While I'm putting the finishing touches on my course, Instagram Marketing Simplified, I'm getting more and more into the specifics of creating and managing a really good Instagram account for a business.
Today what's front and centre is branding.
According to Entreprenur.com, the definition of a brand is "The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.....your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors."
Long gone are the days of creating an advertisement that is designed to embody everything about your brand for everyone related to your brand. With non-stop news feeds full of millions, or billions of posts every day, your brand is seen from all angles and many times over. That means creating interesting, brand relevant content consistently and frequently. So how does a brand stand out against this kind of busy and demanding playing field?
Truthfully, there's really only one way to do this. That is to sell the lifestyle, not the product or services. Remember, your brand is your "promise to your customer" about how your product or service is going to make their lives better, or how it will hold an important place in the life of your customers. In general marketing terms, this is called Lifestyle Branding.
Whether your brand is an actual "lifestyle brand" or not, you need to present it like one on social media. Because social media, by definition, is designed to be social. It's designed for sharing bits and pieces of your life with those you connect with. Without the bad parts of course, just the beautiful, shiny, fun stuff which turns out to be a good thing for branding. You can't run as a non-stop commercial on social media. People will simply refuse to engage with you. This mean you need need to be more subtle about the actual 'offer' by demonstrating how fantastic life is with YOU in the world.
I’m pretty confident you’re saying, “If we’re talking about Instagram marketing, what does a Mission Statement have to do with anything”?
Stay with me.
If we are going to use Instagram as a clear and cohesive marketing tool for your business, you need some serious clarity about your brand.
It's a New Year and the best time to learn new tricks for growing your business while committing to moving closer to your goals.
After four years of learning the Digital Marketing industry and a full year of working my online courses, they are ready to launch.
I am dying to share simple systems and some basic digital marketing tools with you! I really believe that Digital Marketing is simple when you know how to use the tools.
It’s becoming increasingly important to have ‘digital assets’ or documents and webpages that offer value to a targeted audience. If you’re self-employed or trying to manage an Etsy account or a Shopify store, this may seem like an impossible task. My first suggestion is to create a blog. Don’t panic. There are simple ways to create and manage a blog without becoming a blogger.
The single most important tool to keep your digital marketing simple is to plan. Keep a calendar of dates that are relevant to your brand, your product, your city or your target audience. Anticipate what's coming up and the times when you have to get creative and fill in the blanks. It will save you scrambling.
Creating seasonally relevant material needs to be part of a bigger marketing strategy so your other efforts will support you during seasons with higher Internet traffic (i.e. competition). If you haven’t been using a big-picture strategy, don’t worry - now is a good time to start so let’s do this!
Last post, I asked you to start thinking about the easiest way for you to get into the game. And by ‘get in the game’ I mean make a commitment to start using social media for marketing. The best approach, in my opinion is to keep it super simple and be honest about what you can either afford or are willing to commit to. And then make that commitment.
At the end of the day, do what you have to do to get in the game. Or throw in the towel and walk away. It’s a waste of time, effort and money to do this halfway. It will result in nothing except for the public knowing that you are making a lame attempt at engagement. That will send potential customers straight to the nearest competitor they can find on social media.
This post, I want to offer up some actionable items to make this more clear for you.
Here are a few of those:
TIP: It is not necessary to be active on every social platform - in fact it's not smart to try. As part of your commitment to your social marketing efforts, pick the top 2 social platforms your audience is likely to use & focus there. (Click To Tweet)
Lately, with world events as they are,
the content on social media is pretty
dark and pretty volatile. I’m finding
it upsetting & I know I’m not the
only one. The number of folks I see
who are `quitting` or taking a break
from social media is kind of shocking.
Not to mention how horribly people
are treating each other in reaction to varying opinions on heated topics.
t occurred to me that as a content creator, it is my job or maybe my duty, to start doing something different. Maybe I won`t single-handedly change the direction of content creation, but I am kind of in a position to do something. And so are you if you create content for yourself or your company.
