Instagram – A Snapshot of the Social Photo Sharing Site

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Since being acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram, a free online photo sharing and social network platform has provided small business owners seeking ways to engage and grow their base a different outlet to pursue. So what is Instagram? Instagram allows members users to upload, edit and share photos with other members through the Instagram website, email, and social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr. On Instagram, you’re allowed to follow photo streams created by other users, be followed back by those same users, and locate friends by name or who have connected to you on other social networks. It is as much of a social site as it is a photo sharing app (which is available for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play store).

Some just silly numbers!

Just so you get an idea how popular Instagram has grown to be within a few short years (founded in 2010), allow me to share 7 eye-popping stats:

  1. Instagram has 100 million monthly active users. (Instagram)
  2. 40 million photos are posted per day. (Instagram)
  3. 28 percent of U.S. Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram. (Pew)
  4. 98 percent of Instagram photos posted by top brands are now shared to Facebook. (Simply Measured)
  5. 59 percent of Interbrand’s top 100 brands are on Instagram. (SimplyMeasured)
  6. There are 8,500 likes per second on Instagram. (Instagram)
  7. 1,000 comments are made per second. (Instagram)

How businesses are using Instagram

Understanding that individuals react to sites like Instagram on an emotional level, small businesses taking some time to show what is important to the brand and to the core target customer are just where they want to be. Smart business use Instagram as a snapshot inside their company, and put a personal face to their business and enrich relationships at the same time.

Private Picassos, a children’s art studio in New York City, uses Instagram to record their student’s work, and this has led to parents commenting and sharing the photos, thus increasing their business. “I don’t do any paid advertising, so it’s a way to encourage your client to do the marketing for you”, director Valeen Parubchenko says.

How Can You Use Facebook Graph Search in Your New Hampshire Business?

Facebook graphFacebook is at it again, and this time it’s called Facebook Graph Search. This is their attempt to sway their search results from the keyword-based model like Google’s, to one where Facebook can employ its greatest asset, the social interplay between all its users. Still coming out, Graph Search may not be open to you yet, (still only accessible in the US, and there’s a waiting list) but it’s on its way right around the corner. And if you’ve got a business that utilizes Facebook at all, you must understand how this could benefit you.

So just what is Facebook Graph search?

Facebook Graph Search is a search model whereby you are served up results based not on any keyword you entered, but rather results determined by your social spheres. For instance, your search will reveal people who share your interests, photos and videos they’ve liked, and connections you share. These outcomes are unique to you as they’re based on you and your friend’s interests.

How can you use Graph search in your marketing?

One of the primary benefits here is apparently that Graph Search will reward people who are making a genuine effort with their social media, engaging and reaching their fans and followers. Facebook is mum about the aspects of the actual search algorithm, but suffice it to say it will go a long way towards removing pages that are trying to game the system. Fake Likes and fans received from strange locations out of your common spheres, will probably be viewed with some skepticism.

If your business is seriously interested in social media, you stand to benefit from this, as you will be visible on Facebook. A few of the basic ways you can prepare for Facebook Graph Search are to:

  • Make sure your Facebook page profile is totally filled out with your information, so that users can locate and contact you.
  • Engage, engage, engage. Promote interaction
  • Be very careful of what is posted online, especially on Facebook itself, as this can come back to embarrass your business in a big way!

Consumers Have Choice – Don’t Let Your Design Make It Easy for Them!

Spider web 5.25.13Okay, so take a guess: how long do you think it takes the average person to form a first impression after landing on your webpage? A study by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2012 found that it takes all of two-tenths of a second to garner that impression. This makes your design much more vital, as your visitors indeed have choices, and if they are less than bowled over by your design elements, you can rest assured they are going to seek more appealing pastures. This is also a big trust factor with your visitors: a poor design will often lead to the inescapable feeling that there could be other areas of your business which are just as shoddy.

Just as a spider creates a perfect web to capture its prey, your business web site design needs to quickly entice the visitor to stay, explore and get caught up in the details of your web site.

How can we promote good design?

The very first thing to do is to give this some thought. Your competition has. Using a plan for presenting your brand and products to the world is largely accomplished by a carefully thought-out plan. Another critical finding in that study was that your logo gets the most attention, followed closely by images and social interaction. The visual elements matter a tremendous amount! So now that we have an understanding, there are basically no excuses left, as now expense is not any longer a viable excuse for getting good design work done. The advent of crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs, CrowdSpring and others made what was once prohibitively expensive for small business, a very affordable item.

How can you expect to benefit?

The advantages of good design in your business are numerous and sometimes intangible. While a visual overhaul of your website is fairly obvious, other things like product packaging, your print and web advertising, and even site graphics are now being shared, Pinned and ReTweeted from your webpages. We are observing daily how much this can impact your site’s reach and customer base. What’s more, that special feeling that visitors get when viewing a superb design may be hard to quantify, but when your site’s traffic increase and sales increase for no other apparent reason, you’ll be very glad you took a long look at your visual design elements today!

How to Get Your Customers to Open your Emails!

EMail Open RatesAre your email open rates a source of embarrassment? Acting to improve them is a lot easier to accomplish than you might think. According to Epsilon.com, email open rates sport an industry average of around 27.4 percent, with wide variances for markets. Understanding your email open rates and ways to improve them should be high on your to-do list!

Toward that end, listed below are 10 top tips for boosting your email open rates.

