Tips to Improving Your Instagram

At this point, most people are familiar with Instagram, the highly successful social media network that shares photos and videos with followers. When it was first developed, Instagram was used as an outlet to share photos with friends and family, but it has since grown in unbelievable ways. Today, there are over 800 million current users on Instagram- ranging everywhere from teens, to companies, universities, and even pets! While many businesses already use Instagram as a way to grow their brand awareness, there are a number of tips and tricks that you can use to boost your business’s Instagram game!

Shoppable posts

Have you noticed Instagram’s new feature: shoppable posts? Shoppable posts make it easier for businesses to produce advertisements by simply just posting a picture where the product is included! This feature allows businesses to tag and identify the products shown in their photographs. When you click on the tag, it shows the product, description, and price.  The tag also gives you a “shop now” option, which takes you directly to the business’s website. Talk about easy! Using shoppable posts, businesses are able to generate sales by doing what they were already doing: posting pictures. Doubtful about the effectiveness of this feature? 72% of users report purchasing products via Instagram shoppable posts.


Instagram stories

Instagram stories are an incredibly underrated feature of Instagram. If you don’t know what Instagram stories are, they are photos or videos that followers can view for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, the posts are either archived, or you can add them to your profile as a highlight for as long as you want. Instagram stories are great because they are an easy way to get information out to your customers without cluttering your feed. Having a flash sale? Post it on your Instagram story to remind customers! Instagram stories also have features where you can post polls, quizzes, or even ask questions. This is a quick and informal way to get information and feedback from your customers. Stories can also be a great location to repost photographs from satisfied customers. Overall, stories can help you increase your accessibility to customers. It’s so easy to view businesses as a face-less corporations; Instagram stories can help you to better personalize your brand!

Hashtags

Many people forget about hashtags when posting on Instagram. While they can seem like a nuisance, hashtags can be so effective in increasing brand reachability. For example, is your business a hair salon? Including  “#hairsalon” at the end of your caption can help connect people to your profile. Get creative with your hashtags! You will be surprised by the amount of new engagement that it will bring you. #Easyaspie!


Giveaways

Who doesn’t love giveaways! Instagram is a great way to show off giveaways or special promotions. Promoting your giveaways via Instagram can help you to gain positive brand awareness while increasing your followers and follower engagements. In most giveaways, accounts ask users to follow their account and tag a friend to enter. Not only do you gain a follower, but a new user is introduced to your page!

Partnerships

Many businesses do not take advantage of business partnerships as much as they should! By partnering with another business via Instagram, you are connected to a whole new set of followers and engagement. Small businesses need to stick together! Partnerships can be easy: post a story promoting their products, find a way to combine your services, or host a joined giveaway. Connecting with other businesses can help you to gain new followers, awareness, and engagement.

Try using one of these tips to improve your Instagram game! Click here to view our products!  

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

Customer reviews play a tremendous role in a business’s reputation. It is very common for people to research a company or business before making a purchase. Reading reviews is an easy way for them to do so. Potential customers can pick up on the customer service that a business provides via their responses to reviews.  It is important to respond to positive reviews because it makes customers feel like their thoughts and opinions are valued. In addition, responding back to customers who are already satisfied with your work can help to build a loyal customer base! Here are some tips on how to respond to positive reviews from customers:

Thank the reviewers

First and foremost, it is important to immediately thank the reviewers for taking the time out of their day to write a review. People can be really busy, and will appreciate you recognizing the effort that they put in. In thanking the reviewer, make sure to point out or agree with specific things that they mentioned. In addition, time is of the essence! Don’t wait too long to respond back. A punctual “thank you” means a lot more than one that is weeks (or months) late!!

Personalize your responses

In responding to reviews, it is important that each customers feels like they are valued and appreciated. One way to do so is by personalizing each response.  Start off by addressing the review to their name instead of a generic title such “Dear customer.” Small details like this make customers feel like they are receiving a genuine response! Next, reference specific details that they mentioned in their review.  By doing so, it will seem like a personalized message, rather than an automated response. Don’t go too over the top, in most situations a few sentences should be perfect! At the end of the response, suggest a product that they might like, offer a promotion, or send them the link to sign up for another appointment. Customers may feel more inclined to shop again if they have an incentive!

Share the positive review

One way to improve your online reputation is by sharing positive reviews online! Share snippets of praise from customers on your website, social media accounts, or advertisements.  If you have good reviews, potential customers will be more likely to select you over other businesses.


Responding to positive reviews can help to improve your business’s reputation and strengthen relationships with customers. Click here to check out our products page!!

