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From Guest Blogger & Bowe Digital Intern, Marissa Weiner:

Like ghosts, ghouls and goblins, Instagram is feared because it’s unknown to many. Though the photo sharing app launched nearly a decade  ago, many businesses remain reluctant in entering the “new” platform. Additionally, with most Instagrammers using Facebook as well, some business owners see no pressing need to join the Instagram realm if they already have an online presence on Facebook. However, if you want to reach a younger demographic, particularly millennials, creating a free Instagram account is paramount, as 71% of the app’s users are under the age of 35. 

Instagram shouldn’t be spooky; it doesn’t have sharp fangs or long claws. It has red eyes, but those can be easily edited and removed. Though creating an Instagram feed followed by many may seem alien to the inexperienced user, the guide below will help your business stand out above the rest. 

DO: Utilize Instagram stories to tell your story 

No matter what your business is selling, your brand has a story-- consumers want to flip the pages. Did Veronica, your sales representative, just have twins? Thanks to Veronica, you’ve just gained 15 new followers. By sharing the little moments that make your company unique, people want to literally follow along. Along the way, your company builds trust and credibility, associating faces and memories to what was once just a company name and cheesy slogan.

DO: Filter your photos consistently

The word “aesthetic” seems to spew out of the mouth of every Instagram user nowadays. While building an aesthetically pleasing feed worth following may seem impossible if your company sells and manufactures toilet plungers (or title insurance), it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Consistency is the key to Instagram fame and fortune, so it’s essential that each photo is filtered using the same preset. But b filter photos judiciously , careful not to oversaturate an image. 

DO: Show company culture through Instagram’s Live Stories 

It’s no coincidence that The Office is Netflix’s most watched show—broadcasting the mundanities of everyday life is appealing. Did Phil just spill his coffee for the second time this week? Kevin spilled his chili in season five episode 26 of The Office, and I’m still laughing. No, I’m not saying you should use Live Stories to bully your colleagues. Instead, use Live Stories to give consumers a real-time behind-the-scenes glimpse at the characters of your company. If your office has its own Kevin-esque character, consider yourself (and your Instagram) lucky. 

DON’T: Use stock photos 

Stock photos have a place in your marketing plan, but it’s not on Instagram. The photos may be better utilized on a platform like Facebook, in which an older generation is targeted. Millennials, however, will take one look at the photo of your “receptionist” and know there’s no way “Miguel” is smiling that wide on a Monday morning. Rather than finding artificial photos on Shutterstock or Pixabay, take real, in-office photos. Maybe you spend one Friday evening having a photoshoot, allowing a database of photos to be locked and loaded for future use.

Marissa Weiner is a senior Butler University student pursuing degrees in Communications and Media and English Creative Writing. She interned with Bowe Digital during the summer of 2019. 

Instagram, millennials love it, and baby boomers don’t know what to think of it. What makes Instagram so much scarier than Facebook? Is it not knowing what to post or the uncertainty of how it will help your business? Too many times I have heard people say their business doesn’t need an Instagram account because it won’t help their business.

But those people are wrong. Instagram is a booming social platform that has over 1 billion users. Each day, there are 500 million active people on Instagram. Seems like a lot, huh? Well, it is.

So, how many businesses currently have an Instagram account? Take a guess. Over 28 million is the correct answer. Those accounts are helping businesses not only keep customers engaged but bring in new customers. But do people really follow business accounts? Yes! Over 80% of Instagram users follow business accounts. Seems like a no brainer to have an account then, right? But how do you do it effectively?

You don’t want to manage your business account in the same way you manage your personal account. The point of an Instagram account for your business it to build a relationship with a target audience. What’s that mean exactly?

People buy from businesses they like. What’s that mean? Not everyone will follow your account and that’s okay!

People like businesses they trust. Each business has a story, what’s yours? Is your whole team bought in?

Relationships build trust. Build that relationship with your customers. Be personable. Be real. People like working with and buying from companies that have built a relationship with them.
Content builds relationships. Push out content that your followers want to see and are useful to them. Don’t just post to post.

So, what do you post?

Your customers use Instagram for images and video, so you want to make sure your posts are visually appealing. When creating a post, you want to think about three things:

1. What do your customers care about?
2. What does your brand stand for?
3. What makes your business (or product) unique?

Once you have created your post, you need to know when the best time is to push it out. Time zones DO MATTER. If you are wanting to reach a Midwest client, you should post on Tuesday morning around 11 a.m. Posts are only seen for 24 hours or less, so you want to make sure you are pushing out your content at the right time to get as many eyes on your posts as possible.
Don’t let your business get forgotten. Instagram is trending and will continue to be a leading social platform. Make sure you are present. Want help with creating and managing that content? Call Bowe Digital today at 317-410-1690.

Are you in a committed relationship with your business or are you just flirting with it?

Sometimes in a long-term relationship, or a marriage, we become “comfortable.” We have to work at remembering why we got into the relationship to begin with. Our business relationship is no different. We have to keep the “why” out in front.

Do you value loyalty and follow-through? How committed are you to your team? Is your support solid? Do you know how to improve your level of commitment? Let us look at how you might accomplish that.

It is not always common for a business to expressly share their core values with each team member. Your own team could be sharing what they think the core values are and may not realize they are not hitting the mark.

The definition of values is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.  "your support is of great value" a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life. "they internalize their parents' rules and values"

Take the time to help your team align these values with the company core values.

Core values are how you make decisions, plan strategies, and interact with each other and your stakeholders. Core values reflect what is important to the organization and its members. They are the essence of your company’s identity.

Does your business have a mission statement? Do the leaders in your company know what it is? Are the leaders of your business committed to the values shared in your statement?

If the last time you read your mission statement was when you launched a new website, or when you were hired, you’re missing an opportunity to revive your own commitment. If you have never reviewed this statement with your team, and insured its understanding, you are missing an opportunity to show how you support these values.

I challenge all leaders to make a list of your personal and business commitments. Do your commitments still align with your core values? You may find that you have commitments unrelated to your values. Reevaluate. You may also have values you are not living out. Commit to those.

Share with your team. Discuss with your team. What do they view as the direction of your business? What direction are they committed to follow? If you want to build a strong cohesive team you must be committed to helping your team grow as well as committing to your own growth as a leader.

If a team is expected to reach goals there must be a level of commitment. Sharing your commitment and enthusiasm helps to build a stronger foundation. Leaders must commit to reviewing the values and ensuring the goals are still aligned. Leaders must stand firm on matters that relate to your values.

Keep in mind you can not make a commitment to uncommitted people. The same is true in reverse. Regain the focus of your commitment. Increase your level of commitment. Find out how to tell your story the best way possible. Commit to landing your team’s commitment on the same page.

Bowe Digital can help you define your values and take your relationship with your business to the next level.  Telling your story is important and Bowe Digital is committed to showing you how to communicate your story better than you thought possible.