  1. Write something you would read – Creating terrific content is undoubtedly the simplest way to get your email opened and read.
  2. Length & timing – We’re all busy, and lengthy emails that ramble and fail to get to the point are rarely looked forward to. Likewise, not using optimum sending times doesn’t help.
  3. Use your subject line wisely – Here is the single biggest element that influences whether or not your email gets opened. Make time to craft great, non-spammy subject lines.
  4. Use your first line effectively – Closely related is the first line, part of which is visible in their inbox. This too is valuable real estate, and don’t permit yours to be filled with stuff like “If you don’t see any images in this message click here”.
  5. Address their needs and concerns – Solve problems and offer solutions.
  6. Offer great deals and savings – Everyone likes to save a little and your email is an excellent platform to pass on any deals or specials your company is offering.
  7. Be the authority – We always have things to learn, and if you can position yourself as somebody who offers something worthwhile for your readers, your open rates will flourish.
  8. Be entertaining – Don’t be StatMan. Don’t be scared to inject humor, wit, and a little debate on occasion.
  9. Is your From line recognizable? – Make certain this is the person or company you want to brand, as this builds trust over time.
  10. Be sure and resend your unopened email – Very easy to do, resending your unopened email is a simple way to boost your open rates.

How to Use Daily Deal Sites Like Living Social To Market Your Business

Living SocialDespite all the vitriol that’s been written about daily deal websites, and how they are all universally “out” as a means of marketing your local business, we’d disagree. There are a variety of factors that go into making these daily deal sites work for your business, and a few well-publicized failures, shouldn’t be cause for dropping the daily deal model. In fact, when studied closely, a large number of failures had numerous things in common: failure to understand how to run a daily deal promotion, poor negotiation of their deals, and not tracking customer redemption and/or spending. Lacking these vital pieces, it’s no surprise they failed.

So why all of the hate?

One reason may be the financial struggles Groupon and LivingSocial are experiencing. Although they very likely will come out fine at the end of the day, financial writers wanting to seize upon the harmful aspects of some daily deal sites. They frequently point to stuff like spam complaints, a glut of deals to pick from, deal hoppers (customers who hop from deal to deal with no intention of becoming a regular customer) and in fact deal fatigue.

3 Ways you can help make Daily Deals work for your business

  • Understand the financials! – Make sure you clearly know the numbers as far as your deal is concerned. Know your average sales volume and don’t exceed it with a daily deal. Negotiate credit card processing fees: most major daily deal sites will pay these!
  • Follow up with your new customers! – As many as 60-75 percent of these daily deal customers are trying you out for the first time, so it’s vital that you have a plan to coax them back for a return engagement! Offer another coupon, and other incentives to ensure you see them again!
  • Don’t go too big, too fast – Start conservatively, so that you can learn the ropes and not be overloaded by the deals, and leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Daily deal sites aren’t dead, you simply need to know how to best utilize them for your business.

Going Mobile – Why Should You Give SMS Marketing a Try?

SMS text messageThe World is going Mobile my friend. Your customers are Going Mobile. One of the most important tools Mobile Marketing offers is the ability to harness the power of SMS Marketing. SMS marketing, which stands for simple message service, has proven to be a more than feasible substitute for email marketing. It’s getting harder and harder to find those who are not using text messages in one form or another, and they are not simply the world of pre-teens.

Why SMS marketing deserves a serious look

Without a doubt, the primary reason marketers are giving SMS a chance is because of how folks are responding to texts. Reported by CallFire SMS text messages boast a 98 percent open rate not to mention an eye-popping 83 percent are opened in the first three minutes of receiving them! What’s more, marketing promotions using text messages are being redeemed at 20 percent or higher, compared to traditional media such as coupons, newspaper ads, radio, or direct mail, that average redemption rates of a paltry two percent. CallFire also says that your ROI (return on investment) could be far greater than in traditional media. For example, a campaign with a monthly cost of less than $30 to send 1000 text messages, and redemption rates of 20 percent or more, works out to be less than .30 cents per customer acquisition. Not bad.

4 Guidelines for successful SMS marketing campaigns

  1. Deliver value – Whatever you’re texting them about, make it worth their time! Deliver value, monetary or otherwise, with your message.
  2. Keep it short, sweet and personal – Personalizing your texts and keeping them friendly and brief is a great recipe for success with SMS. Something along the lines of, “Hi Mandy, thanks again for shopping with us! We look forward to seeing you again soon. Show this msg to receive 20% off your next purchase at [STORE NAME & PHONE NUMBER].”
  3. Use a call to action – Lest you forget to do this, here’s your reminder: ask for the desired action! For example, ask them to “Text SaveNow to 123456 to get a 10% off coupon today.”
  4. Track your results – SMS is awesome on the subject of measuring metrics. There are a variety of factors you can monitor on your campaigns, from click tracking to who opened what. So be sure to track and measure your results, to correctly plan the next campaign!

Facebook Fan Page Marketing 102

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereIn this blog post we pick up where we left off with the Facebook Fan Page Marketing 101. In the video below I will go through the Edgerank 102 Infographic and show you how you can boost your Facebook Fan Page Edgerank. The tips in this video will help boost your Fan Page effectiveness and get your more exposure with your Fans.

Click the Play Button Below to watch this video:

I hope that it helps boost your Fan Page effectiveness!

To your success,

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The Future of On Demand Marketing?

future of marketingWelcome to the Future of Marketing my friend. Have you ever considered how marketing may change in the coming years as technology continues to move faster and faster? Below is an info graphic my friend Karen Bachelder at NH Business Review shared with me and I thought it was an interesting view of how future marketing may play out.

Take a look at this story below and get a glimpse of the possible Future of Marketing.

the future of marketing

So what do you think? Is this the future of marketing?

Kyle Battis signature