Two New Facebook Advertising Targeting Features You May Have Missed
Two New Facebook Advertising Targeting Features You May Have Missed

Facebook location targeting for Ads has always been slightly flawed:

  • In Ireland it won’t allow us to target by county so I’ve spent many an hour on Google maps drawing radiuses around towns to try to ensure that I’m getting at least most of the county with my ads.
  • If I wanted to target people within a radius of a small town it was impossible, Facebook simply wouldn’t recognise some of the place names I gave them.
  • I couldn’t easily see if I’d got my targeting right. I just had to hope my calculations and radiuses had hit the right spots.

The good news is that two of these problems have been fixed and the third, the ability to target counties has gotten a lot easier.

New Facebook location targeting features:

1. Show me a map of the area I’m targeting
2. Let me drop a pin instead of naming a location
3. Let me target people who ‘live in’, ‘recently visited’ or ‘are travelling’ in a specific location.

Watch this video to see how they work.

The drop pin function makes it easier for me to target a county within the Facebook interface, this could make my targeting more accurate in future.

Have you noticed these features? Will they make your Facebook advertising targeting more accurate?

Have you noticed any other changes in Facebook ads recently? I’d love to hear about your experiences below.

 

“eLearning

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Facebook Advertising On A Budget – 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day

For many small businesses the concept of spending money on Facebook advertising is a scary one. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to see results. The minimum budget you can set for an ad set is €1 per day and even this will have an impact.

In this post I’m going to look at two ways you can spend your Facebook advertising budget for the best results on €1 a day. And two audiences you can create that will give you better value for your money.

Adverts to Create

1. Carousel ads

Carousel ads are a reasonably new feature on Facebook. You have probably seen them. They display multiple images and links within one ad unit. Look at this example:

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Carousel Ads let you showcase multiple products

If you sell multiple products or offer more than one service they are a great way to maximise your budget.

Why?

Before you can understand the full benefit of carousel ads you need to understand Facebook ad sets.

When you set up ads on Facebook they fit into a three-tier system:

  1. Your overall campaign, this defines the purpose of the ads, for example, you may want to get click-throughs to your website.
  2. Ad Sets. Within that campaign, you can have multiple ad sets. If you are selling a product you will have an ad set of each product, if you are selling to different audiences you will have an ad set of each audience.
  3. Ads, the individual ad units within the ad sets.

When you set up an ad for a product you should give it its own ad set. The minimum budget per ad set is €1, you can include multiple versions of an ad within that set.

Facebook will split test the ads within the ad set and prioritise the ones that get the best results. This is great for getting the most of your advertising budget for a single product but it means that if you put more than one product in one ad set some of those products will get limited reach.

A carousel ad displays multiple products or services within one ad. All your products will be there within the same ad unit for your audience to scroll through.  You can set up multiple versions of your carousel ad within a single ad set so you can still split test. The difference is that you are guaranteed to get all your products in front of your target market for €1 per day.

Carousel ads aren’t just for products, you can use them in place of any website clicks ad. Maybe you want to showcase your latest blog posts or services you use.

I particularly liked this one from Visit Scotland that used the carousel to display a widescreen image.

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Visit Scotland have been creative with their carousel ads

Expected Results

You shouldn’t be paying more than 25c per click, it can take a few days to know if you are hitting your target.

2. Facebook like ads

Facebook Like ads are by far the best way to get people to Like your page. Yes it may cost but you are guaranteed to get exactly the right people to like your page.

When you set up a Likes ad:

Make sure you target very specifically

The minimum amount of people you can target with a Like ad is 1,000. If you are on a low budget I’d recommend keeping the number of people you are targeting low. Try not to go over 5,000 people.

Include something related to the people you are targeting in the ad

This could be a picture of your town if you are a local business or a strong photo relating to an interest you are targeting.

Here’s a perfect example targeting me, a cat lover.

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
A perfectly targeted ad for someone like me who likes cats and wears t-shirts.

Use eye-catching images

Having a good image is essential. This is what will grab the attention of your audience. Don’t get hung up on one image, I recommend testing a few images within an ad set. I’m often surprised by the image that gets the best results.

Avoid adding too much text to the image itself, Facebook only allows you to have 20% of your image devoted to text so keep in minimal and use the caption section of your ad to tell the story.

Don’t be too spammy, tell people what is in it for them.

People don’t like seeing ads on Facebook. If you really want to succeed stay away from the hard sell. Instead tell people what is in it for them. What do they get in exchange for liking your page. Is it information? Humour? Tips? If people see you are offering value they are far more likely to click.

Here’s an example of a strong call to action, telling me the value of liking the page:

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Tell people what is in it for them.

Expected Results

You shouldn’t be spending more than 25c per like but let your ads run for a few days before measuring the results.

Audiences

1. Retargeting Audience

You may not have a big advertising budget but do you get a lot of visits to your website? If so creating a remarketing ad, targeting people who have visited your website in the past could prove to be an effective use of your budget.

You are probably familiar with this style of ad. Perhaps you have looked at a product on Amazon and decided either not to buy or to think about it before you buy. Suddenly you notice this same product appears in a Facebook ad.

Here’s two I got in my feed recently after searching for accommodation in Boston on Booking.com

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Retargeting audiences can help you get more page likes

 

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Remaketing adverts on Facebook can bring people back to your site.

It’s not just big businesses that can benefit from this. If you are a blogger you can direct previous website visitors to your latest blog post. If you are a retailer why not tell previous visitors about a new product?

You should see a good click through rate when you are targeting visitors who have previously shown an interest in what you do.

To set up a retargeting ad you will need to create a pixel and add it to your website. Here’s how.

2. Lookalike Audience

Lookalike audiences are particularly good for getting Page Likes at a low cost. If you have already built a good, targeted audience for your Facebook page you can target people who are similar to those who already like your page with your ads.

To create a lookalike audience visit your ads manager. Click ‘Audiences’ under tools.

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Select ‘Audiences’ from ads manager

 

Click ‘Create audience’ and select ‘Lookalike’

Facebook Advertising On A Budget - 4 Ways To Maximise €1 Per Day
Choose ‘Lookalike Audience’ when creating audiences.

Once you have created a lookalike audience you can advertise to that audience. Because they are similar to the people who already like your page you should see a better cost per like than you do from standard Like ads.

What’s next?

I recommend that instead of spending €1 per day that you aggregate your budget over a month and split it between several campaigns. For example you may choose to run page like ads for a week and carousel ads for a week assigning a €15 budget to each.

Have you any Facebook ad tips to share? Have you failed when you have tried these methods? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

“eLearning

Are Facebook Like Ads A Waste of Money?
Are Facebook Like Ads A Waste of Money?

Last week I read this excellent article from Jay Baer. In it he discusses why you could be wasting your advertising budget on getting Facebook Likes. 

I love Jay Baer’s stuff, he’s constantly challenging the norm and if you agree or not he forces you to think again.

I read the article and tried to agree, but I just couldn’t. The first sentence I can get with. You’d be foolish to spend your entire advertising budget on getting Facebook likes but should you abandon the practice altogether?

The essence of his argument is that it’s cheaper to get people to click a website link on Facebook than go to the effort of getting them to Like your page. But I would argue that by doing this, you might get website clicks but you are missing out on the benefits of Facebook.

What’s the value of a page Like? That’s a big question and to address it I’m going to tell you a story of how I did it wrong the first time.

What I did wrong

When I started out on Facebook I wasn’t a marketer. I was someone starting out in business doing what I could in order to promote it. I was one of the first people I knew to get a Facebook page and I soon discovered I was going to need fans (as Likes were called back then).

This page was for my first business, a small eco-friendly corporate gifts company.

What did I do to get fans? I begged and begged and invited and invited. I spammed my friends, asked my Twitter followers, emailed my list, ran contests. I did everything. The result was that I built my fans slowly over a long period of time.

What did I get from this? Yes I got a lot of advocates, I got a lot of people to like my page at a time when Facebook still showed every post to everyone who liked it. Because most of the people who Liked were people I knew, I got a great response. I made sales occasionally directly from Facebook.

However… I wasn’t attracting the right people. I loved Facebook, but the value of the sales from my friends would never be enough to sustain a corporate gifts company. In reality, you’d have to question the logic of running a Facebook page for a corporate gift company at all but that’s another day’s discussion.

The problem I always had with building my audience this way was that it was hit and miss. A Like is just a number, it doesn’t represent a potential customer or even someone who falls into your target market. This is why I disagree with Jay.

How would I do it now

Facebook ads weren’t available when I started that first page and when the first appeared I was sceptical. I have become a convert. Now when you start a page, instead of begging and spamming you can, with a good ad campaign build an audience of exactly the right people. You can target potential customers directly and get them to take the first step down the sales funnel. Liking your page.

What Jay says is true, a Like doesn’t mean much, it costs to buy them with advertising (although in Ireland I’d expect to pay less than 25c per Like) and you can’t guarantee you’ll reach all of them with, organic, non-boosted posts.

I disagree that a Like is worthless. It is a step in the right direction, it’s a public show of interest in your business. Once you’ve captured their interest you can start to target ads at them. Knowing they are the right people. More importantly knowing that they are not just the right people but the right people who already have an interest.

As well as that you will reach a percentage of them with your organic posts. I wouldn’t underestimate this reach. The average figures Jay quotes are important, but you can be better than average, lots of my clients are. The beauty of non-commercial organic content is that it is shown to your top fans, the ones who really want to see your content, the ones that will like and share your posts with their friends. These are often your existing customers and your brand advocates. They are the people who will spread the word about your business both on and off Facebook.

These people are far more valuable than those who just find your website through an ad. Reaching customers regularly with your Facebook content keeps you top of their mind, they are less likely to abandon you for a competitor.

What’s my solution?

Firstly allocate a portion of your Facebook advertising budget to getting new page likes.

When I set up Facebook advertising campaigns I split the budget between three goals:

1. Getting Facebook likes to the page
2. Getting website clicks or conversions from existing page likers
3. Getting website clicks or conversions from non-page likers

To be successful at any of these you must target your ads at the right people. Here are three easy ways to do this:

1. Set up a hyper-targeted ad

It’s a good idea to create a basic buyer personas for each type of customer you want to attract and create ads designed to capture their attention. Now you can target them directly using Facebooks targeting options.

The more targeted your ads are both creatively and technically the better the result.

For example, if you are targeting local people make sure you show the location of your business in the creative and name the town you are targeting in the text of the ad.

2. Use Custom Audiences

If you have an opt-in email list you can upload this to Facebook. When you do this Facebook will try and match these emails with Facebook users and will create an advertising audience from this data. This is a great way to target existing customers with your Facebook Like ads.

