Category : Blog

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How to Use Instagram for Your Business

It’s no secret that Instagram can help get your business noticed on social media. What tends to elude some businesses is how. With over 700 million active accounts on Instagram and more “Story” users than Snapchat, creating an Instagram feed that is going to help your business can seem daunting, but it can be an important tool if you can clearly show your audience why you are on this platform.

1 – Clarify your Purpose

Are you going to raise brand awareness, drive sales, increase website traffic, or engage customers? Being clear on the intent of the company’s Instagram account will help keep content focused and consistent. Keep in mind that Instagram’s demographics tend to run younger and they are looking for a specific experience when going on this site: something positive, authentic, and identifiable.

Start with crafting a candid bio blurb and use a profile photo that is consistent with your website and other social media platforms. Optimize your profile by including as much pertinent information as possible. Be sure when doing this to include a link to your website to drive traffic to your company’s designated page which you can track in Google Analytics.

You will need to know how to develop content for your profile vs your Instagram Stories. Keep in mind it’s not only why you use one over the other but how. With a 24-hour view-ability, the biggest differentiator are that Stories are more timely, personal and “on the go”. They can be video and images like regular Instagram posts, but can be interactive with fun overlays like polls and live hashtags. Instagram posts themselves should be much more planned and formatted within a cohesive visual theme.

The latest Stories Highlight function lets you pin any one of your Stories to your page and lets people click within your bio to view it if they happened to miss it within your Story itself. Think of it as your own video message waiting for people to see when they want to learn more about your company!

Instagram’s Insights function will also help you understand follower demographics, what stories get “likes”, profile visits or website clicks.  Then you can refine your messaging guidelines based on what is getting “likes” or comments.

2 – Help your Customer Find You

Since Instagram uses an algorithm to serve up content vs. serving it up in chronological order, it is important to make your posts more “visible” to users by using different tools within the app:

  • Geotags: For traditional “brick and mortar” businesses adding your business location to your posts will help people locate you, they can “check in” when they visit you and search for posts in their current location. You can also “re-gram” their posts (also known as User Generated Content or UGC) should they use your geotag.
  • Connecting to other Instagrammers: Just like in Twitter, the ‘@’ symbol is how you tag others within your post caption or Story. Be sure to engage with users on their pages too!
  • Hashtag: Adding hashtags to your post caption can also help you reach a larger audience. It could be a trending hashtag or something specific to your brand. The more the better; but remember only have a few hashtags within the caption and create a comment under your post with an additional 20 hashtags. It keeps your original post clutter-free.

3 – Tell your Company’s Story

Moving beyond regular photo posting, Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016 and has become more popular than Snapchat. The Stories function can be a collection of up to 10 photos or short videos, highlighted at the top of the Instagram home page.

As with regular photo posts, being clear on the intent of the “story” is important.  Popular business stories include:

  • Giving followers a “Behind the scenes” look at work
  • Sharing your company’s culture to help people understand why your business is more than just a place to work
  • Highlight customer stories with your followers – positive feedback or suggestions you will be implementing based on customer input
  • Show how-to clips on the amazing things your company does
  • Utilize these nifty Instagram Hacks and take advantage of some of the additional stylistic features Instagram offers to make your content pop even more

These video insights into your business can also be done with a LIVE broadcast using Instagram.  Real-time broadcasts are a great way to promote events, celebrations or capture news as it is happening. Instagram will also ping your followers each time you go live with a “catch it before it’s over” urgency. This is a major perk to utilizing the LIVE feature.

4 – Starting Ads

Just like in Facebook, you can advertise on Instagram, but you can utilize features specific to Instagram, like Stories, to promote your business. Instagram does give you the streamlined capability to manage your ads simultaneously on both Instagram and Facebook. This framework includes four options to display ad content (Photos, Videos, Carousel or Stories).  There are also lots of ways to target your audience including location, demographics, interests, behaviors and more!  These precise ways of targeting people means you don’t need a huge budget for ads. Analyzing results to see who you are reaching is important to refine your message or ad spend.

Knowing your audience and how to reach them is key to being successful on a social media platform. Instagram for Business is positioned to help companies reach their target audience and backs it up with data, too! If starting out your company on Instagram seems daunting, remember that’s what Social Drive is for!

#doyouinstagram? #instagood

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Gifts for the Techno Geeks

It’s not too late to find some last-minute gifts for the techies in your life!

