Category: Social

How to Use Paid Ads to Grow Your Facebook Following

So, you’ve got your Facebook Business page setup and you’re posting regularly. You’ve even got some likes and shares. That’s great! But why stop there? With over 1.79 billion users active on the platform every day, there’s a lot of real estate to cover, and your content can only reach so far without a little help. That’s where Facebook Paid Ads come into play.

Let’s start with the basics.


What is a Facebook paid ad?

According to Facebook, “With Facebook Ads, you can create targeted ads to reach different audiences and meet your business goals.” It seems pretty straightforward, but let us elaborate.

Facebook Paid Ads are a simple and cost-effective strategy for your business to reach a specified demographic. You can promote your custom ads and content to reach an audience of your choosing. What’s more, you can use the ads to collect data that will help you improve the ads to increase their efficiency.


How to build an effective Facebook ad

When you’re building your ad, there are a few important factors to consider:

Choose your audience

Deciding which demographics you want to target is one of the most important parts of optimizing your ad. Choosing a broad range is effective for some businesses, but you’re more likely to see results by narrowing your terms. For example, if you’re selling video games you might want to target men and women between the ages of 15 and 40 with interests in video games and entertainment, since that’s where your customers are likely coming from. If you’ve optimized your audience to your business, you’ll reach people who will want to follow your page.

Create a compelling message

Your Facebook Ad has limited space, so make sure you’re saying exactly what you want to. Are you offering a deal? Hosting an event? Showcasing products? Make your message relevant to your audience and give it a call to action! Don’t forget to add an image, too. Ads with photos are much more likely to attract attention than those without.

Switch it up

Why make only one ad when you can make two? Creating more than one ad gives you multiple sets of analytics so you can determine which ads work and which ones don’t. If you find your ads are working well, it’s still important to switch them up every so often so the message doesn’t stagnate. People get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, so keep it fresh!


You’re all set to get started! Facebook Ads are a great way to get your products and services in front of potential customers. Facebook has some great resources to help you get started. Even a low ad budget each month can help you attract new customers and find new business. Although Facebook advertising is extremely important, creating and running ad campaigns can be a time consuming project. Consider using our Digital Advertising, and with our reporting, you’ll be able to clearly see the ROI and what you’re getting for you $$.

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What is Content Marketing and Why Does It Matter?

In the heyday of traditional marketing, attracting and retaining customers was an intimidating task for local business owners to accomplish, especially when the inflated budgets of larger businesses made it difficult to compete. Today, there are many different avenues for business owners to interact with consumers, and social media makes it easier than ever for business owners to reach potential customers through strategic tactics like content marketing.

Content marketing, also referred to as inbound marketing, involves the creation and distribution of relevant content that provides value to your business’s target audience. Content marketing can be shared with consumers in numerous forms: infographics, ebooks, white papers, case studies, how-to guides, etc. The main purpose of content marketing is to offer consumers value by presenting a solution to their needs, thus influencing the buying cycle.


Content marketing and the buying cycle

The main difference between traditional marketing methods and content marketing tactics is how each strategy affects the buying cycle for consumers.

The benefits of pull vs. push in marketing

Traditional push marketing methods like flyers, billboards or commercials seek to influence the comparison and purchase stages of the buying cycle by promoting or offering incentives that make a product or service seem superior to alternative solutions. Content marketing, or pull tactics, aim to increase consumer awareness and provide helpful information about the product or service your business offers as a solution. The beauty of content marketing is that it may lead consumers to recognize a problem or need in their lives that they would have otherwise been unaware of. This will draw them into your business when they are ready to buy, rather than knocking on doors or cold calling to try and convince someone to buy something from you now. Utilizing content marketing tactics in your business’s strategy also introduces several benefits, many of which are long lasting.


The benefits of content marketing

Content marketing serves as a means for your business to attract, inform and engage with consumers. Here are some of the benefits that can accompany an effective strategy:

Brand awareness

Publishing valuable content will lead consumers to discover your business and product offerings as they search for solutions to the problem they are facing. By making content available to consumers, your business will communicate an awareness of consumer needs, humanizing your brand with a personality that is friendly and helpful, as well as creating the opportunity for customers to form a relationship with you.

Brand equity

Content that is relevant to the needs of consumers and offers them a valuable solution establishes your business as a thought leader in your industry,which helps build a trusting relationship with consumers. Attaining this level of credibility will lead consumers to prefer your goods and services over alternative solutions, since they are aware of the unique value proposition offered by your business: that you are the knowledgeable experts in your field.

