Vacation Rental Social Media Marketing Case Study

In September of 2018, I took over the social media marketing for Cabins of Birch Hollow, a 300-acre resort property in Stanton, Kentucky offering 10 deluxe rustic-style cabin rentals. The co-owner, Kay Harris, built a thriving vacation rental business, but wanted someone else to manage the social media marketing. It was my first time running a business’ entire social media marketing campaign, and I learned a lot in a short amount of time.

In this post I’ll be sharing what I learned, and how you can use it for your own social media marketing.

Timing

It doesn’t matter how good your social media posts are if no one sees them. Before you invest the time & resources into social media marketing, you need to identify when your fans are online: what day of the week and what time? That way you’ll optimize your posts’ Reach.

The first thing I did was review the Cabins of Birch Hollow Facebook page Insights. I looked at the page traffic and when it was getting the most views.

By going to the Facebook page’s Insights>>Posts, I could see traffic was low in the earlier part of the week, then rose in the later part of the week, with peak days being Thursday-Sunday in the evening hours. This told me that by posting on those days I would get Cabin of Birch Hollow’s posts seen by the most number of fans.

It’s also important to know how often to post. You want to remind people of your business and why they should buy from you, but you don’t want to bombard your fans.. They’ll tire of seeing your posts and Hide or Unfollow you. Experiment a ton and see what works best for your page and fans..

Three-to-four times a week works well for Cabins of Birch Hollow, and is a good starting place. From there you can decide to post more frequently or less often based on audience reaction.

Targeting

When marketing your business, knowing your audience is key. Are your posts reaching the people most likely to buy from you? If not, how can you adapt your content & optimize your post timing so they do?

Using Facebook’s Insights, I was able to see the audience demographics for Cabins of Birch Hollow:

I was able to identify the people who viewed Cabins of Birch Hollow were, on average, middle-aged women, almost exclusively from the United States, split between Kentucky and Ohio. That tells me I’m reaching the right people. My posts were tailored to reach people in the Kentucky area with middle to upper class income, and users in the 35-54 age bracket are the most likely to fit that criteria.

Be Specific

One of the first things I learned from running Cabins of Birch Hollow’s social media is that people like it when you tell them exactly what they need to know to make a decision. If you can be detailed while still being concise, you will have great results.

The best example of this is a post I did for the cabin named Snuggle Inn. It’s designed with couples in mind and has some great features, so I created a post that would appeal to couples and detail what the cabin offered. It got over 3K Reach, and more importantly, it got 96 link clicks (you can see this by clicking on the Reach numbers below the post). It resulted in a booking for the next weekend:

Why did it do so well?

Post Elements COBH Facebook Post with Great Results
Targeted

Appealed directly to couples

Detailed

Told the audience exactly what they would be getting while making it sound romantic

Concise

Told people exactly what they wanted to know in as few words as possible (I knew what features were popular as we have a close relationship with our client Kay)

Always Adapting

Your audience’s preferences and social media marketing  constantly change. What worked last year may not work as well this year. Social media marketing requires you you keep up with what works now, not six months ago. Being able to change and adapt to new platform features and audience fluctuation can really set you apart from the competition.

  • Audience responding more to image posts? Give them more of what works: do more image posts.
  • Not getting enough engagement when posting once a week? Try posting more frequently or at different times.
  • Develop special posts around holidays and important events. This is especially important for local businesses. Capitalize on local events such as festivals or local holidays to boost your sales, as shown in the screenshot below:

Summary

I don’t consider myself a data geek, but ultimately I needed to dig into the numbers behind Cabins of Birch Hollow’s social media marketing to understand what would get results for our client.

Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of the classes here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com to learn how to use Facebook Insights to identify what I needed to know before creating our client’s social media marketing campaign

Taking those initial steps to learn how to use Facebook Insights and applying what I learned to the social media marketing paid off handsomely: Kay successfully outsourced her marketing knowing her cabins are booked every weekend this fall.

Instagram Marketing Infographic: 64 Instagram Marketing Strategies

<< Click on the infographic to download your own full-size pdf version.

Instagram is THE hottest social  network and has been for several years.

Why? You get a streamlined newsfeed making it easier to read —without the political rants and drama you see on Facebook.

Download your full-size PDF of the Instagram Marketing Infographic: with 64 proven tactics in 8 categories, you can select one tactic from each category and combine them for a potential 4 million unique marketing campaigns to grow your small business.

​How Can Instagram Marketing Help my Small Business?

Instagram is a branding social network. It's terrific for visibility, engagement, and creating relationships with your followers.

​You can, however, use Instagram for far more than branding: you can generate leads and sales — if you use it innovatively. That's what this Instagram Marketing Infographic teaches you how to do — updated for 2019 & 2020.

64 Innovative Instagram Marketing Tactics

Try combining tactics from each category to come up with new marketing ideas that will put you one step ahead of your competition. Check out the marketing campaign generator below this list of proven marketing tactics:

  1. Use your brand name for SEO
  2. Include your website URL in your bio
  3. Describe your business in your bio
  4. Use SEO keywords in your bio
  5. Show your personality
  6. Use your headshot as your profile pic
  7. Avoid using your logo as your profile pic 
  8. Keep your bio updated: change URL for important offer
  9. Take Instagram images using the app on your phone
  10. All images are 1080 pixels square
  11. You can crop images in the Instagram app
  12. Use appealing filters to give your image a trendy look
  13. Flat lays of products are hugely popular
  14. Share product reveals
  15. Snap event photos 
  16. Feature client testimonials
  17.  Use a brand hashtag in captions
  18. Identify trending hashtags (use search)
  19. Create event hashtags to use in captions
  20. Use up to 30 #hashtags per post
  21. Use only relevant #hashtags - don't spam
  22. Hashtags can contain only alphanumeric characters
  23. Be specific & relevant in your hashtags
  24. Use search terms as hashtags 
  25. Use tags to mention followers
  26. @Username mentions & links to follower
  27. Followers notified of your @mentions
  28. Tagging increases your engagement
  29. Can use tags in Stories
  30. Tag team members - feature them & their work
  31. Tag customers — think case studies, testimonials
  32. Add tags in captions & comments 
  33.  Connect Instagram & Facebook
  34. Can send posts automatically to a Facebook profile or page
  35. Connecting the two social networks makes it easy to post to both 
  36. Can also connect Twitter to your Instagram account 
  37. Automatically send to posts to Twitter
  38. Use a shopping cart? Connect it to Instagram!
  39. Automate marketing by connect Instagram to Zapier
  40. Include your Instagram link in your email marketing 
  41. Record live videos or upload recorded videos to Instagram
  42. Video is 3-60 seconds
  43. Live videos disappear after 24 hours
  44. IGTV in your branded Instagram video channel
  45. IGTV is recorded videos only
  46. IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes long
  47. Want your videos to last longer? Save live videos to Instagram      Stories
  48. Then save that video story to Highlights to make it display permanently on your profile
  49. Instagram provides analytics on business accounts
  50. You can block followers
  51. You can add an Instagram account admin in Facebook Business Manager
  52. Tap Activity to see Likes & Comments  — no Shares on Instagram
  53. Want to Unfollow someone? Do it from their Profile
  54. You can post to Instagram using a 3rd-party management tool like Hootsuite, SproutSocial or Loomly
  55. Search for #hashtags to use in your posts
  56. Use search to find brands and people you know
  57. Use Instagram Stories: 10-second images and/or 15-second videos
  58. Stories disappear after 24 hours
  59. People can Comment on, but not Like Stories
  60. Stories appear above your feed, horizontally
  61. Stories tend to be more informal than feed posts - images/videos don't have to be "perfect"
  62. Story images are 1080 x 1920 pixels 
  63. Stories are outstanding for branding
  64. Got an upcoming product launch? Announce it via a Story

