Photos are some of the most valuable resources for any business or creative ministry. While I’m a huge fan of using pictures that are actually taken in your business or church, I’ve learned that’s not always possible. That’s where stock photos come in. A great stock photo can provide professionalism, beauty, and quality that you may not have access.
A Google search for these valuable resources will generate an infinite number of websites with stock images ranging from a few bucks per photo to thousands of dollars per photo.
What if I told you that you could get absolutely beautiful stock photos for free? You’re not dreaming, my friend. Below are my favorite resources to download some of the best photos on the web for $0/photo. Check out these Free Stock Photo Resources.
2. Death To The Stock Photo
3. Lightstock’s Free Photo of the Week
6. Freely Photos
7. Life of Pix
8. No More Clip Art
9. Snapwire Snaps
11. Jay Mantri
12. New Old Stock
Do you have any other resources for free stock photos?
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform that was created in 2010 and bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. With more than 500 million people using it daily, Instagram is a growing social media platform that businesses shouldn’t be afraid to use.
Between posts, ads and stories, there is no shortage of potential marketing tools on Instagram. Here is everything you should know about using this social media platform to market your business.
Creating a business Instagram account
Although it can be viewed on a desktop, Instagram is primarily a mobile app. When you sign up, you’ll want to convert your brand’s Instagram profile to a business account to access analytics.
To do this, you’ll need to connect the account with your business’s Facebook page by following the in-app prompts from the Switch to Business Profile option under Settings.
Once your Instagram account is created, you can go to the Profile tab and edit or add your name, username, profile picture, website and a short biography.
The primary purpose of Instagram is sharing photos, which are added to your profile and your followers’ timelines. To add a new photo, tap the add (camera) button on the bottom of your screen. You can either take a new photo, record a short video or select one from your camera roll.
Next, you’ll be taken to a screen with multiple options, including Instagram’s filters and an edit button. Once you’ve edited the photo to your liking, click Next. Then you can write a caption, add a location, tag people and share it on other social media platforms. You also have the option to turn off comments (at the bottom of the Advanced Settings page).
Now that you know how to create a profile and post photos, here’s how to promote your business on Instagram.
1. Use Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are photos and videos that disappear 24 hours after they’re posted. Instagram provides a lot of tools that make it easy to create engaging and creative stories.
“Small businesses should leverage Instagram Stories to market their products and services, getting their messages to followers that otherwise might not see regular Instagram posts in their feed because of the latest updates to the algorithm,” said Laura Kenat, content coordinator at Jo Chicago.
You can add normal photos, live videos, boomerangs (mini videos that loop back and forth), basic text, music and focused photos to your story. Once you record your video or take a picture, you can add stickers such as your location, tags for other users and hashtags to your content.
There are also stickers like polls, questions and sliding bars that allow you to directly interact with your users. Another way you can draw attention to your brand or specific product is with Stories Highlights, which is like a highlight reel. Stories Highlights are on your profile above your post and stay on your profile until you remove them.
2. Use live videos.
In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live video that disappears – sort of like a combination between Facebook Live and Snapchat. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of interesting aspects of your business, show products or answer live questions through the comments.
Once the video ends, it lives in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. If you want video that remains on your Instagram feed, you can upload video you’ve taken or shoot video directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload video, you can still add filters and change the cover. You also have the option of including sound.
3. Interact with other Instagram users.
There are many ways to interact with other users on Instagram. For instance, you can tag other users in your photos or privately message people.
Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.
Commenting: Next to the like button is a comment button – just tap it, and the app will take you to the comments page for that photo, with a text box where you can enter what you want to say. Hit Post when it’s complete.
Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.
Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post an image or video. To do so, tap Tag People before sharing your photo, and then tap where in the photo you’d like to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for their account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.
Direct messaging: To access Instagram Direct, go to the homepage and tap the button in the top right corner. Here, you can send private instant messages, photos and videos to other users. To send a new direct message (DM), tap the + button in the top right corner and select Send Photo or Video, or Send Message. Once you’ve sent the message, you and the recipients can message back and forth. Users who are not already following you will be asked whether they want to allow you to send them photos and videos before they can view your DM.
4. Use hashtags.
Hashtags are a great way to help other users find your content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #DaveAndBusters works as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not.
Because users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand and don’t go overboard.
