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Email Marketing and Social Media: Better Together?

If you’re active online, you likely have an email. You also probably have a social media account (or several). And, you’ve probably seen ads, promotions, and content from businesses on both. Email and social media marketing are both very popular ways that businesses use the digital sphere to market themselves to customers. And for good reason - they’re both effective. But many marketers focus on one or the other and they’re missing out on the benefits of using them both.

Much like salt and pepper, email and social media marketing are good apart but better together. To understand why, let’s first look at them separately before we explain how they can work together to strengthen your marketing efforts.


Email Marketing


When you checked your email this morning, did you scroll through a few email promotions from businesses? Of course you did! Email marketing is the most heavily used form of digital marketing - so much so that it can sometimes become an annoyance (how many times have you clicked “no thank you” today?). But the fact is that email marketing is so popular because it works. In the simplest terms, email marketing is the act of sending marketing materials via email directly to customers who have signed up to receive them. 99% of people check their email every day, many of them first-thing, so marketing there is a lucrative and worthy activity for any business.

So how exactly does it benefit you? People subscribe to your emails because they are interested in your company and want to be kept up-to-date on the latest news and promotions. When your email marketing is done correctly, you’re providing those customers with useful, interesting information each day, directly to their inbox (so they don’t have to search for it). This keeps your business fresh in their minds and helps you stay relevant, strengthening your relationship with them. It also pushes your promotions directly in front of interested customers as opposed to appealing to the masses.

As a business, we all want new customers - but keeping the lines of communication with your existing ones open is equally important, and that is done through email marketing.


Social Media Marketing

We all have a favorite social media business. They may appeal to you because they are funny, innovative, inspiring, or heartfelt; the point is, they do appeal to people, and they keep you coming back for more. This is the result of a well-done social media marketing campaign. Businesses use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube to market themselves to the public, often very successfully. Social media has 3.2 billion daily users, making it a very big pond full of many waiting fish.

Social media is so important because it allows your business to reach new customers by connecting with your current ones. Through shares, likes, and comments (especially tags), a business can boost its organic reach and get in front of new consumers on a daily basis. It’s also one of the best ways to build your brand, as the tone and type of content you post on social media helps visitors understand and connect with your business. All around, social media marketing is a crucial part of your marketing campaign.


Integrating Your Social Media and Email Marketing

At first glance, it may seem like email and social media marketing are at odds. After all, email marketing only connects with current customers, while social media marketing engages new ones. How do you choose just one?! The strongest marketers don’t. The two can actually co-exist quite nicely, and when integrated they take your marketing efforts from meh to marvelous.

So how do you do it? It’s easier than you think. Think of this as a kind of fishing pole (there’s that fish reference again). Your social media account can get new customers to bite, then your email marketing reels them in and keeps them hooked. Here are a few examples.


Entice Social Media Followers To Sign Up

Social media is a great place to promote your emails! Use your social media accounts to give teasers about your email content or promise exclusive email-only offers to entice followers to sign up. By promoting your email subscription through your social channels, you can increase your mailing lists and then turn those casual followers into loyal customers. It’s like having your coffee and drinking it, too!


Include Social Media Links In Your Emails

Don’t assume that your email audience is aware of your social presence! The next time you send out a marketing email, try including links to your social media pages. You can do this by simply adding clickable widgets to your layout and pointing your viewers in their direction. Add a helpful call-to-action to point them in the right direction.


Promote Your Social Media In Your Emails

Better yet, take it a step further and encourage your email readers to tune into your social media accounts for specific or ongoing information (like promotion or event details). Letting them know that you’re active on social media and giving them a reason to tune in will both boost your social followers and increase your brand awareness.


Use Social Media To Find What Works

Crafting email content can be hard, especially if you’re sending them frequently. Social media can help you decide what types of content your audience is looking for, and it also lets your content play double-duty. Use content that has high engagement from your audience in your emails! This can be facebook posts, Instagram photos, or even follower’s comments. You’ll already know that your audience is interested, and you can promote your social accounts at the same time. Win-Win!

If you aren’t a marketing whiz, this may seem a bit overwhelming. The good news is, we can help! Bis Designs helps businesses just like yours create killer marketing campaigns through email and social media (and more). Contact us today to get started!


Video Content for Social Media (Yes, You Need It)

Most of us have fond memories of watching grainy, embarrassing home movies on large VHS tapes in our childhood living rooms. Video has come a long way since then, but its impact on our lives has only grown. These days, videos are used as a powerful marketing strategy to help businesses increase their profits and connect with consumers. In fact, video content is the most powerful form of social media marketing and businesses that aren’t using it to their advantage are falling behind. To stay on top, hiring a professional videographer to handle your video content should be a key component in your social media strategy.

