Let’s look at some facts. Did you know that there are roughly 25 million active business profiles on Instagram? And that out of Instagram’s billion-strong user base, 80% follow a business profile? In fact, out of all the top three social media sites on the internet, Instagram ranks 1st when it comes to user-brand engagement: ten times higher than Facebook and 84 times more than Twitter. One look at all these facts and figures and it becomes glaringly obvious that Instagram is the place your brand should be.
Thing is, all your competitors are most likely there, too. So in a saturated space such as Instagram, the game is no longer just about gaining views or traction. It’s about actually getting your followers to stay interested. Read on, and we’ll show you how you can turn your audience into a loyal following.
Be playful with content
No one likes being talked into buying an item like a telemarketer does when they’re selling you insurance over the phone. Or a saleslady, when she’s following you around the store. The same principle applies to your brand on social media.
After all, people are primarily on social media to be social, not to be bombarded with ads and sales talk. So to keep your audience interested, you have to make sure your content is interesting. Keep up with their jokes. Listen to their stories. Stay in tune with their language. Are you a brand that sells camping gear? Try posting bucket-list-worthy pictures of real people while traveling off the beaten path. Do you specialize in sports equipment? Turn your page into a great source of inspiration for all athletes—semi-pros, aspiring newbies, and couch megafans alike.
Let your followers know who you are, and not just what you’re selling. Lure them in with relevant posts and interesting visuals that allow them to see the lifestyle and culture that comes with your brand. Follow the 80-20 rule: keep hardsell posts down to 20% of your weekly content, leaving the rest free for posts that spark engagement with your audience.
Create eye candy
Check it: a whopping 67% of consumers reported to have preferred relying on detailed images over product information when it comes to shopping online. That means that with an average of 70 million photos posted on Instagram per day, your post has to rise above the clutter. While your audience mindlessly scrolls away on their feed, make sure that when they come across your photo, it’ll make them stop, like, and buy. Instagram is all about visuals, and your brand has to keep up.
Start by playing around with filters. And you don’t have to stay with the ones that are built-in with Instagram. Try downloading photo-editing apps that will allow you to enhance the colors of your images and match them with the rest on your page, like Instasize. This app has over 50 artistic filters, all crafted and curated to help you bring out the best with each photo. Try one of their top performing filters then adjust brightness, saturation, colors, and hues as you see fit to turn any product image into a stunning picture, all with the touch of a button on your screen.
While you’re at it, discover other ways to jazz up your photo. Layer photos on top of another to add interesting borders to your image. Or add beautiful typography-style text to your images. Use this app to play around and create one-of-a-kind visuals that are totally unique to your brand.
Engage, engage, engage
One-sided conversations are boring. And after a point, they’re actually really unsustainable. So when it comes to keeping your followers interested, don’t do all the talking. Let your audience’s voices be heard and you stand a better chance at keeping them engaged.
Never keep a question hanging. Whether it’s a follower asking if they have an item in their size, or a rhetorical one like if you’ll ever sell it at 90% off, or if what they want ships to a country your post clearly says it doesn’t—always answer back. You have nothing to lose but time. And at the very least, you have their gratitude to gain.
See an interesting comment posted on your picture? Respond in a way that will garner positive reactions. Are they declaring their undying love for you? Tell them you love them back! Are they airing their frustrations at the lack of stocks in their area? Acknowledge and apologize. Whether you’re trying to be funny or comforting, always answer in a way that’s smart, witty, and genuine. Keep these tips in mind, and your audience is sure to keep your brand in theirs.
Remember: don’t ignore your followers. Use each response from your audience as an opportunity to engage.
Ride on trending topics
When it comes to trending topics, there really is one cardinal rule: treat each one like a moving train. Hop on the right one, and your brand is sure to get some talk and traction. So when you see the chance, take it. Use what’s relevant in the internet to keep conversations about your brand going.
