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If you’re familiar with the blue ocean marketing strategy, you know that SEO is inherently a “red ocean” industry. With fierce competition to attain rankings, links, and authority, SEOs are constantly trying to one-up their competitors. In this environment, is there any hope for creating a “blue ocean” — innovating to avoid the choppy waters of the current market?
But it’s not only the platform that’s evolving — the audience is too. Now it’s up to marketers to evolve their Instagram strategy to better align with audience preferences, behaviors, and habits in 2022.
Here, we’ll cover five main challenges marketers are facing on Instagram and the best strategies to solve them.
From the platform that gave us #ThrowbackThursday and #WednesdayWisdom, it’s no surprise that hashtags play a huge role on Instagram. But they can also be difficult to crack — how many should you use? Should you stick with the popular hashtags or target more niche ones?
HubSpot and Mention’s 2022 Instagram Engagement Report answers some of these questions.
For one, while it may sound counterintuitive to avoid popular hashtags (like #travel or #photography), it’s better to lean into niche communities. The reason? Even though niche hashtags have fewer posts, they typically have a more dedicated community following them.
In fact, the report found that hashtags targeting specific interests and communities — like geographic locations and TV shows — garnered the most engagement.
When it comes to the number of hashtags you include your post, one thing is clear — the more the better. The report finds that using many hashtags doesn’t seem to harm post performance. But a word of caution here — always keep your hashtags relevant to your niche. Otherwise, you may reach the wrong audience in an effort to increase engagement.
For many marketers, influencer marketing seems out-of-reach — after all, don’t you have to spend big bucks to partner with mega influencers? Think again.
While it seems like a best practice to partner with influencers with tons of followers, HubSpot’s Instagram Engagement Report says your efforts are more worthwhile if you partner with influencers that may have fewer followers but a more engaged community (known as micro influencers). Another study even found that the fewer followers an influencer has, the better their engagement rates tend to be.
Micro influencers provide smaller, highly-engaged audiences without the hefty price tag of a mainstream celebrity — making this type of marketing more accessible to a variety of brands.
With 97% of marketers planning to increase their investment in influencer marketing on Instagram this year, now is a great time to give it a try.
Timing is a detail easy to overlook in your marketing strategy. But with social media algorithms favoring recent content, it’s more important than ever to target the right people at the right time.
The HubSpot’s Instagram Engagement Report offers some clear insights on timing your posts right:
Content posted between 6 PM and 9 PM generate the most engagement
Mornings from 5 AM to 12 PM offer the lowest engagement rate
From Monday to Friday, the engagement rate stays about the same, but the weekend holds a slight edge.
While these stats give a general picture of when to post — this doesn’t mean these times will work for you or your audience. It’s important to explore where your audience is located and when they’re most active.
You should also consider if your content lends itself to a certain time of day. For instance, a coffee shop might prefer to post in the morning or during the afternoon work slump.
No two audiences are the same. Ultimately, you should test different days and times and see which posts perform the best with your unique audience.
There’s a lot of pressure when writing Instagram captions — it has to be compelling and memorable — and less sales-y and boring.
The first mistake you can make is skipping the caption entirely. According to the report, including a caption gives you a significant boost in engagement, from just under 4% to over 6%.
When the time comes to write a caption, the most important “rule” is to lead with your brand voice. If you need to create one, start by noting a few adjectives that describe your brand, then use them to craft relevant captions.
For example, the brand Nike is known for messages of inspiration and motivation — whereas the brand Lego is known for being fun and creative, just like their captions on Instagram.
Check out this video for more advice on writing great captions:
If you’re on Instagram, you might assume images are the most engaging type of content on the platform.
Following closely behind is carousel posts. As a refresher, these are posts that contain multiple types of media (image or video) that users can scroll through. They offer more interactiveness than static posts because the user has to scroll through the content.
The trend is clear — great marketing in 2022 must go beyond photos. Start by looking at your current strategy and identifying opportunities to incorporate carousels and play around with video formats like Reels and Stories.
