Images and How to Use Them Without Getting in Trouble

Images are an excellent addition to your website, blog post or social media and can help you get more shares and interactions. However, not all images off the internet are okay to use since there are laws that allow people to have rights to those images. Using just any image off the internet can get you in big trouble and leave you with a hefty fine!

Image Copyright Laws in Canada

We live in a world where images are so easy to find with just a click of a button but we can’t use any image we find since there is a cost for ownership of most images. It’s important to be aware of copyright laws in Canada to ensure you don’t get fined for using content off of the internet. Under the law, any image taken by any device (camera, smartphone, etc.) is subject to copyright. This means that if someone takes a photo, it is their photo and anyone else that would like to use it has to seek permission from the photographer. The photographer is not required to register their work to have it copyrighted since when the photo is saved (onto a smartphone or camera roll) it automatically is subject to copyright and is protected under copyright laws. Therefore, it is essential that we learn to keep these laws in mind because if you get caught using an image that belongs to someone else- you could be fined!

How To Find Great Free Images

There are many ways to find images that are free and can enhance your content.

These are some of the ways:

1. Create your own images: Grab your camera or even your smartphone to capture some images! This allows you to be in full control of what the image will love like and leaves tons of room for customization. Also, having your own images ensures that the content is original and authentic.

2. Find some royalty-free images on Google: When you search on Google, make sure you’ve clicked the “labeled for reuse” button! This allows you to reuse the image. See below:
How To Find Great Free Images on Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Use Creative Commons to search multiple platforms to find free images: This site allows you to search for images easily and helps you find free images from various platforms. Check out our blog post on Creative Commons for more information.

4. Find some free images online: Using sites such as allthefreestock.com allows you to search for various free images, videos, music and icons that are royalty-free.

5. Tools such as Canva: Canva allows you to edit your images and it basically works as an easy-to-use graphic design platform. It also has a massive repository of free images along with fairly inexpensive images (approximately $1 for a high-quality image).

6. Buy some images: There are sites that allow you to purchase high-quality images. Sites such as iStock allows you to buy images for as little as $12 per image. You can also get a subscription for $40 per month that gets you 10 images per month.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can always check where that image appears online through TinEye. You simply upload your image or paste a URL of the image and this tool does a reverse search to find out where that image appears online.

Keep these tips in mind next time you add images to your content!

Tumblr: Still the Easiest Way to Blog

It’s been four years since Yahoo bought Tumblr and in that time, blogging platforms have grown tremendously.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to share just about anything via their personal Tumblelog. You can quickly and easily post whatever you want – text, photos, videos, music, quotes, and links, from wherever you want – your web browser, phone, desktop computer, or email. The service prides itself on its ease of use, as well as the ability to customize everything including the colors of your Tumblelog and the HTML code of your Tumblr theme.

Who uses Tumblr?

Tumblr people are categorized by their retro-hipster vibes and their ability to showcase blog content through images, videos and words. Content on Tumblr is quirky and strange and heavily embodies the persona of an out-of-the-ordinary millennial. Due to its individualistic nature, Tumblr people are also categorized as ‘regular individuals’ and rarely as companies or businesses. An individual that owns a company may have a Tumblr page but it is highly unlikely that the company would have a Tumblr page.

In total, there are around 357 million registered blogs on Tumblr and users spend a whopping 3 hours per day on the site. This is exponentially higher than various other social media platforms including Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tumblr or WordPress?

Some businesses choose to use Tumblr over WordPress to appeal to their young and fun audience. Take Denny’s for example – they’re famous for their American, greasy, feel-good, late-night, partially hungover food. Here’s an example of their Tumblr post that works well in line with their business and aims to target their audience.

If your audience is under thirty and your service or product is very visual and you’re strapped for time then Tumblr is the way to go, if your audience is older and you want to do more than blog (and more with your blog) then use WordPress.

