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Hundreds of millions of active Instagram users every month are posting forty million photos a day on Instagram. Think about those numbers for a few minutes. Now that they’ve sunk in I think we can agree that learning how to use Instagram to best promote your business, product or service is a very, very wise move indeed. The potential it offers is really “mind blowing”, for lack of a better description.

Even more good news is that there is solid techniques and methods that can help you make the most of Instagram that are both easy to implement and execute.

Why Instagram Is Good For Your Business

1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

No it’s not a cliché at all. Do you have a product that you can display in a really visual dynamic way? Or a service that some great photos can highlight in an emotionally charged, dramatic manner? If you can translate the passion of what you offer or do into a visual image this opens a fantastic door of opportunity. Most people like to look at interesting images and if you can “draw” them in with a photo that is an “ad” but isn’t, it could end up worth as much as some of the best advertising campaigns out there. Be creative!

2. Instagram Can Offer A Behind the Scenes Look

When you share some photos that offer a behind the scenes look at your business, it can go a long way towards building a sense of rapport and familiarity between your work and those you are offering it to. This is one of the most powerful ways social media can help you change the game. A photo of your product being made or the service you offer being performed from the perspective of an “insider” can really intrigue and fascinate potential customers and clients. This is one of the reasons why television is packed with shows of people working at interesting jobs. It’s human nature to be curious about what’s going on “behind the curtain”.

3. It Encourages Customer Participation

Once you have built a reasonable amount of followers the door is wide open to encourage customers to exchange and participate in exchanges involving your business, through the use of things like hash tags. Why not encourage them to share photos of themselves using your product or service, if appropriate? Social media is social after all. This is why people love it so much and the more fun exchanges they have with your business in social media the greater chance they will end up spending money with you and encouraging their whole social circle to as well!

4. Instagram Allows You To Build a Personality for Your Business

Instagram should be an intricate part of building a distinct and winning personality for your business. Combined with other forms of social media, your website and your advertising, you are given a great opportunity for moulding how your business is perceived by your customers and potential leads. Are you trying to convey lightheartedness, seriousness, or some other “feel”?

The right photos shared on Instagram can go a long way in building a personality and “aura” for your brand. Don’t underestimate the potential value of this universally…… especially in niche markets where personality is even more important.

5. Trust Building

The online experience can take a human face away from our business interactions. This is a bad thing if you are looking to build trust in what you offer. Instagram lets you put a face, literally, on your efforts and in ways that can be targeted to help build confidence in you. This is a very good thing.

If you learn how to use Instagram to help build or reinforce trust in your efforts this will quickly equal more sales and more happy customers. Don’t neglect the occasional happy go lucky photos which can go a long way in this direction.

6. Instagram Keeps Your Name In Conversation

Learn how to use Instagram to keep people talking about your business. An idea that’s been proven to work again and again? Holding Instagram contests.

Instagram is the ideal platform to hold contests to promote your business. The options are only limited by your imagination. “The best photo shared featuring what you offer receives a free product” is a popular formula that works again and again.

Contests are a great way to get Instagram users and other lovers of social media talking about you and what you do!

7. Instagram Helps Promote Special Events

Are you planning on going to a trade show or something similar? Promote the fact you are going, on Instagram, to draw support and interest in your attending. During and afterward, document your trip with cool and fun Instagram photo shares. Focus on some containing yourself and customers or other business associates. Nearly everyone loves this type of fun attention. People also don’t like to feel like they are missing out on something so they may be interested to rock up at your next show to experience the adventure in person.

8. The Chance To Go Viral

Think company mascots, pets, adorable babies or animals doing funny things around your logo. It only takes one home run to change the public profile of your business forever so don’t laugh this off. It’s also a nice thing to encourage employees or friends and family to participate in sharing the word about your business. Yes, one cute kitten photo shared for free can equal tens of thousands of dollars of advertising. Welcome to the age of social media. Learn how to use Instagram along with the other more obvious platforms and become a social marketing guru of the digital age!

You can see with a nice dose of creativity, some thought, a plan and the right spirit can go a long way towards Instagram becoming a real asset in helping your business. Jump right in and don’t be shy. Getting your feet wet in Instagram is something you can do right away, and the more you use it the more comfortable you will become in the Instagram arena.

I hope our 8 Tips are helpful in your learning of how to use Instagram and achieving continued success for your business!

POST VIA JOEL

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If you don’t know, companies have already started using twitter as it is the new way to promote, connect and brand a company. In my last post I mentioned if your company is not using twitter then your company is going to miss out be crushed.

So why bother using twitter for your business? Even twitter themselves know about the power of using twitter for business that they’ve set up a special twitter 101. Here is what twitter says

Here are reasons that I’ve came up.

