marketing

Choosing The Best Social Network For Your Business

Bedtime (3)
Bedtime (3)

Is your business social-ready? We all know that social media can impact business growth, but how do we know which platform will perform best with our marketing strategy?

Not only is social media an incredibly effective tool to connect your business with potential consumers, it's cost-effective and a great way to bolster your presence online.

If you're a business owner and new to social media, here are a few things you want to ask yourself to help determine which network to choose for your marketing efforts.

What is Your Objective?

Choosing which social network to use depends on what goals you're trying to accomplish. Do you want to spread the news about your business? Are you selling a product? Promoting an event? These are some questions you want to answer to make it easier to separate each platform.

Who is Your Audience?

People hang out on various social media networks for many different reasons. It's important to know which social media channels your target audience are using. This way, you can invest your resources more wisely and possibly reach a target audience with relatively smaller platforms, which can be cheaper and less time consuming.

SMTarget
SMTarget

An effective way to do this is to research your competitor's audience and look at where they invest their resources online. What channels are they on? Which platform are they getting the most engagement? Another example is to ask them yourself. Send out an email to your customers and ask them where they spend most of their time on social media.

Which Social Media Network Makes The Most Sense For my Business?

When you've accurately answered these questions, it's on to the fun part. Here is a small guideline to a few of the most popular networks.

Facebook

The most popular network with the largest amount of active users (1.15 billion at that). If you want to reach a broad and diverse demographic, Facebook is a must. You'll need to set up a business page to begin acclimating yourself with different tools and strategies for Facebook marketing success. This will give you the ability to create ads, events, and content for your target audience.

monthly-active-users-640x500
monthly-active-users-640x500

Image from Kissmetrics.

Twitter

People come to Twitter to discover what's happening in the world right now. It's is one of the best platforms to share content instantly and to connect with people and businesses across a broad spectrum. Twitter makes it easy to discover conversations related to your business, helping you build meaningful connections with new and existing customers.

Instagram

For a younger, trendier audience, Instagram offers a way to reach this demographic with a visually appealing design. It's best used for high-end products or services, food/lifestyle/fashion themes, and for popular personalities.

LinkedIn/Google+

These two networks are extremely useful for businesses (especially B2B service providers). Both have more of a 'professional' focus on content and design. On LinkedIn, your network of connections (employees and contacts) is the most important content. There's nowhere better for a company seeking clients and individuals seeking employment. For Google+, keywords and search engine optimization are central to its appeal to businesses. It's a bit more formal and professional than Facebook, but both share some similarities.

Conclusion

Now's the time to show off your goods online. No matter the business, social media needs to be a priority in any marketing strategy because of its multi-purpose use and ability to reach a target audience pertinent to your business. If you're having trouble deciding on which platform to use, try experimenting with all of them. It can't hurt to familiarize yourself with each network to help you choose the best option for maximum benefits.

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How Facebook Changed The 20% Rule

HOW to start a (1)
HOW to start a (1)

Adding relevant images of your brand or service can make a huge impact in determining the success of your Facebook ads.

For marketers, it's becoming a challenge to keep up new changes Facebook announces every week. You can almost expect strategies you were once using yesterday, to be overhauled tomorrow.

Facebook's 20% rule was slyly changed (but not completely removed) recently as new guidelines were integrated into how much text images could be displayed.

Before the alteration, a basic grid tool allowed you to upload graphics and check how much your image is obscured by text. Now, there are four categories of text overlay:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 12.06.17 PM
Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 12.06.17 PM

Image Text Ratings determine how much text is in your ad image. While minimal text is still preferred, the new system allows you to run ads that would've been rejected under the old policy. ___

Image Text OK - If your image has nearly little to no text (other than a company logo,) typically your ad will run normally and reach the estimated amount of people.

FB1
FB1

___

Image Text Low - With a low classification, your ads may be restricted in reach.

FB2
FB2

___

Image Text Medium - Ad images with slightly higher text display will reach even lower counts.

