3 Tools For Creating Clickable Blog Headlines

Two Tools For Creating Blog Headline Ideas

Writing a good blog headline is an art. It’s also a crucial part of getting people to view your blog. A good blog headline should be compelling enough to make someone click and read more and search engine friendly.

Here are three tools that will help you create better blog headlines:

1. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. This is quick and easy to use and you will get five mostly useable headlines in seconds. No sign in is required.

2. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. Tapping in to your readers emotions is a good way to get them to click. This tool will give you a score on how emotionally compelling it is and tell you what type of emotions you are evoking. ‘Intellectual’, ‘Empathetic’ or ‘Spiritual’.

3. Content Idea Generator. This takes a little more work. You need to answer a series of questions. You will then be given 360 possible headlines. You will find this very hit and miss but you are likely to find a few titles to help you get the creative juices flowing.

All of these tools can help you create blog titles but they will also help you come up with new ideas for blog posts. They are a great way to start to combat bloggers block.

I’ll be looking at some more tactics for creating good blog headlines later in the week.

Your Turn

Try out one or all of these blog headline tools and let me know the result. Did it help you overcome bloggers block? Did you find a set of new blog topics to play with?

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A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog
A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog
photo credit: Rodrigo Baptista via photopin cc

Traditionally we may think of blogging as a written platform but imagery has become an important part of any blog post. Using a good image on your blog will catch the eye of potential readers and encourage them to click through when it is shared.

Images will also help us make more impact. According to Ragan:

  • Content with visuals gets 94% more views
  • 90% of data sent to the brain is visual.
  • Visuals are processed 60,000 times quicker than the written word
  • People retain 80% of what they see compared to 20% of what they read

In this post I will discuss how you can optimise your blog images for social media, where you can source eye-catching images and show you some tools for creating your own.

The Basics

Before you get started there are some simple guidelines to follow:

  • Don’t steal images. It can be tempting to scour Google for an images but if you use those you are breeching copyright. I wil show you how to find free images that you can use later on.
  • Name your images – Often when we choose an image or name an image it will be called something generic like Image001.jpg If you rename the image and include a keyword that you would like it to be found with you will see your post come up in Google image search and it will improve your SEO. So before you upload your image re-name it.

For example I have named the image I’ve used for this post as image blog-image-guide.jpg

Facebook

Facebook updated the way that images share with links earlier this year.

Images used to appear as a small square thumbnail image but now links are accompanied with a large photo. These images are fully clickable meaning that if someone clicks anywhere on the image it will lead them to the web page you are linking to.

Take a scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and see which links have images that attract your eye. For me this one stands out.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

Food always works for me and strawberries are a particular favourite. The colour is eye catching too. If you visit the blog post it links to you will see that the full image is much larger and would work when cropped to various sizes.

Of course this is subjective. I love strawberries, for other people a cat, a baby or a sports car may attract the eye quicker.

Remember images will be viewed on mobile devices so try not to use anything too intricate that will be hard to view on a smaller scale.

What size should your image be for Facebook?

The problem with Facebook grabbing the images directly from your site is that it will crop them where it wants to. You can’t change it even if it doesn’t quite work.

As you can see below this cute dog would be far more clickable if I could see his face. To avoid this happening to you it’s a good idea to size your image specifically for Facebook.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

Whether Facebook grabs an image from your site or you upload an image it will display at 484 x 252 pixels in the web newsfeed.

In his Facebook Image dimensions infographic Jon Loomer suggests you upload a much larger version (1,200 x 628px) so that Facebook can scale it down. In reality any image over 484 wide that fits a 1.91:1 ratio will work. Anything smaller will show as a thumbnail image when the link is shared meaning that you will loose impact.

What to do if no image shows

Have you ever shared a link on Facebook and no image appears to accompany it? If there is a photo on the website Facebook should be able to find it but sometimes it needs a bit of help.

When you input a link into the Facebook debug tool Facebook will crawl it and find any associated images. Here’s how it works:

Uploading a photo to accompany your link

Sometimes the image from your blog post might not quite work. Maybe it crops badly or maybe you have created one that isn’t seen by Facebook.