1. Connecting with customers

This is the  main reason why you should use twitter for your business. You will be able to connect with your customers because they themselves are using twitter. Twitter has become a daily routine where people log onto it every single day, some log onto twitter the first thing they wake up even before brushing their teeth. If you have an unsatisfied customer you will hear them on twitter. This will help your company to help them. On the coming days I’ll be going deeper about how you can “spy” on tweets using free tools like twitter search.

2. Branding

You don’t have to be a big brand like Dell, Nike, Starbucks to brand yourself on twitter. You can be an average joe and brand yourself on twitter. For me if your company is not recognize then you need to get a PERSONAL account. Why? Firstly nobody want to talk to a LOGO unless its a famous brand. Everyone wants to connect with a person and not a bot.

3. Customers feedback

Once you have connected with your customers you will for sure be getting feedback on how you can improve your product, your services and maybe even improve your customers service. Listening to them will help you in the future.

4. Marketing

One of the reasons to use twitter is you get to market your product or services to more people and the best part about that is its FREE. You don’t have to pay (Unless if you plan to hire someone to run your twitter account).

5. News

You can also give latest updates on twitter about your company by tweeting. Here is one done by JetBlue Airways on their twitter account @jetblue

6. Give away coupon codes and promotions

You can also tweet about new deals and coupons codes to help give your company the extra boost. What everyone love include me is getting a good deal. Weather its a promotional lunch set, if its cheap. I want it. Here is  a tweet on Dell is doing it.

For me you don’t have to be like dell in order to do this. You can have a normal business as well. If you have a restaurant and you have build loyal or new followers in your place you can send out tweet like “Having a special set lunch this weekend.” or something like that. They can tweet you for more information regarding that. I am going to teach you how you can get local twitterers.

7. Twitter is Viral

If you’ve have succeeded gaining some popularity with your twitter account you will know how viral twitter can be. This will be part of your marketing strategies that you can use in the future. Dell have succeeded in making their tweets viral with their promotion tweets.

8. Spying on competition

Did you know you can spy on competitiPostson too? Best part about this and spying on customers is that its FREE using twitter search. You can not only read what customers are talking about you but you can also read what customers are talking about your competition. If your competition is not doing anything with their customers complaints. Then what happens if you (the savior) suddenly tweet them “hey I heard you have a problem with…..” Just an example.

9. Increase Sales

Twitter can help you increase sales and make PROFIT. Dell is one of the company that have increase their sales on twitter. How much sales? Imagine $6.5 million in sales as reported at mashable

10. Brand loyalty

At the end of the day, once you have engaged, helped your customers (your followers) on twitter. They will be loyal to your brand for a long time. This will be talked more in the future post.

Via Aaron at www.askaaronlee.com

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As of January 2013 Facebook had over 1 billion monthly active users and 618 million daily users. With such a huge potential audience at your finger tips, simply signing your business up for Facebook page and waving your digital flat there may seem like enough.

But how do you use Facebook as a tool to truly grow your business in a tangible way? The trick is to make sure that the time you spend there directly ties into one of the following four strategic business activities.

1. Increase Leads and Sales

Increasing leads and sales is the top reason businesses join Facebook. If used strategically, Facebook can be an excellent promotional vehicle your business. You can post a link to your whitepaper, introduce a new product or promote an upcoming sale.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you put out a good mix of promotional and social content. As a general rule, no more than one out of every five posts at most should be about your products or services. There’s no faster way to lose Facebook Likes than to post a non-stop stream of promotional material. Remember the majority of your posts should simply provide interesting content that engages your followers.

2. Provide Customer Service

More and more, consumers turn to social media for customer service inquiries, and Facebook can be an excellent place to facilitate these interactions. Of course, providing customer service in front a live audience can have its perils if not handled appropriately, but engaging and answering your customers’ questions in a public space can also pay off as you demonstrate how engaged your business is, and that you care about their concerns.

  • Here are a few guidelines to follow when providing customer service support on Facebook:
  • Use a consistent voice when answering customer questions (avoid Facebook multi-personality disorders!)
  • Answer customer questions in a timely manner (ideally with 24 hours). Answering a customer’s questions three weeks after it was asked it is a fast way to lose credibility.
  • Be honest and genuine when dealing with customer complaint. Admit if you’ve made a mistake and you’ll look more human for it.
  • Don’t delete a negative post! Address these posts directly and tactfully, and do whatever is reasonably possible help resolve your customer’s issues.