7 Reasons why Customers aren’t Opening your Emails

Reaching out to customers via email can be a great way to increase sales and spread the word about new promotions. However, despite the useful information that you are trying to get across, customers may not even be opening your emails, let alone reading them.

Here are seven reasons why customers aren’t opening up your emails….  

There is not an Engaging Subject Line

The first thing a customer sees when looking at their emails are the subject lines, which is why they are arguably the most important part of any email. They act as a first impression and insight into what the content of the email will be. Using an interesting subject line will encourage customers to click on the email and read more. However, when writing your subject line, make sure it is revolved around the content that is actually in the email. Customers do not like false subject baits and will start to assume all your subject headings are non-transparent and will stop opening emails from your company.

There is no Incentive to Open the Email

Offering an incentive to open an email goes hand-in-hand with an engaging subject line. An effective way to incentivize customers to open your email is to include incentives in the subject heading of the email. This way the first thing the customer sees is, “New products in stock!” or “Extra 15% off Sale Items Through Wednesday” which will entice them to open the email and read further.

Emails are Not Personalized

“Emails with personalized subject lines experience a higher open rate of 26 percent” — Campaign Monitor

Instead of sending a generic email to all customers, target the email towards each specific customer the email is sent to. Include their name in the email, as well as information related to their frequent purchases. For example, if someone always orders a specific item, do not send them an email regarding a completely different item. This will not only drastically increase your open rate, but it will increase the effectiveness, in regard to conversion rate, of your emails as well.

Emails are Timed Poorly

The time and frequency that emails are sent at can greatly impact how many customers are reading your emails. If you are sending emails too frequently, customers may not read your emails out of annoyance. If you aren’t sending emails frequently enough, customers may lose interest. Instead, you must find the middle ground: 2-3 emails a week is recommended.

In addition to frequency, the time that emails are sent plays a big role in reader activity. Consider sending emails at times that aren’t super busy for working people. For instance, send emails in the morning or at night after people are done working.

Emails are not reaching the proper audience

Emails are most likely to be opened by active and engaged customers. Customers who have not purchased from your company in years will be less likely to open your emails and read about new promotions. Instead of purchasing an email list, consider sending emails to people who have recently expressed interest in your services. Email promotions should be focused on quality customers, not quantity of customers you’re sending them to.

Emails are not mobile friendly

Most people primarily check their email on their cell phones. Emails that are not mobile friendly can be a nuisance to view, and customers may not even bother to read them.  Make sure that your emails are properly formatted for mobile devices, as well as computers.

Improving your email marketing strategy can help to bring in more loyal customers! Check out our website to learn more about our marketing products!   

The emails go to the customer’s spam folder

Some emails from businesses go to spam instead of the customer’s primary inbox. Customers are  less likely to view their spam folder, which means that customers may not even know that you sent an email! To solve this issue, make sure that your email is not from “Do not reply.” The “from” line must clearly state your company name, not simply your email address.

Need more help on how to best reach your customers?! Click here to check out our social consulting service and improve your business’ marketing skills today!

New Sales Trend: Social Selling

What is social selling?  

Social selling is the use of social media to build and maintain positive relationships with potential customers. This technique allows businesses to reach sales goals in a quicker and more effective manner, as well as possibly eliminate the need to cold call customers. Social selling allows businesses to communicate directly with interested buyers and build their network through direct conversations via social media platforms. With social selling, companies and businesses are more accessible to potential customers. According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell those who do not use social media as a sales tactic.  

Social selling makes it easier for businesses to connect with potential buyers and reach out for sales opportunities at appropriate times. Many companies are using social selling as a tactic and may not even know it! If companies have a professional Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, they have already begun the social selling process.

Here are three steps on how to use social selling to improve your business…

Develop a reliable brand:

The first step to social selling is to develop a professional brand image to draw customers in and increase your legitimacy in the industry. Customers want to buy from businesses who are established and well trusted by the public.  First impressions matter to customers, and a well maintained and sophisticated profile will help to attract interest from potential buyers. A key step to developing a professional and reliable brand is to include endorsements from prior customers.  

Build a brand personality:

The second step to social selling is to build a brand personality.  In order to keep customers interested in your social media platforms, it is important to build a consistent voice for each post and individual message.  This voice should portray the values of the company and make the customer feel like they are communicating with the same person every time, and therefore building a stronger relationship.  The personality of the voice in the accounts should be something that a customer could relate to. Posts should be clear and cohesive so that they are easy for the customer to understand.

