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.

COVID-19’s Impact on Marketers’ Content, Investment, and Targeting Strategies

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven most marketers to shift to creating more social media content and thought leadership content, according to recent research from LinkedIn and Vision Critical. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven most marketers to shift to creating more social media content and thought leadership content, according to recent research from LinkedIn and Vision Critical.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted between April 28 and May 6, 2020, among 452 marketers in the United States.

Some 56% of respondents say they’ve adjusted their strategy to create more social media content because of COVID-19, and 53% say they’ve adjusted their strategy to create more thought leadership content.

Some 47% of marketers say their content and/or creative has become more emotional because of COVID-19, and 31% say it has become more rational.

What Can Marketers Learn From Quibi’s Failure?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got billions of dollars. You cannot spend your way out of a fundamental mistake.
June 26, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By any metric, Quibi is a failure.

The mobile-video platform hit #1,477 in the IOS app store’s rankings in early June. Advertisers are renegotiating due to low viewership. Even founder Jeffrey Katzenberg expressed disappointment. Two months after launch, he stated that, “It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted.”

How did this happen?

At first glance, Quibi’s success seems guaranteed.

They had the leadership. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are at the helm. They’re two of the biggest names in tech and entertainment. Katzenberg co-founded Dreamworks. Whitman was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and eBay. A short-form mobile-video platform should be up their alley.

They had the money. The duo raised a $1.8 billion war chest. A who’s who of Hollywood and tech invested, including Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, Viacom, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, Alibaba Group, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

The market conditions were perfect. Paid subscriptions for streaming-video services hit all-time highs. Netflix set record sign-ups during quarantine. They added nearly 16 million subscribers in Q1. Disney+ more than doubled its total subscriber base.

COVID-19 should have helped them. Due to quarantine, screen time increased dramatically. U.S. mobile usage increased 23 additional minutes, and 10 of those minutes were on mobile video. Quibi offers programs in five-to-10-minute chunks.

Related: Do Quibi’s Problems Come Down to a Confusing Name?

In spite of these ideal market conditions, Quibi is imploding. Two months after launch, Quibi had 1.3 million active users. For perspective, Disney+ generated 41 million installs in the same time period.

How could Quibi fail? By all accounts it had the wind at its back.

The answer: a complete misunderstanding of their consumer.

Quibi was touted as having “fresh content from today’s biggest stars.” Neither was true. Quibi’s target audience is 18-34-year-olds. You wouldn’t know it by looking at its content. It feels like it was curated by grandparents. Well meaning, but out of touch, grandparents who think that MTV is still what “the kids are into these days.”

Quibi is filled with reboots of shows from 20 years ago. Reno 911!, Singled Out and Punk’d, to name a few. Reno 911! and Punk’d premiered in 2003. Singled Out first aired in 1995. Most of Quibi’s target audience hadn’t even been born yet.

At least those shows were relevant for some of Quibi’s target audience. They just added a 60 Minutes spinoff, 60 in 6. No disrespect to 60 Minutes (it is a great show), but I have a hard time imagining anyone eager to pay for an extra six minutes of it, let alone 18-34-year-olds. In fact, the median age of a 60 Minutes viewer is over 60.

So Quibi made some odd programming choices. Surely they delivered on their promise of “today’s biggest stars.” Right?

Wrong.

Quibi is stacked with traditional celebrities including Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, John Travolta, Patton Oswalt and Idris Elba (to name a few). All are incredibly talented. However, they’re all lacking one really important thing: any relevance or star appeal to the target. They have awareness, but awareness doesn’t lead to passion. Passion doesn’t lead to sales.

Who is the target passionate about? Is it big Hollywood movie stars? Is it Reese Witherspoon and John Travolta? No. It’s digital influencers. They’re the biggest stars to Gen-Z. Not traditional celebrities.

Who is the most influential person amongst teens? According to research from Piper Sandler, David Dobrik is. Gaming Streamer Ninja gets more social media mentions than any professional athlete. The most desired job among teens is to become a YouTuber. Quibi’s audience does not want to be movie stars, nor do they care about them. This is not new information.

Reese Witherspoon is a talented actress. Is she the reason millions of 20-somethings pay for a streaming service? No. She’s not. However, they’d probably do it for Dobrik.

So what could Quibi have done?