Hashtags such as #nofilter (a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters), #selfie (a picture of yourself), and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (old photos) are popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. It’s a good idea to look at other established brands or even personal users and bloggers in your industry for examples of what hashtags to use.
Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.
Once you understand hashtags, you can branch out and experiment to find which ones work best for your brand. It’s also smart to create a custom hashtag for your business or even an event you’re hosting. This way customers can follow along with an event, even if they aren’t there in person.
5. Advertise on Instagram.
Like on other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three formats for advertising:
Photo ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom right corner under the photo.
Video ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
Carousel ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-thrus to your website, mobile app installations and mass awareness.
Instagram tips and tricks
To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind.
Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that takes users to a website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific webpage, you can change the default link in your bio to that page and note in the caption that the link is in your profile.
Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re so popular on the platform. But if your business has nothing to do with those things, it could make you look disjointed and confuse your followers. However, if you can find a way to incorporate pictures like these while still making them relevant to your business, it could make your social marketing strategy more successful.
Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it drives more people to visit your profile. If you do decide to run a contest or sweepstakes, though, make sure you’re following rules and guidelines.
Respond to other users’ comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with customers and followers shows that you are paying attention and care about what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.
Also, like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm favors posts and users with high engagement rates. “The platform rewards you for receiving high engagement from your permanent postings and stories,” said Kenat. “High engagement results in your content being placed at the top of follower and hashtag feeds, whether it’s through stories or permanent posts, and gives your consumers a chance to interact with your brand effectively over time.”
Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company’s website. This shows visitors that you’re active on Instagram and can help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipsis button in the bottom right corner, and select Embed. This pulls up a box with the embed code and gives you the option to display the caption. From there, copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.
Use Instagram influencers to promote your business. Influencers are people who have large followings on Instagram. You can pay influencers to market your products to their followers in a natural way. These sponsored posts typically are subtle and don’t look like ads. This is helpful because people typically hate advertisements.
Share posts directly to your story. In May 2018, Instagram announced a feature that allows users to share posts directly to their stories. With this feature, small businesses can interact with their followers while promoting their product or services. If a client posts a photo of your product, you can share the post directly to your story to highlight the product and your client.
Use polls and other features in your stories. Instagram offers many interactive features that can be used to build online conversations and relationships, said Kenat. “Polls allow you to crowdsource opinions from your audience about your product and services, while geotags, hashtags and tagging allow you to make your brand using relevant trends, places and people to maximize responses from your target audience,” she told Business News Daily.
You can also use Instagram’s interactive questions sticker in Instagram Stories. This feature lets followers submit questions for you to answer. This is a fun and simple way to interact with your followers.
Use IGTV. Launched in June 2018, IGTV is a feature that shows long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app along within Instagram’s app, and each video can be up to an hour long. If you get creative, you can use IGTV to market your business in several ways, including by hosting FAQ sessions and conducting how-to chats.
Use Instagram’s payments feature. In May 2018, Instagram added a payment feature for select users. Even though this feature isn’t available to all users, it could potentially have a big impact for small businesses. With the feature, users would be able to buy things without leaving Instagram. It could also potentially be used to book appointments at restaurants or salons.
How many Facebook Likes does your business Page have? If you’re immersed in social media marketing, you probably know this number off the top of your head.
With more than two billion users, Facebook offers a huge potential audience for your business. But with more than 60 million active Facebook business Pages on the network, there’s also a lot of competition for those all-important Likes.
There’s no getting around it: getting more Likes is a critical part of your Facebook marketing strategy. But you can’t get so focused on Likes that you lose sight of what Facebook is all about.
Getting more Likes requires you to share content that is truly likeable—and engage in ways that make your brand likable, too. You won’t find any underhanded gimmicks in this post. It’s about getting more likes by being a good Facebook citizen and working to create content that has real value for an audience that will provide plenty of value for your brand in return.
Click any of the tips below to jump ahead, or keep scrolling and read the guide in its entirety.
As with any marketing platform, you’ll only get out of Facebook what you put into it. A well-defined, smart Facebook strategy based on your business goals will help you craft a cohesive brand presence on Facebook that speaks to your brand personality and values.
Define your target audience
Your strategy should aim to collect Likes from the followers who have the most potential to bring value to your business through regular engagement, rather than one-off Likes from online passers-by. Defining your audience personas can be a great place to start. After all, you need to know who you’re talking to in order to use the right tools and tone, rather than trying to appeal to all two billion Facebook users.
