Author: Andrew Flynn

Apprentice Digital Marketing Executive at Pixel Kicks and voluntary Social Media Manager at Altrincham Football Club.

5 Important Tips to Optimise your Copywriting for SEO

SEO should be an essential part of the copywriting process, but due to the challenging nature and lack of understanding, we often see it neglected.

This is problematic. You could produce some of the most educational, thought-provoking content on the internet but if isn’t fine-tuned to the search engine algorithms then chances are it won’t get the response it deserves.

We’ve explained five fundamental principles that we include in all of the website copy we write. Read on for ways in which you can build a web page that Google clearly understands.

SEO Copywriting tips

1. Get your keywords into the copy while ensuring density and placement is right

Of course, the purpose of SEO is to appear higher in search engines such as Google when people search for keywords relevant to your website. So, how does Google know that the search term someone has entered is a good match for your website?

It’s down to you to tell them by making sure important keywords about your website appear within your content, but you have to get the balance correct. Your content needs to look completely natural – you’re writing copy with the aim of it being read by site visitors, with the Googlebot not being your target audience. While writing your copy, ensure your keywords do actually appear, but also that they fit into the context and flow of the content.

It’s not just about where you place the keywords though, but also how often you insert them on one page. Keyword density is something very important to keep in mind. Whilst ensuring your keywords appear enough for Google and other search engines to consider your page relevant, it’s also crucial that you don’t over-do it.

Keyword flooding is a black-hat SEO technique, used in the early internet days by site owners to try to improve rankings. The “strategy” would see sites include lists of all the keywords they wanted to rank for, but this was eventually stopped by search engines actively penalising any site that did this. As such, it’s important that your content isn’t too keyword heavy, as you could be seen as keyword stuffing. As long as your post reads naturally, and the keywords don’t seem to have been added in out of context, you’ll be fine.

There’s no proper rule for keyword density, such as an optimum percentage, but there are still ways of knowing how you’re doing. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is the easiest way to track keyword density across a webpage, and can be installed on any WordPress site that is self-hosted for free.

How to optimise copywriting for SEO

2. Write an optimised page title and meta description

Page titles and meta descriptions are your opportunity to explain the relevance of the page to Google’s bots and the search audience alike.

As well as the copy on the page itself, Google considers the page title as part of its ranking algorithm, and displays the meta description as part of the SERPs (search engine results pages.) Ensure that the page title and meta descriptions are optimised for the keyword that the page is targeting by including the keyword as part of the copy.

The title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of the webpage, and they are the first thing a potential reader will notice when browsing the SERPs. Here, best practice is to find a balance between SEO and generating intrigue. Moz research indicates that magnetic headlines are the way forward.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that concisely summarise the content of a webpage. While Google did announce back in 2009 that neither meta descriptions nor meta keywords factor into their ranking algorithm, the snippet is still displayed as part of the SERPs. A good meta description will clearly specify the aim of the page and what a user can expect to gain from reading it.

Meta descriptions can be any length although Google will snip anything over 300 characters. The recommended length is anywhere between 50-300 characters, but a lot will depend on the context of the page and what you are trying to explain to those searching. The most important thing to remember is that the meta description is there to drive clicks by explaining why the page holds value.

Similarly to the first point, Yoast SEO is a copywriter’s best friend. Page titles and meta descriptions can be modified using the plugin.

3. Include external and internal links

That’s right – despite the fact you want people to link to you to aid your link building efforts, it’s also important that you link to other sites yourself. As well as tracking where your traffic comes from, Google’s bots also look at your linking behaviour.

Linking to authoritative, good quality websites can often act as a reference that backs up the statements in your copy, and on the odd occasion could be noticed by the site you’re linking towards, who may choose to link back.

Internal and external linking

Linking to other pages on your own website is also useful. Doing this can help to improve a number of aspects that can be considered ranking factors. It improves the usability and user experience of your website, enabling site visitors to better browse and locate your content, and can also help to decrease your bounce rate (the amount of users who exit your site after viewing just one page), and increase your website’s average session time. All of these are things that tell search engines that your site is of good quality, something which will help to increase your rankings amongst the many other considered factors.

4. Ensure your text is clear and easy to read

It goes without saying that your content must be readable, but how can you ensure readability is as high as it can be? This can be done in a number of ways, with one key piece of advice being to ensure you write in good English, with minimal spelling and grammar mistakes – ensure your text is accurate, otherwise you’ll give off a poor impression to potential customers visiting your website.

The readability of a page of copy doesn’t always come down to what the actual text says though. It can also be helped by the visual layout of the text. Structure your copy with subheadings and small paragraphs to break it up into smaller, easier to navigate chunks that help readers to find the relevant information they’re looking for.

Another way of making your content more digestible is by adding bullet point lists – short bursts of information in small one sentence portions.

By making your content more readable and easier to understand, you increase the number of users reading the whole thing and can end up with people linking to it as a reference, or users sharing it in another way. As such, your site is seen as a trustworthy authoritative source, helping your Google rankings to rise.

The free Yoast SEO plugin we mentioned earlier also offers page readability scores when you’re writing content – it’s definitely a useful addition to your WordPress site.

Yoast SEO plugin readability

5. Include a relevant and effective call-to-action

You’ve considered, drafted and optimised a piece of copy with the expectancy that it ranks highly and pulls in consistent organic traffic – but what then? Have you considered the overall purpose and objective of the page?

If you are producing content with the clear aim of getting more conversions then you simply have to include CTAs.

Call to Action (CTA): a call to action is a piece of content that encourages encourages a reader or listener to perform a specific act. These typically take the form of an instruction, for example, “get in touch today” or “make a donation below.”

They are an important component of any website’s lead generation process and without them, website users will be much less likely to convert as a result of the content you have produced.

Here are some of the different ways in which you can encourage a user to take action:

  • Bottom of the post
    It is important to end blog posts with encouraging the reader to take some form of action. Inspired by the copy you have written, users are presented with the opportunity to get We like to embed a contact form box where possible.
  • Social media sharing
    You can encourage readers to share your content to social media for amplified reach. This works really well for educational pieces that possess a certain value that deserves to be shared – for example, research findings presented in a digestible infographic. You can use ClickToTweet, which empowers readers to share direct to Twitter with a pre formulated caption including a link to the content.
  • Blog subscription
    If your content has generated a significant amount of interest, you may wish to capitalise upon that by offering readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog by joining a mailing list. This is a fundamental for any business that wishes to build up a dedicated audience for their content. Condense the subscription form down to the bare minimum information needed, no long forms and of course, ensure that all data capture is GDPR compliant.

Hopefully we’ve brought some easily implementable changes to your attention. SEO is not a foreign language, we see it as more of an overall process that is applicable to 99% of the website copy we produce. Having a list of crucial rules that can be ticked off when writing something new is a big help, so feel free to add the above five into your future work.

If you have any questions about SEO copywriting, or wish to make a general enquiry, you can do so here.

GDPR FAQ for Small Businesses

It feels like everybody is talking about GDPR, specifically in digital business. You’ll have heard those four letters a lot, but what do they actually mean? GDPR is a new regulation coming into effect very soon, that will deal with the ways in which businesses and organisations handle your personal information.

GDPR for small businesses

But how is GDPR going to affect you specifically? Whether you’re a small business owner, or manage a large organisation, it’s very important you check up on these new rules, as you could find yourself in a spot of trouble. Chances are you might already be fully compliant without realising it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Everyone is asking the same questions – what is it? What do I have to do? What happens if I don’t follow the new rules?

As such, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, and have explained everything you should need to know.

Introduction

  1. What is GDPR
  2. When does GDPR come into place?
  3. What are my main responsibilities under the GDPR?
  4. What are the GDPR requirements?

Email Marketing

  1. I have an existing email list – how do I make sure this is compliant?
  2. I send emails to my customers once a month – what do I need to do?
  3. What does the newsletter sign-up form on my website need to say?

Your Business

  1. What constitutes personal data?
  2. What will happen if I don’t comply with GDPR?
  3. What are the GDPR breach (non-compliance) penalties?
  4. How can I prepare my business for GDPR?
  5. How does my business benefit by complying with GDPR?
  6. What individual rights does GDPR provide the public?
  7. Who within my company is responsible for compliance?
  8. What is a Data Protection Officer and does my business need one?
  9. I’m only a small business, do I need to worry about GDPR?

Brexit & Further Reading

  1. GDPR is an EU Law – with Brexit on the way, does it apply to the UK?
  2. Where can I find good further reading on GDPR?


Introduction

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation, a new EU law that was approved in April 2016. It’s the result of four years of plans to improve data protection for the 21st century, and aims to give individuals more control over how their personal information is used by organisations.

When does GDPR come into place?

GDPR came into place on 24th May 2016 after EU members agreed to the key details. However, businesses and organisations aren’t affected by the legislation until 25th May 2018, after which point everyone in all EU member states must be fully compliant.

What are my main responsibilities under the GDPR?

In summary, your main responsibilities as a controller and processor of personal data are:

  • Ensure that all data is processed in a lawful and transparent manner
  • Collect data only for specific, explicit purposes
  • Maintain an accurate collection of up to date data
  • Hold data for the necessary time needed, and no longer
  • Use secure data processing methods

This is a summary of GDPR Article 5.

What are the GDPR requirements?

The precise rules of GDPR are very complex, but here are the general requirements broken down simply:

  • Have all information documented about the personal data you hold, how you gained it, and who has access to it/who it is shared with. Keep full records of your information processing activities
  • Ensure your procedures are all within the rights of individuals. Procedures such as the deletion of personal data, and the provision of personal data digitally in a common format should be looked into
  • Ensure your procedures around subject access requests are compliant – if someone requests access to personal information, it must be handled within a month, with no charge (unless it’s an excessive, unfounded request), and if refused, an explanation should be given
  • Document your lawful basis for gaining personal data within GDPR, and include this in your privacy notice
  • Check that your procedure for requesting, recording, and managing consent to use personal data is fully compliant with the new GDPR guidelines
  • Make sure you have procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a breach of personal data
  • Designate someone within your organisation to take responsibility for data protection compliance

 


Email Marketing

I have an existing email list – how do I make sure this is compliant?

Email lists are all about permission.

You need to ensure that you have received clear consent from all existing customers ,and that you are using their data only for the purposes you have described. If this isn’t the case then you must delete the data. Similarly, delete all information which is not required for the purposes of permission you were given.

You must be able to show, upon demand, how you have received clear consent from the customers you are sending email marketing to.

If any of the above is a worry then you must reach out to these customers to obtain their permission once again. A thorough campaign to have your existing email list re opt-in to your service, with a log of the processes used, will stand you in good stead for the future. Remember to only send opt-in information to those who have given their consent in the first place.

Make absolutely certain that you are holding and processing personal data securely.

I send emails to my customers once a month – what do I need to do?

GDPR isn’t out to make things difficult for people – it’s designed to protect data and stop organisations misusing the information of its individuals. If you’ve been doing things correctly and by the book, chances are you won’t have to do much.

