Instagram Marketing: 3 Tips to Get Started

Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be. With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel.

Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be.
 
With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel. Business accounts on Instagram can now track when their audience is most active on the platform, see the demographic breakdown of their followers, and measure the reach, impressions and engagement around each post. Instagram also now allows mobile ad creation, allowing business accounts to easily promote well-performing posts as ads. Instagram created an easy-to-follow video detailing the perks of having a business account.

If you think Instagram is a good fit, you should start thinking about how to incorporate it into your marketing mix. Here’s three ways to go about doing just that.

1. Set up a business Instagram account. If you already have an account for your business, but haven’t designated it as a business account, it’s easy to switch. 

Having a business Instagram account allows you to see insights from your audience, such as when your followers are the most active and how many users view your Instagram profile.

2. Before you post, have a strategy in place. Instagram is a visual social network, so users expect—and want—to see posts that are aesthetically pleasing. In other words, the prettier, the better. Also, remember use hashtags to help Instagram users find you. When writing your hashtags, think about terms your target audience might search for. If you’re targeting people in the Greater Cleveland area, using #cleveland, #clevelandgram and #thisiscle is always a good idea, for example.

3. Use Instagram stories. Instagram recently introduced stories  (similar to those found on Snapchat), which allow you to string together a series of photos and videos rather than limit yourself to a single post at a time. Check out this post from SocialMediaToday for examples of how brands are using stories to further engage their audience.

And for a more detailed how-to approach to creating Instagram stories, check out CNET’s guide

Want more social media marketing advice? Visit our hub for all things social to read more social best practices articles like this one.




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  • Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    This is part 1 of the series.

    Listen here.

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  • Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

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  • Next up: Intellectual Property Legislation and Supreme Court Cases

    Intellectual Property Legislation and Supreme Court Cases

    NEOSA met with John Cipolla, partner with Calfee Halter, back in early December 2009 to discuss current legislation affecting the future of intellectual property as well as upcoming Supreme Court cases with the potential for significant impact.

    NEOSA met with John Cipolla, partner with Calfee Halter, back in early December 2009 to discuss current legislation affecting the future of intellectual property as well as upcoming Supreme Court cases with the potential for significant impact.

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  • Next up: The Importance of Succession Planning: Preparing to Pass Control of Your Business is a Long-Term Event

    The Importance of Succession Planning: Preparing to Pass Control of Your Business is a Long-Term Event

     

    At its most basic level, succession planning is the process of passing control of a business to others. It’s important to spend time developing a succession strategy—and to start early because it can take months or even years to successfully implement a plan within a business.

    Depending on your stage of life, your succession plan may look different. Someone who is early on in their career or business may be preparing a succession plan in the event of an untimely passing, whereas others may be preparing their plan for retirement. 

    For those owners who are getting ready to move on to the next stage of their lives, a formal business valuation in preparation for a sale or transfer of ownership may be a step to consider in the planning process. 

    One of the more difficult tasks in any succession plan can be identifying the appropriate leader or leaders to take a business into the future. Potential successors can be family members or existing employees. They could come from outside the company, often though, it can be easier to groom someone already in your business.

    Mentoring a successor
    Once a successor or successors are identified, it takes time to mentor them into a management role. Creating a training plan can help ensure that everyone involved has time to learn the skills, gather the information and practice the leadership roles critical to the future success of the business.

    Progress should be evaluated by the business owner and the successor(s) throughout the process, with the understanding that the arrangement does not have to be permanent. If the successor does not seem to be working out with the plan, the owner can inform the successor and choose another candidate that is a better fit to lead the organization in the future.

    Keep your bank in the loop
    When an owner is engaged and thinking ahead, it gives a bank confidence. Still, many business owners don’t want to think about the business existing without them. They might know they need a plan, but resist putting one in place. That can create problems in a banking relationship.

    Banks want to know that business owners have a contingency plan in the event that they’re suddenly unable to operate the business. Banks want to know what happens to the company, who takes over, and if that person or people are capable of taking it over in that event.

    When an owner’s exit involves transitioning the business to the next generation or to employees, it’s important for the bank to get to know and build relationships with the next generation of ownership. The relationship between a bank and a business owner is personal, and banks want to know that the people lined up to take over the business know the industry, understand operations and have a vision for the business’s future.

    A sale or transfer could also affect existing loan covenants. Companies that are headed toward a sale event are going to put significant emphasis on growth, building up their balance sheet and income statements. That growth could trigger a loan covenant. 

    Additionally, in a transition, an owner will likely pull money out of the company ahead of his or her exit. That makes sense for owners because they built the business and have earned their share. A bank can be the source of financing if the newly transitioned business owner needs additional cash flow to maintain the business through the transition.

    And, do it early in the relationship
    The business’s bank should be made aware of the company’s succession plans very early in the relationship. The relationship began with the current owner, so the bank already knows his or her story and feels comfortable with that lending arrangement. But once a transition plan is in place, the sooner the bank can know the plan and the players in the succession plan, the better. 

    Without a succession plan, the business could be put in a tough place if a sudden transition in ownership is made. This situation could disrupt the current lending relationship if the bank doesn’t feel confident in the new owner and his or her ability to run the company.

    While it might be tempting to craft a plan and then forget about it, understand that the conditions that exist at the time the plan is created could, and probably will, change before the plan is implemented. It’s a good idea to start assembling a plan at least five years before an exit and revisit the plan if circumstances change that require the plan to be updated.

    Regardless of your situation, it is important to consider multiple options and to consult with professionals in the field, such as accountants, lawyers and bankers, to explore the variety of options available in transferring the business to another person or entity.

    Kurt Kappa is Chief Lending Officer for First Federal Lakewood.

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  • Next up: Intellectual Property with Calfee Halter Part 3

    Intellectual Property with Calfee Halter Part 3

    This is our final IP segment with Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee Halter, discussing intellectual property and technology firms.

    This is our final IP segment with Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee Halter, discussing intellectual property and technology firms.

    Listen here.

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