Here are some of our favorite suggestions from around the web:

  • Tune in anywhere with Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth 360 Portable Speaker to listen to their music or podcast. Or they could record one with this Snowball USB Microphone.
  • Instead of typing queries into Google, just ask the Google Home Typing is SO 2017!
  • Know someone with a tough commute? Make it easier with the gift of Audible books that they can listen to while driving.
  • Is your bestie like the nutty professor who keeps misplacing things? Get them a tile 4-pack and they’ll never lose their keys or phone again!
  • Have a budding scientist who enjoys brewed beverages? This pint glass will fill their heart with joy (and smug self-satisfaction).
  • The gamer in your life will wear this t-shirt all weekend long while playing. Maybe you can get them a back-up shirt as well. Or something for them to play on like the new Nintendo Switch. Make sure they stay hydrated!
  • Just in time for the new Star Wars movie, help your friend deck the halls with festive R2-D2 lights. More of a dark side fan? We’ve got that covered too.Star wars
  • When all the shopping is done, how about a gift for yourself like a pair of Noise Cancelling headphones 🙂
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Social Media Legal Matters and Copyright Questions Answered

We can all agree that Social Media channels are among the most informal spaces for users and marketers. With that comes a much more relaxed attitude about certain things, including Copyright, Trademarks, and other legalities. We often receive questions from clients regarding these topics and so we decided to lay it out on our blog.

Often times clients confuse what’s OK for individual users to post on Social and what’s LEGAL for business to post.

There really is no right answer, and we are not lawyers, but we can offer up some best practices and rules of thumb to help keep you on the safer side. Any look on Google for “answers” (because well it’s 2017 :P), most “answers” you see are very confusing and far more complex and in-depth than most marketers and business owners expect or would like. Here are the top three concerns we often talk about with clients:

  1. Trademarking Logos
  2. Stock photos
  3. Music


Trademark laws typically cover anything that might be used to identify a company, so of course, most logos are created entirely for this reason, which means logos are generally protected under Trademark Laws. You might ask why larger companies don’t use the TM or R symbols across their platforms and the answer is simple, a large company known by millions is not going to have as many people trying to steal their logo or use their logo in an inappropriate way. For much smaller companies that may not be the case which is why our research leads us to one thing: be proactive, adding the TM or R symbol to your logo is a great way to help prevent others from using your logo.


“If it’s on the internet it’s fair game.” We hear this a lot. While in many cases using images you don’t own on Facebook is common, given credit to the owner of the image is always recommended. Anytime you are using someone else’s image you are using property that THEY own, not you. However, DO NOT, in any case, use any image you don’t own on a business website. Even with giving the owner credit, this could get you in big trouble. Be sure to purchase or get written consent before publishing images on your website. The biggest distinction is to think of it this way: if you’re using someone’s creative property to sell or make money (whether in an ad or on your website (a place of business), and the person can sue you. Unless there is a Creative Commons License stamped on the image, it is royalty-free, or you have paid for a stock image, you do not have rights to those images.

If asking for permission or buying the image is not an option, there are plenty of great FREE stock photo websites.  One royalty free website we can confidently recommend is Unsplash. Facebook also has a massive stock library of photos free for you to use if you are advertising on their platform. *OR* be original and create your own custom images. It’s the best way to 100% avoid any issues with Copyright laws and is the best way to personalize your brand!


Another common concern we hear about is using or creating videos with music. Facebook is going to much greater lengths to control what videos are put out on Facebook and many of you have probably run into this in the past with YouTube already. If you try to create a Facebook Live video and Facebook bots hear copyrighted music they will stop your video immediately.

Just like images you use on your pages, you must have rights to the music you use. Ways to avoid running into an issue like this would be by getting your music through websites such as or the YouTube music library if you’re on YouTube. It might not be as great as your favorite Beyoncé single but in the long term, it can prevent any potential lawsuits.

While this topic is complex and ever-evolving, we believe some of the best practices we listed above will help you to steer clear of any legal troubles you could come across. Knowledge is power, here is a link from the government to learn more about copyright and copyright laws. If you have further questions about topics we didn’t cover in this blog, just reach out to us!

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snapchat hacks 2017

The Newest Snapchat Hacks You Can’t Do Without!

In late 2015, Hootsuite declared social video to be the top trend of 2016. This trend has only continued to grow, with the other networks, platforms like Facebook and Instagram having recently introduced real-time stories to their portfolio of products. Nevertheless, Snapchat continues to be the platform of choice for sharing real-time stories. We’re here to share some of the best classic and brand-new Snapchat #hacks. Read on to learn more!

