Four Social Media Marketing Skills Required In Today’s Market

Great marketing skills and abilities are vital to the accomplishment of a social media marketing campaign. Marketing abilities can help drive commitment, enhance development, and generate traffic to your platform. In the present computerized age, innovation and advertising are regularly advancing. As the digital world develops and users keep on inclining more towards visual content consistently, trends in marketing and online promotions are likewise becoming more visual.

  • Innovative:

One of the best imperative qualities of social media marketing is creativity. A research by Fractl and BuzzStream proposes that 21% of web-based social media users unfollow a brand if the content shared is tedious or repetitive. To keep users or followers engaged & committed, advertisers, should certainly think of new and engaging thoughts & ideas, imaginative initiatives, and campaigns. From Facebook contests to viral videos, social media marketers should consider creative approaches to stand separated from others on social media.

  • Content Curation:

Content curation has dependably been a noteworthy part of social media marketing, fundamentally for those organizations that don’t have the time to maintain the constant frequency of the content all alone. Content curation is an imperative ability for social media marketers since they should know what, when, and how to share the content being acquainted with content sources and audience preferences.

  • Marketing:

In spite of the fact that you’re utilizing social media as the tool, you’re still doing marketing, and you require a strong comprehension of essential marketing standards. Even if you do not have the degree in marketing yet you do require great foundational knowledge about how marketing works and should implement that in your strategies.

  • Investigative & Analytical Abilities:

At last, you have to know whether your marketing is working or not and this is the reason Investigative & Analytical Abilities are vital for any type of marketing, not just social media marketing. You should know how to do analyses and reporting, however, if you have an analytical mind you will be able to understand everything quickly that information and data states—so that you can make some informed choices & decisions as opposed to depending on assumptions.

Social Media Marketing has quickly turned into an essential form of communication for individuals who claim smartphones and tablets. Social Media Marketing enables to brand the business reliably over all platforms regardless of where the users will discover you, they will see progression with illustrations, graphics, color schemes, content, and text. This constructs validity and trust. Looking at this booming period of Social Media Marketing these days in this technologically advanced world, offers the certification exam training course to help you in becoming the Social Media Strategist so that you can become an expert in Social Media Marketing and help to brand your organization’s business.

Four Social Media Marketing Skills Required In Today’s Market

Great marketing skills and abilities are vital to the accomplishment of a social media marketing campaign. Marketing abilities can help drive commitment, enhance development, and generate traffic to your platform. In the present computerized age, innovation and advertising are regularly advancing. As the digital world develops and users keep on inclining more towards visual content consistently, trends in marketing and online promotions are likewise becoming more visual.

  • Innovative:

One of the best imperative qualities of social media marketing is creativity. A research by Fractl and BuzzStream proposes that 21% of web-based social media users unfollow a brand if the content shared is tedious or repetitive. To keep users or followers engaged & committed, advertisers, should certainly think of new and engaging thoughts & ideas, imaginative initiatives, and campaigns. From Facebook contests to viral videos, social media marketers should consider creative approaches to stand separated from others on social media.

  • Content Curation:

Content curation has dependably been a noteworthy part of social media marketing, fundamentally for those organizations that don’t have the time to maintain the constant frequency of the content all alone. Content curation is an imperative ability for social media marketers since they should know what, when, and how to share the content being acquainted with content sources and audience preferences.

  • Marketing:

In spite of the fact that you’re utilizing social media as the tool, you’re still doing marketing, and you require a strong comprehension of essential marketing standards. Even if you do not have the degree in marketing yet you do require great foundational knowledge about how marketing works and should implement that in your strategies.

  • Investigative & Analytical Abilities:

At last, you have to know whether your marketing is working or not and this is the reason Investigative & Analytical Abilities are vital for any type of marketing, not just social media marketing. You should know how to do analyses and reporting, however, if you have an analytical mind you will be able to understand everything quickly that information and data states—so that you can make some informed choices & decisions as opposed to depending on assumptions.

Social Media Marketing has quickly turned into an essential form of communication for individuals who claim smartphones and tablets. Social Media Marketing enables to brand the business reliably over all platforms regardless of where the users will discover you, they will see progression with illustrations, graphics, color schemes, content, and text. This constructs validity and trust. Looking at this booming period of Social Media Marketing these days in this technologically advanced world, offers the certification exam training course to help you in becoming the Social Media Strategist so that you can become an expert in Social Media Marketing and help to brand your organization’s business.

Social Media Marketing Strategies: Why Snapchat Lenses are Becoming the New Trend

Should I be using Snapchat Lenses?Social media marketing is evolving at breakneck speed, and this has meant that marketing efforts need to constantly be evaluated against the newest technologies and platforms in order to ensure maximum ROI. One of the newest tools out there may have you questioning – should I be using Snapchat Lenses?

The emergence of Snapchat Lenses in marketing campaigns happened quickly, but it is steadily gaining momentum.  While perhaps relatively new in terms of usage, Snapchat Lenses are already seeing increasing popularity and it seems like they are becoming another tool in digital marketing arsenals.

What Are Snapchat Lenses?

You may already be aware of Snapchat and its ephemeral photo-sharing capabilities, Lenses is an extension of that. This allows users to add real-time special effects and sounds, with the app giving instructions such as “raise your eyebrows” to enable these effects depending on the design of the lenses.

Are you snap happy? Read why Snapchat lenses are becoming the new Trend! | #JSBTalksDigital

Who Is Using Snapchat Lenses?

Using Snapchat Lenses for promotional purposes has become increasingly popular, with a diverse range of companies and brands using the tool. Most recently, the movie X-Men Apocalypse used Snapchat Lenses to create buzz for their movie and allowed users to take on faces of well-known Marvel characters – as well as offering the opportunity to purchase tickets for the movie via the app.

But it is not just movies that use Snapchat Lenses. Popular food chain Taco Bell also joined the fun, creating custom lenses to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Their campaign shattered Snapchat records, generating 224 million views and remains one of the top campaigns in Snapchat history.

This has massively increased demand for the feature, with many forecasts demonstrating its sheer popularity. Recent reports have found that, with data reinforcing the increasing popularity of Snapchat Lenses as a tool for social media marketing – this data is just one example of that:

“Demand has steadily risen and for 36 days spanning nearly all of June and the start of July, 14 brands ran sponsored lenses in the U.S., meaning that Snapchat sold the ad unit roughly once every three days.”

From beauty brands to movies and everything in between, Snapchat Lenses are a popular tool to engage with users and promote a product. The versatility of it is what makes it an intriguing choice for marketers, since it can be applied to a multitude of different products in order to create “buzz” surrounding brands and products. There is much out there that sheds light on Snapchat Lenses and why they are so popular for social media marketing by speaking with brands that have used the tool, Urban Decay’s founding partner, Wende Zomnir stated that it was its “real-world application” that motivated them to try it, saying, “it was us taking something that people are already engaging with and creating a more playful way to execute it.”

The level of engagement with users tends to be the main factor for why brands choose to market on Snapchat, because it is far more personal than other social media platforms. Users are constantly swiping and using filters for their content, and having a Snapchat Lens in play can really help create a level of organic interest in the brand that might be difficult to accomplish otherwise.

Are Snapchat Lenses Worth The Cost?

While it is difficult to ascertain the true ROI of these ads, there is no denying its visibility and popularity. It is far easier to reach a wide swath of demographics, and use the tool to drive traffic for products while providing a fun way to engage with a product. A recent article in Business Insider does shed some light on whether or not it is effective, reporting that many social media agencies that have used the lenses are continually tracking its effectiveness using “third-party research” to “assess the success of the Snapchat Sponsored Lens campaigns” that are launched for clients across the board.

Their research has found that is definitely a lucrative way to market, and findings demonstrate its far reach across demographics. Many social media marketers that have experimented with Snapchat Lenses early on have positive reports back, which makes it that much more of an appealing option for future social media campaigns.

According to some social media agencies, they found that Snapchat campaigns they have launched demonstrated that:

“We’ve been testing on things like brand lift and recall and it’s been really positive. It’s very telling, even amongst an older demographic.”

However, Snapchat Lenses come with a significant price tag, and it is important to keep in mind cost when considering using a Snapchat Lens campaign. An average Snapchat Lens campaign may cost anywhere between $450,000 to $750,000 and above for a 24-hour takeover. The price is also very dependent on what day the filter is set for, with some sources reporting that, “ad prices can dip to $275,000 on less popular days, but “those are pretty rare.””

Create Engagement by Providing the Fun Element

Many social media strategists note that its premium price tag is well worth it. Its effectiveness lies in the sheer fun of the filter itself, and it engages users in a way no other medium can. As a marketing strategy, it is more geared towards creating a buzz or interest around products and their overall recognition across different demographics. It provides a level of personality and energy that might be hard to replicate in other platforms, which is another factor for why so many brands are willing to try it. Some social media strategists have tried to better articulate its popularity and why it is such a good tool for brands that are interested in experimenting with Snapchat, especially since it is a lesser-known tool in social media marketing arsenal.

