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Want successful Instagram marketing campaigns? Follow these 8 tips

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram has blossomed and more users means a shifting culture – here’s how to adjust your strategy.

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Instagram feeds update fast and there’s a new face-altering filter available each week. Users have figured out how to attract massive followings and even become “Instagram Famous.”

So how should brand marketing efforts fit the attractive, square mold?

Lucky for you, Buffer has done all sorts of research for you and rounded up eight key guidelines to follow when creating marketing content for Instagram. Here’s what they recommend:

1. Younger audiences like relevant, relatable and creative content.
Instagram’s user base is primarily 18-29 year olds and more women use the platform than men, according to the Pew Research Center. This demographic is fond of inspiring, beautiful and unique content. If you can create high-quality images and videos that can be described as “current, creative and useful” – the top three words used teens and young adults used to describe Instagram – you’ll be in good shape.

2. Post consistently, not constantly.
If you stick to a regular posting schedule and publish well-made posts, engagement will follow. Irregular, low-quality, constant posts won’t do you any favors. In fact, it may drive followers away if your posts becoming a nuisance and/or don’t measure up to others.

3. Post when it works best for you.
When’s the best time to post on Instagram? No one really knows; research varies. Make your own schedule based on what you’ve seen work for your audience.

4. Don’t neglect Instagram Stories!
Snapchat was all the rage for a while, but Instagram Stories are slowly taking over. According to Techcrunch, Instagram stories generated an average of 35 percent more views for brands than Snapchat.

Another study found some Instagram users pay more attention to stories than posts, too. Maximize engagement by posting a story every so often. Not sure how to create amazing story content for your brand? Free template resources, such as this one, can get you started.

5. Add hashtags and location tags.
These are tools to help users find your content. Use them when you can.

TrackMaven found nine hashtags seems to be the magic number for maximizing post engagement. Just don’t be obnoxious. However, use too many and your posts may be hidden from the hashtags feeds if they appear “spammy.”

6. Create a mix of videos and images.
Videos took over Facebook, and that may be Instagram’s fate, according to L2 and News Whip studies. However, whether videos will outperform images on Instagram depends on each brand’s followers. Experiment with videos and compare their performance with your image posts. The data will reveal what your followers prefer.

Read also: How to automate your Instagram posts to maximize results

7. Utilize user-generated content.
Big brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and GoPro collect the best customer-created photos taken of their products and repost them to their Instagram accounts – with great engagement success, too.

If you’ve noticed consumers frequently tag your company in pictures relevant to your product and brand, experiment with this strategy. It could be a great (and simple) way to expand your reach and reward consumer loyalty.

8. Caption lengths can vary.
Don’t make your captions longer or shorter than need be. The point of a caption is to convey a message, and this can be done in many ways: From a lengthy text story to a handful of emojis.

Instagram recommends keeping captions to 125 characters or less so users don’t have to click “read more,” but don’t forgo important details in an effort to be concise. Once again, quality versus quantity.

Sienna is a Staff Writer at The Real Daily and has a bachelor's degree in journalism with an emphasis in writing and editing from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She is currently a freelance writer with an affinity for topics that help others better themselves. Sienna loves French-pressed coffee and long walks at the dog park.

Real Estate Marketing

Boatloads of webinars, resources to kickstart your 2018 sales goals

(MARKETING) RPR has unleashed a ton of resources to make sure 2018 is your best sales year yet – and you’ve already paid for it, so take advantage.

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rpr resources for sales goals

Most professionals are setting sales goals for 2018, and are seeking the resources to help get them there. Realtors most certainly are with the changes in the market for more homes to sell, more millennials possibly ready to buy, and most certainly tax reform changes to the game.

Fortunately, if you’re feeling a lack of inspiration to determine how you’re going to reach those goals – Realtors Property Resource (RPR) is putting together a few webinars to help you work smarter and pick up a few new tricks.

While of course, the highlight of the trainings focus on the use of RPR mobile app, they should promise to offer important information. The 4 Part series “4 Steps to Real Estate Success with RPR Mobile” for example, focuses on capturing leads, better communicate information in a listing, capturing open house leads, and improving the buyer tour experience. That series begins on February 21st, and continues weekly for a month.

Realtors unfamiliar with RPR should know that the app is included in National Association of Realtors (NAR) dues, and if you don’t know about it, your first webinar should be focused on getting to know the app, and see how it can help support your business by locating information. That particular webinar can be found here.

Additional topics focus on things from perfect pricing, pre-listing checklist, reigning in buyers, and creating relocation packets – all things that can be done to help facilitate a smoother selling process and help get you more results easier.

This particularly packet of resources should be useful to both realtors who aren’t familiar with the RPR tools, but also maybe the user who hasn’t leveraged the resource quite to its full extent. Most webinars are offered at least 2-3 times, so there are plenty of opportunities to attend a session. RPR also has a number of other resources including articles, social media information, graphics, and handouts for member use. Of particular place for inspiration is the Realtor case studies, where app skeptics may see how the use of RPR can apply to their real world realtor-ing.

