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instagram marketing

4 Instagram Marketing Tips To Get You More Reach

Instagram launched on the scene in 2010 and never looked back. The social network continues to be wildly popular with increasing growth now boasting over 500 million users.

Experience tells us that platform growth brings about change. Instagram is no different. This year, Instagram announced many changes from the ability to switch between accounts with ease to a completely new algorithm. Add to that Instagram advertising and the soon to come business accounts, and Instagram is not going to be the same.

Whether you’re a newbie to the social network or you’re already there, and want to maintain or have success, you can benefit from these Instagram marketing tips to maximize your efforts and extend your reach.

HAVE A HASHTAG STRATEGY

One thing I notice about successful Instagram accounts is that they’ve mastered the hashtag.Click To Tweet

On Instagram, you have a 30 hashtag limit. While that sounds ridiculous for some platforms, it’s perfectly fine here and should be a major part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Why? Because people search hashtags on Instagram. If you want your niche specific content to be seen, you need to use the hashtags associated with your content. These hashtags will help you reach your intended audience.

Content hashtags are hashtags you use in your posts. They help improve the SEO of your posts. They get your updates seen by your consumers who are searching for and/or using those hashtags

Some of the content hashtags I use are #socialmedia, #marketing or #Snapchat, #Instagram or #SMM (social media marketing.) Because I use certain groups of hashtags often according to my content, I have them saved in bundles. I keep them in my notes app to copy and paste easily.

TRACK YOUR LINK

Using Bitly or another URL shortener will allow you to be able to see how many people are clicking on the link you’re allowed in your Instagram bio and optimize it’s use. You can check the metrics on Instagram marketing with this technique. The metrics will help you determine if you’re reaching your audience and which content does it best.

If you’ve published a new blog post or you’re running a promotion or new campaign, use that link to announce it and have a call to action in your caption with a “click the link in our bio” to drive people to your link.

BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

With Instagram marketing, your images need to stand out. Make them look their very best with the maximum resolution. Use this guide:

Square images: 2048 x 2048

Portrait images: 1638 x 2048

Landscape: images: 2048 x 1536

ALWAYS PRACTICE BEST PRACTICES

Maximizing success requires best practices. Sprout Social offers a solid infographic outline 7 Instagram Best Practices:

Understanding your audience and brand are essential to promoting, advertising and even engaging on Instagram. Again, you can’t walk into your strategy blindly, so first try to ask questions that define you and your audience. These questions can include:

  • What does our audience like most about our brand?
  • Who are we trying to ultimately reach?
  • Are our competitors successful on Instagram?
  • What marketing strategies have worked in the past?
  • What do customers expect with our brand? Is that good enough?

Check out the Infographic here:

7 Best Instagram Practices To Build Your Audience

instagram marketing
Photo by Sprout Social

 

social media

How To Tell Your Brand’s Unique Story With Social Media

Telling your brand’s story is an important to reinforcing what your brand is. Social media is a place where you can tell your brand’s story in entertaining and unique ways. But where should you tell your story exactly?

When it comes to social media, over doing it is a recipe for failure. It’s important to pinpoint those platforms where your target market is. Social Media marketing doesn’t have to mean an automatic default to Facebook and Twitter.

If your business hosts or participates in events that you want to promote, you may need to go off the beaten path. Let’s say you have an event coming up. You might post photos of your team or make a short video clip of what is happening behind the scenes. You can use Instagram videos, or a Snapchat story of the brief moments or special highlights that occur throughout the day of the event. What if you were able to capture the moments right before you went on stage to present or captured an entertainer just before they went on stage? Such images making storytelling interesting.

Let’s take a closer look at two platforms you may want to use.

INSTAGRAM

Businesses embrace Instagram because it lets them showcase their products visually. Visual marketing is powerful, so it makes Instagram an attractive platform.

To be successful on Instagram you need to find new and interesting ways to connect with your audience through visuals. By launching contests, using short video, and even running ads, you’ll build awareness, engagement and grow your community.

SNAPCHAT

If you’d like to reach a younger demographic, especially 18-34 year olds, then Snapchat is an ideal platform. Snapchat is growing fast, and the users are extremely engaged. Snapchat is on pace to grow the number of U.S. active users to a whopping 27% this year, to 58.6 million — topping Twitter and Pinterest for the first time, according to research firm eMarketer. The challenge with Snapchat marketing is figuring out how to best to engage users in a fun way that isn’t so obviously promotional. This is why live events work so well.

