When starting a new business, Instagram is one of the best mediums to promote your brand and build awareness. A familiar feeling among new Instagram users is that they are not building fast enough. They feel their growth has gotten stagnant. You can get out of your growth slump in many ways, but the one way you need to be careful of is purchasing followers. There are many companies out there that promote growing your Instagram by getting you more followers. If you pay for these services, they 100% will get you more followers, but at a wasted cost. In my opinion, you might as well just throw your money directly into the trash for the reasons I will list below.
These vendors are found all over, and some or more “legit” than others. It is getting harder and harder for them to deliver on their promises because Instagram is cracking down on these services. What will happen when you pay for this service? Over the next few hours to a couple of days, your will start to see more followers being added to your account. In the end, this is just a number. Your engagement rarely goes up, and if it does, it isn’t for long.
Before I list the reasons as to why these services are harmful to your profile, I will walk through the different ways to buy followers.
Bots are fake accounts that are created by an automated process and are all over Instagram. You have probably run into these types of accounts before. They have a handful of photos and follow many accounts while being followed by very few. These accounts can be so deceiving that they will comment, like, and interact like regular accounts. Because of the bad follow-to-follower ratio that these accounts typically have, the engagement they produce has little impact on your account.
These accounts are real accounts either created by companies or users with the sole intent of adding more followers to their main account. These accounts might be good initially, but become a burden on your performance once they go dormant.
You can buy followers directly, but there are other services out there that will follow accounts like yours or that might be interested in your content with the hope of being followed back. The pro of this kind of service is that the accounts that follow you back will be actual accounts, so there is a higher chance of engagement with your content. The con of this kind of service is that it can be pricey with no guarantee of the accounts following you back.
What are some of the risks and downsides of purchasing followers?
Have you ever followed an account with a healthy number of followers and then saw that they were only getting a handful of likes per post? I have. It was a fellow marketing account to which made this sting a little more. The account had 7,000 followers and posted regularly, but was only getting 3-4 likes per post. This is a good sign of an account that purchased its followers. I unfollowed them because, as someone teaching others about marketing, you can’t try and cheat the system.
Skewed Performance Metrics
It will be hard to get an accurate measure of your page’s performance when you have low engagement compared to your follower count because of fake followers. When you have an inflated amount of followers, your regular engagement might look bad when, in fact, it is correct for what you are putting out there. Even worse, your content is not adequate, and you are losing your real followers because you are getting the fake engagement that will not last over time.
Dropping Follower Numbers
Instagram is starting to purge fake followers and likes that were acquired through third-party apps. By buying followers, you are violating Instagram’s terms of service. This might draw the attention of moderators that will reduce the amount of engagement you will get or remove you from the app entirely if you continue to violate the terms of service.
There Is A Better Way To Grow On Instagram.
Make Your Account Public
Making your account public will open it up to be viewed by the public. People will want to see your content before following you, and you will not show up on the discover page while your account is private.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Use hashtags so that you show up in other areas of Instagram. People follow specific hashtags to get shown relevant content. Instagram will also recommend pages based on hashtags you use.
Post Content Consistently
Make sure to post consistently so that your followers know when to expect your content. This will also help the algorithm see you as an active account. If you go for long periods without posting, then you might not pop up to the top of the timeline when you start posting again.
Engage With Other Users
Instagram favors engagement. The more you interact with other users, the more they will interact with you. With all of this interaction, your posts will start to crawl to the top of your follower’s timeline.
I would be lying if I told you that social media did not have a “pay to play” aspect of it. Brands and accounts that spend money on advertising to grow their following will grow faster than those that don’t. It is a simple algorithm that Instagram has in place to better user experience. Don’t try to beat it or work around it. Try and work with it, and you will be better off for it.
There are better ways to grow your engagement and following on Instagram. It can take a lot of time and effort, but what part of growing your brand doesn’t? If you follow the steps listed above and don’t fall into the trap of bought engagement, then you will do just fine.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of working to increase both the quantity and quality of web traffic to your site.
Understanding SEO involves an understanding of people and what they are searching for on the web. Google uses a series of web crawlers that search web content and decide what content people will see first.
