BINSTA: Your Business Instagram

BINSTA: Your Business Instagram

JUNE 1, 2018

With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest where photos are the dominant material, businesses are having to get more creative. They can’t throw up a blank picture with 20 lines of copy as the caption; they need to create captivating, exciting pictures with engaging captions to show what the business is about. This article includes advice and hopeful motivation to optimize your presence on Instagram and promote your business well.

Name and Bio

The username of your Instagram (the @xxxxxx that appears at the top of your Instagram) should be as close to the name of your business as possible to allow people to find it easily. The name on your Instagram should also be your business (that is the bolded name that appears on your main page). Your bio could have a short sentence about what your company does, it could have the location of your business, when you were founded, or anything else related to your business. If you have one, ALWAYS include your website in your bio. Here are a couple examples for inspiration:

Who to Follow

You don’t want to follow too many accounts - as following 10,000 people but only having 500 followers doesn’t look very good – so start by following about 100 accounts similar to yours and grow from there. Look at your competition and see who they are following for a good starting point. You do not have to follow back everyone that follows you. There are many spam accounts out there, so you want to make sure to only follow accounts that will promote growth. Like and comment on people’s pictures as much as you can to get your name out there and further promote growth.

Layout of your Instagram

One of the most important projects to focus on with a business Instagram is the layout of the dashboard. When someone clicks on your profile, what does the layout look like? Are the pictures monochromatic? Are they heavy with patterns or faces? Are they colorful or all white? Each theme says something different about the company, so pick one that works best for your business. Here are some examples of businesses with strong themes:

AIRBNB does an amazing job at capturing what the company can give you in just a couple pictures– breathtaking and beautiful experiences. As you can see, they focus on the atmosphere of the places rather than the material items in those places. They use natural colors in many of their pictures to enhance the earth feel of the brand.

Madewell uses a lot of soft blues and tans on their Instagram that gives the page a light, beachy, breezy feel to it.  The consistent use of colors intensifies those characteristics of the company. They use pictures of items other than their products to maintain the color story, braking up the monotony of product pictures as well.

Pictures and Content

Now, it’s time to look at what the content of your pictures are. While it’s nice to break up a chunk of product with a different picture, it’s kind of odd to just have a picture of a lemon pop up on an Instagram dashboard. This is why you need to focus on individual pictures as much as overall aesthetic. Take a look at the examples below.

The Honest Company’s Instagram shows what they care about: babies! This company has tons of quality products for new moms and their Instagram will attract that exact market. While the overall aesthetic of this Instagram is great, each picture can hold its weight as a standalone post. The picture of the babies is super adorable – attracting people to click on it – but also shows what they care about as a company (babies!) as well as one of their products (the diapers). The donut picture is also great because it is visually appealing and quirky (perfect for Instagram) and it has product placement in the bottom right corner.

Captions

Captions are a lot more important then you would think on a social media about pictures. Captions can add an explanation or humor to pictures, as well as give information about your business. You can use then as a place to announce information about a sale or a new product arriving, or you can just say something funny to make people laugh. Also, add tags! They make posts a lot easier to find, especially when you are first starting your page. Here’s a couple examples of captions:

Instagram Influencers

Using Instagram influencers is an increasingly popular marketing method that companies have been doing. There are databases in which you can find influencers that match the brand of your business, and you pay them to promote your product. You can also post their pictures on your business Instagram to further promote your products.

Hopefully these tips and examples help you discover how you want your BINSTA to look like and what you want it to say about your company.

 

 

 


Latest Facebook Update

Latest Facebook Update

As you may know by now, I’m all about social media. So let me give you the latest scoop on Facebook and its algorithm updates that you need to know.

Facebook is making significant changes to its news feed algorithm in an effort to prioritize “meaningful” person-to-person interactions among friends and family over posts from Facebook pages. These updates will result in less content directly from public Pages as well as fewer videos in the news feed. Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri stated:

“Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Yay! No more annoying page content! Oh, wait…

To an individual Facebook user, this is awesome news. But to businesses, especially those that rely on the news feed to generate organic traffic, it isn’t so great.

