Is Instagram the Next Big Marketing Thing?

If you’re a social media nerd, you’ve probably heard by now that Instagram has more monthly active users than Twitter. And if you’re a social media nerd, you also know this is pretty huge news.Instagram 4.0 - 03 Edit

If you’re a small business owner, it might mean that it’s time to consider including Instagram in your social media marketing strategy. Instagram may or may not be right for you and your small business, but at the very least, it is worth considering.

Some facts and figures to get you hungry over “the Insta”:

  • Instagram earned over 300 million monthly active users by December 2014, with an epic 50% increase in just 9 months.
  • Intended for use on a mobile device, Instagram is a ridiculously simple, streamlined and easy-to-use app for sharing photos and videos. It allows the user to share visual content – complete with captions and hashtags – quickly and easily on not only Instagram itself, but on Facebook and Twitter as well.
  • Instagram’s unstoppable growing popularity can be credited to the growing power of visual content on social media and all things Internet.  According to a recent study by Cisco, video is predicted to account for 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018. Read more about the study on ReelSEO here.
  • While most of its users are teens, Instagram is now the second most popular social app among millennials (18-34 year-olds), according to a recent report by comScore. According to the report, Instagram has 43.1% penetration on millennial users’ mobile phones, second only to Facebook (which has 75.6%).
  • It’s not just the number of users that is important to note here; as always, engagement is what is truly important. And apparently, Instagram is more engaging than Facebook and Twitter combined. While stats vary from study to study (thank you, Internet), the overall message seems to be that users are paying more attention on Instagram and that’s where your brand stands a better chance of getting noticed. According to a report from Forrester:

“Our study found that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.” – Forrester

What do these nerd numbers mean in practical terms? Well, according to the Forrester study…

“…Red Bull posted a video of a unique snowboarding half-pipe on both Facebook and Instagram. A few days later, we noted that the brand’s 43 million Facebook fans had liked the video just 2,600 times (a 0.006% likes-per-fan rate), while its 1.2 million Instagram followers had liked the video more than 36,000 times (a 3% likes-per-follower rate).” – Forrester

Don’t believe Forrester? Well, according to The New York Times

“Instagram users are highly engaged with the service, with users interacting with posts at 18 times the rate they do with Facebook posts, according to a report issued last month by the research firm L2.” –  The New York Times

Still don’t believe Forrester or the New York Times? Then you HAVE to believe Gary Vaynerchuk (see what he says about Instagram at 2:42 on an episode of his always insightful, always entertaining podcast The #AskGaryVee Show here:

Personally, I’ve decided to give my Instagram account more serious attention in the near future. How about you? Are you using Instagram for business? Do you think you will use it more often in your small business social media strategy in the upcoming months?

Need a social media nerd to help with your small business? Get in touch! – Nishi

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What’s the Ideal Length for a Blog Post?

Small business blogs come in all shapes and sizes, which leaves many new bloggers wondering, “what is the ideal length for a blog post?” The answer…

There is no ideal lengthtwo lines || zwei Linien.

First and foremost, your post needs to be as long as it takes to get a compelling message across. That’s it. As long as your writing is passionate, informative and articulate, go as long as you need to. All killer, no filler.

I lied. There IS an ideal length.

Keeping in mind that the quality of your content trumps everything else, be aware that search engines tend to prefer posts that are at least 250 words long. However, while longer blog posts (generally speaking, up to 1,500 words) get picked up more by search engines, most readers appreciate content they can get through fairly quickly.

That said, I recommend weighing in at 300-500 words per post.

Actually, I lied again. The right answer is… there is no right answer.

Blog length can be dictated by many factors:

  • The length of your posts may depend on your blog’s subject matter. In-depth articles backed by research and facts need to go long. Blog posts that are primarily updates on current events are rightfully going to run short.
  • If you update your blog frequently, it may be best to write shorter posts… your readers might not have enough time to invest several times a week if you write long. On the other hand, they might enjoy a weekly ritual of settling in with your in-depth lengthy post, much like people used to look forward to the Sunday paper in the olden days.
  • Post length also depends on your business brand’s target audience: does your intended audience prefer depth or brevity? It all depends on who you are writing for.

