The competition is fierce in the busiest period of the year. Especially in the busy, noisy world of Instagram. For this blog, I compiled four tips that will help you stand out from your competition this Christmas season.
1. Use beautiful imagery for your product catalog.
This year, most of your customers will be shopping online. Your potential customers can't touch and feel the products. So inspire them with beautiful photos that will help them visualise what it feels like using your products.
2. Tag your products on your grid, Stories and IGTV.
This is a great function that makes it easy for people to visit your product pages. Instagram advises tagging up to five products per post. Make sure your content isn't overcrowded with overlapping tags.
You can also tag your products in Stories which will give you the Swipe Up function.
3.Highlight your Christmas related products.
Here's a good example from The Body Shop. They added their Christmas and Advent products to their highlights so anyone looking at their profile can easily find out about these products.
4. Add a Gift Card option as a call to action button on your profile or share it in your Story.
All you need to do is going to Edit Profile, then to Action Buttons , Gift Cards and select a partner.
This is a great opportunity for businesses to seamlessly sell gift cards - even if your shop is closed.
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1.Your audience is on Facebook
First things first. A lot of business owners still wonder if their audience is on Facebook. Despite all the negative press about Facebook, it is still the biggest social media platform. 2 billion and counting users are on Facebook every month. They are your audience, your potential clients. If you don’t utilize the platform, your competitors will.
2. People log in to Facebook daily.
Do you check your Facebook account first thing in the morning? So do millions of people around the world. About 75 % of adults check Facebook log in to Facebook daily. Half of these log into Facebook multiple times a day.
3.Organic reach is dead.
As the platform grew, the content shared on Facebook has grown as well. Therefore there is a huge competition between every piece of content shared on Facebook. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that they want “meaningful content” from friends, family, and groups to be at the core of Facebook. This means that Facebook is favoring posts from family and friends over public content. This was emphasized in F8 earlier this month. Just posting to Facebook is not enough to grow your business as most of your content will not reach your followers. Therefore businesses owners need to consider Facebook ads if they want to grow their sales through Facebook.
4.Facebook advertising can work wonders if you use it strategically.
Facebook is an amazing advertising platform. The targeting opportunities it offers are simply mind blowing. However, boosting a few posts here and there just doesn’t cut it. You need to be strategic. Facebook ads are also integrated across social media platforms. When you advertise on Facebook, depending on where you create your ad and the type of ad you create, you can choose to show your ads on Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.
5.Facebook offers many different targeting options.
You can advertise to people by age, interests, behavior, and location. If you know who you want to reach, then Facebook can help you find those people so that you can drive them to your website, increase brand awareness and sales.
6.You can measure your success in real time.
The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can always see what impact your ad is creating. If it’s not working well, you can switch it off. If it’s working well, you can scale it.
7.Retargeting options help you reach wider audiences.
You can retarget your website visitors, email list, people who abandon their carts, your Facebook page followers… There are so many options. You can also create custom audiences and lookalike audiences which lets you target people similar to the people who already engage with your business.
Currently Facebook is the most cost-effective advertising investment any business owner can make. The beauty of Facebook advertising is that you are always in control. Unlike traditional advertising mediums, you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds, only to find two months later no one has bought from you. You can target exactly the type of people who will be interested to buy from you.
Here is the thing though. Facebook ads work but they are not magic. We don't hang out on Facebook with our wallets open. So business owners need to use Facebook ads strategically to nurture and grow an audience that will buy from them.
Have you used Facebook ads? What was your experience?
If you need support running your ads, then please get in touch. You can hire me for monthly management of your ads or for hourly sessions. More info here.
Last November Instagram announced a new feature on photos and videos! The ALT text or tag. What does ALT text mean? ALT text stands for alternative text. If you have added images to your website or blog, this is probably something you are already familiar with. ALT text strengthens the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improves the accessibility of your website.
Instagram announced that they introduced ALT text to make the platform more accessible for visually impaired users. ALT text descriptions can be read by screen readers so visually impaired readers can hear about the photos in their feed.
How do you add it?
Open your Instagram account and add a photo and caption. Then go to Advanced Settings at the bottom of the page.