For example: why do avid cyclists go to smaller specialty bike shops instead of a big box store that offers bikes? Because of the level of knowledge and expertise that the smaller shop offers is something that cannot be easily replicated by the bigger box stores.

This is example is similar to how content marketing can work to increase thought leadership and brand equity for your business. By sharing your expertise in the form of content, you will boost your credibility with customers. They know that they can come to you for solid advice because you have provided them with relevant, helpful information in the past.

Effective long-term results

If the content your business releases is designed to be a mix of time-sensitive and evergreen pieces, your business’s content library will still be relevant to consumers as time passes. High-traffic content will also improve search engine rankings, and the consistent release of content can serve as a continuous source of interested consumers.


Content marketing: the main sell

Content marketing is an effective strategy to interact with consumers and introduce them to your business’s brand. By providing consumers with value before they even visit your store, you are building positive relationships and connections to your brand, resulting in long-lasting customer loyalty and brand equity for your business.

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Why is Social Media Important?

Since the early 2000s, social media platforms have revolutionized the way people connect with one another. Today, there are 2.3 billion active users of social media worldwide. Business owners who take advantage of the ocean-sized lead pool created by social media channels will undoubtedly reel in a boatload of benefits.

Currently, the number of brands present on two or more social media platforms has surpassed 90%, and in 2016, Facebook reported reaching 50 million small business users. Despite this level of online presence, business owners consistently report that social media is the second most difficult marketing tactic to execute effectively (immediately behind Search Engine Optimization, AKA SEO). Business owners believe that learning how to properly utilize social media platforms is time consuming, and that their time would be better spent on other marketing tactics.


Don’t take the bait—social media IS important!

Remember the boatload of benefits discussed earlier? We didn’t mean this:

Making the effort to rock your customers’ worlds through the effective use of social media will pay off for your business, here’s how!

Social media increases your brand’s visibility

Just as there are plenty of fish in the social media sea, there are also a TON of boats looking to land a big catch. Ensuring your business and brand are present and active on multiple social channels will create the opportunity for consumers from different demographics to find and follow you. Also, half of consumers follow brands to indicate their loyalty, so a business’s current customer base will also increase brand awareness and visibility. The more followers a business has, the more likely it is to be seen. Additionally, if a business owner treats these followers as a sentient community rather than a stagnant lead pool, it will help improve customer service and brand image.

Social media improves your customer service

A business’s presence on social media creates the opportunity for dialogue with consumers, and 60% of followers expect a brand to interact with their followers directly through social media. With more than half of marketers utilizing social media as two-way street for communication, it is important for business owners to give their audience what it wants. By providing engaging content, exclusive social offers and genuine responses to feedback like reviews or questions, you will be able to build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships with your social community. Did we mention that all of this comes with a minimal price tag?

Social media is easy on your budget

Old school marketing tactics like snail mail ads or flyers can be expensive, and it will undoubtedly take time to measure their ROI. Joining and posting to social media is free of charge—there’s no limit to how many posts you can publish, and your efforts are seen by followers immediately. Paid advertising on social media is also an option, and this tactic will allow you to target specific audiences you want to reach. The best part is that your budget for paid social advertising can be as large or as small as you see fit, it’s all designed to meet your business’s unique marketing needs. Investing in social media with time or money can help with more than just a business’s social accounts, too.

Social media can boost search engine ranking

Effective social media use will allow your business to harness the power of another internet beast.

You may recall from earlier that business owners find SEO to be the most daunting digital marketing tactic to take on. By fostering a social media following, providing content that will likely be shared, and interacting with its consumers online, businesses are able to climb the ranks in search engines. The better your ranking, the more likely you are to be found, and thus the social media cycle begins all over again!


Keep the fish biting

With so many benefits tied to using social media, you’re probably wondering how to move your business forward using such a powerful tool. Posting in social channels can be intimidating, and oftentimes you might be left wondering if you have anything worth posting at all.

Teach a marketer to fish…

It’s important to create social media content that provides value to your customers without hocking spam day in and day out. To succeed on social media you need to know your consumers and keep them entertained. Don’t have time to test the waters?

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Creating the Perfect Social Post

What makes for good social posting, anyway? In order to craft the perfect social post, we need to take a look at why people follow businesses in the first place.

