Making Instagram work for your business and tapping into its massive audience

Instagram tips and tricks(Image by WeSEE)

 

By now, you already know that brands can leverage user –generated photos to engage consumers. The power of Instagram is enormous. Businesses all over are using Instagram to enhance the sharing experience by creating short videos and images to share.

 

Have you considered creating a profile for your brand? Getting started on Instagram is very easy and straightforward. Instagram’s tagline is ‘Capture and share the world’s moments’ and it really is all about just that.

 

We’ve got a few clients asking us what it is about, how useful it is for business etc. So we are sharing our views on why you should consider it for your business.

 

Instagram has grown by 33% in just 7 months; it’s about sharing moments and not direct selling of products through images all the time. Here are our top tips for making Instagram work for you.

 

  1. Define your brand’s goal– what is your purpose for having an account? Are you looking for followers? Or do you want to engage with customers and potential customers?
  2. Balance fun images with pictures from your business: Tell a story with your images. Use images that are fun and convey your business’s image. Ex: Anthropologie
  3. Gain a fan following: Connect your Facebook account and use different images on Facebook and Instagram and cross-post. Also use Hashtags to help people find you on both Instagram and Facebook.
  4. Create a distinct style or theme for your brand: It’s good to have a distinct style associated for your brand across all platforms. Remember to be consistent and not boring.
  5. Be creative and keep the images and videos fresh and engaging: You can add different overlays, text, and image stickers to make them different but don’t overdo it. Also keep the images aesthetically appealing.
  6. What’s life like at work?  Use Instagram to share images of your everyday work, behind the scenes of a product or event, promote posts- give people a reason to want to follow you.
  7. Participate in Hashtag conversations: Great way to share content, meet like-minded people and also allows users to link back to your blog if they don’t know you.
  8. Spread out your content feed: Don’t do binge posting. Post once or twice a day. Engage with your followers, talk, comment, and share.
  9. Focus on your brand value: Make your communication strategy stand out, be direct yet engaging

10. It’s not just about numbers: Instagram is about emotions; so track the increase in followers, the rate of engagement, it’s all about people.

11. Use Instagram to inspire potential customers: Post photos and videos relevant to your brand but that can be representative of a social cause ex: Wholefoodsmarket– their posts promote healthy, wholesome food and showcase its sustainability and store events.

12. Optimize your profile: Like it’s counterparts, Instagram needs to have brand information in specific ways. Here’s a helpful link of what to include in the profile.

Perfect Instagram Profile (Image by Gerry Moran)

 

 

13. Use Instagram Video feature: It’s short and a great marketing tool. Use it for promoting your organization, sharing great content, your daily life and your customers and clients.

14. Run competitions or photo contests: Involve users to capture a moment and share them to win something.

 

 

Here’s a gist by Toputop.com that describes it perfectly.

Instagram for business

 

There are valuable marketing lessons to learn from these brands that uses Instagram really well such as Sharpie , Generalelectric and Michaelkors

What will you be using Instagram for? Do you love photo sharing?

 

-Social Pandora

How to be stress-free and Happy: The Pursuit of Happiness for Entrepreneurs

What makes a happy Entrepreneur (Image via startupstairway.co.uk)

Your business is up and running or you’ve been at it for a while now. But you have heaps on your mind, as is usual for an entrepreneur but apart from your world of customers, sales, budgets & reports, you need to take the time to live a happy and fulfilling life.

 

While building our own business and working with other entrepreneurs, we’ve learnt a few things along the way, which we thought we’d share with you.

what being an entrpreneur is like

 (Image via WeSEE)

  1. Be an active participant in multiple communities: Encouraging your team members or participating in communities yourself is great way to share, talk and learn multiple things. Not to mention it’s a great way to boost self-esteem and promote personal development.
  2. Have High levels of personal expression:  Have a voice and share your voice. Active discussions, expression of interest and involvement goes a long way. While expressing yourself, don’t forget to listen. 70% of most relationships- business or otherwise fails because one party doesn’t listen enough. So if you expect good lasting relationships you’ve got to listen and not just hear.
  3. Accept that there are no guarantees in business: While you do your best to ensure  that all bases are covered, there are times when things go wrong. Mistakes happen that are your fault, sometimes it’s the suppliers, or the delivery guy or the customers won’t pay you. The truth is that there really are no guarantees and you just have to accept it and move on. It’s better to deal with what you actually can change rather than what it beyond your control.
  4. Don’t be afraid of failure: You can never get anywhere if you’re too scared to start or if you’re scared that you will fail. If you spend time being scared of failing you’d end up being miserable. Failure is the stepping-stone to success and if you are a start up, it’s practically a rite of passage for you.
  5.  Silence the inner critic and remember that perfection is over rated: If you’re an entrepreneur, being a perfectionist comes naturally, but it really isn’t a smart thing o do. We’re always going to be faced with adversity; competitor’s success stories and you will end up comparing yourself to the others. So if you’re waiting for perfection, you’ll never get there. It isn’t about being perfect but actually about continuous improvement.
  6. Love what you do or else it’s all work and no fun: If you love what you do, you will always look for ways to do it better and you will be happy while you’re doing it. Any time that you spend on nurturing it and making it grow won’t seem all that daunting or seem like a mundane task.

