This Is How Your Business Should Be Using Instagram

Do you want to attract more attention from fans and followers? Of course you do. With currently 300 million active users, Instagram can be a key marketing tool for your business. However, there are 70 million photos posted on Instagram each day to go along with 2.5 billion likes. The trick is, what can you do so that your brand is one that not only stands out but is one that users want to engage with.

There are plenty of articles saying you need to be doing this, that and the other thing on Instagram. Lucky for you, we’ve found the best ways your business should be using Instagram.

Instagram is turning 5 this year and according to L2 Intelligence it grew its user base to 150 million active monthly users in half the time that it took Twitter and in two years less than Facebook. And its growth is showing no signs of slowing down. Pew Research Center a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public on various trends, found that when it comes to attracting new users, Instagram is king. The amount of US adults using Instagram grew 9% in 2014 which means 26% of all US adults now use Instagram.

One brand taking advantage of Instagram is Ben and Jerry’s, they were also featured in a case study on Instagram’s business blog. They found that of the users who saw the ad (9.8 million users reached) for their new ice cream “Scotchy Scotch Scotch”, 17% not only became aware of the new flavor, they also associated it with Ben & Jerry’s.

So how can you get a piece of this action? How can your business use Instagram to generate more engagement and more brand awareness?

WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING?

Set Goals

Measure twice cut once. When implementing a new strategy on Instagram (or any strategy for that matter) set your goals so you are able to measure how effective or ineffective a particular strategy was. One goal you can set today is a formula by Track Maven. He put together a report about Fortune 500 companies on Instagram. Maven notes that big brands receive an average of 37 total likes and comments for every 1000 followers. While you might not be a Fortune 500 company you can still apply this same formula if you multiply your followers by .037. So, for example, if you have 500 followers, set your goal to 19 likes and comments per post.

Now that you have your strategy made and your goals stated, remember that the best ability is availability. This principle translates to instagram perfectly. No one likes to follow someone who posts whenever they feel like it. If you can incorporate Instagram posts into your editorial calendar and commit to posting consistently your brand will be available to consumers and lead to building trust.

So you have your strategy made, your goals set and your editorial calendar ready to go. But when is the best time of day to post? Analytics app SumAll recently studied the best times to post on Instagram. They found that between 5:00-6:00 during the week except for Mondays, which they found that 8:00pm is best to post.

Show a Unique Point of View

Instagram offers you the opportunity to showcase your products, services and culture in a way other social media platforms can’t. This platform gives you the ability to let consumers behind those closed doors and see the product development side of your brand. You are also able to allow consumers behind your offices doors allowing them to check out your culture, much like Pop Chips. They did a great job of incorporating their product in the “game room” of their offices asking “*Like*, if would rather be playing video games #caseofthemondays #popchips #justdance”

Instagram

In addition to this aspect, Instagram lets you show off your photography skills by showing unique vantage points. Going off of Drones and GoPro cameras that showcase unique angles and points of view, your business can take advantage of this idea. For example if you are a restaurant, by bringing a ladder or even a step stool with you into the kitchen, you can show really cool angles and show consumers what’s involved in making a meal.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 2.44.58 PM

Provide Value

Instagram doesn’t have as many promotion limitations as other social media platforms. This makes it great for implementing contests as a way to engage with consumers in an unforced, organic way. Brisk did a great job at providing value with their #briskpic campaign. They sponsored an instagram contest soliciting Instagrams tagged with the hashtag brispic to be used on their next Brisk beverage cans. This is a simple way to provide some awesome and easily accessed value to users and it was as simple as adding a hashtag to a photo.

Why is Instagram is Right for Your Business?

Instagram is all about creating engagement through high quality, captivating visuals. 2014 already marked a significant year on the transition from written to visual content. This is good news for the platform since visual content is expected to be more dominant than ever this year. We know how important mobile marketing is, but what’s great about Instagram is that it is strictly a mobile platform. Instagram users check their feed anytime of the day whenever they want, which means that the chances to grab their attention are increased, comparing to a desktop. Because of this, it’s important to appeal to consumers in a way that even one second can make a difference.

