4 Examples of Top Brands Owning Instagram

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It is pretty clear now-a-days that Instagram isn’t just a social media site for foodies and teens.  According to Pew Research 26% of the users on Instagram are adults.  Visual content is a crucial part of any brand or businesses social media marketing strategy.  Instagram offers a unique space to visually showcase your brand or products and give them personality.

So check out my list of 4 brand/businesses that use Instagram to its greatest potential.  This list is in no particular order.

#1 Subway

I have written about Subway before and how they have social media wrapped around their finger.  They use Instagram to not only showcase their signature sub sandwiches but to express a quirky personality.

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The images and photos Subway posts on their Instagram account range from obviously prepped food pictures to well thought out and imaginatively fun photos that not only features their sandwiches but adds a personal human aspect to them.  Their target audience is most likely 18 to 35 men and women that like to eat healthy and live fun and eventful lives.  Subway definitely hits the target on Instagram.

#2 Staples

Staples on Instagram does everything pretty well.  In particular, they do two things exceptionally well though.  They engage followers with questions and calls-to-action in their captions.  If you look at the comments on some of their photos, you will see that followers have fun with it.

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For example, they have a graphic of emoji’s that represent a riddle.  They ask followers to solve it and this gets customers and potential customers involved and talking about them.  Also they have fun animated GIFs they post as well.  Their target audience is probably men and women in their 20s-late 30s that work in an office environment.  They hit the target using fun, inventive and engaging posts that make office workers feel relevant.

#3 FedEx

It can be very surprising which brands really get Instagram and know how to get people to notice them.  FedEx is one of these brands.  The way they run their Instagram is they take submissions from outside parties and then pic the very best photos to post.  The key is that they all feature FedEx employees or equipment. It is almost like FedEx trucks and planes are like unique wild creatures rarely caught on camera.

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This strategy gets people involved and gets them to think twice about the FedEx delivery guy or a truck they see passing by.  Their target audience is very broad and not precise because everyone orders and ships packages occasionally.  I think they are trying to promote a trusting relationship with every possible customer.

#4 Sharpie

Wait.  Sharpie like the permanent marker?  YES!  You can make some amazing pieces of artwork using a simple tool like a sharpie, Sharpie knows it and flaunts it.  They take customer submissions and post them to their Instagram account.

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They not only post the best, some works are simple but thought provoking and obviously drawn by children.  Others, though, are amazing pieces of work.  This, just as FedEx has shown, gets customers very involved with the brand.  It shows who is most important to Sharpie and that is their customers.  Their target audience can be anyone, really.  Teachers, parents with children, students, men and women.  I think they are reaching everyone they possibly can with this strategy on Instagram.

You could obviously see how some of these companies could flourish on Instagram.  However, any company with the right strategy can rock it.  We can see this with FedEx, Sharpie and Staples.  The time is over for straight food pics.  Now with well thought out photos and inventive strategies companies can make Instagram their attention getter when it comes to social media.

4 Examples of Social Media Monitoring Tools

So you have all of your social media sites setup to perfection.  You have great content, good direction and a brand you can believe in.  But wait, how do you know how far those tweets, blog post and status updates are taking your brand?  Or who is reading them, mentioning your brand and where your brand stands on the social media spectrum?

Well, you need social media monitoring tool, preferably free ones, to track your brand and presence on social media to give insight on both the macro and micro levels.

Here are four social media monitoring tools that I have found to be the best in my opinion based on reviews from other bloggers and news sites and in no particular order.

#1 Social Mention

SocialMention

Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the world into a single stream of information.

This tool enables you, as a brand, to easily track and measure what people are saying about your brand, company, or products in real-time.

The amount of social media sites this tool monitors is staggering to me at 100+ different sites including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+.  It does come with a slight catch though.  While being free to anyone for personal and non-commercial use and limits queries to 100 per day, the site does state that commercial use must be purchased but for an unknown amount and the user is asked to contact them.

#2 Talkwalker

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With Talkwalker you can setup a search query for your specific keywords or phrases you use and then narrow the returned results by type, language, frequency and quantity.

With this tool you can monitor social media about your name, brand, or competitors.  I like that you can keep an eye on what the competition is doing and how well it is working then adjust your strategy in kind.

Talkwalker gives the user brand mentions over time, and sources where these mentions occur.  It allows you to learn about the performance of your brand mentions, engagement levels and influencers that are talking about you or your brand.  There is also a world map that gives you pie charts in every locations showing sentiment is each country.

#3 HowSociable

HowSocialbe

This tool allows you to measure yours and your competitors’ social media presence.  It offers paid and free account and the free account allows you to track 12 social media sites which also includes Tumblr and WordPress.  The paid account will allow you to track up to 24 if you feel like shelling out a bit of cash.

This tool is different in the way that it breaks down your social media presence by magnitude and shows you scores for each site.  This will help you see which social media platform is best for your brand and which ones have a need for improvement.

#4 Twitonomy

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Twitonomy will give you a range of metrics for free but the premium features will give even more precise statistics for a subscription on $19 per month.  Just by signing in with your Twitter account you are given a large amount of analytics about your account.  You can even add your competitors’ Twitter handles to gain knowledge about their activity on Twitter too.  Twitonomy will show you details of your Twitter lists, followers and followings, your most popular tweets and engagement statistics.  It also allows you to track conversations based on hashtags, users and lists.  These details are displayed in easy to understand graphs and stats.

There is a plethora of tools a user can use to monitor their statistics about social media platforms.  These stats can be simple or highly in-depth and can offer great insight to help a brand make on the fly adjustments to their social media strategy and even look back in time to see what works and what doesn’t.  Tools like these are a must for anyone getting their feet wet trying to market themselves on social media platform.

5 Ways To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

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After looking through multiple blog posts about how to build your LinkedIn profile, I have found that there are general tips and out of the box methods to make your profile stand out to those you wish to connect to or seek employment by.

I have broken the tips into 5 key points I have found to be most impactful to me for creating a LinkedIn profile that I can be enthusiastic about.

#1 Proofread Your Entire Profile

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Your LinkedIn profile is online for everyone to see just like every social media platform.  As with everything else you may post on the internet, there is an unwritten rule if you want to look professional.  That is to have your spelling to be perfect and grammar to be good enough to pass for the average graduate.  I personally write as though an average person was reading my material and not English majors.  Also, I would recommend typing everything you would post on your profile into a word processor such as Word and doing a grammar/spellcheck.  These days there is no excuse for misspellings and common grammar mistakes.

#2 Be Honest and Do NOT Lie

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So, there is this thing we all call the Internet which encompasses way more information about you as you would like to believe.  If you lie on your LinkedIn profile about anything, you will be found out.  It is incredibly easy for employers and contacts to verify all the information displayed on your profile.  Not lying on your profile will not only reflect upon your honesty as a person but will also show how ethical or non-ethical you are.

#3 Be a Striped RAID (Redundant)

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You should define at the most your top five strengths pertaining to your field and hammer those home and repeatedly.  These should be skills that you want to be known for and not just things you may have done on occasion.  If your top skill is with computer graphics (Illustrator) then you should describe your proficiency in the summary as well as multiple experience descriptions.

#4 Be A Ninja

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So you have had a LinkedIn profile for years but it is not up-to-date and you want to add to and critique your profile to look more professional.  Even when you update old positions, description and experience, your contacts are notified and your wall will be filled with updates.  This is annoying and can make it seem as though you may have just obtained the position you have updated.  You can temporarily turn off your activity broadcast by going into ‘Settings’ and under ‘Privacy Controls’ and turn off your activity broadcasts.

#5 Have A Professional Profile Picture

Your picture should reflect your role in your industry in some way and should be professional.  The profile picture should be of high quality and recent.  Do not take a selfie as though you would be posting it on Instagram.  Also, a really fascinating tip, in your profile picture you should be facing toward your content of your profile.  This will subtly direct the viewer to your LinkedIn content, looking away may reflect disinterest.

LinkedIn is a great source to find contacts within your industry and to land future employment.  Always remember that your LinkedIn profile is not just a resume online.  It is you.

Benefits of YouTube for Businesses

With over 1 billion visitors each month, YouTube is where all the eyes are at.  Both small and large businesses can benefit greatly using YouTube for both internal and external communication and marketing.

Instead of summarizing entire articles, I feel it would be better to share the most important points from each article.

Executive Presentation

Executives tend to have the responsibility to create presentations to show investors and their workforce how the company is doing financially and to showcase new innovations or ideas.  YouTube can help by giving executives the ability to post a video of the presentation to YouTube and embed it on a website that can be accessed by both investors and off site offices and employees.

Training

With this being the digital age, a large amount of jobs require training on the use of proprietary software.  With screen capture software the employer can literally show the employee where to click.  Using YouTube makes the training even better because the company does not have to host the video on a server of their own but just embed it from YouTube and an employee can access it from anywhere, even from home.

Support

Companies invest a ton of money every year in both help desk support for the company and technical support for their customers.  Embedding YouTube videos on the company website that cover common support problems can alleviate stress on help desk and technical support employees, leaving them more time to tackle more pressing problems.

Marketing

Gone are the days of posting ads in newspapers and magazines.  Sure some companies still do it just to cover all of their bases but 30 pictures per second can be priceless.  YouTube videos can showcase products, give demonstrations and provide product data.

Fun and Engagement

Make content not commercials.  Sure you could post a dull commercial selling your cheap razorblades.  With the millennial generation being the largest demographic consuming content on YouTube, companies must make their advertisement videos fun and creative.  Dollarshaveclub.com is the first example that comes to mind.

