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How to Use Instagram for Business

If you look closely at your personal Facebook feed, you may notice a lot of the pictures that people are posting these days are actually reshares from their Instagram  accounts. This is a clear sign that more and more social media users are taking to Instagram as a form of personal expression.

This also means that Instagram has become an important tool when it comes to building your brand’s social media strategy and ultimately its search engine optimization.

On May 31, 2016, Instagram’s Global Head of Business and Brand Development, James Quarles, told TechCrunch that the social media platform had reached 200,000 active advertisers , the vast majority of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. “Fifty percent of people follow a business on Instagram, and sixty percent learn about products and services on Instagram,” he stated.

Metamend FunDay: The View Royal Casino

One of the great perks of working at Metamend is that we have a monthly “Fun Budget” and a Friday afternoon in which to use it. In the past we have used this budget to take the team golfing and bowling and for an afternoon volleyball at the Strathcona Rooftop Patio. (You’ll find photos on our Facebook page.) These company outings are always a ton of fun and a great way to unwind from the monthly workload.

For our March Fun Day, we started out at the 6 Mile Pub for some lunch and pool and then we moved on to the View Royal Casino for an afternoon of blackjack. Since the workload didn’t allow for a Fun Day in February, we had DOUBLE the budget to play with. This meant that we each had a good handful of chips to play with, which made for a great afternoon of fun.

At the end of the afternoon, we walked away up $$$. Which means that we still have the February, March to add to the April budget PLUS our $$$ winnings for our next Fun Day! YAY!!!

What oh what shall we do with it???!
Do you have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments below.

Do you want to work at Metamend? Check out our current opportunities on the Careers page.

Metamend is Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certified!

In today’s online environment inbound marketing is a powerful tool to reach prospective customers and lead them through your sales funnel.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound is all about creating and sharing valuable, useful content with the world. This marketing strategy promotes a company or business through website content rather than through cold calling or advertisement. Inbound marketing uses blogs, ebooks, podcasts, webinars, newsletter, whitepapers, social media marketing and other forms of online content to attract customers and lead them through the different stages of the purchase funnel or buyer’s journey.

Inbound marketing brings visitors into a website, rather than marketers or sales teams having to go out to attract potential customers’ attention. It uses interesting content to make a business easy to find online with SEO optimized content assets.

By creating content that appeals to your specific target customer groups or buyer personas, you attract qualified leads to your business and keep them coming back until they make a purchase.

Hubspot Inbound Marketing Methodology

The Hubspot Inbound Methodology works around the following principles to draw leads through the purchase funnel:

Hubspot Inbound Methodology

Attract: 

Attracting the right traffic to your website is the key to inbound marketing. We want to bring visitors who are most likely to become leads and ultimately customers. We create purchaser profiles or buyer personas around the ideal customer. Buyer personas involve identifying a combination of personal demographics, goals, challenges, pain points and common objections to products and services. These personas are what an inbound marketing strategy is built around. Tools used in the attraction stage of the process to attract the right users to your site include blogging, SEO, pages and social media publishing.

Convert:

Once we have attracted the right audience to a website, the next step is to convert them into leads. At this stage this means collecting their contact information, usually in the form of an email address at the very least. In order to convince a user to give up their email address, we need to offer something in return. This offer comes in the form of content such as an ebook, webinar, tips sheet or whitepapers. Ensure that this content is interesting and valuable to the buyer persona you are trying to attract. If you have more than one buyer persona, you will need appropriate offers for each one. Tools used to convert visitors include forms, calls-to-action (CTA), landing pages and contact lists.

Close:

You’ve hit the closing stage of the inbound marketing process when your attracted the right visitors and converted them to leads. In the closing stage you will transform those leads into customers. This is most effectively accomplished with the use of some or all of the following tools: a CRM (customer relationship management system), closed-loop reporting, email and marketing automation.

Delight:

The job is not done just because you have closed a sale and received payment. The inbound methodology is all about providing outstanding content to users, no matter what stage of the process they are in. Just because someone is now a customer, doesn’t mean you should sign off and forget about them. You should continue interacting and engaging with them to delight them with the intention of (hopefully) up-selling them and turning them into promoters of your company, products and services. Useful tools in this stage include surveys, smart CTAs, smart content and smart monitoring.