Emily Nussbaum, a staff writer at the New Yorker, recently asked her Twitter followers that same question. One VC replied that Quibi should get Dobrik and MrBeast (two popular YouTubers) on the platform. He expounded that Quibi should give MrBeast “a massive budget and watch him create magic.”

MrBeast’s manager replied, and it turns out that they did pitch a show to Quibi … and were turned down.

This should have been a no-brainer for Quibi. If you want to draw in millions of viewers, wouldn’t you want to work with someone that has a proven track record of doing that? MrBeast isn’t just a YouTuber with a large following. He’s a one-man media empire. To say passing on MrBeast was a mistake is an understatement.

For context, MrBeast (real name Jimmy Donaldson) is a YouTuber known for outlandish giveaways and stunts. For example, he once tipped his pizza delivery guy a house and recently built the world’s tallest Lego tower. His channel has 37 million subscribers and nearly six billion views.

There are more 18-34-years-olds watching MrBeast than all of Quibi. At this stage, Quibi will be lucky if they get 30 percent of the way to their first-year subscribership goals.

Related: Can Hollywood Survive Streaming?

What’s the lesson marketers can learn from this mess?

The reason for this utter mess is that Quibi ignored their target customer. They didn’t take the time to invest in, and learn, what 18-34-year-olds care about.That’s why they went with traditional stars instead of digital stars. It’s why they’re rebooting shows from 20 years ago.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got billions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got talented executives with the perfect pedigree. It doesn’t matter if you have perfect market conditions.

You cannot spend your way out of a fundamental mistake. This is marketing 101. Know your consumer.

Entrepreneurs (Who Aren’t Marketers) Need This Online Course Bundle Packed with Resources

Learn to market your business on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and many more channels.
February 28, 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.

The internet has revolutionized business, helping to connect consumers and companies better than ever before. But while everybody’s online, it’s increasingly difficult to make your brand stand out. That’s why companies invest heavily in digital marketing resources — and why entrepreneurs starting businesses generally end up handling marketing themselves at the outset. After all, it’s how you’ll earn the money to start paying someone else to do it one day. If you’re looking to learn a little bit about everything when it comes to digital marketing, a library of online courses like The 2020 Complete Digital Marketing Super Bundle will be more than handy.

This 100-hour guide to marketing in 2020 is packed with training that will help any entrepreneur scale their business. With courses led by an award-winning business school professor and leading entrepreneurs, this bundle is created to give you the kinds of hands-on, practical instruction you need to jumpstart any marketing initiative yourself. Featured instructors include Evan Kimbrell, founder of a digital marketing agency, and Jerry Banfield, one of the top marketing instructors on the web.

To start, you’ll learn how to leverage leading social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as get a crash course in the newest craze, TikTok. And don’t worry, you’ll learn the paid and organic aspects of these massive channels. You’ll also study more traditional forms of marketing, as well, with courses on content marketing, email marketing with MailChimp, and search engine optimization (SEO). The bundle even includes instruction on how to sell goods on Mercari, build a freelance business on Fiverr, and practical sales skills. Maybe you don’t need all these resources now, but you can continue to reference them and tackle new projects down the line.

Across 14 courses, you’ll learn exactly what it takes to use digital marketing platforms to attract customers, make sales, and reach the goals you already sold investors on. Sign up for The 2020 Complete Digital Marketing Super Bundle for $79.94 today. It’s an investment that will pay back big before you know it.

Prices are subject to change.

Social Video in 2020: The Viewpoints of Marketers and Consumers [2 Infographics]

What are consumers’ viewpoints regarding video on social media, and do marketers’ social video approaches and priorities mesh with those viewpoints? These two infographics highlight trends and insights from both camps. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

What are consumers’ viewpoints regarding video on social media, and do marketers’ social video approaches and priorities mesh with those viewpoints?

Two infographics by Animoto, a provider of drag-and-drop videomaking software, highlight recent research into consumers’ and marketers’ views about social media video.

Marketers and consumers alike rank video as an excellent way to engage each other: Consumers expect to receive information from brands via social, while marketers say it’s an effective way to reach social media audiences.

Moreover, both camps agree that Facebook is the leading social video platform, though consumers view YouTube as increasing in popularity.

For the actual stats behind those findings, check out the two infographics: