Uncategorized Archives - Social Media Marketing Blog

25 April 2016

20 Top Content Curation Tools!




Its Gary O’Toole here with Sociocaster! Previously in my content marketing 101 series I have talked about content cu ration being a key element of any successful strategy and looked at creating original contenting versus curating other peoples content – you can read more about that here.

In today’s post I am briefly going to touch on what content curating is and why you should do it then I am going to give you my top 20 content curation tools!

What Is “Content Curation?”

For many people the process of content creation can seem extremely intimidating and pretty tedious! In face most people do not even know where to start. I highly recommend that you start with a plan – you can find out how to create an an awesome content plan – please read this post here.

The great news is that you do not have to create every single piece of content that you share and that your audience care more about the value they are receiving from either reading, watching or listening to the content that who actually created it.

Content created by other people is known as “Curation”. In our context, a curator is some one who brings different pieces of content created together which all relate to the particular niche/topic. As an influence it is appealing to your audience as it saves the hours looking for high quality content – as you have done this for them!

Content curation still allows you to act as an authority figure as you act as a filter and provide your audience with only the highest quality and most informative content out there!

Should I Use Curated Content?

Continue Reading

18 April 2016

5 Tips For Starting An Agency and Succeeding in The Digital Economy




In previous posts we have tended look at the nuances of various social media platforms and investigated how we can best integrate them into our social media and content marketing strategies.

In today’s post I am going to touch on something a little bit different – I am going to give you my top 10 tips for starting your own digital agency and succeeding in the digital economy.

I am a passionate believer that the digital economy is the single most important shift in the way we live and work, since the industrial revolution. It now possible for anyone with a laptop and an internet connection to quickly learn the skills to be able to become a digital freelancer and work remotely for employers and clients worldwide.

content2

So before we go any further who am I ? I am founder of One Versus Zero Digital, a content driven – digital agency based in the heart of Tech City in Shoreditch, London UK. I have been working within the digital space
for over a decade and actively building audiences and communities since 1998.

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14 March 2016

Where Is The Most Effective Place Spend Your B2C Social Media Marketing Budget?




Do you have a clear idea of where you should be spending your social media marketing budget?

Do you ever stop to wonder, where other businesses working within your space are spending their budget?

In this blog post we we will look at recent research on how effective paid social media marketing is and what is currently working in the world of small to medium sized businesses, who have limited budgets and need every dollar spent on social media to bring an effective ROI.

Most Business To Consumer Marketers Rate 4/5 In Terms Of Effectiveness

Back In Autumn of last the well renown Content Marketing Institute (In association with Marketing Profs) surveyed nearly 4000 marketers from all corners of the globe about their content and digital marketing successes. It turned out that just 236 of the respondents identified themselves as Business to Consumer marketers and business owners, but the information that shared provides us with some extremely useful insight.

If you take a look at the chart below (Source: e Marketer), seventy six of the B2C respondents told the Content Marketing Institute that they used promoted posts (IE: Boosted Facebook posts, paid promoted Twitter tweets and promoted Pinterest pins), 61% of these stated that they found promoted posts were an effective strategy. On average they were rated 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale of effectiveness, where 1 was totally ineffective, 3 was considered neutral and 5 was considered highly effective.

Paid

You can see back in 2014 only 59% of the respondents were using promoted posts and less than half rated it as an effective marketing technique, in the space of a year this has jumped to 76% of respondents reporting its use and over half of them finding it effective.

With LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter Ads (as well as other platforms)59% of respondents rate these 4 or 5 on the 5 point effectiveness scale – 59% reported using them.

Something interesting to note is that difference in the marketers perception of how effective these kind of Ads are with a 10% increase between 2014 and 2015.

The marketers interviewed all agreed that Facebook reigns supreme at being the most effective channel for B2C social marketing.

sd-b2c-social-platforms

As you can see this data covers content marketing trends in North America and its reflective of similar statistics in other English speaking westernized countries such as the UK and Australia. YouTube is rated as a the second most effective platform – which is hardly surprising given the fact that most consumers prefer to watch a video to find out about a product or service.

