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Magento SEO Extensions Guide

Published by on April 9, 2014
searhcenginelogos

Although Magento is already one of the most search engine friendly ecommerce platforms, there is always room for improvement. If you are looking for a way to boost your ecommerce sites SEO ethically, we highly recommend investing in some of Magento’s top SEO plugins. In this article we will provide a guide to Magento SEO plugins to help you decide on the best ones to integrate with your ecommerce store.

website-magento

Want to improve your Magento ecommerce stores search engine rankings? We highly recommend checking out some of the top SEO plugins available. Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8134630705_4ab8d5e987.jpg

Magento improve SEO

One of the easiest ways to improve your Magento websites SEO is to install plugins. These are known as ‘modules’ and are created by well-known developers like Yoast, as well as other community members. Whereas some plugins are free to download, others are a little more expensive. It is worth browsing the Magento web store to get a better idea of the different SEO plugins available. Below we have listed some of the highest rating and most well known SEO plugins for Magento.

Yoast Magento SEO plugin

Yoast Meta Robots is a Magento SEO module that makes it easy for users to prevent the indexing of their websites search result pages and tag pages, whilst still allowing search engines to follow the links on them. It does this by allowing users to add noindex, follow robots meta tags. This SEO plugin for Magento by leading developers Yoast also enables users to prevent search engines from indexing their login and register pages amongst various other ‘no content’ pages.

Canonical URLs plugin

Something that has always been a problem, not only for Magento sites, but other sites too is duplicate content. This SEO nightmare is often caused by the same content being indexed under two different URLs. Not long ago Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced that they would now be using a new link tag called ‘rel=canonical.’ This can be used to tell search engines which URL they should have for the current page they are indexing.

If you have numerous links pointing to the same page, at some point or other, Google or another search engine will enter your site through a link that is not the original one. This will result in the same content being indexed under two different URLs and will ultimately have an effect on your sites ranking. The way to get around this is to add ‘rel=canonical’ to the <head> section of your page. Keep in mind that Magento use canonical link meta tag for categories and products.

One of the easiest ways to add canonical URLS is to install the Canonical URLs plugin by Yoast. Other plugins that do a similar job include Ultimate SEO Suite and SEO Suite Pro.

Ensuring that search engines do not index duplicate content under two separate URLS by using the Canonical URLs plugin can greatly improve your Magento websites SEO.

Image source: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7247/7460434194_7118b14e3d.jpg

SEO layered navigation plugin

This fantastic plugin is designed to make your Magento ecommerce website more SEO friendly by improving navigation. It does this by layering it, enabling customers to shop and filter products using multiple attributes in a category. After installing the plugin you will find that navigation is more flexible and user-friendly. The better your navigation is, the more likely you are to rank well in searches.

As well as improving your ecommerce sites navigation, the plugin also automatically generates meta titles for each page, boosts your site performance using fast AJAX calls and improves user experience using AJAX page naming and sorting.

Msemantic Basic

The Msemantic Basic module for Magento makes it easy to create rich snippets for your site and products in Google, Bing and Yahoo. It does this by taking

information (also known as rich data-mark-up) from your product pages, such as price, availability and product images and places it next to your HTML link on search results pages.

The benefit of this is that it provides users with more information about your page and makes your link stand out amongst the rest. The result of this is a higher click through rate. The developers of the free module state that you should see an improvement in click through rates of up to thirty per cent.

Keep it mind that after installing this Magento module, it can take between two and eight weeks for Google to show rich snippets for your pages. The time it takes will depend on a number of factors including the general indexing and ranking of your site.

SEOgento

SEOgento is one of those modules that can to do it all. One of its key features is that it can customise canonical URLS (Magento use canonical link meta tags for products and categories). It will also allow you to create dynamic and customisable meta tags for your product pages and category pages and rewrite layered navigation on category filters.

The developers of the SEOgento app claim that the module will help you to boost your Magento website on the search engine results pages without having to make any changes to your code.

