How to Market Your Business on Instagram

Instagram Food

With 200 million active users per month, Instagram is a great social media platform for visually enticing customers and creating a strong brand story. With its Business Account feature, businesses of all sizes are able to start up verifiable accounts that link directly to their Twitter or Facebook profiles. In this article we will discuss the best ways to integrate Instagram into your social media marketing and its benefits.

1. Explore & Engage

Like other social media platforms, Instagram uses hashtags to explore current trends and promote brand awareness. Deploying brand specific hashtags make sharing content easy and enable existing customers and fans to find your posts quickly.

In the same way that Twitter uses ‘trending’, users are able to keep up to date with popular hashtags and use them to their advantage. Fun, popular hashtags range from #TBT (Throwback Thursday) where individuals upload images from the past and #ManCrushMonday, a hashtag frequently used by businesses targeted at women such as clothes retailer, Boohoo.com.

Using general hashtags are also a great way of finding new followers. Starbucks, for example, uses #coffee or #cappuccino when uploading images of cappuccino art. canstockphoto14766616People searching for images or videos of a specific topic may find your content and become followers, even potential customers. Remember to keep them relevant though, using hashtags just because they have a high search volume will infuriate users and will count as spam.

Unlike Twitter, there is no character limitation on Instagram posts so you are able to include a couple of hashtags. Try to aim for two or three, any more and it will become distracting for readers.

Remember to include a link to your main website in the caption, if users like the content they may want to check out what else you have to offer.

2. Creative Content

Creating amazing content is the most important part of using Instagram in your social media marketing plan. As a visual platform, it is imperative that you keep your images clear and well put together, none of this grainy nonsense! Use filters, cropping, and collages or even a little bit of Photoshop expertise to make the most out of your images or videos.

The content that you share on Instagram should expand on your brand story and give your followers an idea of the products that you sell  or services you provide as well as an insight into the people working in the business. Including photographs or short 15 second videos of an employee doing something exciting and fun (whether work-related or not) will make the business personable to your audience.

Offering exclusive content to Instagram followers is a great way to make your followers feel special and drive up follower numbers. When you decide to share exclusive content make sure to promote this on your other social media sites, this may persuade the followers of the other sites to follow your Instagram account too.

Experiment with exciting ways of promoting your products. Create images that feature your product but don’t look like an advertisement by adding creative photography and interesting locations to your shots. A beauty salon, for example, may upload images of someone playing guitar with newly painted nails. Have fun!

3. Get Your Followers Involved

The best part about social media is the ability to get your fans involved in what excites you, not only can you Girlfriends Selfshotinform them about new up and coming events, promotions or products but you can also ask them to submit their own images. User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular on sites like Instagram and many huge companies use it as a way to interact with their fans. You could ask them to send in images of them using your product, whilst asking them why they’ve chosen it. When you share it on your own account don’t forget to tag the owner of the image.

4. Post Frequently

It’s really important to post frequently on any social media site but for Instagram it is essential. You need to enhance your customer’s experience so having a presence is really important. Post frequently but try not to saturate your followers’ newsfeeds with your content. Why not embed your shared videos and images in your company blog or website to expand your viewership?

To Wrap Up…

Like any other platform used in your social media marketing strategy it is vital to keep up to date with current trends and provide exciting content that will coincide with it. Getting the balance between engaging your followers and promoting your products or services is the most important thing when marketing your business on Instagram. 


A Beginner’s Guide to Live-Tweeting

In an age where every business and individual owns a twitter profile, more and more networking is happening over the internet. A great way of utilising and expanding like-minded followers is by live-tweeting an event. Whether you are hosting an event or have signed up to attend one, Twitter is brilliant for getting people involved.

Last month, pop sensation, Robbie Williams, live-tweeted the birth of his second child with an unconventional collection of photographs and videos as well as textual messages. These tweets received bucket loads of engagement and secured Williams as a Twitter trend for hours afterwards.

Big brands like Apple promote their product launches exclusively on social media through the use of live-tweeting. Frequent updates allow those unable to attend the multi-million extravaganza to keep in the loop with what’s happening as if there themselves. Attendees are also able to communicate with each other and discuss any parts they’ve enjoyed or have particularly interested them.