1. Simultaneous filters – You’re able to up to add up to three filters simultaneously. Once you’ve applied a color filter, hold down with one finger and swipe to add up to two more. For example, you can apply the black-and-white color filter, a location filter, and a time filter all at once.

2. Geo-filters – Creating your own customized geo-filter for personal or business use is super easy! Head to the Geo-filters section on the Snapchat website to create a geo-filter from a series of templates or download the template toolkit to design your own filter using your favorite design program (we suggest Canva for those with little experience). Remember the 2017 social profile image dimensions, a Snapchat geo-filter’s dimensions are 1080 x 1920! Visit Snapchat’s Submission Guidelines or the blog below to learn more.

3. Group chat – Anyone can create a group Snapchat the same way you’d create a private message. A group snap can include up to sixteen users and messages remain available for twenty-four hours. However, messages will immediately disappear for any user that leaves the group!

4. Stickers – Use your own photos to create customized stickers! Snap a photo and then tap on the scissors tool in the upper right-hand corner (just above the time feature) to cut an image and create a sticker. Then share your Snap as you normally would.

5. Snapcode – Create a customized website Snapcode of a website by heading to: Settings > Snapcodes > Create Snapcode. Once you’ve created a code, share it with friends through the app.

6. Custom Stories – Snapchat recently announced a new Custom Story feature. A group of friends can individually upload Stories to create a unique group story. Users can invite friends from anywhere in the world to participate and Snapchat will create a 1-block geofence so that nearby users can participate as well.

Any hacks we’re missing? Let us know and share them in the comments!

• Mashable Snapstory
• Snapchat





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2017 Image Sizes for Social Media Profiles

When it comes to posting images on social media, size matters.

Image sizes most definitely play a role in the effectiveness of a social media post. Most social media networks require a square image for profile pictures. Adjusting the dimensions of a profile image is relatively easy. It is a bit more challenging, though, ensure sure that the size of your cover and header photos are correct.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Check out our guide below to help you navigate the changing landscape of optimal profile images.

Facebook: Use a logo or image that represents your brand as your profile picture – this image will be viewed across the social network. A more creative image is ideal for the cover photo and will only be visible to people who visit your Page. The optimal dimensions of a shared image are:

  • Profile picture: ≥ (Greater than or equal to) 180 x 180
  • Cover photo: 828 x 315
  • Shared image: 1200 x 630

Twitter: The maximum image size for a profile photo is 100 KB and a header’s is 10 MB. Your profile picture appears everywhere on the network, so choose wisely – first impressions count! Use the cover photo space to incorporate a creative image applicable to your brand. You may share up to four (4) images (max size of 5 MB for photos and 3 MB for GIFs) in a tweet.  Twitter will resize these images, as necessary, as long as a 2:1 ratio is used. This size will effectively fit in followers’ streams.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Header photo: 1500 x 1500
  • Shared image: 440 x 220

Instagram: By nature, Instagram is a visual medium. Keep text to a minimum and keep the focus on visuals and photos. All images are square, with an aspect ratio of 1:1

  • Profile photo: 110 x 110
  • Shared image: 1080 x 1080
  • Photo thumbnail: 161 x 161

LinkedIn: The network has recently undergone a massive change in layout. The new optimal cover photo dimensions are listed below. The dimensions of the new cover photo are wide, so resize appropriately.  If need be, create a photo with an outside border. This will look better than stretching the image wide. In addition, the ideal image size for a shared links is 150 x 80.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Cover photo: 1536 x 768
  • Company logo: 100 x 60
  • Shared image: 550 x 375

Google+: Although the Google+ profile picture displays as a circle across the network, the optimal dimensions listed are those of a square photo. Take note of the way your photo displays once updated and make adjustments accordingly. Also, keep in mind that shared images may appear in Google search queries related to your post or business.

  • Profile photo: 250 x 250
  • Cover photo: 1080 x 608
  • Shared image: 497 x 373

Pinterest: The ideal pin has a width of 238 pixels and scaled height to match. Expanded pins have a minimum width of 600 pixels. Use larger images for more engagement (more likes or re-pins). Only width is fixed, allowing height to be scaled up.

