Tagged: instagram marketing

How to Pick the Best Social Media Platform for Your Brand’s 24-hour disappearing ‘Story’

On March 9, Facebook rolled out a new feature merged into its Messenger chat application called “Day.” Inspired by Snapchat, it allows you to post video or image content that lasts for 24 hours. Afterwards, your posted content disappears.

Facebook is not the first social network to copy Snapchat’s innovative Stories feature. Instagram has done the same (also calling their feature “Stories”). The previous month, WhatsApp followed suit, adding an update to their “Status” feature.

As a business owner, you can use these features to capture a sense of spontaneity and engage with your customers. But which network should you choose? We explore the pros and cons of each platform.

Facebook Messenger Day

Facebook Monthly Active Users: 1.23 billion daily active users

Facebook Largest Demographic: 25-34, followed by 35-44, 18-24, and 45-54

Facebook Messenger Day Pros: Because it’s brand new, fewer people use Facebook Messenger Day, which means your posts may not get lost in the crowd. This is ample livestream “real estate” to broadcast your day to people who otherwise may not use livestreaming platforms. Additionally, Facebook is still the most popular social network with the largest overall reach. As Messenger Day matures, this may ultimately result in a broader reach than you will find elsewhere. Facebook’s demographics are well distributed among middle-aged users. If your business is targeting a middle-aged demographic, this would be the perfect livestream feature to capture their attention.

Facebook Messenger Day Cons: Because Facebook Messenger Day is still new, your reach may be limited. Functionality is lacking in a few areas as well. There is still no indication that Frames are available for use with Day posts, which restricts geographic discoverability. Day also does not work with Facebook pages right now; it’s only available to individual users. That means you must use a personal account, which may be difficult if all of your business content is on your company fan page. Facebook Messenger Day is also still missing features that exist on Snapchat and Instagram, such as 3D stickers, swipeable filters and brush styles.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Monthly Active Users: 600 million

Instagram Largest Demographic: 25-34, followed by 18-24

Instagram Stories Pros: Instagram is arguably the best overall choice for most businesses. This social network has more monthly active users than Snapchat. While it has fewer active users than Facebook or WhatsApp, Instagram Stories is far more established than Day or Status. For right now, it provides the best reach. Instagram is particularly popular with millennials, making it ideal to reach the younger generation. Like Snapchat, Instagram is well established and sports numerous features like brush styles and GIF capture. So, you can customize your posts—perfect for letting your employees showcase your corporate culture.

Instagram Stories Cons: Instagram is a particularly popular network among marketers, so you may find yourself vying for attention. This is because Instagram is well established as a visual platform and provides a broader reach than Snapchat.

Snapchat

Snapchat Monthly Active Users: 301 million

Snapchats Largest Demographic: 18-24

Snapchat Pros: Twenty-three percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 17. So, if you’re targeting gen Z, Snapchat will provide you with fine-tuned visibility. It has many advanced features like 3D stickers and the ability to export to other platforms, so you can customize your posts. Another advantage is that Snapchat is well established and was the leader in developing this feature. Because it was the original livestream, it still has the most “authentic” vibe.

Snapchat Cons: Snapchat is not as useful for reaching baby boomers and Instagram stories may be a more ideal platform for reaching millennials who are already active users of the platform. For this reason, its utility within a B2B context is limited.

WhatsApp Status

WhatsApp Monthly Active Users (as of January 2017): 1 billion

WhatsApp Largest Demographic: 25-34, followed by 35-44

WhatsApp Pros: As with Facebook Messenger Day, WhatsApp Status is relatively new in its current incarnation and not yet oversaturated. WhatsApp has a large user base and gives you access to a wide age distribution. Status updates are encrypted, perfect for reaching out privately to a single customer or associate. Another interesting feature about WhatsApp is that it was designed specifically for use on mobile devices, which may make Status the perfect choice for B2B posts in an industry, such as construction, where mobile technology is pervasive.

WhatsApp Cons: Like Messenger Day, this version of Status is not well established, which will restrict reach in the immediate future. Because it’s still in the early stages, it lacks the advanced features available on Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

Ruby Media Groups Picks:

  • Best for overall reach: Instagram stories
  • Best for targeting Millennials and gen Z: Snapchat, Instagram stories
  • Best for targeting baby boomers: Facebook Messenger Day
  • Best for privacy: WhatsApp
  • Best for mobile reach: WhatsApp
  • Best for customization: Snapchat, Instagram Stories
  • Best for geographic discoverability: Instagram Stories, Snapchat

Differences in demographics and reach make one platform more appropriate for your brand than the rest. Evaluate your target market and choose the platform that will best reach your customers.

The days of static social media are long gone. It’s no longer enough to post a photo and hope for the best. Every social network is clamoring for your attention and encouraging users to livestream their day. Without taking advantage of these livestream features, you may be missing out on a core functionality of where social media is headed.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a public relations and social media agency. Ruby is a frequent on-air TV contributor and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit rubymediagroup.com or krisruby.com

 

Photo Credit: Kara Hendrick, Women in Digital


30 Tips to Boost Your Instagram Marketing

30 tips to boost instagram marketing

There are 300 million active users on Instagram every month, and every day 1 billion photos are liked. Quality posts are better than quantity, especially on Instagram. According to Forrester research, Instagram user interactions with brands is 400% higher than on Facebook and Twitter, delivering 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

The facts speak for themselves – Instagram is a must for building and branding your business. However, if you are an Instagram newbie, here are 30 tips to help you maximize your Instagram exposure.

