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You might love the product that you sell but it’s your customer who needs to love it too in order to become a success. And from the perspective of your customers, your product may look different.

But here’s the good thing – if you know what your customer thinks about your product, you may use the feedback to improve the things you lack in.

But how to collect your customer feedback?

While there are many platforms that you can use to collect feedback, Instagram should be your choice.

You may wonder why Instagram should be your go-to platform for collecting customer feedback, here are some statistics for you:

Now that you know why Instagram is a great platform for feedback, it’s time to discuss how you can use Instagram for collecting feedback.

#1. Instagram story stickers

If you know about Instagram, you must know about Instagram stories. Instagram stories are a very effective and interactive way of communicating with your audience. And the best part is that you can use stories for collecting your customers’ feedback as well. Want to know how?

Here are five stickers that you can use in your stories:

Question Sticker

collect-customer-feedback-question-sticker-ask-me-a-question

As the name suggests, the question sticker is a sticker that is used to ask a question of your audience. You can ask any question and your audience will be provided with a box where they can enter their inputs and you’ll be notified whenever someone drops an answer in the box. In this way, you can easily ask a question about your product and let customers provide feedback.

Poll Sticker

collect-customer-feedback-polly-sticker-ask-a-question

Do you like this one or that one? This is the kind of question that you can ask your audience using the poll sticker. With the poll sticker, you need to mention a question and provide them with two options to choose from. Once the poll is over you can check which option your audience liked the most.

Quiz Sticker

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With the Quiz sticker, you can ask your customers multiple-choice questions right through your Instagram stories. So you can ask anything that lets your customers choose from various options.

Slider Sticker

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A slider sticker is a fun sticker where your audience can rate you on an emoji sliding scale. You’ll be provided with an overall average of all responses.

DM Me Sticker

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Ask your audience a question that sparks a conversation and helps you explore what your customers think about your products and services through the DM me sticker on Instagram.

#2. Questions in your captions

Nothing works better than a direct question in your captions. If you’re using Instagram for your business, you must also be posting regularly on the platform. And with every image or video you post, you should add a caption to define the image or video. That’s exactly where you should be asking questions about your product.

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Create a compelling post about your product and ask a question about the product in the caption. This will encourage your users to post their answers in the comments. This will just not help you gather the feedback but will also help your post to get more reach as the engagement will be high.

However, it has its downside too. Everything posted will be public and negative comments can affect your online reputation. Nevertheless, you can still turn the situation into a positive one by smartly handling negative comments. Just make sure you reply to each and every comment and let your customers know that you’re always there to listen to their problems.

#3. Encourage user-generated content (UGC)

Most marketers see UGC as a way of increasing their followers on Instagram and improving their engagement rate. What they don’t know is they can use UGC to collect feedback as well.

collect-customer-feedback-starbucks-user-generated-content

Here’s how you can encourage your customers to create and share content for your brand:

Start a hashtag trend

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Creativity is all that you need here. Start a campaign like a competition or a giveaway and use a unique hashtag that your customers can use while sharing their insights about your products. Every time your customer creates a post for your brand, they can use that hashtag.

Ask a question

You can simply ask a question in your post regarding your product. And if your customers have anything to say or suggest about your product, they can simply post about it and mention you. And in exchange, you can give them a shout-out. This one works best for brands who have a good follower base on Instagram.

Offer a discount

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Encourage your customers to post about your brand with their feedback for a discount offer. Discount or BOGO offers work amazing because everyone loves discounts and free stuff.

#4. Create engaging video content

IGTV videos and Reels are the current trending features of Instagram that can provide you with amazing reach and are also helpful for collecting feedback. All you need to do is create engaging videos that encourage customers to share their feedback with you.

To start with, think about an interesting topic and then ask your customers questions about what they think about your products. The more engaging the video is the more people will share their feedback with you.

#5. Collaborate with influencers

Influencer marketing is rising with every passing day and it can be a great way to encourage your customers to provide feedback.

Influencers already have a huge follower base on social media platforms like Instagram. However, if you want to leverage the power of influencers, you need to find the right ones based on your niche.

collect-customer-feedback-influencer-collaboration-zoesugg

Once you find some influencers ask them to create content that can help you gather feedback. Influencers are influencers for a reason. They know what their audience likes or dislikes – so give them a creative license with the content.

They may share something about how your product helped them and ask their audience about their experience with your product. Or, simply show a demo of your product and ask your customers for some other ways of using it. In this way, you don’t just get feedback but also promote your products in an effective manner.

To conclude

These are some ways you can collect feedback from your customers on Instagram. No matter what feedback you get, whether positive or negative, it’s your job to listen to every customer and understand their perspective.

Also, it’s not just about collecting the feedback but also about using it to improve your products or services. After all, there’s no sense in collecting feedback if you don’t use it for your own good.

Top Trending Tools (December 2020)

#1TokUpgrade - Grow on TikTok
#2Kicksta - Grow on Instagram

 

By

Bhavik Soni is a Creative Writer at Auto Monkey. We provide an original analysis of the latest happenings in the social media industry. Connect with Latest Social Media Trends and News plus tips on Twitter, Facebook and other social tools on the web.

Sourced from Jeff Bullas

By Marisa Sanfilippo

An Instagram business profile can help you engage your audience with high-quality visual content.

Your business may already have a Facebook business page, and because Facebook owns Instagram, the two social platforms integrate nicely. Instagram is also very popular: According to Statista, Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users spanning a wide range of demographics.

But before you get started on Instagram, you’ll want to make sure this platform is right for your business. This guide will help you determine if it’s a good fit and, if so, help you get started with this popular social media network.

Is Instagram right for your business?

Instagram is appropriate for many, but not all, businesses. If you’re deciding whether this social media platform is right for your company, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Is my target audience largely on Instagram?
  • Do I have the type of business that can be visual?
  • Do I have the budget and time to maintain an Instagram business page?

Answering these questions can help you determine whether Instagram will help get your brand, products and services in front of prospects. Certain demographics use Instagram more than others, so a different marketing channel may be a better fit for your business depending on its target audience.

Benefits of Instagram for businesses

If you determine that Instagram is a good fit, there are many ways it can benefit your business. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Creates brand awareness
  • Helps you engage with customers and prospects
  • Shows your human side
  • Allows you to partner with influencers
  • Drives leads and sales

Differences between a personal and business Instagram account

Instagram personal profiles (also known simply as Instagram profiles) are designed for consumer use, while Instagram business profiles are intended for business use. Later on, we will dive into the key features of Instagram business pages.

If your business intends to promote your products and services on Instagram, you should have a business account. However, you can have both types of accounts.

As an example, life coach Lily Sais has both a personal account and a business account. On her private personal account, she posts personal content about her life and her children for her close family and friends to see. On her business page, Peace from Within, a business that also requires her to get personal with her followers and be vulnerable, she does not post about her daily whereabouts. Instead, on her business page, Sais talks more about anxiety – an issue that her program helps people overcome – and also discusses her coaching program.

