How to use Instagram for your local business

How to use Instagram for your local business

DIGITAL MARKETING
How to use Instagram for your local business
Victoria Islas, Founder & Digital Marketing
10 February 2018
We love Instagram! Instagram is a great platform to use as a small local business BUT we also have seen businesses fail to use it to the best of its potential. It’s not your fault! Today I am going to discuss who would benefit the best from this app, why I’d even recommend it to you and finally how to best use the app for your business. So that is the who, why and how. Let’s get started.

Setting up your Social Media Profiles

First off, let’s discuss social media in general. Let’s say you are a flower shop and you don’t know where to start with social media but you have heard how important it is to set it up for online marketing purposes. I am here to tell you that it is very important especially in these modern days to set your social media platforms up. Your competitors are online and you should be too. These platforms will allow you to get out there and be seen. You need to tell the story, you need to show who you are, and you need to show that you care about your community and your people (customers and employees). And let’s hope you are genuine about it too! I am not here to tell you to pretend to care because if you don’t care that can be seen a mile away, even through social media.

Not every platform is for you

The second thing I want to discuss is how NOT every platform will be for you. I don’t want you to set up every single social media profile out there. That is going to be hard to manage and your market or personas are NOT on every social media app out there. The two that I always recommend you set up, to begin with, is Facebook and Instagram (if your business will allow it and your photos are worthy enough). This is more easily manageable and they are the two most popular with a variety of people within them.

So let’s continue with the flower shop example, and now let’s give it a name just to make this more realistic, Maria’s Flower Shop. There! Okay so let me tell you why Instagram would work for Maria’s Flower Shop, Flowers are beautiful to look at in person, now imagine those flowers on the most VISUAL social media app on the planet. Get it? Instagram is all about visual photography. People go on there to see photos and if you can create some amazing content, you will kick ass on Instagram.

Now, this leads me to discuss how you can pretty much waste your time on Instagram as well. If you aren’t creating worthy enough content on a weekly basis than this app is not for you. I want you to look at profiles that inspire you on Instagram. Most likely they have a lot of followers and amazing content. There is a reason for that! If you can’t deliver, hire someone to help you or don’t do it at all. The worse thing I hate to see is a business setting up an Instagram account and seeing ONE really uninspiring photo on your account from ages ago.

Who should be using Instagram
IF you think you can create amazing content for your Instagram then Instagram is the platform for you. You can be a flower shop or an auto mechanic for all I care, you just have to blow away non-followers and keep your followers engaged. It’s all about engagement and interaction. But you must have the drive to do this, be disciplined and consistent to stay on top of your social media strategy. It’s not for those that are lazy or that “don’t have time”. Again, hire someone if you really don’t have time. Social media is FREE and social media management isn’t as expensive as you think it would be.

Social Media Branding
Okay, so I never said that creating amazing content for Instagram was easy and I am not here to tell you that. Everyone that I have seen that is successful with social media sit down and think about their strategy, plan it out and execute! Social media branding is another subject you must consider when thinking about Instagram or Facebook or any other social media platform you plan to use for your local business. What is branding? The brand will keep you cohesive throughout all the platforms and it’s like a visual cue for your people. They will recognize your content or posts a mile away. That’s what you want to create. You want them to know it’s you and you want to look fucking awesome online. Your online presence is as important as your local experience and both are considered branding. Match everything up, let it be cohesive no matter where people go to find you. Create an amazing experience both online and offline. Now, this small paragraph is not meant to tell you all there is about branding, I am only making it simple for you to understand as a local business. You must think of these things too if you want to thrive as a business. I have seen way too many awesome businesses close down because they didn’t work on their online marketing and branding. We’re all online! Remember that. Don’t lose sight of that.

Why should you be on Instagram?
Well, there isn’t one specific reason WHY you should be on Instagram but I am going to give you my honest opinion. Why not? If it makes your business thrive and grow, wouldn’t you opt in for it? And did I mention it’s FREE? I think I did. Also, I want you to go look up your competitors. Are they on Instagram? Most likely if they are, they are way ahead of you (even if they suck at it). But what if they aren’t?! Then you can beat them to it and start creating an amazing following online which will help increase your leads and sales as a business. But honestly, I think the best part of being on social media is being able to get to know your people and being able to somehow communicate with them! I know I am starting to sound really competitive, in reality, I am not as competitive as you think I am but it’s reality! If you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing online, someone else will. Period. And then you are left behind and probably not doing as much as you should be doing for your business.

The Instagram platform will allow people to get to know your business, your story, your products and services and best of all gives you a place to communicate with your people and your community. But for god’s sake inspire them too! Give them something truly awesome to look at, to share and to be felt. SAY NO to an ugly image with no caption.

How to kick ass on Instagram
Now that I got all of those important details out of the way, I think we can now start to discuss how you can truly kick ass on Instagram. It won’t be easy but I have faith that as a small business you can do a magnificence job at it, no matter who you are or what skill level you have.

