As Instagram continues to gain in popularity, many haven't started to leverage the opportunities that Instagram provides businesses. Neal introduces his own story of the why and how he is transitioning to use Instagram as a more integral part of his social media marketing - and why you should as well.
[01:35] The Rise of Visual Social Media Marketing
[02:19] Where Does Instagram Fall?
[03:19] Brands That Do Well On Instagram
[04:31] How To Use Instagram?
[06:32] My Issues With People Who Are Just Posting Quotes All the Time
[07:54] Authenticity in Instagram
[09:22] Tools for Utilizing Instagram
[11:38] Social Media Productivity
[12:38] Taking the Step Above Beyond Brand Awareness
[14:03] Retain Authenticity with Instagram
Welcome to maximize your social actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, and soon to launch Social Media Center of Excellence, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer. And welcome to another episode of maximize your social help wherever you are in the world, you're having a great day so far, great week. In fact, we're beginning of q4, mid October, this is October 20. When I'm recording this, well, a little while ago, I was obviously in Boston, where I recorded my last podcast last Saturday actually had a chance to present for the first time on maximizing social media for relationship marketing, to a company in Dallas, Texas had a lot of fun, a lot of people that were really, you know, beginners with social media. But the beautiful thing is that, as I always say, and hopefully you read my recent blog posts, my top 25 Social Media for Business quotes, which I just published last week, full of photos and quotes of mine. But one is you're never too late for social media. And in fact, those that are more experienced, as professional always believe pick it up much quicker than those that don't have that professional experience, they realized very quickly how to use it effectively, with little time for business results. So today, with that in mind, I want to talk about something that has been fascinating me as well as been, obviously a leading trend in 2014, which is really the rise of visual social media marketing. And when we think of visual social media marketing, obviously, there are two social networks that are devoted to the visual. Well, I guess we should say, three, right, we always talk about Pinterest, and Instagram. But we should really add SlideShare in it. And as Jason Miller was talking about, app marketing promises b2b summit when I presented with him, that SlideShare really is the biggest visual content marketing platform on the earth. And he's probably right, unless you consider Pinterest a content marketing platform. But where does Instagram fall in all of this, and Instagram keeps on revving up in popularity, you know, passing some of the other major social networks in terms of mobile minutes that we spend, and anyone who starts to spend a lot of time on Instagram realizes that there's a lot of engagement, I always talk about how I have, I don't know, 4000 or so followers on Instagram, I have 11,000 plus followers on Facebook, but because of Facebook's EdgeRank. And because people will, for lack of a better word, just engage more casually, it seems on Instagram, liking photos, just immediately upon seeing them, I find that I get way more engagement on Instagram than I do on Facebook. So with that in mind, let's take it to the next step. And I you know, I won't say I've had an aha moment. But I know that there are brands that have done really well using Instagram as their primary marketing channel may come as a surprise to someone. But if you're selling, you know, one of the examples that I use to maximize your social, and I'm forgetting the name of the exact company, but they sell basically, you know, used clothing, and whenever they got some new use clothing, and they would post it, and people would literally be following the Instagram feed to find out stuff that they might want to buy. It's a perfect example. We know that hotels, you know, the hospitality industry has really gotten into Instagram when I was working. I'm an advisor for a social media agency out here in the west of the United States. And they're working with a sushi restaurants. And they were sort of wondering, well, what's next after Facebook, you know, immediately with the ability to photo tag, I immediately thought of Instagram as really, if you're a brick and mortar that might be the second best place you want to be after Facebook, just as if you're an ecommerce store, I believe Pinterest should be your second best place to be after Facebook as well. So with that in mind, though, what if you're just another company, you're not a brick and mortar and you don't sell stuff, you know, retail stuff like a Tiffany where if you have a new type of jewelry, or a new type of hairstyle wig or new types of, you know, clothing or fashion, what if you don't fall into that category? How do you use Instagram and I'm seeing more and more people use it very strategically for marketing because if you think about it, and it's just the same with Facebook or with any other social network, you have eyeballs that are drawn to the newsfeed and Instagram because so many people are on it. And so many people are following others navigating the newsfeed it's very similar to one of the other 25 quotes in a blog post which is you know, deciding which social network you want to invest in. It's similar to you know, deciding what freeway A you're gonna put a billboard up next to. And I remember when I was asked this when I spoke in La Jolla, California at my first book signing for maximizing social. And there's literally three different freeways that run through San Diego. And they each have different demographics, depending on the freeway, right? So well which demographic Do you want to try? That's basically, you know, one way