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Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Local Business Online

Decades ago, small businesses only had a few ways to market their business. They would sponsor local events, put up bill boards or print out fliers. In today’s digital era, there are several marketing opportunities out there on the web.

The internet is teeming with marketing platforms. The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing. You just need to know where to look.

Listed below are 4 cost-effective ways to market your local business online. Use these tips to raise awareness of your products and business.

Get social

With the ever-prevading power of social media, you can easily reach a wide audience from across the globe. This can be done with just a few clicks of a button. But in order to make the most of your social media campaign, you need to build your fan base and target audience in your specific niche.

Determine which social media platform your target audience use the most, and build a strong presence there. Be active and engage with your audience. Make meaningful conversations with your fans and followers. Provide useful and relevant information. Offer advice and support. This will help you build your reputation and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Get listed in local business sites

Before, people would look up businesses in Yellow Pages. Today, however, people will just bring out their smartphones and will find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds. As such, it is important to have your business listed in multiple online directories. This will make it easier for potential customers to find you and increase traffic to your website.

USdirectory.com, Yellowbook, EZ Local,Yelp, and Google My Business are just some of the free listing sites your business should be on. Don’t forget to include your business name, address, phone number, email address, and website on the listing.

Have your business listed on online review sites

Local business reviews get higher rankings in search engine results. Encourage people to post authentic reviews based on their experiences with your company.

Take time to create a good listing. TripAdvisor is a great site if you’re in a travel-related field. If you’re selling services, why not list on Angie’s List? These sites give you the opportunity to reach an enormous audience of potential customers who are looking for products or services in your industry. Reading through reviews from past customers will be beneficial for consumers who are looking to make informed purchase decisions.

Create a blog

One of the best ways to promote your business online is by creating a blog. Posting high quality content on a regular basis will do wonders for your SEO efforts. It will help drive traffic to your site, develop better relationship with your target audience, and position yourself as an industry leader. It may take a while before you see results, but all your efforts will be worth it in the end.

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Tips for Running a Successful Instagram Giveaway

Contests and giveaways have been around for a long time. But with the growth of social media, they have taken on a new life.

People love getting free stuff. It captures people’s attention. This is why most businesses run contests and giveaways on social media. When run effectively, it can help liven up your community, gain product exposure, generate leads, and grow your network.

Adding Instagram giveaways to your social media marketing campaign can help expand your reach and give your business a boost in terms of awareness. Here are some tips for running a successful Instagram giveaway.

Determine the type of contest

As compared to other social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t have that much promotion limitations. So if you are considering running an Instagram giveaway, you have the option to choose whether you want a photo challenge contest, a comment contest or a like contest.

With the photo challenge, you can ask users to upload their photos on Instagram. To enter, they’ll need to post using a specific hashtag. For the comment contest, users will just have to comment on your post to enter. This is great if your goal is to increase engagement or gain feedback from your audience. Last is the like contest. Here, all you need to do is to ask your followers to like your photo. This is the easiest contest to hold and will surely help boost your engagement.

Choose a deadline

Decide how short or how long you want the contest to run. The key here is to choose an appropriate length of time. If it’s too short, then people may not have enough time to enter. If it’s too long, people may forget about it.

You also need to consider your goal when choosing a deadline. A short giveaway time is ideal if you just want to have fun and give out something to you audience. A longer time is needed if you are planning to give out something valuable. This will capture the interest of your audience and will give you enough time for promotion.

Write the rules

Now that everything has been planned, it’s time to share the rules to the public. Make sure that the rules are easy to read and understand. Otherwise, people may not be interested to enter. Or worse, people may get confused.

Choose a relevant prize

The goal of this contest is to capture the attention of your target audience, not just any audience. As such, it is important to choose a prize that is valuable to them. We also recommend choosing a price that is relevant to your business.

Interested in learning more about Instagram Marketing for your business? Take a look at our Free Guide on writing the perfect Instagram caption!

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Which Social Media Channels Fit Your Target Audience [PLUS Tips for Writing the Perfect Instagram Caption]

You may have amazing products and provide great services. You also spend time creating good quality content. No matter how engaging or persuasive your content is, you won’t be able to achieve great results unless it reaches your target audience.

Most business use social media to engage with their fans and followers and even build a relationship with them. Considering there are several social media channels out there, do you ever wonder if you’re reaching the right audience?

