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Do You Really Need a Website?

The rise of social media over the last decade has given many entrepreneurs and small businesses an understanding and sense that they, in fact, don’t quite need to have their own website. And nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s recall the comedians who had a following of over 800k and were able to monetize their brand and comedy via Vine. From one day to the next Vine literally unplugged their service and just like that the Vine comedians lost their loyal following, their content (1-minute videos), and their income stream. Gone….poof. There is a gymnast who had over 1000 videos on YouTube, without any warning, his content has been taken down and over 90% of his content had been demonetized.

As a web designer and digital marketer, when I hear a business owner tell me that they have an active Facebook page with over 10,000 followers I congratulation them but also ask them if those followers are all subscribed to their email list and are they actually visiting their website. Social media platforms have the right to your content and they also have the right to modify the algorithm as they see fit for “their” business, not yours.

There is a solution: build YOUR own website!  Your website is the digital foundation for your business. Your domain, your content, your mailing list. Facebook, albeit unlikely, could vanish tomorrow and how could you continue serving your customers, fans, loyal audience?

Look at it in this lens, Social Media is where you meet them at the party but your website is where you invite and host them in your own home to your private offerings and where you will ultimately want them to convert into your customer.

Creative Design Space

Creative Design Space

When you have your own website you can create a membership website, take payments or donations, sell digital or physical products and services. You can make exclusive offers for those on your email list as many times as you’d like.

WordPress is by far the best platform to create a flexible and customizable robust website. Ultimately your WordPress website gives you the MOST control. Squarespace and Wix are ultimately not your websites, you are renting or leasing space in their platform. You’re content again isn’t quite yours. What this means that if they decided tomorrow they reserve the right to take it from you. Even if you were to change your hosting company, with WordPress, it’s YOURS. You own it and can take it with you when you move to another hosting provider.

The hosting companies that I have recommended to clients are Siteground and WP Engine. Either of these, offer WordPress out of the box so it is fairly simple for you to install WordPress with the click of a button, literally.  Once you’ve installed your WordPress you are ready to start designing your website! If you are a Do It Yourself-er and don’t know where or how to start I recommend spending some time learning about Web Strategy, Design, and User Experience. Or you can fill out a project inquiry form so you can learn about my process using Growth Driven Design method to build a custom website.

If you would like to try to build your own website pages and forms, there are many ways to go about this. You can use the text or visual editor within WordPress, or you can use the Divi Theme and Divi Page builder to build your own custom website using drag and drop rows and modules. You can also download just about any plugin for the function you are looking to add to your website, which is why what makes WordPress so expandable and customizable to suit your business goals and needs.

Instagram Rolls Out Focus for Images and Video

The big and GOOD news today is that Instagram has just released FOCUS Feature which lets you BLUR out the background for portrait mode on your images and videos as well! If you want to see this in action head over to my Instagram @ohprosocial and check out my latest story.

Also hot off the Instagram press is @mention sticker is now available for iOS –  which makes it even easier to connect with friends in your stories. After you’ve taken a photo or video in your stories camera, open the stickers tray, tap the @mention sticker, start typing the name of the account you want to mention and select from the options that appear. You can then rotate, scale and place your sticker wherever you’d like.

Focus is now available on iPhone SE, 6S, 6S+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X and select Android devices.

This update is available as part of Instagram version 39.0 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.

There are times when creating a story on this social media platform is less than desirable because perhaps you haven’t tidied up or are in a location where you’d like to keep undisclosed, whatever your reason, now you can create your story worry free. Are you excited to start using this feature for your brand stories? If you’re like me and you’ve held off on using Stories, perhaps because your locations wasn’t always prime. Well the good news is now you can start using FOCUS feature, it’s next to Boomerang

 

Instagram Testing out Facebook’s Shoppable Collection Ads

The ad format digitizes brands’ print product catalogs with auto-play video and links to their e-commerce sites.

Instagram is looking towards becoming a digital showroom for retailers. The Facebook-owned photo-and-video app has started to test a version of Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads within its main feed.

Instagram Users can now tap on the products to visit the brand’s site and buy them directly. The ad format seeks to digitize traditional product catalogs by enabling a brand to highlight its products with an eye-catching video above a swipeable carousel that showcases specific products.

For now, Instagram is only trying out the format with a limited number of advertisers, but the company plans to roll this functionality to more advertisers in a few months, according to an Instagram spokesperson. Instagram has made some changes to Facebook’s original version of the Collection format, since it was introduced in March 2017.

The product carousel appearing below the ad’s main element can only contain three product photos on Instagram, as opposed to four photos on Facebook.

Currently on Facebook, when tapping on an individual product it opens a product catalog that prioritizes that specific product, however on Instagram, tapping on any of the product photos will open the same catalog.  From that catalog, people will then be able to click on a product to see it on the brand’s site.

It’s quite clear that E-commerce is becoming a big opportunity on Instagram, and a competitive category in its rivalry with Snapchat. Both platforms offer features to brands that link to purchases outside the apps, and both are slowly bringing the power to buy the apps themselves.

Instagram is becoming an important driver for the future of Facebook’s business. Last week, Facebook’s earnings report showed that the number of people on the social network had declined in North America for the first time and that people were even spending less time on the platform. Executives like Sheryl Sandberg focused on the potential for Instagram.

Facebook has more than 5 million advertisers, while Instagram has around than 2 million. There are 70 million businesses on Facebook and 25 million on Instagram.

Facebook wants to give more advertisers the ability to easily extend campaigns from one platform to the next, and drive more of the advertisers to all its properties.

“Instagram is a business’s visual shop on mobile, and we’re seeing more people seek out businesses there,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, during the earnings call with analysts. “About two-thirds of the visits to Instagram business profiles are from people who don’t yet follow them. This is how many businesses are finding new customers.”

Here at Oh Pro Social, we are busy working on new and custom strategies on both Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for our clients based on their industry and audience. If your business has a print product catalog we can help you attract customers on social media. We work to stay on top of the latest changes on all social platforms and plan to welcome the volatile landscape of digital marketing. Contact us today so we can help your business meets its goals.

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