When you post from your website onto social media, you often don’t have much control over what the viewer sees. The image may not be relevant to the content, or it might just not do the post any justice. If you haven’t configured social cards, this is the reason why you might not be satisfied with what you see. Social cards (also known as social previews) are a great way to gain control over what viewers see, and you can use the social card to send the user to a specific page on your website. Similar to memes and other image-based content, social cards have the added benefit of a call to action and clickable links. You may want to drive traffic to a competition you are running, in which case, you would create a link that takes them to the relevant page on your website. You may tease the user with a bit of content related to your blog, and then take them to the actual blog through a clickable link. There are all kinds of ways to use social cards, and the benefits are endless.
Social cards are becoming increasingly popular, as they allow for increased engagement and social media referrals. Reportedly, social cards can create engagement by up to 250%, so it is well worth considering these if you want to improve your engagement and website traffic. If you are not currently using social media cards, it might be time to look into these, not just for your social media activity but that of others. You never really know who might be sharing your content on social media. If you want to maximize your results from social media, this is one of the ways to do it.
Benefits of Social Media Cards
Social media cards are accessible on all the leading social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +. Social media cards include a title, description, and image. The social media card is clickable, which means you can send users to a designated page on your website, without having to incorporate a link. In most cases, social media cards promote an offer, blog post, competition, or download. In other words, they offer something enticing to the user, so they feel compelled to click on it, and then they are on your website, looking around and, hopefully, becoming a paid customer.
Improving Visual Brand
If you want to improve your visual brand and how users perceive you, social media cards are a highly effective way to do it. Without these cards, you often don’t have much control over the way your brand is perceived. Social media cards can improve your visual branding and allow you to have control over what people see when they look into your brand. Social media cards are an excellent way to ensure users perceive your brand the way you wish to be recognized. Branding is one of the fundamental ways to improve the success of your business.
Users engage more with social media cards than other content, and by incorporating these into your strategy, you will drive more traffic to your website. Social media cards are engaging, and the more people engage with your posts, the more referrals you will get from social media to your site. The fact that the entire card is clickable makes it much more likely that users will end up on your website. Have you ever tried to see an image and decided to click on it to gain further information? If it doesn’t work, you usually just give up rather than trying to find the link somewhere or visiting the website. You want to make the journey as simple as possible from the initial post to the site, and social media cards have this very appealing attribute.
Stand out from the Crowd
Are you getting lost in the sea of content out there? If you feel like this, you’re not alone. It can be frustrating to think that your content isn’t receiving much engagement and that no one is taking any notice of what you post. Social media cards can enable you to stand out from the crowd by allowing you to design unique content, which is different from your competitors. As most websites are not using social media cards, your content will stand out straight away. You will find that many people will be interested in your content, but if it doesn’t stand out visually, it is easy to ignore.
As social cards can allow for any images to be attached to the shareable content, you can increase your click-through rates. Social cards will instantly stand out, and this means you will improve your click-through rates in the process. The traffic will also be highly qualified; your target market who are genuinely interested in your content. Qualified traffic is what you want to attract; anything else is wasteful.
Increased Twitter Character Limit
Instead of the restrictive 140 characters you get in a standard tweet, the social card allows you to create content with an additional 200 characters. It means it is easier to get your message across without having to try and adapt it to suit the word count. Your message will not be lost as you cut down your words to ensure it fits in.
New Ways to Engage
If you are using social media regularly, you can become a little stale with your content. It can be challenging to conjure up new, original ideas, and this is why social media cards can be hugely beneficial. They offer something different and a new way to engage with your audience. You can play around with your social media cards, offering various incentives to customers, and inspiring new ways for them to get to know your business. Social media is swamped with content, so users always appreciate anything different.
Creating Social Media Cards
Sounds great, but isn’t it a little complicated? Creating social media cards does not need to be particularly tricky, even if you don’t have any graphic design knowledge. We are lucky to have lots of resources to help us these days, including Canva, which will even give you templates to use. If you want to create your design, you might prefer to use Photoshop. If you decide to use Canva, take a look through their templates for social media cards to see if there’s anything you might want to use. You must ensure your brand is consistent and that it fits with the image you want to portray. Consider whether this is the way you want your brand to represent and what emotions this might bring to the user. What does your brand stand for? Use this ideology to create your social media cards.