Here's how to combine these Instagram marketing tactics into an innovative campaign customized for your unique business:

#

Category

Description

2

Profile

Include website URL in bio

14

Images

Share product reveals

24

Hashtags

Use search terms as hashtags

32

Tags

Use @mentions in captions & comments

34

Integrate

Automatically send to Facebook

41

Video

Broadcast live or upload recorded video

51

Manage

Add admin in Facebook Business Manager

64

Stories

Announce product launch

I chose the tactics above to create a product launch campaign:

  • include the link to the product in my bio
  • share a sneak peek of the product using an image
  • use a search term as a hashtag to increase the post's visibility
  • tag team members, colleagues or influencers in the caption & comments
  • automatically send the post to Facebook
  • do a live video announcing the new product
  • add an admin in Facebook Business Manager to help moderate and engage with comments
  • offer more details about the product in a story

What You Should Do Now

Whether you're already experienced with Instagram marketing or a beginner, this infographic has plenty of quick tips and ideas to fuel truly innovative campaigns. Keep it handy for a potential 4 million ideas on how to promote your business on Instagram.

Don't forget to download your Instagram Marketing Infographic here:

instagram marketing infographic 2020 Socialmediaonlineclasses thumbnail

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing for Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

<< Click on the infographic to download your own full-size pdf version.

“I feel like I need a Twitter-to-English dictionary!” — M. Roe, Socialmediaonlineclasses.com intern

Does that sound familiar? Think Twitter isn’t for you because you’re not Donald Trump or Justin Bieber?

Think again!

Twitter is Maria Peagler’s (SMOC’s founder) favorite network for connecting with industry influencers, authors, and all kinds of fascinating people.  It compresses “six degrees of separation” into two: you & the person you want to connect with.  You can connect with anyone who’s on Twitter: one click and you’re following people whom you may never meet in person, but would love to learn from or even partner with.

Download the infographic at left and bookmark this blog post: it will serve as your Yoda for understanding Twitter . . .

. . . let’s get started!

Twitter Marketing for Small Business Ultimate Guide

Profile

1. Create a custom background

A custom background for your profile makes you stand out from the crowd.  It can be a photo of you, a photo of your business or product, or a graphic related to your business. Notice our Twitter background provides our 30-second “elevator pitch” to differentiate SMOC from other brands:

My background is eye-catching and informative

In one simple background, I included:

  • Exactly what we offer (with a differentiating feature of 1:1 coaching)
  • Social proof (logos of where my content as been published & awards I’ve earned)
  • Every social network I teach
  • Our website & phone number
  • Images of our classes on every device

Anyone can create a Twitter account; use your time and creativity to create a background for your profile. Putting in that extra effort impresses people when they come to your page.

2. Use headshot for photo

Your Twitter account represents you. A professional, flattering headshot makes your profile more personal and likable.  Need some help taking or editing your headshot? Use these free SMOC resources:

3.  Be detailed in your bio

Tell Twitter users who you are. Share who you are, what you do, and what is important to you and about you. Create a detailed bio to show people why they should pay attention to you and let them get to know you.

4.  Use SEO keywords in your bio

One of the most effective ways to get Twitter followers is to utilize your SEO knowledge. Putting relevant keywords in your bio makes you more likely to appear in searches both on Twitter and on external search engines.

5.  Link to your website/blog

When people visit your bio, you want them to convert them from viewers to customers. Give them the opportunity to do so by including the link to your website or blog in your profile and make it easy for users to see and buy your content.

6.  Don’t use logo/egg for photo

New Twitter accounts all have the Twitter egg as their profile picture. Keeping a bland white egg photo as your profile image makes your profile seem boring and uninteresting, and can make you look like you don’t care about or are uninformed about Twitter. In a similar fashion, having a logo as your profile image is fairly ineffective. Most people won’t recognize your logo and aren’t interested in finding out more about it. A face is more appealing to the majority of people. Use a nice headshot and show people who you are.

7.  Add details in the background

With a custom background, you can include details about yourself or your business. You can create a multi-image collage and include both your image as well as information about your business. You can show your business’ phone number, website information, product images, or various accomplishments you have achieved. Use your background to inform viewers.

8.  Show social proof

Show people who you are and why you matter. Show what other people think of you by including testimonials from clients, awards you earned, and where your content has appeared outside of your own website or blog.

Manage

9. Organize followers in lists

Lists allow you to categorize and keep track of profiles of people, companies, and content sources that are important to you, saving you time and making it easier to repeatedly find content you are interested in. If your lists are public, it shows your followers what you deem important.  Hipsters of the Coast, a card game news site, has lists containing writers, authors, artists, and community members.

Provides content lists. They also link to their Patreon so people can donate.

10. Follow tweets by hashtag

Following a hashtag shows you all the posts using it.. You can conduct market research, find ideas for content, see what people with the same interest as you are doing, and allows you to fully use the information available to you on Twitter.

11. Monitor your brand tweets

Your brand’s image is critical to social media success. Track and monitor what people are saying about your brand, and engage and respond to them in a timely manner. Regular interaction lets people know you are active, involved, and interested in what they are saying.

12.  Create lists for competition

Keeping lists isn’t just for tracking your content sources. Putting competitors in private lists that only you can see allows you to see what your competitors are doing, without following them or showing them to your followers.

13.  Schedule tweets for future

Make your Twitter life easier and more consistent by planning and scheduling your tweets ahead of time. Set aside time each week to create, plan, and schedule your Twitter content for that week. Creating a schedule lets you prioritize the other aspects of your business and keep your tweeting consistent.

14.  Follow Twitter chats

Twitter chats bring together like-minded groups of people to discuss shared interests. Following and participating in chats is a great opportunity to chat with others in your industry, and learn from others experiences and feedback. RGV Library Squad advocates for libraries and librarians in the Rio Grande Valley. They host chats, and they provide the topics of discussion ahead of time so participants can come prepared: 

15.  Monitor buzz around events

If there is an event you’re interested or participating in, it likely has a hashtag. You can search the hashtag and see what people are saying about the event. This can help you stay informed with the latest developments at the event, find things at the event that you want to see, and monitor what is going on.

16. Engage. Don’t just tweet

Interacting with your audience is key. Engaging with them makes them feel more connected to your business, giving you a more relatable image. Simply putting out tweets isn’t enough, it can get stale and doesn’t get people interested and engaged with you.

Integrate

17. Feed tweets to blog & Facebook tab

Using a Twitter tab on your Facebook business page leads Facebook fans to become Twitter followers. People who follow you on multiple platforms are reminded of your brand more often and are more likely to become customers.

18. Add Twitter name to marketing materials

Include your Twitter handle in your marketing materials to tell potential clients you’re on Twitter: it shows you’re social media-savvy and gives them one more opportunity to stay in touch with you. I include my Twitter name and Facebook on all my infographics:

19.  Display Twitter name on invoices, signage.

Bring more people to your profile by adding your Twitter name to invoices and signage. People who receive your invoices are already your customers and already interested in your product, making them more likely to follow you.

20. List Twitter name across social networks

Integrate your social media to give you the highest chance to gain more followers. People who follow you on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social platforms are all potential Twitter followers. Add your Twitter name to all your social accounts to so people can find you.

