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Personal Branding

8 Instagram Strategies for Sales Professionals

By | Content Marketing, Instagram, Personal Branding, Social Media for Sales, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

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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How to Boost Your Personal Brand With Social Media

By | Personal Branding, Social Media Marketing | 2 Comments

Personal BrandSales professionals who have personally branded themselves have the competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. Now it’s your turn.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is the good feeling you create and the positive value that comes to mind when your prospects and customers think of you.  You do not define it. It’s defined and determined by your customers as they associate you with the values, abilities and actions they know you will take on their behalf.

One of the most powerful ways to influence how others perceive you and turn that perception into opportunities is with social media.

Here are 6 tips to boost your personal brand with social media:

 

1. Google yourself.

This is the starting point. Your prospects and customers are “Googling” you and you need to know what exactly shows up about you. This is what you want to improve.

2. Start “looking” different online.

Your headshot, your images, your “look” online should be congruent with the image and “look” you have offline with your prospects. Clean and professional come to mind. Hire a graphic design student who is working their way through college, who wants to improve their portfolio, to help you edit your photos and LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profile designs.

3. Start “talking” different online.

Create value for your target market. Your competition is promoting their services. They are touting how great their services are. You can share insight, be educational and add value to your target market by discussing topics they find interesting or that solve their problems. Your voice is your value proposition: the thing that makes you unique and better qualified than the competition. To determine your value proposition, you will need to: 1) Have a thorough understanding of who your customer is, 2) understand your target customer’s needs and goals and 3) position yourself as the best qualified to meet your customer’s needs through the value you share. LinkedIn is the place to start here – start engaging in the groups by sharing value first.

4. Focus on the social media channels that make sense for you.

Do you need to be on ALL the social media channels? Probably not. It’s better to be consistent and good on a couple of channels that make sense, than to be inconsistent and poor on several. All sales professionals should start with LinkedIn and then move to other supporting channels from there.

5. Be authentically different.

Great personal brands are built on the truth of who you are, what you stand for, what your strengths are and your passion for what you do. Today’s social media savvy consumer can smell shallow hype like a hound smells a fox. Be yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, while at the same time don’t be reckless and post a picture of yourself drunk with the lampshade on your head at last weekend’s party either.

6. Become a person of authority in your industry.

The best way to establish authority is through your personal blog. Branding expert Chris Brogan says it best, “Your home base is your blog/website. Not everyone needs a blog. But most people who want to develop a personal brand do.” Your competition may not be blogging, so it’s another opportunity to differentiate yourself online in a sea of competition.

Let’s face it. You’re selling in a competitive sales environment and everyone is saying the same thing as you are about the products and services that you provide. That’s the bad news.

The good news is, it doesn’t matter how hyper-competitive your industry is, you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself with your personal brand using social media.

Here’s a link to a guide I put together to give you 36 resources to take your personal brand to the next level. Let me know what you think!

Personal Branding on Social Media Guide