Often at conferences I discuss the power of visual social media. We’re living during a social media revolution and as Aristotle stated well before social media existed, “There can be no words without pictures.”
The human brain process images 60,000 times quicker than text (Click to Tweet) and 59% of executives would rather watch video than read text (Click to Tweet). Having a visual social media marketing strategy is essential and in order to cut through the noise and succeed we MUST take advantage of specific strategies, tools, tactics and tips to have a competitive edge.
Visual media has always trumped the written word when it comes to winning people’s short term attention. This guest post is from Vin Clancy who recently launched his new book Ace The Game: The 100 best growth hacks in the world right now” which is a can’t miss book this year. You can learn more about Vin by visiting his website or blog and joining his growth club to receive strategies and tips to get ahead as a marketer. I found his tips to be very helpful in leveraging Pinterest and Instagram to generate traffic and I hope you’ll find it valuable as well, enjoy!
How to drive traffic through Instagram & Pinterest without spending large amounts of money
Pinterest and Instagram are two seriously powerful platforms.
Visual media has always trumped the written word when it comes to winning people’s short term attention.
Despite mainstream opinion, Pinterest is no longer just a site for the female, mom demographic.
It’s a pool of regularly engaged traffic that is just ripe for the taking.
In fact, it is the 2nd biggest referrer of traffic online (after Facebook)
First you need to set up a profile with a niche in mind.
Make it fairly general to your niche, then use various boards to hyper target your audience.
Use IFTTT and deploy the “Repost from Instagram To Pinterest” feature (good Instagram content translates good Pinterest content)
Make your profile look awesome and schedule 20+ pins a day of viral content that has done well on Instagram (use non-copyright images without logos)
Use software like followinglike to auto follow people who would be interested in your product/service and let it run.
A word of warning though, this is against Pinterests terms and conditions so proceed with caution. Use proxies if you’re handing it to an intern and be conservative with the amount of people you follow/unfollow in a day.
Once you start seeing a spike in traffic work out which pins are performing the best then make your own that direct directly to your blog/website.
Using this method it’s not uncommon to see anywhere between 10k-250k shares!
If things aren’t going right straight away here’s a few things you need to do.
1) Do more research into what successful Pinterest accounts are doing
- Use the search function to stalk influencer accounts and just copy what they’re doing
- Find board name inspiration by searching boards
- Look at the accounts that have 5000+ followers and reverse engineer
2) Optimise your profile
- Make sure your account name as relevant keywords
- Do the same to your description
- Make sure you have 10-20 boards in your niche. Be hyper focussed.
- Fill your board description with keywords
- Create unique covers for all your boards
3) Repost A LOT to see what works well
- From my coaching classes to my private consulting clients, everyone is trying to optimise the very little traffic they’re getting
- It’s extremely difficult to work out what works if you’re hardly getting any visitors. Work on reposting a lot of popular pins 30+ a day if that’s what it takes to see what gets the best traction. Then optimise from there.
4) Engagement automation
- Keep following/unfollow until you reach 500+ followers
- If you don’t have any followers no one is getting alerts when you’re reposting all this content, thus no one is sharing it
- Follow the followers of your identified influencers (unfollow when you’re following 10k)
5) Content Seeding with group boards
- Group boards are boards you can request to contribute to.
- Joining means you can repin content to an existing audience
- This can greatly increase your follower growth and decrease the amount of time it takes to work out which pin style is the most shareable.
- Find group boards in your niche and follow the boards steps to become a contributor. This may be email, commenting on a specific post, sending them a DM etc.
- See if your influencers are part of group boards, it’s a good place to start.
6) Identify Content That Resonates
- Now comes the waiting game, to figure what works and what doesn’t takes time unfortunately. So be patient!
- Once you get a gist of what’s working and what isn’t start posting less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff
Once the ball gets rolling that’s when you start making your copycat Pinterest content with your logo, and then you can start directing the traffic to your landing pages or ecommerce stores (from there it’s up to your websites to convert the clickers!)
Moving on now to the platform some of you may prefer, Instagram.
In this section I’m going to explain the simple hashtag ladder strategy that you can use to drive up followers and build an awesome account.
Now a lot of you may be thinking that this will be a huge secret that is safe guarded by big brands and influencers alike…
Well it’s not.
It’s actually hidden in plain sight!
You know those long lists of hashtags some people put in the first comment of their photos? Well if used properly these lists can draw in followers from outside of your current audience.
Hashtags make up one of two main discovery mechanics on the site (the second being the explore page)
Hashtags are the mechanic that anyone can nail from the start, making them great to focus on for small accounts.
Each post you put on instagram can have up to 30 hashtags (and you guessed it, we’re going to use all of them!)
So we need 30 hashtags, but which ones?
To break into the ‘popular’ section of any hashtag search result you need fast and massive engagement on your post.
If your account has a lot of followers, this is pretty simple (especially if they have notifications for your account on).
The trouble is a lot of you don’t have a lot of followers or even what is considered ‘great’ engagement (+5%) so you’re unlikely to rank on this page.
Example: Say you’ve got 5,000 followers, so a 5% engagement rate would be 250 people liking one of your photos. Using a classical hashtag strategy, that 250 likes is unlikely to get you to appear in the popular results for most of the hashtags you’re using, they’re just too competitive. For the tags you do rank in, you may be an extra 10–20 likes, but it’s not enough to get any crazy growth.
So you need to ladder your hashtags so that you rank for the easier ones first.
The likes you receive from the easy to rank hashtags will then allow you to rank for your second hashtag.
The likes you generate from this will help you rank for the third (and so on and so forth)
Now this won’t fire on all cylinders every time, so maybe think about deleting the posts that don’t quite as well.
But if you have 10 posts a day and perhaps 3 or 4 it the jackpot, then you’ll be in for a few follower spikes every day.
So how do you make these ladders?
I’d suggest that for an account below 10,000 followers, you want to find a range of RELEVANT hashtags (check the popular results to make sure there’s content similar to your in them) that have been used between 10,000 and 250,000 times.
You may even want to find multiple sets of 30 hashtags, each with a roughly even distribution of hashtag uses across this range, using different sets for different posts.
The key here is that your posts normally couldn’t rank in the popular results for the hashtags that have been used 250,000 times, but they could easily rank for those that have been used 10–20,000 times. So you get some engagement from those, which pushes you into the results for the 20–40,000 tags and so on.
Of course, the more you post (to a degree) and the better the content quality, the more success you’ll have. The key point here is that if you don’t have this hashtag ladder in place, it’s much more difficult, if not impossible to get any viral results from your Instagram posts.