How to Rescue Your Website from a Hostage Crisis

Did you lose your website to your web manager and don’t know how to get it back?

If you’re reading this now, you may have missed our previous post on how to spot a website hostage crisis and its preventive measures. Probably, you’re also losing sleep by now because your business website is in a hostage situation.

So, are the signs all pointing to your website being held hostage? Did you just lose access to your website? Here’s a quick guide on how you can get your website back:

  • Are you the owner?

Remember who set up your Domain Name Server, Web Hosting Account and the File Transfer Protocol. If you were the one who set these up, then great! You won’t have problems retrieving access. You are still the owner of your website even if the developer changed credentials.

  • So, you’re the owner. Awesome! Now what?

You can remove the developer from accessing your website. It may cost you a few calls to the right people, but it is worth it. You’ll gain back control over your website by deleting the developer’s File Transfer Protocol (FTP) account. This is only applicable if you’ve created your own FTP account. Don’t forget to create one for yourself.

  • Next, change the passwords!

Change all your passwords, especially your domain registrar. When you do this, the developer is no longer able to change any Domain Name Server (DNS) settings.

  • What if you’re not the owner?

Don’t worry! You still have a chance to retrieve what you’ve lost!

If the web host isn’t the one who holds your website hostage, you can ask them to change the password for you. You’re still paying for your website. This means you are still its solid owner even though you’re locked out by the developer.

  • But what if you don’t own anything?

Can lawyers help? Possibly. Can you consult another (and a more trustworthy) web developer? Sure.

And if ownership sits with the website developer and they won’t budge, it may be time to consider having the website built from scratch so you can stop losing sleep – and doing it correctly to make sure you have ownership and control of it all moving forward!

If you’re going through this, it’s okay! You’re not alone. Talk to us and let’s discuss how we can help you rescue your website!

Types of Social Media Ads and How Your Business Can Benefit

As a marketer, what do you do to get your brand noticed?

Social Media is an avenue for success. It has been proven beneficial for years. Almost 40% of the world’s population are social media users, and that’s why it’s such an effective marketing tool.

It has created a way for businesses to send out their brands’ message to their target audience. Survey says that 73% of small businesses invest in social media, and the most used platforms by marketers in Australia are Facebook and Instagram.

The value of social media is practically embedded into the basics of marketing these days. Brands take advantage of the tools the platforms offer, set up pages and reach out to online communities by joining and setting up groups to organically promote their brands, and most importantly, they use ads.

If your business hasn’t tried setting up ads and you don’t know where to start, learning the different ad types is an important first step. It will help you determine when it is appropriate to do what.

A Simple Guide to Facebook & Instagram Ad Types

Boost Post

Do you want your existing posts to have more exposure? Launch campaign by boosting your post to show it more frequently to a wider audience, or to a specific target. It will guarantee an increased number of reach and engagement.

Page Like

Do you want to gain more followers and page likes? Create an ad content that includes a specific Call-To-Action button to encourage your target audience to like your page. This is currently only available for the Facebook platform and not Instagram.

Promotional

Are you aiming to increase your website traffic and/or to sell a product via your social media page? Create an ad content with Call-To-Action button that will take your customers to your website or product page.

Spotify’s promotional Instagram Story for its Premium offer with a Call-To-Action “Listen Now” at the bottom. CTA redirects you to the Spotify App.

Retargeting

Do you want to tap into the feeds of people who have recently visited your website, or people from your email marketing list? Have your ad delivered to a specific audience with retargeting.

Both Promotional and Retargeting ads will not show on your page. These are only visible on your target audience’s feed.

So, which one is the best one? It really depends on your marketing goal. But of course, the ad won’t be effective if you don’t create an awesome content.

Plan and design your caption and creative. Create your social media posts by choosing the right visuals and planning them carefully. Check out our tips here! Once you’ve finalised your content, you’re ready to set sail!

