Posts

26
Feb
2016

5 Most Important Web Metrics to Track for Your E-commerce Site

Monitoring our own e-commerce sites can be really intimidating. Using online tracking tools like Google Analytics may help but to those who are new to analytics, we got you covered. You do not have to worry about drowning in that  sea of numbers charts and menu items. The key is start tracking down some basic numbers. We listed 5 of the most basic yet vital web metrics for your e-commerce website. Once you get familiar with these data, you can start to tackle the more complicated ones and be data-surfing in no time!

  1. Visitors

Unique Visitors This is referring to the number of unique individuals at your site during a certain period, regardless of the number of times they visited your site. This represents the size of the audience that you have reached out to. This figure is useful for marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. This is most apt for offline marketing which cannot be tracked by programs such as Google Analytics. For example, if you were to launch a new campaign advertorial on this month’s content. However there is no increase in the number of unique visitors, perhaps it’s time to channel the resources allocated for this marketing project elsewhere.

Repeat Visitors This refers to the percentage of visitors who return to your site. A good percentage indicates that people do find your content interesting to keep coming back for more. Take note that a high percentage does not mean a good thing. If there is a high percentage of repeat visitors but unique visitors are about constant, it could indicate that there is a struggle driving new traffic to your e-commerce site.

  1. Bounce Rate

This refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your site quickly having no interactions. A high bounce rate would mean thatusers didn’t find what they were looking for on your site and decided to leave. It’s as if they walked into a store, barely looked around and left the store immediately. They find nothing of value and have no reason to stay. While it’s impossible to keep your bounce rate to zero (people do visit sites by accident), reducing the rate to a bare minimum is vital. You should always be comparing your landing pages to look out for ones that are bouncing a high percentage of visitors. These are the ones who are chasing your users away. As such, you have to get rid of these pages. Comparing your high bounce pages to your low bounce pages is a great way to find out what’s working for your users and what isn’t. Every lost user is a lost opportunity, so you’ll want to figure out why people are leaving alter content and data to their patterns.

Here’s a infographic that shows what bounce rate is.

  1. Conversion Rate

The conversion rate of a page is the percentage of people who completed a desired action on that page, such as filling out a form or completing a purchase. It is ideal to have a high conversion rate. This is very useful to compare between your e-commerce site’s landing pages. A landing page is usually the first page users see on your site, so it is crucial that your landing pages are getting visitors to convert into leads. Conversion rate is the ultimate measure of how successful your site is. If your site has a low conversion rate, either they are not your target audience or the site is not effective at convincing your visitors that you offer the right solution to their problem. Conversion rates can also act as a monitor for error on your site. If conversion rates suddenly drops, it could means there is an error or broken link in a certain area or page.

  1. Origin of Traffic

The sources of traffic from your site can also be a fantastic metric. By knowing where people heard of your site, changes can be made to marketing strategies to further boost traffic on your site. If you’ve been working on your SEO efforts, then you should see your organic search volume increasing. Organic search is traffic arriving through search results in a search engine. If you’ve been doing good social media promotion, then you should see a lot of referral traffic from social media sites and blogs. If there is a high traffic from a particular site of another company, you may also want to use this as a business opportunity to reach out to that company to forge a more formal relationship.

  1. Keyword performance

This refers to the evaluation of specific keywords that are bringing organic traffic to your site.Knowing this will enable you to adapt campaigns and content accordingly. You will know what people are actually looking for when they visit your e-commerce site, if there is a keyword that you may not have optimised but is driving traffic to your site, it would spell out benefits for your site. This is because the keyword is not competitive but still relevant to your business. As such you can build content around that keyword to give yourself that competitive edge against your competitors. Using a keyword tool can be helpful in generating specific content that your customers are searching for.

Web metrics are your tools to analysing the progress of your site. Now that you know the basics, your e-commerce is one step closer to having better days! Need more information? Contact us for more details!

26
Feb
2016

4 Tips on Effective Content Marketing

Speaking at Marketing’s Customer Experience Conference 2015, Vivek Kumar, director and head of NTUC Membership said that most available content today does not engage the consumer and rarely makes an impact in their decision-making process.

However, effective content is crucial to customer experience. According to a study by the CMO council,80-90% of consumers, particularly in the B2B sector, would buy from a brand that has content that appeals to them.

It is now a must for companies to adopt a holistic view on content creation and exceed a consumer’s expectations. So how exactly do marketers create content that cut through the clutter and resonate with consumers?

