M&M 44: Driving Blog Traffic and Growing Community with Pinterest, Instagram, and Messenger Bots
Curious how to drive blog traffic using chat bots? In Episode 44 of The Money and Media Podcast, PT Money interviews four social media mavens–Kate Ahl, Katie Hornor, Monica Louie and Kim Garst–who share insight on using Pinterest to grow your blog readers, Instagram tips to grow community, Facebook ads to drive blog traffic, and Facebook Messenger Bots.
2:00 Kate Ahl – Pinterest Specialist
4:40 4 tips for upping your Pinterest game in 2018
9:00 Advanced Pinterest tips
9:45 Katie Hornor – Blog planning and Instagram
13:00 Content marketing for 2018
14:30 Tools for Instagram
16:40 How to use hashtags on Instagram
19:25 Influencer campaigns and sponsored posts
24:28 Monica Louie – Facebook Ads Expert
29:45 The 5 steps to run your first Facebook ad
36:30 Facebook ads in 2018
39:30 Kim Garst – Facebook Messenger Bots
43:25 What are bots and how do I use them?
I have personally been using Kate’s service at Simple Pin Media to manage my own Pinterest account for over a year. She is definitely the first person that I think of when anybody mentions Pinterest. If you aren’t on her email list, you need to get on it. She sends out tips every week that you can actually use. You also receive a FREE 2018 Pinterest planner when you sign up. That alone is well worth it.
Kate’s mission in teaching and speaking about Pinterest is to help people understand that Pinterest may not be the sexy new platform but that in no way means that it’s irrelevant. Pinterest can drive more traffic than you might expect, but it requires a ton of patience. Pinterest is a slow-moving train. You will not see results tomorrow for a pin you share today. But the payoff in the long run is worth it.
Action Tips for Pinterest
In order to see results from your Pinterest marketing plan, optimize your site for Pinterest (vertical images, catchy titles, action items). You have to lead people where you want them to go and not expect them to find the way on their own. You can’t just slap up any old pin and expect people to follow it.
Here are some tips Kate Ahl gave for upping your Pinterest game-
- Pinterest is a visual search engine; your images matter. If you can’t do images, hire it out. All images should be a 2:3 ratio. (Pinterest suggests 600 x 900.)
- Know your target audience. Use keywords in your pin descriptions and on your pins to reach that audience.
- Be consistent. Pin daily, whether that’s using a scheduler or manually.
- Be sure your pin text/description and your content actually go together. No
Blog Planning and Instagram
Katie Horner is a big believer in planning your blog ahead of time and by planning your blog, she isn’t just talking about writing content.
Even if you don’t meet your goals, having a plan helps you to get closer to them than if you hadn’t had a plan.
Katie uses the 12-week year idea that became popular through folks like Brian Moran. This idea uses short-term, big goal-oriented planning. Why use a 12-week planning tool?
Well, frankly, it can be overwhelming to think about planning for the entire 12 months of the year, whether that’s for your blog, your life, your finances, or any business you may have. Taking your year-long goals and breaking those down into quarters and even months can give you new insights and motivation that you might not have experienced before.
The Importance of Content Creation
As we get deeper into 2018, it’s time to look at what bloggers are doing to improve the content they share. Katie offered several ideas:
- Long-form content. 300-word blog posts are gone and today’s blog reader wants longer, meatier content. Lots of internal links are also very popular to keep the reader on your blog for longer.
- Content upgrades. A great way to keep your readers on your blog is to offer content upgrades…another piece of information or freebie that goes with your content. This is not your opt-in or lead magnet. This is an additional piece of content that goes with an existing piece of content on your blog.
- Social media engagement. 2018 is looking much like the earlier days of social media where engagement was the name of the game. Stop counting your followers and start engaging with the ones you have.
Marketing the Content
You’re creating great content and including lots of internal links and content upgrades for your readers. But these days, the RSS feed is nearly obsolete and most people don’t cruise blogs like they did a few years ago. How do you get your content in front of your audience?
There is a misconception today that you need to be killing it on every social media channel available. Katie says that’s far from true. The trick is knowing where your people are and focusing on that platform. Are your readers or your target audience on Instagram? You need to be building your presence on Instagram.
Instagram Tips and Tricks
If you aren’t familiar with Instagram, you need to be. It’s a great place to engage with your audience if that’s where they hang out and to let them see a more personal side of you than what they may see on your blog.
When it comes to Instagram, tools to schedule and plan your posts have been sorely lacking in the past couple years. Katie shared a few of her favorite tools including Later, Iconosquare, and HopperHQ. These tools allow you to plan your posts and also get analytics for your account.
