Monday, September 12, 2016

Instagram for Business Marketing

Marketing With Instagram
Success for brands on Instagram takes more than publishing attractive images—it is the product of thoughtful strategy, a well-defined brand identity grounded in visual creativity and effective community management.
                                                                                 Alicia Johnston

Chances are the thought of using Instagram as a business networking application hasn't crossed your mind.
There's no shame in that - very few small business users of the popular social app effectively apply its potential toward projects. By providing creative and interesting content that engages readers, an Instagram account can be just as effective as a 30 second commercial on network television.
Instagram users make up 24.2% of the online population (eMarketer 2015). That equates to 77.6 million users altogether. The effect of using Instagram cannot be denied. It is a visual media powerhouse. Instagram is the platform of choice for teens and millennials, and this demographic cannot be disregarded in your marketing campaign.
The focus should be on originality and eye appeal, drawing on the strengths already inherent in the application. Instagram enjoys wide-spread use, crisp resolution, and fast load speeds. Pairing these with short and punchy copy can capture the imagination of your followers, transmit your branded message and prompt customers to interact.
Marketing posts aren’t much different from personal posts on Instagram. What a focused business networking post does is use the tools available to reach your target audience. Instagram, and Twitter for that matter as well, both have a built in targeting feature called the hashtag, often seen as "#". By determining exactly what audience you wish to engage with is as simple as choosing the right hashtag for the biggest bang.
But in the battle for practical application, Instagram wins over Twitter hands down. After creating the mandatory visual image, the typing field will inform the user of the popularity of the hashtag being typed, while at the same time suggesting similar tags.
For example, if you choose to post an image of the dinner you are about to eat and want to share it with the largest appropriate audience, spend a few moments thinking of possible hashtag communities that might enjoy the image. Good examples are #Food, #Foodie, and my favorite, #Foodporn. A recent post using these tags showed 210,340,675, 34,068,828, and 92,545,997 posts, consecutively. I also like to use #MMM at 3,735,238 posts, versus #MMMM at 700,364 - or even #MMMMMM at 291,724 posts. The more posts a hashtag has, the more followers pay attention to posts in that community. This translates to more views of your business networking application.
Using the post counter that populates below your message drafting space will help utilize valuable real estate on posts to gain the largest audience with the smallest and most concise selection of hashtags. Though there is a greater amount of space in an Instagram post versus a Twitter post, you still want to be aware of your 140 Twitter character count as you can create one post on Instagram and share it via Twitter. It’s a real time saver.

At the prompts asking you to tag people or add your location are a selection of five social media platforms outside of Instagram's control that you can post to. These are Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Swarm and the inevitable Twitter. Simply activate the platforms you wish to share with and your message will be forwarded to those accounts. Be wary, however, as the one fault on this sharing is that those social media platforms will not post exactly the same way. Though Twitter will post your message, it will do so as a link back to Instagram in order to see your image, meaning your audience will need to actively engage in order to see your full message.

Keep your message concise, engaging and accessible and you’ll get the hang of Instagram in no time.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Small Business Tactics for Facebook

Facebook is a tried and true social media platform that businesses love to use as it’s very intuitive and requires only a few baseline perquisites, unlike other networks such as Pinterest that can be a little labyrinthine. Though Facebook is relatively a great deal easier to use for your business, many small operations make a grievous mistake of being overly promotional. This projects a distasteful image that can make potential clients shy away.

Don’t forget the purpose of social media; to create content that engages users on a personal level, not sell them product directly. You focus is to grow interest in your brand through social interaction and then direct them to your sales space. In order to do this effectively, there are four basic principles to keep your business on the positive side of consumer opinion.

Build a Killer Facebook profile

If Facebook is reminding you about adding a cover or profile photo, it’s because they are trying to help you improve the visibility of your company. If use the tools at your disposal, you can succeed. If you succeed, you remain a loyal Facebook member. If you do that, Facebook comes out a winner. However, adding a cover or profile photos is just the beginning, and after that initial step it’s time to get the real branding accomplished.

Your page descriptions are significant elements in your Facebook presence - optimizing them for SEO helps to make you visible as well as clearly defined by visitors. Remember that you are allowed just 154 characters for the basic description, and keeping your message tight will encourage more traffic and greater visibility in search results.

Use this section to convey a clear message to your customers about what you do. Keep location details, hours of operations and other details away from the basic description, because there are separate sections for that on your page.

Beyond this primary section, your Facebook settings will determine how well your small business page is optimized. Fill your categories and sub-categories wisely because that’s how your product or service will be found by Facebook users.

Communicate Your Branding

It’s not homogeneity of products and services that help you thrive but your unique qualities and a healthy brand image. If you have been working on standing out from the pack, let your potential customers know how you are different from the rest; be it craftsmanship, business philosophy, lower prices, convenience, better customer support, or selection. Bring this to your Facebook presence and celebrate their superiority.

Build a Rabid Fan Base

Running a paid campaign and having thousands of followers is not the end-all solution for a successful marketing campaign on Facebook. If you traffic isn’t organic and interested in your message, your branding will fall flat. In order to achieve that, you have to be engaging with your customers. The quality of your fan-base matters as they are the ones who determine your lead- conversion ratio. Target users who will are willing to purchase your product or service, share your content and will be rigorously promote your product.

In short, when your followers speak, your responsibility is to respond. Keep the conversation going and help them learn more about you as you learn more about them.

Create Engaging Content

eBook  As with any social media marketing, if you want to succeed with a Facebook branding campaign, you need to create engaging content. This could be excerpts from your latest blog, celebrating promotions within your company, or re-posting current topics that everyone is talking about and sharing how it affects you. Even a simple status update or pictures from your last company picnic can draw people in and promote the very real and personal side of your small business.

Don’t sell, share.

Remember that you can very easily oversell and turn off potential clients. Be subtle and drive your traffic to your product with amazing content that they won’t resist sharing.

For more information about marketing on Facebook or other social media platforms, contact Spotlight Publicity for a free consultation; or, stay tuned for the release of Big Fish, Little Pond, coming via Kindle to your personal device!