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The question we get asked the most is “Which social media sites should we be using?” There is no set answer for this question. It all depends on what business you are in and how much time you have to spend each day on your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook- We recommended Facebook to everyone. Not only is it by far the biggest social media site, it is the most read. One estimate puts the average user spending 50 minutes a day on Facebook. No other site comes close to that number. If you only have time for 1 social media site it should be Facebook.

Instagram- Instagram is great for businesses that are visual. Artists, travel companies and restaurants can use engaging photos to create a buzz about their business. Instagram is also a good vehicle to use to get noticed by new people. The right hashtag can get you seen by people who have never heard of you before.

Twitter- Twitter which had lost some of its mojo has been making a comeback. The positive is the ability to use hashtags plus the sharing feature makes Twitter a place where your message can go viral. The negative is that people follow many accounts but spend little time on Twitter. This means that most users only see a small percentage of total tweets on their feed. Use Twitter if you have news you want to get out on a regular basis or if people are genuinely interested in what you are doing. Celebrities and food trucks have had good success using Twitter.    

LinkedIn- Linkedin is a good site for B2B firms or for someone offering professional services. If you have useful information that business professionals will value then LinkedIn can be a great place to reach out to other professionals.

Social media takes time and effort to be done well and to bring you your desired results. If your time is limited it is better to stick to one social media channel and do it well rather than spread yourself thin over numerous channels, not doing any of them well. Resist the urge to link accounts and have Facebook posts sent directly to another site. There are several steps to having a good social media campaign and we have laid them out for you in previous articles.        

 
 

Join Chicago Social Media Marketers for a panel discussion with thought leaders discussing the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. We will address event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Freelancers, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. Networking will follow.

Panelists include:

Alicia Forestall-Boehm - Alicia is the Co-Founder of Chicago Social Media Marketers. An award-winning visual artist, she has over 20 years of experience with digital and traditional marketing.  She and her team assess the client’s social media marketing needs, execute and manage all social media activities—bringing a strong social media presence for each client. Chicago Social Media Marketers specialize in helping creative professionals, nonprofits and small businesses create and manage professional and effective social media campaigns.

Christopher S. Rollyson - For 30 years, Chris has helped executives make their firms or agencies stronger by leveraging new technology ahead of their rivals. He has advised global firms and technology startups at PricewaterhouseCoopers, led delivery teams at KPMG and advised brands like Sears, Kmart, UBS, Lions Clubs International, Micron and others at CSRA. He founded CSRA in 2006 to advise commercial, nonprofit & government enterprises work on experiential social media and social business strategy and execution.

Susan Barahia - Susan will talk about the different identities of a brand and how understanding what your value proposition offers is critical for business growth. She started her career in design by studying Architecture early on but finished her studies in computer science. After working several years in IT for corporate America, she ventured out on her own designing websites for small businesses. She also became involved in the entrepreneurial community by organizing monthly meetings for small business owners where attendees learned best business practices and found resources to grow their companies.

Mark Carter - Mark turns lack of engagement into profitable collaboration—by creating programs that attract talent, partners and clients. He creates events with focus and purpose, communicates through meaningful storytelling, and fosters collaboration to build teams of peers and advisors.

Date and Time
Thursday, June 8, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Location
Venture Hub
4616 W. Fullerton
Chicago, Illinois 60639

Tickets

$10 in advance
$15 at the door

Register here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/current-strategies-and-future-realities-growing-your-brand-tickets-34554598735?aff=es2  

Refreshments will be available at the event.

For more information, contact: Andreas Vassilos at Venture Hub at 773-772-7300

The Venture Hub is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship in Chicago's disadvantaged communities.

 
 

We have done our best to identify the different birds. There are a couple we could not decide upon and we are sure we mislabeled one or two. Please use the comment section to correct our errors

When you think of birding and where would be a great place to go see dozens of different and beautiful bird species in a single afternoon Chicago probably does not spring to many people’s minds. That is true for almost everyone except local Chicagoans who are in the know. Twice a year hundreds of different bird species, everything from tiny colorful warbler to shorebirds to hawks, literally come flying through Chicago.

Chicago is fortunate to be on the western edge of Lake Michigan which just happens to be on of North America’s biggest flyways during migration. While flying through modern skyscrapers may unfortunately not be a great thing for birds it is a wonderful opportunity for locals to see a wide variety of birds.

The birds can be seen everywhere, it is not that unusual to see a shorebird on the sidewalk next to a downtown skyscraper. Montrose Harbor’s Magic Hedge is Chicago’s best known birding spot and it is for a good reason. Experienced birders have seen over 60 different species in a single day.

For those working or living downtown that want to see some amazing birds over their lunch hour can head over to Ohio Street Beach. Located just north of Navy Pier the few bushes and trees in this urban oasis are loaded with birds at this time of year.  

 
 
SEO for Images on Google
SEO for images on Google.
The most overlooked aspect of SEO (search engine optimization) or in layman’s terms, trying to get your website as high as possible in internet search results, is image SEO. According to Jumpstart nearly 1/3 of all Google searches are for images. That means millions of people are searching millions of images every hour. Look at the attached image of a search, content and images, for Chicago Skyline. Even thought this was not an image search, the top of the page is covered in image search results. So what is the importance of your image popping up in someone’s search results? When someone clicks on a photo that Google has grabbed from your website it enlarges the photo and shows them a link to your website. That means potential clients are just one click away when they see your image.

An image search is also a great way for the small fish in the internet world to compete with the big boys. Most small businesses only have a few hours each month to spend on SEO while big companies have entire departments devoted to improving their SEO. Small business simply cannot compete in regular search results. But the good news is that the most important (and time consuming) factors in regular searches play only a small role in image search results. So you can, with minimal effort, get your photos near the top of image search results which will ultimately drive traffic and customers to your site.

Keep in mind Google is not currently able to look over photos on your site and identify what they are and what they mean so it is up to you to tell them. 

6 Easy steps to getting your photos on the first page of search results.


1. First and foremost use captivating photos. By this I mean they should be interesting, eye catching and sharp. They do not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Studies have shown that consumers find amateur photographs more believable than staged professional shots. That said blurry or dull pictures will not cut it.

2. File name. Use a file name that not only describes what is in the photo but also use words that you think will match the search terms people that you want to attract will be using. For example, if you are a home decorator in Chicago name the file, beautifully decorated home in Chicago. 

3. Alt text. This feature is designed to help the visually impaired identify the photo. It is an important feature to employ for consumers and for Google. Google uses this to better understand what is in the photo.

4. Captions. Make sure the caption for your photos lets Google know what is in the photos.

5. Make sure the image is a standard image size and shape. Google is less likely to use an image that is oddly shaped, such as long and narrow or circular.

6. File size. There are a lot of misconceptions about high resolution photos. Image resolution really has a lot more to do with printed photographs. For online images, I recommend not using large file sizes.  A large file size will slow down how fast your site download and this may cause people to give up and leave your site. Download speed is a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Alternatively, if a file is too small, the result will be a poor quality image and it will not get shown in search results. I recommend file sizes between 200 MB and 500 MB. 

There are other factors that will help determine how high up Google puts your image.


The actual text that surrounds the image on your website page. If you have an image of a cat on your plumbing page it probably will not get shown.

The amount of actual text that is on your website page. Google does not like to use images from pages that are all photos. Sorry about that photographers.

How your page ranks in normal search results. This is one factor that is not easy to fix but luckily it is not an important factor. 




 

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