How To Stand Out From The Social Media Clutter?

Are you a small or local business owner with a small budget to invest on social media marketing? Or are you the Chief Marketing Officer or marketing specialist who are trying to make your startup company visible on social media platforms?
In this article, I interview Rachel Polish, the Content & Marketing Director at Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise. Rachel talks about how business is doing on one of the hottest social media platforms: Instagram, and some tips to overcome the common obstacles that you encounter.


Tiffany: What do you think is the most effective marketing tactics to use on Instagram? Like sponsored ad, influencers, creative videos…and why do you think it is the most effective one?

Rachel: Instagram is always evolving. The most effective ways to grow your account don’t necessarily mean you’re making more money. It’s the combination of growth and conversion that make the difference. To grow, having a consistent branded feed that delivers value with high-quality images is important. Only then will working with influencers and using hashtags work. I’m also a fan of video if that’s something you’re doing regularly. People love quick tutorials on Instagram. Ads have just rolled out to the masses so we are now testing to see what the conversions will be like. I suspect it will be similar to our success with Facebook ads.

Tiffany: From what you observed so far, what is the biggest problem that most companies encounter while promoting their brands on Instagram?

Rachel: Most small businesses struggle with what content to share. It’s difficult for people to collect great photos and stick to a consistent theme. Larger brands have an easier time with this because they’re already making room for things like photoshoots and have access to a wider selection of user-generated content.

Tiffany: What kind of content do Instagrammers or millennials want? And how to engage this group of people?

Rachel: People on Instagram, millennials or any other age, want to be inspired, entertained, informed, or emotionally driven. People come to browse Instagram for 2 things; to see a highlight reel from their friends and families, and to see value and ideas from brands. Brands must provide value in one way or another to obtain and keep followers.

Tiffany: Without a big brand name, it is difficult for small or local businesses to increase followers and engagement on Instagram but is there any possible approach to reach the goal?

Rachel: Small or local businesses have to build relationships and really work the engagement. It’s a really manual effort until you hit about 2k followers. And even at 20k now we still are highly active responding to questions and leaving comments on others’ posts. And you have to work all the nuances of Instagram. Things like targeted hashtags, and tagging your location help when you’re small. I also recommend partnering with similarly sized accounts with similar audiences to promote each other. It’s a win-win for both accounts and helps boost your numbers.

Tiffany: Is there any company doing successfully on Instagram? How do they make it? And which one is not doing well if you have an example.

Rachel: Companies doing really well are really paying attention to the ways in which their audience is posting and sharing about their products or services. Airlines and popular coffee chains are good examples. They also work in a campaign format where they share specific content for a period of time. For example, now these coffee shops are creating and sharing exclusive content around fall themed offerings. This gets their customers excited and eager for the season and drives traffic in their doors.

I’ll refrain from sharing specific accounts, but those that could use improvement need to pay attention to the quality of their images and content their followers would actually enjoy.

Tiffany: Can you give us a quick picture of how the future trend of Instagram marketing will be?

Rachel: Instagram does really well listening to their users and enhancing their experience with changes that don’t disrupt the platform. I’m not a fan of predicting future social media trends because I’m more focused on what’s working now. The use and technique of Instagram ads are the current opportunity and that’s where we’ll focus for now.
Here are some key takeaways of growing your Instagram business presence before you move on to the next article:
  • Build a consistent branded feed with customer perceived values
  • Produce high-quality images
  • Work with influencers or other business in the same size as yours
  • Use the targeted hashtags that work and location tagging
  • Have quick tutorial videos or relevant clips
  • Seek help from Instagram sponsored ads


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