Three Simple Ways to Inject Personality to Your Business Instagram Account

For businesses these days, having no social media presence comes at a cost. Not only do you miss out on opportunities to communicate important news and promotions to your customers inexpensively, you also run the risk of missing out on being able to reach out to potential new customers. These customers may also be the sort of people you would not normally be able to reach using traditional – and often outdated – marketing channels.

On the flipside, however, savvy social media users are increasingly tuning out when they come across business social media accounts especially Instagram accounts. Too often, they are seen as ‘too corporate’ and inauthentic – and most certainly, not the sort of accounts that customers are too keen to follow, let alone engage with. The most successful business Instagram accounts defy these issues simply by injecting personality (and thus, authenticity) to their feeds. If you are a business owner who is running your business’ Instagram account, here are some ways that you can help add some personality to your feeds:

1. Throw in some random photos in the mix: got a set of beautiful professional photos? Great! Instagram is definitely all about showcasing your goods in a presentable manner – the better your photos are, the more your audience is likely to be interested in your brand. However, the old adage ‘too much of a good thing’ applies here: a feed showcasing the same, albeit striking, photos can get a bit dull over time. Consequently, your feed becomes too uniform and too boring. Solution: add some random photos into the mix. By random, we mean regrams of items that are directly or indirectly related to your offerings or a meme that is relevant to your business.

Everyone loves coffee. Everyone also loves memes. Image: QuotesMeme

Everyone loves coffee. Everyone also loves memes. Image: QuotesMeme

2. Add a little humour: customers respond well to funny captions, thus increasing engagement so feel free to use humour. Depending on your brand’s tone, you may get away with being a little cheeky but don’t go overboard or make controversial statements (unless, of course, you want to alienate potential customers).

3. Engage. Engage. Engage. The best and most effective way to shape a brand’s personality is to have conversations with customers, both existing and potential ones. This is also a great way for you to promote your offerings or services. Be careful though: engaging in an authentic manner without sounding too contrived or seem like you’re spruiking can be tricky. The best way to avoid this is to talk to customers like they’re good friends; this can take time and practice but we can assist you with this as our team are experts at this after doing this for years.

It also goes without saying that you need a well-planned social media strategy to facilitate all this. At Crackling Media, we can help you create or redefine your social media strategy as well as ensure that your business Instagram account has a personality of its own. If you’d like us to assist you with this, drop us a line and we can give you a no obligation free consultation.

Why You Should Have a Blog on Your Business Website

Blogs. Aren’t they just for pimply-faced teenagers wanting to diarise their lives or for people who like to document their holidays, art projects or meals? Sure, but did you know that blogs are also a great way to drive traffic to your business?

You may already run a successful business. You may have a wide social media presence with follower numbers in the thousands as well as a spiffy website that your competitors want to emulate. However, did you know that adding a blog section to that website is a small investment that could result in extra traffic to your website at no additional cost (apart from spending time to write the posts, that is)? The positive effects a blog has on SEO results are known but here’s a brief list of other benefits a blog could have on your business.

·      Gives your brand authority and credibility, demonstrating to potential customers that you are the right brand for a specific product or service.

·      Provides valuable information to your customers. For example, you might be the owner of a cookware store and your latest blog post might be ‘How To Style Your Christmas Lunch Table,’ which you share on Facebook. One of your followers might coincidentally be researching ways to style a Christmas lunch table and come across your article. Your blog aligns neatly with their needs, encouraging them to click through to your site to read your blog post. As a result, the customer might even decide to visit your store based on your blog (or products strategically placed within the blog’s text).

·      Provides more ‘genuine’ content as it comes off as less ‘spruiky compared to other content that will appear on a user’s newsfeed.

Adding a blog section is an inexpensive way to widen brand reach and increase customer engagement for your brand. At Crackling Media, we have a team of experts who are well-versed in creating engaging blog copy for your business website, ensuring that each post is tailored to speak to your audience. Want to know more? Drop us a line via the contact page.

Three Benefits of Using Facebook for Business

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family but did you know that it can also be a low-cost marketing tool for your business? When used effectively, Facebook can be an extremely useful tool to generate increased web traffic and higher sales. Here are a few benefits that this unassuming marketing tool has:

Facebook is cheap. Traditional marketing channels such as billboard, television and print advertising may cost businesses thousands of dollars whereas a Facebook campaign may only cost you a few dollars. This makes Facebook advertising the perfect tool for small to medium-sized business with a limited budget for marketing. The best thing about Facebook campaigns is that you can set the budget as low or as high as you like as well as experiment with various permutations until you know what works best for you.

Facebook is informative. When making purchase decisions, customers will often also look to a business’ Facebook page along with their website to assist with their decision. By including as much information as possible (business name, address, offerings, promotions etc), customers can make better informed decisions on the spot.