To set up a Custom audience:

Access your ads manager

Click on ‘Tools’ on the top menu and select ‘Audiences’ from the drop down menu

Are You Wasting Your Money On Facebook Like Ads? I Don't Think So
Select ‘Audiences’ from Tools

Click ‘Create Audience’ and select ‘Custom Audience’ from the drop down

Are You Wasting Your Money On Facebook Like Ads? I Don't Think So
Select ‘Custom Audiences’

A new window will open. Select ‘Customer List’

Select 'Customer List'
Select ‘Customer List’

You have the option of uploading a file with email addresses in it, copy and pasting or importing a list from Mailchimp.

It can take some time for Facebook to process the audience.

When the audience is ready you can access it when you create your ad you can select this custom audience from the targeting section.

Choose how to upload your audience.
Choose how to upload your audience.

 

3. Retarget

Facebook allows you to add a pixel to your website that will collect data on website visitors. If these visitors are Facebook users it will create an audience from them, you can narrow this audience by location, interests etc using Facebook’s targeting feature.

When Facebook has collected an audience of at least 1,000 people you can target ads at them.

To set up a Retargeting pixel:

From Ads Manager slect ‘Tools’ and then ‘Audiences’ from the drop down

Are You Wasting Your Money On Facebook Like Ads? I Don't Think So
Select ‘Audiences’ from the Tools menu

Click ‘Create Audience’ and ‘Custom Audience’ from the drop down menu

Are You Wasting Your Money On Facebook Like Ads? I Don't Think So
Select ‘Custom Audiences’

A window will open, select ‘Website Traffic’ from the options

Choose 'Website Traffic'
Choose ‘Website Traffic’

Choose if you want to target all visitors or visitors to a specific page and give the audience a name.

Are You Wasting Your Money On Facebook Like Ads? I Don't Think So
Give your audience a name

Facebook will prepare your audience. To get the code that needs to be added to your website click ‘Get help’.

Click 'Get help' to get the code for your website.
Click ‘Get help’ to get the code for your website.

This will give you the code you need to insert in the <head></head> section of your website in order for it to start tracking visitors.

Takeaways

  • Don’t’ blow all your Facebook advertising budget on Facebook Like ads
  • Create buyer personas for your target market and create ads that will appeal to them
  • Use targeting, custom audience and remarketing audiences to ensure you are attracting the right people to your page.

 

“eLearning

A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
How to meaure your Instagram Web Traffic

The more I use Instagram the more I love it. I love sharing stories from my working life. I love creating content for it, I love the way it allows me to meet and communicate with other people. I enjoy looking at other people’s content. I’m totally hooked but there’s one big downside for those of us using it for business and that’s linking.

Instagram only allows you one clickable link on your entire account and that’s in your bio. What’s worse that link isn’t trackable. When people click it Google Analytics records it as ‘direct’ traffic. Frustratingly this means you can’t even tell if that one link you are using is driving any traffic to your website.

In this post, I’m going to show you a three-step method for measuring Instagram traffic to your website.

Step 1. Create a Hidden Landing Page for Instagram

If you are linking to the home page of your website from your Instagram bio you have to stop.

Creating a specific landing page for Instagram serves two purposes

1. You are keeping content relevant for the people who click.

It is common practice to direct people to the link in your bio from your Instagram posts. But what happens when someone finds an old post from you? Perhaps last month you were promoting a sale but this month you are having an event. If people discover old content they will lose interest if the link in your bio isn’t delivering what was promised.

If you create a landing page it can be a gateway to all the content you are promoting via your Instagram account.

Take a look at this Instagram landing page from ShortStack. Scroll down and you will find all the recent content they have promoted via their Instagram feed.

A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
ShortStack have created a landing page specifically for Instagram visitors.

2. You are able to measure traffic to that specific page

To measure the effectiveness of your landing page tell Google and other search engines not to index it. This means you won’t see any organic traffic from search results. The only way people can find your page is if they click from your Instagram bio.

If your website is built on WordPress, the easiest way to prevent search engines crawling your landing pages is to use the Yoast plugin.

Once installed you will have the option to change the indexing settings at the bottom of each post (see below).

A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
WordPress Plugin Yoast makes it easy to tell search engines not to index your page.

If you aren’t using WordPress talk to your web developer about how to do this.

How to set up a landing page

The cheapest way to set up a landing page is to create a new page on your website. Remember, don’t link to it from your homepage. This is a secret page just for Instagram.

If you want to get serious about landing pages you can use a tool to create something special. Sites like ShortStack, Unbounce and Instapage offer easy to design pages for a monthly fee.

For a mid-budget solution try Thrive Content Builder for WordPress. We use this on the We Teach Social website and have found it effective and simple to use. Instead of paying a monthly subscription you can buy this tool outright. Perfect for those on a small business budget.

Step 2: Create a Tracking Link

Now you have a landing page you need to measure the traffic to it. To do this you will need to create a tracking link for that page using Google URL builder. This allows you track the people who visit your website using Google analytics.

Go to the Google Analytics URL Builder form.

Use Google URL builder to create a tracking link
Use Google URL builder to create a tracking link

Here’s what you will need to complete. These are my suggestions but you can add info that is more relevant to you:

Website URL: Link that you want to send your Instagram followers to
Campaign Source: Instagram
Campaign Medium: Bio
Campaign Name: Instagram Landing Page

Click ‘Generate URL’

Google will create a tracking link for you from the information you have given it.

A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
Copy the tracking link

Copy this and paste it into the address bar of your browser.