Consistently connect with new and old customers:

The third step to social selling is to engage and connect with new and old customers. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow businesses to easily reach out to potential buyers with new information via posts and individual messaging.  Social media can keep new and old customers up to date with the happenings of a business, as well as promote new sales opportunities. Some advice for reaching out to new customers is to use a customizable message to try to build a relationship before trying to sell anything.  After initially reaching out to the customer, a social seller must continue to follow up in order to build a stronger relationship. By building a strong relationship, customers are more likely to purchase from the business.

If you are looking to improve your marketing, click here to check out our MaxExposure products page!

“What Is Social Selling?” LinkedIn, LinkedIn Corporation, 2019, business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/what-is-social-selling#.

The Key to Inbound Marketing

The term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2006 by the founders of Hubspot, Inc., Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, as “marketing strategies and practices that pulled prospective customers toward a business and its products through the use of Web 2.0 tools and applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media.”

The biggest obstacle in the marketing world today is simply getting people’s attention. With apps like Spotify and Netflix, people are now paying to watch TV or listen to music, without the interruption of ads. That’s what outbound marketing is to some extent, an interruption. Outbound marketing such as TV commercials, internet advertisements, and so on, are used to interrupt people’s lives to promote a product or service. Inbound marketing such as blogs, websites, and social media networks, doesn’t interrupt anyone, but actually attracts customers to you and your business, improving your search engine optimization and visits to your company’s website.

So how do you use inbound marketing to attract people to your company? Here are the steps to engaging your market using inbound marketing…

Identify your Audience

You probably already feel like you have a pretty good understanding of who your audience is, however inbound marketing is extremely dependent on you providing the right content for your audience. So making sure you have a detailed and complete understanding of who your audience is is extremely important in successfully using inbound marketing.

Take a walk around the office, ask a couple other employees who they think your audience is, or maybe one demographic the audience has. Soon you will have a list of demographics important in figuring out what content to put out, and where for your inbound marketing strategy.

Figure out What Channels your Audience Uses

Inbound marketing channels can include anything from social media networks, to search engines, blogs, and websites. What’s a better way to find out what channels your audience uses than to search for the channels and find them yourself! Here’s an example, if you own a trendy, modern restaurant, go on google and search “foodie” and dive into the blogs, websites, Instagram accounts, and so on that come up. Next, visit Instagram or Facebook themselves and search for foodie accounts, or find trending hashtags that have to do with food and search by the hashtag. The best way to succeed in inbound marketing is to engage in it yourself, as if you were your own customer.

P.S. Keep a list of all the words you used in your search so you know which words to optimize yourself to improve your website and/or blog’s SEO.

Identify What Your Audience Wants to See

This could include problems they have, hobbies they’re interested in, questions they have about the industry, news related to the industry your company is in, and so on. This will help you determine what content you should be posting to attract their attention. Remember, inbound marketing is all about bringing the customers to you, not the other way around. This is the time to be extremely subtle and not over-promote your company. Your content will do the promoting for you.

Last but not least, create your content!! Make sure you change it up consistently and post on all of the topics your customers are concerned with. Have a good group of diverse people to work together to deliver one message, across multiple channels, with engaging and exciting content. The people creating this content need to maintain a consistent tone and give your company a personality your customers can relate to and enjoy seeing.

5 Habits of Successful Marketers

Marketers play one of the most important roles in operating a successful business today. In recent years, marketing has changed tremendously from tv, radio, and print advertising, to online marketing using websites, social media, and blogging. With this change, the habits successful marketers should be performing has changed slightly as well. Here are the 5 habits of successful marketers today…

Stay updated on industry news

Successful marketers always need to be up-to-date on industry news. Industry news is not only important in terms of keeping marketers up-to-date, but the industry audience as well. Customers love hearing about news in industries that they’re interested in, and hearing about it from your company will make your marketing team look like the experts.

Keeping track of the industry news updates in a document is also extremely beneficial to your marketing team. This allows your marketing team to better evaluate the current industry audience as well as how the industry has changed over the years and how that impacts your marketing tactics today.

Examine changes in industry audience

Industry audiences change all the time. There are always groups of consumers leaving one market to move to another. Successful marketers need to stay on top of these changes to ensure they are marketing to the right people.

One way to do this is looking into your company’s social media followers, who is giving you likes on your posts, who is commenting, and so on. Even collaborating with the sales team on what demographic they are finding the most success with can help tremendously.

Read more about the effectiveness of sales team and marketing team collaboration here!

Consistently update social media skills

Social media sites, especially Instagram, is constantly updating their software and adding more and more capabilities to their story features, image carousels, and so on. These recent updates have been found to be extremely helpful to businesses trying to grow their social media following. Many companies for example have started publishing story highlight reels with “products,” “customer reviews,” “reposts,” and so on.