Research the competition
Keeping an eye on what key competitors are up to will help you spot techniques that work, and that don’t, so you can model the competition’s success while avoiding their missteps. You’ll also start to get a sense of how many Facebook Likes you can aim for—both for your Page and for individual posts.
Social listening is a great research strategy that can help you gather information about both your target audience and your competition.
Simply aiming for “more Likes” is not really a great Facebook marketing goal—how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Instead, you should create goals based on S.M.A.R.T. principles, meaning they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
This allows you to circle back on a regular basis to see whether you’re meeting your targets, and either celebrate your success and develop new stretch goals, or consider strategic shifts to get you back on track.
2. Craft a great Page
This may sound obvious, but sometimes the most important points can be easy to overlook: If you want to collect Likes, you’ve got to have a great Page and consistently great posts. Your Facebook Page is made up of many parts, and it’s important to make sure they are all complete, professional, and on-brand. Here are some key components to consider.
Use all elements of the About section
The About section of your Facebook Page allows you to provide key business details to people who are scanning for specific information. In addition to your contact information, you can add the date your business was founded, provide a company overview, or even add a list of brand milestones.
All of this information helps build your credibility and convince potential followers that your Page is worthy of a Like. It also helps you appear in searches outside of Facebook, directing users to your Page when they’re using search engines to look for information about your product or business.
Visit California uses their About section to tell the story of travel in the state, and manages to get a number of important keywords into their Story section without keyword stuffing.
Facebook also views a Page with a complete profile as more credible, which gives you an advantage in the Facebook algorithm (more on that below) and will help ensure more people see your posts.
Choose compelling cover and profile photos
Your profile and cover photos create the first visual impression of your business on Facebook, so it’s important to choose wisely. Your logo is usually the best choice for your profile photo, but you can get quite creative with your cover photo selection.
Put some thought into how you can convey what your business is all about in one compelling image. Do you have a great-looking product you can feature? Maybe you want to showcase a photo of your friendly team. Whatever you choose, make sure it captures the essence of your brand so potential followers have reason to dive into your Page content.
Iced tea might not be the most exciting product, but Nestea does a great job of making both their Page and their product look appealing with a compelling cover image.
In terms of the technical details, your profile photo displays on your Page as 170 x 170 pixels on computers and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones. You cover photo displays on your Page at 820 pixels x 312 pixels on computers and 640 pixels by 340 pixels on smartphones. Facebook recommends you use a cover photo that’s 851 x 315 pixels and less than 100KB.
A newer and more dynamic option for business Pages is to use a cover video instead of a cover photo. Your cover video can be up to 20 seconds long, and has the same dimensions as a cover photo.
Pin a top-performing post
If you have a post that’s garnering a particularly high number of Likes, you can pin it to maximize its lifespan. When you choose to pin a post, it remains at the top of your Page, so people see it before any of your other posts. You can change your pinned post as often as you like, so make sure to keep it fresh, always featuring your best-performing content in this high-visibility location.
3. Make your Facebook Page easy to find
This is a simple concept that deserves repeating: people can’t like your Facebook Page if they can’t find it. Here are some things you can do to increase your visibility.
Choose an easy-to-discover Page name
People looking for your brand on Facebook will be searching for your brand name. Keep things simple and make it easy for them to find you by using your brand name as your Page name. Don’t add unnecessary keywords—these will just make your Page look spammy rather than like a legitimate business presence for your brand.
Select a memorable and consistent username
Your username—sometimes called a vanity URL—appears in your brand’s Facebook Page web address. A username that’s consistent with your handle on other social channels will make it easier for people who already follow you elsewhere to track you down on Facebook. Like your Page name, your username should be closely related to the name of your business.
Add Facebook follow and Like buttons to your website or blog
Someone who has just discovered a valuable tip or strategy on your website or blog is primed to want to hear more from you. Make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook by adding Facebook follow and Like buttons to your site, like these:
Embed a Facebook Post on your website or blog
This option provides even more visibility for your Facebook Page on your website or blog. Rather than a simple button, you can embed an entire post by copy and pasting some simple code. Just navigate to the post you want to embed, click the three dots in the top right corner, and click Embed. Then copy and paste the code into your HTML. Here’s an example from the Hootsuite Facebook Page:
Any visitors who click on your embedded post to learn more will be taken to the post as it appears on your Facebook Page, creating an opportunity for a new Page Like. And viewers can like the post itself directly from the embedded post, without leaving your website or blog.