Kumar gave four tips:

1. Involve your consumers

Brands should actively involve the consumer at the initial stage of the content creation.

Using the example of Coca-Cola, Kumar said that a decade ago, Coca-Cola innovated the music scene and launched a “passion-targeting approach” to generate its brand presence. Since then, it has evolved its strategy to build on consumers’ passion points.

More recently, it partnered with Maroon 5 to stream the band recording their music live in the studio. Fans were encouraged to follow their live feed on-the-go and simultaneously give the musicians live feedback.

By doing so, the brand was able to encourage its consumers to be part of the content creation process.

Here’s Coke’s video here:

Another example of successful content creation with fans was when Harley Davidson created its ‘No Cages’ campaign. The brand created an engine for its fans on its 110th anniversary to create ideas of the kind of bikes they would like to ride. Customers were allowed to design and custom colour their dream bikes on an interactive website.

Kumar said: “Engaging their customers started even before the brand sold its bikes. It started during the pre-sales period when the brand was trying to communicate with them -when they were designing the product.”

Using the insights and building on the consumer engagement, Harley Davidson also decided to launch a separate campaign called “No Cages”.

Here’s what the ad looked like:

2. Be relevant and target segmented audiences

According to Kumar, NTUC Income’s content marketing team takes into consideration the brand’s role in building communities, and reaching out to various groups of the society. It then builds its campaigns around issues that its consumers are passionate about.

“It is essential to tap into the audience that is already available in a brand’s database,” said Kumar.

Citing the example of the NTUC Income 350 Run event, Kumar explained that the company leveraged on its youth group’s interest by using environmental concern as a passion point for its campaign.  Pre-event, volunteer groups were formed to help clean up several neighbourhoods.

“At the start, there were 5000 runners and this year, that number grew to 15000. The whole movement has been growing,” Kumar said. He added that this is probably due to the consumers’ excitement around the environmental causes which were further amplified by initiative build around the event and not just limited to the run itself.

By being attuned to the needs of its young union members, NTUC Income successfully “built a movement in which members and customers were emotionally engaged” with the brand. The movement encouraged NTUC Income’s members to continue being socially engaging and active, even after the run.

3. Stay on-brand

Whatever a brand decides to do, it is essential to be “true to your DNA,” said Kumar. It is important to be sincere about the content and stay true to the brand to ensure success.

As part of its ‘Labour of Love’ campaign, NTUC Membership launched a ‘Free Coffee Wednesdays’ initiative to promote conversations. When consumers gifted a cup of coffee to their friends, they were able to redeem a free cup of coffee “to inspire conversations and improve any social divisions within the society” said Kumar.

The campaign led to a 772% increase in campaign application participation.

The movement was a catalyst for the brand to start conversing with the public as well.

The campaign prioritised the company’s outreach to its members. An initiative included opening at more accessible locations for union members to turn to for help. NTUC also shared personal stories of its members, but de-branded its content for a more genuine approach to its consumers. Accompanying the month-long campaign,  NTUC had a built in Facebook app to manage its union’s own account to cater to the“overwhelming response from the CBD area,” Kumar added.

4. Campaigns need to be consistent

Kumar said that when a brand launches an interesting campaign, it “cannot go missing in action, that leaves a very bad taste [for consumers].” It is crucial to be consistent with consumer engagement and participation so as not to leave the audience hanging in a lurch. This lack of continuity disconnects the kind of the traction that a brand might have received from a prior campaign. A company must also be conscious of people movement within an organisation so as to avoid a loss in connection with loyal consumers who were engaged with a past campaign.

Because IT infrastructure within a company may not be as fluid as marketing changes, brands need to be wary of their own limitations before creating content. A brand has to ensure that all security measures, especially ones related to IT are well-managed and updated.

This article is originally from Marketing Interactive Magazine – http://www.marketing-interactive.com/4-ways-content-creation-success/

26
Feb
2016
26
Feb
2016

6 things to know before starting your own business (Infographic)

Starting an e-commerce website can be a double edged sword. If done poorly, it could cost great losses but, if done well, it could be an easy battle with great benefits. Of course, with every successful battle comes immense preparation but there’s no need to panic.  With all these neat tips and tricks, you will be on your march to victory. Remember that setting up and online store requires patience and of course attention to details. The slightest decision could make or break your success. If you feel that you need more friendly assistance with your eCommerce business, feel free to talk to us! 

How-to-Start-your-own-small-business-6-steps-startup-guide-Infographic

26
Feb
2016

Apple Watch – 10 Features That We Like

Whenever Apple launches a new product, they never fail to surprise the public with their innovation and disruptive technology. Although the Apple Watch is yet to be made available in many countries (Check here for the list of countries that sells the Apple Watch – https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2015/03/09Apple-Watch-Available-in-Nine-Countries-on-April-24.html) , WWDC 2015 has announced to the world the second phase of enhancements to Apple’s latest product. Here are 10 features of the Apple Watch that we really like:

1_1

New Faces: 

The new face of the Apple Watch is attractive yet intuitive. You can select photos from an entire photo album and you’ll see a new picture every time you glance at the watch. Apple is also making some cool time-lapse animations of major cities that change based on the time of day.

1_2

Complications: 

In the next version of Apple Watch, you are able to display more than just time on the watch interface. Some examples would include your flight itinerary, your appointments and your other IoTs status updates. These other items are classified as “complications” in the new Apple Watch.

1_3

Time Travel: 

This is indeed the highlight during the demonstration at WWDC 2015. In WatchOS2, just by spinning the digital crown backwards and forwards, your complications will show you information which are relevant to whatever hour of the day you’ve zipped to. Want to know where you should be in 6 hours time but don’t want to open up your calendar? This feature is pretty awesome for you.

1_4

Change Settings with the Crown:

For future Apple Watch Developers, you can now allow your users to change the settings in your application through the digital crown. Extremely useful for IoTs application.

1_5

Nightstand:

This is functional feature which can replace your typical alarm clock. When your watch is charging on your bed-side table, you can now flip it on its side and still view the time—the clock rotates 90 degrees to make it easier to read. Also, when in this mode, the watch will wake you up with a gentle alarm sound as the clock changes color and pulses. Time to bid goodbye to all those fancy digital alarm clocks?

1_6

Communicate with Friends: 

Soon you will be able to sort your list of friends into various groups and each is identified by its initial or their little profile pictures. The contacts can be accessed easily from the face of the watch and each group can hold dozens of contacts.

1_7

Reply to Mail

Because what you really need is more ways to answer email, the next version of watchOS will let you reply to emails directly on the watch face. Of course, you can instantly trash emails from the watch as well, which might be the best feature of this new interaction. How to reply? Well that’s the purpose of Siri. 

1_8

Facetime Calls:

Support for FaceTime Audio calls is coming to watchOS 2. The next time you get pinged over Apple’s native VoIP service, you’ll see it on your watch with the option to answer, just like a regular phone call. 

1_9

Transit:

With all of the enhancements to Apple Maps on OS X and iOS 9, it’s only natural the Watch gets some additional maps mojo too. Any transit directions you look up on your phone can be sent to the watch, which will guide you by tapping your wrist, and you can initiate new directions by asking Siri through the watch. However, not so sure how this is super helpful considering phone application’s map is more advanced than the watch. Also, most probably , not going to be very useful in Singapore.

1_10

Automatic connection to wireless hotspot:

When wearable devices first launched in the market, one of the greatest concern is the ability to sustain its battery life since most work with Bluetooth technology which consumes alot of battery. With this automatic connection to wireless hotspot, you won’t have to worry about battery life since it does not consume battery if it is connected at home or at your office.

So that’s the top 10 features we like from WWDC 2015. Let us know below if you think there are some other features that we miss.

26
Feb
2016

Must-have apps for Small Business owners

There are millions of applications in the world today – just take a look at Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, and not to mention the apps from the Windows store. For a business owner, this can be heaven or hell. You can either be swamped by the multitude of applications, cluttering your business approach and decreasing productivity, or if you choose the right applications, you can be rewarded with increased productivity in the long run. Check out some applications that small business owners should never miss!

evernote logo

1. Evernote (iOS, Android, Windows)

Evernote is the ultimate note-taking application that nobody should give a miss, even if you are not a business owner. The application allows users to take notes, store photos, audio files, clippings of web pages and many different document files. Users can also create to-do lists and reminders for notes so that nothing will be forgotten any longer. Evernote has curated a simple and uncluttered design and has made their application seamless over different user interfaces – iOS, Android and Windows to better user experience. Evernote comes in 3 different versions – Basic (free), Premium and Business.

