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How To Grow Your Small Business Using Instagram

Small Business marketing using Instagram

Instagram is an online mobile application that is used for sharing photos and videos. Instagram is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter and has fast become a very popular social media tool. Instagram was originally developed so that people could apply different filters to photographs that they had taken on their mobile phones and would allow them to easily upload and share these photos with friends (or account followers) using the Instagram application. More recently video was introduced to Instagram it can now be uploaded, but Instagram video clips are limited to between 3 to 15 seconds long.

Why are businesses turning to Instagram?

  • There are more than 300 million Instagram users worldwide.
  • Approximately 70 million photos are uploaded per day.
  • The account is ‘free’ to set up so there are low barriers to entry.
  • It is a medium that allows for easy sharing of content 24 hours a day.
  • What sort of success have businesses achieved using Instagram?
  • Businesses such as Levis, L’oreal and hundreds of others have been able to use the tool to:
  • To increase awareness of their products and services.
  • To increase brand recognition.
  • To showcase their community and pro bono work to inspire and attract prospective customers to engage with their product, service or brand.
  • Run successful promotions, competitions and giveaways.

Small Business marketing success with Instagram

Instagram appears to be particularly popular with product based businesses due to its visual nature. Many businesses that are product based such as clothing, jewellery, make up or even food based business have achieved success using Instagram. This is because the application allows for photos to be posted and shared of people either wearing or using these products. For instance, a food manufacturer might post photos of someone cooking with, sharing a meal, or entertaining friends using their food products. This success is not exclusive to big brands as many small businesses have been able to leverage the power of Instagram to engage their clients. For instance, Melbourne based café The Kettle Black had over 45,800 followers in March 2016 they have achieved this through the use of attractive photographs of their food and images of cafe meals that Instagram users would be attracted to, as well as using hashtags that foodies, food bloggers and other Instagram users would be interested in or search for.

Influencer marketing

Bloggers, social media stars and media personalities have amassed a loyal following online with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people following their Instagram accounts. This ‘influencer’ group means that there are several eyeballs there ready to see your product or service. The audience has already been built for you. The engagement has already been formed and tapping into this by getting your product uploaded onto their Instagram feed or featured by a blogger or popular Instagram account holder will help you to grow your audience more quickly. Therefore taking the time to identify key ‘influencers’ in your industry and how you can tap into this is important.

Hashtags – What are they?

How can they be used to increase business exposure?

I suggest that if you are interested in getting onto Instagram you spend some time up front doing your Hashtag research. Hashtags are tags that you can add in a caption of a photo that you upload. To create a hashtag you need to use the # symbol at the front of the tag and then add a keyword or several keywords without spaces after the hash symbol. For example, you might post a product image of pair of jeans. Your hashtags could be: #fashion #style #jeans #lovethatstyle. You may already be familiar with hashtags as they are also popular on Twitter but if you are not take a look online to see some examples of how they are being used. The purpose of the hashtag is to tag your photo to a subject or topic category that is ‘searchable’ or ‘popular’ on Instagram.

Remember:

  • No spaces in your hashtags
  • No special characters can be used in your hashtags [email protected]$&

Instagram includes a powerful search feature so if posts are set to ‘public’ you can use hashtags to tag your photos and videos so that the content becomes easier to search and becomes more accessible to the public. That means when someone runs a search and is exploring that ‘search term’ your content may be discovered which leads to more people finding out about your business or brand.

Some hashtags are very popular so it’s important to identify the ones that are most relevant to your industry. The aim of the game is really to get people talking, liking, following and sharing your content. Hashtags help to get the word out if used effectively so take some time to find out how to use these to get the best out of your content.

How To Increase Productivity In Business

People and business owners achieve success by being productive and able to manage their time efficiently and effectively. In fact, what keeps businesses in business is the provision of products and services which satisfies the needs of their customers. Business owners must pay attention to every detail pertaining to their products and services because the whole world has become obsessed with being efficient at everything.

Being quicker at performing jobs, completing projects and writing reports is a pointer to effective time management and being smart. Productivity in business has literally exploded and this is key to the survival of every business. In business, you have to be innovative, constantly improve on your products or services if you want your competitors to always trail behind you, and you also have to envisage the changing preferences of your customers.