Benefits of Tumblr

Since Tumblr is a form of a micro-blog, most content is easy to share and visually appealing. These aspects have made Tumblr more of a social platform that incorporates bltumblr post typesogging. Also, Tumbelogs are likely to appeal to a wider audience, as some will prefer the assortment of photos, video files, and links that a traditional blog may be lacking. Tumblr’s API allows Tumblelogs to be extensively modified; users can delete all the basic formatting and start from scratch to design the look, feel and layout. If you can imagine it, chances are you can do it with Tumblr. The outcome for bloggers is huge; connect more deeply with your readers, in less time, and on your customized, easy to use microblog.

Tumblr Photos and Videos

Since 2013, photos and videos on Tumblr have become a huge success due to their fairly visually appealing nature. Many Tumblr users are attracted to the shareable photography and videos found on Tumblr. Even design projects and ideas for tattoos are popular on Tumblr due to the professional photos and visual content found on Tumblr. Some examples of Tumblr posts that include excellent imagery include motivational quotes, images of scenery and animal videos in the form of gifs.

Cabana: The New App by Tumblr

This year, Tumblr announced they will be launching a new app called Cabana. This app allows users to watch videos with their friends simultaneously. After downloading the app, users can add their friends to an existing “room” or create a new one and add up to six friends. Then, they are able to watch any video on YouTube while on a video chat in the same room. This app is great for group entertainment! However, there are many ways to group video call already including through Messenger on Facebook. Cabana will have some tough competition!

This is an updated post from the original post about Tumblr from 2013. To view the original post click here.

Summer Special! Branded Social Media Templates

Images rock on social media and posts that contain images are way more likely than plain text or link posts to help you get more likes comments and shares.

Our design partner Anne Dunnett of Inklings Design and Everyday haiku recently created these AMAZING branded social media image templates for us – we can easily add text to them and post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (you might have noticed them in our posts!). We would like to share them with you. Read on to learn the story of this amazing idea (in Anne’s words) and to get an extra special offer.

 

Branded Social Media Templates

As an entrepreneur, I know how challenging it is to keep up with changes in the industry. Businesses evolve, grow and transform and I’m not the only one that feels this way. I know many people who have two businesses or more and are sometimes juggling them and figuring out how they fit together. A transformation is in the works as my graphic design business evolves and changes.

This social media branded template design offer is part of this change.

My second business is Everyday haiku which is a blend of haiku poetry and design. I’ve created an on-line course that comes with haiku designs where students can add their own haiku poem into the design and have a little piece of art to post on social media. I recently put on a workshop and one of the attendees loved these “template designs” so much that she wanted to use them to promote her own business on social media. I explained to her that the haiku designs are not intended or meant for that usage and they are a big part of the Everyday Haiku brand. As a result of this, I wanted to fill a need with a fantastic idea to help people like her who are looking for beautiful and inspirational designs so that they can easily add quotes and content. The basic templates have a polished and professional look and feel so that it will attract more followers and get people engaged.

Then, I decided to take it one step further and offer templates that are designed to match your brand. By adding your logo and your brand colours, I will provide you with a cohesive and professional representation of your business. See the offer below with design samples and more information.

AND……. I’m in the process of creating an exciting social media haiku design offer!

For those of you who are at a loss of what to say and tired of coming up with content, this will make content creation super easy! It will include branded haiku and designs for your business that you can post on an ongoing basis. The haiku will be written just for you and in-line with your specific market and themed by topics that are in the moment and relevant to your business. It will get people curious and start conversations about you and your offers.

Stay tuned! More details are in the works.

 

 

Facebook Likes

How to Get More Likes on Facebook

**How To Get More Likes on Facebook – this is an update of an older post. Go here to see the older one, Get People to Like Your Facebook Page.**

Facebook has become a major alternative to Google when it comes to promoting your business online and driving traffic to your site. As of this week, it boasts a massive 2 billion users. Not only can your Facebook page help bring tons of traffic to your website but the traffic it brings is more targeted, visitors are more likely to visit more pages and they will stay longer. This, combined with the fact that having a Facebook page can help you stay engaged with existing and new audiences, means that Facebook might be a major component of your digital marketing mix if it isn’t already (especially if your product is consumer related!) However,  the challenge then becomes how to get more likes on Facebook.

