Instagram Hacks that will Drive Sales … I mean Checkouts

IMG_6798I recently saw an article on tips for using Instagram to Drive Sales. A lot of the tips are actually pretty relevant to libraries. Let’s look through the tips, and see if anything’s useful for us!

1. Create Call to Actions. Definitely useful – a call to action certainly doesn’t have to be limited to sales! Instagram gives you one actual website link, and it’s found in your profile. Point to things other than your main page sometimes.

Then, in the description box of your image post, ask people to click the link in your profile to … register for the program, check out the book, etc.

2. Increase Exposure by Placing Call to Actions as a Location Extension. This one seems to have limited usefulness to me. Not even sure I really understand it…

3. Add Line Breaks to Your Instagram Captions. This is a way to get your profile to stand out more than other profiles, mainly because the text in your captions looks different. Again, limited usefulness here, since mostly people are scrolling through a bunch of images. But still – every little bit helps.

4. Get More Instagram Followers. Nothing wrong here! We need more followers. The author’s ideas are fine. But we have a built-in audience, so … just ask for them! Use Facebook and Twitter, share a photo, and ask people to Like your Instagram feed. Put up hashtag signs in the building. Mention your account at the beginning of events.

5. Why your “Thanks for following” Test Just Won’t Cut it Anymore. This one seems a bit excessive to me. Direct video messages thanking people for following you? Really? I’d unfriend you. What do you guys think about this one?

6. Add Line Breaks to Your Bio. Another way to get your profile to stand out.

7. Track Your Call to Actions with bit.ly. This is a cool idea. Then again, since Instagram gives you only one link, you can also find conversions simply by using Google Analytics. Check to see if anything came from Instagram. The bit.ly idea will give you an accurate count of clicks, so it’s definitely useful.

8. Talk your Target’s Talk. I definitely agree here. The translation for us is to not use marketing-speak or jargon. Figure out what customers you want to target with your Instagram account, and then use the language they use.

David’s #9. What’s missing in this list? The actual content! Work to make your content compelling enough that it leads your customers to the library, the website, a new service. Visually show off the awesomeness that is the library.

What’s missing? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments! And … I’m on Instagram – friend me!

Embeddable Tweets – What do they do?

Just testing out Twitter’s new “Embed this Tweet” feature. It lets me embed a tweet within my blog post. Here’s my example:

 

Interesting. It lets you:

  • See my Tweet in a more “twitter-like” format
  • follow me
  • reply, retweet, favorite

It’s sorta like you are on Twitter … outside of Twitter. Even cooler is this: since it’s not a screenshot, viewers/readers can actually click and follow/respond. It’s a simple way to prompt Twitter users to do that next step. Nice!

So – what do you think of Twitter’s new Embed this Tweet feature? Will you find ways to use it?

Focus on Youtube – Use Annotations!

Youtube Annotations are cool. They’re an easy way to add in messages and links to a Youtube video without having to mess with fancy coding or weird additions within the video itself.

What are annotations? They are notes that can be placed within a video on Youtube. Annotations can contain links to other Youtube pages/videos/features or text.

Here’s a video I recently created (non-library video – it’s me telling the story of cracking my ankle. Pretty much all better now!). In the video, I use two annotations – check them out:

For libraries and other organizations, I can see three types of annotations being really useful:

  1. subscribe button – ask people to subscribe to your Youtube channel
  2. next/previous video – link to another video of yours – this keeps people watching your channel
  3. Text annotation – use it to ask people to like the video, leave a comment, or subscribe…

Why do this? Easy. It’s an easy thing to add in to a video, and has the potential to be another way to help you connect to your customers. Ask customers to take a simple specific action (remember those calls to action mentioned in a previous post?) like subscribe to your youtube channel, like your video, or leave a comment. Doing this helps you increase viewership, engagement, and subscribers to your Youtube channel … and therefore to the cool stuff your organization does, too.

video camera pic from Bigstock

Youtube – Calls to Action

next stepsStill reading the Youtube Creator Playbook … do you include a Call to Action in your videos?

Being successful in online video, especially in Youtube, includes being able to build community engagement and an audience (which is done through subscriptions to your Youtube account). There’s quite a lot of potential community engagement built right into Youtube. Things like comments, likes, favorites, sharing, and subscribing.

Not getting those? maybe you aren’t asking.

Which leads us to creating a Call to Action in your videos. You could also think of these as Next Steps. Basically, your goal should be to tell people watching the video what to do next – give them something to do (something that actually relates to your organization).

Here’s what Youtube suggests:

  • Decide what actions you want your viewers to take for each video.
  • Use Youtube annotations to ask, or have the host in the video ask for it (I’ll talk more about Youtube Annotations in a future video).
Two simple steps! Some Youtube-ish calls to action might include:
  • asking people to subscribe to your video channel
  • asking people to like or favorite the video
  • asking a question, and then asking them to answer it in the comments box
  • asking them to watch an older video (and providing a link to the video)

This works on your website, too. Embed your video in your website, then ask viewers to leave a comment on your organization’s blog. Or point out an organization-specific action, like checking out a book or registering for an event. You could include a link to the event in your blog post, on your website, or even in the Youtube description box.

Either way – don’t waste your time creating a video if you don’t have a next step or a call to action. Give your viewers at least one “what should I do next” instruction, and see what happens. They just might actually DO it.

So here’s YOUR next step – tell me what types of next steps might work well in a video for your library or organization in the comments. That’ll give readers a great list of ideas that they can use next time they create a video!

Next Steps pic from Bigstock