Social Media

How to Use Canva to Stand Out on Social Media

Creating eye-catching social media posts when you’re not an Adobe Photoshop or InDesign pro can be challenging. But gone is the era of stern and boring images for your social media pages.

If you lack the time or the desire to learn the Adobe suite to create stunning images and videos, Canva is the tool you need. This user-friendly online platform turns all of us Adobe suite foreigners into graphic designers, and for free (premium memberships available).

In short, Canva combines a myriad of publishing and editing tools into one online design platform, plus it gives you access to thousands of templates, images, fonts, stickers, and much more!

Follow this quick guide to learn how to create stunning images using Canva, easily and in no time at all.

Social Media

1) Choose your format

Whether you’re looking to create an image for a social media post, a brochure, a blog banner, or even a logo, you’ll find templates that fit the exact dimensions for the platform or design of your choice.

Upon login, click on the purple ‘Create a design’ button at the top right-hand corner and either select a custom size or choose a design from the suggested ones (i.e.: Facebook post). This will open a new window with a blank white page in the requested dimensions.

2) Start designing

You have a blank canvas in front of you. Now it’s time to make the magic happen. Choose from the hundreds of templates available for your specific dimensions or start creating your image from scratch.

i. Starting with a template

On the menu bar on the left side of your screen, you will find a ‘Templates’ tab. Scroll through the hundreds of them available to you and choose the one you prefer.

Once you’ve selected a template that works for the purpose of your post, swap out images for one of the thousands available under the ‘Images’ tab or upload your own through the ‘Upload’ tab.

ii. Starting from scratch

From the menu bar, choose to add images, text, or stickers to your creative. Canva offers thousands of elements to bring your vision to life, and makes it easy for you to search through their extensive library of elements with a search bar.

With access to hundreds of fonts, as well as elements such as frames, stickers, lines, shapes and even charts, Canva enables you to let your creative juices flow in the easiest way possible.

 

Social Media Likes

3) Save your image or video

While Canva automatically saves your designs every minute or so, it is always safer to take the time to click the ‘save’ button once in a while for good measure. To do so, click the ‘file’ menu tab in the top left-hand corner, then click ‘save.’

Once you are satisfied with your design, and the status bar you see at the top of the screen says ‘All changes saved,’ it is time to download your design. Simply click on the ‘download’ button and choose which format you want your design to be saved in, and click ‘download.’ Your design will automatically be saved in your download folder.

You now know how easy it is to create fun and eye-catching designs to supplement your social media posts and boost engagement on your pages. Take your time learning about the platform and experiment with everything it has to offer!

Digital Marketing

Quick Guide: Digital Marketing Foundations

The term digital marketing gets thrown around a lot these days. People know they need a well-designed website or a couple of posts on Instagram a week, but anything further than that seems a little intimidating. Pixels? Retargeting ads? 2% lookalike audiences for people aged 20-35?!

We know, it seems like a lot! Don’t worry though — digital marketing can be as simple or complicated as you make it. You don’t need big bucks to get some benefit, and a lot of the work is in laying a good initial foundation for your business.

Check these steps off your list, and you’re on your way to a digital marketing strategy that gets your amazing product in front of all the right people.

Digital Marketing

Know Your Customer

This one’s true for all marketing, but particularly useful in the digital space. Customers these days are drowning in choices. They can visit any e-shop in the world, all from the comfort of their couch.

With all that competition, you want to make sure your business gets seen by the right people. And to do that, you have to know who those right people are!

Answer these basic questions:

  • Who is my customer? Age, gender, geographic area, spending power, other interests.
  • Where do they spend their time online? Social media, reading blogs, watching videos, nonstop Netflix marathons.
  • Why did they go looking for your product? This is called a pain point, if you want to get jargon-y.

These are just starting points. The best way of figuring out the answers to these questions is by asking a real customer! Maybe you’re a rock star, and you understand every little detail about your customers, but it doesn’t hurt to double check with the real deal.

Create a Social Media Presence

Social MediaOn average, people spend 2.5 hours a day on social media. Let’s make the most of that time.

Since you now know where your customers spend all their time, you should know what social media they use the most! Make sure you set up social media accounts for your business. Even if you don’t post at all, it’s good to at least prevent other people from taking your name.

You SHOULD be posting though, since regular posts and interactions on social media boost your brand awareness and familiarity. On top of getting the word out about your great products, social media lets you interact with customers and your niche community in totally unique ways.