CONCLUSION

So whats the first step? There are plenty of great tips on creating a winning Instagram profile. Once that is set up, what should you expect from utilizing Instagram?

  1. You will be creating visual content that consumers can access whenever they want, wherever they are.
  2. Instagram continues to grow and offers a number of things other social media platforms don’t
  3. It allows consumers to interact with your brand and become more than just part of the conversation.

Thinking about starting a winning Instagram account? Email us at whatsnext@thegoodmonster.com, and we’ll help you out.

Podcasting: The Most Powerful Marketing Platform You’re Not Using

The Monster Show | Good Monster - 59

Do have time to read this post? Watch the video here.


Trying to find a way to get your customers attention in a noisy world can be like trying to fight your way to the front row at a Bruce Springsteen concert – no matter what age you are, you’re up against some serious resistance.

There are a plethora of digital platforms that people bounce between on a daily basis. At any given time, they can choose from social media networks like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as more direct message platforms like email and mobile apps (think push notifications). Their attention is limited, and keeping it is the $1 million question.

But there is hope, and it’s called “podcasting”.

Podcasting isn’t exactly new, in fact it’s been around for about 15 years. The first use of the term podcasting was as another word for audio blogging or weblog-based amateur radio in an article by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian on February 12, 2004. But since 2004 podcasting has been steadily gaining steam as a medium to share ideas effectively.

And now…

According to RawVoice, a podcast research firm that tracks 20,000 podcasts, monthly podcast listeners reached 75 million in 2014. While many media sources utilize this statistic, we couldn’t find the original source of this staggering number. However, Edison Research just came out with a report based on a survey of 2002 persons, which estimates that monthly podcast listeners is up to 46 million people as of early 2015.

Either way, audio content via podcasts are consumed by a large number of people. So why are they so incredibly popular with listeners, and more importantly to you, why are the so powerful for marketers?

You have a unique voice

The greatest benefit for a producer of a podcast is the fact that they can truly convey their own unique voice, personality and thoughts.

There are subtle idiosyncrasies when someone speaks that a blog post, an email or a tweet often fails to project. For example, when someone giggles because they think something they mentioned is funny. In text, you might miss the sarcasm, but with audio, it’s much easier to detect changes in tone or pausing alluding to different feelings.

This helps to build an emotional connection between the host and the listener, almost like they are having a conversation in the same room.

In fact, many podcasts are just that; conversations between the host and their guests. Take a look at one of the most listened to podcasts on the planet, the Joe Rogan Experience. Comedian, UFC commentator and actor Joe Rogan started his podcast in 2009 revolving around the topics that he loves to talk about: fighting, science and comedy. He is passionate about these topics which is apparent in his interviews, and people love to listen to people who are passionate about something.

Whether you are an individual who is looking to build a community around your love of videogames, or a Fortune 100 company who is looking to introduce people to “must have” products, podcasting is one of the most valuable platforms to engage new audiences and earn new fans.

What do you have to do? Simple, just be yourself.

You have their ear

I want you to think about where you were when you looked at Twitter last, or read a blog post. What were you doing?

Chances are you were bored at work, or you were reading a bit before bed. Wherever you were, and whatever you were doing, you were most likely in “scan mode”. This is what I like to call our state when we try to consume as much information as we can, in as little amount of time as possible.

Picture a teenager staring at their phone, with headphones on. Both hands are on the phone, and their thumbs are swiping down the screen of the phone at a speed that would make you wonder how early it’s possible for someone to get arthritis in their hands.

That’s “scan mode”. And scan mode is usually a distraction infested state of mind full of sponsored ads, suggested posts and shared content that steers our attention away from any one piece of content

Podcasting, on the other hand, offers a unique level of attention – separate from other forms of media – that allows the host to have the undivided attention of the listener. Well, at least 25% of the time.