Happy Entrepreneur

(Image via WeSEE)

7.Believe it or not; success is not the only goal: Define what success means to you, because most often it’s just about happiness. It’s mostly a personal choice but more often than not you’ll hear people say things like I’ll be happy when I buy a Porsche or a Ferrari, or I’ll be happy when I buy a house. You’ll be happy when you decide to be happy. And when you’re happy, you’re already successful! Well that’s how we see it anyway.

8.Take a break: As entrepreneurs, you will always have stress of your job to weigh you down, so take a few days off and relax. When you return you will have a new perspective on things.

9.    Keep at it: Money grows on the tree of persistence. There will be many times that we fall down but the important lesson to learn is that we pick ourselves up every single time. We grow, evolve& become better at what we do.

 10. Remember why you started the Business: When the going gets tough, it’s important to tap into that original passion that made you want to start the business in the first place. When the stress or the negativity begins to pull you under, just step back and get back that inspiration.

Never give up

 

We love the lessons by Richard Branson and Tim Ferris’s 4-hour workweek; we’ve known a lot of people who implement them in their everyday life.

 

We hope these 10 tips will help you as you DE-clutter your workweek and make it more stress-free.

 

Have a good day! We’ve got more great posts coming this week, what would you like to discuss? What topics are you curious about?

Let us know!

 

-Social Pandora

Figuring out the Tablet wars-Which one will you buy?

How do you choose form the range? (Image via WeSEE)

The battleground is set and our warriors are all ready to fight it out. In just this week, Apple, Nokia and Microsoft have released new tablets and it’s going to be very hard for consumers to make the choice. Especially since you have competition from Google, Amazon and Samsung with their low cost versions. In just a few years the tablet has become the most sought after device; some preferring to buy tablets over laptops even!

 

Over 2.3 million tablets were sold in Australia last year of which 52% bought iPads, 43% bought Android and 5% bought Windows. These numbers are set to increase this year.

With an array of styles and price ranges to choose from, we’ve got a few tips to help you make up your mind.

  1. Know your Budget: Set a budget and stick to it especially when it comes to buying gadgets. Try not to get duped by the slick conversational skills of the sales folk.
  2. Choose a tablet with the right Operating System for your needs:  Different tablets run on different Operating Systems and arguably the top 3 most popular ones are iOS for iPad and iPad Mini, Android running on different tablets from different manufacturers, Windows RT and Windows 8.1. iOS may be easier to understand than the other two, but all three boast a wide variety of apps from the App store.

 

Here are a few options: (Source:Engadget)

In the 10-Inch tablets, choose from the Apple Ipad Air priced at $499 and up, Google Nexus 10 priced at $399 and up providing great value for money, Sony Xperia  Z priced at $499 and up.

7& 8-Inch Tablets:  Google Nexus 7 priced at $230 and up, iPad Mini at $399 and up, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX – $229 and up

Windows: Microsoft Surface Pro 2 – at $599 and up and ASUS Transformer Book T100 -$349 and up (At Amazon), Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2- $629 and up

 

If you don’t have access to wifi, choose from a range of options for 3G or 4G:

 

Apple iPad Mini (Wifi and Cellular) -$529 and up

Google Nexus 7 (2013)- $350

Galaxy note 8.0 – $500

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2- $749

 

The best buys for Budget:  Google Nexus 16GB -$230

ASUS Memo Pad Hd7- $150 for 16GB

Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)- $139 and up for 8GB or 16GB of storage

 

Make sure you try all the Operating Systems when shopping for one.

3.Choose the size of tablet according to your needs:  7-8 inch tablets are perfect for browsing, reading a book, checking e-mails or playing a few games. They’re definitely handy & can fit into handbags too; if it’s light use you’re after pick up a 7-inch tablet. If you’re looking for a larger screen and more work space , choose a 10-inch tablet.

 

We’ve known people who use the 7-8 inch tablets for work too and are quite happy with it so it’s actually a personal choice. Choose whatever works for you.

