Pikwizard Offers New Free Stock Photo Options

Most of my clients don’t have a large marketing budget. One of the ways I maximize is by using quality free stock images. I have written in the past about some great stock photo options and want to share a new one – Pikwizard.

According to Pikwizard, the site offers more than 100,000 completely free images and more than 20,000 of those are exclusive. They are adding new images to the library daily and the ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images. Images not marked as “premium” are free to use without attribution.

The fact that they have many images that are not on other sites is worthy of mention, and here’s another: there are many pictures of people, which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites. Check out the site search for “office” or “meeting” and you’ll see plenty of people.

The Internet – the Mightiest Brand of All?

Marketers and communicators want to position their brand and area of expertise as top of mind with their audiences. Few can dream of becoming as pervasive as the internet, a tool that was virtually non-existent before the 1990s and is now part of daily life for most people.

I was doing print publications for a large school district in the 1990s, when I decided to put that content online. The result was one of the first school districts to have a website.

Back then, we had a lot of ideas and dreams for what the internet could do for marketing and communication and had to apply a lot of creativity to present even the most basic information. The technology needed time to develop. An equal challenge was creating online literacy among the people we wanted to reach.

First Impressions Are Created Online

Today, I have a digital marketing agency. The conversation with clients and potential clients is all about what can be achieved. Now. Today. Our audiences are online, every day, and are eager for us to deliver the online experiences they expect.

The digital world is now the place where most people get their first impression of a brand. Neatly presented storefronts and carefully crafted print materials are replaced by an online world where we expect every brand to have a compelling presence. We look to their websites, social media and online directories and form an opinion.

In addition, we are generally most influenced by what others have to say. We look to reviews and comments to decide if a product is worthy, where to go to eat, what services to sign up for, and much more. The virtual world is a key influencer of our daily reality.

The internet has created a marketing and communication tool that no brand can ignore. Successful businesses and organizations build strong, two-way relationships and nurture them on an ongoing basis online.

Strong Online Brands Connect with Customers

A successful online presence is built in a way that establishes credibility and connects with the target client. Brands need a consistent and compelling online presence that informs and engages. Design, words, images and more need to create a consistent experience for people who will likely connect across several platforms.

Brands Must Manage Many Online Storefronts

The internet provides multiple access points. There are websites, discussion boards, social media platforms, directories and more. Your audience can first connect with you in a variety of ways. Brands must embrace these multiple virtual storefronts and ensure each makes a worthy first impression.

  • Website: The business website is the online location where a brand has complete control over look and feel, messaging, and engagement. It is the place to drive anyone who is interested in your business, products and services. For this reason, the brand website—viewed from desktop computers as well as mobile devices–is the most critical component of your online presence.
  • Email Marketing: Email still gets the most attention and engagement among all online marketing options. To remain relevant to the target audience, a brand must develop a way to regularly share information by email.
  • Facebook: With the largest (by far) number of active daily users in the United States and beyond, Facebook is the social media channel that no business can afford to ignore. Users span all age groups and demographics. Consumers are on Facebook, likely every day.
  • Social Media: There are literally hundreds of social media channels. It is important to identify the ones that are used regularly by the target client and have a credible, active presence on each.
  • Community networks: Consumers look for third-party confirmations before they make purchasing decisions. Businesses must tap into community networks to understand the conversations and share information when relevant.

Across all these virtual storefronts, businesses must provide content that meets the needs and interests of the target audience. It is not enough to sell online. Customers expect brands to help them with their interests and needs. They expect businesses of all kinds to engage with them, inviting their ideas and comments and reacting when they take the time to do that.


5 Social Media Tactics to Use Now

Social media can be a grind. The options are always changing and new content is always needed. The effort can help you reach and exceed business goals, so stick with it.
By working smarter and not harder, you can use these five tips to make sure you social media strategy makes sense for the resources you have, engages your audience, and effectively markets your business.

Know your target audience/customer.

If you haven’t defined who the target audience is for your products or services, stop everything. You need to know who you are talking to for any social media effort to be effective.

You don’t have to go through a massive branding or research project to define your audience. Get insight from these sources:

  • Details about current customers. Who are they? What do they like about your brand? What else do they like?
  • Google Analytics and social media data. Where do people spend their time with you? What do they react to most?
  • Pew research and other national data. What do the people who fit your target audience do online?

Create multiple touch points.

People rarely act on something based on their first contact with a brand or product. They need to hear about something several times. They need to learn more.

Keep this in mind with your social media. You can’t post about something once and expect to get the results you want. You need to talk about the same thing several times, in different ways and across several channels.

Repurpose content.

Use your content over and over. That blog post can generate several social media posts. The script of a video can likewise turn into text posts of several lengths. Use images as part of content and alone.

Find ways to extend the life of every piece of content you have by using it in a variety of contexts.

Track results.

There’s no harm in trying new things. There is harm in repeatedly doing things that don’t impact your goals, or worse, work against your goals.

Track everything you do with an eye on your intended goal. Do more of the things that move you in the right direction. Stop spending time and other resources on tactics that aren’t working.

Pay attention to the competition.

Always stay on top of what related brands are doing. Pay attention to what they post as well as how people react. You’ll get ideas for things you can do and also tips on what to stay away from.

You can look at their social profiles and see:

  • How often they post
  • What days of the week and times of the day they post
  • How large their follower bases are
  • What specific types of organic, sponsored, and ad content they post
  • Which types of posts get the most engagement

Take note of the patterns that emerge and use that Intel to inform you social media efforts.