Want your Magento website to rank well in these search engines? Make sure you have the correct plugins installed. If you need help integrating Magento modules with your ecommerce store, we highly recommend hiring a professional Magento web developer. Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8196/8144960853_21f601f6ce_o.gif

Conclusion

If you are looking for a way to boost your Magento websites SEO and get it ranking higher in relevant searches, we highly recommend exploring the benefits of the Magento SEO modules featured in this article. Although some of the modules are more expensive than others, they will prove to offer a great return on investment when you experience a positive change in your websites ranking.

If you are new to Magento or are unsure how to go about integrating your ecommerce store with SEO plugins, we suggest that you get in touch with a reputable web developer. Providing they have experience in using Magento,

they should be able to integrate your new modules with your website in no time and show you how you can use them to improve your site.

Image credits: The Konig, SEOPlanter & thelampnyc

 

 

Categories: Magento

Magento community vs. Enterprise version

Published by on April 8, 2014
Magento demo store

Whether you are new to ecommerce or are looking to upgrade your store to a more robust platform, it is likely that Magento is one of the platforms you are considering. Magento is a powerful ecommerce system that provides users with a wide range of benefits. With over two hundred thousand users, it is easily one of the leading ecommerce platforms on the market.

Magento offers three different versions of their ecommerce software, Go (hosted), Community (open source) and Enterprise. In this article we will focus primarily on the differences between Community and Enterprise Magento to help you decide on the best solution for your business.

There are three different versions of Magento to choose from – Go, Community and Enterprise. Each edition is aimed at a different sized ecommerce business and comes with various different features.

Image source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2252/2155321916_a8aab0cb72.jpg 

Benefits of Magento

In a survey conducted by Alexa it was found that in February 2013, twenty six per cent of the thirty four thousand, eight hundred and sixty four sites detected used Magento. This was an eleven per cent increase since the previous October, showing the ecommerce platform to be growing at a significant rate.

Magento is one of the most popular platform choices of business owners due to the power and flexibility it offers. It also provides a wide range of SEO benefits and can be integrated with various different plugins for added user experience. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that so many people make it their number one choice of ecommerce platform.

What is the difference between Community and Enterprise Magento?

The Magento Enterprise version is more expensive than Community, but you also get a lot more for your money. Not only does it have improved functionality, but it also has better support and feature rich enterprise capabilities for top end merchants. Community version is designed for smaller businesses. It is powered by an active community of users and developers and in most cases is a more than adequate choice for those starting out in the world of ecommerce. Here we will take a look at some of the key differences in features that will ultimately impact your decision between the two editions of Magento.

Difference in features

When looking at the difference between Community and Enterprise features, you will find that whilst Community may share some of Enterprise’s features, they tend to be offered at a weaker level. This is certainly the case for features like robust back-up, managing customer attributes and the return merchandise authorisation systems offered by the platform. Other features such as advanced search capabilities, scalability, coupon generation, market segmentation, increased tax calculation and gift-wrapping options are all offered by Magento Enterprise but not Community.

Difference in support

There is also a significant difference between the levels of support for both Magento editions. Magento (which is owned by eBay) provides around the clock support for organisations using purchased copies of Magento Enterprise. Although the software creators do not support Community, you do have access to the Magento community via the support forum. The only issue with this is that you are not guaranteed a correct solution or a set timescale for answers.

Other key differences

When choosing between the two versions of Magento, price is something that you will also need to consider. Although the code for Magento Community is free as it is open source, you will be given a blank canvas and will have to pay to customise your ecommerce store with modules and extensions. Unless you plan on a cheap installation, Magento Community can end up costing the same or more than Magento Enterprise. The latter of which costs an annual fee of £15,550 minimum.

Although you can opt for whichever version you feel is most appropriate for your business, Magento actually intended Enterprise to be for large organisations with big product catalogues. Magento Community was designed for small businesses with small inventories. However it is not Magento’s only option for small businesses as there is also Magento Go, which we will go on to discuss below

Magento Go vs. Community and why Magento?

Both Magento Go and Magento Community are suitable editions for smaller merchants (with a limited number of products) looking to start trading online.

Magento Go is ideal for small merchants with very basic ecommerce needs. They are likely to have a restricted budget and will benefit from using this SaaS (software as a service) product. Unlike the other editions of Magento, Go is provided as a hosted service with monthly fees starting at £15.00 per month. The fee can go up to £125.00 per month depending on the number of products, admins, languages, level of support, amount of storage and bandwidth you require.

