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website contentRecently someone gave me a box of assorted canned goods. They were all in good condition, none were expired, but unfortunately the wrappers had been removed. From all of them. We spent the next few weeks playing “guess what we’re having for dinner!” as we would open one can at a time and work them into our meal for the evening.

Those cans reminded me of a website I went to once.  It looked really hi-tech, easy to access, all in all it was a pretty cool site. But it had one thing wrong with it. I had no idea what they were. All of the words they used were their own internal tech speak, and while I was only there for some research, I left shaking my head and to this day I still have no idea what they did for a living.

Which brings me to the point of this article. Is your website content understandable to the common layperson?  Are you using words that only people in your field will understand? If you are hoping to reach the “regular Joe on the street” with your product, or service, you should think about how your information is coming across.

The average American still reads and assimilates information at a basic 8th (or even 7th) grade level. So if you want to improve your traffic and follow-thru, you have to present your products, or brand of services, in a very concise, reader-oriented manner, without relying on unnecessary explanations or titles that aren’t typically understood by 7th or 8th graders.

I’m not talking about “dumbing down” your product or service, but if you want people to find your site you may want to re-think some things. SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t that complicated. What words will people use to find you? Figure that out and put those words into your copy. You’ll be surprised how much that will help with traffic to your site!

I hope this has helped a bit. As for me, I’m off to discover what’s on the menu for dinner!

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Instagram&MarketingTitleHeader2

Instagram isn’t just a great platform for amateur and professional photographers, artists, chefs and videographers. It is an amazing platform for any business that is serious about social media marketing.

Search engine optimization is one of the quintessential elements of internet marketing. Many people dismissed it a decade back. Today, social media marketing on platforms like Instagram has become quintessential for online outreach.

That should probably tell you if it is a good idea to invest in marketing on Instagram. Now, the real question is how you should go about it.

Get Familiar

Instagram allows you to get accustomed with the top trends. Not only would you be able to figure out what’s trending and what people are saying but you shall be able to delve into the details to truly understand the market sentiment. Not everything that trends is actually endorsed. A lot of negative trends also shape up. Get to know what’s happening in your niche or on social media in general. You would understand your audience, their online behavior, preferences and dislikes and accordingly you can present your own brand.

Boost

Knowing the trends will influence your interaction with your audience and that is a great boost to your marketing endeavors. A good example will be Dunkin’ Donuts which has been using some of the most obvious contexts to interact with its fans. The brand uses every sporting event, public holidays or national events to interact with its audience. From Thanksgiving to Halloween, Super Bowl to Christmas, the brand uses every opportunity to make its presence felt.

Engagement

Engagement is the key to Instagram marketing. A brand shouldn’t indulge in the bombardment of marketing contents or promotional materials. The timelines of the audience must not be treated as billboards. A brand must contribute some value to the conversations, burning topics or current affairs and should make the audience feel special.

Learn

Instagram helps businesses to learn what the audience likes, what they have to say about different things, how they respond to certain marketing strategies, what kind of content they are appreciating and who all they are rejecting outright. Knowing these will always help a business to become more relevant and thus more liked.

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Instagram marketing toolIt’s not surprising that businesses around the world use social networking as a marketing tool. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram have the power to spread the word and to make a brand more famous, generating interaction with customers.

All types of businesses are finding that Instagram can work as a great marketing tool. Using social media intelligently, can strengthen your brand and promote customer loyalty quickly.

Use Original Photos to Promote Your Products and Services

Do not post generic pictures or text images. Use creative and funny pictures. Avoid posting product photographs more than three or four times daily to not tire your followers. And never repeat the same image – this is considered a mortal sin on Instagram. Starbucks, which has thousands of followers, mix beautiful close- ups of their Frappuccino’s with their workers trying new products.

Promote Competition between Your Followers

It’s a fun and cheap way to interact with potential customers. Ask for your followers to submit personal photos trying your products. Then choose the best of the day or week and give one of your products to a winner. Levi’s is a brand that does it, asking their followers to send photos using their favorite clothing brand: more than 3 thousands of pictures were sent to the contest.

Show where you are

Is your business local and requires visits? This can be a good way for people to know where you are. Complement your pictures with good captions and also use geolocation. If a company has several franchises is a good way to show where they are. Another alternative is to register the company’s presence at events or conferences to show credibility. An example of how this tip works is Starbucks’ Instagram profile. The brand has branches throughout several countries. Having the geolocation turned on indicates where they are and which shops are promoting contests.

Post Backstage Images

How your products are made? Pictures of the manufacturing process can add an interesting value to your sales and bring more information to the buyer. Which services your company provides? What is your process of working? Stimulate the curiosity of your followers on what happens within the company, post photos of employees in moments of relaxation – company parties and events work well too. It is a common practice of several companies, showing how they combine product pictures with images of parades or their staff.

The most important thing is to adapt your message to the field of your business. We must try to understand the intersection between your company’s goals and what can be done through images and videos that will keep the public interested. And do not forget to comment your followers’ photos, answer questions to their questions and tag partners (suppliers, customers, and employees).

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instagram-hootsuite

Finally, a way to schedule our pics to Instagram!

Hootsuite is offering a few webinars to instruct us better, but until then, let me share what I know so far. After adding your Instagram account to Hootsuite, (as you would any other social platform), it is easy to proceed.

  • You can schedule your pic and your content/hashtags for Instagram in Hootsuite as you would your Tweets for Twitter.
  • The first time you do this, Hootsuite will walk you through the steps to be sure your phone is linked for notifications. Note: You will have to download the Hootsuite app onto your phone.
  • Hootsuite will then send you a notification on your phone and let you know it’s time to send your pic to Instagram.
  • From there you have a chance to edit your photo. Press the “write a caption” area to bring up the paste / clip. Hit paste and your pre-written post will show up.
  • Press blue check mark and you are done.

I know Instagram never wanted to lose the personal touch of their platform and I am pleased with the compromise. I can take the time I want to load my pics and choose my hashtags, and also choose the best time to post. But there is no walking away and not thinking about it again. I still have to be involved.

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MySpace

If I had my way, I probably would still be on MySpace, checking in 2x a day to take my cookies out of the oven, and redecorating my awesome house. But times change. My kids grew up – and as that happened I needed to venture out of my comfort zone so I could “follow” them and be part of their world. My first tweet to my son was “Where did you put the remote?”  Yes, I was one of those moms.

And then, wow. Now I have a Google+ page, I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, About.Me, Instagram, Pinterest and something else I can’t remember right now.

At first it was pretty overwhelming. Who can possibly monitor all those social sites and still maintain any life at all? Soon though, it started sorting itself out. Facebook is just hanging out with friends, so I check it once or twice a day, while for me Twitter is a bit more professional, sharing SEO and Raw Food stuff, so I usually only check it once or twice a week.

Google+ is for work. Good info to help keep me up to speed on the ever-changing field I have chosen for this time of my life. So usually 2 evenings I will peruse and see what is interesting. I use Pinterest to get some good ideas and keep them all in one spot (like clipping all those magazine articles and recipes, only way better!). I have had to designate Saturday mornings ONLY for Pinterest, as I can get lost in there for hours!

The others? I have chosen not to spend much time at all there. Maybe every one to three months I’ll check and see what’s new. I still keep my ears open for new things coming along, and in my work I have to be knowledgeable, after all, Witmer Group IS a social media marketing company! But I’ve given myself permission not to need to be caught up in every social media trend that comes along. I don’t have to belong to every party in town. I can just choose the ones that I like, and if I never see your Instagram pics, well, maybe I should just pick up the phone and give you a call.

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