FB3
FB3

___

Image Text High - If the image you uploaded is determined to be in this class, you have too much text and your ad may not be displayed at all.

FB4
FB4

___

Keep in mind that logos, watermarks, and numbers all count towards the text amount. There are also a few exceptions that can be automatically identified by Facebook like text-based products (calligraphy, infographics, book titles, etc.)

At this point, changes to your social media campaigns are inevitable because of the constant innovation of these type of tools. Facebook wants what's best for the ultimate user experience, even if marketers are being most affected. ___

Have you tested your Facebook ad campaigns with images that include text and ones without? Let us know your results!

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How Brands Are Using Live Video Content

How (3)
How (3)

In an era where face-to-face communication has materialized into texts, emails, emojis, memes and (a lot of times) misinterpreted messages, platforms like Facebook, SnapChat, YouTube and Periscope are tapping into the emotional value of immediacy and authenticity.

Today, the growth of live video is inspiring businesses to share their story in real-time. Brands are taking advantage of social media and technology to create content that resembles popular trends and consumer behaviors.

Here are a few examples of brands using live video to strengthen their marketing campaigns:

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New Balance

NB
NB

To better build a 'balance' between in-stores and online media, the sports footwear company harnessed the power of live video to visually connect with fans and customers.

In 2014, New Balance teamed up with Brandlive, a real-time, online and video commerce platform to engage customers and spark sales. Consumers and retailers were invited to “hear about all the latest in #runnovation and get your questions answered by the product team, live from #NBHQ!”

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 7.00.09 AM
Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 7.00.09 AM

The multi-event campaign demonstrated four of their popular 880 shoe line to employees, retailers, and customers across the nation. Shoppers were given access via in-store video kiosks or any web-browser to a video feed connected to New Balance's Boston headquarters, where product experts answered questions through online messaging and social feeds.

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Nestlé

nestle
nestle

I have to say, marketing a vanilla ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate and nuts seems to be an easy blueprint, but Nestlé' upped their game with this specific product. Last June, Nestlé's Drumstick ran the first Periscope-specific ad to promote the brand around the summer solstice.

Drumstick
Drumstick

To do this, the company hired Periscope personalities to broadcast summertime themes (like amusements parks, picnics and backyard parties) with their product. Drumstick then made its own Periscope account, showcasing 20+ summer themed broadcasts about ice cream (yummm).

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Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkind
Dunkind

To get America running on their iced coffee, the donut king created a buzz for millenials last summer with "DD Summer Soundtrack." Dunkin' sponsored a five-concert series from where content was published and promoted through Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Facebook and Periscope.

"This will be the first time we've had the mass social presence across all the channels on the same idea for the same promotion," Scott Hudler, vp of global consumer engagement at DD told Adweek,  "With a program like this—which is clearly designed to reach a younger consumer—we feel like we need to cover all of our bases."

Dunkin
Dunkin

The concert content was available on the microsite through the end of the summer, giving fans access to videos, custom playlists from popular artists, photos from performances, and behind-the-scene footage from the event.

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Are you using live video for your business marketing campaign? Tell us by replying to this email or tweeting us at @socialapemktg!

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5 Reasons Why You Need Strong Branding

THE
THE

You'd like to think your brand means much more than a fancy logo, or a catchy tagline.

Well, that's because it is.

Branding is representation of your business. It's how your customers perceive your company. And it's a symbol of your service.

Here are some reasons why good branding is important for any business.

1. Brand Recognition

Brand recognition by definition, is the extent to which a consumer can identify a particular product or service by viewing the logo, tagline, or packaging. Consider your logo as the "face" of your company. This stamp is crucial because it will be a part of every product of your brand in marketing and advertising. Your logo should be clean, precise, and strong enough to leave an impression on consumers.

shutterstock_193169738 2
shutterstock_193169738 2

2. Branding Tells a Story

Make people relate to your brand by telling your story. A heart-felt and genuine story behind your brand can attract consumers to your products. Clients and customers want to know, like, and trust who's behind the brand. This is a great way to gain relationships with loyal customers.

