8 Instagram Strategies for Sales Professionals

Men on street photographing with smart-phoneThere’s a good chance you are one of the 150 Million people who are actively using Instagram each month.  If you aren’t, you might want to reconsider.

More importantly, there is a good chance your customers and prospects are also using Instagram. It’s yet another opportunity to get in front of them, connect with them and engage with them online.

It’s become so easy for your customer to Google you, or find you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

The only thing worse than not being active on these sites, is being on them badly.

Here are 8 simple Instagram strategies for sales professionals:

1. Repurpose your marketing and advertising content.

It’s cost-effective and provides another outlet for sharing campaigns around your products/services, your events, and your customer experiences. Remember to add your links in the descriptions and tag your location.

2.  Answer your customer’s questions.

Let your audience know you’re available for engagement by sending the right signals. Use photos and video captions to ask questions that encourage comments and feedback. Answer your customer’s most pressing questions by posting 15-second videos to your Instagram account.

3. It’s ok to mix personal with professional content.

In the past there has been a line drawn between being personal or professional online. That line is now blurred because of social media sites like Instagram. And because of this, more than ever you have the opportunity to be and express your own brand. Adding personal photos allows your customers and prospects a chance to get to know you more intimately, more genuinely. Just use common sense and post sensibly.

4.  Use Hashtags that lead people to you.

If you want others to find you, become familiar with some of the popular hashtags and use those that can naturally work with the content you are sharing. There are a lot of hashtags that are popular by city, so be sure to find the one’s that make the most sense to you. For content creation, create a specific hashtag unique to you and your business.  Once you have your hashtag identified, encourage your customers to caption their photos featuring your business with it, using your hashtag. Remember to talk about it so that your customers know they can use it.

5. Run a photo contest.

Contests are big on Social Media, and photo contests are becoming increasingly popular on Instagram. Steps include 1) determine the theme and hashtag it, 2) set the rules (legal and otherwise), 3) spread the word using your other social media accounts, 4) choose how you’ll determine a winner (user votes, jury, etc.), and 5) give away a prize worth participating for.

6. Link your Instagram feed to Twitter and Facebook

Sharing posts to these networks can help drive traffic to your Instagram page by letting your audience know you are now active on this channel.

7. Leverage Call-To-Actions on your blog posts, articles, and newsletters.

Use specific CTAs in email marketing campaigns that drive to your Instagram. When you publish blog posts, eBooks or other marketing content, reference Instagram posts (where relevant) to expose your page as much as possible.

8. Measure.

Instagram analytics reports are available for free or a small fee.  Then you can understand the performance of your Instagram account, compare your efforts on Instagram against those on other social networks and measure the reach and volume of any hashtag campaign. Check out Statigr.amSumallSimply Measured, and Nitrogr.am.

While I’ve written before about great tools for marketing on Instagram, I hope you’ll use one ore more of these strategies to connect and engage with your potential customers from today forward.

What else has worked for you? Please share your comments below.

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7 Online Tools to Deliver Value First on Social Media

Gitomer Quote 1My favorite chapter in Jeffrey Gitomer’s latest groundbreaking book, 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, is the one titled “Deliver Value First.” Gitomer challenges you to “leave “added value” and “value add” out of your sales lexicon forever.” Brilliantly, he helps you understand the difference between value and incentives, and explains how value must be delivered first.

I want to give you the tools to help you deliver value differently than your competitors.

Always remember, tools are great but identifying your customer’s problem is where delivering value starts. And listening when they talk (on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) is your opportunity to fill the value gaps. Delivering value first means helping people to make informed decisions, finding out their needs first and showing an interest to solve their problems not yours.

Here are 7 online tools to deliver value first on social media:

Issuuhttp://issuu.com | Create any number of digital publications, including ebooks and whitepapers.

Visual.lyhttp://visual.ly |Create your own infographics and data visualizations with a great selection of templates.

preziPrezihttp://prezi.com | Cloud-based presentation software that helps users create more dynamic (and more interesting) visual presentations.

