4 Tips To Increase Your Instagram Followers

Right now, the Holy Grail for brand marketing is Instagram followers. And with all of the products that are available in the marketplace like Liketoknow.it and Shopsy that allow bloggers and monetize their posts, Instagram is increasingly becoming a very powerful sales channel to use. The following are some useful tips to help give your Instagram follower count a boost.

  1. Engage with prospective followers

This is the number one and most important reason. Somebody told me once, ‘there’s a reason why it’s called social media.’ You really need to talk to people. The way you do that is to look up hashtags that relate to your niche. Find an image that appeals to you, and comment on it and ‘heart’ it. Your comment should either ask a question, compliment the Instagrammer, or say something else positive. Your profile will now show up in their activity feed. So if they are curious about you, they will click through and check out your profile. If they like it, then they might follow you. You just need to do this technique hundreds, or even thousands or millions of time. This definitely takes a great deal of effort, however, you can get huge results from this technique.

Boost your account with auto followers for Instagram.

  1. Use relevant hashtags

So how do you find new profiles and images on Instagram? You click on hashtags. So it, of course, makes sense to tag all of your images using popular and relevant hashtags to increase the chance that other people will find you. Fortunately for us, other people have gone to the trouble of figure out which hashtags are the most popular.  #TagForLikes is my favorite mobile app and website for this purpose.

Instagram allows each image to have up to a total of 30 hashtags, so lists have been created by #TagForLikes so you can copy and paste them on your images. Just down the mobile app or visit the website, find the theme that fist your image the best, and then copy and past it either in the comments or description. It’s so easy.

  1. Place a widget on your website

Given that you work very hard to drive traffic to your site, and once visitors get there they expecting to see a comprehensive view of your total online presence so they can interact with you on their individual terms. That is why you absolutely need to have visible links to all of your social accounts. There are many different website plugins that you can use to display your Instagram feed images as well in a sidebar or banner. Visitors’ attention is grabbed by Instagram’s visual nature, so it’s a great idea to display Instagram images on your website.

  1. Post the right things at the right time

Studies have been done to determine when the best times are to post on various social media sites. Instagram has a very mobile nature, which makes it a 24/7 network. Therefore, there is no such thing as a wrong or bad time to post. However, it has been shown that the best are Sundays and Mondays, so make sure they are included in your posting schedule. Also, there is a ‘best time’ based on your followers. There is a great Instagram analytics tool called Iconosquare that examines your followers’ engagement patterns and identifies the best times to post.

However, before you post any content, think to yourself, would I like this is I saw it in a feed? Be sure that you post likable and interesting content. It is better to post less per day and make sure to get things right than it is to constantly post but nothing is interesting to your followers.

How Automotive Companies Can Use Instagram to Get More Customers

When a company or brand is “visual” meaning they can actually show their results or what they offer Instagram is the best social media platform to visually show that off. For example if you are a auto repair shop, Phoenix windshield replacement company, or auto repair shop management software you can visually show your product or the end result.

For example you can show how you repaired a car, a windshield, or demo the software with Instagram stories or video.

What is Instagram stories? (hat tip CNET)

One of Instagram‘s most useful features is called Stories. That’s not just my opinion: Over 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day, the company revealed last year.

Why? Instead of the usual posting of carefully chosen single photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos that play like a slideshow. And at the end of the day, those photos disappear.

Sound familiar? That’s because it’s very, very much like Snapchat‘s My Story feature. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has a similar Stories feature, too.

But here’s everything you need to know about Instagram Stories.

Here’s how to create a Story:

  1. Tap the plus button on the top-left side of your home screen or swipe left in your Feed. You can also quickly launch Stories by swiping right from the main screen.
  2. Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video. You can also choose to start a live event or a Boomerang or put the app in hands-free mode. More on those options in a minute. To add photos or videos from your gallery, swipe up on the screen or tap the photo icon in the lower-left side of the screen. The app will automatically add a date sticker to your gallery photos, but you can remove it. I’ll show you how below.
  3. Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you normally would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
  4. Tap Done to save your Story.
  5. Tap the Add Your Story button to share to your Story. You can also tap on the Save icon to save your image or video on your phone. If you click the Arrow icon, you can shoot your image to one of your friends as well as your Story. Just tick the bubble by Your Story and the person you want to share with. The image will disappear as soon as your friend sees it.

So if you are in the automotive industry test out Instagram by posting videos and pictures to your timeline and stories and IGTV and actually SHOW people your process, products, services, and results.

How Businesses Can Benefit from Adoption of Meditation in the Workplace

Any company that eyes success and strive to remain relevant in today’s competitive market should be keen on attaining the following things:

I).            It should have a clear vision and set goals.

II).          Aspire to have an innovative approach in the development and supply of products or services.

III).         Have proper structures of leadership that inspire and guide employees towards success.

