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How to use amazing Instagram content to boost your digital marketing

If you don’t care about the future of your business or customers, stop reading now.

Instagram is a tremendously powerful platform and it’s your duty to leverage it for your business. User engagement levels are 15 times higher than Facebook, and over 75% of leading brands are already present on the platform.

Maybe you already knew that or you are already using Instagram.

But are you using it like the pros?

Most people are going in blind and then wondering why that photo of John’s leaving drinks didn’t get any likes; or why that whiteboard brainstorming session didn’t get any feedback; and don’t get me started on stock images of the product. The images aren’t appealing, and who wants to follow an assortment of photo garbage?

People want to engage with you, but most of the content you upload doesn’t relate to them.

It’s key that you get involved, start with a good foundation, create meaningful interactions with your community, and fine-tune your message to improve your brand’s visibility.

What’s the best way to do that you ask?

I’ve been playing around and experimenting with Instagram for the last two years. With ups and downs I’ve built a strong following by captivating and engaging my audience. I won the ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign by Tourism Australia, helped their marketing team with one million Instagram followers, and was a finalist in the first ever Insta-Film Festival.

These experiences have taught me a number of ways to organically grow and maintain a strong following. Yet nobody teaches these things in school.

I want to share with you a few examples and techniques that have helped me along the way. Here’s a teaser to skim the surface.

Examples:

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1. Pick Your Topic
Cats, food, fashion, nature, portraits, sunsets, selfies. Whichever you select, your photos need to be centred on that topic. Consistency is key.

If you have a talent (everyone does) you could showcase that. Be it dancing, drawing, literature, fashion trends, great cooking or an obscure interest. There are bound to be people searching for the same interest.

Pick a topic that you’re most happy with and stick with it. It will define who you are.

If all else fails, just take photos of your pet.

 

pick

 

2.  Hashtags (Done Right)
Ok so people (usually always) say you need to tag your photos. Each photo is allowed a maximum of 30 tags. But wait!

Stop hash tagging so much! You’re annoying people.

As you’re posting you can tag your photo with some relevant tags (zero to eight maximum), then wait and put the remaining tags as a comment so that not many people will see them, but makes your photo still findable in search.

 

hashtags

 

3. Reaching out to Accounts
To take you photos to the next level you need to get them in front of a huge audience.

There are hundreds of accounts with huge followings that repost other peoples photos. If they pick your photo you’ll get credited, and get great exposure.

 

accounts

 

Your job is to find accounts that post similar photos to you. Tag your photo with their name, tag their account and hashtag in your caption or in a comment under your photo, and hope they love your photography.

The more accounts that feature your photos the more likes and followers you get. In order to be featured your photos need to be epic.

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Here’s your chance to learn a lot more.

We’re offering you a course in the coming new year 2015 with some amazing material that will definitely help your business succeed. If you’re interested then drop us a line.

I’m @daxon on Instagram, or tweet me @daxon

 

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From Butchers to Funeral Homes; The Growth and Relevancy of Social Media for Traditional Businesses

State of the Nation

In a recent study, Facebook was declared the most popular social media platform in Ireland, with 1.3m people using the website. The research was conducted by global digital behaviour analysis firm GlobalWebIndex. The study concluded that when compared with global trends, Ireland’s usage of social media platforms such as the aforementioned Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, shows greater penetration rates than global averages.

Social media has infiltrated the minds and lives of every major demographic group on our island. Exposure to these platforms can occur at our desks, on our televisions and even from our pockets!

Some quick facts

The 2012 Social Media Marketing Report provided information that businesses operating in today’s world dare ignore to their detriment:

1. 94% of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform.

2. 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.

3. 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.

But not every business has the means to support a marketing department…

BakeryAt first, it may be a bit perplexing to see a local butcher, a corner-shop or even an establishment as reverent as a funeral home donning the iconic symbols of Facebook or Twitter on their storefront, imploring customer or passersby to “Like” our page or “Follow us”. When looking at the above statistic from The 2012 Social Media Marketing Report, one might deduce that such small and traditional businesses need not bother themselves with digital marketing as they do not operate sophisticated marketing departments. And besides, what interesting subject matter Beauty Parlourcould a local accountancy firm or a florist possibly want to project to the online masses.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, offer an attraction to small businesses as it is a quick, easy and free means of creating an online presence and exposure. The necessity for coding and HTML skills is eliminated. Having a website designed for small, localised businesses can be prohibitively expensive and very unlikely to attract hordes of new customers, so such businesses can use Facebook to build up a local community of fans who may be customers, future customers or other local supporting businesses. It is a very easy way to get your phone number and address out there, and also a forum for reaching out to your customers.

