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19 Posts authored by: marismith

Ever since Facebook introduced advertising, it has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and a hint of annoyance from those bothered by interruptions in their feed. pexels-photo-744464.jpgRegardless, the advertising potential of Facebook and its entire family of apps – including Instagram – remains huge for business. The opportunities and options for ads continue to grow, as do the millions of advertisers.

 

In fact, on the Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 140 million businesses use its social platforms every month. And, of Facebook’s 7 million advertisers, 3 million already advertise across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Stories.

 

This transition to expand advertising across its platforms has been developing for a while.  And as it evolved, Instagram and then Facebook, copied the horizontal-scroll tap-and-swipe format of Stories from Snapchat. This short-form, ephemeral micro-content is what advertisers would do well to focus on in 2020.

 

Stories

 

There are two fantastic aspects of using Stories. First, creators can publish an abundance of content and not worry about ‘jamming up’ the feeds of their followers. Second, followers can consume as much or as little Story content as they wish. In essence, both parties are in control.

 

Plus, with Facebook and Instagram adding more and more fun, interactive, highly engaging features to Stories, such as polling stickers, advertisers can also capitalize on this super popular feature that has a prominent top-of-feed placement.

 

To create an interactive Stories ad, choose Instagram Stories as your only ad placement in Ads Manager. Then, check the “Add an interactive poll” box. It’s in the same place where you upload your creative and edit the text. Spark a conversation, run a contest, get insights from your community, and more.

 

If you haven’t already done so, start testing what gets the most clicks and engagement now.

 

The other fastest-growing areas on Facebook and Instagram for users and advertisers are Messaging, Videos, Facebook Marketplace, and Augmented Reality.

 

Messaging

 

In August, Facebook started rolling out Lead Generation in Facebook Messenger. This new template within Ads Manager enables businesses to create automated experiences to help them qualify leads. With this feature, your business can ask custom questions - and remind people to answer them a way to nurture leads - and close the loop on the unqualified leads and integrate the information with your CRM. Businesses, such as the UK-based professional services firm RIFT Tax, have already seen meaningful results. In their case, RIFT increased qualified leads by 42%.

 

Videos

 

Facebook’s continued investment in video and the Watch platform is a major indicator of what will also be important in 2020 and beyond. Not only is it valuable to create more 15-second in-stream video ads, but marketers should also be publishing more long-form video, which is over three minutes.

 

IGTV (Instagram Television) could also be a big player in the coming year. As the platform is still under-utilized, explore how your business can use IGTV to engage and develop your audience of consumers.

 

Facebook Marketplace

 

While Facebook Marketplace is where customers can discover and purchase items, creating a paid ad to appear when people shop is much more effective than listing an item for sale. Create ads through the Ads Manager tool. Set your budget and select your ad placement. Choose Automatic Placements for your ad to appear on Marketplace, as well as other compatible placements on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

 

New Advertising Options

 

With the new year comes new ads and ad placement options.

  • Facebook Search. Reach people who are shopping - and therefore in the discovery mindset - with ads in Facebook Search Results. The ads, which look very similar to news feed ads and have the same control and transparency including a “Sponsored” label, appear in Marketplace or general search. If your ad is eligible, Search will appear in placement options.
  • Facebook Groups. Last fall, Facebook started trying out ad placements in the Groups tab in order to evaluate whether they would be beneficial for people and businesses. It is one more option Facebook found to increase ad inventory. Given how much Facebook has been prioritizing Groups, the test ads will most likely get results.

 

Also of note, in Mid-2020 Facebook is expected to limit the number ads pages can run simultaneously. However, this only impacts a small percentage of businesses. Stay up to date with what’s new in Facebook Ads Manager here.

Final Thoughts

As you create your Facebook and Instagram ad strategy for the new year, go with what has been working for your business and then slowly introduce new ad features into the mix. Experiment to see what features best impact your business in a positive way.

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpgmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

While your audience may not be active on all social media platforms, these days it’s become easier to cover more of your social media bases.

 

With a simple selection, you can share your Instagram Television (IGTV) videos to Facebook. And, since IGTV gives you the option to include a preview of the beginning of your video, you may also share these clips on your Instagram feed, in Instagram stories and in Facebook stories.black-smartphone-2733675.jpg

 

That’s one video with elements cross-posted in five places. What could be better?

 

IGTV videos, which run between 15 seconds and 10 minutes, are the perfect way to share the faces and history behind your company, as well as your products and services. It enables prospects and customers to get to know you better, making your company the most likely buying-option when they need what you have to offer.

 

Note: for larger Instagram accounts, you’ll have the ability to upload IGTV videos of up to one hour in length. However, for now, I recommend sticking with shorter videos for more viewer retention.

 

Whether you create videos that educate, inform, entertain, or all of the above, memorable, shareable, thumb-stopping content is key to developing a relationship with your audience that inspires loyalty and advocacy.

 

Suggested reading: Tips and Tricks for Fast, Easy Video Content

 

IGTV Supports Both Vertical and Landscape Video Formats

 

Although Instagram initially launched IGTV with full-screen vertical (9:16) videos, the company later released support for landscape video (16:9) since most platforms - such as YouTube - favor the landscape format.

 

As well as more ways to connect with your existing fans, IGTV gives you more opportunities to be discovered by new ones. When people open IGTV, they'll see multiple channels including “For You,” “Following,” and “Popular,” filled with videos from creators they already follow on Instagram and others they might like based on their interests.

 

Check out this handy infographic by Later.com: Instagram Image Size & Dimensions for 2019

 

How to Share Your IGTV Videos to Your Facebook Business Page

 

If you have an Instagram account, you have an IGTV account. Install the IGTV mobile app or go to your account on the website Instagram.com to upload your IGTV videos.

 

Note: you need to be a Facebook page admin to cross-post from IGTV.

 

To share your IGTV Video to your Facebook page, go to the IGTV app or Instagram.com on the web. Upload your video. Then, add a cover photo (thumbnail), title, and description. A preview will appear unless you decide to turn it off once you post.

 

If you are posting from one of the apps, select to Make Visible on Facebook. (You need to connect the app first by authorizing it to have access to your Facebook page.)

 

Posting from a web browser? Below ‘Where Your Video Will Appear,’ connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page, if you have not already done so. Then, you may select IGTV and Facebook Page as where you want your video to appear.

 

Click "Post" and your video will post to your IGTV channel and your page.

 

Why Cross Promote?

 

Cross-posting your content on social media is a must for a variety of reasons.

 

First, different segments of your audience favor Instagram over Facebook, and vice versa so they will not see duplicates.

 

Keep in mind, people around the country - and even in your hometown - are online at different times during the day. Therefore, it’s unlikely people who follow you on multiple platforms will see the same post on Instagram, IGTV, and Facebook. And, if they do, that’s okay too.

 

This tiny portion of your audience that may see duplicate content is likely made up of your super fans, who are more than happy to see, share, and engage with your posts anywhere - and everywhere - they find them.

 

One more thing: When you cross-post from IGTV to Facebook, you can amplify the reach of that video with paid placements using Ads Manager. Depending on the length of your video, with automatic placements turned on, your ad will show up across a variety of platforms. This includes the Facebook feed, Instagram feed, Facebook and Instagram stories, and the Audience network.

 

Suggested reading: How to Create Irresistible, Thumb-Stopping Facebook Ads

 

Facebook to IGTV and Back Again

 

For your IGTV channel, you can either produce fresh content; download, edit, and upload your YouTube videos, or repurpose content from your Facebook lives.

 

Facebook recently released a Video Clipping option. Go to your Facebook Live, enter edit mode, and select video clipping. Then, use the scrubbers to select the segment you want to create as a standalone video, and click Add Clip.

 

Head over to your Creator Studio to edit and download your clips. Try using Wave.video to add effects, such as text overlay, animated GIFs, a watermark and more. Then, upload to IGTV, share to Facebook, and the cycle starts again.

 

When you take the same content, create multiple versions, and repurpose it on multiple platforms, it’s social media time-management at its best!

 

The latest updates to IGTV include sending notifications to fans and creating your own original IGTV series so our fans can binge watch!

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Authenticity is key in marketing to women. Look at how your brand or product can genuinely help and/or empower women while tapping into what they find valuable. And, what women value is pretty much everything from work and growth, to autonomy and family.

 

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Gloria Moss, author of Gender, Design and Marketing: How Gender Drives our Perception of Design and Marketing, points out that not only do women make up 80% of consumers’ buying decisions, women shop differently from men. Whereas men look at a product’s usefulness, women want to know what that product will do. Men want an overview, but women will not make a buying decision until they have all the information and are completely satisfied.

 

The other element of the equation is emotion. Women are different from men, so marketing to them the same way will not work. Years of history in advertising is proof of that.

 

Keep in mind, it’s not always about the product. If your brand stands for positive, life-affirming, or empowering attributes- if your brand is inclusive and diverse - that emotional connection may also help in aligning a consumer with your business.

 

Marketing to Women

While businesses are getting better at listening to consumers, there is still work to be done. So, how can your business better market to women?