  • Interest in services and promotions: People love sales! Don’t get TOO excited though. Over posting this information is also one of the leading reasons people unfollow a business.
  • Updates and information: People are interested in what your business is up to! Have new products? Moving locations? Getting an office dog? Post it!
  • Communication: Social media is for connecting. People want to talk to you, and they want to review your products and services. Make sure you’re responding to them: it shows you care about your customers.
  • Entertainment: Are you not entertained? People use social media to get a break from their humdrum day. Post content that will put a smile on their faces or give them something to think about. Hint: it doesn’t always have to be related to your business.

So now that we’ve got a good idea of what people want to see, how do we make the magic happen? When I write social posts, I use three main guidelines to direct me.


The 3 Golden Rules of Local Social Media Marketing

  • Does it provide value? People engage with content that is relevant to them. Consider whether the post is solving a problem, starting a conversation or educating. People love to share information that is new and exciting. In order to provide the best value to your followers and customers, the vast majority (up to 80%) of your content should be useful or engaging information. In fact, posts promoting the business should only account for 10%-20% of the content.
  • Is it emotionally engaging? People love stories, and they share content they connect with. Don’t be afraid to show the more personal side of your business. Really, who hasn’t teared up during a Coke ad or giggled at the Budweiser Clydesdales? Brands that go the extra mile to create an emotional connection with their customers stick in their memories longer. Why not post a cat video? Everyone loves a cat video.
  • Is it visually stimulating? 1200 pixels are worth 1000 words. We’re talking high quality photos, videos and infographics here! Posts that include visuals get way more (almost 650% more) engagement than those without. Keep in mind that not all visuals are created equal. The best ones are the ones that you take yourself, because they’re local, personal and relevant. If you don’t have the capacity to take photos, reposting from other websites and profiles is a great way to keep your page relevant. Quality stock photos are also great resources, just make sure to pay attention to copyright!

Creating content for social media is essential—you need to be present where your customers are, and they’re on social. While it is free to partake, creating an effective social media strategy and sticking to it takes diligence and determination.

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Quality Over Quantity

Businesses don’t always know what they’re getting into with social posting. Most turn to outsourcing because they don’t have the time to get to know the process and learn to navigate social media. They may as well be holding up a big SOS beacon. You need to be an expert in the field so you can provide the best value to your customers.

Most companies agree that “creating compelling content for social media is both the most effective (82%), and most difficult (69%) part of social media marketing tactics.” It’s also one of the most difficult social strategies that brands carry out.

The point is, there’s more to local social media marketing than you might think. There’s a big difference between posting to your personal profile and posting on behalf of your business.


Behind every great business…

… is a group of great people! A business starts with the people who run it and ends with the people who use it. Before thinking about what your business should post or what customers want to see, ask yourself if—as a person— you’d be engaged by that content. If there’s no voice or personality in your business’s online presence, people get disinterested pretty quickly.

Be personal! Connect with your audience. Brands can be promotional and engaging at the same time. Just make sure that the engaging posts outweigh the promotional ones.


The good, the bad and the spammy

Everybody has that one person on Facebook who chokes up their feed with multiple opinion pieces or “buy-my-product” posts. Don’t be that person. Nobody wants to see that from their friends, and guess what? Nobody wants to see it from a business, either.

Focus less yourself and more on your customers. If someone follows your business, they already know what you are selling. There’s no need to over-saturate a feed with links to your website: if it’s listed on the page, followers already know how to get there.

So what’s the secret? I’ll tell you: providing customers with value is what makes them want to stick around. And I’ll let you in on another secret: businesses don’t have to post something every day to keep that engagement. If you can provide value while posting every day, then by all means, post daily. If that’s not the case, stick to this rule: quality over quantity, folks. Quality wins every time.

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7 Social Media Tactics for Businesses That Struggle With Social

A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to be heard, and businesses are no exception to this rule. Forget the doorstep; there’s a whole world of potential customers and fans at your fingertips who are actively looking for brands that they can identify and engage with on a personal level. However, social media skills have to be learned, and many businesses struggle to find an audience and connect with them online. If yours is one of them, what can you do to make the best use of social media and all its benefits? How can you create content that gets people to stop scrolling and start reading, liking and sharing?

These 7 social media strategies will help your business build a presence and a following in the most crowded rooms online by creating content that entertains, educates, inspires and engages.


1. Make a plan

Before you rethink your entire social strategy, ask the tough questions. What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them? What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success? Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and put a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.

And remember: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward. Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?