Get Creative
Learn to get a little more creative with your ideas. It’s fine to want to take a photo of your flowers but what if you can stage it a bit to make it look more appealing? Getting creative isn’t as hard as you think and I even recommend you go out on Instagram and take a look around to get inspired! Check out this photo as an example by @instagram:

Always use your own content
Don’t use someone else photos. For example: google images or stock images. This is not going to tell people your story. It’s going to tell someone else story or worse of all, NO STORY at all. Always use your own content. That means, always use the photos you took. Images that you find online are being used by everyone else, this is not going to help you and it will make you look like everyone else. Create your own content, please! If not you will just be a clone and your posts won’t be as engaging.

Utilize all the formats available on the Instagram App
Did you know you can do more than just post one photo as a part of your feed? You can now select up to 10 images, tile your images and even use the Boomerang, a free app that allows you to share really interesting mini videos (hint: an awesome way to get creative).

Master taking photos with your iPhone or DSLR
I recommend you master taking photos. Okay, you don’t have to be a “master” but I would recommend you follow some basic photography skills. Linda and Skillshare are great places to learn how to take photos better. In the end, Instagram is about photos so learning a little more about taking some really good ones will help you stand out from the crowd. I will create another post soon with some tips on how to accomplish this but for now, consider it and check out the websites I mentioned above.

Tagging and Mentions
Make sure you use the tag and mentions with every post that allows you to.
Keep in mind that tagging only works with photos, not videos. But if you have a great photo and someone is in it, tag em!
Another awesome thing to do is to give mentions. Mentioning someone happens within the caption area and all you have to do is this: @username. So you put the @ symbol and then the username of the Instagram user.
So why tag and mention? It’s a great way to connect people with your brand and business and is also an awesome networking tactic at a business level.

Use Stories and Live Video
I don’t see businesses using these Instagram features enough! Did you know that there is a “stories” and “live video” feature you can use? Yes, there is! And these will make you stand out because not everyone is doing it. I dare you to! And I dare you to think of an awesome way of using these features.
Stories are sorta like SnapChat but for Instagram and Live Video is sorta like Facebook Live. If you haven’t used any of those apps or features now would be a good time to start learning more about it if it interests you at all.
Here are some great articles to read besides mine on using these specific features that I know will help you on your Instagram journey:

How to use Instagram Stories like a pro
https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/1/15889750/instagram-stories-how-to-tips-features-tricks
How to Use Instagram Live
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-instagram-live/

I hope you found this blog article useful enough to get you started on Instagram. Remember our team is here to help you out when things get tough. We understand Social Media and understand you as the business owner. Sometimes as much as we would like to jump on social media, we really don’t have time when we are busy running our business every day. But overall we hope to see you kicking ass online especially on Instagram! Social media is sure to amp up your business.

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4 Online Tools Your Business Should Be Using For 2018

4 Online Tools Your Business Should Be Using For 2018

BUSINESS

4 online tools your business should be using for 2018

Victoria Islas, Founder & Digital Marketing
10 February 2018
Your business should be running smoothly unfortunately like a lot of us, including our creative agency, life and business can get a little hectic. Today I am going to share with you 4 tools that your business can start using this year of 2018 and did I mention they are free? Now let’s get your business high throttled!
1) Get tasks and to-do lists in check with Trello

Don’t get overwhelmed by your tasks instead use Trello! And it isn’t just for tasks but also a great collaboration tool for your entire team. It’s fun and helps you prioritize projects. You can use it on every device and even take it with you on your mobile phone. We mentioned Asana before, but if the Asana platform is a little too boring or complicated for you we recommend Trello with its simple boards and information about tasks “in a glance” as they describe it on their own website. They do have a free version but also have great plans with extra business features you could use.

Visit Trello.com

 

2) It’s time to take your social media seriously with Buffer

Buffer isn’t a new player in the game; actually, Buffer has been around for quite some time. Overall, taking your social media seriously can change the game for you! Making sacrifices to improve your social media engagement and brand presence is important for any business but even more important for locals. Think about it, if you are the most engaging and professional looking in your industry don’t you think that would help reach your business goals? No doubt, that is 10-4.

Buffer allows you to manage your social media and to cut down and save time for yourself. How? Well, you can schedule your posts, get a birds-eye view of what’s working and what is not with tracking analytics and best of all you can manage all your social media platforms in one place. No more logging into several accounts.

Visit Buffer.com

Overall, taking your social media seriously can change the game for you!
3) Reduce the madness of Payroll, Benefits, and HR with Gusto

If you are a growing business with a few or maybe many employees you’re going to need a tool that keeps the madness in control of payroll, benefits, and HR. Lucky for you GUSTO is around to save the day. Gusto is one of the easiest payroll platforms around, provides fewer payroll errors, and allows you to have more vacation time (or maybe I am exaggerating ). We also think that as a small local business sometimes we think it’s difficult to give employees good benefits but with Gusto as your partner tool, you won’t ever think that again. They have awesome full-licensed brokers to help you choose the perfect benefits. And of course, it’s HR feature will create a great workplace for you as well.

Visit Gusto.com

4) Sales got amazing with Hubspot CRM

We love Hubspot! That’s why we saved the best for last. Hubspot’s free CRM Platform is a must to integrate into your 2018 toolbox. This CRM keeps your sales in order and did we mention for 100% free? There are so many great features that allow you to track, manage and organize your sales in one place. So many successful companies are already using it, what is stopping you?

