Social Media

Six Strategies for Gaining Instagram Followers

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As Instagram continues its meteoric rise in both monthly user base and saturation metrics, it makes sense for businesses to get on board. Statistics show that engagement rate on Instagram is much higher than either Facebook or Twitter. Not making Instagram a part of your marketing campaign is a mistake your business cannot afford to make.

With that in mind, here are a few strategies on how to grow your Instagram following:

Post Daily

Get into a regular flow when posting to Instagram, but don’t inundate your followers with content. A few times a day is probably the ideal number. Quality content combined with consistency will do more to drive up your number of followers than flooding their feeds will.

Share on a regular basis so you can discover what works best for you and your business. Provide creative, engaging content, and you’ll be rewarded with not only more supporters, but followers that are interested in your content.

Promote User Content

A great way to promote user content is to take fantastic content from other creators, and put it on your Instagram account. Be sure to give credit to the original producer of the material, though. Show off the unique and uncommon stories your users have to tell, and when you do, make sure to add hashtags that point back to your business.

Photo Contest

Photo contests are a fun way to share your brand while gathering photos from followers under a theme. Be sure to get involved in the contest yourself while sharing it across multiple platforms. But don’t be in a hurry. Allow users time to hear about the contest and participate.

Make sure the rules are clear and concise, so you avoid confusion with the contest. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, find a business to partner up and double the audience.

Understand Hashtags

Hashtags are an essential part of Instagram, and using the right hashtag can make the difference between a post that falls flat and one that shoots to the top of your followers feeds.

To determine the appropriate hashtags to use, peruse the content of those similar to your own. You can search for and record hashtags that are relevant to your brand, then use them in your content to drive traffic to your business.

Filter Selection

Instagram filters are fun, but also a little confusing. Which ones should you use to drive views and engagement? Pay attention to the responses you receive depending on the filter you use. Some tend to lead to more views, while others may contribute to a higher number of comments. Play around with them and find the ones that work best for your business.

Engage

Really engage with your followers. A list of all the greatest tips and tricks will be helpful, but they’re never going to compete with rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty on the platform. Be intentional about leaving thoughtful, engaging comments, like photos that strike you as meaningful.

Find new people to follow on a regular basis, interact with them, and respond to their questions and comments. Doing so will result in natural and organic growth for your Instagram platform.

Gaining followings on other social media networks can feel like you’re beating your head against a wall, but that doesn’t have to be the case with Instagram. Create engaging, quality content and connect with your followers.

The way you engage with your followers will have a direct impact on how your account increases. If you’re willing to help others, word will spread, and growth will occur. For additional help, you can check out DFY’s lead generation system.

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Building Trust with Social Media

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One thing that stands out today in the social media world we live in is that it’s important to develop a sense of trust with your followers. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses, since the amount of trust between business and follower will only serve to build customer loyalty.

Trust is essential to building your brand, and even the best marketers in the world won’t be able to sell a product without first establishing trust with their customer base. They must create stories that offer a connection with their consumers.

But how do you go about building that trust?

 Use Your Content

Using content is the most reliable method you have for developing trust with followers. Create insightful, meaningful content that will provoke emotion and establish a connect with your consumers.

Next, convert the data into graphical form

For this, you should invest in professional graphic design. There are some designers and websites that focus entirely on infographics. Look through a few portfolios and choose a designer who makes attractive-looking, useful infographics. Keep in mind that there are many ways to represent data outside of attractive pie-charts and graphs.

Turn your data over to your designer to be converted into an infographic. Make sure that your website is incorporated into the design. You’ll want to use the infographic for back-linking purposes.

Transparency

Followers want to see that you are a real, live person, not a faceless brand with which they’re doing business. They want to see your thoughts and your suggestions and learn more about you as a person. Consumers care less about the money and more about the relationship.

Take the time to develop and nurture the relationship you have with your consumer base. Show them the real you, and how you arrived at your current destination.

Pictures

Pictures are powerful. Consider the previous point and be sure to post pictures of your daily life. Followers want to see the real, unfiltered life you live. Share your daily routine with your consumers, on a regular basis so that they know who you are and what you’re doing.

Mind Your Manners

Being polite and courteous go a long way. Even though we may not give these words a second thought, the person we offer them to will remember them. When someone shares your post, make sure you thank them. If you need something from someone, make sure you ask them with a please.