Inbound marketing covers each step of the buyer’s journey as a visitor travels down the road from stranger to your company to customer. Inbound marketing doesn’t just happen, you need to work at it and constantly test and tweak the content and landing pages. By using the methodology and recommended tools you can create and deliver content that appeals to the right people at their particular stage in the buyer’s journey at the right time.

Metamend is Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certified Hubspot Inbound Certified

We are proud to announce that Metamend is now Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certified! We offer consulting and professional services to enterprise businesses that need assistance to get started or are looking for a team to manage their content and inbound marketing strategies. Call us today to inquire about how Inbound Marketing can help your business.

 

Congratulations Todd & Melissa!

  • Posted On February 19, 2016
  • Categorized In Blog
  • Written By

The Metamend team sends out a HUGE congratulations to company President, Todd Hooge and his partner Melissa on the arrival of their baby boy and newest member of the Metamend family!

Devyn Copeland Mutter-Hooge entered the world yesterday at 2:36pm weighing in at 7 pounds 5 ounces. Both mother and baby are doing well. We wish Todd and Melissa all the best!

Todd_BabyBoy-4

Last week the Metamend team got together to buy the couple a gift to celebrate the arrival of their bundle of joy. We’re pretty sure Todd and Melissa will enjoy a well-deserved celebratory adult beverage once everyone is back home and rested. We figured the baby will be receiving plenty of useful gifts, so we thought ours should focus on the parents! Enjoy guys!

Todd_BabyBoy-2

Todd_BabyBoy-3

Todd_Congratulations

Are Online Directories Still Relevant to Your SEO Strategy?

  • Posted On December 21, 2015
  • Categorized In Blog
  • Written By

About 20 years ago, as the Internet was really taking off, businesses flocked to the idea of having a website. And as more and more businesses got on board, the Internet got crowded – fast. There became a desperate need for a way to catalog all of the information that was being published at breakneck speed. Search engines worked fine, but they weren’t great. They weren’t robust enough, and websites weren’t detailed enough. Things were still in their infancy. Enter the online business directory.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

  • Posted On October 14, 2015
  • Categorized In Blog
  • Written By

What is Pinterest and how can it help your business? We will answer that question today and provide some strategies to get your business set up and regularly active on Pinterest. Your Pinterest presence will help you build your online brand as well as contribute to increased website traffic and sales.

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online bulletin board where people share images and links. It’s a place to organize and share online articles through images that users find interesting or inspiring. Once uploaded or shared on Pinterest, images become known as Pins, which the user can place on customized, themed Boards. In short, pins are bookmarks to website pages, blog posts, or product pages.

Pinterest For Business

Pinterest for BusinessBefore beginning a Pinterest campaign, you must ensure that your business has a Pinterest for Business account with a verified website.

A business and personal account look the same on the outside, however Pinterest states in their terms of service (TOS) that any account that wants to use Pinterest for commercial purposes must create a business account and agree to the business-specific TOS.

A business account allows businesses to sign up with a full business name (example: Metamend Online Marketing Experts) rather than first name: “Metamend Online,” and last name: “Marketing Experts.” This will make it easier for users to find and identify your business, and also has SEO benefits.

Business accounts give companies access to upcoming features, including the BUY button, already available on iOS mobile devices in the USA. Business users will be notified by email as new features become available.

Next, we must ensure that your company profile is complete; including a profile image, keyword optimized profile description, verified website and links to other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

To verify your website, it is required to either upload an HTML file to your website’s server or add a meta tag from Pinterest to your website. Once you have either uploaded the file or added the meta tag, Pinterest will check your website for those files and confirm that your website is verified. (If you don’t know how to do this, it should be a quick task for your website developer.)

Important: If your website is not verified, your URL will not appear on your Pinterest profile.

Pinterest for Business Profile

Integrate Pinterest on Your Company Website

  • Pinterest Website Widget ExampleEncourage your website visitors to share your images on Pinterest by adding the “Pin It” button to product and blog pages of your website.
  • Add a Pinterest icon to the social media links on your company website.
  • Add a Pinterest board widget to your company blog – this will let blog readers know that you are active on Pinterest and will encourage them to follow you there.

Suggested Boards

Pins are posted to “boards.” Each board should follow a specific theme.

