How To Find and Use Images Online – The Right Way

How To Find and Use Images Online – The Right Way

Images are an excellent addition to any website or blog post. They are key to successful social media – posting images on your social networks helps your posts get shared and liked more.

However, not all images on the internet are okay to use (in fact most are not).

There are laws that allow people to claim rights to their images. Using any image that you find on the internet can get you in big trouble and leave you with a hefty fine!

Image Copyright Laws

We live in a world where images are so easy to find with just a click of a button but we can’t use any image that shows up in search results since there is a cost for ownership of most images. It’s important to be aware of copyright laws in your country to ensure you don’t get fined for using content that you don’t have the right to use.

In Canada, any image taken by any device (camera, smartphone, etc.) is subject to copyright. This means that if someone takes a photo, it is their photo and anyone else that would like to use it has to seek permission from the photographer. The photographer is not required to register their work to have it copyrighted – when the photo is saved (onto a smartphone or camera roll) it is automatically subject to copyright and protected under copyright laws. Therefore, it is essential that we learn to keep these laws in mind because if you get caught using an image that belongs to someone else, you could be fined!

How To Find Great Free Images

There are many ways to find images that are free and can enhance your content.

1. Create your own images: Grab your camera or even your smartphone to capture some images! This allows you to be in full control of what the image will loook like and leaves tons of room for customization. Also, having your own images ensures that the content is original and authentic.

 2. Find royalty-free images on Google: When you search on Google, make sure you’ve clicked the “labelled for reuse” button! This allows you to reuse the image. See below:

3. Use Creative Commons to search multiple platforms to find free images: This site allows you to search for images easily and helps you find free images from various platforms. Check out this blog post on Creative Commons for more information.

4. Find royalty-free images online: Using sites such as allthefreestock.com allows you to search for various free images, videos, music and icons that are royalty-free.

5. Tools such as Canva: Canva allows you to edit your images and it basically works as an easy-to-use graphic design platform. It also has a massive repository of free images along with fairly inexpensive images (approximately $1 for a high-quality image).

6. Buy images: There are sites that allow you to purchase high-quality images. Sites such as iStock allow you to buy images for as little as $12 per image. You can also get a subscription for $40 per month that gets you 10 images per month.

7. Hire a photographer – sometimes only the highest quality images will do. Hire someone who knows how to set up and take the perfect pictures to showcase your brand.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can always check where that image appears online through TinEye. You simply upload your image or paste a URL of the image and this tool does a reverse search to find out where that image appears online.

 

Promote Your Brand Facebook Live

Promote Your Brand Facebook Live

Live video streaming is critical to brand growth in 2016 and it has really taken off this year in part due to the launch of Facebook Live. Live videos are real time video posts on Facebook and they can be a great way to promote and boost your brand. You can use them to communicate brand stories, to enhance relationships and to share your knowledge and expertise.

People love watching video and Facebook Live lets you connect directly with your friends and followers and to get more interactive with a younger demographic.

Right now the easiest way to broadcast on Facebook Live is using your iOS or Android device from your Facebook page, profile, or group you manage. You can also use your desktop but that’s a little more complex.

How To Use Facebook Live Video14425479_10155239402623662_4259300246151475752_o

To go Live simply login to Facebook, go to your page and click the publish icon as if you were going to publish a post. From there you click on the red video icon. As you complete this process a couple of pop ups will show up asking you to authorize the app to use the camera and microphone on your device. When you are ready to go live then click on the blue go live button!

Getting Ready to Share Your First Facebook Live Stream

There are a few key things to think about first though:

  • Promoting your Live event – tell people in advance that you will be going live. You can use your timelines, other social feeds and Facebook events to do this. Give them plenty of time to put it in their schedule.
  • Get ready – prepare your outline and presentation in advance so you know what you will be talking about. Facebook live should seem spontaneous and natural, but that doesn’t mean it should be completely unscripted. Set up your location too. Choose a quiet spot with little background traffic.
  • Make sure you have a good connection – video takes up a lot of bandwidth.

When to go Live on Facebook

What time you go Live will depend on your audience. Noon till 3pm is the best time to catch people at work and 6-9pm is optimum otherwise. It’s a great idea to coordinate with a popular event (industry conference) and tap into their event too (as long as you have a good connection there!).

After you are finished, your video is published as a post on your timeline so it is available for those who missed it to watch it later. Your video should be at least 10 minutes long. Broadcasts can last up to 90 minutes.

Below there’s a link to our first SMEI Facebook live event by Gregg Frederick, CSE, principal of G3 Development Group. Gregg used Facebook Live to explain how to use this powerful new social media tool to create engagement around both your personal and business brand.

What’s next with live video, YouTube live is now emerging too so make sure that’s part of your brand strategy for 2017.