Facebook allows you to directly talk to your customers. You can also use Facebook as a tool to answer customer queries and rectify issues that might come up during the purchase and post-purchase stage of the customer decision making process. The platform is also a great way to share interesting or funny links, photos and information relating to your offerings in a non-sales manner, thus increasing your credibility and customer engagement.

Image source: CNBC.com

Image source: CNBC.com

Have a go at building an informative Facebook page for your business, making sure you spend time each day to engage with customers and see what difference it makes to your business in the long run. Need help setting up or managing a Facebook page? No worries, we can assist you – just drop us a line over at our contact page!

Defining Your Business Strategy

It goes without saying that a solid social media strategy will ensure that a business remains competitive in today's modern and volatile market. It is also essential, however, for businesses to have a robust marketing strategy that will underpin all activities, including those related to social media.

Far too often, many business owners will have some idea as to what their goals are but they don't know exactly how to get there. They don't set a timeframe (even a loose one) in which they need to achieve certain goals by. They don't draw up a budget. They don't set up contingency plans in case something goes wrong (and 99% of the time, things will not go to plan!). In some cases, business owners are aware that they need to engage in some form of social media marketing to engage with and attract clientele, which is great - but all too often, they employ social media marketing without having an underlying business strategy in which to base the social media marketing strategy on. This is a no no because you run the risk of having a directionless Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed full of cute cat photos that just screams out 'I have no idea what I'm doing.' 

Before you employ a social media strategy, ask yourself this very important question:

Do you have a business objective?

If not, you need to define one. Is it to increase sales by X% in the space of 12 months? Or is it to decrease negative sentiment of a particular product you sell within 6 months? Either way, define it and then ask how you can achieve those objectives? At this stage, you can then start crafting a focused social media strategy through carefully curated posts that will work towards achieving those goals. It will also show potential customers that you're not just sitting there with no direction and no clue.

At Crackling Media, we are experts in creating and executing effective social media marketing strategies. We can help you define or reshape your business objective, too. Just shoot us a message for a free no obligation consultation to find out how!

 


#Yourtaxis: Doing Social Media Wrong...

Business owners often receive tips and ideas on how to do social media right (sometimes even from us!), but rarely do they get advised on what NOT to do. Social media may seem more informal than traditional media but it doesn't mean you can do whatever you like. Social media platforms act as vital mirrors into an organisation like yours, so it's important to be on your best behaviour. 

If you're in Melbourne, no doubt you would have heard about the eyebrow-raising #YourTaxis social media campaign conducted by the Victorian Taxi Association. Social media was used as a tool to reshape the way in which Victorians thought about taxis, starting with a Twitter campaign where users were encouraged to recount their experiences using cabs, good or bad.

Now, we all know that social media is a useful tool to get instant feedback and increase customer engagement; VTA was trying to do both. What they weren't expecting, however, was the massive flood of negative stories that ripped through their Twitter feed second after second. We read stories of drivers refusing to pick up passengers, stories of drivers acting inappropriately with female passengers and drivers who had no idea where they were going. It was very much a PR disaster for them - after hearing these stories, who WOULD want to take a cab?

How VTA handled things, however, was a lot worst. From the #YourTaxis situation, there are three things you must avoid when you're managing your business' social media account(s):

1. Admit your mistakes. From time to time, we get things wrong. It's all part of being human. At the time of writing, VTA still denies their social media campaign has been an 'epic fail' when clearly it has. When things like this happen, apologise. Admit you're wrong. The transparent nature of social media also means that everyone can see what you do - if you deny the obvious, you risk looking even more stupid.

2. Never get sarcastic with the customer. Sarcastic humour may work when you're Larry David doing a stand-up in New York but not with your customers, many of whom will take offense. It makes you look nasty and uncaring, NOT an image you want to project to the outside world. Keep sarcasm to your personal social media accounts.

Don't be sarcastic.

3. Don't cut and paste generic responses. Templates are useful tools no matter what industry you're in but if you're manning a social media account and you're copying and pasting the exact same response to a whole bunch of people, it makes you look insincere. Case in point: a cascading sea of 'sorry to hear about your experience [Twitter user name]. We are working hard to try to improve the service' tweets, one after the after for all to see doesn't convince me that you're a company who really cares about their customers.

It'll be interesting to see how VTA will bounce back after this. Watch this space.

Four Ways You’re Annoying People on Instagram

So you’re on Instagram. You post some amazing photos. You complement gorgeous sunset shots and mouth-watering food photos with witty captions. You even engage in the occasional banter with fellow Instagram users. However, your follower count is still lower than you want it to be – in fact, you’re losing followers quicker than a B787 take-off at Tullamarine. Why?