Writing Copy for Social Media Cards
The design is just one stage of the process; you also need to be able to write content for your social media cards. The description and title should entice the user. What do you want the user to see when they come across your social media card? What copy would make it stand out? How do you get your message across? The text on your social media card is just as important as the images you use.
Tips for Creating an Irresistible Social Media Card
If you are going to the effort of creating a social media card, you want to ensure it is truly irresistible. You want users who come across your card to engage with it, as this will lead them to look to find out more about your business. These are some tips for ensuring your social media cards meets your expectations and those of the user.
Use Enticing Images
The image is the first thing users will see, and you want to ensure it makes them sit up and take notice. Make sure your image is enticing and engaging; you may want to avoid free stock images, as you tend to find the same ones everywhere. Images that are relevant to your business are particularly engaging, as they are more personable and allows users to get to know and understand your brand a bit more. The more enticing your images are, the more likely you will be to engage with users, and this is, after all, the ultimate goal.
Your branding is what people recognize about your business, and you should aim to incorporate your branding into your social media cards. Branding may consist of your logo, the style of your business, or a strapline, which makes you instantly recognizable. When people see the same logo or name in various places, they start to recognize it, and the familiarity makes them more likely to want to engage. You should incorporate branding into anything you put into social media, as this is how you will grow your business. People tend not to buy from brands they are unfamiliar with, and if you think about some of the biggest brands you know, such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, you could probably recognize the brand anywhere. The Nike logo is another example of a brand that is instantly recognizable, and consumers tend to buy into the brand as much as they do with the actual product or service.
Your content might be in the form of text or a graphic, but one thing is essential, the content must be compelling. It also needs to be concise and able to get the message across quickly. You don’t want users to have to try and work out what your message is; it should be straightforward. For example, titles might be along the lines of ‘a guide to working over Christmas, ’50 % off your first order’, ‘top interview tips.’ These are all great ways to tell the user what you are aiming to do with your content. You should aim to write the text compellingly and straightforwardly. Not everyone can write excellent copy, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you might want to call in the help of an expert to do this for you.
How to Use Your Social Media Card
Now that you’ve created your social media card, how do you use it? There is no use with a card that is ineffective, which is why you need to make sure it links back to your website. You will need to add some coding to the pages on your website for each social media card, or you may just want to have the one template for all pages. With WordPress, you will need a plug-in, which will be linked up to your website domain when you create the social cards. If this seems a little too complicated, then some sites do the work for you, including AnyImage. You will want to create several social media cards for different purposes, such as to link to your blog or a specific competition or giveaway. Social media cards are becoming increasingly popular, and it is well worth incorporating these into your overall social media campaign or for your client social media campaigns.
If you feel that your content is getting lost in the crowd on social media, social media cards are a great solution. They are relatively easy to compile, and the benefits of engagement and website traffic ensure help you on your way to achieving your business goals and increasing your customer base. Many platforms help both with the creation of social media cards and the publishing side. These are well worth considering if you don’t know anything about creating content or using social media effectively. Make sure the content you use is compelling, and the images are engaging, and a change in engagement will be apparent. If the thought of creating the content for a social media card seems like too much to take on yourself, there are marketing professionals who will be able to do it for you. However, it is relatively simple, and once you create one of these, you’ll soon become familiar and ready to do it easily yourself.
What Your Business Can Learn From the Philadelphia Library System
Libraries, Late Fees, and Things That Drive Customers Away
If you were to develop a list of the top places where you’re most likely to find business inspiration, it’s safe to say the Philadelphia library system would not be on it.
But perhaps it should be?
Business inspiration often comes in the most unlikely of places – like a public library system. And when it does, you better listen up!
Philadelphia Library System Says, ‘No More Late Fees’
Libraries and late fees – they’re sort of synonymous. In fact, they’re so relatable that you’ll even see references to library fines in pop culture.