For starters, make sure your handle is recognizable and easy to search.

1. Use popular hashtags every day of the week to increase searchability. These include #motivationmonday, #transformationtuesday, #wisdomwednesday, #tbt, etc.

2. Search for people who are mentioning your brand and use the Repost app to re-gram any brand mentions. Be sure to @mention customers and tag them in posts.

3. Connect with businesses using hashtags & geo-tags and be sure to utilize the location feature on each post.

4. Create a unique hashtag that is relevant to your business that followers can use and TELL people to use it. A custom hashtag is worthless if you don’t tell anyone to use it.

5. Tag brand names, users, and locations in posts to increase searchability.

6. Show followers what is taking place in your business behind-the-scenes” and hashtag it with #BTS.

7. Increase visibility by liking and commenting on prospect’s photos. If you like and comment on photos, people will come back to check out your account and are more likely to follow you back.

Golden Rule: like and leave a heartfelt comment on ONE photo per day.

8. Offer exclusive content – if you are launching a new product or service line on Instagram, try creating an exclusive offer and offer followers a unique code to track how effective the promotion was.

9. Leverage user-generated content by running a photo contest. Use all images, even those that do not win, to help promote the brand as fresh content.

10. Run Instagram celeb “takeovers” with local celebs or influencers to drive more traffic and engagement back to your page.

11. Focus on the entire post, not just the image. The image may be the star, and the hashtags may offer context, but the caption tells a specific story and gives insight into you as an expert and the context of the photo.

12. Use apps, such as Afterlight, VSCO, Whitagram, Pic Stitch, Aviary, Lumify, Hyperlapse, Quick, Bokehful, Snapseed to edit photos. Studies have shown photos using the follower filters get more likes: Mayfair, Inkwell, Amaro, Walden and Lo-Fi.

13. Post and re-post images that show your product or service in use, while also using hashtags in conversation where your optimal follower will be.

14. Follow/monitor top trends to grow your brand’s awareness and stay on top of specific industry trends.

15. Get to know your followers to make posts more relevant to them. When someone follows you, follow them back and then analyze what your followers are interested in, what hashtags they use, etc.

16. Run engaging contests. Have an incentive for your community to share content and promote your brand with the use of prizes and giveaways. For example, National Geographic hosted a #MyAWAY Contest where users could upload photos of places that, to them, are an escape. On Instagram, they would tag the photos with #MyAWAY and at the end of the contest period, one lucky fan wins a digital camera plus goodies from NatGeo and Go RVing.

17. Reward your followers: Create lasting relationships with followers by using discount codes. Reach out and connect with influencers one-on-one. Brands that go the extra mile reward their Instagram followers see better success rates.

18. Connect your Instagram account to your website, and link all social channels to expand your reach to new or existing communities. This creates an avenue of traffic for each social media site. For example, make your Instagram account visible on Facebook. Post photos that show the lifestyle of your customers, while staying relevant to your brand. Your account should be a balance of fun pictures (pictures of cute animals or funny pop-culture references), mingled with promotional business photos).

19. “Feed speed” is a critical factor in your brand’s Instagram success. There is a fine line between agitating your followers with a daily clogging of their newsfeed and posting so infrequently that your followers forget you exist. Create a posting schedule that allows you to track what works and decide which direction to take next.

20. Post at peak times. According to a study by TrackMaven, the most effective days to post are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Another study found that posting at 5 PM EST yields a higher engagement rate.

21. Leverage video. Use diverse visual formatting, such as 15 seconds of video or a cinemagraph (still photographs in which a repeated movement occurs.)

22. Add locations to all your post to increase searchability and geo-targeting.

23. Plan posts in advance. Use services such as Latergram, HootSuite or TweetDeck to help with this process.

24. Show appreciation for your followers by featuring them using your products or service. For example, Sharpie powers their Instagram account with fan-submitted doodles created with their line of markers & pens.

25. Like your followers photos and comment on their posts.

26. Make sure all of your graphics are consistent using a graphic design software such as canva.com Be sure to use canvas “magic resize” tool to resize images to spec to fit the Instagram specs.

27. Respond in real time to the latest trending content. Keep your followers entertained and engaged.

Think of Instagram as a vision board for your business. Post photos that will inspire your prospects to be part of the lifestyle that is associated with your company.

28. Include a call to action- tell people what you want them to do. This may seem simple- but it is often overlooked!

29. Reverse Engineer. If you are trying to get prospects who may be interested in your services, think about their hobbies and demographic profile. Search for hashtags that align with their hobbies, such as #yachting #countryclub or #hamptons. From there, like and comment on their photos and follow them directly. They may even follow you back! You’re welcome 🙂

30.  Measure, Measure, Measure! Observe when your followers are online. What images/posts do your followers respond best to? Where are your new followers coming from? Is your brand growing or shrinking on Instagram?  To refine your Instagram strategy, it’s important to know what resonates best with your audience.

By following these tips, you will maximize your Instagram exposure and, as a result, increase your brand awareness.