Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy.
Social media provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals to compete with established brands and make a name for themselves without spending a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.
Today, building trust on social media is an uphill task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire the top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.
When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut; you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.
No matter what business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:
1. Be Accountable
As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.
Through social media messaging, you need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. Admit your mistake when necessary and ensure that the same doesn’t get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.
In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.
2. Be Transparent
Transparency develops trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts whereas show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.
3. Be Authentic
This is the most basic requirement for being trustworthy. Being authentic means being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that shows how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.
If you want your content to be read and liked by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.
If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like the politicians; loved by some and hated by others but trusted by none. The choice is obviously yours.
It takes years to build trust — and five minutes to destroy it. Therefore, every word or graphic posted on your social media page should adhere to certain standards set by you. It doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.
You can’t buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.
Have a long-term vision and be patient to deal with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.
Is Facebook part of your holiday marketing plan? Are you looking for tips to improve your holiday campaign? In this article, you’ll discover 10 Facebook tips to widen your visibility and reach during the holiday season.
Plan Your Holiday Marketing
Before you utilize the power of Facebook, take the time to plan your promos and content.
#1: Create a Content Calendar With Key Dates
Looking to increase holiday sales? Make sure you know the key dates. Create a word document or spreadsheet, or use a project management tool to keep track of what holidays you want to cover on social media.
Remember, you can play off of all of the holidays, not just the traditional ones. Consider getting a copy of Chase’s Calendar of Events each year or at least look at the special month holiday celebrations.
To really stand out, be the first in your industry to start posting. For example, ecommerce site Nanigans is at the top of my mind, since they were one of the first I saw post this season.
Once you decide which holidays your company will celebrate and highlight with your content, work backward to ensure timely, relevant content is created, tested, and scheduled.
#2: Emphasize Strong Visual Elements in Your Content
When planning your holiday posts, keep in mind that Facebook is a visual platform. Use videos, animated GIFs, and images to grab attention.
For example, My Baking Addiction used this image of crumbly mini cherry cheesecakes to stand out in the news feed. It’s a bright visual with an interesting perspective that received more than 4,000 reactions and over 600 shares. In fact, nearly all of their posts are images and videos that make your mouth water.
#3: Share Your Brand’s Story
Use the end of the year as a time for your fans to get to know your business and the people behind it.
For instance, the Arlington Club, a restaurant in New York City, highlighted the backstory of Executive Chef Frank Cervantes. This image post featured a photo of the chef and a quote explaining what started him on this career path.
Invite people into your business’s world. Take the opportunity to share a milestone with your audience, do a series of posts showcasing your employees, or both.
Australian fashion retailer Country Road shared its brand story in a visually rich Facebook ad campaign to promote its Holiday 2015 campaign. The campaign proved to be almost five times more effective at driving in-store sales than online sales. Country Road wanted to position itself as the store for holiday gifting to maximize Christmastime sales across its women’s, men’s, children’s, and home ranges.
#4: Connect Emotionally Through Content
There’s a reason Facebook added reactions (love, laugh, wow, cry, and angry) to the Like button. People want to express their emotions when a story evokes different feelings. Your business content has to compete with posts from your audience’s friends and family.
Engage your audience by creating highly relatable, emotional, human-interest content that will tug at people’s heartstrings, draw them in, evoke sentiment, or make them laugh. You want your audience to see a post and think, “Hey, that’s me, too!”
Iberia Airlines created an emotional video ad series featuring Santa Claus handing out presents to families during a flight. The company wanted to develop an internationally engaged community, on the move, reuniting with friends and families scattered across the globe to celebrate with loved ones. The video campaign garnered 4 million views and a reach of 46 million.
People check Facebook to see what’s happening in their friends’ lives. So when you create posts or ads, make sure you’re contributing positively to their day and their Facebook experience.
#5: Craft Content for Maximum Shares
The goal of any post is to get a lot of engagement since engagement (especially shares) leads to even more comments, likes, and shares. Be intentional with the content you create.
Ideally, I recommend you craft content that’s worthy of amplifying with paid reach. In other words, whether you choose to put budget into a post or not, each piece of content you publish should pass your “boost-worthy” test. Before publishing, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this post potentially “thumb-stopping” for my audience?
- Does it capture their attention sufficiently to want to stop, read/watch, engage, and/or share the post?
- Is this post in context within the news feed? In other words, while Facebook users’ friends are sharing warm personal stories and fun videos, does this post fit in, yet still stand out?
- Does it offer educational and/or entertaining content?