Magento Community is good for mid-market merchants that need more control over their ecommerce store. For example, they need to leverage modules and be able to customise their ecommerce store to meet the needs of their customers.

Either Magento Go or Magento Community would be a good solution for your small or new ecommerce business, but it is important to remember they are not the only options available to you. If you are looking for a less complicated platform and are happy to compromise on features, there are plenty of other ecommerce platforms available, which have been designed specifically for smaller traders.

Magento Cart Logo

Not sure your small ecommerce business is quite ready for Magento? There are plenty of other fantastic ecommerce platforms to choose from.

Image source: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8515/8540228058_de2d2db8a3.jpg 

Conclusion

Magento is a great ecommerce platform that provides many benefits, as explored in this article, however it is important to remember that it is not for everyone. When considering its features and functionality, you need to decide whether you actually need them or whether they are in fact too complex. If you do decide to go ahead and use Magento, it is important to make sure you have a great Magento developer onside to help you with the installation of your ecommerce site and integration of plugins. Make sure they have experience in building Magento ecommerce sites and are capable of delivering a great return on investment.

Image credits: Narno, gw225 & bizbuzzmedia
Categories: Magento

How to speed up Magento in 2014

Published by on April 4, 2014
Magento Logo

How long are you prepared to wait for a website to load before you click off and look for the information you need elsewhere? Just a couple of seconds? We thought so. Page loading times have a huge impact on user experience. If a page does not load within a couple of seconds, users are likely to find the information they need somewhere else, meaning the businesses potentially misses out on sales. If your website runs slowly it can also have an effect on your ranking. Although Google takes hundreds of different things into consideration when ranking your site, speed is thought to be one of them.

If you are using Magento as your ecommerce platform then you will benefit from the fact it is already very SEO friendly. An area where it does struggle though is in site speed and page loading times. Magento is known to be quite a heavy ecommerce platform that will run slowly if you fail to optimise its settings. Even experienced web developers miss these hidden settings if they are unfamiliar with the platform. In this article we will explain some of the ways you can improve the speed of your Magento site in 2014.

Is your Magento ecommerce store running slowly? See below for information on how to speed it up and improve its performance.

Speed up Magento database by flattening products

If you have thousands of products listed in your inventory, you may want to consider flattening them in order to speed up page loading times. Each of the products and categories you have listed in your inventory will be made up of database tables. A table is required for every single one of your products’ attributes like price, description, name, weight and colour (to name a few). By condensing your product attributes, your site will be able to load the information much more quickly. To do this you will need to go to ‘System,’ ‘Configuration’ and then ‘Catalog.’

Compile your Magento website

Compiling your Magento website is a little like flattening your Magento database in order to speed things up. Basically compiling your website involves taking all of the active scripts in its core structure and bringing them to the ‘front.’ If you do decide to compile your website, it is important to keep in mind that you will not be able to upgrade your Magento store, or install / change any of the core or extension settings.

If you need to make changes, you will need to decompile your Magento website. Compiling and decompiling can both be carried out by going to your dashboard and then clicking on ‘System,’ ‘Tools’ and then ‘Compilation.’

improve the loading speed of Magento

Is your Magento ecommerce store running slowly? See below for information on how to speed it up and improve its performance.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3012/5803013480_32cbffd701.jpg

Speed up Magento database by flattening products

If you have thousands of products listed in your inventory, you may want to consider flattening them in order to speed up page loading times. Each of the products and categories you have listed in your inventory will be made up of database tables. A table is required for every single one of your products’ attributes like price, description, name, weight and colour (to name a few). By condensing your product attributes, your site will be able to load the information much more quickly. To do this you will need to go to ‘System,’ ‘Configuration’ and then ‘Catalog.’

Compile your Magento website

Compiling your Magento website is a little like flattening your Magento database in order to speed things up. Basically compiling your website involves taking all of the active scripts in its core structure and bringing them to the ‘front.’ If you do decide to compile your website, it is important to keep in mind that you will not be able to upgrade your Magento store, or install / change any of the core or extension settings.

