5 Ways to Make your Visual Social Content Explode

According to recent statistics, people remember;

10 percent of what they hear,

20 percent of what they read,

and 80 percent of what they see and do.

If your business relies on customer acquisition, consider this post your wake up call. Don’t let your budget go to waste with ineffective (and expensive) marketing campaigns, instead of perfectly edited photo content.

In the previous posts I wrote about how to use platforms to create visual content like a pro, and measure the success of your visual content marketing.

With this post, I intended to give you an ‘unfair advantage’ with 5 fresh ideas and tips to make your visual social content blow up!

1 SHARE TIPS AND INSIGHT

As I mentioned above, people remember 80% of what they see. A really cool way to make your visual content pop is to overlay text on an image is by posting statistics that resonates with your audience.

Try using statistics from your own research, or finding some that are relevant to your message. Need a great resource for current statistics? Look no fuhrer than Statista.com – One of the leading statistics companies on the internet.

PHOTOS SHOWING FACES

2 REACH OUT TO YOUR AUDIENCE

The vast majority of Instagram users, or any social media marketers for that matter, simply spend their time creating content and publishing it out there into the great abyss hoping it gets discovered. Very rarely do you see marketers posting on other people’s content as it’s often seen as a waste of time. This in sharp contrast to the saying ‘Social Media is a Two Way Street’.

The best way to get others to share your content is to establish meaningful relationships with others in social media and participate in reciprocal behavior. You can’t expect others to always share and promote your content if you’re not returning the favor.

Sharing the work of others or simply commenting on their feed shows that you understand the social element of social media and respect other people’s work.

Because guess what, it isn’t just all about you.

3 LEARN FROM THE BEST

Instagram has been a huge part of our daily lives. There are tons of great photographers out there who post stunning images that are sure to get you hooked, but what I find more amazing is the fact that some people out there have managed to use Instagram for their purposes in a way that goes beyond just photos of daily life.

AWWSam

Brands, influencers, and the everyday Instagrammer are stepping outside the 1080px by 1080px square box and pushing the boundaries on creativity. If you really want your account to stand out, you need to think creatively and learn from the best.

A few of my personal favorites includes:

AWWSAM, An Industrial Designer, Stylist & Donut Aficionado

Tal Spiegel, Loves shoes and pastries

Betsey Johnson The Official Instagram for all things girly

Vertu Handcrafted luxury mobile phones made in England

The list goes on. Find the feeds that inspire you the most within your industry and analyze what they’re doing right.

Pablo Picasso is widely quoted as having said that “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” If it worked for Picaso, who are we to think otherwise?

4 BE CONSISTENT

Too many Instagram users lack focus — jumping from food pics to photos of cars to inspiring quotes with no apparent purpose. That could work for your personal account. But if you want to build a strong following on Instagram as a business, you need to define your mission & stick with it.

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If you stick to certain styles of photos, your followers will come to expect that & return to see what you post on Instagram.

5 LEVERAGE YOUR FANS

While the goal of Instagram is to create and post your own content, things don’t have to stop there. ASOS has a really cool approach: They repost Instagram content from their individual stylists, who function as brand lifestyle ambassadors with accounts specifically associated with ASOS, like @asos_megan and @asos_isabella.

Another beautiful example of this is the #SAMSUNGS7 hashtag which highlights the creativity of Samsung S7 owners, in a way that Samsung could never achieve on their own.

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Create the right hashtags for your brand and ask your fans to use them, so you can track their images and share their work.

Showing your fans a little respect goes a long way!

BONUS TIP – TRACK & ANALYZE

At the onset of any content marketing initiative, it is absolutely essential to determine your overall goals. Need a little assistance with your KPIs? Give our previous post a read: Measure Your Visual Content Marketing Like a Pro, to discover high level goals and analytics services to dive deeper into your social feed.

So there you have it, 5 ways to make your visual social content explode, and more importantly all you need to make it happen is patience and creativity.

Make sure you stay up-to-date on breaking Social Content information by joining the BIGINTRO Facebook page.

Enjoyed the read? Share it with others and let them know!

Need to give your visual content strategy a serious upgrade? Contact us, today. We’d love to talk.

Instagram Stories for Business: Your How-to Guide

On August 2nd Instagram added a feature called Stories. If you haven’t tried it yet, the idea is that instead of posting carefully chosen photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear. Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a gallery that, well, tells a story.