In the third season of the popular TV show Seinfeld, one of the episodes opens up with Jerry arguing on the phone with a Lieutenant Bookman, who claims he’s had a book checked out for the past 20 years. Jerry explains that he has a distinct memory of returning book – even recalling what his date was wearing at the time – but Bookman isn’t buying it. The entire episode is a comical deep-dive into the preposterous nature of late fees. But if Jerry were to fast-forward to today, he’d be happy to learn that late fees are going out of style.
Just recently, the Free Library of Philadelphia – the 13th largest public library system in the United States – announced it’s doing away with library fines and late fees. The decision follows similar changes in other major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.
While there are caveats to this new rule – new books can’t be checked out until overdue ones are returned; lost and damaged books have to be paid for or replaced; etc. – it’s surprisingly straightforward. Library customers can bring in late books and won’t be charged for their delinquency – even if it’s been checked out for 20 years!
Why the sudden change of heart?
Well, it’s not really a money issue. While late fees did generate some revenue, it wasn’t a significant amount. The real issue is that late fees at these libraries actually limit foot traffic and undermine the purpose of the organization.
The objective of eliminating fees is to remove any sort of barrier that makes people feel like the library isn’t a place for them. Furthermore, there are hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of important items that have significant overdue fines on them. The hope is that this decision will help the library system reclaim a large percentage of these items so that they can be reintroduced back into circulation.
Library late fees are typically capped at just $3 to $4. However, the mere existence of late fees has a negative impact on the relationship between the library and its patrons. Most people believe in a Seinfeld-esque myth of an infinitely-accruing fee – so they just stay away.
In reality, this isn’t about library fines and late fees – they just happen to be caught up in the story. What this is really about is addressing friction and dealing with things that frustrate customers.
The Philadelphia Free Library recognized that overdue books aren’t actually helping the library – they’re essentially keeping customers away. In other words, what’s long been a key part of the organization’s business model has actually been counterproductive.
If you’re honest, there are certain aspects of your business that aren’t actually helping you reach people, increase revenues, and/or improve customer satisfaction. By eliminating or revising your approach, you may be able to propel your business forward.
8 Things That Drive Your Customers Away
Customers can be fun, engaging, appreciative, and cooperative. They can also be annoying, pretentious, aggressive, and impatient. Regardless, you have to treat them like gold. Otherwise, some other business will sweep in and steal them away.
As a business owner, it’s not the glaring problems that threaten to undermine your business operations. Truthfully, it’s the small points of friction – the little library late fees, if you will – that push people away.
Not sure what these small points of friction are? Here are a few that are pretty commonplace:
- Failing to Do What You Say You’ll Do
There’s one simple piece of business advice that every entrepreneur should learn early on: Do what you say you’re going to do. It sounds simple, but few people still take this value to heart.
The quickest way to frustrate a customer is to not follow up on something you promised to do. Likewise, the easiest way to wow a customer is to follow through. In today’s business world, you don’t even have to go above and beyond. Simply meeting expectations is enough to set you apart. (Though it’s never a bad idea to under-promise and over-deliver. Just make sure you don’t over-promise and under-deliver. That’s where customers get ticked off.)
- Making Customers Wait
Today’s culture is built on convenience and demand. If you want to watch a movie, you don’t have to drive to a theater or movie store. You simply pull up Netflix. If you want food, you can have delivered straight to your doorstep in a matter of minutes. If it’s a certain product you crave, same-day delivery from Amazon will have it to you in hours.
As a society, there’s no longer much delay between desire and gratification. People don’t like waiting – and your customers are no different. If you make them wait, they’ll go elsewhere.
In today’s context, waiting looks like:
- A website with longer than average page loading speed.
- Shipping that takes longer than a day or two.
- Waiting for longer than 60 seconds in the checkout line.
Patience isn’t something most customers are willing to tap into. If you want to keep your customers around, you have to find ways to speed up your processes.
- Being Unreachable
When customers need you, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to get in touch. Unfortunately, this is often the case.
Today’s businesses spend so much time automating and streamlining customer service processes that they often make it challenging for customers to get in touch with living, breathing people.
There’s nothing wrong with having an automated voice answering service, but there has to be a way for your customers to get in touch with an actual human being. If they can’t, they’ll get frustrated. And in the age of social media, frustration can quickly devolve into a PR nightmare.
Make your business reachable and you’ll avoid these issues.
