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How to use Instagram to sell products from your brick-and-mortar store

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If you have a brick-and-mortar retail store, you might think you are limited to selling to customers who live, work and spend time around your business. But, you can expand the reach of your business and sell to customers near and far. Using social media platforms like Instagram, you can sell products to customers around the country — and even around the world. Let’s look at how to use Instagram to sell products from your brick-and-mortar store.

How to use Instagram to sell products online

To sell products to the 130 million customers who tap on Instagram Shopping posts each month, you need to set up an online store that enables customers to browse and buy. Here are the steps to turn your Instagram account into an online storefront.

1. Set up a business profile on Instagram

First things first: Create an Instagram account. It must be a Business or Creator account. If you have a Personal page, convert it to a Business or Creator account.

2. Connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page

Your Instagram account needs to be connected to a Facebook page to set up a shop. If you don’t already have a page associated with your brick-and-mortar store, set one up. Then, connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page.

3. Create a product catalog

Leather dress shoes and button up shirt on a shelf

If you already have an ecommerce platform, you may be able to integrate your existing product list. Or, you can add each product manually. For each product, add a title, description (using keywords to help boost SEO), website link, photo, and other variables such as size and colors.

As you launch your online store, start by promoting your best-selling items or the products with the highest margins.

You can continue to build out your store to include many products, but start small with the items that will provide the best return for your retail business.

4. When approved, turn on Instagram Shopping

Once you set up your product catalog, you need to wait for approval from Instagram, which can take a few days. When you get notified that the shop is approved, turn on shopping and connect your catalog. Now, you can get started with using Instagram to sell products!

5. Create posts and tag products

Start with the basics, and create posts that showcase your products. In the posts, tag your products. When you tag products, users can click on the post to open a page to purchase the tagged item.

6. Curate posts using Guides

Once you have a few posts about your products, curate them by creating a Guide. Use the Guides feature to group posts so users see a series of relevant content all in one place. Create product Guides that group products by category or use.

7. Create stories and use shopping stickers

Stories are another way to promote and sell products to your Instagram followers. When you post a story that features your product, include product stickers. When users click on a product sticker, they are taken to a page with more information and an option to buy.

8. Create Reels to attract attention

Unlike posts and Stories, Reels don’t include a tag or sticker that leads users to a purchase page. But, that doesn’t mean Reels aren’t useful for selling products on Instagram.

Reels are a powerful way to attract new audiences to your account and engage your following. Use Reels to promote your account and gain followers that will turn into shoppers.

9. Partner with influencers

Group of people with hands stacked

Another way to attract fans to your page is by teaming up with an account that already has a loyal following. Look for Instagram influencers who have a following of people who fit the description of your target customers.

For example, if you sell makeup, look for accounts that showcase makeup tutorials. If you sell bikes, look for accounts that promote outdoor activities. Form partnerships with influencers (by offering free products or paying for promotions) so they can introduce your brand and page to their followers.

10. Use paid ads to grow your followers and sales

Instagram is a saturated platform with millions of accounts posting content every day.

To stand out, you may need to do more than regularly post and engage with your followers.

Try using paid ads to stand out from the crowd and get in front of your target audience.

Leverage Instagram’s targeting features to promote your content to the people most likely to follow and buy from you. Also, use remarketing promotions that reach people who have already shown interest in your brand to drive even more interest in your store.

6 tips for selling products from your brick-and-mortar store on Instagram

Now that you know how to use Instagram to sell products online, use these tips to create content that will help you successfully promote your items and drive sales.

1. Take high-quality, editorial photos

Don’t just haphazardly snap photos and post them to your account. Plan to take high-quality, editorial-style product photos with planned photoshoots. Style flat-lays, use backgrounds with high contrast and ensure that you have good lighting.

2. Get the most out of your captions

While Instagram is a visual platform, you can also use copy to help sell products from your brick-and-mortar store. Include detailed product descriptions, research and use the most relevant hashtags and always include call-to-actions that tell audiences how they can buy.