Some quick tips for building your social media presence:

  • Figure out your voice early. Some brands are relaxed and friendly, others are more formal. Whatever tone you decide to use, make sure it stays consistent. Your decision should align with what you just found out about your customers!
  • Find your industry hashtags. Every industry has its own subculture on social media. Try a quick Google of your industry + social media platform, to get an idea of what hashtags, groups, and trends you should be watching.
  • Stay visual. Use as many images and videos as you can. Posts that have accompanying media do better in terms of reach and engagement. Also, it’s just more fun.
  • Engage with your audience. Every now and then, ask a question to your followers. Try and get some dialogue going. People love to be listened to, so when appropriate, tag or reply to other accounts on the platform.

All of this work builds your credibility in the industry, with the added bonus of building a community of loyal customers around your brand.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Have you ever wondered how Google decides what search results to give you? Basically, Google has a complicated algorithm that decides if your site is relevant, easy-to-read, and trustworthy. The better you score on these three categories, the higher up on the page you’ll rank.

Of course, you want to be as close to the top of the search results as possible. Most people don’t bother scrolling to the bottom of page one, much less glimpse page two. To climb to the top of rankings, you’ll need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your site.

To improve your SEO, you first have to think about what sorts of things your customer searches for. These search terms are called “keywords.” The more keywords you have in your website content, the better your SEO is. While your content should already have a bunch of important keywords, it doesn’t hurt to have a quick skim through, and make sure that you’re writing about what your customers are looking for.

SEO is a pretty deep topic, and we promised a “quick” guide. So here’s a snapshot of what you need to know.

  • Keywords – You know your customer pretty well by now, right? Think about what they’re Googling, and make sure you’re answering that on your website.
  • Blogs – Google likes sites that are regularly updating with interesting content. For most sites, this means a blog. That’s why you see blogs on everyone’s site nowadays. They help with rankings, and they allow you to put different keywords into your site.
  • Yoast – We could list all the little technical things that go into SEO, (H1 tags, alt text, meta descriptions, etc.) or we could give you the handy dandy tool that spells it out for you. Yoast plugs into websites seamlessly and gives you a foolproof checklist for your pages and posts. Find it in your web host plugin section or right here.

Unlike most things in the digital landscape, SEO takes awhile to show results. Think of it as Google taking a bit of time to get to know your site. Keep at it though, and you’ll see your site climb the rankings soon enough.

Digital Marketing Foundations, Easy After All

That’s it for our quick guide on digital marketing. If you tick off everything on this list, you’re off to a great start in your digital marketing journey.

However, there’s always more you can learn and do to promote your business. Read our Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Tracking, if you want to dive into the wonderful world of digital advertising.

Still got questions? Let’s chat! We’re happy to help.

Pia Lim is a Content and Digital Marketing Specialist at Curve Communications. She’s got a passion for communication. Online or traditional, spoken or written, she’s interested in everything to do with sharing ideas and stories.

Social Media Strategy

4 Questions to Ask Before Creating Your Social Media Content Strategy

When it comes to creating your social media content strategy, it’s good to have a strong understanding of what you want to achieve before you dive in. That’s why we’ve curated our top four questions to ask yourself before creating your social media content strategy. By considering these four questions, you’ll find creating your monthly content will be much easier than you thought! Let’s get started.

Social Media Strategy

1) Do I understand my audience, and do I know where they “hang out” online?

This is the first question you should be asking yourself when it comes to creating your social media content strategy. Knowing who your audience is, and where you can find them online is a crucial aspect in creating meaningful, engaging, and worthwhile content. Here at Curve, we suggest that each of our prospective clients conduct a “discovery,” which is a deep dive into their company, their current marketing initiatives, and how they can better reach their target audience through our customer persona exercise.

Whether you’re a small local business or a large corporation, conducting a discovery analysis should be your first step. Understanding your brand as a whole will help you better understand what you want to work on, and how you should prioritize your time. The end result of a discovery not only answers the above question, but it gives you a crystal-clear roadmap of your marketing steps and who your target audience is.

2) Do I have a concrete plan for execution?

It’s great to have a better understanding of who you’re marketing to and how to execute your marketing, but without a concrete plan, what’s the point? We suggest assessing your current social media content strategy in what we call a social media audit and setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (S.M.A.R.T.) goals that you can achieve on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. In doing so, you’ll find it easier to gauge your strategy’s success. And when it comes to creating your monthly content calendar, you’ll be able to execute with ease!

3) Do I have access to a social media scheduler that will work for me?

Scheduling your social media content across all platforms is one of the best things you can do. It saves time, allows you to create a month’s worth of content at once, and gives you peace of mind when you’re busy with other tasks.