Within email marketing, GDPR brings in three new practices:

  • How users opt in to email communication is changing. Previous methods aren’t solid enough, which means “soft” opt-ins are no longer allowed. Instead, to cover all bases, it’s recommended by many email marketing experts that you use a “double opt-in” method, such as asking individuals to confirm their email address before they are added to the mailing list. Mailchimp offer GDPR friendly tools to assist you with the process
  • Perform an audit of your database to ensure you know where the information of your users is stored, and you have details of how they consented to the communication.
  • Ensure there is a clear way of unsubscribing from your mailing list on every communication you send to it. This should be in the form of a simple link that will instantly remove the user from the list.

For a more detailed look at GDPR & email marketing, click here.

What does the newsletter sign-up form on my website need to say?

In order to make sure your newsletter sign-up forms are compliant with GDPR, you must make the following changes…

  1. Active Opt-In: Users will have to actively opt-in to receive communications or subscribe to newsletters, meaning that any tick boxes regarding contact preferences can no longer be pre-ticked, and must be left blank or “no” as default.
  2. Unbundled Opt-In: Contact preferences/subscribe opt-in boxes must now be completely separate from acceptance of terms and conditions.
  3. Granular Opt-In: You need to give users the option to tailor their contact preferences – i.e. by providing separate tick boxes for Post, Email & Telephone communication, and a separate tick-box to agree to having personal data shared with third-party companies.
  4. Easy to Withdraw Permission or Opt-Out: Users must always have the right to opt-out of communication, and it is recommended that they have the ability to easily withdraw from selective topics, if they don’t want to opt-out altogether.
  5. Naming Third Parties: When asking users to share their data with third parties, each party must be clearly named and an individual tick-box for each.

 

 


Your Business

What constitutes ‘personal data?’

Personal data can be any piece of information related to a person, such as names, contact details (email, address, phone number, etc), bank details, photos, IP addresses and more.

GDPR also concerns information such as biometric data, ethnic origin, race, religion, etc.

What will happen if I don’t comply with GDPR?

As well as individuals who have been affected by your non-compliance being able to take legal action against you to claim compensation, you could be hit by a GDPR penalty.

What are the GDPR breach (non-compliance) penalties?

With the new regulatory change, also comes a new fine regime. There are different penalties for non-compliance, depending on the severity of the breach.

Tier 1

The maximum fine for the most serious infringements (having insufficient customer consent for processing data, or huge security breaches where inadequate protective measures were found, for example) is up to 4% of the company’s global turnover, or €20 million, whichever turns out to be the highest.

Tier 2

For other, less serious breaches (such as inadequate record keeping), companies can be fined up to 2% of their global turnover, or €10 million.

GDPR keeping data secure

How can I prepare my business for GDPR?

It’s important to ensure that your business is GDPR compliant well ahead of the deadline date, and you may need some time to put some new procedures in place to make this happen. Here are some things to consider…

  • Inform your employees: It’s crucial that all staff within the company, particularly key employees involved in decision making, are aware of what’s changing and what their responsibilities in the process are. Make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and when, to avoid any disruptions or delays.
  • Revise what data you’re collecting: Find out what personal data you’ve been holding, and what you’re using it for. The law is cracking down on unnecessary data collection, so it’s important that you’re only collecting and using the information you need.
  • Check your security breach prevention procedures: Ensure that you have adequate data protection measures in place, in order to be able to detect, respond and report any breaches in accordance with the regulation. Failure to have the appropriate measures in place could incur a penalty in the event of a breach.
  • Inspect your consent procedure and privacy notices: You might need to update the way you collect, record and manage data consent if they aren’t already compliant with GDPR.

How does my business benefit by complying with GDPR?

Aside from the fact that you will be abiding by new law regulations, GDPR can actually bring many benefits to your business, including:

  • Improved reputation: Data breaches are happening more than ever, and with the risk of attack being so high, being GDPR certified gives your business an added security factor and will inevitably boost your reputation.
  • Increase in data quality: New regulations require data controllers to amend any errors that they are made aware of in data stored within a company’s database. Individuals can access and inspect their personal data, and have any necessary changes made to it, therefore improving the accuracy levels of stored information.
  • Gain valuable insights: Companies are now required to properly process and store personal data, and make decisions about how to use it. By having an organised collection of personal information, it allows companies to get to know their customers more, and provides valuable data that can be used in marketing and sales campaigns.

business data storage

What individual rights does GDPR provide the public?

Under GDPR, all individuals have the right:

  • To be informed. This means individuals have the right to be informed about the collection and application of their personal data. You must provide individuals with information that explains the purpose for your data collection.
  • Of access. This means individuals have the right to access their personal data, and to be aware of how their data is processed.
  • To rectification. This gives individuals the right to rectify any inaccurate personal data.
  • To erasure. This gives individuals the right to have their personal data erased, and must be given a clear process on how to do so. This is also referred to as the right to be forgotten.

There are also rights concerning data processing, portability and profiling. You can read more about these here.

Who within my company is responsible for compliance?

Unless you have a designated member of staff, ensuring your business adheres to the main responsibilities of GDPR falls largely down to yourself as a small business owner. This can be quite daunting, and it is why some business owners have chosen to hire Data Protection Officers to oversee a short term audit of their data handling processes.

What is a Data Protection Officer and does my business need one?

Data Protection Officers are responsible for informing employees of their compliance obligations. Essentially, they are employed to monitor any activity within the business that concerns the use or handling of data. This includes organising training for employees.

Data Protection Officers are advised for medium to large scale businesses that handle large amounts of personal data.

I’m only a small business, do I need to worry about GDPR?