of thinking of all the different users, different communities, different ways they engage with news feeds and what have you. But you begin to get a feeling that Instagram because it's attracting so many people, it's another example of those billboards, a tweet, a post on Facebook, a video on YouTube, it's another thing that grabs people's attention. Now, Instagram does not have a clickable link, within a post, you can hashtag something and see everybody else in Instagram who's using the same hashtag. But in order to get someone to click something, it either has to be a brand, you know, like the clothing store that people already go to, or you have a link in your bio, right and say, Hey, for more information, click the link in my bio. And you can change that link as often as you want. So you could literally have monthly campaigns on Instagram, and change your link on a monthly basis that coincides with what you're doing on Instagram. That's one way in which you can use it strategically, and get over the handicap of not being able to link back. But you know, I see people using it because of this notion of billboards, and you know, maintaining mindshare and brand awareness, people are starting to use Instagram in ways that was never originally intended. And that's okay, we all hijack social networks. Now, I personally have some issues with people that are just posting quotes all the time, they're literally taking the Facebook strategy of, you know, putting up quotes and memes in order to engage with people. And for lack of a better word is living off that engagement. In order to build popularity, you know, I'm all about trying to contribute original value to social media. And hey, on Facebook, for my Facebook page, where I represent a brand and not a person, I do leverage that, actually. And you will see on maximize social business Facebook page, you will see things like that. But I do try to find those that are extremely relevant to my community. And I do try to add my own sort of commentary to it. But Instagram really was for photos, right? You know, the Instagram logo is of an old Polaroid camera, and I think I just aged myself. But for those of you who remember what they look like, that is that's what it looks like, right? So really, Instagram was about photos that you take on your smartphone, and that you immediately post. And once you start doing, you know quotes, or another thing I see people doing, it's just these beautiful photos, but it's like, Hey, did you take that photo? In fact, they even asked that of one of my Instagram friends this week, Hey, did you Where did you take that photo. And they didn't admit they didn't take the photo. But then they commented on another photo and said, This is the photo that I took yesterday. So you know, there's a part of it, which is authenticity, that it is something about you and it is irrelevant to your brand. And curating third party content for any social network is one strategy. But Instagram, I think is sort of the final frontier of sort of the personal social network. And now we see social networks in line and wechat and WhatsApp that are the extreme personal frontier, where you know, it's hard for brands to make an impact, although WeChat is changing, and line is changing. But that's a topic for another podcast. But I want to get back to Instagram, and the content. Now I've had my aha moment was not saying hey, I'm gonna post quotes and, and photos that I didn't take and just tick them off on Flickr and just post them to try to build engagement on a daily basis. But one thing I was looking for is we have all these social media dashboards come out, why can't they handle Instagram? Why can't I schedule posts in advance on Instagram, so that I have daily engagement with my audience, like I do on any other social network, but using my own photos, okay, not curating content, not putting up random quotes or memes. But I've taken enough photos, I have enough interesting things to say. And the funny thing is, you know, I had an iPhone three, and I upload all my photos to Google Plus, right. So I have like, you know, four or five years of photos, and I've only shared my most recent, I don't know, 12 to 18 months, and Instagram. So I still have a lot of photos I can go through that are still relevant today. And when I was looking around for tools, I really only found two tools. But now we do have tools that allow us to do this. And in doing so it gives me a completely different perspective on utilizing Instagram of utilizing it. Just like any other social network, I don't have to necessarily be out on the road. I don't have to see anything or think about what am I going to take a photo of today. In fact, when I take a lot of photos when I go to a scenic place like when I was in Budapest, Hungary, and I uploaded like 50 different photos in a day. I can save those for later. Now, if I had the right tool, and it's gonna allow me to engage with more people on a regular basis, and I can start to experiment with different times and everything because now I'm in can Raul. So I found two different apps and one app required iOS, they do not have an Android app yet. And it required basically, for them to send you a notification. And I think you had to literally go through a notification on your phone in order to trigger the upload. And to me, that sounds really complicated. Now, the good news is the other company I found and it's, it's a nominal, I forget, like between eight and $14 a month. So nominal fee you pay, but they have a really, really eloquent system where literally you upload on your PC, you type in, you know, whatever description, you upload a photo, it even has little photo editor, the same one that MailChimp uses, if any of you understand when you upload a photo to MailChimp, you and you edit it, you have all those options, and it even has its own filter options. And then it