Accept Criticism

The harsh reality is that you and your business are going to be criticized. It comes with the territory of being truthful. Respond positively to critique. Allow it to be an opportunity for learning and growth. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe, but have an open mind that you might be in the wrong. Followers will notice how you respond.

Have Fun

This is social media after all, isn’t it? You’re connect with thousands (if not more) of people from around the world in an instant, something never before possible in the history of our species. We have information about anything available at our fingertips. Enjoy what you’re doing. Have fun with it!

Be Adventurous

Don’t be afraid to try something new or unique when it comes to your social media accounts. It may not work, but followers will see that you’re willing to take a chance on something innovative. Sure you might fall flat on your face, but there’s also the possibility that you’ll succeed.

Be Responsive and Respectful

Responding to comments on posts isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Some people simply want to watch the world burn. Be respectful to everyone. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do, but it is the right thing. And as mentioned previously, followers and customers will see how you react, and the correct response now may lead to additional business in the future.

Trust is something you earn, not something that’s given. Your followers put their trust in you because they see the real you and the way you handle everyday life. Use the trust and loyalty others have in you to develop relationships and provide your customers a great experience. For more information, you can check out DFY’s lead generation system

Why People Share: The Psychology Behind Social Media

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Social media has taken the internet by storm. There are 31.25 million Facebook messages, 347,222 tweets, 17,361 LinkedIn profile views, 48,611 Instagram pictures, and 300 hours of YouTube videos uploaded each minute. The internet is full of content that’s constantly being created or shared.

We already know what is happening, but let’s dig a little deeper and get to the “why” of it. Why do people love sharing on social media? What’s the psychology behind it?

As luck would have it, a study by the New York Times Consumer Insight Group found the answer for us. Researchers concluded that there were five major reasons why people share on social media:

Entertainment

Perhaps this is the most obvious answer, but it was also the least common reason out of the five. Everyone loves a good dog video or a funny prank that they can laugh at and share with their friends. After all, what is the internet for if not entertainment?

Less than half of shares are motivated by entertainment or passion. Nevertheless, it does explain the tendency for funny YouTube videos to go viral as people want all their friends to see it.

Supporting a cause

It’s almost impossible to go onto social media and not see someone talking about a cause they are passionate about. The study found that 84% of respondents use social media to share their support for a social cause. Whether it’s fighting against immigration bans or police brutality, social media remains a powerful tool for expression.

A perfect example of this would be the Ice Bucket Challenge. Politicians, celebrities, athletes, and hundreds of others all participated in this viral challenge which helped raise over $130 million for various ALS organizations.

Self-Fulfillment

Related to the above point, many people share on social media to feel good about themselves. A simple click of a button can let all your Facebook friends know how they can best provide relief to hurricanes or donate to their local homeless shelter.

Sure, some might call it slacktivism, but it’s hard to overlook just how excellent social media is for raising awareness of important causes. It’s an easy way for people to make themselves feel better while fighting for a good and noble cause.

Expressing Yourself

The study found that 68% of respondents love sharing things that they feel helps them express who they are. Whether someone is showing the world their love of dogs or how excited they are for the latest blockbuster summer hit, there’s something that just feels good about expressing yourself. No places are as good at showing someone’s uniqueness as social media.

It only takes a few clicks to let the world know who you are and what you like. Many people don’t have the chance to divulge such details about themselves in the regular world, so social media provides a wonderful vehicle where they can truly be themselves without fear of judgment or restriction.

Friendship

This last point takes us to the social aspect of social media. More and more people are making new friends and connections online. It doesn’t matter if you’re finding your next hot date on Tinder or connecting with a potential new business partner on LinkedIn—social media and the internet has made meeting new people much easier than ever.

According to the study, 78% of respondents share on social media to keep in touch with old friends. It makes sense when you consider that the vast majority of Facebook friend lists are people that most users never keep in touch with. Sharing content allows them to reconnect with those who they haven’t talked to in a while and rekindle old friendships.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to deny the massive influence that social media has in our current day and age. The influence of companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also allows brands to capitalize on new opportunities as they can reach people who are just casually scrolling through pages from the comfort of their phone.