1. You’re posting the same thing too frequently. Your shot of a cronut-topped chocolate milkshake in a sturdy mason jar looks fantastic, especially bathed in natural light soaking through the window against a clean white background. Upon seeing said photo, your users might smile and double-tap the photo. Post the same image (or a variation of it, rather) more than once though and they are more likely to think ‘meh.’ Do it often enough and it will annoy even the most patient of Instagram users at which point, they might even unfollow you.

Solution: Don’t post the same thing twice in a row. Or at all. If you really want the world to see more than one amazing shot of your freakshake, then at the very least spread the postings out by a week or so.

2.  You’re too hashtag happy. Hashtags are useful on Instagram, particularly for businesses. Not only can they can generate more traffic to your page, they can also be used to target particular market segments. Too many hashtags, however, spoil the broth. People will notice it and think you’re trying a bit too hard – and that’s not the image you want to convey to the world.

Solution: Use hashtags but make sure your hashtags list isn’t longer than your caption. Less than 10 is ideal.

3. You’re using links on Instagram. You might want to direct your Instagram users to a witty article that you’ve written on your website or get them to like your Facebook page – all valid reasons for you to post on a link on Instagram. Unfortunately, links just don’t work on Instagram. People can’t click on them and no one’s going to bother manually typing an entire URL onto their phone browser – it’s too much work for them.

Solution: Avoid links. If you really MUST direct users to a link, pop it on the website field in your Instagram bio and tell your users to ‘click on link in bio.’ It’s the only place on Instagram where users can click through easily.

4. You’re being a bit of a jerk. As with any social media platform, people on it can be nasty. If you’re running a business account, you might find the odd negative comment written by a disgruntled customer or you may simply receive a nasty comment from an internet troll. It is often easy to retaliate – DON’T.

Solution: Instagram is a public forum so everyone can read what you say. Resist the urge to fight back; you want your users to see you as someone who’s dignified rather than a bully. If possible, see if you can deal with the offender in a private message.

We hope these four tips will assist you in reducing the flow of unfollowers. Still not working? Then perhaps it’s time you lay off the sunset photos – only kidding!

Four Ways You’re Doing Instagram Wrong

When used correctly, Instagram can be a very useful marketing tool for your business. When it’s not, however, it can turn people off your brand. Here are five mistakes you should avoid when managing a business Instagram account:

1. You have no plan. The spontaneous nature of Instagram means that it’s so easy to post impulsively in a matter of minutes, no, seconds. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan your Instagram posts. It’s a good idea to map out the route you’re going to take each month by determining your objectives, identity target markets and selecting your content focus. Make each post count.

2. You underestimate the power of words. While Instagram is an image-based platform, it’s also important to realise that captions are just as important. A succinct and witty caption goes a long way, while a rambling one that’s riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes is likely to evoke more than a few eye rolls.

3. You're inconsistent. Post material on a regular basis. If you disappear for weeks on end, you’ll be testing the patience and loyalty of your followers. They may unfollow you eventually or worse, look to your competitors.

4. You’re boring. Sure, it’s best to be safe than sorry on Instagram – after all, it’s important to maintain a professional appearance. In saying that, it doesn’t mean you can’t afford to express your brand’s style and uniqueness. Be funny, be quirky, be vivacious! People love following accounts with beautiful pictures, but they also like accounts with personality and pizzazz. As long as you’re not controversial, offensive or tasteless (i.e. posting gratuitous selfies in skimpy gym gear on a business account), then everything is fine.

Source: PC Mag.

Source: PC Mag.

Would you like to know how to do Instagram right? Our managing director Thanh Do will be doing a presentation on this very topic each day from October 23-25th at this year’s Cake Bake and Sweets Show in Melbourne. For more information, click here.

Four Ways to Maximise Your Business Instagram Account

As a business owner, you’d be silly to ignore the significant effect that Instagram has on influencing customers. The vastly popular photo editing and sharing app currently has 100 million active users who, between them, upload 40 million photos each day. Can you imagine just how many potential customers you can reach with such a simple (and free) app?

Source: News Cult.

Source: News Cult.

Of course, not all Instagram accounts are equal. There are ones that attract thousands of followers through gorgeous imagery, witty captions and a unique, consistent style. And of course, there are ones that don’t do any of the above. Avoid being in the latter category by following these simple steps to set your account apart:

1. Define your voice. Adopt a style and personality that suits your target market and offerings. Are you innovative and fun? Classy and sophisticated? Functional and no-nonsense? If you’re stuck, think about what your business does, what makes you offerings so unique and what the brand values.

2. Be consistent. It’s okay to post the odd cat meme to break up your photos, but make sure they’re consistent with what you and your brand is about. The funny posts should complement your brand message, rather than confuse people.

3. Hashtags, hashtags and #hastags! Can’t figure out why you’re not getting as many ‘likes’ on your amazing photo of a bowl of pineapples against a backdrop of rustic timber? It’s probably because you didn’t add any hashtags below! Make your photos easier to find; a good start is to hashtag the city you’re in (i.e. #melbourne) so locals can spot you. If you’ve posted a food photo, #food and #foodporn are usually reliable for attracting likes from foodies.

