The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

The Do's and Don'ts of Instagram Stories

The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

Oh, the ephemeral world of Instagram stories. You could ask yourself why you would even bother to create something that automatically disappears after 24 hours. It creates engagement and studies show that people are more likely to interact with a story than with a regular posting and a quarter of users prefer stories to the feed. All the big brands are doing it and staying out of the loop gives more leads to competitors.

The Definite Do’s

1. Get in the Game

Instagram’s algorithm pushes stories to the forefront due to their short lifespan. By creating stories every day, you maximize your account’s chance of being on top of the newsfeed. You can even post several times a day, as long as you keep the content interesting and appropriate.

2. Use the Provided Tools

Stories are supposed to be fun and a little silly. Use the available items like stickers, text, highlighters, and filters. Geo-tagging the post can make it more useful by providing context. Draw, put some frames and enjoy the reactions. Polls are a tried and trusted tool for further engagement.

3. Get Social

To increase your chances of getting on top of the feed, it’s a great idea to tag others in your post, as long as it makes sense. It could be ambassadors, partners or followers. Just make sure the people or companies you tag are OK with this practice and are in tune with your values.

The Clear Don’ts

1. Refrain From Over Posting

The biggest mistake you can make with stories is to flood the feed with mindless posting. You need to keep things exciting and only talk about ideas worth sharing. Keep it engaging and a bit teasing.

2. Don’t Repost From Other Channels

It might be tempting to repurpose some content from other channels, like Snapchat, especially if the public has already validated it. Restrain from such practices since most followers could be your fans in both places, and this would only appear as lazy.

3. Be too Promotional

Even if you are looking to close a deal, people use Instagram for fun. You don’t want your story to turn into the online equivalent of the TV commercial in the middle of a good movie. In fact, it has to be worth talking about and sharing.

What are you waiting for? Get out that smartphone and jump in the “now” game. Don’t be afraid to experiment Instagram stories and fail fast. If you need a bit of advice about what is appropriate reach out to us and we’ll be happy to provide examples and help.

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

The rise of social media gave both users and companies the ability to become content creators. Some have perfected visual coherence for Instagram to an art, while others still struggle with finding the right balance, vibe, and defining their voice.

Instagram as a highly visual platform, requires some artistic taste and know-how about good design rules. The human brain thrives on predictability and coherence, therefore having an appealing feed requires coordinating a few elements.

Theme and Colors

Start with market research of your industry and define best practices. Either go with the flow or take a completely different approach to set yourself apart. For example, most fitness trainers dress in bright and vibrant colors to inspire joy and energy. You could define yourself as the all black, sleek trainer.

Once you decide on the theme and vibe of your account, it’s time to select the colors that best define that mood. Look for inspiration in the pictures you want to use and create a color palette. Try to stick to three main colors and at most three accents of color in all your posts. It’s an essential step of your branding. Coordinate these with your logo or make it complimentary.

Filters & Fonts

Not only the colors in the pictures can transmit a certain message, but the Instagram filters you use in your postings. Different hues correspond to different moods, from highly optimistic to nostalgic or mysterious.  You might think that it is too monotonous to use the same filter for every posting, but in fact, that is what makes a feed look professional, neat and ordered.

The same consistency rule also applies to fonts if you use quotes in your postings. You should select at most two fonts and use them for every occasion. There is the tendency to abuse script fonts for quotes, and it could look just one of the many trying to fit in. On the other hand, using special fonts for your bio can help you stand out.

Planning

Don’t just rely on the spur of the moment for inspiration, think of an editorial calendar and schedule your posts ahead. This practice helps you stay true to your theme and prevents repetition. Seeing the pictures in the right order before publishing them on the feed can help you rearrange and tell a story with every nine blocks.

If you think that keeping visual coherence for a top Instagram account is hard work, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. We can get you started, or we can offer you full maintenance packages to check this task off your busy entrepreneur list. Let’s connect.

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

They say that what gets measured gets done. Although a marketing strategy can have softer purposes, like awareness and brand recognition, the final goal should always be generating revenue. Enter the KPIs (key process indicators). This is a way to put a number on a dream and create an actionable metric.

However, it’s worth noticing that not any metric is a KPI and not all KPIs have a connection to actual profit. The best way to create valuable KPIs is to start with the result in mind and think about the best ways to get there.

Define Your Vision

Think about the best-case scenario and write down the result you would consider excellent. For example, if you just launched your business, you could hope for $10K sales in the first quarter. Try to be as specific as possible and don’t be afraid to dream big.

Remember to create S.M.A.R.T. goals at this stage:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Create a Strategy

Once you know the general direction, ask yourself how you can get there. From a marketing perspective, this could mean creating a sales funnel, revamping your social media pages or using new channels. Think about the vision you have and what are the best ways to get there.

