How to Market on Instagram

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is probably worth a hundred thousand. Luckily Instagram has both and provides a great way for you to engage with users and spread your brand message. The founders of Instagram wanted a system whereby a relationship did not need to be established between users in order to view content. You simply follow whomever you wish, similar to Twitter. More importantly nearly 60% of users are under the age of 30, cough, Millennials, cough.

What businesses should post on Instagram

If you have a very visual brand, say a ski resort, you should be posting amazing images of scenery and guests having fun. You want potential customers to envy the view. If you’re a newspaper brand maybe you post images of journalists out on assignment, or showcase your personality with quirky office gags. The goal is to position your brand in an environment where people are seeking out content. For instance, don’t post a picture of a Coke, post a picture of friends enjoying one.

Should You Use Videos on Instagram?

Yes! According to NewsWhip engagement with Instagram videos is up 53% in 2017. Videos offer a more immersive engagement and allow brands a longer message. But similar to the above statement about photos you have to follow the same tactic. Don’t be boring, don’t be stale. Do be exciting and outside the box.

Pass the Hash…tag

Hashtags group images and videos together the same way tweets are grouped in Twitter. Sites such as Tag Blender or Tags for Likes show the most popular tags in addition to providing some recommendations based on your content. But be careful not to use tags that are irrelevant to your post.

Instagram is a great tool for brands to show off their personality. Don’t count on a ton of direct conversions, but Instagram is a born branding machine and if you think outside the box you can remain at top of mind for your target customer year-round.

The Death of Facebook Advertising

OK, so we’re being a bit dramatic with the headline, but reports over the last week or so have not been kind to the beloved social media giant. Take the eMarketer report where they estimate usage to fall 3.4% year-over-year with the 12-17 age group. Or perhaps you saw the BuzzSumo article about Facebook engagement falling 20% year-over-year. Or, just take my own usage patterns and the fact that I rarely logon to Facebook but my 65-year-old mother does daily.

How To Target Customers on Facebook

So is Facebook really dead? Absolutely not. In fact that same eMarketer article points out that despite that 3.4% drop in usage the 12-17 age group still makes up 14.5 million people. As a marketer I feel like I could use 14.5 million customers. While usage and engagement will absolutely fluctuate over time as a marketer you must understand WHERE your customers are and HOW they want to receive messaging. Facebook provides amazing targeting capabilities, but remember that you are competing with baby photos and the latest political gaff.

  • Choose your messaging wisely : Brand reinforcement & passive voice may be better as opposed to the “Buy Now” message.
  • Be visual : There’s a reason Instagram is getting more popular as the younger generation is incredibly visual and seems to prefer scanning over reading, so what imagery can your brand leverage?
  • Please don’t get political : First off you might get blocked, but secondly no matter the issue there are always opposing views and they spread like wildfire via social media channels.
  • Target & Specify : The targeting capabilities are nearly endless on Facebook so use them to your advantage and craft messaging and imagery that speaks to that consumer

So How Do I Target Millennials?

Remember that the baby boomers and generation X seemed impossible to target at first. Take a moment to map out your target audiences and jot down their wants and needs. Remember that “Millennials” is a very vague term and within that population there are several sub-segments. Then evaluate where they spend their time and craft messaging specific to those wants and needs for the particular channel.

Facebook is not dead, but how the audience uses it has changed a lot over the years and thus your marketing needs to change right along with it!

Getting Twitter Engagement

Ever followed someone Live-Tweeting at a conference? Worse, ever followed someone Live-Tweeting and actually been at the same conference? Twitter is a great vehicle to push out content, but the biggest mistake we see people making is simply re-hashing of previously available content. The Re-Tweet feature is a great way to let your followers know you think something is important, but always make sure to add your own little spin on the why! Recently our thoughts on Twitter engagement were confirmed when we added our own spin to a Live-Tweet. Instead of simply pushing out verbatim what speakers were saying our own Brandon Hess decided to doodle away and cover the main themes of each presentation in a creative way. We both weren’t sure if people would think it was stupid or not, but hey, why not. It was something different, something creative, and something more interesting than the simple Live-Tweet. Apparently this resonated with our Twitter audience because we were able to increase our Tweet Impressions by 30,000% (seriously, those 0’s are real) because several different influencers found this more interesting than the myriad of other mundane tweets coming out of MozCon. So let this be a reminder to stand out in the crowd, don’t just do what everyone else is doing, be weird, be noticed, get exposure!