But do you really need a video content strategy? Here’s what social video content can do for your business:


Videos Boost Engagement

Digital marketers agree - there is no medium more engaging to an online audience than video. To begin with, users are more inclined to actually watch videos than other types of content. According to a survey done by Animoto, 60% of users say that they watch branded videos on social media every day. And when it comes to sharing, video content is shared 1200% more than text or image content! In the numbers game, video content will always come out on top.
So why are they so engaging? Videos are able to capture your audience more effectively using two things that always grab our attention: movement and sound. And once your audience is ensnared, video content can use things like facial expressions, tone of voice, and sounds to convey and evoke emotion. This is much harder to do in text content, which requires punction or visual cues to suggest tone. Emotion is a driving factor in purchasing decisions, so you want to hit your audience where they’ll feel it the most. And speaking of purchasing...


Videos Boost Product Sales

Have you ever seen a cool product online, but you weren’t sure how it worked? I bet you weren’t inclined to buy it to find out! One of the best uses of video content is showing a product in action, especially if the product is new. In today’s busy world, consumers don’t have time to read lengthy product descriptions. Videos are easily digestible and can make new concepts easier to understand. By showing how a product works, you can also show them how it will benefit them in a real-life way. A viewer is much more likely to visualize that product in their hands when they see it in someone else’s rather than in the pages of an advertisement.

If your business relies on product sales to thrive, video content is something you can’t slack on. Animoto’s survey found that one in four consumers lose interest in a product if it doesn’t have video. That’s 25% of your audience!


Videos Build Trust

Ask yourself: are you more likely to trust something pitched to you by a friend or by a hawker on the street? Video content is so effective because it helps build trust between your business and your customers. Though most of the world relies on digital technology, consumers remain more likely to invest in a business that they feel connected to. Videos are inherently personal, especially if the content is authentic, natural, and conversational. That’s why storytelling is such a crucial element in your video strategy - it makes your business feel like a trusted friend rather than an infomercial. When your video content is consistent, your audience will begin to seek out your page to experience your brand rather than just clicking on your videos in their feed. And that is exactly where you want to be.


Videos Build Your Brand

Speaking of the personal nature of videos, it makes them the perfect tool to create and maintain your business’s brand. A brand is a complex concept, affected by everything from your word choices to your punctuation style. When your video content is consistent with your brand, it helps develop your company’s personality and connect to your audience. Quality video content can combine all of the things that make up your brand and deliver it in a ready-to-go package. One way to do this is by inserting appropriate text and graphic elements into your videos. People are strongly influenced by visuals, so creating a consistent look with your videos is one of the easiest ways to make your brand - and your business - recognizable.


Why Do I Need A Professional?

Now that you’re convinced that you need strong video content for your social accounts, you may be wondering how to get it done. Many companies don’t believe they need to hire a professional videographer, and they often assign video content to existing members of their staff. But this isn’t always the best decision - and sometimes it’s a downright bad one. Here’s what a professional videographer can do for your video content strategy:

 

  • Use professional equipment to create high quality, dynamic video content
  • Give you a better ROI than less qualified staff
  • Bring industry knowledge to the table to create content that is successful long-term
  • Help develop your company brand
  • Increase your profits
  • And more!

Our professional videography service can help you create a video content strategy that turns your social media accounts into marketing gold. Using professional equipment and the latest industry trends, we can deliver video content that is engaging, dynamic, and beneficial to your business. Ready to see your social media engagement skyrocket? Contact us for a consultation today!


4 Ways Duplicate Content Hurts Your Site

The words ‘duplicate content’ strike fear into the hearts of marketers everywhere, something akin to cavity search or TV Reruns. Actually, it’s pretty similar - who wants to watch the same show over and over again? It’s the same with content - users don’t want to read articles that just repeat information and don’t bring anything new to the table. More than that, duplicating content hurts your reputation as a website and as a business. But what exactly is duplicate content? And why is it so bad?

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content can be a variety of things, and not all of them are bad. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Google actually distinguishes duplicate content by two types: non-malicious and malicious duplicate content.

Non-malicious duplicate content includes instances such as syndication - when a website publishes your content on their own website - or when your website has multiple URLs, such as when you have pages optimized for different browsers, among others. These types of content duplication are not penalized by Google and are actually common, if not unavoidable.

Duplicate content that is malicious is done to manipulate search results. The short of it is that duplicating content occurs when a website recycles old content in an effort to rank higher for keywords or tags (more keywords = higher results). This is not always their intent. There are many other reasons that a website might reuse its own content - one example would be an e-commerce store that struggles to write hundreds of product descriptions, so they reuse what they’ve already created. The distinction here is the intention behind the content, but Google is not all-knowing and can often misconstrue it, so it’s better to avoid duplicating your content as much as you can.

