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Instagram Marketing: Cheat Sheet

Instagram marketing is one of the most overlooked marketing options there is when it comes to promoting a brand and helping it to thrive online. A lot of businesses fail to consider marketing on Instagram simply because they believe it to be a “small” social network—or because they don’t think it presents enough opportunities. You can’t insert links on Instagram…it’s all about pictures…What use could that possibly have for a business?

Surprisingly, it’s the “non-promotional” nature of Instagram that makes it so effective. And as for it being small…well, as of December 2014, it had 300 million users—which actually means that it’s bigger than Twitter. Time for a re-think!

So how do you “win” at Instagram? Simple: you follow this formula.

What Works on Instagram?

Instagram is centered around showcasing the beauty of everyday moments and activities. For your company, that means sharing the beauty of your products and presenting your services in a way that makes them look desirable.

What is the lifestyle you are promoting? What is the ethos? What do people receive by following or buying into your brand? Whether it’s astounding travel, mouthwatering food, health, fitness, or fashion—your images should portray the lifestyle you are attempting to promote!

Uploading Great Content

Content on Instagram should evoke the “feel” of your brand, as mentioned above. Also, try following these tips to ensure that you stay on the money:

  • Upload regularly
  • Stay “on point”
  • Use filters—but don’t overdo them
  • Tell a story with your pictures
  • Provide tips and value wherever possible
  • Think about depth and lighting
  • Use VSCO Cam (app) to get access to more effects
  • Use CloudFire (app) to help manage your account more effectively—find relevant users to follow and keep track of how your social media updates affect your follower/unfollower statistics
  • Look for stock images or create memes when you’re low on content

How to Grow Your Users

There are a few ways you can grow your users. For instance:

  • Link your social media accounts so that they each boost each other (and have a consistent brand identity across all of them)
  • Add your Instagram to your website with a sidebar widget
  • Use hashtags that people will search for—look local!
  • Run contests, caption competitions, and promotions
  • Find an automation software for realistic engagement with other users
  • Use influencer marketing—try to get big bloggers and webmasters to share your content with their own followers
  • Use location tags and local hashtags
  • Tag people you meet in the real world

If people come into your store, encourage them to engage on Instagram

Encourage people to take photos and tag you, or to take photos using your product/promotional items

Some Last Points to Remember

Remember, Instagram is not about instant conversions or links. It’s about the long-term benefits, so rate your success in terms of likes, follows, and comments—not solely profit.

Likewise, remember that this is a “young” and “hip” crowd. You need to get to know your actual audience, but you should also get to know the Instagram audience more generally. What you’ll find is that Instagram is a place where in-your-face marketing messages don’t go over well. So don’t do that!

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Let me know what’s worked for you below!

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Facebook Marketing: Articles and Posts that Get Read

A lot of content on Facebook just doesn’t get read. But what does it take to create a post that will get clicked on? And if your post isn’t getting read at all, what can you do to get it shared?

Here, you have two major tools up your sleeve: the title and the image.

Using Clickbait

If you look at some of the most successful content on Facebook, a lot of it will fall into the category of ‘clickbait’. What this means is that the title has been devised specifically to compel people to click on it. Of course that has always been the purpose of pretty much any link, but in this case, the difference is that this objective is pursued at the cost of all others – it doesn’t matter if the title is descriptive, accurate, useful…as long as it gets clicks.

And it really works!

So what kind of techniques do titles use to become clickbait? Usually the aim is to leverage the curiosity of the reader – to ask some kind of question or to create suspense with some kind of cliffhanger.

For instance, you might say something like:

‘You’ll never believe what happens next in this video!’

Sometimes the title will even take a first-person narrative perspective, such as:

‘I’m so glad I read to the second paragraph…!!’

Another slightly more subtle trick is to make a list-type article and then to make one of the points sound particularly more interesting than the rest. So:

‘Top Ten Ways to Save Time At Work – Number Two Changed My Life!’

This article is descriptive but then has the added trick of making the second item sound particularly interesting, even more so than the rest. The hope is that the prospective reader will be so eager to find out what number two is all about that they’ll click on the link, even if they normally would not.

Clickbait titles work, and they work very well, but make sure that you use them with caution. If your titles are too obviously clickbait, they will likely trigger a cynical reaction. Facebook users are becoming used to seeing clickbait and thus have become wary of such titles.

The real problem here is that many clickbait titles simply fail to deliver on their promise. They vow to blow your mind but then offer underwhelming solutions. Sometimes the links don’t even lead to full articles!

So what can you do about it? The trick is to try to be a little more subtle about it, and to avoid being deceptive. In other words, you still want to spark curiosity and interest, but the difference is that you’re going to spark curiosity and follow it up with a genuinely interesting topic that people may not have heard before.

Say you have a fitness website. How often have you seen articles saying ‘Ten Ways to Get a Six Pack’ or ‘How to Lose Weight Without Starving Yourself!’? All of us have read variations on that same article countless times before, so we’re kind of sick of hearing it. It’s no wonder that companies have to resort to what is basically trickery in order to get people to click again.

But now imagine an article on a new supplement that people haven’t heard of before. Or how about a new training technique called ‘cardio acceleration’? What about the fitness benefits of parkour? Or the different ways you can combine martial arts and weight training?

What you have now is a genuinely novel topic that sounds appealing to anyone who is interested in the subject. There’s no reason to lie or to trick—the topic is genuinely attention-grabbing. This is what will make your articles really stand out. It goes deeper than just the title; it’s the topic and the initial idea that lead to the creation of something new and different. This is, in many ways, the most important step in your article-writing process.

The Picture

The next tool you have to use to get people to click on your content is the image. After the title, this is what people will see first and it’s what will make your content stand out. A great image can very quickly sell the concept of your article and it can also be entertaining, funny, emotional, or fascinating in its own right.

So think: what is the hook of your article and how can you get this across with a great image? What image will grab the attention of people who are scrolling through their newsfeed? And what image will be interesting enough that it warrants a like or a share on its own merit?

One good example is to use memes. Memes are images that come from popular culture – often stills from movies but sometimes just funny photos doing the rounds on the web. To these images, you then add two short lines of text to encapsulate your point in a funny way. Often the meme will follow a set formula and you will find that certain images and structures appear over and over again. The ‘most interesting man in the world’ meme, for instance, normally starts with ‘I don’t always…’ and then follows it up with ‘But when I do…’ and presents some humorous topic of relevance to the intended readership.

Memes are instantly recognizable, they’re funny, they’re witty…and they’re trendy. If you can use one to make a point that people will agree with, you can expect this to lead to a large number of shares.

Otherwise, funny images, shocking images, or anything else that grabs attention and tells a story can help you to get shares.

Videos

And better yet – why not add a video to your feed? Usually, videos play automatically on Facebook and are highly engaging. Just think about the last time you tried to hold a conversation when there was a TV in the room – did you carry on with your conversation or were you distracted, both stealing glances at the TV? Or think about the last time you started watching ‘Top 100 Love Songs’ late at night, then stayed up to the very end despite not really caring (at least initially) about the resolution, and certainly not intending to go to bed that late…

Videos are fantastic for getting people to watch all the way to the end, and they can also be much more persuasive and really sell your point in an emotional way with music and a narrative script. These are less effective at getting people to click to visit your site, but if your objective is simply to build brand awareness or authority—or just to get likes and shares on your Facebook page—then it can be a great strategy.

So What Works?

There are a lot of different things to consider when it comes to getting your content to perform well on Facebook. The main points, though, are that it should be…

  • Entertaining and funny
  • Short and succinct
  • Interesting and unique
  • Expressive and specifically targeted
  • Trendy or on topic
  • Emotional and sensitive

The content that fares the best is content that has:

  • Amusing/captivating images
  • A fascinating clickbait title
  • Video

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Let me know what’s worked for you below!

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