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Google My Business: 29 Tips to Supercharge SEO for Small Business Owners

Learn how to use Google My Business to easily manage your business listing, reviews, photos and location on Google search, Google Maps and local search

Google My Business is one of the most powerful tools available to help you rank higher in local search results and reach more customers. But to take full advantage of this opportunity, you must claim and complete your profile and make sure it’s optimized to be found by customers who are searching for businesses like yours. Manta’s 29-point guide provides all the answers you need to build a dynamite Google My Business profile, boost your SEO, add your location to Google Maps and rank higher in local search.

1. What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is Google’s listing platform for companies. Millions of small, medium and large businesses have Google My Business profiles that help them boost search rankings and get in front of local customers.

What is Google My Business?

2. Why Should Your Business Use Its Google My Business Profile?

Setting up a Google My Business profile for your company will help your company show up in Google search engine results, Google local search results, and Google Maps results. Use this automatic business listing tool to see how your company appears on Google My Business other online business listing sites.

Listing your company on Google My Business will:

  • Help you show up in search results
  • Help you show up on map results
  • Use your location and potential customers’ locations to help you rank in local searches
  • Provide a place where customers can review your business

“Google My Business is a really important tool that more local businesses should take advantage of. It’s critical for helping customers find you easily,” said Brandon Schroth, an SEO strategist for seoWorks. “The best part? When optimized correctly, the page shows up above normal organic search results.”

3. What Do Google My Business Listings Look Like?

What Do Google My Business Listings Look Like?This Google My Business listing for Gigi’s Cupcakes shows what a great small business listing looks like:

4. How Much Does Google My Business Cost?


There’s no charge to add your company information to Google My Business. “It’s free to use, and it gives local businesses a way to manage their online presence by verifying and updating important information,” Schroth said.

5. How Does Google My Business Work?

Listing your company on Google ensures that your small business name, address, phone number, hours and description are listed correctly and consistently across all Google internet platforms, including:

  • Google search results
  • Google’s Local Pack
  • Google Maps
  • Google reviews

Google My Business allows you to manage your entire Google business profile—including for multiple locations—from one dashboard.

6. What Does Google My Business Do?

Google My Business allows you to control the way your business shows up on Google. Using Google My Business you can correct or adjust your company’s:

  • Name, address and phone number (your NAP info)
  • Your current business hours
  • Geographic information for each of your locations

On top of these basic features, you can add photos to your Google My Business profile and encourage positive customer reviews.

7. Do You Still Need Google+ or Google Places for Business Pages?


You can manage everything you need to right from your small business’ Google My Business dashboard.

The NAP info, photos and any other information you upload to Google My Business will automatically populate across all of Google’s platforms. You can even manage your small business AdWords account from your Google My Business dashboard.

These are Google’s basic guidelines for representing your company on Google My Business:

  • Represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and another branding.
  • Make sure your address is accurate and precise.
  • Choose the fewest number of categories it takes to describe your overall core business.

8. Do You Need to Create a Separate Small Business Listing for Google Maps?


Your location information is automatically integrated with Google Maps from your Google My Business dashboard.

9. How Much Can You Manage From the Google My Business Dashboard?

Everything you need to manage for your small business’ appearance on Google you can manage from the Google My Business dashboard.

Here’s what the Google My Business dashboard looks like:

How Much Can You Manage From the Google My Business Dashboard?

From this dashboard you can:

  • Update your business information and have it automatically update in Google search and Google Maps
  • Get alerts for and respond to new reviews from customer
  • Use Google “insights” feature to see who’s interacting with your business online and learn how they found you
  • See how many people click to your website from your Google My Business profile
  • See how often people click-to-call your business from your Google My Business profile
  • See how often people request driving directions from your Google My Business profile
  • See how often people see your business in their Google search results over time
  • Use AdWords Express to administer AdWords from your Google My Business profile

10. Is My Company Already Listed on Google My Business or Google Maps?

Begin by searching for your business in the Google My Business search bar.

If your company information is already in Google’s system, it will appear on your screen. Google will ask you to verify the contact email on file for the account.

11. How to Add Your Company to Google My Business

If Google has no information on your business, it will lead you through a series of steps. Follow these prompts to add your business information to the site. You’ll be required to verify your business with Google, which we’ll get to in the next section.

As you wait for the verification process to be completed, you can begin uploading photos, videos and logo into your Google My Business dashboard immediately. These won’t publish online until you’ve completed the verification process.

Watch Google’s step-by-step demo to claim or add your company to Google My Business:

12. How to Verify Your Google My Business Listing

There are two main ways to verify your Google My Business listing: by postcard or by telephone.

“Google wants to understand that you’re the verified representative from the company. That is why they send a postcard to the address that gives a code to input,” said Nathan Barber, digital analyst for the Digital Advertising Works agency. “With the code verified, you are able to have full control over the listing. The verification boosts your chances of ranking for local services that you offer in your business area.”

Follow Google’s prompts to determine the method of verification that’s right for you. Verification by postcard will take between seven and 10 business days.

Watch Google’s step-by-step video to learn how to verify your small business on Google My Business:

13. What if Someone Already Claimed My Business on Google?

An additional step in the process of listing your company will arise if someone has already claimed your listing.

To lock down ownership of your listing, you’ll need to request a transfer of listing ownership or request that person—maybe an employee in charge of managing your digital marketing—add you to the account as a listing manager.

Watch Google’s step-by-step video on what to do if someone already claimed or verified your business:

14. What Should You Include on Your Google My Business Page?

The information you include on your Google My Business profile seems self-explanatory. But there are best practices every business owner should follow in the way their information is presented on Google My Business, said Barber. 

He offered the following guidelines on what to include on your Google My Business profile, and how to get it right:

  1. Consistent Business Name, Address & Phone Number
    “You want to make sure that all your business details are consistent with other online listings. Google pulls your NAP from all different sources, but if you can tell them the correct information through a consistent business citation, you will increase your online visibility on search engines on local search,” said Barber.
  2. Unique Business Description
    “Google wants to see that your ‘about’ section is completely unique, and not pasted from your own website. By having a unique description, your targeted keywords and business focus will be more in-tune to become more visible on the search engines. Don’t forget to include a hyperlink right in the description for maximum GMB return,” he said.
  3. Correct Business Category
    “Choosing the correct business category is vital to get found for the correct user’s searcher intent. By pinpointing your correct category (less the better), you will show up for the right types of search traffic. If you are having difficult deciding which category, look at all your competitors and scout out the winning listings and copy their category,” he said.

What Should You Include on Your Google My Business Page?

15. Google My Business for Multiple Locations

You can manage up to 10 business locations from a single Google My Business profile. For more than 10 locations, you’ll need to use the Google My Business Locations dashboard. 

16. Are Duplicate Google My Business Listings a Problem?


Duplicate listings for a single business location can undermine the value of your Google My Business listing, said Alicia Glaser, the local search lead for digital marketing agency Pure Visibility.

“It’s important to search for any duplicate pages that might have been created in the past
with old addresses or different versions of your business’ name. Merge or close these locations,” advised Glaser.

“Having multiple Google My Business pages for the same location can harm your chances for ranking locally,” she explained. “Providing old, inaccurate information can also be an issue for the user’s experience.”

17. How to Remove Duplicate Listings

Businesses can contact Google My Business support by phone, by email, by chat, or through Facebook or Twitter to get rid of duplicate listings.