No matter the business size or sector, if the organisation is handling personal data then it is critical that GDPR is taken as seriously as possible. A well considered information handling process will reflect extremely well on any business.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has compiled a helpful Data Protection Self Assessment, and they note that this has been put together in the interest of small organisations that wish to analyse their own situation.

 

 


Brexit & Further Reading

GDPR is an EU Law – with Brexit on the way, does it apply to the UK?

Even though the UK plans to leave the EU, all businesses here will still need to comply with GDPR. One of the many reasons is because of the crossover period between GDPR being announced, and the UK announcing its intentions to leave.

Plus, plenty of British companies will continue to do business with the EU after Brexit. They will need to comply with the regulations if they wish to do so.

Where can I find good further reading on GDPR?

Not found what you need from our FAQ? Don’t worry. The GDPR Information Portal has been produced to help educate the public in time for the May 25th 2018 enforcement date.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have produced a PDF manual entitled Twelve Steps To Take Now. It provides a checklist of actions you can take to prepare your business.

Our friends at Digitl produced a highly informative webinar with Steve Kuncewicz, and this details how GDPR will impact the eCommerce landscape.

We are hopeful that these FAQs help address the common GDPR queries. If you haven’t found what you’re after, and the further reading hasn’t helped, you are more than welcome to get in touch with us and we will do what we can to help.

10 Social Media Tools For Beginners

We’re always looking for new social media tools to add to our bag of tricks. Over time we’ve come to settle on a select few that really make a difference to the way we do things here at Pixel Kicks; and with such a wide variety of systems out there, we’re always keen to give new features a go on a trial basis.

With that experience behind us we feel comfortable putting together a ten-strong list of vital social media tools. The addition of just one or two of these tools would be helpful for any business that wants to push on with their social media marketing.

1. Hootsuite

There are an abundance of social media management systems across the internet. They are designed to help users manage multiple social media channels from one place. Hootsuite is one of many, and widely received one of the most efficient social media tools for this purpose.

Without logging in and out, users can jump from account to account with the click of a mouse. This enables you to view multiple ‘streams’ of tweets, posts and interactions all from the comfort of one screen. It offers users the ability to cross-post across multiple media channels, add in their mobile app and you’re looking at as accessible a tool as you will find. Hootsuite offer analytical reports sent via email on a weekly basis. They summarise everything from link clicks to follower growth.

hootsuite screenshot

Hootsuite is one of the most recognised social media management systems, empowering users to monitor multiple accounts at the same time. Perfect for a business that has a wide reach.

 

The free plan suits one person perfectly. It allows you to integrate three social media accounts and track them with basic analytical insight. Users can schedule up to thirty social media posts at any one time, in addition to two RSS feed integrations. Hootsuite provide an online help centre that answers practically any FAQ you may have.

2. Bitly

Link ‘shorteners’ take long URLs and convert them into neater, tidier options. We find that using shortened links helps with the look and feel of our social media content. This is especially important if we intend to drive traffic to an extended URL.

Creating a link using Bitly is incredibly simple. Users paste a full URL into a box, then sit back as Bitly processes it in a matter of seconds. These links can be branded and optimised to suit your objectives. As you will see, we’re all about social media tools with an emphasis on speed and convenience.

bitly screen shot social media tool

Bitly is more than just a link shortener, it is a social media tool that allows users to track content performance.

 

Being able to track and compile click data is very useful in terms of campaign analysis. Bitly’s Enterprise service has been built to serve businesses who operate their campaigns on an organisational scale, but the free version should do you just fine if you’re starting out.

3. Stencil

The team at Stencil boast that their social media tools are the ‘the fastest way to double your social engagement.’ It’s easy to see why. They offer users a platform to create quick images for social media sharing. The entire product has been designed with ease of use in mind, and Stencil comes packaged with literally millions of free background photos for users to browse.

This works particularly well if you need a nudge in the right direction, as there are hundreds of templates for you to fill with your desired text copy.

stencil website social media tools for image creation

With over 2,000 free Google Web Fonts and an integrated Chrome Extension, it’s hard to look past Stencil when it comes to creating clean images for social media.

 

Stencil advertise their free version as one ‘For The Hobbyist’, which lends itself perfectly to anyone starting out in the world of social media marketing. Without paying a penny users can expect to create up to ten images per month, but Stencil do limit access to the wealth of stock imagery and icons. As you would expect, the paid versions open up wider ranges of features for users to explore.

4. DashThis

Marketers need to be able to report back to their clients with the exact information they’re after. DashThis is a simple client reporting tool that allows users to gather data in one convenient report. The reports can then be exported via PDF or emailed direct through the platform.

With DashThis there is the ability to integrate your report with pretty much any data source out there on the web. Once integrated, the data will update in real time to reflect progress across the course of a campaign. This is absolutely crucial if you are working towards key performance indicators.

DashThis social media tools for reporting

The beauty behind DashThis is that once the reporting dashboard has been produced and finalised, you are fully set for a report that updates automatically by pulling in real time data. It removes hours of arduous manual reporting.

 

DashThis offer a fifteen day free trial which means there’s an opportunity there to try it out and play around. The clean design and wide range of data integrations make it our choice for monthly reporting here at Pixel Kicks, and at the prices set, you’d be hard pressed to find more flexible social media tools for reporting.

5. Klout

(Klout deactivated on May 25th, 2018 – Check out Fit Small Business’ social media graveyard for a list of tools that are no longer with us.)

Klout gave users an indication of how influential they are on social media. Social influence is defined as the ‘ability to drive action.’

