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Top Facebook Updates | Quarter 3 of 2018 [Part 2]

Facebook’s vice president of European, Middle Eastern and African operations once predicted that the platform will be 100% video in less than 5 years. And while video marketing is no new name within the industry, the strategy of video marketing is rapidly changing. And this is one boat you wouldn’t want to miss.

True to form, we bring you 2 new additions (regarding video marketing) from Facebook in continuation from our previous list of notable Facebook Updates.

Video Marketing

Facebook Stories Ads

Did you know that over 300 million people use Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories on a daily? And according to an Ipsos survey, 62% of people have reported being more interested in a product after seeing it in a story. Additionally, 34% of those surveyed said they actually went to the physical store to for the item.

Factoring in this statistics and the exceptional reception Instagram Stories ads received, Facebook has now launched Facebook Stories ads to help advertisers increase their reach to audiences through an immersive experience. 

Facebook Stories ads possess the full targeting and tracking capabilities as per the standard ad campaigns. Facebook Stories ads also support every objective available on Instagram Stories ads and is an additional placement to News Feed or Instagram Stories ad campaigns.

  • Reach
  • Brand Awareness
  • Video Views
  • App Install
  • Conversion
  • Traffic
  • Lead Generation

facebook-stories-ads-placement

Credit: buffer

BENEFITS

Unlike other immersive experiences, Facebook Stories ads very much like Stories itself allows businesses to showcase a more candid, personalised take on the brand. This works best for promoting your company’s culture or giving snippets / bite-size updates on a certain event or even promotion. And with the decreasing attention-span of our general population, Stories has proven to be very effective in countering this change.

As we all know, it’s increasingly difficult to appear organically in the News Feeds, and advertisers feeling the constraints have moved on to look for easier ways to reach their audience. With the popularity of Stories, brands are now looking at Facebook Stories ads as the next best option to keep them in front of their competition. And while Facebook still prioritises the ads with the similar algorithm, Stories ads still presents you with a less formal way to reach out to your followers, to show a different side of the brand / your company (as opposed to the conventional ads). And best of all, you’ll have fun with it! 

 

In-Stream Reserve and ThruPlay

September 2018, in conjunction with the Advertising Week in New York, Facebook announced the launch of two new ways to purchase and deliver video ad campaigns on the platform — In-Stream Reserve and ThruPlay. 

In-Stream Reserve allows advertisers to reach an audience from the category of the most engaging and of highest quality publishers/creators. It was reported that more than 70% of In-Stream ads are watched to completion. And via In-Stream Reserve Categories, advertisers are able to choose content packages like fashion/beauty, sports, entertainment and etc, which are to be purchased in the same way as In-Stream Reserve. These ads are delivered as mid-roll within the News Feed Videos.

To accommodate and leverage on the many different ways audiences view videos,  ThruPlay narrows down the cost to completed video views, letting advertisers pay only when ads are watched to completion, or for at least 15 seconds. Additionally, ThruPlay has been made effective for all video ad placements on in-stream, stories, and feed, and even on Instagram. It is available under Ads Manager for auction, reach, and frequency buying, and will be rolled out to all advertisers worldwide.

These features are the result of Facebook recognising the rise in the effectiveness of in-stream ads, hence they’re offering better control over ad placements and even how advertisers pay for their space.

 

BENEFITS

Having In-Stream Reserve is a huge addition to advertisers. It helps bridge a gap as it impacts campaigns aimed at younger, harder-to-reach demographics and light TV viewers. In addition to that, while it may not sound like a positive word, In-Stream ads are disruptive, and it shakes users out of their typical online viewing experience. And with the short customer attention-span these day (skimming through content in a near zombie-like state), In-Stream helps steal the focus for a quick few seconds. Hence, even if they didn’t watch the ad to the end, you know you’ve woken them.