One surefire way is to pay attention to popular memes going around on social media. Memes are a funny representation of what’s current in culture, which is why they tend to be highly shareable. So if you find a meme that fits your brand and audience, take advantage and have fun.
Just make sure that you’re not forcing your brand to fit the meme—otherwise your post runs the risk of becoming cringe-worthy.
You can also keep track of holidays happening around the world and create content around it. Add a relevant hashtag while you’re at it. By celebrating a day that means something to people, you’re building an affinity with your audience and strengthening your relationship with your followers.
Spark interesting collaborations
There’s a reason endorsers exist. When used correctly, a celebrity’s character and influence can do wonders to your brand. Take the collaboration of Puma and Rihanna for example: the cool R&B singer, known for her urban and edgy street style, was able to freshen up the retro sportswear brand—leading to a spike in sales worldwide.
This meant a spike in following to Puma’s brand as well. Rihanna’s followers naturally pledged loyalty to the songstress by supporting the brand she was currently endorsing.
Collaborations don’t always have to be this big. The most important thing is to pay attention to the needs and wants of your followers. Know an influencer they love? Try collaborating with him or her. Or collaborate with your audience instead! Take their opinions into consideration each time you plan to come out with something new.
Share (Instagram) Stories
What’s great about Instagram Stories is that it allows you to connect with your audience on a more personal level.
Unlike the rest of your feed, whatever you post on IG Stories will only be up for 24 hours (unless you actually add it to your page using Highlights). This means you can share pictures and videos without disrupting the current content plan of your page. So post previews of a photoshoot. Excite people with an exclusive sneak peak before a product launch. Use your IG Stories to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look on what goes on in your day.
You can also use it to talk to your audience. One great thing you can do with this feature is create polls and ask questions, allowing you to see and keep track of your audience’s responses in real time.
But just because you’re posting something that’ll be gone in 24 hours, doesn’t mean aesthetic goes out the window. Always remember to check if what you’re posting is visually aligned with your brand! An easy fix is to apply an awesome filter before sharing.
Empower your audience
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that building a loyal following really is about empowering your audience. Make them feel like you’re talking to them each time you post. Make them realize you’re listening to them by planning and curating your brand’s content.
Hold promos and contests that keep your following excited about what’s in store for them. Ask for their opinion when it matters. Feature them in some of your posts. Establishing a strong influence on Instagram starts into getting insight into what makes your audience happy—then keep doing it, and always challenge yourself to do even better.
About the Author:
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.
15 Unconventional Social Media Tactics That Encourage Engagement
Just about every brand is on social media nowadays, but not all of them know how to use it effectively. It’s not enough to have a profile on multiple platforms and post content regularly. You need to provide the right kinds of content and posts that will make your followers want to react, share and comment.
To find out what works, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for their favorite lesser-known strategy for boosting a brand’s social media engagement. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Hold Contests and Giveaways
A great way to drive engagement and social growth is via contests and giveaways. “Tag and win” contests are a great way to drive action and at a relatively low cost. We use these to gain new followers and build brand awareness. It is a good idea to make it as easy as possible to enter and share with friends, as this will drive the viral nature of the post and go much further.
2. Promote User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a great way to encourage social media engagement. If you come off as being too promotional or professional, you give off the impression that you’re only there to do business. Encouraging customers to develop their own content allows businesses to show off their products from a more personalized point of view will increase engagement by highlighting your customers first.
3. Create and Share Useful Infographics
A great way to drive up engagement for image-based social networks, especially if your business is based on written content like mine, is to post infographics. If they contain interesting information presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner, readers will be inclined to reblog or retweet your posts. Small businesses can easily find freelance designers to help make them on sites like Fiverr.
4. Offer Exclusive Group Access
To entice our audience to engage with our Facebook Messenger bot, we entice them to join by giving them exclusive access to a free Facebook group that only our Messenger subscribers will have access. It includes exclusive training and Facebook live speed coaching that can’t be found anywhere else. By creating a unique “club,” it keeps the right people in our group and increases engagement.
