What Instagram In-App Payments Could Mean for Business

Instagram In-App Payments

An Instagram in-app payments feature was just added early this month.

This new feature allows social media users to make purchases on Instagram. How? Users can add a credit/debit card to their account, with a pin for security. After they set-up and verify the accounts, users can make purchases through their Instagram account.

Instagram hasn’t stated when it plans to roll out this service.

Weaving commerce more deeply into social media apps offers potentially huge rewards for companies behind the apps, as well as those with products to sell.

Instagram says that more than 80 percent of its 800 million-plus users follow a business on the social network. With numbers like that, the Facebook-owned company will be keen to build out its shopping services to draw in more advertisers and boost revenue even further.

What does this mean for businesses?

You’re able to show your product and store where your customers already are.

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is getting your customer to your store and check out.

While Instagram already offers shopping opportunities via tagged items shown in an image, making a purchase currently involves navigating a pop-out page and completing various steps, including entering payment details for each new merchant.

Instagram in-app payments are now erasing that hurdle for businesses. Your customers won’t even need to leave Instagram to purchase the product you’re showing on your feed. The more steps involved in the buying process, the more likely a customer is going to fall out of the funnel.

It might not seem like Instagram is the place for businesses to communicate with their audience, but Instagram reports that over 200 million Instagrammers actively visit a business profile every day.

How will Instagram in-app payments work?

One of the first equipped is a dinner reservation app Resy. Some of its clients’ Instagram Pages now offer this native payment for the booking. And in the future, Instagram says you can expect direct payments for things like movie tickets through the app.

A tap through to the terms of service reveals that Instagram Payments are backed by Facebook’s Payments rules.

With its polished pictures and a plethora of brands, shopping through Instagram could prove popular and give businesses a big new reason to advertise on the app. If they can get higher conversion rates because people don’t quit in the middle of checkout as they fill in their payment info, brands might prefer to push people to buy via Instagram.

The whole point of Instagram not allowing links in captions is to keep you in a smooth, uninterrupted browsing flow. Getting booted out to the web to buy something broke that. Instagram Payments could make impulse buys much quicker, enticing more businesses to get on board. Even if Instagram takes no cut of the revenue, brands are likely to boost ad spend to get their shoppable posts seen by more people if the native payments mean more of them actually complete a purchase.

How can businesses utilize Instagram in-app payments?

Whenever a new trend or update comes to social accounts, your first thought should always be “How can this benefit my account?”?

Once Instagram opens up the payment option to the general public, you’ll be able to enable your audience with the ability to purchase your products and services directly on Instagram.

Until then, there are things you can do to prepare for the upcoming update.

Make sure you have an Instagram Business account

Business accounts provide businesses a lot more flexibility when it comes to managing your account and presence on Instagram.

They allow you to have an office location and hours in a separate section from a regular Instagram bio. Business accounts also have access to helpful analytics and promotional tools.

You’re also able to boost specific posts that will help you reach a wider audience.

Make sure your site is mobile-optimized.

Since you’re wanting to drive your audience to purchase from you online, the first step is to drive them to your site and store. Instagram is a mobile app, so visitors will be accessing your site from their phone or another mobile device.

Giving them a poor first impression will seriously hurt your chances of ever nurturing them into a customer.

Looking to the Future

Overall, the Instagram in-app payments update is very exciting for businesses and customers alike. Instagram is helping streamline the buyer’s journey through their app, and we’re excited to see how this will pan out.

Do you have any questions about marketing on Instagram or other social sites? Contact us here!

Benefits of Using Google My Business

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool that helps businesses and organizations manage their online presence on Google. It helps customers find your company’s information, such as hours, recent updates, photos, etc. Also, it allows you to respond to reviews, update information, and add posts.

Why use it?

Having a Google My Business sidebar appear after someone searches for your business makes it appear more professional. It can also improve its local rankings. Additionally, it provides viewers with quick and short information so that they don’t have to dig too deep to find what they are looking for.

Advantages

With the new Posts feature, users can create and update more information on the business sidebar. For example, posting about sales, promotions, or upcoming events is a good way to attract customers.

Recently, Google added a Q&A feature, which displays frequently asked questions to viewers right away. This makes it easier for them to decide if they are interested or not. In addition to Posts and Q&A’s, Google has created a real-time chat mode with customers and businesses. This allows for more client engagement and increases brand loyalty.

In short, Google My Business is a great way to keep your small business or organization at the forefront of peoples’ minds.

Want to find out more about best practices on Google? Ask us!