According to a study by Edison Research, one in four podcast consumers plug their MP3 players or smartphones into their car audio system “nearly every day”. This means that there are only a few possible distractions to deter the listener from your conversation. Driving should be the only one, but we all know there are a few others like texting and other phone related activities that shouldn’t be conducted in the car.

But even for the other 75% of the time when people aren’t listening to a podcast in the car, they are listening at the gym, while doing housework or at the office. Unlike music, which can be used as background noise, people generally listen to talk radio or podcasts because they want to hear what someone says.

If you can produce interesting content that helps people’s day get better in some way, then chances are you will have a new set of ears listening to your podcast on a regular basis.

It’s on demand

That’s right, anytime, anywhere, people can listen to your sweet voice talk about cooking, building cars, creating passive income, or whatever else your brand is all about.

Pretty much everything on the internet is on-demand, but the unique ability for podcasts to generate loyal listeners means that your fans are hungry for more episodes, at the exact moment they want them. It’s sort of like reading a really good book, or watching your favorite TV show – you will stay up late and get up early just to fit in a few more minutes.

How loyal are listeners you ask?

A good determinant of a consumers dedication to a brand is their willingness to spend time and money on them. We already know that between 46-75 million people listen to podcasts every month, so people are spending their time on podcasts. But they are also spending their money.

An internal Midroll survey of 300,000 listeners found that 63% of people bought something a host had peddled on his show. Yes that’s right, 63% of people bought something that the host said they should buy. Why is this number so high? It’s because they trust the host.

Developing a relationship with your audience is key to making any podcast successful, and the fact that they can listen to your episodes anywhere, anytime, makes this a highly effective medium to amass an audience in your industry. 

It’s sharable

What’s the best thing about all content on the internet these days?

It’s shareable.

That’s right, whether it be blog posts, YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts, or any other type of consumable content – it can be shared across the globe in an instant.

Podcasts are no exception, in fact they stand a better chance than most types of content. See podcasts, much like YouTube videos, have their own players. This gives them the capability to be embedded into other platforms, like blogs, seamlessly. So not only can a podcast be shared from it’s native platform like Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher or a number of other sources, but it can be embedded into a blog post which can also be shared throughout social media.

John Lee Dumas, host of the popular podcast “Entrepreneur on Fire”, shares his micro podcast “Quotes on Fire” on Twitter to help generate more buzz about his brand. But he also links directly to iTunes so that people can listen and subscribe immediately.

 

He also does a great job re-sharing popular podcasts in order to drive traffic back to his blog.

 

Mr. Dumas’ podcasting brand has rapidly grown into one of the most listened-to, most followed and most authoritative podcasts in the business category. Just take a look at the 1,740 positive reviews of his flagship podcast on iTunes.

Podcasting is a unique medium that commands immense authority to the people that provide valuable content with the right voice. Blogging can attract an audience, but podcasting can command a following. And getting on someones playlist for their daily commute to work will get you great reviews, tons of likes and oodles of shares.

Little competition

Popular podcaster Pat Flynn estimated that in 2015 there are approximately 500,000 podcasts on iTunes.

This might seem like a lot, but let’s compare that with the more than 1 billion websites on the internet (Internet Live Stats). And it’s unclear but it looks like there are more than 500 million blogs featuring peoples ideas, thoughts and content.

Let’s think about the 500,000 podcasts and the 46-75 million listeners each month. That is a lot of demand compared to a very little supply. Now is your time to shine!

So why is podcasting so hot?

Perhaps, this excerpt from a Fortune article by Dan Reilly explains the reason for growth best:

They offer the instant gratification of a Netflix series without the need to be tethered to a screen. Whether during a commute to work, a workout at the gym, or idle time on the weekend, there aren’t many settings where a listener can’t enjoy an episode or two.

With people craving more and more podcast content, you can be confident that even in the nichiest of niches, you can create a significant fan base for your podcast.

 Conclusion

So why should you launch a podcast for your business? I will conclude with the 3 most powerful benefits that you can expect from podcasting.