So ‘What’s in it for me?’ you may ask. Well, social media guarantees a range of potential results. As you set up your ad, it presents a specific number of reach and engagement. Here are some of the benefits of social media ads.

• Significant increase in exposure

More people will develop an awareness for your brand. You will become more discoverable. This will then lead to increased number of reach and engagement. This also means attracting leads and developing industry partnerships.

• Community building

When your brand attracts more followers and/or page likes, it will also develop loyal online fans. You’ll have more valuable interactions and conversations with your audience. Facebook and Instagram have made this easy with messenger pop-up and the Q&A feature on stories.

Source: 3nions Youtube Channel

• Attracting talent

Social media has become a way for businesses to showcase their employee experience (EX) and company culture. Therefore, it convinces online job seekers to apply for a role in your company. Social media is indeed a gateway to recruitment opportunities.

• Providing consumer insight

By looking at your social media analytics, you will easily determine your audience behavior. It will help you discover more about what your customers are looking for.

Despite all these advantages, there are still some businesses not keen on using social media to promote their brands. They may be hesitant to try something which for them is out of the ordinary. But every business must take a chance!

How much time and money are you spending on your campaigns? Are you doing it efficiently? Is your brand getting enough exposure it needs? Haven’t tried social media ads yet? Confused? We want to know! Chat to us about your business’ current pain points or concerns and let us help pave your social media path!

Top 8 Ways to Make Your Social Content “Taggable”

As a business, how do you get your audience to tag their friends and hit that share button on your posts? How can you make your social media content shareable, engaging, and, well, “tag-worthy”?

Social media platforms are changing more frequently than ever before, and businesses need to constantly come up with better, more creative ways to break through the noise and capture their audiences’ attention.

Not sure where to start? Here are the Top 8 Ways to Make Your Social Content “Taggable”!

1. Create A Compelling Headline

This is the first impression your content makes on your audience! One study suggests that most people share articles based only on the headlines, so make sure it’s relevant to your audience and emphasises why your content will add value to their lives.

And no, we’re not referring to clickbaits. No one likes the feeling of being lured into something false, so make sure your headline is compelling while being true to the content!

2. Pick A Hot Topic

What type of news and trends does your audience watch out for? What topics are they are interested in? Do your research. Check out what competitors are sharing. If you already have an established blog, take a peek into your analytics and explore your audience behavior – use your data to identify popular topics and get writing!

3. Write Something Practical

A study on the psychology of content sharing showed that 90% of social media users share helpful content that is beneficial in solving other people’s problems. Majority of your content should include solid information or some form of advice.

Another popular content type are not only informative, but fun as well. Examples of these are list posts (headlines that start with words like “Top” or “Most”) and instructional contents (the “How-Tos” and “DIYs”).

Screenshots from Buzzfeed’s Tasty successful DIY videos.
Source: AdWeek.

4. Tell A Story

People love a relatable story. If you put a personal touch to your content, and people relate to it, they are more likely to share it. We are emotional beings and whatever we see online that makes us laugh, smile, cry, or angry, we share and pass it on.

Also try tugging at heartstrings with Nostalgia and Collective Memories.

If you know, you know. #80skids

5. Make It Timeless

While it’s important to stay relevant and cover hot topics, there’s also value in creating timeless content.

According to a study by Buzzamo, evergreen content consistently gains shares and links. Create content your audiences can go back to after a couple of years that would still feel relevant and shareable. These also means you’ll have content you can reuse again and again over the years!

A “listicle” from the Independent.co.uk from 2017 – still relevant today!

6. Make It Easy To Absorb

Have you heard of TL;DR?

Not everyone has the time to read a lengthy article, but there are other ways you can pass on useful information and get your post shared. Explore the different content formats and determine which one best fits your content and audience’s interests.

Here are the top content formats to maximise post engagement:

Videos

Studies show that 92% of social media users watching video on mobile will share it, and social video gets shared 1200% more than text and image posts combined. Make a video content that resonates with your audience, and most importantly, make it short and sweet.