Dropbox

2. Dropbox (iOS, Android, Windows)

Dropbox allows users to easily sync files and access them from anywhere. It makes collaboration a breeze because through its file sharing property, multiple users can access work documents as soon as it is synced. Users get 2GB worth of data storage with Dropbox’s free Basic plan, but if you need more, you can always consider an upgrade.

wunderlist

3. Wunderlist (iOS, Android, Windows) 

Wunderlist helps users to manage their to-do lists in the most simplified, efficient and productive manner. Wunderlist has garnered the support of more than 13 million users worldwide and has recently joined Microsoft. Wunderlist allows users to create to-do lists with reminders, group them in folders and also share them with different users. It has a consistently beautiful interface across both mobile and desktop alike. Wunderlist is free for individual users, but should businesses find this useful, they can upgrade to a business account as well which allows teams to keep all their work on one secure platform.

Fuze

4. Fuze (iOS, Android)

With its beautiful and intuitive interface, Fuze has brought video conferencing to a new level. Boasting High Definition video conferencing, Fuze also allows users to share files and presentations easily and even has an integrated access to Dropbox. With Fuze, users will never miss another meeting as they are able to schedule meetings through Outlook and Google. Fuze comes in 3 versions – Free, Pro and Premium.

Addappt

5. Addappt (iOS, Android)

Addappt is an application that promises to help users manage their contacts easily. With the default phone book from Apple or Samsung phones, users have to manually update contacts when changes are being made. With Addappt, when a user’s contact information is being changed, real time updates will be made so there will no longer be discrepancies in contact details stored. When used well, this can be immensely useful for small business owners looking to expand their network circle.

So, here are some of our top application picks! Share with us in the comments below about the application that you find most useful to you.

26
Feb
2016

Why social media rocks (for businesses)

Today, who doesn’t know what social media is? Probably nobody. Social media has become so prevalent in our lives that many people spend most of their waking moments on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest etc.. When social media was introduced to the world just a few years ago, it encompassed bringing people closer to others around them in their personal lives or to allow people to meet new friends who have similar interests. Today, the time has come for businesses to lift itself onto the next level with social media. Here are some reasons why your company should get cracking and get on social media quick.

1. An avenue for feedback

Social media, with interactivity being its most prominent feature, offers the company’s stakeholders with a platform to give feedback. Feedback, criticism especially, is crucial to a company’s growth and there should always be a feedback channel for companies to understand how customers truly feel. With the ease of receiving feedback, companies should also be careful to couple this with excellent customer service and attempt to rectify any problems faced by their consumers. It is also important to remember the impact negative comments posted on social media sites can have on reputation and potential sales, but it is also much easier to contain and rectify with all these found in one congregated space.

2. Brand recognition

Since many people are on social media, this is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of advertising for businesses. With the rise in popularity of social media sites which make use of imagery such as Instagram, businesses can capture the attention of potential consumers through knowledgeable info-graphics or beautiful product pictures to help increase consumer’s awareness of the brand.

3. Brings the brand closer to the heart of consumers

Thinking from the perspective of a consumer, would you rather give your money to a company with numerous strict inflexible regulations, or would you prefer a company which does everything it can to reach out to you on a personal level and just really connects with you? I’m sure you chose the latter. With many companies offering similar products and services these days, the way to stand out is to make your brand unforgettable through building relationships with consumers and providing them with impeccable service.

4. Is your brand alive?

You’re probably not be able to make updates on your company’s websites daily as you can on social media sites, can you?  These days, by checking out the recency of social media site updates, many customers try to determine if a brand is still relevant and current, or if it has faded into the background. The world today is chock full of new enterprises waiting to take over the standing your business holds today, so be sure to never let consumers have the impression of an unresponsive business, but that of one which is very much alive.

 5. Everyone’s on it

You name it. Everyone and I mean, everyone is on at least one social media site; your consumers, your competitors, your family, your co-workers. Since social media has invaded every part of our lives, why not tap on this great marketing potential and showcase how amazing your products or services are to this huge audience base which is already readily available?

Technology has indeed changed our world, and social media has sure changed it further. Many people look for a personal touch when connecting with businesses and there are no things worse than having poor word of mouth that you are unable to rectify. Social media is one of the most affordable, and yet effective forms of advertisement for businesses. It is imperative that we take hold of trends as soon as possible, so to all business owners, jump on the social media bandwagon.

Let us know in the comments section about your views on how social media can affect your business!