  1. You will be generating content that you can push out to your clients, customers and prospects to help them understand why they should be doing business with you.
  2. Podcasting is one of the fastest growing content distribution mediums, and it isn’t slowing down – at all.
  3. There isn’t a platform out there they garners the same level of trust as podcasting. Your listeners will be loyal, until you stop producing, or providing value. Remember people are creatures of habit, especially if they benefit from those habits.

Thinking about starting a podcast? Email us at whatsnext@thegoodmonster.com, and we’ll help you out.

How To Design A Website That Makes Your Business Look Credible

How to Design a Website That Makes Your Business Look Credible

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46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the #1 criterion for discerning the credibility of a company

(Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

Last year web design took a step in the right direction, especially for inbound marketing. With the continued rise in mobile devices and mobile marketing optimization, it is evident that design going forward will become more sophisticated. This complexity presents a great opportunity for brands who want to grow leads, customers and improve the overall user experience.

Below are some things to keep in mind to make sure your business is taking advantage of these opportunities.

Value Proposition

Create a clear value proposition that is able to answer; what is it, who is it for and how is it useful/helpful. If your value proposition requires a user to think about what it is you are proposing you need to revaluate. While a large amount of information can be helpful and even important for conversions, the first thing you need to do is draw the user in with a clear and compelling value proposition. So what makes a good value proposition?

  • Clarity
  • It states how the proposition is different than others
  • Communicates concrete results a customer will get when they move forward

Here is a great worksheet that you can use when developing your value proposition.

Video That Tells a Story

Videos and images are great ways for brands to communicate their story in an appealing and captivating way. Digital Sherpa found that videos increase a person’s understanding of your product or service by 74%. Whether this is embedded onto the website itself or shared through social channels, it engages users, enhances your brand’s story and when done correctly, makes for a great user experience.

Simplicity

A design trend that can be seen especially on mobile devices is simplicity. Designers are now removing all the unnecessary elements during the design phase in an effort improve user experience and to clearly communicate the brand’s message. This move to “flat” designs have eliminated many design decisions that most websites already have such as background colors, number of images and complex layouts. By having a simple design, brands are able to clearly tell their story, communicate a clear value proposition and have a great user experience on any device.

Hamburger Menus

Responsive web design has been around for some time and the elements within these designs continues to get better. As these elements push forward we are starting to see design that takes what works on mobile devices and implementing them sitewide. One example of this is bringing app-like and responsive menus to the entire site, not just mobile devices. Brands are implementing vertical menus on either the left or right side of the page and some sites are even using what is called a “Hamburger Menu”. This menu style is the 3 “bars” that are usually situated at the top left or right of a site. When clicked on, the menu is shown.

Performance and Speed

Recently designers have been mindful of the need to make sites load faster and use less bandwidth. They are aware of not only the varying network speeds but also the size of their files and sites. By keeping these factors in mind, sites are being designed to improve user experience, reduce bounce rate and improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Personalized User Experience

In addition to designers thinking in terms of load time, they are also taking into consideration advertising experiences and customizing them. Designers are using websites cookies to make pop-ups work more effectively and personalize the overall user experience. Sites that sell gifts are a great example to showcase this. Their core customer is an office manager or small business owner looking for items for either their clients or employees. This kind of decision is not one that is made the first time that person visits the site. By taking advantage of website cookies and personalized user experience design, you can make sure that the experience for the user picks up right where they left off on each return.

Conclusion

Web design is becoming more innovative and effective when trying to grow leads and make for a better user experience. Look at your own site and determine if each design element is created in a way that will bring you customers.

Local SEO Picture in 2015

 

Google continues to roll out new updates that could be hurting your businesses online strategy, the most recent being Pigeon. This constant change and evolution has forced the local SEO industry to adapt to these new sophisticated updates.

Local search has always been and will continue to be important. Google’s new local algorithm update, has brought a higher level of specificity and accuracy to local search.

What are some things you need to know?

When did it Roll out?

Pigeon rolled out on July 24, 2014. This update changed some local results and altered how Google handles location “cues”. Google is constantly rolling out updates to it’s core algorithms. Pigeon, is an attempt to align Google’s local algorithm with it’s core algorithms.

