How Instagram Helps Marketers and Work-From-Home Professionals Increase Their Influence

If you don’t have thousands of dollars to expand your reach, you need to flex your IG muscles.
September 15, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sixty-two percent of Americans were working from home as of late spring, according to a May 2020 Gallup survey, making ecommerce even more critical to any successful marketing campaign. Social channels are especially helpful in encouraging customer demand, which offsets risk amid a deep recession.

Instagram in particular is one of the most profitable sites for promoting goods and services, especially if you operate in a niche — think fashion and beauty, travel, health and fitness, food, consumer goods, home and decor and digital services — that makes heavy use of multimedia content. In fact, ecommerce makes up 15.8 percent of total interactions on Instagram, according to a January 2020 report by Socialbakers.

Here’s how marketers, independent contractors, freelancers and small-business owners can expand their reach and acquire new customers on Instagram.

Create a business account to draw inbound interest

Instagram has 120 million U.S. users, according to analytics firm NapoleonCat. More than 200 million global users visit at least one business profile daily, according to Instagram, and 60 percent of people say they discover new products on the platform.

“Create a business account so the Instagram marketplace knows that you exist,” advises Tony Noskov, founder of Snoopreport, a firm that developed Instagram Activity Tracker for individuals and businesses. “An Instagram business account lets you see real-time metrics on engagement so you can adjust strategy, interaction and content to attract inbound interest on goods and services. A business profile enables brands to publish location, store hours, website and phone number. Put a call-to-action button that moves consumers along the sales funnel to possible conversion.”

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults are Instagrammers, and 63 percent of them visit the site daily, according to Pew Research. Noskov’s Instagram Activity Tracker lets anyone monitor a public user’s likes, comments, follows and other activities.

For businesses, the tool is helpful for building a list of influencers and for benchmarking competitor strategies. Instagram also comes equipped with native tools that allow users to optimize photos and videos without having to pay for additional software or services.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

Make time for social outreach

Between March 1 and July 10, 132,580 businesses closed around the country, according to Yelp’s Economic Impact Report. Social marketing can mitigate economic risks by unforeseen forces. It’s prudent to seek deep-pocketed clients or customers who refresh the work pipeline so you can better sleep at night. Allocate one day per week to be actively engaged on social channels or with online promotion.

If you’re busy with current projects, you should still commit at least 10 percent of your workweek to marketing. You may find higher-paying gigs that come with less headache. Delegate by hiring a low-cost intern who won’t mind earning money and class credits to use Instagram for business.

Define the target audience

An effective approach when using Instagram is to first define your target buyers. Businesses can define market segments in several waysm including demographics, values and lifestyle, consumer behavior, disposable income and geography. By identifying their ideal buyers, marketers can customize messages and offers, as well as concentrate on a smaller group of consumers who benefit the most from a product or service.

Companies are in a better position to optimize marketing efforts, pricing, product design, shipping and other aspects of their businesses when they better understand their customers. This can lead to improved key performance indicators (KPIs) like click-throughs, conversion rates, profit margins, customer satisfaction and other important business metrics.

Who is your ideal client or customer, and how do they interact with your Instagram content? What keywords, hashtags, photos and videos do they respond to? What communication styles best resonate with them? One helpful approach is to create a buyer persona — a fictional representation of a few ideal customers based both on experience and data. By knowing who specifically you’re targeting, you can improve content, sales and marketing, product design, delivery and other aspects of customer acquisition.

Related: How to Land the Digital Marketing Job of Your Dreams

Benchmark top performers

An Instagram strategy shouldn’t be set in stone; it should be liquid. You must continually optimize methods based on new preferences and trends, but once you’ve gained actionable insights from top accounts, you can begin to create aesthetic visuals for your brand.

The key is to capture amazing photos and videos and to tell stories that spark lively discussions from people who will like, comment and push your brand. Write compelling captions that convey the essence of your craft, i.e. what makes you tick and why you’re the right person (or product) for the job. Display client stories or give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how things operate at your place of business.

The end strategy you settle on will depend heavily on your industry and target buyers. That’s why it’s important to observe and understand why top performers are converting the way they are. Something in your approach resonates with them and aligns with how they consume and engage with your Instagram content.

Once you’ve found a good fit, keep your foot on the proverbial gas pedal.

This Tool Can Help You Increase Open Rates and Verify Your Email List Before You Send

Save up to 50 percent with Bouncer Bulk Email Verification.
September 12, 2020 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Building an email list is an essential task for any business that utilizes digital marketing. But growing it can be difficult, time-consuming work that you want to know wasn’t wasted. When you send emails to your list and get hundreds to thousands of bounce-back messages, that is less than ideal. You can’t run profitable campaigns if your email list isn’t up to date, and you can’t create the best campaigns if you’re constantly trying to verify that your email list is up to date. So, what do you do?

You get a service like Bouncer Bulk Email Verification.

Bouncer uses a sophisticated process to check if all of the email addresses on your list are deliverable, without actually sending an email to their inboxes. Bouncer goes through your list to verify the syntax of email addresses, runs DNS and MX record checks, and establishes a connection to a recipient’s server SMTP to verify that it is a functioning email. Plus, their AI-supported algorithms negotiate with SMTP servers to get the absolute best accuracy.

After running verification, Bouncer will give you a bounce estimate so you know what to expect after sending your campaign. If you’d like to test the quality of your list before actually verifying it, you can use Bouncer’s free sampling to see just how strong or weak your list really is. Plus, Bouncer offers global adaptability to verify email addresses of all types from around the world.