3. Build Brand Loyalty

Repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising are some of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business, but you have to earn them. If used correctly Facebook can help you bolster brand loyalty within your target market. One of the best ways to do this is by recognizing and rewarding loyal customers, and there are easy ways to do this on your Facebook page:

  • Recognize your most loyal customers. A public “thank you” can go a long way for a loyal customer.
  • Highlight a post or picture from one of your fans on a weekly basis. This is a great way to reward customers that are engaging with your Facebook page.
  • Provide exclusive discounts to people who Like your page, and to your loyal followers.

4. Conduct Marketing Research

Your Facebook page is like a highly qualified and engaged focus group. It’s made up of customers who like your brand, are interested in your products and may even be willing to help you out for free. When you’re considering development of a new product or launching a marketing campaign, you can easily reach out to your followers for insights.

For example, before sinking a boatload of resources into developing a new product or service make sure you ask your Facebook fans their opinions.  For example if you are considering a new dish at your restaurant ask your customers what they think first to help predict its potential success.

Facebook can also be used for advertising research. If you plan to launch a new marketing campaign, you can use Facebook as an initial testing ground. Well-intentioned marketing messages can sometimes be misinterpreted by a broader audience, so use Facebook to test the waters.

via Nick Johansson via www.smallbusinessbc.ca

STATISTICS

  1. Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.(HubSpot)
  2. 49% of consumers use Facebook to search for restaurants. (Mashable)
  3. 58% of Facebook users expect offers, events or promotions when they become a fan.(HubSpot)
  4. 81% . survey respondents say friends’ social media posts have directly influenced a purchase decision. (Forbes)
  5. 15.1 million consumers go to social media channels before making a purchase decision.(Knowledge Networks)
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A common timeline of the modern day dining out experience includes making a reservation on OpenTable, arriving to the restaurant, consulting Foursquare for dish recommendations, Instagramming your plate, eating, leaving, and logging onto Yelp to review your experience. It’s a social cycle that is meant to help others formulate opinions of an unfamiliar restaurant, but the openness of these sites make the comments hard to judge. You can’t filter good reviews from paid endorsements, while bad reviews are often based off a petty, one-time experience.

Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine is sick and tired of that crap. Social media has put power back into consumers’ hands but neglected to allow businesses to control their own Web presence or acknowledge that sometimes, customers, too, can be at fault. So it decided to change the way it’s been using social media this whole time.

socialmediarestaurant

Suddenly, the power has transformed into reverse Yelp. Restaurants like Red Medicine have realized they, too, can review customers who have wronged them.

“Most diners don’t realize the impact no shows make on a restaurant. Losing numerous prime tables, besides hurting a business, is not fair to the guests who take an earlier or later reservation than they wanted originally,” a Red Medicine representative tells me. “We understand emergencies happen, but most diners who no-show most likely don’t think twice about it. We’d like them to realize that one short call to cancel can make a big difference.”

We contacted a few OpenTable restaurants across the states to see if they agree with this tactic.

“On behalf of the owners of Nopa and Nopalito, I can speak with complete conviction in saying that this is not a practice that we would ever take on,” says Stephen Satterfield, representing the San Francisco restaurants. “As one who manages the social media here, the approach seems a little too petty and combative. We’d rather focus our energy on uplifting, educational, and more lighthearted content.”

Santos Uy, owner of LA’s Papilles Bistro, disagrees, comparing no-shows to being stood up. “A lot of people in LA are either ignorant about dining out or just have no respect for restaurants. Small places like us and Red Medicine that are destination spots that don’t rely on foot traffic … That lost table could’ve paid your labor cost for the day,” he told Los Angeles Times. “I applaud Red Medicine and I will be spending even more of my hard earned cash there.”

Other restaurants remained vague. “Here in Austin we use Twitter for peace, love, and rock and roll,” says Scott Walker, vice president of operations for Texas-based Congress.

“Whether people agree with our reaction, we hope that it brings attention to how all restaurants are impacted by no-shows,” Red Medicine says. The restaurant noted that the tweet ousting will not be an ongoing policy.

This isn’t the first example of how restaurants are beginning to take social media powers back into its hands; Earlier this year, several New York City restaurants imposed a ban on customers Instagramming their food, citing that flash photography affects the in-house dining experience. “We get on top of those folks right away or else it’s like a circus,” David Bouley of Bouley NYC told the New York Times.

With restaurants beginning to take social media on the offense, the trend leaves us wondering if now begins the era of hostile Internet-ing. If you reserve the right to complain about a business, businesses, too, will out you for your inconsiderate ways. Suddenly, the Web is no longer a helpful place for local recommendations, but a compilation of who not to mess with. It makes us think twice about the bitter taste we leave behind in something as small as a Yelp review.

this post via @digitaltrends