4.Choose a tablet with the right specs:  What kind of storage options do you need? Is 16GB enough or 32GB? Or even more? Is it for at home use over wifi or usage outside over cellular network?

Do you store a lot of files, music or videos? Then maybe one with higher storage is right for you. What kind of camera do you want?

Would you want Apple iPad Air- Dual core A7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 16GB to 32GB of storage with 1.2 Megapixel front &5Mp rear camera?

Or maybe Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with 1.6Ghz dual core, Intel core i5 processor, 4GB or 8GB, 64GB to 512GB of storage, 720p front and rear cameras?

Consider your usage and then decide if you want to splurge.

5.Is innovation a key area for choosing a tablet?  With so many options to choose from, buying a tablet can be difficult and not to mention overwhelming.  Check here for a full list of specs and different tablet options  for ideas.

Innovation is key for makign your choice

 (Image by WeSEE)

 We hope these 5 steps will help you decide on which one to buy, but here are our choices based on user reviews and the choices of our own team members

Best Tablet overall– Apple iPad

New tablets to note– Apple iPad Air, and iPad Mini with retina display

Best Android Tablet- Google Nexus 7

Best value for money- ASUS transformer Book T100

Best for Uni- Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 with its S-Pen makes taking notes easy.

 

Which one is your favorite? What will you be buying this Christmas? We’d love to hear from you!

 

-Social Pandora

How to Rock ‘Rich Pins’ for your business – What marketers need to know about Rich Pins

What are Rich pins? (Image via Technobuffalo.com)

On a personal level individuals use Pinterest for dozens of reasons and statistics will tell you just how awesome it is but on a business level, users have found it a great tool for engagement.

In today’s post, we’ll tell you how to rock ‘Rich Pins’ for your business.

‘Rich Pins’ are pins that include more information about pinned images; they include more information on products (see examples), recipes (see examples), movies (see examples), articles (see examples) although they may not be suitable for every business profile, they do however work as a powerful tool that both you & your audience will love because it is a time saver really, eliminating the need to manually update each pin with content.

The advantage of using Rich Pins is that they always display the latest information for pins because they are updated from the Meta data that is placed on a business webpage , if you are having a sale or a promo or increase in price, everything on Pinterest is synched to what is currently present on your website making shopping or finding information easier!

Product Rich Pins:

Product rich pins

Recipe Rich Pins:

Recipe Rich Pins

Movie Rich Pins:

Movie Rich Pin

So why should you have Rich Pins for your business?

  1. Automatic Updation: As mentioned above, no manual editing, 70% of people on Pinterest use it for inspiration on what to buy, if they’re in the area they might come over and check out your store!
  2.   Increased Visibility: Rich pins include your business/brand name & logo underneath the image. The more it is shared the more you’re known!
  3.    Product Pins display current prices, availability and where to buy them. Recipe pins allow information like ingredients, cooking times and temperatures, calories per serving to be displayed while Movie pins display reviews, ratings and cast members, Article pins show the source of the article, the writer, a brief description and you can create a board that will act like a reading list, something that is immensely useful for readers an content sites alike.

 So you get all that by just clicking on one image! You could read more on why Rich pins are so valuable for business here  (Source: Social Media Examiner)

  • In May 2012, Shopify did a study that showed an average sales order of $80 from Pinterest referral traffic, compared to $40 from Facebook referral traffic. Pins with prices were also 16% more likely to get likes than those without.
  • In February 2013, Sephora found that Pinterest users spent 15 times more than Facebook users.
  • In February 2013, Business Insider noted that Pinterest now has 25 million users, many of whom are wealthy young females who love to shop.

Okay this is exciting right? Now on to how to get them!

Pinterest has a developer’s page that explains very clearly how to get Rich pins. These are the steps involved:

–       Determine which type of pin you want to receive the rich text application

–       Determine the method of embedding for content. oEmbed or Semantic Markup (Schema.org or Open Graph metatags)

–       Apply for your rich pins to be accepted and used

–       Add the Meta tags on your website

–       Validate and apply rich pins

Now encourage your customers to share images too, it will help with the reviews, engagement and in getting more views for your website and store.

If you want you can choose to opt out of rich pins by using 
the Meta tag <meta name="pinterest-rich-pin" content="false" /> 
within the head section of the HTML markup page.

Increase Brand exposure  with Rich pins and watch how it works for your business. With Christmas around the corner this will be well worth it!

What do you think about Rich pins? Have you integrated in into your website as yet? Here are a few examples of companies for whom rich pins have worked, and we hope it inspires you too!

Let us know what you think!

Happy Pinning folks!

-SocialPandora