So the key point here is to know that the four biggest platforms for marketing to a B2C audience are:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

So lets look at each platform individually and identify some key things to remember when running paid ads.

Facebook:

Anyone can create a Facebook Ad in just a few minutes – but if your going to be successful its worth bearing a few things in mind. If your new to paid Facebook Ads – I highly recommend you check out my earlier posts which explain the basics here and one on video Ads here.

fb

1.) Mobile only ads – Around 75% of all Facebook users will access Facebook using a mobile device. Facebook offers you the opportunity to create and manage mobile ads separate. One strategy that many advertisers are using is to split their targeting between their mobile campaign and desktop campaign rather than creating a separate campaign for each.

2.)Ads for your mobile app – If you have a mobile app for your brand, Facebook gives you the ability to track your app downloads. This is very effective! Especially if you want to create your own community. With each download you will be able to organically reach those users. As a new startup that is attempting to drive users that are engaged in their product there is tons of potential here.

3.)Retargeting – It seems in recent times re targeting has reached new heights in the marketing world. This is the type of ad that will follow you around the internet. For example, let’s say you are on a site that sells shoes, whether you make a purchase or not, it’s highly likely that you will see ads for the shoes you were looking at all around the edges of the internet as you visit other sites.

Facebook provides a powerful way that you can retarget using custom audiences. This tool provides you with a simple way to reach highly specific audience groups through the use of a combination of Facebook interest data and prospect data that Facebook advertisers own.

Another method that can be used to retarget is for you to create an audience using the power editor. You will need to install the Chrome plug in to be able to use this, but it will let you upload a list of customer email addresses from one of the many email marketing platforms or from an Excel spreadsheet.

4.)Experiment with your page posts – When you create a Facebook ad, you as the advertiser might decide to promote a post that has already been published on Facebook or you might decide to create a new post that has never been published before. You should always promote organic page posts that have had a high degree of engagement and sharing among Facebook users. This will instantly add social context to your target audience and provide the highest ROI.

5.) Create a Facebook Canvas and create a fully immersive experience for your audience, you can check out an in depth post about Canvas , I created recently here.

Youtube:

Of course everyone knows what YouTube is: it’s the video sharing platform owned by Google that you can use to upload videos, watch other people’s videos and comment on videos or subscribe to your favorite creators. What many people don’t realize though is just how massive YouTube is.

youtuber

YouTube has over one billion users and nearly a third of all people online have signed up for it. Every single day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of content. Through mobile alone, YouTube manages to reach more people between 18-49 than any cable TV network in the US.

To Put It Simply: Youtube Has More Reach Than The Biggest US TV Neworks!

YouTube is today the world’s second biggest search engine. It has a huge untapped traffic source. It boasts of over a whopping 30 million visitors each day.

All This Means Nothing If They Can Not Find Your Videos!

As Youtube is such a huge platform – it does have a huge amount of content on it, which means it can sometimes be very difficult to stand out 0r be found. Most people know how to upload a video to Youtube – but what most people do not know is how to label it correctly to ensure it search engine optimized and easily found. Check out the tips below to help ensure your videos reach the most people.
Identify Your Keywords

Just like anything that has to do with SEO, you need to do keyword research. The goal here is to find the keywords whose results feature on Google’s first page. These ones are called video keywords. Optimizing your video for keywords that do not have any video results in Google will mean that you will only get traffic from people who will be searching on YouTube. Conversely, if you correctly optimize for video keywords, then you will get targeted traffic coming to your video directly from the first page of Google.

The best way to find the much-needed video keywords is to conduct a search for keywords specifically in your niche. After finding the keywords, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out whether the keyword has enough search volume every month. The threshold that the search volume of any specific video keyword should meet to qualify as enough is usually three hundred searches every month. If a keyword gets at least three hundred searches per month, then that means it gets decent amount of searches in YouTube itself.