3 External Communications Apps for Your Business

communications

External communications are as important as internal communication. It’s about sending messages to your audience. Such as your clients, investors, suppliers, members of the community, or others.

Certain software can aid in effective communication with people outside of your business. Here’s a list of 3 helpful applications that can benefit your business’ external communications.

Buffer

If you’re looking for a way to create and update social media content on multiple platforms at a time, try Buffer. It’s the easiest option for communicating information to prospective or current clients. When using the application, you can schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

Canva

Canva, a free graphic design website, is a valuable marketing application. It lets you create marketing and advertising materials such as posters, flyers, invitations, etc. Additionally, the best thing about Canva is that even non-designers find it simple to use. Providing the user with premade templates makes it easier on those who aren’t very artsy.

Facebook Pages Manager App

Finally, this app from Facebook allows you to oversee up to 50 of your Facebook pages from your smartphone or tablet. Therefore, it proves to be an efficient social media platform for managing your company’s external communications. You can check activity and keep up-to-date with the page insights.

Overall, if you’re searching for the right communication to reach your intended audience, we recommend you try one of these. If you have questions, let us know! Contact us.

3 Communication Apps for Your Business

Communication

Effective communication within an organization is essential for it to function correctly.

A quick but efficient way to communicate with other employees within your business is to use digital applications. Here are a few examples of useful apps that your business can use:

Skype

Let’s start with the simplest software. Skype is an application that provides video calling between devices. Additionally, it serves as an instant messenger, so you can quickly send information to other employees in (or out of) the office without having to get out of your chair.

Trello

One way to keep employees organized is to use Trello. It’s a web-based project management application that allows members to collaborate by adding projects to “boards”. In short, it tells you who is working on certain tasks within your organization, and when they are completed.

Infusionsoft

Finally, Infusionsoft is an email marketing platform and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software all-in-one. Therefore, this means that you can manage your clients’ contact information, interaction history, and other individual records. Infusionsoft saves you hours of time by making your customer details simple and well-organized.

Without a doubt, these three applications are helpful tools that aid in managing your business’ internal communications. For more information about these platforms, contact us here.

Cleaning Up Your SEO For Fall

SEO for fall

Since website performance and optimization is affected by things such as bad links, sloppy code, and poor content, it is a great time to do a semi-annual tidying to eliminate any problems. What does something like this do for search engine optimization efforts? Here are a few ways to be sure any essential SEO for fall areas that tend to collect internet ‘dirt’ is cleaned.

Analyze with Analytics

Using analytic software such as Google Analytics and run a full array of reports normally monitored, especially important ones like site and page errors. Error reports are the most significant and probably the lengthiest. Don’t put off the work! Every error detected by analytics tools is one more that is affecting website efficiency.

Review Your SEO for fall

Since it can be somewhat difficult to systematically review websites for SEO, content, and other aspects, adding this job to the twice-yearly cleaning can help make sure it actually happens. Be sure content is correct and complete; review upcoming content ideas to be sure of current relevancy. Discover the latest trends in SEO and coding; update any techniques or HTML to benefit the overall website.

Site Errors

The annoying truth of the matter is that site errors need to be fixed. Many will be simple such as dead links or URLs with typos; others may be quite important. SEO reports can point out errors such as pages missing header tags, nonworking links, and other such information. Troubleshooting site speed may show other types of problems that unknowingly exist. It may be tedious; however, it is necessary to fix page issues regularly. This will improve site speed and result in fewer problem pages on the website.

Social Profiles

Check those important social media pages to be sure that they work, especially for any unknown issues. Be sure links from main websites to different social pages are not broken, out of place, or have been forgotten. Such problems should be corrected quickly, as this can potentially affect website traffic both to social sites and back to the corresponding website.

It probably seems like a lot to go through twice a year; however, doing so can keep any website and its search engine optimization efforts functioning smoothly and reaching planned goals with very few concerns. Don’t overlook this important fall website tidying effort – and keep that website running like new!

Have any questions about updating your SEO for Fall? Contact us here! 

6 Instagram Marketing Tips for Businesses

instagram

Over the past couple of years, Instagram has become a power house in the realm of social media. With over 700 million monthly active users, the platform has become a great place to share content with your audience.

Whether your strategy needs an update or you’re a newcomer to this social media network, you can use these 6 tips to help your improve your Instagram marketing. 