3. Share customer photos

Camera resting on a laptop

Don’t rely only on the content you create. Also, share photos that customers with your products have posted online. Sharing user-generated content gives you extra content to share, and it also increases the likelihood that the customer will be excited to see their name and photo mentioned and then share the post with their audience.

4. Leverage your brick-and-mortar store

Use your brick-and-mortar store as a backdrop and feature for your photos. Share photos of new product displays, capture shots of in-store customers, offer a behind-the-scenes look, and take customers on an in-store tour using Stories, Live and Reels.

5. Put your products to work

Don’t only show static photos of your retail products. Show them in action by running product demos, showcasing items through runway shows or otherwise filming the product being used.

6. Use Instagram Live to introduce products and answer live questions

Don’t only post previously recorded videos. Go Live. Use Instagram Live to present your products and offer a two-way conversation where your customers can ask questions to help them get to know your products better.

Bring your brick-and-mortar retail store online

If you run a brick-and-mortar retail store, you aren’t restricted to selling to the customers working and living right around your business. Now that you know how to use Instagram to sell products, you can reach customers around the world.



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Growing a Business

In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

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Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

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14 community management tips for meaningful connections with customers

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Community building blocks

The idea for sharing community management tips came to me about a year ago. That’s when I synced up with the GoDaddy Community team to host a webinar for small business owners. As hundreds of attendees rolled into the Zoom, I had a realization: “GoDaddy has a strong community.”

Behind every good brand and business, there’s a solid community of supporters, stakeholders, and sometimes, even haters.

But building a community and maintaining connections is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about topics within the small business world. For a business with fewer than five employees and a handful of customers, community building might seem like just another marketing tactic that is just out of reach.

To help small businesses build and manage an online community, I asked other business owners and marketers what community management tips they had for creating meaningful connections with customers.

14 community management tips to create meaningful customer connections

Given that creating and maintaining a strong community can help retain and attract customers, consider following these 14 community management tips:

  1. Be quick to address negative experiences
  2. Filter out spam
  3. Showcase success
  4. Send a postcard
  5. Get your customers involved in important decisions
  6. Bring Up topics that encourage engagement
  7. Provide talking points and engage with your community
  8. Engage regularly
  9. Be the face of your brand
  10. Choose a channel that works
  11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs
  12. Consider a brand ambassador program
  13. Reward loyalty
  14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

Read on to learn more.

1. Be quick to address negative experiences

A bad customer experience can quickly escalate to a brand reputation crisis, and the company’s response must be fast to revert the situation.

Monitoring social channel mentions is an easy way to keep an eye on conversations surrounding your brand and detect potential concerns.

Once a customer posts a comment that threatens your brand reputation, listen, honestly apologize and be willing to solve the issue in the best possible way. Your unsatisfied customer will feel appreciated and perhaps even become a brand advocate.

-Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital

2. Filter out spam

The most important thing you should be doing in regards to community management is interacting with your community, and you cannot do that properly if you have to work through a bunch of spam. There are many programs out there, even some within the different social media sites, that can filter out spam in your comments and messages so you can focus on addressing your community. Plus, getting rid of the spam and moderating harmful comments creates a better space for your community to contact you through.

-Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

3. Showcase success

Develop case studies from your successful community members. This is a practical way of propagating the core values of your online community and encouraging new users to join your community.

The more these members contribute to the community, the more impact these case studies have. You can start by creating basic reports to identify the members who are actively contributing high-quality content, assisting other members, and elevating the community.

-Hasan Farahani, Yocale

4. Send a postcard

postcard with other travel items

Many of my customers spend $15–$20K on medical care in Latin America. I send my customers handwritten postcards to remind them of their journey, thank them for their business, and to stay engaged while they recover from procedures like dental implants or plastic surgery.

The cost in time and money is very low, but a human touch in the healthcare space is increasingly rare.

-Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

5. Get your customers involved in important decisions

Taking the time to follow up with your most active customers and getting their insights on important decisions makes them feel like their opinions are truly valued and cared for.

In the long run, this forges a strong connection between you and your audience that relies on more than simply a transaction.

An added benefit of doing this is that you may even get some eye-opening suggestions and creative ideas that could end up benefiting your business.

-Harry Morton, Lower Street 

6. Bring up topics that encourage engagement

Meaningful connections need to originate from a common source that offers a moment of relatability, which can further build brand trust. Social platforms offer numerous opportunities for these types of exchanges. When managing your social community, bring up topics that encourage engagement so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the basic company/customer relationship. In doing so, the consumer will feel more at ease to comment, ask questions and even provide more detailed feedback.

-Lindsay McCormick, Bite 

7. Provide talking points and engage with your community

It’s important to recognize that community management is an ongoing responsibility. If you want to see your community thrive, you must create opportunities for customers to voice their opinion, communicate with other community members and provide you with feedback. Finding success is contingent on your ability to encourage participation from users, so you must provide talking points and give them plenty of avenues to stay involved.

If you leave your community dormant without your administrative oversight, engagement will start to dwindle as fewer users initiate conversations and take part.

Communities rarely function autonomously, so be sure to play an active role as you connect with and safeguard your community.

This gives you a chance to speak with your customers on a personal level, helping you learn about their likes, dislikes, objections and pain points directly—all of which are crucial in building meaningful connections with customers.

-Mike Grossman, GoodHire

8. Engage regularly

The best community management tip is to engage regularly and don’t neglect questions or threads you didn’t start—even better if they aren’t getting a lot of feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to regularly interact with your customers, make sure you’re commenting often and have a badge next to your name letting them know you’re a moderator or part of the company. That will really cement that feeling of connection and letting members feel heard. Plus, we’ve found that a community manager can really breathe life into a topic by offering input and pushing it to the front of that community for more engagement.

-Sylvia Kang, Mira

9. Be the face of your brand

Revealing the human side of your brand is without a shadow of a doubt an efficient strategy to boost your customers’ connection. It conveys transparency and accountability, building a stronger human bond. Consumers tend to trust people more than a company, and showcasing real people will make you and your brand easier to remember and trust.

-Chiara Sternardi, Passport-photo.online

10. Choose a channel that works

social media apps on iphone

The best way to build an authentic community is to have everyone communicate using the same social media platform. Make that a crucial part of your strategy.

If it’s a professional audience that you’re going after, choose LinkedIn. If it’s a broader audience, use Facebook or Instagram. If it’s a young audience, try Snapchat or WhatsApp. If it’s a politically charged audience, maybe try Twitter.

YouTube is a great way to encourage people to watch videos that provide clear instructions on how a product or service works.

Users flock to YouTube for instructions on everything from how to change batteries on a device to playing scales on a guitar. The comment section can be useful for feedback purposes, and it also can be a way for customers to communicate with one another.

-Joel Jackson, Lifeforce

11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs

By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. Then, narrow those results using audience research to help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges. But it’s all about finding an interesting angle for each segment.

Content that is too broad won’t result in authentic engagement with your followers.

Social media posts that offer helpful information are guaranteed to stand out in your clients’ feeds, resulting in more likes, shares and leads.

-Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

12. Consider a brand ambassador program

A great way to create authentic connections with customers is with an acquisition and advocacy program like a brand ambassador program. For example, if a user can get five people to sign up for a service or product, they become an ambassador.

These brand ambassadors can help your business acquire new users. You can reward them with swag and access to special products or services … maybe even a special event!

-Jennifer Pieniazek, Resume Now

13. Reward loyalty

You can create meaningful connections by rewarding loyal customers to show how much you appreciate them. Just like any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, people appreciate rewards. Show your customers that they matter and are top of mind in your decision-making. That’s how you create a stronger, more loyal customer base—one that will continue to pay attention for new initiatives and future rewards.

-Alyssa Berman-Waugh, Level Home, Inc.