 

 

Both types of accounts are free to use, but if you want to run ads on Instagram business, you’ll need to pay.

Should I switch my personal profile to an Instagram business page?

If you already have an Instagram personal profile and are wondering if you should switch your account to a business profile, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you like to keep your personal account to share personal or private content with your inner circle? If so, keep your current personal page and start a separate business page.
  • Do you plan on posting promotional content about your business? If so, you should have a business page, but you can also keep your personal page if you’d like.

Just because you have a personal page does not mean you need to post on it often, especially if you end up getting too busy working on your business page. But people who typically already have a personal page with more than a few posts find that they prefer to keep their personal page and start a new page for their business.

Key features of an Instagram business account

Instagram personal accounts offer fewer features than Instagram business profiles. As a business owner, it can be helpful to have access to data that’s available only through business pages and Instagram Insights. Here are some of the additional features you get from an Instagram business account:

Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights gives you access to data on content, activity and audience. Use this analytics tool to discover weekly information about the following metrics:

  • Posts: the number of posts and stories added to your page.
  • Engagement: the number of accounts that your account has reached, including the posts that led to impressions, interactions, profile visits and website clicks.
  • Audience insights, growth: the number of people who followed your page, the number of people who unfollowed your page, the average times your followers were on Instagram in a typical day and the days of the week your followers were most active.
  • Audience insights, demographics: data on users’ locations, age ranges and gender.

At this time, Instagram Insights is not accessible via desktop. Through the app, Insights is updated weekly.

Instagram advertising and promoted posts

Instagram advertising and promoted posts are available only through business accounts. These tools are a key way to promote your Instagram business account to get more followers and increase engagement. To run Instagram ads, you need a Facebook business account with Facebook ads manager.

Product tags for easy shopping

Every e-commerce business can benefit from Instagram’s product tags, which help encourage followers to make a purchase on your page. However, Instagram does not approve this feature for every account. To gain access to product tags, you must meet Instagram’s shopping availability rules. Your page must meet the following commerce eligibility requirements:

  1. Comply with Instagram’s policies.
  2. Represent your business and your domain
  3. Be located in a supported market
  4. Demonstrate trustworthiness
  5. Provide accurate information, and follow best practices

How to use product tagging on your Instagram posts:

Once Instagram approves your account, it’s easy to get started with product tagging. Per Instagram’s instructions, follow these five steps to tag products on your Instagram posts:

  1. Select a photo or video, and add a caption, effects and filters.
  2. Tap the products in the photo that you want to tag. For videos, you’ll see a tray where you can select up to five products to tag.
  3. Enter the names of the products you want to tag, and select them as they appear in the search box.
  4. Tap Done.
  5. Tap Share.

Quick-reply direct messages

Consumers expect fast responses from businesses on social media, especially when they are inquiring about a product they would like to purchase right away. Not all businesses have the resources for around-the-clock social media monitoring. With Instagram’s quick-reply feature, you can send prospects an automated response, which is better than no response at all.

How to set up an Instagram business profile

Setting up an Instagram business profile is easy and can be completed in a few simple steps. Here are two ways to set up your Instagram business profile:

Switching from a personal page to a business page

If you already have a personal profile and you’d like to switch it to a business page, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Instagram account.
  2. Select Edit Profile.
  3. Select Switch to Professional Account.
  4. Choose the type of account you’d like to set up based on what describes you best: creator account (ideal for business influencers and any other type of influencer) or business account.
  5. Select Next.
  6. Select Continue to complete the process.

Setting up a new Instagram business page

If you’ve decided to start a new business page, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Instagram app onto your smartphone.
  2. Create an account, ideally with your business email.
  3. Choose a username.
  4. Start building your following by finding friends and contacts.
  5. Upload a profile photo.
  6. Add your website.
  7. Craft a company bio.
  8. Create your first post.

Instagram business page setup best practices

To get your page set up for success, be sure to keep these best practices in mind:

Choose a relevant username.

The username you choose should be the name of your business so that prospects and customers can find your page easily.

Select an engaging profile photo.

Some businesses use their company logo as their profile photo. Depending on what your logo looks like, you might choose to go this route. Alternatively, you can do something more creative that still fits your brand. Experiment with different profile photos of people, such as your staff. Your profile photo needs to be 110 by 110 pixels.

Create a profile bio.

You get 150 characters in the bio section to make an impression. Using a few branded hashtags (no more than three, so it doesn’t make your bio hard to read) can help give your page exposure. Your bio should tell a short story about what your business offers. For example, New Jersey-based payment processing company Priority Payments Local uses lists and emojis to draw attention to the bio and make it easier to read.

Add relevant URLs.

The most obvious way to use the URL is to add the link to your company’s homepage. This makes the most sense for a lot of businesses, especially e-commerce businesses. But if your company has multiple pages you’d like to connect, consider adding a Linktree, which gives you the flexibility to add multiple links and thus help take users through a sales funnel.

For example, a Linktree for an e-commerce clothing business may have links to the following:

  • Newest clothing arrivals
  • Bestsellers
  • Sale products

A law firm may have links to these pages:

  • A blog post on what to do if you were just in a car accident (for personal injury prospects)
  • A free e-book on how to choose a mediator for a divorce
  • A landing page that highlights the firm’s accreditations

If your business sells both products and services, having mixed links makes even more sense. Here’s how Priority Payments designed its Linktree to feature different types of content:

Develop a posting strategy.

It’s helpful to have a posting strategy to drive traffic to your page and, ultimately, generate sales from Instagram. Your posting strategy should work hand in hand with your overall marketing strategy and may include the following elements:

  1. Goals. Include both your short-term and long-term objectives.
  2. Target audience. Define the demographics and characteristics of your ideal customer.
  3. Post frequency. Establish how many times a week you will post and how many of those posts will be on page posts versus Story posts. Find a good balance; posting regularly will help you stay top of mind with your followers, but posting too often may turn them off.
  4. Assigned staff. Determine who will manage your Instagram page.
  5. Hashtags. Select relevant hashtags to be included in your posts. Make sure to check out what’s trending so you can gain more traction if those trends are relevant to your business.
  1. Content design. Figure out what your posts will look like. Will you have a special template for certain posts? For example, you might have a special design for sales posts to help with brand recognition.
  2. Voice. Determine how you want to represent yourself to your audience. For example, will your posts be serious or funny? If your audience includes mostly professionals in your field, you might include industry-specific terminology, but if you’re targeting the average consumer, you’ll want to avoid this kind of jargon. The voice of your social media messages also ties back to your overall brand messaging.
  3. Customer service strategy. If your business is new to social media, you’ve probably never had to respond to comments from prospects and customers on social media, so you’ll need a strategy for how to handle these interactions. Your responses should be guided by an established protocol. For example, what should you do if you receive a negative comment? All responses need to be crafted with care. 

Once all of these pieces are in place, you’re ready to post on Instagram. Revisit your posting strategy periodically to determine what is working and what isn’t, and adjust accordingly. Pay attention to your audience’s behaviour and needs to craft truly engaging content that resonates with your audience.