With a roadmap to social success in place, your business can begin to make guided changes to its social strategy that work toward definite goals.


2. Know your audience

There are so many eyes and ears out there on the web, but do you know who is going to listen to your brand’s voice? Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.

Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.

Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.


3. Tell your story

Just like every person, every business has a story; no two are alike. Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. Invite your audience to think about where they enter into that narrative: how are your followers involved and invested in your success? How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?

One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it, and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business – tell the world about it, and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.


4. Get conversational

Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, making friends, and following back. Things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.

Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it, or give a shout out! When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.


5. Go live!

Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works, or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!


6. Call to action

Make your statements short and sweet, and provide a way for your audience to follow up and learn more. Succinctness is a virtue and brevity is the soul of wit, especially in the fast-paced world of social media, and many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 140-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest and are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them!


7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

Finally, always be improving. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations, and new mediums to get your message out there – but be scientific about it. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing their results, and learn from your failures as well as your successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.


To wrap things up

The world of social media is constantly evolving, and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Take stock of how far you’ve come, and set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Always pay attention to what works, learn from what doesn’t, and test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Most importantly, remember the point of social media: to connect people! Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Now get out there and give the people something to talk about!

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How to #Hashtag

How hashtags can help you reach the out-crowd and engage the in-crowd

The facts are in: if you are not using hashtags, you are missing out! With a tweet with hashtags being 33% more likely to get retweeted, these handy hashtags can make the difference between #GameOver and #Trending when it comes to social media success. Hashtags are more than just a fad, they are a means of organizing information and standing out from the crowd. Hashtags are also a way to engage with millennials where they shine brightest – through social media savvy. With millennials beginning to outnumber previous generations, speaking their language has become increasingly important. Do not miss out on this opportunity to #GetSocial!


Hashtag basics

The hashtag (#) turns any word, or group of words, into a link that can be searched. When writing a hashtag, leave your grammar at the door – no punctuation, no spaces! The best way to keep your message clear is to capitalize each word #LikeThis, otherwise known as using CamelCase. Got it? Let’s move on!

There are two ways businesses can use hashtags to their advantage.

  1. To reach the out-crowd by joining a conversation that is already in progress.
  2. To engage the in-crowd by starting a new conversation.

Reaching the out-crowd

As a business, using hashtags to reach potential new customers is a no-brainer. How do you do this effectively? By joining a conversation that is already in progress! Start thinking about what words people would search when looking for a business like yours. If you don’t know where to start, remember the old saying, “Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer”! Follow businesses who are doing similar work to you on all your favorite social media websites – especially those who have a great following. What hashtags are they using, and how many? Keep in mind that less is more both in scope (as hashtags that are more niche have a more engaged following) and in presentation (as too many hashtags looks inauthentic).

For example, this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #BurgerLover #Foodie #CheatMeal” is better than this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #WhatsForDinner #Foodie #EatClean #CommonTable #OnMyTable #TasteMade #ForkYea #OnTheTable #FoodStyling #BeautifulCuisines #HeresMyFood #TheArtOfSlowLiving #FreshFoods #CheatMeal #BurgerLover #Foodstagram #BurgerLife”.

So, K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Social-Media-User! Using hashtags by joining a pre-existing conversation takes your business and puts it in front of someone who would have never found you otherwise. That’s something you can feel #Blessed about!


Engaging the in-crowd

The second way that you can use hashtags to build your business is by starting a conversation with the followers that you already have by creating an original hashtag. Brands from Calvin Klein (#MyCalvins) to Charmin toilet paper (#TweetFromTheSeat) have managed to create original hashtags that engage their audience in a way that builds their social media momentum. Original hashtags can be used for promotions, contests, events, or general brand awareness. Just be sure that when you are creating an original hashtag that it is clear, simple, unique, and catchy. No one will want to join your conversation if it’s confusing or boring.

Imagine if Coca-Cola’s classic #ShareACoke hashtag was #TakeACocaColaAndGiveItToSomeoneElse – not very fun or memorable! Original hashtags give your followers something to talk about and a way to interact with your business on a personal level.


Not all social media sites are created equal

Using hashtags is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each platform will have its unspoken rules of how many hashtags are acceptable. Where Instagram shows posts with an average of nine hashtags performing the best, Facebook posts get the greatest engagement with only one hashtag. Each social media site is unique in its function and audience, so take the time to explore the sites you want to use for your business before posting.


Are you #Trending yet?