1 What do these updates mean for Facebook marketers?

There’s one thing that’s [unfortunately] true: as Facebook begins to prioritize content that facilitates meaningful people-to-people connections and interactions, marketers can expect the organic reach of their Facebook pages to drop.

To be more specific, users will see more posts from people they’re connected to in the news feed and less content from pages they follow. This is a significant change from the previous values of the news feed, which prioritized the total time spent on Facebook and how many people shared posts directly. The news feed will shift the focus from ranking content that’s directly consumed from pages (which will shrink in reach) to content that is shared and talked about among friends (which will grow).

2 Ok, so what type of content will get more distribution in the feed now?

After this update, posts that spark and inspire conversations and meaningful interactions among people will be prioritized over public content in the news feed. For example, more content from friends and family, posts from friends and family that seek advice or recommendations, news articles or videos that prompt people to discuss and interact, etc.

Posts that don’t inspire meaningful conversations or interactions among people will be seen less in the news feed. For example, engagement-bait tactics that encourage people to comment on posts aren’t considered “meaningful” interaction and pages that use them will be demoted in the news feed.

3 What can I do to prepare for these future changes?

Although one can never be fully prepared for updates on social media platforms, there are some things you can do that will help out:

  • Show your audience how to see your content first
  • Educate while entertaining
  • Invest in Live Video
  • Be more strategic when advertising
  • Collaborate with your peers
  • Build your audience

With Facebook’s announcement of news feed changes, pages and brands can expect to have less of their content distributed in the news feed which unfortunately for marketers means a decrease of overall reach, video watch time, and referral traffic.

As the changes go into effect, it is important that you take steps to encourage meaningful interactions on the platform. Publish quality content that will spark conversations among users, engage in Facebook groups, and invest time in live video. All of these will help your business remain relevant on news feeds and further showcase your brand!


Tips to Create an Effective Facebook Ad

Tips to Create an Effective Facebook Ad

Now that the new year is upon us, new ad opportunities are among us as well. Lucky for you, Facebook is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to get the word out about your business or product. Whether you want exposure, want to sell a product/service or want to raise awareness, Facebook ads make the execution fast & easy.

Here are five tips that can help you create an effective ad on Facebook:

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Curiosity-based hooks are some of the most proven strategies for grabbing someone's attention and getting them to continue reading, watching or listening. Whether you decide to ask a thought-provoking question or make a shocking statement, always ensure that you are bringing out the curiosity in your audience!

The "Aha!" moment

Giving your audience an “Aha!” moment is both powerful in the sense that it makes people want to learn more about your business/product and makes your ad shareable which is key in Facebook’s current algorithm.

Think about what information you can reveal or what story you can tell that gives your audience a sudden realization. How can you make them aware of something they didn't know existed, didn't know was available or didn't know was possible? Although you won't be able to do this on all your ads, make sure you are doing whatever it takes, to deliver that "Aha!" moment.

Credibility Is Key

So you make this awesome ad, but why should people listen to you? What credibility do you have that make people want to pay attention to you, trust you or just flat out care? Now, you don’t want to come across as boastful, but you do want to make it known that you know what the heck you’re talking about.

Call to Action (CTA)

Although this one may seem obvious, a CTA is essential. What action do you want your audience to take next? How can you provoke them to click through? If you don't make it crystal clear what you want the reader or viewer to do, then they won't do it. Remember, people get distracted easily and are probably just skimming your ads so make that skimming worth it.

Awesome Graphics

Last, but certainly not least, graphics. An ad is only as good as its graphics so make sure your design is just as awesome as the message you are giving out. You’d be surprised as to how many businesses don’t give enough attention to their imagery. Sometimes free stock images aren’t enough (just sayin’).

Unfortunately, there are always regulations on social media platforms. So, before you even begin to create your ad, make sure you are aware of all of the rules and restrictions that Facebook has in place. Remember, just because you have a great idea for an ad, doesn’t mean that FB will agree with it so it’s always smart to double check for any restrictions.


