Content Marketing

5 Benefits of Using Instagram for your Business

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5 Benefits of Instagram for Business

People go to Instagram to become inspired and to explore the content they are interested in. Instagram is the digital marketing go-to for displaying images in an easy, creative and expressive way- especially because of the application’s digital editing capabilities. In fact, 60% of people say that they discovered a new product because it appeared on their Instagram feed.

With an increase in functionality, Instagram for Business is a key component to a successful social media marketing strategy.

Here are the top 5 benefits of using Instagram for Business in your social media marketing strategy:

 

Learning the Likes & Dislikes of your Audience

 

Whether your business is located online or has a physical geographical location, your consumers could be raving about your business on Instagram without you even knowing it.

 

Instagram is a great social media marketing tool to gain consumer feedback. In most cases consumers post images of things, food, attractions they enjoyed. By simply searching your location on Instagram you will be able to see all the postings your audience have posted while interacting with your brand.

 

Increase consumer engagement

 

Instagram only continues to improve their interactive features as time goes on. New features such as Instagram stories and Instagram live allow you to communicate with audiences in real time, in addition to simply posting a single image.

 

Explore New Audiences

 

With Instagram’s new search options and location tagging, it is now easier than ever for new audiences, and customers to find you!

 

The easiest way consumers explore new content is through hashtags. Hashtags simply group together all postings that have similar content.

 

In addition to Hashtags, Instagram also has a Discovery tab that allows a user to find similar profiles and accounts that may exhibit the same interests as theirs.

 

Generate Sales

 

Instagram has added the ability for businesses to add important information such as their phone number, store hours and website to make it easier for a user to connect with them and see a full line of their products.

 

Become Digitally Connected

 

Instagram posts can be easily shared across different social media marketing channels. By enabling social sharing on your Instagram business account one is able to share postings to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Swarm with a click of a button.

 

In addition, the interconnection between digital platforms also increases the cross-channel engagement. If your Instagram feed is displayed on your website, a consumer will be able to click through the postings and be redirected to your account with a hope to gain a new follower, if they haven’t done so already.

 

So why not jump on the Instagram for business bandwagon and reap the benefits? By switching your Instagram account to an Instagram for Business account you will be able to interact with your audience in new and creative ways while also getting insight on how each of your posting is doing.

 

 

To learn more about simplifying your Instagram marketing, check out these three simple tips!

5 Best Social Media Practices

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Social Media can feel like a big undertaking for any business, especially for a small business whose primary focus is growing their business.  The days of simply throwing up posts on Twitter and Facebook and hoping for engagement are over.  To truly reap the benefits of social media (and there are many benefits), a business most put in the time, effort and strategy behind their social media efforts.

We have put together our 5 Best Practices:

Have a Plan – Take the time to build a strategy behind your social media. It is no different than any other marketing tactics you plan for.  Think about what your goals are, who your audience is and what you hope to achieve through your social media efforts.  Once you have done this take the time to create an editorial calendar so that you are less likely to scramble with each post. Think about your editorial calendar as your social story. Craft the story and then tell it through your social posts. Having a plan will  save you time and make your social media efforts more effective.

Use Data- Understanding if your social media efforts are effective is key to the success of your social media marketing strategy. Platforms such as Facebook & Twitter provide free analytics that are readily available for you to review.  It is critical that you look at these weekly/ bi-monthly and assess what is working and what is not. The great thing about social media is that your efforts can be changed instantly. If a post isn’t gaining traction, simply try something new.

Create a System– As a business owner it is impossible to balance it all and social media can seem like a 24/7 commitment.  With the right scheduling tools like Buffer, Tweetdeck & Hootsuite you can be efficient in your social media planning.  Choose 1 day a week, block off a few hours and schedule your content for the week ahead.

Be Present– The key to any successful social media plan is to be social.  Scheduling is a great efficiency tool but it is imperative that you are  present to respond, engage and interact with your followers.  42% of customers who use social media as a forum to launch a complaint expect a 60 minute response time. This doesn’t mean you have to be on social all day/ every day but it does mean that you should be checking in and putting aside some time each day to be social.

Just Be You-There are no shortage of books that will teach you how to leverage social and become a social brand but the best tip we can share is to just be you. The personality behind your brand is what will help connect you to your customers.  Being authentic may sound like a cliche but it should not be overlooked. Your greatest asset is yourself.  Let your customers see who you are and why you are passionate about your business and your customers.

 

 

Social Media is not a one size fits all approach

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Social media has emerged as a powerful marketing tool and in today’s digital driven world, your business needs to be in the social space.  However, social media for business is not a “one size fits all” approach.  Your customers go to social media for different things at different times and it is critical that you navigate through these waters to identify which is the right space for your business.

Every day it feels as if a new social media platform is being introduced to the market but that is not to say that each of these is the right fit for your brand.  Understanding what each platform has to offer and what audience they attract is key to identifying the right platform for your brand.

Let’s take a look at what each has to offer for your business:

Facebook: The most popular of the bunch, Facebook is a great tool for engaging with customers through posts, stories, photos and articles. Building a Fan page is a great forum for conversation but this tool is no longer simply a “free” option. Facebook offers many advertising options to acquire fans, reach and engage them and these options are necessary in having an effective fan page that will grow over time.

Twitter:  The very premise of Twitter is based on bite size conversations. With only 140 characters to say your peace.  Twitter provides a forum for real conversation. Used correctly and consistently you can connect with your audience and your customers and build true engagement.

