Instagram for Business: Part Three

3. Growing your presence and boosting engagement

Welcome back for week three of our Instagram for Business Masterclass. Last time we discussed how to choose the right imagery for your profile and now you’ve got a load of great content, it’s time to get it seen by the masses.

This week, we’re looking at how to grow your business’s presence on Instagram…

The dos

Do post consistently

It sounds obvious, but your followers want to see content from you – that’s why they’ve followed in the first place and when they interact with your profile, it’s visible to their followers too which means your profile is seen by a wider audience. Studies have also proven that if you post every day compared to once a week or less, you’ll get better engagement and more followers, with the number of followers increasing by more than 40% on average.

Do share your Instagram account across your social channels.

If you want to get more followers on Instagram, you need to direct as many people as possible to your page. If you already have a huge following on Facebook or Twitter, ask them to give you a follow on Instagram too. Try sharing sneak peaks of your Instagram posts to your Facebook and Twitter and encourage followers to head over to the app to see the rest of your content.

Do get tag happy

Using the right tags can expose your image to a large and targeted audience. If your business has a physical location, or you’re onsite somewhere, make sure to tag it and encourage your customers to do the same. When users click on the location, they’ll see other posts from your business and your customers and it’s an easy way to increase your business’s presence.

Take the time to research and create a list of the hashtags that are most popular for your area of business, your products, your surrounding location, and even what your target audience are using. Make sure you check out how many posts have already been shared using these hashtags too as this can impact how visible your post will be. For example, #selfie has 367 million posts which means yours will only appear in the search for a few seconds before getting lost in the masses. Try to use hashtags with lower numbers to increase the chances of your post being seen. Studies have also shown that using nine hashtags per post seems to be the optimum number for getting the most engagement – so choose them wisely!

Do encourage more engagement.

With Instagram’s current algorithm, the more engagement a post has, the more users it will be shown too. For every Instagram post you share, try to write an interesting caption, that encourages your followers to like and comment. Ask a question in your caption that can be answered in the comments or ask your followers to tag a friend with a fun caption like “tag a friend who needs to treat you to one of our cocktails this weekend.” Doing so will expose your post to a wider range of users. It’s also best practice to respond to as many comments on your posts with a comment back or even a simple like as it shows that you appreciate the followers who actually took the time to like and comment on your post in the first place.

Do run competitions

Competitions are a great way to organically grow your presence on Instagram. They can help grow your audience, drive traffic to your website, and even sell products. To enter the competition, ask people to follow your page, like or comment on one of your photos, use a specific hashtag, or repost one of your photos. Remember to pick a winner and share when they claim their prize.

 

The don’ts

Don’t follow every account you see.

Chances are they will have no interest in your business and whilst it might seem impressive to have over 10,000 followers, if your engagement is low and you’re not seeing an increase in business, is there any point? Instead, build your network with local, relevant and industry specific accounts and you’ll see more quality results.

Don’t set your profile to private.

You’d think this is a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of business profiles that have their privacy switched on which means they aren’t visible to potential customers in searches. If this is you, make sure you get it switched off ASAP.

Don’t use blurry images.

As we’ve said in previous weeks, Instagram is a visual platform. No user wants to see blurry pictures and you’ll run the risk of getting a few unfollows if your content isn’t good enough. Quality content means quality followers so keep that in mind when uploading your posts.

 

Next week, we’ll be taking at Instagram’s increasingly popular stories feature and show you how you can use it your advantage to keep your profile at the top of your followers feeds.

Instagram for Business: Part Two

2. Compiling the right imagery

Welcome back to our Instagram for Business Masterclass Series! Last week, we discussed the different features of a business Instagram profile and in case you missed it, or need a little reminder, you can check it out here: www.pinkmedia.co.uk/instagram-for-business-part-one

This week, we’re going to be discussing how to choose the right imagery for your business profile. Obviously, Instagram is a visual platform. The most successful businesses understand that the images they share are essential when it comes to building their success, so if you have good-looking products, Instagram really is a no brainer.

Unfortunately, it’s not just as simple as uploading a nice image – although wouldn’t that be great! You need to consider the message you want to send with each post, how it’ll fit in with your brand and the rest of your grid, and if each post will be recognised as being from your brand when your followers are scrolling through their feed. It might sound confusing but don’t worry, we’re going to break it all down for you…

 

What works for you and your business?