Facebook gives you the option of uploading your own image when you share a link, even though this may be slightly more time consuming it could help you get more click throughs.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Paste your link into the status update box and write a short update about the link you are sharing.
  • To add a customised image click ‘Upload’. This will bring you into your computer hard drive where you can choose your image.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

Twitter

I’ve written before about using images on Twitter. There is no doubting that seeing a strong image in your Twitter feed is likely to attract attention.

There are two ways that you can use images:

1. Attach an image – You can upload a photo or graphic to accompany your tweet. It will take up 21 of your 140 characters but it will help your post stand out.

The downside of using an image is that people often click the image rather than your link expecting to read more. The upside is that they are automatically expanded in the newsfeed more frequently than the second option.

2. Use Twitter cardsI use the Yoast SEO plugin on my blog . This allows me to enable Twitter cards. These cards display a preview of your link as part of your tweet.

The advantage of this is that people can click anywhere on that card and be brought to your post. The downside is that after much scrolling I couldn’t find an organic card (non promoted) in my feed that was automatically expanded. Instead they were hidden under the ‘view summary’ link underneath the tweet.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

What size should your image be for Twitter?

As with Facebook if you upload the wrong sized image it can end up being cropped badly. You can’t choose which part of your image Twitter displays before it is expanded or clicked.

Take a look at this image from Monster Energy to see the problem:

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

You may wish to create a variation of the main image you create for your blog specifically for Twitter. The ideal size for this image is 506 x 253 pixels. You can include images up to 1024 pixels wide with an aspect ration of 2:1.

Pinterest

Pinterest images are different from Facebook and Twitter images in one key way. They are tall and skinny rather than long wide and short. This presents us with a problem when we create images for our blogs.

As you can see from the grab below. The wide images that share perfectly on Facebook look tiny on Pinterest. It is the tall thin images that display best.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

The solution of course is to create two images for your blog post. One that will work well on Facebook and Twitter and another that will work on Pinterest.

Take this example from RazorSocial. The picture that displays on the blog post is a perfect fit for Pinterest.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

However when I share it to Facebook I find that there is a version of the picture cropped to the correct proportions.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

In this case the Facebook friendly image doesn’t display on the main post as it is a ‘Featured Image’.

Note that a featured image will appear in different places on your blog depending on the theme you use.

If your theme displays the featured image on the post it’s worth creating two slightly different images, one for Pinterest and one for Facebook.

Using Alt Text

I talked about the importance of naming your image above but completing the ‘Alt text’ of your image is also important, particularly for Pinterest.

In the example below you can see that the ‘Alt text’ box is blank. You should paste the entire title of your blog post into here. Now when someone shares your link to Pinterest the description area will automatically be filled with you blog post title.

A Quick Guide To Using Images On Your Blog

The problem with stock photos

There are multiple stock photo sites where you can buy images to accompany your blog. The problem is a stock photo looks like a stock photo. You have seen them on multiple websites. A group of well groomed people sitting around a table or staring at a computer. If you want to attract people to your blog post and your website you need to stand out. Most stock images are way too generic to do this.

What’s the alternative?

There are lots of ways you can find or create eye catching images. Here’s some of my favourites.

Photo Pin

Before I found Photo Pin I used to buy stock images or use my own. Photo Pin is a tool that scours ‘Creative commons’ licensed images from Flickr. These images are free to use as long as you attribute them. The nice thing about Photo Pin is that it makes it easy to include that attribute by giving you the HTML to include in the description when you upload your image.

Read more about Photo Pin here.

Canva

Canva has to be one of my favourite tools of the year. It allows you to create really cool images for the web. It comes with some handy templates including Twitter and Pinterest posts. You can also input custom dimensions. You can include stock images from Canva as part of your design if you need them and they are very well priced at $1 for single use.

Here’s a video showing you how easy it is to create graphics with Canva.

Pic Monkey

Pic Monkey (affiliate) is a great resource. You don’t need an account you can just start creating straight away. You can design from scratch or upload your own image to work on.

Here’s a video I made on creating Instructographics using PicMonkey. You will see how easy it is to use.

Your own

If you take good photos yourself you should start creating a library of images. Tools like WordSwag allow you to add text to your photos that can really make them stand out.

Your Turn

That’s my quick guide to creating and using images for blogging.

  • What have I missed?
  • What tools do you use to make images?
  • What photos work for you?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

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Keep Your Blog On Track - Create A Content Schedule With CoSchedule - Cool Tool

Keep Your Blog On Track - Create A Content Schedule With CoSchedule - Cool Tool

This weeks cool tool is CoSchedule. It’s a WordPress plugin that will help you keep on top of blogging tasks, be consistent with your blog posts and help you share social updates when you post.

Being consistent with blogging sends out some powerful signals to readers:

  • They will trust you. If you blog on a regular basis the chances are you have good time management skills and are able to sustain interest over a long period of time. These are the sorts of qualities people look for in those they do business with.
  • You know your stuff – You are able to blog on a regular basis about your topic, you must know a lot about it. One of the nice things about blogging is that the more you do it the more of an expert you become. Good blogging requires research and experience in the area you are writing about.

There are other clear benefits to consistency too:

Readers will begin to re-visit your blog. If you blog regularly people will check in with your blog, Facebook page or Twitter account on a regular basis. They will also be more likely to subscribe to your RSS feed or emails.

More posts. Any established blogger will tell you that most of their traffic comes from Google. The more posts you write the more likely you are to appear in multiple Google searches.

How do you stay consistent with your blog?

There are a few things you can do to keep your blog going:

Make time to blog

Set aside specific days and times of day that you will blog in your work schedule. If you don’t do this you will find that you will constantly put it on the long finger.

Keep and ideas diary

Whether you use a tech tool like Evernote or keep a physical notebook with you make sure you have somewhere to keep note of your blogging ideas when they come to you. Sometimes the very act of carrying a notebook will inspire ideas.

Write a content schedule

Think about your blog posts in advance. I find setting a theme for a month helps me bring ideas together. Here’s a simple formula and template for creating a content schedule.

If you want to get more serious about your schedule this weeks cool tool CoSchedule could be the solution. Watch the video to see how it works.


CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin so you will need to be using a self hosted WordPress site to run it. It’s free for 14 days and then costs $10 per month if you continue to use it.

If you are serious about blogging this tool is well worth the investment. I’m impressed with the inbuilt social sharing functions as well as the blog scheduling.

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How To Add Your Logo To Photos from Your Mobile - iWatermark - Cool Tool

How To Add Your Logo To Photos from Your Mobile - iWatermark - Cool Tool

Is the visual content you share on social media branded? It’s great when our images are shared . It’s even better when they go viral and get shared over and over again. But when this happens you need to be sure people know it’s yours. You’ve spent ages creating this great image, you deserve the credit.

On Facebook for example, an image that pops up in your newsfeed attracts the eye, the small avatar hidden underneath or the ‘via’ often gets ignored. Make sure you are getting the most of these shares and brand everything you put out.

This weeks cool tool iWatermark is a quick and easy way for you to add your logo to your photos from your mobile.

You can

  • Create multiple watermarks (logos, web addresses etc)
  • Add them to your content at the touch of a screen
  • Change the size and opacity of your logo or text
  • Brand multiple images at once.

To see how it works watch the video below.

 

I’m giving this cool tool five stars, it’s multi platform, it’s user friendly and it saves time. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

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How To Add Facebook Tracking Pixels To Your Wordpress Site - Cool Tool

How To Add Facebook Tracking Pixels To Your WordPress Site - Cool Tool

Facebook tracking pixels are a must if you sell either a product or service online. Once you set them up you can optimise your ads to be shown to people who take a specific action on your website. For example did they add something to a shopping basket? Did they sign up for your newsletter?

They are however quite hard to set up as you need to add the tracking code to a specific page on your website. If you are using WordPress and self hosting your website this weeks cool tool ‘Facebook Pixel Conversions for WordPress’ makes it easy to add this code.

What is a tracking pixel?

There are two types of Facebook tracking pixel:

Facebook website audience pixel

This is an easy pixel to install, you just add the code to the <head></head> section of your website and Facebook will start tracking the people who visit your website so that you can target an advert at them. You can add this to WordPress by editing the ‘header’ file. You do not require the plugin for this sort of pixel.