26
Feb
2016

57 Business Apps and Tools to Make your life easier as an Entrepreneur

57 Business Apps and Tools to Make Your Life Easier as an Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly looking for tools to help give you that edge above the competition.

Whether that be a tool to manage your workflow, to track your hours worked—or even something as basic as a piece of software that helps you write—finding the best ones can be difficult.

That’s where we come in.

Earlier this week we talked about six different free tools to use—but now, we’re going deeper with this huge list.

We’ve broken down the top challenges entrepreneurs face and have listed some of the top tools you can use to make your life as an entrepreneur easier.

Productivity and Organization

Every entrepreneur knows that their time is valuable. Being able to crunch more tasks into any given day is something we all long for.

Here are some tools that will keep you more productive throughout your day. Be sure to use this in conjunction with some of our productivity tips.

1. Evernote – Perfect software for anyone who needs to keep track of things in any medium.

2. 1Password – The best way to create a strong, secure password for every website you visit.

3. Dropbox – Cloud storage app for business. Great for all entrepreneurs.

4. Toggl – Free time tracking tool that’s simple to use.

5. Mod Notebooks – A paper notebook that syncs to the cloud.


Customer Support and Email

Customer support is not the most exciting aspect of being an entrepreneur, but it’s certainly valuable. These tools will help you along the way, and make your life and workflow much easier.

6. Zendesk – Software that makes your life easier when dealing with every aspect of customer support.

7. Freshdesk – Offers a solution for customer support requests as well as online helpdesks.

8. Uservoice – Product Management & Customer Support Software to help companies build better products and support their users.

9. Clickdesk – Online live chat software that combines chat and support desks.


Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants

Sometimes it isn’t possible to work on everything at once—and that’s where outsourcing and virtual assistants come in. They’ll help you complete tasks that you don’t have the time or the knowledge to do.

10. Upwork – One of the best online solutions for hiring freelancers.

11. Fiverr – Find anything you need, starting at just $5.

12. Clarity – Schedule a call with influencers and experts in your market.

13. Gigster – Hire a quality developer for your project in under five minutes.


Copywriting and Word Processing

Often an overlooked part of setting up a product or website, good copy and writing is essential to how customers feel about your product. Be sure to check out some of these tools to help with your writing process.

14. Grammarly – Making you a better writer by finding 10x more grammar and spelling mistakes than a normal word editor.

15. Hemingway Editor – A wonderful tool that makes your writing and spelling mistakes bold and clear.

16. Draft – Write better. Genius for any business looking for more apps to help their workflow.


Social Media Management and Automation

Social media management is an absolute essential part of any entrepreneurial endeavour. Being able to respond to messages quickly in a professional manner can be the difference between losing a sale, and gaining a customer.

17. Buffer – Schedule and share social media content with just a few clicks.

18. Hootsuite – The only social media dashboard you’ll ever need.

19. Topsy  Monitor certain hashtags and accounts to stay up to date with current events.

20. Crowdbooster – Measure and manage your social media marketing campaigns.


Graphic Design and Branding

Every entrepreneur at some point needs help with their design and branding. Whether it’s for your personal brand, or a business you’re starting—you’ll need tools that help with design. Be sure to play around with some of these tools to figure out which one works best for you.

21. Sketch – An easy to use, beautiful program for designers.

22. InVision – Free web and mobile prototyping for designers and developers.

23. Crayon – Market design research for your next project.

24. Photoshop – An absolute must for anyone who’s serious about design.

25. Canva – Make awesome images without much design knowledge.


Team Communication

With the ever expanding popularity of remote teams, team communication is more important than ever. Being able to reach someone quickly to notify them about anything is essential. These tools will make your team’s communication easier than ever.

26. Slack – Be less busy by having everything in one place.

27. GitHub – Build software better, together.

28. Trello – Organize, plan, and schedule projects as a team.

29. Flowdock – Groupchat for teams. Stay in touch and stay up to date with everyone.


Analytics and Website Data

Analytics for your business is extremely important. Being able to see how long someone visits a page for, where they drop off, and more can be a way for you to make important business decisions. Be sure to check out some of these tools and find which one works best for you.

30. Google Analytics – The absolute gold standard for all website analytics software.

31. CrazyEgg – Heatmap analytics to see where visitors are clicking.

32. Piwik  Open-source analytics that gives you much more than just powerful analytics.


Email Marketing and List Building

Email has proven to be a tool so valuable with all of the noise across social media—if you haven’t started building an email marketing campaign, now is the time.

