Apr 24
Joe Hickman

Did you know that Russians are the most active social network users for anywhere in the world? More active even than Britain’s 15 year old girls who Tweet their every thought and Instagram every cat, food or sunset they see. And yet they aren’t on the globally popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, all 100 million users (yes one hundred million!) are on the social site VK.

What is VK?

Put very simply, VK is a much larger and more efficient version of Facebook. If the more efficient comment made you quizzically raise your eyebrows, we’ll explain later. What VK seems to have managed to do, is capture an entire nation entirely – with almost exclusive Russian use and over 100 million users this is very obvious. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t available to everyone – in fact, you can log in using your existing Facebook details or simply entering in an email address and password.

Ahead of the Curve

Two words: Search Function. VK’s search function is something that could happily rival Google. Unlike Facebook’s ability to search within its own Network, VK can pull up information from anywhere – including ‘adult content’ and the latest movies, pirated of course.

And it doesn’t stop there. The search function allows you to find absolutely anyone by entering in a near-stalkerish level of information. You can find friends based on information such as:

  • Where they live
  • What School/ Uni they went to
  • Age range (from 14 up to 80)
  • Gender
  • Relationship status (you can specifically find single people)
  • Personal information like religious & political views – even whether they smoke or drink!
  • What company they work for
  • Even if they served in the military!


It is this search function-ability that allows Russians (and others) to use VK as a complete dating service, rendering sites like Match and eHarmony useless thanks to its much larger number of users. Unlike Facebook, there are much fewer privacy options which makes hooking up very easy.

Using it For Business

Just because many of VK's users are treating it like a dating site and finding pirated movies doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for business. In fact, many global brands like Coca-Cola and Samsung actively use it in their marketing plans which can be easily tracked through the platforms analytics – Socialbakers. These brand pages are called communities and it is possible to set up official brand communities just like on Twitter or Facebook.

If you’re struggling to reach Russia and Europe then VK could be just what you need to give you that extra push. With over 50 million active users every day you can definitely harness some of this power to influence your marketing campaign and tap into new areas. It is important to consider the language you’re engaging with the audience with as well as local cultures and sense of humour – British humour for example is widely misunderstood beyond the British Isles.

Looking for more tips and hints on how to best utilise social media for your marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today and we can help you come up with a brilliant social strategy.

Tags:
Mar 11
Joe Hickman

Online or offline, a business lives and dies by its reputation. Whether on social media, blogs or news websites, there are plenty of places online where your brand’s ‘digital footprint’ will be talked about – whether that’s in a good or bad way.

With so many social avenues available, it’s essential to keep a handle on what people are saying about your brand and ensure it is well-represented online. That’s why online reputation management is all about.

Here’s how it can help:

1 – It offers you an insight into customer behaviour

The key to a successful business is devastatingly simple: ascertain what people are looking for and give it to them. Before the internet, marketers had to pay eye-watering amounts for data or conduct time-consuming surveys to see what people were willing to spend their hard-earned money. Nowadays the customer behaviour information that you need is online at your fingertips.

2 – It allows you to identify influencers

Any successful PR strategy focuses on identifying the most influential people and publications for your target market and establishing a way for them to talk about your brand. Using online reputation management, you can see which people (and where) are talking about your company and engage with them.

3 – It’s essential for local SEO Did you know that 85% of people search online for local businesses?

And when it comes to local search, online reputation management is hugely important. After all, if you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in Cardiff and click on a reviews site like TripAdvisor and see that a particular restaurant has poor reviews, you’re going to take your custom elsewhere. However, a business with decent reviews and was making every effort to help customers with any grievances that they may have will appear responsible and committed to an enjoyable experience. A study into local search by Search Engine Land showed that 65% of people read between 2 and 10 reviews before deciding whether to eat at an establishment. So if you’re carefully protecting your brand’s reputation you’re sure to see more local sales.

4 – It’s trusted by customers

There’s one great reason to take online reputation management seriously – people trust what they read online. According to the Search Engine Land study, 72% of consumers online regard online reviews as important as recommendations from a friend. What’s more, 58% of people will trust a business that’s got positive reviews online. If you’re able to monitor what people are saying about you and engage with them in a way that pts your business in a better light, you’ll see the difference in your turnover.

