How to Utilize Instagram to Boost Your Business

Instagram basics

First of all, what is Instagram and why is it so popular? Instagram is a social media app that was built with the purpose of sharing photo and video content with other users and followers. If your business or brand has any visual content that showcases you, Instagram is a must do for your business.

The photo and video rich media aspect of Instagram is what gives it fantastic marketing capabilities if done properly. Instagram also provides users the ability to edit their content before uploading with filters and other editing tools that can give your content a professional look. If your looking to showcase and get feedback on the visual aspects of your business “Instagram has 500 million monthly active users [and] there are 95 million photos uploaded to Instagram every single day” (Alexander, 2016, para. 2). Instagram users are also very engaging on the platform, of the 95 million photos uploaded “4.2 billion photo likes per day” (Alexander, 2016, para. 2) are sent out. 

Instagram allows for personal user accounts but also allows you to create a business branded account. When setting up your account for your business keep in mind that in order to switch your existing page or a new page to a business account you will have to access your settings found on your profile page. Due to Instagram being owned by social media giant Facebook, it is best to already have a business Facebook page built to link to your account. With an Instagram account set up for business purposes, it allows you to access Instagram Insights. With Insights it lets you analyze your posts and reach to see things you are doing well and things that can be done better.

Building your business strategy for Instagram

One of the best ways to get started with your business strategy for Instagram is to look at other successful business on Instagram to see the types of posts they are making. Looking at golf company Callaway’s Instagram page it shows some of their staffers using their product for successful tournament finishes, along with captivating product photos. Callaway also features “Insta Golf Tips” on their page like the one below to provide valuable content for their followers.

Another good way of getting some ideas for your business Instagram page is by brainstorming content ideas. When doing this list all of the products and services you offer. For a golf professional, all the forms of lessons you can provide, coaching programs, and clinics are all services you can provide. Next, list all of the benefits that your product or service can provide to your consumers. Now think of how people use your product or service, the more creative you are at this point, the more content ideas you will have. Lastly, think of the situations when people are the happiest with your service. This is where you can get peoples attention with content that reminds of the good feelings they may have from your service. This may be as simple as hitting that bunker shot perfectly that you’ve been struggling with, or possibly the feeling of shooting your lowest score yet.

Looking at your competitors content is also a great way to understand ways that you can improve your Instagram content. It also allows you to see who is following them and figure out what you can do to reach some of their followers. You also can find ways to separate yourself from your competitors by looking at the competition to find things that you can do better than they currently are doing.

Creating a posting schedule can be very effective for growing your Instagram following. By scheduling posts, it makes it easier to plan content while increasing user engagement. Third party applications allow for scheduling posts made simpler, look for applications such as ScheduGram and HootSuite.

Using the Instagram app

When setting up your Instagram business page it is important to fill out as much of the profile section on Instagram as you can. The more information provided here will allow for your customers to reach you easier, one of the most effective tools is adding your website landing page in the URL section of the profile. Also, keep your bio and other text sections of your profile concise, people generally use Instagram to stay away from long blocks of text like the ones you see on other platforms. If they want to learn more about you they can have a redirect to your website from your Instagram page.

After your profile is complete the next step is to start posting content, this can be done from the middle camera icon on the mobile app. You can choose to pick content from your camera roll on your device or to take a photo or video from within the app. After you select a photo or video to post the next step is to use Instagrams filter and edit tools to enhance your photo to increase the visual appeal of your content. After the content is edited accordingly you will hit the next button found on the top right of the screen to move on to the post’s caption and share section. In this section, it is important to provide a caption for your content along with relevant hashtags to improve your reach. After this is completed you can select your linked social media accounts to post your content to.

The best way to gain visibility through Instagram is to interact with the Instagram community. You can follow others in your industry, and like and comment on their posts accordingly. The more times your businesses page appears on Instagram the bigger your reach on the platform gets. The same way you interact with other Instagram pages on the platform will be the same thing others are doing with your own page. It is important to review your likes and comments on your content to gain feedback on what users are liking and saying about your business.