 

  1. Study your ideal client. Who is your buyer and how can your product or service help them? Create buyer personas to help with your targeting.
  2. Ask what they want. Post on social media, asking your customers about their needs and wants. This can be features for product development or values-based content. You can also ask family members to chime in.
  3. Stand for what your customers value. If there is a cause that is near and dear to your ideal customers - or to you - shine a light on it to amplify awareness. Showing that you care triggers an emotional connection.
  4. Elevate your customer service. Women consumers want to know everything they can about a product or service before they consent to buy. Make sure you have customer service available on multiple platforms (phone, email, social media), and let prospects know how to reach you in your marketing.
  5. Hire real women. To get the voice and needs of your women customers, especially if you have products directly related to that demographic, have women on your team. Inside information on your client or customer is always an asset.

 

Messaging to Women

There are several tenets to embrace when cultivating your business’ marketing message, as it relates to women.

 

  1. Don’t stereotype. You want to find that balance of truth in advertising without going overboard - too feminine or too masculine - in either direction. Stereotyping is a sure-fire way to alienate your customers.
  2. Follow the leaders. If there are brands you admire, keep an eye on what they are doing. For instance, Microsoft, HBO, and Nike regularly do women-focused campaigns. Then see how you can use their examples as a barometer for your own unique marketing.
  3. Use real people. Women like to see themselves using and embracing your products. Whatever the medium - social media, TV, video - use people your prospects and customers can relate to. User-generated content is another option for this strategy.
  4. Create great content. No matter what you put out in your messaging, it should be high quality. Use all the senses, education, and humor whenever possible.
  5. Jump on trends. #InternationalWomensDay, #STEM, #LeanIn. Look at the events and research the hashtags that empower women. Then see how your business can support and promote them, as appropriate.

 

No matter how you approach marketing to women, keep one thing in mind. Be true to your brand. Your company’s mission and values are what humanizes you. And it’s that human, authentic touch that is most important when presenting and marketing your brand.

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

While many small business owners may understand the benefits of influencer marketing, the challenge is finding the right influencers with which to partner.

beautiful-city-downtown-1546711.jpg

 

It’s easy to look at a social media profile and be impressed by the number of followers the person has, or the beautiful aesthetic they created on their feed.

 

However, just because a profile looks like it’s a great fit for your brand, you don’t know for certain without checking thoroughly. This is why carrying out your own research and taking the time to build a relationship with influencers before making an investment is so important.

 

Taking the time to vet influencers will help you:

 

  • Increase the likelihood of positive ROI
  • Limit reputation damage
  • Reduce overall costs

 

I’ve outlined a few tactics that will help you to select the best influencers for your business and program.

 

Partner with content creators

 

Not all influencers are created equal. One group of influencers tends to focus on driving the numbers: building a large community with an extensive reach. Others focus on the creation of content. With the latter, community growth has come through followers’ appreciation for their dedication to becoming an expert at their craft.

 

Both types of influencers have value, but in different ways. An influencer will take your product/service and show their affiliation, hoping their audience will then go on to buy based on their endorsements.

 

Content creators tend to be more selective in who they choose to work with because of their dedication to maintaining the authenticity of their brand. Content creators bring additional value in the quality of content, as well as the loyal audience they have built in their follower base.

 

Creators tend to be much more involved in creating a collaborative partnership and using their skills to showcase the value of your product through their own content creation.

 

By focusing on collaborating with content creators who have built a highly engaged audience, your investment brings in influence and the creative skill to highlight your products and/or services in the best possible way.

 

Carry out extensive research

 

As great as the rise and benefits of influencer marketing has become, there is a downside. There are a number of accounts who have purchased fake likes, followers and engagement to appear influential when, in fact, they are not. Naturally, they don’t have any real influence over their community, therefore, investing in them can be very costly with no return to be made.

 

This means you need to carry out extensive research as part of the vetting process. It starts with studying their audience.

 

Here are a few key things to look out for:

 

Audience Authenticity

 

Look at their followers and following. Are the individuals real? Click through and pay close attention to the content and engagement of the influencer's followers. It should be very easy to tell who is real and who is not. Look for potential bot activity and fake followers. If a significant number of followers appear to be fake, this lets you know this influencer is not a good fit for your business.

 

Audience Demographics

 

Influence is the ability to alter behavior or change opinion. This is only valuable to you as a small business owner if it’s influencing the right people, i.e. your ideal target audience. Without the right audience fit it’s unlikely that, even with a strong influencer behind you, that you will be able to convert to sales.

 

An influencer will know their audience and they will easily be able to share this information with you. However, it’s important you take the time to research and verify this yourself. Take the time to manually go through the influencer’s account, paying particular attention to who is engaging most.

 

Don’t compromise on ‘good enough.’ It has to be natural for your brand, for the influencer, and for their audience. This is key in driving up your return on investment.

 

Level of Engagement and Sentiment

 

When looking at the engagement of an influencer, you don’t just want to focus on quantity. Pay close attention to quality. Are followers initiating conversations with the influencer? How excited are followers when they reply? Are they interested in taking advice and following the influencer’s behavior? Are the same people commenting on every post?

 

More importantly, is the influencer replying to comments and using them as a means to keep the conversation going? This will let you know how much the influencer is invested in their community and building strong relationships with them. 

 

If you are going to invest in someone to represent your brand, you want to know they care.

 

Organic vs. Sponsored Engagement

 

Paying close attention to the engagement an influencer receives provides a good general indication of how influential an account is. The real indicator is when you take a look at their individual posts. Specifically, focus on the engagement of their organic posts vs. sponsored posts.

 

It’s very easy to tell. If an influencer is following the correct guidelines, their post will say sponsored and typically include #ad. Plus, Facebook has the special “Branded Content” tag used in both organic posts and in ads. Instagram is rolling this feature out to more accounts. If you come across content that is clearly sponsored but isn’t clearly labelled, this is a big indication that this influencer is not a good fit.

 

You want to know that people are very engaged in the person behind the account and that content will generally perform as well whether it is organic or sponsored. If you see a significant drop in engagement on sponsored posts, this may be an indication that the influencer’s audience is not receptive towards their offers.

 

There are a number of tools that can help you with this process. For example, Social Bakers, Buzzsumo and BrandWatch are all popular options. These should be used to support your manual research.

 

Build a relationship with the Influencer first

 

Influencer marketing is collaborative. It requires both parties to be aligned and working towards a shared common goal. You want the collaboration to be fun. The influencer should feel like a natural extension of your team.

 

Take the time to get on a call or video chat a few times before committing to working together. Look for brand voice alignment. Determine if their beliefs and core values match yours.

 

Ideally, you want to be in a situation where you would each promote one another regardless of a paid agreement being in place.

 

Understand the Influencer’s past experience

 

Once you’ve established an influencer to be a good fit for your business, reach out and ask about the influencer’s experience. Having proof of past results is more valuable than looking at vanity metrics. It will show you the real ROI of working with them. Having achieved measured results for other clients eliminates the risk of your campaign not working.

 

The influencer’s past brand collaborations will help you cross check the quality of the influencer’s audience, skill level and their ability to execute your campaign.

 

Set clear expectations up front

 

One of the most challenging steps with influencer marketing is managing the relationship and managing expectations. This applies to both parties. It’s likely you have different ways of working. You need to ensure you both understand one another and collaborate to define the process you’ll both commit to executing.

 

Part of building a relationship early on will help with this. Do they turn up on time for meetings? Are they sticking to the same key messages? Do they speak with clarity and confidence? Do they bring creative ideas to the table that are win:win? Do you have clear expectations they have shared up front with you?

 

The level of professionalism that the influencer brings to the table will provide the confidence they will be able to execute on their promise.

 

Disclosure Regulations

 

As mentioned above, it’s critical the influencer you choose to partner with is aware of, and adheres to, the disclosure regulations of their jurisdiction. You have to protect your business. Find more information on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines here.

 

Taking these steps before proceeding with an agreement with an influencer can help protect your brand and ensure you are building long-term collaborative partnerships with mutual gains. Take your time. Be selective. Follow a clear process and start building your business today with the right influencers in your corner.

 

    Related:

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Influencer marketing has evolved rapidly over the last few years. In fact, influencer marketing has become such a key growth strategy for businesses that the industry is estimated to reach up to $10 billion by 2020.

 

For a long time, influencer marketing was mostly associated with big brands and celebrities. The landscape is changing and, as individuals invest in building niche communities on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, businesses are beginning to recognize their value.

 

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We are now seeing a new wave of micro-influencers leading the way, not only for the big brands but for small businesses looking to capitalize on the trend. 2019 Statistics show that 81% of all influencers are micro-influencers.

 

This has created a level playing field for small businesses with an opportunity to drive sales even in a local market.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how you and your business can get started with micro-influencer marketing.

 

What Is A Micro-Influencer?

 

Just as it sounds, a micro influencer is a person that may not have the largest following on social media but the following they do have is highly engaged. This person has a lot of influence among their community and, as a result, that community is highly likely to listen and act when a value proposition is presented to them.

 

Eighty one percent of micro-influencers have between 15k and 100k followers but don’t let this deter you from partnering with audience sizes as little as 5000 followers.  A report by Gartner L2 showed there is actually an inverse correlation between the number of followers and the engagement rate in Instagram influencers.

 

This highlights a critical factor in the success of micro-influencer marketing. It’s not just about the size of an influencer’s audience, the quality of the audience is just as important.

 

What are the benefits of working with a Micro-Influencer?

