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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
14 Social Media Tips For Attracting Gen Z Audiences in 2019
As the workforce and consumer market’s next up-and-coming demographic, Gen Z is an attractive target audience for many businesses. Depending on your company, you may want to consider this audience in your social media efforts to engage prospective customers and employees. However, it’s important to remember that each generation has their own unique preferences — what worked in attracting millennials, for instance, won’t necessarily work for Gen Z.
To help you target Generation Z on social media, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for some tips they’ve used to successful appeal to this audience. Here is what they advise:
I think that personalization is one of the best ways to appeal to Gen Z on social media. Studies show that more people want to see personalized content and advertisements than ever before, starting with Gen Z. We can use this love of personalized experiences to create content playlists and advertisements that appeal to this crowd.
2. Influencer Marketing
Studies have shown that the Gen Z audience relates more to influencers than celebrities, so influencer marketing on social media is a great way to connect with them. When they see someone that they can relate to using a product, they’re more likely to buy that product too. Influencer marketing is a form of social proof that the Gen Z audience can trust.
One of the best ways to generate leads for your business, especially with the Gen Z crowd, is by having a chatbot available on your social media account to answer any questions. Live chat reps are good for some tasks, but if a customer has a common inquiry, you could implement a chatbot to help resolve these questions or concerns in seconds.
4. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are widely popular with the Gen Z audience. Instagram Stories are great because they’re short and engaging, which is perfect for an audience with a shorter attention span. With so much content on the internet, it’s important to get information across quickly and in an entertaining way.
5. Answer Their Questions
Gen Z prefers to engage with businesses on a more personal level, so taking time to answer their hard-pressed questions when other brands ignore them can set you apart from the rest. Try to solve their pain points and figure out what they need help with so they look to you as an expert and appreciate what you can give them.
6. Video Content
Blog content is great and capable of getting millions of views, but Gen Z seems to prefer video content over traditional text. I like to mix it up by creating a blog post, then creating a short video version of the article for people who prefer this format.
7. Leverage FOMO
People, especially in the younger crowd, hate to feel like they’re missing out on anything important going on. That’s why using FOMO, or fear of missing out, is such an effective method to get their attention on social media. Make it sound urgent that they take some sort of action beneficial to your business. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. Focus Your Efforts
Facebook is trending towards the millennial and older group, while Tik Tok, Snapchat and even Instagram are much more appealing to Generation Z. Make sure you focus your efforts on the channels in which your audience exist, then produce content that resonates with them. Short videos, in particular, are very powerful for interacting with this audience.
9. Value-Driven Content
When communicating with Gen Z through my social platforms, I focus on providing some form of value in the content that I share. There is no audience as tech-savvy or as fluent and comfortable with different online platforms as Gen Z, and in turn, they will not be impressed by or respond to something that is not of value to them. Providing value allows you to cut through the clutter and resonate.
10. Mobile Experiences
Go mobile, because that’s where the Gen Z audience is. Smartphones are what they live by. This can supersede other strategies that might seem effective because, in the interests of the demographics, you have to go to the device where they’re at the most. On that note, your website should be perfectly optimized to mobile.
11. No Filters
If you’ve been following Gen Z on Instagram and other social media, you might have noticed that they don’t spend nearly as much time as, say, millennials to make their feed look polished. Many of them specifically bypass Snapseed and post straight from their phone. The “realness” of this world is what really attracts young people from this generation, so just be real and capitalize on imperfection.
12. Images and Memes
The younger generation has a short attention span. Get your message across quickly by using images and memes. Avoid any marketing message that takes more than 10 seconds to initially consume.
13. Behind-the-Scenes Content
Gen Z is a more self-aware generation. They use social media for entertainment as well as learning. Using video content to give them behind-the-scenes glimpses into the brand, creating how-to videos and using social media for telling compelling stories is the best method to boost engagement. They don’t want to be sold to, so brands need to forge organic connections through their content.
14. Corporate Social Responsibility
Use a social cause to drive your brand and product mission forward. Create social media campaigns and profiles that are associated with improving life. The majority of Gen Z care deeply about making an impact and they want to be aligned with brands and products that do just that. Do this in an engaging way, like through Instagram story, to build a more personal connection this generation craves.
