How To Grow Your Small Business Using Instagram

Small Business marketing using Instagram

Instagram is an online mobile application that is used for sharing photos and videos. Instagram is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter and has fast become a very popular social media tool. Instagram was originally developed so that people could apply different filters to photographs that they had taken on their mobile phones and would allow them to easily upload and share these photos with friends (or account followers) using the Instagram application. More recently video was introduced to Instagram it can now be uploaded, but Instagram video clips are limited to between 3 to 15 seconds long.

Why are businesses turning to Instagram?

*There are more than 300 million Instagram users worldwide.
*Approximately 70 million photos are uploaded per day.
*The account is ‘free’ to set up so there are low barriers to entry.
*It is a medium that allows for easy sharing of content 24 hours a day.
*What sort of success have businesses achieved using Instagram?
*Businesses such as Levis, L’oreal and hundreds of others have been able to use the tool to:
*To increase awareness of their products and services.
*To increase brand recognition.
*To showcase their community and pro bono work to inspire and attract prospective customers to engage with their product, service or brand.
*Run successful promotions, competitions and giveaways.

Small Business marketing success with Instagram

Instagram appears to be particularly popular with product based businesses due to its visual nature. Many businesses that are product based such as clothing, jewellery, make up or even food based business have achieved success using Instagram. This is because the application allows for photos to be posted and shared of people either wearing or using these products. For instance, a food manufacturer might post photos of someone cooking with, sharing a meal, or entertaining friends using their food products. This success is not exclusive to big brands as many small businesses have been able to leverage the power of Instagram to engage their clients. For instance, Melbourne based café The Kettle Black had over 45,800 followers in March 2016 they have achieved this through the use of attractive photographs of their food and images of cafe meals that Instagram users would be attracted to, as well as using hashtags that foodies, food bloggers and other Instagram users would be interested in or search for.

Influencer marketing

Bloggers, social media stars and media personalities have amassed a loyal following online with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people following their Instagram accounts. This ‘influencer’ group means that there are several eyeballs there ready to see your product or service. The audience has already been built for you. The engagement has already been formed and tapping into this by getting your product uploaded onto their Instagram feed or featured by a blogger or popular Instagram account holder will help you to grow your audience more quickly. Therefore taking the time to identify key ‘influencers’ in your industry and how you can tap into this is important.

Hashtags – What are they?

How can they be used to increase business exposure?

I suggest that if you are interested in getting onto Instagram you spend some time up front doing your Hashtag research. Hashtags are tags that you can add in a caption of a photo that you upload. To create a hashtag you need to use the # symbol at the front of the tag and then add a keyword or several keywords without spaces after the hash symbol. For example, you might post a product image of pair of jeans. Your hashtags could be: #fashion #style #jeans #lovethatstyle. You may already be familiar with hashtags as they are also popular on Twitter but if you are not take a look online to see some examples of how they are being used. The purpose of the hashtag is to tag your photo to a subject or topic category that is ‘searchable’ or ‘popular’ on Instagram.

Remember:

*No spaces in your hashtags
*No special characters can be used in your hashtags [email protected]$&

Instagram includes a powerful search feature so if posts are set to ‘public’ you can use hashtags to tag your photos and videos so that the content becomes easier to search and becomes more accessible to the public. That means when someone runs a search and is exploring that ‘search term’ your content may be discovered which leads to more people finding out about your business or brand.

Some hashtags are very popular so it’s important to identify the ones that are most relevant to your industry. The aim of the game is really to get people talking, liking, following and sharing your content. Hashtags help to get the word out if used effectively so take some time to find out how to use these to get the best out of your content.

Top 10 Marketing Concepts For Small Business Marketing

Over the past decade more and more people are getting fired, getting downsized, or getting fed up with their corporate jobs and embark on the journey as a small business owner. Unfortunately, most of the new small business owners fail to consider their marketing plans or strategy. There are many marketing concepts for small business marketing to consider and plan for, but here is our list of Top 10 Marketing Concepts For Small Business Marketing.