3. Branding is Consistent

Advertising online is hard enough with the volume of products flying around the web. Being active with your strategies keeps your targets aware of your brand. Without a constant reminder of your business, consumers may forget about you and go with a competitor. Implement different marketing strategies such as contests, polls, and giveaways to engage audiences and stay ahead of your competitors.

4. Employees Carry Your Brand

It's important that your employees embody everything about your brand. For the most part, they are the first "touch point" for any business, and thus, will be what consumers will mostly remember about their first experience with your company. Customer service is a top priority for potential clients and customers. Your team carries the message for your brand, connecting all of the pieces for your clients to help them understand why your product trumps the rest.

Multiethnic Group of Hands Raised
Multiethnic Group of Hands Raised

5. Branding Provides Value

A strong brand can produce future business with investors and other opportunities within business market. Providing on-going value to your targets has potential to make you the "go-to" product for consumers. Showing your effort and building your brand value can constitute higher financial returns in the end.

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Content Creation For Your Brand

Creating
Creating

Content creation can be a frustrating and time consuming task, whether it's for marketing a business, brand, or a personal venture. But for a social media presence, content is still king. Companies are prioritizing the quality of the content being advertised as opposed to the quantity of the content distributed.

No matter the industry or marketing strategy, relevant, interesting, and engaging content is key to reaching the most unique viewership. Be prepared to do research on trending social media news through other news sites and blogs to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing social media world. Use these ideas to create content that ties in with your unique audience and strategy.

For the less experienced content creators, or those that need steering in the right direction, there are many tools and tips to help ease the stress that comes with generating content for your business or brand. Utilize these tools and be on your way to constructing your content more quickly and efficiently.

1. Explore Trending Social Media Topics

Many notable online news sites now have 'Social Media/Technology' sections within their website, where viewers can find relevant and noteworthy social media news around the world. It's important that you know your audience and what interests them. Your content should always cater to your market. Websites like Mashable, a leading global media company, informs, inspires and entertains the digital generation and make it easier for content creators to find ideas on topics that may interest and engage their audience. If you're looking for a specific topic fast, Twitter is another great tool for finding trending social media news. Twitter gives you the ability to prioritize searches using hashtags, so that users can engage in the conversations that are most popular.

Mashable
Mashable

2. Content Creation

When you've found that perfect topic to expand on for your audience, their are many content creation tools to help aid you with the task and help you stay organized.

  • Canva - Makes designs simple for everyone. Easily create designs for your brand using over a million images (many which are free) catered to your liking. Add texts, graphics and photos to express what you're all about.
  • Unsplash - Search through their vast photo feed on their website to create beautiful designs for FREE! All you have to do is subscribe to Unsplash and from there, enjoy 10 copy-write free photos every 10 days.
  • WordSwag- Inspire your audience with perfect images to add your favorite quotes. Construct custom text layouts with a click of a button!

Remember that visuals (images, videos, memes) remain a vital part of any published content. According to MGD Advertising, articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images, on average.

its-all-about-images-infographic_cutoff
its-all-about-images-infographic_cutoff

3. Market Your Content

As you prepare to publish the goods, organizing when and where you market the content can be a factor in who sees it. These tools will help you coordinate where your content gets posted and in turn, create more viewership.

  • Hootsuite- Lets you manage your social networks from one platform. Publishing and monitoring content never looked so easy. It also has the ability to engage with your audience across all platforms on different streams to build relationships and brand awareness.
  • Sprout Social - Another platform to publish and monitor content but contrary to Hootsuite, Sprout Social uses one stream for engagement with users as it collaborates data collected into one simple program.
AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO
AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO

We hope these tips and tools are a helpful start to your content creation journey. Just remember, whether it's a business you work for or a self-branding campaign, the content should reflect everything you and your audience is about. Also, you can never have enough visuals, because if you're like me, ain't nobody got time to read all that!