5 – It shines a light on your customer service

Whether you’re an eCommerce business or conduct all of your business offline, you won’t get very far at all without a commitment to customer service. Taking a look at your reputation online allows you an insight into how your customers feel they’re treated by your staff – establishing ways that you can improve in the future. Perhaps there are up-selling opportunities that your employees are neglecting or ways that you’re disappointing individual customers. Either way, it helps you to improve the way you treat your customers.

6 – It keeps your customers loyal

Social media and online reputation management offers the perfect opportunity to listen and talk with people relevant to your business. And guess what? Consumers love it when brands interact with them and solve their problems.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 71% of customers who experience an effective response on social media are likely to recommend the brand to friends. (NM Incite)
  • Customers spend up to 40% more with a company if it responds to customer service issues over social media. (Bain)
  • 81% are willing to spend more for products and services if it guarantees a better customer experience. (Acctiva)

Identifying your customers’ problems and dealing with them in a quick, decisive manner won’t just help them – it’ll boost your brand in the long term.

Are you looking for ways to improve the way that your brand interacts with consumers? Talk to us today about how our online reputation management and social media services can transform your ROI, online and offline.

Tags:
Feb 17
Joe Hickman

There are so many ways to promote your business nowadays that it can be difficult to figure out what the best marketing strategy is. Almost every type of marketing has a benefit, although some are much better at increasing your business sales and boosting brand awareness. At Liberty Marketing we’ve separated the pretty good from the best of the best to give you a firm understanding of the direction you should go in:

SEO

Yes, we’re an SEO agency so we are going to be a bit biased here, but think about it: More people shop online than on the high street; they’re constantly trawling the internet and using Google’s search to find local businesses rather than rely on word of mouth.

SEO can get your company noticed by helping you rank for competitive search terms and letting more potential customers find you. This in turn will increase sales and enquiries as well as brand awareness - giving you a fantastic ROI.

TV Advertisements

If you have the cash, then TV advertisements can work wonders for your business. Although you will need to work extra hard at creating an advert people will remember and not loathe afterwards. This can be very expensive to create and run, but when done right can make your business go from zero to top speed in no time at all.

Ambush Marketing

While this is technically illegal and may land you with a fine, ambush marketing can get you huge amounts of publicity! Not only do you get the initial impression of the ambush itself, but there are generally news stories that follow up the case –providing you with airtime that you would otherwise have to pay millions for. One example is when Nicklas Bendtner showed off his Paddy Power pants during a match – this resulted in a €100,000 fine, which the bookies picked up. The ‘incident’ only lasted a couple of minutes, but it received publicity across all the major news channels giving the company hours of valuable time in the public eye.

Social Media

Having a strong social media presence can make all the difference. Especially when you consider that the majority of the time people spend on the internet is across social media platforms. Successfully using your social media to interact with the public can have the same impact as thousands of face-to-face salespeople working for you. This is incredibly valuable now and is only set to increase in importance in years to come.

Mobile Marketing

Roughly 65% of all websites are browsed using mobile devices – that means phones and tablets. Which means that in order to succeed you need to make sure that your website works well across a range of platforms. Creating apps is a great way to break into the mobile market, giving you increased awareness and allowing you to put your brand in front of a highly receptive audience.

Personalised Targeting

Why waste your advertising on people who aren’t interested in your services or products? Thanks to the magic of the internet (read: PPC marketing) you can personalise your advertising settings to hit just your target audience. This will give you a much higher rate of conversion as people will already be interested in the type of products you sell and therefore are already on the path of purchase.

To find out more about how Liberty Marketing can help you utilise some of these marketing strategies, get in touch with us today!

Tags:
Jan 30
Stephanie Lamerton

 

[Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/2959807121/sizes/z/]

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming a part of everyday life for many. We constantly have our phones on us and even then we may check our newsfeeds by computer or on our tablets. You may even check your Klout score on a regular basis. So, is it that surprising that our kids are starting to take an interest in these socialising platforms?

