The Visual Business: Instagram Insights and Curation Tools

According to RuthAnn Wiesner, "if content is king, then Instagram is its own castle". As to why Instagram matters that much for business, here is a list of reasons compiled by Socialbakers:

  • 300million monthly active users (MAU)
  • 75million daily active users (DAU)
  • Top 25 Instagram brand profiles receive 110 times more engagement than on Twitter
  • Over 1Billion Likes Daily
  • 3,600 new photos shared every minute everyday

Instagram Insights for Business

The visual platform itself is proving to be a good marketing tool for marketers and brands alike. As of August 2016, Instagram announced its release of Stories, aiming to take a swipe at Snapchat´s successful video messaging tool. In short, a platform that features plenty of opportunities for small and medium-sized business and just about any brand looking for a return on investment for their efforts.

Getting Your "Insta" Stories for Your Business

To get it up and running you need an "insta" business account. You can create one from scratch or upgrade your personal one. To upgrade, click the turn wheel icon in the upper right section of your profile and hit "switch". Warning: personal accounts can’t benefit from Stories at the moment.

Benefits of Insta Stories

Is there anything else besides the fresh social marketing perspective? You bet!

Stories allows your business account to be easily discovered by followers and non-followers. You also get access to Analytics, which gives a better insight to what works and what converts across your visual strategy.

Insta Tips and Tricks

It’s all about creating engagement and a sense of community with your followers. To do that, you need to transform your Instagram business channel into a visual storyteller. Here is what you can consider:

  • Show personality
  • Less is more: keep it 80% non-business and just 20% products/services
  • Have call to action elements
  • Follow back and engage
  • Comment on other users’ photos
  • Tag customers for contests and celebrations
  • Use hashtags
  • Say thank you
  • Don’t over-abuse the Direct Messaging options J

The Greatness of Community

Additionally, photograph events and capture video with customers interacting with your products and services. Do not forget call to action elements such as life hacks, product reviews or suggestions for upcoming product launches, promotions and giveaways. Implicate your community members!

Getting Help from the Popular Kids

Follow back, engage and comment with #influencers of Instagram. Tagging users is a great conversation starter, however don’t overuse it.

There is no limit now for using hashtags, but don’t overdo it either, as it sends out the wrong message. Alas, keep the hashtags relevant. Don’t use only the hashtags that get massive clicks, but also the ones that get less, but more targeted traffic.  

Harnessing the Power of Instagram Photos

Instagram is all about the "instant" visual: image, video and now story. How you choose to tell your story is more relevant than you think. This blog post from Yotpo showcases the uniqueness of "insta" stories:

  • Instagram photos convert better than other types of visual content
  • Instagram pics also convert because customer trust photos from previous customers
  • Using Instagram has a positive effect on increasing e-comm conversion and engagement
  • Instagram photos can be used in marketing materials
  • Using Instagram photos allows you to repurpose valuable content, integrate user-generated content

Additional Practices and Curation Tools

To get a grasp of how existing businesses are succeeding, first check the Business Instagram page. Proceed by giving a chance to either of these curation tools to help you filter through stories, or to create better, more appealing stories for your insta business.

VSCO

This is an Android and iOS photo-editing mobile app with high quality filters, with a free download button. You can use this part social network and photo editing platform to really set yourself apart from the rest.

Snapseed

Available on both iOS and Android OS, this is more than just your average photo editing mobile app. You can fine-tune photos by applying effects with a brush instead of filtering the entire image. Extra: save groups of filters as a template after the initial use, and reuse them Shakira style, "whenever, wherever".  

Boomerang

This is an in-house Instagram goody, which allows you to create 1-second videos with no audio. Essentially super short GIFS that loop back and forth. Vinederful, in a way.

Before You Go…

Bottom line: Instagram is more than just a photo-editing & social sharing tool, proving that businesses can convert and strategize through the power of visual. One perfect example of insta success is National Geographic. Thanks to a large network of photographers their images never fail to tell a great story.

Not sure about your own Instagram marketing strategy? This infographic illustrates elements you can integrate for higher success rate.

