningful content, to be authentic and inspiring, to speak to my ideal client. Once you have goals in mind, it becomes much easier to create your content. These goals will create a frame work for everything you post. Ask yourself, "Which category does this fit into?" If it does not fit, don't post it!
As a business owner, it's important to know who your ideal client is so you can speak to and relate to them. Once you have your ideal client in mind, do some research and decide which social media platform(s) will serve you best. By picking a platform or two, you will be able to focus your energy on this and not feel so overwhelmed. I like to think of the metaphor of watering plants. Let's say you have 20 plants all potted in separate containers and one cup of water. Do you think all 20 of those plants will survive if you water each one just a little? Your energy is going to be better spent watering and caring for 1 or 2 of the plants so they can grow and blossom!
Create a plan.
As Alexander Graham Bell once said, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." I would suggest using a paper planner, printing of a calendar, or using an Excel spreadsheet to plan out your posts. Then, decide how often you would like to post. Maybe twice a week is good for you or maybe you want to push yourself to do a little more. You can now use your calendar to write down your posts. I'd suggest setting some time aside to schedule them out for at least one week at a time.
Assess your work.
At the end of the month, take a step back and analyse your work! As a business page, you should be able to look at the analytics of your page/posts and see who your audience is. Make sure you are aligning with your ideal client and posting on a regular basis. If your plan needs to be tweaked, don't feel discouraged! Connecting to your customers on social media can take some time and practice!
The best thing to do is just get started! So many times in life we feel like we should wait for the "right" time. Maybe we're waiting until we have more time or until there is more going on in our business to share about. The truth is that there is never going to be a better time than now! Do your best and adjust your strategy as necessary. As always, Spark Marketing is here to help with any questions or training you might need. Comment below or send us a message with any questions and we will be happy to help!
I think we've all been there... we start our business, get a great website, and wait for the people to come knocking on our door (okay, more like emails to come pouring in) right? If this isn't happening for you, you may want to take a look at your SEO.
Search Engine Optimization can be scary and overwhelming. In today's post I'll break it down and simplify SEO into simple steps you can take on your own.
Fist of all, what is Search Engine Optimization? It's the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Let's break it down.
Keywords are words that your audience will be searching for in search engines. To come up with keywords it may be helpful for you to start a list or spreadsheet with words or phrases common to your industry and business. Once you have a good list, use those keywords in the most important parts of a page. This is known as on-page SEO - optimizing specific parts of your website is key to boosting your page rankings.
Some places you can focus on are page titles, meta descriptions, URLs or your Slug, alt text, and text to links to pages within your site.
Your meta description is the first few lines of text that shows up in the search engine results.
Your URL or Slug is what the actual link to your page will look like. For example, this blog post will be under www.ignitemybizz.com/blog/the-secret-to-seo.
Alt text is the text that is tied to an image and explains what the image is. Search engines use this text as well when pulling search results. If you are using a website editor or hosting site, many times you will be able to tweak this information by clicking the image when in the back end or editing portion of your site. Not only is this another way to increase your SEO, you can help people who may be visually impaired and are using screen readers to understand the contents of the page by describing your site through keywords.
Schedule Social Media Posts
Posting on social media regularly will also help your web presence. Automating or scheduling social media posts can make your life a lot easier by allowing you to batch your work and frequently post when your audience is watching. This way you continue to be on your followers' radar and keep engagement up.
Create Custom, Shareable Images
Great images and content make your inbound marketing content worthy of shares and engagement. This will increase your follower numbers, social media engagement, and the amount of external links to your site. The more people share your website or posts, the more external links you will have.
Canva is a great way to get started. This free software makes it easy for even the least experienced person to create great graphics and takes the guess work out of finding the right image size.
Use an SEO Analytics Platform to Monitor Performance
Google Analytics will break down the information into categories like Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior to help you understand the amount of traffic you have and where it's coming from.
With all this information, I hope your biggest take away is to just show up. Be sure you are using all of your platforms like your social media pages, website, guest blogging, or wherever it makes sense for you to show that your content is the best for the solutions your audience is looking for. The key to getting more traffic lies in integrating content with search engine optimization and social media marketing.
I am thrilled to announce that I will be going full-time with Spark Marketing beginning on September 1st to better serve our clients!