Facebook and Twitter state that their services are not meant to be used by those under the age of 13, so technically no children should be using their services. Though lying about your age is quite simple. Younger and younger children are setting up social media profiles but how much does social media impact on the young? And is social media good or bad for kids?

Here are a few of the pros and cons for children using social media platforms:

Pros

·         Children will learn technology skills that can be used later in life. Being able to work a computer is a highly desired quality when applying for jobs.

·         It teaches them how to network. They can make friends all over the world.

·         They communicate more than ever improving their interaction and social skills.

·         Social media improved children’s relationships. It helps them to remember friends’ birthdays and give compliments by liking photos. This way children can stay in touch even if they don’t meet up physically anymore.

·         It gives a sense of belonging and boosts self-esteem.

·         Social media networks provide children with a platform where they can voice their opinions and interests. It is a great tool for self-expression.

Cons

·         One of the biggest problems associated with children and technology is that they spend less time playing outside and more inside on a computer. With social networking this may create an army of keyboard warriors who hide behind their computers and become shy in face-to-face encounters.

·         There is a big bad world out there and social networks are home to many bad influences and predators.

·         Social media networks can be a place for children to act out and attention seekers may get into trouble with inappropriate comments, statuses, videos and pictures.

·         There aren’t any restrictions on correct spelling and grammar. It is even considered cool to misspell and this may seep into their school work.

·         Some teens may suffer depression or anxiety as a result of using social media sites. Stalking other people with ‘better’ lives can alter a child’s mood drastically and depression will create problems with face-to-faceinteractions.

The Consensus

As with everything, social media sites have their pros and cons. You can let your children use the computer but make sure to keep them protected with adequate child locks and a good dose of common sense.

Only allow your children to use social media sites when they hit the suggested age by providers, and educate them so they have a full understanding of the pros and cons of using such a site.

Even if “everyone else uses them” it doesn’t mean your child has to as well. In the vast majority of cases social media is harmless but it is always best to be prepared just in case.

Do you let your child use social media sites? Or perhaps you are dead against them? Let us know what you think on @LibertyOnlineUK.

Tags:
Nov 19
Lianne Jones

Twitter is a valuable tool for businesses from industries across the board; allowing them to connect and reach out to customers in real time.  Despite Twitter being one of the most popular social media platforms around, with roughly 218m active monthly users, many people still don’t understand how it works or how it can be used for their brand. In my experience, many people just overcomplicate what Twitter is; put simply, Twitter is a micro blogging tool that allows you to convey a message in 140 characters or less. Let’s look in a little more detail at its functionality and how it can benefit your brand:

Hashtags

When you think hashtag, chances are, you’ll immediately think of Twitter. Hashtags have actually expanded to many other social networks now, but they gained popularity first on Twitter; do you know what they are actually used for though?

Using a hashtag on Twitter is a way of encouraging engagement, both with your followers and a wider audience. Don’t hashtag too much though – that’s plain annoying – try to use no more than 2-3 hashtags in your Tweet!
Carefully select keywords that you want to promote; so, for example, if we wanted to talk about a Google update on our Liberty Twitter, we might say something like: “Reading more about the new #GoogleUpdate targeting spammy #marketing techniques – what are your thoughts?” This way, you are only hashtagging the key elements of your Tweet (those common themes that people may search for or click on) whilst blending them in with natural conversation.

Clicking on a hashtag, or typing the text from the hashtag into the search bar, will take you to a list of everyone who is using the same common theme as you; this can allow you to then engage with others who are interested in the same topic and vice versa. If your brand is big enough, and you have a healthy follower base, you can even start your very own hashtag and aim to get that trending.

Be on trend

On the left hand side of your screen, you will see a list of topics that are currently ‘trending’ on Twitter; the list you see will depend on your settings: yours may be configured so that they show trends relevant to your interests or they may show for your location, but you can amend this if you want to see global or UK trends instead. Keep a close eye on the trending topics as this will allow you to jump into hot conversation; you can tweet about the theme if it’s relevant to you which can then encourage more engagement with your brand, as well as fresh followers.