Instagram: One of the fastest growing platforms with over 400 million monthly users, the once trendy IOS only app is now a mainstream staple in the social media world. Based on photos, editing and filters, Instagram is an incredibly popular visual tool that allows you to connect with your customers through photos, product images, behind the scenes and more. Its users expect creativity and quality photos so try to avoid stock photography and standard product images.

Pinterest: Classically known for its array of recipes, crafts and outfits, Pinterest has emerged on the scene as one of the most powerful Social Media platforms. For businesses in retail, fashion and service industries Pinterest provides a “scrapbook” approach that allows you to show off your product lines and entice your customers through beautiful images that link back to your site where they can purchase those picture perfect products.

LinkedIn: As the only truly B2B platform LinkedIn has created an online networking event that you can join as often as you please. LinkedIn allows you to connect with your customers, colleagues and associates while generating new leads through posts, ads and sponsored updates.

Periscope: The newest player in the social media game is Periscope.  It’s “in the moment” approach offers users a chance to engage with your business in real time. The very essence of social media is about connection and Periscope has created a space where your brand can share live updates, Q&A’s, behind the scenes and more simply by logging in and hitting “start broadcast”. There is no need for a fancy video production or a rehearsed performance. You can be yourself and interact with your customers in real time.

Your business model and consumer base should dictate which social media channels your business chooses to appear on. It is more important that you are consistent and authentic with your online voice,  than it is to be on all channels and only somewhat engaged.   Do your homework, feel out the various platforms and create a strategy that you can successfully stick to.

 

What is the ROI of Social Media?

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As a marketers who deeply believes in the power of social media, we have to say that the question “What is the ROI of Social Media?” is by far the most asked question.  The answer however, is not so simple…

The truth of the matter is this…the answer to this question is not always quantitative – the answer is based on sentiment and engagement.

Ask yourself this:

What is the value for your brand to have customers engaging daily with you, sharing their feedback, spreading their excitement and organically sharing your message with their network? The answer is “priceless”. No form of traditional advertising can offer an ROI nearly as impactful or effective as building a positive sentiment for your brand on social media.

What other form of advertising provides you a platform to genuinely talk to you customers and potential customers?

Where else can you share your expertise through casual conversation?

Social Media is a forum where as a brand you can showcase your expertise and content without feeling like you are “selling” your brand. This is not to say that Social Media can or should replace traditional media, only that it can amplify your traditional marketing strategies using messaging that engages your audience and motivates an immediate response and action.

A recent study by The Business Insider revealed that 90% of customers will recommend brands who they interact with on social media. The voice you create for your brand can turn your customers into loyal brand advocates. Think about your experiences with brands – the ones you trust, value and believe in. These are ultimately the brands you buy from time and time again.  Social Media transforms a customer who “likes” you into a customer who “loves” you.  This might sound corny but a customer who loves your brand will buy from you – each and every time.

So the next time you are questioning the ROI of your social media efforts consider the following:

  • Do your Facebook posts receive likes, shares and comments?
  • Do your posts evoke an emotion with your followers?
  • Are your tweets getting retweeted?
  • Do your blog posts receive comments?
  • Do your followers initiate conversations on your social media platforms?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES then you should consider the ROI of your social media efforts to be a success!

3 Ways To Simplify Your Social Media

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By now you know your brand needs to be on social media. You also know that its not enough to just be “on” social media.  The question most often asked is “how as a business owner can I find the time to do social right”.  The answer is, social media does not have to be stressful, it is something that can be managed and organized in a way that will not only work but show you a clear ROI.

3 simple tips to simplify your social media:

Strategize

Before you jump in the social game, take the time to build a social strategy.  Define who your brand is and research which platforms best suit your brand.  If you are a fashion designer for example, you need to be spending your time posting images and creating boards on pinterest. This strategy however would not work as well for an accountant.  Understanding where your customers spend their time is key in planning where you will reach them.  Once you have chosen your platforms work on a strategy for how and when you will post.

Things to consider:

  1. What content is relevant to your customers?
  2. What expertise can you share with your customers. Always be thinking of the takeaway.
  3. How many platforms fit your brand?
  4. How much time per week can you devote to Social Media?

Schedule

Your time is best spent running your business and managing your social media can be a full time job.   I have always been a firm believer in real time marketing, be present, be engaging and be in the moment.  The beauty of scheduling is you can now do both! Tools such as Hootsuite & Tweetdeck  make scheduling your tweets and posts quick and simple. You can even schedule the exact same posts to appear on multiple networks simultaneously. The key to scheduling is to set aside time each week to work on your social content for the upcoming week. Once the hard part is done the scheduling is quick and can be done in under an hour.

The key to scheduling is to not become complacent.  Social Media is a 2 way street and your success relies on the engagement with your followers.  Take time each day to respond, share and chat with those who took the time to engage with your scheduled posts.

Outsource

When people think of outsourcing their first feeling is often one of losing control.  Outsourcing your social media does not mean you have to lose your online voice, in fact when done properly it is the perfect solution and one that allows you to continue doing what you do best…running your business.  A good community manager does not take over your voice, they in fact become an extension of your brand.  A seamless voice that works harmoniously with you to create the online presence you envisioned without the daily worry of taking it all on your own.  The cost of outsourcing may seem daunting for a small business but think about where you time is best spent and most valuable.  Most community mangers work remotely and simply need a laptop and smart phone.  Strategy sessions and check ins can be done via skype and held once a week. Your best investment to a successful social strategy is to have the right person managing it while still allowing you to run your business.

Social Media is here to stay and is changing rapidly with each new app and platform that enters the market.   With the right strategy and systems in place you can build a successful social media presence for your brand, while still concentrating on your business.