Because of its nature, ThruPlay helps advertisers reach viewers who watch the entire ad. Which in turn helps them to understand their ideal audience or the audience group that are interested and would engage with their brand. ThruPlay is also cost effective when it comes to ad buying as businesses only pay for when their ads are being watched.

And that about sums up the key changes that advertisers on Facebook should note in Q3 of 2018. If you’ve found this article useful and would like to know more, do drop us a note/comment and we’ll be in touch! 

 

 

 

 

Top Facebook Updates | Quarter 3 of 2018 [Part 1]

It goes without saying that businesses in today’s world require an online presence.  And while many startups and smaller brands may hold off on investing in building a website, they do however rely on Facebook to provide their business with the much needed digital presence.

Seeing that Facebook still ranks as the world’s largest and most popular social platform, it’s a no-brainer that advertisers and businesses would flock to the platform to promote and reach potential customers.

Top Social Media PlatformsCredit: statista

As Facebook ads algorithm is ever-changing and evolving, it’s important for advertisers to keep tabs on the changes to minimise unnecessary wastage of budget and time. Hence, we bring you some of the latest and most notable updates of Facebook ads as below.

 

The ‘New’ Canvas Ads

For those who have not already heard, Facebook Canvas Ads has a new name — Instant Experiences. However, it’s not just the name that is new, the immersive mobile shopping Ads also boast a few new features with its rebranding.>

So what exactly is Instant Experience? According to Facebook, it’s a full-screen, post-click experience which allows brands to bring their products and services to life on mobile, across both Facebook and Instagram.

As opposed to its predecessor, Instant Experience:

  • Has specific ready-made templates for ease of Ad creation
    • Instant Storefront
    • Instant Form
    • Instant Customer Acquisition
    • Instant Storytelling
    • Instant Lookbook
  • Is optimal for mobile viewing
  • Loads 15 times faster than the standard mobile web pages
  • Is able to provide measurable data and insights of your ad performance

BENEFITS

How can Instant Experience help your business you ask? Many people might not be aware of this, but Instant Experience actually allows businesses to tell their story without the confines and restriction of the typical News Feeds ads. Meaning to say through Instant Experience, you’ll be able to provide your viewers with a holistic understanding of your brand/products without them ever leaving the platform.

While Instant Experience may be a powerful avenue to get your message out there, many young brands do struggle with the approach and with ad creation. However, the ready-made templates now eliminate that issue and make creating Instant Experiences all that simpler.

 

Facebook Watch is now Global

It seems like Facebook is all about videos this year! On August 29, 2018 Facebook newsroom announced that Facebook Watch is now available worldwide, allowing people from every corner of the world to discover and explore great videos and have interactions about them. With this move, Facebook has basically taken its video platform to the next level; becoming YouTube’s direct competitor and with it, more social media marketing benefits. 

To further establish its presence in video content, Facebook has released 3 key features to all advertisers:

  • Video Creation Kit: A tool that’s being built into Ads Manager and Page Publishing Tools that translates text and still images to video format.
  • Video cropping: It enables you to get the right aspect ratio within the ad creation process.
  • Simple video creation tools: It allows advertisers to create ads directly from their business Page specifically for mobile.

The simple video creation tool is meant to create an easy yet effective way to churn out attractive video ads that look great on mobile without too much hassle or having to pay for external programs.

BENEFITS

There are a few ways Facebook Watch is beneficial to businesses. Firstly, the launch of Watch itself has opened up many new opportunities for creators and businesses to further utilise the site. With the option of video marketing, brands are now able to be further engaged with their audience on Facebook. Before the days of Watch, brands were all previously limited to YouTube, Watch now presents an alternative platform for marketing videos and with the option to advertise through them no less.

Additionally, the new video editing features help businesses of all kinds to easily create video assets to maximise the performance of Facebook ads. This reduces the trouble and hassle of businesses to acquire additional manpower or resources to just put up simple video ad.

If you found this article useful and would like to hear more Facebook updates, do follow us on BFM 89.9 (The Business Station). Updates in this blog can also be heard on the below BFM episode.