Austin Lund, local SEO specialist for Big Leap digital marketing agency, recommended these steps:

  1. First, delete the Google+ page of the old listing (if there isone).
  2. Next, send a message to Google My Business support staff on Facebook or Twitter, or start a chatrequest a callor send an email.
  3. Lund recommends sending the following message:

“Hello, can you please move this old listing [insert Google Maps listing URL of old listing] to the current listing [insert Google Maps listing URL of current listing]? And can you also please transfer the reviews of the old listing to the current listing?”

How to Remove Duplicate Listings

18. How Do You Edit or Change the Information in Your Google My Business Profile?

You can edit or change information on your profile directly from your Google My Business dashboard.

If you have any difficulty making changes to hours, location or other information, send a message to Google My Business support staff on Facebook or Twitter, or start a chat, request a call, or send an email.

19. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Best Results

One of the most important things to keep in mind when optimizing your Google My Business listing is consistency, said David Mulqueen, project manager for digital marketing agency Odd Dog Media.

“You want to make sure that things like your name, imaging, messaging, general info like hours of operation, business category and how people can find you is consistent,” he advised. “If your Google My Business page isn’t consistent, how is Google supposed to trust your business as a credible source of information for its users?”

Nicholas Kinports, executive vice president of strategy for Notice digital advertising agency offered the following tips for optimizing your GMB profile:

  • Add Content, Content, Content!
    “Add high-resolution images of your business including the interior, along with 360-degree photos and videos if applicable. The more great content you add, the better Google will position your business relative to the competition,” Kinports said. When writing descriptions, “Write in a natural, helpful, and easy to read prose. Google loves a great user experience!”
  • Choose Keywords Wisely
    Choose the same keywords and phrases you know your customers are looking
    for and populating your profile where appropriate. Watch this two-minute video for basic keyword strategies:

20. Adding Photos to Google Maps and Google Search From Google My Business

Adding photos to your Google My Business profile will also add those photos to Google Maps and search results. Remember, customers are visually motivated, and photos of your location and products or services will go a long way towards attracting new business.

“You want to add relevant photos of your company,” recommended Barber of Digital Advertising Works. “This includes the interior, exterior of the building location, employees, past work, logos and other miscellaneous photos. The images supplied will send strong signals to Google that you are indeed a real business. The photos supplied will be more easily found on the ‘image’ section of the Google search engine portion.”

Watch this Google demo for step-by-step instructions on adding photos to your Google My Business profile:

21. What are Google Reviews?

Customers can review your business on Google. This two-minute video explains how Google reviews work for small businesses.

22. Do Customer Reviews Show Up on Your Google My Business Listing?

Yes, customer reviews show up on your Google My Business profile. The one- to five-star rating at the top of your Google My Business listing as it appears in search results and on Google Maps is determined by the number of positive ratings you receive from customer reviews.

Google reviews are important for potential customers who are still in the “research phase” of making a purchase, said Mulqueen of Odd Dog Media. People who see great reviews are more likely to try your company instead of your competitors. And those Google star ratings are “the most crucial ones,” he said.

Begin by requesting reviews from “existing happy customers who have been so thrilled with their services in the past that they’d be more than willing to leave a review,” recommended Mulqueen. “These are a guaranteed way to build some momentum in getting more and more reviews on Google.”

23. How Can You Get Good Reviews on Google?

“The way to get good reviews on Google is to simply ask for them,” said John Nesler, lead writer and researcher for Post Modern Marketing. Customers don’t think about leaving an online reviews, even when they have really good experiences.

“In fact, they’re usually most inspired to go to the bother of writing a review when they have a bad experience,” he said. That makes it doubly important to ask happy customers to leave a review.

“When you have an interaction with a customer that just feels really solid and good, and they strike you as someone who is well-spoken, simply ask them, ‘Hey, would you be willing to take a couple minutes to review us on Google?'” More often than not they’ll be happy to help you out, said Nesler.

You might also consider handing out a flyer with a link to your Google My Business page and a request for a review, recommended Jim Lastinger, CEO of digital marketing firm Deep Field.

“However, you only want to give the flyer to customers that are clearly satisfied and most likely to leave a positive review,” Lastinger cautioned.

How Can You Get Good Reviews on Google?

24. Should You Pay People to Leave Positive Google Reviews?

No. Never, not under any circumstances, should you pay someone to leave good reviews on Google.

“It’s a violation of Google’s terms of service with regard to reviews (as is the case with Yelp),” said Nesler.

If a happy customer is reluctant to leave a positive review out of the kindness of their own heart, you might “offer them a small discount on their next purchase,” he advised.

“Don’t publicize this offer or make it part of your marketing approach,” said Nesler. “But you’re asking a customer to spend their time on your behalf, so sometimes it’s appropriate to do
something nice for them.”

25. How to Respond to Good Google Reviews

Be sure to respond to all of your good reviews through your Google My Business profile, recommends Nesler. And don’t just write “Thank you!”

“Write a detailed, thoughtful response in which you address the person by their first name, thank them for being a customer and writing the review, and adding any salient points about your interaction with the customer that you think might put you in a good light,” said Nesler.

How to Respond to Good Google Reviews

26. How to Respond to Bad Reviews on Google My Business

The downside to positive Google reviews from your happy customers are the occasional bad review every business is likely to receive.

“Never leave a bad review unanswered,” said Nesler. “It’s easy to do more harm than good if you aren’t careful in your response.”

Here are the rules of thumb that Nesler follows—and that he gives to clients—when it comes to responding to a bad review:

  1. Be calm and courteous. Don’t write a response when you’re frustrated and angry. You need to be firmly in control of your emotions. Find your happy place.
  2. Don’t debate the person in public. A he-said she-said situation is Get the interaction away from prying eyes. Lead off with a courteous, “I’m very sorry that you had an unsatisfactory experience with our business.” Then provide contact details where they can get a hold of you directly.
  3. You need to be in full-blown A+ customer-service mode. That doesn’t mean that you should be self-deprecating orapologize a million times. Rather, make it clear how your customers’ experiences should play out. What they should experience. What will happen when they walk through your door.

27. How to Use Google My Business to Place Better in Local Search Results

How to Use Google My Business to Place Better in Local Search ResultsGoogle My Business’ really important function is that is uses your small business’ location (or locations) to determine your placement in local search rankings. Local search results show businesses in the vicinity of the customer doing the Google search based on your physical location and theirs.

The top three businesses returned in local search results show up in Google’s Local Three Pack. The local pack is a box that appears at the top of location-based Google search results.

Google’s location-based local search results are “critical for helping customers find you easily,” said Schroth of prWorks. Competition for Google’s Local Three Pack is heavy, he said, and it gets harder every day for small businesses to earn that special place at the top of local Google searches.

“Invest the time into creating and maintaining a Google My Business listing as well as the supporting local elements, and you’ll reap the benefits of higher placement and greater visibility” for your small business, said Schroth.

28. How Can You Compete for a Place in Google’s Local Three Pack?

You can see how your company measures up on Google My Business by conducting a “near me” search. Near me searches use an internet user’s location to suggest businesses nearby.

“To understand the local competitive landscape for your business, search for your business’ category with the phrase ‘near me’ in Google to see what type of accounts are showing up in Google Maps and the Knowledge Graph,” recommended Glaser of Pure Visibility.