IV).         Encourage teamwork and empowering the workers to be current with the global marketplace.

Mediation in the office can play a significant role in accomplishing all these things. According to the Harvard Business School, meditation and intuition are the two most useful resources that the twenty-first-century executives need. Europe’s leading school of business the INSEAD also supports these findings.

Meditation at the workplace offers numerous benefits that build on each other. Overall, the gains of this practice in the office will be seen at an individual level, and that impact echoed positively through the company. The overall results will then be increasing performance and significant growth of the business. Speak to the London Meditation Centre for advice on how to incorporate meditation into your workplace.

The Individual’s Role

Companies and those in leadership positions should understand that the success of the business is pegged on having a workforce that is nurtured for success. That means that the employees should be inspired and encouraged to be innovative, and this should start and personal level.

Every employee has the potential of being great and needs help to realize the infinite possibilities that surround them. The workforce often requires a little nudge and direction to help them avoid limiting their creativity by avoiding inhibitors such as stress and strain. Such inhibitors will:

  • Block creativity, muffle mental clarity and snuff inspiration
  • Trigger insomnia that can lower inspiration and innovative thinking.
  • Damage relationships and this will have a negative impact on how teams perform as a unit.
  • Cause anxiety thus making it harder for employees to work together thus leading to impatience and less collaborative inputs.
  • Cause the employees to start doubting their talents, and this impacts their passion and self-drive for work resulting in decreased performance and productivity.

meditation

Meditation in the Workplace

Meditation is not a new concept; it has been around for ages. The fact that it is still is in use today only bears testament to its effectiveness. Stress in the office is increasingly becoming a problem, especially in today’s fast-paced, result-oriented, world of business. The more the workforce is stressed, the more unproductive they become, and this causes them to feel overburdened and undervalued. Sick days, lateness, and low performance become the order of the day as creativity, patience, and content are choked.

Meditation can see many employees overcome the strain of the everyday pressures of work and benefit from such a practice in limitless ways. Some of the gains of meditation at the office that the corporate world needs to know include:

  1. Clarity and focus

The human mind and body are wired to feel stressed and depressed when we encounter an obstacle to attaining our goals. According to research, a person battles with the “fight or flight” decision at an average of 12 times a day when going about their daily activities. The fight or flight state is often triggered naturally as a response to stress. It can adversely impact on the heart rate, digestion, blood circulation, immune system, and respiratory rate. All these things can affect the mind making it feel heavy or hazy.

Human beings only use 5% of their mental capacity, which is a limitation that we seem to have accepted. However, having clarity of mind and being focused is vital to being successful in all that we do. Achieving such a mental state is a product of being at peace with self and attaining an inner calm through meditation.

  1. Increased employee loyalty

By offering mediation as part of the employee wellness program only show them that you care about their welfare. The result of this is that you gain their loyalty and this translates into increased employee retention. The loyal workers are also less likely to consider seeking better opportunity in the job market. Moreover, they feel that the success of the business is directly related to their success and this makes them work harder so that they can realize the company’s vision while helping it grow and become successful.

  1. Improved communication

When the mind is calm and focused, it will have clear thoughts. Such a mental state plays a role in effective communication which is vital in the smooth running of operations. Companies that want to invest in ways of ensuring that there is effective communication at all levels of the business’ operations should consider advocating for meditation in the workplace.

  1. Decreased absenteeism due to illness

If the employees have a useful means of dealing with stress, they are less likely to report in sick. By having a way of managing and overcoming stress and depression, the workers low the risk of stroke, digestive problem, heart disease, sleep problems, and other complications that cause employee absenteeism.

  1. Increased Productivity

If the workforce is healthy and not overwhelmed by the strain and stresses of work, they become more productive; a goal that any business should strive to achieve. By helping the workers to deal with their stress effectively, you will be helping them to be more focused and feel inspired to be creative and goal-driven. They will be able to communicate better with each other and their leaders and this their productivity and that of the company.

Online Marketing Tips For Cannabis Brands

It can be a challenge to market your cannabis brand with all the state and federal rules along with highly restrictive guidelines for promoting on social media that restrict almost everything but the mention of brands. Also, cannabis brands have the additional problem of proving their legitimacy to naysayers on a constant basis along with other critics of this industry. The cannabis industry needs to be innovative in its marketing approaches to be able to responsibly market the brand to potential customers.

Here is a list of five ways to help you creatively market your cannabis brand while overcoming challenges of marketing cannabis.

  1. Creating Compelling and Accurate Content for Constant Engagement and Education

Cannabis is a growing industry but one of the biggest downsides is the presence of a lot of content opposing cannabis even though there is no truth in such content. Therefore, it is the responsibility of professional cannabis brands to educate the larger public about cannabis in addition to focusing on marketing their brands. This marketing and content produced by you should be ready to engage with the larger public instead of remaining passive about information.