If you need to make changes, you will need to decompile your Magento website. Compiling and decompiling can both be carried out by going to your dashboard and then clicking on ‘System,’ ‘Tools’ and then ‘Compilation.’

Improve Timing of the site

Installing specially designed Magento modules can help you to speed up the page loading times of your Magento website. It is worth bearing in mind though that other third party modules and extensions can slow down your Magento site, so if they do not add a lot of value to your website, it may be a good idea to remove them.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3532/3928384579_0b198734a0.jpg

Best Magento hosting

If you choose a cheap hosting company that does not have a custom setup for Magento sites, then expect poor quality hosting. When it comes to choosing a host for your ecommerce store, it is recommended that you choose a provider that specialises in Magento website hosting. This is due to the fact that they will use the correct server settings for optimising the speed of your Magento site. For example, they will already have PHP opcode cache installed on their servers and will be optimised for MYSQL.

One last thing…

It is probably best that before you go about altering all of the settings that you make sure you are running the latest version of Magento! New releases usually include performance improvements that will boost your site speed.

Carrying out the tips outlined in this article should help you to speed up your Magento ecommerce store. If you are still having issues or you are not confident in carrying out the manual configurations yourself, it is highly recommended that you get in touch with an experienced and professional web development company like us here at Online Media Direct!

Categories: Magento

SEO Tips for Magento

Published by on April 4, 2014
Magento SEO ?

Magento is already one of the most SEO friendly e-commerce platforms available, but as you should know by now, there are always ways of making improvements. Here we will provide our top tips for improving the SEO of your Magento website.

Want your products to show up in search results? You will need to make sure your Magento ecommerce store optimised.

Configure your Magento website

Before you can go about improving your Magento websites SEO, you first need to check that you are using the most recent release. Once you have checked that your system is up to date, you will need to enable Magento SEO URL re-writes. To do this, go to ‘System,’ click on ‘Configuration,’ then ‘Web’ and then finally ‘Search Engine Optimisation.’ Whilst on this screen, we recommending clicking on ‘Add store code to URLs’ which you will find under ‘URL Options,’ and setting it to ‘No.’

You will also need to make sure that search engines can index your Magento site. To do this click ‘System’ then go to ‘Configuration,’ “Design,’ “HTML Heads’ and then change the ‘Default Robots’ setting to ‘Index, Follow.’

Make use of meta data

It is important to make sure that you update the default meta data for your Magento ecommerce store. Using the same meta data for all pages will result in your products displaying the wrong descriptions on SERPs. Updating your meta data will ensure that the description is relevant to the searched keyword and is more likely to convince users to click through to your page.

To do this enter your admin panel and go to ‘System,’ ‘Configuration, ‘Design’ and finally HTML Heads. There you will be able to define generic rules for your

whole site. To set your title and meta data on a page by page basis, go to the individual categories and product pages in your catalogue section of the admin panel.

The descriptions you write should feature relevant keywords for your categories, products and services. This will help search engines match the keywords users input to your product links. As well as creating customised descriptions for your meta data, you will also need to make sure you edit your image file names when you upload them. By including keywords, you will stand a better chance at your images showing up on Google Images and Google Shopping.

Customise product names and descriptions

Changing your Magento SEO product descriptions can be incredibly beneficial in helping your site rank. Your products need to contain the search keywords you are looking to optimise. If you are uploading multiple products using the names and descriptions as your suppliers, you need to make sure they are customised to include the important keywords. The same rules should apply for your Magento category names and descriptions.

Tackle Magento SEO duplicate product pages

We all know that duplicate content is a big SEO faux pas. A great way to help search engines understand your Magento SEO duplicate product pages is to suggest the preferred version of the URL for each page. You can do this by installing the Canonical URL’s for Magento module and using the canonical URL tag ‘rel=canonical’.

No follow unimportant links

It is important to make sure that search engines are focusing on the relevant sections of your Magento site. You do not need them to crawl and index the ‘login, ‘cart’ and ‘checkout’ pages of your site. One of the easiest ways to prevent them from doing this is to stop linking to non-content pages. Although there isn’t currently a module that can do this for you, you can go to your template files and add the “no follow” tag to these links.

