Creating Conversions: How to Maximize Instagram for SMBs & Publishers

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Instagram Icon

So you’ve survived the holiday season, but now your smartphone is filled with a veritable art gallery of filtered Instagram photos. Those Amaro- or Kelvin-tinted shots don’t need to sit there collecting dust in your phone, however, and this is especially true for small businesses and publishers. The question is: How can those Instagram pictures lead to more paying customers for your small business or publication?

Instagram’s core idea is less about cool filters and more about creating strong visual narratives. We hear all the time about how visual content draws the most eyeballs on social media pages. For you the business owner, this key insight can change the way you tell your brand’s story.

For instance, let’s say your publication holds a launch party. You can use Instagram to highlight portions of the party that make your brand stand out amongst your competitors. You can use Instagram to create a visual narrative that will draw new eyeballs, and thus new potential customers. This process is called conversion. Check out our Instagram profile to see an example.

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Here are five tips to create business conversions on Instagram:

  1. Create clear branding on your Instagram Profile Page. When Facebook bought Instagram recently, social media users started noticing small but important changes in how the platform behaved. One of those changes was Profile Pages. Profile Pages are no different than a Facebook page. They house all the photos you’ve uploaded to Instagram, and allow you to browse your feed. To maximize this for your brand, make sure you have a link driving back to your business’ home page, write a short and catchy bio and display your logo prominently.
  2. Upload your Instagram photos to as many other social platforms as possible. This sounds counter-intuitive, but keep in mind Instagram’s core idea. Instagram tells visual stories. In order to tell that story to as many people as possible, post your Instagram shots to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. Spread the #love.
  3. Use hashtags. For those of you unfamiliar with a hashtag (#), it’s no different than your average pound key. But, when used in a caption of an Instagram photo as a theme, your photo has the potential to be introduced to a much wide audience. This is because whenever the hashtag is used, it’s picked up by Instagram’s search tool. For instance, if your publication centers on classic cars, and you’ve just uploaded an Instagram shot of your favorite ’67 Chevy, don’t forget to put #musclecar or #Chevy in the caption of your photo to introduce it to more potential readers.
  4. Use location tagging. But do it wisely. Many folks are afraid to tag a location to their photos, but it’s a great feature aimed at growing your exposure. When you tag locations, your image is grouped with all the others taken at that location, which again adds to the potential for your image to be seen by a wide audience.
  5. Be a consumer. Most brands and publishers use Instagram as a one-way street. They upload the pictures, with the appropriate hashtags, and then leave it alone. Make sure you add new followers with similar interests to your business or publication. Follow your readers. Like photos that relate to your own. This is called building a community, and doing so will reap large rewards in future conversions.

We here at MagCloud have talked about Instagram and seo services a few times in the past for businesses and consumers. Highlighting ways to use your Instagram photos to create business collateral whether that be a client calendar, trade-show or event poster or portfolio or photo collectible.  There are lots of ways to extend your Instagram conversations from the phone through other marketing and sales channels.

Do you guys use Instagram for your business? How do you use it differently from your own private Instagram account? What other tips do you have? Make sure to share in the comments!

Introducing the MagCloud Referral Program

Get rewarded when friends, family or colleagues sign up for a MagCloud account and become publishers.  Existing MagCloud users can earn $10 for every friend they refer that joins MagCloud and buys or sells $25 worth of their own published content through the website.

Participating is really easy:

  • Sign-in to your MagCloud account and share a link to a publication, seo company, a publisher profile, even a MagCloud web page via the MagCloud website or web viewer.
  • Your friend signs up from that link and becomes a new MagCloud member.
  • They publish their first MagCloud publication.
  • Then your friend buys or sells at least $25 of their own published content.
  • You will receive a $10 cash credit for your referral.

You don’t need to sign up for our referral program all MagCloud members are automatically eligible.  Just start sharing links (while signed-in) from the MagCloud website to participate.

For more information see our website or FAQs.

How to Use Pinterest for MagCloud Publishers

We’re quite fond of photos and videos much like the online community on Pinterest. It’s no wonder that we heart the pinboard-style visual sharing site (we made our own Pinterest account too!) and are always inspired by what people are pinning.

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Our publishers are also including Pinterest as part of their marketing strategy and we’re seeing a lot of readers using our new social sharing capabilities. Remember that readers can like, tweet, pin, and share their favorite print and digital publications from our website or within the web-based viewer.

For those of you starting a Pinterest account, here are a few tips we’ve found to be helpful on how to use the visual platform to market your publication and engage with your readers.

