Today, we’re going to be talking about how important it is for your business to have an Instagram profile, among other social media platforms. But first, let’s talk about digital marketing.
Digital marketing–a blessing and a challenge to us companies looking to expand our sales, reach, and overall presence. You see, the world is now shifting to e-commerce as the next big thing for businesses. It’s an emerging marketplace of potentials. It has grown as an ecology of sorts, bridging consumer insights, experience, and business opportunities in one arena.
If I were to describe digital marketing further, it would be something like this: It’s an online community that’s almost a carbon copy of our offline world.
Shops are now in digital websites or local sales aggregates that are hosted (either by the company itself or third-party providers like Amazon.com and Alibaba.com) so they can set-up shop online.
With just a few clicks (and of course, after reviewing products from other user insights), they just input their credit card details and have the item delivered to their doorstep in a week or less.
Can Your Business Make It Through This New E-commerce Thing?
The short answer is yes. (Well, the long answer says that too.)
You have your offline customers, which is good. These are your local, loyal customers that steadily bring profits to your brand.
However, you are expecting your business to live a long time, yes? If that’s the case, you should invest in where your future market is already at. The digital population is growing, and you might even get new business there.
Plus, it’s not that difficult! It’s just like migrating your services or products to the cloud. You just copy and paste what you have, with some sprinkles of online marketing strategies in-between.
The Challenges You Should Expect
Challenges are always part of any marketing plan. Even some of the horror stories over in www.failory.com started from a small mishap in digital marketing. Some products and brands barely even took off because they invested in the wrong strategy too much and noticing it a little too late in the campaign. Some of these challenges are expected when your business establishes itself online.
1. Making the wrong conversation.
This marketplace digitizing is something that’s welcome to the younger generation. Known as the Digital Natives, these customers migrating to the online crowd are one of the main driving forces in the growth of e-commerce. These are the people you talk to. (This is also why having an Instagram profile is a good idea – but we’ll get into that later.)
Mobile commerce is one of e-commerce’s sub-branches. It’s basically the desktop version of the online ecology mentioned before, but specialized through mobile phone applications. These websites that end up on a customer’s mobile phone are sacrosanct, to say the least. Once there, your app can send out push notifications (kind of like small reminders) for your promos, sales, or new products with great effect. Did you know that customers that receive push notifications are 48% more likely to make in-store purchases? This is just one example of how you can monetize your brand through e-commerce. If your push notifications are too irritating or irrelevant to the customer though, your app might have its push notification disabled, or worse, your app uninstalled.
How do you make the right conversation? Well, the first thing to study is the art of empathy. According to Matt Gentile of Century 21 (an American real estate company), “Just have a human interaction with that person, even if it is online.”
“Do it in such a way that you are listening,” he continued. Whenever you make a spiel, whether it’s customer service-related or through push notifications, make sure to craft it in the shoes of the customer. What are the customer’s goals? What are their dreams, their habits? Use these as cues.
2. Brand saturation
Let’s be honest: We hate commercials.
When watching sports on television, we change channels during halftime. We merely glance at the ads in newspapers and billboards. In the digital arena, this is also a phenomenon. We skip ads on YouTube with our hands automatically hovering in the “Skip Ad in…” button or press that X button when being hit by subscription invites when reading articles.
This “in your face” strategy that everyone seems to employ contributes to what we call Brand Saturation. I personally experienced this. I made it my personal mission to avoid apps or products that have boring, irrelevant content. According to Kantar Media, as cited by marketingweek.com, “54% of UK consumers object to being targeted based on their past online activity and 55% are completely apathetic towards advertising content”. Yikes.
3. Tough competition
When you put your name out there online, that’s good! You’re already ahead of the competition. That’s… the good news. The bad news? Everybody else is already here or are on their way. However, more competition doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fighting a losing battle. This just means that you need to have an edge for your brand presence. Even small brands are killing it online with little-to-no risk in their marketing.
Take for example 3P Creative Group, a New Jersey Marketing Agency. They are a small fish in the creative services pond. A very small fish. According to Brian Regienczuk, CEO at Agency Spotter, there are over half a million Creative agency-related services worldwide.
Surprisingly, after taking to heart the strategies and guiding principles of Inbound Marketing from Hubspot and its tools, it received 20 times more leads!
The technique to breaking the mold in the competitive online marketplace is to optimize your platforms. You already have the goods, the brand, and the motivation. What’s next?
Recommendations: Where You Should Begin
There are a lot of online marketing “bibles” out there that try to sell you the secrets to marketing success.