Hence, if you can get more productive tasks done in a short period of time, then you are saving and potentially MAKING more money. Ever heard, “time is money”? This is what counts because we are in a world where time is money and all successful businesses and entrepreneurs do not joke with time.

When you are creating a business, you have to be time conscious. The success you are able to achieve is dependent on how you are able to “effectively and efficiently” manage the hours you have in the day. How you spend your precious 1440 minutes is crucial because the success or failure of your business depends on it. If you are too busy with things that are “urgent” but not contributing meaningfully to the success of your business, then you are indirectly building a brick wall between you and your business success.

This is what I want to prevent. I want to make sure that you effectively utilize your time, increase your own productivity in business and most importantly, do the same with the people you may or may not have working for you. However, it all depends on what you want!

In order to increase your productivity, personally and in your business, I will share with you 6 actionable steps you must start working with right away. You can learn and learn all you like, but the truth is that if you don’t put the rubber to the road, you will never experience the benefits of what you are about to read. You have to be ready to implement these steps. Ready? Let’s get down to it.

1. Sort Tasks in Order of Priority

Sorting tasks in order of priority is very important because it helps you focus your attention on the important ones. But has simple as this principle is, many people try to do this. I say “try” because as much as they make efforts to prioritize their tasks, they simply can’t. Let me tell you why. Most people don’t have a clear system to identify what the levels of priority mean to them. Take for instance, you have a list of things to do which you may have prioritized as “urgent”, “important”, and “non-essential”.

Am not saying you prioritize your tasks like this, it may vary and it’s possible that you have done it slightly differently. But however you might have done it, it doesn’t really explain just how important they are with relation to day to day tasks. For example, urgently means the task must be undertaken immediately, but where is the cut off between urgent and important tasks? Are all urgent tasks not important? Are all important tasks not urgent?

Asking yourself these type of questions will help you to develop cut off points. Once you are able to develop and know the cut off point between them, then the next thing for you to have is a system of identification for tasks and where they should be placed on your list.

Most times, people mistakenly classify tasks that are not important as being important. You should avoid this mistake by deciding what your key money making tasks are and focus your efforts on getting these tasks done effectively and efficiently every day. If you apply this principle to your life and business, then you will find it easy to refer back to your list regularly throughout the day. And the beauty of having a well prioritized list is that, once you ever get off your tasks and are confused with what NEEDS to be done, you can always get back on track pretty quickly.

2. Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you have been able to successfully prioritize your tasks, then it is time to get them planned out in your diary. Planning your tasks ahead enables you to ACTUALLY know what they are and to do them. It is quite easy for you to be distracted during the course of the day if you do not have a well laid out plan and this affects your productivity.

Productivity in business is reliant on a solid plan. You have to take control of your day or week by planning so that events will not dictate your moves.

How can you now avoid this? You have to plan out you week. Sit down with a pen and paper, and if you think that the pen and paper is a bit archaic, then you can go for a planning software and plan the prioritized tasks into your week.

Go through day by day and include each task in order of priority. Once you have planned the week out, you can always prepare for the days ahead every evening so as to refresh what you want to do, change or even add to what you have planned. You must also monitor and appraise your performance.

3. Rise Early

One thing you have in common with the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of this world is the same amount of hours in a day. You have 24 hours just like every other person and there is nothing you can do to change this. You can however change the way(s) you use these precious hours

Interestingly, it is possible for you to use MORE of these hours, if you so CHOOSE. While adequate sleep is important, getting up an hour earlier each day will equate to more than 24 hours extra work in a month.

It has been scientifically proven that our brain operates at a much higher frequency in the mornings. What this implies is that your subconscious mind is far more impressionable early in the morning than if you got up later in the day. So listening to positive videos and audio early in the morning increases your chance of having a positive attitude throughout the day. This makes you more productive both in the short and long run.

4. Productivity in business – The Worst Is First

If you want to have a productive day, there is a general rule which you should follow. The rule is for you to identify the tasks you hate and accomplish this first. Sounds funny? Naturally, we all tend to push the tasks we detest to the bottom of our to-do lists. But if you can bring the tasks you hate to the top of your list and tackling it first, you won’t have them hanging over you for the rest of the day.

