INSTAGRAM 2018: WHAT SHOULD I KNOW?
Even as a MARKETING AGENCY it can be an Olympic task for us to keep up with the emerging trends in SOCIAL MEDIA. We all know that SOCIAL MEDIA – especially if you are MARKETING A RETAIL STORE or MARKETING A BOUTIQUE – is a marketing playbook imperative, but the rapidity at which the algorithms change (thus impacting how your message is received and administered) can be like trying to get the gold medal in SOCIAL OUTREACH. We see our customers airing their frustration all the time about how their posts aren’t being seen with rhetorical questions as to why. We don’t want you to take yourself out of the hunt for gold, but we definitely think a little coaching might help you. Bottom line…it is no secret that Facebook has become the ultimate pay-to-play social platform and, when FACEBOOK purchased INSTAGRAM in 2012, we all feared the same would happen there. Well, it’s getting there. Reach is definitely impacted by the new IG algorithms, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Zuck is smarter than the rest of us…and he found a way to capitalize on our obsession with his platforms. Now, our agency slightly favors INSTAGRAM as an outreach tool for reasons we will illustrate below. And in that vein, we’ve curated some of the TOP 2018 INSTAGRAM TRENDS FOR BOUTIQUES & RETAIL to help your marketing effort feel more like a downhill ski than a cross country trek.
Let us start by saying we love ALL the social media. It’s a social media love fest around here. Although Facebook still gets the GOLD on influencing purchasing decisions, and we recommend saturating your efforts across all the tools available to you, we like INSTAGRAM for a few simple reasons…(listed below) and then we linked you up with some great SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT articles below that so that you can get down and dirty with it…
1. Let’s face it…INSTAGRAM is just easier to use! Right? Snap a pic. Upload the pic. Say something cute and hashtag the pic. DONE. Its simplicity makes it a go-to. Takes about 5 minutes of your time.
2. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words! Everyone prefers seeing an image of something rather than reading about it. That’s about as simple as this one gets.
3. Lost in the Shuffle – Generally speaking, your brand can easily get lost in the shuffle of ALL the social media. But, because IG is a tad bit newer than the others, it seems the reach is a bit more tangible here. So, for the simple reason that it is so difficult to stand out in FACEBOOK, we think customer engagement is more personal and meaningful on IG…and personal experiences with brands…in the end…win the day.
But…don’t take our word for it…read this good stuff…these are great articles on how it all works…(and IG continues to reward users with beta testing and improvements on their tools, so we’ll share this when we learn about it, too)…meantime…read this…
MAKE SURE YOU’RE LINKED UP!
One of the most effective yet underutilized tools in your Olympic kit is LINKED ACCOUNTS. Make sure that your social media are all communicating together so that you can do some cross-platform marketing.
IT’S ALL ABOUT STORYTELLING!
Instagram came out with an amazing tool a bit back that allows you to tell and archive stories that create real time engagement with your brand. For example, if you’re a DIYer, you can share before and after videos and galleries with your followers. If you’re a boutique, you can share a live fashion show. Before, IG handled this stuff like SnapChat, whereby it was fleeting – posted and then gone in a snap, but IG finally got the gist, and now you can archive them for recurring marketing. Check out this link BELOW by the gurus for a quick TUTORIAL!
COLLABORATION SPEAKS VOLUMES! MASH IT UP!
One of the things we preach as an agency is the power of collaboration. I mean, if you’ve seen one plaque you’ve seen a hundred that underscore this sentiment (you know…”there is no I in TEAM” kinda thing.) Well, partnership marketing is such a vast topic that it gets its own web series, so we won’t go in to that much detail, but we will say that we are SUPERFANS of the MASH-UP! Not sure if that’s a technical term or not…we make our own stuff up around here half the time…but that’s what we call it. Good old fashioned collaboration. Joining forces with like brands to tell a mutual story can be OH SO POWERFUL. We have done it for years, and we continue to implement this in our own retail shoppe over @inthehenhaus How do you do this? Well, let us count the ways. From joint promotions to cross-marketing to teaming up on video to co-hosted events…we could go on and on…but since this article is focused on USING INSTAGRAM TO MARKET YOUR BOUTIQUE, we will share a fun new tool they have launched to make it easy for you to incorporate this into your SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY.