Here at Curve, we’ve worked with a variety of social media scheduling software including Hootsuite, Planable, and Facebook’s Publishing Tools, all of which cater to the different needs of our clients. There are so many scheduling platforms out there at different price ranges, you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs and your budget accordingly.

4) Do I have the right content creation tools?

When it comes to creating content, it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but it does need to get your point across to your audience. If you’re just starting out with content creation, you’ll need access to the right tools to get the job done. Whether you’re looking for user-friendly graphic design platforms, digital writing assistance tools, or the best free stock images online, there are hundreds of places to find them. We’ve made it easy and rounded up our top three online tools here:

Canva is an online graphic design platform with thousands of templates, a great selection of fonts, and other graphic design elements that will come in handy. Canva offers a free version that includes access to a majority of their features, and the upgraded Canva Pro version costs you less than $20 a month. It’s a great investment that our team uses on a daily basis for organic social posts, Facebook and Instagram ads, branded presentations, and monthly reports.

Unsplash is an online library of more than two million FREE stock images. We use Unsplash on a daily basis for almost all of our clients. Unlike the traditional stock image websites like iStock and Adobe Stock, Unsplash allows the use of images for commercial purposes without needing to credit the artist or pay per image.

Grammarly is an online writing assistance tool that can be used virtually everywhere! We love Grammarly because it offers both free and paid versions, so you can choose a plan that best suits your work style. It’s an awesome tool to use if you spend a lot of time writing, even if it’s not directly for social content. Grammarly is great at catching the little things that we often look past, especially after a couple of rounds of editing!

Conclusion

Once you’ve answered all four questions, you’ll be off to the races! We’re sure you’ll have more than four questions when it comes to starting your content strategy, especially if you’re starting from scratch, and that’s totally okay! If anything, these questions will act as a basis for you to build from.

Interested in learning more about how Curve Communications works with our clients to build top-tier and engaging content? Book an appointment with our team here.

Track Users on Your Site

Beginner’s Guide: How to Track Conversions with the Facebook Pixel

In business, the ability to see direct results from advertising efforts matters a lot. That might seem simple in theory, but many lack the tools and knowledge to track those results and be able to tie them to specific marketing and advertising campaigns. This guide will help you understand the different ways to measure results and track conversions on Facebook through a powerful tool called the Facebook Pixel.

Understanding the Facebook Pixel

Facebook is a powerful marketing platform that can bring much success to your business if used correctly. In the last few years, Facebook has developed its tracking tools to provide marketers with the ability to get the most accurate data. And the one tool at the centre of all tracking efforts is the Facebook pixel.

This snippet of HTML code (which can be generated from every advertiser’s Business Manager account) is added on the backend of your site and tracks information about the people who interact with your ads. The Facebook pixel follows those people when they visit your website, tracking their interactions with it, the pages they visit, and down to the actions they take such as filling out a form or purchasing an item. From the moment a visitor enters your site, the Facebook pixel will track them and continue to gather information about them, such as their age, gender, location, interests, etc.

Keep reading this article to find out how to set up your Facebook pixel and conversion tracking events.

Track Users on Your Site

Setting up your Facebook Pixel

Setting up your Facebook pixel is simple and takes under ten minutes. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to ‘Event Manager’ on your Business Manager page
  • Click the green ‘plus’ connect data sources button and select ‘web’
  • Select ‘Facebook pixel’ and click ‘connect’
  • Add your pixel name
  • Enter your website URL to check for easy setup options
  • Click ‘continue’
  • Then copy the pixel and paste it in the header section of your website, just above the closing head tag and save.

Tracking conversions with the Facebook Pixel

Now that your Facebook pixel has been set up, it’s time to set up conversion tracking. There are a few ways you can track Facebook conversions using the Facebook pixel. Depending on the type of conversion you are looking to track, some might be more appropriate than others.

a) Basic tracking with the Facebook pixel

By setting up your Facebook pixel, Facebook will automatically set up basic traffic tracking for you.
Go to ‘Event Manager’ on your Business Manager page. There you should see a graph and data resembling this:

Facebook Graph

The graph gives you a visual representation of the traffic directed to your site, while the event ‘Pageviews’ gives you the exact number of visitors your site is getting.

b) Tracking direct purchases with a Custom Conversion event

The easiest way to track direct purchase conversions on an e-commerce site is to set up a Custom Conversion event on your Business Manager page. All you need is a custom URL (such as a Thank You URL). By setting up a unique Thank You URL and automatically redirecting everyone who has made a purchase to that URL, Facebook will be able to know that the person who visited that specific URL is a conversion.