Yes, I know, sounds very familiar to SnapChat. But being baked into the Instagram platform has a huge advantage for those who’ve already built up a significant follower base.

Instagram by the Numbers

  • Instagram has more than 500 million active users.
  • More than 300 million Instagram users use it on a daily basis.
  • More than 80% of Instagram users live outside the United States.
  • Selena Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram with 91.7 million followers.

Create your first Instagram Story.

Creating your first story is super simple.

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  • Tap on the plus button found on the top left-hand side of your home screen or swipe left in your Feed. You can also quickly launch Stories by swiping right from the main screen.
  • Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video.
  • Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you normally would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
  • Tap Done to save your Story.
  • Tap the check mark button to share to your Story.

Who’s Using Instagram Stories

As I mentioned earlier, since Stories is baked into Instagram, celebreties are obviously the first to start pushing more content out there. Some of my personal favorites are:  Serena Williams – @serenawilliams, Reese Witherspoon – @reesewitherspoon, and John Legend – @johnlegend just to name a few.

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There are also more ‘serious’ publishers already publishing fresh content using Instagram Stories, such as The New York Times, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated.

Patrick Witty, National Geographic deputy director of photography shared with niemanlab.org how Stories helps National Geographic (The most followed brand on Instagram) expand their reach.

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‘One of the interesting things about Stories as well is that photographers are able to tell stories beyond just one picture. It gets deeper and behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a National Geographic photographer. With David, we post one or two pictures on the Nat Geo feed that are still photographs, but he was able to expand his storytelling into videos and interviews and portraiture. More than he could do with a single picture on the feed.”

Beyond the Story

Instagram Stories have a few hidden gems that offer a slight twist on SnapChat

  • Your story is featured on the home feed tab on the Instagram app, and on the profile page of a user when you tap their profile photo.
  • New stories in the home feed are organized by who you interact with most, and not by the time the story’s been updated (like Snapchat), which means your stories are prioritized by who you would like to see first. Theoretically, at least.
  • Unlike Snapchat, you don’t have to be following someone in order to see their Instagram story, unless they are a private account. This means you can browse stories before you commit to following someone.
  • You can hide your story from certain users, like your boss if you’re getting rowdy on a Tuesday night before work.
  • You can seamlessly integrate more behind-the-scenes content and video into your Instagram content strategy and focus on building one audience, rather than splitting your reach between Instagram and Snapchat.

Instagram Stories for Your Business

Think about it this way. Instagram posts allow you to share one perfectly captured frame to tell a story, while Instagram Stories allow you to show a beginning, middle and end for each new story you create.

Still not sure how to maximize Instagram stories for your business? Here are few ideas to get your sparks flying.

Challenges and contests

If you would like to reward your most active and engaged Instagram users, you can have a quick game or contest for them through your Instagram Story. Who doesn’t love social media games and giveaways? They are a perfect way to keep your followers interested and make them want to come back for more.

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Special promotions

Another great way to make your most active Instagram followers feel special is by offering them a discount code or coupon that they can only see if they opened your Snapchat Story. The urge of knowing that the promotion ends in only 24 hours might be the thing that will encourage them to buy. This is a brilliant way to build brand loyalty and increase sales.

Build anticipation

Tease the release of a new product or service by sharing a couple of photos and videos that will do their job to create some buzz around it.

Distinguish engaging content

Instagram lets you see which portions of your Stories generate the most views. If you notice that a specific content from your story is engaging more than the others, you can post it in your Instagram feed for all your followers to see.

Drive more engagement

If you would like to increase your audience’s interaction with your brand on Instagram, now you can encourage them to send you a message directly under your Stories.

Event Coverage

If your business attends many industry events and you have noticed that the engagement on your Instagram content during events is lower than usual, Instagram stories are the perfect place to share that content in. You can now announce your attendance at an event with a single post on your regular Instagram feed, and encourage your audience to open your Instagram Stories for more live updates.

Visual Storytelling

It is all about storytelling. What could be more engaging than sharing an interesting story about your brand, product or staff through fun photos and videos?

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Instagram has always been a place for people to share their passions and connect. And now with Instagram Stores you can do so in even more creative ways—sharing highlights and everything in between, too.

Head over to the BIGINTRO Instagram feed and follow us up, we’ll be sharing fun ideas through our stories you won’t want to miss!

Measure Your Visual Content Marketing Like a Pro

In the previous post, I wrote about 3 killer visual content creation platforms. If you’re starting to prepare you social content plan, I strongly recommend you give it a read. But the question remains, what happens after you post your awesome visual content? What are the metrics you need to be tracking to gauge its success, and how do your relay that information back to your manager in a format that’s clear and easy to digest?

In this post I’ll share the tools and insights you need to be aware of, to make sure your visual content is on point.

Know Your KPIs

At the onset of any content marketing initiative, it is absolutely essential to determine your overall goals. Need a little assistance with your KPIs? These are a few high level goals to get you started:

  • Increasing web traffic
  • Building awareness
  • Developing thought leadership
  • Establishing credibility
  • Attracting new customers
  • Educating and informing prospects
  • Nurturing and converting leads
  • Improving customer service
  • Boosting upsells and repeat business
  • Creating brand advocates

Define Your Metrics

I fully understand that the word “metrics” might make you feel a little agitated, trust me, I’ve been there. Anytime the word is mentioned, it’s an indicator of a departure from that super talented content creation mode you’re in. But the fact remains that as a digital marketer, you’re going to have to share stats to prove that your content strategy is effective. As a side note, anyone who says you can’t track visual content, clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

These are just a few of the metrics you should consider.

  • # Image/Post Views
  • # Video Views
  • # Document Views
  • # Downloads
  • # Podcast Plays
  • # Opens/Click-throughs
  • % Non-Branded Traffic

Instagram Analytics

Earlier this year, Instagram confirmed that they were developing new business profiles to help brands and small businesses succeed on Instagram. If you haven’t upgraded your Instagram to a business account yet, here’s what Analytics (or Insights as they call them) for Instagram Business accounts looks like.

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Instagram Insights delivers valuable data about who your followers are, when they’re online, how many people viewed your Instagram post and more.

SimplyMeasured

If you need to present a high-level summary of your brand’s Instagram account to your team or management executives, you’ll want to check out SimplyMeasured’s free Instagram user report.

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The web-based report is available for accounts that have up to 25,000 followers, and users can expect to receive a comprehensive two-month report that reports analytical data like average engagement per photo, keyword analysis for comments, most active followers, best time to post to receive the most engagement, top locations and filters, and so much more.

For a free report, it’s arguably the best and easiest breakdown that you’re going to get.

Union Metrics

Fans of SimplyMeasured will also want to try out, Union Metrics which offers a web-based tool where users can receive statistics and data about their Instagram account “in just two minutes,” according to the company.

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Union Metrics boasts that they’ve incorporated some of the algorithm from their paid tool into the free report, which includes data such as when the best time to post is, what hashtags receive the most engagement, who your top fans and followers are, and what type of content you should either produce more of or cut back on.

Crowdfire

One of our favorite services here at BIGINTRO HQ is Crowdfire. It’s essentially a relationship management tool, helping users find and identify who their inactive followers are as well as who is unfollowing them. The free tool also helps you find new follower opportunities, locating relevant users to follow based on your current following habits and hashtags.

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Additionally, with Crowdfire, you can set up the app to remind you to upload a photo at a specific time to post to your account.

To Wrap It Up

As a brand or marketing manager, there’s no point in putting in the effort to make social work for you if you’re not going to track, measure, and act on the results. Deploy these free Instagram analytics tools and start making more educated decisions in your social marketing.

Make sure you stay up-to-date on breaking Social Content information by joining the BIGINTRO Facebook page.

Remember this; Great content gets shared, attracts comments, links, and will keep people on your websites. Gone are the days of launching a campaign and waiting months for an indication of results.  Instead of making blind decisions about where to spend your time and resources, measuring KPIs gives marketers the insight needed to make intelligent decisions about their content marketing and better inform their strategies and tactics moving forward.

 

3 Killer Visual Content Creation Platforms

With the tools and services available online today, marketers can create and add authentic social content onto their websites, display, social and content marketing strategies to immediately boost trust, advocacy, sales or just make their products pop.

Knowing where and how to start creating eye catching visuals isn’t so trivial. To get you moving in the right direction, below are 3 of our favorite visual content creation platforms. These services are just the tip of the iceberg, but they’re sure to get your mind racing with fresh ideas towards capturing your audience’s attention.

#1 CANVA

Easily create beautiful designs + documents. Use Canva‘s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics. The Canva platform delivers all the basics you need to start creating visuals for Facebook, Instagram, your website, or any other purpose you can think of. Additionally, it’s advanced features such as; grids, textures, blur, transparency and more allow for all the freedom you need to look like a pro.

#2 GIPHY

Giphy is the quite simply the world’s largest library of animated GIFs. Why are GIFs so important? BlueFly found 12% increase in revenue generated from emails with GIFs. Dell Computers started using GIFs and saw increases of 103% for conversion, 42% for click-through rate, and a 109% increase in revenue; all from emails with GIFs. Need I say more?

http://i.giphy.com/d4bnkJDjdFrMGEq4.gif

#3 PROMO by SLIDELY

Recently launched Promo is a one-stop video service that uses premium videos with licensed music and attention-grabbing copy to create instant promotional videos. I can go on and on about how incredible Promo is, but I’d rather let their videos speak for themselves. After all, this is visual content we’re talking about right?

So there you have it, 3 go-to visual content creation services that will make a huge impact, without putting a dent in your marketing budget.

Enjoyed the read? Share it with others and let them know!
Need to give your visual content strategy a serious upgrade? Contact us, today. We’d love to talk.

5 INSTAGRAM LESSONS FROM THE FASHION INDUSTRY

It’s no secret that Instagram is king in the visual social media marketing world. It is a platform with one focus- visuals. Everything else, like links, calls to action and other classic forms of content marketing are hidden within Instagram.  With such a strong emphasis on visuals, some industries especially in the fashion, design and creative spaces can leverage Instagram to tell a unique story.

With Instagram, the fashion industry has found its social media soulmate.  Through the visual-only platform, promoting an iconic look or evoking unique forms of expression is a cinch.

So the fashion industry has found its perfect match on Instagram.

What about the less sexy industries? Can the less product focused industries use the visual-based social media platform? Are there any lessons to learn from the way in which the fashion industry uses Instagram?

The answer to all of these questions, yes! There’s room for all brands on Instagram.  I’ve even seen carpet cleaning services use the platform.

While many fashion brands are focusing on Instagram for its strong visual storytelling value, they are not selling directly through the platform. Well, sort of. Why are they not pushing their product? Because the platform isn’t built for that direct form of transaction. It’s a place for visuals, for value, and for expression. Like all social media platforms, Instagram isn’t meant to sell. It’s meant to inspire, to engage, to create interest. Selling on social media doesn’t work.

Fashion is, and has always been, defined by its ability to allow the designer to creatively design products. It’s an industry that is constantly changing and dynamic. Social media is also. Yesterday’s Facebook is today’s Snapchat. Does that mean there isn’t room for both? No. Just means that there are trends in how companies market and engage with their community.

Regardless of the size of the fashion company, Instagram can be an ideal way to tell a unique visual story. From bespoke men’s clothing designer to global jeans. Instagram offers something for every designer and for every company.

Many companies are still treading in the deep waters of social media. They remain unsure of its value and question its overall potential, the fashion industry is strutting its Instagram success down the proverbial runway of marketing.

BUT FIRST, WHY INSTAGRAM?

Instagram is everywhere.  To date, over 500 million users are on Instagram globally, 75% of them logging in at least once per day. Clearly, the fact that Instagram is part of the Facebook family can’t hurt. It also enables the visual platform to leverage a robust media and advertising platform.

 

All in all that’s impressive exposure.

In fact, a recent study has discovered that Instagram is among the the most rapidly growing social network in the world. That makes a strong case for why Instagram should be integrated into a holistic digital marketing strategy.

With all the good about Instagram, over the past few weeks studies have shown that Instagram engagement rates have declined significantly over the past few months. Most of the articles attribute the decline to the rate that brands are choosing to post, more posts per brand means a clogged feed. In addition to the growth of content being produced by brands, Instagram is also pushing its ad platform more which means that sponsored posts are favored over native, organic content.

While the recent decline is important to note, Instagram’s visual platform is still favored by many companies, especially those that rely on pictures to inspire and to engage, like the fashion industry. Think that Instagram is only for B2C companies? Here are some b2bcompanies crushing Instagram and maximizing the visual platform to highlight their industry’s strengths.

What can the fashion industry teach other companies about Instagram and visual storytelling?