Organic vs. Paid Traffic
There are two types of traffic that are included in SEO:
Better User Experience
Having good or bad SEO is usually a good indicator of the user experience (UX) on your website. Google will intentionally draw people away from your site if its web crawlers have a hard time navigating your website. If your traffic is low and is not increasing, this could be the issue.
If you are having a hard time figuring out why Google is having an issue crawling your site, there are a few things you can try:
SEO Is Cheap
If you build your website with SEO in mind from the very beginning, this process is a lot easier. What makes SEO so cheap is that, for a relatively low cost of $50 - $500, you can pay an expert to audit and make subtle changes to your site that will help drive in more traffic. After the initial work is done, you can continue to reap the rewards in the future.
To understand the value of search engine optimization and the organic traffic it brings, we have to compare what it would cost to bring the same traffic from advertising.
In this example, the amount of website traffic one business is getting through organic views would cost over $94,000 in advertising to replicate. This shows how expensive web traffic can be and how beneficial and cost-efficient SEO is in the long-run.
People should be able to find your website with or without advertising. In a down year or as a new brand, you may not have the funds to throw at advertising or to pay someone to advertise for you.
If you are currently are running advertising, ask yourself, “Is my current web traffic sustainable if I stop advertising?” If the answer is no, it might be time to invest in SEO.
Build your brand for free, and choose to pay for more traffic down the road if you want. Advertising should be a choice--and with SEO, it is.
Not sure how your website is performing and how it stacks up to your competitors? Contact me today for a free audit of your website. I will show you how Google sees your site through your Domain Score as well as give you the top 25 keywords that your website is ranking for in search.
Contact me today!
Untraditional traditional shopping is dead
When Amazon and eBay came along, people said they would never replace the traditional, in-store experience that someone can get, so don’t worry about them. A few years later, malls are closing down because stores are leaving. In this new generation of shopping, we see more and more stores on Instagram and Facebook.
Instagram is leading the charge in 2020 on this specifically. Through Instagram’s shopping feature. Brands can tag up to 5 products in a post, and when people click on them, they can see all of the product information. If you like the item, then you are easily linked to the website to complete your purchase. This ease of shopping has increased revenue for large and small brands anywhere from 7%-9%
Pretty soon, Instagram will be rolling out a checkout feature that people can use to buy the products they want without even going to the brand’s website. This is still in beta testing with a few big brands but should be rolling out for everyone within the next year.
Why should we use Instagram shopping?
The most significant generation that is utilizing this aspect of social media the most is Gen Z and Millenials. These groups already go to Instagram for the latest trends in most industries, especially retail and D2C businesses. Why not make this platform a one-stop-shop for entertainment and shopping? If the consumer is already in the mood for trendy content and is wanting to match the influencers, they are following their impulse buying decisions are going to be much more frequent and likely here.
Sales and Product Pricing
It seems silly to have to say, “customer loyalty is not a given, no matter how long they have shopped with you.” Some people need to hear this. Far too often, companies throw out the same products and sales with different marketing thinking that their customers are all of a sudden going to buy products they can’t sell.
The general consumer is not stupid, so don’t treat them like they are. Give them a reason to keep coming back. For brands that have many sales, you need to give them a reason to buy when there isn’t a sale. Putting items on sale repeatedly to mark them back up is not a way to get people to think your things are worth more than the discounted price. This will cause extreme spikes and dips in your analytics and sales. Get them to trust that the items that are marked down are not worth more, and the items that are higher in price are special when they are marked down. Either you will do it or another retailer will.
If you are a successful business, you will continuously be reviewed. Although frustrating at times, this is a good thing. Making sure you respond to every review is essential for customer retention. The majority of your customers expect to be responded to after giving a review, but 63% of people claim they have never been responded to by brands. Why is this important? 94% of consumers have not bought a product or worked with a company based on a bad review they read. How those two connect is that 7 out of 10 consumers have changed their view of a company based on the review’s response. It is proven to boost sales, keep current customers, and gain new customers when you respond to reviews online, good or bad.
These are two simple habits that, as a business, you can build, but are tough habits to break when practicing in the wrong way. Your customers want to be treated with respect and like you care what they think.