Image Credit: AntonioGuillem / Getty Images

 

By Marisa Sanfilippo

Marisa Sanfilippo is an award-winning marketing professional who has more than six years experience developing and executing marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses with a focus on digital marketing. After graduating Stockton University with a B.A. in Communications and minor in writing, Marisa worked as a freelance journalist for numerous publications, ultimately earning a position as an e-marketing specialist for a credit union. While in that position, she earned HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification and helped build the organization’s digital marketing strategy from the ground up. Her efforts helped lead the credit union to success on and offline including: a 200%+ organic increase in Facebook followers, a sales generating blog, and much more. Later on, she worked on a social media campaign that gained recognition by The Huffington Post.

Sourced from business.com

Sourced from TECHMAG

There are lots of ways in which you can put Instagram to best use to ensure you have a high and steady flow of traffic towards your fashion site. These ways are so many in numbers that it may often leave you overwhelmed. However, there are a few specific tips and tricks that you can follow to make the best use of Instagram to increase fashion traffic. Most major brands follow these tricks and therefore you can consider these to be tried and tested OK.

This may seem like a no-brainer to you because advertising is what you primarily do in marketing your business. Well, advertising through billboards, TV commercials, and another print and broadcast media is entirely different from advertising on Instagram.

On most of the social channels, you may not find it as easy to advertise as it is on Instagram. This is due to the different formats in which you can advertise on Instagram. These are:

  • Photo ads: These ads look much similar to the regular photo posts with the only difference that these typically have a Sponsored label above the photo. In addition to that, these also have a Learn More button at the bottom right-hand corner under the picture.
  • Video ads: Much similar to the photo ads, these video ads also look the same as the regular video posts along with a Sponsored label at the top.
  • Carousel ads: These are specific ads that look identical to the photo ads but using this feature you can post multiple photos at the same time which the viewers can swipe through.

All these three Instagram ad formats will appear in the home feeds of the users. These ads primarily support four different objectives of advertising any product namely:

  • Video views
  • Click through to your website
  • Mass awareness and
  • Mobile app installations.

All these will serve your primary objective: to increase the traffic on your fashion website.

Selling your fashion products

Use all the new features to sell your fashion products on Instagram. In May 2018, Instagram has added a new payment feature that can be used by select users. In addition to that, Instagram has also rolled out a Checkout that all users can use.

All these features potentially have a big effect on small businesses as these features allow the users to buy products without having to leave the platform. All that the users will be required to do in order to complete a transaction includes:

  • The name
  • The email address
  • The billing info and
  • The shipping address.

All these will be saved by Facebook, being the parent company of Instagram to use it for any future transactions.

When it comes to the payment options, Instagram offers users a variety of options such as:

  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Visa
  • Discover and
  • PayPal

Since all these remain in closed beta there is no liability of the businesses.

You can also take the advantage of the Shoppable Posts to sell products on Instagram. You will simply have to create a catalog of your fashion products and connect it to your account after tagging the product in a way much similar to tagging a person in a post.

Read more: Instagram Vs. TikTok: Factors to consider for understanding which is right for you

However, to create a shoppable post you make sure that:

  • You have a business account
  • Sell physical goods and
  • Comply with the Merchant Agreement And Commerce Policies of Instagram.

If you create such a catalog of your fashion products through Shopify, Facebook, or Big Commerce, it will surely enable you to reach out to more customers and increased the traffic on your website eventually.

Other tips and tricks

There are also a few other tips and tricks that you can follow just like experts like Stormlikes in order to get the most out of your Instagram account.

  • Links: You must know that links usually do not work in Instagram captions. It is workable only when you share a link in your profile. This will take the user to your site. Therefore, make sure you do not place the link anywhere else to loos on your potential traffic and could-be customer.
  • Relation: You must also make sure that all your posts are related and most relevant to your brand and the fashion products. It can be tempting to share pictures of food and animals that you see on other social networks but that may not have anything to do with fashion. This will look disjoint and confuse your followers.
  • Promotions: The best way to increase traffic to your website is by running promotions and giveaways. However, your fashion products may be too costly to give it away just like that, you can arrange for a sale or contest, ask users to repost an image with a specific custom hashtag, and others that will also make them visit your website.
  • Response: Your response to the comments of other users will play a significant role in increasing traffic to your fashion site. Good or bad, always reply to the comments made by the users on your photos. This will raise the level of interaction and will show that you care, follow, and pay attention to your followers, adding value to them.
  • Embed posts: On your website embed Instagram posts from the desktop version of it. This will convey a strong message that you are active on this platform and will in turn help you gain more traffic to your website.
  • Influencers: Using Instagram influencers is perhaps the best way to promote your fashion product and business. Since these influencers have large followings on Instagram, you will automatically have the opportunity to reach out to a large number of audiences with your fashion product.
  • Share posts: Make it a pint that you shore your posts directly to your story. This will raise the level of interest amongst your users and you can promote your fashion product easily.

You may also use other interactive features to build relationships and online conversations such as questions sticker in Instagram Stories, IGTV, and others. This will make your account appealing and direct users to your fashion site.

Sourced from TECHMAG

The unprecedented effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic can’t be understated. In the United States alone, the economy shrank by about 32% between the months of April and June as governments imposed lockdowns and multiple business sectors (including healthcare) cut back on spending to attempt to weather any challenges.

Unfortunately, many establishments have had to cut a significant amount of costs to cope – and labour is definitely among them. To push through the uncertainty and continue to make a living in a time where social distancing becomes the new norm and physical meetings are discouraged for health and safety reasons, knowing your way around the internet has become a necessity.

eCommerce sales in particular have seen sharp increases during the peak lockdown months. eCommerce sales rose by 49% in April, with online groceries, electronics, and book sales leading the way. It isn’t just necessities people are buying – it seems like leisure items to cope are in high demand as well.

Identify the key opportunities

This is where opportunity knocks. Everyone is online, limiting their movements, and looking for ways to make their time both more productive (remote work is quickly becoming part of the “new normal,” whether companies are ready or not) and more fun (Nintendo reported a whopping 400% increase in earnings for the first quarter because of the pandemic).

So regardless of if you’re running your own business or just looking to earn some extra income to help pass the time, the market is there: now it’s just a matter of finding a way to tap into it.

That’s where Instagram comes in. Social media usage has increased overall due to the pandemic, but it’s Instagram that has scored the greatest growth in that area: total time spent on the platform is expected to grow by 14% this year, or more than 3 minutes of additional time per user per day. If you want to be seen, Instagram is the place to go – and to earn.

Here are the various ways to monetize your time spent on social media and link up with others on Instagram who might just need exactly what you can offer.

