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How to Effectively Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

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Social media plays a hugely integral part of business these days, but for some it’s still a relatively new concept. Bearing this in mind, Citipost Mail have been doing some digging into what social media platforms can work best for your business. In particular, they’ve focused on Instagram which is fast becoming the most popular platform for businesses to reach their customers and followers. Be sure to check out the Instargram infographic at the bottom of this article as well.

Here, we’ll look at how to use Instagram specifically for business purposes, looking further into the both the positives and negatives of using Instagram as well as what the social network can offer you, such as business profiles and targeting.

We’ll also delve into how best to pick the right target audience for this particular platform and explain how it’s different to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Maximizing the amount of interaction with your audience through a business profile on Instagram can be challenging if you’re not quite sure how to go about it. Using popular Instagram tools such as hashtags, creating the right sort of content and choosing the correct styling for your business can pay dividends. There are also a number of other tools that can be used to increase visibility such as using embed codes for placing a photo onto a website or blog, sponsored ads and regramming!

Why Should I Consider Instagram For My Business?

Over 400 million people use Instagram each and every day and over 80% of Instagrammers that use the platform regularly follow a business on Instagram. Due to this, it may seem pretty foolish not to harness at least some of those users. 48.8% of major brands use Instagram as an integral part of their long-term marketing goals.

What does Instagram offer Businesses?

Encouraging people to interact with you and your business is the key to success on Instagram, some of the top brands have an engagement rate of 4.21% per follower. That’s a massive 58 TIMES more engagement per follower than Facebook and incredibly, 120 TIMES more engagement per follower than Twitter!

Over 75% of Instagram users will take an action such as visiting a website after seeing an Instagram post and 60% of Instagram users say that they have used the platform to learn more about a product or service. When it comes to allowing your followers to learn more about your business and the services/products that are on offer, Instagram can be vital. This is also why it’s so important to have a great Instagram video marketing strategy.

If you’re looking to maximize exposure, a post from someone with a huge number of followers (commonly known as an influencer) can be a serious hit. Always know your limits though when it comes to spend, as a sponsored post from an Instagram influencer can cost upwards of $100,000 if not more!

Are you ready to go?

Your Instagram Strategy

The absolute first thing to consider is who it is that uses Instagram to see if they fit your target demographic:

  • 68% of Instagram users are female
  • 80% of Instagram users come from outside the US
  • 59% of 18-29 year old internet users use Instagram
  • Only 33% of 30-49 year old internet users use Instagram
  • 17% of teens rate Instagram as the most important social network

Sound like your kind of audience? If so, you could be missing out on some valuable exposure!

How To Get Started With Instagram For Business

  • The first thing to do is set up a business account. Always keep your business separate from your personal account.
  • Optimise your profile with a link to your website and always include a clear bio and location. Also, set a recognizable profile picture such as a brand logo, this will make you immediately identifiable.
  • The next step is to start posting, avoid hard sales posts and embrace the creativity of the platform. If your plan is to use images that aren’t taken using the app, make sure you size them correctly (1024×1024 px). These images should also be on brand and add value to what you’re offering. Lifestyle shots are great for this.
  • Always respond to your followers. Whether that involves replying to comments, thanking your followers or following someone that has followed you. All of these things will build connection with your audience. Liking other content will also help you to connect.

That’s the basics in place, now how do you improve?

How To Optimise Interaction

  • Post regularly, but not too often. Top brands purport to post an average of 4.9 times per week. Don’t be overzealous with the number of posts, this can discourage people from connecting with you and it may mean you lose followers.
  • Create a recognizable identity. 60% of the top brands on Instagram use a consistent filter when uploading images. The most popular filters used are:
      • Lo-fi: 14%
      • Valencia: 12%
      • Rise: 12%

Though it’s not one of the most popular, the Mayfair filter attracts the most interactions. Generally lighter, brighter images generating 24% more likes than those that are darker. When it comes to colours, images with a single dominant color generate 17% more likes. Blue as a dominant color will generate 24% more likes than predominantly red images.

  • Use hashtags. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag in it will average 12.6% more engagement than a post without. Adding multiple hashtags can draw even more engagement to your post. The most popular hashtags are:
      • #Love
      • #Instagood
      • #Me
      • #Cute
      • #Follow
  • Find out what’s popular. This will involve quite a lot of research time but it’s been found that pizza is the most Instagrammed food and the world’s most Instagrammed locations last year were Disney Theme Parks. Always remember to remain on brand though!
  • Consider paid ads. Ad recall from sponsored Instagram posts is 2.9 times higher than online advertising average, making it a significant and important way of promoting your business.
  • Run competitions, offers or make exclusive announcements. 41% of Instagrammers say they follow (or would follow) a brand for the perks and giveaways, 70% of those Instagrammers have taken part in a contest at some point, or would like to. This is a great way to generate interest and will encourage users to return later down the line. 33% of Instagrammers think posting on an official hashtag is the best and easiest way to enter a contest.
  • Use geo-tags. Posts with a geo-tag generate a huge 79% more engagement as compared to those posts that don’t. Use geo-tags when in important locations that are relevant to your business. This works particularly well for businesses such as retail stores and cafes.
  • Work with Instagram ambassadors and influencers. 78% of consumers make purchases influenced by a brand’s social media. Connecting with influential people and other brands from the same or a similar industry can significantly increase engagement and add further credibility to your own brand. Social media is most likely to influence purchases made by 16-35 year olds.
  • Regram your followers. 65% of Instagrammers feel honored when their posts are shared and they’re mentioned by a brand on social media. It will also help to build loyalty between you and your followers. On top of this, you will also save time as the content ready-made for you!

Does it sound good? Happy Instagramming folks!

 

Srish Agrawal is an entrepreneur, branding consultant, and angel investor. He is also the Founder & CEO of A1 Future Technologies, which includes sites like Logo Design Team and Infographic Design Team, and has helped over 25,000 clients improve how they look online.

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14 Social Media Tips For Attracting Gen Z Audiences in 2019

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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:

1. Personalization

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.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

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.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Chatbots

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.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

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.

David Henzel, LTVPlus

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.

Andy Karuza, Relm Wellness

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.

Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group

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.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

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.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

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.

Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

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.

Rahul Varshneya, ResumeSeed

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.

Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

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.

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#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free

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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

Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.

Adobe

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

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!

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Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce

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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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