Monday, 17 August 2015

The 7 deadly sins of Instagram for PR

Drew Hubbard explores the seven most deadly sins for PR’s when it comes to using Instagram. Follow PR Daily on Twitter: @PRDaily

You know this, but it bears repeating: Your brand should be on Instagram.

It's not too late—as long as you know what you're doing.

It's disturbing to watch sophisticated brands make rookie mistakes. Like any social network, Instagram must be learned. The following guide can teach you the ropes. If you're committing any of the gaffes below, please stop. Make Instagram a better place:

1. Advertising in other people's comments
Self-promotion is tricky. After all, you're on Instagram to promote your brand, right?
Like most social networks, Instagram is more complicated than that. You need to invest time and energy to cultivate an audience by building goodwill in the community.
One of the fastest ways to anger Instagram users (and lose followers) is to leave an irrelevant, annoying comment like, "Want to earn BIG $$$ with no work? RIGHT now??" on someone's post.

2. Posting inconsistent content
The most popular Instagram posts have clear messages. "Behind the scenes with your favorite celebrity" is probably the most used angle, but many accounts have great success by using other immediately understandable angles for their messages.
An account that only posts photos of weird-looking pumpkins is much easier to understand and share than one that posts random snapshots. Your brand should send clear messages on all online channels, anyway.

3. Begging for likes or followers
Begging sometimes works. Say you are an agency charged with building an Instagram account, and your only metric for success is total followers. Begging will probably achieve that goal, but you'll annoy many people. If it's worth damaging your brand, go for it. But you'll degrade your audience, consisting of users who don't mind shamelessness.

Be aware that most Instagram users don't like those who post, "Yo, dude! Follow me for awesome pics!!" in the comments. It's irrelevant and adds nothing to the conversation.

4. Ignoring comments
Instagram is a social network, so if you're not social, you miss the point. When people comment on one of your posts, they speak to you. Respond like the polite, interesting person you are. And since you speak on behalf of your brand, judiciously bring the brand into the conversation.

5. Not using hashtags
Hashtags are Instagram's backbone. They organize content and help users discover content. But hashtags can be awkward at first. It might feel silly to tag every fifth word in your caption, but if those tags place your post in a content category, it was the right thing to do.

If you don't tagging your posts, start. To familiarize yourself with hashtags, Google the most popular tags, and click through them on Instagram. Notice how popular accounts use them, and follow suit.

6. Posting other people's images without credit
This is obvious, but people still do it.
I guess if you post uncredited work, you probably don't care much about my advice.
Instagram doesn't have a mechanism for re-sharing content, so users often turn to third-party apps that watermark content as re-posted. Responsible users also tag the creator in the post's caption.
Users usually encourage re-posting since their content reaches a wider audience, but re-using other people's photos without credit is creepy. You'll be exposed as an image thief, and you'll suffer mass unfollows.

7. Buying followers
You can buy new followers pretty cheaply. Sometimes buying followers might make sense; for example, you launch an account that quickly needs to looks legitimate. The quality of bought followers will be terrible. They won't care about your content or like or comment on your posts.

Buying followers doesn't make sense long-term. The point of Instagram is to build rapport with a new audience. Buying followers only means a larger number on your profile page.

Drew Hubbard is a social media and content marketing strategist and owner of Foodie Content Studios. A version of this article originally appeared on iMedia Connection.

What’s the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

Meltwater’s Karen Uyenco explains that the best time the best time to post on Facebook is when your audience is on Facebook. Follow Meltwater on Twitter: @meltwater

One of the most frequently asked questions about social media marketing is: What is the best time to post on Facebook?

When we Google this question, we find that there are slews of experts and insiders offering definitive answers. Some say weekdays are the best time to post on Facebook, others say weekends. One narrows down optimal posting time to Wednesdays at 1 p.m., another swears by Thursdays and Fridays at 4. Whose advice should you follow?

The Best Time to Post on Facebook Is When Your Audience Is on Facebook


Luckily, you no longer have to take anyone’s word for it. Facebook now provides easy-to-use analytics tools so each of us can track the behavior of our page’s visitors and determine the best time to post on Facebook based on our specific audience. After all, there are a lot of people on Facebook and they don’t all follow the same schedule. The best time to post on Facebook depends on who you are trying to reach and how you are trying to engage them.

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Accessing Facebook Insights

  1. Log into your Business Manager
  2. Click on Insights > Posts > When Your Fans Are Online
  3. Take a look at the Days chart. If you’re a small business with limited time for producing and publishing Facebook content, you’ll want to post on days that the majority of your audience logs in.
  4. Take a look at the Times graph to zero-in on specific times of day.

Experimenting with the Data

You may need to go through a few rounds of trial and error before you feel like you’re synching up with your audience and getting maximum value from your posts. Here are some things to try:
Experiment #1: For one week, post Facebook content only on your top two or three most visited days. Compare engagement on those days with the engagement you’re used to getting. Does it help to post content only on these high-audience days? If not, try again. Post a day before high-audience days, as Facebook posts tend to peak anywhere between a few hours to a day later. Again, compare results and take note.
The next step is to test out the best times of day for posting. If you click on your “best” days, you’ll see a dark blue line indicating peak audience times for that specific day.
Experiment #2: Test publishing your content during those peak times. Then test again by posting a few hours before the peak. Compare results.
Please note that these times are unique to your fan base and will probably fluctuate. They may even change from month to month—so check back often, test, and keep optimizing.

What Content Should You Post?

Now that you’ve got the hang of using Facebook Insights, it’s important to remember that while timing is important, it isn’t everything. What time you publish your posts won’t matter all that much if your audience simply isn’t interested in what you have to say.

Doug Karr of Marketing Tech Blog explains that the best time to post on Facebook is “when you have time and have something of value to share.” Facebook Insights comes in handy once again in helping us determine what content our audience responds to most.

Rank Your Posts by Performance

Below “When Your Fans Are Online,” under the heading “All Posts Published,” you’ll find posts from the past three months listed in chronological order. You can click on the inverted arrow to the very right above the chart to view your posts by various engagement performance criteria. If you want them ranked by engagement, just click on the engagement column header to sort.
  • Post Clicks/Likes, Comments, and Shares: See which posts received the most overall engagement. This ranking includes “visible” forms of engagement that your audience can also keep track of (likes, comments, shares) because Facebook shows them next to each post. It also includes “behind the scenes” forms of engagement such as clicking on links, hashtags, and photos embedded in your post.
  • Likes, Comments & Shares: Remove “Post clicks” to simply see “visible” engagement.
  • Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, and Unlikes of Page: See which posts led to negative engagement, or actions that caused you to lose audience members and brand visibility.
  • Engagement Rate: Rank your posts by the percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it. It’s possible that a post on this list wasn’t seen by as many people, but the people who saw it were more like to engage with it. If so, you’ll want to promote similar posts in the future to a wider audience.
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Some Questions to Keep in Mind

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you figure out what your audience is most receptive to.
  • What type of content does my audience respond to: text (in the form of status updates), links, photos, or videos?
  • Do they most enjoy curated or original content?
  • What subjects capture their attention: news, product updates, tips, promotional deals, contests?
  • Do they only have time for short and snappy, or do they prefer to dig into meatier content?
  • Does my audience respond better to a formal or a more casual casual tone?
Being able to answer these questions will help you maximize your Facebook presence and deliver content that your audience wants to see. Coupled with what you’ve discovered about the best time to post on Facebook, you can now ensure that you’re giving your audience what they want, when they want it. Give it a try and share a comment below on how it went.