This allows first-timers on the company’s social media to look back at tons of content your company has published with easy access to exactly what type of content they desire. Marketers need to constantly stay up-to-date with these social media updates in order to utilize the networks as effectively as possible.

Never stop creating content

Successful marketers are always creating content, even if it means they do not publish it all. Creating content every day and having it saved in your files allows you to constantly develop your marketing skills as well as always have backup content to publish when needed. Even if it just means writing down a little thought or idea, those little ideas could be turned into big ideas later on.

Develop your marketing voice

Having a marketing voice that your audience is familiar with and can connect with is extremely important in making a connection with your customers. However, as the industry audience changes, so should your marketing voice. Consistently developing and altering your marketing voice slightly as your audience changes will allow your marketing to develop with the market. The key here is to not change your marketing voice too much however; you always want your audience to be familiar with the voice you project and not scare them off with drastic changes.

Why Small Business is Best

Operating a small business is not something to try to sneak past your customers, but rather something to accent on throughout your marketing strategy. There are so many benefits to purchasing from small businesses as opposed to large businesses. Accenting on the personalized customer service, increased customer value, and high quality products and services your small business offers, will greatly increase the effectiveness of your company’s marketing. Below are three tips in how to effectively market your small business…

Inbound Marketing

Considering that small businesses tend to do less business and therefore generate lower profits than larger businesses, there is less money to be allocated towards the marketing budget. Inbound marketing is extremely helpful in allowing small businesses to compete with larger businesses who can afford to spend more on marketing. TV advertisements, print advertising, and radio ads have become extremely ineffective in recent years as customers are now using social media and music and tv streaming services. Inbound marketing includes blogs, websites, and social media marketing. Inbound marketing revolves around attracting the customer to your business, rather than simply marketing a product or service to them. It’s about creating a need for your customer so they come to you as opposed to the other way around.

If your business needs help with improving its inbound marketing, click here to check out our MaxExposure products on our website!

Customer Service

One of the best parts about working with a small business is that you actually get to know the people you are working with. Instead of being stuck on a customer service number, customers are able to reach out directly to the employee they work with. This improved customer service as compared to large companies gives customers a peace of mind that if they are not satisfied with the service, and so on, they have someone they can contact directly regarding their concerns. If you are operating a small business, make sure your customer service surpasses expectations through employee training and business norms. The better the customer service, the happier the customer.

Satisfying your customers not only ensures they continue purchasing from your business, but that they will recommend your company to their friends and possibly even write you a review online! Customer recommendations and reviews go a long way in marketing your small business. Small businesses are typically not well-known and trusted right off the bat because many people have never used or heard of them before. Through customer satisfaction, reviews, and recommendations, your small business expands its customer base and improves its branding.

Check out our MaxExposure social posting products for your small business by clicking here!

Last but not least, the best part about working with, or for, a small business is that everyone within the company has a stake in how the company performs. Smaller businesses have a smaller amount of employees, so each employee they do have, hold various responsibilities for the company and care about the quality of the service they provide to their customers even more. Hiring a small business to do work for you means getting top notch customer service from skilled people who care about their work and the quality of their work everyday.

Check out our MaxExposure story on our website at maxexpousa.com!

SEO: The Recipe to Getting your Restaurant Noticed

If we think back to the last time we searched Google looking for a restaurant, I think we could probably all agree it sounded something like, “restaurants near me..”. No matter where you are located, Google is going to find you at least 50+ restaurants that apply to your search. I’m sure you know by now, no one ever scrolls to the 50th restaurant that pops up. So how do you get your restaurant to the top of that list?

There’s three aspects your restaurant needs to value in improving your company’s SEO…

1) Customer Reviews and Review Site Profiles

2) Company Website

3) Social Media Engagement

Customer reviews and claiming review site profiles is essential in improving your company’s SEO. The more reviews your company has online on sites like Google, Yelp, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor, the higher Google is going to rank your restaurant, and therefore the more people will see your company’s profile.

“92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 84% base their buying decision based on positive reviews.”

Customer Reviews and Claiming Review Site Profiles

It can be difficult to increase the amount of customer reviews your restaurant is receiving, the key to doing so is utilizing your business. What I mean by that is, offer your customers a free coffee or small dessert after their meal if they rate your restaurant online! Customers love free things so they’ll be encouraged to rate you even higher than if they rated you without any incentive! This will greatly increase the amount of customer reviews your company is receiving, bumping up your company on Google search results!

P.S. — Another important thing to keep in mind! 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to customer reviews! If you need assistance in responding to customer reviews online, click here to check out our MaxExposure Review Response product!