 

It’s A Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy

 

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is finding their target audience and earning their attention. To do this exclusively in-house can be costly and extremely time-consuming. It can take months, if not years, to build an engaged audience who buys into your messaging and your product offering.

 

Micro-influencers have already done all the work. You have instant access to a highly-engaged, targeted audience. That’s hugely valuable especially in a local market.

 

While some micro-influencers still accept product in exchange for their endorsement, most now require compensation for their work.

 

The cost of influencer marketing varies greatly based on a number of factors including the influencer’s social reach, the type of sponsored content and the length/ frequency of your arrangement.

 

A report by Later (2018) stated 66% of businesses paid under $250 per influencer post, while 27% paid between $250 and $1000 per post.

 

Influencer Marketing Hub created an Instagram Money Calculator to help calculate how much an influencer’s post is worth. Whilst this shouldn’t be used to define an influencer’s compensation plan, it can provide a generalized overview. For the most part, micro-influencers will have their own media kits and pricing structures in place.

 

As a general guide, you can expect to pay anywhere between $75 and $2000 per post depending on the value that micro-influencer brings.

 

With that in mind, micro-influencers can be far more cost-effective than if a business were to grow organically by themselves.

 

Social Proof leads to Sales

 

Sixty one percent of consumers aged 18 to 34 have, at some point, been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.

 

Micro-influencers have already earned trust among their community. That social proof carries a lot of value when it comes to the follower making a positive buying decision.

 

Fullscreen, a global leader in social-first entertainment and branded content, partnered with leading social analytics firm Shareablee, to analyze 31,000 influencers. In their report, they discovered 22% of 18-34 year-olds have made a large purchase after seeing an online influencer endorsing the item. With the right micro-influencer(s) working with you, this strategy has the potential to generate large returns on your investment.

 

Influencer Marketing is Scalable

 

Micro-influencers act like your own marketing and sales team combined. They have their own audiences and they know what works in terms of engaging and converting that audience into sales. Brand campaigns driven by micro-influencers are estimated to create 60% higher engagement rates.

 

Micro-influencers don’t require the management of an inhouse team and they already have a community of warm leads. Deploying effective marketing campaigns and consistently generating leads are two of the biggest challenges small business owners face, which makes micro-influencers a huge asset to small businesses especially on a local level.

 

Influencer marketing is scalable. While it requires a financial investment, the right micro-influencers will quickly generate a return and dramatically build your brand’s awareness and reputation.

 

How to Get Started Working with Micro-Influencers

 

Getting started with micro-influencers is simple but not always easy. Here is a basic checklist for you to follow:

 

      1. Create a strategic plan with clear objectives you want to achieve.
      2. Make a list of potential micro-influencers to start exploring.
      3. Reach out to start building a relationship. Make sure your approach is very win/win as the micro-influencer may receive numerous invitations to partner with brands on a regular basis.
      4. Invite the micro-influencer to consider collaborating with your business.
      5. Draw out a written plan with clear terms and conditions to protect both parties.
      6. Set a time period initially to establish success markers.

 

This sounds straightforward, but it does require a lot of work and there are a few best practices to follow.

 

 

Best Practices for Micro-Influencer Marketing

 

1. Find Relevant Influencers

 

It’s really important to keep your end goal in mind when it comes to finding influencers with whom you can partner. You’re not looking for just anyone, even if they have an engaged audience. It has to be the right demographics that fit your target audience.

 

Positioning is key. You are looking for local influencers who have a loyal following that matches your target market.

 

This way, when the influencer presents your business and call to action, you are going to see some traction and a profitable return on your investment.

 

The easiest way to find relevant influencers is to spend time researching the platform on which you and your audience is most active. Search locations, hashtags and mentions to find out where the conversations are happening. Once you find potential micro-influencers, monitor their profile and their interactions closely. Look for the quantity but more importantly the quality of engagement on each post.

 

By investing time up front, you will ensure that you find micro-influencers that are a good fit for your business. Not only will it save you time long-term, it can save you a lot of money working with people who aren’t a fit and perhaps don’t carry the influence you initially thought.

 

2. Ensure the Authenticity of Micro-Influencers

 

As influencer marketing has grown, so have the number of companies looking to capitalize on the trend. In 2018, the extent of influencer fraud was exposed as thousands of accounts were found to be buying likes, follows and engagement to appear as though they had gained influencer status.

 

Captive8 reported that of the $2.1bn spent on influencer-sponsored Instagram posts in 2017, more than 11% of engagement on those posts was generated from fraudulent accounts.

 

This is a big problem. While technology companies are working to combat this by launching AI-focused tools, influencer marketing fraud still remains a huge issue.

 

Ninety percent of Marketers believe proving authenticity is critical to the future of Influencer Marketer.

 

For you, as a reputable business, it’s imperative that you do your research and establish the validity of an influencer before jumping into a relationship with them.

 

Monitor their account, check the quality of their audience and their engagement. Look for sponsored posts and how the traction gained in quality likes and comments.

 

When reaching out, ask for case studies and past results that you can cross-check. Also ensure that the micro-influencer is following FTC Guidelines.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that micro-influencers want to ensure the authenticity of your brand and products. Influencers promote what they trust. Take time to share with them and provide samples when appropriate. Micro-influencers have earned a loyal audience and protecting that audience is their responsibility.

 

3. Measuring the ROI of Micro-Influencers

 

One of the biggest challenges for businesses investing in micro-influencers is measuring the return on investment. As a business owner, you want to know that your marketing strategy is working and delivering results.

 

Eighty five percent of marketers say engagement data is the biggest metric of success for influencer marketing. Forty six percent of marketers are using product sales to measure the success of influencer marketing.

 

Both are valid measures. These are three key areas you want to track:

 

        1. Engagement:cThis is typically measured in new followers, likes, comments, shares, mentions, and all other forms of engagement with your business as a result of working with a micro-influencer. The return here is in brand awareness and growth. You should see a spike in engagement each time the micro-influencer shares your brand. This is a simple way to visually see the impact your micro-influencer has.
        2. Content: This metric is made up of comments, shares and sentiment of the paid posts. It helps establish whether the content fits with the audience and the objective. This may be an indication to try a different type or style of content that may resonate better.
        3. Sales: You can track this by providing affiliate urls, influencer exclusive discount codes and monitoring google analytics so that you can measure the sales each micro-influencer has brought to your business.

 

If you’re a small business owner, micro-influencer marketing can offer a lot of value and certainly has the potential to drive big sales in your local market. It just takes the right research, the right influencer, and the right partnership.

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

In a previous article, I discussed how product-based businesses can sell on Instagram. For service-based businesses, the rules and opportunities to sell on Instagram are a little different. 

 

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Regardless of what you are trying to sell on Instragram, here’s what you need to know and some key steps you can take.

 

Add your contact details on your Business Profile

 

When you switch to a business profile, you not only access profile analytics, you are also able to add your contact information. When you add contact information, a Contact button appears near the top of your profile. When people click that button, they'll see options like Get Directions, Call and Email, depending on the contact information you provide. If you add your location, you’ll have a clickable business address, which is ideal if you have a physical office or store.

 

Your interactive contact information provides the community with a way to reach you and take the next step, whether that is to ask a question, find out more information or book an appointment. You can also promote a call to action at the end of your Instagram post captions.

 

Make strategic use of the link in your bio

 

You get one clickable link in your Instagram bio, so it’s important to make the most of it. You can either use it to lead visitors to a specific call to action, such as a lead magnet or sales page.  Alternatively, you can use a third-party app to include multiple calls to action.

 

Examples include:

 

Later provides one link you add to your Instagram bio that opens a new page with your posts. Your audience can then click on each post to go directly to a specific landing page. This feature is only offered on paid business plans for Later.com.

 

Linktree is a free alternative that allows you to add multiple CTA links from one link shared in your Instagram bio. The paid plan has additional features, too. I personally use this one and really like it.

 

An alternative idea for small businesses looking to market services is to set up a dedicated page on your website just for Instagram visitors, e.g. domain.com/Instagram. Here you could share your main offers or exclusive bonuses for those visiting via Instagram. This is a great way to let your Instagram community know how much you value them. Platform-exclusive content and bonuses also incentivize your community to stay engaged.

 

It’s a good idea to reiterate your call to action in your bio description too. This will prompt new visitors, in particular, to take action especially if it’s in exchange for value, e.g. a lead magnet.

 

Showcase your services in action

 

The best way to let your community know why they should buy your services isn’t to tell them. It’s to show them. Create a content strategy that inspires and educates your audience on the services you provide.

 

Use your post captions to tell stories and connect with your audience. Relate to how they feel and use your services as the bridge that guides them from where they are now to where they want to be.

 

Ask for reviews from your past clients. Showcase these in your Instagram posts and Stories. Share before/after photos, results, testimonials and case studies throughout your profile and in your Instagram stories.

 

This generates social proof and creates excitement around the solution you provide. When you see someone else just like you experiencing great benefits, you want those same benefits for yourself.

 

While service providers can’t create shoppable posts, they can add a small pricing overlay graphic using a tool like Picmonkey or Canva. Used in conjunction with a well-crafted call to action at the end of your caption and the link in your bio provides a very effective way to promote your services.

 

Publish Stories regularly

 

As Mark Zuckerberg has said, ‘Stories are the future!’