Content Marketing Trends in 2018

Content Marketing Trends in 2018

Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of online material (typically through social media) and is intended to get your target audience’s interest in your specific product or service. It is constantly evolving and just as it has in previous years, it is expected to remain a key strategy to increase brand awareness and acquire new customers in every kind of business. Compared to 2016, more businesses in 2017 have had their success with content marketing and 2018 will be no different. Sounds important, huh?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The key to continued success in this effort is the ability to anticipate upcoming trends and embrace change as quickly as possible. BOOM. The purpose of this blog.

Here are 4 trends that will shape content marketing in 2018 and that will [hopefully] help you and your business out in the new year.

Content production

Although obvious, consistent and original content is KEY for all types of business’s looking to execute a content marketing campaign. In 2018, brands can be expected to spend more budget dollars for content marketing, making it more competitive with other types of marketing.

Content marketing has always been known to be a small business's best method for acquiring customers (since it didn’t require a huge budget) however, now big brands such as Apple, Facebook and Google are also investing significant dollars in original content. So it’s safe to say that if the big guys are doing, you should be too!

Video marketing

To keep it short and sweet: video is the future of content marketing. Cisco estimates that video will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Go ahead, do a double take if you need but you read that right. Additionally, if that last fact wasn’t scary enough, 64% of marketers agree that video will soon dominate their content marketing strategies.

By incorporating video and live-streaming into your sales process, you provide your customers a self-serve, on-demand user experience all while being transparent. This way, you give them information at the right time without having to make salespeople always available and allow your customers to get to know more about your authentic brand.

Content personalization 

Personalized anything is always better. Of course, content personalization is a challenging task that requires a long-term, involved effort from your content team but trust me, it’s so worth it!

Gartner reported that brands that have invested in different sorts of personalization by 2018 will outsell those that haven’t by 20 freakin’ percent! So yeah, you should get to that creative thinking ASAP.

User-generated content 

User-generated content on social media works as credibility simply because users tend to trust and follow the actions and choices of other users. As a matter of fact, people trust content made by others more than they trust the brands' own content (shocker).

More and more brands are investing in user-generated campaigns that encourage their loyal customers to become brand advocates and share their positive experience with friends on social media. By doing this, you could build a positive perception among your potential audience members and build your authority overall. So go forth and create those hashtags!

Like any form of marketing, content marketing will change over time. But because the New Year is coming, we figured we’d sprinkle on some trends that will help your marketing succeed in 2018.


4 Tips to Use LinkedIn Successfully

4 Tips to Use LinkedIn Successfully

I’ve found myself being very active on LinkedIn lately and that got me to thinking…how can LinkedIn really benefit my career?

Not that social media outlets benefit me in any way (other than giving me the satisfaction of being nosey and snooping into people’s lives), LinkedIn has a reputation of being the “it” social media for networking and potentially finding a new career, so for a 23-year-old like me, yea I would say that’s important. Other than the basic network building, professional profile picture and job search, I wanted to figure out other ways I could fully benefit from LinkedIn.

So, like what usually happens when I have a daunting question, I turned to my good friend, Google. Browsing through dozens of articles, I came up with my version of 4 tips that one could use to fully benefit from the LinkedIn experience:

Use your profile to showcase everything that doesn’t fit on your resume

As we might have all learned when we first started applying to jobs, keeping our resumes neat and straight to the point is the goal. Well my friends, let your fingers do all the typing they desire because LinkedIn is the perfect place to jot down every summer job, volunteer opportunity and skill set that you might have. I mean c’mon, they even changed their algorithm to fit up to 1,000 characters per section, fill that sucker up.

Snooping is key (also my favorite thing to do)

Once you’ve got a valuable network, snooping is the best way to use LinkedIn, but only after you’ve forged good connections. For example, lets say you’re interested in a job posting, you can use LinkedIn to find former employees who could potentially give you real insight on the company or position. 

Take advantage of the blog on your profile

Did you know you can write blogs to your LinkedIn account?! I say this because not many people know about it, and if they do, they shy away. Well, I am living proof that writing a blog shouldn’t intimidate you…you’d be surprised with the content that your brain can come up with. Your blogs can be about anything you enjoy or find interesting (obviously not something inappropriate) and they’re an awesome way to showcase your thoughts, ideas and writing skills! 

Stay active!

I can’t stress this enough. Even if you are at a good place and are happy in your career (if you are, congrats), it is important to stay active on the LinkedIn radar. Share posts, comment on articles, update your profile, etc. because you never know when you might need someone in your network!

So as you can see, my epiphany with LinkedIn was great. I figured, if I’m going to spend a lot of time editing my work experience and picking a profile picture that captures my professionalism but doesn’t make me look like a robot, I could also use my time making the most out of this business community. I hope you learned a thing or two and take my [awesome] tips into consideration next time you’re logged in.


Sharing Is Caring: How Your Business Should Be Using Pinterest

Sharing Is Caring: How Your Business Should Be Using Pinterest

Pinterest’s tag line is: “Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.” If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, first of all, have you been living under a rock? Just kidding. Pinterest is another popular social media platform that allows its users to pin (share) different pictures and articles to their board. Although content can be original, the majority of pins are shared pins.

Why Pinterest is Important for Your Business

So like anything in life, why should you care? Well, aside from DIY ideas and inspiration photos, Pinterest can be successfully used to help grow your business. Businesses, especially retail businesses, are using Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites, showcase new products, and show how other people are using their products.

Pinterest has an outrageously high user engagement. When people are on the site, they can’t help but share the pins. It’s addictive and people spend a lot of time on the site. Omnicore estimates that “Pinterest has 150 million registered users, with 50 billion Pins being pinned”. Because of the reach of “sharing” on Pinterest, your pins have the ability to be seen by many more people other than your direct followers.

What’s also great is that each pin has a link attached, sending people directly to a website or product. According to Omnicore, “87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest and 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy”, that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

How to Be Successful Using Pinterest

The More the Merrier

To put it simple, your Pin Boards should be full enough to spark interest; pinners are more likely to follow a board with around 20-30 pins. This means that you must have more than 20 pins in order to make your board noticeable to the audience you’re trying to attract. When it comes to Pinterest, more is definitely better.

Share, Share, and Share

Pinterest is the site where you should be sharing anything and everything you find. There are never too many pins, so spend 20 minutes a day browsing and pinning other sources that closely match your brand voice. It is a good idea to scope out your competitors and I can assure you that they’ll likely have thousands of pins under many different boards. Don’t be afraid of your volume!

Follow The Right People

This is an obvious but important one. The people you follow become a part of your brand identity so the people you follow on Pinterest should be no different than the people you follow on Instagram and Facebook. Remember, follow those who are legitimate, without following too many.

Promote Your Pins

Pinterest is now coming around to the ads age, however, you have to join a waitlist and get approved before you can begin using promoted pins. Using promoted pins is similar to setting up a Facebook ad, however, it is much simpler and requires less specifics. You pick a pin you want to promote, select your audience, set a budget, and track the results using Pinterest analytics. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Don’t be intimidated by the “complexity” of Pinterest, It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. Not every business will be interested in using Pinterest, but if you’re determined to use it, it can be a powerful brand awareness tool!


social media algorithms

The Brain Behind Social Media

The Brain Behind Social Media

As marketers, we can all agree that this fact is true: social media is a crucial part of any marketing strategy. A digital presence is important for your brand because it gives a sense of brand awareness as well as helps build your audience reach. But did you know that social media is more than just slapping a cool picture and description on your timeline? Algorithms are at the root of all social media outlets and therefore play the “brain” behind any social media strategy.

First Things First: What Are Social Media Algorithms? 