Company Website

The company website is also essential in improving your restaurant’s SEO! Speaking as a consumer, the three most frustrating things I experience when using a restaurant’s website is not being able to access the full menu, online reservation scheduling that doesn’t work, and when incorrect hours listed.

Keeping your website up-to-date is essential in not only improving your SEO, but increasing the amount of click throughs your website receives when it does show up on a consumer’s search. Having a PDF version of your menu linked to your company website is a great functionality for consumers as they can print off your menu and have it easily accessible on their computer! Online reservation scheduling is not necessary and the times available are hardly ever correct seeing as reservations are constantly changing throughout the day. Customers are willing to call if they want to make a reservation and you’d rather they schedule over a call with you rather than not schedule at all because of incorrect availability online.

Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is also extremely important in improving and managing your restaurant’s SEO. Not only can this help get the word out more about your restaurant, but it can even provide content for you to publish to your restaurant’s social media accounts as well as your restaurant’s Google profile. Social media engagement is like free marketing for your company. Every time someone tags your restaurant’s location or social media account in their post, they are marketing your restaurant to every single one of their followers, which can be thousands of people.

Making sure to like and comment on posts that your restaurant has been tagged in, or reposting a customer’s image on your company’s social media is a great way to not only market your restaurant, but show your customer that you care about their experience. The more your restaurant is mentioned on social media, the more online engagement your restaurant will receive, and the better your restaurant’s SEO.

If your restaurant could use some help with its social media engagement and postings, click here to check out our MaxExposure social media products!
To check out our SEO products, click here!

Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of 2019

This year over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl in the United States on February 3rd. With cable TV users lessening every month and turning to online streaming instead, the Super Bowl is extremely important in successfully and effectively utilizing cable TV advertisements. The cost of a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl is approximately $5.25 million. We were impressed by some of the Super Bowl advertisements we saw this year.

When watching the advertisements this year I found there were two types of advertisements; the ones whose ads revolved almost entirely around the actual product, and the ones whose ads had nothing to do with the product at all. I’ve found the ads that had nothing to do with the product, no matter how entertaining, are not effective in promoting the product or the company as viewers do not remember what the ad was for. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at my Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of 2019…

Bublé v. Bubly Commercial

Bubly’s commercial opens with Michael Bublé picking up one of their drinks and saying “mmm I love Bublé.” A woman tries to correct him when a store clerk, Dave, approaches and Bublé mispronounces his name as well. The ad ends with Bublé scratching out the y in Bubly on the bottles and changing it to his pronunciation of the brand name. This ad is extremely successful in both entertaining the viewers and grabbing their attention, as well as ensuring viewers remember what product or brand the commercial was for.

Microsoft Adaptive Controller Ad

Microsoft had one of the more inspirational advertisements during the Super Bowl, focusing on their new Adaptive Controller for the Xbox One which was designed for gamers with disabilities. The ad features several kids with disabilities showing them playing with the traditional Xbox controllers and then showing them playing with the adaptive controller. This ad captures the audience’s attention as it is an extremely inspirational advertisement surrounding an issue which affects millions of people, while also featuring and marketing their product.

Michelob Ultra — Zoe Kravitz

The ad opens with loud and fast footage through forests and cliffs and then slows in on Zoe Kravitz who draws in viewers with her vivid whisper. Throughout the ad she taps her fingers on the beer, drags the beer across the table, and pours the beer with the sounds of each heightened to encourage viewers to continue to be intrigued. This ad draws viewers in with the whisper and Zoe Kravitz, and then attracts all of the attention to the actual product they are promoting, the beer.

Andy Warhol Eating Burger King

Burger King’s ad was very simplified as compared to others during the Super Bowl, featuring a short clip of pop art innovator, Andy Warhol, eating a Burger King burger. The artist himself attracts viewers’ attention, which is then brought to the burger he is eating, and eventually, the Burger King logo. It makes you notice the ad, want the food, and therefore, want to go to Burger King.

More than OK — Pepsi Commercial

The ad opens with a woman ordering a Coke at a restaurant, and the waiter responds “We don’t have Coke, is Pepsi ok?” This is a phrase you hear quite often when you’re ordering a certain soda that the restaurant doesn’t have available. “Is this ok?” Pepsi puts a spin on it by including Steve Carrell who gets up and makes a big deal about Pepsi being more than ok. Although some people do order Coke over Pepsi, they didn’t focus on that side of it but instead brought it up and turned it around to be lighthearted. After mentioning the Pepsi brand name multiple times throughout the commercial, viewers are left to think about that advertisement and the joy they felt in watching it every time they’re asked “is Pepsi ok?,” instead of feeling upset that they can’t have a Coke.