21.  Include buttons in email marketing

You’ve got mail! Be sure to include a link to your Twitter profile (as Austin Community College did here) to let subscribers know you’re on Twitter and let them see your profile in just one click:

22.  Ask people to follow you in your email signature

Don’t use email marketing? Even if you do, you likely don’t send out marketing emails every day. But how many times a day do you send regular emails using Gmail? Use every email you send to subtly tell people you’re on Twitter by including a link in your email signature, like in mine below:

twitter email signature

23.  Download Twitter app to your phone

Your phone gives you an all the access pass to Twitter. U.S. President Donald Trump is one of the biggest presences on Twitter and he does it all from his phone. READ: Tweet Like Trump: How to Dominate Like Trump. Keeping up with your account anytime and anywhere takes your Twitter presence to the next level, and allows you to interact with people immediately if they tweet at or about you.

Hashtags

24. Use hashtags to designate topic

Using the right hashtags for what you’re tweeting about lets your tweets show up in searches and can help you get more visibility. This tweet is all about a new infographic, and using the #infographic makes it searchable to people who are interested in infographics.

25. Post hashtags for industry events

If you are participating in an industry event or something related to your business, you can use hashtags to talk about it on Twitter. Let people know you’re active in the industry and you’re a figure they should pay attention to.

26.  Invent hashtags for products

Have a new product? Use the product name as a branded hashtag and encourage your audience to use it when they tweet about the product, increasing potential customer’s awareness of the product.

27.  Identify trends with hashtag

If certain hashtags are trending and showing up more in your feed, they may be worth paying attention to. Keeping up with what is popular helps you identify what is important to your audience and identify what you need to pay attention to.

28.  Identify small business hashtags

Use hashtags for your small business that work on both a local and national level. Using the right hashtags such as #SmallBusinessSaturday and #BlackFriday give you the best reach and connects you to the right audience.

29.  Promote contests with a hashtag

Have a contest going on? You can use a specific hashtag to promote it and allow people to enter. Tech brand NVIDIA held a holiday giveaway and used the hashtag #GiftAGamer to promote it:

30.  Recommend colleagues on #FollowFriday

Promote your colleagues and other people in your industry by tagging them on Follow Fridays with the hashtag #FF. It expands your reach and exposes their audience to your brand.

31.  Clearly define event hashtag

The more specific the hashtag you use for events, the easier the event tweets are to find. Technology convention PAX has multiple events every year, and they use very specific hashtags for each one. For their eastern event, they used #PaxEast2018: 

Influencers

32. Follow industry influencers

Listen to industry influencers for the hashtags and topics they tweet about. Consider using those same hashtags and relevant topics to increase your own visibility.

33. Do market research for trends, products

Identify the trends, hashtags, and products influencers discuss. Would that content be relevant to your own audience? If so, tweet about those trends, hashtags and products in a way your audience will appreciate and learn from. Not only will your tweets get more visibility, you’ll also increase your credibility among your followers.

34.  Ask colleagues for feedback and advice

Stay in touch colleagues active in your industry. Share ideas, ask for feedback, and trade advice. Doing so is a win-win and expands your network.

35.  Reach out, make connections

The strongest case for using Twitter is how easily you can connect with the powerful & influential (and get your tweets seen by them if you do it right). Twitter requires only a one-way connection, meaning you don’t have to wait for someone’s approval to follow them.

36. Follow influential tweeters

Make a list of the thought leaders, influencers, authors, and other people you’d like to meet in real life, then connect with them on Twitter. You’ll quickly see what’s trending in your niche and find relevant Twitter chats and other industry-related opportunities.

37.  Participate in Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are a niche-specific conversation conducted by a host who will ask a series of questions, and the people participating in the chat provide answers. Think of it as an online meeting with no limit to the number of attendees.

Chats are a great opportunity to meet industry influencers and other people in your niche.

38. Crowdsource collaborative projects

Twitter’s easy one-way connection and the ability to tag people allow you to develop and initiate collaborative projects on their platform. Once you have an ongoing conversation with Twitter followers, take that relationship one step further by proposing an interview, guest blog post, or other project with them.

You can also crowdsource feedback on a new product or service: ask your followers for their advice and expand your feedback reach by using the appropriate hashtags and tags to get even greater input.

39.  Identify and follow hosts

Find the people who consistently host Twitter chats. These people are likely to be industry leaders offering a wealth of connections and advice. Give them the much sought after-engagement everyone wants and you’ll get their attention & appreciation: 

Lists

40. Organize people into Lists

Twitter Lists allow you to organize people into one group: you can see the members of the List or their tweets, depending on which view you choose:

twitter ultimate guide list tweets

You can view the tweets from all the people on your list

Maria Peagler, found of Socialmediaonlineclasseses.com has Lists for Marketing Professors, Small Business Journalists, and even her own curated Daily News Feed:Ask your followers what they think about your products or what you are doing on social media. Use the information to find what your audience wants and adapt your marketing tactics using that information. You can create a poll to have your followers choose between multiple options:

41. Lists can be public or private

Twitter Lists are by default Public, meaning anyone can see your List name and the people on it, as well as their tweets. You can, however, make the List Private: the List appears only to you on Twitter, no one else.

42.  Spy on your competition

Want to keep tabs on what your competition does on Twitter, but you don’t want to follow them? Add them to a private List: you don’t need to follow the people or accounts you add to a List. This is a fantastic tactic for watching your competitors without them knowing about it.

43. Who’s on influencers’ Lists?

Remember those people you followed in tactic #36? Those influencers likely have Lists of people you need to know about, so take a look at their Lists and who’s on them. You may find people and opportunities you never knew existed.

44.  Create list of evangelists

Create a list of people who are your brand or industry evangelists:  users who retweet and engage your content, or that of your niche. Those evangelists offer a gold mine of potential for potential hiring, partners, or referrals.

I keep a list of my favorite voices on Social Media: 

45.  Create list of detractors

Find the people who publicly criticize your business and put them in a private List. If their criticism is constructive or valid, definitely respond to them, and learn from their feedback.

46. Follow people who are on the same List

Once you see what Lists people have added you to on Twitter, see who else is on that List. You may find industry influencers and thoughtful people you haven’t been exposed to previously. Follow those whose content resonates with you.

47.  Profile displays Lists you’re on

Not only does your Twitter profile display the public Lists you’ve created, it also shows the Lists other people have added YOU to. That’s a great sign of social proof and respect: if people are adding you to Lists, your tweets are getting noticed and appreciated.

Retweets

48. Keep original tweets short

Keep your original tweets under 200 characters. That gives people retweeting your content 80 characters to retweet you and provide context.

49. Retweet resources

Retweet content that is useful to your followers. It shows your followers useful information, and the original creator of the tweet sees you, expanding your network.

50.  Ask for the retweet

Studies show asking for the retweet does, in fact, result in more retweets. Don’t be ashamed to ask people to retweet your content. Keep it simple and use, “Pls retweet!” to encourage followers to share.

51.  Links are retweeted most

Studies show people retweet tweets with links more than any other content type. That’s not surprising: if you’re adding a link to a tweet, it’s often helpful or educational, and others like to share that type of content.

52.  Retweet for networking

Retweeting = engagement, and engagement is the one thing every social media account wants more of. Find people you want to connect with, follow them, and retweet their content. It gets their attention and expands their visibility, giving them valued social proof. It also puts you on their radar.

