5 Reasons You Need Instagram for Your Business

Instagram has entered the territory of “must” rather than “nice-to-have” when it comes to social marketing for businesses. There are a few key reasons why every business should have an Instagram account, and why you’re going to be pretty left out if you don’t get on this social platform.


1. Skyrocket Your Engagement

The data shows that Instagram is the #1 platform for getting post engagement.

That means that if you want to establish a relationship with your client base (which you do), then you’re going to need that post engagement that only Instagram can provide.

But let’s back it up for a second…

It’s an interesting time to be involved in social media marketing… Facebook is facing major allegations, and as a result—people are doing crazy things like starting movements to delete their Facebook accounts… (For my sake, and the sake of your distant relatives, please do not delete your facebook). As much as internet trolls might have you think that it’s the social media Armageddon, I assure you that life will go on.

It might be looking a little overcast in the internet landscape, but before we pack our bags —there’s still some hope. Facebook’s more charismatic and adopted little brother (Instagram) still has users entranced with its purity and boasts a pristine opportunity for brands who are ready to stir up the marketing pot.

Now, Instagram is the #1 platform for post engagement because its focus on visual content creates a very unique space for brands to interact with others—and if you’re a skeptic, the numbers don’t lie. According to a study conducted by Forrester, Facebook and Twitter organic post engagement levels are currently less than 0.1%. In comparison, the millennial-centric Instagram boasts regular engagement at 4% for brands. (That’s 40x better btw).

instagram stats

2. Grow Your Following with Ease

80 percent of Instagram accounts already follow a business on Instagram, and 65% of top-performing posts feature products. The translation here is obvious, Instagrammers want to see branded content, and they want to connect with brands.

Add the engagement levels for brands (4%) that we just saw and we have the optimal landscape for growing your branded following on this platform.

3. Generate Leads

Instagram is a tool for lead generation.

We know that social media strongly influences purchase decisions, even if that is at the subconscious level of the consumer decision-making process.

It’s 2018, and our favorite lead generation tool (Facebook) is making algorithm changes that are making it harder for brands to get heard. With engagement rates already resting around the 0.1% mark, it just might be the ideal time to expand your reach to include some Instagram marketing.

With Instagram, 60% of users have first heard of a product or service through the platform, and over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, or called/emailed/direct messaged a business as a result of their engagement with the platform (sproutsocial). That means that 120 million Instagrammers have been lead to a business through the platform.

You can easily use Instagram to generate new business and sales with strategic content and links in your bio, as well as reach new targeted and engaged audiences through paid ad campaigns through the Facebook ad platform.

4. Stay On Top of “Instagram Reviews”

A little-known fact is that when an Instagram user posts something on Instagram and uses a location tag, this tag isn’t owned or regulated by the business that owns the physical location. All location tags on Instagram, or “Instagram Geotags”,” are tied to a separate public account that Instagram will store posts under.

Instagram Reviews

For businesses, this is a blessing and a curse.

Best Case Scenario:

Say you own a local restaurant and you have numerous dedicated and consistent customers who love to post at your restaurant and have nothing but glowing words to accompany beautiful pictures of your space. When others look at your location on Instagram, this is what they see, and they are that much more likely to convert and become loyal customers as well.

Worst Case Scenario:

You own the same local restaurant, but one dissatisfied customer took it upon themselves to post a picture of your front door exclaiming their disgust with the service that they received. This post has lingered on the web and likely dissuaded other customers from posting to the location, and has resulted in the loss of unknown amounts of revenue through prospects who steered away from your business as a result.

Although you have no control over the things that users might be saying about your brand (much like standard reviews), you can still help mitigate some possible damages by having a branded Instagram account and monitoring the posts on your location. Much like negative reviews left on other review platforms, by responding to negative Instagram posts, you are much more likely to prevent harm to your reputation.

5. Don’t Get Left Behind

As of 2017, nearly 71% of businesses in the United States were already using Instagram. The release of Instagram business profiles and the ability to to run ads/analytics with ease have been large factors in driving the Instagram growth movement.

business instagram use
Source: eMarketer

You may notice that this looks like an exponential growth graph, and that’s probably because it is. Fortunately for you, just because 71% of these businesses are using Instagram doesn’t mean that these businesses are using it to its full potential.

We can make a pretty good estimate as to where this usage rate is going to reside by the end of 2018, so don’t get left behind.


Don’t wait, get started on your Instagram strategy today to generate new leads, amplify your brand, and build new business!

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Creating the Perfect Social Post

What makes for good social posting, anyway? In order to craft the perfect social post, we need to take a look at why people follow businesses in the first place.