Once you have created a Facebook Page for your organization the challenge becomes attracting the right audience and getting people to “like” and interact with your page. Here are a few tips that will help you get more page likes on Facebook.

Tips to Get More Likes on Facebook

1. Content – there is a popular saying, “content is king” and it really is the key to growing your following. Did you know that only 1-3% of your followers ever see your organic page posts? Shout out to Mari Smith for mentioning that stat at Call to Action Conference this week.

If your content adds value (by that I mean that it grabs people’s interest or tells your audience something they didn’t already know) and stimulates likes, comments and shares, current followers will be more engaged and more new followers will come. Images and videos have the most engagement and using tools such as Canva (the online design tool) are great ways to enhance your visuals. So, take the time to post quality content.

2. Website widget –  add a Facebook widget to your website so that people can click from there to like your page. Providing social media links on your website is a great way to increase engagement in the digital space- especially on Facebook. When people visit your website, they may never return but if they visit your site then follow a link to like your Facebook page, you’re more likely to have an ongoing connection with them. That’s why it’s so important to have widgets on your website to form a digital connection.

3. Invite friends – use the ‘suggest to a friend link’ to find and send invites to friends but be selective and only invite Facebook friends who might actually be interested in your product or service. Also, adding a link to your Facebook Page URL to your email signature will drive more people to your page.

4. Create a unique username for your Facebook page URL like ours-  http://www.facebook.com/outsmarts -which is short and sweet and branded. This will help make your page easily accessible to potential customers and clients. To do this, go to your page click on the ‘about’ section on the left and then click on ‘Create Page @username’

5. Promote your page – when you are networking both online and off, tell people about your page. Even having your social media usernames (or at least images of the platforms you are active on) easily visible on your business cards is very beneficial! If you use Twitter or other social networks, link and tell your followers in those forums too. Run a photo contest on your page to get more people engaged.

6. Update regularly – update your Facebook page regularly (refer to tip #1 when doing so!). You should update at least once a day but not so frequently that your posts become intrusive and annoying.

7. Place an ad – Facebook ads are highly targeted. Use ‘Promote Your Page’ ads to get more followers on your page by advertising to people in your target area who might be interested. You might be surprised as to how many new “likes” this will generate. You can also boost your posts so that more people see and like your updates. The more that people do this, the more your posts will show up on their timelines.

8. Avoid overselling – it is not good Facebook etiquette to simply use your page for promotional purposes. Use the 20/80 rule and ensure that you only promote your company, products or services 20% of the time (focus the rest of your posts on adding value and building loyalty with your followers).

9.  Make your Page Stand Out- humans are visual creatures so make sure to use a great cover image that grabs people’s attention. It could even encourage people to click on the link below. And be sure to use the customizable call to action buttons. Having a call to action button makes your services and products easily accessible to the public. Another way to stand out is to include posts that target your specific audience- relating back to tip #1 (content is king!)

10. Promote your Page – make sure your Facebook Page URL is highlighted on all direct marketing and traditional advertising vehicles, add “Like on Facebook” information to letters, packaging and shipping materials to spread the word in other media. If you have a physical location, you could have a tablet or iPad next to checkout encouraging people to like your page.

11. Engagement is Essential – even though page likes are an excellent indicator of your success on Facebook, it is important to remember that engagement is even more vital. Are people commenting, sharing or actually liking every individual post? Remember to include great images, excellent content and use all the tips mentioned above to increase engagement on Facebook.

We hope you found these tips helpful!

Need some help with your social media? Get in touch with us today.

5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But Should

Google’s AdWords platform is a great way to advertise online. It allows you to pay to show up on the first page of Google for search terms that your targeted audience might use to look for products or services online. You can choose which geographical area you want your ads to show up in and you choose how much or how little (there is no minimum) you would like to spend. It’s a great way to generate leads and to drive sales and your campaigns are highly measurable (especially if you link to Google Analytics).

At Out-Smarts we’ve been running AdWords campaigns for clients for over a decade. Over the years we’ve learned a few things that are key to PPC success. Here are 5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But Should to make the most of your AdWords investment.