Note: It’s important to distinguish duplicate content with outright plagiarism, which is not only seriously bad form but can carry legal penalties. We know you would never plagiarize, so we’ll keep our definition of duplicate content to the reusing of your own work. Additionally, if someone else has plagiarized your work for their own site, you should report the site to Google.

Of course, you own the rights to your work and are free to reuse it in any way you see fit. But if you’re looking to bring your website high SEO rankings and an engaged audience, it’s a bad choice for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at them.

It Hurts Your Keyword Rankings

Duplicate content hurts your keyword strategy. Keyword placement is a staple of good SEO practices, and getting your content keywords just right can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why some websites recycle old content that has successful keyword rankings - you know they work, so why not use them again? It’s faster and cheaper than writing new, original content!

While this may seem smart, it’s actually counter-intuitive. Because when you recycle your content and keywords, you’re actually giving yourself competition. As Google algorithms crawl the internet, they collect keywords and index them for searches. So, if you post content that uses the same keywords multiple times, Google is going to crawl both articles and pit them against one another. See the problem? Your original content will now suffer because of increased competition, essentially making all of that time you spent doing keyword research a waste. It’s a lot like hobbling yourself before the big race - just not smart.

It Hurts Your SEO

As we’ve noted, search engines crawl websites and index the results for users. Because they want to give users the best possible experience, they rarely post multiple websites with the same content on their result pages. For you, this means that if multiple websites online have your content, Google may not mark your original page as the best page to show. If your duplicate content is on a different URL that has a higher domain score than yours, this can lead to them getting higher search results for your content. Plus, you don’t want your printing pages showing up as the landing page for users, or your mobile site ranking higher for desktop users.

Syndication is an important part of marketing, so you shouldn’t avoid it. But, be sure that any websites that publish your content link your site as the original page so Google knows which one to index first. Also, there are plug-ins and other technical ways to note your own website pages as the original pages and remove other pages from indexing altogether. If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help!

Google May Penalize You

Google’s algorithm is constantly learning and evolving, and it can now separate duplicate content that is malicious or non-malicious - to an extent. If Google decides that you are copying or “scraping” old content to increase your search results, it will do a manual audit of your site. If you’re found guilty, they can penalize you stiffly - even so far as removing your site from their results altogether. And getting back into Google’s good graces is no easy feat - it requires that you address and fix all of your duplicate content and then request a new investigation, which can take some time. You don’t want to get called into the proverbial principal’s office, so avoid posting duplicate content when you can.

Your Audience Will Get Bored

Setting the technicals aside, duplicate content will negatively affect your audience’s interest in your site. As we said earlier, nobody likes reruns. Publishing old content that doesn’t add any value to your readership will ultimately lead to a decrease in your website traffic by itself. If you’re posting duplicate content across landing pages, this will negatively affect your click-through and bounce rates as users leave your site for something more interesting. If your published content is stale or repetitive, you may lose user loyalty and sabotage your chances of return visitors.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your content marketing - or just need some fresh ideas - let us help! We can create a content marketing strategy that’s perfect for your business and then help you implement it!

What do I do?

Publishing content that is new and original is the best way to avoid the negative effects of duplicate content. Be sure that anything you’re posting on your website is authentic, adds value to your readership, and introduces new keywords and ideas. If you have an article syndicated by another site (go, you!), be sure that they are appropriately linking back to your website as the original version so that they don’t beat you in the search results. And be sure to use the correct URLs and tags when creating duplicate pages to make sure that Google indexes the correct one.

Need more help? Contact us today! BIS Designs can handle all of your content marketing and website design needs.


The Top Website Design Trends For 2019-2020

Website design trends are as fluid and changing as the sea (or the internet). What is popular today may be a website faux pas tomorrow, and what was deemed uncool two years ago can make an unexpected comeback. Staying on top of the day’s trends can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, we’ve done it for you!

We’ve scoured the industry’s top leaders for the day’s most popular website design trends. The ones that can make or break your website. The ones that will set you apart from your competitors. The ones you can be sure will stick around for 2020. Check them out below!

 

Mobile-First Designs

 

The days of desktop dominance are gone, and mobile devices are the undisputed king of screen time. Users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones, so if you want to reach your audience then you’ve got to optimize your site for mobile use. Also, Google now ranks mobile sites ahead of desktop sites in search rankings, so focusing on a mobile design will help make sure your site is seen. And studies show that users are 67% more likely to buy a product from your site if it is optimized for mobile use. See the pattern?

 

Mobile devices aren’t exactly new, and they’ve taken up a big spot in web design for a few years. But the new focus on mobile-first designs means that website designers are focusing on mobile templates first rather than creating websites for desktops and then making them responsive to other devices. Because users expect a website to load in under 3 seconds, optimizing a website for mobile loading also means you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your user engagement.