 Images

Staged stock photos are a big NO NO! They look unnatural and boring. Create your own images, one that reflects your brand and the message you want to convey to your audience.

Example of an unnaturally staged stock photo.
Nobody is that excited to be at work. Ever.
Tacobell’s brilliant Instagram summer campaign.

Find out how you can create your image posts that speaks about your brand <link separate article on creating your image posts here>.

Infographics

You’ve conducted a research with compelling results, yet your article isn’t getting enough traffic. It could be because no one wants to read a huge block of text.

Try grabbing the reader’s attention by inserting your key findings into an infographic instead! Hubspot’s research suggests that infographics are shared 3x more than any other visual content online.

An infographic posted on Entrepreneur.com that shares tips on becoming successful.

Interactive Content

Create content that encourages your audience to engage with your brand by answering quizzes or questions, and sharing their results with friends. Examples of these are the Buzzfeed quizzes that describe you as a fictional character in a famous movie.

7. Find The Perfect Timing

Timing is everything!

Timing is the key to your successful social media content. Post on days and times your audiences are most likely to be online.

Sprout Social’s 2019 global study found that the best day to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 11:00am to 1:00pm (lunch time), while on Instagram, the best days are Wednesday and Friday at 10:00am to 11:00am. Of course, this varies depending on your location and type of business, so definitely check out the analytics for your social media platforms and work out your audiences’ online behavior.

8. Set Up Ads

Ads are an effective way of reaching a wider audience in a targeted manner, making sure your content is viewed by exactly who it was intended for. Determine the different types of social media advertisements and assess which ones are appropriate for your business and content type!


Social media is an ongoing learning curve as new technology is released and our audiences change their behaviour. Have you been doing something that’s worked super well for your business, or are you having trouble getting your channels to where you’d like them to be? Let us know, we want to hear all about it!

Digital Marketing Trends in 2020 Businesses Should NOT Ignore

We made it, to yet another decade (YAYY!) and we’re excited for what’s to come! As we welcome this new era of digital marketing, we look at the top trends to watch out for in 2020.


There was a time when AI, data-driven marketing and visual and voice search engine optimisation were so far-fetched and ambitious that marketers didn’t even consider them to be possible tools for their brands’ success. Now, these technologies are in an upward trend.

The development of these trends are so fast paced, there’s no stopping its rapid advancement. Here, we explore the biggest marketing trends of 2020 that brands shouldn’t ignore.

Shoppable Posts

Social Commerce or Shoppable Posts are the types of social content where we can purchase a product or service. This is a brilliant way for businesses to bring their social media followers to their websites. People already use social media to research about a product (e.g. types, brands, functions and reviews), so this feature perfectly creates a call-to-action to convert the curious consumer into a customer right there and then.

It isn’t new in the social space but with Instagram’s announcement of the Checkout feature early last year, 2020 will see an increase in its use.

Chatbots and Conversational Marketing

Chatbots are what brands need right now. Let’s face it – consumers are impatient. Hubspot’s recent study on Live Chats found that 82% of consumers want a response within 10 minutes of when they ask a question about marketing or sales.

This is one of the reasons why chatbots have been in demand in recent years – and it will continue to grow in 2020. Consumers prefer chatbots over other means of contacting a business as they are responsive 24/7 and can accurately record messaging and purchasing history.

Despite the rise in chatbot demand, people are also looking for a more human approach. Conversational marketing is a real-time, one-on-one connection between brand marketer and consumer.

Businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers with conversational marketing. Through messaging apps and third-party tools that allow chat boxes installed on their websites, it allows us to enhance the user experience.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online advertising with the use of AI. This automation makes transactions efficient and more effective, streamlining the process and consolidating your digital advertising efforts into one technology platform. Ad placement, media buying, performance tracking and customer targeting are examples of programmatic advertising.

It is effective as it uses automation, therefore it’s faster, more efficient and helps businesses acquire more customers at a lower cost.

