In an earlier post, I talked about the benefits of using Instagram for your business or not-for-profit. Using Instagram as part of your social marketing strategy is a way for your business to visually market products and services, establish your company’s personality, create trust within clients, show expertise in your industry, and drive more traffic to your website. However, simply creating an Instagram account won’t do these things for your business. Here are some ways on how to best market your company on Instagram!
How your small business should use Instagram:
Hashtags- Just like twitter, Instagram has hashtags. Utilize hashtags! They are a great way to connect with users interested in your industry and for new people to find your business. Think of hashtags as keywords or search terms used by certain social media sites. Using hashtags is a great way to create followers—as people will find your business and photos, based on hashtags that tell users what your content is about.
Interaction- The best way to create a strong follower base on Instagram is to interact with your followers. If a user comments on your post, reply to their comment. If you get a new follower, follow them back. This shows respect and interest in the people that follow you. As a small business these interactions are a great way to display positive customer relations and the attention you give to current and potential clients.
Creativity- One of the great things about Instagram is how easy it is to be unique and creative. Share what your company does in a new light. Each photo can easily be filtered and edited— providing a different view or perspective on your products and services. With tools right at hand, display your product or service in an aesthetically pleasing way. This will instantly catch a user’s attention and interest in your company.
Personality- Your Instagram should be more than just posting pictures of your company’s product or service. Instagram gives your business the opportunity to really show how your different. Display the whole process of your work. What happens before the finished product? Who you are? What makes you unique? Showing the whole process of your business or client success stories can be a great and easy way to establish your business’s personality and make potential customers feel more connected to your company, employees, and work. Show the early stages of your product or service. Show members of your business at work, at play, or involved in any community activities your organization supports. Ad hoc, fun photos allow followers to look at your company as real people. Personal photos on Instagram are also a great way to humanize your business, establish trust within viewers, and make your small business stand out.
Credibility- Another great way to utilize Instagram is to display your expertise in your field. If you’re a landscaping company, post tips on how to keep up a garden. If you sell organic food, share tips on healthy eating. If you sell clothing to be worn during outdoor recreation, post pictures of different local hiking spots. By posting tips, fun facts, or anything related to your industry you convey your business’s credibility in an easy and fun way. This displayed expertise in your field causes your company to seem reliable and knowledgeable.
Who are you-The easiest, but most important thing to do for your Instagram is to give followers and viewers a way to find your website! When setting up your account, give a short description of what your company does and link your website. This provides easy access to your site so after your posts have sparked someone’s interest, they can click on the link to learn more about what you do. Indy CD and Vinyl's simple, but descriptive profile invites one to visit their store and website.
With a few tips to get you started, create an Instagram for your organization and make it your own. Instagram is a unique and manageable way to visually connect with potential customers, develop customer relations, share your company’s story, and establish trust. Only a few minutes each day are needed to snap a shot of your product, a new member of the team, or a work in progress!
The amount of social networking is immense and ever growing. To market your business it seems more and more social sites must be created and managed. How is it determined which are necessary? With Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+, Instagram does not seem to be a front runner. Yet, Instagram has grown and quickly. With 200 million active users monthly, Instagram has more user engagement than Facebook or Twitter. With this social network’s widespread popularity and the growth of visual marketing, every small business and not-for-profit needs to consider Instagram for their social marketing plan. Instagram opens a marketing door full of opportunities not offered by other social networks.
Why your small business should use Instagram:
Visual Marketing- Images instantly draw viewers in and gain their attention on any social network. Solely dedicated to images, Instagram drives constant intrigue of a user. With popping images, easy creativity, and filters Instagram is an easy and unique way to showcase your products and services.
Personality and Trust- One of the top reasons to use Instagram is the personality it gives your company. Connection on a social network creates familiarity with users. Small businesses stand out because of the relations they can provide to customers. All social media precipitates better customer relations; however, Instagram has an edge. Posting personal and behind-the-scenes photos and interacting with those who follow and comment on your account can help customers get to know your business as the people in it and the work they do. Humanizing your company establishes trust with viewers, making them more likely to work or keep working with you.