 

What does that mean for you? Well, it means a focus on layouts that can be compressed to fit a smaller screen without losing content. It’s also important to keep in mind that mobile screens are touched rather than clicked, so you’ll need to adjust your designs to be accessible by various fingers. In short, simple and direct navigation, adaptive designs, and responsive frameworks will reign supreme.

 

Speedy and Trendy Designs

 

We’ve already discussed optimizing your website for load speed (recap: you should), but doing so involves more than just technical work. The design of your website also plays a big role in how quickly it loads. Keep your design simple but trendy to stay on top of your speed and your relevance. Be generous with your white space - it helps guide users down the page and keeps your site uniform, while also loading quickly. You should also reduce clutter by ridding your site of unnecessary graphics and complex designs to make your site quick and scannable.

 

For the trendiest site on the web, use a good mix of contrasting colors, large and playful fonts, and high-quality images and videos. Grid patterns are becoming especially popular - a good example of this is the block layout of Pinterest pins. Grouping your content and related pages into easily scannable squares keeps your users attention while looking sleek and modern.

 

Video is King

 

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know that video content is the name of the internet game. Today’s users are more concerned than ever with immediate gratification, and information is often easiest to access and digest in video form. In fact, static pages (those without any animated or video content) are likely to be obsolete by 2020. That’s why the top websites have shifted their content focus away from text graphics and articles and instead use full-screen or embedded videos to boost their site traffic.

 

One of the top ways to do this is to place videos in the header of your website to immediately gain the attention of visitors. Or, you can place multiple related videos along your page to entice users to scroll down. Some websites even choose to display looping videos as the background of their homepage. Whatever method you choose, video content should be your prime focus as we move into 2020.

 

Don’t have video content? Jump on the motion bandwagon with GIFS or animation to keep your page from looking static. 

 

Chat Bots

 

Chat Bots are a new feature in AI that have taken the internet by storm in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down. A chat bot interacts with users on your website through chat ‘conversations’ to provide automated customer service, saving you time and money. They also allow users to access information and engage with your site much more quickly than traditional methods. Chat bots use assigned ‘rules’ and information along with really cool artificial intelligence to allow users to do a multitude of tasks. They can do things such as ask questions, file complaints, make online orders, book flights, buy tickets, and more.

 

There are two types of chatbots: simple and advanced. Simple chatbots use pre-filled keywords to process and respond to customer queries. This type of bot is much simpler (and cheaper) to implement on your website, but it isn’t as good at engaging with your users; it often responds to difficult or unanticipated questions with an ‘I don’t understand’ message. On the opposite side of the coin, advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence to learn customer preferences and enhance conversation. They are able to make jokes, understand sarcasm, and answer complex questions.

 

Artificial intelligence is not yet an art, so there are still bugs in the system. Plus, chat bots can be extremely expensive and they require technical knowledge that many companies may not have on the payroll. However, we anticipate that as technology advances, chat bots will become much more streamlined and accessible for all.

 

Sticky Elements

Sticky elements is a very descriptive name, as they “stick” to your webpage. In other words, as users scroll down your page the sticky elements scroll with them. It’s a great way to keep navigation simple and keep your users engaged.

 

Sticky elements can be a variety of things. Newsletter sign-ups, contact information, and promotions are all good sticky element materials. Many websites create sticky “floating” menus to make navigation easier for a better user experience. Perhaps the most important one is social media links, which allow users to quickly link to your accounts or share your material on their pages. Which is important, because social media attracts billions (with a b) of internet users every day. That’s a huge audience!

 

But, be careful not to over-saturate your site with too many sticky elements. Doing so can make them seem spammy and intrusive, plus they’ll cover your other content. Stick to the sweet spot - no more than two or three at a time. 

 

Well, there you have it. The top website design trends for 2019-2020 focus on increasing speed, keeping your designs simple but engaging, and using technology to stay ahead of the game. Trends evolve, but we’re confident that keeping these in mind will help keep your website relevant and modern through the New Year and beyond.

 

Need more help? We do website design! From consultations to complete overhauls, BIS Designs can transform your website into a stunning reflection of your business. Contact us today!


Tips for Successful Content Marketing

Google and social media platforms (like Facebook) continue to change their algorithms, making it increasingly difficult for a company to reach its audience. Stellar Content marketing can help your company jump some of the hurdles. In fact, Google and Facebook often reward companies with great content. That’s why it’s critical for companies to provide valuable and informative content on their website and social media pages.