For example, Lynda Spiegel is a professional résumé writer who gave me great advice, so I want to publicly thank her by retweeting one of her tweets and adding a comment:

53.  Add short comment

While you don’t want to write an essay in a retweet, a short comment providing context as to why you recommend this tweet is helpful to both your followers and the person you’re retweeting.

54.  Thank people for retweets

Retweets are a big deal. They not only expand your audience, but they also act as a seal of approval from the person doing the retweeting. People who retweet you are doing you a service by sharing your content, so make sure to thank them: [INSERT SCREENSHOT OF MY THANK YOU FOR A RT HERE]

55.  Always credit content source

When retweeting, always make sure to credit the original source of the content (even if the original tweeter didn’t).. Retweeting content without credit is unprofessional and harms your reputation. Give people the credit they deserve by including a brief credit, such as, “via @NBCNews.”

56. Thank retweeters in their language

Maria Peagler often gets retweets from European Union tweeters, and when saying thanks, she’ll often use the word “Thank you” in their language [INSERT SCREENSHOT OF ONE OF MY THANK YOUS IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE HERE.”

Don’t know the translation for “Thanks” in their language? Do a quick lookup for it in Google Translate. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way in making a connection across the pond and on Twitter.

Innovate

57. Offer services via Twitter

You can use Twitter to offer prompt service to your customers. Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, responds by direct message to questions about account balances and credit cards. Their customers are delighted with the quick response and post their positive experience on Twitter. Call it a win-win-win!

How could your brand offer services on Twitter?

58. Share helpful resources

Share helpful resources relevant to your audience (bonus: those tweets are more likely to be retweeted).

Bank of America shared its partnership with Khan Academy to teach people to be better with money:

Notice Bank of America tagged Khan Academy, so they would get a notification of it? They also created the branded hashtag #PowerTo identify helpful programs they make available in their communities.

59.  @Cookbook tweets recipes in 280 characters

Maureen Evans of @Cookbook uses Twitter to share complete recipes in a single tweet — who ever thought you could learn how to cook on Twitter?

Can’t figure out what those recipe abbreviations mean? No worries — Maureen provides the link to a downloadable glossary right in her Twitter profile:

twitter cookbook maureen evans Socialmediaonlineclasses

60.  Add a personal touch with emojis

Twitter allows you to use emojis in your tweets, providing a light-hearted touch . Find emojis that relate to your topic and use them if they’re right for your brand: their colorful and fun nature make your tweets stand out in newsfeed full of text.

IHOP used pancake emojis to promote it’s birthday sale (a lot of pancakes):

61.  Teach a class one tweet at a time

Teachers, librarians, and school counselors love Twitter and use it creatively: some teachers give a pop quiz on Twitter. Students who answer correctly get extra points in the class. See 50 Ways to Use Twitter for Teachers here.

62.  Transcend communication limits #Egypt

When traditional communication methods fail or are unavailable, Twitter provides a platform to keep people connected.  Twitter has proven an essential communication tool during the Arab spring, national weather emergencies, and other significant events that require getting information out to the public but may be hampered by government shutdowns of traditional media outlets, or even slow websites.

The National Hurricane Center used Twitter to provide shelter locations during Hurricane Irma when their website was slowed by huge traffic spikes.

63.  Share infographics meant to be read in-tweet

Share micro-infographics that people can read in their newsfeed without having to leave Twitter. Make it easy for people to read and share your content.

World Health Organization shared easy tips to stay healthy for New Year’s resolutions:

64.  Offer great customer service

Twitter has largely become a replacement for the 1-800 number: why spend time on hold if you can tweet a question and check back in a few minutes to get the reply? No waiting on hold necessary.

Your Action Item

Every small business can brand themselves and expand their influence using Twitter.

Go through this post again and identify which tactics best fit your business. You don’t have to completely change the way you market your brand; instead, simply start using Twitter in your social media posts using the information in the infographic.

Use this infographic as a “to do list” of tactics, and experiment with a few to see which ones generate the most buzz and results for your brand. Don’t forget to let me know which ones worked for you, using the hashtag #tweetsheet.

Share the full-size #tweetsheet infographic on your site

twitter marketing infographic Socialmediaonlineclasses thumbnail

Share this Image On Your Site

How to Take Small Business Images Using Your iPhone or Android Smartphone — Your Ultimate Guide

Where will you get all the images you need for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, your LinkedIn headshot, YouTube thumbnails and your blog?

Just thinking about it can be overwhelming . . . 

. . . and do you really want to resort to bland stock images?

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

The answer is in your back pocket.

Your smartphone can do it all — head shots, product images and background photos.

Take out your smartphone and give your brand a dynamic look all your own using this ultimate guide.

You’ll learn photographer "secrets," including how to use composition, lighting, contrast, and backgrounds to create outstanding images, all with the built-in camera app on your iPhone or Android.

Get out your smartphone and follow along . . . you can read the guide in full or jump directly to the section you want below:

How to Compose Your Photo

Composing your photo makes it more eye catching and gives it a more professional look. Use the four composition methods below to give your images an Instagram-worthy look:

Use the Rule of Thirds

Position your subject one third of the way into the photo. This makes the image more aesthetically pleasing and draws more focus to your subject. Your smartphone can help you do this: From your camera settings, turn on the grid in your camera, and center your subject around one of the lines. .

Here’s where to turn on your image grid on an iPhone:

iPhone Settings

Here is where to turn on your image grid on a Samsung:

Samsung Settings

The image grid divides your photo into thirds, making it simple to position your subject on a line or intersection.

In this example, the dog’s face is positioned near the bottom intersection of the grid, positioning it at an interesting point as well as giving you plenty of room for a title or quote to overlay on the image:

In the example below, the woman’s eyes are in the top third of the photo,  naturally drawing your attention to her face, and gives the image a balanced feel:

Use Good Lighting

Natural light is the best and easiest way to shoot with your smartphone: avoid using your flash or harsh indoor lighting.

Avoid taking a photo with the sun or other light source shining directly in someone's face or directly on your product. The lighting will be flat and harsh, which is unflattering

When photographing outside, shoot in the early morning or evening, when the light is soft. This provides a nice smooth light with flattering tones. If you do need to shoot when the sun is strong, try to shoot in the shade, or with the sun at an angle to your subject.

When photographing outside, the best times are in the early morning or evening, when the light is soft. This provides a nice smooth light with flattering tones.

If you do need to shoot when the sun is strong, try to shoot in the shade or with the sun at an angle to your subject.

When photographing inside, use the light from a window or directed artificial light (see the article linked in the Product section below).

Direct the Eye with Contrast

An image with the correct amount of contrast grabs your attention and makes your subject stand out. Low-contrast photos look flat and boring.

Take a photo with good contrast by:

  • Making the background a different color than your subject
  • Putting your subject in the light and the background in the shade, as in the photo below:

Choose Your Background

Be mindful of your background, as it flatters and draws more focus to your subject.

  • Make your background visually appealing. Avoid  bright colors, bright highlights, and too many details, all which distract from your subject
  • Make the background out of focus ( the iPhone’s new portrait mode does for you) really brings attention to your subject

In this photo from SMOC Member The Valley Hive, the image has a simple background. The wood compliments the jars of honey, without taking attention away from them:

How to Take a Head Shot

A professional head shot is one of the first photos you’ll need for branding yourself and your business. It also gives your audience a more personal connection to your business if you have images of yourself and your employees.