33. Mailchimp – Send better email.

34. Customer.io – Send customized messages based on their interactions with your business.

35. Really Good Emails – Take a look at some of the best email marketing from top businesses.

36. Constant Contact – Grow your business with email marketing software.

37. Exact Target – Build and manage marketing campaigns based on customer journeys.


Financials and Invoicing

Sometimes as an entrepreneur you’ll need to invoice clients. That can be a bit of a headache if you don’t have the proper systems in place. And, when tax season comes around—you had better have your financials in order. These tools will help with the financial headache.

38. Freshbooks – Send invoices, track time, and capture expenses in minutes.

39. Mint – Be good with your money with Mint money manager.

40. Xero – Online accounting software for your small business.

41. NutCache – Smart and simple project management for invoices and expenses.

42. QuickBooks Online – Easily manage your business anywhere, anytime.


Food and Delivery Services

Working as an entrepreneur might mean you don’t have time to cook for yourself. Luckily, there’s a lot of different tools and services at your disposal for getting groceries or prepared food on demand.

43. Instacart – Groceries delivered in an hour.

44. Caviar – Get delivery from your favorite restaurants.

45. Eatclub – Food delivered to your team, without all the work.

46. UberEATS – Food delivered in five minutes or less.


Free Stock Images

Free stock images are perhaps the most valuable resource to any entrepreneur. Being able to cut costs while also getting stunning images is such a wonderful thing.

47. The Ultimate List – We put together the ultimate list of free stock images.

48. Unsplash – Free (to do whatever you want) high resolution stock images.

49. Superfamous – Nature and abstract stock photos.


Fonts and Type

Comic-sans just doesn’t cut it anymore. Be sure to check out the resources below to find some fantastic fonts.

50. Google Fonts – Hundreds of free fonts that you can use for your website.

51. DaFont – A massive online resource of free and paid fonts you can use.

52. Font Squirrel – Handpicked free fonts.

53. Type Kit – Subscription based font service that brings thousands of fonts into one library.

54. Abstract Fonts – Over 10,000 fonts for you to use.


Miscellaneous Services

These are the misfit apps and services that didn’t fit in anywhere else—but they’re incredibly useful. Need someone to clean your laundry because you’re spending most of your day working on your project? We’ve got you covered.

55. Handy – Home cleaning at a moment’s notice.

56. Washio – Dry cleaning and laundry service on demand.

57. TaskRabbit – Connecting you to safe and reliable helpers for home related tasks.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve listed some of our favourite tools for entrepreneurs, it’s up to you to put them to use.

Let us know if the comments below if these work for you, or if you have any other suggestions.

This article is originally from Shopify Blog- http://www.shopify.com/blog/34221829-57-business-apps-and-tools-to-make-your-life-easier-as-an-entrepreneur

26
Feb
2016

Secrets to growth-hacking, social media and more (Presentation decks)

These three terms, growth hacking, social media and online marketing, are terms that most marketers know but may brush off common terms. However, these are all big words and can be very powerful for an online business when it comes to converting browsers into buyers. Over here, we have found 3 amazing slide decks that brings us powerful tips in striking and beautiful visuals. Sit back, relax and let the (slide)show begin!

Growth Hacking

Social Media

Branding and Online Marketing

Here’s one more bonus slide deck that we love and want to share with you. It’s useful for those who have yet to start their business or a veteran entrepreneur.

For more tips about your online business or marketing, call us for a free consultation! We love to hear from you!

26
Feb
2016

How To Build A Massive Following On Instagram

Used correctly, Instagram can be a highly-targeted, visual advertising channel for your brand. In fact, in a recent study it was discovered that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms. This mean that Instagram is a prime channel to build your brand for your ecommerce business.

Like any social network out there, there are right ways to use it, wrong ways to use it, and clever ways to use it.

In this post, we will show you how to most effectively use Instagram to increase engagement and build a massive following.

Use The Right Hashtags

Your goal on Instagram is to engage your current audience while also growing your following. Posting new, interesting and engaging photos will satisfy the first requirement but to begin growing you’ll find hashtagging your photos to be extremely important. Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific terms.

So which hashtags should you use?

Just like with Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram use certain hashtags over others. If you use the right hashtags within your photos, you’re much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.