Engaging the people creatively can be done in a number of ways including:

  • Sharing your own views to emerging research and news on your own social media handles
  • A Facebook video tour of areas within the provisioning center
  • Sharing photos of friendly budtenders along with a short biography
  • Posting simple blogs on topics you’re passionate about
  • Working on your cannabis site’s SEO.

These are the things that tell people that you are ready to engage with them, work with them and become a part of their lifestyle and this is the attitude that can attract attention to your brand. The marketing and content you post is a tool to grab the attention of people who might not be sold on what you do. It’s a way of showing that you run a legitimate business by projecting an educational and engaging image through your marketing. It will give confidence to the people that there is nothing nefarious about your cannabis brand and what you bring to the community.

  1. Responsible Use of Social Media

All cannabis brands understand the pain of marketing their brands on various social media websites while staying within the strict regulations of these websites. Even though most of the brands have the best of intentions, it’s not easy to stay within the strict advertising guidelines issued by these platforms. Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep your accounts alive. This is where you need to bring your creative A game.

Be thorough and use language that does not trigger the algorithms used on the platform. For example, the rules for cannabis brands on Instagram have been changed but it comes with a restriction that the brands do not include any location deals of retrieving products. If your brand is continuously shut down on these social media platforms, it does not look good and it’s your responsibility to make sure that you always abide by the guidelines and rules issued by the platforms you want to use.

online marketing

  1. Non-Traditional Advertising Methods

There are a number of restrictions on cannabis brands for advertising. For instance, cannabis brands are not free to use all kinds of content and their ads can’t be displayed at all places which means the brands need to use non-traditional methods of advertising for engaging customers. It’s true that the non-traditional advertising methods will require a bit more work as compared to buying ad space but the extra work will be worth it.

The key is to use your brand to get the word out there. Advertising, hosting and creating educational events along with speaker panels important to the cannabis community is one of the ways. You should go out and meet medical doctors, and talk to them about the brand instead of just slipping a note under the door containing information about your dispensary. Try to find opportunities to go on mainstream radio shows or cannabis podcasts for discussing your products and services. You should try to take every opportunity that comes your way to participate in health and wellness fairs, in trade shows as well as in other venues where you can get in front of potential clients.

  1. Becoming the Cannabis Expert

One of the ways to get your brand out there is to become a cannabis authority in the local community. It’s a great way to grow your brand and can help you become a thought leader in the community by becoming a go-to on everything related to cannabis for the media as well as other important stakeholders. You should ensure making contacts with some of the local legislators as well as the media in order to become the local authority and expert on cannabis as well as to educate about the impact of this wonderful herb on communities.

When the name of your dispensary and your name will keep showing up as an expert continuously, it will drive a lot of traffic to your store and the products on offer. People will begin to trust your knowledge and on products which will give you a leg up over your competitors.

  1. Dealing with the Snafu

No matter how careful you are with your marketing strategy, mistakes happen. Every brand has to deal with the odd snafu that gets them in the marketing hot water. The way your brand deals with such a situation will decide whether you gain customers or lose them.

This is a situation where will you need to be creative with your marketing. In case you make a mistake with your content or with your marketing approach or something more serious, it’s best to be genuine and to own up your faults. Playing the blame game is easy. You might want to pretend that no such issue is happening but it’s more likely to turn people off the brand.

In case of a marketing slipup, the best way ahead is to find the source of mistakes and learn from them. If someone has been directly affected through your mistakes, you need to alert your customers. You should make sure that your customers know about the corrective measures adopted by you to prevent recurring of those issues.

It may sound simple but the sad truth is that a lot of cannabis brands simply refuse to own up to their mistakes, to fix their mistakes and to learn from their mistakes. This makes the fallout much worse as compared to just acknowledging the issue as it makes their customers wary of their products and gives more ammunition to legislators who are eager to shutdown cannabis retailers. This method has stood the test of time and it will ensure that your customers stay loyal to you as they are aware of the integrity of your brand.

Gary Vaynerchuk Launches The Sasha Group

The Sasha Group

Gary Vaynerchuk just announced today he is launching the Sasha Group a digital agency for start ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses that is named after his father Sasha Vaynerchuk where he got his start helping the million dollar business grow 10 to 20x from 3 million that his father established to 60 million using his marketing tactics.

The Sasha Group is another VaynerX company similar to One37pm and Vayner Speakers he recently launched as well.

From Media Post:

VaynerX is combining VaynerMentors (consulting), VaynerBeta (branding and marketing) and the Daily Digital Deep Dive (digital consulting) to form The Sasha Group, a company to work exclusively with smaller-sized businesses, with revenues up to $100 million.

James Orsini, chief operating officer of VaynerMedia (which will continue to service larger-sized clients) will serve as president of Sasha based in New York, while Mickey Cloud will be senior vice president and lead the Chattanooga office.