Credibility- Digital credibility is critical for your online success and Instagram is a great way to establish credibility in your industry. Share your vast knowledge of your field on Instagram through tips, fun facts, or the excellence of your work. As an interior decorating company, a great way to show your credibility would be to post pictures of a spacious living room. Along with your photo, your caption can share tips on how to best place furniture to make one's room look bigger. Whatever your business, Instagram can be a great way to share your expertise.
Traffic to your Website- Images you post on Instagram will leave viewers wanting to know more about your work. A link to your site on your profile and references to specific pages on your site in photo captions will bring more traffic to your website! Additionally, relevant links to your site from Instagram and improved social rankings will help to improve your site’s search rankings (SEO) via Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Determining what social media your business should use can be difficult and tedious when they all seem to provide similar benefits. Along with the networking and broadcasting that all social networks provide, Instagram gives your small business personality, builds trust, displays your products/services, establishes credibility, and draws attention to your business and traffic to your website. If you have a strong visual component to your organization (visual products, services, events, etc.), you should especially consider adding Instagram to your social plan. It’s vast and exponential popularity along with unique touch make Instagram a social network that cannot be dismissed.
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How does a business choose the right social media platforms? Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have been around for several years now. Pinterest and Instagram are gaining traction. But many businesses are still trying to figure out ways to leverage the technologies.
The first step in choosing the right social media platforms for your business is to identify your goals. Consider why you want to use a particular network. Do you want to increase customer engagement? Is your primary focus establishing an audience? Maybe it all comes down to sales? Take some time to work through the reasons your business could benefit from launching into social media.
After you’ve determined the triggers for your social strategy, you can then establish a process to reach those goals. Social media for businesses requires a plan to succeed, and that plan needs to be driven by content marketing. Regardless of the social channel, you need to determine what content provides value to your prospects and customers, while adding credibility to your business. You need time to build an audience, followed by studying analytics to determine ways to improve the plan.
Strategy in place, you can move on to choosing platforms. Below are some of the most prominent social marketing channels:
- Facebook – Whether it’s perfect for your business might be irrelevant. Facebook is the biggest network so your organization probably needs to have a presence, especially if your business is consumer focused. Internally, you must determine how to best leverage the system, and at what level.
- Twitter – Twitter moves quickly, so your audience will determine how effective it can be for your strategy. In terms of ease of use and efficiency, however, Twitter can’t be beat. If your business has a lot going on (news, new products, events or promotions) Twitter is also a great way to communicate on a daily basis. Finally, Twitter is a great way to leverage a strong content marketing strategy, attracting new audience members to your blog, case studies, white papers, videos, etc.
- LinkedIn – All businesses need to establish a presence on LinkedIn. Professional relationships form the heart of this network. As a result, it’s the most business-to business (B2B) focused of the social networks. If you sell to other businesses (B2B), you should be on LinkedIn.
- YouTube – Video, along with blog content, is rapidly becoming the backbone of any content marketing strategy. In today’s business environment, an impactful one to two-minute video clip can deliver exciting results. If you have content that is conducive to video, you should develop a YouTube strategy.
- Google+ -- Though it’s still gaining audience, Google’s social network is important for one key reason: search engine rankings. Because of Google’s importance in how anyone finds your business, I’d suggest having both a personal and business Google+ page. If the type of business you’re in is impacted strongly by “reviews” – such as a restaurant, having a Google+ presence will be even more important.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is getting a reputation as the social network for housewives, but it can be useful if your business features a strong visual component. Pinterest, for example, may be useful if you want to promote a wall of products. Do your products visually sell themselves? Are influencers such as designers or decorators involved in your business (remodeling, furniture, home products, art, etc.)? If so, then Pinterest may be a great way to visually promote your products and brand.
- Instagram – The photo-sharing network has become the go-to place for creating a visual diary. That alone doesn’t make it that valuable for business. But the recent roll-out of the platform’s short video capabilities adds a new level of applicability. Another short video network, Vine, was beginning to grab hold, so it will be interesting to see how the two battle it out for that segment. Instagram can also offer similar benefits as Pinterest for businesses with visual products or services.
Still not sure what the best social media channels are for your company? Marketpath can help you build an online marketing strategy to capitalize on these exciting technologies.
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