Although I do agree that there are specific things you can employ to maximize your online presence, some of the basics are more than enough to keep your business thriving.
Below are some of the recommendations you can quickly implement to make your brand stand out:
1. Seeking the right niche
Your first stop would be finding out where your market is. Learning where your market stays in the digital word is the first step to making sure your online initiatives will be received well (or even noticed in the first place!). Different demographics and psychographics stay in different niches in the internet. If you know their background, you know how they walk, talk, and what tickles their fancy when viewing online content.
Here are some more strategies as shared by Anchovy PLC, an international marketing group.
2a. Identifying your customer: B2B or B2C?
B2B means business-to-business. If your main products are services, that means you are most likely looking for B2B outlets, like professional correspondences or social media like LinkedIn. If your clientele is B2C (meaning business-to-consumer), step right in to the next step.
2b. Creating Your Ideal Customer / Reader Profile
If you could sell your services or products to one person only for the rest of your company’s life, who would be that person? This person might be someone who’s a no-nonsense type like Paul–perfect for your hardware retail. Or perhaps you’re looking for the chatty, charismatic yuppie like Emily who can refer your coffee biz to the rest of his Instagram friends? Think of your preferred client because you’ll be using your messaging and content to attract more like them. Some other questions you might want to ask:
- What’s their age range?
- Where do they stay, work, or hang out?
- What’s their gender?
- What values do they espouse and look for?
2c. Looking at your competitors
Who’s your nearest competitor active online? No, you’re not going to copy what they post; just observe and check how they interact with their market. What are some things they do well that you can also invest in your workflows? What are the gaps your communication and content can fill better? Use them as a benchmark and a springboard to get better results.
3. Starting with the right online platform
Whatever your business is, one of the best emerging platforms to start your e-commerce and digital marketing initiatives is through social media. It’s fast, it’s free, and most importantly, your market is there! Did you know that over 54% of social browsers use social media to research products before they buy?
Now you have the option to make a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram profile. The question is: Where should you really focus your efforts on?
Of course, each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. Your results may also vary depending on who your audience is. For example, if your customers are mostly in the professional sector, then you would of course benefit from being active on LinkedIn.
Regardless, we highly recommend establishing yourself on Instagram. If you’re looking for data to support this, well, how about this: 72% of Instagram users have reported that they actually bought something through the app. In addition, Instagram also requires the least effort, in theory, among the social media platforms available to you. Why? Because most of your capital comes from your own creativity!
What’s Next For Your Instagram Profile?
All right, so now you’re probably thinking: “Instagram seems safe to start in my e-commerce migration! What are some baby steps I can take to finally see some of that e-commerce success I’ve been reading about?”
The first step is creating your Instagram account. Next comes the slightly more complicated part of optimizing it.
Actually, managing your Instagram account is relatively easy. One step that you absolutely cannot skip, though, is the step in which you optimize and manage your Instagram profile.
To get started on that, it’s important to understand the anatomy of a memorable Instagram profile. These tips below are some highlights you can use on the fly.
Optimizing Your Instagram Profile
1. Create an engaging bio.
When optimizing your Instagram profile, you should start with you bio.
Your bio is basically a TL;DR (“too long, didn’t read” – in other words, a condensed description) that introduces yourself and your brand identity. Tell them what services or products you offer! Give them a clue that you’re not just a robot behind the computer. Use colorful language or even emojis (especially since you only have a 150 character limit). Take note that you can change your Bio from time to time too, so you can highlight deals, special offers, or even sale dates. You can also use hashtags that best exemplify your main selling points so your page can trigger users looking for that hashtag. Last but not the least, you can add shortened links (through bit.ly or tinyURL, for example) where you can lead them to your offers or website.
2. Engage your customers.
When posting your content, a cardinal sin for Instagram marketers is ignoring comments or not mentioning them at all. According to data, mentioning a client online strengthens rapport and keeps them on your pages longer.
3. Create an optimized Instagram profile picture.
Your Instagram profile picture is one of the first things your clients will see when they check out your page. Make sure that your Instagram profile picture is your brand logo (if you plan to mix it up a bit by adding a different perspective or a different design, it’s okay). Your brand logo is one of the things that will be remembered the most. By the way, your profile picture should be a perfect square at 320 x 320 pixels so it’s dead set in the middle. Instagram downsizes it a bit, but your pixel buffer should still make your picture HD.
And that’s it! If you’re thinking of going digital, make sure to follow these steps and take it one step at a time. Your business is heading the right way. Good luck!