- Does it meet the needs of your audience and their audience?
Taste of Home knows their audience. Their Top Christmas Candy Recipes post last year exceeded 9,500 shares. Reactions were close to 10,000. Mixing an entertaining element with an emotional connection is a delicious recipe for getting more shares. This will bring even more attention to your business.
Leverage Facebook Tools and Features to Deliver Your Message
Once you have your key dates and content in mind, use Facebook tools to amplify your message and reach more people.
#6: Host Virtual Events via Facebook Live
With the growing popularity of Facebook’s Live video broadcast feature, now you can easily host virtual events such as a virtual office party or customer appreciation party via Facebook Live. Create a Facebook event on your business page and invite your friends and fans. Facebook recently started rolling out a new feature that allows you to pre-announce your Live video event and garner an audience ahead of time.
During the event, you can do random giveaways, play games and offer prizes, or both. Other options include a live Q&A, flash sales available only while you’re live, and a treat (discount) for those watching after the fact.
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart hosted a fun live Holiday Workshop with decorating ideas from The Home Depot using Facebook Live video on her fan page.
Of course, you don’t have to get as fancy as Martha. A simple and sincere Holiday greeting, like Michele Ruiz did here via Facebook Live, can draw in your fans.
If you plan to host an in-person holiday party, why not invite fans into your world by broadcasting via Facebook Live video? It will give people a taste of off-the-clock fun at your business.
Facebook is investing heavily in garnering more awareness and users for its Live video feature, including launching an international ad campaign on television, buses, and billboards. Facebook is also paying celebrities and media outlets to use Live video. So now is the perfect time for you to jump into the world of Live video on Facebook.
#7: Create Facebook Offers
Facebook enables you to create an online or in-store offer to share on your business page.
Click Offer in your status bar. Next, choose Online or In Store, and then select an option from the Offer Type list, which can be Percent Off; Amount Off; Buy One, Get One; or Free Stuff.
For an online offer, include the URL. Then enter the details of your deal. Add a title (up to 50 characters), description (up to 500 characters), and up to five photos. You’ll see a preview for desktop or mobile view as you add information.
Facebook offers are an easy way to share special bundles, discounts, and incentives with your audience all year long. However, it’s even more relevant during the holidays.
#8: Cater to Mobile Audiences With Facebook Ads and Posts
Most people are on mobile so be sure your ads, posts, and any related landing pages are optimized for it.
This fun image post from Target with different Thanksgiving pie options looks great in both the mobile and desktop feeds. It’s a cute post that brings humor to most people’s favorite Turkey Day dessert.
This Thanksgiving post by Target shows well on both desktop and mobile feeds.
Mobile ads are important for targeting people shopping on the go. However, they’re also valuable for directing people to your brick-and-mortar business. Use the Local Awareness feature to target audiences when they’re near your business. You can even give them directions to your location right on their phones.
Facebook ad units that tend to perform well on mobile include video, slideshow, carousel, and canvas. Make sure the web page your audience lands on after clicking your ad is fast-loading and quick and easy to understand.
Remember, mobile-friendly does not apply only to Facebook ads. Make sure all of your content is designed for people browsing Facebook on their mobile devices.
#9: Use Engagement Custom Audiences
A relatively new type of audience that you can reach with Facebook ads is called engagement custom audiences. These are people who have already shown an interest in you by watching your videos, interacting with one of your other ads, or sharing your website links on Facebook. You can draw engagement custom audiences in further by placing additional paid content in their feeds.
Set a custom Facebook audience based on engagement.
Here are the targeting options currently available for creating engagement custom audiences that you can use for your Facebook holiday ads:
Video Views: Create variations of audiences comprised of people who have already viewed one of your videos, whether the video was organic or promoted. Views are at least: 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 95%. The longer your video, the less likely people will have watched to the end, so it’s better to select 25%, for example.
Dennis Yu gets even more advanced and granular by targeting people who have watched 3 seconds but not at least 10 seconds; or watched video A and B but not C. You can target any type of ad to these audiences.
Lead Ads: Someone may have looked at your lead ad but didn’t complete the form (enter their email address). Target people who’ve interacted with your lead ad since they’re already familiar with you and have cared enough to click once.
Narrow your custom Facebook audience by percentage of video watched.
Canvas Ads: Similar to lead ads, target people who have interacted with your canvas ad but haven’t taken any action yet.