 

If you’re struggling to create killer content, follow these tips to help guide you in creating successful content for your company:

Engage with your followers. You’ve probably heard it many times: engagement is crucial for online marketing success. Here’s why: 

 

  • - Part of the algorithm Facebook put in place that decides how many and who of your followers sees a post has to do with how much engagement your post receives. The more people like, comment on, or share your post, the more people will see your post.
  • - Engagement builds trust and loyalty among your audience when you add personality to your company. Add personality by engaging with your audience through conversations and various interactions and not simply posting about your products or serves. This causes people to connect with your brand as if it is a person, and not simply a product or service. You have a much better chance of selling a product or service to someone who trusts you.
  • - Engaging with your audience makes people feel like they’re more than just another dollar in the bank account. People like to feel important, especially by brands they love. So start paying more attention to your audience. Share and like their posts, comments, Tweets, etc.
 

Establish thought leadership. Position your company as a thought leader that provides valuable resources to its audience. Highlighting yourself as an expert in your industry will draw your audience to you. Instead of going straight to Google for information about your industry, people will start going to your website, blog, and following your social media pages to learn industry trends, tips and tricks, and more.

 

Keep it fresh. Keep your content fresh by incorporating new and a variety of content for your customers to read and engage with. Consider mixing up your weekly posts with a guest post or a live product/service demo. Be sure to post on special holidays and incorporate seasonal content into your posts. Use catchy images and high-quality graphics to keep your page looking fresh and not like spam. Incorporate monthly themes, where you focus on certain topics each month, educating your audience beyond their expectations about each topic (thought-leadership!). 

 

Be authentic. With the growth of the Internet and social media platforms, it has become increasingly important to be authentic. Advertising your product, service, or company falsely will always come to light through reviews and comments from customers. Your audience is far more informed than you think, and they will call out a scam without hesitation. One of the top influencers on the web, Neil Patel, put it best when he said, “Authentic businesses inspire and prosper”. Neil Patel advises people to be authentic by:

 

  • - Being real, charitable, consistent, responsive (See, we told you engagement was part of the key), and accountable (If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it and apologize to your customer)
  • - Providing statistics and facts to back up what you say
  • - Respecting the privacy of your customers
  • - Telling your true brand story
  • - Highlighting your good reputation
 

Engage with your followers. Establish thought leadership. Keep it fresh. Be authentic. Each of these tips will help you create a better content marketing strategy to help your company grow. In combination, these tips will help your company soar!  So, give it a try, and if you’re still struggling, give us a call! We’re here to help you create content and manage your digital marketing in a way that will capture the attention of your audience.

 

 

RELATED: 

Should You Outsource Your Business Blogging? 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


5 Tips for Instagram Success

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is the largest and fastest growing social media platform for sharing videos and photos. 60% of users learn about new products directly through Instagram, 70% of users look up a brand on Instagram, more than 200 million users visit a business profile at least once a day, and if you don’t have an active Instagram account, you might be missing out on a lot of business.

 

According to Forrester, companies that are on Instagram have a 4.21% engagement rate, which is 10x higher than Facebook and 84x higher than Twitter. Whoa! That’s a lot of engagement, and it’s pretty remarkable for something launched only 9 years ago to be growing so quickly.

The importance of having, and maintaining, and Instagram account to reach more customers can no longer be ignored. But, how do you get started? How can your company break through the millions of content being posted to Instagram every day and increase your business? Here are some helpful tips to start implementing today:

 

1. Start with a Strategy - You have goals for your business, and you should have goals for everything you do in support of your business, including social media. A social media strategy defines how your company will use social media to achieve its communication goals. At the very least, it can be a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals, measurable objectives for using the platform, and the target outcomes you wish to accomplish. It’s critical to start with an Instagram strategy; otherwise you’ll waste precious time and money posting with no end goal in mind, nothing to measure your success, and nothing to improve upon. 

 

2. Upgrade your Instagram account to a business profile – If you don’t already have a business profile for Instagram, it’s pretty easy to set up. First, sign up with a business email so your Instagram profile isn’t linked to your personal Facebook account. Next, follow the prompted instructions on Instagram to enter your account details. After you have completed your account set up, switch to a business profile. Just go to Settings -> Account -> Switch to Business Profile. It will then have you confirm your Facebook business page and update your Instagram account for you.

 

Upgrading your Instagram account from a personal to a business profile will give you insights into your audience that will help you reach them more effectively. You will be able to see how many people you reach on average, what posts are the post popular, what time of day your followers are most likely to be on Instagram and see your posts, and more. This is very important to guide you in adjusting your strategy for the best results. 

 

3. Know how often and what type of content to post (quality over quantity) – This section could be the most important to your Instagram account success. Knowing how often and what type of content to post can be tricky. However, if followed well, these tips should help your Instagram improve.