Instagram is constantly evolving, along with the audience on it. Knowing when — and how — your audience interacts with the platform is crucial for aligning your content and generating more engagement. Start with the tips in this blog and always test your strategies regularly.
In March 2021, Search Engine Journal named Google-owned YouTube as the second-most powerful search engine globally — after Google, of course. With more than 2 billion active users a month and more than 1 billion hours of videos streamed a day, it’s a popular place for consumers to discover new brands and content.
YouTube tags are critical for optimizing a video for YouTube and search engines overall. They help web crawlers understand what a video’s about and when it’s a relevant result for specific searches.
Let’s dive into why you should include YouTube tags in your video marketing and optimization strategy, both for YouTube and for other search engines.
As sophisticated as they are, search engines aren’t human—they’re technology. You have to speak their language if you want your website to rank prominently on search engine result pages (SERP). You can create an XML sitemap that search engines like Google use to understand how your website is structured and what it should pay attention
Good leadership is vital for the long-term success of your organization.
Good leaders inspire and motivate their employees.
But it’s easier said than done. There are many ways to be a good leader, and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
If you’re unsure how to become a good leader, you’re in luck. Here, we’ll explore research-backed or expert-backed tips for becoming a better leader at work. Let’s dive in.
While the term “good leader” can be difficult to define, it’s easy to spot in practice.
A good leader should have the following qualities:
Additionally, when we surveyed 300 people across the U.S., 44% respondents marked “Ability to communicate” as the most important trait/skill of a good leader. Strong communication skills came ahead of resiliency, creativity, humility, and even self-awareness.
Ultimately, a good leader is meant to inspire, motivate, and challenge each team member to hit their goals, impact the business’ bottom-line, and reach their fullest potential.
In his TedTalk “Why good leaders make you feel safe”, Management theorist Simon Sinek says a good leader is someone who makes their employees feel safe and secure.
Learn more about what makes an effective leader — according to experts at HubSpot, Google, LinkedIn, and Monday.com — in this post on developing leadership skills.
Fortunately, leadership isn’t a trait that you’re either born with or you’re not. Instead, good leadership skills can be learned. Let’s explore how to become a better leader, next.
The first step towards becoming a better leader is assessing your personal strengths and weaknesses to understand areas for improvement.
Start by taking a leadership style quiz to determine which of the 8 leadership styles fits how you lead. Understanding your leadership style can help you determine how your direct reports view you, as well as the gaps that might exist in your current style.
For instance, let’s say you determine you’re an autocratic leader. An autocratic leader doesn’t ask for input from any team members before making a final decision — which can be ineffective, since it inhibits the leader from hearing different perspectives, and doesn’t empower his or her employees.
Once you’ve determined this is your leadership style, you can work to actively request input from team members — which enables employees to feel heard and empowered, while also helping you ensure you have all the information necessary before making a decision.
Ultimately, transparency and honesty leads to a higher level of trust between team members and leaders, so remaining transparent with your direct reports is critical.
Your direct reports want to know what’s happening with the organization at-large, so taking the time to have direct, honest conversations with them about the company’s goals is key.
For instance, if your department is going through a re-org, take the time to explain to each direct report why the re-org is taking place, and make space for each employee to express their concerns.
Being transparent and honest also encourages your direct reports to do the same. If they feel you hide information from them or aren’t forthcoming, they’ll act similarly — which can lead to confusion and an increased risk of miscommunication.
Good leaders are also excellent communicators. As Vice President of Blue Frog, Kelsey Halverson, told me, “Good managers teach, great managers listen. A manager becomes a great teacher when he or she has a genuine desire to hear the organizations goals, challenges, and vision.”
Halverson adds, “It’s not the role of a manager to tell the organization what to do — Instead, it’s to listen and guide the team into actionable strategy that will empower innovation and drive results.”
Taking the time to tailor your communication style for each direct report goes a long way towards establishing strong relationships with them. To do this, ask each direct report to complete a DiSC assessment, which will help you better understand each team member’s personality, how they respond to challenges, and how they prefer to communicate.
Taking the time to learn who each of your team members are outside of work is vital for fostering a deeper relationship with them and establishing trust and understanding.
Consider using icebreaker questions during team meetings, or creating opportunities for the team to bond outside of work. Additionally, ask your direct reports about their preferred way to work — including communication styles, how they like to receive feedback, and what their professional goals are.
Finally, building rapport is about taking the time to get to know each direct report. In 1:1s, rather than jumping right into your meeting’s agenda, consider beginning the conversation more naturally by asking about your direct report’s weekend plans, or what she enjoys doing outside of work, all of which helps you both relate on a more human-to-human level.
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.
Providing your team members with learning and development opportunities can help you reduce turnover rates and increase employee engagement.
Being a good leader is all about seeking out learning and development opportunities for your direct reports, encouraging them to learn, grow, and face new challenges.
Additionally, it will help you make your team more successful in the long-run if you can help team members up-skill in certain areas, or nurture their own leadership skills as your team expands.
Feeling recognized for a job well done can help boost an employee’s morale, engagement, and productivity.
For instance, consider the last time your boss gave you specific and positive feedback, such as, “You did a great job on your presentation on Tuesday. You gave fantastic context into the problem we’re trying to solve on the team, and you were clear and articulate about your proposed solutions.”
Not only would that make you feel great, but I’m willing to bet it would encourage you to work just as hard on your next presentation for more of that positive reinforcement.
Research has shown positive reinforcement is incredibly effective at ensuring people’s behaviors are repeated. So, if your employees do a good job, you’ll want to praise or reward them for their efforts to ensure your team continues to stay engaged and motivated.
Good leaders are innovative, creative, and open-minded to new ideas or processes. Rather than adhering to the status quo, a good leader constantly looks for ways to streamline processes, create new opportunities for their team, and increase impact on the bottom-line.
Good leadership includes taking a big-picture vision or strategy, and assigning specific tasks to individual team members to inspire, motivate, and challenge your team.
For instance, last year my manager recognized we needed a new process when it came to working with guest contributors. Once she’d recognized this big-picture challenge, she assigned the project to me. I was excited to own the creative process of brainstorming a new strategy, which kept me engaged and motivated at work.
People with positive moods have been proven to be more creative and collaborative, so if you’re able to spark positivity among your team, you’ll see a real impact on results.
Positivity is contagious, so being a positive leader can go a long way towards instilling confidence, pride, and happiness in your team members.
To be a positive leader, you’ll want to:
Focus on an employee’s strengths and provide positive feedback in 1:1s
Cultivate positive relationships with your team members
Ignite hope by painting a picture of an exciting vision for the future, and consistently reminding employees of why their work matters
However, it’s important to note: You don’t want to prioritize positivity over reality.
As Senior Manager of HubSpot Blog Program’s Karla Hesterberg told me, “I think the best leaders balance realism and optimism really well. You want to keep your team feeling positive about the direction you’re headed, but you can’t gloss over challenges — you have to acknowledge when things are tough and give your team space to feel those things.”
Hesterberg says, “You can’t try too hard to put a positive spin on everything or you’ll end up minimizing real challenges.”
Hesterberg adds, “The best leaders I’ve worked with are really skilled at acknowledging the tough things but then convincing everyone to stay on the train anyway because where you’re all headed is great.”
Good leadership doesn’t happen overnight, and a good leader is humble enough to admit they’re not always going to get it right. There are setbacks in any leadership position.
Being self-aware, open to feedback, and flexible in your approach will set you up for more success in the long-run, particularly as your team grows, or your business’ needs change.
To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide, which will cover local SEO tips and tools.Local search is powerful for small businesses: 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information,
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There is no doubt that today the website is an indispensable component in the promotion of every medical institution. 95% of healthcare marketing executives believed their company’s website was the primary driver of new business for hospitals. However, it should be remembered that its presence is not enough. The site must be properly designed and updated regularly. It should take into account the needs of the target audience and be easy to use.
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