Real time. Real talk

Twitter is short and sweet; it allows you to reach out to your followers in real time when compared to other social networks, so you can immediately keep them in the loop with the latest news or information.

It’s a great tool for feeding back to people when you’re at an event or a conference, especially if the organiser has created a Tweet specifically for the event – make sure you utilise this for maximum engagement. You can literally Tweet about something that was said at an event as it happens.

Create lists

Twitter allows you to organise your followers into specific lists; so you can separate them by the type of contact they are i.e. clients, customers, colleagues, support, or you can organise them by interest. This makes it easier to see what a particular section of your followers is talking about rather than looking at your whole feed and trying to find specific people.

Brand mentions

If someone wants to talk directly to your brand, they will usually use the @ character to directly Tweet you; however, many people might mention you in passing to their followers, so it’s worth using the Twitter search function to check for brand mentions. This can allow you to converse with people that you aren’t already connected to, but who show an interest in your business. It can also allow you to pick up on any positive or negative comments that are not being directed straight at you. It’s a beneficial feature, so make it a ritual to do a quick search regularly.

How can I make it work for my business?

So, now you know what you can do with Twitter to reach out to your audience, how can you apply this to your business?

•    Promote your blog posts – this will widen your readership
•    Ask your followers questions – this is great for research and development
•    Join in with trending conversations to expand your follower base
•    Monitor Twitter for brand mentions
•    Tweet at least once per day – the more you Tweet, the more engagement you’ll reap
•    Be consistent with your brand voice – use this when you Tweet
•    Tweet like a human – don’t always be promotional and don’t be afraid to show personality
•    Use it for quick and easy customer service – followers will appreciate your speedy response
•    Host competitions – you can use these to expand your follower base further

How have you tackled Twitter for business? Do you have any top tips for your specific market place?

Tags:
Nov 11
Joe Hickman



Ah, this old chestnut! People are always asking this, looking for a definitive answer like 8.42pm on a Tuesday. But it just is not that simple. In fact we can’t stress how difficult it is to anticipate when you will have the biggest impact as there are many factors that affect it. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible though; here are some tricks to finding the best times to post:

Know your audience

Who you are trying to reach plays a huge part in finding the optimum time to post, as different people will be active at various times throughout the day. Your Facebook insights can give you a lot of information about the demographics that interact with you, allowing you to access things like: age range, gender, and location which lets you be very specific with your targeting. The more you know about your audience the better, as you can predict the times they will be on social media more accurately – for example if your target audience is 14-18 year olds then having posts at between half 3 and 4 on weekdays should reach them when they check Facebook after getting in from school. This will be very different to the young professional, who may be better targeted around lunch time as they take a break while at their desk.

Fully utilise insights

When logged into your Facebook page as an admin you have access to their social media management tool, called insights. In this section they have a tab entitled ‘When Your Fans are Online’ which will then provide you with details about how many people that are connected to you are active every hour. This will then give you peak times to target in order to reach the largest number of your audience – which can then be narrowed down even further to show activity on each day of the week. These times are likely to change throughout the year so make sure you check back regularly to ensure you’re still hitting the right times of day.

See what works

Sometimes the best way to find what works for you is trial and error. You may be hitting the right times of day but with the wrong type of content. Experiment with different types of posts to see what works best with you – it may be that your fans react better to pictures than status updates or funny posts than informative. If you believe you’ve found the right time to post but still aren’t getting the results you’ve hoped for then try different approaches and adjust the time by a half hour either way.

Think about paying

In the last year, Facebook has completely changed the way people see posts by companies and fan pages. Now unless people subscribe directly to your Facebook page they won’t see every post you put out, this was introduced as a way to stop businesses spamming their audience with unofficial advertisements. For thousands of pages this saw a drastic reduction in the amount of audience they saw, regardless of what time they posted to the site. If you want to be guaranteed that people will see your update then it may be worth promoting your posts, as these can be specifically aimed at your target audience and give you thousands of views a day.

So what you need to take from this is that there is no shortcut or simple way of finding the best time to post to your Facebook. However, through a bit of investigation combined with trial and error you will be able to expand your reach in no time.