5. Jack the News
Newsjacking is not “stealing the news.” Instead, it’s a valuable way for you to use a breaking story to shine a light on something you are doing at your business. While people are searching for the topic, new viewers will stumble upon what you are saying about the topic. It is a simple, cost-effective way for small business to generate tons of media coverage and social media engagement. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
6. Have a Virtual Party
Who said parties can only be offline? You can take your party online as well. We like to invite our customers, prospects and partners to join us for a virtual party. This is the easiest way to get discovered because when people share their voice, their audience sees what they are sharing as well.
7. Add Facebook Messenger to Your Website Homepage
It’s really easy (and free) to install the Facebook Messenger widget on your company’s homepage. As live chat becomes the No. 1 communication preference for online customers, bringing Facebook’s chat capabilities directly to your site encourages more interaction with customers. Plus, it’s a clever way to draw them into your social ecosystem.
8. Thank Your Customers Using Video
We love to use video on social media to thank our customers. A short, 15-second post identifying a great customer by name can create an amazing ripple effect. That person will likely share it on social, which will then create positive brand awareness. A small business can do this with an iPhone — just dedicate five to 10 minutes a day to these posts and watch the shares stream in.
9. Say Hello to Your Neighbors
As a physical location business, I love using Instagram’s geo-location feature. We can say hello to all the neighbors, to potential clients and to anyone who’s tagged themselves in or near our location. For example, I can see who’s nearby our massage studio based on who’s tagged themselves at the local gym, yoga studio or juice bar, and then “Like” and comment on their posts so they know we exist. – Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost
10. Focus on Image-Based Content
Several of my clients who are startup founders post images that are not necessarily about the product or service they sell but it talks about the industry they serve. For example, a pregnancy care app used to post images about newly born babies, which made them very popular. A picture is better than a thousand words — people always respond to something that is visually appealing.
11. Join a Relevant Group
Creating and joining engagement pods or groups with a similar niche is one of the underutilized methods to gain more engagement within your social media platforms. It’s essentially creating a community of loyal supporters to follow, like and comment on every content that you post. This will work for both personal and business brands.
12. Integrate Offline Promotions
If you have a store or retail related market, you can introduce items and posters within your store that will encourage people to engage with you via social media. It’s important to have a strategy in mind when you’re using social. How much promotion will you do? Discount offers? Value-driven content? Contests? Let people know you intend to provide this via social with in-person marketing items. Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting
13. Reach Out to Them First
I go through my followers’ followers and reach out to them on their pages. This means asking questions, commenting and retweeting their posts. I find that they then take the time to see who I am and discover what I do. This has significantly raised our followers in an organic way.
14 Take Advantage of Polls
Using polls in your Instagram stories is a great way to simultaneously encourage engagement and tap into valuable customer feedback. Pose questions in a fun and light-hearted way. This is a great way to take the temperature of your community. Are they willing to take two seconds to engage with you? If not, it may be time to re-think your overall approach to social media.
15. Share On-Brand Memes
Especially to the younger generations, memes are unique to our times and there is nothing like it in terms of engagement. Business owners sometimes have problems to not only understand memes but also to use them in successful campaigns. You need to have someone in the team that keeps up with pop culture and creates memes according to your brand, but you won’t regret it.
How to Make Them ‘Appy: 4 Top App Trends Rocking the Mobile World
As the App Store reported having more than 2 million applications available on it in 2018, it’s clear that the app market is a little saturated. However, through a sort of natural selection, app trends keep changing to ensure that users get the most out of their mobile and smart devices.
If you follow what’s happening in apps, you’ll stay ahead of your competitors and build apps that people use.
Here are four trends that are changing the way people use apps this year.
1. Apps For Wearables
Despite a few hiccups with products like the Google Glass, wearable devices are alive and well. The number of people walking around with FitBits and smartwatches is only going to grow in the next few years. Along with these smart devices are the requisite apps to make them more useful.
Smart wearables are a great way to stay healthy for some people. A watch that also watches your heart rate, checks your daily step count, and alerts you of appointments is a great way to stay in check. When you can receive alerts to take medications or to get to the doctor, it creates a personal connection with the device.
Increasingly, companies are integrating productivity applications for wearable devices. While tablets and smartphones started out as devices to perform some leisure activities on, they now have tools to keep you working. This is a welcome change for some while others call it a shame for the way it keeps us tethered.
More products will come with sensors attached to them that are then synchronized with apps. There are lots of connected devices sure to bed developed in the coming years that we can’t even predict yet and each one of them needs an app.
2. IoT and Smart Home Devices
Most estimates suggest that in only a few years, the number of smart devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are going to outnumber people. With these devices connected and listening to our every move and command, they’ll become more integrated with our daily lives. Smart home devices give us a way to be more productive and integrate the technology we’re already using with our home life.
As these items become more useful and more prevalent, they’re becoming more integrated with one another. You can now control smart home devices remotely via apps. You can start heating up your home as soon as you leave the office or unlock your door for visiting guests while you’re out running errands. Many of these smart home applications can be accessed through mobile apps as well.
These devices are collecting more and more data as time goes on. When integrated with weather applications, your heater can warn you that you won’t need it because a warm front is moving in. If there’s a blizzard coming, your fridge application can tell you that you should pick up some milk before you get home since you’re almost out.
There are so many ways that WiFi enabled devices at home can connect with you while you’re away. You can turn off lights that you forgot to hit on your way out or even know whether you left the oven on by checking the app.
3. More Mobile Purchasing
As mobile internet use has passed browsing on desktops and laptops, the number of people shopping has also moved mobile. More devices are now integrating payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Wallet into their interfaces, making mobile devices more accessible. It also means that developers need to get to work on new ways to process transactions.
Making purchases is becoming easier to do without cash. To process payment of any type from any customer that comes your way, you need to have the tools at your disposal. Not having the ability to process a payment sends your customers to your competitors.
Wearable devices are going to get into the purchasing game as well. When they can process payments, you’ll see very people leaving the house with their wallet.
Combine all this with data collection and predictive analytics and you’ll find new ways to engage customer loyalty. If you sell products in a brick and mortar space, your customers can get notified of special promotions as they walk by a business. Get them to buy from a certain retailer by tracking their data and you’ll build customer loyalty through habitual purchasing.
4. All New User Experiences
As devices find new ways to collect and display data, mobile user interfaces are going to change. With smaller spaces come more interesting challenges. The most successful mobile companies are finding new ways to push intuitive design out to their clients.
Interactive interfaces require designers to create apps that allow you to do things you could never do on mobile devices before. With user attention split and constant interruptions, apps need to accommodate these challenges.
App development needs to use content layers and circular design patterns that help people manage their content. With the increased use of augmented technology, there will be new ways for people to explore the space they’re in. If you’re the first company of your type to take up space there, you can lead the way in your industry.
The standards for user interface keep changing, meaning that your designers need to be at the top of their game. As these standards change, so do customer expectations.
App Trends Are Going To Keep Shifting
If you think you’ll ever finish chasing app trends, you’re never going to be happy with this moving target. Once you realize that chasing trends is the way of the world in the app game, you’ll be much happier about the results.
If you want to increase your productivity, check out our latest guide for building projects with better tools.
A Blogger’s Guide to Using Instagram Influencers
To become a successful blogger, you need to find different ways to grow your blog’s following. And there’s no better way of doing this than to promote your blog.
From content marketing to SEO, you can increase your reach and authority. You just have to choose the most suitable tactics for your brand.
One of the most effective ways to draw traffic to your blog is influencer marketing.
According to this St. Josephs Communications infographic, 67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing helps them reach out to a more targeted audience. In the same infographic, it also states that influencer marketing has the potential to generate 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of advertising like print and TV ads.
When it comes to social media platforms, Instagram proves to be one of the most potent for influencer marketing.
