The Top 3 Instagram Trends for Marketers

repost from hootsuite.com by Laurn Taylor

With 42% of marketers planning to increase their use of Instagram this year, visual content is more important than ever to a brand’s marketing strategy. But for many brands, creating a captivating Instagram profile and generating high quality visual content can be challenging. To help marketers get the most impact out of their Instagram profiles, here are the top three marketing trends that any business can learn from, whether you have 300,000 followers or 300.

Branded Hashtags

Many brands are leveraging branded hashtags to engage their community on social media, but these aren’t your standard #CompanyName hashtags. The hashtags are aligned with the overall brand instead of the product, and Instagrammers are encouraged to tag their photos whether the product is featured or not — for example, lululemon athletica suggested that users tag their workout photos with #thesweatlife, which has generated over 68,000 posts from their community.

By creating a branded hashtag, marketers create a win-win situation for both themselves and their community. Brands receive the benefit of increased exposure to new potential customers through an Instagrammers photo, and Instagrammers love to be featured on a brand’s profile for both the prestige and the increase in followers. When one of my Instagram photos got “regrammed” by Stumptown Coffee, we gained nearly 500 followers in one day! That’s a lot of motivation for the Instagram community to actively share your brand.

http://instagram.com/p/jfCBwiuDTa/embed/

Herschel Supply Co has over 300,000 followers on Instagram and tags their product posts with #HerschelSupply, but they have generated more posts with their #WellTravelled campaign, which encourages their followers to share photos of their journeys using the hashtag.

http://instagram.com/p/n_BFj-wKJH/embed/

Poler Stuff has not one, but three branded hashtags (#campvibes, #adventuremobile, and #beneaththebrim) that they place in their Instagram bio. #Adventuremobile isn’t directly related to any of Poler’s products, but it does speak to their brand persona of active, outdoor living, with over 40,000 posts shared by Instagrammers of their car in the wild.

http://instagram.com/p/n4YXxeEMa_/embed/

You don’t have to be a large brand in order to have success with your own hashtag: 33 Acres Brewing Co, a small craft brewery, has about 4,000 followers and recently started their own tag #b33r and encourages in-store customers to tag photos with this hashtag over other ones. Without an “official” hashtag, it becomes difficult to monitor your brand mentions – for example, customers could be tagging #33acres, #33, #33acresbrewing, or #33acresbeer. But by creating and promoting their own distinctive branded hashtag, marketers can easily increase their exposure across Instagram while providing their brand with user-generated content for their Instagram profile.

http://instagram.com/p/oJdNYQl9zR/embed/

Lifestyle Content

Another way to market your brand on Instagram without posting product shots is to share lifestyle content that represents your brand’s persona. Marketers should monitor their followers to see what kind of content they are sharing, and then replicate that on their own feeds. Intersperse photos of your product with lifestyle photos that your followers can relate to, whether it’s oceans and palm trees or mountains and landscapes.

The Native Shoes brand likes to #keepitlite, so their feed features a ton of bright colours and different art that would be interesting to their community.

http://instagram.com/p/mcNB_zovBB/embed/

It’s not difficult to showcase lifestyle content that inspires your readers, and more and more brands are beginning to use Pinterest’s easy search to curate photos for their Instagram feed. For a small business like the online retailerAnewall Decor, they can supplement their own content with their favourite finds from Instagram and Pinterest (with credit, of course!)

http://instagram.com/p/mBiCNCBNWb/embed/

http://instagram.com/p/m6NL2wBNXj/embed/

Instagram Influencers

With so many Instagrammers looking to increase their following, it’s easy for even small businesses to gain exposure to a wide audience by building relationships with influencers in their community. While many large brands are paying big bucks to partner with users that have  thousands of followers, both small and medium businesses are still able to increase exposure by exchanging product for a giveaway, a promotion, or a small fee.

http://instagram.com/p/mxvfllKLif/embed/
http://instagram.com/p/j9qYgtKLt7/embed/
But be warned: simply sending free product doesn’t mean the Instagrammer will love it, and just because a user has a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’ll create captivating content for you. Take the time to ensure influencers are the right fit for your brand and that they’re excited to partner with you!

 

 

 

Ways to Make Networking Work

Make no mistake. Networking is a great way to meet a lot of business professionals at one time. Networking events allow people to put a face and personality to your business. But like everything, there is a right way and a wrong way.

If your networking persona is amiss you risk wasting your time and worse, wasting someone else’s. Follow these 10 guidelines to maximize and polish your networking efforts.

