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Instagram Chief Outlines Key Areas of Focus for the App in 2023

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Instagram's Chief Explains the Latest Changes in the App Following User Backlash

2022 was a mixed year for Instagram, with the platform reaching a new milestone in monthly active users (2 billion), while also repeatedly copying TikTok and seemingly losing its own identity, at least to some degree, in the process.

The biggest challenge for IG seems to be that it’s no longer a unique app. Its tools and features are all so derivative that it’s not a cultural leader anymore, not in the way that it once was, while its insistence on highlighting more content from users that you don’t follow has seen the app stray further from its roots, and into a sort of void between YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and even Facebook of times past.

Which, again, at 2 billion users seems to still be working, and Instagram’s copying of TikTok has provided at least one important benefit, in stopping many IG users from straying to another app. But it feels like Instagram is also on the edge of the relevance curve, and that it could quickly fall out of favor if it were to make any more significant missteps.

Remember the panic when Kylie Jenner said that she was over IG?

Ultimately, however, the numbers tell the tale, and right now, Instagram remains a critical consideration for most marketers, by sheer size alone. And with that in mind, it’s important to understand where the platform is headed, and what’s coming next for the Meta-owned app.

Today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has provided some insight on just that, posting a quick overview of the platform’s three key priorities for 2023.

As per Mosseri, Instagram’s key elements of focus are:

1. Inspire people to be creative

Mosseri says that this is a fundamental on which Instagram was born ‘with those amazing photo filters and crazy frames back in the day’. Pretty sure the ‘crazy’ features he’s referring to actually came from Snapchat – but Instagram was the first major platform to implement different filters and overlays for images, in order to customize your image posts.

Along those lines, you can expect to see Instagram adding in more visual customization and editing tools, with, I’d hazard a guess, more specific focus on AR creation, and integrating 3D objects and experiences in the app.

Why? Because Meta knows that it will need creators to help build its metaverse vision, and Instagram is its best pathway to connect with next-level talent – because no one cool uses Facebook anymore, and its other apps don’t facilitate the same level of visual creation.

As such, Instagram really is Meta’s gateway into the next phase, and it’ll need to use IG to not only connect with the next generation of artists right now, but to also guide them into multi-dimensional creation.

The social platform that can best facilitate simplified 3D creation, in all its many applications, stands to win out in the AR/VR shift, and you can expect to see Instagram looking to add more tools along these lines throughout the next year.

2. Help people discover things they love

This is both a major opportunity and a major risk for IG, because in order to do this, it needs to shift user behavior away from what they know and love (seeing the latest posts from people and profiles that they’ve chosen to follow) and into a new, TikTok-like experience, which is no longer geared around your own curated social graph.

That works on TikTok because that’s how the app established itself from the start, with a focus on highlighting the best content from across the app, based on your interests, as opposed to pushing you to follow the users that you like, and keeping you confined within your direct-defined scope.

TikTok ultimately succeeds in this approach because its algorithm is so good at showing you more content that you like, which then enables it to double down on that engagement by broadening the pool of content that it can choose from. On Instagram, you want to see the latest posts from friends and the profiles that you’ve chosen to follow first, and while IG is trying to shift users away from this, it hasn’t been a smooth transition as yet.

It also negates the need for a feed algorithm. The original justification of the algorithm was that there are so many posts that you could be shown each day, based on the amount of pages and people that you follow, that they have to be sorted by an algorithm to show you the most relevant ones. But now, Instagram is adding more content into the mix.

So do we still need an algorithm or not?

In any event, you can expect Instagram to continue along this path, with more content from people and pages that you don’t follow being jammed between updates in your main IG feed.

Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg noted back in July that just over 15% of the content in Instagram feeds was being delivered via its AI recommendation engine, and that he expected to see this ‘more than double’ by the end of 2023. That, despite some hiccups along the way, is likely still the plan.

Will that extend to Stories too, in showing you Stories from people and pages that IG’s algorithm thinks you might also like? Probably – though I remain pessimistic that this is going to work out the way that Instagram hopes.

3. Spark connections between people  

The last element relates to the use of the main IG feed for content discovery, with more people now sharing and discussing posts in DMs and Stories, which is a new shift in social engagement.

It used to be that people shared posts publicly, both as a means to connect with others and share more about their own personal interests. But over time, and amid various concerns related to divisive discourse and ‘cancel culture’, more people have become increasingly wary about what they share to their main feed, which has seen a bigger trend towards more private sharing, and engaging around content within smaller, private groups.

Instagram’s been looking to feed into this with new additions like ‘Notes’, which enables users to share a conversation prompt in a Stories-like bubble above your Direct inbox.

The idea is that this will help to trigger new conversations and engagement opportunities in the app, which, as Mosseri says, could help IG differentiate itself from other apps by building for engagement around content, as opposed to just focusing on the content itself.

Will that work? I mean, maybe. Again, Meta has noted several times that more people are now sharing in Stories and DMs than they are in their main feed, and if the second step above works as Instagram hopes, in shifting user behavior towards discovery, this could be a new way to generate more discussion and engagement in the app around the latest trending clips and posts.

Overall, Instagram’s going to remain on the same path that it’s been following over the past 12 months, with the key element being the shift towards using the main feed for content discovery.

Again, I’m not sure that’s going to work, but if Instagram can get its algorithm right, that could be a path towards maximizing engagement by leaning into usage trends, while still providing a unique experience based on your social graph.

Which, up till recently, had always been Meta’s unassailable advantage. You might find better content in other apps, but you still need to log into Facebook and IG every day to see the latest posts from your closest friends and family, at least some of whom won’t ever bother to download the latest apps. But TikTok’s discovery algorithm flipped the script, by making the content itself the focus, which has quickly rendered Meta’s advantage in connections largely obsolete.

Which is why Meta’s now playing catch up, and maybe it can, maybe not. But you can see what it’s trying to do with this approach.

So what does that mean for brands and marketers looking to make best use of IG?

Well, for one, I would be taking note of the latest creative additions in the app, and looking at how you can use these new eye-catching, attention-grabbing updates to improve the presentation of your posts. Do note, however, that no amount of cool effects and edits will work as a substitute for knowing your audience, and the role your products play in their lives.

Identify your key value proposition, and the pain points your offerings address, then accentuate those through creative, native techniques.

In terms of discovery, understanding your audience’s broader interests, and playing into that, could get your content displayed in more user feeds, based on the other posts that they engage with, while considering your options for DM connection could also help to enhance your customer relationships, in line with their other communications.

Really, Instagram’s looking to work with the trends, which could help to guide your strategy along the same lines. Or at the least, you’ll be working in line with what Instagram’s looking to accentuate, which could help to improve your platform performance.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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