Also check out my video, where I give you 2 additional YouTube tips here.

Make High Quality Videos That Engage

The most useful YouTube ranking signal is user engagement. No matter how much you try to optimize your video for search engines, if it is a poor quality video, then it will not rank. YouTube judges your video usually based on how YouTube users interact with it. And how does YouTube etablish this?
There is a range of metrics that YouTube uses to determine if your video is of high quality or of low quality. For example, it considers video retention, comments, people who subscribe after watching, how many people share your videos across social media sites, how many people favorite your video, and how people use the thumbs up and thumbs down feature. You can agree that these things will reveal a lot about the quality of your video. Therefore, produce high quality videos that will enamor users to your videos, and your users will thank you.
Create An Accurate Description 

The YouTube video description is very important. Google and YouTube relies on the text description of your video to determine the video’s content in order to rank it. You should bear these points in mind:

–Put your link at the topmost area of the video.

–The description should be at least 250 words.

–The first twenty five words of the description should contain the keyword.

–Include the keyword 3-4 times in the description.

Equally important are tags, video title, and video filename. Use them with SEO in mind.

IE: EMERGENCYPLUMBERCHICAGO.MP4

If you do these things well, you will see an exponential growth in the numbers of your audience as you will rank well both in Google and in YouTube itself.

Twitter:

As you probably know, Twitter is a social networking website where users post “tweets” (essentially a short message or ‘status update’) about what they are doing at a particular point in time.
A “tweet” can only be up to 140 characters in length, so the messages are very short – ie. It is micro-blogging, rather than full length blog posts.

twitterlogo

A tweet can be a short message or a message to another user, and it can include words, numbers and even hyperlinks.

Twitter is used by all kinds of people – from individuals who use it to keep track of their interests and follow people they know, through to celebrities who use it promote themselves and communicate with fans, and businesses of all sizes – from small local firms through to global multinational organisations.

Here are my 3 top tips for creating a storm with your next Twitter paid Ad campaign.

1) Target the followers of Influencer accounts

Use a tool like Buzzsumo to find out who the influencers are in your niche and target the followers of that account – that way you know your ad is going to be shown to people who have already displayed an interest in your niche – increasing your chances of success.

2) Target by device

Quite simply target your campaigns by device to ensure that they can easily follow your CTA using the device they are on – if your CTA requires them to visit a page where they need to enter lots of text you might want to target desktop only! Think about what you want to achieve – another example might be generating APP downloads for android – so you would target Android users only (desktop and iOS users would be pointless)

3) Set Your Own Bid Prices

Do not be tempted to accept Twitters bid prices for Ads – I have found that they are ridiculously high compared to what you can get them down to if you try to set your own prices. In some cases I have managed to lower to 10% of what Twitter has recommended to me!

Instagram:

It can be all too easy to forget about  Instagram in the mix. Compared with Facebook, Instagram has significantly less users and  it’s not as clear how it can be directly  monetized. There’s no written content in an image and people don’t react to pictures in their Instagram feed telling them to ‘buy now’ or sign up to their  mailing list…

Instagram Is King Of Social Engagement!

So with all that in mind, why would you invest a lot of time or money into the platform?  Well there are a ton of good reasons. When used correctly, Instagram is a  fantastic way to promote products and services, to increase your brand’s visibility and to  position yourself as a hip and artistic organization. Instagram is bigger than Twitter and its users are far more engaged and far happier to buy products  – even when compared with Facebook itself!

Check out my 3 top tips to get you off a to flying start below:

instagram

1.) Be Aware Of The Full Range Of Ad Options

Advertising on Instagram is relatively new however there are already quite a few options available, here are the four main Ad types you should look out for.