The butcher wishing the local GAA team all the best in their upcoming final, a small accountancy firm posting an explanation about a new government tax scheme, a local shop promoting the discounted goods of the week or a fishing equipment store posting information about the tides. The possibilities for content which interests and benefits your customers is endless.

As previously mentioned, joining these social media platforms is quick, easy and free. However, harnessing the true potential of these social networks to enhance the profile of your business and fully utilise the tools available can be challenging. By devising a focused digital marketing strategy, small businesses can reap huge benefits ranging from increased exposure and sales to being associated with local community initiatives to ensuring your business stands out from the crowd.

Contact us today to enquire about our tailored digital training courses which are geared towards businesses of all shapes and sizes!

 

Written by Martin Gaffney.

Martin currently lives, studies and works for a large multinational in Cork City. He holds a Higher Certificate in Business and is currently studying a Bachelor of Business in Management at Cork Institute of Technology. Martin is an avid technophile and his interests range from engaging digital content to market research. Electronic music and Cork City FC are Martin’s other love interests. You can find him on Twitter @GaffKiiid.

Credit for header image: Dean Meyers under CC License.

AwareHeader

Aware’s #BeatTheBlues campaign brings colour to the darkness of depression

Some projects give us so much pride and happiness for contributing in some way to something bigger, like changing lives. That is the case of the latest Aware campaign which features their ambassador Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan :)

Each year Aware currently delivers its Beat the Blues programme free to over 30,000 Irish students aged 15-18. With almost 75% of all serious mental health difficulties first emerging between the ages of 15 and 25, Aware believes it is vital to get in early and educate young people about how to recognise symptoms of depression and where possible prevent it from spiralling out of control.

Our campaign video features street art and the theme is bringing colour to the darkness and underlining the common issue of surviving which connects us all. This two-minute video – a collaboration with graffiti artist, HyerografX – is intended to highlight something that is fundamental to each and every one of us: our mental health. The video also highlights Aware’s work in schools, helping teenagers to understand the importance of looking after their own mental health and helping them to build resilience and develop coping skills :)

Be part of the change. Please join the #BeatTheBlues conversation, share our video or text BeattheBlues to 50300 to donate €4 to Aware.

5 Top Tips for Super Social Customer Service

5 Top Tips for Super Social Customer Service

Great customer service is the key to keeping everybody happy but in our changing world where customers are increasingly online, gone are the days of in store help desks, telephone helplines and even email assistance. Customers want their customer service online on social media and wise businesses know that wherever your customers go, you should follow. Enter social customer service.

Social customer service means transferring your customer help desk from your store to your social media profiles. A recent report by Accent Marketing revealed some staggering facts about social customer service – that nearly a third of customers use Facebook to contact a customer service representative, that half of those people believe Facebook is the fastest way to solve customer service issues and that nearly half of those expect to have their comment or query answered within an hour. With statistics like that, any business that does not consider social media a customer service tool should be changing their tune and getting on board with social customer service – fast. But how do you do that? Read more

Film Industry

Experimental ideas – The Future of Film industry

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovations from film industry.

1. What about keeping your smartphone switched on at cinema? That is the challenge of Cinime that developed an interactive app to “use your little screen to get more from the big screen”. Read More

2. Civil drone and helicopter use in cinema is offering new ways to shoot action and provide a significant change in film visuals. Here is an amazing example of what can be done:

3. Have you always dreamt of living in a movie? Thanks to virtual reality in cinema the gap between real and movie world will become so close that you will feel like being part of the film. Read more

4. This behind the scene video reveals the secrets of 7 Oscars winner film Gravity and the remarkable technological innovation created to shoot the movie.

5. A new concept inspired by the trend of Slow Food just shows up on TV and proposes a different and fun way to watch TV.

For more stories like this, follow us on Twitter @connector360

iBeacon

iBeacon revolutionises the fashion retail world

iBeacon is a new technology created by Apple that is intended to replace the old Near Field Communication (NFC) system. NFC is used to exchange data between two mobile devices without contact. NFC allows your smartphone to act as a credit card, loyalty card and more besides.

iBeacon is a new improvement of this technology. It enables users to make payments without any network connection. The good news is that iBeacon comes with all devices that operate iOS 7.

iBeacon allows companies to push offers and promotions straight to the consumer (providing they have downloaded the company’s app first).
This opens the way to loads of innovation in digital marketing and has already been adopted by many companies.