Now check that the link works, here’s how:

  • Log into your Google analytics.
  • Click on the date range at the top of the page and select today’s date
A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
In Google Analytics select today’s date to check the tracking link is working
  • Select Aquisitions from the side bar menu
  • Then campaigns
  • All campaigns

Your campaign title should appear here

A 3 Step Method To Measure Your Instagram Web Traffic
Check your tracking link campaign name appears

Step 3: Shorten It

Now you have a very long, ugly, forgettable link. The final stage is to shorten it.

I use Bit.ly to shorten my links. This makes a short, easy to remember redirect link for my Instagram bio. I can customise it to be more memorable and bit.ly will show me how often it has been clicked.

Customise your short link with bit.ly
Customise your short link with bit.ly

Test the link and if everything is working use it as the link in your Instagram bio.

Now you have a system for measuring how much traffic you are getting to your website from Instagram.

What If You Don’t Have A Landing Page or Google Analytics?

If you don’t want to set up a specific landing page or don’t have Google analytics you can still use this method.

Each tracking link you create is a unique link to your page. This means that when you shorten it you are creating a unique short link.

Use the Google Analytics URL builder to create a different version of your link for each social network. Then measure click throughs from each network on the Bit.ly website.

Your Turn

How do you measure traffic to your website from Instagram? Have you tried this method or something like it. I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

 

“eLearning

How to create Instagram Video
How to create Instagram Video

Before I started my own businesses I used to work in the Irish film industry, prior to that I studied video and TV in college. This makes me a bit of a motion picture fanatic. When Instagram introduced video to their service back in 2013 I was delighted. I’d been playing with Twitter’s Vine app but that only gave me six seconds. Instagram gave me 15 and filters.

2 years on I’m still rarely using Instagram video and from the look of my Instagram feed neither are many others. But I saw this study today. Instagram video only accounts for 8.3% of posts but gets 11.6% of all comments. This must mean it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s time to look again.

Here’s my quick guide to creating Instagram video. It first appeared as part of an Instagram for business lesson for We Teach Social:

How to create video via Instagram

It’s really easy to create Instagram video . You can shoot one long video or shoot a sequence of shots that show a process or tell a story.

To shoot a video click on the camera icon as if you were going to take or upload a photo.

Instead of selecting an image or hitting the shutter button click the video icon on the right-hand side.

A Beginners Guide To Instagram Video
Click on the video camera icon to shoot video.

Hold your thumb or finger on the red button for as long as you want to shoot video for. As soon as you remove your thumb you will stop recording. You can now point your camera at something else and take another shot.

To create a video with multiple shots release your finger, re-frame and shoot again.
To create a video with multiple shots release your finger, re-frame and shoot again.

Repeat this process until you are finished. Now click ‘next’ at the top of the screen.

You can now select filters just like when you use images. The filters for video are slightly different to those for images.

A Beginners Guide To Instagram Video
Add filters and click ‘Next’ to upload your video.

When you are happy with your video click ‘next’, caption your video and post as usual.

Because of the start-stop function of Instagram video it’s easy to create short animated video. I love this one from Gap. (for context Vine is a video app from Twitter that is very similar and was launched prior to Instagram video). This is something even a small business could create.

There’s a challenge for you!

Our first #Instagram #video. Peace, love & social media.

A video posted by GAP (@gap) on

What works best with Instagram video?

Video auto plays in the Instagram feed, this means that people don’t need to click to watch it. However the video remains silent unless clicked. Remember most people will watch your video silently so make it easy to understand without sound.

The BBC are really good at Instagram video with captions. The 15 second video snippets of new stories are just long enough to tell the story.

If you want to add text to your video clips try Text on Video for iPhone or Instacap for Android.

Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a cool app from Instagram that allows you to shoot high speed video. This is a fantastic tool for business. You can show slow processes fast. For example, if you want to share a how to recipe, shoot it in hyperlapse and you can shrink it to 15 seconds.

It’s also a great way to give people a tour of your office. Here’s an example from econsultancy.

A breakneck tour around the econsultancy office #hyperlapse

A video posted by Christopher Ratcliff (@christophe_rock) on

And one from The Whitehouse.

Want to walk around the White House? Take a 15-second tour right now! #Hyperlapse

A video posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

Other video tools

Bubble Frame App (iPhone)

There are always new tools emerging for creating Instagram video. This one from KrishnaDe stood out on my timeline. A really interesting video created using BubbleFrame App.

https://instagram.com/p/36Do-vD55s/

The small movements are enough to make the video stand out in the feed without feeling the time suck of clicking play.

I haven’t tried it myself yet but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Flipagram

The nice thing about Flipagram is that you don’t have to create video at all. You can let Flipagram make a video for you from photos.

You have the option of choosing photos from your phone, your Instagram account or your Facebook account.

You can also add a caption to each image in your Flipagram so it makes it easy to tell the story.

Flipagram will then make a video from the images. Here’s one I created from photos taken at a recent Instameet at the Irish National Stud.

And another that I made to illustrate a PicMonkey tutorial:

How to remove the background from your logo using www.picmonkey.com #tip #instatip #picmonkey

A video posted by Amanda & Lorna (@weteachsocial) on

One note for Flipagram. There is an option to add music to your grams. However if you upload video with this music to Instagram you are infringing copyright of the music. This can result in you having your video removed or worse you receiving a bill for the use of the music.

There are lots more fun videos you can play with. My advice is to take it a few at a time. Work to create some really eye-catching videos demonstrating your product, sharing tips, showing aspects of your day. People will enjoy following your stories this way.