The purpose of Instagram is to create visual inspiration for your followers. Therefore, following the rule “Quality over Quantity” is extremely important. It may seem like it’s better to post 3x per day for more engagement and followers. However, if you are posting poor content with low-quality images or videos, you might as well forget it. Utilize your Instagram account to tell the story of your brand in an ascetically pleasing way, even if you only post 2x per week. It’s far better to post less often and have high-quality images and videos than to post more often with low-quality work that will make your company look cheap and turn people off.

 

The amount of posts you make per week should also be taken into consideration when you are creating a strategy for your social media. You should never approach a week with no plan for your posts, or with a plan in mind to “just post what comes to you” because often times, you’ll get busy and forget to post. Planning monthly and creating a content calendar can help take the stress off of you. 

It may surprise you to know, major brands post on Instagram on average 1.5 times per day. You should aim to post 1-3 times per day. An extremely important tip is to utilize your business profile to its full extend by digging into your insights and figuring out when your followers are on Instagram. You can adjust your strategy to post on the days and during the times your followers are most active. For example, if you find most of your followers are extremely active on Wednesdays at 7 AM and 9 PM, you should aim to post every Wednesday at 7 AM and 9 PM to reach the most people.

 

4. Post User-Generated Content – One of the easiest ways to keep posts running on your Instagram account, or even on your Instagram story, is to post user-generated content (UGC). In fact, 86% of Millennials say that USC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand, and 68% of social media users between the ages of 18 and 14 take into account UGC shared on social media while considering following a brand. 

UGC is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors or followers. This refers to images, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, etc… where your followers promote your brand. Followers like UGC because it puts the customer front and center and makes your brand more about them. Just be sure to ask permission from the original poster before reposting. 

 

5. Always add a compelling CTA - CTAs (Call-To-Action) direct people into what they should do after seeing your post. The key is to be as creative as you can in order to make people take action. A few CTAs to consider in your next post: ask people to tag a friend, make a comment, give your company a call, repost your post, fill out forms to get exclusive discounts, etc.

These tips should help your Instagram account improve. But, remember… gaining followers and seeing a ROI takes time. If you need help, the team at BIS Design’s is always here for you! Just give us a call to discuss your needs.

 

RELATED: 

Algorithms: How Each Platform Keeps You Engaged 

   

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Stay On Top: SEO in 2019

Hello, 2019! It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to get ahead of the competition and on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). In the next few minutes, we’ll cover these five topics to get you thinking about improving your SEO strategy: Mobile-first indexing, page speed, thought-provoking content, featured snippets, and RankBrain.

1. Mobile-first indexing

As of March 2018, Google started rolling out what they call “mobile-first indexing”. In 2019, this concept will become even more relevant as mobile users rise and Google adapts mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

Searches on desktops are declining, driving the pressing need for appropriate indexing based on the mobile versions of websites. Due to this, mobile-first indexing was created with the intention of helping mobile users easily find what they’re looking for. So, what does this mean for you? Should you completely disregard the desktop version of your website and solely focus on the mobile? The simple answer is no. Both your desktop and mobile versions will come into play in the New Year. This is why Google’s new strategy is called mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing.

In order to avoid negatively impacting your rankings, ensure your mobile and desktop versions are developed with quick loading times and optimized images and content. It’s important not to sacrifice your desktop version for your mobile version, or vise versa.  

2. Page speed

In the new mobile-first index, page speed has become a huge ranking factor, primarily impacting pages that deliver the slowest experience to users on mobile versions. Slow loading speeds cause users to bounce from 32-90% as page load times increase from 1-5 seconds. Research has shown, consumers don’t like to wait for content, especially while on their mobile devices.

How can you increase your page speed? There are three easy steps you can take to increase your speed. First, you can conduct a page speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Next, take into account the size of your pages; many sites are loaded down with too much information, making it difficult to process. Cutting down on the bulk will help your speed improve. Third, contact your web/SEO expert, like us! We can help determine what steps you should take to improve your page speed (and overall SEO). 

3. Thought-provoking content

It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content. Focus on creating content that solves a problem by offering advice, motivation, and engagement for your customer. Creating exceptional content shouldn’t be forgotten and will likely always be an important key to improving your SEO. Exceptional content keeps people wanting more, bringing them back to your site.

4. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summary to a user’s search displayed on top of Google search results. The image below is a snippet, and trust us, it’s where you want your website to appear when consumers search for a service or product.

By using snippets effectively, you can maximize your authority, prove that Google chooses your page over competitors, and increase your traffic. You can earn a featured snippet by analyzing keyword opportunities and implementing them into your site, creating strategic content, having a Q&A section on your website, clearly outlining your subheadings, lists, tables, etc., and polishing up any existing snippets.

5. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that works alongside Google’s current algorithm, Hummingbird, to improve Google’s search engine by learning and identifying patterns and interpreting unknown search strings. Machine learning is what happens when a computer learns by experience, and that’s exactly what RankBrain does. It intelligently gathers users habits and needs to direct them to the most useful content for their search. It works by taking segments of the entire search and relating them to the most popular searches with those related terms, and as people click on their desired result, RankBrain grows in its search knowledge. RankBrain affects how Google ranks search results. It learns which results are relevant and pushes them to the top.

According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important factor in SEO, after content and links. The key to overcoming RankBrain is to provide users with a positive experience through easy-to-navigate, detailed, and quality content to optimize your site.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the slough of information and ever-changing world of SEO, don’t stress! We’re here to keep you abreast of the changes, and help you implement them into your website structure.

 

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Mobile-Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs it

 


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs It

Our customers use any number of difference devices to surf the web, including laptops, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.  It has become increasingly important to provide a seamless experience to potential customers no matter what device they are using, your business website needs to be built with responsive web design in mind.

What is responsive web design? And why is it such an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy? Here’s what you need to know on the subject.

Responsive Web Design

A website that utilizes responsive web design will automatically resize depending on the type of device being used to access the site.

Responsive websites intuitively respond to the type of device being used and adjust the layout of a website accordingly, information is more easily accessible and the user experience is much more enjoyable.  No more scroll bars, no more pinching and squeezing to be able to read content and no more separate mobile sites.  Think beautiful, clean websites that are easy to read and navigate on any device.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design

Are you thinking of updating or building a new website for your business? Make sure you go with a web designer (like BIS Designs) that knows how to create responsive web designs.  Here’s why:

Consumers steer clear from websites that aren’t mobile friendly. 57% of mobile users say they won’t recommend a business that has a poor user experience on their smartphones.  Today, mobile users account for nearly half the internet traffic and online shopping, browsing and researching is the new favorite past-time.  If it takes too long to navigate or load a website, the consumer will move on to your competitor.  The key is to be accessible, no matter what device is being used.

You have a limited amount of time to catch a consumer’s attention.  Websites that don’t load within 9 seconds are considered to be low quality and if the site does not fit the screen of a user's smartphone, making it more difficult to navigate, the consumer will leave your site without engaging, and more importantly, no conversion. 

Also important to keep in mind, the higher quality your website, the more stock goes on in SEO.  Google is impressed by a responsive design and knows it creates a better user experience, which in turn puts your business higher in the rankings. 

Here at BIS Designs, we’ve made it our business to create high quality, responsive and seamless websites for our clients, no matter their industry.  Let us improve your customers’ online experience when they visit your website!

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5 Benefits of Business Blogging 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Algorithms: How Each Social Platform Keeps You Engaged

The social media marketing discussion is now dominated by algorithms – almost everywhere you engage, within almost every platform you use, machine learning and data sorting is used to decide what it is you see.

The evolution of social algorithms has, no doubt, made things harder for social marketers. The development of algorithms follows much the same progression as the technical elements of SEO – in order to show searches the most relevant responses to user queries and weed out spammers, Google has had to constantly update its algorithm to stay one step ahead.

 

Now social platforms are in much the same position, which adds a more complex, technical element to the social marketing process.

With this in mind, what do you need to know to ensure you’re on top of the latest social algorithm shifts, and how can you best prepare yourself, and understand the focus of each platform to maximize your business page performance?

Here’s a quick overview of the current state of each platform’s algorithm, based on what I’ve studied of their workings.

FACEBOOK

The most influential social algorithm is Facebook’s. The Social Network was the first to implement an algorithm feed, in response to the flood of spammy posts and junk which had taken over the app as its popularity grew.

Facebook’s algorithm aims to show you the content you’re most likely to engage with – though obviously there’s a lot more to it than that.

To best understand Facebook’s algorithm, you first need to get your head around the basic engagement equation Facebook uses.

Facebook’s News Feed chief, Adam Mosseri, explained this in several webinars, conferences and online publications last year, comparing their selection process to choosing a meal for a friend at a restaurant:

 

This process, says Mosseri, is essentially utilizing an algorithm within your own head – Facebook’s system simply transfers these though processes to a machine, shifting the same core elements into more technical factors – Inventory, Signals, Predictions and Scores.

Here’s the same calculations with Facebook actions replacing restaurant options:

Facebook rates each post based on your individual usage patterns, which, along with a range of other measures, enable it to come up with a score for each post. That score then dictates where each will appear in your feed.

Sound confusing? Yes, it is. These algorithms change constantly so studying and keeping up with the social channel’s updates are crucial to any business social media marketing plan. In basic terms, Facebook measures the likelihood that you’re going to take a particular action which their data suggests is the most engaging, then shows each story to you based on that probability.

