7 Best Practices for Instagram Marketing

From Mercedes-Benz and Levi’s® to Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s, Instagram – a community of over 300 million, is being used by brands and businesses to reach an engaged audience, build awareness, deliver captivating imagery for rich visual storytelling and publish content in a creative environment. After all, every brand has a point of view and Instagram lets you share yours.

Instagram-logo

The social networking service has the following benefits:

1. Instagram is home to an engaged community. Instagrammers are passionate about the platform and are open to new perspectives.

2. The singular focus of the platform is captivating imagery. This is a fact demonstrated to best effect by Instagram’s simple design that ultimately allows captivating imagery to take center stage.

3. Instagram is a beautiful and high-quality environment to tell your brand’s story.

Additionally, the statistics for Instagram are baffling. The photo-sharing and video-sharing social networking service has:

1. 300 million monthly active users
2. The service is home to over 30 billion photos
3. Everyday, 70 million photos are added
4. Instagram photos generate 2.5 billion likes daily

Clearly, if you ignore Instagram’s potential as a marketing channel, you do so at your own peril. Equally important, if you want Instagram to fit into your overall marketing strategy and in turn increase awareness for your brand, shift perception and/or reach a new audience, you need to be aware of tactics for success.

In truth, as more and more people and brands jump onto Instagram, the noise level for individual users increases and for your content to really stand out from the crowd, it needs to be remarkable, interesting and add value. The content also needs to be optimized to make sure it is seen.

7 tactics for Marketing Success on Instagram

1. Cross-promote for Discoverability

One of the easiest ways to juice up your Instagram engagement and maximize your Instagram impact is to mention your Instagram account on other social media channels, your website and any printed materials. This will promote traffic and expand your reach to new or existing communities. In particular, be sure to capitalize on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach wider audiences.

2. Follow the Top Trends

As a social media marketer on Instagram, you need to be constantly aware of the top trends on the network so you can participate in those conversations when it’s relevant for your industry. The idea is that you want to match your content to the current season, holiday or event so you can hit your audience when they are already thinking about these things.

3. Engage your Community

Next up, the thing you need to understand about Instagram is that it is not a one-way channel for promoting your brand. As mentioned above, Instagram is an engaged community and to belong, you need to like and comment on other people’s photos and content. Interact with your followers and reciprocate their passion for your brand. Read more

5 Strategic Steps for Successful Online Reputation Management

Over the years, the Internet background for an individual has become just as important as the individual’s criminal background check! The same can be said for businesses of all sizes. Times have changed and word of mouth isn’t the only factor that can play a role in an entity’s reputation. As everyone knows, a good reputation is vital for long term success, whether you’re trying to establish yourself as a professional, or wish to enhance the potential of your business.

Online-Reputation-Management

With this in mind, many professionals are fighting back against malicious, negative comments online. This is what online reputation management is all about. By relying on a good online reputation management strategy, it is possible to shield your potential customers from negative comments, while delivering them more positive information about your company. Below, you will be able to find 5 tips that can ensure that your strategy will be a complete success!

1. Create a Powerful Presence

In order to counteract those negative comments, it is vital to build a powerfully positive presence of your own. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating accounts on all of the most popular social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. LinkedIn and Pinterest are also among your options. Of course, just building the accounts on these sites isn’t going to be enough!

It is vital to begin interacting with your customers through these sites, as it will dramatically increase your reputation. By building powerful accounts, you may very well be able to outrank those negative comments that could potentially have a negative impact on your business. Your account will never be effective, unless you keep it active and updated regularly!

2 Create a Blog

A blog will undoubtedly be very time consuming, but it will also be very handy! Whether you’re trying to build up your personal reputation or want to rank your company’s name, a blog is vital! The blog can be tremendously helpful on several different fronts. First, it’ll allow you to drive new customers to your site, by ranking for different keywords. Also, it can be used in conjunction with your social media accounts to keep your customers updated with the latest on goings in your business.

Finally, the blog will rank, if you keep it updated and active. This can help to push those negative comments further down the list. Of course, a blog is a good place to respond to negative criticism, if necessary, but you shouldn’t rush to conclusions on that front.