We suggest starting with boards for your main products. Creating keyword rich descriptions for each board will help optimize them for SEO, which will help them show up in searches.

Example Boards for a Travel Blog:

  • Budget Travel Tips
  • Beach Travel
  • Bucket List Destinations

Once you have a number of pins on each of these boards, you can add more creative boards. Add whatever you like to this list, but make sure the board description is keyword optimized for SEO and there are pins being added consistently, it will help your social presence and could further help drive sales.

Useful Tools

Pinterest - Pin It ButtonWe highly recommend adding the “Pin It” hover button to your web browser to make it easier for you to pin images as you come across things while browsing the web. You will find the “Pin It” button install link as well as links to the Pinterest app for iOS and Android on the Pinterest Goodies page.

Pinning others’ content to your boards will help build out your Pinterest content and help bring visitors to your boards where users will find your content mixed in.

Adding Boards

Pinterest Boards
Next you should come up with a strategy to get your company’s content (products / services / blog content / etc.) posted to Pinterest in a way that looks natural while avoiding being “spammy.”

A good general rule to follow is that 40% of your boards should be motivational and inspiring, 40% should be instructional and educational, and only 20% should be directly about your brand. If your business is very specialized around a specific popular product, you may want to follow more of a 60/40 rule – 60% motivation, inspiring, and educational and 40% of content directly about your brand.

Even if you have a lot of product content to post to Pinterest, you should limit the number of self-promoting pins per day to avoid spamming your audience. We recommend posting a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 pins per day to a selection of boards, while mixing in repins from other Pinterest users. You don’t want to pin too much and clog up followers’ feeds causing them to unfollow you, and you want to spread your pins out so your content is not all posted at the same time.

You should also search Pinterest for other users and boards to follow that you may want to re-pin from later and keep these in mind for pin scheduling (covered later in this post).

Creative Note: Find creative ways to share your product images. For example, create a collage showing several different products linking to the home page where they will find links to each product area. Or use apps like Canva or PicMonkey to quickly and easily create shareable graphics for your pin boards.

How to Add Pins on Pinterest

There are several ways to add pins to your Pinterest boards. All pins must include an image or video to be added to Pinterest. Always ensure that you use keyword rich descriptions for each pin.

  1. Pinterest - Add a PinAdd Content Directly to Pinterest – Log in to Pinterest and navigate to the board you want to pin to and click the “Add a Pin” button. A box will pop up with the options to add a pin from the web or from your computer.
  2. Add a pin from the web – Pinterest will prompt you to enter a link to the page you’re pinning from. Once you enter the link, you’ll be shown all the images from that web page. You can then select the image you want to pin, which will open a box where you will enter a description for your pin. Pinning content from the Web will ensure that your pin properly links back to the website it came from.
  3. From your computer – if you add a pin from your computer, Pinterest will prompt you to choose and upload an image file. From there, the process of adding a pin is the same.
  4. To add a link to a pin uploaded from your computer, you will need to edit the pin after posting it to add the link. Oddly, there is no link field built into the initial upload process.
  5. Pin from Pinterest mobile app – go to the profile tab and click the plus button. You will get options to create a new board, pin from your device’s photos, the web, or to pin your location.
  6. Pin via from the web through “Pin It” button – To pin existing content from the web, install the Pin It button to your web browser which will activate a Pin It button when you roll over images on the web.
  7. “Repin” existing Pinterest content – You can also “repin” content from other Pinterest users, as opposed to adding your own content. You will want to share a mix of both. To do this, hover over the image and click the red “Pin it” button. You’ll then be prompted to select a board from the drop-down menu, and you can either leave the previous user’s description, or write your own.

Rich Pins

If you sell products online, your business could benefit from the use of Rich Pins. These pins include extra information beyond just the image, click-through link and the pinner’s description. Types of rich pins currently available: Place, Articles, Product, Recipe, Movie and App pins.

Product pins make shopping via Pinterest much easier. Unlike a regular pin, these rich pins show where the product you’re pinning can be purchased, the current price and a direct link to the product page. Product pin prices are updated in real time, and if a user pins a product pin to one of his or her boards, that user will be notified when the product’s price is lowered. Since many Pinterest users create boards that serve as wish lists for things they want, product pins are a great way to convert pins into purchases. (Note that there is some setup on a per product basis for this functionality to work.)

