How useful is Instagram?

Are you using Instagram for your business?instagram-green

For the longest time, I was not an Instagram lover for business. I felt that it was more for foodies and clothing lines. Another challenge I felt was that it was difficult to manage more than one account at a time on a device. Then I read this article that described several apps available to iOS and Android, as well as, one for desktop use that will help users manage more than one account on their smartphone.

What spurred my initial search for answers to using it more effectively was this article about brands being slow to adopt Instagram. The article shares that Instagram engagement rates dwarf those of Twitter. But, only 12% of brands include Instagram if they are using 3 social channels to market. The percentage goes up as more channels are are added to the marketing mix.

Here are my thoughts as to why business has not fully embraced Instagram:

  1. Community managers may not be given authority to post on Instagram as the brand.
  2. Some may not see the value in posting to Instagram for a business.
  3. There is a challenge to manage multiple accounts from one mobile device.  AND It is easier to manage an Instagram account from a phone.
  4. Because much of Instagram is based on images, many brands that deal with a B2B clientele have a difficult time reaching their target audience.

Because the platform is now a Facebook property, there is a spot when posting that you can set a location. With this opportunity, your clients, customers or visitors can opt to “check-in” by Facebook or Instagram!

We all need to know which platforms are best suited to our business. With the rise of Instagram, should you be investigating it’s potential benefits for your business? If you need some help making that decision, call.

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LinkedIn – Warm up Cold Calls

What is your process to warm up cold calls?

With 30% of the over 300 million users in the United States, isn’t giving LinkedIn worth a try? This 2013 Harvard Business review looked at some of the statistics with salespeople and LinkedIn.  With that many people at your disposal, you would be foolish not to at least give LinkedIn a look.Warm up your cold calls.

My suggestion is to make use of every part of LinkedIn to warm up cold calls. Back in the day when LinkedIn was just getting it’s legs, users were advised to have a minimum of 150 users. That minimum has now been boosted to 500 or more. The average salesperson has more people than that in the contacts on their phone!

Take a look at your connections connections. This will give you a good idea of who might be able to help you in your pursuit to warm up the cold call. There are two tactics you can use after you find the contact that you wish to reach:

  1. Ask your contact to make the introduction, either through LinkedIn or in an off-line method. This puts much of the work on the other person. With busy schedules, many people may balk at the thought of doing that much for someone else.
  2. Send your contact a message, either through LinkedIn or in an off-line method, asking them if it would be acceptable for you to mention their name in a communication you will be sending to the sought after contact. If there are a number of their contacts you would like to reach, you could send the list in one email. Using this method requires your contact to send you a yes or no response. Easy peasy!

Afterward, all you have to do is send a message or make the phone call to the desired communicant, mention the mutual connection, and give them a moment to recognize the name.  Share a LinkedIn profile

Another very useful method is to share a profile. I often do this when I want to make an introduction between my contacts. Use this as a “pay it forward” tactic. If users know this option, it is an easy way to share your skills and talents with the person to whom you want to connect. CAUTION: Make sure that your profile is something that you want shared!

Last but not least, you can follow the company that you need to reach. Check the people in the list of how you are connected. This is especially beneficial if you have an appointment scheduled. Find the people from the company and do a bit of research before you show up for your appointment.

If your profile leaves something to be desired, or you would like some one-on-one tutoring on how to use LinkedIn better so that you can warm up cold calls, I am available to help you. Just send me a message.

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Simple doesn’t mean Easy

This Forbes article Small Business + Small Marketing = Really Big Losses trended on LinkedIn recently and brings up very valid points about marketing.

Entrepreneurs know their business – mostly because they are technicians who have become business owners.  In many cases, the person is/was good enough at their craft or trade that they decided to break out on their own to become businessmen, some by choice others by necessity.  How many of them have an accountant or a payroll service? an IT support firm? a transportation company?

A true entrepreneur knows when it is time to get help in the areas that aren’t in their wheelhouse.  In many cases one of the most important areas is marketing.  You can have a great product or service but if you aren’t reaching new audiences or able to gain repeat business, you won’t make much money.

Know your audience, know how, where and when to reach them, and then produce enough incentive or reward to get them to answer your “call-to-action” to keep you in business.

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Photo credit: StevenGroves

Simple, right? Easy, not so much.

A book that might interest you in to help you solve your small business challenges is “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.

What other resources have you found?

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SpongeBob has nothing on me!

SpongeBob Squarepants has nothing on this gal.  He may have the ultimate ability tohttp://spongebob.nick.com/characters/spongebob_character.html absorb things, but the brain absorbs so much when you find something that intrigues you.

I have been working on this WordPress site for a few months now and the more I learn the more I want to learn.  Wordpress can do so much and I am just touching the tip of the iceberg.  Wordpress is more than a blog platform.  There are many static sites that are based on a WordPress platform but include e-commerce and so much more.

When I first starting learning about FrontPage and then DreamWeaver, it was like brain candy – always something new to learn, tips, tricks, and ways to accomplish something new and exciting.  Now with social media becoming adopted by more and more businesses, learning about the multitude of platforms and how to best use them to market a business is again like brain candy.

What is your “brain candy”?

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