1. Bring the spirit of entrepreneurship online

Instagram has been a great boon for entrepreneurs, online sellers, and businesses pivoting to digital channels to improve sustainability during the pandemic. Instagram itself has acknowledged this, and laid out a brief primer on how to get started:

  • On the most basic level, communicate all details about your brand with the posts you make on your Feed. The former will be the backbone of your Instagram content, so share important announcements, product details, and address frequently asked questions for prospective customers.
Bring-the-Spirit-of-Entrepreneurship-Online-Make-Money-on-Instagram
  • Utilize Instagram’s built-in eCommerce tools to support your business. By connecting your Instagram account to your business’ official Facebook catalogue, you can apply for Instagram Shopping features. Once approved, this will allow you to tag products in feed posts (up to five per image) and Stories (one sticker per Story), which immediately allows customers to see the name of each item, its corresponding price, and a direct link to purchase via your catalogue.

Our tip? If you’re one person or a small business, eschew the formalities and be your authentic self. Don’t be afraid to share more personal details with your audience. They understand more than ever the importance of sales for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs, and being a bit more open with your story online can translate into loyal customers who believe in you not just because of your products, but because of the care behind them.

2. Share your creative resources

For those whose skill sets lie in creative fields, then you may have already been on Instagram or any similarly visual-heavy social media platform. You can leverage your digital know-how and create services that will allow you to partner with others trying to build their own presence online, too.

This can include:

  • Selling photo editing and graphic design to individuals and brands for use on their social networks and websites. This is prevalent in the realm of influencer marketing communities on Instagram, wherein influencers and photographers create and share their signature photo editing presets for apps to assist others in emulating their desired aesthetics.
  • Providing detailed tutorials and sharing snippets of them online. With the pandemic bringing everyone into their homes and urging them to try new hobbies or hone their skills, any knowledge you have in this department has the potential to greatly benefit others around you. Share some useful tips and tricks for your chosen hobby on your Instagram feed, and once you build enough interest, start adding links to a full package (or even a mentoring session) available for purchase. If the quality of your content is good enough, people will be buying – so present them in an easy-to-understand and appealing way.

3. Try out affiliate marketing

The sharp increase in eCommerce use amidst the coronavirus pandemic means affiliate marketing had the chance to take off in a big way—and it did. For the unfamiliar, affiliate marketing is when organizations or individuals partner with a specific eCommerce brand to receive a commission if they refer their own audience to purchase the brand’s items. Think of the codes you see some Instagram users provide when posting photos of sporting goods from their favoured brands.

You can distinguish affiliate marketing from the more common sponsored posts you see on Instagram by the inclusion of certain discount codes or links in a post or bio. While sponsored posts may see brands provide products for an influencer to use or post about, affiliate marketing is more performance-based: affiliates get a commission based on the number of clicks or sales they get from referring users to the partner website.

Just be sure to find programs related to industries experiencing unexpected booms during the pandemic, to be on the safe side. These industries include gifts and occasions, home and garden, health and fitness, food and drink, and beauty brands. Note the seasons, too – surprisingly, despite overall cost-cutting measures to save money at home, consumers aren’t expecting to spend any less this year during special holiday events like Christmas and Black Friday, so timing your affiliate marketing promotions right becomes a factor as well.

4. Find freelance clients

The pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to take measures and undergo digital transformation, lest they get left behind and stagnate from the lack of revenue brought by decreased foot traffic and tighter regulations. If you’re a digital marketer in need of extra support, this could be the perfect time to seek out freelance clients to support any other income you might be earning.

You can easily use Instagram to build your online portfolio (or direct traffic to an existing one, if you already have a website or blog). This means putting the services you want to sell to others into practice and optimizing your Instagram profile to support it.

Here are some tips for solidifying your Instagram marketing:

  • Use relevant keywords in your Instagram bio to assist search engines. Add a touch of whimsy and customization as well by using different fonts, adding special characters, or even inserting some emojis to direct the eye to key information.
  • Write engaging Instagram captions aimed directly at reeling in your target demographic – appeal to emotion, use call-to-action phrases in each post, format them well (and keep them on the lengthy side), and remember to include hashtags for 12.6% more engagement than posts without them.
  • Share social proof with user-generated content, especially positive client testimonials. Do you have any happy customers willing to share their feedback? Make special feature posts detailing the specific services they availed, how you’ve helped them, and how they’ve been able to support you in return with the work they offered.

Final thoughts

Instagram has the potential to be an effective source of income for anyone seeking new opportunities this year. The catch? Now that everyone else is online – buying online, communicating online, and working online – so are your competitors, equally vying for customers’ attention and finding their own stride with monetizing their Instagram presence.

That’s why brand-building should be a core aspect to consider, regardless of whichever path you choose to make money on Instagram. Take the time to brainstorm and plan out even the most basic foundations of your online brand – the visuals – since that’s precisely what Instagram excels at showcasing. Photo editing and graphic design tools like Canva, Instasize, and more are free to download and user-friendly, created by experts who know what works visually and what doesn’t.

Ultimately, keeping your health and safety a priority by limiting movement as the world slowly transitions into a post-pandemic state doesn’t need to come at the expense of losing all the ways you can make a living. Keep your eyes out, get creative with all the tools available to you, and come out even stronger for it.

By

Denise Langenegger is part of the team at Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. 

Sourced from Jeffbullas.com

By

  • With over 2.5 Bn monthly active users, Facebook still is a giant on the social media scene
  • Facebook enjoys over 2.26 Bn active mobile users, accounts for 45% of monthly social media visits
  • Instagram has over 500 thousand active influencers ranging from technology, food, humour, fashion, lifestyle and many more industries

Facebook and Instagram have become inevitable tools for the modern marketer. These platforms have especially gained immense importance for start-ups and small businesses. As most companies can’t be everywhere at once, especially the cash-strapped start-ups, that’s why it’s crucial for businesses to be strategic in gauging which social media platforms will be beneficial for them to build a presence on.

With over 2.5 Bn monthly active users, Facebook still is a giant on the social media scene. It has redefined the way social networks are perceived and has effectively widened the possibilities that social media has for businesses. Facebook enjoys over 2.26 Bn active mobile users, accounts for 45% of monthly social media visits, and is available in over 100 languages. On average, a user spends 38 minutes on Facebook.

Instagram is a relatively new arrival on the block. In a short span of time, Instagram has achieved impressive statistics. It has scaled a base of whopping 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users, positioning itself as one of the fastest growing social media channels globally. It has over 100 million photos uploaded daily with an average user spending 28 minutes per day.

But that’s not all. Instagram has emerged as the 6th most popular social network in the world and is home to over 500 thousand active influencers ranging from technology, food, humour, fashion, lifestyle and many more industries.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought major changes in consumer behaviour with online shopping and purchases gaining ground. In the grand scheme of things, these two social networking sites will particularly prove to be powerful as they will present more opportunities for brands to engage with their consumers. However, its not just big brands who stand to gain from this development. Even start-ups can leverage the power of these social media sites to increase their visibility and connect with their target audience.

Here’s a roundup of the reasons why Facebook and Instagram have become popular advertising platforms for new and upcoming start-ups.