Facebook conversion tracking pixel

Here’s a video I made earlier in the year showing you how to create a tracking pixel

This is the most valuable pixel. This is the one that will drive conversions via ads to your site. Sadly it’s slightly harder to install, the code needs to be added to an individual post or page of your site and there is only one ‘header’ file.

How to install Facebook Conversion Tracking Pixels to WordPress

What page should you install your Facebook tracking pixel to?

When you set up a Facebook ad using your Tracking pixel it will be optimised to be shown to people who have in the past taken a specific action when following a pixel.

You can set up a pixel for the following goals:

  • Checkouts
  • Registrations
  • Leads
  • Key Page Views
  • Adds To Cart
  • Other Website Conversions

If you want to measure the success of your pixel accurately you will need to install the pixel on the correct page. For example if your goal is ‘Leads’ and you want people to fill out a specific form on your page you should install the pixel to the ‘Thank you’ page that people reach after completing the form.

Your Turn

Have you used Facebook tracking pixels? Have you seen success? Leave me a comment and let me know.

If you enjoyed this blog post why not subscribe to my newsletter or my blog posts via email. Click here for more info.

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5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Wouldn’t it be great if our customers created content for us? Most small businesses struggle to find the time and expertise to constantly create their own quality content. There are a few tactics you can use to plug the gap.

1. You can curate content from other sources that would appeal to your audience.
2. You can persuade your customers to share their own content.

Today I’m going to look at some techniques businesses use to get their customers sharing their own photos. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these or something else.

1. Run a contest

Before you run a contest on social media that requires people to create content for you you must have an active audience. If you do this could be a really good way to get more customer generated content. It can be hard to get the first few entries for a photo or video contest but once the first few are in you will find that others follow.

Pet Sitters Ireland (a client) are currently running a contest to appeal to their pet loving audience. ‘The Nose Of Tralee’ is a parody of the famous ‘Rose Of Tralee’ and asks people to enter their pets in the Ireland wide contest.

Paritcipants can encourage their friends to vote for their pet and a judging panel of expert will help choose the finalists.

This gives Pet Sitters a whole wealth of content to share. Their photo album ‘2014 Nose Of Tralee Competition‘ is updated twice a week with the latest entries. This makes for highly shareable content.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

On Twitter the Eden Project encourage sharing by asking people to tag their photos with the #edenphotocomp. You will see signs displaying the hashtag when you visit. They re-share their favourite pics and there are monthly winners.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

2. Reward fans

It’s not always necessary to run a contest to get fans sharing. Dublin Zoo encourage people to share their visitor images on the page. These images are added to a photo album that is shared regularly. They also use them for ‘caption this’ and other content.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

Those who share the photos are delighted and as you can see from the number of shares on this photo album others are sharing too.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

3. Are your fans sharing already

The Glasnevin Museum twitter feed is full of images from people who have visited the museum or the cemetery. Some of them are directed at the @GlasnevinMuseum Twitter account but others just mention Glasnevin in the text of the Tweet.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

Whoever is behind the Twitter account using a Twitter search tool to find mentions of the town and local area.

Here’s how you can use Twitter search or Topsy to do this

4. Hashtags

Hashtags are huge on Instagram, users will add multiple tags. If you find that your customers are already sharing images on Instagram or Facebook give them a tag they can add. This is particularly useful if you are running an event.

Below you can see the #BlogAwardsIE tag was used extensively on Instagram at last years Blog Awards Ireland event. You can expect to see many more this year as Instagram gains popularity.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

If you are running an event it’s a good idea to show a live stream of images as they are uploaded to Instagram and Twitter.  I’ve been looking at Eventstagram, an app that allows you to easily display your live stream and am hoping to trial it at this years Blog Awards event.

When people see images appearing on the screen they will be keen to see their own work up there too.

5. Be photogenic

Is there something on your premises that people will want their photograph taken with? Maybe you have a quirky mural, an odd prop, an old street sign? Encourage those who visit to pose for a photo with your oddity, print them out and make a photo wall of them to encourage more to take part. You will soon find that people will come looking for the photo op when they visit.

The 1888 hotel in Sydney have taken this one step further with their ‘Instagram hotel’. Not only is it designed to be extrememly photogenic but they have a ‘Selfie’ space where residents can pose inside a frame for the perfect Insta selfie.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

On their Instagram account they share shots others have taken in their hotel with the tag #1888hotel.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Customers To Create & Share Images

Not all of us can go this far but the idea of a selfie space is something a lot of small businesses could easily implement.