  • Photo Ads  – these are what we are most used to seeing. These appear in the format of a single image with the word “sponsored” on them.A variety of Calls To Action Are Available: Install Now, Use App, Book Now, Download, Learn More, Listen Now, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch Video, and Watch More.
  • Carousel Ads – allow brands to include multiple images within an ad in a horizontal scrolling format. These were created to allow brands to tell stories. See the video below for a better explanation.
  • Video Ads – If you have read any of previous posts you will know that I am a great believer that video is  the most powerful form of advertising currently available. It has been proven time and time again to bring the highest levels of engagement.
  • Marquee Ads – are a one day Ad format that offers guaranteed impressions and placement in the top ad position of Instagram’s feed. With the Marquee format, brands can show an ad with a changing creative to the same user , multiple times up to 3 time a day.

2.) Make Sure Your Creative Visuals Are Inspiring

As I have stated before on numerous occasions – Instagram is all about inspiring people. If you want people to follow your call to actions – they need to feel inspired. Use high quality images to inspire people to take the action you want them to take.

3.) Use Facebook Targeting 

One of the greatest thing about Facebook owning Instagram is that you can use your Facebook targeting on your Instagram Ad campaigns! You can even run Facebook and Instagram Ad campaigns simultaneously to cross promote your product or service on both platforms at once.

If you not on Instagram – you need to be its an absolute game changer. If your new to Instagram and want to learn about creating an awesome presence please check out my post about that here.

So The Answer To Our Original Question Is: Facebook (Followed by Youtube, Twitter & Instagram)

Well I hope you have found this post useful and gained some more insight in to whats working in the world B2C social media marketing! I highly recommend reading through all the previous blog posts I have linked to here – you will gain a full understanding of everything you need to know about the most active and engaged platforms your audience is currently using.

Have a great week and I will be back on Wednesday with another in depth blog post.

Gary

9 March 2016

8 Ways To Optimize Your Social Proof To Increase Conversions




Hi Gary O’Toole here with Sociocaster and in today’s post we are going to looking something rather important – using social proof to increase our conversions.

It does not take a marketing genius to work out, that what people are saying about our product or service online is going to effect our sales. Just look at these two statistics:

  1. Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. [source]
  2. Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. [source]

We can see that the majority of people making a purchase want to see some kind of rating or review from other people before making a purchase.

proof

What Is Social Proof?

“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.” [source]

Within the context of digital marketing it simply means are people leaving reviews or ratings.

A Simple Analogy: Would You Prefer To Eat A Busy or Quiet Restaurant?

Most people will choose the busy restaurant because it is assumed that because it is full of paying customers that the food must be good! Psychologically we all assume if other people are buying or doing something that it must be worthwhile!

The same concept applies for almost any product or service you can think of! Social proof is not just restricted to traditional platforms such as Amazon or Yelp – it can even be taking places in more underground places that people hangout like a Facebook group for your town or city.

If your doing any kind of local marketing  – it pays to monitor all of the local community and for sale groups in your local area. Not only will you find plenty of opportunities to build rapport with the local community (and future prospects) but you will also be able to see when people are talking about your business.

My local area has a group with 3,548 members. Every time some one posts in this group every one in the group receives a notification, so if someone was making a negative comment about my business – 3,4548 people would be notified! This is social proof – negative social proof!

If you become a recognizable member of the group, making valid contributions on a regular basis – the chances of someone launching an attack on your business is greatly reduced. If people know you are of good character – even your business falls short, they will stick up for you or at least provide you with the opportunity to defend yourself!

upminster

If something goes wrong – use it to your advantage! Show your community that you listen to your customers and accept criticism and offer them a prompt resolution! Take the opportunity to over deliver and turn that negative comment into a positive one.  Avoid thinking small – yes it may cost you money to fix the problem but remember your on stage in front of 3,548 people and this is your chance to shine! Do not be the business owner who argues about a refund it is not a good look and in this context just provides social proof that you are selfish, unreasonable and difficult to deal with.