Using Instagram stories is a great tool to post content from a live event for a 24-hour window after posting. This tool is great for showing a particular event without cramming your Instagram feed. I recently used this tool for my @wardogolf Instagram page over the past weekend at the Edmonton Golf Show to show some of the different guest speakers and other golf lesson content. I plan to use the stories tool to share live content from other events throughout the golf season to show community involvement and other things my followers may find valuable. Instagrams recent update of stories allows users to pin stories they have created to their profile in icons to be displayed above their main content.

Fine-tuning your content to increase reach

In order for your Instagram account to be most effective, there are a few easy tricks to stretch the reach of your content.

Use the following five points to get the most of out of your posts:

  1. Link your other social media platforms to Instagram to reach out to other established platforms with your visual appealing content from Instagram.
  2. Use filters to enhance your photos, in some cases #NoFilter is best. Look to match your filters to the message your brand is trying to promote with the photo.
  3. Use relevant hashtags to connect with more users that are not following you. For golfers in Edmonton try #GolfYEG, #Golf, #AlbertaGolf.
  4. Add a location to your posts to show your followers where to find you. The easier your brand is to find, the more customers can connect with you.
  5. Use a Repost app to add content to your page from your other users. This is a great way to interact with the community while having to do little to no extra work.

Using Instagram for business tools

Look for the bar graph icon found on your Instagram profile page to access Instagram Insights. Insight allows you to see top posts for your current page and new followers. Instagram Insights gives us the ability to see how many times our posts and page have been seen in a given time period. This is a great way to measure the success of your posts and give your Instagram measurability.

Instagram also has a blog dedicated to it business users and provides tips and tricks for business owners to improve their Instagram presence. The Instagram for Business Blog allows you to stay up to date with best practices, announcements, and updates.

How to integrate Instagram with other platforms you have.

A great way to add visually rich media to your websites is by linking your Instagram with your website. Most web design companies will have the ability to add an Instagram widget to your website similar to mine found on my homepage.

How Instagram can boost your business as a golf professional

The best way to increase awareness of your golf instruction or golf course is to feature photos and videos of exactly what you do. Try posting a live look at what one of your lessons looks like and this will give an insight of your teaching style and can lead to more lessons. A golf instructor who has done this very well is George Gankas, George uses Instagram to showcase his teaching methods and how an actual lesson would go. By posting videos of lessons he has increased awareness of the services he provides and also shows his unique personality that has gained him the respect of many tour players and golf professional alike. This post below shows one of the great drills he uses with students, it also shows his laidback approachable style that has got him to over 92,000 followers on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

@wcolew 😂😂😂😂

A post shared by George Gankas (@georgegankasgolf) on

Instagram is also great for running contests and giveaways to grow your brand, by running contests that are engaging and has other users post creative photos of your product and service it will allow others to do marketing for you. Giving away a golf lesson or a dozen golf balls goes a long way for increasing your reach if the contest is engaging.

 

Works Cited

Alexander, A. (2016, December 3). Instagram for Business [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Instagram-tutorials/Welcome/533221/552957-4.html

 

Why Social Media Marketing is Worth it for Golf Professionals

Why You Need Social Media Marketing To Grow Your Brand

As a golf professional and full-time student through the winter,  it can be difficult to find the time needed to invest in a social media profile. However, in today’s connected world social media marketing can be extremely effective for growing your brand with limited resources.

“Social media is word of mouth on steroids” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 2).  It is the quickest way for you to connect and build relationships with your customers and prospects. Social media is all about your customers; with creating content that they find valuable and helpful it is a fantastic way to have your brand and content shared.