Once accounts were connected to the system, Klout was able to measure social influence and score it accordingly on a scale of 1-100. It considered a wide range of social activity as part of its algorithm. Those included follower numbers, page likes, social interactions and reviews. Klout also provided a feed of recommended topics for users to explore. Users could stay on trend through this feature.

koult social media tools

Users will see their Klout score rise if they are creating content that people want to share and respond to.

 

Reviewing social media activity is a big plus point. It gives a business the ability to put a solid number behind its social media performance. For businesses that are on the lookout for a social media influencer to work with, Klout provided a method to identify and pinpoint the personalities that are keeping active. Buzzsumo can do that job too, though, so read on for more.

6. Buzzsumo

With Buzzsumo, users gain access to a powerful social media tools that highlights popular content types based on topic. This is an essential tool for content marketers that are on the look out for engaging, shareable content for social media. Without a tool like this we would be inclined to trawl through social media platforms, blogs and news sites manually. All Buzzsumo requires is a piece of search criteria, and away it goes.

Users gain access to valuable content insights with breakdowns of what people are talking and searching about online. It delves into where these conversations are physically taking place, which is vital information with regards to planning which social media platforms are optimum for a campaign.

Similarly to Klout, Buzzsumo users can access a range of influencer information to determine who their audience are most likely to listen to.

buzzsumo social media tools

Audiences have to be at the forefront of every decision you make, and with that in mind, Buzzsumo is a great social media tool to keep your content tailored to their needs.

 

Buzzsumo is a paid service but regarded as the pinnacle of social listening. There are free alternatives available across the internet and we advise that you have a play around with these before signing up to a full version. Alternatively, Buzzsumo offer a fifteen day free trial.

7. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is one of the most popular social media management tools around. It is a a service dedicated solely to the management of Twitter accounts, and much like Hootsuite, it allows users to monitor various Twitter accounts from one hub as opposed to continually logging in and out. This is helpful If you manage multiple businesses’ accounts as part of your job, or if you operate multiple personal channels.

Features of the TweetDeck tool include post scheduling and cross posting. There are also no limits to the amount of streams that a user has, so you can monitor the activity of the accounts you are following alongside your notifications, mentions and messages.

tweetdeck social media tools

TweetDeck doesn’t cost anything and is completely free to use. You don’t actually need to make an account, just log in to Twitter and then open up a separate TweetDeck tab.

 

TweetDeck has been around for years and is one of the trusted, reliable social media tools for management. The organisational tools on offer make TweetDeck a great Twitter-focused alternative to paid platforms like Hootsuite, and the clean layout design means you’ll get used to it in no time.

8. Feedly

As the name suggests, Feedly is a feed reader. Feed readers are tools designed to aggregate content in to one clear stream. This makes it possible for users to quickly scan headlines from a variety of different sources. This ability is seen as a huge marketplace advantage because all of the content you need is in one place. It removes the need to continually check websites for updates.

The way it works is quite simple.

First of all you need to create a Feedly account. After that, you needn’t do more than subscribe to the RSS feed (Rich Site Summary) of the website you want to keep in touch with. Feedly will also give you categories that you can explore. Each category will include featured blogs that users can subscribe to instantly. This is an interesting tool for social media as it works to keep you informed and inspired through the blogs you subscribe to.

feedly social media tools

Feedly’s clean, streamlined look and feel means its an easy option for those who want to can for content they can share across social media.

 

Feedly’s free plan allows users to build up to three feeds using up to 100 different news sources. For a nominal monthly fee the platform’s services are increased greatly. You will be able to build feeds without limits and set up Google keyword alerts.

9. Canva

Canva offers a similar service to Stencil, but while the latter focuses on the creation of images as quickly as possible, Canva encourages its users to create ‘amazingly simple’ graphics with a professional quality.

While Stencil offers an abundance of stock imagery and icons, Canva has thousands more templates to hand making it perfect for beginners. Canva allow their users to upload their own images which makes it a much more viable choice if you have a particular design already in mind. Their Learn content is a fantastic bank of knowledge offering guidance to those who need a push in the right direction.

canva social media tools

You’ll be able to do everything you need to with Canva’s free version. Canva for Work is the next logical step if you’re working in a team. You can invite up to 50 team members to share designs.

 

No matter if you’re new to design or trained in the field, Canva have created the perfect platform for us all to create stunning social media content, documents and presentations in a straight-forward and simple manner.

10. Fastory

You’re familiar with Canva, now meet Fastory. Fastory works like Canva but with the aim of producing interactive social media content for mobile. It pushes users to make the most out of their mobile content with perfectly designed themes that are optimised for a variety of business goals. It’s a great way to elevate your social media campaign to the next level by introducing solid Instagram Story and Snapchat content.

fastory social media tools

Much like Canva, Fastory has a team management feature where administrators can attribute roles to specific people.

 

The Fastory editor guides users through three simple steps to create an engaging Instagram story or Snapchat post.

  1. Choose a text animation
  2. Upload a background image or video
  3. Watermark the content with your logo

After publishing the content on Fastory, it will send the post straight to your specified email address. You can then download them on your mobile phone and upload it to your desired social media channel.

They are just ten of the hundreds of worthwhile and helpful social media tools across the internet. If you want to discuss any of these in more detail, or have a general enquiry about social media marketing for your business, you’re more than welcome to drop us an email.

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Social Media Image Dimensions: 2018 Cheat Sheet

social media image dimensions 2018

Constantly Googling for the perfect social media image dimensions can be tiresome.

We optimise our content based on the social media channel we’re using, but find ourselves going back and forth from our notes to Photoshop in an attempt to keep within these golden parameters.

So, we created a bit of an internal cheat sheet for our team to use.

