Every brand has a story. Instagram is a platform that’s unique in its singular focus on captivating imagery and providing brands with an avenue for rich visual storytelling.
Why use Instagram for Business
- It’s a tight community: Instagrammers are passionate about the platform
- It’s very visual: Instagram’s simple design allows captivating imagery to take center stage
- It’s beautiful: Instagram is a creative and inspiring environment
But Let’s Also Cover Some Stats
- Instagram boasts of 200M monthly actives
- With 65% of the users residing outside the U.S.
- Instagram is home to 20B photos
- It generates 1.6B likes daily
- And 60M photos per day
Brands are some of the most creative contributors to the Instagram community.
- Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million users and saw a 33-point increase in ad recall
- Levi’s, the classic American retailer reached 7.4 million people and saw a 24-point lift in ad recall
- America’s Taco Bell was the first restaurant to advertise on Instagram. The response was tremendous, including a 29-point lift in ad recall
Clearly, Instagram makes a strong case when it comes to social media platforms businesses should use to increase their reach and impact. The challenge is to determine what’s unique about your brand and then share it with the world.
Useful Content Strategy Tips
- Start with clear goals: Your Instagram account should fit into your overall brand marketing strategy
- Choose a theme that’s authentic to your brand and tells a cohesive story through captivating imagery
- Produce high-quality images and videos that are well crafted. The content you create should feel at home on the platform
Photo Taking, Editing and Sharing on Instagram
First off, to produce images and videos that are well crafted, you need to know the exact image sizes used by Instagram. Instagram image size used to be 612 pixels in width by 612 pixels in height. Recently, this image size was slightly increased. The current image size is 640 pixels in width by 640 pixels in height.
So first things first, remember this image size for all content you create for marketing on Instagram.
1. Photo Editing Tips
Once you’ve taken a photo, you can edit it by applying effects. Instagram provides a suite of photo-editing tools including:
When you take a photo using the Instagram in-app camera or upload a photo from file, you can straighten it using the Adjust tool.
You can add a border to any filtered photo.
Lux makes your photos more vibrant and brings out details you couldn’t see before.
Other photo-editing tools include:
– Brightness: It makes your photo brighter or darker.
– Warmth: It shifts the colors of your photo towards warmer or cooler tones.
– Vignette: It darkens the edges of a photo.
– Highlights: Use it to adjust the focus on the bright areas of an image.
Google is pulling the plug on Orkut on September 30, 2014. New accounts cannot be created anymore but if you already have an account for Orkut, you can still sign in by going to Orkut.com and signing into the Google account you originally used to sign up for the social networking service.
Until September 30, 2014, you can:
- Log in and play games/use your account
- Export your photo albums to Google+
- Download your Orkut information
To download your Orkut information in a single ZIP file, use Google Takeout. You can download the following information from Orkut:
- Your profile
- Scraps received
- Your photos
You can do this until September 2016.
After Orkut shuts down, you will no longer be able to:
- Log in to Orkut, obviously
- Export your photo albums to Google+
- Access the Orkut apps and games
Public communities will be viewable in a public Community Archive.
Orkut, the Journey
Orkut is a social networking site founded in January 2004. It was named after the Google engineer who developed it. His name was Orkut Buyukkokten. Clearly, Orkut was way easier to spell and use than Buyukkokten!
Orkut is easy enough to pronounce: The emphasis is on the “or” while the “kut” is short.
When it was founded, Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networking. The subsequent updates and redesigns made it a leading social network in India and Brazil in 2008.
- It was, at some point, the fastest and easiest social network to use. You could browse photos, check your friend’s profile and view updates faster than ever
- The homepage was excellent. Large photos, notifications that are easy to access and fast navigation, it was all there
- Being a Google product, Orkut also allowed for easy navigation to the other Google properties
- Photos were easy to upload and share. You could select multiple photos and upload them all at once, reordering them as you please by dragging and dropping.