According to Jerry Daykin, the global digital partner at Cadbury’s agency Carat:

“Lenses drive significant reach of an audience you would struggle to buy on TV. When you get it right, the average time people use [a Lens] can go up to a minute; it’s very personal and very energetic.”

It also involves a much more in-depth process, as each filter must be custom designed and thoughtfully done. Social media marketing campaigns that choose to do so must be involved in every step of the process – there cannot be any repurposing of other advertisements since the filter is uniquely designed for each business. And if the filter goes viral, the payoff is potentially huge – that is why brands are willing to take the risk and spend money on designing these filters.

Should I be Using Snapchat Lenses?

Ultimately Snapchat Lenses are a unique way to reach target demographics and gain valuable exposure and promotion. There is no denying its reach, or popularity within users. However, for smaller brands and businesses, it does come with a hefty price tag compared to other social media marketing tools and must be weighed accordingly. There is a significant amount of exposure to be gained from designing and launching a Snapchat Lens but it must be done thoughtfully and carefully to ensure maximum ROI.

With more brands and organizations ramping up their social media marketing efforts, Snapchat Lenses seems to be one of the best ways to reach a wide audience in an engaging way – without bombarding them with obvious advertisements. It is one method of social media marketing that is sure to become more popular over time. Brands that are able to experiment with this form of marketing early on will likely find themselves more successful, simply because much of social media marketing is based on trial and error as you work to find the right audience for your message.

In that regard, social media marketing strategy can be a difficult one to craft, especially creating campaigns that have a lingering impact. Usually, those campaigns tend to have larger price tags attached, unfortunately. However, learning more about high-cost efforts might also give you the inspiration to create campaigns that are bold, and stand out from the rest…while still being cost-effective. It is not always about the price, but what message you are trying to convey and identifying the right way to spread that message without incurring too high of a cost.

As earlier quotes in the article have stated, the goal for Lenses is to create energy, buzz and a personalized experience. The latter is what is really differentiates it and is the key reason for its success. Having that level of personalization with the right kind of platform is what successful social media marketing strategies must keep in mind, and that must be the overall drivers of these campaigns.

The goal of the Snapchat Lenses is to create energy, buzz and a personalized experience #JSBTalksDigital

The ultimate goal of social media marketing is to create an impact, that is what the strategy rests around. This is the only way to create that kind of buzz, but there are many other ways social media can be leveraged in order to create campaigns that have a similar level of interest and attention but perhaps at a lower price tag.

To learn more about Snapchat Lenses as a marketing strategy, as well as other more cost-effective ways to create a level of personalization within social media marketing that will have the same level of impact as Lenses, please contact us today.

The post Social Media Marketing Strategies: Why Snapchat Lenses are Becoming the New Trend appeared first on Digital Training Institute.


10 Social Media Marketing Strategies To Help Educators Score

10 Social Media Marketing Strategies To Help Educators Score

Despite these measures, education will remain highly competitive here.

Schools provide an important foundation for our kids to learn. Often, however, parents are too busy, tired or clueless to teach their kids after school. Hence, the flourishing of private education providers here in Singapore.

While the opportunity may be huge, the private education market is ruthlessly competitive.

In Singapore at least, there are literally tens of thousands of private tutors, enrichment centres, and tuition centres sprouting across the island. Every single one of these businesses, tutors, and educators are competing for the diminishing slice of the private education pie.

As parents spend an increasing amount of time online, private educators like you need to change your marketing game. While honing and refining your curriculum remains key, you can’t build your education brand if nobody knows about it.

This is where social media marketing comes in.

4 Rs of an Education Business

Before I share some of the social media strategies and tactics which you can use, you need to delve deeply into the psyche of your clients.

Unlike retail or personal service businesses which may follow the whims of fashion, a private educator like you need to focus on four Rs:

  1. Reliable – Parents must trust you or your teachers to deliver the right lessons to their children.
  2. Respectable – With tuition fees hitting 3 to 4 figures each month, your personal branding and reputation becomes important.
  3. Relevant – The rapid rate of curricular changes makes it imperative for private educators to keep abreast of what’s happening.
  4. Results-focused – Private education is probably the most “results-driven” sector of all. You got to show your parents what you can deliver.

To communicate the 4Rs for your private education business, you need to find ways to convey value, trustworthiness, and authority to your target parents and their children.

Begin by adopting these 10 online marketing strategies and tactics.

#1 Share Your Education Brand Story

Before you can unleash your cutting-edge tutoring techniques to parents, you need to convince them that it works.

The best way to start is to tell your own story and relate it to your business. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did you arrive at your current destination as an entrepreneur in private education? What inspired or motivated you to do so?
  • What were the different teaching methods which you’ve experimented with? Which ones worked well and which ones didn’t?
  • Have you personally experienced any “turning point” using these methods to educate your students (or your children)? What was the Eureka moment that you can share?
  • What was the process of developing your curriculum like? How did you eventually arrive at your “winning formula”? Share both the triumphs and the heart-aches of your journey.

#2 Offer Targeted Exam Guides

You’ve probably seen a lot of generic examination tips being shared. Stuff like ensuring that your child gets a good night’s sleep, avoid burning the midnight oil, eats well, or continues to exercise during the exam period.

What you need to offer are “ninja tricks” to score during examinations. They may include a specific study calendar for Mathematics (down to specific topics), the best ways to answer open-ended versus multiple-choice questions, or step-by-step guides to managing difficult questions with model answers (and the thinking process) provided.

#3 Profile Your Teachers and Tutors

Beyond telling your story as an educator (or an entrepreneur), you need to instill parental confidence and trust in your teaching team.

Here, you can craft short Facebook or Instagram posts where you shine the spotlight on each of your teachers. To inject a dash of delight, grab a photo of your tutors in a social setting – climbing a rock wall, spending time with their family, or indulging in their hobbies like sewing or rearing fishes.

Use that activity as a conversation starter. For example, if one of your teachers is a part-time ballet dancer, you can write about how the discipline and rigour of ballet made her a better Chinese or maths tutor.

#4 Share a Free Sample of Your Curriculum

No, I’m not asking you to give away your trade secrets. Instead, all you need to do is extract perhaps 1 or 2 pages of what you intend to cover and share it with your social media community.

The benefit of sharing your curriculum and your course-ware is that it provides a good idea to your future students (and their parents) on what you’ll be covering during classes.

It’ll also help to set their expectations right, and minimise any misunderstandings due to the misalignment of their learning objectives with your course content.

#5 Form an Academic Facebook Interest Group

One of the best ways to build an online community is to form a Facebook Group. Now the main idea behind such a group isn’t just to spam your links or advertise your wares, but to demonstrate thought leadership and offer helpful advice.

There are several ways to do so:

  • Focus on a specific year, eg GCE O’Levels 2018.
  • Focus on a specific level, eg Sec 3, JC 1.

An important thing to note here is that you need to continually share valuable tips in that Group and avoid the urge to market your programme. Let your customers come to you automatically if they need further help.

#6 Have an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) Day

Continuing along the theme of being helpful (read Youtility to learn more), why not ask your community of parents what questions their children struggle the hardest with? Once you’ve got those questions, here’s what you should do:

  • Develop a model answer for that question. Or pick a similar question of your own, and show how it should be answered.
  • Provide a step-by-step guide to illustrate the process of answering that question. Reveal the workings that went behind it.
  • If possible, do a screenshot of each step or even better, video yourself doing it!

#7 Share Customer Success Stories

In the world of tuition and enrichment education, customer stories rule. Parents will want to read the stories of students from your centre who have managed to overcome learning difficulties (with your help) to succeed in school or in life.

While hearing it direct from parents and their kids is best, you may want to also develop some infographics of your own to illustrate the average improvements in your student (eg 15% improvements in exam/test scores, or average scores of A/A* in specific subjects.)

#8 Time Your Content with Academic Calendars

You don’t have to be a parent of a school going kid to know that the academic calendars of schools and tertiary institutions are fairly rigid. Typically, they tend to fall around the following activities:

  • Enrollment for schools/ tertiary institutions
  • School holidays (both short and long)
  • Mid and final year examination periods
  • Release of examination results (both school exams or national exams)
  • Holidays for students (eg Youth Day, Children’s Day)

To catch the critical (and relevant) period when parents need to decide on whether to supplement their child’s education with tuition or enrichment, you need to grab them during the periods when they are most open to suggestions. This could be after the release of examination results or at the start of the school year.

#9 Practice Newsjacking

This isn’t specifically for the education business, but it certainly works well if you’re targeting parents who are well informed about current affairs. The key here is to ride on the hot topic that is making the rounds on the Internet, and cleverly incorporating a short lesson on Mathematics, Mandarin or Geography.

Let’s take the recent example of the increase in tariffs by both the US and China.