Video marketing and Vlogging

Video marketing is the most important emerging trend. Smart Insights study says that 72% of people prefer video content over text when learning about a brand.

Any form of video content, from short films to explainer videos, guarantee a boost in social reach and engagement for as long as your business properly utilise your social media platforms. One example is the live broadcast feature of Facebook and Instagram. This allows brands to launch a live streaming event where viewers can participate by leaving messages in the comments section. LinkedIn has also launched a live stream feature early last year, which is has been especially helpful for B2Bs.

Another type of effective video content is the Vlog. Unlike explainer videos, vlogs have a more personal touch to it. Viewers love it because it’s relatable and more human.

Visual and Voice Search

People are now using search engines on a whole new level. With voice and visual search tools now developed and made available to all, businesses need to bump up their game with their approach on SEO.

Marketers need to ensure that their brands’ online presence are rich in optimised images and less technical keywords.


Ultimately, AI is the key driver in today’s marketing. It helps businesses understand their customers’ behavior and search patterns by analysing and monitoring data from social media platforms and other websites.

Despite this, businesses are keen to focus on people as well, not only in technology. According to marketing expert Michael Brenner, “there is a pushback against the increased digitisation and automation of interactions between brands and consumers, and a desire to make marketing more human again.”


Is your business up-to-date with these digital marketing trends? Which ones have you already implemented? Let us know your thoughts!

How To Create Eye-Popping Instagram Content

We all know that visual content is a real attention grabber, and one of the most successful platforms to capture the attention of online audiences is Instagram. Research suggests that Instagram will become even more popular in the years to come!

More businesses are leaning towards the use of Instagram as their main social media platform, with 69% of marketers planning to increase their organic activities on Instagram over the next 12 months! Here’s why:

  • Most Instagram users are Millennials and Gen Zs, which make up the majority of online consumers today
  • Instagram has a mobile-friendly interface
  • Marketers find Instagram better for branding
  • Users can explore and get discovered more quickly because of the use of hashtags
  • Most posts on Instagram are positive and inspirational

As a business, how can you utilise this platform? Are you doing enough to get your message across but at the same time keeping up with the trends?

Make It Pop!

One of the keys to gaining higher engagement rates on social media is highly compelling visuals. It takes effort to create a visually stunning feed, and it’s not only about simply posting any photos or videos at random.

How do you pick the right ones and carefully plan your Instagram posts? Here are some tips from our Social Media team:

Know What Your Brand Is All About

Your image posts need to have a similar look and tone with your branding.

For example, if you use teal and grey as the main colour scheme in your branding, then try applying this look and feel to the images you post. You may even apply the chessboard effect (alternating between dark and light) to create an extra layer of consistency throughout the feed.

Master The Art of Curation

Do some visual styling. When planning the order of your posts, visualise how your entire feed (profile) will look. Are the colours balanced? Do the tones of each post look uniform or work well with each other? Does it look consistent?

You may even cut a large image into smaller pieces so that different posts can form a bigger picture on your feed, like a puzzle!

A good example of this is Coca-Cola’s Instagram feed. For their social media campaign of their partnership with most-watched series on Netflix set in the 80’s, Stranger Things, they used these 80’s themed posters of the ‘New Coke’, videos that looked like it was shot using an old VHS camera and of course, the upside down Stranger Things font and visual style.

Schedule Your Posts

Use social media tools to plan and schedule your posts. Choose the ones that would best fit your marketing workflow, needs and budget.

  • Preview App allows you to see in Instagram’s grid view what your feed will look like. You can see all your scheduled posts in one glance. You can drag and drop your posts around.
  • Later is an Instagram tool that allows you to schedule your posts and stories. If you’re working in teams, you can also share your drafted posts with your teammates.
  • Gain is like Later minus the feature on scheduling stories. It also allows other team members and clients (if you’re an agency) to easily leave notes and approve the drafted posts and send them to be updated or scheduled.