To put it simple, an algorithm on social media is a set of “rules” that are used to determine what and when something is being shown within a user’s social media timeline. Social media algorithms were developed by channels as a way of controlling what and when a post is shown. The main reasons for the development of these algorithms was to improve the user’s experience and to encourage brands to buy more ads. Seems reasonable right?

Well, when there were no algorithms, social media was a level playing field where the only thing that really mattered was the time that you posted. A timeline/feed used to be chronological which meant that posts were shown in reverse order (the most recent at the top) so if you posted an update close to a time when a user was online, it would be seen, making it easier for your post to get noticed. With new algorithms in place, there are many more factors that are taken into consideration than just time; from both user behavior and how a user might interact with a specific status, through to how other users have reacted to this status and what is trending at that particular moment in time. Due to this, there has to be a more detailed social media strategy set in place to get the attention that your business craves.

Overwhelming right? How could you possibly know how each platform algorithm works? Let me help you out. The following are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s most current algorithms explained. You're welcome.

Facebook

Facebook brought its latest algorithm update on August 2013. The overall aim of the new algorithm was for posts that people most likely wanted to see, to be in the order they want to read them in. The algorithm responds to your activity and generates your News Feed into an order by the following criteria:

  • How frequently you interact with the friend, page, or public figure
  • The amount of activity the post generates; number of likes, shares and comments from your friends in particular
  • The number of times you have interacted with this type of post previously
  • The type of post (i.e. video, image, status, text, link) – video posts are said to still rank more highly than other types of statuses.

Twitter

Twitter’s new algorithm went live in February 2016 which made the tweets you most likely want to see show up first in your timeline. The algorithm responds to your activity and generates your News Feed into an order by the following criteria:

  • Tweets are chosen based off the accounts that you interact with quite often
  • How often you engage with the tweets that these users share
  • Note: This is a default setting but Twitter provides their users with the option to “turn-off” these settings and return to the original algorithm

Instagram

In March 2016, Instagram announced their new algorithm in order to show their 600 million monthly active users the posts that they are more likely to care about higher up in their feed (much like Twitter). The logic behind this algorithm was due to the fact that Instagram users missed around 70% of their feed, so the fast-growing social media platform believed that this algorithm would improve user experience. Instagram’s latest algorithm responds to your activity and generates your News Feed into an order by the following criteria:

  • How interested you are supposed to be in the content of the post
  • The relationship you have with the person posting and the time of the post.

Algorithms Are Important

It is important to be aware that social media algorithms differ by platform and are adapting all of the time. As user numbers grow, big fish like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s algorithms will grow and update with them. If you are looking to achieve results in social media marketing, there is no doubt that you have to stay alert and on top of the algorithm game.


4 Surprising Facts About Millennial Spending Habits

4 Surprising Facts About Millennial Spending Habits

You may ask, “What does this have to do with marketing?” well my friend, let me explain. Millennials are the hottest target audience in the market today. The majority of companies are targeting 18-30 year olds because they know that’s where they will get the most out of their branding and ROI’s. Millennials are constantly sharing and promoting products they love and voicing they’re opinions on products they don’t, so you can see how such an influential group of people can mean success for any business.

As a “selfish” and “entitled” Millennial though, I feel it is my duty to defend my own (hmmm maybe this what they were referring to as entitled?), especially when it comes to my spending habits, because c’mon, lets me realistic…they’re not that great. We often get a bad rap for not contributing to society: being unemployed, living with our parents, and putting off getting married or having kids. But with a collective $1 trillion in student debt and the constant rejection of employers, can you really blame us?

I recently stumbled upon a Business Insider article that summarized a report by Mizuho Securities surveying more than 1,500 millennials aged 18-34 on their spending habits, and was pleasantly surprised to find that millennial spending habits aren’t as bad as society makes them out to be. I guess there is more to us than meets the eye (and our wallets). Here are 4 [surprising] facts about millennial spending habits and my thoughts on them:

1. “Millennials do most of their shopping in physical stores. Sure, they are tech savvy and frequently shop online, but millennials haven't completely abandoned stores and shopping malls. They like to touch and feel products before they buy them, and still appreciate the experience of shopping in a store. In fact, millennials still complete 54% of shopping in physical stores, according to the report.”