If your centre offers Mandarin tuition, you can perhaps expand the vocabulary of your fans (and their children) by showcasing some words in Chinese related to trade tariffs (贸易关税), protectionism (保护主义), or trade war (商战). You can gamify it by asking your fans to craft a short story involving these words, and offer a prize (like a complementary tuition session) to the winner (or the winner’s children.)

#10 Provide Teaching Tips – FREE!

Last, but most certainly not least, you should provide little teaching tips to help parents better engage with their children.

Comprising little nuggets of guidance and information, they can take the following formats:

  • Short video illustrating the question and answer of the day (see above)
  • An infographic with learning tips for parents to print out for theirkids
  • Any useful short cuts to help children improve their study speed
  • Resources that are handy for parents and their children

Now that I’ve shared some tips, I’d love to hear from you. Are there other ways for tuition centres, enrichment schools, private tutors and other educational service providers to use social media to improve brand awareness and generate leads?


The Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistake People Make – Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the biggest social media marketing mmistake that most people make and what you actually need to do if you want to win the game of social media. Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, a full-service digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients across the company’s 5 locations. Gary is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times Bestselling Author, and has been named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists. ============================================== Subscribe To Gary’s Youtube Channel: ============================================== Watch The Full Video: ============================================== #GaryVaynerchuk #Advice #Entrepreneur

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8 Ways to Justify Your Social Media Marketing Program

PHOTO: Shutterstock

Demonstrating value and ROI from social media marketing campaigns has been challenging since marketers first began using the platform to target prospects and customers. But should ROI even be a major social media justifier? Some say social media marketing success means looking beyond ROI, while others adhere to the age-old advice that says your company’s business objectives prove social media worth. “Social media actually goes beyond ROI,” said Hariraj Rathod, social media analyst at Numbertank. “It helps in achieving good branding effect on audience and also helps to showcase products and services by segmenting and targeting the correct audience. Social media marketing also helps a brand understand how well their products are being consumed or liked by certain demographics.”

Is social media even worth it for your organization? If it is, where should your focus be as a marketer? To answer these questions, we caught up with digital marketing pros who offered a number of social media marketing tips that can help you make the most of your social programs.

Understand Younger Generations and Their Growing Mistrust

Deciding which metrics matter isn’t the lone challenge for marketers using social media. Some say it’s deciding whether to invest energy and resources into it in the first place. After all, marketers face a growing mistrust of social media platforms in light of data breach scandals like Facebook-Cambridge-Analytica and shrinking social media audiences. 

Know Social Media’s Place in Your Digital Ecosystem

Using social media is a thing of the past, according to Hyder. Companies should shift from a mindset of “using social media, to a mindset of adapting and thriving in an ecosystem where a highly connected, social, empowered consumer is now the norm, and traditional econometrics and data are no longer adequate to measure and track the success of content and campaigns,” Hyder wrote. 

ROI is not the be-all and end-all for measuring success, she added. It’s more effective that metrics match the “complexity, ambiguity and dynamism” of a customer’s journey, she said. Integrate social data and metrics with other KPIs from web analytics, CRM, etc. and view social media platforms beyond just a “marketing channel, and leverage it instead as one prong of a larger strategy and source of customer insight.”

Support Engagement and Education, Not ROI

Belinda Alban agrees. Alban, the founder of Your Virtual Assistant Service, said the focus of social media should not be on ROI but on growing your following to increase brand awareness, engaging with your customers to create raving fans and educating your potential customers about the benefits of your product. “The bigger your platforms are the more opportunities you have to do this,” Alban said.

Social media may or may not lead to an increase in sales, but it will give you the opportunity to build relationships with your audience and deliver “amazing” customer service. “On the back of the relationships and trust and confidence your brand has built with social media you should see an increase in the reputation of your brand,” Alban said. “And it is your reputation that can make or break a company.”

Know Thyself, Know Thy Company

As long as your brand matches its social media playbook to its company objectives, you’re on the right track, according to Maria Burpee, a B2B marketing consultant for MB Consulting. “The ROI — and the metrics — comes from the board and company objectives,” Burpee said. Do you want to be the most well known or favorite brand or build a community or movement? Social media, even if it doesn’t lead to sales, is key. Are you looking to generate leads? Social media listening is key. Are you trying to create high loyalty and referrals? Cultivating social media “love” and responsiveness is important. Do you want to have the best customer service and hang your hat on that as a differentiator? Social media can be part of the mix. Social media metrics wouldn’t be found in a high-level executive dashboard, Burpee added, but rather the metrics are important to support a broader KPI dashboard.

Consider Using Unique URLs

One way to capture and track ROI on social media is using unique URLs. “Any time we post content that includes a link, we use a unique URL so we can track where the traffic is coming from and not for social media in general, but each channel specifically,” said Tiffany McEachern, social media specialist for PSCU, which provides solutions for credit unions. “Each social channel has a unique URL so you can see where your clicks are coming from and spend your time and efforts on those social media platforms,” McEachern said. “Even if social media isn’t giving your company a strong ROI, it builds brand awareness and in today’s day and age, companies are expected to be on social media.”

Assign Specific KPIs, A/B Tests

James Bray is a social media marketer who works for the Equal Opportunity Community Initiative (EOCI), a nonprofit that relies on donations received from fundraising activities. Bray said his Board takes spending decisions more seriously than most, whether the costs are incurred by outright paid advertising or through the staff’s efforts to create and manage social media content. “The return on our social media marketing investment is therefore calculated in terms of engagement: profile views, click-throughs to the website, email subscriptions and volunteer recruitment,” Bray said. “These measures are a great deal more important than, for example, simply counting the number of Instagram followers, because they reflect the degree to which someone is interested in partnering with us.”

To ensure the nonprofit receives a return on its social media investments, Bray said the team needs to be clear about its objectives and how much time it can afford to devote to each. It then attaches KPIs to those goals to ensure they are met. “The EOCI’s communications team is constantly A/B testing its social media strategies, using a combination of each platform’s own insights along with Google Analytics to determine what sources constitute the best outreach and result in the most beneficial conversions,” Bray said. “Based on these results, the EOCI Board feels that our social media engagement strategy has a positive effect on our ability to connect with our target audience and reach our objectives.”

Listen on Social, Execute in Customer Service Channels

Clair Jones, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Witty Kitty Digital Marketing, said monitoring how your audience is talking about your brand through social listening is vital. You can use the data to inform your customer service programs. “You can learn so much about how to improve customer service and experience, tap into audiences you didn’t know you had, and hone your branding and messaging,” she said.

Balance Between Organic and Paid Social Efforts Matters

If your organization is going to invest in social, consider the aforementioned tips and also strike a balance between paid and organic social media marketing. “Advocate for smart social that communicates the organization’s mission and engages the audience,” said Maria Mora, content director at Big Sea Design. “And layer a strategic paid social plan over that for a stronger return and more targeted presence on social platforms.”


Turning Social Media Marketing Into A Profitable Income

Turning Social Media Marketing Into A Profitable Income

Posted at 11:10h in Uncategorized by Jonathan Bird

In 2017, companies across the globe spent nearly $50 billion on online advertisement this year alone. Big-name advertisers are focusing on millions of young consumers looking to spend more time on their social media profiles than in front of the movie screen. In reality, they are particularly involved with the outlook of tailoring ads to meet specific interests. But what if your passion is spending hours scrolling through your social news feed – sharing posts, liking comments, and even making a few of your own?

Building a social media network with thousands of connections is the gateway to generate some serious profit. In fact, there are plenty of monetization strategies to use online, including:

Becoming an influencer and promote content or products related to your niche
Sell products from the online marketplace and earn commission per sale
Sell products directly on social media platforms
Get paid to write reviews or mention brands on post
Leverage your online presence for a full-on e-commerce site
While these may seem intimidating, the right approach will help you achieve a profitable income without a high capital. So, does that get your attention? Here’s what you should know.

Get paid to advertise

Nearly a decade ago, the only people paid to advertise were those who owned radio stations, television networks, published newspapers, and printed magazines. Today, things are done differently as the average joe earns $100 a day via Cost Per Click with Google AdSense. There are companies that will pay you to advertise their brand on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While you won’t get paid directly, you will receive profit from companies that connect you with those brands seeking advertisements.

Market on social media for business promotion

Today, there are more than 50 million businesses using Facebook to connect with customers. In fact, 4 million of those businesses pay for social media advertising on Facebook alone. Let’s say you run a business that provides advice on financial management as well as debt consolidation. To build a strong list of clientele, you will need the most effective strategy for promoting your business. Not only will social media marketing improve business revenue, it will increase your profile, keep your handles active, and boost traffic in your business.