Your Turn

That’s my five tips. What are you doing to encourage user generated content? What has been successful for you? Leave me a comment below.

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What I Learned From My 28 Day Blogging Holiday

What I Learned From My 28 Day Blogging Holiday

There’s always a dilemma when you leave the office for your holidays. You have finished off all the client work, set up your auto responder, changed your answer phone messages but what should you do with your social media and blog? 

In the past I’ve scheduled blog posts to publish whilst I’ve been gone, I’ve even written posts whilst away. This time I decided that I’d take a blogging holiday.

I’ve been working hard on improving my blog all year and it’s been working. I’ve got lots of new readers and they do convert but I felt I needed time out. How could my blog be better? Maybe taking a break would show me?

Here’s what I learned from my 28 days of blog free holiday:

Review the frequency of blog posts

If I was going to schedule posts in advance for my holiday I’d have to be careful. I couldn’t write any ‘how to’ posts or even commentary. In the ever changing world of social media what I write today could be totally irrelevant next week. The sort of posts I could have scheduled would be curated posts, best of posts, fluffy posts. The problem with these is that they’d lack quality.

That old cliche is true. Quality is more important than quantity. At my prime I write four blog posts a week and although I strive for quality in each one there is no doubt that I won’t achieve it every time. It’s too heavy a schedule to allow me to give my clients the attention they deserve and write really great content.

Takeaway – Review the frequency of posting and strive for better quality posts.

Variety of content

Out of the four blog posts I write a week three are text based. One is a video. Variety of content is important. Not everyone can digest a large amount of text, video is often a better way to show people how to do things than a written tutorial.

This year I’ve also been looking at podcasting. Audio can help you reach people who may not usually digest your content. The nice thing about podcasting is that people can listen on the go or whilst doing other tasks. Podcasting is definitely finding it’s way to the top of my agenda.

Takeaway – Look at making one of my written blog posts a video post and one a podcast post.

Finding a niche

People tend to associate me with Facebook. I do love working on Facebook, it has so many quirks and tricks that I find it an interesting network to write about. It’s great to be considered as knowledgable on this topic but I don’t really want it to be my niche. I like to work with businesses cross platform. I’ve always seen my niche as working with Small Businesses on social media marketing.

Is small business a strong enough niche? I’ve learned I need to work harder at applying my posts specifically to small businesses. I need to tailor my social media marketing more towards this audience.

Takeaway – Make sure every post is targeted at a small business audience.

Use social media like others do

This is the most valuable lesson I have learned. I think it’s important for social media marketers to take a step back and use social networks like everyone else from time to time. It is only when we look at our Facebook or Twitter feed as a user rather than a marketer that we understand how they really work. Taking time out from marketing helps you do this.

Here’s an example:

When I was in Southend On Sea for the night a RNLI helicopter was circling over the pier. I did what any curious tweeter would do and typed #Southend and ‘Southend’ into the Twitter search box to see if I could find out what was going on. I didn’t find out what the helicopter was doing, I did find a restaurant that was actively tweeting about it’s food and re-sharing complimentary tweets from customers. This isn’t a tactic I’d have recommended restaurants to do in the past but it did make me want to visit. Time for me to rethink some Twitter tactics.

Takeaway – Take my marketing hat off every weekend and use social networks as a user.

I had ideas

Pretty much 24 hours a day 7 days a week I’m focussed on my work. My head is full of ideas and tasks and campaigns. This leaves little room for creativity. Taking a step back left my mind free to wander and think about other things. This meant I had new ideas and sitting down in front of my computer this morning I was fresh and ready to try something new.

Takeaway – Strive for better work life balance.

I missed important stuff

Some of the things that happened whilst I was away:

  • Twitter animated Gifs
  • Facebook psychological test
  • Facebook sidebar ads improved

I’m sure there is more so do let me know if there’s something I should know about that I didn’t pick up from my feeds this morning.

The biggest thing that I missed was a share from the wonderful Mari Smith of my last blog post. Not only was it great to get the share but it picked up a vulnerability in the tool I was recommending. I’ve now updated the post so thanks to Mari and her fans.