Taking inspiration from these high flyers, in this article we’ll consider the best ways to prepare for live-tweeting an event and how to keep the momentum going well after it’s happened.

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1. Promote the Event

It’s a common sense one really, if there’s going to be an event and you’re going to be there tweeting about it you should probably let people know.

If you’re hosting your own event, creating a hashtag that can be connected specifically to the company and what’s going to happen will widely promote it. It will also enable users to follow your exploits throughout the day, advertising the company as you go. It needs to be a short, memorable one that can be integrated seamlessly into any blog posts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ updates. By promoting your hashtag you will in turn promote the live-tweeting session and the event.

2. Prepare

Nearer the date of the event, tweet often about the fact that it’s happening and try to build hype about the day. The day before, remind your Twitter followers that you will be live-tweeting and give them a time so that they can keep an eye on their newsfeeds during the event. Also remember to push the use of your chosen hashtag so they can get involved with any ongoing conversations and make it easier to search for you.

Why not write and schedule tweets a few Creative business ideadays in advance so that you’re extra organised? There are many social media schedulers available nowadays making it easier than ever to organise live-tweeting sessions. You won’t be able to pre-plan everything of course, but writing tweets that introduce the time that certain events happen in the day will save you from being glued to your iPhone.

On a more practical note, it’s vital that you remember to keep any device that you’re using – smart phone, tablet or laptop – fully charged with a back up if needed. Without an appropriate device to tweet from your live-tweeting is useless.

3. Think about Content

Like all social media posts, remember to be as engaging as entertaining as possible. Although the focus of this activity is to keep followers updated on what’s happening, don’t feel like you need to tweet every hour on the hour. Expect there to be more updates that day than on others but don’t go overboard. The more tweets you send the more likely you’ll look like spam.

Try to tweet consistently throughout the day but be wise with your choice. Before you post an update ask yourself, ‘Is this interesting?’ ‘Will my followers want to read this?’ Why not quote speakers, referring to something relevant, maybe even funny, that they’ve said during the day. Don’t forget to cite them directly, if they have their own Twitter profile tag them directly.

It’s not just textual tweets that attract interest in what you’re doing, remember that huge Oscars ‘selfie’ earlier this year? It was the most retweeted picture ever. You may not be Ellen Degeneres or Bradley Cooper, but posting a compelling image of a guest speaker or a huge plate of promotional cupcakes is more likely to receive ‘favourites’ and ‘retweets’ than an announcement about how great the food is.

4. Engage with Users

The Classic. The Dude in front of red question mark.The success of a live-tweeting event is measured about the amount of engagement you receive throughout. Using your designated hashtag as a connection between your tweets and any others commenting on the event, you are able to communicate directly with other users.

Try to keep up to date with any conversations that develop due to your updates. Respond to any comments by tagging the user with their handle and ask them for their insights on the event. Ask questions in your tweets, try and get as many users involved as possible. Although it may seem like a waste of energy, taking the time to reply to someone’s interaction may mean that you get a few new followers and potential customers.

5. Follow up

So you’ve promoted your event, it’s been a successful day and you’ve engaged with a lot of like-minded people, but what do you do now? Don’t just leave it until the next event, follow up with your updates by thanking your followers and the hosts of the event for a great day. Giving necessary thanks to the speakers and commenters will give you lead to a great online reputation.

Why not compile the best of your tweets and user responses to use in a blog post? Describing the day’s events and reviewing the usefulness of the speakers will showcase how great it was and inadvertently promote the next one you plan to attend.

To Wrap Up…

Live-tweeting is a great way of keeping followers up to date with news and information from the industry as well as promoting any other events you intend to host or attend. Keeping your audience entertained with compelling sound bites, images, videos and textual messages will excite your followers and have them lining up for the next event!

Have you ever used live-tweeting? Why not share your thoughts below…?

