Social Media Tips & Blog

Better Writing: When to Use “Like” vs. “Such As”

Barbara McNichols WordtrippersThis is part of a series by editor Barbara McNichol to provide tips that help you write like a pro.

Have you ever wondered about the distinction between “like” or “such as” in your writing. Here are two phrases to consider:

. . . the answers that so-called geniuses like / such as Newton seem to embody.

. . . centuries of innovations like / such as the airplane and the space shuttle have resulted.

In these examples, “such as” is preferred over “like” because the word “like” implies comparison while “such as” implies inclusion. That means being like something doesn’t include the thing itself.

In the first phrase, Newton is intended to be included as a so-called genius, so “such as” is the correct choice. In the second phrase, the airplane and space shuttle are examples of innovations meant to be included within this context. In contrast, the sentence “he’s like a fish swimming upstream” provides a clear comparison.

Your challenge: When you’re about to write “like,” ask this question: Would I include this point in a list or exclude it? The answer becomes your clue to select either “like” (exclude) or “such as” (include).

Today’s Word Tripper: 

Adopt, adapt “Adopt” means to take as one’s own as in someone else’s child, to choose something such as a lifestyle, or to formally accept something such as a position or principle. “Adapt” means to adjust to various conditions. “When you adopt a young girl, be sure to make it easy for her to adapt to your living environment.”

Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping business professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips program with details here.

Fotor vs Canva - Designated Photography Platform vs Tried and True Designer

This article was contributed by a guest blogger so you can have more information on these products. The views of the blogger are not necessarily our views, nor do necessarily endorse any particular product.

fotor v canva

With so many online graphic designers and imaging platforms, how do you find the one which is perfect for you? In this review, we are going to check out two very different online graphics designers and imaging platforms, determining their strengths and weaknesses relative to the unique requirements of the internet savvy designer and personal user.

fotor versus canvaCanva

To begin, let’s look at the heavyweight of this comparative review, Canva. Considered by many to be the ‘designer’s choice’, Canva’s polished HTML5 based interface and large number of templates bring a new level of control to the average user. The addition to these templates, Canva also provides a huge number of example templates, which can be directly used making ‘designing from scratch’ completely unnecessary. Keep in mind, while these pre-set designs look great, they are not necessarily free - something we will cover later in the review. Like the pre-set templates, Canva also provides loads of unique overlays and customizable clip art. While not always aesthetically pleasing, these additions cover a wide range of themes, providing loads of designing options and styles. In short, creating fantastic looking social media covers and other designs is easy with Canva, so what does its rival, Fotor, bring to the table?

Fotor

Beginning its journey as a simple photo editing suite and HDR emulator, Fotor has grown significantly since its 2012 launch. Now with an extensive design feature, an international photographic competition platform and comprehensive utility functions, Fotor’s strengths lie in its dynamic nature. From a design perspective, Fotor lacks the ability to directly format and print your creations - this can be overlooked however, by the extensive editing and customization options built into the platform. While Canva has refined the ‘designing experience’ by highlighting certain features and limiting options, at times, Fotor can seem daunting in its sheer number of editing options and content. With all of the ‘bells and whistles’ you would a photo editor to have, Fotor also has a few interesting features under its belt, including a world leading HDR algorithm. Combining these elements brings a great deal of power to the fingertips of the average user, making Fotor a powerful contender to the ‘graphic designer’ throne.

Differences

Perhaps one of the most important features of successful online designers and enhancers is a user-friendly UI and intuitive interface. While Cava’s polished HTML5 interfaces is for the most part very user-friendly and pleasing to the eye, it can be difficult to navigate. Hidden within Canva’s interface are huge amounts of tutorials, content and other functions, finding them can be a challenge, however. In contrast, Fotor provides a very simple, function orientated menu which can be accessed at any time. If that wasn’t convenient enough, Fotor also includes a ‘favourite’ feature, allowing you to place your most frequently used features and effects into an instantly accessible, customised menu. While it may not be as appealing as the sleek presentation of Canva, we never found ourselves lost when using Fotor, the advantage such convenience holds for professional designers cannot be understated.

In order to give you a fair understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these two excellent platforms, we cannot ignore Fotor’s ‘Edit’ function, and its relationship with design and image enhancement. From what we understand, Fotor – up until recently – was a specialised utility website and app, offering functions and features equivalent to Adobe Photoshop – but free and on an online platform. After releasing is ‘Design’ feature, Fotor was able to streamline both functions in the same place, allowing the user to modify and enhance their photographs and images, before importing them directly into a design page. In this area, Fotor really stands out. The ease of use, coupled with the sheer number of Photoshop style editing features means that the average user really has a virtually unlimited amount of control, and a wealth of knowledge in free tutorials and blogs provided by the Fotor team.

