4 Mistakes to Avoid on Instagram

Instagram is a key component of just about any social media marketing plan. But just as with any social media platform--do it right or don't do it at all. It's important to take the time to understand the dos and don'ts of Instagram.

Here are some common rookie mistakes to avoid: 

1. Private Account
Making your Instagram profile private is one of the worst mistakes a business can make. As soon as a potential follower sees the profile is private, they are likely to move on. This is because they have no idea what they are following or if their request will be approved. 

2. No Bio Description
A well-crafted bio description is essential to securing new followers and promoting your brand. Use the space to sell potential followers and customers on your vision! Leaving this space blank is not only a mistake, but it's an unused opportunity to succeed!

3. Poor Profile Photo
Badly cropped photos or grainy images reflect poorly on your brand image. Avoid images that are small in size, poorly framed or worse yet -- no image at all. When utilizing Instagram for your business, be sure to treat it as an extension of your brand. Your profile image should match the profile photos on other platforms. Choose a clear, crisp, professional photo or logo.

4. Short (Or Nonexistent) Photo Captions
Although Instagram is all about the images, captions and hashtags are just as vital. If you're not writing an effective description, your post will not pick up the attention it deserves. Each caption should be a couple sentences long (if not a paragraph). When appropriate, add a call-to-action. A good trick for hashtags is to add a few in the caption and add the rest in the first comment.  

If you're using Instagram for your small business, don't find yourself making these mistakes! Every social media platform is an extension of your brand, so put your best foot forward. And if you haven't already, follow us on Instagram!

All my best, 

New Instagram Business Tools

Instagram is rising as a powerful force in the social media world. At the end of last month, the company officially announced the upcoming launch of its new business profiles, analytics and advertisement tools for business users. With over 200,000 advertisers using Instagram to reach the app's 400 million users, it's becoming more important than ever to understand how to utilize this channel. 

Instagram announced three new features for businesses: 

1. Contact Button
Business profiles can choose how customers can get in touch with them: via telephone, text or email. This will include a "contact" button, as well as a way to get directions to the physical business. 

2. Advanced Analytics
Account insights allows businesses to see how they are increasing band awareness. Information about who their followers are and what posts resonate with those followers most will be accessable through the mobile app. This knowledge will allow for constant post analysis and improvement.

3. Convert Posts to Ads
Businesses will have the option to turn high-preforming posts into advertisements right within the mobile app. Simply choose a post that has already been shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging consumer action. Businesses can also select a target audience or allow Instagram to recommend one. The post can remain an active advertisement for as long as you choose. 

With these exciting changes happening to Instagram, I cannot wait to watch your small business soar! If you have any questions or would like more insight into social media marketing, contact me. I'm happy to chat. See you on Instagram!

All my best, 

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The Science of Going Viral

While a little luck helps viral phenomena spread the globe, there are also some techniques you can do to craft a post with a better chance of high traffic. Here are the elements involved in crafting popular posts:

1. Add a video or photo

Facebook algorithms favor visual media. If you want to reach a larger audience and encourage an increased interaction rate, add a photo or video to your post. You will automatically show up on more news feeds -- which means more likes, comments and shares. Be sure to balance fun and whimsical videos/pictures with business-related marketing ones. Positive, uplifting content always gets shared.

2. Look for trends

Right now anything DIY is huge. Tomorrow, it might be something else. This is where your market research comes in handy. Be sure to have an understanding of what is going viral right now. This goes for the general population as well as your target market. Know what your followers are interested in, what other companies in your industry are posting as well as what kinds of posts are going viral. Then tailor your posts accordingly.

2. Get personal

People love to interact with posts they can relate to. It's no mystery that you're a real person behind your small business. Don't be afraid to show your human side! Posts about your family or personal life, like the one from Mark Zuckerberg below, are heartwarming peeks into your life that all of your users will love. Don't overwhelm followers with endless advertising. Show them your humanity. But remember, there is a fine line between being relatable and getting too personal.

4. Tell a story

As we have explained in our earlier blog post, storytelling in social media is crucial to post success. People do not log on to social networking sites to see advertisements. They log on to connect with others, be inspired and engage in storytelling. Play to these desires by telling stories and encouraging your followers to tell theirs. It will create brand intimacy and spark advocacy and possibly trigger a viral post!

Don't just write content for the sake of writing content. Have a clear intention for every post you make. Be sure to target a high-arousal emotion to ensure the content resonates with followers and is shared. Be genuine, be current, be yourself and be a positive storyteller. The rest will fall into place.

All my best,

Build an Instagram Audience: A How-To

Building the right audience on any online platform is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of hard work, patience and skill. In our previous Instagram post, we covered tips for creating pictures for a stand-out Instagram page. Another equally important part is strategic planning for building an ideal Instagram audience for those beautiful posts. 

Who is your ideal audience?

To answer this question, think about who your ideal customer is (based on market research) and who your existing customers are. Your "ideal audience" is a combination of the two. From there, understand this ideal customer's demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. The more specific information you can find, the better. Here's a template from HubSpot for more information about how to gather and use this information for your business. 

1. Use Geotags

A geotag is added to an Instagram post when you tag your location before posting a picture. The geotag/location is then added, with a link, underneath your profile name. 

Another option is to add a specific geotag using the Instagram Photo Map. This allows users to see exactly where each picture was taken on a map. This will allow users to find your business based on their location and build your credibility among the local population. 

2. Encourage followers to turn on notifications

Instagram has a feature called "post notifications" that allows dedicated followers to more easily find your Instagram posts when using the Instagram app on their mobile devices. To turn this on:

  1. Go to the Instagram profile
  2. Click the three circles in the top right corner
  3. Select "notifications" in the pop up menu

It is also in your best interest to turn on your own notifications for your colleagues in your niche as well as influencers you want to connect with so you can more easily like and comment on their posts. Social media is all about building reciprocal relationships. Take the initiative and start building those key relationships today!

3. Invite people to follow your Instagram account

Be sure to share your Instagram account and build your network on and offline. You can advertise your Instagram account on your blog, Facebook page, website, email signature and in person and print media in your business! 

4. Use hashtags to engage in converstation

Use a trending hashtag (that is related to your post) in order to reach new users and engage in the current conversation. This is a great way to find users who are interested in interior design, home decor and classes in Minnesota. Talk about reaching your target demographic! Instagram hashtags are a marketer's dream!

You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. Only post a few in the original post. You can add much more in a comment on the same post -- this will keep your post looking clean but still bring up your picture in searches for all the hashtags included in your comment. And lastly, be consistent and intentional with your hashtag use. 

Consistency and an intentional strategy for promoting your Instagram page will pay dividends. If you are serious about upping your game, consider taking a class or hiring an expert. Hopefully this post has given you a solid foundation to work from!

Thankfully,