Link Sharing: Link targeting is brand new and available to only a limited number of advertisers so far. You’ll be able to create an audience based on people who shared your content on Facebook. If someone has gone to the trouble of sharing your content, they’re likely interested in learning more about what you have to offer.
Anyone who has interacted with your Facebook content is likely already familiar with you. Target them further through custom audiences, especially the new engagement variables.
#10: Retarget Your Website Visitors
It can take many touches for a prospective customer to get familiar enough with you to take the next step. People don’t always make a purchase decision on the first visit, so remind them who you are through retargeting.
Your ad performance and conversion will be much more effective when you use the Facebook pixel and retarget potential customers who already visited your website. In fact, Facebook is now beginning to give priority to ads that are connected to a properly installed Facebook pixel, even including boosted posts.
Select View Pixel Code from the Actions menu to view your Facebook Pixel code.
First, ensure you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website. Go to the Pixels section in Ads Manager and select View Pixel Code from the Actions menu. Copy and paste the code to your website.
Also, use the Facebook Pixel Helper browser extension to double-check that the pixel is correctly installed and firing properly. The icon on your browser should light up.
Now you can go into your Ads Manager and create a variety of website custom audiences based on time on site. The choices are most active users: top 5%, top 10%, and top 25%.
Create a custom Facebook audience based on website visit data.
Someone who spends 2 minutes on your site is a hotter prospect than someone who visited for just 10 seconds. This is a wonderful new feature that Facebook added earlier this year.
The period leading up to the holidays is the largest consumer spending time of the year. People buy gifts for others and themselves. Since they don’t always know what they’re looking for, help them.
Use the holidays as an opportunity to shine a light on your business. When you understand and integrate what Facebook offers in terms of ad tools into your marketing campaign, it can make the difference in having a successful holiday season.
What do you think? How do you use Facebook for your holiday promotions? What are some of your success stories? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Instagram is quickly becoming one of the biggest contenders in social media. It’s always been known that visual content has a boosted sharability factor, and that’s definitely something that the image-based social site uses in its favor. Instagram is known for being a popular celebrity social media platform, perfect for keeping up with stars and friends you follow, but what about businesses?
Though the data is still in fledgling stages at this point, many businesses are finding success on Instagram through content strategies that appeal to the platform. Here’s one thing that’s for sure – it’s hard to succeed on Instagram if you’re treating it like just another social media platform.
For the purpose of this article, I will assume you’re already using Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy, and that’s likely true. More and more businesses are jumping into the Instagram pool, but many aren’t finding the same success there as they do Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. So here we want to try and help you improve on that today.
Intro – The Stats that Matter
Before we get into the best ways to up your Instagram engagement statistics and sales, let’s talk about some other stats you need to know about:
- 78% of consumers make purchases based on a brand’s social media activity.
- 67% of consumers report that the more detailed an image, the more it influenced their purchase decision.
- 70% of Instagram users have looked for a brand on the platform.
- 37% of people on Instagram follow as many as five brand accounts, while 32% follow more than five.
What does this information tell you?
- One, social media is an important part of any marketing strategy.
- Two, Instagram is a viable option if you’re looking to up lead generation and site traffic.
- Three, Instagram users are looking for you on Instagram, and you may not be there like you should be – or at all.
Instagram users are very active, which means that the content that you post is sure to get engagement if you have the right audience…but first you have to grow your audience, and then they will be able to find your content.
Here’s the idea in its simplest form: get more followers, use a simple marketing strategy, and make sales easy for your Instagram audience. When you can get this right, you’ll have a good formula to succeed on Instagram.
Step One – Get More Followers
Before you truly commit to getting more sales, you need to start amassing some followers. While you could get some traffic and leads through hashtag searches (more on that in a second), a bulk of your leads will come from having loyal followers.
When someone follows you, this isn’t just to boost your ego. This also signals to you that they’re looking forward to your content. When you post deals and advertisements, this means they will be able to see any info that you post but you also need to be careful not to post only promotional content. It’s Important that you also provide content that is fun, interesting, and well designed so that your Instagram feed is fun to follow. We like to use the 90/10 rule. 90% of the content you post should be provide value in some way and the remaining 10% can be promotional in nature.
1. Know Who Your Customers Are
In order to get more followers, you need to know who is most likely to follow you. To solve this mystery, try out these simple questions:
- Who is engages with my brand?
- What content am I posting elsewhere that’s getting attention?
- What time is my audience active?
- Which hashtags do I use that get the most engagement?
- Who am I attracting, regardless of my strategy’s intent?
These are great questions to help to identify your overall audience, but you can also follow some simple stats as well.