Create unique and relevant content

Another way to improve your Magento websites SEO is to add pages to the content management system and fill them with well-written, keyword-rich content. The pages you create should have value to your customers, for example you may want to create a product guide providing information about how to use your products. You could even vary your content by embedding a ‘how-to’ video. Presenting your company as an expert in the industry will show Google and other search engines that you have authority and may have an impact on your ranking.

Search engines also greatly value user-generated content. This can be added to your Magento site in the form of product reviews from your customers. Magento has a built-in review system, but there are also various modules you can integrate for better functionality. Not only do product reviews benefit your ecommerce website in terms of SEO, but they will also encourage other customers to make purchases.

Useful Magento SEO extensions

As we mentioned before, the creation of unique, relevant and engaging content can greatly benefit your websites SEO. As well as creating informational pages for your Magento site, you may also want to consider setting up a blog. Whilst Magento does not have blog functionality as a core function, there are several Magento modules that can be integrated with your ecommerce store so you can make use of a blog. Some of the most popular ones include ‘Blog,’ and ‘nBlog’ both of which are free to download.

One of the easiest ways to optimise your Magento website is to download the SEOgento Magento SEO extension. This module will enable you to create titles, meta tags, canonical URLS, whilst also letting you rewrite layered navigation on category filters and rewrite meta tags.

An extra tip

Although XML Sitemaps will not help to improve your ranking on search

engines, they may help your site get indexed faster. Basically creating XML Sitemaps will let search engines know where to look for your content. You can create an XML Sitemap by going to ‘Catalog,’ clicking on ‘Google Sitemap’ and then ‘Add Sitemap.’ Choose a filename, path and storeview, then press ‘Save and Generate.’ Pop the code into your ‘robots.txt’ file. Keep in mind that as you add new products and your inventory changes, you will need to re-generate your XML sitemaps.

Magento System uncoverd

Although Magento is already an SEO friendly platform, applying the tips mentioned in this article will further enhance your store, helping it to rank in relevant searches.

Image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3127/2441974167_4cacaa49cf.jpg

Conclusion

Carry out the tips mentioned in this article and your Magento site will be on its way to being a whole lot more SEO friendly. The more SEO friendly your ecommerce store is, the more likely it is to rank well in relevant searches.

Categories: Magento

How to use Pinterest to promote your brand

Published by on March 26, 2014
Pinterest for business

Does your company have a Pinterest business account? If not, why not? Pinterest is not only another social media platform you can use to promote your brand and products, but somewhere you can create fun, relevant and engaging content for your target audience. Who is using Pinterest? Well since it was launched four years ago, Pinterest has gained over seventy million users! It has quickly become a valuable tool for businesses looking to drive sales and connect with customers.

If you are looking for information on Pinterest for business best practices, you have certainly come to the right place! In this article we will cover everything from creating a Pinterest brand page to how to use Pinterest for your business.

Looking to explore the benefits of a new social media channel for your brand? Make it Pinterest.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8106/8542140973_ee35784279.jpg

What is Pinterest?

Before we explain how to start a Pinterest brand page, we thought it was important to provide a little information about the social network and how it works. Unlike other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a stand-alone visual social network which is built around the concept of sharing visual content.

After signing up to the site, users can share visual images and video clips from the internet by pinning them onto virtual boards that can be shared with others. Users can upload their own original ‘pins’ or alternatively they can ‘repin’ them from other users’ boards. Most users organise their boards into categories, making them easy to view and explore.

Pinterest for business marketing

If you were wondering how to promote your brand on Pinterest, then the first step is to sign up for a Pinterest brand page. You can sign up for Pinterest brand pages by following this link. If you already have a personal account, there is no need to sign up again. You can simply convert your account. Whilst there are not currently many differences between the two types of account in terms of aesthetics, Pinterest does offer help, advice and educational content to its business users to help them succeed in using the platform. The fact they have created business accounts also suggests that Pinterest will be creating new features for business users in the future.

When signing up for a Pinterest business account, it is highly recommended that you try and choose a username that is consistent with your brand name and Twitter handle. The profile image you choose should also be the same as your Twitter profile image for consistency. Be sure to fill in all sections of your business profile, including the bio and the link to your website. Once you have set up your Pinterest business profile, you can begin creating boards, one of which could feature your own products

Oh and if you were wondering what Pinterest for business costs, it’s absolutely free!