SHARE MOMENTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

Get people interested in your business or organization by sharing what’s going on at your events. Start from prep and share through the wrap up. Take people behind the scenes as your prepare for the event. Share snippets of each moment as they happen. Using a combination of video and photo will keep it interesting. Make sure you brand your event with geofilters.

TELL A STORY ON SNAPCHAT

Beyond a series of pictures and video that chronicles moments at an event, literally tell a story from beginning to end.  Do you have a great story to literally tell? How an idea came about? How something was created? Map it out and then retell it in a fun interesting way that makes your audience want to follow along.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

You can offer discounts and special sales on both Instagram and Snapchat and make them unique to each platform. Because Snapchat stories expire in 24 hours it makes it the perfect place to have flash sales and discounts exclusively on the platform. Give them a reason to follow you on Snapchat for this reason.

Nowadays, younger audiences are pretty socially savvy. So, being authentic is important.Click To Tweet

It’s important to show the “human” side of your brand and let people see the real people behind the logo. Entertain your users and stand out by what makes you unique. That comes from sharing moments and telling stories.

 

social media marketing

How To Spring Clean Your Social Media Marketing

We have had an amazing week of warm weather here in Michigan. Considering that just a few weeks ago we had unusually cold weather with snow flurries, it’s a welcome sight. Since we’re in the full swing of Spring, it got me thinking, am I ready for the midway mark of 2016? More than likely, it’s time for some social media marketing spring cleaning.

Spruce Up Your Social Media

If you conduct a social media  spring cleaning inventory, you might find that there are some things you are missing, should change or needs improvement. Let’s take a look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to see where you might need to do a little sprucing up.

FACEBOOK

How’s Your Headshot?

If your profile picture is more than a couple of years old, it’s time to upload a new headshot. Make sure it’s head and shoulders and professional.

Update Your Cover Photo

Spring is a good time to give your page a fresh new look with a new cover photo. Maybe you want to have something designed that fits your brand and represents your business. You may also want to make a collage of photos of your products or a collection of photos from events.

Check Your About Section

Make sure the About section accurately portrays what you do. Is it up to date? If applicable, include your hours of business and contact information. Hopefully  you have a vanity URL in place. Secure one if you don’t already. For example, is your business page URL: facebook.com/(a bunch of random numbers and letters) or does your URL include your business name like mine: facebook.com/socialwithsara.

Are you verified?

If you have a brick and mortar business, meaning you have a physical location, you can verify your page. Here’s how to do it.

Next, consider cleaning out your “friends” and “likes.” If your page has fraudulent likes (as the result of “like farms”), it can really skew any paid advertising you do on Facebook. For this reason you’ll want to clean out any fake accounts.

Set Up Authorship

Facebook allows you to set up authorship so that your blog posts are attributed to you when they’re posted on the platform. I discuss how to set up Authorship among other Facebook features in this post.

Try Something New

Ready to shake things up a bit on Facebook? Why not incorporate Facebook Live in your social media marketing? It’s very easy to use and it’s a great way to get in front of your audience in a simple engaging way. Here are some tips from Social Media Examiner on how to do it. 

INSTAGRAM

Optimize Your Bio

How you set up your bio on Instagram is crucial. Make it interesting and easy to look at with spacing, emojis and symbols. This helps break up the text. You’ll want to include keywords around what you do such as: Travel, Photography, Foodie,  LA-based (don’t forget to use a location tag 📍)

Include your contact information and website. This is the only area in Instagram where urls are hyperlinked. So, if you’re promoting something special like an ebook that you want your visitors to land on, you’ll want to put it here in the bio section.

Content Consistency

It helps to use the same filter to give it a balanced look. If you use text images with tips, set up a template with your logo and brand colors so that your images are recognizable with your brand.

Hashtags Are Mandatory

Did you know that according to a Simply Measured Instagram study, posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? The use of hashtags is a great way to target new audiences on Instagram. It will also help other Instagram users discover, follow, and engage with you.

Use niche specific hashtags that already have an engaging community behind them and use the ones that your audience is already using.

