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Yes, It IS Possible to Sell a Service on Instagram

May 16 2016

Perhaps you have never considered Instagram for your business. If you are an accountant or an attorney, maybe you didn’t think your line of work was creative enough. Now it might take a little more work, but you can definitely sell your skills and services on Instagram.

Instagram, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, is all about building your online community. You want people to connect with you and your company on a more intimate level. Let’s say for an example that you are an attorney, you can use Instagram to share quotes, photos of your office, shots of the courthouses you work in, and favorite activities outside of work.

If your business is in graphic design, you would want to share your portfolio of work and places where you draw inspiration. If you are a landscaper or a landscape architect, share before and after photos of your completed gardens and lawns. You could also share helpful hints for the home gardeners and inspirational photos from the top landscape architects around the world.

old vintage camera closeup on wooden backgroundWhen it comes to Instagram, you want the images you share to be a reflection of you and your company. Some other tips to get you started include:

Short Links—The links on Instagram aren’t active, so make sure that any links to your website or blog are short and easy to remember. You can use a service like Bitly to shorten long links. You will have to retype these if you share on Facebook or Twitter, so a short link is key.
Email List—Using your email marketing program, take a screenshot of the opt-in page or use another image and provide the link for new users to sign up. Instagram also gives you a chance to create a 15-second video, so you can give viewers a few great reasons to sign up for your emails.

Video—As stated above, you can create 15 second videos for your page. If you’re a graphic designer, create a time-lapse of your work. If you are a hairstylist, show a sped-up braid tutorial. Share testimonials from your clients or colleagues.

How To—Invite your customers to share a photo of a common issue and give them solutions on how to solve it. If you are an electrician, it might be on how to remove a broken bulb from a lamp. If you are a carpenter, you could show the best method of removing paint and sanding furniture.

Build a Community—Instagram is all about building relationships, so comment on and share photos from your followers. Also follow some of your colleagues in the industry and comment positively on their work to build a relationship.

Instagram is a great way to market your business in a fun, visual, and entertaining way. Remember to play it safe with posting, don’t post anything that you think might offend someone and steer clear of political posts. When you are commenting, keep your tone light and conversational. You want to treat your followers as your friends.

 

Do you have any other tips for using Instagram for business? Talk to us in the comments.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/freebooks.html

Set Your Business Apart with a Customer Inner Circle

May 02 2016

When you were first starting out in business, you had a few friends, family members and customers that you leaned on for support and advice. Now these might have changed over the years, but chances are your business still has some trusted friends and customers. They also probably still give you advice informally or tell you when your company has a problem. And that’s great. Businesses need those checks and balances to keep growing and operating smoothly.

But did you know that there is a way to formalize that process? By creating a customer inner circle for a business, you will raise the level of communication, build trust, and grow your company and it’s free. Let’s say for example that you own an accounting firm that specializes in small business finance. You could create a group on Facebook or on Google and invite your longest clients to participate. Have them share questions or issues that frequently come up or a service that your company should either provide or improve. The feedback that your oldest clients provide gives you insight into how to better your work, your staff and yourself.

People stand in circle on speech bubbleSome other ways to rev up your online Inner Circle include:

Ask a Question—If you are trying to decide on a course of action for your business, pose the question to the group. If you run a spa and you are debating adding a makeup bar or classes on braiding use the inner circle to find out which one appeals to your trusted clients.

Previews—Websites generally need refreshing every few years and your inner circle can be the perfect place to debate design, content, and other features. Give your inner circle the chance to view potential new designs or ask them what features they would like to see added. Normally a service like this would be expensive, but using your inner circle saves you a bundle. Plus who knows your company and your website better than the folks that were there three versions ago.

Benefits—Although you aren’t paying the inner circle members to be there, it would be a nice gesture for your company to offer some benefits for all the free advice. Giving them sneak previews, offering them a discount on services, or bonuses like tickets to a baseball game will encourage them to stay active with the group.

