The importance of social media marketing for small businesses has increased substantially in recent years, as more and more companies look to get their message out to as wide an audience as possible.
Let’s be honest, Instagram is one of the top social media channels without a doubt. But as a small business owner can you use this platform to get the best results?
Yes, you can. It’s no secret that Instagram has become a channel used by some of the largest companies in Tanzania. And these large companies have used their brands to push themselves to the next level and dominate the space on Instagram.
Currently, Instagram seems to be the latest and greatest way to market your business. However, it’s still a challenge if you don’t know what you’re doing. This is especially true if your business is relatively small.
Small business owners have a lot on their plates, doing everything they can to stay in business. One important task that often gets neglected is marketing their business online
The main reasons why small businesses should consider using Instagram for marketing are; building your brand, helping people understand your business, and connecting with new customers.
Is there a way for the little guy to get in the action? Yes, this post is written specifically for small businesses to help you determine how you can use Instagram to grow your business, and avoid some of the common traps that other small businesses have fallen into when trying to use Instagram to their advantage.
1. Start with your bio
Did you know, it takes less than 7 seconds for someone to see your bio?
Your bio is the first thing that potential customers see on your profile when they search for you.
We all want our brands to be approachable, relatable, and memorable. This is why bios are so important – not only do they help create an emotional connection with your target audience, but they also make finding you online easier. When people read your bio, they have a better idea of who you are, what you do, and what makes you different from everyone else.
The best way to fill your bio is by being authentic. Make sure you use real information, such as brand name, rather than making an impersonal bio.
Even if you think your bio is perfect, just re-write it a couple of times until it’s better suited for the role you want to play.
2. Find your ideal customers.
One of the best ways to find your ideal customers is to look at user accounts on Instagram and look at what they post about the businesses they’re following.
You can even analyze which accounts they follow based on the types of posts they send out, the images they post (e.g., product shots, promo photos), and the keywords they use in their captions. This is a powerful analytical tool and it can help you find the right Instagram followers for your business very quickly.
3. Create content
You know your target audience, but do you know what kind of content will make them engage with your brand on Instagram?
Content is king. If you want to drive leads and engagement, you need to create content that addresses their issues and concerns.
Whether it’s about their favorite sports team or their latest fashion trends, make sure your posts are designed to engage with your audience as effectively as possible. Bloggers who create content regularly are more likely to see higher engagement on their accounts.
4. Post-high-quality photos
The trickiest part of creating product photos isn’t thinking about what you want the pictures of your products to look like.
It’s thinking about how you will get the product photograph right. When you take a group photo of all your products, everyone looks like they belong in the same photo.
But if you all take different pictures of the product separately, with slightly different lighting and angles overlaid on top of each other – no one looks like they were taken at the same time.
Don’t worry, you don’t need professional skills or even a good camera to succeed. Your phone creates magic with this simple application; Adobe Lightroom, Canva, Pixlr, Inshot, and PicsArt.
These are applications that are very simple to use and edit your content through your smartphone.
5. Use hashtags
You want your Instagram posts to be memorable and easy to share, so use Instagram hashtags that will help you stand out from your competitors.
Be strategic about how you use them. For example, don’t use the same tag three times in a row. Or choose one that’s highly popular among your users.
The key is knowing when to use them and when to avoid them. First make sure people are using them, stay relevant to the brand and create branded hashtags. Also, monitor competitors and key industry figures and use event-specific hashtags.
The proper using hashtags in your social media drive more people to your page. Also, it interacts with your content and expands your brand presence.
There is a lot that can be done by simply creating an Instagram account for your small business but it’s not enough to just pop out a picture with your company logo on it and call it a day. There are so many Instagram accounts out there and so many ways you can promote your business with just a few clicks of Instagram.
More and more people are using Instagram to discover brands, learn about new products and services and connect with others who share the same interests as they do. For this reason alone, it’s worthwhile checking into how Instagram can help your business grow.
This article was written by Nasra Mohammed, a Digital Marketing Specialist at Bridging Technologies Ltd.