Reveal What Goes On Behind The Scenes

While you want to curate the best version of your brand on the feed, your brand still needs to stay ‘human’ and grounded. Share what goes on behind the scenes (BTS) to make everything happen and further interact and create relevance with your followers!

If you’re a photographer, for example, and you’ve just posted your most recent work, then post some behind-the-scenes shots as well! To avoid “killing the look” it’s generally more ideal to post them via your Instagram Stories, unless you have BTS content that’s just as high quality as the images you use for your feed!

Famous photographer in Asia, Shaira Luna, takes us behind-the-scenes of her latest shoot.

Make Your Team The Stars

Show off your employees! It’s an easy way to share the pride your team takes in the work they do, and also helps to humanise your brand! Share photos of them at work or having fun together. Showcase your company culture. Hootsuite is an example of a brand that does awesome work with their employee experience.

Never, EVER, Use Staged Stock Images!

Stock images are a huge NO, especially when they’re overly staged and unnatural! Some companies would rather buy stock images than hire professional photographers, but what they don’t get is that bad stock images are really bad for their brand. Here’s why:

  • There is no authenticity.
  • It’s not subtle – always looking too staged and forced.
  • Models are overused.
  • It doesn’t show anything unique about your brand!
Example of an unnaturally staged stock photo.
Nobody is that excited to be at work. Ever.

Consistency Is The Key!

Your posts have to streamline its tone of voice with your brand. Follow the brand styling guidelines. Pick photos that would reflect your brand. Use a specific filter, so that when a person sees your profile or your post, they immediately know that it’s your brand they’re seeing. If you’re using videos, then apply the same formula.

Keep it consistent, but also make it diverse. Find a diverse range of topics to post about that would be relevant and useful to your target audience, and accompany them with compelling and eye-popping visuals.

Create content that adds value to your Instagram audiences’ lives, while spoiling them with a constant feast for their eyes 😉

Instagram Likes No Likes. What does this mean for Aussie businesses?

The social media giant recently announced that it has rolled out a trial to hide the number of likes on a user’s post. The user still gets to see who have liked their posts by clicking on “and others”, however no other account can see this figure. The change has been implemented in seven countries including Australia.

The reason behind it?

“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” according to Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Policy Director.

By removing the number of likes, their goal is to also “remove pressure” on its users. According to reports, the test also aims at determining how it will benefit the user experience by making them focus more on sharing content of things they love, rather than acting on the pressure of gaining a certain number of likes.

It’s a fact that social media influences our mental health. A 2018 survey from the Pew Research Centre found that about 40% of teens in the US feel pressure to only post content that had earned a specific number of likes and positive comments on social media platforms.

Considering these findings, Instagram has taken action to help resolve the issue by rolling out a few changes, including:

  • a new notification system to combat hate speech
  • updates on account disable policies
  • a new feature called “Restrict” to prevent bullying
  • and now, adding to this list is the “No Likes” test

How will the recent Instagram changes affect Aussie businesses?

The changes won’t have much effect on the way brand and influencer accounts (now called Creator Accounts) access their own data analytics. Instagram has said that analytics tools and other measuring platforms used by businesses are still able to track the number of likes on a post. However, social media marketers who use Instagram as their main platform will need to adapt. It’s no longer just a simple numbers game of “how many likes” and “how many followers”. Instagram strategies for businesses will need to be revised.

Humans are inherently social and follow a herd mentality, so if likes per post is a key metric you report on for your accounts, be prepared to see an overall drop and set new average benchmarks. The logic is simple – when users don’t see likes on a post, they are generally less likely to engage with it themselves.

How do we keep up with the pace of this ever-changing platform?

As a business owner, or a digital marketer, how can you adapt to these changes? Are you currently measuring your Instagram account’s success simply based on the number of likes on your posts? If so, have you considered different ways to measure your success apart from this metric?