Google Display Ad Dimensions 2014

Source: Techwyse

Why Data Will Boost Your Marketing Effectiveness

We develop blindness towards all sorts of advertising. When first introduced online, banner ads achieved a 50-90% CTR. Now the majority of people can’t stand them. Marketing effectiveness demands a change.

It’s not so much that various methods of marketing are inherently ineffective. It’s just that people get used to them, so marketers need to innovate. Data-driven marketing is one result of this ever-present need for change.

Why You Need to Have Data-Driven Marketing

The proliferation of information in our time might lead you to believe that companies are using data all the time in their marketing. However, they are not.

The Harvard Business Review reports that while infographics are now fairly standard, very few of them portray data that tells an original story. Marketers tend to use data for their own decision-making, but not for creating content that adds value to their customers.

That’s really too bad because the insight data offers can be quite interesting and even enriching. Solid, data-driven content gives your company credibility. If you have reliable facts backing up your opinions, people will see you as trustworthy. Another advantage is that your own knowledge will increase as you share information with other influencers.

Data can also have a lot of power simply from the fact that much content on the internet is mediocre. If your content has integrity—if it is original and accurate—it will stand out.

The companies that are best at marketing with data use it to appeal to people’s emotions. They present their data in format that is interesting to look at (hence the popularity of infographics), and ideally they put the information in the context of a story.

If-youre-a-brand-publisher-feat Quote source

For the Google Trends “Year in Search 2015,” Google did an amazing job at turning data into a compelling story. The company presented the top searches of the year through a brief video. The opening text says, “In 2015 the questions we asked revealed who we are.”

The video goes on to show the questions people searched, such as “how can i help the refugees” and “how can we overcome prejudice,” interspersing the questions with pertinent footage from the year. The video used data not only to tell the individual stories behind the searches but also to tie them together into a larger narrative of unity within diversity.

Data Dangers

Businesses run into trouble implementing data effectively for a number of reasons. First, there is simply an overwhelming amount of it. It can be difficult to know how to sort through and productively utilize all of a company’s accessible information.

Another potential pitfall is that sometimes those in charge incorrectly estimate the costs of gathering and storing data. Sometimes information isn’t gathered correctly or analyzed thoroughly, and often there is poor or no communication across departments. Data storage is also a huge factor. There are too many options and providers to choose from, too many new concepts to learn and pros and cons to consider. Here’s how Hosting Australia explains data centre hosting.

Silos are in fact a significant challenge to success, especially in larger companies. The larger a company grows, the greater the challenge to be unified and to communicate well about any goal. It’s also easy for businesses to lose sight of their goals if they are not relying on data for what their priorities should be and whether or not they are sidetracked from them.

It is critical to remember that data is not a solution in and of itself; it needs to be reliable. Kimberly Whitler of Forbes states, “If the data is bad—disorganized, incomplete, inconsistent, out of date—then the resulting decisions will be bad, too.” That’s why it’s important to have people at your company who understand how to find, analyze, and organize trustworthy data.

How to Leverage Data Effectively

As you seek to leverage data-driven content for your business, there are some specific principles you should keep in mind.

First, be strategic. Choose your data team carefully; it’s extremely valuable to have people from different departments and perspectives. Have a clear idea of your goals and KPIs so that you are mining your data with purpose.

Know the best channels to tap for the data you’re trying to attain. Is your audience primarily on Twitter? Then don’t waste time gathering information from Facebook or Instagram. Have good analytics models in place, as well as metrics with which to measure your results.

It should go without saying that your data should be as accurate as possible. Once you’ve collected enough information, use it to build customer personas that will lead to customer-focused content. Avoid silos by having cross-company goals, and evaluate and re-evaluate the data as you collect it.

Remember, data is most interesting and valuable to your customers when it is presented with visually appealing, quality content. Fortunately, quality content is exactly what Google is looking for and is one of the main ways you can get Google to index your site.

Neil Patel notes that having a blog is one important way to increase site traffic: “websites with blogs get an average of 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.”