Takeaway – Think about hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to keep on top of trends whilst I’m away.

Your Turn

What do you do when you are on holiday? Do you switch off or do you schedule? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this blog post why not subscribe to my newsletter or my blog posts via email. Click here for more info.

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How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
photo credit: camerakarrie via photopin cc

 

**UPDATE** There have been some serious issues reported using Gramblr for loading photos to Instagram including breaking your use of hashtags on Instagram. There are some good alternatives listed in the comments below**

Instagram is the fastest growing social media service growing it’s user base by 23% in the last 6 months of 2013.

If you aren’t using Instagram yet it’s worth taking a look. But what if all your photos are on your computer, what if you use an SLR to take your pictures rather than your phone? How can you post them to your Instagram account? In this post I’m going to show you two step guide using two cool tools to post Instagram photos via your computer.

1. Crops and adds filters to your photos so they look right for Instagram
2. Upload your photo to Instagram via the web

#1 Cropping and adding filters

Instagram is all about the filters. There have been and are lots of other mobile apps that offer cool filters for your photos, but the retro style that these filters add has become a signature of Instagram. A photo without a filter just doesn’t look Instagrammy.

I’ve talked about PicMonkey (affiliate link) before and it’s perfect for adding effects to your photos on the web.

Here’s how it works:

Upload your image and make it square:
Visit the PicMonkey (affiliate) website and sign up for an account
Click ‘Edit’ from the top menu bar

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
Select an image from your computer and upload it
Click ‘Crop’ from the side bar menu

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
From the drop down menu select ‘Square’

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
Pull out the edges of the selection area to select the area of your photo you want to use.

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
When you are happy with the selection click ‘Apply

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool

Resize your image:
Click ‘Crop’ again

Change the proportions in the boxes to 650 x 650 and check the ‘Scale photo’ box

Pull the edges of the selection box out until it reaches the edges of your photo

Click ‘Apply’

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool

Add filters
Click on the magic wand icon on the left hand toolbar

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
Select a filter from the menu

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
When you are happy with your creation click ‘Save’ at the top of the screen to save to your computer.

#2 Upload your photo to Instagram

Although you can view your Instagram photos on the web you can’t as yet upload to the app this way. Gramblr is a tool that allows you to do this.

Here’s how it works

Visit the Gramblr website and download the app to your computer

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool

Sign in to Gramblr with your Instagram account

Click ‘Choose file’ to select your picture from your computer

Click ‘Upload’

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
Add a caption to accompany your picture. You can add a link and your hashtags here too.

How To Post To Instagram From Your PC In 2 Steps - Cool Tool
Click ‘Save Caption’ and it will load straight to your Instagram account.

This might be more time consuming than using Instagram directly but it is useful if you are using a camera to take your photos or if you store those photographs on your computer.

If you try this method let me know how you get on. If you have another solution I’d love to hear about it too so leave me a comment.

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A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

Last October Twitter made one of the biggest changes to it’s service. After years of being a text only service they allowed images to appear in the stream.

At first I was concerned that it would slow the load time of the app. Luckily this doesn’t seemed to have happened. I was also worried that we’d see a flood of Facebook style memes but it seems the people I follow don’t share many of those either. In general it has made the Twitter experience better. I used to have to click to see a photo. You might not think this is a big deal you might think but psychologically I was making a commitment by clicking.

Now the images slow me down, as I scroll through my feed the photos catch my eye and attract me to specific tweets. They have become a hugely powerful part of what Twitter is.

In this post I’ll look at images on Twitter, when we should share them, what size they should be and we’ll look at some examples of what I think works well.

When to share an image

Photos have power but only when they are good. If you are thinking of putting a text quote on a blank background and sharing it stop now. You are just creating a tweet in a really long winded way. A good image on Twitter should be enough to slow down someone scrolling through the stream and at best make them click either to see more of the photo or the link that accompanies it.

1. Images with links

If you have written a blog post or article try sharing a strong image with it. This should be an attention grabbing picture. Take a look at this one from Lifehacker. It’s colourful, it catches the eye and the text really makes me want to click the link to find out the solution.