The introduction of Facebook Shops could be the end of e-commerce websites as we know them. On Tuesday, May 19, 2021, Facebook launched Shops. A new e-commerce feature aimed at helping small businesses create shops on Facebook and Instagram where they can upload their catalog.
This will bring an Instagram shopping tab, shoppable live stream, and more.
The shops will be powered by third-party services such as BigCommerce, woo-commerce, and Shopify. It is clearly Facebook is aiming to turn the social network into an all-in-one shopping destination.
In a Facebook Live, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We are seeing a lot of small businesses that never had an online business get online for the first time. He also added,” if you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people.
This innovation has come at a perfect time where there is a surge in internet use with people looking for things to buy online while staying at home.
What does this mean to e-commerce websites?
It’s obvious that Facebook is eyeing big on e-commerce by bringing dawn to social shopping. The platform comes with features to enable a user to complete payments within Facebook without the need to leave the platform.
Could this be the death of e-commerce websites? If people will be empowered to shop and engage with their friends within one place, what will happen to classified platforms and other e-commerce sites? The competition will take an entirely new heightened level.
But here is the thing, while shops are free you’ll probably need to spend a few dollars to push your products to reach more buyers. In this case, you probably still need to list your product on other established buy and sell platforms.
Reaching people on Facebook isn’t free anymore, you can prove that by observing the dwindling engagement in Facebook pages.
Facebook Shop has begun to roll out in the USA, expecting to reach other users sometime this summer.
Have you ever found yourself stuck on what to post on social media? It happens all the time. Finding good ideas to post can be tricky sometimes.
At first, Launching your company’s social media profiles seems like an easy task. Then comes the hard part when you are supposed to be consistently posting engaging content. That is when you realize social media marketing is not easy work at all.
I have worked (and still working) in social media marketing for a couple of small-to-medium companies and organizations in Tanzania for over three years now. I have experienced these challenges myself.
Some days your creative mind will be on vacation. You will procrastinate or will not post at all. And your boss will fire you (let that not happen).
If you want to go beyond the self promotional approach, these post ideas will boost engagement on your social platforms and give value to your followers.
1. Question-based Post: This is a powerful way to start a conversation with your followers. Ask an engaging question that relates to what your business does. You can also conduct market research from this type of posts.
2. Post statistics or industry news: What are the current findings or news in your industry? Be sure to share them with your audience. It will make you part of the industry and not someone who is just there to sell. Statistics are also the best way to support your claim or message.
3. Share your opinion about a trending topic: There’s always something in your industry trending online. You find what it is, share it, and give your two cents on the topic. Again, it is about being part of the online conversations that your audience cares about.
4. Share Tips and How-To post: Educational posts are effective to introduce you as a thought leader in your niche. People always want to know how things are done. Tell them and build trust in return.
5. Thank you Post; Every time you hit a certain number of followers, be sure to thank your followers for helping you grow.
6. Behind the scenes posts: If you were (or still) a Game of Thrones fan, I am sure you have watched a couple of behind the scene videos of the show. And they probably helped you build a human connection with the actors. Sometimes you can post a photo or go live and showcase your office, or store. It helps to show your audience a human side of you and fosters a deeper trust than that of a traditional post.
7. Run Contests and Giveaways: Contests and giveaways can be an instant way to grow your engagement on social media. They can give you new followers and result in increased sales.
8. Post a Meme: Well, sometimes it is not a bad idea to light up things a little. Just because you are a bank, or a pharmacy doesn’t mean you have to be serious and full of jargon every day. But be careful with memes!
9. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC): Chances are people are already talking about whatever your business is in to. The best way to join these conversations is to share/repost/retweet someone’s post about the topic. It will affirm you and make you part of the conversation.
10. Post Infographics: Don’t let your blog articles rot in your website, try to repurpose them in a visually appealing way. Infographics are ideal ways to summarize a lengthy amount of information in short form.
11. Re-introduce yourself: Once in a while, reminding your followers of who you are and what you do is not a bad idea. Warning: don’t use this repeatedly, you will become a boring brand.
12. Share PDF and White Papers: sometimes a social media post can not say it all. If you have got a lot to say such as case studies, give it to your followers in the form of downloadable formats. Besides, everyone loves takeaways.
