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16 Ways to Take Advantage of What Instagram Has to Offer

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Instagram is a visual wonderland, especially for brands. It’s an opportunity to attract more customers — particularly those belonging to the millennial and Gen Z demographics — and showcase the best of what you have to offer. Just take a look at some of the most followed Instagram accounts and you will see why and how the top brands in the world are taking advantage of what this social platform has to offer.

However, something we all know too well about social media, is that Instagram can also be a time suck if it isn’t leveraged correctly. You want the best of both worlds: being able to reap the benefits of Instagram without spending all of your time on it.

We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to best leverage what Instagram has to offer while still staying true to your business.

1. Showcase Beautiful Photos

This seems simple, but it is easily forgotten. Instagram is for photos. Share great ones that are relevant to your brand and ones that your audience will appreciate and want to see. If your industry just isn’t something that can involve relevant photography, focus on another social platform that’s more fitting.

Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

2. Use a Tool to Plan Photos in Advance

Use a tool such as Planoly, Plann or Later to batch plan your posts in advance so you can see how they look together visually on the grid. I also use Instagram Stories to show potential clients a peek behind the scenes on real projects so they feel more connected to our team before they start working with us.

Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography

3. Find a Theme

Make sure your page has a consistent theme. When people land on a brand’s page, they should see content that looks uniform and planned. A person will make an instant decision on whether or not to follow your page based on if the aesthetics are worthwhile to show up in their feed. Use tools like preset Lightroom filters to give each photo a similar feel.

Bobby Palmieri, Lilo Social

4. Embrace Storytelling

Instagram Stories has become a powerful tool for storytelling, and even more so for activating your audience and driving sales. Get a business IG profile and organically earn 10k followers so that you can utilize links in your stories. If you’re creative, thoughtful and provide entertainment and value, you’ll reap the rewards. Don’t forget to make the posts visually stunning and interesting.

Scott Levy, Fuel Online

5. Create Photo-Friendly Spaces

Creating a few standard spaces you can reuse regularly will speed up your Instagram workflow, as well as help establish a brand feeling. You don’t need a professional studio, but a well-lit neutral wall or a corner table set up for product photography will make staging Instagram photos routine.

Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide

6. Be Original

Don’t copy the style and type of content used by other advertisers and influencers. Millennials and Gen Zers can sense when a brand is trying to appear hip and young and they will interpret it as trying too hard. Instead of following current trends, find your brand’s identity and stick to it.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

7. Find Your Target Audience

When building a professional Instagram page, it is paramount that you know who you are targeting, how to find them and what they want to see. Instagram can connect you with clients, potential employees and like-minded people who just want to enjoy your content. Make the decision of what Instagram will do for you and work toward that specific goal with every post.

Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

8. Include Up to 30 Hashtags

Instagram users love using hashtags to discover new content. Get additional visibility for each Instagram post by including up to 30 relevant hashtags on each post. Research these hashtags on a tool like WEBSTAGRAM or Keyhole. Then, once you identify hashtags with high volume and high relevancy, include them on posts to reach your target audience and attract new followers.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

9. Post Frequently

In order to stay relevant on social media, especially on Instagram, brands need to post frequently. One guru in the space who I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk, posts seven to eight times per day. I post at least once per day, but typically more. Also, be consistent with your imagery when posting on Instagram. Make sure to have a consistent look across the board.

Jean Ginzburg, Ginball Digital Marketing

10. Make It a Contest

Photo contests are a great way to engage with users on Instagram. Ask customers to post images, preferably ones using a new or promoted product, and have them tag it with a specific hashtag for the contest. Ask users to vote on their favorites and then pick a winner. A well-planned contest will build brand awareness and help you engage with new customers.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

11. Write Great Captions

Sure, Instagram is a visual platform, but the caption of your post says a lot, too. Also, be consistent when posting — especially because the new algorithm is not chronological anymore. Post more!

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

12. Be Human

Instagram photos that perform best showcase lifestyle stories, not static images. For example, when posting a product, have a smiling woman on a beautiful beach with her friends. Fans are more likely to relate or aspire to that image. That’s because Instagram was originally created to capture people’s lifestyles. It is an artistic platform on which people tend to interact with those who post happy, beautiful images of their daily lives.

Michael Hsu, DeepSky

13. Focus on the Customer Journey

The creative you use has to be based on the stages of the funnel. Is the ad focusing on awareness, consideration or decision? What will resonate most with your audience based on their buying stage? Use creative that resonates most with your audience’s buying stage and psychographics.

Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

14. Boost Your Content With Ads

While Instagram is one of the best platforms for user engagement, your content may still get lost and not reach its full potential. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the photo or witty the caption if no one sees it. It’s worth investing some money into boosting a post via Instagram Ads to reach a larger audience and ensure relevant users are seeing it.

Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

15. Reach Out to Influencers

It can be a long, time-consuming process building up an engaged audience on Instagram. A quick and easy shortcut is to reach out to social media influencers who did the hard work for you by building up their own following. Finding a natural way to connect your service or product with their brand can be extremely effective and tremendously time saving.

Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

16. Showcase Authentic Moments

A reposted inspirational quote, a stock photo that’s been heavily edited and other images that are clearly not from where you live and work should be avoided. We see right through that stuff. Content that does best in terms of engagement is usually produced by you, imperfections and all.

Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications

The Future of Social Media and Your Brand

The writing is on the wall. SEO and desktop usage are making their way out the door. Social media and visual content is now king! Take the time to examine each of the expert tips and best practices, while also implementing them into your existing content creation and marketing efforts.

Also be sure to consider your options with automated social media marketing tools and how to start taking advantage of influencer marketing within your niche market. The better you tackle these

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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What You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing in 2019

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With the pervasiveness of the internet, online advertising becomes profitable both for small and large businesses to attract consumers, compared to traditional media in the past five years. Online advertising revenues in the US rose by 22%, to a record of $72.5 billion, surpassing TV ads ($69 billion) in 2016.

An average person is exposed to over 1,700 online ads each month, but only half of them are actually viewed. The use of ad-block applications also rose by 30% in 2016. Consumers today have become immune to ads. They don’t take what brands are telling them at face value and prefer trustworthy sources – a trusted friend, family member, expert or social media influencer.

They rely on these sources before making purchase decisions to seek assurance of a good quality or experience. A research from Nielsen confirmed that recommendations from close peers or family are the most trusted source of information, rather than company websites, consumer reviews, and editorial articles.

This leads to the rise of influencer marketing. Influencers are considered to be credible because of their expertise in a specific subject matter and their ability to engage with their followers. Thus, brands can capitalize on this by using influencers to reach the consumers on social media platforms – where internet users spend most of their time.

In 2017, 71% of internet users are using social media platforms and these figures are expected to grow in the future. Social media has become the channel where influencers connect with consumers.

The most popular platforms for influencer marketing are Instagram and Youtube. According to Goldmedia, sponsored content from both platforms accounted for 34% and 31% of total influencers respectively.

Shifting to Top Tech Influencers

Huawei Mobile, a global provider of smart devices, partnered with a top tech influencer, Judner Aura to introduce the new Mate 10 Pro smartphone by giving an in-depth review of the phone on his Youtube Channel (UrAvgConsumer).

His Youtube channel has the most viewed technology product reviews of all time, with some of his most popular videos generating around 1 million views. The fact that he is extremely well-known for his knowledge of consumer-tech products makes his reviews credible. Thus, influencers like Judner Aura act as a guide that followers turn to before pulling the trigger.

Retail Chains Turn to Fashion Bloggers

H&M utilized Instagram to target young consumers, with its 700 million monthly users ranging from 16-24 years old. A research showed that 85% of Gen Z uses social media platforms to learn about new products and is more receptive to product information on social media.

To promote its H&M Divided Collection, H&M partnered with fashion bloggers, Julie Sarniana and Megan Ellaby on Instagram, resulting in a huge spike in followers just moments after the post was uploaded.

According to 2017 ShareIQ analysis, H&M generated 39 million Instagram engagements from just 486 posts and 20 times higher engagement than its competitors. Since then, H&M has been a strong performer on social media platforms, joining forces with fashion bloggers, style bloggers, models, and other fashionistas.

Joining forces with influencers are effective because it leads to building a brand’s credibility since they specialize in a particular category of content. Take advantage of their recommendations, testimonials, product reviews, and commentaries to attract consumers on social media platforms.

40% of respondents mentioned that they made a purchase after seeing a social media influencers using the product or service. Influencer marketing is a worthwhile investment and if you plan to increase your budget for influencer marketing for your business, make sure to check out the infographic below.

Courtesy of: Milkwhale
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A Fool-Proof Formula to Creating Original Content for Social Media

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You are doing a great job of posting on social media every day, and some people appear to be liking your content. So, you’re good to go, right?

Not necessarily.

Research shows that 60% of today’s marketers generate at least a single piece of online content every day, which may include blogs or social media posts. However, not all social media content in particular is equal when it comes to quality.

Social media is an essential part of any digital marketing campaign. Here are a few fool-proof tips for creating sharable original content on social media from one day to the next.

Let’s jump in!

Tell Stories to Generate Original Content on Social Media

Anybody can find commonly used inspirational quotes in his or her industry and post them on their own social media pages. That’s easy.

However, not all people can effectively share firsthand accounts of events in their respective industries that taught them something and perhaps even changed their lives.

If you’d like to produce content around topics that are heavily saturated on social media, it’s paramount that you do something totally unique by telling stories.

If you provide your own input and give your post an original flavor readers can’t find elsewhere on social media, you’ve got winning original content.