3. Be Prepared To Make an Investment

When attempting to draft your online reputation management strategy, you should be prepared to make some large investments. Not only will this be on the expensive end of the spectrum, but also it can be quite time consuming! It is essential to remember the overall importance of this aspect and ensure that you make a sizeable investment that will actually prove to be fruitful!

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The Difference Between Social Media Marketing & Community Management

Not so long ago, the majority of people and businesses alike were questioning the value of social media as a channel for consumer-brand interactions. Now most businesses have some kind of social media presence. The process of acquiring leads through social media is called social media marketing. Sometimes it’s also referred to as inbound marketing. Occasionally though, another term is used as a further variant and that’s community management.

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Now there is a great difference between social media marketing and community management. You see, social media marketing and community management are two practices that share some overlap but they are very distinct from one another and cannot be used interchangeably. If you’re going to be successful at either, you absolutely need to understand the difference between the two.

For example, here is a situation for you: You run an online shoe store and you receive a very positive comment on Twitter from a customer who made a purchase recently and would like to promote it to his or her followers. Do you forward this comment to your social media manager or to your community manager or both?

Perception vs. Reality

To be fair, it’s not so hard to see how social media marketing and community management may have become entangled over time. In truth, social media marketing is often a very poorly defined process boiled down to a simple matter of promoting your business using social media. This is a very broad and vague description that may simply mean maintaining a Facebook page or it could encompass creating customized content for different social media platforms, branding, public relations and developing a voice for your business.

Similarly, community management is often defined as any and all attempts made towards cultivating an audience for a business. So technically, as a business, if you’re posting regularly on Facebook and Twitter with the intention of building your social media audience, this falls under the definition of community management.

Therein lies the confusion. In truth, as mentioned above, social media marketing and community management are related terms with some overlap between the two practices. The distinction lies in the intention.

Community Management vs. Social Media Marketing

Here is the deal: Social media marketing is just like any other type of marketing. Therefore, the job description of a social media manager is to ultimately drive more sales for your company, usually by increasing the reach and impact of your brand. So a social media manager is a strategist with the primary role of designing strategies to align your social media efforts with your business objectives and subsequently increase any return on your investment (ROI).

In contrast, a community manager is a builder of relationships with the primary role of building relationships and a community so people feel loyal to you and your brand. The community manager is also responsible for advocating the brand on the different social platforms and increasing engagement as well as awareness for the company. Read more

How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy that Works

If you’re interested in marketing your business online, there is one thing you can’t escape hearing about, and that’s content marketing and what it means for the success and prosperity of your business on the web. From building a community of fans and followers to increasing engagement and traffic to your website, content marketing is absolutely essential to growing your business online, because let’s face it, marketing in 2015 is about building relationships and driving sales without resorting to traditional “hard sell” tactics.

content-marketing-strategy

Consumers these days own a DVR. They skip television advertising and it’s not hard to shut out magazine advertising. As for banners and ads on the web, people have become and are increasingly becoming quite adept at taking in information without a care for banners and buttons making them irrelevant.

However, content marketing is not a walk in the park. It’s a big task with many roadblocks. For a start, content marketers need to create enough content while simultaneously keeping the quality of the content they produce high. This in turn means generating an unending stream of interesting and valuable content ideas and communicating those ideas using the right words and language to resonate with your target audience. Content marketing therefore demands a huge commitment of time and resources. This guide should aim you in the right direction.

Content Marketing Starts with Building a Strong Foundation

Here is the deal: You can’t confidently plan and create content if you don’t know why you are creating content and what you hope to achieve with it. For example, are you creating content to generate leads or you are creating content to close sales more quickly? Are you trying to inspire an interest in your products or are you trying to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry? You also need to define what your core message is; your core message is the primary benefit you are planning to offer your customers.

All of the above serve to lay a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy. Other things that fall under this category include competitive analysis, deciding who your target audience is and a strategy for creating and publishing content. For example, do you want to publish one type of content or multiple types and do your followers want to receive information in the format you are deciding on? Read more