Include a link to your Facebook Page in your newsletter or email signature
The people you already communicate with through channels like email or an opt-in newsletter are a great potential audience for your Facebook Page. Make sure it’s easy for them to find and connect with you by including links to your Facebook Page in all of your electronic communications.
Cross-promote your Facebook page on other social channels
Take advantage of the following you’ve built on other social channels by cross-promoting your Facebook content. Don’t just post a link to your Facebook Page and ask people to follow you. Instead, choose a great piece of Facebook-specific content—like an infographic or short video—to promote so that you can highlight the value of your Facebook Page, rather than just letting people know it exists.
Aim for shares
Shared Facebook posts increase your organic reach, giving you a better chance of getting more facebook Likes. A share also indicates that someone felt strongly enough about your content that they were motivated to share it with their personal network, giving you additional credibility with an audience that may not already be familiar with your brand.
Invite existing contacts and employees to like your Facebook page
Facebook makes it easy to invite personal Facebook connections to like your business Page, but be careful about how you use this feature. Simply sending out mass invites is more likely to get you unfriended than to bring in Facebook Likes for your Business Page.
Instead, create a message explaining what value you think your contacts might gain from liking your Page. Make it about them, not about you.
You should also encourage employees to like your Facebook Page—both so that they can stay up-to-date with what you’re promoting as a brand, and as part of a larger employee advocacy strategy.
Promote your Facebook Page in real life
Don’t limit your promotion of your Facebook Page to the online world. Include your Page address on your business cards and corporate stationery. Designer Ana Bermejo uses the same handle across social networks and includes the icons on her business cards so contacts know where to find and Like her on social, including Facebook.
Or, if you host events, include the address on your signage.
People who are already interacting with your brand in real life understand the value you have to offer—make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook to access more of that value.
4. Post relevant, high-quality content
Facebook recommends you share “short, fun-to-read copy and eye-catching images to get attention.” What does that look like in practice? Incorporate these strategies to develop posts that are inherently likeable.
Include compelling visuals
A study published in the journal Management Science found that posts with photos receive significantly more Facebook Likes than text-only posts. If you don’t have a photo library of your own, there are plenty of free stock photo sites you can use. You could also try creating a unique infographic that conveys valuable information relevant to your niche, or even something humorous, like this graphic from WIRED that got 1,500 Facebook Likes.
Write great headlines
A compelling headline is key to getting attention for your post—but don’t veer into the realm of clickbait. Facebook offers these tips for crafting a great headline:
Make your headlines informative
Use your headline to set appropriate expectations about what the post contains
Be clear and accurate
Don’t be too promotional
Sure, you’re trying to promote your brand on Facebook—but people want their feeds to be entertaining and informative, not pushy and packed with sales pitches. In particular, Facebook found in a survey that followers do not like posts that:
Direct people to purchase a product or download an app (without offering any other valuable content or information)
Direct people to enter a contest without providing any context about why it’s relevant to the Page or followers’ interests
Reuse content from ads
That means these posts are less likely to generate Facebook Likes from the followers who see them. But they are also less likely to be seen in the first place, since Facebook specifically limits organic reach for Pages that are too promotional.
Give followers what they want
How do you know what type of content people want from you on Facebook? By listening to them. If the majority of the comments on your Page are customer service inquiries, try creating content that focuses on helping followers use your product better. For example, try a short video featuring “hacks” or alternative uses for your product, or a series of “how-to” videos or photos. Experiment, and pay attention to what people respond to.
Invest in video
On that note, if you seriously want to increase Facebook Likes and you don’t already have a Facebook video strategy, it’s time to create one.
5. Engage consistently and at the right times
Facebook itself notes that “being consistent in the quality and types of posts you create can help people know what kinds of messages to expect from you and how they tie into your business.” Create a content calendar and schedule posts in advance to help keep your Facebook content organized and consistent.
Post at the right time
We’ve found the optimal times to be 12–3 p.m. weekdays and 12–1 p.m. on weekends.