But then we figured that, with a little bit of extra work, we could share this resource with everyone. So here you have our 2018 cheat sheet for social media image dimensions.

We’ll be updating this any time a dimension changes, so add this post to your bookmarks and use it as your number one guide towards ensuring a professional, optimised social media presence.

Bare in mind, there are tons of similar resources out there. We’re not reinventing the wheel, but these are the social media image sizes that are working well for us at Pixel Kicks right now.

social media image dimensions 2018

Not got the time to scroll? Click the link to jump to the social media platform you need:

facebook image sizes 2018


Operating a Facebook page with high-quality imagery drastically improves the perception of your business. Facebook’s algorithm centres around user-experience and, as a result of that, they are appreciative of well optimised content that looks great in users’ news feeds.

(Facebook Resource: “How can I make sure that my photos display in the highest possible quality?“)

Profile Picture – 180 x 180

Facebook profile pictures display at 180 x 180 pixels on your on computers, and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones. While profile pictures appear squared on Facebook Pages themselves, keep in mind that they are now cropped into a circular shaped format when shrunk. Make sure the vital elements of your profile picture are centered.

Cover Photo – 851 x 315

As cover photos span the full width of a Page, Facebook state that they must be at least 720 pixels wide. Facebook will stretch any smaller photos to fit this scale. Cover photos load fastest as an sRGB JPG file, 851 x 315 and a file size of less 100 kilobytes. With cover photos there is a huge opportunity to make an immediate impression on a potential customer, so take the time to optimise yours.

Shared Image – 1200 x 630

This is an important dimension as these pieces of content accompany posts made by the Page. Creating for an advert? Keep in mind that Facebook will not allow you to put money behind an image that contains a text coverage of over 20%.

Shared Link – 1200 x 630

Here are a list of guidelines to consider when uploading images shared link images:

  • Square photos have a minimum upload size of 154 x 154 pixels in the news feed
  • Square photos have a minimum upload size of 116 x 116 pixels on the Page
  • Rectangular photos have a minimum upload size of 470 x 246 in the news feed
  • Rectangular photos have a minimum upload size of 484 x 252 on the Page

Event Cover Photo – 1920 x 1080

Facebook will scale your upload down to 470 × 174 pixels to fit in the news feed, but create an image within the recommended dimensions to ensure a high quality.

Video – 720p (1280 x 720)

The ideal file formats are MOV or MP4. If you upload a video that’s higher resolution than that, it’s fine, but Facebook will downsize the video.

Cover Video – 820 x 462

A fairly recent addition to Facebook Pages saw the introduction of cover videos. They must be a minimum of 820 x 312 pixels and run from anywhere between 20 and 90 seconds.

twitter image sizes 2018

 

Similarly to Facebook, operating a Twitter account with optimised content can cement a strong first impression on yourself or your business.

(Twitter Resource: “4 do’s & don’t’s of Twitter images”)

Profile Picture – 400 x 400

Twitter profile pictures display at 200 x 200 pixels but we use 400 x 400 as an optimal dimension when creating them, keep in mind that they are now cropped into a circular shaped format so include all key elements as central as possible.

Header Photo – 1500 x 500

While those are indeed the optimal dimensions to create a header within, we always make sure we account for where the profile picture is going to be in relation to the image (the two overlap.)

Have a play around with different text and image orientations. Why not make a secondary, private test account and upload assets there first?

Shared Image – 1024 x 512

These are the maximum dimensions that Twitter can cater a shared image for. Images appear in users’ streams collapsed at 506 x 253 pixels on desktop. Maximum file size of 5 MB for photos.

Video – 1280 x 1040

Aspect ratio should be between 1:3 and 3:1. Frame rate should be 40fps or less. File size should not exceed 15 mb (sync) / 512 mb (async.)

GIF – 1024 x 512

Maximum file size of 5MB for mobile and 15MB on desktop.

instagram image sizes 2018

 


Instagram is, of course, all about making as much of a visual impact on your audience as possible. So perhaps even more so here than on any other platform, the focus needs to be on creating stunning imagery that fits the optimum dimensions.

(Instagram Resource: “When I share a photo on Instagram, what’s the image resolution?”)

Profile Picture – 180 x 180

As with Twitter, Instagram photos are cropped into a circular area so ensure that key elements are centred. Your profile photo shows up next to all of your posts and at the top left of your page. Use a logo if you have one.

Photo – 1080 x 1080

As photos appear on your profile in a 161 x 161 grid format, we recommend that you create content in square format (1080 x 1080.) The helps to provide consistency and means you can grid your uploads. This doesn’t mean you can’t upload images in a landscape format, but keep the height at 1080 as that is the optimum.

Video – 1080 x wide

Instagram prefers MP4 formats, at a maximum duration of 1 minute and file size of 15MB.

Instagram Story – 1080 x 1920

This image dimension is portrait-orientated and work well for Instagram Story content. Videos will also need to be created at this size, in MP4 format. Utilise Instagram Story to display your company culture, a sort of behind the scenes insight into your business.

linkedin social media images 2018

 


As the primary B2B social media platform, LinkedIn possesses incredible value with regards to making industry connections. That said, it is imperative that your accounts are populated with striking, professional images.

(LinkedIn Resource: Image Specifications for Your Company Pages and Career Pages”)

Company Logo –400 x 400

LinkedIn will not accept any file larger than 8MB, and they will only accept JPG, PNG or GIF file types. Company logos should be centred.

Personal Picture – 400 x 400

LinkedIn will not accept any file larger than 8MB, and they will only accept JPG, PNG or GIF file types. Personal profile photos should simply be your face, while company photos should be a logo.