Don’t waste time creating email campaigns for recipients who won’t ever see them. Right now, you can score a great deal on a Bouncer lifetime subscription for any-sized list. Get 50,000 email verifications for half off $100 at $50, 100,000 email verifications for 40 percent off $150 at $90, 250,000 email verifications for 40 percent off $250 at $150, or 500,000 email verifications for 40 percent off $500 at $300.

This Email Marketing Tool Can Increase Your Engagement Without Increasing Costs

A lifetime subscription to Kirim Email is just $40.
August 1, 2020 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Email marketing is still the most popular, budget-friendly, and effective method of digital marketing. As such, it should be an integral part of any entrepreneur’s marketing strategy.

However, email marketing is not completely infallible. People sometimes subscribe to lists more than once, change email addresses, or have spam filters up that keep your emails from reaching them. With all of these barriers, you could be paying a fortune for email marketing providers and tools that are only a fraction as effective as they could be. Fortunately, there are ways around that.

Kirim Email is a web-based email marketing platform that can solve problems like duplicate email addresses and other issues quickly. It can help you boost your customer engagement while cutting your marketing costs, which is why it’s trusted by more than 18,000 businesses. Its built-in email validation technology provides a single dashboard to delete duplicates and validate each email address on your list. It automatically removes spam traps, bots, and zombie emails that can hurt your standing with your email service provider, and allows you to run campaigns directly with Telegram, WordPress, Facebook, and more, reducing the amount of code you have to write.

As you run campaigns, Kirim Email allows you to collect surveys with Google Forms and Google Sheets and sync them directly to your emails without third-party add-ons. This way, you can learn more about your customers without having to shell out extra money on data collection. You can even build complete landing pages—without paying any more.

Kirin Email was named a #2 Product of the Day on Product Hunt for good reason. It can save your business money and get more out of your email marketing without hiring more heads. Normally $163, a lifetime subscription to Kirim Email is just $39.99 today.

Pro Athletes Are Using Content to Increase Value. You Should Mimic Their Strategy.

You’re more valuable when you’re negotiating with a built-in fanbase.
June 15, 2020 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The NFL draft, which happened April 23rd through April 25th, played out in an unprecedented way. For the first time in its history, the draft was done virtually.

And while the media and NFL fans were focused on top picks in the first round, there were some fans wondering what team would draft former USC swide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

Some football enthusiasts have been following Pittman Jr.’s career since his college days, but there’s a growing fan base who has gotten to know him primarily through his YouTube channel and social media presence. Through his content, Pittman Jr. has developed an audience of people interested in behind-the-scenes insights into what it’s like to fulfill a lifelong dream of going pro.

Content builds connection

These fans will want to know more as Pittman Jr. goes through the transition from college to the NFL, playing for the Indianapolis Colts. People who are not necessarily fans of the Colts will pay attention to what the team does this year because of their interest in Pittman Jr. They may even buy Pittman Jr. jerseys and other Colts merchandise. Pittman Jr.’s built-in fanbase increases his value to the team, which can play a part in his future salary negotiations.

Pittman Jr. knows that deeper connections with an audience is the first step in turning many of them into a potential customer base. And he’s not the only one; these days, a lot of pro athletes are building deeper connection-focused brands through the content they’re publishing.

Even after their time is over with a particular sport, they will have the ability to generate revenue through a dedicated fan base. They’ve created a community that will follow them to whatever ventures they decide to pursue.

Related: How to Turn Content Creation Into a Profitable Endeavor

Content should demonstrate value

These days, the consumer is smarter and wants more. The days of running advertisements and hoping that sales increase are over. Increased sales happen through continuous nurturing of your audience. Content must demonstrate the value of what you offer — good sales copy is not enough. This is especially true now that the consumer may be out of work or leery of spending.

The way Pittman Jr. and other professional athletes are using content to nurture their fans is a brilliant long term marketing strategy.

LeBron James does this with his Taco Tuesdays posts. It’s a way to connect his fans to the personal side of LeBron James and build a deeper connection off the basketball court.

Six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady took this to another level with the announcement of his 199 Productions company. This announcement happened via his Instagram page. Brady describes 199 Productions as “a global multi-platform content company to develop original premium content including documentaries, feature films, and television shows.” This is a company specifically focused on content creation.

Connection leads to increased sales

The content your business produces is what builds your audience online and ultimately leads to increased sales. When you publish the type of content that helps your consumers, it multiples your efforts.

Creating content has to be more than an item on your to-do list. It has to be more than posting every leap year. It should be a priority in your marketing and growth strategies.

Related: 20 Social Media Content Tools That’ll Speed Up Your Content …

You don’t get the sale just because you presented the customer with fancy copy. Your consumer wants to see how you can solve a pain point in their life. They want to see what your business does that actually works.

One way to demonstrate that is through content that provides upfront value. Content that introduces elements of storytelling and builds trust. Your content makes your business more valuable and it’s the reason pro athletes, celebrities, and influencers are using their content in the ways they do. There’s a lot we can learn from their use of content marketing.

Related: The Winning Formula For Content Creation

Free Webinar | May 27: How to Increase Sales and Find New Customers While Working From Home

Join Salesforce exec Tiffani Bova as she answers the top 10 questions from salespeople and sales managers around the world.
May 14, 2020 1 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

COVID-19 has changed the way we do sales forever. Nearly everyone is now a virtual, remote seller, and that will remain mostly true even when it’s safe for us to go back to the office.

It’s a major shift – one that’s led many of you to reach out for advice on how to best sell from home. Well, ask and you shall receive.

On this webinar, our key speaker, Tiffani Bova answers the top 10 most common questions she has been getting from salespeople and sales managers around the world over the past few weeks. Plus Tiffani, Growth IQ & Chief Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, shares examples of how real Salesforce customers and sales leaders are inspiring her during this time.

Register Now