Pigeon affects Google Maps Search and Google Web Search

Searching for something in Google Maps previously returned very different results when compared to searches conducted via Google’s web search. Once Pigeon rolled out, web search and map search are more connected in terms of search results.

Specific types of Businesses Affected

Darren Shaw of Whitespark and Search Engine Land have observed that many different types of businesses experienced a negative hit from Pigeon. Some of these businesses/niches include:

  • Mold removal
  • DUI lawyer
  • DUI attorney
  • Real estate/realtors
  • Emergency plumber
  • Commercial: Painting, construction, remodeling (anything with commercial in front of it)

What do you NEED to do?

Google is becoming smarter and better at understanding of location and what users are looking for. As changes in local search continue, how can you implement a search engine optimization strategy to best position your business in 2015 and beyond?

Have a Consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

You will want to avoid sending any kind of mixed signal to Google. Be sure your name, address and phone number are consistent throughout the web. This includes directories, social accounts and even your web pages. Tools like Moz Local make it a bit easier to be sure your NAP is consistent.

Optimize Your “Google My Business” Listing

Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so it is easy as possible for users to find you. You can even drag the map marker to your exact business location to make the process even easier. Additionally, fully complete your Google My Business profile with pictures, hours, payment types, website URL, etc.. Lastly, most people will ask someone they trust about a product or service before making a purchase. With Google My Business, be sure to encourage customers to review your business by clicking “write a review” on the local Google+ page.

Build your backlink portfolio

For this tip, view backlinks as “votes”. The more “votes” (backlinks) you have pointing to your web page, the higher authority Google will give it. The more authority Google gives your business, the higher you can rank in the search engine results. To gain these backlinks, you can join local resource lists or directories or even publish a piece for your local business journals website.

Conclusion

The Pigeon update marked significant changes to local search for 2014 and into this year. No longer will citations along with great H1 and title tags suffice. This was only the latest significant update brought on by Google and you can expect many more to come. Take a look and see if your business was one of many that were affected and take the correct steps to regain your ranking.

We Love StewartsShops.com

Hi Stewart’s,

We are big fans of your new Liverpool, NY location. It’s a prime coffee stop for us on the way to the office. We know that you are a great company that prides itself on fresh, home-grown products available whenever we need them. That’s why we thought a mobile-responsive website that engages the Syracuse audience a little more might be something that you would find valuable.

We mean no harm, just have some fresh ideas cropped up in our head that we thought might help grow your brand.

Full-page-sm

LET US KNOW IF WE CAN HELP YOU GROW!

 (315) 433-9099

john@thegoodmonster.com

 

 

 

Mobile Marketing Optimization

Monster Show #57: Mobile Marketing Optimization

Don’t have time to read the full article? Click here to watch the full episode

If your business is intending on growing throughout 2015 and beyond, mobile-optimized marketing should be on the forefront of your marketing plan.

Mobile-optimized marketing means that you are creating content to be easily consumed on mobile devices, and attracting a high-level of engagement. Up until 2013, a brand could get away with crafting content that simply “fit” on a mobile device screen. But now,  46% of searchers use their mobile phones exclusively when doing research. This means businesses need to create their content specifically for mobile devices, not just to fit on them.

Here are a few points to think about when creating your business’s strategy and marking sure your business is ready for mobile marketing optimization.

Rise of Mobile Devices

More and more people are consuming content through mobile devices. This increase along with the popularity of content marketing, has caused brands to build (sites and content) specifically for mobile devices. Brands can now utilize these platforms as a way to capitalize on the benefits of content marketing. Even applications have grasped the importance of social media marketing and are creating ways for customers to purchase items without having to leave the app. If your business wants to succeed this year, you must adapt to these changing platforms.

Responsive Web Design

The rapid growth in the use of mobile devices directly correlates with an increased use of smaller screens and the need for a responsive web design. Having a completely responsive website in conjunction with displaying “to-the-point” content is a necessity. It is important to eliminate anything that makes conversions more difficult such as location, phone number or contact. By adding a “Click to Call”, “Book an Appointment” and “Click for Directions” you will optimize a user’s experience of your site. It is important that websites be as easy as possible for customers to find exactly the information they’re searching for.