Company Cover Image – 1584 x 768

LinkedIn will not accept any file larger than 8MB, and they will only accept JPG, PNG or GIF file types. To ensure that your profile background looks how you planned it to we advise that you test a variety of different designs, as some files may be scaled upwards or downwards.

Personal Background Photo – 1584 x 396

This replaces the cover photo at the top of your profile page. This is quite an awkward, oblong style and as such it is hard to find an image that works – that’s why we recommend taking the time to create your own, optimised visuals.

Shared Image – 698 x 400

These are the optimum dimensions for a LinkedIn shared image. This is an important dimension as these images form the basis of any post that is made to your personal, or business LinkedIn page. Keeping to these dimensions will ensure that the image looks correct in users’ news feeds.

Shared Image – 256 x 144 up to 4096 x 2304

LinkedIn support ASF, AVI, FLV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, MKV, QuickTime, WebM, H264/AVC, MPEG-4, VP8, VP9, WMV2, and WMV3 file types. There is a max file size of 5GB, and max duration of 10 minutes.

pinterest image sizes 2018

Pinterest is an interesting social media platform that operates as an image search tool. Therefore, image optimisation is paramount prior to uploading.

(Pinterest Resource: Pinterest brand guidelines”)

Profile Photo – 280 x 280

Pinterest is one of few social media platforms that does not give users a cover photo for their page, so make sure to maximise the potential of your profile picture. Remember, also, that it will appear as a 32 x 32 pixel image on other Pinterest pages. Make sure it is still a legible image when shrunken.

Standard Pin – 600 x 900

Pinterest’s layout is more portrait-orientated, and so vertically optimised images tend to perform better and receive greater engagement.

Giraffe Pin – 600 x 1560

Giraffe pins share the same width as a standard post but are created with a significantly greater height span. These images have to go above and beyond by providing significant value. Think infographics.

tumblr image dimensions 2018

Tumblr is a blogging platform for users to share rich content and build communities around topics they love.

Avatar – 128 x 128

This photo will be displayed in a small, square format next to Tumblr posts. It is embedded alongside the username when users are searching, too. Much like Pinterest, Tumblr offers no option for a cover photo – however, there are plenty of blog themes to give your page a personal look and feel. Base your avatar on that for consistency purposes.

Image Post – 500 x 750

Tumblr’s maximum is 1280 x 1920 however in the feed, images are displayed at 500 x 750.



Snapchat connects businesses with their audiences through purely visual content. While the bulk of activity on Snapchat centres around images taken there-and-then via a mobile phone camera, you may wish to prepare some content for ad purposes.

Snapchat Ad – 1080 x 1920

The maximum ad length is 10 seconds, and the maximum file size is 32MB.

 

If you want to discuss content creation in more detail, or have a general enquiry about social media marketing for your business, you’re more than welcome to get in touch.

Dangers of Social Media in Business: Five Key Points

A self-employed freelancer, a young digital marketing upstart, a small-business owner and a head honcho of a corporation: what have they all got in common?

The chances are that they have all considered both the glorious advantages and cautious dangers of social media for business.

Now let’s set one thing in stone from the start, the benefits of social media marketing are plentiful. The advantages have been well-championed across the internet, and quite rightly so, as it has proven to be an altogether cost-effective marketing tool that should be utilised by whomever, wherever possible; yet similarly to the offline world there are dangers to be considered when branding and marketing a business through social media.

Here are, in a cosy, bite-sized list, are five key dangers of social media in business.

1. Facebook’s Organic Reach is practically non-existent

Have you ever considered just how many posts are being made on social media per day? Have a guess, then watch the live statistics for some of the top social channels.

The key social platforms are in a current state of content shock, which essentially means that there is far too much content being posted online than can be consumed by the users. The theory, explained perfectly here, is a simple case of supply and demand which has led to a sharp decline in the organic reach of content.

Facebook defines organic reach as “how many people you can reach for free by posting to your page.” This seems simple enough. You create a page for your business, build yourself an audience and post your content out to them, right?

Unfortunately the situation is far more complex.

The landscape of Facebook marketing is predominantly pay-to-play, and it has been for a number of years now. Facebook bosses have chosen to commercialise their platform by placing a news-feed preference on the businesses who put capital behind their content. Failing to explore the possibilities of post sponsorship is a dangerous game to play.

Facebook mobile

The longer it takes to create content for Facebook, the more money should be put behind it. Give it the reach it deserves.

2. Branding and engagement often get forgotten about in the pursuit of traffic

It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating content, posting it out and waiting for the click-throughs to flood in. Unfortunately, the days of pushing out an entirely commercial message are long gone. You must make your content engaging. You need people to click on it. The danger here is that a failure to do so will result in your posts becoming practically invisible.

The aforementioned content shock has led to social feed algorithms that filter consumers’ social experiences, tailoring the feeds to display only the pages they engage with the most (the most recent Facebook algorithm update has seen them place a preference on posts that link to a fast-loading website, it also prioritises family and friends’ posts.)

Simply put, if you are failing to provide engaging content to your audience then your page will fail. With so much information being thrown at the consumer, you have a duty to place an emphasis on brand development as opposed to revenue chasing.

This study courtesy of Sprout Social indicates that the most unfollow-worthy action a social page can carry out is saturating their feed with a commercial message:

social media unfollow danger

Why people unfollow brands, based on their social media actions.

Take Adidas as a goliath example, rarely does their Twitter feed express a CTA. Rather than using their feeds to drive traffic they choose to focus on creating sharp content that reinforces their brand.