Article by:

Tags:
Oct 31
Lianne Jones

Seasonal events and celebrations are always fantastic opportunities for generating content for your business. It doesn’t matter whether you work in law, finance, catering or beauty, you can make the most of occasions like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas by creating engaging images and copy to distribute across your blog and social channels (or even for use as PR) – and if you do this really well, you could potentially see it go viral, taking your brand to a wider audience.

Spook tactics

Let’s take Halloween as an example; the internet has exploded with spooky activity today as businesses have embraced All Hallows' Eve. Here are some of the best examples of seasonal digital marketing:


Krispy Screams

Never ones to miss out on a seasonal opportunity, Krispy Kreme took full advantage of Halloween by launching spooky doughnuts, by offering customers in full costume a free Original Glazed doughnut, and by hosting various spooky activities. They reminded followers of the looming celebration in the run-up to Halloween – therefore reinforcing their brand and promoting their new products whilst also encouraging people to engage with them on social channels.


Carling

Carling pulled an excellent video out of the marketing bag this Halloween – the video proved to be so popular that it went viral in a matter of days, and it now has over 218,000 views on YouTube alone. That’s some successful seasonal marketing!
So why was this one so successful? Simple: Carling combined Halloween, humour, boyish pranks and beer – a recipe for social media success! Check it out.


Oreo


We’re big fans of the Oreo marketing campaigns; they are always super creative and engaging. For Halloween, Oreo created a series of Vines with the hashtag #OreoHorrorStories - they played homage to famous horror movies as the cookies met their death! If you haven’t watched these yet, then you have to check them out. They are simply brilliant.



FedEx


It wasn’t just the food and drink industry that got involved with some spooktacular marketing; Fed Ex embraced the world’s love of everything zombie by tweeting a picture of an apocalypse survival kit captioned with: “Ship just about all #Zombie Apocalypse survival gear for one flat rate.”


Folly Farm



On a more local level, Folly Farm did an excellent job of promoting their adventure park this Halloween. Their social channels were full of fun, spooky-themed pics. The Penguins and Pumpkins photo album on Facebook and this adorable pic of lemurs playing with a vampire mask are our favourites – the lemurs even managed to get themselves into the local press!
Folly Farm also embraced Halloween by running special events such as Jugglestruck's Spooky Show, Halloween Card hunts and Trails, Freaky face painting and Creepy Encounters with rats, cockroaches and giant land snails to keep kids occupied during the half term break


Capital FM

This South Wales based radio station played a mean prank on some of their unsuspecting staff by jumping out on them in the early hours of this morning whilst wearing a mask. They videoed the prank before putting it onto their social channels for the world to see. Take a look here.


Happy Halloween

At Liberty Marketing, we enjoyed some Halloween themed cupcakes, we turned the staff room into a spooky den, we spent the day in fancy dress and we raffled some sweet goods – all to raise money for charity.

What are you doing this Halloween? Whatever you are doing to celebrate, here’s hoping you have a spooktacular time!

 



Tags:
Oct 28
Joe Hickman



Many companies have finally come around to the digital era and have begun to embrace social media, but not every business is using these sources effectively. This guide is aimed at making social media setup easy for those who have taken the leap and anyone not quite sure of where to start. But first let’s look at which platforms are best suited to your needs.

Choosing a platform

The most popular social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter closely followed by networks like LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. While you may think that it’s best to get your business on every possible platform, some will work much better than others for your needs. If you are a business that sells to customers then you would be much more suited to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, while B2B services would benefit more from LinkedIn. If your products are particularly visual then you may want to consider making unique videos on YouTube or really taking advantage of Pinterest or even Instagram.

Who’s your target audience?

Your target audience will have a huge impact on which social networking site you should be focusing your efforts on. It is relatively easy to find out which demographics hang out on which sites – knowing who you’re aiming to engage will affect your decision on which networks you need. Doing the research beforehand can save you a lot of time and effort down the line.