Scroll down to accessibility and write ALT Text.
Next add the ALT text.
Your followers will not actually going to see this text. Instagram will automatically set your alt text on every image if you don't add them. However if you do use them strategically, you will be able provide further SEO value for your brand. Your photos are now going to start getting rankings on Google Image search.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your Instagram strategy, I would love you to come to my Instagram For Business Workshop on the 5th of February in Guildford. If you can't make this one, subscribe to my email list to get notified about the future workshops.
Instagram was launched as a photo sharing app exclusively in IOS in 2010. When Facebook purchased the photo-sharing platform in 2012 it had just 30 million users. As of June 2018, it has become the world’s second largest social media platform with one billion monthly active users.
The platform is constantly evolving with new functions such as Instagram Stories and IGTV. Today, it isn’t just the young people who are on Instagram though. The older generation has also embraced Instagram in recent years, even if they don’t post to the platform as actively, they are engaging with the content. *
Instagram users are much more engaged compared to Facebook and Twitter ** and they love brands. Instagram states that 80% of people are following a business account on the platform.
Brands love Instagram as well because it is cost-effective: The Instagram app noted 20% as many ad impressions as Facebook and 9% as many clicks.***
Instagram trends are changing fast and we need to keep a close eye to determine the best practices. Here are my expectations for Instagram in 2019.
Hashtags play a crucial role in social media marketing. Using the right hashtags will help you cut through the noise and get your content seen.
By engaging with the key hashtags in your industry, you will be able to discover new accounts to follow and engage with. Consequently, you can reach a wider audience and influencers.
Hashtags evolve and change all the time. Some hashtags get oversaturated,some are not used much any more. So it's a good practise to check them from time to time.
But how do you find the best hashtags?
There are a couple of tools.
1. Ritetag: This is a tool that I mostly use for Twitter but it also analyses hashtags for Instagram.
It has browser extensions so you can quickly look up hashtags and analyse them. It suggests hashtags to get seen and lets you know about the ones you should not use.
I searched #smallbusiness, and as you can see from the below photo, it also suggests me other popular hashtags that are related to it. Not every one of these may be related to my business, but it's good to have alternative hashtags to maximise the reach.
2. Makelight Hashtag Tool is the one that I use regularly for Instagram. It indexes hashtags and you can see how many photos each hashtag contain. Hundreds and thousands of photos are being published every second so some hashtags are very large.
If you only use the most popular hashtags, your content might not get the best exposure. Therefore it is better to use some popular hashtags and some not so popular ones to cut through the noise.
When you search a hashtag in Makelight, it tells you how many photos are indexed under that particular hashtag, how many times it is posted (every few minutes, every hour etc.. It also gives you related hashtags.
3. Display Purposes for Instagram. This tool gives you a number of hashtags around the keyword you enter, however it doesn't let me know how big or small that hashtag is so I don't tend to use it. Although if you want to, you can go to Instagram and find out how many times each hashtag is used.
4.Hashtagify.me is another tool that tracks hashtags both for Instagram and Twitter. It has some beta features which are still being developed. It gives you some statistics around popularity and suggests other hashtags that are popular.
I personally like Ritetag for Twitter and Makelight for Instagram. There are a couple of other tools but these are the free ones. It is worth trying out which one you like to use most as they have different user interfaces.
Instagram sometimes bans a hashtag if they find inappropriate content or something that violates their community guidelines. At the time of writing (2nd February) #ValentinesDay is banned.
This is what I see when I search for it.
I see that there are 10.648.881 posts under #ValentinesDay and it shows me the top photos.
However it is a different story if I scroll down.
As you can see below, there is a note from Instagram saying recent posts have been hidden because they have been reported.
If I had a gift shop, I would probably be promoting some items at this time of the year using this hashtag and if they weren't getting much exposure I would wonder why. I have been keeping an eye on this particular hashtag for almost a week now, and it has remained hidden.
This is why we should not rely on using the same hashtags day in, day out. We really need to be careful about them.
I would love to hear from you if you use these hashtag tools. If there are others that you like, please share in the comments.
As always, if you have any questions or need help with social media marketing, please get in touch.