Content BLVDhttps://contentblvd.com | Submit sponsored posts or guest posts, target blogs according to reach and relevance and accept offers to publish your content on blogs you approve.

Outbrainhttp://www.outbrain.com | A content discovery platform, Outbrain boasts innovative technology to offer recommendations and help your audience discover more content on your site that is interesting to them.

List.lyhttp://list.ly | a way to create and share lists, as well as integrate collaborative lists into your own blog posts, acting as a catalyst for others to build upon the lists you share.

YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com | What are you waiting for? YouTube has proven itself to be a massively relevant marketing tool for salespeople across the globe and you probably aren’t taking advantage of it yet. Get started, chances are your competitor still isn’t using it or using it well yet either.

How do I use the tools?

Create meaningful content and stay engaged. Your customers, fans and followers will be more likely to engage with you and meet with you because you or your company is a go-to resource for information that can solve their most pressing problems. Your content is like your virtual salesperson who’s ready to answer every question a prospective customer poses, 24/7 via your website and blog.

Provide information to benefit your followers, not just your prospective customers. Even if they don’t lead to your product or service, you’ll be remembered because you are genuinely thinking and delivering value in their best interest, not yours. Just because someone may not be a prospect for your product/service doesn’t mean that person isn’t a valuable contact who should be nurtured. They are on the social networks, they hear opportunities you don’t hear, and may recommend you to people you don’t know.

One last thing. It’s not just about delivering value first. You can and should toot your own horn, promote your product and service and run real campaigns that revolve around your offer(s). But deliver value first a few times, and then promote is the formula to follow. Gary Vaynerchuck refers to delivering value first as “Jab, Jab, Jab” and then creating the right campaign or angle to memorably promote your product/service as a “Right Hook” in his new book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.”  His book is jam packed with case studies to learn from as well – a great way to deliver value first.

The lesson: It is only by delivering value first that you will be remembered, reciprocated and passed on (via word-of-mouth).  The tools are creative ways to differentiate how you deliver value first.

 

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The Anatomy of Highly Shareable Content

 

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I bet you’d agree with the rest of the marketing industry that content is king. In fact, if you have been doing content marketing long enough, you may have witnessed a few startups that have grown into bigger brands just by consistently producing kickass content. So what exactly makes a piece of content so irresistibly shareable? Read on and I’ll tell you.

1. Shareable content tackles relevant issues.

When you create content, be sure to use topics your followers can relate to. You can write a blog about your readers’ common problems and how to resolve them, or podcast about current events. Creating relevant content is a way of showing your audience that you know and understand their issues, which can help you to earn their trust.

2. Shareable content stirs up emotion.

Aim to spark a specific emotion. People generally want to share content they can emotionally connect with. When you make a video about your brand, don’t just simply talk about how amazing your brand is. Instead, tell a story and target a specific emotion among your audience. Will your video spark feelings of happiness and hope? Or will it be about anger? Whichever emotion you choose, keep in mind that the goal is to drive people to share it.

3. Shareable content is valuable to your followers.

People will more likely share your content when it consists of useful information. Write about tips and how-to’s and share your knowledge with your followers. For instance, a craft shop can write an eBook on how to create a beaded bracelet. By doing so, you are helping your readers improve their skills. As a result, they will feel empowered and respect your brand.

4. Shareable content is free of grammatical errors.

Nothing is more annoying than reading a blog that is full of grammatical errors. These mistakes can alter your readers’ understanding of your message – or worse, they might lose respect for your business. To avoid grammatical errors, ask someone else to proofread your work before publishing it.

5. Shareable content conveys clear points.

When your points are not clearly outlined, there’s a big chance that your readers will get the wrong message. Avoid creating content with vague and confusing information. Be clear on what you want to say and use words that are simple to digest.

Top brands are using different clever marketing strategies to make their content go viral, but the points I’ve mentioned are the most common denominators. What was your most shared content so far? Post a link in the comments below – I’d love to see it!