Marketing Concept # 1: Consistency

Consistency is the number one marketing concept for small business marketing only because it is left out of marketing concepts for so many businesses. I have worked with a long list of clients, big and small, that are extremely inconsistent in all areas of their marketing. Consistency helps lower the cost of marketing and increase the effectiveness of branding.

Marketing Concept # 2: Planning

Once small business owners decide to be consistent with their marketing, planning is the next major concept to engage. Planning is the most vital part of small business marketing or any level of marketing, for that matter, and so many owners, marketing managers, and even CMOs plan poorly. Put the time into planning your marketing strategy, budget, and other concepts presented here to ensure success.

Marketing Concept # 3: Strategy

Strategy immediately follows planning because your strategy is the foundation for the rest of your marketing activities. In the process of planning, you must develop your strategy: who you will target, how you will target them, and how will you keep them as a customer.

Marketing Concept # 4: Target Market

Target market is also another key concept for small business marketing. Defining exactly who you are targeting allows small business owners to focus on specific customers and reduce marketing waste. A well-defined target market will make every other marketing concept so much easier to implement successfully.

Marketing Concept # 5: Budget

Although it is listed at number 5, budgeting is important throughout the entire process. Creating a marketing budget is usually the hardest and most inaccurate part of small business marketing. Most small businesses owners lack a great deal of experience in marketing, so their budgets usually end up skewed. The most important part of this marketing concept is to actually establish a marketing budget. From there, you can worry about how to distribute your available funds.

Marketing Concept # 6: Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is usually defined as product, pricing, place, and promotion. As a small business owner, you must specifically decide on your products (or services), the appropriate pricing, where and how you will distribute your products, and how will you let everyone know about you and your products.

Marketing Concept # 7: Website

In today’s market, a business of any size must have a website. I hate when I see businesses that have a one page website with out-dated information. Customers, be it businesses or consumers, will search the web over 60% of the time before making any purchasing decisions. This marketing concept contains a slew of additional components, but you must at least develop a small web presence of some kind and keep it updated.

Marketing Concept # 8: Branding

Many small businesses owners also neglect this concept. Small business marketing must focus on this marketing concept just as much as large corporations do. Branding consists of the pictures, logo, design scheme, layout, make up, and image of your products and even your company. Branding is how your customers perceive (please place a lot of emphasis on that word!) your products and company. Make sure to pay special attention to what kind of brand you are building through each step of your planning and implementation.

Marketing Concept # 9: Promotion and Advertising

Promotion and advertising is a very complex marketing concept, but must be considered for any type of business and its products and services. Once you engage the previous 8 marketing concepts, you must finally let your target market know about you and your products. Proper promotion and advertising will result in effective brand recognition, and, ultimately, increased sales.

Marketing Concept # 10: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The concept of customer relationship management has become a huge industry in the marketing world. There are many types of software and services offered to help businesses of any size handle their customer relationship management. Since there is so much available, usually for a large sum of money, small business owners usually look at this concept as something they are not big enough for or have enough money to implement. Don’t be fooled by the massive industry that has evolved from this concept. Maintaining proper customer relationship management is essential to creating loyal and consistent customers.

This list of marketing concepts should be examined, researched, planned, and implemented, especially by small businesses, in order to be successful. Also, your marketing doesn’t stop here. Each business is unique and will have additional components that must be considered, but this list will jump-start any marketing plan.

Websites Push Up Business Worldwide

We live in a world where one’s needs are met from all corners of the world. The world has gone seamless like the Universe itself. In this world e-commerce is becoming as important as the nearest store in your street corner.

There is more than one reason why internet marketing or e-commerce is growing worldwide. One is the phenomenal growth of computer and broadband use. Second, the web business allows customers not only go shopping around the globe and check prices, it also allows them to order what is not in store. Thirdly, online shopping is the safest because the system allows just the store and customer in its system.

