Latest Facebook & Instagram Updates: Shops

With many companies shifting their business strategies due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a growing emphasis is being placed on the importance of digital and social media opportunities. And although states have begun to reopen their economies, the way customers shop retail locations has likely changed for at least the foreseeable future.

Facebook Shop

In late April of 2020, Facebook announced some new features to help retail shops sell directly to customers using a new “shops” feature on both the Facebook and Instagram platforms. The feature allowed retailers to set up a digital storefront, list products and pricing and accept payments directly from the platforms themselves.

By setting up the “Shop” tab of your Facebook business page, you can promote products — with images, detailed descriptions and pricing — right in your social posts. Furthermore, if you connect your payment processing to the platform, such as Square or Stripe, you can take payments right on the platform — essentially creating a secondary storefront for customers to shop without ever having to leave Facebook, let alone their home.

New Instagram Tools

Instagram has also created and made available some incredible tools for retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the way retailers and businesses are able to position their posts for not only optimal exposure, but in-platform shopping, as well.

When you create your Facebook “Shop” page, as mentioned above, you will have the option to link your Instagram page to this shop — creating the ability to “tag products” in your posts. This allows your customers scrolling Instagram to learn more about a product, from the description and price to the different colors or related items, all from within Instagram.

» Related: Navigating COVID-19: Marketing tips for small businesses

Another new feature rolled out in April from Instagram was the ability to sell gift cards directly in Instagram Stories, providing retailers with a new, more creative way to keep their customers engaged during stay-at-home orders. By linking a payment processor like Square or Stripe, retailers can use the “Gift Card” sticker in an Instagram Story to allow their customers to purchase gift cards, directly from the platform, of any size.

No matter where you currently find yourself as a retailer, the fact that you need to be pivoting to online shopping — if you haven’t already — is becoming abundantly clear. By setting up an online shop, you open up your business to an entirely new audience, as well as a treasure trove of tools to promote your business and your products digitally.


At times like this, SmartSolutions understands that managing the current state of your company in the midst of a global pandemic can be a massive undertaking. Our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan that will not only help you get through the COVID-19 outbreak, but thrive in the online space well after. Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Best Practices: Advertising on social media in 2020

As the economy slowly begins to reopen and the country continues to reel from the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become apparent that the way we do business has been greatly altered. For some, the outbreak and subsequent closure left business owners re-evaluating their marketing strategies, trying to pivot more to online sales and marketing than before.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide small business owners with excellent ways to execute paid advertising campaigns. Here’s a quick list of digital advertising “best practices” your business should be sure to follow if you’re just starting to wade into the waters of social media advertising campaigns.

Know your Objective

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when getting started in social advertising is throwing a lot of money at a lot of ads on a lot of platforms, without really taking the time to first identify their objective. Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? Or are you trying to gain more signups for your email list? Are you selling products? Or does your business provide a service? All of these questions will change the type of campaign you setup within your chosen social media platforms.

Another area to identify when narrowing in on your objectives is to select the proper social media channels — not everything that will resonate with an audience on Facebook is going to be best suited for Twitter. Without taking the time to analyze the pro’s and con’s of each platform’s advertising capabilities, you could be throwing money away.

Identify your Audience

You don’t necessarily need to spend “big money” in social media advertising to get your desired results. Utilizing customer data and current social audience data, identify your key demographic and their interests, purchase behaviors and more using your chosen social media platform’s advertising dashboards. Facebook, for example, will let you narrow your audience down to not only geographical locations, but specific interests — like other pages, publications or products on the platform.

By identifying your audience early, you can help reduce the amount of “wasted” money spent on those that may not convert, instead targeting an audience that is highly likely to follow through on your desired objective.

Keep it Short, Focus on Visual

No matter the social platform, the emphasis has shifted from text to organic, engaging content. For Facebook and Instagram specifically, it is important that your organic posts keep the text to a minimum. When posting to these platforms, make sure you’re keeping your text to a minimum of 1-3 sentences, at most. Also, avoid using links in the text, when possible on Facebook (you should NEVER use links in text on Instagram), instead using the link preview that Facebook provides.

You should also, if possible, try to utilize high-quality video (over images) when creating your ads. Social posts containing video see over 48% more engagement and interaction, with a share rate of 12x that of generic text and/or static image posts. However, if video isn’t readily available, be sure the imagery you are using is high-quality, and relevant to the ads themselves.


At times like this, SmartSolutions understands that managing the current state of your company in the midst of a global pandemic can be a massive undertaking. Our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan that will not only help you get through the COVID-19 outbreak, but thrive in the online space well after. Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Increasing Your Social Media Reach in 2020

When it comes to the ever-changing algorithms of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, keeping your company’s organic reach steady can be a challenge. Whether you’re taking on the challenge of building your company’s social audience from scratch, or simply trying to navigate the latest changes, we’re taking a look at some of the best ways you can increase and maintain your social impressions in 2020.

Text? Keep It Short

For Facebook and Instagram specifically, it is important that your organic posts keep the text to a minimum. This is because of somewhat-recent changes made to the social media platforms’ algorithms that place a higher emphasis on organic images and videos that will garner more engagement.