First things first, you need to think about the type of posts that you want to share on your feed. Pick a few things that best represent your business and brand, ideally no more than five, and stick to them. For example, if your business is an Italian restaurant, you might choose to post images of food, drinks, the interior of the restaurant, diners and guest reviews. It would certainly confuse your followers if you started posting completely off brand and may even result in a few unfollows! Another thing to consider is the use of graphics when posting things like guest reviews, as studies have shown that Instagram users are more likely to engage with a post that contains an eye-catching graphic.

 

It’s all in the theme…

Next is choosing a theme. Choosing an Instagram theme is so important as it allows you to create visual consistency across your feed and if your Instagram profile grid looks good, new visitors are more likely to follow – simple as that. Aspects of a theme include taking photos from the same angles, featuring the same colours in your images, applying the same filters when it comes to editing and the order you post your images in.  There are so many themes out there to choose – black and white, minimalism, bold and colourful – and it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Our advice is to take some time to browse Instagram and get inspired before you decide.

 

Do I need to use a filter?

With your theme decided on, it’s time to edit your images. Using the pre-loaded filters on Instagram just won’t cut it in 2018 but don’t worry, you don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to ensure your images are aesthetically pleasing. There are plenty of user-friendly apps you can download to your phone to edit all your images in. On a number of apps, you can even save the combination of filters you use and apply them to new photos with one simple click. Using the same set of filters on all your Instagram posts will ensure they look and flow better on your grid.

 

Consistency is key

Once you’ve chosen your theme and filters, it’s important to stay consistent. We’re all guilty of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and statistics show that on average we spend less than a second looking at a post before scrolling to the next one. Continuously posting the same style of images means that users will be able to instantly recognise and associate them with your brand and increase the chance of engagement with them.

 

Planning in advance

As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to have an idea of the type of images you want to post on Instagram, but it is also important to think about the order in which you post them too. This is a great opportunity to show the creativity of your brand and create a feed that looks highly stylised and flows from one post to the next. Not only is it visually pleasing for your followers, it allows you to show off all the aspects of your business without focusing too heavily on just one.

 

Next time, we’ll be looking at the dos and don’ts of growing your Instagram presence including things like running competitions and building engagement. If you have any questions about Instagram for business or want to know more about the services Pink Media can offer to assist you with social media, get in touch with us on 0151 909 2231. See you next week!

If you’ve got it, haunt it this Halloween!

Spooky season has well and truly arrived in Liverpool and here at the Pink Media office, we’ve been getting into the Halloween spirit by sharing our scariest ghost stories and best jack-o-lantern carving tips.

Every year in Liverpool, Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, and this year is no different with so many events taking places for both mini monsters and big kids at heart. Take a look at some of the frightfully fun offerings from our clients across the city…

 

Dutch Flower Shop

Dutch Flower Shop is set to give its customers a real ‘treat’ this Halloween in the form of a range of imaginative festive decorations.

As part of its autumnal offering, the famous florist will be stocking a range of seasonal wreaths, ideal to give front doors and interiors alike a frighteningly fun update for trick or treaters to enjoy.

Just in time for Halloween, Dutch Flower Shop will also be transforming its already hugely popular autumnal floral door arrangement at 60 Hope Street into a scarily spooky masterpiece. The makeover will be taking place a few days before Halloween and as with Dutch Flower Shop’s previous creations at the esteemed eatery, it is a spectacle not to be missed – or photographed!

Dutch Flower Shop’s autumnal wreaths are available to buy now at its Woolton Road store for £35.

For more information, visit www.dutchflowershop.co.uk

 

Leasowe Castle

There’ll be no tricks this year but plenty of treats will be served at Leasowe Castle as it celebrates the spookiest night of the year with a devilishly delicious ‘Witches Brew’ cocktail.

The ghoulishly green concoction comprises Mahiki Coconut Rum, Midori Melon Liquor, Sweet and Sour Mix and Apple Juice – the perfect treat for grown-up Halloween fans that are still big kids at heart.

The exclusive ‘Witches Brew’ cocktail will be available at Leasowe Castle’s in-house Wreckers Bar from Monday October 30 until Saturday November 3 and is priced at £4.

For more information, visit www.leasowecastle.com

 

 Delifonseca

Delifonseca is conjuring up a selection of devilishly delicious dishes just in time to celebrate Halloween.

The Dockside eatery will be serving up a real ’treat’ in the form of Martin Cooper’s famous Wedge of Stuffed Pumpkin, filled with Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Lentils, Rice & Herbs served with Maple Roast Parsnips and what’s more, it’s vegan friendly.