These tips and tricks for how to use hashtags as a business are about more than getting ahead in a technological age. Hashtags, above all, are about building community. By putting a simple pound sign in front of a word, you are taking that message and immediately sharing it with someone who cares about what you do and how you do it. This tool is a revolutionary way to make your words matter and allow them to connect with not only a new customer, but a new spokesperson for your business. From #MotivationalMonday to #FlashbackFriday, use your new hashtagging skills to make both the in-crowd and the out-crowd your new #BFFL.

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Copyright Online and Fair Use in Social Media

With the online world being dominated by images, what do you need to know as a business owner when it comes to copyright laws?

Sharing Images on Social

Visuals are huge in the social media world, particularly for businesses. Here’s a quick run-down.

  1. On average, content with relevant images has 94% more total views than content without (Jeff Bullas)
  2. Compared to other types of content, visual content is 40x more likely to be shared on social media (Ethos3)
  3. Facebook posts with images can receive 2.3x more engagement than text posts (BuzzSumo)

A couple things can be seen here. First, using images in your social media communications is critical to its success, and second, social media is the driving force behind the unfathomable amount of photos being shared online every second. In fact, the world is on track to share over 2.5 trillion photos online by the end of this year!

Social Media Copyright Risks

Because online culture evolves so quickly, the laws of the land are constantly readjusting to the most recent trends in online activity. This is especially true regarding copyright online and fair use on social media, both of which have yet to become clearly defined for the digital age. Fortunately, even online, by sticking to the basic foundations of copyright law you will be protected in most cases

? This post focuses on copyright laws as they pertain to Canada and the United States.

What is Copyright?

Simply put, copyright is: “the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work).” Its purpose is to strike a balance between protecting the author of a work, and serving the public interest.

Copyright offers the owner exclusive rights over their work. Copyright owners can:

  • Reproduce the copyrighted work
  • Create derivative works based on the copyrighted work
  • Distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale, transfer of ownership, rental, lease, or lending
  • Perform and/or display the copyrighted work publicly (copyright.gov)

Copyright is determined on a case-by-case basis, which makes it difficult to identify any clear-cut examples of infringement that could be applied to other cases seen in social media.

Creative Commons and Free Use

On the other end of the spectrum, “creative commons” work is always free to use. This dedication means that an author has dedicated their original work to the public domain, waiving all rights to their work worldwide under copyright law.

This work is free to “copy, modify, distribute and perform, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission” (Creative Commons). Sites like Pixabay or Flickr find photos that are released under Creative Commons! These photos require no attribution (credit to the author/source) and they are free to use.

Internet Memes and Copyright Online

There are so many kinds of memes that may or may not infringe copyright online that lumping them all into one category and stamping them with “approved” or “rejected” ink just doesn’t work. If you are curious about how the memes you might be sharing fall under copyright law, here is a quick guide.

Types of Memes

Memes can range from the popular “image macros,” to silly sentences repeated across the web. Obviously, catch phrases, hashtags and other word-based memes have no real copyright risk. It’s the visual and image macro memes that may pose a problem. Specifically, image macros that depict copyrighted characters and productions.

Pop Culture Memes

Let’s say, for simplicity’s sake, that most memes are fair use. I mean, no one is going to come after you for throwing a “damn, Daniel!” into one of your Facebook posts. The memes that may pose an issue are those that pull images from pop culture, like Futurama Fry or Boromir’s “one does not simply” meme. These character stills are pulled from pop culture media and turned into memes, yet the characters depicted are owned by a specific brand or company.

Could using a pop culture meme that depicts a copyrighted work or character result in a lawsuit? Yes.

Is it likely to? No.

But when it comes to commercial use of memes, it’s good to err on the side of caution, and avoid posting pop culture memes that clearly depict copyrighted works.

Memes in Social Advertising

Using memes for social advertising is the surest way to cause problems with copyright when it comes to sharing memes. Posting a meme is relatively harmless, but using it in advertising is a whole different story.

Advertising is not protected by fair use, and so any direct promotion of your company/brand with the use of memes, or using memes for profit, can get you legal heat.

If you’re thinking “that’s silly, who would punish me for selling a t-shirt with a picture of a particularly grumpy cat?” I understand where you’re coming from, but Grumpy Cat has a company that’s ready to protect its property (which is, weirdly enough, a mean looking cat).