Productivity in business relies not only on you being somewhat tactful in the way you go about your day, but in being SMART. Sometimes, it is best to bite the bullet and get the stuff which you can’t stand done right away. You will also find that by using this method, you will begin to pick up momentum in the tasks that you perform, gets things done far quicker and in a more relaxed and happy mood. As already been said, time is money.

5. Take Control of Your Time

Never be afraid to take control of your time. It belongs solely to you and as such, you have to be bold. If you run your business from the comfort of your home, you must be bold to let your family know what your working hours are and have them respect that. You also have to be firm and disciplined on your part. Ensure that you are found at your desk at the time you have stipulated as your working hours.

How can you also concentrate when you have your kids running around and your spouse asking you questions which are completely unrelated to your business? What you need to do is to create an office workspace for yourself, set it up as if you mean to run a proper business. This is how you can get the best out of your time.

People work from all over the world, many of who do so while travelling between destinations. What you need to understand is that you need every effort to focus on what you are doing when you are starting out. Pat Rigsby, one of the top business consultants in the fitness industry said it best, “never underestimate what you can get done in an hour. You only get paid for done.”

6. Stay Positive and Take Breaks

It is very important for you to have a positive mind. You have to believe in yourself that you will succeed. The quality of your work time can be significantly improved once you maintain a positive outlook. Studies have shown a clear correlation between a positive attitude, happiness and consequently better work because people are happier.

There is a reason why top performing companies in the world treat their employees like kings and queens. These employees enjoy great pay, top perks and the best healthcare money can buy. This is because the employees are basically the company. The happier they are, the higher the quality of the work they produce.

So ensure you develop or maintain a positive attitude and mindset. Do not work yourself into the ground during your working day. Relax and catch your fun because productivity in business is also dependent on you being less stressed and happy. An hour break and maybe a gentle exercise would be more beneficial too.

Tips for Finding the Right Small Business IT Support

Every business nowadays relies in some way or another on IT to get the job done, whether it is a small business accountancy firm or a self-employed consultant in a specific profession. The use of technology can be restricted to the basics of communication – such as sending emails and documents to clients or associates – or can be far more complex.

Regardless of what IT is needed for, every small business needs some kind of IT support in place in order to fix problems when things go wrong. This is considered especially important for small businesses, as they can struggle to find the budget for an in-house provider of this kind of technical help.

With this in mind, it is important to do thorough research before looking for small business IT support, as this will ensure that each company finds a good match for them. Here are several pieces of advice to follow when on this search for the ideal service provider.

The first thing to remember when looking for an IT support provider for a small business is that it is best to look for one that specialises online in small or medium businesses. Indeed, every business is different, and size does have a major effect on the needs and preferences of the company.

For this reason, finding a service provider that is specialised in helping small businesses means that you are more likely to end up having someone who knows exactly what your needs and concerns are and is able to cater to them effectively.

If you are looking for IT support for a micro enterprise, look specifically for companies that offer this and have plenty of case studies and customer references to show it. You should be looking primarily for a company that has helped many businesses that are similar to yours, and has proof that they have been able to fulfil the needs of those clients.

Another tip is to look for IT support that fits your budget, and this is especially important when it comes to very small businesses and the self employed. The reason for this is that these companies are unlikely to have a large turnover at this point in their growth, and therefore it is important to be able to pay for these essential IT services.

Thankfully, there are many companies that provide low cost yet perfectly adequate IT support for smaller businesses, which can be a great relief for those on a tighter budget. It should be noted that not all IT support services are equal however, and you may need to search through quite a few options to find one that blends quality with a lower price tag.

The next piece of advice is to find a company that provides a high level of interactive customer support, and does this through the communication methods that are best for you. This is very important, as some people prefer to contact their support centre by email, and others prefer by telephone.

You will also need to make sure that the company is able to respond to your queries and questions at all different times of day throughout the week. Although it is not always possible to get a reliable 24/7 service – and indeed this is not always needed – it is still important to find one that has good office hours and someone that can give you a rapid and helpful response during that time.

Finding small business IT support does not need to be complicated, but it essential to find a company that has experience dealing with businesses similar to yours and one that is responsive, helpful and reasonably priced. When all these factors are in place, chances are you have found a great company to support you in your business goals.