How to set it up:

  • Create a custom URL such as www.yourbrand.com/thank-you-purchase-abcd/
  • Make sure traffic that purchases something gets redirected to that URL and that your Facebook pixel has been set up correctly on your site and tracks traffic on ALL pages
  • Go to ‘Events Manager’ on your Business Manager page and then to ‘Custom Conversion’
  • Name your Custom Conversion tracker, select your data source and set your ‘Rules’ as ‘URL’ ‘Contains,’ and the URL you set up. DO NOT set it up as equals, as the URL will assign a unique number to each customer and thus won’t be the exact URL you set up.
  • Click on the blue ‘Create’ button and let Facebook work its magic.

Tracking conversions without the Facebook Pixel

If you are looking for a quick way to know if investing in Facebook advertising is worth it and will get you ROI, here’s what you need to do:

  • Run a Lead Generation ad (ad where Facebook users fill out a form directly on your ad without leaving Facebook) and see how many leads you generate and convert. Lead Gen ads give you live data on whether or not your advertising efforts work and are worthwhile on Facebook.
  • Set up a discount code specific for Facebook and run a traffic ad (ad with a button leading to an external page such as your website or a landing page). By using a discount code specific to the Facebook/Instagram platform, you can easily track conversions and know your ROI.

Now you know the ins and outs of the Facebook pixel and how to track conversions. If, despite this guide, you are still lost and need help, reach out to our team at contact@curvecommunications.com.

Is Social King_1

Will Social Media Ever Rule the Internet?

social media internet marketing

Without a doubt, social media has changed the way we live in the world. It has become a tool for us to meet new people, access information and demand political change in this day and age.

Did you know that social media platforms are used by one-in-three people in the world and by more than two-thirds of all internet users? That’s a lot of active users!

Social media’s influence amongst the world’s internet users is undeniable. So yes – while it’s true that social media may rule the internet and our social lives, our question is, is social media is king when it comes to online marketing for businesses?

Not quite. While social media is still an undeniable part of the modern marketing mix, it’s important to understand that it isn’t the whole picture.

So, use social smart but don’t get caught up in the hype! Here are 3 reasons why social media will never rule the internet marketing game.

1. Believe It or Not, Your Ideal Audience May Not Even Be on Social

Just like no two businesses are a carbon copy of one another, no two audiences are, either. So before investing your time and money into social media, it’s important to take a look at who your target audience really is and where they spend their time online. That way, you can allocate your resources in a way that makes the most sense to you and your business.

Because even though one-in-three people are on social media, what those other two people?! The truth is, while social media has become a popular place to be over the years, the social media landscape has become much more complex than it was 5 years ago. Sure, your target audience may be on social, but on what channels? What are the predominant demographics and psychographics that make up those channels? And most importantly, how do these people prefer to engage with brands on those channels?

For example, Reddit is a common place to find young, educated men discussing things that matter most to them. But do these people like to be engaged with by brands on Reddit? Not at all! Reddit is a notoriously difficult place for brands to engage with others, to the point of declaring outright that Reddit hates marketing. On the other hand, for overall level of brand engagement, you can’t beat Instagram – is the number one place to be!

What if the target audience is on the older and wealthier side? Then advertising in newspapers, magazines or even television may get you better results than anything social media could offer! And if you have the budget for it, then a 360 marketing campaign (which incorporates traditional and digital channels) may be the way to go!

The bottom line is that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Study your audience, know where they live online and develop a marketing strategy that’s right for your business and audience.

2. Being Conversational & Relatable Takes Precedence Above Selling

While it’s true that some businesses have found success with selling their products on social media via social selling, the fact of the matter is that for most businesses, finding buyers on social can be a hard sell.

Though this comes with good reasoning. For one, people’s motivations around why they use social media rarely have to do with wanting to seek out products or services to buy. More often than not, people go on social to discover something novel or interesting. They may want to catch up with people who are in their close network, learn something new or may just want to have a fun conversation!

When brands understand this key point, the name of the social media game often shifts away from direct response to more brand awareness-based efforts. Above all, businesses who use social media as a way to showcase their brand and its voice, values and personality have a much better chance at making a positive lasting impression (as opposed to someone who punched right and went for the hard sell).

via GIPHY

This doesn’t mean that you can’t find successful conversions from traffic generated from social. The key is that, again, it isn’t the whole picture. When you warm up your audience with your brand personality, post after post, they get to know you a little better. And once they get to know you a little better, they are in a much better position to hear your pitch (and take out their wallets). But of course, a foundation of trust should be a key component of your social media strategy, and a big part of that trust-building is having a clearly defined brand so that your business comes off as much more personable, conversational and relatable.