Which social media channels fit your target audience? Keep reading to find out.


Twitter makes use of hashtags that allows businesses to target people who are talking about and engaging with topics related to their business. This social media platform is ideal for sharing real time information, timely trends or live events, and will result in high levels share and engagement.

Use this social networking platform if your target audience is young adults. 24% of internet users log in on their Twitter account on a daily basis. Younger, more educated crowds aged 18 to 29 uses Twitter. 29% of college grads use Twitter and lots of it.


Facebook is the biggest socal networking channel, with over 1.86 billion monthly users. Yes, Facebook is crowded, but it gives you the ability to narrow down that 1.86 billion users by gender, age, location, interests, marital status, employment, and income; thus, making it easier for you to reach the right audience.

Majority of the entire adult population is on Facebook. In fact, 88% of milennials and 62% of adults aged 65 and up use Facebook. As such, this would be a great place to start with your social media campaign.


Instagram is geared towards younger millennial users. A hefty 38% of female internet users use Instagram. To make the most out of your social media campaign, make sure that you provide attention grabbing photos and high quality videos to your audience. Remember, content is king on Instagram.


People tend to use LinkedIn for interacting with clients, influencers and other professionals. This is a great option for business whose products or services are highly specific to professionals. It is also ideal for B2B marketers.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to target users based on gender, location and age. In addition, it also allows you to filter based on field of study, company industry, company size, degrees, job title etc.

So let’s say you find Instagram to be the way to market your business…

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Tips for Writing the Perfect Instagram Caption

Instagram may be all about compelling visuals. When it comes to gaining followers, the quality of your photos will be the differentiating factor. But if you want to capture the attention of your target audience, you need the perfect Instagram captions. It can be the key to having your posts seen by more people. This will improve engagement and lead to more likes and comments. Plus, it will help you build a strong online presence.

Here are some tips for writing the perfect Instagram caption.

Use a consistent brand voice

Brand voice is one of the most important parts of any good Instagram caption. If you are a small business owner, who is looking to engage with your audience on Instagram, we recommend that you develop a brand voice and use it on all your posts. Practice consistency. Your Instagram caption should sound and feel like the rest of your marketing channels.

Use hashtags

Hashtags aren’t mandatory in your Instagram captions, but they do help. They provide an effective way of connecting with your followers, gain more Instagram followers and even build a relationship with them. Proper use of hashtags will make your posts more effective.

Think outside the box when adding hashtags. Instead of just saving the hashtags for the end, try incorporating them into the body of your caption. Also, use relevant hashtags to boost your engagement and get new eyes on your Instagram content.

Consider length

Although Instagram have a caption character limit of 2,200 characters, followers will have the option to “view more” for longer captions. You should stay within 125 characters to ensure that your entire caption will display in your follower’s feeds with the image. Make sure that every word is integral to the message you’re trying to convey.

For longer tweets, make sure that the most important part of your message is at the beginning of the caption.

For longer posts, make sure the most important part of your message is at the beginning of the caption. #InstagramClick To Tweet

Always include a call-to-action

Your captions are a great way to inspire people to engage with your business. As such, we highly recommend that you include a call-to-action to your Instagram caption. You can encourage them to comment, answer questions, use your hashtags, click the link in your bio etc. Your followers will be happy to engage with your business, you just need to prompt them to do something. Inviting them to like or comment can go a long way towards driving more engagement to your posts.

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How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram

Every business owner or social media marketer hopes to increase their following on Instagram. After all, the number of fans and followers you have reflects the success of your social media marketing efforts. Plus, the more followers you have, the more people you reach.

Follow these tips to increase your Instagram followers.

Find your target audience

Your community is the core of your brand’s success. There are over 400 million Instagram users from all over the world, so posting random stuff without targeting your audience would be ineffective.

In order to yield better results, you need to find a community that is relevant to your industry or business and connect with them. Also, pay attention to the topics being discussed in the community, as well as the hashtags that are often used. You may also want to check which marketing tactics they respond well to. Do they participate in contests? Do they respond well to special offers? Are they responsive to questions? Use these information to guide you in your social media tactics.

Work with brand ambassadors

Working with brand ambassadors is a great way to build your community and gain a massive following on Instagram. Brand ambassadors are mostly unpaid volunteers who are willing to promote your company and endorse your products and services. They also embody your corporate identity. Look for people who are enthusiastic about your brand and build a relationship with them.