Other than that, Orkut also allows for extensive customization of profiles. You could:
- Make your profile your own by picking your favorite theme and giving your profile a unique look
- Do more than just write about yourself in the “About me” section. You could add a Youtube video or even embed apps
- Find your friends quickly and easily. On Orkut, finding friends was one of the most important activities so the Orkut “find friends” feature was smart
Other commendable features of Orkut included:
- A more dynamic friend list
- Friends’ updates on your homepage
- Posting scraps
- Video chat
Social media is now held to the same standard as print and broadcast in the count of essential marketing channels for businesses. As such, your social media ROI needs to contribute to your bottom line.
The challenge is taking a look at your existing business goals and setting social media goals to complement them. For example, your business goal this quarter may be to generate a specific number of leads or it may be to increase your landing page conversion by 15%. And since social media is pretty top-of-the-funnel, the corresponding social media goals will probably revolve around increasing engagement and traffic to your site.
Social Media Metrics that Matter
So you are using social media to reach your business goals. Engagement is a great corresponding social media goal because it impacts a business three-fold.
- It increases traffic
- It grows brand awareness and builds a community
- It shows your voice
But “engagement” is not a concept as simple as the number of followers you have on Twitter or Facebook. It’s a fuzzy word digital marketers use to mean “interactions with your brand.” On top of this, you have to account for the fact that every social channel is different and unique in its own way and engagement isn’t the same for each.
So how can you measure social media engagement? And which tools do you use?
The most important social media metrics are touted to be:
– Conversation rate
This is the number of conversations per post. So on Twitter, this is the number of replies to a tweet and on Instagram, it’s the number of comments on any pin, post or photo.
– Amplification rate
In social media, any post that’s retweeted or reshared is, in essence, being amplified. So think of this metric as the number of repins, retweets and/or reshares a particular post garners.
– Applause rate
Every social network has a touch point to show applause. For instance, Twitter has favorites and Facebook has likes. Applause rate is based on this concept. It’s the number of “likes” a post gets.
– Economic value
This is, quite simply, the sum of short- and long-term revenue and cost savings.
– Relative engagement rates
And finally, should you ever wish to compare your conversion rate on Facebook as compared to your conversion rate on Instagram, this metric averages the number of conversations you accumulated per post per follower for each of your social media accounts.
How to Track Them
Once you establish your social media goals, the next step is to set up tools to measure the ROI on your social media. Measuring your social media efforts is critical to assessing whether or not you’re making an impact to the business.
To measure the ROI on your social media as well as social media success, there is a number of social media analytics software that you can use. Some to consider include:
A social media analytics software designed to help marketers get in-depth analysis and insights into their social media performance, Mondovo’s social tools include Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Competition Analyzer and Twitter Competition Analyzer. Access all your Facebook and Twitter data from one location and benchmark your performance against your competitors. With these tools, you will be able to keep a tight control over the nittiest, grittiest details that contribute to social media success.
– Facebook Analytics
View and assess the performance of your Facebook Fan Page. This includes but is not limited to measuring your page’s amplification, reach, impact and engagement trends, all in one place.
– Twitter Analytics
This tool is designed to let you view and understand your Twitter account performance. This includes but is not limited to measuring your account’s performance and engagement and keeping a tab on your followers, retweets, mentions and engagement trends. Measuring these metrics is essential to assessing the impact of your tweets on your audience.
– Facebook Competition Analyzer
In social media, it sometimes becomes important to benchmark your brand’s performance against competitors. With Mondovo’s Facebook Competition Analyzer, view and understand the audience and engagement trends of any Facebook page. This tool is designed to help you assess your position and relative performance compared to your competitors.
– Twitter Competition Analyzer
And finally, a tool very similar to the one we just saw above, if you want to analyze the audience, content and engagement trends of any Twitter account, Twitter Competition Analyzer is your solution. Stalking has probably never been this easy or this fun.
Offering 3 plans (Free, Pro and Enterprise), HootSuite is the preferred social media analytics tool of many marketers. With HootSuite, you can
– Manage your social assets
– Create engaging campaigns
– Find, track and nurture leads and customers
– Get to know your audience
– Be at the right place at the right time when your customers need you
Some of the products by HootSuite include:
– uberVU via Hootsuite: This tool gives you real-time data about your brand making it easy to track influencers, stories, trends and more.
– Analytics: Helps you get all the data about your social media outreach and displays it in comprehensive and easy-to-read reports.
– Hootlet: Lets you post to multiple social networks with one click. This saves time and extends your reach.
SocialMention is a social media analysis platform that allows you to easily view and keep a tab on what people are saying about you, your brand, a specific product or any topic across the web’s social media landscape. It monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and quite a few other social media networks to provide a real-time social media search and analysis service.
With SocialMention, you can also set up an RSS feed, email alerts or even add a real-time widget to your website. SocialMention’s Realtime Buzz Widget, for example, is a tool you can use to view the latest buzz about you, your brand or a product over the web.
Let’s start this post with a question!
What do you do on your smartphone most often?
– Email clients?
– Check the news apps?
– SMS/Text messaging?
– Take pictures and/or record videos?
For those of us who are completely honest, there is no shame in admitting that, for the most part, our time is spent on the social networking apps behaving like “stalkers.” We observe and obsess over people, places and things that are meaningful to us.
On any given day, how many times do you honestly check your social apps to see what your friends are eating for lunch or whom they are hanging out with?
According to Adobe’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, in 2012, there was a 31% and 180% increase over 2011 in smartphone and tablet users respectively in the United States. Consumers today are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to connect with brands through mobile-optimized websites and mobile apps.
Key findings of the 2013 mobile survey:
1. For consumers who have access to both a smartphone and a tablet, the device of choice remains the smartphone although tablets are rapidly rising in popularity.
2. Facebook is the dominant social network. It is accessed via mobile at 85%.
3. Twitter follows this number at 35% and Google+ at 21%.
4. The most popular social activity on mobile is to read status updates. Consumers are also using smartphones and tablets alike to view pages of their favorite brands.
In this era of emerging mobile-specific technologies, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity for brand differentiation.
Understand Your Audience Before you Address Them
Social media users fall under 3 different categories of people:
For social media success, you need to have a cursory understanding of your target audience before you start talking to them.
Thinkers use social media when they are contemplating whether or not to make a purchase. These are laid back people and are slow to act. 48% of Pinterest purchasers are thinkers that will favorite an item that they may or may not buy at a later date.
Questers are people actively researching a potential purchase. They are information gatherers looking for feedback on items they are interested in.
Leapers are people who get inspired by social media to make a purchase. You may think of this category of people as impulse buyers. They take action quickly when they see something of interest.
These customer profiles are key to developing a successful mobile social media presence.
Take a look through your Twitter or Facebook streams. Are your friends talking about the products and brands they are using? Chances are, yes, they are. How about you? Have you ever asked one of your social media peers to advise you on whether a new restaurant down the road is worth trying or not? Have you ever steered someone toward one specific product or service and away from another?
This is influence!
Influence, on social media, is the ability to change how others think and act. Often people think the definitive characteristic of an online influencer is how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers that person has. That’s not technically accurate. It does not matter if you run a blog where you post content everyday about a specific subject. Influence is measured by a person’s ability to drive others to change their opinion and take actions.
So in truth, anyone has the potential to influence another. Influencers are not necessarily people with the most arbitrarily awarded +K on Klout. The challenge therefore is to find the right influencers to engage. Some people have enough pull to drive a spike in web traffic and sales with a single status update.
The point is: As a brand marketer, it’s important to understand that influence can come in several shapes and sizes. Sometimes influence is predictable. Some industry influencers have an established reputation that spreads far and wide. Other times, an algorithmic tool such as Klout or PeerIndex can help you find potential influencers who can sway others on a specific topic. This is of course not a surefire method but only a tool you can use for some help.
Connecting with Your Industry’s Social Media Influencers is a Multi-step Process!