The Landing Page is Key To AdWords Success

AdWords does a great job of driving traffic to your website but that’s only half the story. For your Ads to convert, the page people land on your website has to:

  • Have a relevant headline that relates to the words you used in your ads and the keywords in your AdWords campaigns
  • It should have short, sweet, original text that tells visitors about the benefits of your product or service (from their perspective, not yours!) and how it solves their problem or makes their lives/jobs better.
  • It should have a clear call to action telling visitors what to do next i.e. order now, request a free quote

The content on your page is key – if the content doesn’t line up with the context of your ads your Quality Score will be impacted and your ads are less likely to show up. You can even risk having your account being suspended, your ads won’t run.

Be particularly careful with landing pages that have a before and after image or that link to testimonials – in fact you are probably best to avoid using these.

 

Take Advantage of Free Google AdWords

Did you know that you can enjoy Google AdWords free of charge? This option is only available to non-profit organisations. It allows these groups to access initially $10,000 U5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But ShouldS n free advertising and if you outgrow that you can sign up for the Grantspro Program which raises this to $40,000 USD per month. To take advantage of this you have to register and meet certain criteria. It’s available in most countries around the world and you must have a valid charity status. To begin this process sign up for Google for Non Profits. This means registering with TechSoup (Canada) or in the US.

 

There are Two Flavors of AdWords.

There’s full blown Google Adwords and Google Express. They are both really similar but Adwords Express is designed to make it easy for you to set up your ads. Managing your ads easy is because you don’t have to – it’s all automated.

If you don’t have a website then Google Adwords Express is the way to go as it allows you to advertise your Google+ page on Google and Google Maps. It might also be the right solution if you have a small budget, want to spread a wide and targeted net and you don’t have a clue about (or don’t want to learn how) to manage your bids. But beware, with Express Google decides the keywords your ads show up for and you have no insight into how much bids cost.

Compare AdWords and AdWords Express

 

Ad Extensions will Help your Ads Convert

AdWords give you capabilities beyond the basic Extended Text Ads and you should use them where appropriate as they help increase your Click Through rate to make your ads way more effective.

Ad extensions add extra information to your ads. This is information your business or offering. Such as:

 

Sitelink Extensions – shows links to specific pages on your site below the ad

Callout Extensions – gives more detailed info about your business as part of your ad

Structured Snippet Extensions – describe features of a specific product in your add

Call Extensions – add phone numbers to your ads, when people click they initiate a call to your company (particularly good if you have a towing company or similar!)

Message Extensions – similar to call extensions, in this case when people click it initiates a text message

Location Extensions – shows location and address information in your ads

Affiliate Extensions – shows the retail chains where people can buy your products in your ads (UK and US only)

Price Extensions  – shows prices for different products or services

App Extentions – links to mobile apps

Review Extensions – showcase rave reviews of your product in your ads

 

Spend Time In Analytics to Improve Your AdWords Success

Google Analytics is key to AdWords success. We find that we spend almost as much time in Analytics measuring Ad performance as we do in AdWords. It is really important to link your AdWords and Analytics account right after you set up your ads but before you launch your campaigns. Next, head over to your Analytics Admin Panel and set up your goals. Your goals will reflect what it is you want people to do on the landing page once they have clicked through on your ad. These can include:

  • Destination URLs (i.e. thank you for your order),
  • Duration goals (when people spend a certain amount of time on your site).
  • Events – When an event on your site is triggered i.e. someone watches a video or clicks to share your content on social media
  • Pages Per Session – When a visitor visits a specified number of pages

Once these are set up you can then determine if your AdWords traffic is converting once it reaches your site. You will also be able to see which of your Campaigns, AdGroups and Keywords are converting as well as understanding the actual search queries people are using that result in click throughs.

Google AdWords is one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website. It offers a robust platform with lots of options to help you hone your campaigns. Optimizing your landing page for conversions, taking advantage of Google Grants, using Analytics and adding ad extensions are just of few of the tactics you can use to make the most of your pay per click campaigns.

Out-Smarts provides AdWords set up and maintenance services. If you are considering your pay per click options we would love to hear from you.

Related articles:

Google Analytics Set Up

Reasons to Use Google Analytics