Signing up to social

All the major providers have worked hard on their registration pages, making social media setup easy whether you’re an individual or a business. Each site is different, although the set up process tends to be relatively similar – with Twitter and Pinterest it is a simple case of setting up an email and password and choosing a user name. Google+ have integrated a very clever ‘create new page’ in the pages option on the side bar. Facebook and LinkedIn are trickier, both requiring personal accounts on the network in order to set up a business page on the network.

Filling it out

One of the biggest downfalls for many companies is when they fail to complete all the info fields on the social media pages. There are many opportunities available to put information about your company, your products and a bit about you on each social media site. The more you fill in the better it will look to the public, however don’t rush it! Take your time, think about what you are saying and check for spelling mistakes. Don’t forget to add links to your website, contact information and put your logo as your profile picture.

Keep it up

Now that your social media accounts are set up make sure you post regularly and consistently – don’t try to be formal one minute and casual the next, it won’t work well. Don’t post just for the sake of it, ensure that everything you put up is high quality and has a purpose. Remember a business account and a personal account should be kept separate! There are many high profile cases where this basic mistake has been made at a huge cost to the business, for this reason it is a great idea to enlist the help of experts in social media management. Get in touch if you need help and advice with your social media strategy.

Article by:

Tags:
Oct 18
Stephanie Lamerton

Over a billion people use Facebook, and three out of every four smartphones have Facebook on them. Facebook has a huge reach and is no longer only used for keeping up to date on all your friends’ gossip. It is a highly effective business tool!

Create social media channels which are consistent with your businesses’ branding and design so that existing audiences will know who you are and new audiences can begin to recognise your brand. Social media setup is becoming increasingly important for businesses – social media can act as a portal for referral traffic, it is an excellent platform for content distribution, for reaching a wider audience and getting customer feedback, and it’s also becoming an increasingly important ranking factor.

If you’ve been struggling a little with your social media setup, our guide to the best uses of Facebook for business will help get you started:

Connect and Share

First things first, customise your social handle so that it’s branded and to ensure you can be easily found. Add this link to your email signature, business cards and to your website to promote your page and posts.

Post business activity updates on your wall as well as links to useful articles and interesting blogs in order to engage your customers and establish credibility. Combine Facebook with your other social media accounts to boost content and create cohesion. You can also check for friends using the friend finder and your existing email address book. Facebook will even suggest other companies or clients that may want to follow your company - saving you searching time.

Grow your number of likes and boost sales by offering discount codes or freebies. This will market your product and give your customers a sense of value for money; it will also encourage brand loyalty and therefore encourage your fans to share your brand with their connections.

Use Network, Group and Fan Pages

Most successful businesses will have a firm idea of who their customer base is. Analyse the social media habits of your key demographic and you can understand the best way to engage with them.

If you don’t have a business profile then you can target potential customers through a group or fan page. Link this page to your company website and fill the page with useful need-to-know information about the business. This is a great way to publicise any upcoming events you may be holding; whether these be open days, interviews or a conference. Don’t forget to post feedback on the event as well! This will entice customers to any future goings on.

Keep on top of your group or Facebook page. Regular updates will keep your fans engaged and any questions they may have can then be answered swiftly.

Advertising

Facebook is an amazing advertising platform! Most online advertising reaches around 30% of its intended audience whereas Facebook reaches 91%. Facebook gives value for money and can offer massive traffic boosts. These ads are also used with specific users in mind - your targeted potential customer.

Know what you are doing

Set goals and write up a social media setup to do list. Crossing jobs off your list will feel satisfying and knowing your goals will help you to form a content calendar. Planning what you will post and when can streamline activity and help project growth.

Pin point when your customers are most active, perhaps in the evening after work or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and plan to post at this time. You could even have themed days such as Throwback Thursdays or Thank God It’s Friday – all of this helps to encourage engagement and can help to start conversation.

Although you want your page to represent your business in a professional light, don’t be too serious. Have fun and experiment! Vary your post style and write reasonably informally. Facebook works as an informal social media site, keep it that way for maximum results.

Tags:
Oct 02
Lianne Jones

Instagram may not immediately strike you as a suitable social media platform for your business, but it could actually be quite lucrative for you. With a massive user base of over 150 million monthly active users, Instagram has real potential for growing your brand.