1. Identifying Influencers
When researching your industry social media influencers, the most important consideration is that any influencer outreach should support your existing business goals. You can’t get started without knowing exactly what you want to achieve. Your objective may include one or more of the following:
1. Demonstrate credibility and thought leadership
2. Generate inbound traffic
3. Enhance your business visibility through content creation
4. Build customer relationships
5. Move community members through the purchase funnel
6. Test new products and generate honest feedback
To find influencers who align with your business goals,
- Keep an ear out for conversations happening in your industry’s community, sweeping the social web to find conversations that matter to you
- Search the communities you found above to identify who is sharing content and who is most active there
- Dig deeper into these influencers by checking up on them on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.
- With a good list of potential influencers, you can now narrow down on 10 or 20 so the number remains manageable. This may require further detailed information about your influencers or you can look at Klout for their influential topics and ensure they are relevant.
Before making a purchase decision, people read reviews, feedback, testimonials or opinions on the web. If the reviews are positive, there is a greater probability of purchase. However, if the reviews are negative, people are likely to move on to something else. Therefore, positive opinions or reviews play crucial role in financial gains of individuals, organizations, and businesses. But, unfortunately, this leads to shady practices, like the posting of fake reviews, or opinion spamming.
The term opinion spamming refers to unethical activities such as posing fake reviews that mislead the consumers, for example: writing good things about a product that doesn’t merit the glowing review. Fake reviews also come in the form of negative opinions about competing products and businesses. This damages the reputation of the competition. It becomes obvious why detecting fake reviews is critical for both the consumer, and a business.
Detection or identification of fake reviews or opinion spamming involves the use of relational modeling, graph-based methods, pattern discovery, and supervised learning. Some of the signals that can be used include:
- Relationships: The complexity of relationships that exists among the entities (products, stores, etc), reviews, and reviewers
- Product related features: Some of the features that could be considered include sales rank, sales volume, and product description
- Reviewer abnormal behaviors: The public data that is available from online sites, like first reviewers of the product, frequency of posting, time of posting, reviewer id, etc. In addition to these features, the opinion spamming detection algorithm can also discover uncommon characteristics of these fake reviews. Another indicator of abnormal behaviors is the private/internal data of websites such as the reviewer’s physical location, time taken to post each review, IP or MAC addresses, etc
- Review Content: Some of the important detecting features include lexical features like parts-of-speech, grammar, words and grammar, or other lexical attributes. Style or content similarity of reviews obtained from different reviewers can also indicate opinion spamming. Semantic inconsistency is another feature that can be used for detecting fake reviews.
In addition to the above, you can also avoid fake reviews by avoiding fake accounts that exist on social media.
This is done by checking for the blue verified tick prior to liking or following a business’s, celebrity’s or brand’s social media profile or page. Both Twitter and Facebook now feature the blue verified tick. The blue tick badge that appears next to the profile name shows that the profile or page has been verified. Therefore, you must understand that a profile or page of any business or individual having lots of followers, likes, or positive comments, does not necessarily indicate its validity or genuineness.
Vine, a video app, also features a verified tick. If the Twitter account of the business or the individual is verified, then the Vine account will be automatically verified. However, another renowned social media network, Instagram, doesn’t feature verified badges. If you are in doubt, you must check the account’s official website. Genuine Instagram accounts always show links to business’s official website.
Humans are wired to respond to visual stimulation. As historically recorded, thousands of years ago, people narrated their lives in cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Today, art, books and various multimedia platforms have created a new narrative landscape populated by brands in many shapes and forms.
Everyday, the average person is exposed to hundreds of different advertising messages from hundreds of different brands. Of those, people tend to be most attracted to brands with authentic narratives and compelling imaging.
In the current digital era, social media is no doubt a great tool to increase your online presence. The problem lies in the fact that as more brands jump on the Internet bandwagon, marketing clutter can make it harder for your brand to stand out and compete.
Effective Visual Branding on Social Media
1. Build a Brand Narrative
– In the following video titled ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’, author Simon Sinek explains his simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership. Addressing the question of why Apple always seems to surpass other computer brands, Sinek postulates that Apple’s success as a brand can be attributed to the fact that Apple believes in challenging the status quo and thinking differently. And did you notice the high quality and neatness of their photography?
The take-away: Determine why your brand is great and the kind of narrative you want to share with the world will emerge. Invest in high-quality photography, digital imaging and graphics.
