The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

Instagram and Your Business: So Much More Than Just Selfies and Shelfies

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Recognizing the value ofand forbusinesses, Instagram has recently launched increasingly more functionality and insights for business. Instagram for Business, which debuted about 10 months ago, allows a business to switch to, or create, a business profile and then leverage insights and other tools within the application. Here’s the lowdown on some of the capabilities available to businesses on Instagram.

Enhanced Profiles

Switching from a traditional account to an Instagram business profile allows an organization to include business and contact information on a profile, such as a phone number, an email address and physical address. This profile detail makes it easier for people to verify that a profile belongs to an actual business and to reach out and touch someone directly from the app.

Note that to upgrade, a business must also have a Facebook Page and connect the two profiles; the business contact information will be imported from the business’ Facebook Page (but the information is editable once in Instagram).

Has your business upgraded to a business profile yet? If not, check out Instagram’s blog post on how to create a business account and get going and reap the rewards!

Insightful Analytics

Once a business upgrades to the the enhanced business profile, it is afforded all the scoop: new insights and analytics on posts and stories are available through Instagram’s Business Tools. Insights include data such as:

  • Impressions: The total number of times a post or story was seen
  • Reach: The number of unique accounts that saw a post or story
  • Website Clicks: The number of accounts that tapped the web link on a Business Profile
  • Follower Activity: The average times followers are active on Instagram on a typical day
  • Video Views: The number of times a given video was viewed for 3 or more seconds
  • Saves: The number of unique accounts that saved a given post

Additionally, insights on stories include such deets as:

  • Replies: The number of times people send messages through the “Send Message” option 
  • Exits: The number of times a user swiped from one of your stories to someplace else

Powerful, useful data on how followers engage with a business! According to Instagram: By viewing these insights, you can learn how to create more relevant content that resonates with your audience. At Roaring Pajamas, we love to dig into these statistics and use them to inform what, how and when we post.

Easy Advertising

Instagram business profiles also offer users the opportunity to easily turn high-performing posts into Instagram ads directly from the app. This feature allows a business to connect with even more potential followers and customers faster than ever before. According to Instagram, to take advantage of this feature, “simply pick a post you’ve already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action. You can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting for you. After that, your post will be promoted as an ad for any length of time you choose.” Easy, right?

Note that a business needs a Facebook ad account and a Facebook Page to run ads on Instagram.

Simple Shopping

And, finally, announced just at the end of March, Instagram’s starting to up it’s shopping game! Instagram invited about 20 business to test out shopping functionality last year. Some of the business trial users included J. Crew, Warby Parker, Kate Spade, Macy’s and MVMT Watches. Perhaps you noticed? Turns out, the trial proved successful and now Instagram announced it is expanding the program to many more additional brands in the apparel, jewelry and beauty worlds. In addition to rolling out the shopping capability to more businesses on Instagram, the platform improved usability for brands to more easily tag shoppable products and decipher how well shoppable posts perform.

Now, when an Instagram user taps on a tag on a shoppable post, the user will access these key pieces of information to help him or her shop an item:

  • Product image
  • Product description
  • Product cost
  • Link to the website where the product may be purchased

How long have we been waiting for this bit of awesomeness?

Is your business up and running with Instagram for Business? Are you leveraging the insights and power of Instagram’s Business Tools? Are you in a space that can now leverage shopping on Instagram? We’d love to hear what you think and what you are doing. And, as always, keep an eye on our blog. We promise to keep you up to speed on all the most social media, SEO and marketing news for your business.

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Don’t Share THAT on Your Business Social Media Profiles!

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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As business use of social media explodes, some brands thrive while others are still figuring out the best way to leverage this powerful tool to connect with customers and clients. Many generally accepted rules of what to share and what not to share exist and most businesses are savvy enough to understand these general concepts: don’t rant, don’t insult, don’t gossip, stay on topic, be kind and always stay on brand.

In additional to the basic rules of social media, and–frankly–rules of being a good citizen, recent research shows us some of the most annoying habits of brands and businesses on social media. Before you share your next social media post, be certain you know what your audience wants and what really chaps their hide!

Sprout Social, a social media management software company, publishes a quarterly report with data and insights on social media trends. The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index report highlights the most annoying social media behaviors by businesses according to brand followers. Naturally, we loved this insight. Here are some of the tidbits we found most useful:

Tone:

  • 38% of people find the use of slang irritating
  • 32% of followers find it annoying when a brand tries to be funny (and isn’t!)
  • 34% of people find a lack of personality to be just plain bad

Content:

  • 41% of people will unfollow a brand that doesn’t share relevant information
  • 60% of followers get annoyed with too many promotions

Responsiveness:

  • 25% people are annoyed when a brand doesn’t respond (with only 10% of messages on social receiving a reply from brands, it’s likely that many followers are seriously bugged!)