Ultimately, this is just one of many possible resources, but if you’re looking to try a few new things to kickstart your sales in 2018, and are looking for tools to help you reach more lofty goals, some free education (that you already paid for, NAR members!), this is a great head start.

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Real Estate Marketing

Trying out a new AI-powered photo enhancer

(MARKETING) Using AI to edit photos is helping listing photos to shine their best, so we take a look at a popular new contender for results.

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photolemur AI photo editing

It seems like everyone nowadays wants to post the best version of themselves online. Vacation photos, listing photos, family portraits, and every day snapshots of breakfast go through extreme scrutiny before posting, sending, or texting to our family, friends, or followers. Even my mom figured out how to paint away her wrinkles in Apple photos before she sent out her Christmas card this year.

This is what it actually looked like, we tell ourselves after extensive editing, this red really was that red, the sky really was that vivid, the trees that brilliant un-capturable shade of green. And perhaps the iPhone snapshot couldn’t accurately capture the minutia of color and vivid warmth we actually experienced in that moment. So we edit. We pinch and pluck and filter and filter again. It’s easy. It’s free. Why the heck not promote the best version of an image?

It’s no wonder the market for accessible AI (artificial intelligence) photo editing tools is so competitive.

Now, every social media app has auto photo editing capabilities and filters. One new app is trying something different – photo editing ai that can dissect a photo and edit each area differently. At least that’s what it claims.

Photolemur is an app that uses AI to enhance photos enough to be socially acceptable and maybe a little bit more.

We ran the free version through the ringer here at The Real Daily and found interesting results. Using a photo from Wiki commons of Yosemite National Park, we tested the auto editing features/filters of iPhoto, google photos, and photo lemur to see which got us the most drool worthy pic. Because drool worthy is so subjective, you can see for yourself below.

Personally, I think the Google Photos auto enhance feature hit the nail on the head. Photolemur looks a little unauthentic, and let’s face it, if you’re posting a photo that looks like you spent a lot of time editing it, you’ve already failed, even if it’s a shiny listing photo.

Photolemur looks at your photo pixel by pixel. It can differentiate faces, objects, horizon, and sky and it edits each differently. It can reduce noise in low light shots and can enhance the sky in landscapes so you don’t get white textureless nothing when the sky you’re looking at is true blue.

The app is relatively easy to use. Simply drag your photos into the editor and bam – you’re on your way to awesome pictures.

We tested this with some iPhone snapshots to some disappointment finding the standard phone filters were better at enhancing the mundane daily pictures than photolemur (see above).

Landscapes seem to fare better with their technology, but at $30 this may only be worth it to heavy users, and those folks likely desire a little more control over the look of the photos than photolemur can provide. All in all, it’s a cool tool but won’t put professional photographers out of business.

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Real Estate Marketing

URL shortener: Once clicked, you can retarget ads across social networks

(MARKETING NEWS) This new tool helps expand your brand with a simple URL shortener that then lets you retarget site visitors. Bingo!

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The URL shortener is a must-have piece of the toolkit for the social media marketing age. PixelMe is a combination of a tried and true URL shortener with a retargeting pixel in every link to help your marketing efforts. Bingo!

If you’re not #intheknow, retargeting is a form of online advertising that uses cookies to help you advertise to your visitors while they browse the web. Basically, a piece of Javacript, a “pixel” is placed on the browser as a cookie. The cookie then notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads.

Usually, it’s part of an overall marketing strategy to help capture potential customers who visit your site, but don’t necessarily check out or become customers. Combined with content marketing and targeted displays, it can help get more people back to your site and ultimately become customers. In terms of numbers, if only two percent of customers normally convert on first visit, the ability to retarget gives you a better shot at the other 98 percent.

Key features of this tool beyond link shortening include: Measurement, with links analytics to help you determine what is working; Custom Domains with branded short domains; the ability to include single or multi-pixels so you can retarget with multiple ad platforms; bulk import that lets you quickly add multiple links and then share them from the dashboard; customized slugs edits (to the last part of the URL); a custom 404 screen if you have a dead link; and team member collaboration if you have a small marketing team coordinating your efforts.

The effectiveness of PixelMe comes from its development (a great story pulled from the blog here) with specific use cases in mind.

Influencer marketing (which we’ve written about: check it out here) for example, is often a one-time marketing exposure – with PixelMe, the campaign audience gets retargeted so you get more ROI on working with influencers.

PixelMe starts at $10 per month (with up to 200 shortened links a month and one pixelID); and goes all the way to $79/dollars a month (for 15 pixel IDs, 10 team members, and 5,000 links per month). At three pricing levels, practitioners of all kinds can find marketing benefits.

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