Pinterest continues to increase users in the uk

Signing up to Pinterest and using it to promote your products will not cost you a single penny.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8444/7946368208_88a46bb364.jpg

Preparing your website for Pinterest
If you are joining Pinterest as a business user, it is highly recommended that you optimise your website for other Pinterest users too. Make sure you are using high quality images and that you have embedded pin buttons onto your product pages. The easier you make it for users to pin your content, the more likely they are to do it. When users pin images from your site, they automatically link back to the source, helping to drive traffic to your website. You can also install ‘follow me on Pinterest’ buttons on your website and blog to encourage users to follow you and your boards.

Pinterest marketing tips
Although we mentioned that you can create a board featuring your own products in order to promote them, it is best to avoid solely posting pins of your own products. Instead, create inspirational boards that relate to the interests of your target market, as well as topics relating to your industry. For example if you are selling kitchen accessories, you could create a Pinterest board featuring your favourite recipes and a separate board for stylish kitchen designs. This is a great way to keep your pins relevant without constantly pinning product images from your website.

Many brands benefit from creating pin boards full of images showing their products in use. If a well followed blogger or celebrity has used your products and has uploaded a picture online, you can pin this onto your Pinterest board. You may also want to consider encouraging other happy customers to pin images of themselves using your product onto a collaborative board you have created.

Here is a excellent UK example from Tescos -

Categories: Social Media

Instagram for Business Best Practices

Published by on March 26, 2014
ebay-on-instagram

Whilst most businesses are now set up on Facebook and Twitter, there are still many companies yet to explore the benefits of social media channels like Instagram. Although many people would associate this channel with individuals sharing ‘selfies’ and what they had for dinner, Instagram provides somewhere businesses can market their products and connect with potential customers too. Here we will provide information about Instagram for business best practices, as well as our top tips for growing your following and marketing your products.

How to build up an instagram page infographic

Click here for a larger version of the infographic

Instagram for business

Read on to find out how to use Instagram for business purposes.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8423505777_1ed10c7c24.jpg 

Instagram for business use

Instagram is yet another social media channel that allows businesses to market their brands and engage with customers for free. Yes we said free! Unlike the other social media sites, Instagram is unique in that its concept is built around uploading and sharing images. Rather than writing paragraphs of content, for this social media channel, you will need to work on taking interesting and relevant images that will help to tell the story of your brand and your values.

Whilst Instagram is a great place for sharing images of your products, it has been suggested that only around twenty per cent of a brand’s uploads should be product related. The other eighty per cent should be fun and interesting images that are related to your industry. For example, a great way to engage with users and personalise their experience is to share behind the scenes images of your employees at work or may be even sneak peeks of new product launches.

You may also want to think about asking users to contribute towards your Instagram feed by running a photo contest using a bespoke hash tag you have created or asking people attending an event you are throwing to tweet photos using your event hash tag. These are both examples of great ways to generate a buzz about your business and get people talking about you.

Instagram image filters

Use Instagram filters to jazz up your image uploads.

Image source: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5024/5655442381_01190e27e6.jpg 

Instagram filters

Another fantastic thing about uploading images to Instagram is that you can edit them using the ready-made filters. These filters will enhance the look of your images, without you having to spend hours editing them to perfection. It is a good idea to vary the filters you use and include some ‘no filter’ images to keep it interesting for your followers.

Creating Instagram content

It is recommended that you regularly post photos, however this doesn’t have to be every day. It is all about working out when the best time is to engage with users and the type of images they like to see the most. When you first set up your business Instagram account, have a think about what content is already available to you and when you will have time to take new images. You will then be able to create a content schedule. Whilst consistency is paramount, you do not want to bombard your followers’ feeds with your images every few minutes of the day.

You may also want to consider varying your content by creating Instagram business videos too. These videos can be up to fifteen seconds long and can feature anything from you showing your products in use to a clip from a speech given at the latest event you put on. It is recommended that you take a look at the content on the top business Instagram accounts for inspiration. By seeing what works well for the likes of Nike (1,677,064 followers), Starbucks (1,313,459 followers) and Forever 21 (1,377, 048 followers) you can get a better idea how they vary their content and engage with users.