Be responsive and human
If you want more people to like your Facebook Page, you need to engage with those who already do. Unanswered comments or questions on a Facebook Page can be a huge deterrent for potential new fans. Remember, Facebook is a social network, and being sociable is a key way to make your brand—and your Page—more likeable.
6. Host a Facebook contest
In a poll by the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of marketers said that interactive content (like contests) is better for grabbing readers’ attention than static content.
Even better, liking a post is a popular form of contest entry—and one that’s allowed under Facebook’s contest rules (unlike “share to win” contests, which, while popular, are technically prohibited). For example, Funko got nearly 7,000 Facebook Likes on this like-to-enter contest:
7. Engage with other brands and communities on Facebook
Remember that Facebook is primarily a social network—so get social and start engaging with other brands that are relevant to your niche but not your direct competitors. A simple Like or comment on another brand’s post can help draw their attention and open up opportunities to work together to cross-promote your businesses so you both gain more Facebook Likes. Tagging other brands may also expose your Page to a new audience (that other brand’s followers)—but only use tags in relevant posts.
Look for communities of potential followers to engage with, too. Facebook Groups are a great place to find people who are passionate about subjects related to your niche, and offer you the opportunity to highlight your expertise. Just make sure your participation in Facebook Groups is helpful, rather than promotional, or you might find yourself kicked out of the group.
8. Use the Facebook algorithm to your advantage
Understanding the Facebook algorithm is key to increasing your organic reach—in other words, getting your Page and your posts in front of more people who could potentially give you a Like. At its core, the Facebook algorithm prioritizes the types of content we’ve already talked about: Quality content that is not overly promotional.
This should really come as no surprise. Facebook wants people to enjoy browsing their News Feeds, which means it wants to surface the best content to the top. Invest the time to produce valuable posts, and don’t be a spammy jerk. Facebook specifically highlights authentic posts that inform and entertain as having value recognized by the algorithm.
One additional way to take advantage of the Facebook algorithm is to try live video. The algorithm prioritizes live broadcasts, bumping them higher in the News Feed. If you have an event or presentation that would work live, give it a try.
9. Run Facebook ads to expand your reach
Facebook offers very detailed ad targeting, so you can laser-focus your advertising efforts and make the most of your ad spend. Putting your brand in front of your ideal audience is a great way to pick up more Facebook Likes. There are two different types of Facebook advertising: boosted posts and ad campaigns.
Boost a post
By boosting a post, you can extend the audience beyond people who already like your Page. This can be a great option for a post that’s already proved to be compelling by bringing in a large number of Facebook Likes from people who already follow your Page.
Run a campaign
Facebook offers campaign objectives relevant to every type of business. Since this post is about how to get Facebook Likes, we’ll focus on the Engagement objective, which is designed to expose your ad to a wide audience to increase the number of post or Page Likes. For example, this ad from WealthSimple offers the option to like the Page with just one click.
10. Learn from Facebook Insights
Analyzing Facebook Page Insights can give you a clear view of who your current fans are, which will help you better target future Facebook efforts. You’ll also be able to identify the kinds of posts that have the highest average reach and engagement, and use that information to create more of the content your audience wants from you on Facebook.
After all, learning from your mistakes, amplifying your successes, and giving your followers content you know they’ll enjoy are key ways to boost the quality of your content, and lead to—you guessed it—more Facebook Likes.
Never before has digital marketing been more important. As consumers move from physical to digital channels, engaging content marketing and highly personalized real-time digital communication is the foundation for success.
1. Reach Mobile Consumers with Short-Form Video
Consumers are interacting with content on all forms of digital devices 24/7/365. As such, the dynamics of content marketing have changed. Today, content only succeeds if it delivers what each individual consumer wants, when and how they want it.
One of the most effective forms of content marketing is video marketing. In fact, video marketing is one of the few types of digital content that provides the contextuality, flexibility and entertainment value consumers want while they are on-the-go.
Consumers are consuming more visual media content and financial service customers are no exception. Video content is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ for marketers, offering an advantageous way to humanize and explain complex ideas and concepts using short-form entertainment to get these concepts across.
Video is a highly engaging and palatable medium, and incredibly convenient to consume. Two quick and compelling stats to consider. First, according to Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text format. Secondly, a survey by Animoto discovered three critical stats: four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, 1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video, and 4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important.