About Instagram

For anyone who is still unfamiliar with the platform, Instagram is a photo app that was launched in 2010 – originally for the Apple App store and later for Android too; it was bought by Facebook for over $700m in 2012.
It enables users to take a snap, add a filter and relevant hashtags, and upload whilst syndicating through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.
Instagram incorporated a video sharing option in June 2013 – many viewed this as Facebook’s attempt to compete with Twitter’s Vine feature.

The platform has a search option where you can enter keywords for your interests and find users who are posting images with hashtags that appeal to you – you can then follow the user, ‘heart’ their photos and comment.
The hashtag and search feature makes this platform a good option for social media for business – giving you the ability to reach your demographic with carefully selected keywords to accompany your image.

What’s stopping you?

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of Instagram is that it only really works on a mobile device; you can view a web-based version of Instagram, but usability is very limited. The website allows you to view your photo feed and your profile, to edit your profile, and … that’s about it. There’s no feature to actually upload images or videos and you can’t search either which seems quite pointless. This is certainly one reason why many businesses haven’t yet taken advantage of the platform as you really have to use a mobile to do anything worthwhile.
The other reason is that many businesses feel they aren’t visual enough to make it work; this can certainly be overcome with some planning and a touch of creativity.

The businesses that flourish on Instagram

As with Pinterest, the businesses that do best on Instagram have the scope to churn out engaging images that will encourage followers to interact with them.

According to Nitrogram, the top 5 businesses on Instagram are:

1.    Nike
2.    Starbucks
3.    Adidas
4.    NBA
5.    Forever 21


Nike has taken the top spot with 2,358,289 followers; they populate their profile with clean, sharp sport-related images which appeal greatly to their target market.
Starbucks are ranked second, and it’s easy to see why: Starbucks has mastered the art of engagement by posting beautifully shot images, set in different locations and with a variety of themes to appeal to different sections within their demographic. Their images are super popular with Instagramers, with many of their recent posts receiving upwards of 50,000 hearts! They’re definitely the brand to take inspiration from if you are thinking of popping your own brand on Instagram. With just a simple product, they have managed to provide fans with creative, eye-catching images.

How to make Instagram work for you

If you’ve been inspired by some of the brands ranking at the top of Nitrogram’s list and you’re ready to take on Instagram with your own business, then here are our top tips for you:

Happy snapping: Have fun while you snap pictures of your products or things associated with your brand and this will be reflected in the images your fans see. Find interesting locations to take the pictures so the background isn’t always the same. Don’t be afraid to use the filters – they add a lovely touch.

Tell a tale: They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is definitely true with social media. Fans respond far more to visual messages on social channels than they do to text posts – making platforms like Instagram and Pinterest increasingly popular. Use the images you post on Instagram to tell the story of your brand – letting followers in on the things that you like; introduce the team through images, post pictures from events and launches, and take snaps of what you are up to in the office. This helps to make your business more personable and allows fans to feel like they really know and understand who you are. After all, it’s always nice to put a face to a name.

Don’t forget to use your caption to communicate with followers – ask them questions and build conversation.
Ask the team: Why not invest in an office handset for social media use? This way, you can get the team involved in taking shots for Instagram. Having a different perspective can yield some really creative pictures for your brand and it takes the onus off you having to come up with ideas all the time! Having a team of people involved in populating Instagram will guarantee you more regular content.

Hashtag it: You could take the best pictures that perfectly portray your business, but without carefully selected hashtags, it’s unlikely that your images will be picked up by a wider audience – they will only impact your immediate fans. Including a variety of hashtags to describe your image will ensure it gets picked up when people search for their interests – if the Instagramers like what they see, this can increase your fan base.

Syndicate: You’ll be spending time taking the pictures for Instagram, so it only makes sense to syndicate these across other social channels to increase the impact of your content. Not all of your fans may be using the app themselves, so ensuring that your images post to Twitter and Facebook too will mean that other fans are not missing out and that you’re keeping other platforms updated at the same time!

So those are our top tips for Instagram, but how are you using Instagram to benefit your business?

Tags: