More than #Selfies: Making your Business Instagram-Worthy

As Facebook prides itself as the messiah in social networking – thanks to Mark Zuckerberg – Instagram is aiming prove itself to be next in-line. The image sharing platform is bringing together many different images and photos every day – from all backgrounds, oh mean we life backgrounds and not portrait backgrounds.

If there is one “marketplace” where superrich individuals, superstars, pop stars, politicians and common web users meet together, it’s on Instagram. By meeting together, we mean seeing each other live out their normal lives.

Instagram – not just a gift for image based businesses

Unlike Facebook and Twitter though, business owners are still trying to get the best grasp on using Instagram as a marketing tool. Instagram is a gift for business brands anchored on images such as fashion stores and photography studios.

But Instagram is perfect for any type of business, from highlighting pens to seemingly impossible Instagram-worthy posts. Let us give you some of the well-known brands that succeeded in utilizing the platform.

With over 1,000 followers, US electronics company Intel posts creative products or ideas earning likes and favourites every day.

Also, famous highlighting pen provider Sharpie wows users of daily drawings and scribbles crowdsourced from fans using the pen. They have posted doodles of famous superstars like Psy.

Instagram tips for small businesses

Here are some tips to create a successful marketing strategy for Instagram:

  1. Draft a creative strategy. Do not show up on Instagram if you wouldn’t think of attention-grabbing photos. The most successful Instagram businesses in terms of followers that translate to sales are those who produce the best photos with the wittiest captions.
  2. Hashtags are a huge help. Do not just use any hashtag. While trending is not present in Instagram unlike Twitter, a number of users of the image posting platform click on hashtags to uncover related images. If your business is food, popular hashtags are #foodporn, #food and #gobble. Avoid using a hashtag that includes difficult food spellings.
  3. Take good care of your followers. Your followers are your potential customers. Reply to them often, share their images and make them, submit photos to your account.

Let us help you get your Instagram and social media programme live now »

 About US

  • Smart Cookie MarketingSmart Cookie Marketing, based in Shoreham by Sea Sussex, specialises in supporting small businesses with their Social Media and Marketing
  • Stuart Lanham is MD of Smart Cookie Marketing and has been a marketer for over 20 years
  • Marketing experience includes marketing and social media roles at Gatwick Airport, Direct Line, Churchill Insurance, Privilege Insurance, NIG and RBS Insurance.
  • See our Clients

Why Google Plus is becoming essential for UK’s small business

Social media and how to use it in business remains a conundrum for many and for small businesses in particular, with limited time and resources, it tends to fall by the way side.

However, when businesses do take a leap of faith and take their first tentative steps into social media it has mainly been via Facebook and Twitter, with barely a second glance at Google Plus.

While this is understandable in terms of where their customers are likely to be hanging out, it overlooks the importance that Google plays in their online world and more importantly how Google plan to use Plus in the future.

Google treats all google plus posts as a web page

Every post you make on your Plus page is treated by Google as a mini web page that will be added to their search listings. So effectively every post increases your profile on the UK’s most popular search engine.

The same can not be said of Facebook and Twitter, which have often found their posts not listed or given a lower priority. With the proliferation of this content it is likely that Google will continue to prioritise their search bots on collecting data from google plus rather than other social media.

Google Plus has become the gateway to google services

Google has begun to bring all of its varied services together, using your google plus page as the entry point. You may have noticed that your Google Places has now become Google Business and is linked directly to your google plus page. Similarly you will find online reviews and comments are tightly integrated with YouTube, which also now requires you to have a Google Plus page to login.

The good news is that linking all this content together is great for how visible your business becomes on the internet, reaching wider and bigger audiences, but to benefit you need to have your Google Plus page running and up to date with good content.

Our customers don’t use Google Plus?

Although your UK customers may not be talking about Google Plus, increasingly the services they are using are being wrapped up in to it. With Google taking the view that content generated across its own platforms is the most important (and why wouldn’t they) businesses can no longer afford to ignore it.

Can you afford not to be on Google Plus

Google is the most used search engine in the UK, by a long, long way and Google’s chrome browser is now the most used worldwide.  So the real question is, if Google Plus will improve your online reach and improve your SEO can you afford to ignore it?

Stuart Lanham of Smart Cookie Marketing comments:

“Social media is relevant to some businesses but not all, so small businesses should always consider what is the best use of their most limited resource…. time.

However, Google Plus is increasingly becoming much more than a social media mechanism, with its impact on search listings now and the future making it something small businesses should be looking in to now.”

Let us help you get your Google Plus programme live now »

   About US

  • Smart Cookie MarketingSmart Cookie Marketing, based in Shoreham by Sea Sussex, specialises in supporting small businesses with their CRM and Marketing
  • Stuart Lanham is MD of Smart Cookie Marketing and has been a marketer for over 20 years
  • Marketing experience includes CRM roles at Gatwick Airport, Direct Line, Churchill Insurance, Privilege Insurance, NIG and RBS Insurance.
  • Check out our Google Plus page
  • See our Clients

 

CRM: what is it and is it relevant to small businesses?

The business world loves a good acronym but don’t confuse CRM as just another ‘of the moment‘ fad.

It’s fair to say that CRM has been hijacked by the IT software industry for many years to convince you top purchase their latest sales and marketing solutions, which may well have put small businesses off, however that is a disservice to CRM.

CRM, Customer Relationship Management, is core to every successful business, big or small. Great CRM enhances customer retention, improves conversion rates, facilitates cross selling and creates advocates for your business… what more could you wish for?

Stuart Lanham, MD of Smart Cookie Marketing, suggests that “CRM is often overlooked by small businesses who find themselves locked in to chasing new leads through online and offline advertising“.

Continuing Stuart comments that “rather than spending so much time targeting ‘cold’ leads, small businesses should spend more time trying to unlock the potential of their existing customer base“.

Why? It really is as simple as existing customers have already experienced your services and have a level of trust in your products and services and so your chances of up selling and cross selling to them are far higher than to cold leads.

There are many facets to a good Customer Relationship Management programme including:

  • Customer communications – making them timely, relevant and informative communication
  • Cross selling and up selling - not a case of bombarding them with meaningless offers,  it requires understanding your customers needs at a particular moment in time and responding to it
  • Retention – it’s much cheaper to retain a customer than find a new one and using retention tools and strategies will keep your customers on board
  • Lead/sales conversion – a strong lead conversion process is essential to making lead generation cost-effective, from their first contact to completed sale and beyond
  • Customer experience – making all customer interactions easy, quick, memorable and, even, pleasurable…. however big or small the transaction
  • Customer insight and research – to effectively manage the customer relationship you need to understand what they feel and think about dealing with you
  • Advocacy – there is no more powerful sales tool than recommendation but you need to create the mechanisms to encourage it
  • Plus lots more!

What’s great for small businesses, you can undertake all of these giving your business huge benefits at a small cost.

At Smart Cookie Marketing we help small businesses identify and maximise the CRM opportunities in their business. Providing inexpensive and scalable solutions for all types of businesses including retail, direct, and business to business.

While so many CRM discussions start around the IT software, we focus on what information you have, could collect AND what you can do with it to make a difference to your business NOW.  We promise not to sell you a CRM system just give you some great expertise and knowledge!

Get your Customer Relationship Management programme live now »

 About US

  • Smart Cookie MarketingSmart Cookie Marketing, based in Shoreham by Sea Sussex, specialises in supporting small businesses with their CRM and Marketing
  • Stuart Lanham is MD of Smart Cookie Marketing and has been a marketer for over 20 years
  • Marketing experience includes CRM roles at Gatwick Airport, Direct Line, Churchill Insurance, Privilege Insurance, NIG and RBS Insurance.
  • See our Clients

Mis-timed e-mail marketing makes MP3Fiesta the Fool

Mis timed April Fool?On clicking through my e-mails today – 5th April – I was a little surprised to have one wishing me a ‘great April fool’s day’.  I puzzled over this for a little while, because April Fools days has long passed (that’s on the 1st April) so have I missed something or is this some clever marketing ploy that is also escaping me??

Well to be fair it did make me open it and read the offer, and $45 of music downloads for free certainly grabbed the attention, so all good there.  Sadly though the offer was only live between March 31 and April 3rd.

So MP3fiesta.com your e-mail marketing to “your dearest music-fans” made me feel somewhat less warm towards you!