1 PERSONALIZE YOUR BRAND

Rule number 1 of successful social media marketing- be true to your brand.  All images  shared on Instagram should be consistent with the brand voice. A holistic digital strategy does exactly this. It enables users to engage with a brand across all digital touchpoints with a consistent messaging that is woven together. The message is also respectful of the platform’s strength. (putting links in Instagram posts, not in the bio, don’t do much since there is no hyperlinking option).

Pro tip: Consistency of brand voice across all digital and traditional media is critical. If it’s not, then there are bigger issues that need to be discussed.

The most successful brands are conscious of consistency at all time.

Size of brand isn’t the issue. The main focus should be a strong voice with quality images.  Even the smallest of brands can use visuals to tell a great story or highlight their brand position.  I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet the person behind a custom clothing company, who is slowly understanding that visual marketing can only enhance the company’s growth.

The company knows their persona and understands their value proposition in full detail. Now they are integrating that into an Instagram strategy to enable the pictures to sell. Quality without cutting any corners. It speaks to their legacy with a tip of the hat to the startup and entrepreneurial mindset.

2 TELL A STORY

Every business is unique. Each brand has great story of how it was founded. The narrative of every company, brand, organization, or startup is unique. Something that distinguishes them from their competition. Instagram is a great platform to share that creativity. It’s a creative expression for brands to encourage user generated content. Let the audience show off how their using the product. Let the consumers share some of their passion.

3 GO BACKSTAGE

Every brand has some behind the scenes work. The fashion industry literally invented the backstage access. Going backstage gives customers and fans a sneak peak of what to expect. It’s a build up to the main stage.

4 BUILD A COMMUNITY

Despite the recent decrease, I still believe that Instagram engagement rates are impressive.  Why? Partially because it’s so visual which makes users interested quickly.  Partially because of the simple user interface. On Instagram, like every other digital marketing platform, building community starts,  with knowing your customers.  That should be the easy part. Like Twitter, hashtags make the platform searchable to other  users.

5 HASHTAG FRIENDLY

Hashtags let other users search content from other accounts on Instagram. Relevant hashtags, like keywords, yield more impressions since searching hashtags bring more brand attention. While hashtags may be confusing, the reach potential and relevance makes it a very important component to growing an online community.  With hashtags the key is relevance.

Please don’t overdo it.  Hashtagging can easily lead to spamming. That’s a brand killer. See what others are doing and what key # they are using. To learn more about the skill behind creating great hashtags, here’s a post from Buffer on Instagram.

A few tips on quality hashtags:

Branded hashtags – A brands can leverage a unique hashtag for promotion.  It’s like a stamp. Branded hashtags should be used consistently across online and offline platforms to ensure that consumers are seeing it.

Idea hashtags – Here, the hashtags add meaning behind a certain campaign or contest. Specific hashtags – These are the keywords that describe the space or industry. Generic terms like #fashion #mensfashion would fall under this category.

Build the community around the keywords. The investment will pay off.

USERS, UGC and INPUT

Why spend all the time trying to generate content? If a product is so good, the user should be sharing and telling the story. User Generated Content (UGC) really can serve two different purposes. Not only does UGC bridge the divide between customers and brands. With strong visuals, the UGC makes the product relatable and consumable. Inspiration is the other side of UGC. We’ve all had that moment where we see something and want it. FOMO?  UGC taps into that psychology.

ROI…ON SOCIAL?

The most famous question of all digital marketing. The consumer is eager, they want to buy. But on Instagram? Where is the ROI of all the tweeting, posting, and engaging? Some social media marketers have figured it out, despite the limited nature of call to action on Instagram.

Once again, the fashion industry has figured it out.

A few companies are leading the social to sales space including Michael Kors with Like2Buy, allowing users to like products and order directly from Instagram. With a tap of the heart button on Instagram, the product is in your shopping cart.  Finally, an e-commerce solution that makes sense! Another solution is Matches Fashion, which is able to create sales codes based on a users geolocation. Looking to handle revenue on Instagram? Go with Soldsie. The payment processor responds when a customer comments on a picture. With the word Sold, the user can complete a purchase via Instagram.

So there, Instagram is now a sales funnel.

Above all, Instagram is a very powerful tool for brands to deliver a compelling visual story. Like all digital platforms, success depends not only on creativity but consistency. No brand, can see instant success. Invest the time to do Instagram right.