To use Rich Pins, you need to apply for them. According to Pinterest, there are four steps to this process.

  1. Decide which type of rich pin you want to use.
  2. Read the documentation for your chosen rich pin type.
  3. Add the appropriate markup to your website.
  4. Validate your rich pins and apply to get them on Pinterest.

This is a great feature for any online retail store!

Hashtags and Pinterest

hashtagPinterest users can use hashtags when sharing their pins, similar to other social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. However, Pinterest has its own unique search system, so hashtags are not the most effective way to make your content searchable on this social network. Hashtags are more effective if you use your own, brand-specific hashtags, and less effective if you were to share a pin with the hashtag #travel, for example.

Hashtags on Pinterest only work on pin descriptions, not in your profile or board descriptions, so avoid using hashtags in these areas.

It is more important to use proper keywords on Pinterest when describing pins and boards. Keep your boards organized and be careful not to pin to the wrong board by accident. Treat hashtags as a bonus on Pinterest, as it won’t make or break the success of your posts as it would on Twitter or Instagram.

Interacting With Other Pinterest Users

You will build your brand on Pinterest by engaging and interacting with other users by:

  • Repin ButtonRepinning Pins – Repining content notifies the original pinner. Sharing others’ content is a great way to get noticed and to bring like-minded users to your profile.
  • Liking Pins – Liking a pin is the easiest way to interact with other users. Do this by hovering over the pin you want to like and click the heart icon. Use this functionality to LIKE pins that others have posted of your website content and products.
  • Commenting on Pins – Get noticed by other users by commenting on relevant pins from other users. Try to start conversations with influencers in your industry.
  • Sending Pins – Send pins to other Pinterest users or to an email address by clicking the “Send” button. You will be given the option to search for another Pinterest user or enter an email address.
  • Tagging Users in pin descriptions – Use the @ symbol to tag other Pinterest users. Do this in your pin descriptions or in comments if you want these users to be notified about what you’ve written.

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics
Access your account’s analytics through the little gear icon in the top right corner of your profile and select Analytics from the dropdown menu.

Through analytics you will see the statistics of your Pinterest account from the last 7, 14, or 30 days, including information from your Pinterest profile, your audience and activity from your website.

Pinterest Profile Analytics

  • Average daily impressions
  • Average monthly viewers
  • Top pin impressions / Boards with top pin impressions
  • Most repined pins / Boards with most repined pins
  • Most clicked pins / Boards with most clicked pins

Audience Analytics

  • Average monthly viewers
  • Average monthly engaged
  • Demographics:
    • Country
    • Language
    • Gender
    • Metro area
  • Interests – what your audience is into
  • Pinners who have pinned lots of your pins
  • Businesses your audience engages with

Analytics of Activity from Your Website

  • Views that pins from your website get on Pinterest
  • Top pin impressions
  • Boards with top pin impressions
  • Top repins of pins from your website
  • Clicks back to your website from your pins
  • Boards with the most clicked pins
  • How many times the Pin It button was used by users on your website

Keep a regular eye on your analytics data to stay up to date on what your audience likes, responds to, and when they do it. Then, post MORE of those things at on high traffic days and times.

Pinterest Scheduling Options

Tailwind

There are a few Pinterest scheduling apps available, but we recommend Tailwind.

Tailwind allows you to schedule pins, monitor Pinterest, analyze industry trends and measure results, AND it integrates with Hootsuite, allowing you to schedule all your social media activity from one place. They also have a Chrome browser extension, which lets you easily create pins and repins, adding them to suggested auto-schedules for the best times of day.

There is a paid subscription option available as well, offering more features.

Buffer

Buffer also offers a Pinterest scheduling option. Give their 7-day trial a go to see if this option will work for you. If you like it, you can then continue with a paid subscription.

Buffer offers easy pinning (including the link) directly from the app, or through a browser extension. Customize the specific times and days you Pin to create unique schedules just for you and your Boards, or let Buffer choose your times for you.

ViralTag

ViralTag is a marketing platform for visual content. It allows you to schedule engaging visual content to your social networks, content networks and blogs. ViralTag also provides visual content curating functionality based on keywords and social network feeds. Sign up for ViralTag‘s free 14-day trial to test it out and see what effect it has on your social network engagement.