Hold contests

Holding a contest is one of the best ways to get more followers. Although, you’ll have to handle the cost of giving out a prize, the cost will be worth it in the end. A contest will help generate buzz about your business. When done right, you’ll be rewarded with hundreds or thousands of new followers in a matter of days. In order to motivate people to join your contest, give out valuable prizes  – something that would be of interest to your target audience.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to organize your content and engage with your followers. It is a good idea to create a unique hashtag for your brand and encourage your followers to use it. This would be an excellent way to motivate people to engage with your brand. When used appropriately, it will help increase your exposure to new customers; hence, increasing your following on Instagram.

Every business owner or social media marketer hopes to increase their following on Instagram. After all, the number of fans and followers you have reflects the success of your social media marketing efforts. Plus, the more followers you have, the more people you reach.  Follow these tips to increase your Instagram followers. Massive following on instagram...


Metrics to Measure Success on Instagram

Do you know if your Instagram marketing is working? Is all the time and energy that you’re spending following accounts, writing comments, and sharing images really paying off?

instagram kpis for businessKnowing how and what to measure for success on social media networks is one of the biggest concerns that we see for our clients. Most small businesses know that they need to be on social media, but they aren’t sure what sorts of things can measurement their success. Let’s face it, success on social media means much more than only getting a sale, though the end goal of any marketing should be money in the door. Success on social media means competing with the big brands when it comes to brand recognition and building a network of people who trust and will turn to your business when the time is right.

Social media creates an avenue for staying top of mind for your network.

What metrics can and should you be measuring online for Instagram?

Well it depends on your goals … the following KPI’s can help you understand whether or not your strategy is worthwhile online. Track each of the following, or at least the ones that are of interest to you on a spreadsheet for easy reference.

Size of your network.

This is simply how much your network has grown week over week or month over month.

Posting frequency.

This is a measurement of how frequently you are posting. Are you sticking to your goals of posting daily or a couple times per week? Keeping track of how frequently you are posting allows you to be realistic about what your efforts have been.

Your Comments on Other Posts.

This metric allows you to see trends between website traffic or likes and comments on your own posts compared to the number of times that you are commenting on someone else’s posts. This interaction and visibility outside of your direct network can lead to great return.

Your Likes on Other Posts.

Just as with comments, we want to track the number of times that you are liking another profile’s post so that you can see correlations between increased interactions on your own posts and website traffic. 

Followers to Following Ratio.

Ideally, you should have more followers than the number of people that you are following. Often times when we are first getting started this will be reverse. You want to track this to make sure that it starts creeping the other way.

Interactions: Number of Likes.

Here I always recommend not only paying attention to the number of likes that you get each day or each week, but also what types of posts these likes are on. Is your network responding to posts on one topic over another?

Interactions: Comments.

Just as with lakes you also want to understand which post are getting the most comments. A great goal is to have an increase in the number of comments but you want to make sure that these are positive comments rather than negative ones.

Mentions and Tags.

Have you ever paid attention to the number of times that other accounts have tagged or mentioned you? Keeping track of this information is a great metric so that you can see more successes and interactions within your network. 

Use of Brand Hashtags.

I highly recommend every business use a specific #’s for their brand. This # then gives way to competitions in the future as well as different promotions. Your goal should be to get other Instagram users utilizing your # in their posts.

Website clicks.

Every business Instagram profile should have a link in your bio back to your website. You can swap this link out for a special or promotion and include the call to action in your posts for that time period. Utilizing Google Analytics, you can tell if folks have clicked on the link and were to your website.

New Leads on Your Website.

Through Google Analytics and using goal tracking, you can actually set up a filter to see the number of new leads that came directly from your Instagram profile. This is a great way to combine data from your number of website visits to see which post and types of posts are actually converting to new leads for your business. 

What other KPI’s do you measure in your business for your Instagram marketing?

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How to be Successful with Instagram

how-to-be-successful-with-instagramAre you in love with Instagram as much as I am?

Are you a business owner that has an account on Instagram and not sure how to build your business on it?

Don’t worry I am here to help!

Here are just a few fun facts about Instagram that will blow your mind:

    • Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users.
    • Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day.


  • 80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.


  • Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men. Read more stats here from Hootsuite.