Sell products online

If you have already chosen a niche to establish your social media presence on, it should be easier to find and sell products online. If you’re open to branching out and expand your product selection, then a cost-effective strategy is necessary for affiliate marketing. In fact, you’ll receive a ton of benefits, such as:

Minimal overhead – unlike traditional brick-and-mortar businesses as selling an affiliate product requires little overhead charges.
Easy to Share – becoming an affiliate marketer can be as easy as sharing a link on social media platforms.
Scalability – you can focus on scaling your presence online by building a blog or website, launching advertisement campaigns, etc.
Fast-tracking capabilities – every affiliate-marketing platform provides an easy to monitor interface, allowing them to monitor click-throughs, conversations, traffic, and so on.
In addition, you may also consider drop shipping as a great alternative to selling products on social media. This means you can fulfill in order without the need to have the item on-hand.

To reach profitable success in social media marketing, there is a matter of how you make money. In fact, Facebook’s real issue isn’t privacy itself, but monetization. Bottom line: advertisers follow people. Once you engage with users, the revenue will follow in that order.


Social Media Consciousness

The most amazing consequence of the recent transition to social media consciousness is nothing.

My first essay for Ribbonfarm was a piece about changing subjective consciousness over the past few hundred years, focusing on what I called scholastic-industrial consciousness, which I claimed has largely displaced pre-literate forms of consciousness.

Three and a half years later, I’m interested in examining a different, much more recent kind of consciousness change: the transition to social media consciousness. Ironically, when I was writing in January of 2015, social media adoption had already begun to plateau in the United States. Between 2006 and 2015, two thirds of the adult population of the United States began using social media.

Source: Pew Research,

The slope of the adoption curve over time for social media looks about the same as for other technologies introduced over the past century or so, such as radio, television, telephones, and refrigerators.

Source: Our World In Data,

During the period that these other technologies were being adopted, major social changes were taking place. The world of 1903 was very different form the world of 1985. It was easy to tell causal stories (whether accurate or not) about how technology was changing humanity.

The world of 2005, however, looks very similar to the world of 2018, with the exception of the ubiquity of social media and the rectangles through which we reach it. People still find it fun and lucrative to tell causal stories about how technology is changing humanity, of course. But when we are not engaged in this hobby, it is difficult to find hard evidence of a serious before-and-after effect. For instance, one of the most popular causal stories is that social media has caused increased mental illness, such as anxiety and depression. Writing in 2001 (updating in 2009), Hubert Dreyfus (On The Internet, p. 3) cites a 1998 study that concluded that using the internet caused people to experience more depressive symptoms and more loneliness. “When people were given access to the World Wide Web, they found themselves feeling isolated and depressed,” says Dreyfus. “This surprising discovery shows that the Internet user’s disembodiment has profound and unexpected effects.” I’ve heard many such stories about the pernicious effects of social media. However, when using standard diagnostic criteria, there has been no change in rates of depression and anxiety between 1990 and 2010, a time period that would presumably capture the supposedly “profound effects” of internet and social media use. (See, e.g., “Challenging the myth of an “epidemic” of common mental disorders: Trends in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression between 1990 and 2010.,” Baxter et al, 2014).

The authors above did find that some studies using questionnaires about general well-being found an increase in psychological distress over the relevant time period, but the questionnaires most likely to produce a positive result were ones that included somatic symptoms (e.g. heart palpitations), which could be associated with increasing obesity over the same time period. Also, none of these studies picked out a specific uptick during internet or social media adoption, as opposed to the rest of the time period.

Psychologically, people seem to be doing about the same. But haven’t suicide rates increased since the advent of social media? The answer is yes, in the United States, a little, but the inflection point is the year 2000, not 2006. 2000 was a local minimum in the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States, probably the lowest in the past century. The rate has risen from that local minimum to a level that is normal for the past 80 years (the last time there was a big spike or change in the United States suicide rate was during the Great Depression). The rise has not been concentrated in adolescents, the greatest users of social media, but rather is greatest for adults in their twenties through fifties. So it would be strange to attribute the change in suicide rate to social media.

Looking at facets of life that changed dramatically over short periods during the 20th century – marriage, divorce, fertility, urbanization, wealth, even suicide (around the financial panic of 1908 and the Great Depression) – it’s difficult to see a mark in the 21st century from social media. I haven’t seen any obvious discontinuities in time trends of indicators such that social media presents itself as a likely cause. Yes, a higher percentage of couples met on the internet, but once together, they seem to behave according to trends established long before. Everything seems shockingly the same as it was before social media, at least in the outside world. It’s only in the world newly revealed by the rectangles that change seems to have occurred.

So whatever the change social media causes in consciousness, it must leave humans outwardly largely as it found them. Their interior experiences may be different in content and character, but other than spending more time staring at screens (as an outsider would report), Social Media Humans act pretty much the same.

I suspect that there are multiple forms of social media consciousness. Each platform offers tools that open up a slightly different world, and different kinds of people are drawn to and continue to use each platform. Perhaps there is such a thing as Facebook consciousness and Twitter consciousness, though of course many people use both. Also, people use each platform in vastly different ways, paying attention to different streams of information, interacting in different ways. I think it’s likely that there exists a specifically social social media consciousness that I have no way of understanding, because I am not a very social person. All I can hope to capture here is the essential reduction of a sort of intellectual dilettante social media consciousness, that probably describes less than 5% of the population, but on the other hand probably describes a high proportion of Ribbonfarm readers.

Earlier I mentioned Hubert Dreyfus’ book On The Internet. He published the first edition in 2001, boldly claiming, among other things, that something like Google could never work. In his 2009 edition, Dreyfus happily admits he was wrong (in fact, very much to his credit, his whole teaching style and personal philosophy is based around taking risks and being open to being wrong in front of students), but doubles down on such propositions as “distance learning has failed.” As a teacher, I would have also predicted this before the success of such projects as Lambda School. My own experiences with classroom teaching emphasized bodily presence, as Dreyfus does, using the body to communicate in-the-moment reactions to students and relating student comments and questions to each other. Further, my few experiences with online teaching were boring and lame. Yet somehow, new forms of “distance learning” are managing to look better than traditional universities. I wouldn’t have predicted it, and I’m sure that Professor Dreyfus would be delighted to be proven wrong, and fascinated to see why.

The Risky Body in Cyberspace

I think that Dreyfus’ misunderstanding rests on several misunderstandings about the world revealed by social media technology, which we used to call “cyberspace.” Misunderstandings that were common and easy to make before the past decade or so:

  1. Cyberspace is disembodied.
  2. Cyberspace is anonymous.
  3. Cyberspace is safe and free from consequences.

Bruce Sterling said that is the place where the conversation takes place when you’re on the phone.  Does the body go with it into cyberspace? In the early days of the internet, people were interested in bringing representative analogues of the actual human form into cyberspace. MUDs and MOOs would often contain long text descriptions of characters’ physical attributes, and characters could perform different actions using programmed verbs, again reported to the relevant parties in text. In LambdaMOO, when a user logged off, the “housekeeper” would have to come around and remove their “body” from the room! Dreyfus, in his 2009 edition, focuses on a different and much later exploration of the literal online body called Second Life, which this time added three-dimensional graphical representation of bodies and interactions.

A few years ago, Second Life seemed like the future; now, the closest thing to Second Life is massively multiplayer video game worlds. I don’t know much about them; sometimes I see screenshots or references to characters, but by and large, that world seems separate from the real world, which includes the real world as revealed by social media. I will leave the phenomenology of MMPORGs to those familiar with the matter. However, as social media, the pseudo-embodied approach, in which an analogue of the body travels through three-dimensional space and expresses moods, has fallen out of fashion. In its place, there is pure text, text and images, or video. (My own social media world is made almost entirely of text, with some images, but I’m grateful for the video part, because it’s the only way I can watch Hubert Dreyfus teach a class.)

What I think is this: your body in cyberspace is just your regular body. You don’t get a different body. Your actual body (of which the eyes and fingers and amygdala are subsystems) gets a grip on the world of cyberspace through the interface of rectangle and software, and presses up against the bodies of others through this medium. In the core case of Twitter, the body is not observed visually by others unless one shows it (in carefully-chosen glimpses); certainly, the body is not smelled or touched. The state of the body (again, including the brain or mind or whatever) can only be sensed through the text and images it chooses to show and respond to. Through these brief sentences, each participant gradually gets a sense of some number of others, and of “the others” as a public in general. Perhaps this understanding is impoverished in some ways compared to the understanding that would be obtained by someone in the same room, but I think it is enriched in other ways. For instance, I would have to be very lucky to meet a person in meatspace whose thoughts I found as interesting as those in my Twitter feed, and if I did get that lucky, it would take us a long time to work through our epistemic distance. I would have to show my body during this time, risking unwanted attention or jealousy or disgust, and I would have to experience the other person’s immediate emotional reaction to whatever I said. In person, I find I am so busy trying not to offend people or hurt their feelings that I rarely get to talk about anything interesting. In this way, the text-based interface is enriched from my perspective. In person, we wear clothes rather than go around naked; there are aspects of the body that it’s nice to be able to bracket and leave out of the interaction, such as the appearance of one’s genitals, buttocks, and breasts, or the state of one’s hair (my hair is quite messy, right now). I think it’s possible for the entire appearance of the body to be bracketed, as with clothing. The internet is a type of garment.