Understanding Social Media Marketing

In order to further understand social media marketing, it is important to understand some of the key social media terms and why they’re important.  Content is everything you produce to promote your brand and connect with your customers. This can be a golf camp brochure, a blog post, or even an email to your members sharing information about corporate offerings. SEO stands for search engine optimization which is used to make your content more findable by websites like Google. Keywords, tags, and hashtags are all used to make your content easier to find; hashtags use a # before all text and unlike keywords and tags, they have no spaces between words. Examples of this would be #golfinstruction which currently has a reach of 79,874 Twitter users and #golftips which currently reaches 212,742 Twitter users according to hashtag tracker website Keyhole.  Another key term that is currently being utilized by some of today’s top golf instructors is Livestream Video. Instructors George Gankas and Dana Dahlquist both utilize Livestream Video to showcase their teaching methods and student progress by streaming video through Instagram in real-time. George Gankas has gained extreme popularity with this method and now has a following of 89,900+ followers on Instagram.

The next step is understanding and determining which social media platforms your audience uses. A key message shared by Martin Waxman in his video “Social Media Marketing for Small Business” is “go where your customers are, don’t make them come to you” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 5).

After you determine where to connect with customers, you must create content that they can’t find elsewhere. With over 1.6 billion users, Facebook is one of the most obvious answers to connect with customers; I have recently created the Wardo Golf Facebook page that I plan to expand on throughout the golf season. Instagram is a great platform for sharing visual content, which is fantastic for golf professionals due to the visual aspect of the golf industry. Something as simple as sharing a clean green driving range in the dog days of winter can remind customers of indoor golf lessons offered throughout the winter. This is a great post that features a dedicated player who found a small mat of green in a sea of white snow; this post was used to promote a golf training aid that golfers can utilize in their offseason practice to get them ready for the season’s start. Twitter acts as a great platform for customer interaction and can act as a real-time news feed. Twitter can be used to share openings in your lesson schedule or even to share information like the rescheduling of an instruction clinic due to weather. LinkedIn is great for sharing professional accomplishments and certifications such as completion of Titleist Performance Institute Course or Trackman Golf Certification. YouTube is an effective tool when sharing visual video content; this would be a great place to post an instructional drill like Phil Mickelson’s go-to putting drill.

Social Media Strategy For Growing Your Brand

In Martin Waxman’s video “Social Media Marketing for Small Business” he gives a 7 step strategy for developing a social media strategy:

Step 1: Set your social media goals

Make your social media goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The key to social media development is being able to measure whether you are reaching your goals. Remember that likes don’t equal success, likes are a passive gesture “similar to the nod two acquaintances might share when they pass on the street” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 3).

Step 2: Understand your customers’ social media habits

Find the most frequented social media platforms that your customers use and times that they use them in order to connect with customers most effectively. Golfers are known as early birds and might use social media as part of their morning routine, consistently posting content late in the evening would put content towards the bottom of your customer’s news feeds. An effective way to determine this information would be through an online survey, online forum, or even face to face.

Another effective rule to follow is the rule of thirds; your page’s content should feature a third of the posts about self-promotion, a third of the posts should be shared content from other users, and the last third should focus on building relationships with customers and prospects.

Step 3: Craft a social media policy

This will offer a code of conduct for all users including yourself on all forms of social media. It should be easy to understand and be in line with your brand’s values.

Step 4: Create a social media plan

At this step, it is important to develop all aspects of the social media plan. The first step of the social media plan is setting your goal. Next look at what the aspects of the business environment are to determine what may hold you back from your goal. After this, it is important to set a measurable objective to determine success. Following that step, it is important to develop a strategy on how you will reach that measurable objective. Lastly are the specific marketing tactics used to reach our goal; a tactic GG Swing Tips uses is posting live lesson videos to Instagram and Youtube to showcase what prospected customers could expect from his instruction.

Notice his laid-back tone which makes George extremely approachable as an instructor.

Step 4: Building your social media team

At this step, it is important to determine who will be allowed to share content for your brand; for most golf professionals, content will be managed solely by themselves due to a lack of budget.

Step 5: How to make time for social media

Pick the social media channels with the biggest positive impact for your brand; you can’t be everywhere due to time constraints and budget limitations. Another effective tool is using a social media planning calendar, using a planning calendar will help organize content and when you need it posted.