The Roaring Pajamas take? Sprout Social’s findings validate and are consistent with many of our key messages about social media over the years:

  • Tone: Infuse personality into your a business social media page and posts. But, know your limits and know your audience. We write and talk about this topic frequently, and our emoji marketing post was a fun instance of this topic. Bottom line, always stay on brand and message, regardless of how you do it.
  • Content: Remain true to your expertise. Share important, insightful and relevant content with your followers and don’t always resort to selling and promotions. Show up as a trusted and knowledgeable resource and the sales will follow. While we haven’t written specifically about this guideline, our blog posts and social media posts certainly reflect this concept. We love what we do; we are great at what we do, and we want to share that with our readers and followers!
  • Responsiveness: Respond promptly and with care. Social media provides businesses with a platform for customer service: use it wisely and use it well. Always respond professionally, constructively and promptly. Remember to put the customer first, and think about what they would say about you and your company if they were to write a review!

What do you think? Do you like lots of promotions from brands or does it depend on the brand and the types of promotions? What about too much or too little personality? Anything you have seen businesses share on social media that makes you cringe or really gets under your skin? Let us know!

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Ask These Seven Questions Before Hiring an SEO Agency

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Effective search engine optimization (SEO) requires you to stay updated on best practices and quickly adapt to Google’s changes. Many businesses turn to SEO agencies to help navigate this important marketing element, given the time-consuming nature of understanding and implementing proper and useful SEO.

How does a company embark on a search to find the bestSEO agency? We recommend seeking out firms that practice tactics that both meet and stay within Google guidelines for SEO. Some SEO agencies employ “black hat” SEO practices that violate a search engine’s terms of service. Repercussions from implementing black hat strategies can range from mild to severe, so it’s best to ensure your agency of choice is on the up and up.

The best way to ensure effective and above-board SEO practices is to hire a legitimate “white hat” SEO company that both collaborates with you and educates you along the way. To do this, we suggest you ask these seven key questions before making a commitment:

  1. How do you collaborate with clients? Look for an SEO agency that intends to spend quality time with you upfront to understand your business, and that will also present keyword recommendations to you for approval. You understand your business and the appropriate words and phrases that describe your products and services better than your SEO company, after all! Since the keywords will be implemented in main headlines and copy on your web pages, collaboration and approval to ensure accuracy are downright critical!
  2. Will you educate us, too? We believe the best SEO agencies not only perform great and effective work, but they also teach clients about the methodology and rationale for the work they conduct. If the agency doesn’t want to teach you about the art of SEO, this should be seen as a red flag. Perhaps the agency doesn’t place value on customer service, or the practices are too simple or a little shady.
  3. What reports will you send and how often? Consider clear, frequent and easily understandable reports essential. Ask about the types of reports the SEO agency uses before signing on the dotted line. In addition, you should always have complete access to and control over your account analytics, both now and in the future when you potentially sever ties with the agency. Ensure the agency will do work through your analytics accounts, not through their proprietary account where you won’t have access. To do this, set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console Accounts and then make your agency contact a “user” of those accounts while you retain ownership; you will own the account, and you can always revoke the agency’s user privileges when or if necessary. It the SEO agency isn’t down with this plan, show them the door.
  4. How do you stay updated on SEO policies and how often do you update your best practices? Since you aren’t an expert on SEO, the answer to this question may challenge you. However, look for a methodical approach to how this SEO company stays abreast of changes in the landscape. Consider how often the team participates in formal education on the topic. Ask where they turn for the latest information. If nothing else, be sure they mention Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Google’s “official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.” If the team doesn’t have this site bookmarked, or isn’t consulting news sources that write about the latest algorithms, you should be concerned about where and how they get the latest and greatest information.
  5. What SEO methodologies do you use? You are hiring an agency because you aren’t an SEO expert. But, you need to arm yourself with some very basic knowledge of SEO to make an informed decision about the authenticity of the firm you are paying to keep your company searchable. Remember that black hat practices may land you in search engine jail and ignorance is no excuse! Reputable publications frequently publish content on this topic, and a quick search of “black hat SEO techniques” will yield plenty of research like this Forbes article. If a potential agency even suggests any of these techniques, run!
  6. How much time will this require of me? Understand who from the agency will be leading your project and his or her process for keeping deliverables on time. Ask how you will know when you need to be involved and how much time will be expected of you in the startup phase and then on an ongoing basis. For example, you will likely need to update website copy to properly reflect the keywords and ensure keyword density. Is the SEO agency clear about expectations, timelines and turnaround times? Do the time frames work for you?
  7. What complementary services do you offer? For your new SEO to be implemented, updated copy and web pages will be necessary. Does the agency offer copywriting and development services in the event you or your previous vendors can’t execute on a new plan? Or, can they point you in the direction of such services if needed?

Be sure you are hiring the best and brightest for your company’s SEO. Arm yourself with general SEO knowledge – especially SEO practices to avoid – and ask key questions before hiring an SEO agency. When researched and executed properly, SEO drives valuable visitors and demand to your company; don’t miss out on potential customer or clients because you didn’t do your homework or ask the right questions!

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