Check out the next section as we explore some things that you should know (and execute) when it comes to social proof and getting higher levels of conversions.

1.)Erase Negative Social Proof

Its widely recognized that urgency and scarcity are two of the most powerful tools that a marketer has in their arsenal – however some business owners have been using negative social proof in the mistaken belief that its authenticity will increase conversions.

Unfortunately negative social proof will do nothing to increase conversions and will almost certainly only have a negative effect your sales funnel!

An Example of this might be “Is Facebook harming your productivity? 1.5 billion people a day spend more than 3 hours a on social media”. In the first part of the copy we are suggesting that Facebook could be harming our productivity but in the second part we are saying 1.5 Billion are doing this every day. Psychologically we are saying that this is pretty normal and nothing to be worried about – so only a few people will take action to stop this behavior and as such our conversions will be low.

Never Use Negative Social Proof !!!!

2.) Positive Social Proof Is Powerful

So now we know that we need to avoid negative social proof at all costs – its time to learn that positive social proof is incredibly powerful.  Lets look an example of positive social proof “50 Million businesses are using Facebook to connect with their customers – every day!

In this example we can see that 50 million businesses are already using Facebook on a daily basis to connect with their customers – so the reader draws the conclusion that 50 million are already doing this – so they should be doing it too!

Positive social proof is so powerful that it is even more influential than offering a reduced price discount – think about it what sounds better?

  1. 50 Million businesses already doing something
  2. A $10 discount

50 Million is a much higher number than 10 – and lets face it 50 million people doing something is much more impressive than saving 10 bucks  (unless your a cheapskate!!!).

3.) Social Proof Works Better With Images & Video

In days gone by a few lines of text such as:

“Wonderweb is the greatest webdesign company in the UK”

“Wonderweb really get the job done fast”

“Wonderweb are the best webdesign company I have ever worked with”

Would of been considered sufficient social proof – then things changed and people realized that the quotes in the text could of simply been written by the website owner. The next phase was to add pictures – this built rapport and trust with potential website visitors. After a while people realized that these pictures could be just about anybody and the next trend was (and still is) to add video.

In the past few years it has become possible to buy video reviews and you do not have to be the worlds greatest detective to know that a majority of video testimonials are fake (actors) but there is no doubting that video invokes emotion and drives sales like nothing else!

Ideally you should be selling a product or service that is so great that you have real people queuing up to provide real testimonials – if this is not possible and you need a boost with some actors, please try and pick someone who that has not been seen too many times before (like the bald guy from all the IM software launches!!!)

4.) Using Social Media To Leverage Social Proof

I am a member of many Facebook groups – mostly relating to the digital marketing niche and recently a guy who is a personal trainer posted in one of them asking if anyone would like to try his training program out for free. My first thought was that posts like this usually get removed pretty quickly – but the admins let the post stick and within hours 50 people had responded asking to be signed up for his training.

He then PM’D all of us and  asked for our email address (so now he has collected 50 emails for free!) and then signed us all up to his members only site.

Once we were signed up to the site – we all received our login info. We then logged into this personal training/fitness and nutrition site and checked out the program we had requested (weight loss or muscle gain).

I had asked to take a look at his weight loss guide – it was a short 32 page booklet and it was very clear and concise and straight to the point – I learnt a lot from it!

I was really grateful for being able to access this information for free as to be truthful – I am not the most knowledgeable person on nutrition or fitness.  I shot the guy a message and provided some feedback and he was really courteous and grateful for me taking the time to do that and offered to help with any further questions that I might have.

This left me with a feeling that:

  • I had gained a product for free that was definitely worth paying for
  • The product was very well presented
  • The product did not waste my time
  • The product was straight to the point
  • The product creator was friendly and helpful

A few days later we were invited into a VIP group where we could keep up to date with each others progress and get future updates from the product creator.

krush

To be honest I am not going to be using this guide straight away but I did find it very useful and the product creator did seem like a nice guy – so when he asked to leave a review on his page (using the star system) I was more than happy to oblige.

The product creator now has about 20 5 star reviews from real people , 50 emails of people interested in his niche and probably a handful of paying clients as well as a result.  Its a nice little method to leverage social media to build up social proof quickly and for free.

5.) We Are Most Influenced By Those Who We Relate To

Nothing is quicker to invoke anger or disinterest than being lectured by someone who we feel that we have nothing in common with. When someone we feel we have no connection with starts trying to tell us that something will benefit us, our first instinct is to rebel and reject whatever they are saying – even if the information its self is true!

Despite the fact that most people will consistently state that they are open minded and will give anything a try once – the human ego has other ideas.

Jan. 20, 2009 ÒPresident-elect Barack Obama was about to walk out to take the oath of office. Backstage at the U.S. Capitol, he took one last look at his appearance in the mirror.Ó (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

This all relates back to knowing who your target audience is and creating your ideal customer avatars – this way you can ensure that, the people you are choosing to be your social proof will have an instant rapport with the prospects your are attempting to convert.

Its just human nature – we relate and trust people that we consider to be “like us”.

6.) Everyone Loves A Success Story

Nothing is more powerful than the power of story telling. The art of story telling has been with us since the dawn of man kind and has performed all kinds of purposes within our societies.

In recent years story telling for brands has been huge and now in 2016 nothing is more effective than hearing a real life success story of which has been enabled by a customer using a particular product or service.

I am sure that you would jump at the chance to buy a product or service if you could see real life proof of it actually working for someone who you identify with.

7.) Influencers Influence!

What could be better than finding the influencers within your niche and getting them to use your product or service and  them  providing some social proof that it worked for them?

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10:  Kim Kardashian attends the 19th Annual ACRIA Holiday Dinner at Skylight Modern on December 10, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for  ACRIA)

People are always keen to “use what the professionals use” or at least in (most cases) “own what the professionals use”. Having access to the same equipment and resources as perceived professionals makes people feel important and more confident that they will be able to achieve their aims and goals.

8.) Better To Be Thought Of An Idiot Than Open Your Mouth And Prove It

If you have low or negative social proof – I highly recommend removing it until you have built up a more solid reputation. I understand it all starts from one review – but its definitely better to have no reviews or nothing that indicates its possible to leave a review/comment as psychologically its giving off the impression of that empty restaurant we talked about earlier.

I have been Gary O’Toole and I hope you find this post useful, its definitely something to think about for sure! Well enjoy the rest of your week and I will be back with another great video on Friday.

7 March 2016

12 Incredible Free Resources For Stunning Social Media Imagery




In the past week the social media marketing world has been set alight with the release of a brand new piece of software called Instamate. In simple terms Instamate is very similar to Sociocaster, it is a cloud based web application that:

  • Enables Rapid Viral Content Discovery
  • Enables Automated Schedule Posting
  • Allows A Months Worth Of Traffic To Be Scheduled In Minutes

Whilst Sociocaster is designed to be used with:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • WordPress

As the name suggests Instamate was created to be used with Instagram. Instamate is the perfect companion for Sociocaster as it allows us to tap into an amazingly engaged and targeted source of traffic which we can then direct to our Facebook Fanpages, Twitter Streams, Linkedin or WordPress Blogs.

I picked up Instamate Luxury Edition last week and I am pretty excited to integrate into an overall digital marketing strategy that I am working on and will documenting and using as a case study for this blog.

As soon as I signed up for Instamate, I immediately joined their VIP Facebook group. Facebook groups are great as you can really find out what people within that niche (In this case social media marketing) want to learn, the problems they are facing and the things they are worried about.