Take a look at your content and ask how it plays in to one of these five psychological factors. You never know what sort of marketing strategies might arise after a little bit of introspection. And, if you’d like more access to invaluable online marketing strategies, check out our done-for-you system.

 

Online Marketing Myths You Probably Believe

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Marketing online is already incredibly difficult. Sure, you have the entirety of the internet to appeal to, but it also means that you’re competing against countless other online marketers. The internet is a vast place and standing out against a sea of competitors isn’t an easy feat, but a successful online marketing campaign can easily bring you the customers you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, many marketers are far too misguided about what they think works and doesn’t work on the internet. Many marketers go barking up the wrong tree so to speak and end up wasting time and resources on fruitless endeavors. Here are just a few commonly held myths that end up hurting marketers:

Myth #1: We need to be on as many social media platforms as possible.

It’s true that you certainly want to get your message out to as many people as possible, but not all audiences equally deserve your attention. There are countless social media platforms to take advantage of–Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.—but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them.

Each social media platform has a different audience and those audiences are all interested in different things. Do you think a company like Tastemade that markets by making cooking videos would have as much success on LinkedIn as they do on Facebook? Would a company for elderly people like Life Alert want to market on Snapchat where 71% of its members are under 34?

Rather than trying to spread yourself thin, choose the most ideal platforms and focus your efforts there. You can expand your marketing efforts when you can acquire more overhead, but it’s best to play to your strengths while still starting out.

Myth #2: My company needs to be #1 on SEO results for important keywords.

SEO can be a difficult game to play and it’s never easy to get to the top of a Google search for popular keywords. For example, if you are running a shoe store, it would be very nice to be the first result when someone types “shoes” into Google.

However, it might be more beneficial and realistic to aim for mastering long tail keywords—that is longer and more specific phrases. Long tail keywords make up 70% of Google searches and generally indicate that a consumer is more willing to convert and purchase than a short tail generic search.

For example, “shoes” is a short tail keyword that might be used for someone who’s simply browsing the internet while someone who uses long tail keywords like “black dress shoes,” “good running shoes,” “cheap sneakers,” or “sandals for summer” are probably ready to buy.

Myth #3: This other company is doing it, so, why can’t we?

It’s tempting to look at successful companies and try and imitate what they’re doing. Sometimes it works such as when Instagram copies Snapchat’s story features and ended up beating Snapchat at their own game. However, this isn’t always the case.

Take the example of the Amazon Fire Phone: Amazon’s short-lived attempt at entering the smartphone market. The phone’s multiple flaws and inability to stand up to Samsung or Apple means that its obituary was written rather quickly. On the other hand, Amazon has been instrumental in killing Borders and has companies like Sears, Macy’s, and Best Buy on the ropes.

The takeaway is that what works for one company doesn’t work for everyone else. If it did, every company would be doing the same thing. You have a different audience, different brand, different mission, and a different set of values. Find your own unique voice.

Myth #4: Email is dead. Long live the new social media king.

Social media might be the new big thing, but don’t count out email just yet. Believe it or not, a study from McKinsey & Company found that companies acquire new customers via email 40 times more than they do on Facebook and Twitter combined.  The study also found that 91% of consumers check their email every day, make purchases three times more often via email than via social media, and that they order 17% more when ordering via email.

Clearly, there is a lot of misinformation in the air as to how online marketing should be done. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work can mean the difference between life and death for your company. For more handy internet marketing tips, check out our done-for-you system.

5 Incredible Reasons You Need to Market on Pinterest

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Pinterest may not be as popular as Facebook or Instagram, but it still has a lot of potential for any company that wishes to get their brand name out there. Pinterest is an incredibly unique platform that can boost your marketing efforts like never before. Here are 5 facts compiled from all over the internet that will convince you to market on Pinterest.

Pinterest is incredibly popular.

Pinterest’s popularity has been steadily increasing and it now represents a nearly unstoppable force that eclipses other social media websites. Data from Pew Research Center found that, in 2016, 26% of U.S. adults use Pinterest which puts it behind Facebook (68%) and Instagram (28%), but ahead of LinkedIn (25%) and Twitter (21%).

Pinterest claims that it has 150 million monthly active users with 70 million of them from the U.S. and 80 million of them from outside the U.S.

Pinterest is great for sales.

