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Tools to Help Market Your Business Effectively

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Social media marketing can be a time-consuming chore if you try to do everything by yourself. A lot of small business owners do because they can’t afford to hire help. Fortunately, there are a range of tools that can give you an edge because they enable you to automate many of the typical tasks you do each day. They can also help you dig deeper into your niche, so you are able to offer exactly the kind of content that your target audience will love.

Hootsuite

There are free and paid editions of this service. It allows you to queue up content for future posting and cross-post to your various social media accounts. If you have a lot of accounts to manage, this program is worth its larger price tag.

Sprout Social

This is similar to HootSuite, with a higher price point and a more robust set of tools and detailed reporting. Schedule your posts and crossposts, and the platform will do the rest. It also has what is termed social listening, so you can learn more about your target audience and market to them more effectively. Although costly, a free 30-day trial can help you decide if it is worth it.

Buffer

Buffer offers a similar service to HootSuite and Sprout Social, but cheaper and easier to use. However, the service does not offer as many integrations as the former. Your reports about the results of the posts are easy to read and a great deal compared to the other two.

MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to recycle old posts. This is useful because as your followers grow, they might be interested in seeing past posts they would have missed out on. Organize your posts by category, schedule your content by category, and the program will automatically go through and post your content from each category. Once it has published all of your newest scheduled posts, it will start recycling the older updates, so you always show something new at your social media pages. It works with a range of social networks, and more are being added. The pricing is 1 tier only, so you get all of their features for a relatively low price per month.

If This, Then That (IFTTT)

This is a useful integration and automation tool. When one thing happens, it triggers a response. For example, it might tweet every time you publish a new Facebook post. It has a library of automations, or you can try to create some yourself from scratch, to streamline your marketing as much as possible. Oh, did we forget to mention? Its free too.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a must if you want to see what is trending in your niche. It shows the most popular content across the networks. You can get ideas, find social media influencers working in your niche, and ride a hot trend if your products and services are a good fit.

Feedly

Feedly also helps you find what is hot, but it will do it automatically for you and send the content to you in one feed. Content aggregation saves you a lot of time and effort and you will certainly never run out of ideas for posts.

Tagboard

Tagboard is a social listening tool that will help you track a keyword, niche or hashtag so you can join in the conversation. You can monitor your own brand name and products. You can also get fresh post ideas any time.

How to Grow Your Business Using Instagram Stories

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Some people like to criticize Instagram Stories because they are a direct imitation of Snapchat, but for smart marketers, it is always going to be a case of, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Instagram Stories has led to phenomenal growth for marketers using them, so if you have not started yet, it’s time to get organized.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are a little content area separate to your Instagram feed. The stories only last 24 hours unless you pin them to your account. They are a way to highlight interesting content, showcase new products, and give more information about who you are as a company and what you are all about.

As the name suggests, they are also perfect for storytelling marketing, which has become a hot new trend in the last 2 years or so. Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. As children, we love storybooks with pictures. We also love TV shows/videos. Instagram allows you to incorporate all of these elements as you tell your target audience more about how your business got started, or all your new product can do for them.

Instagram Stories are a more immersive experience than just a series of unrelated posts. They have changed the way many people use the Instagram app. Instead of swiping down to see their news feed first, many go to any new story in their interface first. The app will keep showing stories until the user clicks out, so your story can be highly visible compared to a single post on the feed.

1. Behind the scenes

The whole point of social media is to get to know your audience, and for them to feel they know you. Behind the scenes about your company or product creations shows who you are and what your values are.

2. Less formal and curated content

With most news feeds and grids, marketers aim for beauty, even perfection. With stories, the content can be more off the cuff and on the fly, showing a less formal side. You can make your content even more fun with Instagram stickers.

3. Create polls

Get to know your audience better and let them have fun by creating polls. They are not anonymous, so you won’t get a huge response, but it is worth a try so you can test your ideas for new products and more. Note that it will disappear within 24 hours, and Instagram does not save any report about it, so check back before the poll is ending to see your results and note them down in a spreadsheet or other convenient place. Re-use the best ones in the future, as you add more followers to your account.

4. Going live

Going live over the phone or via video can seem pretty daunting at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it starts to feel, and the better you become at it.

5. Sharing your best content from your camera roll

You can now save your images and combine them into a story.

6. Video content and recommendations

You can film people talking about your product, using it, or discussing the problem it solves. How-to videos are hugely popular on YouTube, making up about 75% of the content searched for. Create similar content and post it as stories.

7. Time-sensitive content

Have a time-sensitive announcement like a flash sale that has just started? The story will last for only 24 hours unless you pin it. The fact that it is so prominent on the page, though, will help all your followers see it quickly.

8. Announcements

Have you posted a new article at your blog? Launched a new product? Won an award? Stories are a great place to showcase your news and announcements.