A frightfully delicious cauldron of Diabo ‘Devil’s Stew’ will also be stewing for Halloween – This traditional Macao dish includes succulent meats including Salt Beef, Duck Legs, Pork and Smoked Ham and combined with Pickled Chinese Shallots and Spices for a dish that packs a punch.

To really get in to the Halloween spirit, the Deli will also be selling Pumpkin Pie on its cake counter and at £2.50 it’s perfect to grab on the go.

Proprietor of Delifonseca Candice Fonseca said: “Carving out spooky Jack-o’-lanterns this time of year is all part of the Halloween fun but let’s not forget that Pumpkin also makes a delicious ingredient in food. It can be used in a multitude of ways whether it’s in a soup, a pie or even stuffed so we encourage people to get creative in the kitchen and come up with a spooky dish of their own!”

Delifonseca’s Wedge of Stuffed Pumpkin will be available at various points throughout the season and is priced at £12.95.

For more information visit www.delifonseca.co.uk

 

 

Trattoria 51

Once again, Trattoria 51 is getting into the Halloween spirit by offering up a spooky concoction in the form it’s ‘Zombie 51’ cocktail.

This frightfully delicious cocktail features Midori Liquor, Malibu, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine, Milk and a topping of squirty cream – the perfect treat for all the grown-up Halloween fans.

‘Zombie 51’ is now on the Italian restaurant’s cocktail menu in both its Liverpool and Southport restaurants and is priced at £6.95.

For more information, visit www.trattoria51.com

 

The Dental Café

The Dental Cafe is encouraging kids to swap sugar for sparkling teeth in a bid to keep little fangs healthy this Halloween.

Liverpool’s first drop-in dentistry boutique is inviting little ones to pay a visit, where they will be able to trade in Halloween sweets for a tube of toothpaste.

To really get into the spirit, The Dental Cafe will be undergoing a ghoulish makeover as it transforms into a Halloween Spooktacular. And not forgetting about the big kids, adults can ditch old ‘tricks’ and ‘treat’ themselves to one of the hugely popular teeth cleaning treatments on offer.

Prices start from £38 for the Short Scale and Polish.

For more information, visit www.thedentalcafe.co.uk

 

The Brink

The Brink will be going all out for Halloween this year when the venue hosts its Halloween and Bonfire Night Extravaganza on Friday, November 2.

Perfect for all the family, there will be plenty of frightfully fun entertainment on offer for both little monsters and big kids alike with ghoulish party games including Mummy Wrapping, Apple Bobbing, Face Painting, and a Halloween Disco.

A fancy-dress competition will also be running on the night, with prizes and goodie bags for all followed by a fantastic fireworks display to end the night in style.

Children’s entry is £3 when accompanied by a non-paying adult. For more information, visit The Brink’s Facebook page on www.facebook.com/events/246807349326135/

 

Instagram for Business: Part One

1. Creating a compelling Instagram profile

If you follow us on social media, you will have spotted that we’ve been doing a lot of work with Knowsley Chamber, and more recently hosted our very own Instagram Masterclass at The Village Hotel, Knowsley. It was a great turn out with plenty of local businesses across a range of industries, and following feedback from our attendees, we decided to share some of the top tips from the day right here on the Pink Media blog.

We know that there’s far more to Instagram than editing and sharing photos and videos with friends and family. As one of the most popular social media sites, it has over 1 billion users, with a staggering 95 million posts shared per day. Statistics show that 80% of all users follow at least one business on Instagram and 60% of users find new products online, so it goes without saying that Instagram has become an essential business tool in its own right. But, with 25 million business profiles online, how do you make sure your brand stands out from the crowd?

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing with you our ‘Six Steps to Instagram Success’ and exploring topics such as building your presence, making the most of Instagram stories and analysing date for future campaign success. Keep your eyes peeled!

 

This week, we’re looking at how to create a business profile on Instagram that works for you…

First things first – setting up your account. To simply set up your account, download the ‘Instagram’ app to your smartphone and follow the instructions to create your profile.

To create an Instagram for Business account, you’ll also need a Facebook page to connect it to. To create this, once your account on Instagram is set up, head to ‘Settings’ on the app and click ‘Switch to Business Account’. Done!

An Instagram business profile differs from a regular profile – its built in business tools allow you to see key statistics on how your profile and posts are preforming, how your followers engage with your content and where changes need to be made to optimise success.