In the group selfie photo below, Dr. Dennis Fernandez of Huntsvillesurgery.com used his smartphone to capture his entire staff in an informal setting, helping to alleviate much of the anxiety that goes along with surgery. This photo will be his Facebook Timeline cover:

small business images huntsville surgery clinic

Dr. Fernandez and the staff of Hunstvillesurgery.com; photo taken with his smartphone.

Pose Your Subject

Place your subject at an angle to the camera. Straight-on photos can be unflattering, so use angles to your advantage.

Arrange your subject so they're standing or sitting at an angle, then have them turn their head back toward the camera, as shown in the business portrait below:

Shoulders angled and head straight on is a great professional pose

Make a Statement with Angles

Consider what angle you want shoot from:

  • Taking a photo from above makes the subject appear approachable and slightly vulnerable. It is traditionally considered a feminine angle.
  • Taking a photo from above makes the subject seem strong and powerful, and is traditionally thought of as a masculine angle.

Notice the difference in model's appearance in the photos below? She looks powerful in the photo on the left, as the photographer was below her. In the photo at right, she looks more vulnerable as the photographer is above:

Choose Your Background Setting

Make sure your image has a pleasing background:

  • Avoid an unappealing background, as it detracts from the image quality, no matter how great your subject
  • Frame your subject with the background using a simple, pleasant surrounding
  • If you’re outside, foliage or a even a wall can be a great backdrop to your image

In the images below, a trail provides a pleasing, soft background while a skyscraper gives the image a strong, professional feel:

How to Take Professional  Product Photos

When shooting product photography, make it perfectly clear what the subject of the photo is. Product photos be simple and clean; avoid unnecessary details that distract from your product.

Keep it Simple

You want all the focus to be on your product. Don’t clutter up the photo with unnecessary props or background items.

Notice in the image below it's white everywhere but the subject, making it obvious what you're showcasing:

Light It

Ensure you have your product adequately lit. Use window light, natural light, or artificial light. To learn how to make an inexpensive light box for product photos refer to How to Create Your Own Product Photography Studio for Less Than 100 Dollars.

Try Different Angles

Shooting from different angles changes the entire look & feel of your product shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works for you. Notice the photo below used the following principles:

  • Rule of Thirds (product is in the bottom-left of the image)
  • Great lighting
  • Clean, contrasting background
  • Angled from the top looking directly at the product

Use a Colorful Paper Background

Set your product on a piece of colorful poster board, or set your product on a white or black paper and set up a colorful piece behind it, and shown below. The blue background provides a nice complement to the red cereal box:

Use a Tripod

You can get a smartphone tripod inexpensively, and it’s a great investment. It allows you to frame your image, then adjust your product and background without worrying about reframing everything.

It also keeps the smartphone camera steady. Here is a tripod on Amazon.

How to Take Background Images

Background photos are the multi-tools of marketing: use them for ads, quotes, blog post headers and Timeline covers. You can repurpose them endlessly, enabling you to have a photo available for every post, even if it isn’t directly related to what you’re posting.

Background Images from a Summer Intern: a Case Study

Our summer intern, Amanda Jensen, was a photographer (and now works in public relations for Honeywell); Maria Peagler, founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, asked her to create a stock photo library for our brand. It allowed her to use her talents for a project she enjoyed, while we got great stock images.

Notice the images Amanda took below were of everyday scenes: a book, a beach, her daily run, a plant, a map and a keyboard.

They all use the rule of thirds, good lighting, and are simple. The map is the busiest image; notice how Amanda didn't include the entire U.S. and all the magnets in it. Instead, she moved the smartphone camera to the right giving the image some breathing room:

We got even more use from these stock images by repurposing them. The three images below start with the original black & white photo of a book's pages formed into a heart:

Maria added a title on a circular background in Canva.com and used it for a blog post cover here:

my favorite business books

Here's the same image with a sepia filter on it, which we can use for an entirely different purpose:

Top 10 Articles from 2014

Want to create a stock photo library with your smartphone images?Watch this brief excerpt of the 30 Days of Social Media from a Single Image webinar: Maria repurposed an SMOC member's cell phone image into 30 days of unique social media images:

Find Background Images in Your Everyday Routine

Background images don’t need to be stand-out photos or pre-planned images. They can be images of everyday items, your surroundings, or just something that catches your eye.

 Your choice of what you like in background images gives your brand a distinct voice:

Keep it Simple

Complex or busy photos with high amounts of detail distract from your message. Your image is meant to complement your subject, not compete with it. All of the images you've seen in this post are uncluttered or composed to be less so.

Always Look for Potential Images

Potential background images are all around you:

  • Foliage on a trail
  • Local architecture
  • An interesting color on a wall
  • Your products

Finding background images is as simple as just paying attention to your surroundings, such as this image of someone using their computer's mouse:

Great background images can come from the most common of situations

Summary

The camera on your smartphone has everything you need to take outstanding images for your small business marketing. Combine that with this ultimate guide on smartphone photography, and you've got a powerful toolkit for your own photo library.

Go out and use your new skills to give your brand a great visual presence: always be on the lookout for potential photos and don't be afraid to be creative!

Recommended Resources

Check out your Social Media Image Resource Center to learn how to use, create, and repurpose images and graphics for your business, all located in one place:

Branded Content Design Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Branded Content Design:

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, June 21, 1pm ET, 5pm GMT

Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

How to Design Branded Content

"I'm so frustrated!"

That's a quote from an SMOC member trying to design content for her small business . . . 

. . . without it looking like a ransom note of mismatched fonts, colors and images.

As small business owners we wear many hats, including that of graphic designer. Except, we're not. We don't have those amazing design skills.

But when you need a piece of content fast — and need it to look professional — what can you do? How can you make your content look like a graphic designer did it?

That's what you'll learn in this month's bonus webinar: how to design branded content for your small business, including how to:

  • make your content instantly recognizable
  • choose fonts, colors & design elements that reflect your business 
  • design your content so that it's visually exciting (without looking like a circus)

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar Ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com membership enables you to:

#1: Access 2 Billion Customers in Only 10 Minutes

Pick the class you need, go directly to the lesson you want, and learn in 10 minutes. Get in, get what you need, and apply it right away.

social media training facebook

#2: Get Results in Less Time

social media training infographics socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Get instant access to infographics that teach you how to get more fans, sales, and increase your SEO. You get access to every infographic included in our online classes.

#3: Put an End to Social Media Overwhelm

Select the Learning Track right for your goals and your business, and you can navigate instantly to the resources providing the results you need.

learning tracks social media training

#4: Get 1:1 Coaching with Founder Maria Peagler

social media training coaching maria peagler

Get 1:1 coaching time with Maria every month when you join at the 3-Month level and above.

Plus, you get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked for them.

Webinar Transcript

​Maria Peagler: ​ So there's going to be three things that you're going to do for designing branded content.

​The first thing is you want to know your audience. Why does that make a difference in designing content? The design decisions I would make for a millennial audience for a retail brand would be completely different than the design decisions I would make for a business to business brand whose clients are over 40. Those two things would look 180 degrees different.

​Lisa, who is a fabric dyer, has quilters who are her main customers, and they're mostly over 40 and female. So that means that she's going to make some very particular design decisions. Probably font sizes are going to be a little bit bigger because over 40, your eyes are not what they used to be. Then you're going to follow some very simple design guidelines. For this, I'm going to show you a bunch of examples.