Partner with Neighboring Local Businesses

The local businesses around you can be your biggest allies. By utilizing social media, local businesses can unite through social media by cross-posting and promoting each other’s products and services. Through cross-promotion with each other, each individual business can improve their connections by sharing information, photos, and reviews across social media. Instagram in particular is perfect for this type of strategy because it is a mobile only platform.

Voice Search Optimization

In a recent study, Google reported that 55% of all teens use voice search. Furthermore, both teenage and adult populations have reported they believe the voice search feature will continue to be utilized at a high frequency. This will push businesses to really embrace voice search. This change in how people search for products and services has resulted in very specific “long-tail” searches. These types of specific searches tend to lead to better conversions so optimizing your content, locations and contact info will become more and more important.

Humanize

Brands tend speak in their “corporate voice.” However this often doesn’t foster a real connection, lacks responses, and consumers can see right through it. It is important to know where your customers are on social media, but also how to interact with them. When businesses connect with consumers by “talking human” this can create brand loyalty and lead to higher conversion rates.

On Demand Content

An increasing number of people are now reading reviews and/or watching videos before making a purchase or using a service. By creating content that is available on demand, such as YouTube videos, consumers can gather information about the business’ product or service wherever they are and wherever they want. Audio only content, such as Podcasts, are another great example of on demand content. Unlike videos, audio only content is a great way to build relationships with your target audience while they are in the car or driving to work.

Conclusion

As the landscape of digital marketing continues to evolve, brands need to continually adapt to the changing consumption of content by consumers. By implementing an audit of your own brand, you will be able to determine whether or not your business is ready for the changing trends.

The Future of Content Marketing

 

Episode 56

Don’t have time to read the post? Click here to watch this episode

Change is the only constant in digital marketing, especially content marketing and the outlook for 2015 predicts that it will continue to be. If you wish to continue reaching prospective customers, staying current and even ahead of trends in the field is crucial. Monitoring the ever-evolving trends and adjusting your digital marketing efforts to reflect these changes will continue to nurture and grow your connection with consumers. Below are some digital marketing tips to give you a head start.

1. Micro Targeting

Put away your “marketing playbook” and dive deeper into personalization and customization. Look for strategies that allow you to locate small but profitable areas of your market. Finding these customers will require a better understanding of their needs, lifestyle and what motivates them. By obtaining this information you will then be able to create one-on-one conversations for successful micro targeting.

2. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile fosters engagement; and digital marketing today presents an “always on” connection with your consumers. Consumers now have the ability to interact with brands wherever they are and whenever they want. This presents a great opportunity for digital marketers and the brands they represent to create new experiences that fit the persona and experiences of your consumers. These new experiences will require a “tune-up” to your mobile strategy. For example, content such as infographics that is consumed via desktop or laptop, does not mean it will perform the same on mobile devices. Small screen sizes and different resolutions are the cause of this. In order for consumers to have a great experience consuming content, brands will need to utilize different display technologies that will adjust content based on users screen size and resolution. Even micro content on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter offer consumers quick little “snippets”.

3. Develop Original Quality Content

More and more brands are turning into publishers and their content is becoming much more compelling. This new content is able to adapt across various platforms and written for a very specific audience. Creating this quality content will showcase your expertise in your industry, however, takes a significant amount of time and effort. Because of this, more marketers are designating an editorial team that oversees the quality of content. These teams are equipped with style guides and possess tools and templates to support consistency across content. If however an editorial team is not possible, marketers may look to agencies or even experienced freelancers for creating content, social media management and reviewing analytics.

Consumer trends and the channels they get information are constantly changing. It is up to those in charge of the brand’s digital marketing efforts, including content marketing efforts to understand consumers on a deeper level and stay out in front of the trends. Incorporating these strategies will jumpstart your business’ digital marketing efforts in 2015.