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6 Inspiring Brands on Social Media

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.27.18 PM
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.27.18 PM

Finding your company's place in the realm of social media can sometimes seem impossible. With technology advancing within the time it takes to blink your eye, the key to staying up with the cool trends is to be inspired by the other successful brands trying new things and helping fun tidbits you find to create something unique to your brand! This week we decided it would be a cool to show you a few different brands to keep an eye on when that moment comes and you need a little inspirational push.

1) LOFT

Loft uses creative ways of using stop motion animation when advertising their adorable and affordable clothing. We've had our eye on their social media when we need inspiration for stop motion animation. There are plenty go free apps you can use to create these stop motion videos and all you'll need is your product, props, and decent lighting to make it happen. We use Stop Motion available in the Apple app store to make our stop motion videos.

loft 2
loft 2

2) WENDY'S

We have to be honest when I say we're normally McDonald's people, but on social media Wendy's has stolen our hearts with their witty humor. They've recently created and successfully executed a campaign called #AskEileen that has taken the Twitter world by storm. The backstory behind #AskEileen consists of a grandson asking Wendy's if his grandmother, being a die hard lover of Wendy's, could take over the Wendy's Twitter account for her 99th birthday. When Wendy's said Yes to this comical endeavor, it went viral and #AskEileen became a slogan that Wendy's lovers won't forget! The whole day of 1/10 was documented on Twitter via Periscope and photos of Eileen's birthday surrounded around Wendy's. With this long winded story in mind, think outside the box when coming up with campaigns to promote your business. This doesn't have to mean executing a  Twitter takeover from a 99 year old woman, but it could be something different that would encourage other followers to follow along.  (To read more about #AskEileen, click HERE)

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.57.46 AM
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.57.46 AM

3) CHARMIN

Although their slogan is Charmin Ultra, Less is More  (We all know you sang that in your head), their Twitter account has more laughs and ironic humor than most. Charming is sure to use relevant topics in the news to promote their business in a humorous way. By using puns and relevant material related to toilet paper, they incorporate the trending hashtags into their daily content. Create a fun graphic or comical Twitter poll to get users involved with your brand during a time when everyone has an opinion.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.19.22 AM
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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.19.30 AM

4) DOVE

If there's one brand that knows how to effectively tap into their audience, it's Dove. Although they sell products to men AND women, they're conscious to use a feminine voice when delivering their message via social media. Dove is aware that the majority of their consumer base is women; therefore, their social media presence is heavily geared towards women. Take a tip from Dove's rule book and get to know your audience. Post with them in mind rather than posting to just acquire likes.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.46.19 AM

5) CHOBANI

You know your brand more than anyone else does. Think outside the box on how consumers view and use your brand. This is what Chobani did by posting different ways to use their yogurt products beyond just eating it with a spoon and granola. This approach inspires their consumers to try their product in a new way. (We even tried greek yogurt on chili the other night... and it was delicious). Don't miss out on the opportunity to reinvent your brand on social media by showing it in a new way that your followers may not be used to.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.12.09 AM
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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.12.25 AM

6) NIKELAB

If you love the clean look that is so popular right now on social media, we suggest being inspired by the NikeLab account on Instagram. They deliver their branding in a clean way while still being bada**. Perhaps you could attempt to create your own version of this look by using color blocking with your brand colors and specific product placement or even using only black and white products.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.28.38 AM
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.28.38 AM

We hope that this blogpost has inspired you to innovate your social media accounts using unique content! Share your inspiration with us by tagging us at @SocialApeMKTG on Twitter!

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WeLoveCLT Takeover

Blog 11:4
Blog 11:4

Social Ape had the awesome opportunity to “take over” the WeLoveCLT Instagram account this past Monday. @WeLoveCLT is solely a takeover account that allows local businesses in Charlotte to showcase their company culture as well as show what it’s like behind-the-scenes on a daily basis at their company. It was such a blast showing the 12K followers of the @WeLoveCLT account what we do at Social Ape Marketing!