The Social Divide

It turns out there’s a pretty large divide between marketers and consumers… are you shocked? According to a Boston Retail Partners study retailers expected to see a 34% increase from their social media channels. However, an eMarketer study found that consumers weren’t as apt to use social media to drive their purchases via a “Buy Button”. The numbers come out like so: 17% Tumblr, 14% Instagram, 13% Pinterest, 12% Twitter, and 9% Facebook.

Social Engagement

Granted, this question was hyper-focused on social media users clicking a “Buy Button”, but it begs a larger question, should you be so buy-centric on social platforms? I’ve always been a proponent of social media to drive awareness, be it of a brand, product, service, etc. However, many many marketers hear a buzz word and immediately think it’s the next big thing. If done with a proper strategy in mind social can absolutely drive sales online, but just consider the mindsets of the social media channels. Or better yet, what is YOUR mindset when you’re on Facebook or Instagram? Are you ever in a buying mood or are you really just there for cat photos (can’t it be both?!?!)?

Is That Bad, Should I not Have Done That?

This is not a post about how social media is a bad channel, it’s about the need for a strategy and closing the divide between your business and your consumers. Make sure you understand your audience as well as their wants, needs, interests and how they utilize the web. This knowledge will help drive your marketing decisions and will drive consumers to your goal, closing the great divide!

We all need help!

Digital Marketing HelpI had a conversation with a small business the other day where after presenting them with several issues that are easily fixed on their website the marketing person responded with, “ya we know all of that”. I guess this is why so many of us keep driving the car despite the engine light shining a Texas orange glow on the dash? How is it possible that in today’s landscape a business can dismiss such easy wins? Below I will outline a few of the common issues with the digital marketing landscape and how to overcome them with a digital strategy partner.

Lack of Knowledge

Many marketers in top positions have come from the Baby Boomer generation and haven’t grown up in the digital world. This isn’t bad, it just means there’s a larger learning curve, and we always fear what we don’t know. Another thing I have seen in my career is that many marketers don’t want to rock the boat for fear of getting the ax. Therefore, they just do the same things every year and don’t worry about upsetting what might be ‘sort of’ working today. Trying small things can reap huge benefits, but the quickest is implementing web analytics on your site complete with Event Tracking and Campaign Tracking Variables included. This is all offered free by Google and has very minimal upfront cost when working with a knowledgeable small agency to implement a rock solid analytics strategy. Knowledge equals power and web analytics provides it!

Lack of Time

There are hundreds of mediums and tactics to get your marketing message out there. Just within the digital marketing world there is SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media… etc. Many marketers today have a traditional and digital mix and really don’t have the time (or so they think) to monitor all of these moving pieces. Therefore they simply dip their toe in the water or keep it out all together, meaning not much attention is being paid and the results will suffer. Once web analytics are implemented on the site automatic reports can be setup to show how your inbound marketing is performing as well as where abandonment points may be on your website. This may take a couple of hours upfront, but then the reports are ‘set it and forget it’. Yes you still have to read them, but you won’t have to dig for the data every month to see what is working and what is not. Now you can answer with certainty to the question “what is our best online marketing medium”.

Lack of Money

When you add the word ‘digital’ to anything everyone expects the price tag to jump wildly. And in many companies’ defense digital agencies have been taking advantage of them for years with high margins and outrageously padded proposals. It’s like your electrician. If he charges you $50,000 for a job and says it will take 3 weeks you say, “OK, if that’s what it takes”. The truth is that many companies can get real digital strategy help for as little as $500 a month or quarter. Obviously the greater investment the greater the return, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be an ‘all in’ approach when it comes to your digital marketing investment. Additionally, many companies often think they need to spend $60,000 or more bringing on an internal resource. The point is, for a small investment (as little as just $2,000 per year) you can have a digital partner by your side guiding your digital initiatives and ensuring that your strategy is optimized and driving conversion success!

Bringing it all together

You don’t have to save the world all alone. I personally know nothing about an electrical circuit breaker and my electrician knows nothing of web analytics. But I also know that when I need an electrician I go for a small shop with a person I trust rather than some large regional company. My needs are smaller and therefore I want someone on that level. Hiring a digital strategy company is no different. On the flip side, larger companies can benefit from bringing on smaller agencies with lower costs for better resources. Many large agencies hire young kids out of college, so you’re paying top dollar for junior talent. You want a firm that understands that you do not have the knowledge, the time, nor the resources to do this on your own. Bringing on a digital marketing agency helps you focus on what you’re good at and lets them focus on what they are good at, driving website success!