1. Be prepared. Bring a lot of business cards and stash them where you can easily retrieve them.

2. Arrive 5 minutes early. It will give you some time to relax.

3. Have a goal. Do you want two, three or five new contacts? Remember, a contact isnot simply introducing yourself, talking about your business, and then forking over a businesscard.

4. Rehearse your elevator speech beforehand.

5. Make the effort to go over to and say hello to new people, they are nervous as well.

6. Listen to people and their conversations and encourage synergy.

7. Take notes on the back of their business card, what you talked about, interesting facts about the person and so on.

8. Collect cards. Keep cards from those you think can assist your business and those you can help (pass along a referral, a book, etc.) People remember good deeds.

9. Have a plan with the contacts you made. At a minimum follow-up with an email or phone call and remind them how much you enjoyed speaking with them. Or, offer to meet for coffee, take it to the next level to learn more about them.

10. Have fun with it, be happy and ask great questions.

 original source

How about you? What’s your favorite thing about networking events? What about your least?

Using social media to grow your email list

reposted written  by Mayur Kisani 

Your email database is the most important and valuable marketing asset you will ever own. Email is the most personal and direct way of reaching customers. It is opened every day and can help you reach your marketing objectives quickly.

Social media can be a great supplementary tool— to engage prospects and customers, build relationships with them and also generate leads. A lead is someone who visits your website and/or gives you their email. The more leads you have, the more sales you can possibly make. It is a simple and direct relationship.

Social media should be used as a means to extend your brand from the website. Your website should be the central hub of all your online marketing.

Here’s how you can use social media to grow your email list:

1. Contests

When doing contests on social media, think about how you can increase the number of emails you receive and not the number of people who “like” or “follow” you. This is because likes and follows are not directly owned by you, unlike your email database.

People who are more likely to be interested in your products/services will enter their email addresses. This enables spot-on targeting via email for your company, unlike receiving a like or a follow from people who might not be as relevant/interested.

2. Facebook tabs and apps

There are a number of tabs and apps available that allow you to capture emails right on your Facebook page. MailChimp is one such service.

Since other social media outlets do not have similar facilities, you can always link back to your landing page.

3. Twitter lead-generation cards

Users can easily and securely share their email address with a business without leaving Twitter or having to fill out a cumbersome form.

When someone expands your tweet, they see a description of the offer and a call to action. Their name, @username and email address are already prefilled within the card. The user simply clicks a button to send this information directly (and securely) to you.

To learn more about lead-generation cards on Twitter, click here.

 

4. Giveaways

In return for email addresses, you can give out subscriptions, a discount to your e-commerce store, an e-book or whitepaper, etc.

Giving an incentive of specialized/exclusive content via social media can be a great way to not only grow your email database, but also increase your visibility and show off your expertise to impress your customers/prospects.

5. Advertising

By uploading your email list to Facebook and Twitter ad tools, you can exclude the email addresses of people already on your list — and narrow in on people who are fans of your page/followers of your account but not signed up for emails.

You can also use Facebook’s new look-alike audiences to go after people who are similar to the folks already on your list.

How do you grow your email list via social media? Let us know in the comments below.

Communicate with good Email etiquette

Excerpt from smashingmagazine.com read the full article here.

Email is the primary means of internal and external communication at most companies. Surprisingly, many people still don’t know how to use it properly.

The subject line is the first thing that a recipient notices. It should be brief and should explain the contents of the email. The recipient might want to refer to the correspondence in future, perhaps weeks or months later. Therefore, the subject line should clearly identify the project (including the customer, depending on the organization) and the subject matter.

Of course, not every subject fits neatly into a project — in such cases, take extra care to make the subject line clear. Consider that, while you might be working on only one project for a given customer and “ACME Corp: new images” sounds like a good subject line to you, your coworkers in the marketing department might be working on many projects for the same customer, all of which involve “new images.”

Here are some examples of good subject lines:

  • ACME Corp. | HR Portal | draft of functional documentation, v. 0.1
  • ACME product page — questions after the meeting with marketing dept. on March 5th
  • Please, send your report — deadline: March 10th

Nicknames for clients and projects and the separator symbol should be agreed on by everyone involved in the project, because they enable recipients to sort their inbox according to filtering rules (especially for managers, who get hundreds of emails an hour).

Here are some real-life examples of bad subject lines:

  • ACME
  • Question
  • Request
  • New images
  • We’re going for lunch at 1 pm

That last one is from a follow-up email that contained important documentation — true story!