Design a Plan

Next, break down the big goal into daily or even hourly smaller chunks. Identify where are your target clients and be present in those channels. Create a simple checklist to be completed. Make sure the sum of the tasks on the list is more than your objective. Always allow a margin.

You don’t have to obsess daily over meeting the goal, but at least a weekly check can help you stay on track. If you fail to comply with your targets three or four consecutive weeks, maybe an assessment and redefining is a good idea.

Each business is different, but here are a few marketing KPIs that trigger changes in the ROI. You can use these as inspiration to define your own:

  • Cost per lead- divide it by inbound and outbound
  • Traffic to lead ratio
  • Lead to customer ratio
  • Landing pages conversions
  • Social media conversions

Still feel confused and overwhelmed by the need to measure? Get out a pen and paper and start drafting a plan before you waste any more money on likes and impressions. You spend hard cash to get even more.

Top 3 FREE Tools for Testing Website Speed

Top 3 FREE Tools for Testing Website Speed

Top 3 FREE Tools for Testing Website Speed

Top 3 FREE Tools for Testing Website Speed

We live in a world where the attention span of the clients is shrinking every year. An anecdote said that it is under 8 seconds, which is less than a goldfish’s.  Even if this is a myth, the reality is that developers need to aim for under two seconds loading speed to prevent bounce.

Studies already show that tasks which take longer than three seconds, even for web shops,  make users abandon the page. Google even advises going as low as half a second. They also announced to take a mobile-first approach, ranking websites after their mobile version’s performance.

Here are a few tools to help you see how does your website rank in the speed challenge. Be sure to test it with all of them and take into consideration the differences. Every tool has a different algorithm, and you should consider your actual speed as an average between the results.

This tool provided by Google themselves is a way to assess the performance of both your mobile and desktop versions. It measures the loading speed of the elements situated above the fold and the entire page. The great thing about this tool is that it gives you a zipped folder with the resources that you need to improve. You have to change your existing images, CSS sheets, and JavaScript with the ones provided and see your score jump.

This tool combines results from multiple platforms, including the one mentioned before and YSlow. It offers a school-type grade from A to F. We love this tool for its feature that lets you test the site from multiple locations and compare speed for different connection types (cable/dial-up/4G). Run the test a couple of different times to get an accurate report.

Similar to GTMetrix it offers multiple test locations, a breakdown of the elements organized as a waterfall, and possible improvements. We use this tool in conjunction with the others since it also has a history feature. Pingdom comes in handy when you want to track developments and identify the influence of specific elements.

Do you have the courage to run your site through these tools? If you got not such stellar results, we are here to help. Sometimes even small changes like optimizing one image can boost performance considerably. Remember, when it comes to website speed optimization, the devil is really in the details.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce - Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which is More Cost-Effective?

When it comes to an eCommerce solution, as an entrepreneur, you want the maximum bang for your buck while offering your clients top service. The world of online shopping is mostly divided between the two giants, Shopify and WooCommerce, but which is the most cost-effective?

We are going to make a head to head comparison, but let you decide the winner, according to your budget and needs. However, don’t forget that it is not only about current costs, but the potential to generate more revenue and the total expenditure.

WooCommerce

This is a free plugin for WordPress and is it designed to work with most themes which follow the guidelines in the Codex. However, although the software it’s free, running an actual shop will require a domain, hosting, an SSL certificate.  Additional features, like the design and other plugins (e-mail marketing, SEO), are usually part of the deal and could increase the total cost.

A rough estimation shows that you’ll spend at least $120/year to run a secure shop build on top of WordPress, using WooCommerce. The actual amount depends on the additional features you integrate, but not on the volume of sales.

Shopify

This is a SaaS platform designed specifically for shopping. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything you might want or need to start immediately, hassle-free. You can test it for free for two weeks, then you’ll have to decide between the four payment plans:

  • Lite ($9 per month)-only available for Facebook stores
  • Basic Shopify ($29 per month)
  • Shopify ($79 per month)
  • Advanced Shopify ($299 per month).

The basic plan offers you a package of hosting and SSL, but you still need to get your domain. The downside is that they also charge a part of your transactions. There are even calculators to show you how much you will pay every month.

The Verdict

Our recommendation is to invest more time and even money in the initial phase of your e-shop development using WordPress. Out of the box solutions like Shopify might seem tempting at first, since you can sell right away, with no coding knowledge. However, these offer a limited set of design options and are way costlier in the long run. It’s better to steer clear of any shop that charges you per transaction. Better spend more money upfront, one time, than having a recurring payment problem.

WooCommerce is the definite winner of this competition. It offers infinitely more customization options and total control over your data and source code. Without being paranoid, you wouldn’t like your information to become an additional revenue source to a platform already charging you monthly.