  • Profile picture: 180 x 180
  • Board cover photo: 214 x 100
  • Pin size: scaled height x 238 width

YouTube: The optimal channel cover photo dimensions vary across the platforms on which YouTube will be viewed. The optimal size for a desktop and television display (2560 x 1440) vary from the optimal size for a tablet (1855 x 423) or a smartphone (1546 x 423). Use this space to share what kind of content your audience should anticipate to view on the Channel. In addition, YouTube is a video sharing site, with an optimal 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

  • Channel icon: 800 x 800
  • Channel cover photo: Varies

Tumblr: Choose an image that represents your brand, as the profile picture is visible across the networks – next to the ‘Follow’ button on your profile and as a thumbnail, site-wide. Images up to 10 MB are allowed, except GIF’s (maximum size of 1 MB). In other words, Tumblr has the capability to use very high-quality images.

  • Profile picture: 64 x 64 
  • Image post: 500 x 7501280 x 1920 maximum size

Snapchat: All photos taken in the app are 1080 x 1920. Custom geo-filters must be created in this size to be applied properly on a photo taken within the app. Visit our post on creating a custom geo-filter to learn more about the process.

  • Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

Lastly, while optimal profile picture and cover photo sizes are important, there are still other sizes to keep in mind. This post from Hubspot features a great infographic with an in-depth explanation of the optimal sizes of all visuals for each network. We suggest re-sizing your profile picture to fit the ideal square dimensions of each platform. Also, we recommend creating a different cover image for each network, as those dimensions vary greatly.

We’ll talk more about Snapchat in our next post, but keep in mind that your geo-filter should fit within the above dimensions of 1080 x 1920. Also, the layouts of the profiles may change soon. We advise you to keep an eye out for the latest updates and how they affect you.

Make a Website Hub
Constant Contact

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How to Perfect Your Media Pitch

If you’re in the public relations field, then chances are you’ve had to do a media pitch. Since reporters e-mail inbox is full of media pitches you want yours to stand out. Here are a few ways to make sure your story gets noticed:

Keep it short and sweet. Journalist and editors are constantly getting a new media pitch in their inbox. Chances are they won’t read your pitch if it’s too lengthy.

Get personal. If you have met this person then remind them. If they know you well then ask them a pertinent question (How is your wife Jane? Is your son enjoying soccer?). Briefly bring up previous and relevant work they have done.

Don’t send out a mass pitch. Make sure each media pitch is unique to the individual. Also, a personal touch makes a difference.

Be appreciative. In order to build a relationship with these people show your appreciation of their time. YOU NEED THEM!

Be persuasive. In addition to building a relationship, you want your story covered. Be clear and know your story. Give them something they can’t say no to.

Hook ’em! Grab their attention with an interesting hook or curiosity arousing line.

First paragraph. In 3 to 4 sentences get to the point. Tell them the what and why. This is where you explain the benefit of this person covering this story.

Second paragraph. Here’s your chance to give background information on the organization you’re representing and their coverage worthy event or product.

End with a call to action. You are responsible for following up with them. Instead of asking them to “let you know,” tell them when you will get in touch with them. In the meantime, provide them with all materials and links they may need if they are interested.

The real key to perfecting your pitch is to practice. By following these guidelines you can ensure your media pitches are checking all the necessary boxes. Always know your story and stand behind it. Happy pitching!

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Social Media on your Brand

Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web! The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there. You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence. The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers. There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research. Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on it’s PR team to represent the brand.

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Local SEO Service and It’s Integration with Public Relations

If you have been in the world of PR for the past few years, you know how drastically it has changed. There are fewer journalist on the payroll and much of the writing is done by folks in content marketing and not those in public relations.

Clients are asking for more content writing and are expecting more results from PR and media efforts.

The explosion of the age of technology has made it critical for public relations specialist to have the desire and ability to incorporate the tools utilized online (think productivity trackers), content marketing, and social media into PR strategy. Not only are these new strategies working to advance sales, produce leads, and grow brands, they do so with trackable results! This is a breath of fresh air to the PR managers of the past who had trouble identifying where their ROI (return-on-investment) was coming from.

Become part of the media.

If you want the media to work for your branding efforts, you must become part of the media. Invest in high-quality content. Great content spreads like wildfire online. You draw the attention of clients, other companies, and huge publishers that want to share your content, therefore sharing your message. Hire professionals to write content for you.

Take advantage of Google tools to optimize SEO content to earn your placement online.

While PR projects may utilize offline publications and they certainly have their place, they must join efforts with marketing and ensure everyone is pursuing the same goal.

Publishers are marketing their work.

In recent years, publishers have taken to marketing their work.

Why is this? There are several reasons.