TWITTER

Twitter’s algorithm is less advanced than Facebook’s, but they are putting increased focus on their machine learning efforts to boost engagement.

Users were initially outraged that Twitter would even consider changing to an algorithm, but the data has since shown that the system has helped the platform boost performance – as algorithms have on virtually every platform.

Twitter’s main objective with their algorithm is to show you more content you may be interested in – similar to Facebook, though Twitter is more about showing it to you in addition to the other tweets you might see, as opposed to “instead of”.

Even with an algorithm in place, Twitter can still show you almost every tweet, due to the real time nature of the feed. Nowadays, when you first login into Twitter, you’ll see tweets you may have missed, which are basically the most popular tweets from the people you follow. Twitter has also been working to boost engagement by showing you tweets that people you follow have liked, too.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is one of the hottest social platforms at the moment for social engagement.  They have now also implemented a Facebook-style algorithm.  Facebook actually owns both platforms now, so the algorithms are almost exactly the same now. Like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm is based on your likelihood to engage.

LINKEDIN

Like Twitter, LinkedIn’s algorithm is not as advanced as Facebook’s.  A good example of how LinkedIn’s feed algorithm works is their comment sorting tool – LinkedIn recently published an update on how comments are displayed on each post, based on engagement.

In my opinion, and the opinion of many other LinkedIn users, their algorithm needs some work.  You’ll often see posts from weeks ago in your feed but they are refining their data, and working to show you more relevant content, slowly but surely.

PINTEREST

The last platform has a constantly evolving algorithm to uncover more relevant Pin matches. Their goal is to keep you searching and their system has been upgraded from its initial matching efforts to better highlight relevant content.

Do you have ideas of how these social platforms might improve their algorithms in the future? Tell us in the comments!

RELATED:

Why Your Business Needs A Paid Facebook Ad Budget

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: What exactly happened?

If you’ve been keeping up with the national news for the last two weeks, you’ve heard the reports of political campaigns acquiring private data on millions of Facebook users.  It has now sparked new questions about how the social media giant protects user information.

First of all, as a business advertising on Facebook, we are all thankful for the data which identifies personalities and buying trends of users.  This doesn’t mean people’s personal information like credit cards, social security numbers and other secure information was ever shared via Facebook.

What does it mean?

When you “like” a certain post, take a quiz or share a family, friend or business page’s post, Facebook keeps track of this content.  Why? Well, when they know what you like, they know what to put in your newsfeed. 

This all plays a big part in Facebook’s algorithms, which have changed drastically in the last two years.  The algorithms now only allow content that you are interested in to be in your newsfeed.  To me, this isn’t a bad thing at all.  It is a highly intelligent way of keeping users happy and engaged.  For businesses, it also makes it more difficult to advertise because you need to pay attention to what users want to see on a daily basis and tailor your content to that audience.  Otherwise, your content will go unseen.  This is what I do on a daily basis for dozens of business accounts, study trends in order to make sure the business pages are reaching the most customers. 

Now, back to Cambridge Analytica. What’s the big deal? The firm offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.  This behavior was then, allegedly, used to target voters for the election.  This app has since been removed from Facebook but there are reports that the data still exists, so this is why Facebook is being scrutinized.

What kind of information was collected and how was it acquired?

The data included details on users’ identities, friend networks and “likes”.  The idea was to map personality traits based on what people had liked on Facebook, and then use that information to target audiences with digital ads.

Researchers in 2014 asked users to take a personality survey and download an app, which scraped some private information from their profiles and those of their friends, activity that Facebook permitted at the time and has since banned. 

The technique had been developed at Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Center.  Facebook says no passwords or “sensitive pieces of information” had been taken. 

Facebook has always prohibited this kind of data to be sold or transferred “to any ad network, data broker or other advertising service” so the question everyone has been asking is, was Facebook hacked? No one really knows for sure.

What is Facebook doing to fix the situation?

Really, there isn’t much they can do about it at this point. Once the data is out, there isn’t really a way to recall it. They can conduct all the forensic audits they want, but the information will remain out there in some form, and will likely remain useable and indicative. For damage control, Facebook needs to show users that it is improving, learned its lessons and their systems are actually now better for it.

We’ll see in the next year whether or not users pull away from the social giant or whether it will blow over and everyone will go back to using Facebook as usual.  As already stated, no sensitive information was really obtained but it is simply a matter of users trusting Facebook to keep up with their social habits without exploiting it for political reasons.

What do you think? Does it bother you that Facebook tracks your likes and, in turn, creates a personality profile of your daily habits in order for businesses to advertise to you? We want to know! Let us know on Facebook!

RELATED:

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


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