  • Pin photos from your publication or website – The pinned images will include a link back to your site, which will help drive traffic there.
  • Pin videos – Go beyond just pinning pictures and share videos especially ones that are highly relevant to the theme of your Pinterest boards.
  • Introduce the members of your team – Let your readers and customers know who’s behind the genius.
  • Follow other Pinterest users in your local area and/or field of expertise – You can see how other pinners are getting likes and re-pins and help build upon your presence in your community. Remember to follow us on Pinterest, too!
  • Ask fans to pin photos of themselves with your publication – This is a great way to build engagement with your readers and learn which issues are their favorites.
  • Test different captions – Be sure to include keyword phrases and hashtags, and remember to have fun with your captions.
  • Find out which pictures have been pinned from your site – Simply type the following URL: “http://pinterest.com/source/ADD YOUR URL HERE” and you can see which photos or content are most popular. Find out what people are pinning now, from MagCloud.com!

As a publisher, are you using Pinterest to market your publication? Share your tips on how to use Pinterest with us in the comments section below.

New Year’s Resolutions

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While we will always look back at 2012 with a smile thanks to our great MagCloud community and lots of cool new products and innovations, we are super excited about what 2013 will offer.

Here are a few 2013 resolutions from the MagCloud team:

  • Provide more ways to create MagCloud publications with new web based authoring tools and templates to make creating publications a snap.
  • Allow others to build applications and services on top of MagCloud, so they can tap into our printing and publishing and global distribution capabilities without having to reinvent the wheel.
  • Introduce MagCloud subscriptions, making it easier for returning readers to get new editions of their favorite publications.
  • Enhanced support for frequent MagCloud customers.
  • More ways to discover and purchase publications via the web.
  • Introduce Perfect-Binding options for our Large Square and Tabloid products.

These are just a few of the things we have in mind.  Let us know what you think in the comments section below or share some of your own publishing related resolutions with us.

Ringing in the Holidays with a Meet-up and Twitter Chat

Hope you’re all enjoying December so far and that you’ve got those final MagCloud orders in for the holidays!

For your viewing pleasure, below are a few shots from our recent holiday meet-up at the Press Club in San Francisco. Be sure to follow MagCloud on Instagram to see the latest and greatest from our team. We look forward to seeing you at our next meet-up in the new year!

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MagCloud’s Chief MagClouder Andrew Bolwell and
Marketing Mixologist Patty Tulloch at the MagCloud Meetup.
 

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All the awesome MagCloud publications at our meetup!
 

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Hooray for new MagCloud fans and friends!
 

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Delicious food and wine from the Press Club
at the MagCloud Holiday Meet-up.
 

We also had a memorable Twitter Chat last week with Kyle Menard, editor of BRINK Magazine. There were quite a few inspirational tweets that we wanted to share with you. Below is a brief excerpt from the Twitter Chat – feel free to read our entire Twitter Chat via Storify.

  1. MagCloud
    Q1 – To start things off – @BRINKmag, how did you get started in publishing? #MagCloud
  2. BRINKmag
    Started with a vision & to create a guide for young professionals RT @magcloud how did you get started in publishing? #MagCloud
  3. MagCloud
    Q3 – Do you see a difference in behavior/interest between your print and digital readers? #MagCloud
  4. BRINKmag
    @MagCloud It’s a challenge, but readers want that hard copy AND the instant download of the latest issue. MC lets us provide that #MagCloud
  5. BRINKmag
    @MagCloud Definitely. Big digital numbers when an issue debuts, but it tapers off. Hard copy somewhat sustains through the year #MagCloud
  6. MagCloud
    That’s great to hear, @BRINKmag. Digital offers instant gratification while print gives longevity – makes it easy to go back to. #MagCloud
  7. MagCloud
    Q5 from @TONE_DOPE: “When will @MagCloud begin offering subscriptions & an oversized 10×13 print copy option? #MagCloud
  8. MagCloud
    @TONE_DOPE We’re looking at subscription models and new product types. We do offer 11×14 today. #MagCloud
  9. MagCloud
    Okay, @BRINKmag. Jumping back to you with question from our community, how do you see #mag publishing evolving in the future? #MagCloud
  10. BRINKmag
    @magcloud There will always be a place for print, but with trends, it seems essential that a publication have an app #MagCloud
  11. MagCloud
    Last question from our team, @BRINKMag – what advice do you have for magazine publishers starting out? #MagCloud
  12. BRINKmag
    @magcloud It comes down to being on top of your game (in whatever you do), being a leader in what you believe in & staying current #MagCloud
  13. BRINKmag
    Lay the groundwork, be prepared (cont) RT @magcloud – what advice do you have for magazine publishers starting out? #MagCloud
  14. BRINKmag
    Also, (turning the tables) what advice do you have for publishers? RT @MagCloud Do you have any questions for Andrew? #MagCloud
  15. MagCloud
    Answering your 2nd Q: Listen to your customers, focus on innovation, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to take risks. #MagCloud
  16. BRINKmag
    BOOM —> RT @MagCloud “Listen to your customers, focus on innovation, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to take risks.” #MagCloud
  17. BRINKmag
    Definitely going to be quoting some of that for the next few weeks @MagCloud! Great stuff. #MagCloud