Share—The feedback that your inner circle gives you is of great benefit, but only if you use it. Review what they have to say, share it with your staff and then share it with the rest of your customers to see if they agree. Sharing the feedback is validating the feedback and it gives the participants a sense of trust that their thoughts are taken seriously.

An engaged inner circle can be an integral part of your company’s development. It will give you insight on how to grow and how to fix issues. An inner circle will also cut down on costs because you aren’t hiring a professional consultant. Your customers know your company better than anyone so put their knowledge to work for you.

Has your business created a customer inner circle? How is it working? Talk to us in the comments.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/bigbook.html

Yes, It IS Possible to Sell a Service on Pinterest

April 11 2016

Wait, what? If you aren’t that familiar with Pinterest, you might think it was all pallet projects and paleo recipes. But it is so much more and you can definitely sell what you do on it. Plus, with over 70 million users on it, why wouldn’t you? Read More

7 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Small Business Owners

March 28 2016

As the owner of a small business, you are probably already aware that social media can be a great asset and a huge liability. We have heard countless times that in order to move business forward, engage customers, and drive sales we must be using social media. After you move to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy though, the next question is which one do you choose and how do you use it to the best of its capabilities. That answer is usually found with what your business actually is and where your clients are online. If you offer professional services like accounting, you might find that Linkedin and Google+ might be your best options. If you own a restaurant, you might want to try Instagram (for photos of the food), Facebook (for specials, discounts, reviews), and Twitter (for daily specials or exciting news.) Read More

7 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Healthcare Providers

March 14 2016

As a physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider, you must be always “on.” Your patients need answers and a lot of time you must think on your feet, respond quickly to situations and look for solutions. As we continue to grow as a global society, the needs of patients will only grow too. Especially when it comes to having access to practitioners and the medical information they possess. Most research about possible conditions or practices begins online these days, so it would make sense for your practice to join social media or one of the numerous healthcare websites. And for the most part, it is a great idea to reach your patients where they are online; however, it is vital to do your research beforehand to avoid costly mistakes. If you are making the move to creating an online community, find out where your patients are and follow these dos or don’ts for success. Read More

What’s the Best Time to Publish a Press Release?

February 29 2016

It’s Friday afternoon around 3pm and you have finally finished the press release that you worked on throughout the past week. You have major news regarding your company and spent time crafting the headline, the lead, and the perfect quote. The problem is it’s Friday afternoon and you know if journalists and reporters are anything like you, they aren’t going to be looking at their email. So when should you send the press release? Read More

Take an Old Blog Post and Make It New Again

February 15 2016

We all need a refresh from time to time. Whether it is your clothes, your hairstyle, or your deodorant, change is a good thing. The same rule applies for the content on your blog. Not only does it improve your website’s search engine ranking, but it also increases the readership of your site. Plus, you don’t have to sweat over trying to come up with a brand new article. For example, if you wrote a stellar blog post a year ago on a subject that is currently trending again, you can and should revamp the article to attract new eyes. Your current readers may not have any idea that this old article applies to a current topic. Read More

How to Improve Your Reach on Facebook

January 25 2016

Facebook is sometimes incredibly frustrating for marketing. We love it because we can reach our fans in a more intimate way, but the frequent changes they make to the algorithms are maddening. Businesses often resort to purchasing ad or “boosting posts” in order to make sure that their posts are reaching the audience. That strategy can get expensive quick. Read More

Got a Bad Review? Here is How to Handle It

January 11 2016

It happens to the best of us. As the owner of a company, you pride yourself on delivering top quality service and products. You spend time training your employees to deliver the best customer service and you listen to your customers when there is an issue. But then one day it happens, you get a negative review on your blog or a negative comment on your Facebook page. This is when you need a policy in place on how to manage negativity about your company. Read More

How to Stay Ahead on Social Media in 2016

January 02 2016

It’s not easy to stay current with trends in social media. Changes happen daily and as soon as you think you have your finger on the pulse of your networks; it is ten steps ahead of you. The same will be true for 2016, which we are already a quarter of the way through (crazy.) Read More