A clear subject line quickly tells the recipient the contents of the message and whether they need to respond in any way. For this reason, avoid changing the topic of conversation during an email thread (“BTW, about that other thing, did you…” is a dead giveaway). Either change the subject line or send a separate email.

The “To” and “Cc” fields are useful ways to indicate who is the addressee of a message and who just needs to be informed without taking any action. By default, the person in the “To” field should read and probably respond, while the person in the “Cc” field would do enough to just read the message. Many managers want to stay informed on matters that they are not directly responsible for, and they’ll configure their filtering rules accordingly, browsing those messages from time to time. Don’t “Cc” someone if you expect a prompt response.

One last rule, perhaps a lifesaver, is to do everything in writing. People tend to forget about arrangements made by phone or in meetings. Perhaps a form of communication other than email would be appropriate in these situations. We’ll discuss that next.

 

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Write a Big Idea

3 Steps to Your Big Idea

1. What makes you irresistible?

Whether you have an audience of eight or 80,000, there is something that draws people into your orbit and makes them want to hang out and stay. Think of it as your personal brand of catnip.

Not sure what draws ‘em in? Then it’s time to find out. Pick your all-time favorite clients, buyers, readers (five will probably give you enough data points) and ask them three pointed questions:

  • What do you get from me that you don’t get from anyone else?
  • What do you consistently rely on me for?
  • What experience (feeling) do you always get from me?

Make a list of what you hear from them. Circle anything you hear more than once. Put a star by anything you hear three or more times.

Hint: your mojo is in the stars.

2. What excites you?

This is about making sure you’re working at what lights you up. Your passion serves as rocket fuel, especially when the going gets tough.

Think back to the projects and experiences that rocked your world. We’re talking when you were really jamming—doing kick-ass work that excited you.

Try looking around your workspace. What draws your eye in? What happy memories and projects are associated with it? Make a list.

Then, one by one, visualize each experience, complete with sights, feelings, smells and soundtrack. What work were you doing? Who were you doing it with? How did you work? Where did you work? What parts did you like best? And write it down.

Project #1

Project #2:

Project #3:

Project #4:

Project #5:

By about Jamming Project #5, you should start seeing some similarities. Maybe you’re

drawn to working solo or with big personalities. Or tight deadlines with impossible requests are your thing. Perhaps you most love being the data guy. Or the border collie.

Drill down to the common links between your most unforgettable experiences and write

them down here.

3. Name Your Passion Zone

Now go grab a giant flip chart (the kind with the sticky borders). List what makes you irresistible and paste pages filled with your triumphs around the room. Breathe it in. Soak it up. Let it wash over you.

Once you are filled with a sense of your own awesomeness (this is not the time for modesty), you are ready to put it all together into a statement that captures it exquisitely.

As in, “I…..

  • make consultants, authors and artists unforgettable.
  • design effortlessly chic clothes for career women.
  • build wealth for risk-takers.
  • teach lawyers to sell more business.
  • save kids from drowning.
  • create beloved companies.

Ready?

Complete this statement:

My Company  __________(insert action verb) ________________ (insert your best audience) ________________________(insert how you make your best audience feel or an outcome they can rely upon).

Take some time with this. Leave it and come back to it. Ruminate. Salivate. It should scare you a little—as in “Who am I to think this big?”

Your final step is to turn your statement into a big, bold, bodacious idea that irresistibly draws your best audience to you.

Use as few words as possible, while making it rich and compelling.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • I make consultants, authors and artists unforgettable. (Be unforgettable)
  • I design effortlessly chic clothes for career women. (Live effortlessly)
  • I build wealth for risk-takers. (Never follow)
  • I teach lawyers to sell more business. (Make it rain)
  • I save kids from drowning. (Save kids from drowning)
  • I create beloved companies. (Become a beloved company)

Focus on the intersection of what makes your heart beat faster with where your best talents lie.

MORE INSPIRATION

Here are a few who have done a bang-up job of creating—and sharing—their big, bold,

bodacious ideas. Check ‘em out:

Seth Godin

Go make it happen.

sethgodin.com

Susan Cain

Join the Quiet revolution.

thepowerofintroverts.com

Womenkind

Profit from the wisdom of women.

womenkind.net

Kate Spade

Live Colorfully.

katespade.com

Charles Greene

Trust matters.

trustedadvisor.com

Sally Hogshead

Fascinate in 9 seconds or less.

sallyhogshead.com

David Bach

Live Rich. Finish Rich

finishrich.com

Jamie Oliver

Start your food revolution.

jamieoliver.com