General Rule for Copyright Online

Even though the rules of fair use and copyright online are often left up to interpretation, a good rule to follow is assuming that all images and videos found online are protected by copyright, unless explicitly expressed as being free to use by the owner. Ultimately, it’s up to the author of the work to enforce copyright law if they find that their work is being used without permission.

The next time you decide to use any content that isn’t yours, ask yourself:

  1. Do I have permission to use this image (or is it free to use)?
  2. If not, does my usage fall under “fair use”?
  3. Is using this content worth the potential legal consequences?

It will be interesting to see how copyright laws and content sharing practices will change with the evolution of social media trends. For now, just remember—a picture may be worth a thousand words, but it may cost you a lot more if used without permission.

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5 Steps To Becoming an Instagram Sensation

300 million—the number of people on Instagram every single day. Businesses are taking advantage of Instagram by using it as a resource to gain popularity and increase their customer base. In fact, top brands like Nike and National Geographic have over 60 million Instagram followers!

So why would any business pass up this opportunity? If you’re not a regular ‘grammer, starting your own page (and growing it) can be overwhelming. The success of your Instagram will be determined by how you run your account. These Instagram tips will help you gain a booming fan following, and lead the way to sensation status.


Instagram Tips #1: #Hashtags

Hashtags could be one of the most important components of gaining popularity on Instagram. Posts that include at least one hashtag have seen up to 12.6% increased engagement. To put it simply, hashtags are a tag that helps categorize photos with the same theme or content.

In your mastery of hashtags, make sure to keep them short, simple and most importantly, relevant. For example, when posting a photo of my fancy new watch, I may use the hashtags #watch, #michaelkors and #rosegold. Short, sweet and descriptive.

If you want to connect to local ‘grammers, hashtags with your location are a good idea. Additionally, many businesses create their own unique hashtag and ask their followers to use it.

For example, Coca-Cola encourages their fans to post Instagram Coke photos with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. This can be a great marketing tool, and help define your brand online.

Another important note to remember is to not over-hashtag, as this can make your posts look spammy, and will actually attract other spam accounts.

Instagram Tips #2: Tag a brand

When you tag another Instagram account in your photos, your photo will show up in the brand’s ‘“photos of you” section of their profile. They will receive a notification, and with any luck, may even engage with your post! Better yet, they could also start following you back, or even re-gram your photo!

Make sure the photo actually features the brand, otherwise you can get flagged for spam. Most big brands will have an Instagram account, and chances are, they probably have an expansive list of followers themselves.

For example, a jeweler could take a photo of a piece from their newest collection, and tag the designer in the photo. Getting some exposure from a big brand could help you significantly increase followers, and in turn, get more likes!

Instagram Tips #3: Use Visually Appealing Photos

Although it seems obvious, this point is oh-so important. You don’t have to be an expert photographer to have a stellar collection of Instagram photos, but you may need some practice. One of the most important bits of advice is to keep it simple. If you are featuring products in a photo, make sure the background is simple so that your product stands out. A cluttered photo will take away from what you are trying to promote. Sometimes, a crisp white background is the best option.

Instagram has many filters to choose from, so take some time to play around with them to see which one suits your photo best! Does your photo look best without a filter? Simply leave it alone! Alternatively, Instagram gives you the option to use their editing tools, where you can make some simple adjustments like brightening or removing shadows, rather than choosing a filter.

Take a few different photos and decide which is the most visually appealing. Taking good photos may take a bit of time, but like anything, practice makes perfect. Don’t give up, and you’ll be taking photos like a pro in no time!

Instagram Tips #4: Know Your Audience

It’s important to remember your audience and who you are targeting with your posts. What is the purpose of your Instagram page? Whether the purpose is to educate, promote or entertain followers, you should keep that in mind with each and every photo and caption. If your account is purely professional, keep it informative and concise. If you are marketing towards a younger audience and want to keep things fun and upbeat, ensure the dialog matches accordingly. Try using some emojis, be goofy and have fun! Show people what you are passionate about, and just remember to target the people with your same interests!

Instagram Tips #5: Ask For It

Your Instagram account is a conversation point with your customers. Most followers scroll through their feed passively, and won’t take any action unless it’s asked of them. Give them a call to action, and ask for it! For example, Double tap if you like coffee, tag a friend who likes coffee, share this photo if you love coffee, click the link in our bio for free coffee, etc. (Can you tell what’s on my mind right now?) If your customers oblige, this will increase your page’s activity, likes, and followers.


Most importantly, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun! Happy ‘grammin!

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