The competition for writers has gotten thick in the past few years. With more people freelancing and more professionals using their work, there is a surplus of good content. In order to get your content seen, you must market it. There are companies that specialize in providing content. There is no reason not to have good quality material.

How are public relations specialist integrating social media and content marketing?

As PR pros are reaching out to marketing, they have incorporated a lot of tools that are allowing them to merge public relations, social media, and content marketing. Here are a few examples:

  • Growing networks on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and YouTube.
  • Creating and participating in forums that help promote their brand and allow them to converse with their target base.
  • Creating social ads. Ads on Social Media are big business. PR has a lot of control over where their social ads pop up. People spend a lot of time online. There are thousands of websites, willing to place your ad for you.
  • Investing in social content and incorporating social listening. PR pros agree, in today’s market one must create content that grows their brand, get it to the right social sites to have it seen, and respond to customers who take their time to comment. If a customer praises your brand online, thank them, If a customer is having a problem, resolve it. Pay attention to social conversation and react as needed.

These are just a few tips for today’s integrated PR pros. Don’t hesitate to contact your marketing experts any time for more information!


Author Bio

Wendy Dessler

Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMama

Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Towering SEO who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

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Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Effective use of social media is a necessity in today’s business landscape. All forms of social media provide opportunities to get in touch with customers in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Jayson DeMers recently wrote about optimizing social media profiles for Forbes. In this post, we’re going to share some of his tips, as well as our own, to help get your social media presence on Facebook into tip-top shape.

The cover photo is the perfect place to get creative and to express the essence of your business. For example, restaurants might want to choose a picture that features a signature or popular dish. It is also important to consider that mobile devices account for 65 percent of all digital screen time. Therefore, be sure that your cover photo will format well on computers, 828 x 315 pixels, as well as smartphones, 640 x 360 pixels.

Customers will often seek out information about a business on social media before using any other avenue. Use the ‘About’ section of Facebook to your advantage by providing as much information as possible in a clear and concise manner. Include any external website addresses as well as hours of operation and physical location. In regards to content, don’t just share products or services. Add value by sharing articles, videos and photos that relate to your business and its lifestyle.

Creating an online presence for your business does not have to be time-consuming. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to respond to inquiries and schedule posts. Interact with your followers by sharing behind the scenes information and company news with them. Respond to comments and questions with an upbeat and friendly tone and re-post positive reviews from satisfied customers. In order to encourage more interaction from your followers, consider running a social media contest or creating a unique, business related hashtag.

Remember, it is worse to have an inactive social presence than none at all! Starting with these tips should put your business on the right track. Feel free to reach out to us on social media for guidance or help getting started.

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Geo-filtering Between the Lines

Social media has changed the way we communicate with everyone from Grandma Marie to little cousin Kaylie. From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, we’re on it all. But what about Snapchat? Who uses it and what’s a geo-filter? We’ll break it down for you.

Snapchat is a messaging app that’s all about posting photos and videos. It’s THE network right now. Over 70% of Millennials use Snapchat and the figure only continues to grow. One of the defining features of Snapchat are its geo-filters. “What’s a geo-filter,” you ask? It’s a special filter that provides a location (city, business or event) on top of your photo. But did you know that you can create your own filter?

Here’s how to make your own Snapchat filter, according to their website:

  1. Visit to download your 1080 x 1920 Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop template. Create a design and/or logo to incorporate into your filter and drop it into the template. The design must adhere to Snapchat’s guidelines and fit into the template. Snapchat offers two types of filters – business (for businesses and brands) and personal (ex: weddings or graduations).
  2. Set dates and times for your geo-filter to go live. Filters can only be scheduled on an hourly basis (and remember to check your am’s and pm’s!). The geo-filter can be live for a max of 30 days.
  3. Draw a fence around where you’d like the geo-filter to be visible – you can cover anywhere from 20,000 square feet (minimum) to 5 million square feet (maximum). Keep in mind that the longer your geo-filter is up or the larger the area it covers, the higher the cost may be. Visit Snapchat for more information on pricing details.
  4. Check-out: verify order details and enter credit card info before submitting the order.
  5. Snap away!

Now that your geo-filter is up, you want to take a peek at the analytics. How do you do that? Visit and click on your username in the upper right-hand corner, selecting, “My Orders” from the dropdown menu. The analytics (aka metrics) will appear below. The metrics are usually available about 24 hours after the geo-filter has ended. A delay with the metrics listed is possible.

This short video explains the submission process, as well.

Happy Snapping!