Have you used video on Instagram? What sort of results have you seen? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

“eLearning

4 Steps For Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
4 Steps For Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram

Are you using Instagram for business? If so have you put a plan in place for building relationships with customers and influencers? Have you found the right people to follow and are the right people following you?

Relationship building is as important on Instagram as any other network. Like Twitter you can go out and find potential customers, you don’t have to rely on them coming to you.

In this post I’m going to discuss:

  • How hashtags can help you find people to follow and interact with
  • How to connect with these people
  • Creating follower lists with Iconosquare
  • Regram etiquette

Using Hashtags

Hashtags are the glue that holds Instagram together. Search a hashtag and you will find an album of images matching it.

Searching hashtags should be the first thing you do to find customers on Instagram. When you find relevant users like and comment on their content.

Before you start define what makes a follow-worthy user. For me, I’m looking for small businesses and bloggers based in Ireland. I’m also looking for tourism, food and dentistry businesses in Ireland as they are the type of clients I work with more frequently.

So my checklist is:

  1. Are they based in Ireland
  2. Are they a small business
  3. Are they tourism, food or dentistry related?
  4. Are they a blogger?
  5. Would their content be good inspiration for my clients?

Instagrammers have to fit at least two of these categories for me to want to follow them. Make your own checklist and set some rules, you’ll find it makes it easier to connect with the right people.

Later on I’ll show you a tool that can help you group these different kinds of users together.

Now it’s time to start searching

Start with a broad tag. In the example below I am searching #Ireland as this is where most of my customers will come from.

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Switch to listview so you can see usernames and captions.

When you get the results, switch to list view as this makes it easier to see usernames. Scroll through, looking at photographs and liking any that strike you. Keep your eyes open for any usernames or images that relate to your target customers. I’m looking for small businesses so it’s the username I focus on first.

When you find a user that fits your criteria follow them and look at their images liking and commenting as necessary.

How To Connect

It’s very easy to slip into bad habits on Instagram. You will find that when you use broad hashtags a lot of people will follow you and like your posts. This is great for the ego, but you will notice that many of these people have no relevance to your business.

It’s painful, but you need to take the time to investigate each one to see if they fall into your target market. Refer back to your checklist to do this. If they match follow them back. If they don’t, don’t. Don’t worry about people unfollowing, most of these will be the irrelevant people who followed you in the hope you’d follow back.

Now you are following a good, targeted customer base it’s time to start interacting. Spend 10 minutes a day scrolling through your feed, liking photos that appeal to you and leaving comments where necessary.

Commenting etiquette

Avoid generic comments like ‘nice’ and comments purely designed to promote your business ‘we sell…’. These don’t start a conversation and are easily overlooked or at worse will irritate people. Instead find something in the photo to start a conversation about. The more someone interacts with you the more memorable you will become.

Creating Follower Lists With Iconosquare

Iconosquare is one of the best web-based tools for managing your Instagram accounts. Its best feature by far is the ability to create ‘groups’ of users similar to the way you can create lists in Twitter.

This allows you to filter your Instagram feed on Iconosquare to just the people in these groups.

Here’s how to create and add people to groups:

Set up a free account with Iconosquare.

Select ‘My followings’. This will display a chronological list of all the people you follow on Instagram.

See all the people you follow by clicking 'My Followings'
See all the people you follow by clicking ‘My Followings’

Click the small circle under a user. This will give you a drop-down menu of lists. By default you will be offered ‘friends’, ‘followers’ and ‘pro’.

Underneath you have the option to create a new group. Now select all the groups you want to add that user to.

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Add users to groups or create new groups

I’d recommend creating a group for each of your checklist items. You could also create lists for people you want to interact with once a month, once a week or more frequently. It’s a good way to remind yourself to stay in touch.

To view group members click ‘feed’ and select the group you want to view from the drop-down. Now you can quickly and easily view content from those groups and interact with it.

Filter your feed to members of a specific group
Filter your feed to members of a specific group

Regram Etiquette

Unlike other social networks, there is no easy way to share posts from users within the Instagram app. There is no re-gram or share button. In order to reshare you will need to use an app to download or re-gram pictures.

There is a strict etiquette for those who want to do this.

  1. You need to ask permission to re-gram the post. Leave a comment underneath the picture you want to share asking for permission to re-gram and wait for a response.
  2. If you get a yes use an app like re-post, re-gram or Phonegram (iOS) (Android) to grab the photo from the web. I like Phonegram as it lets me download the picture without watermarking.
  3. Repost the photo and any caption that accompanied it. Make sure you tag the user whose post you are sharing.
  4. Here’s an infographic we made for We Teach Social showing you how to re-gram using Phonegram
4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
How To Regram using Phonegram

Regramming the easy way

This process is quite cumbersome, but the good news is that once you’ve started building a good following you can start asking people for content. Create a hashtag, ask people to share photos including it and tell them you will re-gram the best ones.

See this example from Visit Dublin asking users to tag their posts #lovedublin

4 Steps To Building Relationships With Customers On Instagram
Visit Dublin encourage followers to use the tag #lovedublin

Whichever method you choose this is a great way to build relationships. People enjoy getting showcased on your page and it is a great conversation opener.

Your Turn

What techniques do you use to connect with your target market?
Have you used any of the techniques above? How did you find them?

 

“eLearning

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses

There’s some pretty compelling stats out there for using Instagram for business:

But what should a business post to Instagram? What sort of content works well?