seamlessly will post to Instagram now, it's interesting when I went through the process last night of getting this launched, that they are a company based out of Australia. And the first time you try to post from Australia, Instagram immediately, you know, send you a notification. Hey, you know the next time you log in Instagram, okay, did you really try to post from Melbourne, Australia? If so, let me know. And it will cut off all of your third party app authorization. So it caught me off, you know, cloud and Empire Avenue and, and everything else I had to reauthorize. But after it, it's been seamless, and it works. So once you have a tool like that, and you begin to consider Instagram more strategic, because there's so many eyeballs on it, you want to maintain a daily basis of engaging with others, not just commenting and liking on on, you know, friends, your network, but also being able to post more often. And using it when I talked about social media productivity, using it as part of a weekly task to upload photos, just one photo a day for a week, I think is plenty. You don't need to go overboard on Instagram, you know, I really do think it can be effective, even one or two photos a day. And that goes the same for Facebook for that matter of my own personal policy. In fact, I've noticed some of the leading Facebook experts, when you look at how frequently they post on their Facebook page. It really isn't that often anymore. It's almost like once a day for many people don't know about the personal page. That's another story. So the name of the app without further ado, and I'm sure you've been waiting for it. It's called schedule gram. Okay. Sch, e d u gr.am. So it is a.am domain. But if you do a search for Schedule gram, you'll find it and, and like I did a little bit of research, a lot of people mentioned a lot of tools, there was a tool that used to do Instagram that doesn't handle anymore, others that do other things. It's just a real simple tool that does Instagram, and it doesn't well. And you begin to think of things differently. Now how do I take it to the next step above and beyond brand awareness, to tie it more directly into the products and services that I offer is going to be the challenge. Now as a social media speaker, I can upload photos, and I've been doing it when I've spoken, right. And that's a really, really easy thing to do to indirectly remind people that I'm a social media speaker, and I'm successful in speaking all these places. So even in the art of doing that I'm indirectly already promoting my business right? Now, how is Instagram contributing directly? Well, who knows, but people touch you on so many different social networks. Now, unless you have a direct click through into a marketing funnel, that's all being tracked. Sometimes it's hard to understand, right. But I will say that, you know, for brand awareness, Instagram is extremely important right now. And with the tools, we have the opportunity to take it to the next level, the final frontier may be when I launched my Social Media Center of Excellence, social media coa.com, for more information, maybe I'll be a little bit more direct there and change my bio URL to that. And when I have an upcoming event and upcoming webinar, I will maybe promote it through Instagram, I want to do it in an authentic way using a photo and not a logo. So that's going to be the challenge. And you know, I do see a lot more people being a lot more direct with their marketing and Instagram. I'm not really a fan of it. I don't know how effective it is. And I would say to try to avoid that at all costs, if you could, I really do think that it's important to retain the authenticity with Instagram. And I think it's gonna allow you to have a deeper connection with other people. And at the end of the day, it's gonna help you be more effective with your social media marketing. So those are my thoughts today, October 28 2014, about Instagram about what I plan to do with my own Instagram, and about this great tool that I just found that you should definitely check out called schedule gram. What about you? Are you using Instagram as part of your marketing? Have you found ROI from Instagram or using different tools? I think most people and you know there's a lot of savvy social media marketers that may have already been doing this for the past several months. But I think that you know the notion of scheduling unless you're a brand that's been doing a lot on Instagram. I think it's still relatively new to a lot of marketers and a lot of small businesses and I hope that this gives you the knowledge the inspiration Have the courage to go out there and do it yourself and not miss out on the potential there. So, that's it for this week. Hey, I want to hear from you. If you've been doing a lot on Instagram, you've had success. Let me know, let me set you up for an interview on the show, a lot of people are still really, really confused about Instagram and final, that final mile, write the final connection with Instagram in your business that you can find on Pinterest or the other networks because you have that direct linkage, which is a little bit harder to find an Instagram. I'd love to know what successes you've been having, feel free to contact me. Until next week, wherever you are in the world. I hope you're getting ready for Halloween. And I know when I lived in Japan, some time ago, we you know, no one had ever heard of Halloween, but now they even celebrated there. So I know it's become more and more global of a holiday. It's a lot of fun. If you have kids like I do, it's one of the most memorable holidays of the year. You're getting all set up for it, getting those costumes in order decorating around the house. And I look very much forward to talking to you again next week. Until then, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. Thanks again and make it a social day.