Here are the current top 20 hashtags on Instagram according to Webstagram:

  • 1.#love 546,312,756 posts
  • 2.#instagood 252,226,047 posts
  • 3.#me 238,166,943 posts
  • 4.#follow 208,003,100 posts
  • 5.#tbt 205,718,608 posts
  • 6.#cute 203,174,797 posts
  • 7.#like 193,577,034 posts
  • 8.#photooftheday 189,818,506 posts
  • 9.#followme 183,736,791 posts
  • 10.#tagsforlikes 171,593,674 posts
  • 11.#happy 165,534,554 posts
  • 12.#beautiful 163,122,231 posts
  • 13.#girl 162,838,871 posts
  • 14.#picoftheday 140,266,148 posts
  • 15.#instadaily 126,075,675 posts
  • 16.#fun 124,017,892 posts
  • 17.#smile 120,121,394 posts
  • 18.#igers 118,454,910 posts
  • 19.#selfie 117,998,320 posts
  • 20.#friends 117,809,423 posts

To see a larger list of the top hashtags, check out the popular tag list on Webstagram andPopulargram.

If you looked at the list above and said “But none of those apply to my products or brand”, you’re likely correct.

Using hashtags is one thing, using the right tags is a completely other thing. Popular tags like the ones listed above will likely net you additional engagement and likes, however, they will not lead to increased long-term engagement, new interested followers and most importantly, sales.

If you want to tag your photos properly, you’ll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate keyword research to make sure you’re using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand, but is also being searched for on Instagram.

To find relevant hashtags, you’ll want to use a free online program like IconoSquare (formerly Statigram) or Webstagram.

Below, I used Webstagram to find relevant, related and popular hashtags for my men’s accessory brand by searching for key hashtags that are closely related to my brand.

As an example, searching the hashtag #MensFashion, I was able to pull the following list of additional keyword hashtags along with the number of times they have been used (popularity).

You’ll want to go through this exercise trying different keywords that describe your brand and products, building out your hashtag keyword list as you go.

Keep in mind that Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Additionally, the popular words will change over time, so make sure you revisit your hashtag keywords every few months to make sure you’re using the best possible terms.

Protip #1: Here’s a trick that I use for my ecommerce businesses. For every product and product category for my stores, I have done the keyword research to see which are the most popular Instagram hashtags around those product categories. I came up with 15-20 popular hashtags for each category of products I sell, as well as a base of 5-10 popular tags that describe my brand and product offering overall. Finally, I also created a list of popular local specific hashtags that relate to my brand.

For example:

(Brand Keyword Hashtags)
#mybrandname #mensfashion #mensaccessories #mensgoods #fashion #mensstyle #instafashion #menswear
(Product Category Keyword Hashtags)
#bugatchisocks #happysocks #corgisocks #socks #sockswag #socksoftheday #sockgame #sockswagg #socksofinstagram #happysockday #sockwars #funsocks #happysockday
(Location Specific Keyword Hashtags)
#Toronto #TorontoFashion #TorontoFashionBloggers

All of these groups of keyword hashtags are stored in a page on Evernote. This makes it easy and efficient when I’m on the go to post a new Instagram image, optimized for the most relevant keywords. I can easily open my Evernote and copy my standard brand, product and location specific hashtags to post with each photo.

Doing the work upfront of researching, organizing and saving the most applicable and popular hashtags will save you a ton of time down the road, increase your engagement and help garner new followers.

Protip #2: If you’ve been posting to Instagram for a while and feel like you’ve missed out on all these opportunities to build your audience by using keyword hashtags, fret not. You can still go back and post a comment with your new hashtag keyword lists and watch the likes and followers roll in.

Use The Right Filters

Keyword hashtags aren’t the only thing you should pay attention to. The Instagram community respond to certain photo filters more favorably than others. Using these preferred filters can have an impact on your engagement.

Here are the 10 current most popular filters on Instagram according to Populagram:

  1. Normal (No Filter)
  2. Valencia
  3. Earlybird
  4. X-Pro II
  5. Amaro
  6. Rise
  7. Hudson
  8. Lo-fi
  9. Hefe
  10. Sierra

TrackMaven recently did a study on Instagram accounts to see how filters affected engagement and found that Mayfair, no filter and Inkwell drove the most interaction.

More important than the overall Instagram communities favorite filters are your particular audience’s favorite filters. Consider this custom graph which correlates filter usage to engagement from your own Instagram account:

You can use IconoSquare to review the performance of your own account to understand what is and is not currently working for you.

