Social Media 101 – The Basics

There’s no doubt that social media is an important aspect of many people’s personal lives. Over the past few years, however, more and more people have begun using social media from a business standpoint: marketing a new product, booking performances or presentations, or just expanding their online network. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool, not only for promoting yourself or your brand, but also for listening, gauging the sentiment of your followers, and facilitating conversations with potential new customers. While some businesses have been using social as a part of their marketing process for a number of years, there are plenty of others who are just discovering the power of social media. If you’re new to the social media marketing game, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

The best way to begin is with the fundamentals. Want to find out the best time to post on Facebook? Wondering how to effectively use Google+? Need to know the optimal character count for a Tweet?

Here’s a taste of the basics:


Want to learn more about how to use social media to your advantage? Download the full version for free: Social Media 101 – The Basics

Did you find this guide useful? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Instagram Ads: 3 questions + A Fatal Flaw

After Instagram’s initial announcement that ads were coming to it’s social platform a few weeks ago, we didn’t hear anything more.  Just that they were happening “soon”.  Last week, we got our first glimpse into what they would look like.

Instagram Ad

Beyond the initial announcement and the first mockup of the ad, the whole event has been shrouded in secrecy.  There’s been no word on algorithms or how Instagram ads work.  And while I understand the hesitation of over-promising and under-delivering on Instagram’s part, I can’t help but have the following concerns when it comes to what we don’t know about sponsored posts coming to one of our most beloved social media platforms:

Will it dilute the Instagram experience?

It’s scary to think about, but I can see the day where you can’t continue to scroll through your Instagram feed until you stop and watch Levi’s 15 second Instagram video for their #MakeYourMark campaign, a la YouTube.  When that happens, and users are unable to use their newsfeed the way that they want, the experience will be completely diluted.  Really hoping this doesn’t happen (are you listening, Instagram Gods?!), but again, I wouldn’t be surprised…

What’s the difference between a sponsored ad and a regular uploaded ad?

I’m confused as to why Instagram would activate ads in the first place, since each image a brand uploads is already somewhat of an ad for that brand.  Sponsored ads don’t seem to do much more than regular photo uploads (at least in these initial mockups we’re seeing).  So what’s the value of doing them?  Which brings me to my next question…

What’s the point?

How exactly do these ads help a business reach it’s goals via this platform.  Really what I’m asking here is what’s the problem that Instagram ads solve?  Right now, it looks like the only benefit is that brands get the opportunity to reach more users, according to their initial ad announcement (“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow”).  This is great for getting more eyeballs on your photo and maybe a few new followers.  But after a user follows you on Instagram, that’s pretty much the end of the relationship.  Which brings me to Instagram’s huge missed opportunity and it’s fatal flaw:

The inability to including functioning URLs within an Instagram caption!!!

Why has Instagram not implemented this yet?!  URL’s STILL do not work in Instagram captions which is extremely limiting for all users, from bloggers to brands.  What would have made this ad rollout significantly more valuable is allowing functioning links to be added to captions, so that when Burberry uploads a photo of it’s new winter trench coat, there’s a direct link to buy it (imagine the sharing capabilities here, as well!).  If they had implemented this as a premium feature for brands choosing to advertise with them, companies would have been chomping at the bit to sign up – it would have been the proverbial “game changer” for Instagram.  Instead, they’re charging brands to do exactly the same thing that all users can do, with the only added “benefit” being that they can reach more people.  And while there is value in reaching more users, the purpose of doing so is rendered ineffective because the users can’t take any further action (like learning more about the product or clicking through to view the product) besides simply following the brand on Instagram.  The way I see it, it’s a huge missed opportunity for the platform and seems like an ineffective way to monetize and maximize the ROI of advertising on the platform.

I’m curious to see whether Instagram ads take off or whether they’ll be a bust.  Until then, look for the new ads in your Instagram feed, come back and tell us how you feel about them.

Feeling the Vibe on the Value of Digital Media

Kristen Ackerly

Kristen Ackerly, Co–Editor in Chief

Communicate with them as you would someone in person. Stay in touch and that will put your business ahead of the others. – Kristen Ackerly

In 2005, Kristen Ackerly and Diana Ackerly, two sisters from Westchester County, NY, began a media company called Feeling the Vibe. The company consists of three different facets including Feeling the Vibe Digital Magazine, Westchester Connect Digital Magazine and Feeling the Vibe Design & Marketing. The objective of the magazine is to bring young readers good messages through great music and lifestyle pieces. Ever since, the company has blossomed into a community of hundreds of thousands of readers connecting with their love of music. Editors of the magazine have been invited to review major headline acts, interview legendary stars, and attend Broadway shows. The magazine has worked with major stars such as John Stamos, the Beach Boys, the Days of Our Lives cast, Drew Steeley, Lauren Conrad, Jesse McCartney, Executive Producer (The Voice, Apprentice, Survivor) Mark Burnett, and many more.

Diana Ackerly

Diana Ackerly – Co-Founder, Co-Editor in Chief

For the company, it is extremely vital to be up-to-date on where the industry is moving in order to bring clients the top value. “Our unique mix of media publications and web design/internet marketing services help us to see what people are reacting to,” Kristen said. “And how in turn it will help our clients.”

As a whole, Kristen describes the digital media landscape as being “an imperative part of business.” Not only do you need to be in the presence of a group of people, as a business owner, but also a group of targeted people who need your products and services. In this way, social media communities are an ideal way to find potential clients who want to hear from you. “Communicate with them as you would someone in person,” she said. “Stay in touch and that will put your business ahead of the others.”

The digital era has both changed and enhanced advertising; ultimately, opening the doors for all business owners but more specifically businesses with smaller budgets. This allows these companies to advertise online and compete instead of being shut out by high costs of print and television advertising. “The fact that you can measure results through digital media marketing puts it ahead in helping a business to see what truly works,” said Kristen. Digital marketing has given their company the opportunity to see exactly which ads online lead to a sale, a phone call consultation, or even an email signup. “By knowing which advertising techniques work, we help businesses continue to build their success.”

How has digital media helped your business get heard in a world of corporate giants with deep pockets?

Rick Bakas on Effective Digital Marketing

“The rise of the social web and app culture forced the ad world to adapt or to die.” – Rick Bakas

The times have changed and the digital era is turning the Internet as a central medium for marketing. For Rick Bakas, this tactic is essential. Bakas Media, which was started in 2010, was not only to work with clients on social branding needs but also to assist with developing tools and emerging social sites (or apps) through advisory roles or investing. Ultimately, allowing them to own the channels as well as using them for clients needs.

What is Bakas Media doing different to beat the crowd and stay ahead of technology? Their main focus is mobile 24/7. “Everything we do is designed for the mobile experience,” said Rick Bakas. “Desktop, second.”

Something new in the digital landscape that he believes to be notable is video commerce. This is the notion of using video content in order to promote, sell and support commercial products on the Internet. “They embed a store into a viral video, and wherever the video goes, the store goes with it,” he said. “It makes my job a lot more fun when I add that tool into the mix.” According to Bakas, this slowly merging idea will soon be the next big thing. “Nobody has caught on to it yet,” he said. “But I’m seeing conversion rates as high as 7.2% for sales and lead gen for clients and companies using video commerce.”

The advertising world is certainly shifting since the way people communicate is changing. “The rise of the social web and app culture forced the ad world to adapt or to die,” said Bakas. What it really comes down to is that these digital marketing agencies need to know what they’re doing. The companies succeeding are the ones that know how to execute, how to bill clients and how to deliver what the clients want.