1. Your profile is key

As a company, don’t get too caught up in fitting all of what you do in 150 characters. Focus on your most important description or your next big thing – be it an event, promotion or product launch. Since the only clickable link is in your Bio section, make a habit of updating it frequently. Think about promoting more than your website. You can include the link to event registrations, app downloads or even purchases links.

2. Get Creative

Focus on the solution you provide to your audience, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s necessary to show value to your customers and look great while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that the most important asset on this social media network is visual content.

3. Stop, collaborate and listen

Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories. Take into account that not everyone is monitoring hashtags on social media, so tagging an account is usually a better choice if you want to get noticed.

4. Analyze your Instagram ventures

Without taking a step back and analyzing what worked and didn’t, marketing becomes a guessing game. Make sure to regularly measure your follower count, engagement, and clicks, all to refine and improve your strategy.

5. Show them the business behind the curtain

Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products/services come from, and you can use Instagram to show them the whole lifecycle.

If nothing comes to mind, you can share something that everyone has – sketches, notes, and filled whiteboards or blackboards. You may find that it’s best to try out different post types until you strike gold with the one that will engage the audience.

6. Use hashtags wisely

Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general – all that’s important is that they are relevant. This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account. It’s best practice to use between three to five hashtags and consider how you add hashtags. Whether they’re added at the end of the post, in a comment or in the actual post.

Have any more questions about Instagram marketing or about any other social media? Contact us here!

4 Simple Marketing Tips for The Local Business Owner

local business

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest marketing tips, but it’s important to take a step back and make sure that you find advice that works for you and your local business.

In local marketing, businesses put a lot of effort at the start and then let it fall by the wayside as the year moves on.

Check out these marketing tips for your local business:

Facebook Advertising

Social media networks aren’t always the first thing companies think while building local marketing strategies, but Facebook advertising is an exception.

It’s an inexpensive way to advertise your business to the target audience. Like Google, Facebook also knows buying and click patterns of all their one billion plus users. They are experts in putting the ads in front of a relevant local audience.

Ask for Reviews

Reviews are a must-have for all companies who focus on local search marketing.

You should get your business listed on all of the major reviews sites and then make sure that you’re managing those websites. Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Consumer Reports, and even Amazon are great places to start.

Keep your information up to date and complete, and be ready to tackle any negative reviews in a healthy way. By putting a “Review Us” link on your homepage, talking with your loyal customers, and urging your social community to get involved.

By putting a “Review Us” link on your homepage, you can talk with your loyal customers whose opinions matter most.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Local SEO means you’re optimizing your website for the local web search so that your business shows up in a location-specific query. For example, “Laundromats near me” or “best coffee in New York City” would both be considered local searches.

How do you get started with local SEO?

It’s a big topic, but it mainly has to do with making sure you have local accounts on all of the major search engines (Bing, Yahoo!, and Google) and use of right local keywords for the target audience and area.

Attend, Speak, and Host Local Events

You should try to get involved in the community as much as possible. You could Join your local Chamber of Commerce,  advertise in the local papers, and or host a local event.

Need help with your marketing ventures? Don’t hesitate to contact us here!

6 Reasons You Need To Switch to Inbound Marketing

inbound marketing

Today now more than ever, Inbound Marketing is important for any business.

Inbound marketing is the process of earning a forefront place in your customer’s mind rather than spamming them with paid advertisements.

Here are 6 reasons your business needs to switch to the inbound methodology.

1. Inbound Plays the Long Game

With outbound, as soon as you stop paying, you stop seeing results. With inbound, your content is always there and if you’re in the right business, so is the need.

Leads are drawn over time, and the longer your article gets traffic, the higher it will rank, making it even more likely to gain traffic. That’s why blog content creation is the number 1 priority for a majority of marketers.

It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

2. You Can Learn More About Your Audience

Inbound marketing is all about communication and dialogue. By engaging in content and social conversations, you can learn useful things about your audience that will help you convert.

This will enable you to ask the right questions on your landing page forms. Social media listening will enable you to pick up trends and anticipate what content you should be producing.

Actively listening to your customers is a huge key to success in inbound marketing.

3. Outbound is A Dying Practice

A few years ago, it was easy to create a piece of content or an outbound message and grab the attention of your target audience.

In 2017, white space is GONE. People are bombarded with advertising everywhere, on every device, at home, and at work.

Consumers have become incredibly skilled at narrowing their attention to focus only on what they want to see.

4. Inbound Focuses on Growth

Inbound marketing takes time. You can grow sustainably, instead of perpetuating the boom and bust culture that has caused so many problems in the world economy.