And that’s for the first half of the top Facebook Updates in Quarter 3 of this year. Stay tuned for more!

8 Sure-fire Tips to Enhance Your Brand’s Social Media Profile in An Hour or Less!

Social Media Profile

Your brand’s social media profile is the first impression people get of your brand online. When people go through your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, the look of your brand can determine whether people click “follow” or scroll right by.

So, don’t settle for less. Just follow these 8 sure-fire tips, and your brand’s social media will look as good as new and start attracting people that matter for your business.

Table Writing Book

1. Beef up your social media bio.

Your company’s social media bio tells the story of your brand. When people read your bio, they should be able to know at a glance:

  • What is the ONE message your brand wants to convey?
  • What does your brand offer, or rather, what’s in it for them?
  • Keep your social media bio concise and to the point. And make sure to include links to your website, blog and other social media platforms. This gives your brand credibility and increases your online reach.

    Stormtrooper Graffiti

    2. Stand out with unique hashtags.

    KitKat features their iconic hashtag, #HaveABreak, throughout all their social media platforms. Not only does this unique hashtag increase reach and engagement, it gives followers something to tag on to whilst encouraging user-generated content. You can even have specific hashtags to differentiate between events, contests and promotions.

    Break the mold and figure out a hashtag that works for your brand today!

    3. Listen, accept and reply.

    In a sea of thousand supporters, there will always be one critic and let’s face it – that’s reality.

    Not every comment is worth replying. However, your brand should always be active in addressing comments, compliments and even complaints. The key is to listen, empathize and communicate in a friendly, human way — perhaps with even a touch of sass and humor. One of the brands that does this best is Wendy’s and you can find out why below.

    125

    4. Be vigilant of tagged posts.

    Be aware of tagged posts that link to your social media profile, as it might drastically affect how your followers perceive your brand image. Take the step to screen out any unwanted tagged posts by checking your photo-tagging settings and making sure they reflect your social media policy. But don’t just turn it off! Learn how to use it to your advantage.

    For tagged posts that reflect your brand’s image well, be sure to interact with those posts and even feature them on your profile. This will drive engagement with your followers and enhance your brand’s social media profile.

    Visually Rich Colourful

    5. Pop with visuals.

    Be visually rich.

    Make your posts pop with graphics, visual effects and bright contrasting colors. For your brand’s Instagram, note that your feed’s theme should reflect your brand’s message.

    Subtle, pastel colors with pink undertones reflect soft, soothing tones that are great for feminine fashion sites and its aesthetics.

    Strong, bold colors dominated by red and black tones symbolizes confidence, power and strength, which might work well for a more formal, professional-looking outcome.

    Still thinking about what colors suit your brand online? Find out more here.

    6. Size always matters — especially for images!

    If you thought having stunning visuals is enough, think again. Spend those few extra minutes to accurately crop and resize the photos for your social media profile.

    Consider how your visuals will show up on your social media profile, whether it will be blocked by another element, and plan accordingly.

    The last thing you want is for your brand’s logo to be cropped off accidentally!

    7. Outline keywords for SEO.

    In simple terms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves coming up with keywords and optimizing your website based on those keywords. Not only is SEO important for your website, but make sure you incorporate those keywords across your social media for consistency and brand recognition online.

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    8. Consistency is key!

    After going through all these steps, the final key is to be consistent throughout your social media platforms and content.

    People follow your social media profiles because they enjoy seeing who you are as a brand. The more people see your consistent images, the more likely your brand will stay on top of mind. So, make sure you are consistent with your images, logos, profile handles and tone of voice to really cement your fan base.

    Still need some help building up your brand’s social media platforms? Let’s get connected and see how we can help to enhance your brand’s image online today! Get in touch here.

    Written by: Savitha Ravindran

    Working at OpenMinds as a social media intern. Currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree BA (HONS) in International Business Management at Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU). An avid traveller and lover of all things antic, she prefers to spend her free time reading and honing her writing skills.

    The Top 4 Social Media Trends in 2017

    Facebook Live

    2017 has been an exciting year for social media! We’ve seen major updates, introduction of new content formats and redesigns across many social media platforms.

    If you just breeze through some of the top social media sites, you’ll realise that each of them have been evolving to meet the demands of social media users.

  • Facebook introduced multiple features and updates, as expected.
  • YouTube redesigned their logo and introduced the dark theme.
  • Twitter lifted the cap for 140 characters and extended it to 280 characters.
  • Snapchat redesigned their entire interface.
  • But Instagram takes the cake this year for the way they have dominated the market with the widespread adoption of Instagram Stories and the addition of the Instagram business tool. Read on to find out what were our top 4 picks for social media trends in 2017!

    1. Instagram becomes more like Facebook.

    With the introduction of Instagram business tools, the platform is evolving to cater more towards brands and marketers (similar to Facebook). Before this, businesses had difficulty gaining insights into how their Instagram page was doing. Now, they are able to receive insights about followers, page performance, demographics, and trends for future references. Instagram has also made it easy for marketers by allowing them to buy ads directly fromt the platform.

    Early in July, Instagram had 15 million business profiles; now, the platform boasts of more than 25 million active business profiles. The fact is that businesses are getting noticed on Instagram, with 80 percent of users following at least one business account.

    So if you’re a business, but you are not yet on Instagram Insights, get on with the program because you are missing out! All it takes is a click within your app.

    2. Ephemeral content remains relevant.

    When we used to talk about ephemeral content, we would think about Snapchat. However, this year Instagram Stories has dominated most of the conversation surrounding this topic. Not only has Instagram Stories taken over Snapchat in terms of users, Instagram Stories has earned its position as the ultimate platform for this type of content.

    While Instagram has over 500 million daily active users, 300 million of those are on Instagram Stories each day. That’s a whopping 60 percent of users that have adopted Instagram Stories as part of their daily lives. It’s no wonder that advertisers, brands and influencers have been jumping on Instagram Stories as their platform of choice—sometimes even more so than their actual Instagram feed.

    We’ve seen an array of new features on Instagram Stories this year—Boomerang, Superzoom, polls and recently the ability archive and highlights Stories. We can only expect for more of the unexpected in 2018.

    3. Live video gains traction.

    Many people said 2017 would be the year of video, but it turned out to also be the year of live video. While the concept may have started out with Meerkat, and later Periscope, this year has seen Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube go live.

    Live video is appealing because of the authentic nature of it. You don’t have full control over what happens once you go live, and that sort of spontaneity or even uncertainty makes live videos so much more worth watching.

    According to Forbes, users receive 200% more notifications for live video compared to all other activities. This shows how much the social media giants have been pushing for live video in 2017, however only time will tell if the novelty of this content format will wear off.

    4. Talking to robots becomes the norm.

    The fourth major trend we saw in 2017 was the evolution of interaction on social media, especially with the implementation of chatbots. For starters, we’ve seen many brands using simple chatbots on social media to respond to frequently asked questions. This has helped brands to improve their overall response time and customer service experience.

    Chatbots have evolved to a point where some of them are even able to generate qualified leads. Some companies have been able to contain the whole customer journey from awareness to purchase within Facebook Messenger, giving users a seamless experience.

    In fact, the growth of AI this year has also been seen across industries, whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. And we can probably expect more of AI integration within the realm of social media in 2018 and beyond.

    That sums up our major social media highlights for 2017. Let us know in the comments below what you consider the social media highlight of the year.

    Digital Branding [Part 2]: The Results

    Digital branding has its merits in producing fantastic results towards businesses both small and large. It is a means to personal branding too as we look towards an integrated digital era where work and personal ambitions combine in a unified online persona. Let’s take a look at what you can reap as you focus on digital branding.

    1. PLATFORM PREPARATION

    “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. We are uncertain of the future if we do not start preparing and using technologies of the future. Digital branding allows you to constantly work and massage digital assets such as social media platforms where it acts as a place for content dissemination to a ready community.

    2. PEOPLE (Community)

    Once you get into the momentum of preparing your social media platforms, the constant exercise of digital branding allows you to build a community of advocates that will have a higher chance of brand loyalty and communication. Content fed to them are more relevant and allows for a more receptive bunch of consumers.

    3. CITIZEN JOURNALISM

    A community is made up of different individuals that have their own characteristic and level of advocacy towards your brand. In the case of customer to customer (C2C) marketing, these individuals that are highly vocal; always willing to share their experience, will be your evangelists. They become your journalists to push for your brand’s promise, experience and product / service.

    4. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

    Building your brand digitally allows for quick feedback. First impressions online are vital to whether that lead stays or drops out. With proper digital branding and strategising, your brand has higher chances of capturing that lead with multiple impressions; curating content and a brand image that suits that lead. Make sure to constantly ensure that your brand is on-point with its overall look and messaging.

    5. LEAD GENERATION

    Ultimately, brands want to generate leads and convert them into customers. With a ready platform, a committed community and brand evangelists, it is almost in auto-pilot when a potential customer discovers your brand. If that lead is your target audience, proper digital branding allows for a quicker feedback and decision making from that lead. Take it one step further and capture that lead with a campaign; collect their data in exchange for a reasonable gift / prize so that they can experience your brand with a lower barrier of entry. Note: Always state clear terms of data usage, do not misuse data for mass marketing.

    Your brand can still run without an online presence or any form of digital branding. However, what sets your brand apart with digital branding is the headstart you have to manoeuvre through the changing times, intentionally communicate with your intended target audience and stay far in front of your competitors. Give your brand that edge and make it global.

    Read Part 1 for the benefits of digital branding.

    Maximising Your Time As A Startup

    Time is progressive. There is a limit and you cannot get back what you have wasted. Working in a startup is fast, agile and demanding. Teams at startups work at least 40 – 50% more in a lifetime compared to an average worker. A great amount of time is spent on planning, innovating, execution and maintenance of a certain product / service / culture. As a startup, being aware of your time makes you ahead of time. Here are 5 ways you can maximise your time to stay ahead and build a progressive startup.

    1. Set Short-Term Goals

    Long-term goals is a point of victory. Develop shorter sprints to ensure higher intensity and regular wins. Sprinting allows for multiple checkpoints, this creates quicker decision making and assurance; pivoting if the need arises. Realise your short-term wins to fuel you; use them as your compass for the “what’s next” questions.

    2. Utilise Your Calendar

    Dates and time go in tandem. Don’t trust your brain to remember your appointments. Be intentional and set them on your calendar. If you have a smartphone with a calendar app, use it (find your calendar fit)! Make it a habit to create an ‘event’ in your calendar for all occasions, both work and personal – WIP meetings, interviews, team meetups, dinner dates, car wash. Use the ‘invite’ functions to ensure those attending are aware. Most importantly, check your calendar daily to ensure you do not over commit and respect each others’ time.

    3. Have An Agenda

    There is a saying in our company – “No agenda, no meet.”. The reason is simple and practical – if you call for a meeting, the intentions need to be clear, the achievements need to be made known so that all attendees are of the same mindset and can prepare beforehand. Since we work in a fast-paced environment, every minute counts in a meeting, make full use of it.

    4. Be Productive, Not Busy

    There is a stark difference between busy people and productive people. You can find a multitude of written articles about being busy vs being productive, but it all boils down to 3 keywords of a productive person – ‘focus’, ‘purpose’ and ‘executors’ (less talk, more action). So, do not be afraid to be less “busy”. Less is more, slow is fast.