In this post I’ll look at 9 different Instagram post ideas that can help you form your Instagram content strategy. This isn’t a comprehensive guide but it should give you some inspiration.

1. Product photos

This is a no brainer. I’m sure if you sell a product you have already been sharing pictures on your Instagram page.

Try and think about creative ways to share your products.

These peaches from The Happy Pear are enticing. If they were closer I’d have been straight down to buy some.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
The Happy Pear – Sharing Irrisistable Product Pictures

Funky Crayon Lady also has a great visual product. Her shaped crayons are clever but it may not always be obvious what they do. In this post she clearly demonstrates it with just a few squiggles.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Funky Crayon Lady used squiggles to show what her product can do.

2. People

In the old days, before the Internet and superstores people used to get to know the people they did business with. Communication would be face to face or by phone. Now we do so much business online we can sometimes feel out of touch or forget that there is a person behind the business.

Instagram gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to our staff and ourselves.

In this post from St. Pancras International they introduce us to the man who maintains the pianos at the station. The image is great but it’s the caption that tells us the full story.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
St Pancras International tell us the story of their Piano Tuner.
9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
The caption gives us the full story

Knowing about the people in the business reassures us. Anyone thinking of booking a course with The Cooks Academy in Dublin gets to see one of their trainers in advance.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Who wouldn’t want to do a course with this smiley face?

3. Behind the scenes

Another way to reassure customers about your business is to show them the workings behind the scenes.

This post from the Royal Academy of Arts shows the preparation ready for an exhibition launch. It builds buzz and shows snippets of what we can expect.

Preperation under way for an exhibition.
Preperation under way for an exhibition.

Earlier this year the Cookie Monster paid a visit to The Museum of Modern Art in New York. His visit was documented as he met the people who worked there and viewed some of the art. We may not all have Cookie Monster but we all have the opportunity to conduct a visual tour of our businesses.

The Cookie Monster tours MOMA
The Cookie Monster tours MOMA

4. Quotes

Good quality quotes that relate to your business always make good content.

I find Pinterest to be a great source of quotes. A simple search brings me lots of suggestions. Don’t be tempted to steal images from Pinterest though. Just make a note of the quote, who said it and add it to your own images. Remember to add your own branding too.

Here’s one I created for We Teach Social. I scribbled the quote on an envelope in our brand colours and photographed it. Finally, I used iWatermark to add our branding.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Create quote posts using pen and paper

This example from Curious Wines also relies on their brand colours rather than their logo. It’s a good relevant quote about wine that made me smile.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Curious Wines using brand colours in their posts

This post from Unravel Knit may not be a quote but I loved it when it appeared in my Instagram feed. It instantly brought back childhood memories of happy knitting.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
A phrase that provokes nostalgia

Tools like WordSwag and PicCandy make it easy to add text to images.

5. Tips

There is something about tips that people love. They are little nuggets of information that we love to pass on. Share a good one and people will remember where they heard it from and pass it on to others.

Kerrygold recently ran a competition to gather tips from their followers. People shared their #nuggetsofgold and Kerrygold created Instagram images from them. Here’s one that I find particularly useful.

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Kerrygold use customers tips to create graphic content for Instagram

You could take the tips much further. In this post from RebelDietitian you get an entire recipe:

9 Instagram Post Ideas For Businesses
Use Canva to share more complex text on graphic images.

If you want to create these more complex graphics for Instagram try Canva. It has lots of templates for you to work from that make it easy for you to create something visually pleasing. You can now use Canva from the iPad app as well as the web which makes It easy to create images that you can then easily share via mobile.

6. Questions

You can use questions to find out more about your customers and target market. They will also help you build a more interactive audience. They spark conversations with people who will remember you for it.

Simple questions that are easy to answer work best. Don’t forget people are on mobile when they are using Instagram so writing longer responses can be hard.

This example form puppy_tales works well for getting those quick responses.

Ask questions to find out more about your customers
Ask questions to find out more about your customers

This one from the_perils_of_parenthood isn’t as attractive but it’s getting lots of comments.

This post draws lots of comments.
This post draws lots of comments.

7. Regram

If you can’t create amazing content maybe your customers or target market do. Search for Instagram posts that suit your business. Maybe they are people using your product, involved in activities related to your business or people in the local area.

DeesWholefoods do this really well. Their account is crammed with customer photos of their vegan foods.

Regraming images of your product shared by others is social proof.
Regraming images of your product shared by others is social proof.

VisitDublin encourage people to share photos with the tag #lovedublin and they regram their favourites. This gives followers an eclectic view of Dublin and what it has to offer.

Regraming can give a fuller picture of what you have to offer
Regraming can give a fuller picture of what you have to offer

If you intend to use regramming as part of your strategy be aware that you must always ask permission before sharing a post.

Unlike Twitter or Facebook there is no inbuilt function to reshare posts. You will need to use an app like Repost or Regram or use an app like Padgram to download the image you want to share.

8. Reviews

If you are the kind of business that gets reviews, on Facebook, Yelp or Trip advisor share screen caps of them. This will help you build customer reassurance.

This one from StapleFoods grabbed from the Lovin Dublin blog got great interaction with their followers.

Sharing screen caps of your reviews occasionally can reassure customers.
Sharing screen caps of your reviews occasionally can reassure customers.

The Twelve Hotel have taken a more traditional approach by photographing their newspaper and magazine reviews.

Share reviews from traditional media too.
Share reviews from traditional media too.