In fact, the platform is expected to host 32.3 million sponsored posts by 2019. And that only includes posts that have the hashtags #sponsored, #ad, #sp or #spon.
Given these figures, it would be foolish of you to not get help from Instagram influencers!
Therefore, below are five tips that you must follow to extend your blog’s reach, no matter what your niche is.
1. Don’t skimp on the research
One of the most important steps to running any type of marketing campaign is to do your research.
Explore your influencer options and reach out to those who are a good fit for your brand by looking at their core values, aesthetic style, and personality/tone.
Check out their profile and see
Look at the type of collaborations they have worked on in the past and see what kind of publicity it these sponsored posts have generated.
Some influencers buy automatic Instagram likes organically to boost engagement. Objectively speaking, there’s nothing with this approach as long as the influencer delivers the results.
You might also want to consider how often they post sponsored content. You wouldn’t want to work with an influencer who is all over the place.
2. Make first impressions count
Once you’ve narrowed down your influencer options, your next step is to make the initial contact.
Write a short pitch that clearly communicates what your brand stands for and how you’re interested to work with them.
You can introduce your brand via DM. But if you want to stand out, send them an email instead. This way, your proposal won’t get lost in the sheer number of DMs the influencer receives every day.
3. Compensate your influencers fairly
Even if your product or service has amazing benefits, that doesn’t mean that influencers will be clamoring to promote it for free.
Building up a following on social media takes effort on a consistent basis. Therefore, you need to make sure that you compensate your influencers fairly.
Also, creating a social media content strategy takes days – if not weeks. So you should be willing to pay your influencers what is due to them. You can even offer your influencers a commission for every sale they send your way.
Of course, you need to approach compensation with 20/20 hindsight.
Don’t promise an amount that you’re not confident with. At the same time, don’t expect the influencers to deliver beyond their capabilities.
You must make informed decisions to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
4. Let go of some creative control
You may have brilliant ideas for your brand content. But at some point, you need to let go of some creative control.
Keep in mind that influencers are masters in their niche, so they have the know-how to promote your brand to their audience. This reason is why you hired them in the first place.
If you’re going to micromanage how influencers present your brand on Instagram, then you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place!
The idea of influencer marketing is for them to do the dirty job for you. Interfering with their process won’t bode well for your business.
Therefore, it is very crucial to research on the influencer – the type of posts they publish, what other brands say about them, how professional they are – before hiring the,.
Of course, you have the freedom to share your style pegs or visual references. At the end of the day, however, you need to let your influencers do what they do best. And that is to use their creativity to promote your product and services without resorting to outright selling it.
5. Don’t forget the stories
Instagram stories are a great way to interact with followers. It helps tell a much complete brand story and can also show the product or service in action.
Most influencers know this and will be more than happy to give you a mention in their stories if you ask nicely.
To help you find the best Instagram influencers to hire, make sure that they do the following on their Stories:
- Knows how to use stickers effectively – Stickers on social media aren’t simply just for making the posts cuter. A great influencer employs stickers to elicit a response or reaction from his or her followers.
- Uses videos – Unlike images, videos allow influencers to create more layered storytelling for their audience. The best influencers use videos to leave their followers wanting more or connect with them on a more personal level.
- Tracks and measures results – Some Instagram Stories are a hit or miss. Thanks to Insights, influencers can determine which Stories worked so they can engage more with their followers. If the influencer know his or her way around Insights, then you now have someone who will promote your brand!
Tapping into Instagram influencers teaches us a great lesson about growing an online brand.
Sure, it’s fun to generate more traffic and qualified leads to your blog with influencers promoting your content.
However, the most important thing about influencer marketing is that it’s all about building relationships.
Let’s face it: all successful brands and businesses are founded on relationships.
You are not only developing a connection with your audience through Instagram influencers. You are also fostering partnerships with high-level influencers in your field.
Without these connections, you won’t enjoy the level of success necessary to grow your blog. Therefore, you need to learn how to nurture your relationships from all levels to sustain your brand.
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