4) Have fun. Finally, it’s important to let your hair down and have fun. Use Instagram to project your brand’s unique personality as well as engage in conversation with people stopping by. Who knows, you may even make a new customer – or friend!

Want to know more? Our managing director Thanh Do will be doing a presentation on this very topic each day from October 23-25th at this year’s Cake Bake and Sweets Show in Melbourne. Please don’t be shy – say hi! For more information, click here.

Three Ways to Make Your Brand Look More Unique

If you own a business, you know how hard it can often be to set yourself apart from your competitors. You own an amazing frozen yoghurt stand in Melbourne CBD … and so do thirty other people. You run a bakery that churns out delicious steak and mushroom pies in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs – guess what, you’re not the only one. Sure, you’ll have your loyal customers but at the same time, you also have your customers that are also happy to buy your goods and services in five other different places.

Bottom line: if you don’t want your customers to go elsewhere, you need to offer something unique.

Understandably, it may not be feasible for you to offer something that your competitors don’t have. However, the secret is to LOOK unique. Remember, it’s often all about perceptions. A good perception of your brand creates value and that is often done by offering something no one else has.

Apple, the masters of brand uniqueness.

Apple, the masters of brand uniqueness.

Here are three ways in which you can create uniqueness for your brand and subsequently add value:

1. Give your brand a personality. It’s well and good to call your pizza shop Marco’s Pizza Place but it’s a good idea to go a little deeper. Your brand is a combination of your story, goods or services offered and personal style. Give Marco a personality and a style. Is he down-to-earth and friendly? Is he sophisticated and suave? Is he charming and quirky? Once you’ve determined your style and personality, align them with your offerings.

2. Play up the aspect that your competitors don’t talk about. If you’re struggling to come up with a reason as to why your brand is unique, it’s time to write down all the products or services you offer. When you’re done, tick off the ones that your competitors also offer. By the time you’re done, there’s bound to be at least a couple of items that you haven’t ticked off – these are the ones that your competitors have not focused on and it could be the one item that you can focus on as a unique selling point. Perhaps it’s a special brand of chocolate sprinkles you use on your donuts, or maybe it’s the organic matcha from Japan you use for your lattes

3. Create low-cost add-ons. Customers love freebies and extras; best of all, they can add a lot of value and uniqueness to your brand, even if they don’t cost you much. These may include free progress reports (for those in service-related businesses) or an extra cupcake thrown into the box for loyal customers. It’s a very small price to pay for the reward of greater brand value and a potential long-term relationship with the customer.

Inspired but don’t know where to start? We can help you! As experts in branding, marketing and strategic planning, we’ve helped businesses add value to their brand by creating uniqueness. Want to know more? Drop us a line now!

Why It's Important For Businesses To Have a Social Media Strategy

Did you know that the average Aussie spends 8.5 hours a week browsing Facebook alone?

According to the same study conducted by Sensis in May 2015, it was found that the average Aussie also spends more time per week on Instagram (4.2 hours) than on housework – and we don’t blame them, cute cat photos are much more fun than an evening date with the ironing board and a pile of wrinkly shirts.

Thus, it comes as a surprise that only 31% of Australian businesses have a social media strategy in place.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Research shows that 32% of consumers actually do enjoy following businesses online, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. These customers frequently use these mediums as part of their consumer decision-making process – more often than not, they are the first thing the customer looks at apart from the business website. How many times have you chosen Doughnut Shop A over Doughnut Shop B, for example, simply because Doughnut Shop A had a more up-to-date Facebook page as well as an Instagram page filled with rows of better-looking photos?

You may be the best bronze jewellery maker on the Gold Coast. You may be the owner of an amazing Malaysian restaurant in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that has been a quiet achiever for more than a decade. You may serve some of Melbourne’s most authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas (if that’s you, please let us know – we at Crackling Media love our pizzas to death!). In other words, you may be an expert in your field but very little people these days will know that you exist if you don’t put yourself out there in the digital mediascape. By not having a well-crafted social media strategy, businesses like yours are incurring opportunity costs. In other words, you could be missing out on reaching untapped target markets and achieving greater brand awareness, all of which may negatively affect income.

Want to know how to best use social media to engage your customers? Shoot us an email (digital[at]cracklingmedia.com) and we’ll tell you how it can be done!

Welcome to Crackling Media

Hello!

Grab a seat and join us over here at Crackling Media. This blog will be our way to communicate with you by expressing our opinions, discussing hot trends, sharing interesting bits and pieces, and more importantly, having a bit of fun along the way. We hope you drop by to see what we're up to as well as interact and share with us. Who knows, you (and I) may even learn a thing or two!

Thanh