Watch our first SMEI Facebook Live video on our Facebook feed.

gregg-fb-live

Key Messages from The Art of Leadership in Vancouver

Key Messages from The Art of Leadership in Vancouver

The Art of Leadership rolled into Vancouver on Friday featuring 5 world renowned authors giving their unique slant on the topic. Leadership means different things to different people in different situations but two common themes kept bubbling to the surface at this event: that in order to be an effective leader you need to be creative and that you should embrace your fear.

Tammy Heermann talked about strategy end effectiveness. Build your strategic muscle by asking strategic questions (building connections, impact and tension). Focus on the customer and link to broader goals that can be quantified.

Artwork by Tristan Millar

Artwork by Tristan Millar

Sir Ken Robinson pointed out that innovation and energy are key aspects of leadership. We think that life is linear (like your resume!) but it’s not. Life is composed as you live it and as a leader you don’t have to know everything to be effective but you do have to be able to think creatively. People feed off each other and effective organisations are those are able to innovate and transform.

Ron Tite pointed out that reinvention is critical for leaders. We are all artists and should be rebels with a cause. In order to succeed your personal values must align with your business values. Great leaders believe in something greater, great artists do it to do it. He reminded us to be anti establishment and not to fear failure.

Michael Bungay Stanier talked about the 3 vicious circles that leaders face: you either feel overwhelmed, or like an over dependent teen (the more advice you give the more they want), or you feel a sense of disconnect. We all do good, great or bad work – it’s the proportions that count. Great work gives us impact and meaning. He reminded us to say less and ask more.

Neil Pasricha talked about how to be happy. When we are little we’re told to work hard, be a success and happiness will follow when in fact it is the opposite. Start by being happy, do great work and then big success comes. Here’s a recipe for happiness (based on major studies done on the topic):

  1. Take 3 nature walks per week
  2. Journal the best parts of your day
  3. Do 5 conscious acts of kindness per week
  4. Meditate
  5. Be thankful for 5 things that happened each week.

Track your happiness – when our minds are focused we’re happier. We all feel fear – the key is to just do it, turn fear into bigger success.

Tom Peters with SMEI CEO WIllis Turner

Tom Peters SMEI Hall of Fame Honoree with SMEI CEO Willis Turner

Tom Peters pointed out that managing is a pain but it’s also one of the best life opportunities you can get. Excellence is not a long term achievement; it is what you do in the next 5 minutes. Whoever tries the most stuff and screws up most wins – the faster you fail the faster you will succeed. The four most important questions you can ask in a company are “What do you think.?”. Women have better leadership qualities and success rate than men, they tend to be better at taking initiative and driving results. Listening is key to respect, engagement, community and growth – we have to listen to succeed.

 

How To Use Hashtags for Sales and Marketing

How To Use Hashtags for Sales and Marketing

Hashtags are a really useful tool for sales and marketing professionals. You can use them to extend your social media reach and to engage prospects and like minded networkers. Used right they will help you build your following, your posts will reach a far wider audience, you will get more leads, and boost productivity. In this post your will learn how to use hashtags for sales and marketing.

What is a Hashtag?

In social media a hashtag is the hash or pound sign (#) followed by a word or key phrase that is used to categorize what your post is about. For example, if you are posting about social media, you might use the hashtag #socialmedia or #socmed. When you post to social networks using a hashtag, this then becomes searchable i.e. you can click on it to see all posts that use the same hashtag and it makes it more likely that people will find your post.

hashtags for sales and marketingA Few Things to Know About Hashtags

  • Never include a space in your hashtags, if there’s a space then it won’t be searchable.
  • You can include numbers and capital letters in hashtags. Capitals often make the hashtag more readable and understandable.
  • Use hashtags that are short and sweet. Trying to fit a whole sentence into a hashtag makes is incomprehensible and reduces its reach.
  • You can (and should) have your own one that you use to brand your posts.
  • Hashtags are a hugely important on Instagram and are key to building your following
    Be extra careful when using hashtags on Facebook. Don’t use too many (2 is enough) and don’t use them too often.
  • Don’t use made up hashtags that mean nothing unless you are trying to be funny (this can backfire and be a waste of your time).

hashtags data by hashtagify.me

To decide which hashtags to use, first think about what you are posting about and then consider which words you would use to describe your post. For example when we share this post we might use hashtags like #sales and #marketing.

Once you have determined the most appropriate word to use you can dig deeper using tools that help you to determine the most popular ones to use.  Hashtagifyme which allows you to search for a hashtag and view related hashtags and their popularity. Choose the ones that are most popular to get the widest reach.

Instagram Hashtags

Using hashtags is a central component to building your following and engagement on Instagram. This app allows you to use up to 30 tags – if you try to use more you won’t be able to share your post.

The optimum number will depend on your audience and your posts but a general rule of thumb is to use between 5 and 10 (test and try this to see what works for you!). Upload your photo then enter your hashtags in the caption area.

More sophisticated users often enter a few tags in the caption area then more in the comments (there’s also a way to hide them to make your posts look cleaner but still make them searchable by adding line breaks). It’s a good idea to save a list of hashtags you frequently use so that you can simply copy and paste them from your phone. Instagram has a useful feature when entering hashtags that allows you to see how often these terms are used.