2. Make Your Brand Memorable
Did it ever happen to you that you are spending an amazing day at the beach and suddenly, bursting out of the ocean, you feel like a Coke?
It’s not a coincidence!
Coke uses ‘red’ to associate excitement with their product.
Big brands have realized a long time ago that colors can impact how they appeal to their target audience. Color is more than just a hue. It makes a statement.
But you do need to be consistent with your use of colors. Social media includes virtually anything you post online. This includes but is not limited to tweets, Facebook posts, shares and web content. A brand’s authenticity relies on consistency.
Here is an excerpt from KISSmetrics’s infographic that gives some general guidelines on how colors affect American online shoppers:
With 400 million Tweets a day and 200 million active users, people turn to Twitter to talk about the things they care about, whether it’s the news that affects their lives or the businesses down the road, including your business. This gives you a powerful context to connect your business message to what’s most meaningful to your customers in real time.
Using Twitter, you can:
1. Listen and Learn
Twitter is the perfect platform for you to see what your competitors are tweeting about and gather market intelligence. It’s an easy way to get insights that you can then use to form your own twitter marketing strategy.
2. Grow and Succeed
Whether you want to grow your business, strengthen and promote your brand or run exciting promotions, Twitter can amplify your efforts in these areas and more.
3. Learn from Others
Study how these businesses use Twitter to drive transactions and connect with customers.
Your Twitter Profile
Your Twitter profile is the entry point for your audience. As such, every element of your profile including your @username, photo and bio should reflect your brand personality.
1. Put your Best Face Forward
Your Twitter profile and background images represent your brand. It’s therefore time to put your best face forward. Use a profile image that reflects your company. Logos work. Feel free to get particularly creative with a background or header image to give your page a finished look.
2. Choose your @Username.
Your @username is your Twitter URL. It should be straightforward and reinforce your brand identity. Once you decide on a @username, put it on your marketing materials, both online and offline so your customers know where to find you.
3. Introduce Yourself
Write a clear and concise bio that describes your business. No need to write a novel. To help drive traffic, you can also include, in the bio, a trackable link to your main website or to a specific landing page.
4. Making the Different Elements Work Together
At the end of the day, when designing your Twitter profile, you need to make the individual elements described above work together to best reflect your business: Your name, bio, website and profile picture. You should also keep in mind that people may access your page across screens, from smartphones to tablets to laptops.
8 Reasons Why You May Be Unpopular on Twitter
1. Your Twitter Profile Has No Face
Often businesses have a Twitter profile but with no face. This will NOT help your popularity on a social media site like Twitter. Avoid uploading images of celebrities. Use an original profile image. You’re no Lady Gaga! She can get away with using the image of an egg as her profile picture. You probably can’t.
Launched in June 2011 by search engine giant Google Inc., Google+ is a social networking service with 300 million+ in-stream active users. It integrates numerous Google services, including Google Profiles. Most notably the social network, also referred to simply as G+, allows users to group their contacts into Circles, enabling members to sort their contacts into specific categories. This in turn allows users to tailor posts and send them to specific social groups.
Google+ Quick Facts
- 22% of online adults use Google+
- 42% use the social network to interact with brands’ content
- 70% of top brands use Google+
- Google+ refers the most traffic per visit: 2.45 pages
- Google+ generates nearly as much engagement per follower as the social media giant Facebook
- Google+ generates twice as much engagement as Twitter
Clearly Google+ is the next big thing.
Marketing on Google+
1. Perfect your Profile
Getting on Google+ is like setting up your home in a new, exciting metropolis. To get yourself known, you will need to go out and meet the neighbors. Google+ was launched in June 2011 so your neighbors have been having a street party for quite some time now.
– Set up your profile with a clear photo of your face and a creative or exciting image as the cover photo to visually represent your brand. In case of a business, you can also showcase your brand personality with a company logo.
– Link your Google+ page to your site. The use of Google+ badges is subject to the Google+ Platform Buttons Policy. Because Google+ pages, profiles and communities are different, Google offers slightly different versions of the badges, which you can read about here.