“You will more than likely see that listings with reviews show up first organically,” added Glaser. She suggested clicking on those top businesses to see what they’re doing differently and what you might do to improve your own near-me ranking.


29. Can You Manage Your Google My Business Profile from a Smartphone?

Yes, you can!

Download the Google My Business app for Android here.

Download the Google My Business app for iPhone here.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Do You Have Too Much To Do?

When we have too much on our plate it’s usually because we have too much on our mind. You have to get off the treadmill and start focusing on what’s most important and most fruitful.

Find some quiet time alone, even if all you have available is a few minutes.Focus on your breathing, ask yourself what is most important to you.Continue paying attention to your in-breaths and out-breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth).

Don’t try to think of an answer. Just keep focusing on your breathing. Eventually, thoughts of what you value most will come to you. If they don’t, keep up with the breathing for as much time as you have available. If time runs out or you get tired just continue on with your day or go to sleep and try again later.

Eventually, answers will come to you. Once you have some answers you’ll be better equipped to make time for what’s most important to you and say no to what’s less important.

Don’t be afraid to say no to things that distract you, tempt you, make you feel guilty, make you feel like you aren’t good enough or not doing enough. Don’t be afraid to say no to yourself and the voices of people from your past or in your life now that cause you to run a race that’s not yours to run.

by Dan Pedersen


Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

SEO Techniques to Take Your Rankings to the Next Level

After you've selected the keywords you want to optimize your website for, you need to focus on what is called on-page optimization. On page, optimization is what you do on your website pages to improve organic rankings. The good news is that through years of research and experimentation I have identified the most important on page factors for improving organic rankings.

There are a variety of optimization factors to consider when optimizing your web pages. I have found three factors, in particular, to have more of an impact than others when correlating them to search engine rankings. In particular, meta tags, URL structure, and page load speed all have a direct impact on search engine rankings for particular keywords or keyword phrases.

Meta tags are important to web site rankings because they provide some basic information to search engine spiders. Meta tags need to be formatted correctly to enhance search engine rankings. My research as shows that meta tags by themselves cannot radically improve rankings. It is my belief that meta tags may be used to verify other aspects of your website and are important for getting users to click through from search engine results.

The best-formatted meta tags should include a title tag that includes the keywords that you are trying to optimize for. It is recommended that the size of the title tag is sixty or fewer characters as this is the limit shown in Google search results. The second meta tag is the description tag which should be limited to fewer than one hundred and fifty characters and repeat your keyword phrase no more than two times.

The last meta tag worthy of description is the keyword tag. I see this tag misused all too often and it may actually be hurting your search engine rankings. When using a keyword tag, focus on only a dozen of your most important and highly trafficked keywords. Search engines should know that you are an authority site and worthy of top rankings. Do your research and only include the keywords that truly matter. You can also evaluate the sites in the top positions and model their keywords as long as they are included on your web site or blog.

Once you have your meta tags within your web page code it's time to focus on the next on page optimization factor. The load time of your web pages matters a great deal to Google and other search engines. Not only does your web page need to be formatted correctly but it needs to load quickly. Fast loading web sites mean a better user experience. Search engines like Google reward you for providing the right information quickly to web site browsers. Keep load times to a minimum and continually work to improve the speed at which your site loads.

The third and certainly one of the most important factors is URL structure. It is true that having your keyword in the URL helps but it is not the only or the most heavily weighed optimization factor by Google. There are plenty of examples of sites that include the keyword in the URL being outranked by other web sites. If you can purchase a URL that has your keyword in it though, consider it advantageous. If you are unable to do so, consider adding a folder or page to your site that includes the keyword you want to optimize your site for. A good example would be www.sample.com/keyword. By doing so you are placing your keyword close to the root and giving it more value. Also, consider a sub domain strategy.

Before you begin any search engine optimization effort, evaluate your web site, landing page, or blog from the perspective of meta tags, load speed, and URLs. There are additional on page factors we'll discuss in the next lesson, but the three mentioned herein are vitally important to your search engine optimization success.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Video: Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media channels to market a business’s products or services. Yet many small business owners are unsure how to use Twitter’s 140-character micro-blog to reach potential customers online.

Learning to use the platform will help you reach Twitter users interested in your products and services.


In this Manta Academy class, you will learn:

  • Why Twitter is important for business
  • How to set up a Twitter account
  • What Twitter name you should use
  • How to write a Twitter bio
  • How Twitter hashtags work
  • How to get Twitter followers
  • What to tweet and when to tweet it

Ready to get your small business started on Twitter? Need to improve your use of the social media platform? This is the class for you! Start by watching the video above.

Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media channels around—it’s currently ranked No. 2 based on monthly unique visitors. Yet many small business owners are wary of the 140-character micro-blog phenomenon.

There’s no denying that the never-ending stream of retweets and hashtags can be a bit intimidating. It takes some time to learn to navigate the Twitter waters. But increasing your understanding will help you feel at ease about taking the Twitter plunge and expanding your business’ digital marketing strategy one tweet at a time.

Let’s start with the basics.

What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out. We hope we’re stating the obvious, but use the name of your business as your username (or “handle”) on Twitter. In the event that it’s already taken, get as close to it as you can, but avoid using underscores and hyphens. It just doesn’t look good.

If your business is called Blinky’s Bakery, but that handle is already taken, add your state’s abbreviation at the end to signify your location. You just don’t want to be too far from the real name of the business.

Example: @blinkysbakeryoh or @blinkysbakeryohio

Don’t be shy. If you haven’t written your Twitter bio, please do. You get 160 characters to showcase your business—use it! This little nutshell of information will help you gain followers, and here’s why: If you follow someone and you don’t have a bio, they don’t know who you are or what you’re all about. You may look like a spam account and are therefore less likely to get a follow back. Take a few minutes to complete your bio to give everyone the lowdown on your business.

Example: Blinky’s #Bakery, specializing in #dogbiscuits, #dogtreats and #dogicecream. Bringing canines joy across the #Buckeye State since 2014. www.blinkysbakery.com

Make sure to use pertinent hashtags within your bio—this helps other Twitter users find your account—and don’t forget to add a link to your website or blog. Bios with links get more attention than those without.

#hashtags: What past generations called the pound sign or number sign is now more commonly called a hashtag, and it wields a lot of power. These are keywords that can be used anywhere in your tweet. They help people find you if they’re searching for that particular topic, and they help categorize your tweets. Hashtags can be one word or a series, just make sure not to use spaces.

Example: #BlinkysPies or #pies

Say cheese! Use a photo of yourself, your logo or your business for your profile. Leaving image fields blank is like stepping over found money, and it’s a turn-off to potential followers. Utilize all of the free advertising Twitter gives you.

It’s a banner day! The same holds true for the giant (1,500 x 1,500 pixels) banner image on top of your profile page. Don’t think of it as static content—mix it up as often as you need or want. Celebrate the seasons, a sale, an event—whatever speaks to who you are and what you tweet about.

Lead and they will follow. Now that you have your profile looking good, it’s time to find people to follow. Look for people you know, customers, vendors, peers in your industry and those with similar interests and goals. Many times, taking the lead and following someone will entice them to return the follow.