As soon as I was accepted into the group by the admins – I quickly introduced myself and explained that I am Sociocaster brand ambassador – I was quickly greeted by a few other group members. When I joined, the group had reached about 2000 members and as I am writing this it has reached nearly 4000 members! At present the group is absolutely buzzing with energy and is full of people ready to devour any information they think will aid them on their quest to be successful Instagram marketers.

insagroup

I have been speaking and writing about context in social media marketing a lot recently and on Sunday whilst I was browsing through the group – I had a light-bulb moment!

Posting quotes in visually stunning and inspiring backgrounds gains massive traction on all social media platforms, but on Instagram (and also Pinterest) and great way to become an authority within a niche pretty quickly.

Reposting other peoples content is fine (and I encourage this some of the time) but its hard to build authority by posting other peoples quotes (especially if they are water marked with their branding).

In late December 2015 Adi (Sociocaster Founder) asked me to create a video outlining our top ten resources for finding these amazing free images. That video was a little rough around the edges (certainly will not be winning any video production awards) but because it contained information that our target audience were hungry for became one of our most successful posts to date!

My light-bulb moment was to share this video with the Instamate group – below you can see the post that I shared with the group:

post

The response has been great – I shortened the link with bit.ly just so I could analyse how many people were actually clicking through to the video. In less than 24 hours the link has received just over 204 clicks!

bitly

I always recommend using a bit.ly or similiar link shortening platform as you have to take into account that most people are passive consumers of content. If I had not used bit.ly to track the amount of clicks It would of looked liked only 25% of the total amount of people who felt this would be useful enough to be compelled to click had clicked!

In certain niches (digital marketing being one of them) everyone is trying to fake it until they make it and do not want to let on to their peers that they have actually gained some value from other peoples posts, so if you go based on likes and comments alone – you can seriously under estimate how interested and engaged people actually are.

On the scale of things these are not huge numbers but this is absolutely the highest quality traffic as we have managed to get the Sociocaster brand in front of 200 people who are hungry and passionate to learn about social media marketing and who already understand that automated tools are an important part of being about to pull off a successful campaign having to be awake 24/7 or breaking the bank.

So back to what I was saying about context – when you produce content that provides value to a hungry and passionate audience in the right context you will generate high quality engagement.  This small case study just provides evidence that is possible to get your brand in front of a highly targeted audience for free!

This case study also serves as inspiration to create new content that I can be sure that people are going to find useful – its obvious from these statistics that there is a massive demand to find royalty free images that can be used for any purpose for free.

I am going to satisfy this demand by dedicating the second half of this blog post to giving you my top 20 sites for finding awesome free images for your social media marketing campaigns!

Types Of Copyright:

Copyright is an image that causes a great deal of confusion so before I give you the list and few words about each site I am going to attempt to briefly provide some clarification on the different kinds of copyright:

Public Domain – These are creative works whose creators have either chosen to give up all rights to the works or whose copyright has expired. Public Domain is a free for any kind of use (including commercial). However it is worth doing more research if the image contains a famous or easily recognizable person. You could not use an image of Bob Marley as his likeness is copyrighted even if the image that contains his likeness is not.

Royalty Free – This means that you pay a fee to “buy” the image once and after that your not liable to pay for any further fees or royalties again.

Free Royalty Free – In this post we are looking free royalty free images – these are our favorite kind! You never have to pay anything for them and you are free to use them any purpose you like!

Creative Commons – This means the original creator of the creative works waivers all rights to the creative work for others to freely build up and re-purpose to create their own creative work. There are two versions of this:

  1. CC0 – No Attribution Required 
  2. CC2 – You Must Provide Credit The Original Creator

12 Incredible Free Resources For Stunning Social Media Imagery

1.) PIXABAY 

On Pixabay, users can find and contribute quality images and footage films free of copyrights. For uploading files and downloading full sized images, a free registration is required. By uploading files, the contributors waive their copyright and related image rights under Creative Commons deed CC0, thus permitting free usage of their work. Consequently, anyone is allowed to use, modify and redistribute the images freely – even in commercial applications – without asking for permission and without accreditation.