– To find people to whom you relate, use hashtags to search people with similar interests. You can then add these people into your circles.
2. Create and Manage Circles
Circles make it easy to share the right things with the right people. To start out with, Google+ gives you a few circles but you can also create new circles for even more flexibility. On Google+, you can shout, speak or whisper. You can share as broadly or narrowly as you want. If you have something to say that the world needs to hear, choose “Public.” To keep your message to a specific group, choose one of your circles.
3. Get Involved and Be Active
No matter what you’re into, there are people on Google+ who share your interests. Search for public communities around the topics you’re passionate. This is a great way to meet new people and join conversations.
There are lots of ways to share with your communities. Post beautiful photos and videos, plan events, or even have face-to-face discussions using Hangouts.
– Only share your own stuff
– Just post links and photos without describing them
– Share the same post multiple times
You can also create real-world groups of people like your basketball buddies and fellow classmates. It’s simple: If you find yourself sharing regularly among the same group of people, communities are a fast and fun way to stay in touch more easily.
Content Marketing on Google+
Right now there is an opportunity for everyone to build his or her global network using Google+. Google+ can amplify your business messages i.e. your content and create:
– Engagement on posts themselves
– Social traffic to your website
– And Traffic to your website that comes from Google Search.
This not only increases your business reach and impact, it creates business.
The term “expert” is thrown out rather carelessly these days. This may be the result of sites like LivePerson, which allow anyone to sign up as an “expert” in a pre-determined category. Sites like these are often lax when it comes to verifying credentials. Social media marketing gurus are abound, possibly because it’s relatively easy to amass a following on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Whether or not these social media mavericks built their following legitimately is immaterial. There’s more to being a social media expert than having thousands of followers.
What’s more, any number of Internet marketing forums provide these individuals with a soap box upon which they can spout their pearls of wisdom. Sites like these create an environment in which people can declare “best practices” and strategies “guaranteed” to increase engagement. Whether these individuals are experts or not can be difficult to determine. If your colleagues are getting a bit full of themselves, you can take them down a peg with a simple social media audit. But first, it’s helpful to be completely clear as to what being a social media marketer is all about.
What a Social Media Marketing Expert Actually Does
A social media marketing expert will have a firm grip on the field. It’s a rough and tumble work environment, and an expert will always be focused on these goals:
- Gleaning demographic data from their client’s audience in order to understand their wants and needs and to grow the base
- Constantly promoting content via content marketing, advertising, guest posting and link building
- Driving engagement and promoting sharing via the major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr and Linkedin – each network requires a different strategy and attracts a different “crowd”
- Effectively and efficiently driving traffic to a specific landing page to grow brand awareness
- Cultivating strong ties to niche influencers
Perhaps the most important aspect of the job is the ability to create true engagement with the target audience. Anyone can get followers, but an expert has the ability and know-how to connect with any group of people. He or she has the ability to find out what the audience is passionate about. The expert understands that passion drives engagement and formulates a social engagement plan accordingly.
The Mark of a Professional
First, though, it might be helpful to slap a definition on “expert.” Many professionals consider an expert someone who has specialized knowledge that isn’t easily obtained. In the Old World—the world before 2003 or so—you could easily determine whether someone was an expert by looking at their academic history. No longer. These days, high school and college dropouts make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and run corporations. Still, there are a few indicators of a true social media marketing expert that you can look for. It’s helpful to look past their social media profiles in the beginning and focus on a few other areas:
- Do they have a blog? A social media marketing expert will most certainly have their own Web real estate with a large following. Their blog should be active, with lots of comments and other forms of engagement.
- Do they understand content marketing? Do they use their blog to promote other people’s products, and if so, do they do it well? Their posts should be devoid of the hard sell. They should understand the value of providing well-written, useful content. Their focus should be on building their list and not on selling individual products.
- Are they good with people? Do they respond to comments, and if so, are they helpful? Do you get a sense that they’re a real person, or are they stiff and robotic?
- Do they drive engagement with images, video and infographics? A social media marketing expert will understand the importance of giving the people what they want.