The physical store does not usually record the whims and fancies of the customers. But website could map every trace of fancy of a browsing customer and record his likes and dislikes and pamper to his needs quicker than a brick-and-mortar store manager could ever do. In fact, a good website is your business MASCOT.

Safest, surest
Many are still not aware that there is more security when it comes to purchasing online. When you purchase offline, there’s a possibility that someone misuses your credit card. But in online shopping, all your personal information, like user name, passwords, credit card number and transaction history, is encrypted so that they cannot be read as it travels over the Internet.

Industry majors have been reporting in select forums how their websites helped business in a variety of ways. Agreed that face-to-face dealing is the best in anything, website proves the second best option. And, website is there 24×7 and one is free to walk in any moment he chooses.

Websites boost business, says Report

Periscope IT, market leading providers of website monitoring services and load testing services, in the UK and abroad said a new study has highlighted the importance of websites to small businesses, suggesting they boost their revenue by a significant sum.

The report from PayPal and Mr Site revealed that having a website can boost a firm’s annual turnover by as much as 37 per cent.

Cameron McLean, PayPal’s general manager for UK merchant services, said that an online presence is increasingly important as online sales are bucking the downward trend seen on the high street.

“Not having a website is like leaving your shop-front boarded up or refusing to tell customers anything about the services you provide,” he added.

Again, many small companies rely on the web to achieve business success, according to another new research.

The IT Effectiveness Index (ITEI) Mid-Year Report 2009 highlighted that two-thirds of businesses questioned felt IT and web commerce were the foundations of their business, yet, worryingly, many are falling victim to failing IT operations.

A well-conceived website is a great goodwill generator, an ambassador and salesman all rolled into one to vouchsafe for you 24x7x365. Start your website today and feel the difference.

How to Find Your Customers on Instagram

So how do YOU find customers on Instagram? Here’s how:

YOUR BIO: Take a good look at your business and what YOU offer, then make sure your Bio is relevant to your business. And be specific. For example if you’re a Real Estate Agent, tell people WHAT you do and WHERE you do it! Many Instagram Bio’s miss this point. Some Bio’s may say; ABC Realtor selling multi million dollar homes. That’s pretty broad don’t you think? Where exactly does this realtor sell these multi million dollar homes? A better Bio would read like this; John Smith – Realtor in Miami Florida broker of Multi Million dollar properties. Now a prospective new follower will read this and know What this person does and Where he or she does it. Now your one step closer to finding a new targeted follower.

YOUR IMAGES: Instagram is all about the images or pictures right? So make each one count! So once you have decide what YOU are offering, post what it is your offering. We sometimes get caught up posting all sorts of things based on what we “think” our audience wants only to find we get lost posting all sorts of random stuff and nothing that really relates to your business. So if your intention is to give your followers a look behind the scenes then focus on posting images of your office, staff, projects, etc. But if your business is product based, you might focus on images of your product. You may even post pictures of your product being made, used or sold? Now you are giving the audience what they want from YOU and not what you think they WANT.

YOUR CAPTIONS; When writing your captions take a moment to think about what your writing, check spelling and say it in your voice. So for example; if your business is a Hair Salon, and your are posting the latest trend in a particular hair style your caption may read something like this: New hairstyle from the runways of Milan now available to you from us! OR your caption could read, This new style is now available in our salon. See how the caption is relevant to the image.

YOUR HASHTAGS: Hashtags are sometimes misused. People sometimes get caught up in the “popular” hashtags such as “love”, “selfie” and others and think if they use these they will gain more likes and followers. Sure, on the odd occasion this might work, however if someone searching for YOUR business is using the #hashtag tool the chances are they are searching for words related to your business. So when you use #hashtags use them correctly. If your business is a florist, use hashtags that relate to your picture first, then your business. An example of hashtags for a picture of red roses might be; #redroses #roses #longstemroses #florist #freshflowers #yourbusinessname – we always like to include our business name in the hashtags So that’s it. Pretty easy isn’t it. A little thought and focus and your Instagram account will explode with targeted followers that you can share YOUR business with.