Facebook 

On Facebook, content appears in the users’ feed based on algorithms. Hence, multiple strategies such as paid ads can be used to effectively get more views on a brand’s posts. Facebook has the most diverse audience and thus, it is counted as one of the best social media platforms for small businesses to reach their target market – whoever that audience might be.

Along with providing the ability to connect with a large number of people from diverse walks of life, there are some unique features that Facebook offers to a start-up. Its targeted digital advertising platform is amongst the best tools for marketing. Facebook ads are apt for niche targeting as well as broad targeting. These ads help identify those people who are most likely willing and ready to buy the company’s products or services. This feature ensures that a start-up can get their ad content in front of the right audience at the right moment of time.

Another reason that makes Facebook an attractive option for start-ups is its e-commerce integrations. Users can purchase through the social media platform itself. Making a purchase is just about clicking one button. Now Facebook has even allowed brands to communicate with their customers through Facebook messenger. Through this feature, start-ups can easily provide shipping updates and other order related details via the Facebook channel as well.

Instagram 

Instagram’s one-of-a-kind interface has some powerful benefits for a start-up business. One of the most striking features is that it enables companies to tell their brand’s story with unique, versatile and engaging visual content. Unlike other social media networking sites, Instagram works through visuals and is focused on both images and videos. No matter which industry, Instagram caters to every niche area and can be utilised to showcase all kinds of products. Even its targeted sponsored ads are immensely helpful in increasing a brand’s visibility.

The Instagram stories make marketing even more catchy and take the advertising game a notch higher. With Instagram stories, start-ups can live-stream videos and share them with their followers. These stories are the best way to provide behind-the-scenes footage and share important news and updates with the followers. Even Instagram allows companies to message their users directly, which can be a great tool for customer service.

A commonality among both the social media platforms is their analytics, which provides insights into how the campaigns and ads are performing so that if required, improvements can be made in the future for better results. The ads, ranging from video ads and single image ads to carousel ads and lead forms (only on Facebook), help brands generate loyal following among different audiences.

Summing It Up

Facebook and Instagram have both equally garnered immense popularity since the time of their inception. And both are equally beneficial for business. It’s up to the companies to decide which platform will prove to be the best for them looking at their target audience and the kind of content that they are looking to publish to build their social media presence.

By

Sourced from Inc42

Postoplan allows you to automate posting across multiple platforms from one central hub.

There are unlimited ways for business owners to reach out: Keeping customers updated on Instagram, appealing to new users on Facebook, or recruiting potential talent via LinkedIn. However, all those tasks require a huge amount of time investment that could be better spent elsewhere.

It’s essential for companies to have a multi-faceted marketing plan uniquely suited to the strengths of each platform and the speed at which things can change on the internet. No one manager can do it effectively, and it’s difficult even for dedicated marketing professionals. That’s where Postoplan comes in.

The social media automation tool can have a profound impact on local brands while also easily meeting the scale of any large corporation. In fact, it already has: Reps from companies and entrepreneurs in 140 countries have given Postoplan top reviews on sites like G2 and Capterra. The key is in the functionality. With Postoplan, you can control daily posts from a central hub that lets you see what’s going out and when. Schedule posts on social media sites, messaging apps, even WhatsApp, and automate replies, redirects, and a whole range of interactions with your followers.

Having trouble with content? Postoplan provides daily idea hooks to make sure there’s constant variety. Users can get suggestions on hashtags and other relevant tagging, edit photos quickly directly in the tool, and even add multiple photos on a single post. Best of all, you can do all these tasks ad-free, an unlimited number of times on an unlimited number of accounts. It’s a hub that brings your messaging together under one umbrella.

PCMag readers can try out the service now with a special discount: Take half off the retail price of a lifetime subscription to Postoplan Social Media Automation, now available for $99.99.

By StackCommerce Team

Sourced from PC

By Marisa Sanfilippo,

Check out these tips to help drive your Instagram marketing strategy toward better engagement and higher ROI.

If you’re looking for a way to grow your business, you may want to consider Instagram marketing. Instagram is an essential part of many business owners’ social media marketing strategies. This guide covers the benefits of using Instagram for business and top Instagram marketing tips to follow.

Business benefits of using Instagram

Instagram is a smart marketing tool if your business has products and services that can be presented visually and your audience is active on the channel. If your business checks those boxes and you carefully plan and execute your Instagram social media marketing strategy, this social media channel can have these big benefits:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Followers’ trust
  • Brand loyalty
  • A boost in website traffic
  • New leads
  • New customers
  • Repeat business

Instagram marketing tips and best practices

Instagram marketing strategies vary from business to business. Although the following Instagram marketing tips have been effective for select brands, you should cater each tip to your unique audience and sales offerings.

Know your audience.

If you don’t know your audience, you are essentially creating content blindly. Many small businesses think their audience is everyone, which is almost never the case.

To help pinpoint your target audience, HubSpot suggests creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. You can have more than one buyer persona, but limit them to five to ensure they are manageable. Include important details about your target audience, such as their demographics and how they think and act. For example, consider the following characteristics:

  • Age range (keep it within 10 years)
  • Specific location (city and state)
  • Job title
  • Gender
  • What motivates them at their job
  • What motivates them at home
  • Three main problems they have
  • Where they go for information (e.g., business.com, Facebook or a local radio station)
  • Any additional information you can identify (e.g., if they have pets and/or children, their salary range, their hobbies)

When developing buyer personas, make them as clear and as detailed as possible. The more specific your buyer personas are, the better you’ll succeed in creating content that appeals to your audience. If you’re unsure where to get this information, start by surveying your current customers. Email them a survey, letting them know how long it will take to fill out. Keep your questions brief, and offer multiple-choice and open-ended options.

To further entice your current customer base to take your survey, you could offer a promo code to be applied to their next purchase, and you might even get some extra business from it. If your business is brand-new and you really don’t have any idea where to begin with surveying your customers, reach out to your personal social media networks for assistance. There has to be an audience you had in mind when you started your company. Find those people, even if you have to go through your personal Facebook friends list and phone contacts.

Another option is to use a paid digital tool to survey a group of people. If you choose this route, start with an audience of 100 or fewer people, and increase it as needed. Sometimes, a small sample is helpful and saves you money.

Optimize your bio.

Your bio is an important part of your Instagram page, and it needs to be optimized. Include the following elements:

  • A clear and engaging Instagram profile picture that’s sized appropriately
  • A bio that tells a story of what your brand or Instagram influencer page is about
  • A link that visitors can access for more information
  • Hashtags (when applicable)

Your bio is an important part of your Instagram page, and it needs to be optimized. Include the following elements:

  • A clear and engaging Instagram profile picture that’s sized appropriately
  • A bio that tells a story of what your brand or Instagram influencer page is about
  • A link that visitors can access for more information
  • Hashtags (when applicable)

Example: Just for fun – micro-influencer Instagram bio Zoey the Maltichon

Incorporate relevant hashtags.