MagCloud Holiday Meet-Up and Twitter Chat

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Hey Bay Area! Help us celebrate 2012 at the MagCloud holiday meet-up in San Francisco with our Chief MagClouder and his team. Hear about all the latest MagCloud products and services, and learn what’s in store for next year.

  • Who: Fans of MagCloud – from new to seasoned publishers and all our social media fans!  Not sure what MagCloud is? Stop by to find out!
  • What: Learn about what the MagCloud team is working on, ask questions, share feedback and win prizes!
  • When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11
  • Where: Press Club, 20 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103 (View Map)
  • Cost: FREE! Light appetizers and drinks will be served
  • RSVP: Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing in the comment section below!

If you can’t join us on Tuesday evening, you can still discuss all things publishing during our next Twitter Chat with one of our MagCloud publishers! The hour-long Twitter Chat kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, December 11 on our MagCloud Twitter handle (@MagCloud) and will feature our Chief MagClouder Andrew Bolwell and BRINK Magazine editor Kyle Menard.

What are Twitter Chats? It’s simply a discussion conducted on Twitter, where you get to Tweet live with our Chief MagClouder and Kyle about, in this case, publishing as well as any other MagCloud questions you have on your mind.

How can you participate? Starting now, submit questions for Andrew and Kyle by either tweeting them to @MagCloud using the #MagCloud hashtag or ask them right here in the comments section of this blog post. We also encourage everyone to join our Twitter Chat from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. PST on December 11 where Andrew and Kyle will respond to your questions live.

As an added incentive, all fans who ask a question will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win a $25 Paypal MagCloud gift card perfect for you, your colleagues, friends, family, etc. to purchase your favorite publications on MagCloud.com during the holidays. The drawing is open to residents in the United States only. For the complete rules, see below.

Here’s a little more info about Kyle:KyleMenard

Kyle Menard sets his sights on achievable goals while keeping the big picture within his scope. After launching his own award winning magazine in 2009, BRINK, he continues to explore fresh and innovative channels to reach a bigger and broader audience while keeping the current audience engaged. He thrives on spreading the message of entrepreneurship, attainable goals and staying dedicated to a brand – the ultimate message of BRINK Magazine.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter handle, @MagCloud, for the latest MagCloud news and updates, and ask those questions using #MagCloud or in the comments section here! Look forward to seeing you in-person or virtually next week!

The giveaway opens on Thursday, December 6, 2012. Entries must be submitted by 10:00 a.m. PST, Tuesday, December 11, 2012 and the winner will be announced via Twitter and our blog on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. The prize will be one (1) $25 MagCloud gift card and one (1) winner will be selected at random. All entrants agree to be contacted by Hewlett Packard for prize fulfillment. The drawings are open to MagCloud blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans that reside in the United States and are at least 18 years of age at time of entry. No purchase necessary to enter or win. There is no limit on the number of entries from any entrant, but each entry must be submitted separately as a Tweet using the hashtag #MagCloud on Twitter or as a blog comment on this blog post. Anyone found to be in violation of any of our rules or third party networks will be ineligible. Entries in this contest will not be carried over into subsequent giveaways or drawings.

2012 Holiday Shipping Schedule

During the holidays the MagCloud printing elves tend to be extra busy so please order as early as possible and allow extra time for delivery. Below are our estimated time frames for December 24th delivery.  We also recommend you consider using our FedEx shipping options this time of year so you’ll have the added piece of mind of being able to track your order from our holiday headquarters to your doorstep.

MagCloud's Shipping Schedule

For the latest on any delays USPS and FedEx maybe experiencing due to holiday traffic or weather conditions please check their websites.

USPS Mail Service Updates

FedEX Service Delays