 

Think of Instagram Stories as an on-the-go vlogging (video blogging) platform. Stories are your opportunity to connect with your audience via video and images to help them really get to know you. This is important because we all know that people do business with other people they know, like and trust.

 

There are so many ways you can use the Stories format to sell your services:

 

    • Share insight into what goes on behind the scenes, so people can see all the work that goes into creating and providing your services.
    • Host a Q&A through the Stories questions sticker feature and answer any objections that might be standing between your audience buying and not buying your services.
    • Conduct market research through the Polls sticker feature to understand how to best serve your audience.
    • Share tips and how to’s that leverage your credibility as an expert in your field.
    • Provide exclusive offers and discounts that create buzz and a sense of urgency to buy now so your audience doesn’t lose out.
    • Go Live on Instagram and start a conversation. You can even invite members of your community to join you live on camera via their smartphone, too. Going live and including your audience helps create a deep, meaningful and transparent relationship with your audience members. Live broadcasts build loyalty that will not only create customers, but it will create brand advocates. When you invest in others, they will invest in you and they’ll tell their friends to do the same.

 

          Related: 5 Ideas to Use Instagram Stories to Drive Small Business Growth

 

If you have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, you’ll have the option to add links to your Stories via the ‘swipe up’ feature, as indicated by the little link icon on your Stories. Being able to include links with a call to action helps to lead your viewers outside Instagram to an offer/sales page.

 

If you have less than 10,000 followers, you can still include the swipe up feature that goes to a video on IGTV. IGTV is Instagram’s dedicated vertical video app where you can publish longer video content.

 

Unlike the main Instagram app, any links in your caption or comments on IGTV are active. So, using your Stories, you can drive people from there to consume slightly longer video content and from there to an offer page on your website.

 

Use hashtags and locations

 

Make sure you incorporate hashtags, locations, and the tagging feature into your posts to make it easier for people to find you when searching for your area of expertise. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6 percent more engagement than those without, while posts with a location get 79 percent more engagement.

 

You can include as many as 30 hashtags in each post. Instead of just describing your post with hashtags, think of the specific hashtags your customer might type into the search bar.

 

For example, if you are a carpenter, you wouldn’t just add #carpentry to your post. You’re more likely to benefit from adding hashtags such as #interiordesign, #decoratingtips, #movinghouse, and #newhome with a particular location tag. Why? Because women looking for inspiration on how to decorate their new home are more likely to find your post with these types of hashtags.

 

Along with searching in the Instagram mobile app, also try a tool such as Hashtagify.me to discover more relevant hashtags for your posts. Remember to also include a few hashtags in your Stories!

 

Place Instagram ads

 

Instagram allows you to create 4 main ad types:

 

    • Photo ads
    • Video ads
    • Carousel ads
    • Story ads

 

Once you’ve chosen the type of ad that will give you the result you’re looking for there are a variety of calls to action from which to choose. With the right content and the right targeting, Instagram ads are a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, a lead page or a sales page at a relatively low cost. 

 

Access Instagram ads via Facebook Ads Manager, or just tap the ‘Promote’ button on an existing post on your Instagram profile.

 

To promote a Story directly from the Instagram app, tap the 3 dots in the lower right of the Story, then tap Promote.

 

Related:

The Best Performing Facebook Ad Formats for Small Business

Instagram and Facebook Story Ads: How to Make Stories Work for your Small Business

 

While Instagram primarily started out as a photo sharing app focused on community, it’s safe to say that social commerce is now at the forefront of Instagram’s product development. We will continue to see the platform grow and change to support event better methods of helping businesses find and sell to their customers, and small businesses should prepare for that future now.”

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Did you know that food is the No. 1 most engaging topic when it comes to video content on Facebook? There are quite a few things we can all learn from these drool-worthy posts about how to drive engagement, whether you run a restaurant, sell food, or, frankly, other goods.

 

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Our friends at BuzzSumo conducted a study of over 100 million Facebook video posts and discovered that videos related to food generated 250 percent more engagement than other content types.

 

In another study of over 777 million Facebook posts, BuzzSumo found video posts get at least 59 percent more engagement than all other post types. Although photos are widely accepted by marketers to be one of the most successful post types, video outperformed photos by 73 percent.

 

Create short, compelling videos

 

I cannot stress this enough: Facebook is determined to become a destination ‘digital streaming television platform,’ competing with YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and the likes. This means Facebook is placing extreme emphasis on video content throughout the platform.

 

The good news for marketers: we can really take advantage of this growing trend.

 

Facebook users, in particular, have short attention spans. The ideal length Facebook recommends for a teaser video is 15 seconds if it’s being used for ads or organic content that you intend to boost. Otherwise, longer videos of between 3 and 5 minutes work well, per research by BuzzSumo.

 

Here’s a great example by the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas -- showcasing their signature Chocolate Praline Cake with a call-to-action to make a reservation. A video like this can be shot with a dSLR camera and inexpensive lighting. Or, you can just use your smartphone and make sure you place the dish under good lighting. Tips from food videos, like optimizing video length and taking clear, beautiful footage, can be applied to other types of content to improve engagement.

 

Related:

 

Promote your message to the right audience at the right time

 

With Facebook organic reach at an average of 1 to 6 percent,  you’ll definitely want to allocate an advertising budget to ensure your message reaches your target demographic. Ideally, you should utilize Facebook Ads Manager (or Business Manager). Otherwise, the Boost button is the simplest way to get started.

 

I’ve often said that local businesses can reach their audiences much easier using Facebook because you’re not trying to reach the whole world. You’re drilling deep into very specific geo-targeted locations using zip codes and other parameters. Facebook makes it really easy to do so.

 

In addition, I suggest trying a feature in Ads Manager called ‘Dayparting’ where your ads will show up across the Facebook family of apps and services (which includes Messenger and Instagram), during specific times of the day and days of the week. This is super handy for when your business offers a timely discount such as a restaurant’s special on brunch, lunch, or dinner.

 

Related:

 

Market to the third visit

 

I had the great pleasure of keynoting a special event for my client, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. In researching my talk, I listened to this fascinating interview on the Entreleadership Podcast of Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue.

 

In the interview, Taffer describes what he calls, “marketing to the third visit.” Check out these stats:

 

      • If somebody comes to a restaurant for the first time and has a great experience, the statistical likelihood of them returning for a second visit is less than 40 percent.
      • Say that person comes back a second time and has another flawless experience, the statistical likelihood of them returning for a third visit is about 42-43 percent.
      • But the third time a customer returns to your restaurant, the statistical likelihood of them returning for a fourth time increases to over 70 percent.

 

So, Taffer says the secret of smart restaurateurs is to market to three visits, not one. Three visits get the customer into a lifecycle. Make sure your restaurant staff is trained to greet and identify first-time customers differently. They get a special invitation to come back again. Listen to the podcast interview for Taffer’s full strategy. It’s brilliant!

(I’ve been a big fan of Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Podcast for many years and highly recommend small business owners subscribe! Listen to my own interview on Supercharging Your Facebook Marketing.)

 

And, if your target audience includes a younger demographic, then check out this great nugget from the print version of this Modern Trader magazine article about the restaurant industry and technology:

 

“The 100 million people who make up Generation Y, Millennials and Z need to eat and want something different than their parents… …the battlefield is constantly changing, and there is a lot at stake. The outlook for the restaurant industry is positive for those who are prepared to strategically fight with the right tools. Technology will be the driver of success.”

 

These 100 million young folks spend an inordinate amount of time on their phones. Now is the time to ensure your messaging gets in front of them with thumb-stopping content that inspires them to come in (and maybe even bring a friend!)

 

Related:

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Every day, more than 2 billion people are active on at least one of the Facebook family of apps and services, which includes Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

 

These 2 billion people are scrolling through their feeds, inboxes and Stories. Your job as a small business owner is to get your content in front of the exact right audience and stop them in their tracks. You want your ads to be absolutely ‘thumb-stopping!’

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My three secrets to creating irresistible ads:

 

  1. Refine your audience targeting.
  2. Use compelling messages and creative.
  3. Choose the right placement.

 

Let’s break them down.

 

1. Refine your audience targeting

 

Let’s face it, you can have the most amazing ad with gorgeous creative and a super-compelling offer, but, if it’s placed in front of the wrong target audience, your ad will fall on deaf ears and you won’t get the results you want. In fact, you could even yield negative results with the wrong audience reporting your ad as spam.

 

I see this time and again as I study the ads across the Facebook app ecosystem. I see ads shown to me for something that is totally irrelevant.

 

Refining your target audience before launching your ads can make all the difference between a very successful ad campaign or a total dud.

 

Tap into the power of Facebook Audience Insights to define your target demographic. Here’s a helpful article by AdEspresso: How To Find The Best Audiences On Facebook.

 

RELATED CONTENT The Power of Facebook – with Mari Smith (Video)

 

2. Use compelling messages and creative

 

So, here’s where we get to the ‘irresistible’ part. With so much noise across all social networks, it’s important that you find a way to cut through the noise to capture potential clients’ attention. We must also recognize that the nature of social media content has shortened attention spans, so your imagery needs to be vibrant and your text brief.

 

Use vibrant images

 

It’s true that a picture says a thousand words. Instagram, in particular, is an entirely visual platform. Keep text overlay to a minimum and say what you need to say in the description/caption of your ad.