When posting to these platforms, make sure you’re keeping your text to a minimum of 1-3 sentences, at most. Also, avoid using links in the text, when possible on Facebook (you should NEVER use links in text on Instagram), instead using the link preview that Facebook provides.

Video, Video, Video

Did you know that social posts containing video see over 48% more engagement and interaction, with a share rate of 12x that of generic text and/or static image posts? That’s because social media algorithms place a higher priority on seeing organic, engaging video content above almost anything else.

If your company isn’t utilizing videos to tell your story, showcase your products and more, you’re missing out on valuable real estate in the social media news feed.

Engage Often

Another way you can help boost your company’s social media impressions is to drive engagement on your organic posts — and a good way to do this is by interacting with users who are interacting with you.

When someone comments on your video or promotion, don’t just leave them hanging — like and comment back! You can be witty, helpful or even complementary, just so long as you keep it professional (you don’t need your brand to seem rude or unbecoming). By engaging with those that are engaging with you, Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms will see a high-performing post, helping your content to show up higher in the news feed — and, in turn, bringing more engagement to engage with.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Importance of Instagram in 2019

For owners of a business of virtually any size, social media is a vital component of a successful marketing plan. However, one of the fastest-growing social platforms, Instagram, is proving to be one of the most valuable pieces. Why should brands, especially those with more visually-leaning products and services, be focusing more on Instagram?

Why Instagram? Volume.

First and foremost, there’s just a few people active every day on Instagram — well, 500 million, to be exact. Over half of Instagram’s monthly active users are logging in daily, and actively engaging with brands and peers on the platform.

With the daily active, not just monthly, growing almost every day, Instagram is quickly rising to the top of the social media marketing channel ranks.

Cohesive with Facebook

As mentioned in previous posts, Instagram is now owned by Facebook, which means a cohesive advertising and marketing plan can be managed for both platforms at one time. Now, not only are your accounts linked together for easy management, but your brand’s advertising on Facebook can run on Instagram as well and vice versa.

By running advertisements in Facebook’s “Ads Manager,” you can opt to have the same ads running on Instagram, as well, under the same budget — and bonus, not only will it give that ad more exposure, it will also give your profile on Instagram more exposure as well.

Seeing More Engagement than Facebook

With higher engagement numbers becoming more and more the primary focus, businesses and brands are looking for any and every avenue to increase engagement rates across their pages. High-quality images and content, for example, are seeing a 23% higher engagement rate on Instagram than they are on Facebook.

But it’s not just that the brands are seeing higher engagement rates among their followers — they’re also seeing engagement rates as high as 10x higher on Instagram in general than they are on Facebook — making Instagram a nearly invaluable tool to exhibit your company’s services or products to potential customers.

 

Think you know your social media marketing stuff? Take our SmartSolutions Social Media Quiz to get your official score today!

Need help with your marketing strategy? At SmartSolutions, we are passionate about utilizing the power of communication to bring people and businesses together — and we are equally as passionate about your story. Our team of expert marketers bring their unique perspectives and diverse experiences together to provide a one-stop, full-service marketing solution to help your business thrive. Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Top 5: Instagram Business Accounts

In the world of social media, there are as many bad examples as there are good examples. But in today’s day and age of focusing on the negative, we’ve decided to do the opposite. Here’s a look at five of our favorite business Instagram accounts, from inspirational images to innovative marketing ideas.

SmartSolutons — @smartsolutionsmktg

Alright, so maybe we’re a little biased. But look — we believe that in the world of social media, there can’t be enough motivational quotes and business conversations. And on our SmartSolutions Instagram page, that’s what we strive to create. Head on over and give us a follow!

The Checkdown (NFL) — @thecheckdown

While normally a sports league’s official Instagram account might not be considered incredibly information or riveting, the National Football League’s approach is intriguing because they have multiple accounts. While their official @NFL account is dedicated to team news, highlights and more, a few years back they created an in-league brand, “The Checkdown.” This account mimics popular meme- and highlight-styled accounts that feed off “virality,” yet is completely controlled by the league itself.

Business Insider — @businessinsider

Looking for the best business news, updates and behind-the-scenes looks into some of the biggest companies in the world? Business Insider’s Instagram account offers just that. From looks at some of the country’s biggest college football powerhouses and their multi-million dollar locker rooms, to the latest Amazon news and trends on the rise of cannabis, BI’s Instagram page has a little something for every business person.

Taco Bell — @tacobell

While many fast food brands get nationally recognized because of infamous Twitter interactions, some of the chains are beginning to become more active in Instagram. One of the great examples of how to have an effective, yet aesthetically-pleasing Instagram page is Taco Bell — who not only plays on their products, but also some of the more viral items, such as a Taco Bell cruise, merchandise and more.

Costco — @costco

Sometimes, the best example of a good social strategy is just keeping it simple — which is exactly what Costco’s Instagram, very much like their business concept, does. Costco’s profile is all about highlighting some of the exclusive products and deals that only their members can get, helping tease the “exclusivity” of a Costco membership.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

How To: Setup Instagram for Business

Congratulations, you’ve just set up a brand new Instagram account for your business. But now comes the intimidating part — getting that profile set up and optimized to reach your desired audience.