Engaging with users

Engaging with users to build up a following is every bit as important as marketing your brand on Instagram. The best way to do this is to follow people and interact with their images by liking them and commenting on them. By doing this, people are likely to respond to you and follow you back.

Another great way to engage with users is to include a call to action in your image descriptions. Asking a question is a great way to prompt users to interact with you and start a conversation. In order to carry on the conversation, you simply have to include @ and then their username in your reply.

Researching customers

Like all social media platforms, Instagram provides businesses with an opportunity to get to know their customers better. A great way to do this is to search for existing customers using the search bar. Simply type in your product or band name and it is likely (if you have had sales) that images will have been posted featuring your product. You can then look at the users’ accounts and see what other images they have posted. This will give you an idea of what other products they like and what they enjoy doing, helping you to build up a better customer profile.

Business Examples

American Express Instagram

PRoofeyewear instagram account

constant-contact-on-instagram

etsy-on-instagram

paypal-on-instagram

shopify-on-instagram

warby4

Categories: Social Media

Snapchat for Small Business Marketing ?

Published by on March 23, 2014
Snapchat marketing for business ?

Snapchat is a relatively new app which can be used to send photos or videos to a controlled group of ‘friends.’ These photos and videos can be edited with text and are called ‘snaps’ as they disappear from the recipients’ devices and the company’s servers after just a few seconds (usually between one and ten). Although Snapchat has been popular with users wanting to send photos of themselves and everyday items to their friends, more recently small businesses have started to use the platform to market their brands. Here we will explain how Snapchat can be incorporated into your small business marketing strategy.

Wondering how to use Snapchat for brand marketing? Check out our tips below!

Image Source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8223/8334051647_0a553858b2.jpg 

Snapchat for small business marketing

Snapchat is yet another platform for small businesses looking to grow their audiences to target. Those looking to engage with a younger demographic may find the platform particularly beneficial, as it is ‘youngsters’ which are using Snapchat the most. Many small businesses are finding Snapchat great for generating leads, particularly when it comes to launching new products.

Using Snapchat, businesses can send an image of their new products to their followers.  The images can be edited with text to inform fans of the product launch date and a hash tag they can use if they want to talk about the product on other social media sites like Twitter. Sending out ‘snaps’ is a great way to generate a buzz about your brand and get people talking about your product before it has even launched. What’s great about Snapchat is that it is accessible to small businesses. Whereas in the past you would need high quality video and camera equipment and a big advertising budget in order to create promotional visual materials, today you can simply create raw and unedited materials for Snapchat advertising.

people sign into snapchat with their iphones

One of the great things about Snapchat is that small businesses can create marketing images and videos on their smartphones. There is no need for expensive camera equipment or high quality editing software!

Image Source: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3289/3280637056_66e87144bf.jpg

Snapchat marketing tips

The introduction of the platform’s stories feature has given small businesses even more of an incentive to use Snapchat for business marketing. Stories are different to regular snaps as they can combine multiple images and video clips which are stitched together. Unlike the regular snaps, stories are visible for twenty four hours and can be replayed over and over again within that time period. Stories can also be broadcast to a much larger audience, helping small businesses to build up their followings on the platform.

Building up your Snapchat following

If you are planning on using Snapchat for small business marketing, we highly recommend that you tell users that you are using the platform on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You could even ask them what they would like to see you post on Snapchat, giving them a call to action and encouraging engagement. A great way to build up your Snapchat following is to include following you on the platform as a requirement in future social media giveaways.

Rewards for fan engagement

Another way you could use Snapchat for brand marketing and engagement would be to ask fans to send you Snapchats of themselves using your products in return for a coupon or voucher for your product or services. You can also reward customers with discounts and let them know about flash sales by delivering a message through Snapchat within seconds.

Conclusion

If your small business targets a young demographic, then you should definitely consider Snapchat for marketing. Not only will it provide you with an instant and free way you can market your products to customers, but it also provides a way you can keep in touch with them and encourage engagement.

Image credits: Ryan Nagelmann & Kenny Louie
Categories: Social Media