Constantly Gather New Ideas

A challenge that many brands face is that they are closed in how they approach to social media marketing.

For instance, perhaps you look at the creation of social media content as a task that takes place within a certain time slot. Outside of this allotted time, you don’t give attention to your content. With time sensitivity aways being of concern, a great way to take advantage of social media and being in the moment, it to focus on Instagram hashtags. With hundreds of millions of users on the platform at any given time, this is a great way to reach a ton of users for free, while also ranking in their platform for what’s happening at any given moment.

If you’re serious about creating successful original content, you’ve got to think differently about when you post on social media. Instead, it’s important that you gather ideas 24-7.

For instance, whether you’re going to a movie at night with your significant other or you’re getting the kids ready for school in the morning, your brain should be wired such that you constantly look for fresh ideas for your social media content.

You could even use these ideas as inspiration for the messages you share as part of your short message service, or SMS, marketing strategy. (View here for tips about what and what not do in the area of SMS marketing, based on a real-world example.)

Take the Visual Route

Words are indeed powerful, but pictures are even more memorable and engaging.

So, if you’d like to create content that grabs your readers’ attention on congested social media news feeds, go visual. That means posting stimulating photos with your written content or even posting video to engage with your target audience on a personal level.

How We Can Help

In addition to highlighting about how to create original content for social media, we offer a wide range of tips and resources on creating effective blogs that generate results.

We understand that online marketing as a whole is quite competitive. In fact, you could say that trying to get your voice to stand out online is a lot like trying to scream louder than everyone else in a crowd of 10,000 people.

Yes, it’s hard, but it’s not impossible with the right tools.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how you can generate online marketing content that people actually want to read, and that will motivate them to purchase your offerings time and time again.

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7 Quick Tips on How to Keep Your Instagram Page Interesting

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5 Instagram Marketing Tips to Increase Your Blog Traffic

Overwhelmed with a lot of great Instagram profiles popping up like daisies? I don’t blame you. With Instagram becoming a saturated space, about a billion active users, it’s tough competition to get your followers to stay interested. You can’t afford to be complacent even when you’re confident you have a great following.

The preferences and priorities of your followers change as they go through these fast-paced times influenced by mass media and technology. Keeping them happy and engaged increases the probability that they are here to stay.

Cool Visuals

Instagram is designed to showcase eye-pleasing photos. So use this to your advantage — high-quality, energized and dramatic images are a way to catch your audience’s attention. Use photo editing software or apps that offer a variety of creative filters. Caption photos that tell a curious story and stir positive reactions. Excitement. Nostalgia. Tapping into your audience through emotions builds a connection.

Content Curation

Sometimes things can get boring when you run out of ideas to create, that you just make do with a lazy topic. Try to breathe new life into reliable old posts or topics that may be relevant to your audience or the brand you are promoting. The content should offer something unique or add value to your followers. Every post should give to your audience a take-away to think about or something of use. They will learn to rely on your every post since they can relate to it relative to their everyday lives.

Social Sharing

Effective content curation is a way that can get you to network online, as you are sharing relevant sourced content that you are using to increase your brand’s visibility. This means a higher chance of getting your brand out there, which equates to more potential likes and followers. If you want to increase visibility, buying Instagram likes can help you get ahead. The more likes you get, the more traffic you get. A win-win situation if you ask me!

Play with Trends

Admit it, it’s fun to join in on the latest hype or even crazy meme to make things lighter and more entertaining. Novel ideas spark interest and build even more ideas and dialogue. We are curious beings and new things, or even old things seen in a new light, are always great conversation starters. The more you get your audience interested, the more they will understand that your brand is keen on providing current and fresh concepts.

Following the Big Name Brands

One of the most effective ways to keep your own social media profiles and updates relevant and interesting is to keep an eye on the big players in your industry. It doesn’t matter if you are an e-commerce company, selling ads online, or even just posting pictures of the latest fashion — it’s important to know what your competition is posting, so you can not only get inspired by their promotions — but also get determined to do it even better! Follow the big name brands and most followed Instagrammers in your niche space to see what others are liking and sharing the most.

Engage in Debates

You can’t please everybody. There’s bound to be that one commenter who will think otherwise. It’s a great opportunity for you to get involved and comment back. It sends a message that you are in touch with your followers and not a snob. Just remember to keep the vibe positive and conversation healthy. Keep it classy!

Listen to Your Followers

So, you’ve established your brand and the kind of content you wish to sustain and build. There may be times when you’re so focused on getting your brand noticed, you’re set to base everything on your decisions. You forget your audience has a voice too. Don’t become one-sided. Feature them in your posts. Give back. Take the time to know and understand the needs or preferences of your audience but still keep true to your brand. Be receptive. Be flexible.

It’s a challenging feat to take on. But if your passion is blogging and getting satisfaction from seeing your followers happy, then keeping them interested will come naturally to you.

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