- Peak Instagram interactions occur from 7 PM to 9 PM.
- 30% of posts are created on the weekend.
- Brands post about 6 images per week on average on Instagram.
- 88% of Instagram posts contain at least one hashtag.
- Posts with 5 or more hashtags tend to perform best
- 54% of brand followers do so to discover and learn about a brand.
Think about this when craft Instagram sales strategies. How will this information affect how you view your customer?
2. Post Targeting Content
When you post targeted content, you post content that your audience will appreciate and engage with – it’s that simple. The hard part is crafting this content and making a sales-driven Instagram post.
First, know what makes a sales-driven Instagram post work.
Number One: It has a strong image. Visual content is content that works for you with ease. The best visual content falls into one or more of these categories:
- The photos suit a certain lifestyle. Lifestyle content is exactly what it says on the tin – photos that depict a certain lifestyle that’s feasible.
- The photos are bright. The lighter and clearer your photos are, the more likely they are to get likes.
- The photos are minimalist. When an image has more background space, it tends to get more likes.
- The photos focus on a single color. Simple, single-color driven images boost engagement because they’re easy to remember and aesthetically pleasing.
You can see some obvious trends with the visual content, here. Simple, clean, relatable images succeed on Instagram if you’re a business.
Number Two: It has a strong, engaging caption. On average, an Instagram caption is a little shorter than a tweet – 138 characters long. This means you have a short amount of space to make your point and send your message.
There are two components to making a strong caption. One is a direct question. Do you like soccer or golf? How do you cook your eggs? Do you like to ski? The second component is a call to action, like “tell your friend” or “follow this link to read more.”
This gives you two forms of engagement. One is via comments, the other is via direct interaction through someone, whether it’s a website or another person.
Number Three: Time for hashtags. This seems like the simplest part but it’s easy to mess up if you don’t know how to do it correctly. Two common mistakes you can make, is posting too many hashtags, or not knowing which hashtags to use.
When you post too many hashtags, your post looks bad and as a brand you looks desperate for reach, also know as hashtag spam. Just like you don’t want to overload your Twitter content with hashtags, you also don’t want to do the same on Instagram. If you find that at the end of any Instagram post you have more than 2 lines of hashtags, two at the most, you’re definitely using too many. 5-10 hashtags is the perfect range for Instagram.
When you don’t use the right hashtags, you’re making the mistake of losing potential reach on your posts. Hashtags are how you get visibility through Instagram. Use the wrong hashtags and you won’t reach the audience you want to. You can easily avoid this by finding popular, active hashtags to use through hashtag checkers.
For more examples of how to use hashtags the right way, you can also check out this blog post with some great advice.
Step Two – Use a Strong Marketing Path
If you aren’t sure what this means, it’s essentially telling you to get out there and be active in your marketing. Marketing isn’t just about posting content and waiting for something to happen – you also have to engage and be active. Afterall, social media is about being social right?
Because Instagram is a social media platform, this is actually very easy to do. When you’re trying to get noticed without a social platform, there can be a lot of Internet work involved. Social media platforms give you everything you need all in one place.
On Instagram, here are the quickest ways to get noticed:
- This one is the simplest of all: like and comment on the content of others! This gives you visibility and also boosts business credibility. When you’re out and about in the business community, you give your business a more human edge. Don’t make everything about business, either. Sometimes the way to a consumer’s heart is to simply comment on a post of theirs with a nice thought.
- Talk about others on your business account. A great way to engage with others through user-generated content is to offer a promotion. When someone buys your products and posts about them on Instagram, re-share the photo through a shoutout. This makes them feel good, increasing loyalty. It also creates an incentive for other users to do the same, boosting sales.
- Like personal posts from your followers. Many Instagram users feel noticed and appreciated when they know you’re following them like they’re following you. Give them a little nudge to remember you’re there every once in a while. You establish loyalty and they feel good.
If you want to go above and beyond, the best way to do so is via Instagram contests and promotions. Again, you’re likely to utilize the concept of user-generated content again here. These are some simple content-based Instagram contests you can run:
- Ask for followers to create an Instagram video discussing why they like and champion your products and services. Encourage creativity for a greater virality factor – rapping, acting and singing are all a-okay.
- Tell followers to take photos related to your service, like showcasing creative ways to use your products. The pictures with the most likes will get amazing prizes and re-shares with other honorable mentions getting featured on your website.
- Run a hashtag creation campaign. Which hashtags will your audience come up with that will get the most buzz? The winner will be used in a viral campaign you run for a set amount of time.