9. News Jacking/Real Time Marketing

Find ways to tie your posts into trends, events and news. Add your own twist to make it relevant to you and you’ll find yourself with very popular content.

I loved this post from IrishFairyDoor on UK election day. A week later they launched their product in the UK.

Clever newsjacking of the UK General election
Clever newsjacking of the UK General election

Instagram are partial to trend jacking themselves. Here’s their own #MayTheFourthBeWithYou post.

Star Wars Day post from Instagram
Star Wars Day post from Instagram

I use the website Days Of The Year to find out what special days are coming up. You can also keep an eye on trending topics on Twitter. For more info here’s a post I wrote on Newsjacking.

Conclusion

These 9 ideas are just scraping the surface of what you can do with content on Instagram. Once you start being creative you will find a flood of ideas comes your way.

If you have a really clever or interesting Instagram post and want to get more exposure tag it with #weteachsocial and we will regram our favourites.

“eLearning

Instasize Letterboxes Your Images for Instagram
Instasize Letterboxes Your Images for Instagram

Instagram rocks the square format, it’s part of it’s brand. Those square, tinted pictures are what Instagram is all about. But the photos we take aren’t always square. When you upload your landscape or portrait photos you have to crop them.

There are times when this cropping just doesn’t work. Perhaps you’ve taken a picture of a group of people, cropping would mean loosing someone from the edge of the picture. Maybe you’ve taken a beautiful panorama that is just too good to not share on Instagram.

On these occasions you need a solution. Instasize could be exactly what you are looking for.

Available for both Android and iPhone you can use Instasize to put borders on your photo, allowing it to retain it’s original aspect ratio. But that’s not all it does. You can also add filters, text and funky stickers.

In this video I show you how it works.

 


I’ve shown you how to add text to your images above but you could also add your logo to your letterboxed instasized photos using iWatermark

If you decide you want to take the plunge join me on the 19th of May for the free We Teach Social webinar: ‘Getting Started With Instagram for Business’.

“eLearning

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Should you be using Instagram for your business?

I love sitting down and looking through my Instagram account. I love looking at snippets from people’s day. I like finding odd things and taking pictures of them to share. In case you haven’t guessed I’m a huge Instagram fan.

Although I use it daily personally it is only recently that I’ve thought of using Instagram for business. A scroll through my feed shows I follow a lot of brands. I’ve even chosen restaurants as a result of what people share.

I’m not alone either. According to a report from Forrester Instagram users like seeing brand content. In fact a business will get 50% more engagement on their Instagram posts than their Facebook posts.

Before you rush to join Instagram ask yourself a few questions. A bit of research time will help you decide if Instagram is right for your business. Here’s a checklist of what to consider with some helpful tips to get going.

#1 Do your customers use Instagram?

You can have the prettiest, cleverest Instagram account in the world, play it right and you’ll even get lots of interaction. But if your customers don’t use Instagram you are wasting your time.

Here’s a few ways you can find out if people are using it.

Are local people using Instagram?

Do your customers live nearby? If so search local tags, are they used frequently? An active Instagram community should mean lots of tags.

Use Websta to find out how often a tags are used. For the example below I searched for my local town of Athy. The tag has been used 4,470 in the life of Instagram.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Use Websta to search popular local tags

I also searched for ‘Kildare’, the county I live in. This time I got a far better result. The tag has been used 27,652 times and there are also a whole host of related hashtags.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Websta also shows related hashtags

But what about all those users who aren’t using a local hashtag? Instead of searching by tag you can search by location. Users will need to have their location settings enabled to appear in searches but it’s a good starting point.

Gramfeed is a cool tool for searching locally. I searched for Athy and found lots of local people who hadn’t appeared in my other searches. The results aren’t comprehensive. There’s no sign of my images taken in the local area but it gives you an idea of the size of the local audience.

When you get your search results you can filter them by ‘keyword’. This means you can find people using relevant hashtags in your area too.

Instagram For Business, Are You Ready? - Checklist
Search for people taking photos nearby with gramfeed

You will also find Instagrams by location using the Instagram app. When you upload a photo you have the opportunity to ‘add a location’. Instagram takes location data both from foresquare and Facebook. If you have a Facebook page with a map enabled people can tag your own page.

To find people adding photos either at your business or nearby upload a photo and add your location to it. Once published click the place tag and you will see other photos tagged at that same location.

Instagram shows you photos tagged at a specific venue.
Instagram shows you photos tagged at a specific venue.

Are people using hashtags related to your business?

Using Instagram’s built in search look for hashtags related to your business. I did a search for ‘Business’ and discovered that the second most popular hashtag was #businesswoman, handy as I am one!

Use Instagram to search for popular hashtags
Use Instagram to search for popular hashtags

I also did a search for ‘foodie’ and found a whole host of exceptionally popular hashtags related to that search.

There are lots of related tags for food and foodie...
There are lots of related tags for food and foodie…

Spend some time investigating hashtags. If there is a high volume of tags related to your business it’s a good indicator that people on Instagram are interested in what you do.

Let Instagram check your contacts

If you allow Instagram access to your phone contacts it will match them to Instagram users. If you have your customers saved as contacts you’ll be able to see how many of them use Instagram.

You can also let Instagram find Facebook friends who use the network. If you are friends with customers this is another way to find them.

#2 Do you have a visual business?

There are some businesses that are more visually pleasing than others. Food related businesses and tourism businesses should have a plethora of content at their fingerprints. Office based businesses will have less. Someone like me who works alone in an office with a computer has very little at their fingertips.