That is to say, the body doesn’t disappear in cyberspace. It is merely, to different degrees, bracketed, covered over, in certain of its aspects. It’s still there, typing, having emotional reactions, longing, being involved, being mad.

So cyberspace isn’t disembodied; the body is merely revealed and clothed in a different way, specific to the social setting. (Just as social settings vary in meatspace, they vary in cyberspace.) And, as is obvious from the telephone example, cyberspace is far from anonymous. Even when the name of the cyberspace entity doesn’t correspond to one’s government name, the identity can still be perfectly real, with praise or slights to the online identity felt as deeply (if not more) as those toward one’s government identity. I have written before that the idea of a single unified identity is a gross oversimplification of human social reality; each person has many selves, depending on social relationships and setting. Similarly, many online identities can be real to a person, with varying levels of energy and commitment devoted to them at different times.

As for cyberspace being risk-free and safe from consequences, it’s tempting to merely snort-laugh, but this was a serious enough thing to think in 2001 (and even 2009) that one could devote a whole chapter to it, as Dreyfus does. He says (p. 70):

to trust someone you have to make yourself vulnerable to him or her and they have to be vulnerable to you. Part of trust is based on the experience that the other does not take advantage of one’s vulnerability. You have to be in the same room with someone who could physically hurt or publicly humiliate you and observe that they do not do so, in order to trust them and make yourself vulnerable to them in other ways.

As we moderns have been made aware during various spectacles, it is not necessary to be in the same room with someone in order to be hurt or humiliated by them. An online identity can become so real and so occupied that it is vulnerable to harm from purely online sources; the online world, now, is the real world, in a way it wasn’t in 2001. Dreyfus imagines, following Kierkegaard, a tension between the fun of playful experimentation, and the lack of meaning without commitment. Here I quote Dreyfus at length, because here he transitions into what I think is a core aspect of social media consciousness, as opposed to its predecessor, movie consciousness (p. 87):

Kierkegaard would surely argue that, while the Internet, like the public sphere and the press, does not prohibit unconditional commitments, in the end, it undermines them. Like a simulator, the Net manages to capture everything but the risk. Our imaginations can be drawn in, as they are in playing games and watching movies, and no doubt, if we are sufficiently involved to feel we are taking risks, such simulations can help us acquire skills, but in so far as games work by temporarily capturing our imaginations in limited domains, they cannot simulate serious commitments in the real world. Imagined commitments hold us only when our imaginations are captivated by the simulations before our ears and eyes. And that is what computer games and the Net offer us. But the risks are only imaginary and have no long-term consequences. The temptation is to live in a world of stimulating images and simulated commitments and thus to lead a simulated life. As Kierkegaard says of the present age, “it transforms the task itself into an unreal feat of artifice, and reality into a theatre.”

(Citations omitted, emphasis in original.)

The idea that the internet “captures everything but the risk” is something that seemed possible in 2001; now, since what we think of as the internet is largely composed of a drama of real people having their lives ruined or sometimes made better, it’s hard to imagine. The internet is real to us, now, in part because it obviously has consequences.

In theory, one could write up a phenomenology of every piece of technology: refrigerator consciousness, for instance. How does in-home refrigeration change how you relate to food, or feel about decay, or think about animals? Probably there is something interesting in every one. The transition that seems most salient to me, however, is the transition from movie consciousness, which began to dominate early in the 20th century and inform all aspects of life, fantasy, and even memory, to social media consciousness, which is informed by movie consciousness but represents a departure from it. The transition from movie consciousness to social media consciousness represents a move in the direction of greater involvement, greater complexity, and greater risk than was previously experienced. In many senses, social media consciousness is more of a direct involvement with reality than movie consciousness.

The reason movie consciousness could transition so smoothly into social media consciousness is that they are very similar, and are built on top of very old mental capacities. The best explanation of these capacities is that of Nick Lowe in his 2000 book The Classical Plot and the Invention of Western Narrative. In perceiving all kinds of narratives, Lowe says, from Greek tragedies to detective TV shows, we really take a three-part view of the ongoing situation. He envisions a triptych (my depiction, below): the first part is the movie screen, which is the text itself. This may be the text of a novel, or the carefully-chosen visual and audio tracks of a movie, or a sermon, or a campfire story. This “screen” changes rapidly. The second part is a sort of chalkboard, with notes about the rules of the universe. It is filled in quickly at the beginning, with typically only small revisions as the narrative progresses (though these slight revisions may be of great consequence). Finally, the third part is a sort of puzzle, in which the ongoing big-picture best guess of what’s going on with the story is presented. As Lowe describes it, the outer edges are filled in early and keep getting filled in in a relatively orderly way, but with the constant possibility of revision – even potentially scrapping a whole model that had been almost filled in (though this is rare).

Nick Lowe’s triptych cognitive model, my depiction

When we interact with movies and other narratives, and even with sports and games, this three-part process is occurring. With a vocal, expressive crowd, you can feel it happening along with others in a social way. (I have heard rumors that the theater in Shakespeare’s time, and the pulpit in Paul’s time, were much more raucous places than their modern equivalents, though modern equivalents vary by culture, time, and participants.)

In movie culture, which includes books, radio programs, television, and all forms of media narrative that are carefully crafted beforehand (which I mean to include games, even though the precise outcome of the game is not known), this mode of cognition is essentially passive, and the development of mental models (frames two and three) is merely for the pleasure of it, not for any real-world consequence.

In social media world, the three-part view still exists, but it is turned onto the world itself, rather than any particular narrative or narrative world. Nick Lowe explains (p. 27) that he’s talking about closed worlds:

[W]hether at a conscious level or a subliminal, we are performing two higher-level cognitive operations all the time we read. First, we are making a constant series of checks and comparisons between our timelike and our timeless models of the story. And second, we are continuously refining the hologram by extrapolation – inductively and deductively projecting conclusions about the story from the narrative rules supplied.

Now, this process of extrapolation is ultimately made possible by a property of narrative whose implications for plotting are central to my model. In the coding of a story into a narrative text, the universe of the story is necessarily presented as a closed system. The degree of closure will vary widely, according to the needs of the particular text. But the levels on which such closure operates are more or less constant across all genres, modes, and cultures of narrative, because they are intrinsic to the narrative process itself.

For instance, narrative worlds are close in time – they have a beginning and an end.

This mental apparatus, however, was presumably developed for open-world exploration, that is, interacting with other people, through whatever medium. There is continuity between movie consciousness and social media consciousness, but there is also continuity between forms of consciousness I’d imagined to be extinct in 2015 and that of modernity.

Narratives are created to be absorbing when taken in in the three-part cognitive model described above. But what about regular reality? Where would that three-part apparatus come from, except as a way to deal with regular reality? What’s surprising is not that people can become absorbed in the “fake world” of social media. What’s surprising, to me at least, is that people can find the actual world itself, as revealed through social media, as exciting a target for narrative interaction as movies, if not more so.

City Trees and Wilderness Trees

What I see as the essential difference between pre-made narratives and ongoing social media narrative engagement is that the former is tame, and the latter is wild. I will illustrate what I mean by this with some photos of plants.

First, think about the city plants that you see. Most of these are probably trees, flowers, shrubs, and lawns. A city tree is usually tended so that it looks like the idea of a tree: symmetrical, lush, dead parts removed, etc. The dead parts of city plants get removed, because they are considered unattractive, and because they pose a fire hazard. City plants generally depend on humans for their reproduction. It’s a safe life, to call back to Dreyfus’ interpretation of Kierkegaard. I grew up in the woods and spend a lot of time in the wilderness, but when I think of a tree, I think of a city tree. (I suspect that this is a result of my own underlying movie consciousness; city trees look like the idea of trees, as portrayed in movies.)

Typical city trees. Tidy, symmetrical, well-watered, no dead material.

In the wilderness, however, trees are all over the place. Not only every scrap of dirt, but every rock, trickle of water, leaf, cone, ray of sunlight, etc. is up for grabs. Each organism, in seasonal waves along with its conspecifics, takes the world as it is, and fights for everything. Nothing is given. Nothing is tidy. Especially in ecologies featuring plants with “fire-embracing life histories,” in which many plants benefit from fire, wild plants don’t self-prune, and you end up with weird-looking asymmetrical monstrosities that appear half dead and half alive, instead of tidy, symmetrical “trees.” Everybody is simultaneously trying to use everything else, including each other. Nothing is safe. It’s at once beautiful, alien, and profoundly tiring. I love the wilderness, but the order and safety of the city, being built for the comfort of beings like me at all levels, is lovely to come back to.