 

So now it’s out there in cyberspace, let’s break that profile down…

First, you’ll need to choose a profile picture that will allow users to instantly recognise your posts when scrolling through their feed or searching for your profile. Using your business logo is ideal as it will allow you to stay consistent across all your social channels and is something your customers will already be familiar with.

Directly underneath your profile picture, you’ll see your business category, which you’re asked to chose during the set-up process. When users search for a similar business to yours, your profile is more likely to show up in search results, so make sure this is correct.

Next is your bio. An informative bio is essential for letting visitors to your profile know exactly what your business is and the products/services you offer. As well as choosing the key words that best summarise your business, you can also add details of any special offers, and fun emojis to show off your business’ personality too. There’s a slight catch though – you only have 150 characters to get your message across meaning you need to be as clear and concise as possible.

In the settings, you’re able to add your business’ website and address which will automatically show up on your profile so there’s no need to waste any of those precious 150 characters on these. The best bios will also contain some relevant hashtags, which gives your profile a better chance of showing up in search results.

Adding your contact details and address will also add ‘call’, ‘email’ and ‘directions’ buttons underneath your bio. These allow users to easily click though and contact you directly. Users are less likely to get in touch if they have to open a different app to visit your website or send you an email.

The final important feature of a business profile is the story highlights. Currently you can have unlimited highlights, so there’s plenty of room to play around with them. You might want to have a highlight for each of the different products your business offers, e.g. if you’re a restaurant, separate highlights for food, drink, customer pictures, reviews, etc. Unlike normal stories which only stay on your profile for 24 hours, highlights remain on your profile indefinitely. You’re also able to choose the story highlight covers. Doing so further allows you to show your business’ personality and add uniformity to your profile.

 

Next time, we’ll be looking at compiling the right imagery for your profile and making sure your grid is as aesthetically appealing as possible. If you have any questions about Instagram for business or what to know more about the services Pink Media are able to offer to assist you with social media, get in touch with us on 0151 909 2231. See you next week!

‘Suite’ success at the Merseyside Independent Business Awards

Last night, Pink Media, along with some top names from the region’s independent business community, attended the Titanic Hotel for the this year’s Merseyside Independent Business Awards. As one of the highlights of the Liverpool calendar, the MIB Awards shine a spotlight on the best of independent businesses throughout Merseyside and the integral role they play within the local economy.

With categories ranging from ‘Best Place to Stay’ to ‘Culture & Tourism Business of the Year’ and everything in between, there was lots of variety throughout the evening and it was great to mingle with some our favourite businesses and new faces alike.

This year, the MIB Awards welcomed more entries than ever before so we were pretty excited that a number of our clients were up for awards themselves including Leasowe Castle, Suites Hotel & Spa, Delifonseca, Otterspool Adventure Centre, The Brink, Silk Rd, Carringtons Catering and Maxweb – we’re so proud of them all!

When it came down to announcing the winners, it was clear our very own Suites Hotel & Spa were in for a successful evening. The venue, headed by Managing Director Lyndsay Stanistreet-Tyer, scooped up not one…, not two… but THREE awards and we could not be more delighted for them. The hotel’s first win came in the ‘Employer of the Year’ category, where the family-ran business was praised for its ethos, approach to employee development and commitment to gender equality.

Later in the night, Suites Hotel & Spa was also named ‘Best Place to Stay’ with judges commenting on how close a call the category was, thanks to the plethora of amazing accommodation options throughout the Merseyside region.

And then, just when you thought the night couldn’t get any better for our favourite Knowsley hotel, the judges announced the biggest award of the night – ‘Merseyside Independent Business of the Year’ 2018, and guess who took to the stage?! In their comments, the judges highlighted Suites Hotel & Spa’s embracing of its rich history whilst still looking to the future, the innovation displayed by the owners, and the fact that the hotel doesn’t rest on its laurels – we couldn’t agree more! A huge congratulations to the whole team on the trio of wins.

Other highlights of the night included a fantastic performance by local Merseyside band Ukebox, who had guests up on the dance floor before the awards had even begun and a rather delicious apple crumble cheesecake dessert, which went down a treat with our sweet-toothed team!

It truly was a fantastic evening and we want to offer a huge congratulations to all the amazing winners and shortlists, and a thank you to the MIB organisers Morecrofts Solicitors and the Titanic Hotel for putting on yet another great night.

From the four of us, one of our biggest ‘thank yous’ goes to Steven and Cheryl Cosgrove of Otterspool Adventure Centre, who very kindly invited us along to the awards – we had a fabulous night of catching up over a glass of fizz (or two!)

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!