What do you say? It’s often a challenge for people new to Twitter to come up with things to tweet about. Don’t let your social media marketing be stifled by a brain cramp—plan ahead. Spend a few hours a month setting up a calendar of topics. Having a plan makes it easier to write content. Once you have your calendar in order, spend 10 to 15 minutes each day looking for opportunities to share and converse, then check in later for responses and messages.

Timing is everything. According to Karen Swim, CEO at Words For Hire, find out when your audience is most active on Twitter. “While you can tweet at various times of the day you want to prioritize key messages for the optimal time of day. Share consistently and at various times to discover what works for you.”

Short and sweet. In order to make the best use of your 140-character limit, tighten up those long URLs. With every post, include a link to your article, website or blog (this is how you can gain traffic to your site), but use a URL shortener like Bitly or Google to maximize your available space.

A picture’s worth 1,000 tweets. OK, it may not be worth quite that many, but using imagery in your tweets will attract more attention.

Spending a little extra time to set your account and content plan should make it easier to dive into the Twitter stream and bring a few more followers your way. #goodluck!

Academy Checklist: Follow these steps to make sure you’re ready to tweet.

  • Make your business name your handle.
  • Create a complete bio that includes hashtags.
  • Add a profile image and banner image.
  • Follow a few new people every day.
  • Take a moment to set up a strategy calendar.
  • Watch and listen to learn when the best tweeting times are for your audience.
  • Try out different URL shorteners to see what you like best.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Understand How Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization practices have evolved alongside the improvements and refinements search engines have made to their algorithms.  In order to take full advantage of the Press Release Optimization PR Newswire builds into the distribution of each press release, it’s important that you understand SEO practices and factors - and stay up to speed with shifting trends and tactics.  

General best practices:
Release Length

The length of the press release is a make or break factor in the overall strength of its optimization.  You can craft the perfect headline and use the best keywords, but if your message is too long it can become diluted, which means that search engines can’t index it as specifically.  The result?  The release drops out of the top search results and is less likely to be found by internet searchers.  

The optimum length is generally 400 to 600 words – between about a page and a half and two pages.  This length is easy for readers to digest and comprehend, but it’s long enough to include the rich detail readers appreciate – which is also informative to search engines.  And it’s not so long that key contextual points are drowned in a sea of less relevant detail.

Anchor Text

The links you see on web sites connecting a word or phrase to a related page are called “anchor text,” and these are a boon to press release writers.  In addition to providing a great way to channel readers to additional information (eliminating the need to write an excessively long press release), anchor text – when used properly – can also deliver significant SEO benefit back to the web site you’re promoting.   Best practices for using anchor text in your press release include:

  • Link operative keywords or short phrases (two words is ideal) to relevant web pages.  Do not use anchor text to link phrases like “for more information” or “click here.”  Likewise, don’t link from descriptive language (e.g. colors, flavors.)  Link from keywords only.
  • Headline, Lead & Link.  Use your most important keyword in your headline and your lead sentence.  Link from the occurrence of the keyword in the lead.
  • Less is more.  Two links per 500-600 words is recommended, in order to focus search engines on your most important keywords.
Context & Focus

A clear, concise message resonates with readers and is appreciated by journalists.  It’s also a key component of a well optimized press release.  Too many keywords and concepts can dilute your message, causing it to drop in the rankings for the keywords you consider most important.  A tightly focused message that is truly relevant for your target keywords is more likely to be ranked, read and written about than a press release that tries to be all things to all people.


Journalists have long complained about jargon and hyperbolic language in press releases.  In addition to doing yourself no favors in the newsroom, jargon-laden headlines and press releases don’t resonate with searchers, either.  Use the plain, accurate and descriptive language people use when discussing the product/service/initiative you’re promoting.  You’ll be more likely to connect with your audiences – via search engines, and on-page.  

How Press Release Optimization Works:

How your press release is structured directly affects its optimization.  With today’s emphasis on the actual on-page content, the decisions you make about what language to use, placement of keywords and use of anchor text will affect the overall quality of the optimization of the press release and its overall effectiveness.   In this section, you’ll learn how the different parts of your press release are utilized in the overall optimization process.

The Headline & Subhead

The headline of a press release has always been important but is doubly so for press releases that are optimized for search.  PR Newswire’s Press Release Optimization system utilizes your headline to populate several extremely important HTML fields that are part of the underlying optimization of your press release, including:

  • The Title Tag – At the very top of each web page is the title tag. One of the most important SEO factors, the Title Tag carries real weight in search engines.  The title tag (and, specifically, the language contained therein) strongly influences how search engines interpret and index a web page.
  • The Search Engine Results Page description (“SERP”) – The SERP description is what people see initially when your press release shows up in their search results.   PR Newswire uses your headline and subhead (up to 300 characters total) to populate your SERP description.  Because headlines and subheads are crafted to grab a reader’s attention, they are perfectly suited for this important role.
  • H1 tag – Part of the underlying HTML of the release, the H1 tag reinforces other optimization factors and can help focus the search engine’s attention on a key aspect of the overall message.  By using the headline, we repeat a powerful, clear, richly descriptive phrase and amplify your release’s key message.
  • Start your headline with the most important keyword in your press release.
  • Keep your headline fairly short – 60 to 80 characters are optimal. Your subhead can be a little longer – but try to keep it to two lines or less.
  • Use descriptive language that you’ll repeat in the body of the press release when writing both the headline and subhead.
The Subhead

The subhead has traditionally added extra descriptive information to the top of a page, fleshing out the headline and telling a reader a bit more about a story.  In terms of press release optimization, the subhead plays a similar role.   The subhead is utilized in the optimization of a press release in a variety of ways:

  • The Search Engine Results Page description (“SERP”) – The SERP description, as described above, is key real estate – for both search engines and your readers.  Your subhead will be used to populate the SERP if your headline is short – a total of 300 characters can go into that field.
  • H2 tag – part of the underlying HTML of the release, and just behind the H1 tag in authority, the H2 tag is populated with your subhead, where it amplifies your message and helps focus the search engine’s attention on your overall message.
Meta keywords tag

Five years ago, Google didn’t read your press release; it read the underlying HTML code.  Today, Google – and other engines - can effectively read your press release. The Meta keywords tag is largely ignored. As a result, SEO best practices today are focused more on the on-page content, and less on the keywords placed in the Meta keywords field in the release HTML.   For that reason, PR Newswire’s system makes minimal use of this field, populating it with informative but limited information drawn automatically from the press release.  The information that does go into this field includes the name of the issuing organization, geographic information, and industry and subject details.  

We still field questions from PR pros wondering whether it’s possible to optimize a press release for a list of keywords they supply (i.e. keyword stuffing).   Because this practice offers little benefit at the most and, at the worst, can be detrimental, it’s not supported by our system.  Keywords are important, and they belong the text of the press release.  Use them there!

Paying attention to how you write your press releases, what language you use, and how you structure the release itself can pay big dividends.   By staying current on SEO tactics and adhering to the best practices enumerated above, you’ll soon see new and gratifying results for your press release campaigns.


Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

LinkedIn: Your Social Marketing Missing Link

Many business owners use LinkedIn to their increase professional networks. The social network can also help your business grow!

According to BIA/Kelsey, the reach small businesses receive through LinkedIn surpasses other social sites by more than thirty percent.