Typical wilderness tree – asymmetrical, sticking out different directions, on top of some half-dead scrub

This one grew some kind of monstrous tentacle which is exactly what you’d expect and what happens to personalities under some conditions in social media and other parts of reality

Movie consciousness foregrounded safe, tidy worlds, revealed in movies and other narrative media, and distinct from the “real world.” Social media consciousness, on the other hand, foregrounds a wild, unsafe, risky world in which everything is eating everything else constantly, and everything changes from minute to minute. This is not to say that the creators of books and movies did not do this; however, I argue, they did it on a longer time scale, and fewer people were involved in the process. One director performs an homage to another in a work that takes months to make; meanwhile, on social media, one sentence-long quotation might be popularized, parodied, associated with images, associated with past texts, elaborated on, mocked, and made obsolete within hours. Not just texts, but whole identities, are vulnerable to this process. Social media requires the shielding of the body (the garment role), precisely because it is so profoundly unsafe.

16 Resources You Can Use To Learn Social Media Marketing Free

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Social Media Marketing is a broad term that refers to any and all aspects of the process of gaining traffic via social media.

It encompasses blog writing, website content creation, email marketing – basically anything that you can find on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram or other social media sites.

It’s a massive growth area so, with some expertise, you can work for yourself from home (or anywhere in the world) or go in-house so you don’t have to worry about finding clients.

Whatever your aspirations are, we’ve bundled together some free resources that you can use to kickstart your career, or up-skill to move into a new market:

1. Udemy

Udemy hosts a variety of free and paid courses on a wide range of different topics. On the day of writing, Udemy had 99 free courses in 11 languages relating to digital marketing.

Of those courses, 37 were dedicated courses for beginners and there was a wealth of content available for intermediate and expert users as well.

The great thing about Udemy is that you can access paid courses that build upon the knowledge you gain in the free section. There are more than 2,200 paid courses relating to digital marketing at the moment and this number is likely to increase in the future.

The range of topics on Udemy is unreal. You can specialize in one area, like Pinterest or social media for coaches.

You can learn about cracking a new client base – like the enormous Chinese market. You can undertake Blogger Training or learn about Instagram Marketing Automation, you get the picture – the marketing world is your oyster.

It’s a great resource for those who are just getting started and for those who want to upskill, develop expertise in a particular area or branch out into a new field.

You can check out our review of Udemy if you’d like to find out more.

2. Google’s Digital Garage

Google has created the Digital Garage for those hoping to upskill in the digital marketing field. It’s a self-paced program and you can earn a certification from Google if you complete the course.

The course itself has received praise from the likes of the European Commission, UK Digital, MarCom and Digiday.

The topics throughout the course range from hard skills, like connecting via email, SEO, content marketing, and analytics, to soft skills, like time management.

There are also bonus materials that cover topics like productivity, machine learning, learning to code, and security. These won’t help you gain the certification, but they will improve your web and life skills generally.

The course is a great place for beginners to get their head around marketing jargon. There are resources that will help beginners land their first clients and to grow their business as well.

3. Grammarly Blog

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Grammarly, it’s an online tool that helps users to edit their writing. Some might consider it to be a better version of the spell check tool that comes with Microsoft Office.

It isn’t a complete replacement for the human editorial eye, but it is an excellent resource for writers.

What makes it even better, is that it has an accompanying blog that hands out free advice for social media marketers.

It’s not a complete end-to-end guide, so beginners: I’d suggest you start elsewhere. But it’s perfect for those who are looking for some easy tips here and there to improve your social media marketing skills.

It’ll also help you to stay up-to-date with current best practice.

It’s really quite a handy resource. You can sign up to receive the emails to your inbox and there’s a search function within the blog as well, so it’s a great place to have a quick look for tips and tricks.

The blog has been going for some time and seems to publish social media specific advice about every two weeks, so there is a lot of content available.

Topics range from a comprehensive Guide to Creating Social Media Copy to tips about writing better content, faster.

4. Copy Hackers

Copywriting is the process of creating ‘copy’ – the advertising content for websites. It’s described as being the art of encouraging users to take action via words.

It’s different from content creation in that content creation (for blogs and the like) garner followers who enquire about the products that are suitable for them. Copywriters, on the other hand, want users to take a specific action – such as signing up for their newsletter or purchasing a product.

The free conversion copywriting course run by Copy Hackers covers a breadth of copywriting-related topics. It’s suitable for beginners, but there are doubtlessly a few tips and tricks for experienced copywriters as well.

The course covers content such as the difference between conversion copywriting and older styles of copywriting and how to write successful drip campaigns, headlines and AdWords.

The course is self-paced and you get lifetime access to it.

There is other free content on the website (like an ebook about headlines), as well as some more comprehensive paid courses.

5. Hubspot Academy

Hubspot Academy markets itself as the leading trainer for inbound marketing, sales and customer support. The site hosts a range of courses and lessons and even provides certifications for specific skill sets.

Their target areas like aligning sales and marketing teams, converting leads, closing deals and growing website traffic.

The lessons go for anywhere from 10 minutes to about half an hour, with most falling in the 10-15 minute margin. This means that you can quickly upskill on the commute to work or while you’re waiting for your tea to steep.

Their certified courses cover particular skill sets and tend to go into a bit more detail than the courses that target absolute beginners.

The courses tend to go for 45 minutes to 2 hours, though most are closer to the 1-hour mark. They often feature an expert presenter, including the likes of bestselling author Daniel Pink (who takes the Business Writing Course).

Like many other sites, they have a helpful  that includes articles with tips like “Increase Customers by 1700% using Organic Search“.

The site has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.

6. Skillshare

Skillshare is a marketplace where ‘teachers’ can run classes on whatever they are passionate about and good at.

There’s a paid version of the platform that provides you with access to over 22,000 classes. There’s also a free version that has more than enough material to get you started in the world of marketing and social media management.

The free classes are provided by teachers hoping to gain a following of students who turn into subscribers, so I can’t guarantee that the content that’s available for free today will remain free into the future.

You can always use the free classes filter however and simply hone in on the marketing classes via the free business class section.

I recommend the following courses for beginners hoping to get their foot in the door:

There are tons of resources about specific platforms like Pinterest and Twitter, as well as specific skills, like email marketing and SEO optimization.

This means there’s plenty of material for those of you who are already intermediate marketers but are hoping to expand your client base.

7. Salford Business School’s Pilot Program

Staff and students at the Salford Business School created a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) for those hoping to develop their personal and professional online marketing skills in an international context.

It’s free and available online for you to undertake at your own pace. They ask that you complete a survey (not a test) when you enter the course and when you exit it.

The course covers 12 topics: SEO, personal branding, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, international business development, copywriting, compliance, monitoring and reporting, and blogging.

The range is pretty comprehensive and it’s a great starting point for beginners who need to get their head around the marketing lingo. It has averaged 9 stars out of 10 from its reviewers (although there are only 3 reviews so take that with a grain of salt).

You’ll need to bear in mind that the course is targeted at those marketing in an international business context. So for those of you who rely on word of mouth referrals from local businesses, there are more relevant options for you to upskill.

8. DS106

DS106 is a site specializing in free ‘courses’ for digital storytelling. It’s a little quirky and includes an ongoing ‘Headless DS Experience’ that’s more like a community forum than a course.

In fact, the entire program has more of a community feel to it than an educational feel. People share tips and tricks that they’ve picked up along the way and collaborate on projects.

The ‘course’ offered via the website is based on a syllabus that was previously taught at the University of Mary Washington. It’s open to all and you can come and go from the forum as you please – there’s no commitment to stay.

It is designed to give users the skills to critically examine the techniques used online for digital storytelling and to develop the user’s skills in this sphere.

Honestly, it’s a little ad hoc, although I’m not sure what else you’d expect from the course that advertises itself as a ‘not-course course’. There are heaps of collaborations that you can use for inspiration and tidbits that you can draw on.

You’re encouraged to participate in an ongoing conversation about the digital storytelling landscape. If you’re on Twitter, the #ds106 seems to have a heap more traffic than the actual forum posts, so it’s worth a look.

9. Social Media Quickstarter

Social Media Quickstarter is a dedicated website for beginners to Social Media Marketing. They have an email subscription service that delivers hints and tips to your inbox, as well as a bunch of easy to follow videos that allow you to learn bite-sized bits of Social Media Marketing at a time.

They have step-by-step resources that teach you how to get started with the major social media players, including Google +, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

If you’re wondering about the quality of the content, I think it’s pretty great.

I’m an experienced content creator and am across marketing on Facebook and Instagram (it’s usually recommended that you specialize in just one or two platforms FYI). I had a quick look through the content for Snapchat and was blown away by the suggestions.

So even if you’re across the platform, it’s a pretty good place to get some tips if you’re looking to develop skills in a new area or you’re new to this style of marketing.

10. Quintly Academy

Quintly Academy hosts a reasonably in-depth (free) course about Social Media Analytics. SM Analytics refers to the process of gathering data from users of the website.