 

Embrace short-form video ads

 

Facebook recommends 5-15 seconds for the ideal video ad. Facebook’s studies have shown that retention rates start to taper off even with a 15-second video. But that’s the ideal max length for both ads and organic videos. I call these ‘teaser’ videos, which are ideal for driving traffic to your blog posts, for example.

 

I recommend creating 15-second videos in square format with a short description and publishing to your Facebook Business Page as an organic post. Then turn the post into an ad (using the Boost button or Ads Manager). Once you’re in the process of boosting the post you’ll have the option to add a call to action. Put the URL of your blog post or squeeze page in there and start driving traffic to your site.

 

I recently hosted an educational Facebook Live with my friends at Wave.video to teach this process and you can find that here. (Wave.video just released a free forever plan with no watermark for 15-second videos. Plus they have several very affordable plans with more features for small business owners). See this helpful article - Facebook Video Ads: 10 Examples to Help You Beat Your Competition

 

You’ll also want to have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website in order to retarget visitors with other ads.

 

It’s always worth giving Lead Ads a try for conversion-level results. This is a great tutorial: How to Create Jaw-Dropping Facebook Lead Ads That Convert

 

3. Choose the right placement.

 

Small businesses can create ads using Facebook’s Ads Manager (or Business Manager). When you leave the default setting for automatic placements, Facebook’s algorithms choose the most optimized platforms for your ads.

 

“Use automatic placements to maximize your budget and help show your ads to more people. Facebook's delivery system will allocate your ad set's budget across multiple placements based on where they're likely to perform best.”

 

Learn more about automatic vs. manual placement here.

 

Yes, we’re talking predominantly about Facebook ads in this article. However, most advertisers tend to leave the automatic placements enabled by default. You may think you’re just advertising on Facebook, but if the placement option is selected your ads may be showing up on/in the following places:

 

  • The Facebook feed
  • Facebook videos (as pre-roll ads)
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • The Instagram feed
  • Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger
  • Messenger home screen
  • Throughout Facebook’s Audience Network

 

To clarify on that last placement, Audience Network allows advertisers to extend Facebook and Instagram campaigns across the internet - onto thousands of high-quality websites and apps. People spend a lot of their time on Facebook and Instagram. But they are also spending time on other apps and sites. Audience Network helps advertisers reach more of the people they care about in the other places where they're spending their time.

Place Stories ads on both Instagram & Facebook

 

There are currently 500M daily active users on Instagram Stories and 300M on Facebook, and you can tap into this highly engaged audience.

 

RELATED CONTENT: Instagram and Facebook Story Ads: How to Make Stories Work for your Small Business

 

Many advertisers may not even realize they are already placing ads into the Stories feed on both Facebook and Instagram because of the automatic placement feature mentioned above.

 

Although Facebook’s delivery system does do the hard work for you, it’s worth it to spend a little extra time and create individual ads for placement in the Instagram Stories format, for example.

 

To really optimize your Stories ads, it’s best to create for the native environment. And that is 9:16 vertical video – it is full screen and immersive. Strive for big bold creative, thumb-stopping images and creative stickers and GIFs.

 

Utilizing all of the steps above can help make sure the dollars you’re putting toward promoting your small business on social media are working as hard for you as possible.

 

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Management expert Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In order to grow and improve your business, you have to be able to measure and monitor the right metrics.

 

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This applies to everything in your business.

 

Yet determining the right metrics to measure, and understand, is not so simple.

 

 

Proxy metrics (or Vanity metrics) vs. sales metrics

 

On Facebook’s Q4 2016 earnings call held on February 1, 2017, COO Sheryl Sandberg stated that all ads should drive business. She made the distinction between sales metrics and ‘proxy metrics,’ which includes fanbase size, reach, engagement and video views.

 

“We really believe that at the end of the day what matters the most is all the way through to sales. What matters the most is the A/B test that these people saw ads on Facebook and Instagram, these people didn’t, and here’s the sales lift. And all of the other metrics,” Sandberg said, “are proxy metrics.”

 

Of course, this is not what most businesses want to hear. We’ve all been trained to believe more is better. That we ought to strive for more fans, more reach and more engagement.

 

But, generally speaking, those numbers are all vanity metrics.

 

Marketers need to see the metrics all the way through to the final goal and focus on the right metrics – those that generate revenue.

 

It’s important to separate out your KPIs (key performance indicators) into the right categories and report the relevant data to the right person within your business.

 

For example, brand awareness, social media and engagement metrics should be reporting to the CMO/marketing manager/community manager. Whereas, lead generation and sales metrics are what the CEO and CFO mostly want to know. If you report the number of retweets or video views in a week to your CEO and CFO, they may wonder how that translates to actual bottom line dollars.

 

Following are some suggested metric categories:

 

    • Brand awareness metrics include social media reach, brand mentions, brand searches, media mentions and website traffic.

 

    • Social media metrics include number of likes/fans/followers, post reach and impressions.

 

    • Engagement metrics include people who have clicked, liked, commented on or shared your social media posts; people who have viewed your videos; number of retweets and more. This stat could also include the number of subscribers opening your emails and clicking on links.

 

    • Lead-generation metrics include landing page visits, click-through rate, completed registrations and conversion rates. In other words, any activity that moves the prospect from being an engaged member of your social media channels to becoming a contactable prospect. This can include the prospect submitting their phone number, email address, mailing address or contacting you via Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct or WhatsApp.

 

    • Sales metrics include appointments scheduled, applications submitted, add-to-cart, initiate checkout, add payment details, and, of course, completed purchases.

 

“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming

 

Tools for measuring your online activity

 

You may already have a reliable set of tools you use to track an array of metrics in your business. Here are a few of my own favorites:

 

Facebook Insights: You’ll find these metrics on the “Insights” tab of your Facebook business page. For mobile, use the Facebook Pages Manager app (iOS) (Android) and also check out the Facebook Analytics app. Metrics include Likes, Followers, Page Views, Actions on Page, Video views, Audience retention, Engagement and more.

 

For video content, I recommend clicking in to each video to study the breakdown of metrics. Otherwise, you can keep an eye on the Overview > Page Summary insights for the past 7 or 28 days and export the data to a spreadsheet for further analysis.

 

Twitter Analytics: These are at the top right of your Twitter profile or at analytics.twiter.com. View your tweet impressions, engagement, and engagement rate. Pay particular attention to your top tweets and do more of what’s working.

 

AgoraPulse: This is a terrific all-in-one tool for scheduling and managing all your social media channels. The Reports section has colorful charts that are easy to read and may be a great addition to your analysis.

 

BuzzSumo: One of my favorite tools, this platform allows you to study how well your own social posts are doing along with any competitor’s posts. Plus, you can use the tool to discover what headlines and topics are doing well, identify key influencers, see what’s trending and more.

 

One stop data dashboard

 

If looking at an array of metrics from a wide variety of sources is challenging for you, you might enjoy a great solution called Klipfolio.

 

Klipfolio is a tool to create an all-in-one dashboard with visual analytics for all of your metrics at your fingertips. You’ll be able to instantly spot trends and see how your business is performing. Compare this month to last month or the same period last year with a single click. Use filters, segments, and automatic trend lines.

 

Cash flow dashboard

 

Just as you need to closely track and measure sales and marketing metrics, you definitely need to do the same with your business finances. Bank of America Business Advantage 360 offers an innovative new cash flow dashboard where you can easily see a 360° view of your business’ financial position or picture in a compelling, visual layout.

 

Business Advantage 360 is a one-stop ‘digital control center.’ Accessible online and on mobile, this new seamless and integrated digital platform is designed to help you get more time back in your day by helping you manage all financial aspects of your business.

 

BA360 empowers you as a busy business owner to optimize your time and resources and gain deeper perspective on your business so you can get back to doing what you truly love – focusing on the mission and success of your enterprise!

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2019 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

As Instagram solidifies its place as a powerhouse social media platform more small businesses should take advantage of this growing new channel to drive awareness, but also for driving sales. Instagram is one of the easiest platforms to showcase your small business’ products for sale and attract new paying customers. The Instagram app is entirely visual and almost exclusively accessed via the mobile app, although there is a desktop version.

 

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With shopping on Instagram, you can create eye-catching, visual storefront posts for your small business that allow people to explore your best products with a single phone tap.

 

In this article, I’ll cover product-based businesses. If your small business is service-based, there are plenty of ways you can sell on Instagram and we’ll go into that in a future article.

 

Discovery has always been a key aspect of Instagram. With 80 percent of people already following a business account, and a global community of over 1 billion users, Instagrammers want to explore and find new things from companies they love. Similarly, businesses are always looking for opportunities to connect with valuable prospects and customers.

 

When Instagram added the shopping feature in March 2017, the company wanted to create something that was less transactional and more of an immersive experience. A way to give shoppers time and space to browse and evaluate products.

 

 

How shopping works on Instagram

 

Your Instagram business profile must be associated with an e-commerce catalog on Facebook. Once your Instagram business profile is connected to your Facebook catalog, you can tag products from your catalog in your Instagram posts and stories. People can tap on product tags to see prices and descriptions, or shop straight from your feed. Once you have a Facebook product catalog connected to your Instagram business account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.

 

What to sell on Instagram

 

To sell on Instagram, your business must primarily sell physical goods. You also need to comply with Instagram’s commerce policies. Instagram shopping posts may not promote services. Note that this just means using the shop tag or sticker feature. You can certainly still offer services (and products) using links in your bio and the swipe up feature in Stories.