Post On The Right Days And Time

Beyond adding the appropriate hashtags and using the best filters, you should also be considering the timing of your posts.

A targeted approach is to analyze what has and has not worked for you in the past. By visitingIconoSquare’s optimization section, you can get a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post.

The dark circles indicates when you usually post media. The light gray circles shows when your community has been interacting. The biggest light gray circles represent the best times for you to post.

You may want to consider using a scheduling program to schedule your post. For that, you can use a (paid) program like ScheduGram.

Steal Your Competitors Followers

One of the best ways to find and attract new following is by seeking out your closest competitors’ Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience. These people have already shown some level of interest in the products you carry simply by following your competitors’ account.

So how do you effectively steal your competitors’ followers?

You can steal your closest competitors’ followers by engaging with them. There are several ways to engage with Instagram users, and predictably, the more work you put in, the more followers and return engagement you’ll get out of it.

The three types of engagement on Instagram are:

  • Follow a user
  • Like a photo
  • Comment on a photo

I ran an informal test with my business account to see how my competitors’ followers responded to my marketing advances. I targeted the followers of a close, local competitor. Since I know many of his followers would be local, I added my city to my profile to create a greater sense of familiarity between my brand and the people I am targeting.

I began by simply following 100 of my competitor’s followers. Later, I followed another 100 of my competitor’s followers but I also took the time to like one of their photos. Finally, I followed another 100 of my competitor’s followers and commented on one of each of the 100 user’s photos as well as liked that same photo.

Here were the results:

  • Follow: 14% followback
  • Follow + Like: 22% followback
  • Follow + Like + Comment: 34% followback

Although the are many variables and the test was far from scientific, the results were clear. The more you put in and engage with people, the more you’ll get out of it.

Sponsored Posts And Product Reviews

All this optimized posting to your account is great but if you really want to make an impact, you need to post to other, larger accounts in your niche, exposing your brand to a wider audience.

So how do you do that?

First, unlike the tactics above to grow your account this one isn’t free. However, if done correctly, it’s good value.

To get started, you’ll need to make a list of large accounts in your niche. For example, if you sell beauty products, you’ll want to find large accounts from beauty bloggers.

You may already be following these accounts, if not you’ll need to find them. One of the best ways is to use Webstagram and search for some of the closest hashtag keywords you uncovered in the beginning of this post. When you do a search for your keywords, not only will it show you the related keywords, but it also shows you the top Instagram accounts that feature those keywords.

There are a few things to look for in the profiles results:

  • Large following – Usually 20k-200k
  • An email address in the profile

If there is an email address in the profile, it usually means they’re open to sponsored posts. You’ll want to email them and ask them their sponsored post pricing. In general, I have found the average rate to be around $20-$50 per post, depending on the size of their following. However, if you’re selling an unique and original product, you may also want to consider sending them your product to review and post. The more natural and less advertisement like the image, the greater the engagement and response usually.

Here is a great product placement from Maxim model Ashley Sky that received over 16 thousands likes:

Men’s fashion and accessory startup, Bachelr admittedly used this approach. They paid larger men’s fashion accounts approximately $50 per image to post tasteful images that highlighted some of their products:

The results from the Instagram sponsored post promotion was a flood of traffic to their Instagram account and website, supposedly causing their server to crash.

In a final example, Classified Apparel used the tactic of getting featured on a larger account to jump start their Instagram following. Starting with only 22 followers, they were able to net nearly 3,500 new followers in less than 24 hours. A few months later and they are now sitting at 10,000 followers.

Instagram Tool Roundup

There are hundreds of tools out there that can help you and your Instagram strategy. In this post I mentioned five key ones help you build your audience and engaged them.

  • Populagram – Find popular hashtags, filters and people.
  • Schedugram – Schedule your Instagram post for the most engaging times.
  • IconoSquare – Info, analytics and insights into your account and followers.
  • Webstagram – Find the best hashtags for your posts and people for your sponsored posts.

Conclusion

In this post we talked about the most effective ways to use Instagram to build a targeted following, but it’s not always a numbers game. As with any social network, the most successful strategy overall is to be authentic and social.

If used correctly, Instagram can be a highly-targeted, visual advertising channel for your products and brand that can lead to a healthy stream of revenue for your ecommerce business.

This article was written by Richard Lazazzera  from Shopify blog.