​The first thing we're going to talk about is clean design. What does that mean? I'm going to show you a website that is designed to be consumed on a mobile phone. This is Dunkin Donuts. Any kind of retailer is going to have a website that's designed to be consumed on mobile. They are using clean design here, which means they've got a full width page, no sidebars. That doesn't mean that you don't use sidebars anywhere on your website, but there's two places in particular that you don't want a sidebar. The first one is on your homepage, and the second one is on any landing pages that you have. Those are pages that have one particular focus, which is to get people to opt in, a sales page to get people to buy. A sidebar is a distraction, and you don't want that.

​Here, Dunkin Donuts is using a full width page, very large text, it's at least 16 point, a lot of white space, even here where it's not necessarily white, they've got a lot of space here. They're not cluttering it up with a bunch of stuff. You don't have to figure out where to look. This website has its own visual hierarchy, meaning it's immediately apparent where your eye needs to go. That is clean design. And I also have a link here if you want to go take a look at their website during the replay. This is the SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com website. Mine is not quite as clean as Dunkin Donuts, but what I'm offering is a little bit more complicate. Again, it's the home page, there are no sidebars on here. I'm using very large text, it's at least 16 points, a lot of white space, uncluttered design. And there's also something else I want you to notice here.

​I have, I think five colors, maybe six in my logo, but I'm not using them all on the same page. My branding is mostly blue with a little bit of green. I will use other colors with it, but blue is a color that signifies trust. And for a B to B website in brand, that's important. I like using blue, I'll use green a lot as well, but you'll see here, we'll talk about color pallets later, but just because you have a lot of colors in your logo or branding, doesn't mean you want to use them on every piece you have. You want to keep things clean.

​I also do this in email. That's a change for me. When I first started doing email marketing, I was using those beautifully designed templates that come with every email marketing tool, but it was too complicated. And I also realized that the only emails people got that used those types of templates, were promotional emails, and I wanted my emails to look like they were coming from a friend, and that's going to be mostly text. So it's full width. Again, there's not a bunch of columns on it with a bunch of graphics. I use 16 point text in my emails. That's really important. And if you don't get anything out of this but this one thing, I would say this is the one thing that you need to do above all else is use at least 16 point text in your marketing emails, and any emails that you send. Because when you're looking at something on a mobile phone, 12 point is mighty small. Don't make it hard for people to read what you're sending them. Again, it's one column, it's full width, lots of white space, very uncluttered design.

Your Best Five Pieces of Content Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: ​Your Best Five Pieces of Content:

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, May 17, 1pm ET, 5pm GMT

Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

Develop Your Best Five Pieces of Content

Every business needs it: content.

But, we're all generating far more content than ever before, resulting in a . . . 

. . . content glut.

There - I said it. Yes, the internet is now replete with blog posts, white papers, videos, and images that provide little in the way of value beyond their owner's desperate attempts to rank in online search and get free traffic.

Is most of it any good?

Not really.

Which makes building outstanding content easier and more important than ever.

So in this month's bonus webinar, you'll learn how to make your business stand out with your best five pieces of content, including:

  • ​what topics your content should cover (and what to avoid)
  • ​what format your content should take
  • ​how to develop content so good your audience can't wait to share it

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar Ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com membership enables you to:

#1: Access 2 Billion Customers in Only 10 Minutes

Pick the class you need, go directly to the lesson you want, and learn in 10 minutes. Get in, get what you need, and apply it right away.

social media training facebook

#2: Get Results in Less Time

Get instant access to infographics that teach you how to get more fans, sales, and increase your SEO. You get access to every infographic included in our online classes.

social media training infographics socialmediaonlineclasses.com

#3: Put an End to Social Media Overwhelm

Select the Learning Track right for your goals and your business, and you can navigate instantly to the resources providing the results you need.

learning tracks social media training

#4: Get 1:1 Coaching with Founder Maria Peagler

Get 1:1 coaching time with Maria every month when you join at the 3-Month level and above.

Plus, you get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked for them.

social media training coaching maria peagler

Webinar Transcript

All right when it comes content, and this could be anything from a flier for an event, it can be your website, social media, your blog, images, video, anything. Any kind of content that you are developing for your small business. Which describes you?

​Are you more of the one billion served, you just want to churn out that content, get it done, and get it served up, and it was good while it lasted but then it's over and you've moved on to the next thing. Or are you more like a fine wine that gets better over time?

​It's really a decision of quantity or quality, and I'll tell you my perspective on this and why I'm framing our webinar this way. Content is not new, you know we've called it something different before the digital age. We called it writing, or developing a flier or developing a marketing piece. It's always been content, we just called it something different.

​I figured out very early on in my writing career when I was an author. You know I would work really hard on a book which would take about nine months. I would send it off to the publisher, and I was really proud of it, and probably my best feeling was it was done.

​You know it was done and I could move on to something else. Well it was never done, because it needed to be updated. What I figured out was it was better to focus on those content projects that had a long life span rather than the little short quick things that might be easy to do, but they didn't last very long. That is what we are going to be taking a look at today, is how you can use, again, the 80/20 rule, and in every webinar I talk about this, especially for small businesses.

​We're gonna be looking at not every piece of content that you need to make, but the 20% of the content that is gonna make the most significant impact on your business. I will tell you as we go along, for each piece of content, how and why it plays into the 80/20 rule.

​We're gonna be looking at five pieces of content, and that's it. Just five, and that kind of surprises people. They think they need to have a ton of content. Not really. If you start off with these five pieces, no matter where you are in your business, whether you are just starting out or whether you've been in business a long time, and you might need to feel the need to freshen things up. These are gonna be the five pieces of content that are gonna make the biggest impact on your business.

​I want you to think of these as building blocks, almost like legos. You're gonna take the content that you develop and use it interchangeably. So you'll take a piece of content that you created and use it somewhere else, or maybe a piece of one and use it somewhere else, and eventual what you'll be able to do is to repurpose that into a lot of different content.

​That's what I'm gonna be showing you how to do today, and I'll be showing you examples with things that we've done here at SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com.

​Okay. So without further ado, what is the number one piece of content that you need for your business? Drum roll please. It is your website home page. Now why is this number one? Well because just about anyone who is going to do business with you is going to see this. It is start here on a map, is gonna be your website home page. So that's why it fits into that 80/20 rule.

​Let's take a look at what your website home page should have.

Google Adwords for Small Business Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Google AdWords for Small Business:

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, April 19, 1pm ET, 5pm GMT

Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

Think AdWords is Too Expensive for Your Small Business?

I did too.

Until I finally cracked the AdWords code, after years of trying.

Even if you've failed at AdWords before, you'll be shocked to find out how inexpensively (and simply!) you can advertise here and see a positive ROI.

Without an agency or a huge budget.

In this month's webinar, you'll learn:

  • ​whether you should use Search ads or Display Network ads
  • ​how to keep your ad costs from spiraling out of control
  • ​how to target only those people most likely to buy from you

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar Ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com membership enables you to:

#1: Access 1.5 Billion Customers in Only 10 Minutes

Pick the class you need, go directly to the lesson you want, and learn in 10 minutes. Get in, get what you need, and apply it right away.

social media training facebook

#2: Get Results in Less Time

Get instant access to infographics that teach you how to get more fans, sales, and increase your SEO. You get access to every infographic included in our online classes.

social media training infographics socialmediaonlineclasses.com

#3: Put an End to Social Media Overwhelm

Select the Learning Track right for your goals and your business, and you can navigate instantly to the resources providing the results you need.

learning tracks social media training

#4: Get 1:1 Coaching with Founder Maria Peagler

Get 1:1 coaching time with Maria every month when you join at the 3-Month level and above.

Plus, you get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked for them.

social media training coaching maria peagler

Webinar Transcript

And so we're going to take a look at Google Adwords, specifically for small business. Now, I cannot tell y'all how unusual it is for someone to be focusing on Google Adwords for small business. Really, those topics don't exist because most people will tell you it's too expensive for small business, but what we are going to do be doing is ignoring 80% of what Google offers in Adwords and focusing on the 20% of what they offer that works for small business.

Now, I recommend this approach in the Facebook 103 class as well. I want to show y'all this. In Facebook 103, one of the lessons is the 80/20 Rule of Facebook Advertising, and here, I got into, if you go through to this lesson, the four things that are the 80/20 rule for Facebook advertising. This is great for Facebook. Do not think these rules apply to Google Ads because they're totally different, and that's what we're going to be going over today is what is that 80/20.

​It's going to be very confusing when you go in to do your own ad, but if you focus on what I'm telling you, the options to use in Google, you can ignore all the other stuff.

​So, let's go ahead and take a look at the types of Google ads. Now, Google has a lot of different ad products, but for small businesses, there's really two types of ads that are going to be the easiest and the most affordable to use, and those are search ads and display ads.

​Now there are also something called shopping ads, and Robin, this is something that your marketing agency has talked about doing with you before. It requires integrating with Magento, your shopping cart, and so it's not one of the easier things to do. So it's not something I'm going to be focusing on today, but that might be something that you want to talk to them about, but for today, we're focusing on search and display.

​Now, what are the differences? Well, a search ad is the result that you get from doing a Google search. For example, if I'm on Google, and I search for social media training, the first four results I see at the top of the page are ads, and Google is very good about being transparent about that. It's showing you that this is an ad, and that differs from display ads. Display ads are image ads that you see online, not when you're searching, but when you're browsing.

​So here is a display ad for social media online classes. Notice here that it has an image and text whereas a search ad is just text. That's it. So, that's the main difference.

​Now, which should you use? Well, here's my recommendation. If at all possible, I recommend that you use a search ad. Now, why is that? Because a Google search ad gives people the right answer when they're looking for it. It's immediate answers to the solutions that they're looking for right now, and there is simply no substitute for that. It's the best possible opportunity you are ever going to have. It's the most relevant to people's needs. That's the upside. The downside is that they are the most expensive of the two ad types.

​So, if search ads is my number one recommendation, but if your keywords are too expensive like they are for me, then you can use display ads. Now, this is what a display ad looks like, and it appears when you're browsing online, and that's the key. You're not appearing when people are searching for a solution, you're appearing when they're surfing on the web, and I'm going to give you an example of this.

​I am buying something to create a sketchbook, and it's a pretty expensive punch, and I was looking very late at night one night for what my options were, and then I was on Facebook, and literally, this was like 1 a.m. I'm on my phone, and I see an ad. Somebody has re-targeted me because I was on their website, and they're re-targeting me while I'm browsing. So I wasn't necessarily ... Their ad didn't come up in search, but because I had been on their website, they were re-targeting me with a display ad.

​The best thing about display ads is they're less expensive. However, they are not as effective. I just have to be candid with y'all. But, I'm going to show y'all how I use them, and I've been quite happy.

​All right, so let's built some ads. We're going to built a search ad. We're going to build a display ad, but first I want to show you the ads that our members have run, the ads that I've run so that you can get an expectation of what it is we're actually going to be building.

Who Owns Your Website? Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Who Owns Your Website:

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, March 15, 1pm ET, 6pm GMT

Already a member? Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

Do You Know Who Owns Your Website?

Did you work with a website developer or marketing agency to build your website?

Do you have a business partner?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you may not be the owner of your business' website.

That comes as a shock to many entrepreneurs, who usually make this discovery in times of a crisis.

In this month's webinar, you'll learn:

  • how to determine who owns (and ultimately controls) your website 
  • what happens to your website if you & your business partner split
  • how to manage your website (without having a computer science degree)

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar Ticket FREE When You Join SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com Today

Purchase your webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime.

SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com membership enables you to:

#1: Access 1.5 Billion Customers in Only 10 Minutes

Pick the class you need, go directly to the lesson you want, and learn in 10 minutes. Get in, get what you need, and apply it right away.

social media training facebook

#2: Get Results in Less Time

social media training infographics socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Get instant access to infographics that teach you how to get more fans, sales, and increase your SEO. You get access to every infographic included in our online classes.

#3: Put an End to Social Media Overwhelm

Select the Learning Track right for your goals and your business, and you can navigate instantly to the resources providing the results you need.

learning tracks social media training

#4: Get 1:1 Coaching with Founder Maria Peagler

social media training coaching maria peagler

Get 1:1 coaching time with Maria every month when you join at the 3-Month level and above.

Plus, you get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked for them.

Webinar Transcript

Today, we are going to be empowered. And after this webinar, you're gonna know exactly who owns every single element on your website. You're gonna know how to hire a website freelancer that you can trust and how to structure the project so that the work gets done on time and on budget. And you're also gonna know how to do basic website tasks yourself, which is really, really important. There are just certain things that you need to be able to do on your own website.

​All right, so let's talk about the elements of your website and how you can find out who owns them. These are the four different elements of your website. You have a domain name, like amazon.com, socialmedia.com, cabinsofbirchhollow.com, thevalleyhive.com. Your domain name is basically the URL that is your address on the internet. Now, that is separate from your website, and most people don't understand that. It's separate. Your website hosting is where your website lives. Again, that's separate from your domain name. And most people buy their website hosting and domain names through GoDaddy. I have some other recommendations, but GoDaddy is a perfectly fine company. All of my domain names are there, and I have hosting for my minor websites there. I don't have it for my major website. But for most people, it's fine.

​You also have the content on your website, which could be the design itself. It could be the images, the text. Anything that you have on your website, your store catalog, your reservation system, whatever that is, that's the content on your website. Who owns that? And then you have your website software, plugins, and tools. Who owns those? If your software developer own the license, do you own it? It's a fair question. So we're gonna look at all these.

​So first, who owns your website domain and hosting? Well, a lot of times what I have found is that if you hire a website developer, they will often put things in their own name, just because it's easier. I don't think that most of them are trying to mislead you. It's just easier to have things in their name and go to their email, because they can complete your project faster. However, a lot of times they won't change it over to be in your name, or sometimes they just wanna own it. So here's how you can find this out. There's two tools that I'm gonna give you access to, and they're both free. The first one is icann.org. Now, I'm gonna put this in the chat window.

​Oh, and [Marge 00:03:10] says, "I also have suggestions for website hosting. I recently left GoDaddy, who was always trying to sell me something." Yes, they will, Marge. They're big on the upsell. I'm actually a big fan of GoDaddy, though. They have 24/7 telephone support, and that's something that I recommend that everybody has access to.

​Okay, ICANN is the international organization that regulates domain names, and so you can go here and enter in your domain name and it will tell you who owns it. So I'm gonna put in my domain name and click, "look up." And then I have to confirm that I'm not a robot. Okay. So it's gonna show you a lot of stuff, here. Basically you wanna look at all this registration, admin, and tech contact. The registrant is really the most important thing, because that is who your website is registered too, that domain name. You see my name and address here.

​The other thing that you wanna look at is registrar. That is where your domain is registered. And here you can see it's registered with GoDaddy. That's important. You want to know who owns it and where is it. Because that way, if you can see somebody else owns it, you need to make some changes. They either need to put it in your name, or you need to change your domain name.

