Instagram – 5 Ways To Use it for Business

Apr 30 2012

You may have heard that Facebook just bought Instagram for $1 billion!  In case you don’t know, Instagram allows users to edit and post digital photographs to social media sites with just a couple of clicks.

It’s a growing trend having gained 10 million users in the last few weeks.  Chances are that some of your loyal customers are likely already using the app to sharing photos and follow others. That’s reason enough for small businesses to consider signing up for an account. Instagram may continue to grow, and provide an effective way to create community and engage with your customers.

Instagram allows you to easily share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or by using plugins that allow it to feed directly into networks and websites.

Saturday I started using Instagram.  It’s incredibly intuitive.  I was able to post a photo taken using Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr within minutes.  One catch – it’s a mobile app only, which means you have to download the app and use it on your phone, iPod or iPad.

Here are some helpful tips on how small to medium-sized businesses in Westchester County can use this popular tool.

Customer Photos – Ask people to take pictures of themselves in the process of using your product.

Event Marketing – ask people who are at an event you are hosting to capture the moments with Instagram.  As they share and tag the message about your business and the event will be shared.

Showcase your product- take images of your products and apply one of Instagram’s “filters” or frames, and then post to your Facebook timeline.

Find Your Fans – Instagram will let you know who is using your product and what they are doing with it.

Follow People – Just like Twitter and other social media platforms, you can follow people on Instgram. Build your reach and learn from the most active mobile photo-sharers.

Big names that are using Instagram: ABC news, NPR, Jamie Oliver, and Starbucks.

Give it a try. I think you will find that it’s fun and super easy to use.

If you’re already using Instagram, let us know how.

 

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Super Bowled Over By Social Media

Feb 03 2012

It could be called Super Social Media Sunday. Whether by Twitter, Facebook, Blog or other social media channel, the buzz is that this year more Super Bowl fans will be connected in real-time than ever before.

And it’s not just the fans and advertisers trying to reach them who are embracing social media. NFL officials in Indianapolis are in on it, hosting the first-ever Super Bowl Social Media Command Center.

Even the Coca Cola polar bears are in on the social media craze. This year they’ll watch the game on their own TV and give feedback as it unfolds!  Whether you’re in the North Pole or Westchester County or  you’re a Giants or a Patriots fan, you can visit the Social Media Command Center or join the polar bear party!

Super Bowl Sunday appears to be one GIANT step for social media.

Who are you rooting for?

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Can You Digg It?

Jun 08 2011

What small business has the money for postage these days?  And even if you do, might there be a better use?

Today, according to much of what I have read, we Americans prefer our news right now and green.  Using myself as an example…

  • As a working mother, any mail that doesn’t hint “bill” rarely gets opened before it hits the recycling bin ….  and last year, I opted out of receiving any unsolicited mail through the DMA.
  • As a small business owner, I am slightly more likely to scan the headlines of my mail just in case there might be something that benefits my work or my clients, but in the end, most of the letters, brochures and invitations I receive still wind up in the same place – the T.R.A.S.H.

Digg for Small Business Marketing So here’s a marketing idea for small businesses…. Have you tried Digg?  Started back in 2004, it’s like 21st century direct mail.

The pluses:

  • It’s free – No postage means big savings to reach a new (and hopefully large) audience.
  • It’s simple – Submit a story or article and then create a link to “Digg it”.
  • It’s fast – One press of a button and your article reaches the social network of anyone who Diggs it.
  • It’s fun – You can (and should) create content on issues that matter to you, light-hearted or deep, but not necessarily about your product.
  • It’s environmentally friendly – No mail means no paper.

 

The minuses:

  • Readers vote on each story and the favorite stories show up on top, so it’s essentially a news popularity contest.  And popularity (occasionally) trumps quality.
  • There is still a question mark on how much loyalty it engenders.  Readers who click on the link don’t necessarily return to your site or your brand.  So you may be spending time to reach many casual, but not committed, consumers.

 

But that said …. according to the WorldWatch Institute, more than 41.5 billion pieces of mail advertisements were produced and distributed in the U.S in 2005.   Do you think those companies got a return on their investment?

 

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Getting Started in Social Media – Part 2

Oct 16 2010

This is the second in a series of four posts, which describe how businesses can get started in social media.   If you approach your foray into social media the way that you would any new initiative for your business, you’ll find it’s fairly straightforward to get up and running.

In part one of this series we defined the goals for the social media campaign – increasing sales, brand engagement or simply more “fans” or “followers.”  Once you’ve clarified what you want to accomplish, the next step is to define the steps to get you there.  In this post I’ll walk you through process of creating a social media marketing plan.

The social media marketing plan is really a project plan – a series of tasks and timeframes – that you will follow.  I’m a big fan of lists and use them in all aspects of my life.  Think of the plan as a to-do list the end result of which is a strong and sensible social media presence that will allow you to accomplish the goals you laid out in step one.

To get started, gather all the existing information that is relevant to and would influence you plan.  This information would consist of:

  • All components of your existing traditional marketing campaign (print, email, etc.) – key messages, target market, dates for any marketing milestones, etc.
  • All components of your sales or public relations activities – dates, location, target market, etc.
  • All components of your existing internet marketing campaign (if any) – key words, ad text, demographics, dates, etc.
  • Any other important dates, such as, industry-specific conferences, seminars, etc. that you will participate in.

Next you’ll create a six or twelve-month calendar that shows the marketing/sales/PR activities already planned and you’ll integrate the social media tasks.   Initially you’ll need to set-up your social media profiles and establish your baseline analytics so you can measure success.  The next social media tasks will be to create content and posts that support and augment your existing activities, and set you on the path to accomplish your goals.

Social Media Marketing Plan

Sample Social Media Marketing Plan

Once you’ve organized all your activities in one document, you’ll be able to visualize social media as a natural part of how you grow your business.

In the next post I’ll provide specifics on how to implement this plan.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has a developed a plan that is similar or different to this one.  I’m always looking to leverage best practices from our readers.

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