Engagement on Instagram is the key to building your space on the platform. Using prompts to help you post regularly, as well as adding those relevant hashtags, will help your audience to find you. It’s your job to engage with them when they do. Katie likes to use hashtags that relate to the topic of her post, location, relevant business terms, or the audience she’s targeting.
Check out the resources Katie mentions:
Facebook Ad Strategy
Monica Louie started her business as a Facebook ads coach, working mostly with personal finance bloggers. The need for her services grew so quickly that she created a course in order to work with more people. She is now not only coaching and creating courses, but she has also started offering ad management for those folks who have no desire to learn it or manage it themselves.
Within Monica’s business, she has several different strategies she uses:
- Traffic #1. One of the things every blogger wants is more traffic. This strategy drives traffic to the blog. Once the reader reaches the blog, they see monetized blog posts as well as links to affiliate products.
- Traffic #2. Another strategy that Monica uses is to drive traffic straight to a blogger’s sales funnel. This begins with getting people to sign up for the free opt-in or lead magnet and then they are in the funnel to receive follow-up emails.
Creating Successful Ad Campaigns
The question, though, is how do you know which of your posts of affiliate links are the rock stars so that you know which ones to run an ads campaign on? Monica’s clients mainly use Google analytics with a set goal. This allows them to see where the traffic is coming from and where it goes after clicking.
Once you know which posts are converting, what next? How do you actually use the Facebook platform to purchase the ad? How do you set it up?
Monica gave us 5 steps to creating a successful Facebook ads campaign-
- Install Facebook pixel on your site. We can’t even begin to go into all that Monica taught us about using this pixel, so you absolutely have to listen in at the 29:45 mark. Prepare to have your mind blown.
- Determine your strategy. Anytime you spend money on your business, you should know how that investment will help you grow your business. Hint- clicking “boost post” is not a strategy.
- Determine your budget. This is your initial budget; what you can afford to get started.
- Who are you targeting? The more your initial budget is, the more audiences you can
target to test which one is the right fit for your ads.
- Create the ad. Have this all prepared before you go into the ads manager. Your photo or
video should grab their attention and the copy needs to draw them in.
Even with all of the latest algorithm changes, Monica still sees a massive potential on Facebook. Where else can you reach 2 billion monthly users and get in front of thousands of faces? Don’t give up on a platform just because of algorithms; figure out a strategy and keep going.
Facebook Messenger Bots
One of the most important things to realize in 2018 is that the old days of people reading your blog posts and leaving are gone. These days, those same people want real engagement. They want to talk to somebody. How do bots address this?
Think about it. Is there any way that you have time to sit at your computer and answer questions and chat with people all day? No? That’s where bots come in. The moment someone engages with your content, the bot sends a response. You don’t have to worry about losing people just because you can’t connect with them quickly enough.
What is a Chatbot?
The bot feature is a native part of the Facebook messenger platform. What has typically been used as a way to communicate privately with family and friends can now be used to communicate with your audience.
Kim Garst points out that there are multitudes of reasons why someone may not want to comment publicly on your content. Bots give them a way to connect with you in a way that makes them more comfortable while allowing you to build your email list. Open rates for Facebook messages using bots is right around 85%. Show me an email funnel with that kind of open rate!
How to Get Started with Bots
Using bots for your business is a smart way to connect with your audience. but how do you get started? Where do these bots live? How do they work?
- First of all, you’ll be using the bots from your business page on Facebook but connecting with real people. Kim wants you to start by setting up a welcome message. This is the same thing you would do when someone signs up for your email opt-in. You want to immediately nurture that person and keep them coming back.
- Secondly, when you use bots, your Facebook response rate goes up to 100%. You may think that it’s no big deal to answer all your messages, but the fact is, to get that 100% badge on your page means that you have to respond to 90% of your messages within 15 minutes. That’s not so easy.
The entire purpose of using bots is to begin a one-on-one conversation with your audience. You can actually use tools to put a contact form on your website that will allow your reader to directly message your personal profile on Facebook.
Moving Your Social Media to Your Lists
Kim reminds us of the fact remains that none of us own our social media followers. The ability to move those people from our social media profiles to our email lists is nothing to laugh at.
Using bots allows you to pull the email addresses from those people who message your page and get them on your list without them having to go to a landing page on your site and fill out forms. The great thing about this is that you are getting their actual Facebook email address, not some other account they set up to filter out all the lists they sign up for.
Let’s face it. With Facebook fan pages dropping so low due to algorithms, you have a couple of choices if you want to reach your audience: You can pay or you can use messenger bots to establish real connections with your audience. Also, remember you can use messenger ads to build a list of people who want what you have to offer.
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