Instagrammers can find your products via your feed posts, your stories, the Explore tab and from hashtag searches.

 

The ability to add shopping tags is available for both your main Instagram feed posts and for your Stories. I’ll go into that more below.

 

When you create an Instagram post with tagged products, the post is not only shared with your followers but is also shared in the Explore section. Over 200 million users visit the Explore tab on Instagram every day.


Including relevant hashtags on your Instagram posts and stories is a must, too. This helps increase your chances of discovery both on the Explore tab and in hashtag searches.

 

How to set up your shopping posts on Instagram

 

Step 1

 

Make sure your Instagram account is a business profile, and not a personal profile. If you currently have a personal profile that you use for business purposes, you’ll need to convert your account. Or, create a new business profile.

 

Step 2

 

Connect your Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog. You can connect to an existing Facebook catalog or set up a new catalog using Business Manager.

 

If you work with a Facebook partner such as Shopify or BigCommerce, you can also set up a catalog through your account with them.

 

Next, your account must be reviewed before you can start selling. You can imagine that Facebook-owned Instagram needs to ensure bona fide products are offered for sale on their platforms. The review process usually takes a few days.

 

Step 3

 

Once your account is approved for shopping, you then need to enable product tags. From your Instagram business profile on the mobile app, tap the button in the upper right-hand corner > tap Shoppingunder Business Settings > tap Continue> select the product catalog you want > tap Done.

 

Step 4

 

Now you can add product tags on your Instagram posts and product stickers on your stories.

 

You can tag up to 5 products per single image/video post or up to 20 products per carousel (multi-image post). Tap Tag Productsfrom the Share screen. Select the product you want to tag from your catalog and place your product tag on or near the product in your image or video.

 

The good news is you can use the shopping tag feature on both new and existing posts.

 

For Instagram stories, you can create one product sticker per story and you can edit the sticker color and text. To access the product sticker, tap the sticker icon at the top right and then select the product sticker option. Unlike feed posts, once stories have been published, you cannot edit them.

 

Once you’ve tagged products in 9 posts, a shop tab will show up on your profile that lets shoppers browse your shoppable posts—all in one place.

 

Weave products into your visual story-telling in Instagram posts and stories.

 

Promoting your product posts

 

At the moment, the ability to tag products in feed posts and add product stickers to stories is only available in organic posts. Instagram does not allow paid ads with shopping tags. However, last year Instagram partnered with e-commerce platform Shopify to offer product tagging and these posts can be promoted using paid ads.

 

For organic promotion, remember to include hashtags in all your feed posts. You can add as many as 30 hashtags. Make good use of the stories feature - ideally posting 2-3 or more stories per day. And include a few hashtags on your stories.

 

Reviewing your shopping insights

 

Businesses can get insights like seeing how many people tapped to see more product details or clicked on “shop now.”To see key metrics on your shopping posts and stories, simply tap View Insightson a shopping post or swipe up on shopping stories. You can also sort top shopping posts on various metrics through Insights on your business profile.

 

Utilizing these tools within Instagram can help take your use of the platform from fun and building awareness to achieving real sales. Consider setting aside a few hours in the next month to experiment with selling on Instagram and see what it can do for your small business.

 

Want to learn more about using Instagram for your small business? Check out these other posts.

 

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Have you embraced the growing trend of micro content yet? Are you publishing Instagram and Facebook Stories regularly for your business?

 

Savvy small business owners are easily reaching and engaging their audiences using fun, relevant and creative content in the Stories format.

 

As explained in my article, 5 Ideas to Use Instagram Stories to Drive Small Business Growth, a Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours. Stories are mobile optimized with full screen, short vertical videos, images, stickers and other fun, interactive features. The Stories format is available on both Instagram and Facebook.

 

Instagram Stories

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If you have a personal or business Instagram account, you have Stories!

 

Instagram ad spending is growing at a rapid rate thanks to the rise of Instagram Stories. Story ads increase ad recall, purchase intent, message association and click-through rate (CTR).

 

With over 400 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, this micro content feature is prime real estate to easily reach your target audience. According to Instagram, one in three of the most viewed Stories are from businesses. So, all the more reason to get going with Stories in 2019.

 

Instagram Stories and Stories ads are available to businesses worldwide. If you are currently using your Instagram personal profile for business, I would strongly recommend converting to an Instagram Business Profile as you’ll get access to helpful analytics, a CTA button for your profile, integration to third party tools for scheduling and other benefits.

 

Facebook Stories

 

The Facebook Stories format is a bit slower to catch on, with 300 million daily active users. But, Facebook is determined to ensure this format is just as popular (if not more, eventually) with new features for businesses rolling out regularly.

 

Placing ads in the Stories format provides small business owners a refreshing alternative to news feed ads.

 

“Stories are the future.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook, Q3 2018  earnings call

 

Stories creation and consumption is growing at 15X the rate of feed content. The Stories format will eventually usurp the feed format as we know it. Or Facebook and Instagram may create a hybrid of both formats later this year. 

 

Why Stories ads?

 

Both Instagram and Facebook Stories ads appear at the top of people’s feed in between organic Stories. Videos display for up to 15 seconds and images for up to 6 seconds. Users tap or swipe to navigate back or forward. Stories are always full screen and vertical, which provides a fully immersive, distraction-free experience for users.

 

Advertisers can include calls to action and links. Links open up inside the native Facebook and Instagram mobile app, allowing the user to browse, take action and return to exactly where they were all without leaving the app. This last part is vital to the user experience. It allows the user to maintain control. To tap and swipe, engaging with your content, and then return to where they left off.

 

How to create Stories ads

 

Take a look at Facebook’s Creative Hub to optimize your creative process and save valuable time. Mock up, preview and test Facebook and Instagram ads here.

 

My favorite tool for creating video Stories ads is Wave.video. Choose from hundreds of millions of royalty free assets, or upload your own. Add text overlay, stickers, GIFs, logos, music and more. You can easily create a video in landscape or square formats, and at the click of a button convert to the 9:16 vertical video Story format. [Editor’s note: Mari Smith is an ambassador for Wave.video.]

 

You could also create still image Stories ads using a tool such as Canva. They have some gorgeous premade templates you can use. 

 

A great mobile app for creating Stories is Unfold.

 

Where to set up Stories ads

 

To place ads in Stories on either Facebook and/or Instagram, use Ads Manager.

 

If you are already placing ads, you might already be using the Stories ads format without even realizing it. Any qualifying ads that you create in Facebook Ads Manager already show up in the Instagram and/or Facebook Stories placement by default.

 

Instagram Stories ads are available as a standalone placement using Ads Manager.

 

Facebook Stories ads is included when you leave the default Automatic Placements. Currently, you can't select Facebook Stories as a standalone placement when you create an ad.

 

Stories ad formats

 

    • Instagram: Single image, single video, canvas, and carousel (where you can place up to 10 ‘cards’ in a single ad).
    • Facebook: Single image, single video.

 

Stories ad design specs

 

    • Image aspect ratios:  9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
    • Video: 15 seconds
    • Full Instagram and Facebook Story ad specs.

 

Stories ad calls-to-action

 

Just as you can add any of the available CTA buttons to regular ads, you can include one of these on your Story ads: Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Get Showtimes, Request Time, See Menu, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More, Listen Now, Subscribe

 

Stories ad objectives

 

Only certain ad objectives can be used with Stories ads. These are: Reach, Traffic, App installs, Video views, Brand Awareness, Lead Generation or Conversions.

 

Get inspiration for your Stories Ads

 

    • Check out Instagram’s own library of Stories Ads case studies.
    • Facebook also has a vast array of Stories in Ads examples on its Success Stories site.
    • See this fabulous infographic by 99firms - How Businesses Use Instagram Stories: 30 Case Studies.
    • Facebook Stories ad case study of Bux app by MakeMeReach.com.

 

 

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Organic marketing on Facebook means it’s free to reach your target audience. In other words, no advertising costs.

 

Back in the ‘good old days’ of 2008 to 2013, we could reach as much as 300 percent of our audience. How was that even possible?

 

With the viral nature of the Facebook news feed, you could publish a piece of content on your business page and your audience would immediately start engaging with it and sharing. This would often result in your content taking flight and reaching a much wider audience than just those who liked your page.

 

Once Facebook became a public company in 2012, the organic reach started to plummet. In fact, this chart by Social@Ogilivy shows a 50 percent decline in organic reach in the five months between October 2013 to February 2014.

 

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Even though that sharp decline happened five years ago, many small business owners are stuck marketing like it’s 2012. They see their business posts not getting as much reach and engagement, so they try publishing more content. Instead of posting once a day, they’ll post four times a day.

 

This strategy is terribly counterproductive.

 

Over-publishing content on Facebook can hurt your reach and even your reputation. Why? Because the algorithms are trained to seek out popular content and give it more reach. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is rather unfair.

 

How can you get more reach if you can’t get engagement?

 

The good news is there are proven methodologies. It is absolutely still possible to create very successful organic marketing on Facebook!