3. You’ve Got Your Audience’s Attention! Now What?

There is a 3-second window that marketers have in order to get their message across to their audience – 3 seconds! We’re all desperately fighting for the same thing, and statistically speaking, one of us will eventually break through the noise and captivate our audience’s attention (hurrah!)

But then… what happens next? People click aaaand – is your website optimized for mobile? Is it optimized for conversions? Do you have an engaging offer? Are you picking up the conversation where it left off? Are you telling an engaging story?

The truth is, we’re all so desperate for our audience’s attention that once we finally get it, it can be easy to overlook the obvious like how to sustain the interest and engineer an experience that inspires people to take the right type of action.

Ultimately, with so many moving parts that go into successful social media use for businesses, a key take away is that social media should be a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Social media is not a business model, it’s one important part of an overall marketing mix you have at your disposal as a business owner. Sure, it may be an important pillar within your overall business strategy, but if organic social media is the only type of online marketing you’re doing, then you may need to step back and take another look at your strategy.  

Pro tip! Having your social media followers subscribe to your email list, via your newsletter or content offer, gives you the most control over your social media following as a business owner – take control of your destiny!

Social Media May Rule Our Lives, but It Doesn’t Rule the Online Marketing Game!

If you’re not pulling out your phones and checking your account to scroll through your feed on the daily, then you are very much a minority. Most of us are entangled in the social media world whether we like it or not. Whether it’s for discovering news, trends or finding the latest meme, there’s no denying the power social has in our lives – online and off.

But when it comes to social media for businesses and how much weight you should give this tool when it comes to your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to put things into perspective. Social is not the be all end all like some people believe it is. It should always be seen as a means to an end when it comes to your business and not an end in and of itself. Considering how you’ll supplement your social strategy and seeing how it fits into the overall big picture of your business will be critical for your success if you want to get the most out of this very powerful tool.

Needing guidance on how to get the most out of social? Curve is here to help! We’re always looking for ways to make your life easier as a business owner or marketing manager. If you’re wanting to get the most out of your social media marketing but don’t have time to join the conversation, Curve can help you build your brand and tell your story. Call us today for a 30-minute discovery call!

How to Start a Blog

How to get your blog started

How to Start a Blog

Our founder George has a few tried and tested ground rules about blogging for business.

Regular blogging for your #brand sets you up as an industry leader and can help set you apart from your competition.

Being an established authority in your field, whatever niche that may be, has its benefits. When you are seen as an expert in your industry, the stronger your brand will become.

1. Don’t just start a blog to start a blog.

2. Understand why a blog is necessary.

3. Know what you and your company hope to achieve from the blog.

These blogging tips are taken from my book Buzz: How To Grow a Business Using Grassroots Marketing.

Here is a link to the book: https://www.amazon.com/Buzz-Business-Grassroots-Marketing-Learning/dp/096843224

Vikram Vij, Vancouver Chef

Social Media Strategy and Events

Many of Curve’s clients value social media and the organic buzz it can create. But how do you create a campaign that actually drives engagement and brand presence?

In our experience, social media campaigns with a multi-pronged digital approach produce stronger engagement and more widespread results.

One of our clients, award-winning Vancouver-based chef, Vikram Vij, needed a campaign strategy that allowed him to connect with his growing following. So we developed  and managed Canada’s first-ever live cook-a-long consisting of an interactive livestream and a cross-platform social media campaign.

Vikram Vij, Vancouver Chef

The unique digital event engaged thousands of families nationwide who wanted to share updates, ask questions and cook along with Vikram Vij. The interactive element of the event gave home cooks and families the chance to tweet at and converse with the chef.

Read more about the event here.

Create Content, Derive Value

Everyone says “content is king,” and we couldn’t agree more. Here at the office, our CEO George Affleck is a big fan of content superstar Gary Vee. Click through below to see how to get the most value out of your content marketing strategy.

This slide share is a great example of how to get the most out of the content you create. Start with one long form piece of content and turn that into bite-sized micro-content to share on social media, where people are quicker to scroll through.

Marketing for Medical Business – How to Start

Our marketers Stephen Johnson and George Affleck explain the marketing strategies behind medical businesses, specifically retail medical.

Learn about our experience with dentists, physiologists, chiropractors, personal trainers and osteopaths. They describe the importance of knowing what your brand is, identifying your target market, qualifying leads, as well as which channels are most effective for lead generation.

Then, George discusses how important it is to understand your unique service offering and to take advantage of recurring customers by retargeting via digital, social, traditional and mobile marketing tools.