Our day started off in a meeting with SHARE Charlotte and Google Fiber to discuss the upcoming #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign. Google Fiber is a Presenting Sponsor of this year’s campaign and we’re thrilled to have them on board!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.44.09 PM

After the #GivingTuesdayCLT meeting, we ventured back to the office and were very excited to share the adorable North Carolina state cutting boards we received in the mail. These boards will be put in referral baskets to show special thanks to our friends that send us business!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.49.53 PM

Next, we made our way to Rhino Market, a local favorite of ours (and super close to the office) for a grilled cheese and vegetable soup. If you were wondering, that is pumpernickel toast, not burnt bread! It was super delicious. :)

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.52.45 PM

After lunch we made a pit stop on the way back to work to take a few photos of the Panthers Bank of America stadium for our client Dick Stevens Jerky Mix. Even though it was raining, we were able to get a great shot and hosted a fun Facebook contest that evening on the Dick Stevens Facebook page.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.55.21 PM

Along with taking photos for our clients, we also worked on a Stop Animation video for Dick Stevens as well. It was hard to not eat all of the moving parts consisting of jerky, nuts, and berries but we were actually able to record the video afterall.  ;)

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.57.00 PM

What better way to end the day than at the Panthers game? We were pretty excited to see 383 likes on our gameday photo. Rain or shine, we love our Carolina Panthers!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.59.26 PM

It was such a fun experience showing everyone how much fun we have on a daily basis at Social Ape! If you are interested in taking over the WeLoveCLT Instagram account, follow @WeLoveCLT and the instructions to take over are in the bio!

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!

#GivingTuesdayCLT Prep Rally

10:28 blog 1
10:28 blog 1

As a #GivingTuesdayCLT Partner, Social Ape participated in the #GivingTuesdayCLT Nonprofit Prep Rally yesterday. This event offered an opportunity for the participating nonprofits of #GivingTuesdayCLT 2015 to learn more about the campaign as well as how they can help to reach this year's fundraising goal of $2million. We had a table at the event to show the nonprofits how to increase their social media presence throughout the campaign and beyond.

The swag given away at the Social Ape table was a great incentive for the nonprofits to participate in the Passport activity, which encouraged the nonprofit members who attended to get a signature from all four tables at the event to become eligible for a raffle giveaway. The other three tables at the event were of the #GivingTuesdayCLT partners Spark Strategic Ideas, Skookum, and Web Station.

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IMG_3275
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IMG_3298

Janine Davis from Girl Talk Foundation, Mary Ellen Player from Google Fiber, and Susan Patterson from The Knight Foundation all did an amazing job rallying the nonprofits to get even more involved in helping #GivingTuesdayCLT to reach its $2M goal this year.

Along with great speakers, the food and drinks were also a hit! Frans Filling Station, the Winestore, and Heist Brewery all contributed to display a delicious spread for all the nonprofits to enjoy.

IMG_3299
IMG_3299

The nonprofit Prep Rally was such a fun event and a great opportunity for us to personally meet the people behind the nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesdayCLT. We’re really excited to be a part of such an inspirational campaign that will truly change our city for the better! Keep an eye out for the #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign that kicks off on November 10th by following Share CLT on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

IMG_3304
IMG_3304

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How to Upgrade Your Twitter Bio

Blog Graphic 10_21
Blog Graphic 10_21

For many, self promotion is tough, especially on social media. Although it may be uncomfortable to talk about yourself, it's important to have a compelling Twitter Bio to attract followers as well as tell other Twitter users who you are. In this blog post, we'll go through a 4-step process to help you achieve an intriguing Twitter Bio.