It can be used to gauge what works for your website and what doesn’t, what content the users want more of and what they don’t care for, and much more.

The course is designed for beginners to analytics, but is also suitable for intermediate users who are hoping to brush up their skills.

The course is made up of an introductory lesson, three educative steps, and a summary lesson. Within the three steps, you’ll learn new skills, apply the knowledge and then take a quiz.

The course covers analysis of your findings, goal setting and reporting. The great thing about the course is that it’s easy to see where the knowledge could be applied! So it’s easy to stay motivated to complete the course and the information you receive is relevant and usable.

After you’ve successfully completed the course, you can email Quintly and get a certificate of completion.

11. The Left Bank

The Left Bank offers a free Social Media Fundamentals Course. The comprehensive course runs for about 8-10 hours depending entirely on how long it takes you to get through the content.

It’s a pretty comprehensive introduction to social media marketing designed for in-house beginners and aspiring marketers.

It’s really easy to see how you can apply the knowledge that you gain throughout the course. It teaches you how to choose which social media networks to target, how to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and how to engage your audience.

Once you’ve signed up, you can log in at any time of the day and access the material. They do only give you access to the material for six months after you’ve signed up, however.

You get a certificate for completing the course.

12. Skyline Social

Skyline Social offers free webinars, a free podcast and is another site with a really great .

The blog covers specific topics about lead generation, social media strategy and lead conversion. The topics are better suited to someone hoping to add some new skills to their already established repertoire.

Their  cover topics like building trust with clients, building successful ad campaigns and generating leads without spending money on advertising. There are tons of tips in the videos that you can use when developing marketing strategies for your clients.

Their podcast ‘Good Morning Marketing‘ delivers tidbits in episodes that usually run for less than 15 minutes. There are occasional episodes that go for almost an hour.

It has recently finished, but all the content is still available online. It covers topics like “How to track your top performing content on Google” and “How to build a successful Facebook ad campaign to generate leads and clients (for beginners)”.

13. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is actually a website plugin that you can use to assist with your WordPress SEO. There are free and premium versions of the tool. Both come with a range of features that are worth checking out if you are starting your own blog – or working on one for a client.

The reason that Yoast SEO gets a spot on our upskill post is because of its awesome blog. It’s one of the most comprehensive free SEO tools that I’ve come across and they update their content regularly.

In fact, I find it difficult to keep up with the new posts that are delivered to my inbox.

They market themselves as being the SEO tool for everyone. Their SEO basics posts are suitable for beginners to SEO. They acknowledge that SEO is intimidating and that there is an overwhelming amount to learn in order to master SEO. Then, they go on to approach the subject in a user-friendly and logical way – so that’s pretty refreshing.

After you’ve mastered the basics, you can get your teeth into some more specialized content about WordPress, Analytics, Content SEO, Social Media or a range of other topics.

14. Scout Digital Marketing Free Resources

I stumbled across this excellent resource courtesy of the .au domain ending. The site itself is for a Digital Marketing Firm in Adelaide, Australia – but their free resources contain some excellent advice and easy to use checklists that are relevant worldwide.

Their New Year checklist can unsurprisingly be used any time of the year to make sure that the content is looking spick and span. Their Digital Marketing Detox is more of a reminder to stay on track than an actual tutorial, but it’s always good to take some time to assess where you’re at and where you’re headed.

Their website has a page that details heaps of resources ranging from Google’s Tools to SEO assistance to Email Marketing.

They too have a blog with regularly updated content and helpful hints. Recent posts have covered topics like “Top 10 email campaign types for businesses” and “Identifying and Managing Seasonal Fluctuations in your Digital Marketing“.

These kinds of tips are more valuable for experienced users, so I wouldn’t rely on them until I’d gotten a bit of knowledge under my belt, if I were you.

15. GFC Learn Free

As you might have guessed from the name, is a website that offers free resources across a wide range of topics.

The selection is a great resource for beginners to social media and as a very basic overview of social media marketing. It doesn’t delve into the topics in great depth, so it’s not really relevant for intermediate or expert users.

The site covers topics like , , , , and the other major social media sites.

There are helpful tips about compliance and bonus materials scattered throughout. There are also end of topic quizzes available for some topics.

The website also has helpful resources to help you improve your generally and a brief overview of skills. Developing these skills might set you apart from other online marketers.

16. Open 2 Study

Open 2 Study has a wide range of free courses on topics ranging from education to medicine and, of course, marketing. Currently, there are four free online courses available to would-be marketers, but the availability of the content is subject to change.

One aspect of this website that I really value is that it provides a ‘taster’ of sorts for Undergrad and Postgrad University degrees. The free content provided is comprehensive enough for you to gain some valuable skills, but it also points you in the direction of relevant further study options if you choose to go down that road.

Content creators, you can take advantage of their Writing for the Web course. It provides some insight into how users behave online and how you can create engaging content that they’re likely to engage with.

The Writing for the Web course also touches upon SEO and web page layout, so it’s a valuable resource for those of you who are hoping to increase traffic to your own blogs. SEO knowledge is also highly regarded by a lot of potential employers.

The site also hosts an Online Advertising course, which teaches you about the value of online ads plus how to plan advertising campaigns and measure their success, and a course that will help you create a user-friendly interspace online – the User Experience Course.


20 Social Media Marketing Ideas to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

One of the most difficult aspects of managing the social media campaign for your company is the creation of fresh social media marketing ideas. Your audience looks to your brand to provide fresh content on a regular basis, but after a while, it can become very difficult to come up with new tactics to improve your social reach. The strategies and techniques available to you are almost as varied and diverse as the individual people you are advertising to. When getting started with marking on these platforms, it is important to understand all the fine nuances of marketing to make your social media marketing and advertising campaigns a success.

#1 Fill out Your Profile

Let’s start at the beginning. Take the obvious first step and fill out every section of your profiles. Unless you are going for a super minimalistic appearance, all your demographics and contact information should be filled out. Check in monthly to take advantage of any new features that may pop up.

#2 Create Branded Hashtags and Icons

When Instagram first came out, you were unable to connect other accounts within the platform. Now, you can link accounts and hashtags to your bio. These hashtags can be branded specifically to your company or to promotions such as a contest. Followers will then be easily directed to your account.

If your customers are looking for your business through a search engine, your website should be the first to pop up in the search results. From there, it should be a simple step for your customers to locate your social networks.

#3 Hold a Contest or a Giveaway

Everyone loves free stuff! Contests can be an excellent way to engage your followers while growing your audience and increasing your exposure. In fact, Instagram accounts that run contests regularly grow about r than accounts that don’t. Make sure that the rules are plain and simple. The best contests/giveaways are those in which the fans are required to do minimal work to enter and result in high engagements. If you are just starting out with contests, this is a good first choice. The added benefit of having contests is the natural collection of user-generated content for your webpage, which brings us to…

#4 User-generated Content and Video Testimonials

Taking advantage of user-generated content is an excellent way to offer a new perspective on your brand while building stronger relationships with your customers. Consumers tend to trust content from the average person more than they trust content from the brands trying to sell them products. User-generated content is an excellent way to grow your customer base by showing your followers that you are not the only one who thinks your company is awesome.

Users of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram often tag their friends on posts that they think are awesome. You can take advantage of this additional exposure by posting content and inviting users to tag a friend or post a stupid hashtag.

There is no better advocate for your brand than your loyal and satisfied customers. Video testimonials are one of the best ways to show potential customers how others have found success using your products or services.

See if your best customers are willing to come on camera for a short video to talk about why they love your brand. Make it even more sensational by conducting live interviews with customers at trade shows and other events.

#5 Behind the Scenes and How-to Videos

Allowing your readers to take a peek behind the curtain of productions helps them bond with your brand. Sneak peeks show your audience that behind the company name, there is a group of people who work hard to provide quality services and products. Images or videos that show the progress of a remodeling project or that highlight a milestone in the company’s history are great ways to build a more intimate connection with your customers.

Using video is a great way to show your follows step-by-step processes. Tutorials and how-to videos are eye-catching and attractive forms of connecting to your followers across media platforms. You can break things down into bite-sized pieces while providing a visual learning experience. How-to videos are also extremely shareable and will give you the opportunity to get your content in front of a fresh audience. Video ideas include recipes and DIY projects.

#6 Emojis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😁

Using emojis in your posts is a good way to help engage your audience and get them to participate. The use of emojis in tweets can increase engagement by about 25 percent. Using them on Facebook posts can increase engagement by 57 percent. Be sure that you understand the appropriate use of the emojis at your disposal. Relevancy and immediacy are key to success in this area. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Creating a mental image that sticks will ensure that you will forever remain in the minds of your audience.

#7 Polling and Trends

Polling is a quick way to engage your audience and to learn how to best target it. Polls are easy to create on Facebook or Twitter and can pull in responses in a matter of minutes. Learning the preferences of your followers is a great tool for analyzing the effectiveness of your approach and can provide you with information on adjusting your strategies to improve your online presence.