CLICK HERE for some great statistics on customer reviews.
Who would have thought that in 2019 we would still be debating over good and bad content strategies? With over 2.5 billion people on social media, a number that is projected to increase to over 3 billion in the next 2 years, finding people who will be interested in your content should be the easiest it’s ever been. But if that’s the case, then why are most accounts with 1000+ followers only getting a handful of likes per post? Why isn’t everyone’s brand taking off? Three words: Content, content, content. Your content strategy can make you or break you when it comes to separating you from your competition.
Put yourself in your followers’ shoes.
You may be thinking to yourself, But I post creative content that is relevant to my services/product/brand. And you may be right - but is it the right type of content?
I am a firm believer that posting and creating content regularly is critical to maintaining your audience, but that doesn’t mean you should be creating half-baked content just for the sake of posting. Posting content that your followers are going to interact with is the number one priority.
If you are not receiving a lot of likes on your posts, take a deep dive into your followers list. Look at what your followers like and what they are posting. Use this information to shape how you are presenting your content, or decide that you need to search and prospect different types of followers. Even content that seems off-topic or unrelated to your brand can be tailored to fit both your and your audience’s needs.
Befriend the monster under your bed.
When it comes to getting noticed on social media, the algorithms on each platform are a content creator’s boogeyman that keeps her up at night. The rules and algorithms can change overnight, and if you don’t adjust, your viewing statistics can go from TikTok to Vine faster than you can say, “Irrelevant.”
Facebook and Instagram are constantly changing their systems for posts. As of the writing of this blog, their latest update shows reserves the top of a person’s feed only for posts from accounts a person regularly engages with. While this won’t block posts from other accounts on the feed entirely, it can seriously hurt your engagement potential if your followers have to scroll way, way down to the bottom of their feeds to see your content.
How do you get the boogeyman to start working for you? Outsmart him.
Post. Post. Post. Comment. Post.
Constantly post content to get in front of your audience. Make sure you post new content at least once a day, and consider posting multiple times a day initially. Try putting out posts at different times of the day. Commenting on posts from your followers also lets the algorithm know that you and that account have a more personal connection, and that will start to help your visibility as well. With the top social media giants trying to create a more personal experience for their users, you want to make sure you are part of that experience and not left out.
Think of your account as a pocket-sized billboard for your followers.
A common misconception that people have about ads is that you can only run ads if you are a recognizable company with a substantial budget. This is simply not true. With the emergence of online marketing, advertising on social media is a must for a small business to stand out. Start out small, and just focus on brand recognition. Spend some time getting used to each social media’s advertising platform; the energy will be worth the payoff. With the content creation and dissemination falling to you, this can actually be incredibly affordable as well; you can do this for as little as five dollars a day. It is relatively simple to become a successful advertiser for your own brand.
Give me an L! Give me an I! Give me a K! Give me an E!
Creating content can be daunting when the accounts you admire or compete with have thousands of followers. Follower count is important, but it comes second to relevant content for your followers. When your posts are engaging your audience, your follower count will increase organically.
The number of likes you have is one of the best metrics for measuring the effectiveness of your content strategy. A high follower count doesn’t mean anything if they aren't getting engagement. An account with 1,000 followers and a consistent amount of likes per post is a better role model for you than one with 10,000 followers and only a handful of likes per post.
In 1885, Karl Benz built the first practical working automobile. Almost 135 years later, we are still perfecting his invention, and everyone has a different opinion on which one is best. To put this in perspective, the internet has existed for less than thirty years, and social media for less than twenty; social media is still a relatively new concept that is constantly evolving.
Even so, there are a few strategies that have proven effective for gaining an attentive audience:
1. Gear your content toward your audience or start branching out to a different audience.
2. Make the algorithms work for you, not against you.
3. Advertising is not just for big companies.
4. A lot of likes tells a better story than a lot of followers.
Your content strategy is where it all begins. Staying on brand and tailoring content to fit your growing needs is the only way to stay on top of the game and turn those followers into profit.