Social media can be a waste of time if done without a plan. As a serious business, you don’t want to add up to the social media noise and become a bore to your loyal fans. You need a strategy.
If you need a digital strategy that can bring results to your business, contact us HERE.
Social media has become an important part of our everyday life. Worldwide, there are 3.80 billion social media users.
In Tanzanian, a large number of youths are avid users of these social platforms such Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. We use these tools to stay connected and informed. But most of us tend to be so well informed about issues surrounding our celebrities.
We are active on social media, and that’s not always a bad thing. But are we making the most of it?
You have probably heard about people who have won scholarships, competitions, deals, got job and all these exciting opportunities after seeing them from social media, and you were left asking, ‘which Instagram are these winners using?’ Well, they get information about opportunities the same way you get information about Diamond Platnumz divorcing Tanasha.
If you don’t want to miss out on important opportunities, or want to do more with social media, here is how you can benefit from these platforms, the same ones that winners are using:
Join groups or conversations that resonate with you
Don’t be up to date with everything. That’s draining. Be well informed about issues that really matter to you. Be it social change, world issues, sports or anything else. You need to have an information diet, you can’t take anything in. Focus and engage on content that resonate with you only. Celebrity dramas is entertaining but time wasting.
Find your tribe and connect with them
Follow people who do things you love doing. If you’re a digital marketer, find and connect with people in the digital marketing industry. You can also have virtual mentors on social media who inspire you and give you lessons through their posts. because all these people who live our dream lives, post about it. Why not learn and be mentored?
Brand yourself well
I used to hate this word, because I believe people are not brands. But again, your social media persona should just be you. Don’t fake things because people will notice. Understand who you aspire to become and try your level best to stay out of trouble on social media.
Follow accounts that post opportunities
There are a lot of accounts and blogs that share opportunities and organizations that do things that you like. In 2018, I went to Malawi to work with When the Saints, an organization that works with girls who have been sexually abused. I got into contact with them after just I read about them from my favourite blog. I reached out to the founder and I got the opportunity to work with the organization for for three months.
Use your account to share your passion
I love blogging, and my Instagram is full of pictures and long captions (inspiring people and sharing tips), my Twitter is full of me connecting with other bloggers in the word. You love photography, share what you capture on your account, sell what you make, share your love for things etc. You might gain a following and might as well become an influencer. People pay bills using their social media accounts these days, why not you?
And those are the ways I think we can benefit from these digital platforms.
As a company owner, you can’t avoid social media. Social media is a business goldmine. You only need to learn how to dig it properly. This article will tell you how.
Your customers spend most of their time on social media and as a serious business, you need to spend as much time with them as you can on the channels they like.
Social media is where people talk about their favorite brands and products. It is also where people go to complain about a certain service or company. You need to be there to listen to all these conversations and learn the sentimental language people use to talk about you.
Many companies find it difficult to have a successful social media presence. Without knowing what you’re doing online, it is easy to ruin your business reputation just in minutes. Here are the best tips to stay on top of the social media game. Without further ado, let’s dive in;
Be familiar with social media platforms and their users
Social media networks are not interchangeable. They’re different platforms with different content types and different types of people.
Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual mostly used by young people. So you need to be visually creative.
LinkedIn is a career based platform joining professionals
Twitter is a microblogging platform which is perfect for texts than images
Knowing the differences among these channels will help you to better navigate and engage people within each channel.
Be human, not a company
Many companies have no idea what they are doing on social media. They usually make a terrible mistake of making these social platforms all about themselves —posting about programs launching, talking to people instead of talking with people. Or even worse, going silent for weeks and only come to post when they have something nice about themselves to say.
Social media marketing is not about great advertising and branding, it is about building meaningful relationships with your followers. You can make your social media channels feel more human by doing the following;
Talk with people, don’t talk to people.
Make your followers matter, listen to them carefully
Take time to interact and respond to their comments
Create a comment response chart for frequently asked questions
Social media is human and that’s exactly how you should approach it. Don’t be a company speaking in tones that limit your followers from interacting with you.