Social Media is the Path to Generation Z
In addition to the many tips and marketing methods listed above, it’s also important to have an effective content creation and marketing strategy in place.
To learn more about what’s working best for bloggers, brands and content marketers on social media, click here for more tips and actionable methods you can start implementing today.
#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free
The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.
We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.
What is a YouTube Banner?
When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.
Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.
If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.
What are the Banner Specifications?
When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.
According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:
- Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
- Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
- Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
- Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
- File size: 4MB or smaller
What Should I Include in My Banner?
Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.
Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates
There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.
Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.
Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.
Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.
It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner
We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.
Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!
The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.
I make over six figures every month and so can you. Sign up below to get instant access to my exact blogging strategy!
Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce
The number of hurdles standing between online shoppers and completing transactions is dwindling. The path to purchase is getting smoother as retailers move toward frictionless ecommerce. Gone are the days where shoppers must visit an ecommerce website to buy a product, especially if they originally spot the product on a social media platform.
Nowadays, social shopping is capable of enabling people to reduce the number of steps to checkout by allowing them to buy without exiting social media. Instagram Checkout is the latest feature geared toward making it easier to complete deals. Here’s more on this announcement and its potential impact on the ecommerce industry as a whole.
First, What Is Frictionless Ecommerce?
When you hear the word friction, you probably think of resistance. This force can be useful, like using sandpaper to smooth down rough wood. Or this force can be a hindrance, like trying to slide a piece of heavy furniture across the floor. In ecommerce, friction is undesirable because it means shoppers are meeting resistance when they try to proceed through the sales funnel.
Frictionless ecommerce is something sellers are seeking out because it allows them to “integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments,” according to BLM Technologies.
One of these natural environments is social media, an activity in which many users are spending a larger chunk of each day. It only makes sense to try to sell to people there, rather than requiring them to visit a separate website each time they want to browse or buy.
The ethos behind frictionless ecommerce tells us reducing the number of steps it takes to buy products online will motivate more people to stick around for as long as it takes to convert. Less hassle translates into more sales and a better customer experience.
Of course, it’s still vitally important to set up a responsive, fully featured online store complete with secure checkout. After all, some people won’t use social shopping. Today, leading platforms like Shopify offer free ecommerce website builders to help retailers run their stores. Branching out into frictionless ecommerce in the form of social shopping will help merchants capture even more sales by offering shoppers flexible options.
Building a Trusted Brand and Following Will Still Apply
As you can imagine, with more than a billion active users on the Instagram platform, it’s going to get quite competitive when it comes to ecommerce advertising. With that being said, this is where traditional authentic and organic followers and engagement will come into play.
We recently talked about the power and effectiveness of using a tool like Kicksta to automate the audience targeting and engagement process. For ecommerce and online stores, this is one of the best ways to put your Instagram marketing efforts on auto-pilot, which also reaching new audiences daily.
This also leads to better paid advertising and remarketing options as well. Once a user starts following your account, you have a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to offer.
Set up a new Instagram ad campaign that targets your existing followers, then compare the results with your outside targeting and default ad campaigns. We are sure the existing follower audience set will perform much better. You can visit their website here and watch the short video on their homepage to see how the process works.
The Rise of Instagram Checkout in Ecommerce
Instagram is a highly visual platform, allowing brands to connect with users through engaging images, videos and captions. If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you know the feeling of seeing something you like and wanting to know more about it — or perhaps even conducting an impulse purchase it on the spot.
Instagram Checkout aims to tap into the marketing prowess of this app by “allowing users to complete product purchases without having to leave the app.” It’s all of the convenience of online window shopping without even having to go into the store, except people can still get their hands on the product. Plus, after Instagram users enter their payment data once, the app saves it for future purchases. Thus, the purchasing journey remains inside a single app — making it more convenient and tempting for mobile shoppers who follow their favorite brands online.
At the moment, Instagram Checkout is a feature in beta testing available to about 20 top brands. An advanced version will be available to more merchants down the line, which means we all need to prepare for the wider acceptance of social shopping. Once this becomes the standard, online users will crave ultra-convenient experiences.
Instagram Checkout is an exciting new development on the horizon for ecommerce brands, and stores must embrace the move toward frictionless ecommerce to stay competitive.
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