 

3 simple steps to successful organic marketing on Facebook

 

1. Focus on the ROI of each post.

 

Rather than increasing the volume of your Facebook posts, publish fewer pieces and focus on the ROI of each. Everything starts with exceptional content. Without compelling content, there is nothing with which your audience can engage. Without regular content on your Facebook page, it’s like you’re sending the message that you’re not really open for business and don’t care about your audience. And, of course you do. So, it is best to publish quality content 3 to 5 times per week. If you can manage it, go for once per day.

 

    • TIP: Review your Facebook Page Insights and look back over the past year or so of posts. Which posts got the best reach? What format – video, pictures, links –  resonates most with your audience? Is there a day and time to which your audience responds best?

 

2. Create and publish more video content.

 

The Facebook algorithms favor video content more than other posts. And, Facebook Live video broadcasts get six times the engagement of recorded video. You should publish a mix of both recorded and live videos. My recommended content ratio for 2019 is 70 percent video posts, 20 percent image posts and 10 percent link posts. Video and image posts can still include links and CTAs (calls-to-action). BuzzSumo recently analyzed over 777 million Facebook page posts and concluded that video is indeed the most engaging content type.

 

    • TIP: Create a variety of videos in these categories:
      • 15-second square videos for use on Facebook and Instagram. These are ideal to publish as a ‘teaser’ with a link to your blog posts and articles. They are also ideal for boosting and using as paid placement when you do allocate a budget. See examples on my Facebook page here and here.
      • 15-second vertical videos for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Make sure you’re including Stories in your marketing mix for 2019. This is a rapidly growing area that small businesses need to understand.
      • 3-minute videos in landscape or square for all social channels. Facebook considers videos over 3 minutes as ‘long form,’ which the platform needs in order to eventually place 15-second ad breaks.
      • 18- to 25-minute episodic videos. These can be recorded or broadcast live and ideally published on the same day each week as part of a show format. Your show-style videos could be featured in the Facebook Watch platform as a result.

 

 

3. Encourage meaningful engagement.

 

This can include adding polls to your video content, asking your audience questions and incentivizing user-generated content. Invite your audience to submit suggestions, examples, case studies, etc. You could also periodically host a contest on your Facebook business page to generate an increase in engagement. The Facebook algorithms give significant priority to posts that generate engagement - reactions, comments and shares. The sweet spot is being able to spark conversation among your audience members. In other words, having your followers chat with one another.

 

    • TIP: Link your Facebook business page to a group. Some of the most successful Facebook pages also offer a free group where members can connect more deeply. I offer several groups on my Facebook Page, two of which are public and free and another two are for paying course members. Another great example is the wildly popular Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk with over 4.5 million followers of the show and a linked group with over 458k members. Granted this is a celebrity show and companion group. However, there’s a great deal here from which small businesses can learn.

 

One more exciting component to add to the mix for your 2019 Facebook organic marketing plans: Watch Parties!

 

I am most excited about this feature. It first came out in July 2018 just to groups, but it is now available on personal profiles and business pages. The idea is you can host any public video, or a playlist of multiple videos, for your audience. It’s very different than sharing a video, because everyone watches the video at the same time, essentially as if it were live.

 

You can use the Watch Party feature to showcase your own content, or related content. Find out more with an actual demo on my Facebook page along with this Facebook help section.

 

Want to read more of my tips about marketing your small business on Facebook?  Check out my other content on this site.

 

 

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Do you use Facebook and/or Instagram to market your real estate services? In this article, I’ll walk you through my top seven ideas for how you can promote your real estate business more effectively on social media.

 

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Whether local homeowners are looking to sell, or prospective buyers are searching for their ideal home, or other Realtors in your neighborhood want to check out your listings, your ideal audience should be able to easily find you via Facebook and/or Instagram. In fact, by amplifying your strategic use of the two largest social networks, you could find your business growing exponentially.

 

Following are my seven best tips to increase your visibility, reach, engagement and conversions.

 

1. Do Facebook live broadcasts

 

Facebook live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos, on average. Facebook is really favoring live content, especially when you are also broadcasting via your Stories on your Facebook personal profile or your business Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Identify Facebook Live Opportunities for Your Small Business

 

Of course, nothing can beat being physically in person with a potential buyer and taking them on a property tour. Or, of course, hosting an open house with prospects coming to visit the home.

 

However, streaming live really lends itself well to Realtors to at least spark interest. Think about doing virtual open houses in a ‘show’ format, on the same day and time each week, if feasible. Or, come up with a show name and provide interesting tours of your properties.

 

Live broadcasts help your audience get to know, like and trust you. When you do live virtual open houses on a regular basis, you’ll stand out in the news feed. Plus, make sure to encourage comments so you can follow up. See also tip No. 5 below for connecting a chatbot.

 

2. Go live on Instagram

 

Instagram boasts 1 billion monthly active users, and continues to grow at a rapid rate. The demographic also tends to be somewhat younger and more affluent than Facebook. Instagram is owned by Facebook, as you may know.

 

You access the live feature on Instagram through the camera app, where you’ll broadcast in the Stories section. You can go live for up to one hour. Stories has 400 million daily active users. This is a terrific captive audience as they are all proactively tapping in to the active Stories.

 

As Instagram is really favoring Stories and especially live broadcasts, your live video will get prominent positioning at the top of your followers’ feed.

 

Just like your Facebook Live broadcasts, use Instagram live to engage with your followers and to do virtual open houses. Again, encourage comments but especially direct messages so you can follow up.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

3. Create short video content

 

Along with live video broadcasts, Facebook is really favoring all video content. More and more users are discovering video content through the Watch platform. If you publish video content on your Facebook Page – whether live broadcasts or uploaded native video – your video content can be surfaced on Facebook Watch. The Watch platform is accessible on desktop, mobile and the television set-top app.

 

Speaking of Watch, Facebook is launching a new property series called Most Incredible Homes. The five-part series consists of 12-minute weekly episodes that reveals stunning dream homes from around the world.

 

Consider how you could create short videos with a blend of stock assets and your own photos and video clips using an app such as Wave.video. Add some inspirational text overlay and a music track. This type of video tends to be highly shareable.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

4. Publish stunning visuals

 

Real estate is ideal for creating eye-catching and thumb-stopping visuals in a variety of trendy formats such as 360 photos and videos, 3D photos, and drone video footage. From the simple panorama feature on your phone, you can capture images that Facebook will convert to 360 or 3D. Or, consider investing in a 360 camera and/or drone. I use the Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera which you can find here. It’s super light and small, and takes terrific 360 photos and videos.

 

5. Use the right hashtags on Instagram

 

Hashtags may or may not make much difference to your posts on Facebook. But on Instagram, hashtags are an absolute must for reaching the right audience, growing your followers and even attracting leads. Each post can include up to 30 hashtags. Be sure to do your homework and research a variety of popular hashtags, but also use some that are less popular so you might have more chance of being discovered.

 

Refer to this helpful article by my friends at Adespresso.

 

6. Integrate a Messenger chatbot

 

This could be one of your easiest methods of lead generation. By encouraging prospects to message you via Facebook Messenger, you can begin an automated dialog and self-sorting process. You can gather your prospects’ phone number and/or email address and then follow up personally.

 

In addition to encouraging people to direct message you, you can also set up the chatbot so anyone that comments on your Facebook Page posts receives a message from you. This is why it’s important to encourage your audience to leave a comment on all your videos and live broadcasts and other types of posts.

 

Take a look at MobileMonkey for a free chatbot system for your Facebook Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

7. Encourage reviews on Facebook

 

Facebook gives prominent positioning in the search results on desktop and mobile to businesses that have reviews. Especially when you have a good number of reviews. Be sure to follow up with all your past and current clients and direct them to your Facebook Page to give you a review. In fact, Facebook recently made a change that makes it even easier for people to simply one-click recommend your business. And then they can also leave a written review.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

8. Participate in local Facebook groups

 

Search and join relevant, local groups to network with fellow professionals that are open to exchanging referrals. Also check out peer support groups. For example, my friend Dave Savage runs a thriving Mortgage Coach Productivity Mastermind Group that provides tremendous peer support to industry professionals.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Use Facebook Groups to Build a Loyal Community

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Facebook can be incredibly powerful for local businesses to attract a very specific demographic. In some ways, local businesses may find Facebook marketing easier to yield solid measurable results vs. global businesses, given they are only looking to attract a specific local market.

However, oftentimes, local business owners are so busy running their businesses they may feel they don’t have time to use Facebook regularly. The good news is there aremany simple and effective ways you can optimize your presence on Facebook that don’t take a ton of time or budget.

 

Let’s look at a variety of Facebook marketing best practices for local businesses, exemplified by several fabulous examples.

 

Dundee’s Restaurant On The Waterfront – Cairns, Australia

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Dundee’s is a local restaurant in Cairns, Queensland, Australia and is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Lisa

Monks of Chipmonk Media.

 

Dundee’s embodies many excellent Facebook marketing best practices.

 

Publish a variety of visually compelling posts

 

With a glorious location on the waterfront and a scrumptious seafood menu, Dundee’s has amazing features to showcase on Facebook in visual format.

 

Dundee’s shares regular videos of the restaurant inside and out, and the spectacular waterfront view. You really get a feel for the venue from the video posts.

 

In addition, you can find an abundance of photos and slideshows of Dundee’s yummy dishes.

 

Our friends at Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million Facebook videos last year and the most popular video topic by a large margin is food.

 

Garner plenty of reviews

 

It’s very important for local businesses, especially restaurants, to showcase reviews. Everyone wants to know what peers thought of the food, experience, service, ambience, location, etc.