Social Media Post Templates: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Social Media Post Templates Webinar Transcript

Join Maria Peagler for this 30-minute live webinar: Social Media Post Templates:

  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)
  • Thurs, February 15, 1pm ET, 6pm GMT

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Need Social Media Post Ideas?

What will your next Facebook post be? What about Twitter?

Will you use the same content for LinkedIn? Should you phrase it differently? Use the same image?

Social media marketing gets complicated when you’re posting to multiple social networks: what’s the etiquette for each? What should I do differently on Instagram than I do on Pinterest?

That’s what our members want to know, so in this month’s webinar, you’ll learn:

  • what the best post format & type is for each social network
  • how to increase your Reach & Engagement (using a simple tactic)
  • my top 3 posts from each network (swipe these for your own social media marketing)!

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

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Ultimate Guide to Using Canva to Make Social Media Graphics

Canva.com is the most popular online graphic design tool — with good reason: it's free, and incredibly simple to make great designs without being a photographer or graphic designer.

It does have a learning curve however: it's user interface is unlike anything else you've likely ever used before.

So in this ultimate guide, I'll show you how to use Canva to do the basics like choose a template and add an image & text to it, and then we'll move on to specific designs like a Facebook Timeline Cover, collages, YouTube thumbnails & more.

Bookmark or pin this post: it's a long one, and you'll want to return to it when you're ready to make your next marketing graphics.

Let's get started: use this Table of Contents to jump to the section of this guide you're interested in:

Learn Canva Basics

Choose a Template or Custom Dimension

One of the best features of Canva is the fact that you never need to remember what size image dimensions you need for a particular social network.

What size is your Facebook Timeline cover?

Forget about it.

What size is your LinkedIn post?

You don't need to know. 

Canva takes care of it for you (so you can toss all those infographics telling you what size images you need for every social network).

In Canva, everything starts with a template. That's one its unique features that makes it easy. Templates allow you to have a pre-made design space, already correctly sized for social media posts, Facebook Ads, Youtube Thumbnails, Facebook Covers, and more.

Or if you want to have more freedom, you can just use your own custom dimensions.

Here is how to choose your template:

  • From the Canva Home Page, you'll see a few pre-made options at the top, and any designs you've already created below them. Choose the More option on the right side to view all of the templates Canva has to offer:
  • Once you choose More, you'll be able to see all of Canva's available templates. From here, just choose which one best fits your needs.

Don't see a template you like? From the Home Page you can choose Custom Dimensions and create the exact size that you need.

Choose an Image or Upload Your Own

Canva provides a huge library of free and paid stock images to use in your graphics.

To view these images, do this:

  1. On the main edit page, select Elements on the left sidebar.
  2. Select Free Photos. You'll be able to see and search all of Canva's free stock images.
  3. Once you find an image you want to use, either click on it to place it  in your template, or click and drag it to place it in a precise location.

Don't see what you're looking for? Search for it. Canva allows you to search through it's vast collection with ease:

While Canva has a plethora of readily-available stock images and templates, you may want to use your own: say an image of a new product or a photo from an event.

Here's how to upload your own images into Canva:

  1. On the main edit page, select the Upload Panel on the left side.
  2. Select Upload Image, and choose which image you want to bring into Canva.
  3. Once you have your image that you want to use, you can either click on it to make it appear in your template, or click and drag it to place it precisely where you want it:

Resize and Crop in Canva

Once you have you template and your chosen image, it's time to make your graphic. If you need to change the size of your image in relation to the template, here is how:

  1. In the corners of your image, you'll see dots. Simply select one of these dots and click and drag to resize the image.
  2. To move the image, click in the center and drag it to where you want it to be.

Sometimes you will want to crop your image to better fit your needs. Here is how:

          1. Select your image, then click Crop in the top Toolbar:

          ​​​​2. Click and drag the corners to adjust the cropping.

          3. Click the Checkmark to save your work:

Add Text to Your Images

Adding text overlays to images can be a great way to communicate with your clients.

Here's how to add text to your images:

  1. Choose the Text Panel on the left side.
  2. Select a text size option from the panel, like heading or subheading, then simply drag it over to your image.
  3. To change the text options, use the toolbar at the top to adjust font, color, and size:

Add a Watermark to Your Image

Adding a watermark to your image can be essential for a small business: it promotes your brand, while also protecting your images from being stolen. Using Canva, you can easily add a watermark to give your images their own branding.

In order to add a watermark to your image, you can either use a simple text box in Canva, or use a water mark you have already created., I show you how to create a standalone watermark in PicMonkey here.

Let's get started:

To create a simple watermark in Canva:

  1. Select the text size and font that you want to use for your watermark. 
  2. Position the text box where you want it to sit on your graphic. 
  3. Type your text! It can be your name, your business name, or anything else that you want to use as a watermark. 
  4. Use the Transparency Slider to adjust the opacity of your new watermark:

If you want to use a watermark you have already created in another program, here's how:

  1. Upload your watermark image to Canva.
  2. Click and drag your watermark onto the image.
  3. Resize and place your watermark where you think it looks best on your image.
  4. Use the Transparency Slider to adjust the opacity of your watermark:

Downloading Your Image

When you have finished making your image, you'll want to save it to your computer. That way you have immediate access to it and can upload it to your social media sites.

Here's how to download your final product:

  1. Select Download in the top right corner.
  2. Select your file type. I suggest using either PNG or JPG, as they are best suited for general use.
  3. Canva will save the image to your Downloads folder on your computer:

Create a Facebook Cover Image

Whether it's for your business page, or simply for your personal profile, every Facebook page needs a cover photo.

Here's how to create your cover:

  1. From the Canva Home Page, choose the Facebook Cover Template.
  2. If you just want a text based cover, choose a template option from the Layout Panel:

3. Change the elements of the template to something that works for you! Switch the colors, and alter the text to make your perfect cover photo:

Want to add an image to your cover? Its easy! Just upload the image you want to Canva, then drag and drop it to where you want it on your cover:

Create a YouTube Video Thumbnail

A YouTube thumbnail is the still image appearing as the cover of your video. It can be a still frame from the video itself, or one you've created outside of the video.

In this example, I'll show you how to use a template to create a thumbnail using one of your photos.

1. From the Home page, select More>>YouTube Thumbnail:

2. Choose a template from the left-hand side. Pick one that uses an image so you can easily insert yours:

3. Upload the image you want to use, and drag and drop it into the image. You can move elements of the template around to better fit your image. You can move text, change colors, and add and remove elements to personalize your graphic. Here, I changed the text, moved the text boxes, added my own image, and changed the color of the background box behind the small text:

Create a Collage for Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest

1. Choose the Find Templates panel and search for "Collage."

2. Select the Template that best fits your needs. 

3. Upload your images, and drag and drop them into the collage. Change the text to fit your needs, and you'll have a great looking photo collage:

You can also search for specifically-sized collages, for things like Facebook Covers and Instagram posts.

Want something without pre-made text boxes? With the Grid feature, you have dozens of collage templates to choose from, and you can add your own text later to get your collage exactly how you want it.

To use the Grid feature:

  1. Choose what template size you want.
  2. Click the Elements Panel and choose Grids.
  3. Choose what grid works best for you.
  4. Go to the Uploads Panel, then simply drag and drop your images to the boxes:

Summary

Canva is a great social media tool that doesn't require any experience or large amounts of your time. It can help you create great looking graphics for your business, and put you a step ahead of the competition. I also recommend reading my PicMonkey article to learn how to edit photographs. These two articles used together can help make you a social media rockstar.

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