Some starting points:

  • If you haven’t already, create a company page. Highlight your brand, your products and services, and post updates and add content regularly. (Be mindful of staying on brand and apply SEO strategies when applicable.)
  • Encourage employees to create personal pages—links to your company page help increase visibility.
  • Take part in LinkedIn groups or create your own. It’s where customers, potential customers, and influencers go to share thoughts and opinions, and gain advice from experts (that’s you).
  • Ask customers—past and present—to write a recommendation. Consumers actively look for this kind of word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Use endorsements to get in front of other networks. These simple, but meaningful, gestures of support also strengthen connections.
  • Bulk up email lists. Invite connections (via private messages) to sign up for company emails or take part in special promotions.

When it comes to positioning your brand and expanding reach, LinkedIn provides an optimal platform. Figure out how it can work for you!

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

10 Simple Marketing Tips to Guarantee More Response

Include a headline: Headlines are not just for ads. Your reader's eye will be drawn to your headline. Make it Magnetic!

Use effective words: Some effective words to include are FREE, Easy, New, Now, Save, Revolutionary, Today, You, Yes and Breakthrough.

Make your paragraphs short: Limit them to seven lines or less.

Use simple words: Make your copy familiar to your readers. Don't use jargon or difficult words. Most people won't know or care what you're talking about.

Focus on benefits: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Focus on the benefits of your Offer, not your service or company, but what they'll get.

Be honest: Be honest, straightforward, upfront and true. Don't ever mislead your readers.

Use easy-to-read type: Use sufficient size type, easy-to-read type. Don't use fancy font types.

Include a P.S.: Call attention to a major benefit in your P.S.

Use specifics: Make your Offer specific. Use "10 tips to eliminate . . . ," rather than "some ways to eliminate . . ."

Don't waste money: Don't spend lots of money on expensive stationery. Expensive paper won't get your prospects to respond. Your Offer is the key!


Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Social Marketing: Pin Your Business to Pinterest

Consider adding Pinterest to your social media mix and promote your business with shared photos.

Pinterest—the social site known for ‘pinning’ images users aspire to have, or know more about, or just share—is making changes that are getting a lot of buzz. If you’re using social media to promote your business and develop brand awareness, and you should be, it’s time to consider adding Pinterest to your social media mix.

Pinterest launched in 2010, and self-describes as ‘visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.’ How can a visual bookmarking tool be of service to small businesses, especially those that aren’t particularly visual? Pinterest is aspirational—its users are looking for information and ideas, whether they’re in the market for a new bookcase, decorating inspiration, a pizza recipe, a local pizza restaurant or advice about saving money or how to do their taxes. Businesses that create a Pinterest profile are inviting more people to discover their offerings.

Pinterest provides a business board option and launched ‘promoted pins’ in beta to brand advertisers in 2014, some of whom reportedly saw a 30 percent uptick in impressions. Pinterest is also fine-tuning ways to localize and expects to add a ‘buy’ button soon.

Get inspired by ways other businesses are using Pinterest, and then start considering how you might make it work for your company.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Blog Post Writing

So, you have finally set up your own blog. Congratulations, as this is one of the most effective ways to mark your online presence and to generate traffic. To make your blog work for you, you will need to fill it up with great articles on a regular basis (every day, if possible). Remember, online users will give your blog a visit but only if they'll get what they're looking for -- quality content.

Here's how you can get started with blog post writing:

The first thing to do is to perform a keyword research. Your goal here is to identify the subjects or topics that are related to your blog and those that are interesting to the people that you would like to target. Instead of doing surveys and time-consuming interviews, you can just get a list of popular keywords through the use of keyword suggestion tools. Once you get the list, the next thing to do is to convert them to article topics. For example, if your target audience is searching for the phrase "article marketing", you may want to write blog articles on these topics: article marketing tips; article submission tips; article writing tips, etc. These will surely grab your readers by the throat.

Research your topics thoroughly. Before you start writing, check out similar articles that are now posted in the online arena. What kind and how much information do they offer? Your goal here is to figure out fresh angles that you can target and hot information that you can offer so you can make your articles stand out from the crowd. Get more in-depth, detailed information by doing an extensive research. Make sure that you do not leave any stone unturned in the process

Develop an outline. The secret to writing an organized blog post is creating and following an outline. Learn how you can create a blueprint for your blog posts before you actually write them. Don't worry as this is very, very easy. Start by writing your topics, your working title, and at least 3 major points that you'd like to discuss. Arrange these in a logical manner. It's that easy!

Pay attention to your headlines. You cannot afford to use lousy headlines or your blog posts will remain unread. So, learn the ropes of creating killer titles. These must be relatively short but very powerful that they'll help you grab your readers by the throat.

Write your blog posts. Start and end strong. This is to make sure that you'll hook your readers in your content and in the end, leave a scar on their minds. Use conversational tone all throughout to easily put your readers at ease. Use only common terms or those that your readers can easily identify with. Explain your ideas using bullet list or short paragraphs. Tell your readers what you want to tell them upfront. There is no need to beat around the bush as these people do not have time to waste.

Ask for feedback. Before you post your copies on your blog, I suggest that you show them first to neutral third parties who understand the ropes of blog writing. Allow them to critique your work. Ask for their feedback and suggestions. Revise until your blog posts are at least close to perfection.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

Instagram for Business: 27 Expert Tips

Learn how your small business can use Instagram to share photos and videos, reach new customers and grow sales with a social media marketing strategy.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram might be worth 1,000 new customers for your small business. The social media platform lets you easily share photos and videos with your followers and interact with their photos of your business. With an Instagram for Business account, you can also advertise and promote posts on the platform and get detailed metrics on how you’re engaging with customers.

With 500 million monthly active users—and growing—there are a lot of potential customers on Instagram. Yet most small business owners are missing out. According to a Manta poll, only 24% of small business owners include Instagram in their social media marketing, and of those who do use the platform, only 20% pay to promote posts or place ads. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle is that 39% of business owners say they simply don’t know how to use Instagram.

Don’t be intimidated. Instagram is easy to use, and paid promotions are simple too. With so few other business owners using Instagram, this is a great time to jump ahead of your competitors and start connecting with customers now.

How can Instagram help your business get more customers?

As with any social media effort, a smart marketing plan is essential. You should decide what your goals are and how much you want to spend (in time and money), then make sure your Instagram strategy supports those goals. With advice from social media and marketing experts, the 27 tips below will help you use Instagram for Business to connect with customers and grow sales for your small business.

1. What Can Instagram Do for Your Business?

Instagram allows you to connect with followers, share updates about your business, and potentially turn followers into customers. If that sounds like a lot of other social media platforms, the big difference with Instagram is the focus on photos and videos rather than text.

“Small businesses should be embracing Instagram Stories along with photos that can be distributed and shared on Instagram,” said digital strategist and entrepreneur Ross Simmonds. “If you’re selling a product that is visually appealing, it’s likely that your customers are using Instagram to see photos of your product before buying. One of the easiest and most effective ways to stand out on Instagram is to be consistent with uploading high quality content.”

Instagram is primarily a mobile platform. As smartphone users increasingly rely on images to get and share info, you should harness the impact of photos and videos to promote your small business.

“Instagram allows you to directly engage and communicate with your customers in a visual way,” explained Colin Cheng, senior marketing manager for digital agency MintTwist. “Images and videos are immediately more engrossing than text. Small businesses can use it to engage with their existing customers, as well as trying to identify new ones.”

2. What’s the Difference Between Instagram for Business vs. Personal?

Instagram for Business gives small business owners access to features and capabilities that personal users don’t have. With an Instagram for Business account you can add directions to your business to your profile, let followers contact you with one click, access Instagram’s analytics tools and promote your posts with ad campaigns.

When it comes to content, you probably want to keep the personal photos you share with family and friends separate from the business posts you share with customers. While social media can feel friendly and informal, don’t forget that your Instagram for Business account represents your business and its professional reputation: Don’t share anything you wouldn’t post in your workplace or say to customers’ faces.

Small business owners who want to get started with Instagram can find inspiration by following the accounts of others in their field, said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of online business document service MyCorporation.com.

“Check out what influencers in your industry are doing,” she advised. “Do they post every day? What kinds of hashtags do they use? How do they engage with fans? Observe their accounts from the start to see how they have grown and use their tactics as a jumping off point to getting your own account up and running.”


3. Why You Need a Facebook Page to Use Instagram for Business

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and the business accounts and advertising capabilities on the two platforms are integrated. That good news is, if you already have a Facebook page for your business or if you use Facebook Ads, you’re well on your way to setting up an Instagram account and advertising on the photo-sharing platform. If you don’t yet have a Facebook business profile, make sure you set one up before getting started with Instagram.

“The merger of Facebook Business Pages with Instagram profiles has made it a great visibility tool for businesses, especially since Instagram now has 500 million monthly users,” said Aristotle Eliopoulos, social media specialist with digital marketing agency 9thCO. “Most importantly, Instagram’s addition of a ‘Contact’ button for business profiles means a contact email, map or phone number can be added, making it much easier for users to contact businesses. The ability to call or email is as easy as one tap.”

4. How to Set Up Instagram for Business

It’s easy to get started on Instagram. Download the free Instagram app from the iTunes app store or Google Play.

The first time you launch it, the app will walk you through the steps to create a basic account. Choose a profile name that will help customers identify your business; it could be the same as your other social media handles or, if you have a common-sounding business name, it could incorporate your city.

Once your basic Instagram account is set up, you need to upgrade to an Instagram for Business account:

  1. Tap the gear icon at the top right of your profile page.
  2. From the list of options, tap the button “Switch to Business Profile.”
  3. After tapping “Continue,” you’ll be prompted to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account.
  4. The business info on your Facebook page will be imported into your Instagram account; make sure this info is complete and correct.
  5. Tap “Done” to save your Instagram for Business profile.


How to Set Up Instagram for Business

5. How to Use the Instagram App

When you launch the Instagram app you will see your main feed; these are the photos and videos posted by people you’re following. In this feed, tap the heart icon (or double-tap on the photo) to like a photo; tap the word-bubble icon to comment on a post; or tap the forward arrow to share the post with another follower.

To follow another user, simply tap the “Follow” button next to their user name. If their account is set as private, you’ll see a clock icon to show that your request to follow is pending their approval.

At the bottom of the screen you will see five navigation icons:

  1. Tap the home icon to return to your main feed.
  2. Tap the magnifying glass icon to get to the search page, where you can find other users or hashtags to follow.
  3. Tap the camera icon to create a new Instagram post.
  4. Tap the heart icon to see which users started following you or liked your posts.
  5. Tap the person icon to see and edit your profile info and all the posts you’ve created.

6. How to Use Multiple Instagram Accounts

You can add up to five Instagram accounts and manage them from the same app. This is useful if you want to maintain separate business and personal accounts, or if your small business has accounts for multiple locations or distinct product lines.

Lindsay Klix, owner of Off Your Rocker Pottery, publishes a blog of healthy recipes in addition to crafting handmade pottery. “I saw that my Instagram followers that were interested in my pots were not as interested in my recipes, but others were,” she said. “So I launched a separate account showcasing just my healthy recipes that is attracting new and different followers, increasing my overall following.

“Don’t just focus on the number of followers, (focus on) the quality and overall exposure,” Klix added. “If you have several accounts with different loyal followers, it doubles your company’s following.”

To add multiple accounts, go to your Instagram profile and tap the gear icon in the top right corner. Tap “Add Account” to enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add. To switch between accounts, go to your profile page and tap your username at the top of the screen, then tap the account you’d like to switch to.


How to Use Multiple Instagram Accounts

7. What to Post on Instagram for Business

Instagram is a visual platform, so you want to think of ways to market your business using photos and videos. Beyond that, there are few rules. However, all of your posts should be consistent with your social marketing strategy. Consider your goal, and make sure everything you post on Instagram supports that goal.

Is your social marketing strategy to demonstrate how your small business supports your local community? Post videos on Instagram from community events, or post photos previewing the big local festival or high school football game.

Is your social marketing goal to show off your strong customer service and put a friendly face on your team? Post behind-the-scenes photos of your employees hard at work, or post videos of your team members talking about why they love working with your customers.

Some common subjects of Instagram posts include:

  • Your products
  • Behind-the-scenes of your products being made
  • You or your employees at work
  • Your storefront, office or work van
  • Before-and-after of projects or contracting jobs
  • How-to photos or videos of home repairs
  • Decorating or remodeling ideas
  • Happy customers with your products or completed services
  • Local attractions or community events
  • Coupons, contests or promotions exclusive to social followers


8. How to Post a Photo on Instagram

Sharing a photo on Instagram is almost as easy as taking one. When you tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen, you will be given the option of selecting an existing photo from your “Library,” or taking a new photo or video in the app. If you select a photo from your library you will have the chance crop the photo before proceeding. Taking a new photo is even easier; the only options here are whether to use flash or the front-facing selfie camera.

Once you have a photo or video you like, follow these steps to share it on Instagram:

  1. Take a new photo or select a photo from your library, and tap “Next” in the upper right corner.
  2. Select a preset filter from the horizontal list at bottom, to tap “Edit” to manually adjust the color and exposure settings. Tap “Next.”
  3. Add your location (optional but recommended if this is your business location).
  4. Tag other people by using their Instagram user names (optional); they will be notified that you included them.
  5. Choose if you want to post your Instagram photo directly to Facebook or Twitter at the same time you share it on Instagram (optional; make sure it supports your social marketing strategy on those other platforms).
  6. Write a caption for your photo; include a brief description of the post, and include a few hashtags.
  7. Tap “Share” at the top right to publish your post to Instagram.

9. What Are Instagram Filters?

Instagram Filters allow you to easily apply visual effects to your photos. When you take a photo with the Instagram app or post a picture from your photo library, you can select from preset filters (Claredon, Willow, Lo-Fi) and, with one click, turn a snapshot into a work of art. You can also tap “Edit” to manually adjust the color, contrast and warmth and create your own look.

Filters let you look like a pro, adding interest to your plain snapshots—from high-contrast black-and-white pictures to the desaturated colors of vintage Polaroids.

“People often scroll through their feeds fast, so you only have a second to grab their attention. Use Instagram’s editing tool to stand out. There are lots of different options, filters and add-ons that can turn a dull photo into a piece of art,” said Nathan Barber, digital analyst with Digital Advertising Works.

“If you can grab users’ attention, they are likely to engage with your posts more,” added Barber. “This sends signals in the algorithm that you should be promoted more in the feeds.”


What Are Instagram Filters?