Creating The Perfect Image For Twitter

2. Share a moment from your day

When we follow brands on Twitter we often forget there are humans behind the logos. If you have to use your branding for your avatar you can still show your personality and images can be a great way to do this. I love this picture from Designist, it shows me a bit of the personality behind the logo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

3. Conferences

Conferences are great places to meet new people and connect with people on Twitter.  I’ve met lots of business contacts after tweeting with them at conferences. I’m never at a loss for someone to have coffee with.

It’s a good idea to share relevant snippets of information that you pick up at conferences with your followers but now we can share pictures from the day too. If you are doing this think about how you can make your photo unique. Don’t let your image get lost in a sea of similar images from other attendees. Can you get an angle that no one else can? Perhaps it’s the food, an interesting installation or a selfie with one of the speakers. As we have learnt from Ellen at the Oscars, a selfie taken at the right time and place can be hugely popular.

Eye catching images will stand out in the search results from the conference hash tags and people will begin to recognise your name before you even tweet them.

This image from Documentally seemed to be shared from a post conference dinner.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

4. Because you just took a great photograph

If you are somewhere beautiful or if you just nailed it and happened to get a great shot share it. It’s not always going to be appropriate for your business but like the ice cream shot above it’s a good way to let people know there is a person behind the brand.

5. To demonstrate a point

I saw the photograph below in my Twitter stream today. Initially I was expecting a link to accompany it but it really isn’t neccessary. This is an example of when a picture really does tell a thousand words.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

What size should your image be?

If you want your picture to show in full in the Twitter stream you need to create an image that has a 2:1 ratio. That means it should be twice as long as it is deep. The optimum size for an image you upload to Twitter is 1024×512 pixels. It displays as 440×220 pixels in the feed. You can use PicMonkey (affiliate link) to scale your images to the right size or create images that are the right size.

If you upload an image that doesn’t fit the ratio it will be cropped in the feed. Twitter will still show the full picture when someone expands the tweet or clicks on it.

Take a look at this image shared by Monster Energy. The image that displays in the feed gives no hint of what is really happening in the photo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

How does Twitter choose what part of the image to show

If you have an image that doesn’t fit the correct ratio Twitter crops it in the feed. We don’t really know exactly how Twitter chooses what part of your image to show, there is no obvious trait. Sometimes Twitter will show the bottom, sometimes the middle sometimes the top of an image. It is thought that Twitter chooses the most interesting part of the image. As we can see from the example above it doesn’t always get this right.

Sharing from Instagram

There are a few reasons why sharing from Instagram doesn’t work well on Twitter

1. You have to leave the Twitter website to view the Instagram photo. This is prohibitive particularly for mobile users who may not have a strong wifi or 3G signal.

2. We tend to add loads of hashtags to our Instagram photos. This doesn’t work well on Twitter. Autoshares from Instagram tend to look like an unreadable list of tags and don’t inspire a click through.

If you want to share your Instagram photos on Twitter there is a work around that will share your image in the feed.

Using IFTTT  create a recipe that will share your picture as a Twitpic on Twitter every time you share an image on Instagram with a specific hashtag. Viewable in the stream. If you use this recipe make sure that you are including Twitter friendly text in the description.

Are you using images as part of your Twitter strategy? What sort of photos are working best for you? Do you find they result in more clicks to your blog posts or RT’s. I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave me a comment below.

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How To Make A Facebook Cover Photo With Canva [Tutorial]

How To Make A Facebook Cover Photo With Canva [Tutorial]

Your Facebook Cover Photo is one of the first things people will see when they discover your page. Whether they are visiting your page or seeing a thumbnail preview the cover photo will be prominent.

Having a strong Facebook cover and changing it whenever you have something new on offer is an important part of your Facebook marketing.

There are lots of tools that can help you create a Facebook cover but the one that makes it easiest to create attractive results is Canva. In this weeks video I show you how it works.

 

Tips for Facebook cover photos

  • Don’t include too much text and make sure any text you do include is readable when your page is being shown in preview.
  • Avoid adding text to the bottom half of your page. This will be covered by your profile picture and your page description when you get upgraded to the new style pages.
  • Use an image that says something about your business – a picture of your product, you or your staff will go down well.

If you create a cover photo as a result of this tutorial I’d love to see it so leave me a link in the comments.

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