As the inbound marketing snowball gets bigger, in turn bringing in more leads. It should pay for itself, and always deliver more than it costs. Content will gather momentum with less and less energy required from you for it to grow. It will grow itself.

5. Inbound Can Save You Time AND Money

Time spent on inbound is time spent on strong leads. Time spent spamming emails to hundreds of people who don’t know or care what you offer is time wasted.

Inbound allows you to focus your time effectively. Which means less time on marketing and more on building your business.

6. Inbound Builds Trust

Inbound Marketing is like building a friendship with your audience. What are the qualities you want in a friend? Trustworthiness, reliability, a sense of humor, basic competence, and a unique perspective.

When customers see that you are creating useful content, that you’re professional, that you’re knowledgeable in your field, they can’t help but have more respect and trust for you.

If someone trusts you, of course, they are more likely to buy from you. This is the essence of inbound marketing. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this.

Have questions or want to learn more about inbound marketing? Don’t hesitate to contact us here.

SEO Basics Every Business Owner Should Know

seo

You may have seen it somewhere before. On LinkedIn, in an article somewhere or in a free webinar you joined. The word SEO is commonly heard in the realms of marketing, website design and a multitude of others.

But do you know what it stands? You know it’s important but…

What is it?

SEO is a noun and stands for Search Engine Optimization. But that does not really answer the question. Let me put it this way, go ahead and Google your name, now count how many hits lead back to you. Generally, your hits are Facebook, Linked-in, Instagram, or maybe you’ve had a news article written about you: these results are your personal SEO.

Now apply the same concept to your business. The more times your name pops up in an organic search, the more likely your website is to be clicked. This is simple psychology. The more something is right in front of a client the more reliable it seems.

How does it work?

Search Engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo comb through your website looking for keywords and phrases. Go back to Google and type in, “Two houses divided.” I’m willing to bet most all of your search results had to do with Shakespear and Romeo and Juliet. Weird, right? You were not looking for either of things.

In order to make this work for your business, you need a clear picture of what people are looking for when they need your services. Keywords are worth their weight in Antimatter (the most expensive substance per gram). Once you discover what words and phrases people use in their searches, embed them on your website. Every page should its own list of keywords for search engines to locate.

Why do you need it?

That’s the easy part! The majority of website traffic comes directly from search engine results. This is because search engines represent the most popular way of navigating through the World Wide Web. With proper SEO optimization, the flow of traffic will lead directly to your web page.

Interested in learning more about SEO? Or improving your own? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Facebook has done it again. What the heck is a Beacon?

Recently I was looking over notifications for one of the Facebook pages I manage when I stumbled into this message alert atop the page about a beacon:

special invitation
Figure 1 Screenshot of beacon invitation

Facebook is certainly one for new innovations that usually aren’t introduced. But rather implemented. Therefore, I was less than shocked to see yet another “Facebook update” that I hadn’t heard of. Even working day-to-day in the Marketing and Social Media world doesn’t necessarily grant you awareness of current trends. But being that I like to have know-how of such events. I thought I’d investigate these new Facebook “beacons” and find out if indeed this was a special invitation.

Basically what I’ve found is such:

facebook beacon
Figure 2 Photo c/o Facebook Help Pages

A Beacon is a Bluetooth device.

Facebook plans to send these devices to businesses with great activity on Facebook within their local area for early access trial runs.

The beacon will interact with your customers’ Facebook apps while visiting your business. To let them know inside “tips” about your business. These tips are based off of comments your friends have made on Facebook, reviews of the business, photos that have been posted and more of that liking.

Beacon
Figure 3 Screenshot explaining the beacon further

According to an article posted in Facebook’s Help Center: “Your location is determined using cellular networks, Wi-Fi, GPS and Facebook Bluetooth® beacons. Viewing place tips doesn’t post on Facebook or show people where you are.”

When I clicked “Get Free Beacon” I was taken to a form to fill out name, address and business name. There’s also an option to send the device to a different address. Than that of the business page you were on. If you are like me and managing a page for another company.

Is this the future?

So far as I see it, this new addition to Facebook technology could either be a fantastic advantage for businesses and their customers. Or it could be taken as yet another creepy invasion of technology that we now need to block in our privacy settings. As a Social Media Maven and voice for many businesses soon to receive these beacons. I’m obviously pushing for the former to be true.

At this time we have not yet received the device or put it into action so only time will tell how people react. We will update once we have more information for you and try these little Bluetooth gems for ourselves.

Have you heard about Beacons? Were you invited to use one? What are your thoughts on this technology and Facebook introducing it to their platform?