What is exciting about video marketing is that it combines the best qualities of digital communication, giving viewers the intimate experience of a face-to-face conversation while providing the non-disruptive, ‘on my time’ engagement style that people love about texting and email. What is more exciting is that this form of communication can now be personalized on a 1:1 level, with highly customizable content that stands out and is memorable.
2. Use Live Streaming to Bring Experts to Mass Audiences
You can move beyond traditional scripted videos by tapping into the live-streaming trend to reach targeted audiences. Live streaming allows viewers to engage with your most respected internal experts or popular influencers on a new level. The impact is multiplied when you allow for live interaction in a form of Q&A engagement.
This form of content marketing is especially impactful in the financial services sector. According to Wainhouse Research, a full 44% of corporations are planning to increase their streaming budgets in 2018. In addition, the entire streaming market is set to grow by 20% each year through 2020. It’s not surprising that financial services, in particular, is leading the charge.
Let’s face it – the nuances, advantages and disadvantages of a complex product like a Roth Ira or small business banking cannot be properly explained with a standard 300 x 250 digital banner ad. Research shows that live streamed videos on Facebook Live get viewed 3 times longer than a pre-recorded video. In addition, a study conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine found that when it comes to brand content, 82% of people prefer live video to social posts, and 80% would rather watch live video than read a blog.
As an added bonus for marketers, data can be collected to gauge individual level of engagement and help optimize and personalize future marketing efforts. Instead of hoping your customers will travel and/or spend money to hear from your key financial experts or popular influencers, why not shift to online conferences and presentations, where they can attend at a time and place that’s convenient to them?
Finally, live video streaming is, by its nature, highly transparent. Viewers can engage with your internal expert or outside influencer in open conversation handled in real time. If you’re looking for a compelling way to build trust with your audience, a live video is a great place to start.
3. Build a Library of On-Demand Webinars
Webinars are becoming the unsung hero for financial brands. They not only draw a captive, deeply engaged audience (the average amount of time spent with a webinar is 57 minutes), they also compliment topics, such as financial service products, that are complex or detailed in nature and provide the education required to convert a lead.
These virtual learning environments are, in essence, a modern, immersive educational experience that can tap vast repositories of content with custom-created elements that can be changed, updated and switched out in real time. They can also be promoted to the right customer or member at the right time, through the right channel using targeting insights built from internal data and advanced analytics.
For example, take a look at Vanguard, who built a library of webinars to engage and teach customers about retirement, investing and estate planning. This library allows customers and prospects to browse and view webinars at their own pace, delivering insights on the topics that truly interest them.
Other companies are using webinars to showcase their well-known internal (or external) experts and as a way to drive traffic to additional content and services. For example, Wells Fargo takes deep dives on personal subject matter like post-college planning, and conduct live virtual seminars on retirement planning and diversification strategies allowing robust two-way interaction – a feature not found in typical static one-way marketing communications.
4. Don’t Forget Mobile Marketing
Last, but definitely not least, in-app marketing provides the opportunity to deliver highly personalized messages and offers using a channel many customers and members access every day – their mobile banking app. Customers and members are just like everyone else … glued to their smartphones. And, they’re not just checking Facebook and texting friends – the number who are banking, making transactions and trading via mobile devices continues to grow.
According to a survey from Bank of America, the number of Americans using a mobile banking app has risen in one year from 54% to 62%, including 75% of Millennials, 66% of Gen Xers, 47%of baby boomers and 40% of seniors. So, it bears repeating, regardless of what content, messaging or offers you are delivering to your prospects, leads and clients, if it is not optimized for every mobile platform, you can guess what will happen. That prospect will simply move on, with lightning speed, guaranteed.
On the other hand, with increased use of advanced analytics to process internal and external data insights, the financial services industry is an enviable position to be able to reach their base in through either a mobile banking app and/or text. And there is virtually zero cost to do so.
With fintech set to grow by 55% through 2020, according to Technavio, and individuals flocking to digital wallets and smartphone credit card readers, all while consuming vast amounts of content on their personal devices, don’t be left in the dust while your competitors find your customers where they live – in real time.
In 2018, it is more important than ever to stand out from the overload of marketing noise, folding these four digital tools into your marketing mix. Each will allow you to better reach your targets through the mediums and channels that are already part of consumer’s busy lives. Focus on the methods that create robust engagement, open conversations and a personal touch, all while providing the scale you need.