TWITTER

Tidy Up:

  • Add your personal or company website to your bio if you haven’t already.
  • Consider updating your photo, especially if it’s outdated. Always keep it current.
  • If you’ve updated logos or colors, you should also consider changing your header photo and background color to accurately reflect your brand.

Who are you following?

Some people you may want to consider unfollowing: Those who post about things that don’t interest you or those who never post.

For followers, check to make sure they aren’t spam accounts. Spammers can add fake accounts to your list of followers. Find out who’s fake, then delete or block those accounts. A great tool for cleaning up your followers is ManageFlitter.

Create Lists

Consider creating Twitter lists to organize friends or those in your industry. Even make a list of those accounts whose content you want to see for content curation purposes.

Check Permissions

You may also want to check up on your app permissions. See which apps or sites you have given permission to access your profile and remove any that you’re no longer using.

LINKEDIN

I recently wrote a blog post on Creating A Winning LinkedIn Profile. It contains an infographic to illustrate all the keys areas. It’s a great place to start to get your LI profile where it needs to be. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Your headline is seen more than anything else, so make sure it contains the keywords that you want to be found with.
  • Is your headshot outdated? Always keep your headshot up to date with a current professional headshot.
  • Work on your summary to highlight your best skills and experience.
  • Make sure your contact information is updated so clients and others can get in touch with you.
  • Personalize your profile’s URL with your name or business name.
  • Are there new projects that you’ve done since your last update that showcase your abilities? Add them!
  • Do you need some new recommendations? It’s ok to ask.
  • What about your connections? When you first joined LinkedIn, you probably connected with everyone. I did the same. But once you’ve been on the platform for a while, it makes sense to be strategic with your connections. Make sure they’re relevant to your industry.

Spring cleaning your social media marketing will get you on the road to being ready for the second half of 2016. Don’t forget to check your analytics and insights to see if there are adjustments you can make to your strategy for better results.

 

instagram marketing

Simple Tools To Improve Your Instagram Marketing

My current favorite social media platform is Instagram. Apparently I’m not the only one, it’s extremely popular. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and with the new account switching feature, it’s easier to use than ever. There are many tools that social media marketers use to help them do their jobs more efficiently. With so many tools and apps available to solve many of the same problems, sometimes it can be hard to choose.

Here are a few of the tools I use to make my Instagram Marketing simpler and more efficient.Click To Tweet

LAYOUT

Layout is a photo collage app from Instagram. It accesses your camera photos to allow an easy way to select and create a photo collage. It has a built-in Photo Booth to take spur-of-the-moment shots. Layout gives you a choice of various laid out combinations for you to choose from. Just pick one and edit.

RELIGHT

The Relight app addresses a common photo editing problem: lighting. Relight Instantly correct slighting and exposure to make your photos look exceptional. Relight is realtime HDR with eight modes that correct lighting and exposure issues, add artistic HDR effects and enhance details. In short, Relight lets your camera see closer to what you see. Finally!

ADOBE POST

Adobe Post is a simple and easy way to create Instagram posts from pre-designed templates. You can “remix” these handcrafted templates into the color scheme and text layout of your choice.

REPOST APP

Sometimes on Instagram, you see something great that you just want to share. Sharing is simple with Repost App. You can reshare photos and videos in 3 steps while still giving credit to the original Instagramer. The original caption will also be copied to your clipboard to include.

CROWDFIREAPP

Here’s a tool you can use for both Twitter and Instagram. It helps you manage your followers on either platform. You can manage your Twitter and Instagram accounts far more effectively by:

  • Finding inactive users and your unfollowers – unfollow them if you wish to
  • Finding relevant users to follow using the “Copy Followers” feature
  • Keeping track of how your social media updates affect your follower/unfollower stats
  • Checking the relationship between any two Twitter/Instagram
  • When you’re trying to manage your follower/following ratio

Apps are always evolving, new tools are always emerging. As social platforms change, our needs change. What tools have you discovered that work great for Instagram? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

 

website

Website Traffic: Give Your Audience The Green Light

Our prime online real estate is our website. Every effort that we make, every online activity for our business, we’re hoping results in a visit to our website and ultimately leads to action. You’ve worked hard to make your website look good, to show what you can offer, how you can solve your target audience’s problems, and how you can make their life better. Your website is designed to let them get to know you better. You’re hoping to win them over. But in order to do that, they have to land there.