- Do a simple giveaway. Anyone who likes your photo is entered to win a prize, and extra shares and follows give them additional entries.
Contests on Instagram can be utilized to get more followers, raise awareness around a product or service that you offer, and to get more reach on your posts. We find that contests tend to grow our followers at a rate of 30-40% faster during times that we are running contest compared to when we are not.
You should also switch up the kind of content you post in order to vary your marketing strategies. This includes product shots, advertisements, lifestyle photos, user-generated content, text-images and other forms of content. Give yourself the best chance for success with lots of content variety.
Step Three – Make It Easy To Buy
You already have two stops down on your road to success, but the next few stops go by really quickly. You’ve put up content with a strong image and a call to action, now you’ve got to take your consumers the rest of the way there to close your sale. This should be what your roadmap looks like:
Strong Image > CTA > Direct Bio Link > Landing Page > Consistency > Buy Now Button
As stated above, you’ve already got the first two down. Now we go about dealing with the other four.
- Direct Bio Link – You should always have a link to your website on your Instagram profile page. This can either be a general site link or a link to a specific promotional page that consumers would need to flock to based on your current ad strategy. This makes things easy for the consumer when it comes to actual conversion. Because you can’t add links to your images or your content part you need to add the link in your bio where you want to direct visitors.
- Landing Page – Just because we’re focusing on Instagram doesn’t mean your website isn’t part of the equation too. After all, that’s where and business will happen.. Don’t leave your consumers stuck at roadblock once they click your bio link. Your website landing page needs to be easy to navigate with clear direction, or else you’ve lost them.
- Consistency – Every area of your site needs to be high quality, from the copy to the photos. You need to seamlessly blend your Instagram into your website. Use the same photos, the same logos, the same color scheme. This helps your brand identity stand out and also puts your consumer at ease.
- A Buy Now Button – Don’t make buying products hard. Most online storefronts have a three-step process for buying things online, and this system becomes even shorter once someone saves their credit card information and shipping address. Make sure that your products stand out clearly and that it’s as easy as possible to purchase once a consumer commits.
The point at which a person looks through their shopping cart before committing to the sale is the most vulnerable. This is when they make the final decisions about what products they buy and if they follow through with the sale. It’s your job to make sure they actually convert, and that responsibility starts at your Instagram page.
More Tips for Pushing Through Sales
You’ve got the basic map, but what about some pit stops along the way? Sometimes you need some extra tips to make the whole process run much smoother:
- It’s already been stressed multiple times, but always try posting user-content. Share, share, share for more success!
- Use hashtags that are already established, and don’t try to create your own. People aren’t searching for hashtags that are unknown so when you try to make or create your own people won’t find them unless you are a well established global brand like Coca Cola or Nike.
- Make sure to sync your Instagram to your website. You can do this through manual images and add-ons like widgets. The more you post your Instagram on your website, the more you establish a unified brand-social media image.
- Apps exist to take orders directly from Instagram. Consider something like Like2Buy or Solosie in order to make this a reality. Other apps also exist that can help you make your Instagram sales strategy stronger.
- Never underestimate the power of a mission. Using something emotional like a purpose or cause to help sell your products and isn’t something shifty. When you align yourself with a genuine passion, you humanize your business and also create opportunities to help others.
- You also shouldn’t neglect your bio on Instagram. Even though you only have a very small space to tell people about you and your brand, it’s something you need to do. Put any business taglines or catchy statements here that quickly identify your brand. You can also go the simple route and state that you’re “the official Instagram of [insert your business name here].”
- Don’t be afraid to get creative. Try out new things, see what your analytics can tell you about what works and what doesn’t. Creativity is celebrated on Instagram, and you don’t grow by playing it safe. Try out content that gets people talking, not just boring stock photos with equally boring stock descriptions.
Last but not least, you should always be willing to continue learning. New information comes out about Instagram best practices all the time, with blogs constantly being updated with tip lists and strategies that can better fine-tune your Instagram sales strategies.
Your job as someone in charge of social media is to constantly work on improving your numbers. Instagram is the new business marketing frontier. Combine these facts and you’ve got the perfect reason to start working on boosting your Instagram presence.
It can still be challenging for you to succeed at selling or getting leads on Instagram, but if you keep experimenting to see what works well for your brand and what doesn’t, you will be in a much better position that most. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips that have worked well for you on Instagram. And as always, if you need help or have specific questions about Social Media or digital marketing in general please feel free to reach out here with any questions.