One of the first steps in getting your profile optimized is making sure that you are setup as a business profile, which not only helps users differentiate people from brands, but also gives your followers more ways to contact you and discover your offerings.

Once you’ve setup your Instagram business account, it’s time to connect the account to your company’s Facebook page, should you already have one.

And just like that, your profile is ready to go!

Now, not only are your accounts linked together for easy management, but your advertising on Facebook can run on Instagram as well and vice versa (since Facebook owns Instagram). Converting to a business profile also gives you analytic insights into your followers, such as engagement rates, keeping tabs on your following and best time of day to send new posts.

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Social Media Image Sizing Cheat Sheet

Keeping up with the latest social media image sizing trends can be confusing, we understand. 

What looks good on Instagram won’t show properly on Twitter, and what populates in an Instagram link won’t look the same as LinkedIn. Allow our (free to use) social media image sizing cheat sheet to help!

Note: all image sizes are listed in pixels.

Facebook

One thing to remember when sizing images for Facebook is that different images will display differently on mobile vs. desktop. With most of the traffic nowadays being mobile traffic, be sure that when you’re creating your social images, you’re using mobile-friendly images and templates. 

Your profile photo will be the photo that universally represents your brand across searches and posts on Facebook, so be sure you’re selecting the proper logo and displaying it properly.

A cover photo is particularly tricky, as the image will display differently on both mobile and desktop — so be sure to create an 820 x 312 cover photo, while containing the messaging or particular imagery to 640 x 360.

One of the most common ways of sharing on Facebook is to share links — and with verified domains, you can customize the image with the accompanying link. This is one of the most popular ways to share custom content on Facebook.

 


 

Instagram

One of the most popular photo-sharing social networks (and really, social networks overall), Instagram is the best place to showcase your company’s visual experiences and creativity.

With Instagram being based on visuals and pictures/videos, it’s important to be sure you’re using the correct dimensions. 

You can choose one of several photo sizes on Instagram, but the best is to either post a 1:1 (1080 x 1080) or a 4:5 (800 x 1000) ratio image. While 1:1 fits within the grid more uniformly, the 4:5 ratio choice takes up more of the news feed, giving your brand optimal exposure.

One of Instagram’s hottest features at the moment is stories, a format that allows users to view uploaded videos and photos that are only available for a 24-hour period. The best format when posting created content (that’s non-organic) is 1080 x 1920.

 


 

Twitter

With over 313 million active monthly registered users, Twitter is known worldwide as the “engagement” platform. If there’s a discussion happening around your brand, or support needed, chances are it’s coming from a Twitter account.

Similarly to Facebook (and every other social channel, really), your profile picture will be the main image that represents your brand or company across the platform. Next in importance when setting up your profile will be your cover photo, which will maintain the same aspect ratio on both mobile and desktop.

And finally, the in-stream images, one of the staples of the Twitter timeline. Make sure to keep the image to 440×220 (or 2:1) as any other aspect ratio will display improperly.

 


 

LinkedIn

With over 460 million registered users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network dedicated specifically to the professional realm — so it is imperative that your company’s LinkedIn profile look professional as well.

When it comes to LinkedIn’s imagery style, the most apt comparison is Facebook. The cover photo, profile photo, and shared images are the most common images needed to get your profile on the right track.

 


 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

Why Marketing Matters in a Fan, Like & Follow World

When it comes to putting together a business plan for your company, the tasks can seem a bit intimidating. From planning out long-term campaigns to summarizing short-term objectives, to social media marketing, advertising and more, there are many more details that one would originally think.

One of the most integral pieces of a marketing strategy, yet often the most overlooked, is a company’s social media strategy. 

Social media marketing has skyrocketed in importance, and is increasingly separating the good from the bad when it comes to interacting with companies online. Considered your “digital footprint,” it can also be viewed as a “welcome mat” to potential (and existing) customers — meaning when they Google your company, it’s one of the first things they see.

So why does the social piece of a fully-integrated marketing plan matter so much?
 

Creating Brand Experience

In a recent survey done by GlobalWebIndex, 54% of those polled stated they used social media accounts of companies and brands to research products or services before purchasing.

By properly utilizing social media, your company is able to not only dictate and create an experience around your brand, informing your customers and potential customers, but also allows your company to quickly respond to and resolve support issues or complaints from the customers themselves.
 
 
 

Building Trust

Once your company has made a sale or provided a service, the focus shifts from creating a customer to maintaining that customer — in other words, creating “brand loyalty.

Social media not only helps create a trust and loyalty with your current customers, but helps provide some of the most powerful word-of-mouth marketing possible. Over 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family (via HubSpot, 2018).
 
 
 

Continuously Growing

Every minute, there are 400 new users on Facebook, 54,000 links that are shared, 147,000 new uploaded photos and 317,000 status updates. And with nearly 42% of the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people and growing, already active on social media every day—the potential reach of your company or brand is seemingly limitless.

 


 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Looking to give your company’s social media marketing presence the boost it needs to start seeing a more positive return on your investment? Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!