So let’s start by looking at how we can create non-political, non-divisive content in order to increase the consumption of content that doesn’t start conflict and create stress. In doing so there is the potential to slow down engagement with the type of content that is fueling fires online. Due to the supply & demand nature of online content, this could possibly slow the creation of conflict-inducing material. After all, content is simply a commodity and what gets created is dictated by what gets consumed.
So here’s my call to action for all the content creators out there - let’s start creating the content we want to see in the world. What if we, as content creators, create content that counteracts the current intensely political, angst-filled atmosphere? What if we create material that makes people smile, makes people feel good & helps lighten the angst of today’s political climate?
While video, is leading the way in terms of high engagement, live stream video is being consumed 3x faster than regular video. What can you live stream in your day that’s fun, entertaining and positive?
For example, at the bank today, I gave a very eager dog a treat. Her body language the moment she walked in suggested she knew she would get something & her attempt to get to the person with the treats in her pocket, was pretty sweet. That would have made great live stream material!
Images with text on them get more engagement than those that don't as well. So what about an image of that same dog with some kind of funny text beside it? And it could be tied in with banking/business/dog to make it relevant.
Keep in mind that content always needs to be brand specific so while the dog thing may work for me, it may not work for you. But what will?
Here are some other things you could try:
These are just a few. The internet is FULL of content and methodologies to get ideas from. The point is to get you thinking outside the box. I want to encourage you to stay away from current events that are emotionally charged and really look for ways to tie your brand’s message into the lighter, fluffier, funnier side of life. Right now, that will really make you stand out.
Hope, Fun, Giving & Community are the words I’m going to leave you with to start your brainstorm sessions on how we can brighten the world, one piece of good content at a time.
As someone who works online, I'm always looking for the most effective ways to get my ideas and expertise out into cyberspace to ensure I'm getting my little corner of the digital world.
Like it or not, having a blog that gets consistent attention from you has a lot of benefits that shouldn't be ignored. A lot of my clients and those I coach, are overwhelmed at the idea of writing consistently. I have to remind y'all that my mission is to help you find the most simple & streamlined ways of managing your digital media.
So don't poo-poo the blog idea until you hear me out. Really, it's much more simple than you think.
Here are my top 5 reasons why blogging is so important:
3. SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT: I constantly hear people say that they can't figure out what to post on social media. Even when they have an excess of material. And that's not good. The only thing worse than no social media presence is a bad social media presence, meaning inconsistent, last minute, thoughtless posts! A blog is an easy solution for this by providing an anchor for you. You have ideas, concepts, images, a topic you've assumed is of interest to your audience - a focus! Use images and material from the blog as social media content which ultimately will send people back to your site. Google likes this too and so will you!
4. HONE YOUR WRITING SKILLS: I read a fantastic quote this week that I posted on Twitter - "Copy writing is the number one skill that every entrepreneur should learn" ~ Derek Gehl YES, YES and YES! If you're doing anything related to business, you must be able to write. This is doubly true if you're doing anything related to marketing your business. So at very least, use your blog to get better at writing. It's a skill you MUST have. Luckily the internet has provided us a much more casual platform for business writing than in days gone by, so don't fret. Just write.
5. LET THEM KNOW YOU - Social media was designed as a peer-to-peer network. Technology has supported that trend and over the last 5 years, we've seen how easy it is to connect with almost anyone, anywhere. It's important for businesses to stay transparent and although there needs to be some professionalism included, you need to remember that people expect accessibility. A blog allows your audience and potential new clients to learn about you, as does your social media content, which we already decided you can easily pull from your blog posts. So take advantage of this easy to use platform to highlight things about your business that are interesting and useful!
I hope these 5 points help you realize that you've got to be on top of blogging. Not to necessarily become a blogger, but to leverage what the web has to offer artists and entrepreneurs. Don't miss out because you're over complicating the whole thing. Keep it simple, be creative and join the 21st century!
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Catherine Mellon is a Social Media Director with 5 years experience helping entrepreneurs & small businesses use the internet to grow their business.