Hashtags, including those that are trending, can help people find your page on Instagram and Twitter and are essential to grow your audience and sales. Josh Stutt, founder of ABCD E-Commerce, said to make sure to research hashtags before you start using them. If you’re not a widely known brand or celebrity, using generic hashtags won’t get you anywhere. For example, if you’re a new vintage T-shirt brand, don’t waste your time with broad hashtags such as #fashion or #tshirt.

“You need to find hashtags that are typically on point [and] have a good following but aren’t being used by everyone else in your space,” Stutt said. “By using the Instagram search function, you can see the popularity of any given tag (#tshirt has 38.5M posts, but #vintagetees only has 388K). Dig around and find 50 or so tags that are applicable to you.”

Once you’ve done this, use about 15 hashtags in various combinations on your posts, and keep track of where you use each one, Stutt suggested. After that, he said, review the results, looking at which posts resonated, which hashtags brought people in and what people talked about in your posts.

“As you learn which ones work for you, use them continuously while slowly adding in other ones and trying to scale up as you gain popularity,” Stutt said. “Once you start connecting on certain tags, that’s when you can hit the Discover section, and that’s how you get Instagram working for you instead of the other way around.”

Interact with other users in your target audience.

Building relationships is an age-old sales tactic that is effective in social media as well. It is also the best organic way to increase your audience and get new business. The key to building relationships is to be genuine. Here are a few ways to build relationships on Instagram:

  • Follow people in your target audience who interest you.
  • Like and comment on their posts.
  • Sometimes, share their posts to your stories.

It can take time to build these relationships, but doing so can generate some of the hottest leads.

Team up with other brands to host giveaways.

Jenna Labiak, owner of The Silk Labs, said hosting giveaways with other small businesses that have the same values, location and target audience has been beneficial to her business on Instagram.

“This way, we can have a mutually beneficial relationship within this giveaway and share both of our audiences with one another,” she said. “On average, I would say for each giveaway with another small business, The Silk Labs gains 200 new customers.”

Use a link tool to drive traffic to your website and other important links.

There are quite a few link tools available, but one of the most effective and widely used is Linktree. When you set up and add Linktree to your Instagram profile, users who click the link are directed to the Linktree page that shows all of the links you have added. You can customize the Linktree page with a profile image, such as your company logo, and edit the links at any time. The Linktree tool has a “forever free” plan that is ideal for small businesses. Additional plans start at $6 per month.

Capitalize on affordable influencer marketing.

You may know that partnering with Instagram influencers, or people with large followings for a particular interest or category, can be an effective marketing strategy. However, it often comes with a hefty price tag.

As a more affordable alternative, “Strike a win-win deal with other companies that have affiliations with influencers, and do a collaboration,” said Amy McWaters, CEO of The Hamper Emporium.

As an example, McWaters’ Australia-based company collaborated with Ponting Wines, which is promoted by Ricky Ponting, a cricket legend. As part of the collaboration, her team created stories featuring him and, in return, he promoted his wines in The Hamper Emporium’s e-commerce store.

McWaters said her company received a lot of direct messages asking about the products, and the campaign resulted in an overall sales increase of 43% that quarter.

Humanize your brand.

This is a strategy that works well across all social media channels. Think about the content that resonates with you on the pages you follow. Most likely, it’s the stuff that you can connect with personally, not corporate business posts. That’s why it’s so important to show your human side.

For example, payment processing company Priority Payments Local created a “Meet the Team” series and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, got its team together to convey the message “We’re all in this together.” The photo of the company’s business development manager, Vincent Napoli, shows him in a different light than his clients are used to seeing him in: with his son.

Leverage Instagram analytics (also called Instagram Insights).

Instagram Insights, Instagram’s analytics tool, is available to use for free on the Instagram app and is available on business accounts and contributor accounts (sometimes called influencer accounts). The tool provides the following metrics:

  • The number of accounts reached (with increase or decrease percentages)
  • Content interactions (with increase or decrease percentages)
  • Total followers (with increase or decrease percentages)
  • Content your page shared
  • Instagram story content
  • IGTV video content
  • Promoted post data

This information is available for the previous seven-day period. Unfortunately, unlike Facebook’s analytics tool, it does not show the best times to post different types of content. If you have a Facebook business page, experiment with the best posting times (as determined by when your audience is online).

Post awesome content.

You and your audience may not have the same idea of what constitutes impressive content. Research what types of content get the most engagement on your competitors’ pages.

Fill your followers’ Instagram feeds with engaging content. Note the type of content that gets the most engagement, so you can keep giving your audience what it wants. For example, some brands do better with Instagram Live posts than they do with Instagram Stories. Ultimately, you can define “awesome content” by how well it performs. Your posts should be carefully planned, crafted and distributed.

Grow your page and your business with Instagram advertising.

Instagram advertising can be beneficial for expanding your brand’s reach across the social media platform, thereby growing your following and increasing sales. Depending on your industry, for Instagram to be effective, you may need to run your ads through a sales funnel, like Credit Repair Kings did. The company’s strategy was to target consumers within a specific age group in the local area who had an interest in the credit services and financial categories. When someone clicked on the ad, Credit Repair Kings used ClickFunnels to capture the lead to schedule a call with them using Calendly.

Test and try again.

The social media landscape is always changing, so it’s important to test new tactics. Don’t be afraid to create Instagram content that gets zero or little engagement. Learn something from every post, and keep trying. With time and practice, you could find yourself with a flood of new sales straight from Instagram.

By Marisa Sanfilippo,

Sourced from business.com

Sourced from MarketPlace

Black influencers tend to be paid less than white influencers, and it has nothing to do with follower counts.

Talking about how much you’re paid can make for an awkward conversation, but Adesuwa Ajayi is asking just that of social media influencers. They can have followings of tens or hundreds of thousands and companies will pay them for promotions. Ajayi started the Influencer Pay Gap account on Instagram to highlight the fact that Black influencers are routinely paid less than white influencers, even when they have similar numbers of followers or the same reach. The account lets people share stories anonymously and learn from other people’s experiences about what a fair payment is for a particular job or endorsement.

I spoke with Ajayi, whose day job is managing influencers at the talent agency AGM. She said she’s been collecting hundreds of stories. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Adesuwa Ajayi (Photo courtesy of Ajayi)

Adesuwa Ajayi: One of the most interesting ones actually was a campaign an influencer was participating in. This was a white influencer. And she was approached last-minute by a beauty brand with the expectation that she was going to replace a celebrity. She was pitched £5,000 to be paid for that campaign. She turned up, but then realized that the celebrity that apparently wasn’t going to turn up actually did turn up. So, there was no need for her to be there. And she was still paid that £5,000. Whereas a Black influencer, who actually participated in the campaign, was paid around £1,700. And it had nothing to do with their influence and following.

Jack Stewart: It is one thing in a job where people get paid a salary and you can be fairly transparent about it or at least force that transparency. But with influencers, where there’s kind of just not that overall body, there’s not a union, there’s really no way, is there, to dig in and figure out what these differences are? It really lets you hide things quite easily.