 

Dundee’s has a 4.5 of 5-star rating out of 422 reviews. In addition, Dundee’s added a tab to their Facebook page with TripAdvisor Reviews where we can see well over 2,000 reviews with very high ratings.

 

Refer to this post and Facebook Live training for ideas on how to increase authentic business reviews on Facebook.

 

Run fun and relevant contests for lead generation

Dundee’s encourages fans to enter a contest to win a $100 dinner voucher by simply sharing their favorite Dundee’s dish, or choosing a dish from the menu that they would like to try. The strategy here is to get the audience talking about their favorite meals so others can get a sense of the amazing menu.

 

In addition, the contest is hooked up to a Messenger chatbot which helps Dundee’s to grow their Messenger subscription list.

 

Whereas email open rates are around 20 percent on average, Messenger open rates are as high as 90 percent. Ideally, businesses include both email marketing and Messenger chatbot marketing in their mix.

 

Additional best practices to point out on Dundee’s Facebook page include a gorgeous cover image, profile photo and Our Story photo. These are three prime pieces of visual real estate on your Facebook Page and a picture says a thousand words. You can also put a cover video instead of a photo. In this case, Dundee’s chose a striking image that embodies the ambience and view.

 

Becca Rose Mystic – Mystic, Conn

 

Becky Mashuta owns the Becca Rose cosmetic store in Mystic, Conn. She is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Molly Mahoney, The Prepared Performer, who helps refine and implement her marketing strategies.

 

What can we learn from the Becca Rose Mystic page?

 

Publish regular video content and Facebook Live broadcasts

 

Becky shares fun Facebook Live broadcasts from her phone in vertical (portrait) format for personable updates, with fun masks and filters. Plus, she does desktop Facebook Live broadcasts using the BeLive.tv app to share behind the scenes, live gemstone sales, free Tarot card readings and more.

 

Integrate a Messenger chatbot app

 

The Becca Rose Mystic page hooked up an interactive chatbot that helps customers and prospects engage and discover more about the store. Additionally, on Becky’s Facebook Live broadcasts, she uses a keyword comment trigger to do free giveaways via the Messenger chatbot. This is a superb method for lead generation. Fans simply comment on the Live video with the appropriate keyword, and the chatbot automatically delivers the giveaway.

 

In this post, I talk about my favorite Messenger chatbot platform, Mobile Monkey.

 

Place Facebook ads

 

Becca Rose Mystic is also a savvy marketer that integrates paid promotions on Facebook. For instance, this simple comment trigger photo post ad invites the target audience to receive a free tarot message.

 

Placing Facebook ads with either a Messenger call to action or a comment trigger is an excellent way to begin 1:1 conversations with your audience.

 

Play City – Chula Vista, Calif

 

Play City is a fun indoor inflatable playground for kids ages 1-12, based in Chula Vista, Calif. My longtime Inner Circle member, Alita Mighela, is the marketing manager at Play City and is extremely passionate about her work.

 

Showcase your venue with a Facebook cover video

 

First impressions count and you want your page visitors to immediately get an impression of what your business is all about. Play City has a vibrant video depicting the epic fun kids can have at this venue.

 

Play City also makes regular use of video content, including Live broadcasts. Videos feature the daily buzzing atmosphere at Play City, kids doing their favorite dance moves, and Alita sharing fun behind-the-scenes peeks.

 

Use the Facebook Events feature

 

Play City makes regular use of the Events feature. A little-known secret about using the Facebook Events feature is that your event also shows up in Facebook’s newly revamped mobile app, Local. Local is one of my favorite Facebook apps; it’s super easy to use and has a comprehensive range of search features making it very easy to find all manner of activities to do in your local area.

 

Use Facebook’s Shop feature

 

Play City also makes use of the Shop feature on their Facebook page with simple admission tickets, membership and gift cards. Fans can easily purchase online on desktop or mobile. The images for each item are colorful and eye-catching.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre - Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

 

The owner of this lovely garden center is a client of my Inner Circle member, Diane Murray of Orbit Agency Ltd.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre owner, Richard Robinson, is a third-generation gardener and Diane tells me he would openly admit that before he set up his Facebook business page, he was terrified of social media and putting his business 'out there.'

 

Now, Richard has become quite the whiz at getting on camera and chatting with his fans in such a personable way, showcasing all the lovely offerings of his garden center.

 

Over a short period of time (around 15 months), Willowglen has managed to gain quite a following, reach a wide audience and has seen a significant increase in footfall and sales.

 

Just like Dundee’s Restaurant with their compelling food photos, a garden center lends itself perfectly to visual content. Willowglen’s Facebook wall beautifully showcases their range of flowers, plants, garden tools, pet products and more. Plus, Willowglen runs regular contests with fun prizes that helps spark engagement. This dog talent show contest is a great example with hundreds of shares and comments.

 

Facebook offers small, local businesses such a variety of great ways to not only showcase your products and services but, more importantly, to connect with your audience. Make your business more personal and inviting through engaging video and photo content, contests, and Messenger chat conversations. Amplify your efforts with boosted posts. And you’ll be well on your way to achieving greater success with Facebook, too.

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and

socialmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

Forbesrecently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Facebook-owned Instagram launched Stories in August 2016 as a direct copy of an already popular Snapchat feature. Today, Instagram Stories has 300 million daily active users. As a result, Snapchat growth slowed 82 percent.)

 

But what, exactly, is a "Story?" And are there benefits for business use?

 

Stories Demystified

 

A Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours.

 

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Stories can be photos/images, recorded videos, text with a colorful background, live video or 'boomerangs' (short, looping video content like an animated GIF).

 

Photos or videos can be uploaded from your camera roll, or you can record within the app. You can add effects, filters, stickers, text, interactive polls, animated GIFs and all manner of fun stuff to your Stories.

 

You can also add a clickable hashtag, @ mentions and locations to your Stories. This all helps with gaining extra visibility. Both hashtags and locations have Story feeds users can follow.

 

In 2017, Facebook also introduced the Story feature to both Messenger and the main Facebook app after Stories had already gained quite a foothold on Instagram.

 

“The way people share and connect is changing; it’s quickly becoming more real-time and visual.” ~Facebook [Source: TechCrunch]

 

Should you include Stories in your marketing mix?

 

The short answer is a resounding yes! For several reasons, to name a few:

 

  1. Micro-content is extremely easy to create.
  2. Both Instagram and Facebook position the Stories feature at the very top of their respective mobile apps. This provides tremendous visibility for your followers. Stories on Facebook are also very easy to create on desktop and are visible on desktop.
  3. People have very short attention spans these days and Stories are incredibly easy and fun to consume.
  4. For Instagram business accounts with over 10,000 followers and/or verified accounts, you can also add a URL to your Stories where your followers swipe up to go to your designated web page. (Now, with the launch of Instagram’s IGTV, you can choose to direct your followers to one of your IGTV videos or an external URL).
  5. Stories are growing 15X faster than feed sharing.
  6. Instagram boasts over 300 million daily active users and Facebook has over 150 million DAU’s.

 

“The Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” ~Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer

 

Regularly publishing Stories for your business is a great way of producing micro-content for top of mind and top of feed awareness.

 

5 Story ideas for your business

 

  1. Do live broadcasts. Live Stories get the most prominent positioning at the top with a red “LIVE” icon. You can also do a “Live with” where you invite a guest on and Instagram splits the screen in half. Both your followers and your guest’s followers will see the telltale Live icon at the top. Your Live Story could be a product sneak peek, behind-the-scenes, meet the staff, customer spotlight, Q&A session, special offer, exclusive discounts and more.
  2. Conduct polls. I’ve found interactive polls to be an excellent method for sparking increased engagement. Instagram makes it super easy to add a simple and fun voting button as a slider, or a simple two word or emoji choice. You can even share the poll results later as another Story.
  3. Highlight user generated content. If you gather user generated content across your social channels, you could share screenshots with the relevant user @tag and an appropriate hashtag. These could be simple shout outs, or testimonials and reviews. Instagram auto-suggests hashtags when you start to type. Be sure to first search and settle on the best hashtag for your Story, as this can really help others discover you.
  4. Announce new content. If you publish blog posts/articles, podcast episodes, vlogs (video blogs), and/or live streaming videos, be sure to use Stories to let your Instagram followers know. Always include the related URL in the Swipe Up feature, if you have it.
  5. Share exclusive deals. Entice your followers to keep coming back to consume your Stories by regularly sharing special offers, codes, or unexpected bonuses.

 

Embrace micro-engagement, too

 

Whether you choose to include Stories in your marketing mix or not, I highly recommend starting to at least view and engage with Stories. This is a great way to create what I call micro-engagement.

 

When you view Stories on Instagram, the person/business will see that you've seen their content in their Insights. Granted, not everyone necessarily views their Insights for each Story, but many do, including myself.

 

When possible, try sending a quick reply or even an emoji response to a Story. This goes to the account holder’s private inbox. (Depending on user settings, the ability to reply may not be available on all Stories).


In closing, it is worth noting here that at YouTube’s 2018 VidCon video conference, the company announced that it, too, will be launching a Stories feature.

 

Clearly, Stories are here to stay and businesses would do well to map out a powerful micro-content strategy.

 

Related Content:

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media

Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

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