    5. “5-Minute Victories”

    This is an effective method to maximise your time. The “5-minute victory” is simply a concept that suggest the usage of small windows of your time for smaller, less ‘brain juice’ tasks. The task may not be urgent, but rather important. For example, you will notice that in a day, you will have multiple time-outs (in-between meetings, breathers, waiting for your lunch buddies to wrap up), take advantage of these small windows of opportunity to reply quick emails, make that quick phone call, talk to that colleague that owes you a quick status update. Be aware of those small pockets of time and turn it into a win.

    Owe it to yourselves, whether you are founders or co-workers of a startup, guard your time, use it to your best effort so that you can achieve so much more than what you set out to do. Remember to use your time for rest and fun too. Being in a startup ain’t just about the work – create a holistic and integrated approach to your startup career.

     

    Decision Making for Startups

    Like it or not, decision making is part of life. We make decisions everyday, whether it’s to decide what’s for lunch, when’s a good time to get out of bed or the seemingly bigger ones like a choosing an investor or hiring a new talent – you get the drift.

    Why is it that we can’t make decisions?

    1. It’s people. As decisions sometimes affects others, it can be rather complex. It involves managing all the information going around, the emotions of the people involved and expectations of someone else.

    2. It’s you. The fear of disappointing someone, failing, insecurities or simply just lacking knowledge and experience in the subject matter.

    “No one makes perfect decisions. The idea is to choose to move ahead.”

    Because of these fears, people tend to hold back, keep quiet, and wish for someone to say something.. or to look wise by saying “let’s think about it”.

    The problem with thinking about it is that nothing gets done. Nothing. The problem is still there and you’re merely putting it off! More often than not, people get distracted by other priorities and eventually leads to not thinking about it – until it’s time to make a decision again.

    Reality is also such that you don’t only make one decision per day. In fact, you make tons of them daily and by putting them off, you’re brewing a recipe for disaster as decisions piles up, and sometimes even snowballs from something harmless to something apocalyptic. And when it haunts you, you are cornered into deciding on whatever that helps, leaving little room for mistakes and time to rectify them.

    Bad stuff.

    What can you do to make decisions easier?

    #1: Stop taking in information

    The more you take in, the more you’re going to confuse yourself. Do your research, consult others, listen, but put a limit to the amount of information you’re taking in.

    #2: Talk to yourself

    Play out a conversation with yourself and be your own devil’s advocate. There’s magic in speaking out loud and you’ll be surprised at how you can land on an answer just like that.

    #3: The 60-second rule

    When it comes down to it, instead of saying “let’s think about it”, make a decision in 60 seconds. Sometimes, that won’t be the final decision, but it triggers a response from others and that brings you a step closer to what needs to be done.

    #4: Vote

    This isn’t my favourite but in a group of opinionated people, voting can weed out less popular ideas and get to the end quicker. However, note that the majority isn’t always right.

    #5: Prioritize, divide, and conquer

    In a situation where there are tons of decisions to be made, start with the easier ones (e.g. with smaller impact). You and your team strives on wins, getting smaller decisions out of the way generates the energy and synergy for the more critical ones.

    #6: Build the “T”

    In short, weigh the pros and cons by splitting them into each side of a “T”. List down all the possibilities that you can think of and make a decision out of them.

    #7: Map your thoughts

    This is my favourite. Like a mind map, start by placing your problem at the center and draw out questions like: Why is this a problem, what is the impact of this decision, who are the stakeholders, what are their goals, what are the potential solutions, what if I do otherwise, and the list goes on. Keep going until you’ve exhausted your thoughts and have sufficient information in front of you to proceed.

    Stop thinking and decide!

    Check out the presentation slides on SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/janwong/decision-making-for-entrepreneurs

    Digital Branding [Part 1]: The Benefits

    Branding is simple and it should be. The goal is to establish a recognisable name, symbol, design, outlook that serves as a unique identity of a product or service. It tells of your story and the experience that customers can expect. It boils down to perception. So, what is digital branding? Simply put, brands these days do not solely rely on offline mediums to cultivate their brand. Brands are leveraging on digital mediums such as websites, social media, mobile apps, digital advertisements, email and the likes, to solidify their online position; allowing a more wholesome experience.

    Creating a brand perception online takes into account all the possible digital platforms that your customers are actively on. The term ‘digital’ can be broken down to 4 main elements – Interactivity, Multichannel, Virility and Progressiveness. Each of these has its own benefit towards your brand. Let’s break it down.

    1. Interactivity

    Gone are the days of one-way communication. Brands have to embrace a rather engaging approach to attract customers. Digital branding allows for greater interactivity where brands can choose different elements within a content to be marketed in a more engaging manner. For example, showcasing your product USPs via a GIF, hosting a live video on Facebook / Periscope / YouTube and responding to comments on-the-go, launching clickable banner ads on related websites.

    Allow your customers to do something, get them in on the experience. This will create a deeper branding strategy.

    2. Multichannel

    Having your brand strongly vested in digital branding allows for a convergence of different platforms. Imagine your brand’s identity being unified across multiple online platforms (social media, email, online advertisements, chat applications) with different display mediums; all in unison, preaching one message yet customised to every customer.

    Your brand’s content requires a channel as an outlet. Digital platforms are at your fingertips. Set them up and integrate them to showcase your brand.

    3. Virality

    Virality has come a long way and has been misused many times. Having your brand go viral is a post result instead of a pre-planned process. There are viral elements to potentially push your brand towards a further reach in a short period of time but there is no guarantee. The beauty of digital branding is that brands can easily pick up speed by customers’ engagement through shares, clicks, recommendations, feedbacks, dark social and so on.

    Having a digital base allows customers to have quicker access to the brand’s identity; allowing them to make quicker decisions on engaging with it. The more customers feed on it, the potential to go viral is higher.

    4. Progressiveness

    As you continue to uphold a digital branding strategy, you will realise that it is easier to expand your brand’s appeal in order to progress in this fast changing environment we live in.

    In order to progress, we need to have all our branding channels at hand. Digital allows that. It allows for versatility.

     

    Integrate your branding strategies. Cultivate a habit to unify your brand identity both online and offline. Digital branding is becoming a staple method of branding. Jump on board!

    Read Part 2 for the results for digital branding.

    3 Modern SEO Basics for Your Brand: Technical Relevancy [Part 3]

    What should I look out for in modern day SEO?

    Search engine optimisation, or SEO in short has much relevance with the technical aspects with your website. Sure, content still plays an important role to your brand’s ranking on search engines but implementing good technical structure can help give it a boost too!

    The below will walk you through the technical concepts of SEO that you should know about.

    Part 3: Technical Relevance in SEO

    SSL Certificate

    In the era of web and data security, SSL certificates have become very common on transactional or eCommerce websites – but that does not mean it does not concern you. Investing in a SSL certificate can indicate to search engines that your website considers data security and therefore, more credible compared to other websites.

    Key takeaway: There are a ton of inexpensive SSL Certificates that you can invest in. Go for the basic ones as those are enough if you are not working with sensitive customer data. It’s the easiest and the least you can do for your website.

    Site Structure

    Having a clear and straight forward website structure helps search engines index your website more effectively. Do not have hidden pages or complex links especially between your main pages. If it is confusing to search engines, it can indicate that your website isn’t friendly to readers. Creating an XML sitemap can help too!

    Key takeaway: Keep your website’s structure as straight forward as possible. Minimize the need of hidden pages (why do you even need them?) and make sure they are well linked and accessible across the website.

    User Interface

    While this does not directly affect searchability on search engines, having good user interface contributes to good user experience and in return, potentially reducing bounce rates which is an added bonus to contextual relevance on SEO.

    Key takeaway: Having good user interface is never a bad thing. This includes a clear navigation scheme, related links, social sharing icons and even placing of textual content from page to page.

    No 404

    This is the dreaded error code when a page cannot be displayed or found with a given URL. In short, your website should not consist of broken links. Not only it annoys human readers, but search engines will consider your website as incomplete, therefore affecting your website’s ranking on search engines.

    Key takeaway: Sometimes, it is inevitable for a website to have 404 pages (especially if you have huge amount of content over time). The least you can do is to ensure that your 404 pages are not left as ‘default’. It helps to have a customised 404 page that allows users to navigate to other content instead of hitting the ‘back’ button on the browser.

    Mobile Support

    Mobile compatibility has been a rising consideration by search engines. Websites that caters to mobile generally fares better compared to one that is unreadable on mobile. It’s good practice to ensure key content and navigation is easily readable on both desktop and mobile devices.

    Key takeaway: Your website has to be at least mobile responsive to pass this requirement. If you are unsure, simply visit your website via your mobile and see if the content fits well on screen with no side scrolling required.

    Loading Speed

    This is an important factor as slow page load time can cause search engine crawlers to ‘give up’. Elements that can cause slower loading times include image size, animations,

    Key takeaway: Never assume that your website is okay even if it loads quick on your PC. There are a number of free tools that provides a more realistic analysis on page load time, including a breakdown of the areas causing it to be slow.

    See: Part 1 or Part 2

    3 Modern SEO Basics for Your Brand: Context Relevancy [Part 2]

    One of the biggest difference in modern day SEO as compared to what it was before is how intelligent search engines have become. What was deemed as ‘SEO friendly’ back then was heavily influenced by content relevance, such as optimising keywords and meta data as described here on content relevance.

    It is important to note that search engines are always finding ways to further optimise its results to searchers so you should have a balanced approach instead of focusing on beating the search algorithms. Today, search engines are known to be able to read contextual information beyond the content provided as a gauge of your brand’s credibility through your website.

    Part 2: Context Relevance in modern day SEO

    Localisation

    It is important to know that modern search engines now display results based on the searcher’s location. This means you need to take advantage of that (you can do so on local.google.com for Google Search) and help search engines to recognise where are you based at, especially if your target audience is local.

    Key takeaway: In most situations, being well positioned on local search results also yields pretty good ranking on international results; which is a plus to your brand.

    Post-click Activity

    It is for the longest time brands like you have been trying to lower the bounce rate on your website, and here’s another reason for you to do so – especially if you haven’t been doing anything about it. Search engines now track if searchers are bouncing off your website and returning to the search results. If that happens, Google will learn that your website probably did not address the search term provided and you drop in relevance.

    Key takeaway: Make sure your keywords matches what you have to offer, and offer it good! Always aim to satisfy the readers when they discover your content and you will do fine.

    Shareability

    Social is not a new comer to search engines. In fact, Google Plus was created to help bridge search and social though it didn’t really pick up over the years. However, having your content shared (and linked) back to you on social media platforms do give you added points on SEO as it builds added credibility to your website.

    Key takeaway: Make it easy for readers to share your content. Also, be sure to have your images and content excerpts ready so it shows up nice and pretty on social media channels to encourage more shares.

    External Links

    Also widely known as back links, i.e. websites that are linking back to yours. Imagine it as testimonials or recommendations other websites are giving you. The more credible links you receive, search engines will perceive your website as one that is equally credible and therefore deserves attention on search results.

    Key takeaway: Not all links coming in are good – especially if they are from spammy sources. Your goal is to create meaningful links back to your website from reputable websites.

    Internal Links

    Having a similar concept as external or back links, internal links are links between the web pages within your website. Being able to deep link your content, shows search engines that your website remains within context and that you have some authority within the keyword’s domain.

    Key takeaway: Over the years, both external and internal links have declined in significance to SEO. However, it is still good practice to have them in place as it is also beneficial to your readers in navigating around related content.

     

    See: Part 1 or Part 3