Twitter Hashtags

Twitter can be a really confusing network and most people really aren’t sure how to use it effectively. Hashtags can really help with that as they help to organise constant streams of updates and help you (and your audience) find the nuggets of information they are really interested in. Use a relevant hashtag before relevant keywords to help your Tweets show up better in search. You can use them anywhere in your Tweet and popular hashtags often become trending topics. A general rule of thumb is to use 2 – if you use more then engagement will decrease.

How to Use Hashtags for Sales and Marketing
how to use hashtags

Why are hashtags important for sales and marketing? First of there’s a lot of noise out there – using the right hashtags both to search social networks and to share your content will help you and your followers hone in on the important stuff.

  • Hashtags help your brand reach a wider audience so use a hashtag for your brand – my company, Out-Smarts uses #outsmarts and SMEI uses #SMEI. – to differentiate your posts.
  • Use a hashtag for your location if your audience is local i.e. #vancouver to help people in your area hone in on your posts.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the hashtag #forsale or #sale as this also helps more people find you – although you will probably want to use another one that categorizes what you sell!
  • Customizing hashtags can help you track campaign engagement so use them consistently. You can track and measure these too to determine how often your audience uses or mentions your campaign hashtag.
  • People use social networks to search for things they want to buy. Get in the habit of searching social networks for posts that include hashtags describing your product or service. Listening and responding will help engage buyers and make that cold call slightly warmer!
  • The best hashtags to use will depend on the product and service you are providing – it’s a good idea to check out the hashtags your competitors are using and to research which ones get the most engagement (retweets, comments etc.).
  • Hashtags should be used at your sales and marketing as they allow allow attendees to connect and network virtually and you can easy find and follow attendees who use them.

Using hashtags efficiently and effectively can be a great way to increase your social media productivity. Remember to use them efficiently and effectively according to which platform you are on.

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Photo credit: quinn.anya via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
Driving Sales Through Effective SEO

Driving Sales Through Effective SEO

One of the most effective ways to fill your sales funnel is by driving targeted traffic to your website. Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tells Google what your site is all about so that Google can then map people’s search to your site in the search engine results page. Driving sales through effective SEO can really grow your sales funnel.

Search Engine Optimisation isn’t something that should happen as an afterthought. If you are planning a blog post, a new page on your website or other content such as a new product on your store, it is important to consider SEO right at the start. If you do so then your post, page or offering will be more relevant, in demand and it will get more traffic, visitors and shares.

Here’s a checklist of the simple SEO tactics that can help your post, page or products get found:

SEO Checklist

1. Every page on your site shouFirst determine what your new page or blog post is going to be about and draft some pertinent keywords – i.e. words that your clients might use to search for your content and that describe what your post is all about. Go with your gut instinct and think about the words your customers use when asking you about this topic.Google suggestions - Small Business SEO Checklist

2. Use Google Trends to determine whether people are searching for these words or phrases. Google suggestions is also a great way to determine if this is a good topic, just start entering your word or phrase in Google and see how it completes it in the search dropdown that shows up. The suggestions that show up first are the most popular searches relating to your keyword. If you want to go really deep you can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool to determine the competition and value of your intended words or phrases (which isn’t ideal as it’s based on data from paid advertising and not overall search), or even better, a tool like Keyword Explorer from MOZ.

Another even easier way to determine the competition for a key word / phrase is to Google it and see how many results there are.

Your goal in this step is to determine phrases or words that have a high volume but low competition.

3. After doing the research in 2 above, determine a) your focus keyword / phrase, and b) secondary keywords that apply (use these in the text when writing your content). Craft your text and content around these.

4. To make it more likely that your page or post will be found when people search for it, the word / phrase that you have identified as your focus keyword / phrase should be used in the:

  • Title of your post
  • META title
  • META Description
  • Focus keyword
  • Alt Tags of your images
  • Text of your page – but not repetitively – you are writing for people not search engines! A good rule of thumb is 3 – 6 times for a 300 – 600 word post or page
  • In your headers and subheadings
  • URL

Yoast is a great tool to help you with this, if you are using WordPress I highly recommend it.

5. The META on your site might be the first impression anyone sees of your small business so take a little extra time to craft it well. When entering your META follow the META tag rules below- if you are using Yoast this plugin will help you with this:

Your META title (in purple in the image below) should be less than 56 characters, META description (below the URL in grey on the below)  should be less than 156 and it should compel people to click.

META Tags - Small Business SEO Checklist

SEO is Important

Small Business SEO ChecklistI meet a lot of people who think SEO is too technical so they simply avoid doing it but it doesn’t have to be and ignoring means you are losing out on lots of potential visits and shares. I hope that this simple SEO Checklist will encourage you to add SEO to your posts and pages. Doing so could be huge for your site and your sales!

Related posts by this author:

What is SEO

The importance of optimizing your website