 Yes. Yes. Yes. I am a first-hand account of this one, partly due to my slight shopping addiction, but nonetheless, factual.

2. “Millennials save more money than the national average. "Contrary to popular rhetoric regarding a highly challenged consumer who may be burdened with debt and living 'paycheck to paycheck,' our survey of millennials suggests the majority of the demographic (74% of total responses) saves money every month compared to 26% who do not," the report says.”

Listen, budgets are hard work. First of all, actually building a budget is a task in itself, but actually following through? Forget about it. But in all seriousness, saving is important. We know it’s annoying, but we also know its necessary. Even saving $20 a month, could be very beneficial in the long run! To my fellow millennials who don’t have a savings account: get on it!

3. “Millennials are planning to buy homes. They are delaying home-buying and marriage and kids, but they are planning to get to those life milestones eventually. When asked what they are saving for, millennials said (1) a house, (2) a car, and (3) retirement.”

Of course we want homes, what do you think we’re saving up for? Maybe we’re not looking to have the traditional “white picket fence” home, but we still want a place to call our own. As far as having kids, some of us want to wait because we want to be financially prepared for the expenses that come with raising a family (aka responsibility) OR some of us just simply don’t want kids. Is that such a crime? Plus, why change diapers when you can cuddle with a dog? Just saying. 

4. “Millennials aren't just relying on Uber and Lyft to get around. They are actually buying cars. Like with homeownership, many millennials have delayed purchasing cars. But car buying among this demographic is rapidly rising and will continue to grow, according to the report. About 64% of millennials plan to buy a car in the next two years, and most of those who don't plan to buy a car already own one, according to the data. Only 5% of respondents said car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft serve as a replacement for owning a car.”

I believe this 100%. Sure, Uber and Lyft are life-savers after a Saturday night out at the bar, but relying on a car-sharing service 24/7 can get a little stressful. As I mentioned before, we want something to call our own and having to depend on an Uber simply isn’t cutting it. I’m not saying we’re out purchasing Range Rovers and Mercedes Benz left and right (although it would be nice to be able to afford a Rover), but we are still financing cars and steadily growing that sales market. 

To end today’s article, or what appears to sound more like a rant, don’t underestimate Millennial spending habits. We work hard for what we want and no matter how many obstacles you throw at as (yes, this is directed to you baby boomers) we will continue to contribute our part to this world and grow any business who wishes to pursue us. We are loyal to the products/brands that we love, thus making our presence in the market very valuable!


What To Expect (And Not Expect) From Your Marketing Firm

What To Expect (And Not Expect) From Your Marketing Firm

Working with your marketing firm or ad agency should be a partnership.  A partnership that allows for open communication, integrity and respect.

You should expect this from your firm.  And they should be able to expect this from you.

When this kind of partnership exists you can expect the following:

  1. Expect them to want the best for your business.
  2. Expect them to give you their best.

In order to do that, they’ll expect you to give them the time, consideration and trust to do the job you hired them to do—this is why you chose them.

Expect to be frustrated at some time during the process.  Usually that happens early on, because a great deal of work is being done that you may not be aware of.  There is much data to be gathered, research to be done, competitive analysis to assemble, and it all needs to be assessed and processed.  There is an extraordinary amount of information to sort through in order to determine what’s valid vs what’s relevant as it relates to the marketing, branding and communication of your product, service or business. Good ideas take time. Don’t expect to rush the process.

That said, expect them to keep you updated on what’s happening and the progress that’s being made. Expect weekly communication at the very least.

Expect them to first give you what you ask for…then to bring you alternative thinking if they believe it will serve you better. They’ll expect you to be open to hearing their ideas. If you have doubts just ask questions to understand their thinking—there might be something that didn’t occur to you, something even better than you asked for.

All in all, don’t expect miracles.  But expect really good stuff if you’ve established the kind of partnership described above.