  1. Make a list of a few fun facts about yourself that you'd like to share with Twitter users. This could include hobbies, your workplace, accomplishments, etc. Keep in mind the 160-character limit that Twitter has put on the bio section. With that said, star a handful of the items that you want to include in your bio.
  2. Look to see if some of your traits or skills have a hashtag or handle. For example, if you love swimming, you could include the hashtag #swimming in our bio. Then, your twitter bio will be attached to that hashtag when anyone searches for #swimming on Twitter. You could also tag your company in your Bio to direct users to that account as well.
  3. Not all bios need to be in paragraph form, you can always do them in bullet-point form and separate them with a comma or some type of symbol you like.

We hope this post will help you take your Twitter bio to the next level. Be sure to share with use your bio upgrading experience by tagging us at @socialapemktg.

Below are examples of Twitter bios from the Social Ape team:

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.07.50 PM
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Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 5.00.21 PM

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Visual Content That Works

Everything you have ever wanted, is
Everything you have ever wanted, is

We've said it before and we'll say it again, visual content is crucial to social media success. Data and analytics have proven that adding visual content to Twitter and Facebook posts increases engagement, shares, retweets, SEO, etc. And psychology has proven that people process visuals way faster and retain more information when looking at visuals. So what kind of visuals make for good content? We are here to show you some examples!

1. Infographics

Infographics are one of the most shared visual contents out there. They are those really cool charts/diagrams that explain information visually. No matter your industry, making an infographic is a fun and visually appealing way to share information with your audience.

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Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 11.57.36 AM

Here are 3 great and free websites you can use to make infographics with ease:

Venngage

Piktochart

Easel.ly

2. Multiple Pictures

According to SocialMediaToday.com, posts with multiple images have a greater chance of going viral and frequently get over 100,000 shares. Use this type of post to tell a story or to make comparisons with pictures. Posts with multiple photos on Facebook also receive more interaction than posts with a single photo because users must click on the individual photos to expand them. Here are a couple examples where we've used multiple images for Facebook posts.

Tip: Use the free website PhotoJoiner.net to combine multiple images into one large image (as seen below with the combined Facebook posts), which is a great tool for blogs, Pinterest, etc.

blogpic
blogpic

3. Videos

Facebook, Twitter & Instagram all have automatic video capabilities and your audience on these networks love videos. Even with the rise of Snapchat, short videos are popular among millennials. You don't need a camera crew or actors to create a video. Just shoot something short and simple that could tell a great story, show a behind-the-scenes clip, or show your audience how something in your business or industry is made.

Tip: Use an app or Instagram filter to spice up your video with slow-mo or black & white. Hyperlapse is an Instagram app that speeds up video shot at normal speed. GIFs are another great and easy way to share a short video; add a funny GIF to your posts or create your own (we've written a blog about using & making GIFs, so check it out). We love this example of Birdsong Brewing showing how they can their beers through a short video!

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Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 1.15.10 PM

Canning fresh #JalapenoPale cans today! #CanDoWillDo

A video posted by Birdsong Brewing Company (@birdsongbrewing) on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:38am PDT

4. Inspiring Quote Cards

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Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.44.40 PM

Social media is a great place to throw in some inspiring words. In the midst of a constant flow of negativity sometimes seen in social media, reading something inspiring or funny will brighten the day of your followers. Find an inspirational quote on Pinterest, or use one of the many free apps and websites make your own original quote art. (Speaking of being original, the photo below was found on this article. but I thought it fit well for this blog.)

Here are 2 free websites/apps to inspire you to inspire:

Kanvas

Recite

5. Informative/Relevant Screenshots

Screenshots have a bad connotation when it comes to Snapchatting and blasting other's text messages to the public. However, screenshots are proof. They can be used for the good to show a sneak peek of something or share a good review. We use screen shots a lot on our blog to use original examples of our work, show data & analytics, creating step-by-step directions and even annotating them for clarity. By using screen shots, you can use real-life examples to prove a point. Here is a screenshot of screenshots on our blog, or as we like to call it, Screenshot Inception.

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Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 1.03.30 PM

What other fun visual content have you found that really works?  Tweet at us @socialapemktg and let us know!

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