KEEP YOUR #HASHTAGS RELEVANT – DON’T GO BAT $HIT CRAZY ON TAGGING
#Hashtags…ah, the joys! Have you ever clicked on someone’s profile in Instagram only to witness what looked like someone threw up a bunch of pound signs into their page? Yes, we’ve all seen it. Well, we are here to tell you that in 2018, the relevancy of your #hashtags is ERRYTHANG…and, to clarify, ahem…it ALWAYS has been. Now, not everyone knows what a hashtag really is (shocking to some of you, I know), and few know how to use it correctly. Basically you can overuse and underuse it, and you have to find the right science. Essentially, the hashtag is just the (#) pound sign. You place it in front of text to create trending topics, to anchor the word and to help promote your brand. Simple as that. So, you can see where relevancy comes into play, right? You want to use it to promote your brand…so keep it topical…to your brand. Got it? We have a trusty link below that REALLY details how to use it correctly, so we’re leaving it to the REAL PROS to guide you through…but check this out…WE’RE ABOUT TO SIDEBAR A BIT…
SIDEBAR: JUST FOR FUN…do you know where the HASHTAG originated? We do! Check this out! Did you know that the social media hashtag kinda came to be back in 2007? YES! And, as expected, it was tested (and met with the initial skepticism most tech breakthroughs get) by a Google Braniac, Chris Messina (insert me gasping with shock here). Twitter IMMEDIATELY picked it up and began to use it to anchor #trendingtopics, and then it sort of took social media by storm. And a perfect storm it is. Sorry, we like history a bit…thought you might enjoy that historical tidbit..but we digress…
Bottom line is that you have to use it effectively, and you can’t use the same 10 hashtags every time you post something. Yes, they can begin to be catalogued as “spammy” just like anything else. But, take a page out of the playbook of the smarties in this link below to get the full scoop on how not to #wearpeopleout with #hashtags and how to #effectivelyusehashtags to tell your story, promote your brand and create topical items that can get you trending.
Here’s the scoop.
THE GOOD, OLD FASHIONED POWER OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR ($$$$$$)
So, the best way to achieve stardom on ANY of the social media is to PAY FOR IT. Duh.
There are a HOST of ways in which to do this, and a lot of brands (INCLUDING both our personal agency and our boutique brand) have seen much success paying to play. Because INSTAGRAM is owned by FACEBOOK, most of the dashboard stuff is managed within the Facebook Dashboard (definitely make sure your profiles are linked up like we mentioned above). There are also a few third parties out there who will help you increase your engagement, but some of them do not do it organically. YOU MUST GO ORGANIC. What does that mean? DO NOT PURCHASE LIKES ON FACEBOOK OR FOLLOWS ON INSTAGRAM! You can rely on common sense here. If it seems too good to be true…it likely is…right? There are companies who will tempt you like promotional sirens with packages that will award you 10,000 followers by tonight, and although that may make you look like a beloved rockstar in your space, those are NOT BUYERS. They are simply bots and fake accounts that have no meaning to you whatsoever…AND…if you’re not careful…could land you in social media jail. Now, there are LEGIT companies out there that we work with that push your message out to the followers of like brands and use topical hashtags to help you grow your following. THOSE COMPANIES WE CAN GET BEHIND. In fact, we have had MUCH success with this on both the agency and boutique side. We’ll just share with you that the one we use AND LOVE is SOCIAL ENVY. Now, in a word of caution, they do also offer packages that will grow your following by following and unfollowing other’s posts, but we are going to ask you to shy away from anything OTHER than the organic approach that we said we’ve used because anything shy of that is just wasted effort.
Also, take advantage of the built-in promotional tools in IG and FB, because they come with loads of analytics on what posts pack the most punch for you and get the most engagement. We won’t walk you through the specifics on this, because no one says it better than the tool itself.
Now, we could go on all day about INSTAGRAM and how to use it. We could also go on all day about FACEBOOK and how to use it, but we like to share insight on how to use the tools that we use the most, so INSTAGRAM insight is how we’ll roll today. There are so many moving parts to your business, and marketing is just one small part of it, so anytime we can offer any level of support in getting you to the finish line and getting you to the proverbial GOLD, we will. We hope you have found this helpful, and we’ll share stuff like this from time to time to help you compete in the Olympics that is MARKETING YOUR BOUTIQUE OR SMALL BUSINESS.