Publishing Shareable Content

When posting content, focus on what your customers really need. Your content should have value for years after you post it and if the customer finds it valuable they will be more likely to share it, which widens your customer reach. Customers value authenticity and good quality; a swing drill video doesn’t have to be on a golf channel production level but should be authentic to your brand. When producing content use the three P’s approach. Think like a publisher and create the best story and provide the best information possible. Act like a producer by adding multimedia to increase visual appeal and retain customers’ attention. Lastly, be a publicist and get the word out about your content; utilize keywords, tags, and hashtags to reach the biggest audience possible.

Make your social media presence a two-way conversation; the more you interact with your customers, the more trust you build with them. Take the time to watch their social media activity, listen to their concerns or praises, then start a conversation. 

When starting up a social media brand it is important to conduct regular A/B tests in order to determine what type of content will be the most effective. If trying to determine whether using video swing tips or a blog post swing tips to promote your brand, post both and track which content gets the most traffic and response.

Benefits For Your Brand

All golf professionals can benefit from social media marketing if done effectively. It is extremely effective to connect with your customers, grow your brand, and reach your goals. Success story George Gankas utilized social media to gain a massive following across multiple social media platforms; he has gained a following of golfers dedicated to the brand he has created, he has his own apparel & accessories that he sells through his social media platform and is currently developing his own website to sell online coaching and instruction. This is the success route that all golf professionals can find themselves on if they invest time in themselves and their social media marketing brand.

Works Cited

Waxman, M. (2016, August 28). Social Media Marketing for Small Business [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Facebook-tutorials/Social-Media-Marketing-Small-Business/471976-2.html

 

12 Steps to Improve Your Marketing Copywriting

What Is Marketing Copywriting?

A successful online presence requires providing valuable content for your audience, one of the most effective forms of content is marketing copy. Marketing copy is used for the purpose of advertising to people that may potentially buy your product. People utilize marketing copy in order to persuade people to buy, vote, or agree, whatever it may be, it is written with a purpose behind it. I plan to use marketing copy to have content available for when my audience needs it most, a future example of this would be “5 Tips To Make More 3 Footers,” having this content available for one of my students who has recently came off of the golf course fuming about how many short putts they missed creates value for them from both my website and my instruction.

There are several types of marketing copy that fall into three general categories; collateral categorization is how the copy is delivered whether it’s by a newsletter, or by a website. Secondly is the medium or form of delivery, video, audio, poster, or webpage are different forms of copy delivery. Lastly, is the style of the copy this part is the most unique because different products require different styles, A style that I will utilize in the future is the teaching style, in this style the audience will learn first and have the call to action second. I have to be comfortable with people simply getting golf instruction whether it’s from me or from another CPGA professional. The idea behind this style is that I show the audience what they need and why they need instruction, this takes away their sense of the unknown when it comes to golf instruction and will make it easier to pursue further instruction.

12 Steps To Marketing Copywriting

After completing Learning to Write Marketing Copy by Ian Lurie, I will be highlighting and utilizing the following 12 steps that he discussed in his video to bring my own marketing copywriting to life.

Step #1- Assembling Your Tools

The first step to great writing is prepping the area you will be writing in. I am easily distracted when it comes to creative writing and clearing the area around me of distraction is when I am most effective. There are a few common things I do to get the most out of my writing, I grab a hot cup of jet fuel (coffee), turn my phone to airplane mode, and find a comfortable spot with little background noise, I also try to plan my writing around live sports broadcasts so I’m not thinking about what I’m missing while writing (at no point will you find me behind a keyboard during The Masters or any playoff Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Seahawks broadcasts).

Step #2- Creating The Plan

Spend 30 minutes to formulate a plan of what you are writing, your plan will change many times before you are done so don’t fret over little details. The plan should include notes about your audience, a list of collateral, and a list of styles that may or may not work (Lurie, 2014).

Step #3- Free Writing To Get Ideas Down

At this step, you will need to start freely writing ideas down associated with your plan, at this point do not focus on the format, write whatever pops into your head. I have difficulties getting the creative flow going, I believe that by getting simple ideas out of your head it allows you to connect them and use creativity to elaborate on them.