  • Interest in services and promotions: People love sales! Don’t get TOO excited though. Over posting this information is also one of the leading reasons people unfollow a business.
  • Updates and information: People are interested in what your business is up to! Have new products? Moving locations? Getting an office dog? Post it!
  • Communication: Social media is for connecting. People want to talk to you, and they want to review your products and services. Make sure you’re responding to them: it shows you care about your customers.
  • Entertainment: Are you not entertained? People use social media to get a break from their humdrum day. Post content that will put a smile on their faces or give them something to think about. Hint: it doesn’t always have to be related to your business.

So now that we’ve got a good idea of what people want to see, how do we make the magic happen? When I write social posts, I use three main guidelines to direct me.


The 3 Golden Rules of Local Social Media Marketing

  • Does it provide value? People engage with content that is relevant to them. Consider whether the post is solving a problem, starting a conversation or educating. People love to share information that is new and exciting. In order to provide the best value to your followers and customers, the vast majority (up to 80%) of your content should be useful or engaging information. In fact, posts promoting the business should only account for 10%-20% of the content.
  • Is it emotionally engaging? People love stories, and they share content they connect with. Don’t be afraid to show the more personal side of your business. Really, who hasn’t teared up during a Coke ad or giggled at the Budweiser Clydesdales? Brands that go the extra mile to create an emotional connection with their customers stick in their memories longer. Why not post a cat video? Everyone loves a cat video.
  • Is it visually stimulating? 1200 pixels are worth 1000 words. We’re talking high quality photos, videos and infographics here! Posts that include visuals get way more (almost 650% more) engagement than those without. Keep in mind that not all visuals are created equal. The best ones are the ones that you take yourself, because they’re local, personal and relevant. If you don’t have the capacity to take photos, reposting from other websites and profiles is a great way to keep your page relevant. Quality stock photos are also great resources, just make sure to pay attention to copyright!

Creating content for social media is essential—you need to be present where your customers are, and they’re on social. While it is free to partake, creating an effective social media strategy and sticking to it takes diligence and determination.

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How to #Hashtag

How hashtags can help you reach the out-crowd and engage the in-crowd

The facts are in: if you are not using hashtags, you are missing out! With a tweet with hashtags being 33% more likely to get retweeted, these handy hashtags can make the difference between #GameOver and #Trending when it comes to social media success. Hashtags are more than just a fad, they are a means of organizing information and standing out from the crowd. Hashtags are also a way to engage with millennials where they shine brightest – through social media savvy. With millennials beginning to outnumber previous generations, speaking their language has become increasingly important. Do not miss out on this opportunity to #GetSocial!


Hashtag basics

The hashtag (#) turns any word, or group of words, into a link that can be searched. When writing a hashtag, leave your grammar at the door – no punctuation, no spaces! The best way to keep your message clear is to capitalize each word #LikeThis, otherwise known as using CamelCase. Got it? Let’s move on!

There are two ways businesses can use hashtags to their advantage.

  1. To reach the out-crowd by joining a conversation that is already in progress.
  2. To engage the in-crowd by starting a new conversation.

Reaching the out-crowd

As a business, using hashtags to reach potential new customers is a no-brainer. How do you do this effectively? By joining a conversation that is already in progress! Start thinking about what words people would search when looking for a business like yours. If you don’t know where to start, remember the old saying, “Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer”! Follow businesses who are doing similar work to you on all your favorite social media websites – especially those who have a great following. What hashtags are they using, and how many? Keep in mind that less is more both in scope (as hashtags that are more niche have a more engaged following) and in presentation (as too many hashtags looks inauthentic).

For example, this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #BurgerLover #Foodie #CheatMeal” is better than this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #WhatsForDinner #Foodie #EatClean #CommonTable #OnMyTable #TasteMade #ForkYea #OnTheTable #FoodStyling #BeautifulCuisines #HeresMyFood #TheArtOfSlowLiving #FreshFoods #CheatMeal #BurgerLover #Foodstagram #BurgerLife”.

So, K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Social-Media-User! Using hashtags by joining a pre-existing conversation takes your business and puts it in front of someone who would have never found you otherwise. That’s something you can feel #Blessed about!


Engaging the in-crowd

The second way that you can use hashtags to build your business is by starting a conversation with the followers that you already have by creating an original hashtag. Brands from Calvin Klein (#MyCalvins) to Charmin toilet paper (#TweetFromTheSeat) have managed to create original hashtags that engage their audience in a way that builds their social media momentum. Original hashtags can be used for promotions, contests, events, or general brand awareness. Just be sure that when you are creating an original hashtag that it is clear, simple, unique, and catchy. No one will want to join your conversation if it’s confusing or boring.

Imagine if Coca-Cola’s classic #ShareACoke hashtag was #TakeACocaColaAndGiveItToSomeoneElse – not very fun or memorable! Original hashtags give your followers something to talk about and a way to interact with your business on a personal level.