Photos created by Freepik
It’s no secret how important posting content on social media is to stay relevant and in front of your audience. One thing that we should all be asking ourselves is, “Is the content I am posting effective?” How do we know what our audience wants or is interested in viewing?
2. Content Management
You have decided the goal of your campaign and the audience to go with it. Now it’s time to start thinking about the content that you want to promote.
IMPORTANT: Just because you are trying to reach a certain audience does not mean that you stop posting content for your other audiences as well. Don’t alienate your other followers.
The goal of your content is to educate and entertain, so remember, it’s not about you. When collecting or creating content, think about what your audience is interested in, and gear your posts to them. For instance, if you are going after business owners, think about what they would find benefit from reading.
Here are some examples of content Emphatic targets to different audiences:
Business owners: Saving time, saving money, optimizing current processes, customer service
Marketing Directors: Smoother workflow, new technology, time management, team management
Now, our job is to find content that focus on these subjects, both directly and indirectly.
10 Reasons to Use a Social Media Management Tool
Why the article is good:
It hits on various topics such as time management, customer service, team collaboration. It shows business owners how to manage social media and save time and money.
The goal of the message:
You have 3 options: Pay someone 40,000+ a year, spend 15+ hours each week managing social media, or pay Emphatic $99 to do it all for you.
Six Key Takeaways on How To Successfully Implement Automation and AI in Your Organization
Why the article is good:
For most professionals, especially in the marketing field, automation and time management is huge. This article hits on the topics of automation, team management, and time management. It doesn’t directly focus on social media, but that is okay. The goal is to get them thinking about automation because Emphatic’s service IS social media automation.
3. Content creation
Do you like to create your own content? Do you want to create your own content? The creation of your own branded content is a great way to engage your audience. The main difference between collecting and creating content is that instead of presenting other people’s ideas to reach your audience, you are now presenting your own ideas and thoughts that further establish you as a “thought leader.” Establishing your leadership in a space is crucial to adding rapport and trust among your current followers and soon-to-be followers
4. Keeping Consistency
Out of all the information shared, THIS is the most important. Consistency is everything. You can have a few good posts every once in a while, but if you don’t keep it up, you will quickly lose relevance.
Your social media marketing plan should go beyond just creating or finding the content, but how you manage it. A social media content calendar is a good start. With Emphatic, the content is curated, scheduled, then posted for our clients, but we still preach and recommend that you have some sort of editorial calendar in place to track what is going out and when. The last thing you want to do is forget something was posted that you were planning on promoting further.
It takes time to create a successful content marketing strategy. From defining goals, audience, the type of content you want to find and create, and keeping consistency, it can be a lot to manage. If you follow these steps, this year’s content strategy can be a smooth running, well-oiled machine. For more tips and tricks on how to better develop your content strategy, check out some of Emphatic’s other blogs, or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Promoting your brand on social media can be tricky – especially when going after new business. Not only do you need content focused on attracting new clients or consumers, but you also need to keep your current clients engaged.
Here are 3 tricks to maintaining a consistent and effective social media strategy:
Facebook posts are small in size, especially on mobile. Catching the consumer’s eye is essential, but it can be hard to know what works. The slightest change to an image or copy can be the difference between someone scrolling past your post or clicking on your link. This can scare many businesses that are operating with a small budget. When your budget is tight, or this is your first experience with growing your business on Facebook, not getting it “right” the first time may seem like a waste of time and money, but it doesn’t have to be.
Reviewing your strategy regularly will ensure that you are running on all cylinders. Some content will be more effective than others. Just because a post or an ad might flop the first time does not mean it was a waste. Every post provides more data for you to optimize and better run your next campaign.
So you have run your first campaign and collected some data – what now? After the review process, you should have a decent amount of data to consider.
Think critically about your posts, and ask yourself some questions –
What posts got more attention than others? What was different about these posts? What time of year is it? What are my competitors doing right now that is working for them? All of these questions have an answer that can help in optimizing your strategy.
When your campaign is running well, don’t become complacent in your posting and content creation. Far too often, businesses begin to become predictable in their content. Don’t let this happen to you.
Repeat this process as often as you can, and a few more times in between. You want to keep your audience entertained. You might be enjoying your content, but to grow a profitable business that can influence the industry, you must pay attention to how your audience is reacting to your current strategy.