The new entity will have nearly 50 employees that will work across creative, strategy, paid media and the Deep Dive education platform.

“The Sasha Group is named for my father, Sasha Vaynerchuk, who I worked side by side helping build and expand Wine Library,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman/CEO of VaynerX. “It is a nod to where I came from and I’m so proud VaynerX now has an offering for those businesses who are looking for explosive growth along with entrepreneurs and startups, which has been the majority of my business interactions over the last decade.”

 

8 Benefits Of Using A Virtual Receptionist

Dealing with phone calls is a natural part of doing business. Unfortunately, talking on the phone can take up a lot of time – especially when you have to deal with calls that may not be important enough to warrant your attention. One of the best ways to get around this problem is by hiring a receptionist to field calls for you.

Hiring a traditional receptionist not only means that you have to spend time advertising the position and conducting interviews but you also have to bear the costs associated with adding another employee. A much more effective solution that you may want to consider is working with a virtual receptionist.

More and more businesses are choosing to go this route because of all of the benefits that virtual receptionists provide. Here are 10 reasons why these professionals may be a good fit for your business:

1. A Cost-Effective Solution

Hiring an in-house receptionist is an expensive prospect. The typical annual salary for receptionists is $30,000. On top of that, you also have to cover the cost of benefits for another employee.

Paying for a virtual receptionist usually costs a lot less. As an added bonus, you don’t have to offer benefits since you aren’t actually hiring an employee. This can save you a lot of money.

2. No Equipment Costs

Adding a receptionist to your business involves a lot more than just hiring someone to answer the phone. You also have to set up a space where they can work. That means purchasing a reception desk, computer equipment, an ergonomic chair, and a lot of other supplies. These costs can quickly add up.

When you hire someone who works remotely, on the other hand, they provide all of their own equipment. By eliminating the cost of setting up a workspace, you can dramatically reduce your expenses.

 3. More Scheduling Flexibility

 Nothing is worse than finding a pile of messages waiting for you first thing in the morning when you arrive at work. This can eat up the most productive time of your day. Unfortunately, most traditional receptionists stick to a 9-to-5 schedule, meaning that they aren’t around to take care of nighttime phone calls.

 When you use an answering service such as AnswerFirst, however, you have access to a group of virtual receptionists who can take calls on your behalf around the clock. As a result, it is easier to deal with important issues as they arise.

 4. Better Customer Service

 For customers, calling a business only to receive an automated message can be a little bit discouraging. Virtual receptionists eliminate the need for these types of message systems.

 Instead, every time customers call, they can talk to an actual person, no matter what time of the day or night it is. This provides an excellent experience for your customers, which can make it easier to build long-term relationships and to gain repeat business.

virtual receptionist

 5. Multiple Language Choices

 In today’s global business environment, it isn’t uncommon to do business with people who speak a different language. Trying to find a traditional receptionist who speaks more than one language can be challenging. Typically, these bilingual employees earn higher wages, which can cost you a lot of money.

 It is also extremely rare to find a receptionist who speaks more than a couple of languages fluently. If you work with clients in a variety of different countries, this can limit the receptionist’s ability to communicate with them effectively.

 Virtual receptionists are a great solution to this problem. Most answering services have staff members available who speak a wide range of languages. As a result, they can handle your communications for you, no matter what languages your clients speak.

6. Online Chat Services Are Also Available

Many customers prefer to communicate with businesses through online chat rather than by phone.

For a typical receptionist, trying to keep up with phone calls is hard enough. If they also have to deal with multiple chat windows at the same time, it can be overwhelming. There is only so much multitasking that a single person can do.

When you work with an answering service, however, the company will assign as many virtual receptionists as necessary to your account. That means that any calls or chat messages that come in at the same time can all be dealt with effectively without leaving your customers hanging on hold.

7. Avoid The Hassle Of Hiring Or Training a New Employee

Bringing a receptionist on board takes a lot of time and money. Along with creating a job listing and posting it in relevant places, you also have to sift through resumes, conduct interviews, and provide training. Even worse, new employees sometimes quit right away, meaning that all of the time and effort that you invested in finding them was for nothing.

Phone answering services provide a much simpler solution. Instead of having to screen employees, all that you have to do is find the right phone service. Once you are their customer, they will make sure that a qualified virtual receptionist is assigned to your account at all times. If one of their employees quits, someone else can jump right in and take their place since they have multiple receptionists on hand.

 8. Less Stress

 Even if you hire the best receptionist in the world, problems can still come up. For instance, what happens if they get sick and can’t come into work? Who will handle greeting customers and answering the phone? This can create a lot of workplace stress.

All of this stress goes away when you work with a virtual receptionist. Companies that employ these receptionists have plenty of staff members on hand to handle your account even if one of their employees calls in sick