At least breaking up is easy.

If you feel like you have a lot to say, but don’t want to publish a really long post, you might be able to break one post up into multiple posts; now you’ve created content that you may be able to spread out over the course of a few weeks!

Also, your post won’t seem “as long” if you break it up into smaller paragraphs and insert interesting images. Use sub-headings and bullet lists to make your content easier to scan.

Whatever is best for your small business blog, try to be consistent with your post length so your readers learn what to expect; eventually, post length becomes a part of your branding.

At the end of the day, there are no real rules. Figure out what works best for you as a blogger and more importantly, what works for your brand.

Need help launching or writing your small business blog? Get in touch with Nishi at Night Day Digital Media today!

Special thanks and shout-out to Naomi who owns In the Buff Skin Studio for the question, “What is the ideal blog length?” Got a small business social media or blog question? Get in touch and I might publish a response! – Nishi

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Why Share Other People’s Social Media Content?

As an entrepreneur using Facebook, Twitter and other social media for marketing purposes, your major concern should be coming up with awesome original content to share with your followers. But don’t forget about sharing other people’s content too.Man And Woman Help Silhouette In Mountains

Sharing other people’s content is good for you, good for them, good for your followers, and just good for the universe in general. Here’s why:

1) It takes the pressure off

You’re a small business owner and your time is limited. Someone else has great content that they WANT you to share. As long as they’re not your competition and taking potential business away from you, why not use their content to beef up your social media presence without expending too much time and effort?

2) Your followers will thank you

Your followers appreciate the original content that you  create for them, but they also appreciate the new speakers, authors, motivators, resources and educators you lead them to. Plus it makes you look like a smarty-pants. But more importantly it keeps your followers interested… which can only lead to more shares and more followers.

3) You might make a cool friend

Let’s say you share a  post from a blogger you admire and they… wait for it… take notice and thank you! Now you’ve opened the lines of communication with a worthy influencer. Bravo!

4) Position yourself among the greats

Leverage great content from great content providers and raise your profile in the process. It’s almost like you’re one of them!

5) Dude! Karma!

If someone is out there producing something awesome, be a part of their movement and help them help others by sharing. You will be doing a small bit of good in the universe and you will feel awesome for doing it. Furthermore, maybe they’ll reciprocate and share your content one day. After all, what goes around comes around: in life, in business and especially in social media.

When you share interesting and relevant content, don’t forget to credit your source. Also, try to make it obvious by tagging your source so you help drive traffic to the source and ALSO so that the source knows what you’ve done for them. Above all, if you’re lucky enough to have your content shared on social media, be sure to thank the people who are spreading your message!

Need help creating original content to publish on your blog, email newsletter or social media? Get in touch with Nishi Sood at Night Day Digital Media today!

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3 Harsh Truths About Social Media Marketing

nasa-outer-space-stars-295995-1500x844If you’re a small business owner getting ready to launch (or re-launch) a social media marketing campaign, get ready for a roller-coaster ride of emotions. At first you may think, “Hey, social media is free and easy, what could possibly go wrong?” And then reality sets in. Harsh, harsh reality. To avoid some heartache, be aware of these Harsh Truths About Social Media Marketing:

1) It’s a long haul.
You won’t see results overnight. Overnight sensations, viral posts, and runaway hashtags are more the exception than the rule.

Solution: You need to be consistent. Schedule social media marketing time in your calendar and do it religiously, every day, even if for just a few minutes. The key is to make it a habit because there are going to be some days when you’re just not going to feel like doing it. You can’t just engage in social media marketing when the mood strikes you. You can’t just put in a big effort for a few weeks and then abandon it for a few months and then expect to pick up where you left off. It’s like going to the gym: the only way to get results is to do it regularly.

