What’s so great about Instagram? For one thing, more and more marketers are waking up to the possibilities of the medium, with its simple to use interface and engaged demographics. True to form, marketing tools are emerging that can provide business owners with more functionality and insight surrounding how they post on the network, an indicator that businesses are taking it seriously. At face value, Instagram is seemingly the perfect platform for marketing visually appealing products, since its emphasis on images and its scrolling system of browsing are reminiscent of window shopping and in that sense is similar to Pinterest, which many use in order to create virtual wishlists. In order to make your small business’s efforts on Instagram pay off, there are a few factors that business owners should consider regarding what they are posting and how. Quality trumps quantity. The feeds that have the most subscribers aren’t always the ones that post the most content. Instagram users tend to be pretty

The use of social media is now the number one internet based activity in the US, with the average American spending around 37 minutes a day on their various accounts. For small businesses, not having any social presence long ago stopped being ok, along with not having a web site it is now one of the basics of getting yourself out there and being visible to your customers. Now, in light of the increasing prevalence of mobile devices and social media, often used in conjunction, business owners should look to the future and prepare themselves to win in a world increasingly driven by social and mobile marketing. Building a presence that is valuable takes time and some strategy, but business owners can’t afford to skip out on channels that are becoming more an more an intrinsic part of how people decide what to buy. Social marketing. With the price of entry set at free for most social networks, business owners will find that they have no

A social media following is a highly organic thing, and who you are following in return can make a lot of difference in regards to your experience interacting with it as well as in relation to the insights that you are able to gather from looking at your feeds. When it comes to optimizing your social experience as a business owner, a good rule of thumb is that you should be generous with who you follow, but quick to prune out poor quality or irrelevant accounts. The name of the game is definitely quality over quantity when it comes to social media, unless your goal is to simply aggregate tons of views for the content that you are putting out. Views alone that don’t correlate with other engagement activity have very limited value for business owners, so it’s better to create a smaller following of highly engaged followers and follow valuable influencers than it is to aggregate a huge cross section of social users with

Social media is a dynamic tool that business owners can get much value out of, from mining new prospects, networking, and soliciting constructive feedback that they can use to shape the direction of their policies. This last activity can be particularly beneficial, giving you the benefit of direct, undiluted customer feedback that has the potential to shape the way that you grow and shift the priority of goals, but hopefully not before doing your due diligence. Just because a customer suggests something via social, that does not mean that suggestion represents the wishes of your entire market. Business owners still need to look before they leap when it comes to the way they handle and react to customer suggestions. While a single customer may have a good idea, in another, just as likely scenario, they may have an individual preference or opinion that is not widely shared by the rest of your customers. The good news is that testing the popularity of a proposed change to

  Small business owners will often have a very love/ hate relationship to social media. One day they will be thrilled to find a slew of new followers, the next they might be grousing that the time they spend managing their presences was all wasted. Ultimately, any way that they can make using and building a following on social media easier is something pretty much 100% of them would be interested in. One way for them to do just that is through looking at the businesses in the same position as themselves and reaching out. In order to show why small business owners should have each others backs when it comes to their marketing efforts, here are seven reasons why small business owners should retweet each other (and like, and reblog, etc.) 1) It builds small business awareness. The  concept of raising awareness of small businesses and promoting shopping local isn’t exactly novel, but that doesn’t mean that your business should sit on the sidelines. When

  We have already written about the potential uses of Instagram in a small business context, but as mobile continues to grow in importance, so does being able to tap into the audience using it in order to build loyalty, brand recognition and ultimately a base for increased sales. For further evidence that Instagram represents a potential boon to marketers, look no further than the emergence of a Hootsuite style scheduling program specifically for managing Instagram posting. Schedugram allows business owners to manage posting in advance for multiple images across multiple accounts, making the otherwise tedious process of posting bulk images to Instagram much easier. Marketers can deduce the most productive times to post, and then schedule campaigns around those times without the need to manually post on a clock. Why schedule posts? There are a number of tactical advantages being able to schedule posts in advance confers on marketers. From being able to perfectly time releases of content across different platforms, to keeping content coming

  Social media management not only allows small businesses access to a potentially limitless audience, it’s also fun to use and a great venue for demonstrating creativity and a flair for marketing.  Within the process of managing accounts, the question of how to attract followers is one of the most pressing ones for business owners who may not truly be familiar with social media etiquette in terms of who to follow and who to not. In truth, there isn’t really such a thing as a predefined social media etiquette, and profiles tend to simply reflect the personalities of the people involved in managing them. For this reason, when business owners find other social media users that they feel like they click with it can be a good idea to not only follow them back but a more mutually fruitful cross promotion. One of the most popular and well known of these promotions is follow Friday. Follow Friday is probably most common on Twitter, but other

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