A Shopify study found that people who are referred through products via Pinterest are 10% more likely to make purchases compared to those referred from Facebook or Twitter. Furthermore, the average Pinterest order is $80, which is higher than that of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and several other websites. However, Rich Relevance placed the average order value per session even higher at a whopping $199.16, which easily triumphs over the average orders of $92.27 from Facebook and the measly $58.02 from Twitter.

Additionally, a study from BlogHer found that 53% of BlogHer readers and 47% of U.S. consumers have bought an item based on a recommendation from Pinterest.

Pinterest users have a lot of money to spend.

Why are Pinterest orders so high? Perhaps it’s because many people who use the social media app have very high incomes.

The average Pinterest user is 40 years old and half of them make at least $50K a year. Ten percent of households that use Pinterest make over $125K a year. Clearly, there is a lot of incentive for marketers who want to appeal to potential buyers.

People use Pinterest to decide what to buy.

If there’s anything that would convince you to sell on Pinterest, it would have to be these statistics:

  • 96% of active pinners use the site to gather information and conduct research.
  • 93% of active pinners use the app to plan purchases.
  • 87% of active pinners have bought something because of Pinterest.
  • 72% of active pinners use Pinterest to decide what to purchase offline.
  • 39% of active pinners use it to find out information about new products.

A study from Millward Brown Digital found that active pinners said that Pinterest helps them decide what to buy in these categories:

  • 79% – Food and Ingredients
  • 60% – Home Décor
  • 53% – Clothing and Accessories
  • 51% – Hair and Beauty
  • 47% – Health and Fitness

What does all this mean? People use Pinterest because they are looking for something to buy. It’s like a social media version of a shopping network.

Pinterest is great for marketing towards women.

A surprising 81% of pinners are women and the average female user will make 158 pins. Data from the Pew Research Center found that only 15% of U.S. adult men use Pinterest compared to the 38% of adult U.S. women that use the platform.

Pinterest might be one of the few social media platforms where women dominate making it ideal for beauty and fashion brands. Instagram is also very popular among women, which may suggest that image-based content marketing is great for appealing for a female audience.

Furthermore, data from BlogHer found that 81% of women trust information they read on Pinterest compared to the mere 73% of women that trust Twitter and 67% of women that trust Facebook.

Pinterest is one of the most exciting platforms to reach new audience members and drive sales. Get started by creating a Pinterest account, tracking metrics, and watch the sales roll in. And, if you’d like more access to invaluable online marketing strategies, check out our done-for-you system.

Safety Practices for Small Business Social Media Use

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No longer the “New Kid in Town.” Social Media and its marketing resources have gone from a compulsive form of recreation for many to a fundamental piece of any business plan, large or small.

What is still not readily known by many business owners and managers is that use of social media by companies and their employees can seriously compromise a businesses’ security.  Very often, when it comes to maintaining safety and security via social media, employees can end up being the biggest issue.

Whether it’s from posting on their personal page about things happening at work, or clicking on things they shouldn’t while using an office computer, employees can accidentally leak information or download mal-ware into your network without even realize they are doing it.

To help avoid the issues that can result in these seemingly small actions, here are some tips to assist you in keeping your business and your employees safe from social-media troubles, both at work and at home.

Advise Employees to Avoid Posting Info About Where They Work

Even though you can’t stop an employee from telling people where they work, explain that like giving out their home address and phone number online, revealing where they work can make it easy for people to find them and collect more info on their daily routine.

Employees should also be informed that associating the company with a personal account on questionable social networks could hurt the company and, by default, hurt the employee as well.

Keep Privacy Settings Updated

This is important on two fronts.  First, train your employees how to maintain their own accounts’ privacy settings, this will lessen the possibility of unauthorized info getting leaked.

On your businesses’ accounts, it’s likely you don’t know most of the followers you’ve cultivated.  Taking steps to secure those accounts as much as possible, with privacy settings that will work best for your company, will significantly add to your online security

Establish Work Place Use of Social Media

Most of us have done it, checked our Facebook page during lunch or a break.  Instead of trying to ban the use of social media on work computers, it may be better to create some policies on how to use it instead.

For instance, stating that visitation of these sites may only be made during breaks and that the use of apps like games, quizzes, or anything else that requires clicking on links, are prohibited on company computers. Putting these policies in place will assist you in avoiding issues that can affect your network.