Now that we have those stats out of the way, it is clear that Instagram is the place to be! It is also owned by . . . what’s that social media platform that has the blue f on it??? Oh yeah FACEBOOK! The two of them got hitched in 2013 and Instagram has grown into this beautiful, amazing beast of a social media platform!

What does this mean for your business? Nothing really if you are not posting correctly!

There are many different ideas, ways and theories out there about how to post to Instagram page and what will work best. I wish it was that easy to say ok if you follow these 3 steps your Instagram account will grow by hundreds, you will see an ROI right away and it is SO easy! BUT there’s not, the only way to see what will work for your business is to try each of them! Each business is different and their audiences are different, the key with Instagram is to make your posts visually appealing that it draws your audience in, to get them engaging on each post. Either by liking the post, commenting or even reposting.

How do you get that visually appealing content? Do you need to hire a professional photographer? Get a studio to showcase your products or services? Invest in a super high-end camera to get the best quality pictures? NO, NO, and NO

All you need is a smartphone! That is great news right?

Here are 2 blogs that show you how to use your smartphone for images: Shopify Article and a RealSimple Guide

There are so many different apps that really do the work for you nowadays. The camera on your smartphone will work perfect, you just need to be creative. You may need to spend a few bucks for a simple background like buying a piece of foam board and covering it in marble contact paper so it looks like you have a marble countertop, or purchase a small tripod to help keep steady while taking images, go to the dollar store and find a few fun props if needed.   

I want to highlight a few Instagram accounts that I follow and how they are being successful with their content. Some posts are very long like a full blog length and some are short sweet and to the point, then some are in between.

Let’s take a look:

  1. The first one I want to showcase is one of our clients Coach Jessie May she is a branding coach, so her posts have a theme to them and her content is longer on each post. We love that she uses plenty of #hashtags and emoticons on her posts, by having more content she is adding more value for her audience which increase her engagement through likes and comments.  jessie_may_ig_post
  2. The second one I love is Mantra Magazine  this is a simple motivational quote that is not very eye appealing BUT has a GREAT message on it. What they did on this post they kept it short and yet gets you thinking and engaging. They used 24 #hashtags on this 1 post and got 1,465 likes and over 20 comment, sometimes keeping it short and sweet is good, asking a question to get your audience commenting always works! mantra_magazine_ig_post
  3. The third one I wanted to show you is Boulder Magazine, they used someone else’s image (gave credit) but this image is very creative and thinks outside the box! This is showcasing that listening and watching your audience can be good for your business. Sometimes it is hard to think of NEW, Fresh content everyday, so when you look at your audience and what they are posting you can share their images. Remember to give to give them credit by @mentioning them and thanking them in your post. This post generated 672 likes and over 15 comments!  boulder_magazine

These are 3 different types of businesses here and each of them is using Instagram in a different way. So what I am telling you is test the waters, put a post up that is short sweet and to the point like a motivational image and ask a question, then try a longer post like a blog post and use #hashtags, and then try a repost from someone you are following, see which one gets the most interaction and then you can start building your strategy from there. We recommend posting to Instagram between 3-5 times per week.

Instagram takes time, this is the one social media platform (besides Pinterest) that you cannot schedule posts to go out, you have to post manually! There are a few tools out there like Buffer, Hootsuite, LaterGram that allow you to schedule posts on their platforms then they push you a notice on your phone that you need to post your scheduled post to instagram, it’s a little complicated right?

So here are a few apps that I love to use when I am creating images for our Instagram account and our clients, most are free but some I have paid for and WELL worth it!


LiPix Pro


WordSwag (Paid $4.99)









There are literally hundreds of image Instagram apps to try, download a few and see which ones you like the most and are easy for you to use. You can also check out some free picture sites to help with background and images. Canva, WordSwag and Pixabay are good for free images. In the beginning it may take more of your time to take images of your products, or download a bunch of free images so you can create a stockpile of them and then just grab and create. Use Pinterest as creative motivation and pick 3-5 businesses that you really like what they are posting on instagram and use them as a guideline.

I have filled your head with TONS of content, tips, how to and now it is time for you to step into the Instagram world and get busy!

If you are interested in a FREE, yes I said FREE 30 minute consultation with me on evaluating your existing Instagram account or on how to get your business started on Instagram please email me at Marketing@TheBIMSTeam.com I would love to assist you with your success on Instagram!

