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A 101 On Why Social Media Marketers Should Use Instagram

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So what is this Insta-picture, photo, candy gram business anyway? The social media network you’re referring to is properly named Instagram, and if you don’t know about it, it’s time that you learn.

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media networks on the scene in Houston and around the world. It provides viewers with a constant stream of photos from people that they choose to follow, updating constantly throughout the day as people continue to post more and more.

Why does it work for online marketers in Houston? The same reason that photos are the most popular item on Facebook. People want to visualize. They want to actually see what people are doing, wearing, selling, and boasting about. As social media continues to grow, words are becoming less and less important, and photos are taking the forefront. Instagram caters to just that.

So where’s the appeal? It’s just photos, what’s in it for me? When uploading photos to Instagram, you can add filters to them, crop them, angle them, add a border and basically ‘Photoshop’ them up to make them the best photos that they can be. Cue the ‘likes’ people! Each photo ‘like’ and comment increases your views on the network by sharing to other users. That’s not all. Not only can you upload photos for all of your followers to view, but now you can even upload 15 second videos right to your feed.

Even better? The videos can be pulled from the storage in your phone and be cut and merged together into a single 15 second clip. That’s right, you don’t have to record directly into the Instagram platform. This gives users endless opportunities to edit whatever they need to cater to their audience.

Once you’ve posted something, you can then choose to share it to all your other social accounts with just one click. Instagram allows its users to link to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, AND Flickr! All you have to do is select which accounts you want to share with, hit “post” and voila, you have now shared one picture/video to numerous other social networks. Are you seeing the endless marketing opportunities yet?

Instagram has even started to experiment with sponsored posts, one of the most popular sponsors being Michael Kors. We all know that clothing genius, and if you don’t, I guarantee your girlfriend does. Why would Instagram do this? For the same reason Facebook and Twitter have allowed users to now sponsor and pay money to further the success of a post… MARKETING.

The fact that Instagram has now realized its marketing potential should not be overlooked. If you are looking to jump on the train, now is the time. Instagram will continue to grow in success and you want your Houston-based company to establish itself in this photo realm before it becomes swallowed by the corporate sponsor giants.

So what’s the hitch? Instagram runs mainly off of mobile devices/tablets. Although the site instagram.com is accessible on a desktop and laptop computer and allows you to ‘like’ and comment on photos, you cannot actually load a photo to the network unless it is through a mobile device/tablet.

Has this put a dent in the company? Instagram is so far from hurting.  “The mobile app boasts over 50 million users, despite only living in iOS and Android devices. Instagram launched on Android just this year and it quickly earned 5 million downloads in six days. Its success caught the eye of the most valuable social network in the world. Facebook acquired Instagram in April for $1 billion.” (Mashable.com)

The biggest social media network in the world has bought them out! “Instagram’s presence on the web has improved enormously in the last year. You can now use the web version to do just about everything — edit your profile, comment and like photos, discover and follow other users — except upload pictures and videos.” (Mashable.com)

Instead of hurting themselves with this move, Instagram is working overtime to ensure that they are exclusive so their idea and also one of the most popular and current social media networks to date.

Setting up an account is very easy, if you can’t figure it out our friends over at Mashable have given a very nice step-by-step “Beginner’s Guide” to Instagram here.

My parting words… Get on it. Don’t be a fool, Instagram is where it’s at. Get your company on it. The best part? You don’t need to spend hours updating it. It IS possible to overshare on Instagram. Users who post too much do have a higher “unfollow” rate. This means that starting off, your company only needs to post once a day, or a few times a week at that. We can’t make this much easier for you. If you aren’t Instagramming, you’re losing.

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Houston Marketing Moguls: Leroy Shafer

Check out these video interviews to learn more about the marketing creative, integrating marketing decisions, and branding behind one of Houston’s best known events!

His decision behind 2014’s marketing creative:

 

Their 2014 digital, mobile, and social integrated marketing plan:

 

How to get respect in Houston:

 

Marketing tactics and strategies:

Why Cost Per Point Doesn’t Matter

helloPlanning media budgets is one of the most difficult aspects of marketing your business in Houston. Although you want to get your name and message out to the masses, you also don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing strategy which includes advertising that doesn’t yield any results. In the past, many Houston businesses relied on cost per point (CPP) calculations to help them to reach their target audience, but even this isn’t a fool-proof method. So what should you do? In this post we will explore how to get the most out of media budgets and advertising in Houston by saying ‘goodbye’ to CPP, and ‘hello’ to market research and analysis.

Cost Per Point is a Flawed System

In theory, CPP should be a great tool for planning media budgets. And in fact, CPP can be effective when doing large, cross-market buys that don’t need to be targeted to a specific audience, which is why many ad agencies still use this as part of their media buying analysis. In reality, however, it’s really just another stab in the dark.

Basically, CPP represents that amount of money that you will need to spend in order to reach 1% of your targeted audience. In media jargon, this 1% is referred to as one “rating point” (sometimes abbreviated to GRP for “gross rating points.”) As an example, let’s say that your target audience is 94,000 people, and your CPP for a specific TV or radio station is $12. This would indicate that it will cost you $12 in order to reach 940 people at one time.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the system. The truth is that CPP cannot ensure that you will reach 940 different people at one time, or just a single person 940 times. And that’s a big problem. Ultimately, the best use for CPP is to treat it only as a cost comparison tool. CPP can tell you how much you will need to spend in order to (theoretically) reach your designated market audience (DMA) for various media platforms.

In this way, you can start to work out your media budgets with an idea in mind of how much it will cost you to advertise on radio station X vs TV station Y. Beyond this, however, CPP will not provide any added value to your marketing campaign, and relying upon it could result in lost dollars and sales.

Market Research Provides Solid Answers

If you want to get the most out of your media budgets in Houston, you’ve got to find concrete, accurate answers to questions like:

  • Who is receiving your message?
  • How often is your message being received?
  • How well is your message being understood?
  • How is your audience responding to your message?
  • Which media platforms are yielding the best results for your message?

Which brings us to yet another question: How can you obtain the best answers for these important questions? The solution is through incorporating market research and analysis into your media budgets and typically your media partners should be able to provide you with free, unbiased market research as well. If they aren’t you might want to ask yourself why.

Market research can help you to determine the reach of your advertisement (or how many people are hearing your message at one time,) and how frequently the message is being transmitted. It can also help you to study the outcome of your marketing campaign. You may consider working with a firm that specializes in testing how much of your ad that your Houston audience has understood, the impact it has made, or the audience ability to recall the message a day after viewing or listening to it. All of this is essential to ensuring that your message is not only seen or heard, but that it is actually absorbed by your DMA. After all, this is what will compel your consumer base to make a buying decision and drive sales.

The moral here is that if you’ve got a great market research team, CPP doesn’t matter. Spend your media budgets wisely — on analysis which will yield actual results.