Good content is interesting enough on its own, but having evidence to back up the content makes your position even more powerful. It’s also worth observing that Patel uses multiple infographics throughout his article, making use of their widespread appeal.

People Crave Insight into the World

People love to learn new information, especially if that information tells them something about who they are and is presented in a fresh way. Effective data-driven content will boost the power of your marketing because of its ability to make the truth interesting.

8 Tools For Your Social Media Team to Work Better Together

Man, social media is getting complicated, isn’t it? The attention to detail is extreme, and it is pretty much becoming mandatory for any brand to work as a team to accomplish their social goals. A little effort doesn’t go a long way anymore. Now it is all about the full scale social strategies if you want visibility and lead generation.

So, when you have to have an entire team working on your social media, what do you do to stay organized? A good collaboration tool – or more than one – is your best bet. It will let the manager of the team stay on top of things, and give everyone involved in social marketing a firm grasp of their role. That means fewer mistakes, and more productive engagement.

These are the eight I would personally recommend. Having maybe two or three of them for different purposes will give you and your social media team exactly what you need.

Google Drive

Google Drive

Google Drive is the most obvious on this list. I personally like it more for cloud storage of past blog posts, and as a database for strategies and data. It is a great tool for tying together all of your content, not just the social, so your team is always up to date and can go back and find something they need off of your main site.

Plus it’s free, and nearly everyone alive has a Google account these days. So it is a very convenient and efficient tool.

Coschedule

Coschedule

Coschedule is, to me, a hit and miss tool for the social aspect. On one hand, it does have a social planner and will auto-update your attached accounts. But on the other it isn’t exactly a social dashboard.

I would recommend it more as a tool for integrating social and content planning, so everyone is on the same page. It is a very good editorial calendar, with a hint of a social element. So worth getting, especially given how cheap it is. And it integrates with WordPress, right there into the dashboard. So it is easy to use for anyone.

Trello

I am going to come out and say this right now: I love Trello. Out of everything on this list, this is going to be the tool that I gush about the most. It is super easy, visual, versatile, and budget friendly.

Your team can use it with pretty much no instruction, since it is all pretty straight forward. I use it for team collaboration, personal project management, group project management, personal life planning, and I have even created Feature Roadmaps and Launch Timelines for startups. If you want to go a step further, allow anyone to contribute so they can offer suggestions for improvements.

Basecamp

With Basecamp, it can be hard to say whether it is a good tool or not. Features-wise, it is fantastic collaboration and project management option for both teams, and freelancers with an active client base.

But it starts at $29 per month, and is as much as $79 per month. Which means it is a bit of a steep price for a lot of startups and smaller businesses with a tight budget. Still, if you have the cash it is an undeniably helpful app.

Evernote

I have never been a huge fan of Evernote, but I know so many people who use it that I had to put it on the list. Collaborate with others, curate content, save links, and put it all in one place.

I would say the best thing about Evernote is that it is a major application, and so it integrates with just about everything. Making it a pretty useful tool if you need to go from one program to another, as well as across multiple devices.

Slack

Slack

I like Slack for its community building. You can create channels with multiple hashtag run sections for people to join. So you can actually create an account, and then make different areas for different projects.

It is very helpful it you need to communicate with multiple team combinations, especially since you can invite and lock out as necessary.

Skype

You have probably come across Skype at least once in your life. I know I use it on a regular basis, in spite of other tools coming around to take its place.

In fact, many clients prefer it as a method of communication, and so a lot of freelancers and teams for small businesses or startups already have it installed. It can be an easy way to hold meetings and keep on top of one another.

Redbooth

Redbooth

Want to streamline your team collaboration? This is an app that promises to do that for you, creating a high performance team of members that pretty much run themselves.

I have never used Redbooth, but I know several people who have and that swear by it. It starts at only $5 per month for small teams, and as low as $15 a month for businesses, so definitely not a bad choice.

Need more inspiration? Here’s how WME Digital describes the in-team collaboration.

Do you have a tool to go on this list? Let us know in the comments!