comparing fotor versus canva

When compared, Fotor and Canva both have clear strengths and weaknesses, particularly when it comes to their payment schemes. These days, ‘premium’ content is just another word for ‘not free’, and it is in this area that these two platforms differentiate the most. Canva operates in a ‘pay-as-you-go’ fashion, allowing you to purchase single overlays, designs and clip art directly from the editing page, while Fotor is has a single ‘premium’ plan with bulk, updated content. On top of this payment method, Canva also has a corporate payment solution known as Canva for work. Costing roughly $120USD for a yearly subscription, this premium plan is designed for companies and groups who want to share their work and ideas. Fotor exclusive payment option ‘Fotor Pro’ is significantly cheaper at $39USD a year; it lacks an internal business communication platform, however. If you’re a social media aficionado who loves making great designs and covers, you’ll probably find Canva’s simple system the best. That fact that you are able to buy only the features you want has obvious benefits, but it’s my opinion that the ‘creatively oriented’ designers will prefer a more open plan. From a strictly financial perspective, Fotor is simply the most cost effective of the two platforms. Purchasing more than two pieces of content at Canva is roughly the same price as a monthly subscription to Fotor, which is something to keep in mind given the ‘premium content’ of the two platforms is so similar.

In contrast to Canva’s content driven payment scheme, Fotor has simplified the payment process by combining all content into a single option. As Fotor’s features are often updated, it makes sense to utilise this payment scheme, we found it better to Canva’s alternative, as we often didn’t know how useful some of the features were until we started using them. In short, if you’re completely new to online designers – Canva is a great option, but for professionals, it’s hard to look past Fotor’s myriad features.

compare canva and fotor

As we wind up this review, one particularly important element must be discussed – mobility. As we all know, if it can’t be accessed from a smartphone, then it probably doesn’t exist! Indeed, statistics say that you are probably reading this very article from a mobile device. So what does Canva and Fotor offer in the realm of the mobile graphics designer and photographer? Canva states their position very directly, while limited support is offered for ipads and android tablets, the design platform is streamlined for a desktop, where visibility and scale are unfettered. Fotor, on the other hand, has updated Android and iOS versions for smartphones, synchronised and streamlined with their photographic editor, designer and enhancer. In this area, Fotor stands head and shoulders above Canva. On top of its app support, Fotor also has a ‘community’ function, allowing users to share photographs and designs, even creating their own personalised galleries.

Conclusion

Comparing these two great platforms is no easy task. Both have succeeded in creating a unique place for themselves in this rapidly changing digital world, both provide excellent services for increasingly demanding users and both can be seen as innovative in their own right. The dynamic designer, who wishes to modify every element of his graphic designs and advertisements with the greatest detail will find obvious advantages in using Fotor. Similarly, the social media aficionado who wants to produce great looking posts in a few minutes will prefer the streamlined finish of Canva. It’s the opinion of this humble editor, however, that the dynamic nature of Fotor will see it replacing Canva as the popular choice of graphic designing platforms, harnessing its diversified functions in producing a better final product.

Platforms comparison in a snaphot:

feature and price comparison

Guest post by Philip King

I’m a freelance tech writer from Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve been a writer for the entirety of my professional life, having had my work published in a number of local and international newspapers, including the Times.

I’m passionate about emergent technology and social trends, particularly those relating to social media and imaging. The InspirationFeed is now the ‘final frontier’ of development and growth. It’s my mission to understand it and spread the word as the world embraces the digital age.

Instagram New Features: 4 Potential Ways Your Brand Can Get the Most Out Of It

Instagram has been among the winds of change for quite some time. First, it rolled out a new algorithm, then it increased the video length and very recently unveiled the Instagram Stories feature. The new features could act as blessings for content creators and marketers as they get more flexibility. The increased video length and Instagram stories are going to be pivotal for companies and brands, and it's time we decipher how to make use of these changes. Let’s, take a look

Instagram Stories

instagram stories

(Instagram stories received positive reviews with in hours of it’s launch)

#1 Making The Most Of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are the latest major addition to the application. It now lets users post videos and photos that vanish within 24 hours. The feature which is very similar to Snapchat stories, which also cannot be accessed after 24 hours.

So, how can we make the most of this feature? Brands can utilize Instagram stories as a way to portray what is happening behind the scenes. "Behind the scenes" footage can add authenticity to other related content you post on the platform as well. For example – Cafés and restaurants active on Instagram post photos of their new dishes. Stories can act as a platform which adds a different perspective to it by showing how the dish is made or a vox pop of food lovers reviewing the meal.

Takeovers are very popular on most social media platforms. Instagram Stories could facilitate takeovers as influencers could put stories that are engaging to the audience. You could post a photo as a teaser for your campaign and then make users jump to the story where more content could be shared.

It is an exciting time for live video content at present. Instagram Stories might pave the way for brands to create live videos. They are incredibly engaging as well. Stories also give a chance for the brands to converse with their followers on 1:1 basis. Shortly, you might be able to see brands conducting Q&A session through Stories. People can ask questions through Instagram Direct and brands could answer it through this new feature.