Content Marketing Resource: WPWebinar – An Innovative WordPress Webinar Plugin

WPWebinarWe’re always asked to recommend the latest and greatest content marketing and inbound marketing resources.

One of the most effective ways to build deeper connections with existing customers is through webinars. You may already have a blog, but connecting with prospects and your current customers online takes the relationship to the next level. You’ll also discover that your social media followers will often come from your webinars, if you’ve added value and put delivering great content ahead of promotion.

Every once in a while an innovative resource is released that’s worth recommending to others.

Created by internet marketer Armand Morin, WPWebinar* is the answer to the question, “Why not create a webinar software built upon WordPress with all the features of the most popular software at an affordable price?”

What if the software would work with most any WordPress theme? It does. This means you are not theme dependent. You can use any theme you want. If you change themes, it doesn’t effect your webinars.

It was ALSO created with several pre-built themes. So, if you don’t have a theme you can choose one of the built in themes.

It also works with any autresponder system.

Check out the videos by clicking below and decide for yourself if WPWebinar is the alternative you’ve been looking for to GotoMeeting/GotoWebinar, Webex, and others.

Content Marketing Resource: WPWebinar – An Innovative WordPress Webinar Plugin

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Click here to learn more about WP Webinar, and how it will help you grow your business with Webinars. 

 

*Please note, we are a compensated affiliate for the Armand Morin Network, and we take our recommendations seriously. We don’t recommend all products, but we do recommend WPWebinar.

7 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

instagram1Instagram is growing fast – no, at warp speed! Are you using Instagram for business yet?

With over 100 million active users per month, it’s proving to be a terrific platform for businesses aiming to reach a wider audience. What makes the mobile app a huge hit is that it’s free and users can share real-life experiences using photos with cool filters.

We think these 7 tips can help you as you consider using Instagram for business:

1. Share visually compelling photos on a regular basis.

Just like any other social network, sharing your thoughts or real-life moments is a great way to initiate interaction. Make it a daily habit but make sure not to over-share. If you share way too many photos, you might populate the live feed of your followers and they may be tempted to tap that “unfollow” button.

2. Let your fans in on a “sneak peek”.

Perhaps you’re working on some interesting project? Allow your followers to see what’s happening behind the scenes. Your followers will surely feel like they’re part of the team and they will most likely create some buzz about it.

3. Post creative photos.

Instagram’s filters are great but sometimes, photos can still be enhanced by using other mobile photo-editing apps. Do not settle with posting just a semi-beautiful photo. Make sure every image you post captivates your audience and earn their likes. Some creative photo editing apps to check out are Be Funky, Snapseed, and Aviary.

4. Go out of your way to like or comment on other users’ photos.

Social networking, like every other relationship, has to be a two-way street. Do not keep your followers liking and commenting on your photos without returning the favor. Nurture the relationship you share by constantly showing appreciation of their posts. However, you have to be careful not to like “all” of the photos you see on your feed. When people notice you liking almost every photo of other users, your stamp of approval loses value and followers may wander off.

5. Use hashtags.

As what we’ve mentioned in our previous post, Instagram is one of the social networks that is incorporating hashtags into their platform. They are used to sort photos into albums. Using hashtags is a great way to reach out to people who have similar interests as you do.

6. Get your followers involved.

People love to participate in exciting social media activities. You can hold themed photo-sharing events or run a photo trivia or a contest. You can give out a prize or an exclusive offer to the winner. Always find ways, such as asking great questions, to keep your followers engaged with your brand.

7. Share photos that display your company values.

At the end of the day, the people behind your business are talented people who have great values. Tell your followers about these values by capturing priceless moments about the synergy you share within your team. You would want your followers to love not only your products or services, but also the amazing team who puts everything together for them.

Instagram should also be about having fun. People easily notice when you’re having fun and it’s very contagious! So if you’re thinking of branching out your marketing strategies on Instagram or are already doing so, apply these tips and you’re on your way to Instagram success.

How are you using Instagram for your business? I welcome your thoughts and comments!