Before you plunge in to Instagram make sure you have a strong idea of the content you need to create.

If your stuck for ideas think of a theme that you can base your posts around.

Someone who does this really well is Pat Phelan of Trustev. He tells his story by sharing his cup of coffee moments.

Insta coffee moments from Pat Phelan of Trustev
Insta coffee moments from Pat Phelan of Trustev

Maybe it’s behind the scenes at your business, maybe it’s product photos taken in an interesting way. I love Warby Parkers account, who knew glasses could be so interesting?

Warby Parker feature their glasses in interesting locations and on interesting people.
Warby Parker feature their glasses in interesting locations and on interesting people.

#3 Do you have time?

This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for any business using social media. If you are going to use Instagram you need to be dedicated. You have to have time to take or create strong images on a daily basis and you need time to find users, comment, like and perhaps regram photos too.

#4 Do you have the talent?

This is a tough question to ask yourself. Instagram is all about the visuals. Can you create stunning images? If not can anyone in your business?

If you are not confident yet find some interesting accounts in your niche and take inspiration from them.

Try new things, this post from iPhone Photography School is full of tips for taking better composed square photos. Give some of them a go.
Take a lot of photos every day and be selective about the ones you share. Practice makes perfect!

#5 Do you have the equipment?

Instagram is a mobile tool. You’ll need a smartphone with a good camera. If you don’t have one it’s time to upgrade, what better reason could you have.

#6 What do you want to get out of it?

Instagram is going to be a time investment so it’s essential that you decide why you are using it.

Do you want to:

  • Increase brand awareness?
  • Connect with your customers?
  • Broaden your audience?
  • Something else?

If you decide you want to take the plunge join me on the 19th of May for the free We Teach Social webinar: ‘Getting Started With Instagram for Business’.

“eLearning

What Is LinkedIn for?
What Is LinkedIn for?

What is LinkedIn for? We often hear of it referred to as an online CV but in reality it’s far more than that. It’s an effective sales tool that allows us to build and nurture leads.

Are you wasting all the connections you are making? LinkedIn can help us to forge powerful business relationships but most of us are letting these opportunities slip.

LinkedIn offers us lots of ways to stay in touch with our connections and nurture our business relationships. In this post I will show you just a few.

Before you start make a list of the LinkedIn connections you’d really like to get to know more. Perhaps they need your product or services, are powerful influencers or they sell something you need.

Once you have compiled that list it’s time to start reminding them about you.

For new connections

When someone connects with you and they fit into the ‘valuable connection’ category the first step is to send them a message.

Thank them for the connection and pick something from their profile as a discussion point. This is the very start of your relationship don’t go in all guns blazing with a sales pitch straight away.

Now you have made the connection you can start nurturing it.

View Profiles

People on LinkedIn can see you have viewed their profile (depending on privacy settings). You might think this is a bit creepy but it can be a really useful way to remind someone about you.

Get into the habit of occasionally visiting the profiles of the people that matter to you. It’s a small nudge that will keep your name in the minds of your connections.

This is also a good tactic for getting people to connect with you. Sometimes just a profile visit will encourage them to invite you to connect. People who invite you to connect are more likely to remember you than those you invite.

Endorsements

I know you hate endorsements, most people do but take a look at them again. When someone endorses you it’s an opportunity for you to open a conversation with them. Send them a message thanking them. Ask them how they are, how business is or something else that will prompt a reply.

Avoid getting too endorsement happy. Only endorse people for skills you know they have. This way your endorsement will be welcome and will serve as a reminder of who you are.

Liking commenting and sharing

Set aside time every day to look through your LinkedIn feed. You will find amazing content and by commenting, liking and sharing you will be buying the good will of your connections.

Also in your feed is content your connections have liked or commented on. Interacting with these posts means you are reaching people outside your immediate connections. It’s a great way to broaden your audience.

Tagging

When you share a piece of content on LinkedIn you can tag people in the update. Maybe they wrote the post, are featured in it or you think they will find it useful.

Tagging on LinkedIn is easy. Type @, start typing the name of a connection and they will pop up in a dropdown menu.

How To Nurture Sales Leads & Build Relationships With LinkedIn
Tag your connections when you share their content or want to alert them to content.

 

Congratulations

LinkedIn sends us information about our connections. It will tell us when it is someone’s Birthday, when they are having a work anniversary or when they get a new job. This is the perfect opportunity to re-connect. Congratulate them publicly or send them a private message of congratulation with an invitation to meet up.

How To Nurture Sales Leads & Build Relationships With LinkedIn
LinkedIn lets you know when your connections celebrate work anniversaries

Relationships function

If you use these techniques too frequently it could be interpreted as stalking. Instead of a gentle reminder to your connection, you could be freaking them out. You can avoid this by keeping track of your interactions using the relationship function. This feature lets you set reminders for yourself to make contact with your prospect. You can also remind yourself of key conversations and information about your connections here.

Here’s a short video showing you how it works:

These tools all offer you excellent ways to stay fresh in the minds of your prospects. When you have built a solid connection you should aim to take the relationship further. Suggest meeting for coffee or a chat. This could be the beginning of a long and profitable business relationship.

In conclusion

LinkedIn works best when we use it to build relationships. It offers us a range of tools that can help foster and build relationships that could result in sales, referrals and more.

Your Turn

Do you nurture leads using LinkedIn?
Have you been approached by others using any of these techniques?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

“365