How do you get visitors to your website? Well, there are some really obvious ways and perhaps some you didn’t even think about. So let’s go through some possibilities to make sure you’re covering your bases.

Social Media

You might be thinking “duh”! But let’s just think about it for a minute. It’s time to do a checkup on your social sites. Are your website links where they should be? Did you set up apps on your Facebook page and are they leading to your website? Does your Twitter bio include your website link? What about Instagram? LinkedIn gives you a few options for website links. Are you taking advantage of them? Take inventory of your social sites to be sure your links are there. Don’t forget your personal profiles.

Email Signature

Your email signature is a great place to drive traffic to your site.  Your signature can include more than your name and title or phone number. Your website should be there too. You can set up signatures with any email provider, but you can use an app to make your signature really stand out. I use Wisestamp. You can have a free version that will include an add, or upgrade to the paid version and choose from several design options ad free.

Content Curation Sites

Are you sharing your blog content on sites like Scoopit, Spundge, or Medium? These are excellent places for discovering content, so make sure your content can be discovered there. Medium for example, is growing in popularity. It’s a great place for publishing and a place for content distribution.

Drive traffic to your site by showcasing your content where people are looking for great content.Click To Tweet

Linkedin Publisher

We already mentioned social media sites, but you may not be taking advantage of LinkedIn’s all important Publisher tool. You can blog straight from the site and gain exposure to a possibly new audience with your posts. Read my post on how to repurpose your content for LinkedIn Publisher and link back to your website in the process.

Never miss an opportunity to direct people to your online hub. Take advantage of what’s out there to get your audience where you ultimately want them to land.

Leap Into 2016 With These Social Media Best Practices

Leap Into 2016 With These Social Media Best Practices

It’s the first Monday of 2016. You can’t get a fresher start than that! A new year means ditching bad habits and starting good ones. That includes your social media marketing practices. Towards the end of the year, you probably knew there were things you could do better and should do better but lacked the motivation to make changes. But it’s the new year and now you’re ready. Maybe you’re not sure where to start. Here’s are some key steps to get you going on the right path in 2016.

Have a strategy.

Hopefully you have a social media marketing strategy. If not, you absolutely need one. It’s mandatory. You should start by answering some important questions that will shape your strategy. What am I trying to accomplish? What are my goals? What are the KPIs? What key measures will be used to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? Who is your audience?  What are the demographics of your current or ideal customers? Where are they? What sets you apart from the competition? What makes you unique? What platforms will you use and how?

You have a social media strategy, right? It's MANDATORY!Click To Tweet

Don’t be content. You need content.

Once you’ve established your strategy you need to plan your content. When it comes to creating content, go with what works! Share the type of content that gets the highest engagement. What does your audience respond to? Tailor your content for each social channel. What works on Facebook may not work on Twitter. Make sure your content stands out.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Social media marketing requires planning, otherwise it’s chaos. Having a content calendar can make your life a whole lot easier. A social media content calendar organizes how you curate and create content, and helps develop your editorial strategy. It saves your time and and helps distribute your resources wisely to ensure your brand consistently publishes qualify content. Your social media content calendar should be easy to read and not require a lot of explanation. It should include the information you have outlined in your content strategy. Break it down month to month and with activities further broken down by the day. You can include social media icons to represent which social media channel the content should be published to accompanying the post title for streamlining purposes.

Have a daily task list.

Social media marketing is a huge job. Tackling something big requires consistent small daily steps. Having a daily task list helps you take on all that social media marketing requires. Those tasks start with simply showing up, and include relevant content and engagement. I dedicated a post to daily task lists that outlines what your daily task list should consist of: Your Daily Social Media Task List. 

Be More Social.

All this planning is awesome and necessary but don’t neglect what’s most important with social media: being social! Make new connections, start conversations. Create content that is engaging and be sure to respond timely when your audience comments and asks questions. Share content from other brands. Build relationships with genuine interest in others. Be engaging.

Always be consistent and focus on your goals. Analyze your efforts and make necessary adjustments. What are you doing differently in 2016 with your social media marketing? How are you improving your efforts?