#2 Beat The Feed Algorithm

Instagram recently added an algorithm which aims to filter the feed. This way, users get to see posts that the algorithm predicts to be of interest to the user. The new Stories feature can be very useful for brands as they don’t have to be at the mercy of the algorithm. Brands can stay top-of-mind on Instagram even if their content fails to feature in the news feed.

Experimenting with stories and adopting it early could aid brands in attracting the attention of their followers and ultimately boost engagement.

Video length

instagram video length

(Instagram has expanded the video length to 1 minute)

#3 Making The Most Of Video Length

Taking a look at some important metrics about video engagement, we see that videos between 30 to 60 seconds can attain peak engagement. You can expect optimal levels of exposure through Instagram can as they've expanded the limit to 60 seconds for videos. So, it is entirely worth it to invest your effort and time on the platform.

Many old-school marketers avoid online platforms like Vine and Snapchat due to its video length restrictions. But, since Instagram increased the video length marketers and advertisers can be comfortable as it is quite similar to television commercial spots. Short videos and pictures allow users to scroll through the newsfeed very easily. If Instagram had decided to increase it more than 60 seconds, it might have created adverse effects as users will start abandoning the feed.

So, how to get more followers on instagram despite these changes? The 60-second video length could be a calculated move from the Instagram HQ as it does not harm user experience but still give creators more time to communicate through their videos. To keep the users interested, don’t push the whole content at once through the video instead distribute it over 60 seconds. This way, you can attract more followers.

#4 Call To Action

Since Instagram changed the feed algorithm, the importance of attaining top levels of engagement have risen, and it can be fueled by positive calls to action. The former video length forced us to sacrifice a lot of things to implement a call to action. The longer videos open up opportunity and time to not just include CTA but improvise with CTA as well.

This way, content creators will be more than happy as they get time to execute a call to action that ensures the placement of their content at the prime spots of your Instagram feed.

Conclusion

The features listed above help the brands in getting more followers and conversing with the audience. You don’t have to worry about these changes at all as the tips listed above have got you more than covered. Happy Instagramming!

This is a Guest Post by Sandra Christie

Generate More Facebook Engagement

Generate more Facebook engagementWouldn't you like to generate more Facebook engagement on your page? I've been listening to various social media experts recently and have gathered some information about how to do this. I'll be implementing these tips for  myself and my clients.

The first thing you need to know is that 80% of Facebook views come from mobile devices. That means people are looking at your Facebook page from their phones and tablets. So check your page on your mobile devices and make sure your page is mobile friendly.

Next, Facebook has different ad types with different business objectives. Familiarize yourself with their Ads Guide so you can be sure to create an ad that will meet your specific objective. Should you create an ad to get more page likes? Experts, such as Dennis Yu, say no. To get better quality fans you are better off boosting a post instead of creating an ad.

In fact, I asked Dennis on a teleconference recently about ads versus boosting posts. Dennis says it's better to boost posts if you want better engagement.

The first step would be to create a post worthy of being boosted. Your posts should contain content that delights and is entertaining, or content with interesting facts. Dennis suggests including links to what he calls "high authority" sites that mention you, your brand, business, or book.  Video is very popular. But don't just post your YouTube video. Post your video directly to Facebook for the best results.

Once you've got an engaging post, now you want to boost it. You can do this for as little as $1 per day with good results. You can choose the audience you want to see this post and can include your fans, media contacts, and industry influencers.

So now off to try to get more Facebook engagement! Please share your tips or ask any questions in the comments section below!

 

The Ultimate Approach to Social Media in 2016 and Beyond (Infographic)

As we move into 2016, the landscape of social media is changing once again. As always, we need to start thinking about social media differently if we want to stay ahead of the curve. Today we’ll look at several ways social media is changing in 2016 and beyond.

Next I’ll show you an infographic that allows you to harness the best practices of today’s top five social media platforms. Let’s get started!

The Landscape of Social Media Marketing in 2016

When preparing your social media strategy, you should begin by starting a blogging resource. This will allow you to create an entire database of information and content that is valuable to your readers. You’ll be glad you did when you see these three ways social media is changing in 2016:

  1. Organic Reach is Dwindling

Whether your on Facebook or Twitter, organic reach is becoming more and more difficult as increased amounts of content are shared on a daily basis. To combat this, you’ll need to start producing content that is relevant and timely for your readers. This will increase the odds that it hits their timelines/feeds.

  1. You’ll Need to Start Investing

Promoted Tweets and boosted posts? Today’s social platforms know what they can do for a business, and now they’re going to start charging for it. It’s important to follow social media’s best practices when you’re seeking organic traffic, but its doubly important when you’re paying for it.

  1. Visuals and Varied Content Types are Required

The last thing you’ll need to consider is the types of content you’re sharing. That means you need to mix up your strategy across sharing links, posts, visuals, and videos. A varied approach to social media will be key moving forward.

Social Media’s Hidden Secrets (Infographic)

The power of these platforms is only growing. This infographic will help you harness each one to its fullest potential. Check it out and let us know how it helped you in the comments below!

Social Media Image Sizing Cheat Sheet