Brands, Hashtags, Instagram Marketing and more!

Instagram has upped the social game over the last two years and has evolved from being a simple photo sharing platform to a full-fledged marketing platform. The statistics for Instagram has changed drastically as marketers realized its potential.

Instagram worked significantly well for most fashion brands and food tech companies. In fact, according to a recent study, more than 95% of US based fashion brands are on Instagram. Another predictive analysis has also revealed that the number of brands registered on Instagram (overall) will rise from over 48% to more than 70%.

This brings us to the question, why are brands really using Instagram? The answer is the huge user base and the platform’s usage itself. Hashtags are the new cool, and Instagram for sure is acing the hashtag game! So much so, that it has even overtaken Twitter over the last year. It might be hard to believe, but Instagram’s performance has been better than all other social media platforms. According to a study by Brandwatch, engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

This brings us to the question, are brands interacting with their customers on Instagram? The Instagram use-base is a whopping 500 million and only a mere 8% of this is not a constant user. Among this, maximum users are from the age group of less than 35 years. Interestingly, that is also the target audience for most brands (the earning population as well as the tech savvy one).

It has been long understood that visual content works best when it comes to marketing your product/content. Instagram therefore is one of the major places to be in while trying to promote your brand. However, it is equally important to understand your marketing goals and how to drive the same on a platform like Instagram.

Why and How?

If your aim is to increase awareness around your brand/products, you need to have a large following. Make sure that your audience is organic, this helps in making sure that your audience is genuinely interested in you and eventually, them being there would help you understand your audience segments in the future, strategically target your campaigns and finally increase your sales. This also requires you being present at the right places. “Hashtags” can be a great way to achieve this. There is always more power to your campaigns, when you run them with a certain hashtag. Another way to gain attention is by being present in the most common hashtag areas.

Creating visually appealing content, with call to action is a must. Host a contest, arrange a competition or run a campaign. This helps in increasing interaction with your customers and also increasing brand awareness, which eventually increases your followers count. To make your campaigns more successful, cross promote them on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Also create an alert for your mailing list, if you get lucky they might just promote your campaign as well.

What’s next?

If your customers are on Instagram, they definitely have a lot of questions to ask. Are you simply posting on Instagram or are you also responding to those messages? Whether it is a complaint, a query or for that matter even an exclamation your audience should feel that they are being heard. Your Instagram audience is just like your girlfriend (or boyfriend), you are in a two way relationship and it goes beyond just striking the conversation and responding to their comments. Look at the bigger picture and nurture the relationship with personalized content/offers to make them feel special.

BONUS!

Don’t ever forget to reward your contest winners! They hate it when they make an effort and do not get appreciated for it.

Monitor and Measure

So, you have run a very visibly successful campaign and wish to see how it has actually performed. Here’s where social media monitoring tools come handy. While not all tools have the capability to measure all of Instagram, some tools do have the capability to do “hashtag tracking”. This allows a brand to understand how the hashtag you put your money on has performed and also derive meaningful insights, like how popular was it, who were a part of the audience which interacted with your brand, which gender your brand performs better with and the like. Benchmark against your competition to understand your market stance against them.

Are you an #instagrammer yet?

How Does Social CRM Help Boost Your SALES

lead-management

Until recently the limitations of CRM were higher than the benefits derived out of it. With evolution of better technology, the processes have reached a highly automated level. Many functions which required hours of dedicated manual labor can now be performed automatically by a single tool.

When social CRM was still in its budding phase, its operations were limited to listening and providing customer service on various social media platforms. However, lately its use for enhancing sales has become the talk of the town and intelligent case routing techniques has made its application simpler. The constant CRM developments have made it possible to leverage social media collated data to effectively channel sales activities and integrate them with other functions.

Approach 1:

Sales as an operation does not function singularly and needs to be constantly backed by the company’s/brand’s marketing efforts. A CRM tool can be used to keep track of any form of communication happening from the brand’s end or even otherwise.

The tool should be fed with sets of rules to segregate and trigger various workbaskets depending on the type of message received. This can e easily achieved by feeding the tool a list of commonly used terms, based on which the messages get segregated and delivered to the destined team. This can be used as a cue by the “Sales” team to keep track of people showing interest in the home product as well as competitor brands.

Once the target markets/individual targets have been discovered, they should be approached, initially using more subtle ways. Here’s a list of steps to be followed:

1. Following the prospect and their background, i.e. the industry size they are seeking solution for, the industry type, their possible budget and more.

2. This can be accompanied by certain representative from the company should approach the prospect personally and probe them to answer questions. More the number of questions they answer better you understand their needs/requirements.

3. This can be supported by the company pushing content which is targeted at solving the prospect’s problems. For this to happen, the brand needs to do their homework well, by tracking the prospects social media presence, their preferred place for communication, the space they use the most and the like.

4. A sales representative step in at this time and talk to them about how they can provide solutions to the prospects problems and how are they better than the rest of the solutions in the market.

5. However, one needs to approach them only during the stage when the prospect is actually looking for solutions. (There are a lot of people who generally talk/discuss issues but might not be seeking solutions)

This brings us to the question, how do we reach these prospects. This is a collaborative effort of social media listening as well as advertising (both online and offline) and research by the brand’s sales team. A good CRM tool can make all the above mentioned stages much simpler.

Approach 2:

Today’s is a fast paced world and if not followed stringently, one might easily lose out on prospects. Modern ways of doing business requires easy identification of problems and even faster ways of providing solutions. Enabling a CRM tool can help listen to conversations where your brand is being spoken about or in this case, when a prospect is looking out for a solution your brand provides.

Most companies miss out on opportunities due to lack of visibility of key customer areas which can be eventually converted into positive sales prospects. CRM tools help keep your customer/ lead details updated by identifying potential areas and routing it to designated workbaskets.

This approach can be collaborated with other marketing campaigns to initiate a decision making process for the prospect, by citing examples of existing case studies/clients with similar problems and sharing their successful experience stories.

Just to clear the air of doubts, this is no way means promoting any form of stalking activities. CRM tools only provide data which can be otherwise publicly viewed, except this is a congregation of hundreds of selective data.