Ajayi: One hundred percent, especially as there are different parties involved. You have the brands, but you also have the agencies, and agencies are often given big budgets from brands. And there’s no level of transparency, whereby if a brand gives an agency around £10,000, who’s to say the agency doesn’t cut off £5,000 for themselves and intentionally lowball influencers? I think there are so many things at play here. There are so many people involved in different ways, and each industry, each niche, there are different behaviours that are a lot more common within certain niches than others. So it’s a bit of a mess, to a degree.

Stewart: You work at a talent agency. Is there anything you can think of that would help fix this problem? Is there a way to structure pay? Is there a way for influencers to work together or form a union?

Ajayi: I am working hand in hand with a union that has actually been set up. They are working towards opportunities for advocacy when it comes to influencers in this space and creators in general, where people feel OK to discuss the ways in which they have been treated. I think reinvigorating influencers in the sense that where they feel a lot more confident, and a lot more, almost, heard, in the grand scheme of things is really important.

Stewart: Have you heard anything from brands either talking to you personally or speaking out publicly about the inequality issue?

Ajayi: There are some Black influencers who kind of feel a way about some of the posts that have been made by certain brands. Especially brands that have a habit of picking and choosing what they like from Black culture, but completely ostracizing Black influencers from their campaigns. And I think there is constantly, right now, a conversation around seeing Black influencers and Black creators as worthy of a level of respect. It shouldn’t be anything somewhat shallow because you’re scared of any repercussions.

Stewart: What do you hope changes as a result of this page and the work that you’re doing?

Ajayi: I would really love for it to create a space whereby people feel like they can be truly honest and they feel that they’ll be heard. And not only heard, but, based upon the feedback, brands will take steps to do what they know they should do. So that’s one thing. I would also say, just the sense of community has been amazing and just seeing influencers help one another. An influencer with a million [followers] can seem so far-fetched to an influencer who has 5,000. But on the page, it sort of brings people together and gives them an understanding of what different spaces are like and the things that other people go through. And so I’d love for a kind of close-knit way of people kind of advocating for one another. It also required people to use their privilege and also use their insight to help one another. And I think that is what has been really, really amazing about the page, and I think it will only continue to get even bigger and better in that sense.

Related links: More insight from Jack Stewart

You can read some of the stories people have shared on the Influencer Pay Gap account for yourself.

Being an influencer has only recently been recognized as a real job, and for some people it can be a very lucrative one. Your Kardashians or Jenners can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sponsored post or other endorsement. For others, it’s much harder to make anything approaching a living. And while people were spending more time online during the pandemic, marketing budgets dried up, meaning less money to go around. Back in May, Instagram announced some new features so that people could keep making money, like putting ads on Instagram TV and sharing the revenue, something other platforms like YouTube have been doing for years.

Instagram is feeling the pressure of competition from TikTok, another favourite among the short-form video set. Despite calls to ban it, and concerns over its possible links to the Chinese government, more than 300 million people downloaded the TikTok app in the first quarter of this year, taking the total to something around 2 billion.

Sourced from MarketPlace

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Popular creators on YouTube and Instagram can make money promoting music, but if they promote too many duds, their popularity can take a hit.

Back in 2018, it was possible to break a single via an Instagram meme. It happened with Rich the Kid’s “New Freezer:” Omid Noori, co-founder of the digital marketing and management company ATG, stumbled on a meme featuring several kids whipsawing their heads to the track; he then paid a popular hip-hop channel on Instagram to re-post it. The meme morphed into the “New Freezer challenge;” the rapper, his label Interscope, and ATG spread it across the digital universe; and the single eventually earned a double-platinum certification.

But as the music industry became increasingly interested in using memes to raise awareness for songs, naturally their impact diminished. “Memes were a novelty, but then it became, if you have enough money, ‘what’s the song — I’ll find a clip that kind of matches it and run it,’” Noori explains. “Now people don’t discover music as much that way, because it’s such a common thing when songs get dubbed over memes.”

This illustrates one of the central challenges of digital marketing and promotion in music. As soon the music industry recognizes that one technique on one social media platform is particularly effective for bringing attention to a track, record companies try to turn it into a standard marketing strategy, which backfires by making the tactic less potent. Memes and dance challenges initially became popular because they seemed fun and spontaneous; when they are rote and forced, advertisements rather than ways to engage with others online, their energy quickly starts to dissipate.

Several marketers say they’ve noticed significant drops in influencer engagement across multiple social media platforms lately, which they believe is a cost of trying to force-feed songs without regard for listeners’ preferences. “I’ve seen some YouTube influencers’ engagement fall 30 or 40 percent because they’re just saying yes to [every paid opportunity to place a song in their channel],” says Dillon Druz, who manages the rapper Bankrol Hayden and runs marketing campaigns for multiple labels.

“Every day there are hundreds of songs that don’t make sense for TikTok” — the app tends to reward songs that elicit simple, replicable movements — “and people are like, ‘well this other one went viral on there, so let’s put $20,000 behind it,’” Druz continues. “It all comes back to not having a proper influencer marketing strategy and spending money in the wrong places.”

“I see a lot of influencers only posting promos” — paid posts — “and their engagement is lowering,” adds Leilani, who has been on TikTok since it was Musical.ly and has more than seven million followers and half a billion likes on the app. As a result, “I try to keep the promos low.”

Digital marketing is a key component of the modern music industry. In the old days, an artist could reach potential fans in just a few ways: radio, print, television, physical advertising like billboards and flyers, and live shows. Those are still around, but their relevance is declining; now, attention has splintered into a myriad of digital pockets. An artist can perk ears through subcultures on TikTok, gaming channels on YouTube, and filters on Snapchat, not to mention Instagram, Fortnite, Facebook, Triller, Twitter, Dubsmash, directly through Spotify, and elsewhere.

“You can climb in a hole where you keep posting bad content and you can’t really get out of it.”

Popular users emerge on each of these platforms and gain followers, often by providing a unique personal perspective — a special brand of humor or a knack for finding hits early. Artists and labels then pay these influencers to disseminate music to their followers. (The pandemic caused labels to shift even more money to their digital efforts.) On average, marketers say Instagram influencers are more expensive than TikTok influencers, but top TikTok creators can still charge $25,000 or more for a post. Once labels and artists start paying for content, though, this can sometimes weaken the personal connection between an influencer and his or her followers by transforming a quirky individual into a walking billboard.

That’s not to say this approach to marketing doesn’t work — it’s easy to find the success stories, from labels fanning the flames of a challenge that materialized on TikTok to artists coordinating flashy activations on Fortnite. While it’s much harder to find stories about all the songs that don’t connect despite having plenty of marketing money behind them, in truth, the tracks that flop outnumber the ones that connect by a wide margin. Marketers are engaged in a complicated dance, trying to deliver effective ads and promotions while at the same time convincing their audience that they are not being spammed.

 

Marketers say that dedicated followers are often savvy enough to discern between posts that an influencer makes because they love a song and posts that are just about padding the bottom line. “It’s very obvious when people’s pages just become a paid platform, whereas before it was actually uploading clips in tune with them,” Druz says. “Their followers know it’s not authentic, and that’s why engagement is dropping.”