Getting Started with Google+

As one of Twitter and Facebook’s biggest competitors, Google Plus is the social network endorsed by the world’s number one search engine that is only growing in popularity. Like its rivals, Google Plus offers you the opportunity to build and manage a business page to promote your organisation or services. In this article we discuss the best ways to get started with your Google+ Business account.

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1. Set up a Profile

To begin, you will need to have a personal Google account, if you don’t have one yet it’s easy to set up your own. You can only create a business page once your own has been set up.

It’s really important to pick the right, most relevant category you can find that applies to your business, whether it’s a ‘product or brand’, ‘company’, ‘sports’, ‘entertainment’ or ‘arts’.  For some of the categories you will need to select a subcategory to go into greater detail about what industry you’re in. Be as relevant as you possibly can in this section as it will help you reach a wider audience in the long run.

2. Who are You?

An incorrectly filled in or sparse Google Plus profile will give users a bad impression of your company so it is vital that you spend time making it inviting and interesting. Use your brand’s graphic as the profile picture or cover photo to connect it to any other social media profiles you may already be using, this will create a tie-in between the platforms that you update. canstockphoto5157360

Google Plus’s ‘Story’ section enables you to add the ten words that best describe your business and what it does. Try to be as concise as you can here as this will act as the first impression users will get of your business like a tagline. If you can, be consistent with other taglines you have used on other sites or for branding purposes.

Why not add an introduction to your page? If a customer has found you by chance or you’ve become available during a search, they will need to know how valuable you are to them. Give a brief overview of the services and products you provide with a few important keywords added in to increase traffic to your profile and optimise your presence during searches.

Your users may need to contact you at some point so you’ll need to fill out your contact information as thoroughly as you can so don’t forget to add your main website address, telephone, email, address, and fax details.

3. Your First Post!

Sharing links to interesting articles and pictures, whether from your company website or an unrelated source, is a great way to increase viewership. Posting regularly throughout the week will see a boost page views but try not to over post if possible as will be seen as spam to your followers.

Use this content to your advantage and build engagement by using hashtags and actively liking, commenting or sharing other people’s links. See this as a relationship-building exercise. If a fellow users comments on one of your posts, comment back (remembering to tag them so that they’ll see your response).

4. Communitiescanstockphoto7626544

So your page is all set up; you’ve given your business a virtual presence and posted a few interesting links or videos but now it’s time to start promoting your business and building links with other like-minded businesses or individuals. A Community is a group of people all interested in the same topic sharing articles, blog posts and photographs relevant to the subject. If you’ve shared something on your own profile that you feel may be beneficial to others, share it! It is, however, bad Google Plus etiquette to promote your own services here.

To Wrap Up…

These are only the basics of setting up and using Google plus for your business. There are many other exciting tools and applications available and over time you’ll become familiar with many of them. Once you’re settled, it will give you a place to cultivate potential customers and keep in touch with existing ones.

Do you use Google+ to promote your business? How did you start out? Please leave your comments below…


Instagram Finally Enables Caption Editing

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Since the dawn of selfies and filtered images of fancy lunches, Instagram has been a great source for sharing images between friends. On Monday afternoon, after many requests from frustrated users, they finally enabled caption editing.

As the app previously didn’t allow users to tweak incorrect spelling and autocorrect errors, users were forced to either delete their posts and re-share them with corrected captions or post corrections in the comments.

Other social media sharing sites like Facebook and Pinterest have had this ability for quite some time but as the popularity of sharing photos and videos spiked, Instagram users were unable to correct typos. Twitter still doesn’t allow for edits of any posts.  

As Instagram have stated, ‘typos shouldn’t get in the way’ of sharing a moment on the site. As users update their apps, many will be editing captions and locations of previous posts.

Alongside the new caption editing, the multi-million user sharing site has announced a bundle of updates designed to help users explore and discover new accounts they may want to follow.  Small changes, like altering the ‘explore’ icon from a compass to a magnifying glass makes it easier to navigate the app, whilst the option of ‘photos’ or ‘people’ allows you to narrow down your search options and recommends new accounts trending amongst the main Instagram community.

These changes are only available on the mobile app, but as most users access it through their mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, this will make next to no difference to its existing user base.