This change is likely to stay. But don’t fret! You can generate successful outputs without having to feel pressured on the number of likes you get. Forget everything you know about Instagram post likes. Start paying more attention to your post reach, shares and clicks. These are metrics to identify whether users view your content to be “worthy”, and are key indicators of whether they will continue to take further actions with your brand.

It all boils down to how businesses will rethink the way they analyse data and the kind of content they put out there in order to drive a wider reach to achieve your business goals, and focus more on sharing content that drive sales, boost brand affinity and loyalty, and encourage user engagement in the long term beyond just post likes.

“While it’s a huge change to Instagram as we know it, it’s definitely not unwelcomed and it would serve to filter out a lot of ‘noise’ to ensure quality of content.” says Michelle Chiu, the founder of DOMIN8 Marketing.

“Instagram, social media, and digital marketing in general is a forever changing landscape. As a business owner or marketer, it’s just a matter of taking time to keep up with the latest updates, and being quick to adapt to new techniques and strategies. If your marketing budget allows, it would be helpful to gain insight from industry experts and specialist agencies.”

What do you think about the changes? How has it affected your social media performance so far?

Let us know in the comments below – we’re keen to hear about how it has impacted each brand!

Pokémon GO: Built on Collective Memories & Emotions

Having spent a good part of my childhood in Hong Kong, I remember being excited every Mid-Autumn Festival, because I would have the chance to go to the park and hang out with other kids until late at night, roaming around and showing off our awesome blown up lanterns attached to a plastic tube handle.

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It’s been a long while since I’ve participated in this especially because I moved away from the city for a number of years, but it has always been something I reminisce about every time the festive period came around. It is undoubtedly part of the Collective Memories (集體回憶) of all Hong Kong children. Ahh, the good old memories.

Fast forward to today, Day One of the launch of Pokémon Go in Hong Kong. Being the typical millennial that I am, I decided to explore the streets of my neighbourhood to do some hunting and test out the game.

Everywhere I walked were people with their heads down focused on their phones, some exploring solo, some as couples and some in groups of friends. In fact, when I reached the park opposite my block, I noticed that I was reliving my childhood moments from Mid-Autumn. Except this time around instead of lanterns dangling off plastic tubes, it was brightly lit smartphones attached to portable powerbanks. And the ‘kids’, well, are probably the same kids that I would have hung out with some decades ago.

As I was washed with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, this strange correlation made me realise one thing. The game’s success is built on Collective Memories.

For those that have played it you’d know it’s overly simple. Open the app, walk around until you see a Pokémon appear on your screen, swipe Pokéballs at it until it’s ‘captured’. Repeat.

The game’s popularity is not because of the gameplay itself, nor is it the graphics or storyline (what storyline?). It is because of the childhood memories of the the millennials, and the sense of nostalgia and belonging the game brings. I myself reconnected with a friend I have not seen for several years just because we happened to be playing Pokémon Go in the same park by chance, and I also noticed strangers on the street connecting with one another over the game. It’s the feeling of ‘hey I know what you’re up to, you’re awesome too’, and the ability to bond and be a part of this community.

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The result?

Within three days of its release, Pokémon Go attracted more users than Twitter.

As of mid-July 2016, the game attracted just under 21 million daily active users in the US, surpassing Candy Crush saga’s audience of 20 million and making it the biggest mobile game in US history.

Also share prices skyrocketed for Nintendo, albeit being a case of mistaken identity. But that’s another story.

Key takeaway for your business?

It is estimated that millennials will be spending $200 billion annually by 2017. So if you wanna be the very best, like no one ever was (please excuse the reference), you need a thorough understanding of their behaviour.

Pokémon Go is a golden example of how millennials consume products. They act on feelings and emotions. Genuine connections with a brand are more convincing for them than any sales or marketing tactics that they are targeted for.

So find relevance in your product for your target market, activate emotional responses. Be convincing in your communications, and build genuine relationships with them.

That’s the only way to catch ’em all.