It’s possible that influencers are less susceptible to plummeting engagement on TikTok because of the sheer volume of posts common on the app — creators will often put up five or six clips a day on TikTok, far more than they would post on Instagram or YouTube. When an influencer is spewing out so many clips, each one has less weight.

“We have to post normally before we take on any more [paid] campaigns.”

Still, Leilani knows that her followers will not respond to some types of paid content. “Something they don’t like is if I do songs with dances that aren’t already popular,” she says. “They would always get the lowest engagement” in terms of views and likes, so she steers clear.

Since influencers post less frequently on Instagram and YouTube, the repercussions for a series of misfires on those platforms can be more serious. “You can climb in a hole where you keep posting bad content and you can’t really get out of it,” Druz says. “People care what goes on their Instagram and YouTube — they are more professional platforms” relative to TikTok, which prizes goofy spontaneity.

ATG’s Noori works with a network of influencers to help labels market songs, and he says that they sometimes decline to do promotions due to fears about alienating their audience. “A lot of influencers at one point in the last two months were like, ‘we can’t do as many [paid] campaigns this week, we need to get our engagement back,’” he notes. “People would say, ‘we have to post normally before we take on any more [paid] campaigns.’”

That’s part of the reason why Druz is changing the way he promotes music. Now “I’m very cautious,” he says. “I’m going to creators and saying, ‘is this a good fit for your channel?’ I have to make sure everyone actually believes in the song.”

Feature Image Credit: Photos in illustration by Adobe Stock/Kurkalukas, Adobe Stock/Endstern

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Sourced from RollingStone

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It’s been a while now since Instagram updated its API to allow for third party tools to be used to help schedule Instagram posts.

Depending on how you use social media for business, you may or may not have explored this option.

If you have, great! Share your experience in the comments below.

If you haven’t, the big question for today is… why not?

Every month, 1 billion people use Instagram. Companies that aren’t on social media, or those that rarely post, are missing out on a free or pay-as-you-go marketing opportunity.

And in this world, companies with a purpose and the ability to connect to consumers as people are the ones in business for the long haul.

Why Businesses Should Use Instagram In Scheduling Instagram Posts

Image Source

So what do you stand to gain by boosting your Instagram strategy? What does Instagram scheduling offer that manual posting is lacking? Is there room for advanced social media content automation?

Here are 7 things to ask yourself before you get down to business scheduling Instagram posts.

1. How much time are you wasting every day manually posting Instagram updates?

When you add up the time it takes to stop, think about a post, capture the image, make your image Insta-worthy, consider and craft the copy, and post to Instagram, you’re looking at a couple of decent chunks of time taken out of your day. Not to mention the time wasted getting back into your workflow once that’s been interrupted.

Advance scheduling of Instagram posts allows you to set aside a block of time at your convenience to do all this at once. No interrupting other work and no time spent refocusing, which means you’re actively increasing your productivity to get more done in a shorter amount of time. You can set it all up and then move on to the next thing, knowing posting for the day/week/month is taken care of.

Bulk.ly Advance Scheduling Of Instagram Posts

2. What could you be doing with the time you get back in efficiency gains?

Do you have other social media sites that could use some attention? How about engaging with your audience? Or even exploring new business opportunities?

Consider what you “never” have time for and have always wanted to do. If this list is compelling enough, then the hours saved by scheduling Instagram posts in advance may be worth more than you originally considered.

3. Do your updates often contain copy or fact mistakes?

Rushing to manually post in real-time can lead to oversights when it comes to proper spelling or fact-checking. If you’re catching yourself making mistakes on a regular basis, it may be because of a lack of focus or the pressure to hurry and get a post out between meetings or before lunch.

When you take time to build out a calendar of posts and schedule content in advance, you can double-check copy for spelling and grammar mistakes and identify pieces of information you need to research further… before posting. All without the pressure of daily responsibilities calling on you every step of the way.

4. Do you forget to post some days? Then overdo it on others?

Inconsistency in posting not only confuses your audience, but also erodes their trust. When will they get new information? Can they expect to see images of that new product you’re offering on sale today?

If they get something different every time, are constantly waiting for an update, or feel like your posts are so frequent it’s overwhelming, they’re going to stop following and engaging.

There are countless social media marketing tools that allow you to build out a schedule that’s balanced and that delivers when you say you will. Scheduling posts allows you to do that, no matter what your day brings because it’s all taken care of in advance.

Buffer Social Media Marketing Took for Scheduling Instagram Posts

5. Do you have a strategy when it comes to hashtag use?

Some businesses have abandoned any hashtag strategy altogether in favor of flooding updates with them. This strategy seems to be the go-to for businesses with a lack of time and forethought. They’re essentially throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

When you plan what you’re going to post and schedule everything out in advance, you can more readily identify common themes and research the most popular hashtags related to your topic, product, industry, customer base, etc.

Posting with a handful of smart, well-researched hashtags can ensure your updates end up in the right feeds, in front of your target audience.

McGlow Scheduling For Instagram Posts

6. Would highlighting relevant events or holidays on social media benefit your business?

It seems like there’s some kind of holiday trending every day on social media. Days celebrating pancakes, dogs, boyfriends, movies… depending on your industry, leveraging these “holidays”, as well as national holidays, for use in a social media marketing campaign could be a smart way to reach current and potential customers.

But in the frenzy of other priorities, we tend to lose track of dates or miss out on proper lead time to execute on a formerly brainstormed campaign idea. Building out calendars in advance and scheduling posts helps with awareness of planning windows and makes it more likely that there will be ample execution time.

7. Have you considered automation?

If you’re looking to grow your business with Instagram and take advanced scheduling to the next level, automation may be right for you.

Automation only maximizes the litany of benefits mentioned above, in that you can let go of regularly coming up with new content to schedule and having to update your queued content lists as they run dry.

With automation, the posts keep posting – all you need to do is add one-off updates (breaking news, product promotions, etc.) into the mix as they arise.

Of course, you’ll need to first identify enough evergreen content to share so that your updates will remain relevant, and so you’ll have enough content to populate your queues so followers aren’t seeing the same posts all the time.

Tools like Bulk.ly can be synced directly to Buffer and often feature product blogs full of helpful articles to help you learn how to use automation to advance your business and social media goals.

Instagram Autimations for Scheduling Instagram Posts

Instant doesn’t translate well from personal to business

The “insta” nature of Instagram suggests that this platform is made for instant posting, instant engagement – capturing an instant and getting it out to your followers in real-time.

That makes sense for personal accounts and social media celebrities. But for businesses, such a strategy is less effective and wrought with risks, from missed opportunities to reputation-damaging mistakes.

Scheduling Instagram posts merges both worlds, with automation taking it to the next level.

One last thing to consider: Can you really afford NOT to schedule your Instagram updates?

Guest author: Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses.

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Sourced from Jeff Bullas