- Charging for Every Add-On
Do you nickel and dime customers when they ask for additional support, added features, or complementary services that aren’t really intended to be part of your core product offering? While you have every right to, perhaps you should follow what the Philadelphia Free Library is doing and rethink this strategy.
A world-class hotel is a great example of a business that doesn’t nickel and dime its customers. If you’re staying at a nice hotel, they’ll go out of their way to get you whatever you need. Whether it’s a toothbrush, workout gear, or a phone charger – they’ll give it to you without even thinking about placing a charge on your account. They simply factor it into the overall guest experience.
Are there things that you can include without charging add-on fees? Your balance sheet might take a small hit, but you’re much more likely to cultivate long-term loyalty.
- Offering Too Many Options
People want choices, right? Well, maybe not as many choices as you’d like to think.
There’s a famous study that was conducted by researcher Sheena Iyengar from Columbia University that proves too many choices can actually demotivate someone from making a purchase.
In the study, research assistants posed as store employees in an upscale grocery store and offered samples of jams. The experiment was conducted on two separate Saturdays. On the first Saturday, 24 different jams were placed on the table and 60 percent of customers stopped to sample. On the second Saturday, just six jams were put on the table and only 40 percent of shoppers indulged.
At first glance, it seems like the table with more options fared better. However, would you be surprised to learn that just 3 percent of customers purchased from the table with 24 options, compared to 30 percent of customers at the table with six options?
This type of study has since been repeated by dozens of other researchers using different formats and stimuli, but the results are always the same. More options attract more customers, but fewer options typically convert better.
Customers think they want a lot of options, but they actually end up feeling overwhelmed. So instead of giving your customers nine different choices, perhaps you should pare it down to just two or three. Your customers will feel better informed and you’ll see a higher conversion rate.
- Being Generic and Impersonal
In today’s world of stock photography and drag and drop website builders, it’s easier than ever to get a business up and running. You can go from having nothing to having a logo, website, and social media profiles in a matter of hours. But just because you’re able to, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
The problem with all of these quick tools and platforms is that they suck all of the personality and life out of a brand. What’s left is a business that looks professional, but is too generic to connect with customers.
If you want to draw customers in and engage them, you have to personalize your business. Customer photography, unique logos, and distinct branding are all necessary in order to thrive.
- Self-Serving Content
Content is king in the digital marketplace. It’s arguably impossible to thrive as a 21st-century brand without regularly creating and pushing out original content. However, not all content is created equal.
Far too many brands mistakenly assume that customers care about the company. As a result, they’ll publish boring content about industry awards and recognitions, technical case studies, and articles about mission statements and core values.
There might be a nicer way to put this, but let’s blunt about it: Nobody cares!
Your customers don’t engage with self-serving content. What they really want are blog posts, infographics, and articles that add value to their own lives. They want how-to posts, videos that make them laugh, and articles that make them feel something at their core. If you can’t create content that does these things, you’re better off saving your resources and investing in another form of marketing and branding.
- Constantly Selling
There’s a saying in business that you should “always be closing,” but this might not be true any longer. The ways in which corporations and consumers interact has changed a lot with social media, email, and constant communication. If you’re always trying to sell something to your customers, you’re probably wearing out your welcome.
It’s okay to sell sometimes, but the bulk of your interactions should center on adding value. You should add so much value to your customers’ lives that they have no choice but to turn to you when they’re ready to buy something. This goes for face-to-face sales, too. A Consumer Reports survey discovered that 64 percent of people have walked out of a retail store because of a pushy salesperson.
Step back and analyze your approach to sales and marketing. You may need to revise your tactics and implement a softer strategy.
Shift Your Focus to the Long-Term
It’s tempting to get fixated on what’s happening right now at this very moment. We’re all guilty of it. But if you’re trying to build a sustainable business that continues to provide value for customers, employees, and all key stakeholders for years to come, you have to zoom out and look at the big picture. Sometimes this requires making a sacrifice today in order to better position your business for success tomorrow.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to reorient your focus. Paint a picture of where you want to be in one, three, and five years. Then work backward and implement targeted strategies that allow you to get from where you are to where you want to be. This is how you implement forward-thinking strategies that produce real fruit.