10. How to Add Your Business Location to Instagram Photos

When you are drafting an Instagram post within the app, you have the option to “Add Location.” You should do so. This associates the name of your business with the photo, allows followers to see other photos taken at that location (which could include posts by you and your customers), and see the location of your business on a map.

Underneath the “Add Location” prompt on the post you will see a list of five nearby locations (you can scroll through this list horizontally). If you don’t see the name of your business, you can click on the “Search” button or “Add Location” button for a longer list of suggestions.

If you still can’t find your business, you may need to add the location to Instagram—but you need to use the Facebook app for iPhone, iPad or Android. (It’s another of the integrations between the two platforms.) This is how you can add your location:

  1. From your Facebook News Feed on a mobile device, tap the “Check In” button.
  2. If you don’t see your location here, click “Add [New Location]” and provide your business’ location info.
  3. Tap “Done” or “Create” and you should now find your business location in both Facebook and Instagram.

11. What’s an Instagram Photo Map?

If you click on the location name of any Instagram post (in small type under the user’s name, above the photo) you will see that location pinpointed on a map along with all other photos or videos taken at that location. It’s a great way to see photos that customers have posted at your business location.

In the past, users could get a similar view of all their posts with a Photo Map of their personal account, but Instagram no longer offers that feature.

12. How to Post a Video on Instagram

Recording a video with Instagram is much like taking a photo. From the video screen, press and hold the record button to take a video (don’t tap separately to start and stop). You can pause and add nonconsecutive segments to the video as you record it; for instance, you could create a time-lapse effect by recording several brief snippets over a period of time. Adding filters, a caption and location info is similar to the process for photo posts.

Selecting an existing video from your library is also easy. You do have the option to trim your library video clips, which is helpful to meet the Instagram video time limit of 3 to 60 seconds.

13. How to Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are slideshows that combine photos and videos. They are meant to be temporary—Story posts disappear after 24 hours—so they are useful if you are promoting a timely event or sale. By combining multiple images, videos and adding text, Stories also allow you to tell a more complete story than you can with a single image.

For instance, contractors could create Stories of before, during and after photos to show off the progress and results of a successful remodeling project. A service business could create behind-the-scenes Stories that introduce your staff members with photos and videos showing your team at work.

This quick video demonstrates how you can create Instagram Stories:

14. How to Create an Instagram Photo Collage

You may have seen photo collages shared on Instagram: two or three (or more) photos combined in a single post. Collages can capture the energy of event (say, a layout of multiple photos from your grand opening) or provide an interesting way to photograph a product or service (like side-by-side before-and-after photos of a remodeling job).

To create a collage, you need a separate app that works with Instagram. Instagram has its own collage app called Layout, which you can get to by tapping the windowpane icon on the post screen. Similar third-party apps include Photo Grid and PhotoFrame. Each of these apps will walk you through the process of creating a collage; it’s just like posting a single photo from your photo library, except you get to choose multiple pictures.

15. How to Increase Instagram Likes

You can like an Instagram post by double-tapping on the photo or tapping the heart icon just underneath the post. The number of likes you get on your posts is a measure of engagement. It shows that followers are enjoying and responding to your photos and videos on Instagram.

How do you get more likes on your Instagram posts? The best way is to simply post engaging content that your followers like.

“My advice to small businesses using Instagram would be to focus on authentic images showcasing your business, what you do and how it fulfills the mission of your organization,” said Asaf Darash, CEO and founder of software company Regpack. “Just be real and honest. These posts tend to resonate best with people, especially those who aren’t your followers and who are ‘shopping around.’”

16. How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags are the words or phrases you see following the “#” symbol. It’s a way to categorize your posts on Instagram and make them easy for others to find. When a user taps on a hashtag in a post, they see a list of all other photos with that hashtag. When you tag your photo #KitchenRemodel, anyone who searches for #KitchenRemodel or taps on #KitchenRemodel from another user’s post will find your photo.

You can make up any hashtag you want, but it will only be effective if others use it as well. By tapping on the search icon at the bottom of the screen in the Instagram app, you can look for common hashtags related to your industry or city; by using a hashtag that’s already popular, your posts are more likely to get found by others.

You can create your own hashtag with your business’ name, slogan, or to promote a specific contest or promotion. Encourage your customers to use this hashtag by sharing it on your website, email newsletter, invoices or in-store displays. You can also search for common hashtags related to your industry or city. When you use a hashtag that’s already popular, your posts are more likely to be found by others.

You should also think about what makes your business or products unique, said Andy Tracewell, marketing director at furniture maker Caretta Workspace. “We utilize hashtags and make sure that we post pictures that are ‘on theme’ with our company,” he said. “All of our products are made in America, so the #AmericanMade and #MadeinAmerica hashtags are very popular and increase engagement.”


How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

17. How to Regram Others’ Posts on Instagram

“Regramming” is the equivalent of sharing a friend’s post on Facebook or retweeting a post on Twitter. For instance, you might want to regram photos that customers have taken at your business, or share entries you received to a photo contest. Unlike those other social platforms, however, Instagram does not make it easy to share others’ posts.

There is a manual workaround: Simply use your phone to take a screenshot of the photo you want to regram, then post it to Instagram from your phone’s photo library. Whenever you regram someone else’s post, make sure you give them credit in the caption by including their Instagram user name with the “@” symbol (e.g. @caretta_workspace).

There are also apps available to streamline this process, such as Repost for Instagram, which you can download from your app store.

18. How to Engage Followers with Comments on Instagram

As with any social media platform, Instagram isn’t a megaphone. It’s a conversation. You should listen to your followers, respond to their comments and comment on their photos. Look for notices that your account was tagged in a post, and regularly search for uses of your hashtag, so you can like and comment on customer photos taken of your business.

“It seems simple, but you need to do more than just post pictures and expect people to engage with you,” said Stefanie Parks, founder of DermWarehouse. “You have to start conversations, make comments, reply to questions and compliments and like what other people are posting. Not only will staying engaged with your Instagram following help to build it, you will see that your followers become very loyal to you as well.”

Make sure your comments are sincere and relevant to your business, advised Megan Monroe, growth team expert at marketing platform OntraPort. “Don’t mindlessly like and comment on irrelevant posts,” she said. “Like and comment on posts and accounts that relate to your content. You own a small surf shop? Find similar accounts and posts while searching through #surf hashtags.”

You can also start conversations on Instagram by asking your followers to respond to your posts. “Interesting or provocative questions tend to create a lot of interactions, and we try to mix that with showcasing our work and services,” said Larissa Pickens, owner and creative director of design studio Float.Design. “It’s a very supportive and highly interactive platform. Even when we first started and had no followers, I was pleasantly surprised how many people would like and comment just based on hashtags.”

19. What are Instagram Ads?

Advertising gives small business owners the opportunity to expand their reach on Instagram and add measurable calls-to-action to their posts. Instagram ads can be photos, videos or carousels of multiple images. Instagram Ads can support multiple objectives:

  • Clicks to Website, to generate traffic to your site
  • Website Conversions, to prompt a specific action on your site
  • Mobile App Installs, to generate downloads of your app
  • Mobile App Engagement, to get activity on your mobile app
  • Video Views, to tell a story using video
  • Page Post Engagement, to get users to engage with your ad
  • Local Awareness, to reach potential customers near your business

By promoting posts on Instagram, small business owners can expand their reach and drive more results. Thanks to the powerful targeting tools, you can connect with specific audiences based on age, gender, location and interests.

“Instagram is a perfect place to run ads to highly targeted users because Instagram is owned by Facebook and it shares powerful targeting options inside of Facebook’s Ad Manager,” said Scott Sundblom, marketing manager with digital marketing agency Big Leap. “Whether a small business’s social media objectives are to enhance brand awareness or drive sales and revenue, Instagram ads can be effective at any budget.”


What are Instagram Ads?

20. How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

You can advertise on Instagram for as little as $1, and for as much as you want to spend. When you set up your Instagram ad campaign using the Power Editor tool, you can set a daily budget, a budget for the campaign, or a budget for some other time period.

The real question might be: How much should you pay to advertise on Instagram? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are small businesses advertising on Instagram.

The key is to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment, and to calculate your ROI you need to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and how much that’s worth. Is your goal to get visitors to fill out a lead form on your website? If that lead is worth $100 to you, then you know exactly how much you should spend to get it.

“You can set a number of goals for promoted posts and ads, such as driving traffic to your website, call or visit your business, increase followers, increase reach and generate leads,” explained Bethany Griffiths, content and social media marketer at digital marketing agency Bowler Hat. “You should set a goal for each promoted post and use Insights to track the goal and assess whether your post helped reach your goal. You can then use this to refine your strategy for your next ad.”

Paid advertising on Instagram isn’t necessary for every small business. Many experts recommend instead spending your time focusing on organic engagement—the likes and comments you get naturally by posting compelling content—which could boost your placement in followers’ feeds without a cash investment.

“The smart small businesses avoid paying for sponsored Instagram posts—which inherently are trusted less than an organic post—and instead focus on content that is interesting, emotional or useful enough to have viral lift on its own,” said Brad Hines, founder of NerdPlaythings.com. “Posts like this are free, shared more than sponsored posts, and have more credibility.”


How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

21. How to Create Instagram Ads for Your Business

It’s easy to create promoted posts from within the Instagram app. Tap on a post that you’ve already shared on Instagram and tap “Promote” underneath the photo. You can select an advertising objective—such as getting website visits, or getting calls to your business—which will help you pick a call-to-action button to accompany your ad.

Next you need to select the targeted audience for your ad. Instagram can suggest targeting for you, or you can manually pick an audience based on age, gender and location.

Then you enter a budget for your promotion and decide how long you want it to run. Tap “Promote” to confirm your ad. After your ad is approved, you’ll see “Insights” on your notifications page; from here you can follow the status of your promotion and see how it is performing.

You can create more advanced ad campaigns in Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. From the Manage Ads tab, you can create new campaigns, choose an advertising objective and manage your budget in more detail.

22. How to Track Instagram Analytics

Instagram for Business includes access to Insights, a free analytical tool that can help you understand who your followers are and what they’re interested in.

From your profile page, tap the bar chart icon in the top right. From the Insights page you can see:

  • How many times your posts were viewed
  • How many people your posts reached (swipe left on number of impressions)
  • Your most popular posts (tap “See More”)
  • Video views
  • Engagement (number of likes and comments)
  • Followers’ age, gender and location

When you pay to run advertising campaigns on Instagram, you’ll get detailed analytics on the performance of your ads in the Facebook Ads Manager or in the Power Editor tool. The metrics will vary depending on the type of ad campaign, but you can look for:

  • Engagement
  • Total reach
  • Total amount spent
  • Cost per result (e.g. cost per video view or cost per website visit, depending on your campaign goals)


How to Track Instagram Analytics

23. What’s the Best Time to Post to Instagram?

The short answer to this question is: Post when your customers are using their smartphones. As you might imagine, that’s pretty much all the time. You can get specific info about your followers using the Instagram Insights tool from your profile page; it will tell you at what times your followers are most likely to be active on Instagram.

24. How Many Instagram Posts Per Day are Best for Business?

The trick on all social media platforms is this: You want to post often enough so that your business stays visible in your followers’ feeds, but you don’t want to post so often that people get annoyed and stop following your account.

“I suggest posting a least once a day to stay top of mind,” said Sue B. Zimmerman, the Instagram Expert and author of “The Official 2016 Instagram Strategy Guide.”

“Only post if the photo is a ‘North Star’ photo, shining bright to pull you in. Otherwise don’t post just for the sake of checking it off your to do list,” Zimmerman advised. “If you want to have success on Instagram you have to have an Instagram mindset, which means thinking about your feed like a magazine and posting content that aligns with the vibe and theme of your business.”

25. How to Get Instagram Followers for Your Business

Your engagement efforts will be pointless if you don’t have Instagram followers to engage with. To get more followers, start by linking to your Instagram account from your website and promoting it on your other social platforms and enewsletter. You can share your Instagram posts on Twitter and Facebook directly from the app, letting your followers on those platforms know that you also have an Instagram account.

You can promote your Instagram account in the real world as well, by adding your user name to business cards, print ads, invoices or other handouts.

“I created two-sided business cards that use one side to promote logo, hashtag and brand awareness and the other side to share social media links,” said Jennifer Boaro, COO of The Cat Ball. “When we ship our products, this card is placed in a very visible location. Customers have often taken and shared photos of the product as they un-package it and you can see our card right there.”

You can also get new followers by following them on Instagram. “The most important way to gain new followers and engaged fans is to follow, like and comment on other people’s posts,” said Harrison Vigersky, founder of the pet blog Bone & Yarn.

He suggests looking at the list of followers on your competitors’ Instagram accounts and following their followers, then liking some of their photos and commenting on some. (Instagram sets limits on how much following you can do at once, so set aside 10 minutes every few hours to do this.) “If you are dedicated, hundreds of people will follow you every week that will be engaged with your brand,” Vigersky said.


How to Get Instagram Followers for Your Business

26. Should You Buy Instagram Followers?

No. You simply can’t fake social engagement on any platform. Buying followers is a waste of money at best, and at worst it could harm your reputation on social media.

Since the fake followers you buy aren’t really your customers, it does absolutely no good for them to fake-see your photos or even fake-like your posts. Paying to advertise your business to fake followers is even worse. Plus, it’s not hard for your real followers to see through all the fake accounts following your business, which could make you look less-than-reputable in their eyes. If you’re not engaging with actual customers on Instagram, you’re just wasting your time.

27. Why Instagram is Important for Your Business

With an audience of more than 500 million active users—and growing—Instagram is one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms.

“It’s important to stay relevant, in-the-know and active on as many social channels as your business can handle, and this is definitely one of them,” said Kristi Gramlich, social media marketer at digital marketing agency Scorpion. “It’s a great way for a business to add a humanizing touch…without being intrusive to their audience.”

Instagram’s location-based tools and mobile-friendly design make it especially important for small, local businesses. According to Blanca Valbuena, co-founder of Socialdraft, a social media scheduling and engagement tool, Instagram functions as a search engine as much as a social network.

“Just imagine a tourist coming to New York City. They want to see things to discover so they begin to browse content tagged #NewYork or #GreenwichVillage,” she said. “Smart businesses who geotag their content are basically creating links to make it easier for customers to discover them.

“This is the same for ecommerce,” Valbuena added. “People who are shopping will use Instagram to search for inspiration. If your posts are structured right—with beautiful images, an impactful write up, and a clear call to action—you’ll be able to convert those eyes into paying customers.”

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | https://www.fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | [email protected]

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