PIXABAY

2.) NEW OLD STOCK

New Old Stock states  it provides vintage photos from the public archives and allows its users to recapture history by providing them with high quality images free from copyright. This is a great site for someone who is looking for vintage/retro/usual and quirky imagery.

NEW OLD STOCK

3.) UNSPLASH

Unsplash is one of my personal favorites and provides a wide array of truly stunning imagery that really lends itself to being used for social media marketing purposes.

UNSPLASH

4.) FOODIES FEED

This is the definitive destination for those of you out there looking for some mouth watering food imagery! Your free to use them for any purpose that does not include reselling them. When we say reselling, we mean as part of a product such as a PLR image collection. For social media marketing – your all good though!

FOODIES FEED

5.) DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

Death To Stock Photo is another one of my personal favorites – its a monthly image club that allows you to receive amazing high quality images for free every month! You can use the images for any purpose but but you may not claim that you are the photographer.

DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

6.) MAGDELEINE

Magdeleine provides its visitors with one free high quality image every single day! Overall I think the quality of the images is very high and seems to excel in those rustic hipster kind of vibes. If your trying to cultivate an arts and crafts, rootsy – hipster type image this site really is one of the best out there! I think some of the images on this site are better than many of the paid sites. If this is what your are looking for – you definitely need to check this out!

MAGDELEINE

7.) PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE

Public Domain Archive is another great site and this how they describe themselves:

“We are a public domain image repository. We are a site where you come to explore and discover treasures by other great photographers. A place to find inspiration and photography that you can re-use in your creative projects. If you are expecting shutterstock, you will probably be disappointed. We aren’t trying to re-create the wheel, we are trying to create one place where you can come to be inspired to create something amazing.”

PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE

8.) GOOD FREE PHOTOS

If your looking for images of the United States, this site absolutely awesome and contains really high quality images from every single state in the USA.  Very useful and highly worth checking out, especially if your a travel blogger or marketing something Americana esque.

GOOD FREE PHOTOS

9.) PHOTOGEN

Photogen says ” Still paying for your stock photos and images? Forget royalty-free – Photogen images are totally-FREE! Download and use Photogen stock photos FREE for both commercial and personal projects. The Photogen FREE photo gallery is regularly updated with new quality, high-resolution free photos and images.

This site has a lot of images, so unfortunately you will find that some of them might not be as appealing as other sites. However if you take the time you will find the diamonds in the rough.

PHOTOGEN

10.) PICK UP IMAGE

Pickup image is the largest collections of free photographs. Free download high quality premium free stock images, public domain photos. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

The great thing about this site is the fact that you can search for what you are looking for – not all of these sites make searching possible, which can be a bit of a pain at times!  Overall the image quality is great and there are some incredible gems on this site.

PICK UP IMAGE

11.) GRATISOGRAPHY

If your looking for something a little weird, whacky or indeed wonderful – Gratisography has got you covered!  A lot of the images have been manipulated and are works of art within themselves. There are a lot of strange characters of objects of interest that could definitely be used to create a talking point and encourage conversations!

GRATISOGRAPHY

12.) LIFE OF PIX

We are ending on another excellent site – Life of Pix. The images are all of a really great quality and highly useable for a variety of applications. The added bonus here is that this site also provides you a range of extremely high quality video clips as well! This little known site is definitely one of the best out there – make sure you check it out.

I hope you have enjoyed this post – I certainly enjoyed writing it! I feel its a little different from the kind of thing we have covered so far. I definitely think that its great to be able to cover some factual case studies to back up the things we talk about – these small victories are great learning processes for us all.

As I mentioned earlier I am working on a brand new marketing strategy that is going to be using Sociocaster, Instamate and a few others. I am looking forward to sharing my progress with you all – so stay tuned as I will be lauching that in weeks to come! In the meantime I will be back on Wednesday with another blog!

Have A Great Week & Thanks Four Your Awesome And Continued Support!

Gary

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