Make Sure Your IT Specialists Are Trained to Handle Social Media Specific Issues

Once you’ve established an office policy for Social Media use, it will need to be enforced.  This means ongoing surveillance of online activities.  To accomplish this, invest in consulting, and antivirus protection via software and hardware.

Additionally, the company’s technical staff will need to be updated about current social-media security risks.

A Word on Hacking

All businesses and their social media accounts are potential targets. Any compromise of these tools could result in irreparable damage.  Fortunately, the items we’ve already discussed can help prevent a hacker from successfully breaking into your account.

Additionally, use strong passwords with unique alpha-numeric combinations.  These days to create the best possible login security, you need to use upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and accepted punctuation as allowed.

Once you have one password, don’t use it for multiple logins.  If a hacker manages to figure one account out, you’ll have given up the keys to the entire kingdom.

A Little Prevention Can Go A Long Way

The most important way to prevent harmful issues from social media use is to educated and even provide training for your employees.

Whether this is via a workshop, meeting or included in a section of the employee handbook, be sure your employees have the knowledge that can save your business’ social media accounts and their own from unnecessary attention and use.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about ourdone-for-you system.

Choosing the Most Effective Social Media Posting Times

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It never fails, you received a free eBook and get excited to read about the latest, and best, way to utilized Social Media posting for your business.  You hungrily tear through the information and then re-write your marketing plan to implement this new strategy only to receive entirely different information the next day, week, month, and so on.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to CoSchedule.  In their great wisdom, they have put together information from a variety of reports to provide you with the last word in Social Media Post schedules.

We learned in school that there are 4 time zones in the U.S. So, with clients spread from sea to shining sea, what are the best times to post on the various social media platforms?

To decide this, we need to take into consideration where most of these clients are living.  According to Census records, 80% of those people living in the United States are found in the Eastern and Central time zones.  It would make sense, then, to focus our schedules on time as it is followed in those locations.

Facebook

As the platform that brought social media into the spotlight and taught us a new way to communicate and market ourselves and our businesses, it’s still the first account most new businesses, and 13-year olds, open when getting started in the Social Media universe.

Best Days: Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Best Times: 9 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm

Notes:  Posting at 1 pm gets you the most shares while posting at 3 pm will get you the most clicks.

Twitter

Best Day:  Wednesday

Best Times: Noon, 3 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm

Notes: Wednesday about Noon and between 5-6 are the peak moments of an employee’s break times.  Also, Twitter users are 181% more likely to be on their account during the commute home. Hopefully, for the rest of us, this refers to carpoolers who are not in the driver’s seat.

LinkedIn

Best Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Best Times: 7-8am, Noon, and 5-6pm

Notes:  Business people are most likely to peruse LinkedIn in the morning, in the same manner many (used to) peruse the paper.  Also, even though LinkedIn is geared more for the business market, the best time to post is still before or after work.

Pinterest

Best Days: Weekends (Saturday and Sunday)

Best Times: 2 pm, 9 pm, and 2 am

Notes:  The best window for posting is Saturday nights between 8-11pm. The worst time is during business hours.

Instagram

Best Days: Monday and Thursday

Best Times: 2am, 8-9am, 5pm

Notes:  Avoid posting between 3 pm and 4 pm.  Posting a video at 9 pm can get you 34% more interactions.

Google+

Best Day:  Wednesday

Best Time: 9am, 11am, 12-1pm

Notes: 90% of people on Google+ are lurkers, people who are just looking and not wanting or perhaps not ready to engage with the content or a call to action.

Additional Notes for Each Platform

Facebook: Widely used both via mobile and stationary devices, at home and at work.

Twitter: Audience dependent, as Facebook is also. Often set up as an RSS feed and visited during commutes, breaks and other down times.

Pinterest:  Used mostly in the evenings after work and on the weekends during a viewer’s free time.

LinkedIn:  Designed for the professional world, viewers use it during work hours and in the mornings.

Google+:  Targets professionals in a similar manner to LinkedIn

Instagram: Designed for the mobile platform and therefore used at any time.

So, a special thank you goes out to CoSchedule for their tireless efforts to make scheduling social media posts across all platforms as easy as pie.  For this and more information on their services, visit them at Coschedule.com.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about our done-for-you system.