14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

To create meaningful connections with customers, recognize and accept diversities within your community. Each of your customers will differ in terms of their culture, orientation, ability and life experience. It’s imperative that you celebrate these differences and welcome input from individuals of all walks of life as you advocate for equity and inclusivity. This will develop your community’s reputation and attract diverse groups in greater numbers.

Communities that cater to just one group of people almost always become echo chambers, creating a suboptimal environment for connections to form and important discussions to take place.

By listening, asking questions, and welcoming input from diverse groups of individuals, you’ll cement your community as a welcoming place for diversity and insight to flourish.

In doing so, your ability to build a rapport and create meaningful, lasting connections with your customers will blossom.

-Patrick Casey, Felix

The community management tips used in this article were gathered using Terkel.
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.



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Growing a Business

How Online Presence Makes Your Business More Trustworthy

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Have you ever made a dining decision based on a review you saw on the internet? You may have picked a product because it seemed “more trustworthy” online. It’s also a deal breaker if it isn’t handled correctly.

Customers are more inclined to believe in your company if it presents itself well on the internet. Whether a startup or a large corporation, your online appearance and behaviour matter to your consumers if you own an offline or online company.

Online presence

Why Should Your Business Go Online?

In addition to being available for your consumers, here are other reasons to consider your online presence.

It Improves Your Company’s Accessibility

When you don’t sell anything online, a solid online presence can help you make more money from the internet if you aren’t engaged on social media.

Before making a purchase, most consumers do internet research to learn more about the company and the goods. Being at the right place at the right time is simply good business.

It Takes Care of Your Marketing and Branding

An internet presence provides a steady supply of customers for your company. Customer feedback and social media participation may help boost purchases. It’s easier for consumers to identify your online presence with a website or social media account.

It May Boosts Your Company’s Credibility

Having an online presence is essential for your organisation to be taken seriously. A startup might have difficulty being accepted as a legitimate organisation in its early stages. It’s essential to have a strong internet presence before people take you seriously. It’s easier to get quick loans at gdayloans.com.au to expand your company.

It Aids in the Comprehension of Your Target Market

When you have an online presence, you can engage with your audience in a two-way conversation to get valuable feedback or evaluations. In addition, it helps you learn more about your prospective consumers and the things they’re looking for. If a restaurant uses polls on its Facebook page, it may determine which specials and goods are most popular with its patrons.

Businesswoman building an online presence

How Can You Evaluate and Enhance Your Company’s Web Presence?

Analysing your online reputation simply means monitoring what others say about you online. Then you make it work for you.

You can monitor and enhance your company’s online appearance by following these three steps.:

Monitor Mentions of Your Business

Monitoring your company’s internet mentions can help you track what’s being said about you and mitigate unfavourable publicity. This can also help you identify communication gaps.

Google Alerts can help you track online references of your company. Set up notifications for your business/product name and relevant keywords, and you’ll be alerted promptly whenever you’re mentioned anyplace online.

Analyse Your Website Traffic

The source of your traffic (and how much) might assist you in evaluating your internet presence. It may be necessary to expand your internet activities beyond your website. For example, low social media traffic might imply a poor social presence.

Tracking your website’s traffic with Google Analytics might reveal secret traffic sources that your Google search may have overlooked. It will also help you find unnoticed remarks or backlinks.

Assess Your Social Media Engagement

Your social media presence affects your online reputation as well. Active consumers on your social media platforms help build trust and confidence.

Consider checking a company’s and a competitor’s Facebook accounts. You may observe that one firm interacts with clients while the other has a few likes but no comments. Which do you prefer?

Social media presence for startup

Bottom Line

An active social media presence gives the impression of reliability while also conveying a sense of humanity and authenticity. Your audience will be more engaged as your social media presence improves.

To keep up with your target audience, you need to be one step ahead of them online. The first step is to become well-versed in everything your consumers discover about your company through the internet. Your internet presence must be understood, monitored, and improved to reach this goal.

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