Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tracking and Managing Social Media

In my last blog I highlighted some local businesses who have successfully used Instagram for their promotions and marketing. I'm going to go a bit further this week and touch on analytics and social media management, starting with Instagram, because I got a great newsletter from The Social Media Examiner (which I recommend anyone who wants to keep up with what's what to follow) that offers 13 tips for using Instagram from experts.

After reading through those tips, I wondered how to measure analytics for Instagram. Iconosquare  used to be free, but is now charging, which is (IMHO) a down-side. This post by Agorapulse offers some low-cost alternatives.

But I kept looking around the inter webs, and came to the conclusion that Hootsuite offers the most flexibility, scheduling and analytics with a basic platform for free. There are more advanced packages, but for an individual, the price is right. Here's a nice Prezi Hootsuite Analytics Tutorial that will help explain how this helps your business.

Hootsuite can track multiple social media platforms, which is one big reason why I think it is helpful. As I've mentioned before in my post on what to expect from social media engagement, you will want to choose the platforms that suit you and your business best. This will mean making sure that your posts are consistent in tone and also delivery.

The main point here is to check in with whatever analytics tools you can use to gauge the level of engagement that you are getting with the platforms you have chosen. If you've spread yourself too thin and aren't getting enough engagement with one, it might be time to re-evaluate or put more effort into cross-posting more consistently. That's where all of the planning comes in and saves you time.

May all of your scores run true!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Instagram Success Stories and Advice

Last week I blogged about social media for working artists. I covered Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogging. There are more--of course! However, I can't offer a lot of specific details for other platforms, because I just haven't used them myself. But, as luck would have it, the Raleigh News and Observer ran a feature article last week on local businesses who are having success promoting their businesses with Instagram.

They featured Furbish Studio, All She Wrote Notes, Monuts Donuts, Old South Apparel, and CrossFit Invoke. I read through all of the profiles to find out what each business owner felt was their key to success with Instagram. The following summaries highlight their individual approaches to how they make Instagram work for their businesses.

Jessica Swaney of Furbish Studios recommends being consistent, post regularly, and interact with accounts that draw similar customers. They depend on Instagram and other social media as a major part of their advertising. She also noted that it can be frustrating to build a following at first, but stick with it.

Maghon Taylor, owner of All She Wrote Notes, posts three times a day and always responds to comments on her photos. She focuses on taking good pictures of her work and treating the interactions like a friendship. Taylor has used Instagram, Etsy, and Google+ since she started her business.

Lindsay Moriarty, co-owner of Monuts Donuts (THE awesome Durham donut shop!) says that good pictures and being tactful (she does not include prices on pictures) are key. She also notes that consistency is another best practice, as well as alternating between posts about people and posts about food.

Old South Apparel advertises exclusively on Instagram. Owner Tyler Hair says that they in addition to keeping the account personable, they use it to advertise flash sales and promotions. Hair notes that because Instagram does not filter or promote content like Facebook, posts are seen based only on when they are posted, which suits their advertising needs.

Heather Coraciny from CrossFit Invoke echoes the advice to have great photos that people can relate to. They include photos of high-level athletes and beginners, videos, and behind-the-scenes shots. Instagram works for CrossFit because it attracts a wide following of people who are interested in fitness.

I definitely recommend checking out these sites to see what they are doing and if it appeals to you. I also would like to recommend bookmarking the Shop Talk News site at the News and Observer. It is their small business section and can offer valuable (and free!) information.

Later this week, I'll cover Linkedin. Until then, may all of your scores run true!