With social media’s role to play as a referral source weakening, it is becoming clearer that the tool should be used to strengthen brand image instead. In fact, this is what the general social audience expects of you in 2017. This can be done by:

  • Replying to customersCustomer interaction is the key to executing a sturdy business plan as it helps to develop a consumer-business relationship.
  • Producing content that they want to share. Every post should have a shareable factor. If that’s outside of your skill set, provide incentives to the consumer base in the hope that they will share the content. Simple retweet competitions are a very effective mechanism to enable this.
  • Having fun with what you post. Make it noticeable that effort has been put into the management of the account. If your social feeds come across like an online Yellow Pages ad, they will be treated as such.

 

3. Diving in without doing your research can end up messy

Every marketing plan should start with an analysis of the business’ current position, as well as a further analysis of the key online competitors. A failure to do so can result in lethargic content that fails in its performance, a key danger in social media marketing.

The basis of any social campaign should start with a simple, effective S.W.O.T Analysis:

SWOT analysis for social media

In brief, how we approach business analysis

“SWOT analysis is a process that identifies an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats” – Investopedia

The model provides a sound basis for the analysis of both yourself and your competitors, as it allows you to compare and contrast a set of strengths and weaknesses to determine what level you need to reach with your marketing campaign (the minimum target should be to keep pace with your competitors.) Further, it gives a business the opportunity to optimise a plan by focusing on its intrinsic qualities whilst trimming any past failings away. Without any form of research on the business’ prior social performance, there is no basis through which progress can be tracked.

It is also worthwhile to develop an understanding of some key social media terms. Take your time to have a flick through the analytics pages for the channels you are using, or have a read through a some blog posts to get a brief understanding from the industry experts. A considered approach towards the performance of your page means you can track your progress, or the ROI on your paid posts more efficiently.

 

4. User generated content can be dangerous

User generated content, by its very definition, is a type of content created when consumers interact with a brand initiative. This usually involves inviting consumers to engage with a hashtag or digital platform, branded content will then be displayed on their personal social media accounts, essentially doing your digital marketing for you.

Simpler forms of UGC are easy to manage, such as customer testimonial tools and hashtag campaigns; however, history indicates that complex UGC campaigns take businesses down a path of social media danger.

Back in May 2017, Walkers crisps ran an innovative Twitter campaign dubbed ‘#WalkersWave’ that invited users to send selfies in a competition for UEFA Champions League Final tickets. The selfies would then be randomly digitally-imposed onto video content with long-time brand ambassador Gary Lineker. At least, that was the aim.

The result of the campaign was an infamous hijacking courtesy of the Twitter community.

It was a stark reminder of the dangers that user generated content brings with it, things can spiral out of control – fast. In this case, the auto generation of the posts was detrimental because there was no moderation in place. After that crisis, you would think that creative agencies collectively went back to the drawing board? Lessons were surely learnt.

Wrong.

Earlier this month, The National Lottery ran a very similar Twitter campaign to create engagement with sports fans, thanking them for their support during the World Athletics Championships. Here’s an example, albeit a rare one, of the campaign working effectively:

https://twitter.com/TNLUK/status/897181056843075585

In principle this is a fantastic idea. Just by retweeting (which in turn raises brand awareness for The National Lottery), users are sent personalised video content that is sent straight to their mentions.

However, the automated process grabbed the users’ account name as the basis for the content. Large sections of the Twitter community exploited this.

national lottery twitter

Some users exploited the campaign to share light-hearted football humour.

 

lottery munich twitter

Others took advantage of the loophole to spread insulting messages, with this take on the Munich Air Disaster of 1968 being one of the tamer examples available.

The National Lottery apologised profusely for the mix up, but one wonders who signed off on the idea in the first place.

 

5. No matter your business size, establish brand guidelines early

As part of any social media plan it is essential that a series of guidelines are set. These help aid employees in keeping true to your desired direction, and ensure that your online presence remains consistent across a multi-channel approach.

Here are three points worth considering when putting a brand guideline together:

Set out a content calendar:

Planning out your content for the months ahead helps a business to make sure they are hitting key dates, by organising their content and effectively distributing resources to fit the calendar. Establishing a content calendar is proof that organisation is the key to success.

Decide on a post ratio and stick to it:

Are you of the ‘less is more’ persuasion, or would your social channels benefit from a fast-and-frequent approach? Decide on what is the optimum for your business and stick to it. Having a concrete post ratio means both yourself, and your employees know exactly what output is expected.

Confirm a tone and a voice:

With so much focus on creating content with top visual quality, tone and voice often get overlooked. Consistency is key, and that is especially true with regards to the text you put out online. A lot of it depends on your audience, are you looking to develop a corporate look and feel or would you benefit from going off-the-cuff?

While the majority of fast food restaurants use their social channels as a customer service platform and advertising tool, Wendy’s execute a sarcastic tone perfectly. Not only does this set them apart from the rest of the competition, but it provides a human element to their responses that leaves the consumer feel like they are being talked to by a person rather than a brand.

Limit human error:

Human error is ultimately unavoidable, but it is a danger of social media that can be limited by putting procedures in place. The assignation of clear roles within the process is a great start, at a bare minimum all posts should be cleared by a senior who has final responsibility for the output.

Social media is an extremely powerful tool, but at the slip of a finger, you can take two steps backwards. By ensuring an internet etiquette is maintained you lower the risk of a PR crisis.

Social media campaigns play a big part in what we do here at Pixel Kicks, after all, a crisply designed website needs a strong social presence alongside it.

Have any questions regarding your own social media strategy? We’re happy to discuss how you can avoid the dangers of social media directly with you. Contact us here.