Hygge, pronounced (heu-gah), is a Danish word that is the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. Hygge is what I would like to call the yoga of the design world. It is good for the mind and soul. Sitting in that rustic modern style living room that you worked so hard to create is a good example. Some have said that sitting in a nature-like setting can have very positive effects on a person’s mood.
It is all about living in the present and appreciating what is in front of and around you. Typically, in a room like this, you would not have any television or electronics other than a lamp. Blankets, pillows, a fireplace and a window to look outside would be ideal. This doesn’t always have to be inside either. A nice area on an outside porch works well for this. Nature, itself, participates in a lot of people’s hygge.
A common misconception about hygge is that it is about yourself. In fact, it is the complete opposite. A lot of times this art is experienced with other people. It is about appreciating what is outside of ourselves. This could be friends, nature, family or all the above. Including a round table in your room creates a space that puts everyone on the same level and of equal power when sitting together because there is no head of the table. By doing this you can enjoy a “no pressure” environment and appreciate what’s around you.
In design, everything that is made or created for hygge is used as a supporting factor in the overall mindset, but is not a part of the actual art. It is about how you feel. Making yourself as comfortable as possible is, in my opinion, the only way you can do this. When you are thinking of how uncomfortable you are or something in the room has you distracted or energized then there is not a way to sit back, relax, and appreciate your surroundings.
The inspiration for this has a lot to to with the weather getting nicer. I don't know about you, but I do miss the days when we were all in grade school and summer vacation was actually a vacation. There were no obligations! Now that we are older the closest thing to a vacation is designated by what we can afford.
One of the most sought-after places to go for a vacation is the beach, who doesn’t like a little sunshine and fun? Pictures of resorts with the perfect beach, clear waters and beautiful rooms are a stereotype when it comes to rhetoric such as relaxation, tranquility, and happiness…but it works!
Why is this feeling only available one or two weeks out of the yearwhen we could make it available every day? Furniture companies like Ameriwood Home are producing furniture with this in mind. With bright and weathered looking grays, blues, whites and yellows, you get the ideal atmosphere for your home away from home feel.
This style is proven to amplify the endorphins you receive from sunlight in your own living space and put you in a better mood. There is a reason this style of furniture is primarily found on the coast and in these sunny regions. They complement one another very well.
Are you a minimalist? If you answered yes then it‘s either because it’s trendy or you are forced to be. If you answered no, then you better get used to it when going back to college. College dorm rooms are notorious for not having enough space and being cramped, typically with multiple people living in the same space. So whether you want to be a minimalist and still want to utilize your space, or are forced to be and want to make the most of the situation, we have a few tips and affordable product ideas to help you out.
Metal Storage Carts
At first glance, metal storage carts might not seem like the most stylish for bedroom furniture, but when done the right way they can not only be convenient, but look good too.
As you can see storage carts can be used for many different ways to save space. The obvious uses are in the bathroom or kitchen, but I would argue that they make a good shared nightstand as shown in the picture (left). Unlike your usual nightstand, this one would be less bulky and provide more storage space. It does this efficiently without having the standard look of a nightstand. Instead it leaves the style and use up to the buyer with how they decorate and prop it.
Cubed Storage Shelves.
Storage cubes are a great multi-purpose storage option that can be used in many different ways. Each shelf is separated making sharing the space with a roommate very convenient. You can place items on top, customize the look with paint, or use fabric bins for a pop of color.
Corners are the most under used areas in an entire room simply because it’s hard to find anything that fits in them. Corner desks are great for utilizing this open space. With a desk that fits into a corner more wall space will free up for the additional shelving and storage you will most likely need. Everyone knows in a dorm there is little to no shelf space and every bit of usable wall or floor should be taken advantage of.
Normally I would make a case against a TV stand for a college dorm by saying to just use a desk while also considering that most people are consuming TV on their laptops, but an exception should be made here for the Galaxy TV Stand. This console is very minimalist by nature and can fit in the smallest of spaces. It can hold up to a 32” flat screen, which is perfect for tight space living!