2) It’s not, “If you build it, they will come.”
Just because you’ve got a beautiful Facebook page loaded up with great daily content doesn’t excuse the fact that you still have to actively get people interested in it. Network, talk about it, print the URL on your business cards, link to it from your blog and email newsletter… social media marketing is a piece of a much larger marketing machine.

Solution: If you’re not getting any response, take a hard, cold objective look at your content (or ask someone you trust for their opinion) and determine if that’s where the problem lies. Is your content branded for your desired audience?

If your content is brilliant but you’re still having trouble getting eyeballs, ask yourself who you’ve been sharing and supporting on social media lately. What goes around comes around in the social media world. Try it. Retweet, share someone else’s blog link, jump in on a hashtag and see what happens. Karma is big on social media.

3) It’s an investment.
Maybe not money. But time. And in small business, if you haven’t already learned, time IS money. Social media can be a huge time suck if you’re not careful. You do not want to fall into that abyss.

Solution: Schedule social media marketing time but also LIMIT that time. Track your results and figure out ASAP what is working and what isn’t working for you. You may find that it’s in your best interests to hire someone to handle it for you.

Need a hand updating and managing your social media accounts, or ghost-writing your business blogs and email newsletters? Get in touch!

– Nishi

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4 Super Easy Ways to Kickstart Your Small Business Marketing

If you’re thinking of rejuvenating your small business marketing efforts, here are some ideas that will help kickstart things:business_networking_385x261

  1. get to some networking events and grow your referral marketing team
  2. brush up on social media and improve your online presence and engagement
  3. launch (or re-launch) a blog that will help position you as an expert in your field and give your small business credibility
  4. build your email list and create an email newsletter to help spread the word about your business and remain in touch with your growing network sphere

Here are a couple of archive posts that can help you:

How to Blog More Efficiently
Mind-Blowing Statistics to Get You Business Blogging
5 Reasons to Hire a Ghost-Blogger
Has CASL Killed Your Email List?
How to Grow Your Email List Using Facebook
Email Marketing and SPAM Laws in Canada

And as always, let me know if I can help you with:

  • updating and managing your social media accounts
  • ghost-writing your blogs and email newsletters
  • networking

Best regards,

Nishi

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How to Blog More Efficiently

While maintaining a blog for your small business reaps tons of rewards, I’m not going to lie – blogging with consistency can feel like a monumental task at times. After all, we’re small business owners, we have a lot going on.Storming Down The Homestretch

So how do we manage this massive task week after week, when inspiration, creativity, time and willingness are such limited resources? Here are three ways to become a more efficient blogger:

1) Schedule a Writing Time

Decide how often you want to publish your blog and then schedule time once a week (or twice a month, whatever) to write. Give yourself a limited time slot and get it done. Notice I said schedule time to write, not schedule time to think of ideas. That’s number two below…

2) Keep a Running List of Ideas

Often times, the hardest part of blogging isn’t the actual writing, it’s coming up with good ideas on what to write about. Try to avoid getting yourself into a situation where you have to force inspiration by keeping a running list of ideas by your desk or in your laptop bag or on your iPhone or be an anarchist like me and use a Post-It. Yeah, seriously, a Post-It. Add bullets and lists and subheadings to the Post-It whenever they hit you. Then when your scheduled time slot for writing your blog rolls around, hit something on that list that either appeals to you in that moment or is already mostly fleshed out in all its Post-It glory.

3) Steal Other People’s Ideas

Haha! Just kidding. No seriously, don’t steal.  That’s not cool. But what you want to do is keep your senses open and “borrow” (not steal) from your environment. It will keep your brain fertile for inspiring ideas. Every time a client asks you a question (especially if it’s a question that seems like it has SUCH an obvious answer… because these are the things we as experts take for granted and need to address in our blogs) write it down on the Post-It. Keep reading industry blogs and articles and follow trends and news; agree, disagree, spin and reinvent, whatever it takes to turn it into fodder for your blog. Keep adding to the Post-It so that when it’s time to write, you hit the ground running like a thoroughbred out of the gates.

Need help setting up or writing your business blog or email marketing campaign? Get in touch!

– Nishi

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