Step #4- Writing The First Draft

I recently looked back at some of the timed writing I did back in grade school and found that when given an allotted amount of time to write about something, the lack of thoughtfulness leads to some incredibly creative ideas. The first step here is to set a timer for 45-90 minutes, next write from the inside out skip the introduction and get the meat of the content written.

Step #5- Observing General Rules

These are basic yet sometimes forgotten areas of copywriting, firstly you should address the reader, secondly quality content is more important than the quantity of views it receives, lastly is a rule that I consistently use which tells the consumer how it will benefit them. When I’m instructing I don’t show a student a specific swing move without accompanying it with why it is important to them and why I am showing them it.

Step #6- Polishing The Draft

Now that the marketing copy is written down, it is important to fine tune to produce the desired results. Get others to read the copy, then edit accordingly and then proofread (Lurie, 2014). I have enlisted the help of Grammarly for my writing and it is amazing the immediate improvements that I saw from this change.

Step #7- Writing A Headline

  1. Headlines shouldn’t be mysterious, in fact, “a clear headline outperforms a mysterious headline by about 2:1” (Lurie, 2014).
  2. Avoid scaring people in your headline, a headline I will never use would be “Broken Back: Why You Need Golf Instruction”
  3. Using a formula will help with consistency and steer you away from making headline mistakes. Testimonials also make great headlines, and utilizing specific features that set you apart can also be useful in headlines.
  4. Write many different headlines to find the best one, sometimes you may find it is a combination of both which is exactly how I landed on the headline for this blog.
  5. Captions are not a headline; headlines are a preview of the content and your first way to earn the readers interest, while captions are more of a literal statement.

Step #8- Testing Your Headlines

  1. Pick your favorite headlines narrow it down to 2-3.
  2. Ask people about which one is best, run an ad and see the feedback, also you can send an email with two different headlines to two separate groups see which is the most effective by checking the open rate on the email (Lurie, 2014).

Step #9- Selling The Page

This is now how you get the reader to stay, some straightforward ways of doing this would be a table of contents summarizing the key points, the second which needs more creativity would be to come up with a summary that is fun and attention-grabbing. I see the second as a useful way to make my instruction more approachable and will look to start using an enticing summary to grab the reader’s attention.

Step #10- Structuring For Print

Print is anything that will be offline and found on paper, I found that some key points I will utilize for my future copy are keeping text to 5-6 lines per paragraph, no more than 15-20 words per line, and using images because that is what sells it(Lurie, 2014), I believe in these points because I have read articles that have went over these boundaries and found myself losing interest from a lack of visual stimulation. I also found it satisfying to know that my I have correctly done my call to action in the past, which should make it easy for readers to find more information and contact you.

Step #11- Structuring For Online

When structuring online it is important to look at the disadvantages to online copy, it is much easier to have your writing taken out of context, it also is harder to read long copy online so keep this in mind when writing longer more in-depth posts, lastly is form it viewed on (Lurie, 2014), this is something I am currently working trying to get my website to work on all of my devices to my desired format. The biggest upside to online copy is that it is editable, so for people new to copywriting like myself, a copy is editable for mistakes even after it is published.

Step #12- Using Typography Effectively

The last step discussed in Ian Lurie’s “Learning to Write Marketing Copy,” focuses more on letters rather than words. It is important to create copy that is easily scannable, the audience should be able to scan over the key details of the copy and get the just of it. The golden ratio is a good rule of thumb for basic typography, it is not the easiest to do, which is why Chris Pearson created this golden ratio typography calculator to help.

Benefits To Wardo Golf

  • More valuable copy that students and other readers find useful to come back to.
  • Copy that clearly communicates to my students and readers the benefits of instruction and information.
  • Marketing copy will help grow my student base by marketing to those who need it most.
  • I have found a common style to in my copy; I will look to use a teaching style in my future marketing copyright.
  • Greater understanding of the process to write valuable marketing copy.

Reference 

Lurie, I. (2014, May 28). Learning to Write Marketing Copy [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Business-Online-Marketing-tutorials/Creating-plan/149250/175051-4.html