Not all social media sites are created equal

Using hashtags is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each platform will have its unspoken rules of how many hashtags are acceptable. Where Instagram shows posts with an average of nine hashtags performing the best, Facebook posts get the greatest engagement with only one hashtag. Each social media site is unique in its function and audience, so take the time to explore the sites you want to use for your business before posting.


Are you #Trending yet?

These tips and tricks for how to use hashtags as a business are about more than getting ahead in a technological age. Hashtags, above all, are about building community. By putting a simple pound sign in front of a word, you are taking that message and immediately sharing it with someone who cares about what you do and how you do it. This tool is a revolutionary way to make your words matter and allow them to connect with not only a new customer, but a new spokesperson for your business. From #MotivationalMonday to #FlashbackFriday, use your new hashtagging skills to make both the in-crowd and the out-crowd your new #BFFL.

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Facebook Advertising vs. Boosted Posts

On the surface boosting content on Facebook seems like a pretty straight forward transaction. The more dollars you spend, the more eyes see your message. While that’s certainly true, to get the most value out of your dollar it’s worth knowing the basic nuances of how boosting on Facebook works. Truth be told, Facebook’s Advertiser Help Center rarely provides the answers you’re after on Facebook paid advertising, and true to form, it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance on the differences between boosting posts vs. ads either.

So in this article we’ll cover the differences between the types of sponsored ads on Facebook — a Facebook boost and a Facebook news feed ad—and which we recommend as the best option for your business depending on your needs.


What are Facebook sponsored posts?

Facebook sponsored posts are promoted posts that receive additional paid reach. Simply put, your business has the option of boosting a post or creating an ad: boosting increases the chances your post will be seen by followers (increasing loyalty), while news feed ads target users based on select criteria, external from followers (potential new customers).

Wait, why sponsor ads on Facebook when you can post for free?

The reality is, organic posts don’t go very far in today’s Facebook world. Unless you have a huge network of fans (50K+), achieving favorable outcomes through organic content in a 1.6B user world is futile. Based on Facebook’s current algorithms, organic reach has plummeted over recent years to the point where 50 million businesses are posting 1.5 times per day, reaching an average of 2% of their audience. That is what we call “tough sledding”.

Should we be surprised though? As the world’s largest social network, it was simply clockwork until Facebook turned to a Pay-to-Play model resulting in paid advertising on the social network giant. But before you start shouting big corporate obscenities, it’s still our opinion that Facebook provides the best advertising platform on the web or anywhere else in the business world. It’s just takes a little practice.

Advertising on Facebook requires a solid strategy

Like anything, you will need a strategy when tackling Facebook paid advertising. Depending on what your goals are, our quick advice is to put money on posts that have measurable ROI, like lead capture, promotions, contests and content meant to capture new customers.

Another fundamental rule is to always promote your own content. Even if it’s great material and related to your business, never pay to send traffic to someone else’s website.

Now, with all that said, let’s figure out which Facebook paid advertising delivery method works best…Facebook boosts or Facebook ads.


What are Facebook boosted posts?

Facebook boosted posts are promoted posts that appear higher on news feeds, giving a post a higher chance that friends and followers will see it. While boosted posts can be targeted by location, interest, age and gender, more advanced targeting options is reserved for ads on Facebook. And that’s really the rub with sponsored posts for your business. While it’s easier to create them, you are limited in refining the post to get the most out of your “boost juice” dollars.

What are Facebook news feed ads?

Facebook news feed ads are sponsored ads that appear right on the news feed of readers. Newsfeed ads denoted “sponsored” directly underneath the company’s name on the post you users know that the content could be coming from a source they haven’t “liked” yet.

News feed ads are created in Facebook Ads Manager (or Power Editor). Creating a news feed ad on Facebook is more involved than boosting posts, but, as with most things, more work often leads to more reward.

With news feed ads, you can set a specific objective for your ad that directly aligns to your business goals. You can choose from 12 objectives from three different categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Notice how these three categories represent different areas of the sales and marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: for boosting posts, promoting a Facebook page, targeting people near the business’s location and increasing brand awareness
  • Consideration: to send people to a website, getting app installs, increase event attendance or get views on videos and collect business leads
  • Conversion: for increasing website conversions, engagement to an app, or to have an offer claimed

Facebook paid advertising showdown: who is the winner?

So you’ve probably come to the conclusion that Facebook news feed ads have a lot more power behind them and are geared toward ROI—especially seeing how there’s no price difference between the two formats.

Boosted posts do have a place—if your business is looking for a quick and convenient way to create awareness and drive profile traffic, then we say go for it, especially if you want to hit existing fans/customers. It takes all of five minutes to start raking in thousands of impressions for as little as $5.00.

If you are looking to achieve tangible marketing results, like capturing leads and driving revenue, my money is on news feed ads. If you want to really capture leads through Facebook paid advertising however, I suggest using Facebook lead ads.

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