Do you prefer a professional and authoritative tone? Then you might consider using it on LinkedIn. Is your tone light and friendly? Then social networks like Instagram and Facebook are perfect for you.
Do not spam
Just because you have that great product or service you offer, it doesn’t mean you have the right to cluster your feed with the same product every post you make. That is spamming. Using too many hashtags is also spamming.
Let’s say you run a smartphone shop at Kariakoo and you have decided to open an Instagram account to find more customers online. You really don’t have to post smartphones every time you make a post. You won’t last long.
You can be creative with your feed by making it more interesting. On certain days you can post customer testimonial videos, how-to tips, offers, quotes, tips, facts, funny memes and many more. Be creative.
Don’t be too selly
No one goes on social media to buy. People go on social media to socialize. There’s a reason it was called social media in the first place. While you are there, don’t be overly promotional or too selly. Be strategic. Hang out with people while you are pushing your agenda. There is no need to be aggressively promoting your business because people who follow you, are already interested in your product or service.
Do not lie!
It takes years to build a company’s reputation. However, with the rise of online conversations, it only takes minutes for a company to suffer. Always be authentic. People can smell it when it’s fake.
Have a plan
Make things easier for you by having a plan to act on. Without a clear thought out plan, social media is going to be tough for you. Try to use a content calendar that will guide you. With a calendar, you will know when and what to post.
A good content calendar should answer the following questions;
What type of content are you going to share?
At what time you’re going to share the content and how much time you will spend on social networks?
How often are you going to post on a specific channel?
Social media isn’t something you learned three years ago and keep believing you know it. Being a social media enthusiast means being a lifelong learner. These platforms are constantly evolving —adding in new hashtags, new tools, and features. You need to be alert when these new features arrive and use them to your advantage.
Content is king
Without great content, the window to succeeding on social media is very narrow. Connect with your audience with great content such as video clips, infographics, images, and eBooks. Create content that will build trust, help people answer their questions and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
Use videos often
If a picture says a thousand words, a video says a million. Video has become the most important part of the online experience. Internet speed is getting faster and our devices are getting smarter. All these factors contribute to the booming of video marketing. Use video to tell a story, to showcase your store or sharing helpful tips —or anything. With the help of video editing apps, you can create great videos at any budget.
Tell moving stories
This should be on number one. Storytelling, the oldest form of art has proven to be at the core of every successful marketing strategy. This is because there is nothing more powerful that can unite people than a good story. Remember the ‘Dream Crazier’ advertisement by Nike? or the ‘No Human Is Limited’ story? That’s what we are talking about.
Use employees advocacy
The easiest way to grow your visibility on social media is by using your employees as brand champions. Make sure you empower your team so that they understand and live the brand in online and offline life. If your employees love their job, they will surely become brand protectors and promoters online.
Try influencer marketing
We live in a world where people are becoming brands while brands are trying to be people. You can use influencers to skyrocket your brand’s awareness or grow your sales. Influencers are affordable and provide social proof because they have the capacity to affect people’s opinions about a certain topic, service or product.
Pay attention to metrics and KPIs
There is no planning without measuring. The good thing about digital marketing is that we can’t wait for people to inform us about our mistakes. We can use data to make educated decisions about our online strategy. Social networks know a lot about their users and you can use the analytics they provide to gain insights about your followers.
To measure your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), you need to set clear and attainable goals. Start with the question; what do you want to accomplish in social media. See the metrics chart obtained from HubSpot below;
Find inspiration from other brands
Here are my favorite brands on Instagram. Check them out and learn how they are engaging their audience by creating content that is more than just their products.
When you look at your competitors’ social media channels, do you feel proud? Or you feel jealous? If you feel jealous, then there are things you really need to improve on your strategy.
It is no doubt that social media is among the new ways of serving the 21st-century business. The internet has given customers the power to choose the way they want to receive information. Business owners no longer have the luxury to choose advertising methods as they used to with traditional marketing.
Whether you choose to be on social media or not, people are already talking about you there. It is up to you to join these conversations or start your own conversation and empower your followers to do the marketing for you.