Macy’s the famous US department store has been using iBeacons to alert customers of current special offers when they enter the store.

American Eagle Outfitters also uses iBeacon technology to send customers a welcome message as they enter the store and inform them of location specific rewards.

iBeacons may be the solution for retailers to finally bring the online offline.

Trendy New york restaurant serves up instagram menus #comodomenu

Trendy New York restaurant serves up tasty Instagram menus #ComodoMenu

We all love to take photos, with our friends, with our houses, with our favourite places, with flowers, animal, drinks but most of all, we like to take photos with our food. Because we need to communicate with each other and because we like to share things, some smart guys decided to develop Instagram. We all know the photo-sharing app and we like it. But a man still has to eat and Instagram can’t help you find food, right? What would you say if I told you that you can go into a restaurant and you can use your smartphone to decide what you want to have from the menu?

A couple from New York decided to make their dream come true and they opened a cozy restaurant in the Big Apple. They wanted to ease their clients’ lives when they have to decide what they want to have from the menu. Besides this, the owners wanted to be different. Mission accomplished. Comodo Restaurant from New York came up with a new and great idea – to use Instagram to make their restaurant menu. You can sit at the table and search through The Instagram Menu by using the #ComodoMenu hashtag. All the guests in the restaurant can add photos of Comodo’s courses and dishes. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Next time you can’t decide what to order you can search for #ComodoMenu and see what your friends recommend, simple as that.

by Anca Geangala

connector360 Instagram Plan #Instaplan

connector360 Instagram Plan #Instaplan

So you want to use Instagram for business but don’t have a plan? Well as we are so generous, we are sharing our little sister connector360 Instagram research and plan aka our #Instaplan! We would like to present our planning for our new Instagram account. It shows marketing, art, music, entertainment and a bit of our lives into the office. We do everything thinking of you, clients, friends and Partners. We hope our content is engaging images, reviews, tips, tools and trends.

Follow us @connector360 and get to know more about this Irish based  family called connector360.

Happy Mother’s day to all mums from connector360!

Happy Mother’s day to all mums from connector360!

Our Mums are wonderful and next Sunday will be a special occasion to show them our affection – we hope all our readers have been making their plans to look after their mothers this Sunday!

If not, you still have a few days to buy a gift and even win tickets for a Garth Brooks concert for herby participating to a fantastic competition we helped organised for our new partner EuroGiant!

Click here to enter the competition

Think about your mum, tell us how lovely she is and get people to vote for her!

Happy Mother’s Day!

3d printing - a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

3d printing – a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

The 2010s have seen the spread of a revolutionary concept: 3D printing. However the idea itself is not so new, as the invention of 3D printing dates back to the 1980s, but has only become available to the general public over the last few years ago.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is based on a really simple idea. Once you are in possession of 3D blueprints of an object, you can use a 3D printer in order to build said object. You can even design an object’s blueprints yourself with the help of CAD software. The printer will then break up the digital file into layers of data, which will be printed on top of one another until the final object is formed.

The field of applications is endless. 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, and 3D printer owners and designers are continuously finding more creative and useful ways to exploit the true potential of this tool.

A few months ago Mark Ebeling, founder of Californian non-profit organization Not Impossible Labs, came up with a life-changing idea after hearing about the story of a Sudanese boy who had lost his arms in a bombing. Ebeling was so moved by the story – which is sadly only one among so many others – that he decided to bring 3D printing equipment to Sudan and print inexpensive prosthetic limbs for people who were left handicapped by the war, starting with the boy. Even though the limbs were cheap and only restored a small amount of motor functions for the patients, it changed the lives of those deeply wounded by the war and finally gave them a chance to lead a more normal life.

However, while 3D printing brings a lot of wonderful ideas to life, it also comes with a few drawbacks. 3D models are easily accessible via the Internet and an increase in counterfeit goods could quickly become a big problem. Potentially nothing could prevent someone from setting up a large-scale counterfeit production unit equipped with 3D printers, and the proliferation of such goods could lead to a dramatic fall in the market success of the genuine original items. Even with the best intentions in mind, the use of such tools may negatively impact the lives of those in the manufacturing industry and create financial difficulties for the industry as a whole.

3D printing has its advantages and drawbacks, but that can be said about almost anything. One of the most interesting emerging ideas within this sector is bioprinting. What if we were able to print replacement organs for those who urgently needed them? That’s what some companies are starting to think about, and if successful, could lead to a bigger revolution than 3D printing itself.

What do you think about 3D printing? Please let us know by commenting or getting in touch with us.