Everyone starts at Zero

Many businesses and brands get really excited about making a YouTube channel and promoting themselves in fun and interesting ways.  A good amount of them get discouraged, not seeing enough subscribers and likes on their videos.  Now more than ever it takes time and patience to build a YouTube audience.  Competition is fierce and everyone, even billion dollar businesses start at the bottom.

SEO

YouTube, believe it or not, is one of the top used search engines.  When it comes to a videos title, Google recommends using keywords first and branding second.  Tags in a video should be your main keywords.  In your description should be some sort of call to action like linking to your website and other social media platforms.  Strangely enough, Closed Captions should be important too.  It provides another opportunity for keyword usage.

Over the past decade we have seen online video media skyrocket in popularity.  To many it is their main form of entertainment and information.  Everyday creators on YouTube can make millions of dollars from their living room with a good camera and great content.  YouTube IS where business should be.

Sources

PCWorld

Forbes

Udemy – Wayne Ford

Queensland Government

Smallbusinessbc

5 Crucial Pinterest Points For Business

I have research five different blog posts and articles on how to use Pinterest for your business or brand.  After reading all of them I have come up with five main points that I found to be the most important.

#1 Plan for Pinning

Over at amyportfield.com she has an extensive list of The 10 Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business.  One of the most useful was her #1 in the list “Plan for Pinning Success”.  I found that just setting yourself up to go on Pinterest takes a bit of prep work.  You need to set up your account properly so that it applies to your business.  Also, you need to add code to your website in order for it to be verified.  You can also gather all the pin buttons for your blog or website at business.pinterest.com.  She also explains that before you start on Pinterest, you should have your website and blog ready by adding the “Pin it”, “Follow Me”, and “Pin It Bookmarklet” to your website and/or blog.  Oh and don’t forget to integrate all your other social media platforms with Pinterest too.

  • Here are the TL; DR bullets.
  • Take time to setup your account
  • Use the Pinterest Business Centre
  • Prepare Your Blog for Pinning
  • Integrate with Other Social Media Platforms

#2 Create and Curate

Almost every blog and article I read stressed this point.  Create original content and curate content from followers and even other businesses that are relevant to your business.  Your boards should not just be all about your business too.  They should include content that relate to your business.

#3 Pin Inspirations

At least one of your boards should contain content that inspires your products and business.  They should be places, people or moods that can define your brand.  This is also another way to Repin curated content.

#4 Pin About Your Customers

Creating boards that give your customers recognition is a great way to build relationships with them.  They should tell customer success stories.  So if you post a recipe or a How-To content and a customer uses this content successfully then make sure you show case them.  Plus, customer centric boards are a non-intrusive way to demonstrate customer testimonials.

#5 SEO that Shiz!

SEO, SEO, SEO.  Every business should have an SEO plan specifically for Pinterest since boards and pinned content are searchable through Pinterest.  No one will find your awesome content if it doesn’t match common keywords or phrases.  The board should have a keyword, the description should have the same word at least twice and that same keyword should be used in every pin to that board at least once.

After going through these five blogs/articles:

amyporterfield.com

business.pinterest.com

Hootsuite Blog

Forbes

cio.com

Pinterest seems very interesting and fun.  I love creating things in Photoshop and Illustrator, so this seems like a platform I would highly enjoy.

Four Reasons Your Business Needs Twitter

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First, before we get into how to use twitter for marketing, let’s define what Twitter is.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a real-time social network where people can get news about what is happening I the world, share information instantly and interact with people and businesses around the entire world.

Twitter claims over 300 million monthly active users and 500 million Tweets every day.  With Twitter your business is given the opportunity to connect with and reach potential customers and even offer 24-hour instant support for product issues.

In addition, 80% of users on Twitter are accessing it through mobile devices.  If you have been paying attention, a majority of all internet traffic is through mobile devices.

Here are four ways to use Twitter for your business or brand.

#1 Listen and learn

With Twitter your business can find out what is happening in your industry and it also helps you know what your customers are interested in.  With Twitter search you can find relevant conversations that may pertain to your business and join the conversation if you think it will add value.

#2 Drive awareness

On Twitter a business can make regular communication with their current and potential customers by having those interested in your brand or business “Follow” you.  Also, a business can us Twitter ads to reach defined personas.

#3 Provide customer service

A business can use Twitter as a way to easily reach customers with technical and general customer service issues.  This builds strong relationships and trust with customers and will gain your business new ones.

#4 Connect with influencers

While on Twitter, all the barriers keeping you and your business from connecting with innovators, industry experts and top successful businesses are taken down.  You can use Twitter to spark meaningful discussion with these people or business.  This can raise awareness about your company within its field and build connections that can be invaluable.

On Twitter there is a basic layout that needs to be understood.  Here is a graphic credited to business.twitter.com

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I found this information very useful as I have never used Twitter that much and didn’t really understand how things worked.  I would recommend any business owner read all of the information at business.twitter.com