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4 Ways to Boost Engagement on Instagram

4-ways-to-boost-engagement-on-instagramYou may know Instagram as a great platform for sharing selfies, vacation photos and mouthwatering dishes, but did you know that it’s also one of the best social media channels to build your fan base and promote your business? In fact, Instagram has 40 times more engagement than Twiter and 15 times more user engagement than Facebook.

Whether you’re working on behalf of a company or growing your own business account, use these tips to boost engagement on Instagram.

Be active

We know you’re busy, but posting once or twice a week isn’t going to do much for your engagement and brand growth. When it comes to social media, consistency is the key. You need to be consistent with your posting schedule. Find the best time and days to post and stick to it. This way, your loyal followers will be more likely to catch your posts.

Engage with others

Social interaction is the key to improving your engagement. If someone tags you in their post, respond to their post or give them a shout out. Make it a habit to communicate with your followers regularly.

Use eye-catching images

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of businesses that fail to use eye-catching images.

People don’t spend too much time scrutinizing every post as they scroll through their feeds.  With more than 70 million images uploaded on Instagram every day, you have to make sure your images stand out. Otherwise, it won’t get noticed.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are the language in which Instagram users speak. A hashtag is a great way of organizing your content and growing your community. It can also help engage your audience and increase your exposure to a large and targeted audience. To ensure you’re being searched by the right people, make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to your brand.

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Why Are Hashtags So Important?

hashtag-1120301_1280Once upon a time, Twitter was the only place hashtags were used. As understanding of how hashtags work grew, they became widely embraced by social media users. Today, hashtags have become a prominent feature within other social networks as well. In fact, they are used in all social media channels, except LinkedIn.

Whether you’re a business owner looking to make a splash on social media or looking to grow your business, make sure you incorporate hashtags into your social media marketing campaign. Here’s what hashtags can do for your business.

Track relevant conversations

Sometimes, you want to know what your audience is talking about. Hashtags make it easier to cut through the digital clutter. It provides an efficient way to find specific content or information.

The first thing you need to do is to create a list of keywords that people often associate with your brand. This will help you determine the popular topics and latest news, which will make it easier for you to start a conversation and engage with your fans and followers.

Expand your reach

Although we can’t deny the effectiveness of a unique hashtag, some business owners and marketers seek out popular hashtags and use them to promote their brand.  When done right, riding a trending hashtag can help increase your social reach and improve brand awareness.

In this case, relevance is the absolute key thing to remember. Only use hashtags that are relevant to your business, audience and industry.

Promote an event

A well-chosen hashtag can bring all information and online conversations about your event together. It can also increase awareness and visibility of your events. Use the hashtag every time you post something that is related to the said event. Encourage your fans and followers to use the hashtag to gain more exposure. Keep your hashtag short, easy to remember and relevant. Also, make sure that it hasn’t been used recently.

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4 Ways to Increase Your Instagram Followers and Likes


If there’s one thing on social media that makes people happy, it’s getting more followers and likes. Why? It’s because the more followers you have, the greater the visibility. The more likes you get, the more business you get in return.

If you’re sharing a lot of photos, but aren’t getting a lot of love from fellow Instagram users, don’t fret. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to gain more likes and followers on Instagram. Here’s how.

Connect and interact

There are a ton of activities happening on Instagram. One of the best ways to gain followers and likes is to reach out to other users. Check out some of their contents and let them know that you appreciate their content by liking and commenting on their photos. Hopefully, they’ll like your photos or even follow you in return.

Take better photos

Your Facebook and Twitter followers may forgive a few bad posts, but a bad photo is a big no-no on Instagram.

Picture quality matters on Instagram. Data tells us that high quality photos with interesting captions get the most engagement on Instagram. To improve the quality of your photo, use natural light as often as possible.

Hashtag it

Hashtags can increase the likelihood of your photos being viewed by users, even if they aren’t following your account. Use hashtags that are unique yet relevant to the content you’re posting. This way, you’re targeting a more closely grouped set of people.

Timing is everything

With so many people posting pictures on Instagram, it can be difficult to stand out. If you want to get noticed, you need to be mindful about when your audience uses Instagram.

The time that you publish your content could certainly help in reaching more people. Remember, a photo is most active during the first 3 hours of posting. So if you don’t get some engagement during this time, you are less likely to do so in the succeeding hours.