For more creative social media marketing ideas that will allow you to increase exposure, take a look at trending topics. Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook make it simple to see trending topics by providing a list on the sidebar. Before jumping on the latest bandwagon, be sure that you understand the details of what the trend is. Make sure that it is relevant to your brand, product or service. If you have something of value to add, take advantage of these topics to grow your audience.

#8 Run Live Campaigns

Live video is probably the most compelling form of content you will ever use and is one of the best creative social media campaign ideas. In fact, people have been proven to spend up to three times longer watching live videos on Facebook rather that pre-recorded versions. Use this knowledge to your advantage by going live. You can do a live product demonstration, discuss some of the inner workings of your business, answer questions or even vlog! A real-time experience is more deeply imprinted on the minds of your followers and can help you build a more personal connection as you respond to comments and questions through live video.

#9 Repurposed and Curated Content

Great content does not necessarily mean creating something completely new every time. There are ways you can repurpose your content to get the most value out of it and save you time in the bargain. Reposting previous content is one way to repurpose something that may be a little stale. You can also transform your content by changing it into a different format to engage a different audience.

For example, you can create a “trailer” for a longer video presentation to pique interest in your more in-depth content. You can also turn infographics into blog posts or combine articles to create an e-book. Consider reversing this idea and turning blog posts into infographics and e-books into shorter articles to allow your followers a way to easily and quickly access the information.

While you don’t want to share content from your direct competitors, there is no rule against sharing content from other sources. Appropriate and timely articles and content from other sources allows you to provide more value to your followers while demonstrating your credibility and your knowledge of the latest news and trends.

Excellent content does not only promote your products, brands or services. It should also provide genuine tips and guidance to your potential customers to help them understand and overcome their challenges. Sharing tips and advice is an excellent method of demonstrating your knowledge and building relationships with your customers.

#10 Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a fun tradition that takes place every Thursday on media platforms. Postings that contain this hashtag include memories and images from the past. This can be a fun and engaging way for brands to connect with their users by sharing some of their own past and how they came into existence. An auto dealer, for example, can show images of older models that fans would find interesting or nostalgic. Be sure to indicate Throwback Thursday with the appropriate hashtag to allow people to find your photos on Twitter and Instagram.

#11 The Ask Me Anything! Series

The Ask Me Anything! series, or AMA series, is a popular program on Reddit that offers businesses a unique chance to let their followers learn more about their brand and services. You don’t have to use Reddit if you don’t want to. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are also great places to host your AMA series. An AMA series gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as a leader in the industry while providing valuable information to potentials customers.

#12 FaceBook Reactions

Facebook’s most entertaining features is the “reaction button.” With this button, users can respond using one of five different emoji responses. Instead of “liking” a post, users can now “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry” a post. Brands can use these responses to gauge interest and determine the level of passion that their followers have on a certain topic. “Like,” “love,” and “wow” reactions let you know that the viewer found the content useful, educational, inspiring or creative. If you find yourself getting a lot of “angry” reactions, you might need to revise your marketing strategy.

#13 Brand Partners and Take-overs

If you have the chance to hook up with another brand with a similar target audience, you can increase your exposure exponentially. Choose a company whose audience may be able to benefit from your product or services. Don’t choose a direct competitor. This could send your brand down the tubes [sad emoji].

You can also consider an account take-over. Allowing another person to take over your account for a short period of time allows your brand to obtain a fresh perspective while receiving exposure to a new audience. This option is a creative solution for industry experts to work together to grow their businesses. Here is an example. A baker (Steve) may take over Cake Decorator’s Instagram page for a day to share favorite tips, tricks and secrets. Steve can identify with the cake company’s audience, while Steve’s audience is drawn to check out Cake Decorator’s website.

#14 Promotion Techniques: Cross Promotion, Promoting Through Email Signatures and Newsletters

Cross promotion takes advantage of having multiple media accounts. By reminding your followers that you have other accounts, you can create a call-to-action asking people to follow you. If you want a more subtle approach, mention that you are on other networks in your bio. For Snapchat users, a profile photo change to your Snapcode is a good idea.

For another subtle reminder to recipients who receive your newsletters, consider adding your media icons at the bottom of the page. A more direct approach involves the promotion of your accounts in your newsletter by adding a fan section where you can present a picture from your community. Although many newsletter services permit the embedding of images, an upload with a link to the account will work just as well for the services that do not support embedding. If you often send external emails, include links in your email signature. This branding opportunity is another way to get your name out there in front of potential customers.

#15 Targeted Ads and Discounts

Facebook is one of the best platforms for ad targeting. By setting up a Facebook pixel on your website, you can adjust the settings to automatically target those who visit your pages. The audience data collected by Facebook is a big help to determine current interests and trends. Once your ads are set up, use a tool like Sprout Social to help you keep up with the inevitable comments and questions. The Sprout inbox allows you to monitor connections across your profiles and media accounts to ensure that you never miss a message that is relevant to your brand.

Traditional advertising involves the presentation of deals and bargains in the newspaper or through email sweeps. Media accounts work in the same way. These discounts are offered to your audience and end after a specified period of time. The simplest way to offer a discount is to embed a code in a post. Flash deals with limited quantities on Instagram or Facebook are excellent ways to drive traffic to your site and boost sales.

#16 Switch It Up

Using the same copy for all your networks will lead to stagnation and low interest in fans. Your followers are most likely unique to each platform. Using different copy on each network will go a long way toward keeping your audience engaged. Take some time to learn the differences between your audience groups before experimenting with different vocabulary and angles. For example, if your audience is mostly on LinkedIn, your copy will be more oriented towards sales. If you have a younger audience on Snapchat, your copy will contain more gifs, memes, and emojis.

#17 Loyalty and Ambassador Programs

The ambassador program is based on brand awareness and takes advantage of customers who have used your products and want to share information about your products with their friends and families. An ambassador program takes a certain amount of time and patients to create and support. If you are low on resources for some social media marketing ideas, consider a loyalty or referral program. Offer your loyal customers referral codes and reward them with discounts when their referrals make a purchase.

You can also use your employees as advocates for your brands. A loyal staff is invaluable and can promote your brand with tailored messages on their media channels to reach a wider range of potential customers. Employee advocate toots such as Bambu are great ways to give your brands exposure to new audiences by connecting your organization to your employees’ media networks.

#18 The Leaky Landing Page

Although the landing page has been the obsession of marketers for years, did you know that leads often fail to click through to reach the landing page at all? Certain media advertising formats allow you to bypass the landing page entirely and provide a call to action using the “call” button for your Facebook ads. Because most Facebook users are mobile, the “call now” feature embedded in the ad eliminates the potential for lost leads caused by the extra step it takes to reach a landing page.

#19 Make the Most Out of Twitter

Although most marketing operations use Twitter as a promotional tool for online marketing programs, only a few understand the importance of harnessing the power of Twitter to comment on topics before taking the time to produce more in-depth content. Twitter can be used to test how effective a topic is likely to be and gauge interest in various subject areas. You can use Twitter Analytics to track the performance of your tweets and determine your engagement rate. This free experiment can give you the information needed to determine whether you should pursue a topic or drop it and is one of the lesser-known social media campaign ideas.

#20 Remarketing and Facebook Ads

Remarketing is the process by which you follow your leads around with offers related to their search history. When users visit your website, they are tagged with a cookie. To remarket to your visitors, a code is inserted on the visited page. This code then programs your ads to follow the cookied user around the web, everywhere from media networks to other websites across the internet.

As an example, Google Ads allows advertisers to remarket across their platforms by creating remarketing lists designed to target either all visitors to your website or those who visit a certain page or complete a certain action.

Facebook remarketing is similar in certain ways, but instead of displaying your advertisements across websites, the ads are shown on Facebook. Remarketing on Facebook is usually referred to as “Custom Audiences.”

Custom Audiences works in the same way as Google Ads: Someone interacts with your website or brand and is tagged with a code that permits you to track them. While they are looking through their Facebook feed, your ads pop up and bring your brand to mind again.

Facebook ads have the ability to mimic email marketing by targeting your audience members with personalized messages. You can pull a list of contacts from your customer database and upload it directly to your Facebook account. You can then target your audience with ads relevant to their position on your sales funnel.

This is the most common form of remarketing. Once you have placed a Facebook pixel on all your web pages, you can determine your audience types based by setting filters based on the pages your audience groups have visited. As an example, if you sell cycling equipment but want to use Facebook ads to target those who are looking for helmets, you can set up an audience that shows ads to people who have visited pages with “helmet” as the keyword in the URL.


Social media marketing is an effective tool that both companies and brands or small businesses can use to increase traffic to their sites and boost sales and conversions. If you think your advertising could use some improvement, consider implementing these 20 creative social media marketing ideas for new twists and fresh perspectives on this multi-faceted topic.