Visit Hubspot.com

 

Are there any tools you’ve been using or will start to use this year? Tell us about it below! We would love to know what you are using for your local Yuma business.

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Facebook will penalize your unfriendly mobile website

Facebook will penalize your unfriendly mobile website

Facebook just got serious about mobile websites. Did you know they will no longer take your ugly mobile experience? It seems that the more we advance forward, the more important user experience is with mobile and tablet websites. 

 

Why Facebook cares

Just like Google, Facebook is really taking into consideration their users. They care about you and me and what we have to say. One thing that has been reported to Facebook over and over again by its users is that they hate “clicking on links within the news feed that lead to very slow mobile websites”. So isn’t that speed then? Yes! Speed, believe it or not, is considered part of a users experience when they visit your website. If it’s slow, i will have a “poor user experience” on your website. Make sense?

 

What does this all mean?

If your website has a poor experience within mobile or tablet devices Facebook will take this into account for its news feed section. They are going to work hard on only providing the best sources for their users. So if you are not on track and taking this seriously you will fall behind as a business or organization IF you are heavily using Facebook for your promotional / online marketing efforts.

 

What we can expect now

Over the next several months (as reported by facebook) you can expect Facebook to slowly implement this idea /algorithm. Websites that are “too slow” and have a “poor user experience” will slowly start to lose traffic over time and might not even appear within in any users news feed.

 

How do i start working on my user experience?

We advice you to start working on your user experience immediately if you are using Facebook on a daily basis for your business or organization.

Here are a few of our recommendations to start today:

 

 

  • Head over to your web hosting company – Are you on shared hosting or VPS? Switch over to VPS servers to get your website faster. Sharing a server slows down your website.

 

Article Author

Victoria Islas – Founder of Creative Two / Omni Online Marketer & Designer

She is inbound marketing certified, loves creating amazing projects for her clients and enjoys reading a great book on marketing or music. On other days, she is spending time with her kettlebells and playing guitar.

How to turn your facebook personal page into a business page

How to turn your facebook personal page into a business page

Did you know that according to facebook terms you can get your personal facebook page deleted if you are using it for business? Why even go through that when you can just convert or migrate your personal page into a business page? I will show you how to do that through this video.

Here are the links i mention in the video:

Article Author

Victoria Islas – Founder of Creative Two / Omni Online Marketer & Designer

She is inbound marketing certified, loves creating amazing projects for her clients and enjoys reading a great book on marketing or music. On other days, she is spending time with her kettlebells and playing guitar.

Using Paid Advertising within your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Using Paid Advertising within your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Can online advertising be considered Inbound? Yes! Online advertising can fit right in with your Inbound Marketing Strategy but you must be careful to use it wisely in order for it to be “inbound” and not “outbound”.

 

Outbound VS. Inbound

 

A great way to know whether your online internet advertisement is “inbound” or “outbound” is written below:

Outbound uses outdated tactics to acquire leads through online advertisement such as generic keywords, high impressions, high click through rates and high costs. This in turn will give you low conversions and you will end up spending more over time because the leads are not targeted enough returning less of your initial investment.

The inbound approach on the other hand uses targeted keywords, low impressions, high click through rates and low costs. With this approach, yes you would be getting less people BUT you would be getting better targeted and qualified leads with the most ROI. And if you know how to work your advertisement well, your ads can cost you less over time as you grow the data you acquire from online ads, ppc.

Now let us move on!

 

So in what ways can online advertising (PPC) help your inbound marketing?

 

Online advertising can initially lead people to your landing page where you are a/b testing. Once you retrieve your data you can disable those ads and have an awesome landing page that converts thanks to the data from your start off ad.

There are buyers out there looking for you but they run off with competitors because you aren’t running ads like your competitors. BUT what if you did place an ad in front of them at the right buying time and you did it the inbound marketing way? Chances are, you might end up being their pick.

There you have it! See, online advertisement isn’t bad or evil. You can use it to your advantage the inbound way and acquire qualified leads that turn into profit.I will be posting more on this topic soon because i know i only touched on this subject very lightly. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to get the next article right into your inbox!

Article Author

Victoria Islas – Founder of Creative Two / Omni Online Marketer & Designer

She is inbound marketing certified, loves creating amazing projects for her clients and enjoys reading a great book on marketing or music. On other days, she is spending time with her kettlebells and playing guitar.

How to keep your WordPress Website running without Security Issues

How to keep your WordPress Website running without Security Issues

Today we are going to share with you an awesome WordPress secret security plug-in that is 100% free. Watch our video to learn more about how to protect your WordPress Website TODAY from hackers and other security issues. You will also hear my own personal hacking horror story from a few years ago and what i did to protect myself FOR FREE.

 

Article Author

Victoria Islas – Founder of Creative Two / Omni Online Marketer & Designer

She is inbound marketing certified, loves creating amazing projects for her clients and enjoys reading a great book on marketing or music. On other days, she is spending time with her kettlebells and playing guitar.