A new feature-length documentary “Explorer” hits cinema screens this month, looking at the life of adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Kicked out of the SAS, he has since been crowned as the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer” and dubbed “gloriously and refreshingly mad” by Prince Charles.

Infotex have been involved with Fiennes’ projects for over a decade. We created the Transglobe Expedition website, which hosts an archive of material relating to his journey to circumnavigate the globe. Rather than the more traditional east–west route around the equator, Fiennes’ team travelled north-south via the Sahara Desert, the Northwest Passage and snowmobiling across both poles – including a break to play cricket at the South Pole.

Transglobe

In 2013 we were invited to create a site for The Coldest Journey. This expedition had the aim of being the first team to ever cross the Antarctic during a polar winter, where temperatures can go as low as -70C. Unfortunately, Fiennes had to pull out early in the project after suffering frostbite, but the team went on to raise over $10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness. The website had clear donate buttons, a live tracker to follow the team’s progress across the ice and a login area for schools to access educational material. 

The Coldest Journey

It’s well known that Fiennes has a rule to never pay anybody for anything at any time in relation to his adventures, and, yes, this does extend to the websites we’ve produced. Still, we’re proud to have supported his projects over the years, and look forward to seeing Explorer soon.

Watch the trailer below.

Amongst recent trends in brand development, logo redesign seems to be making the biggest mark… Burger King, Pfizer, Warner Bros, Cadbury’s, and BMW are just a handful of the big names who’ve opted for a refresh in the last year.  

A logo is at the heart of a brand identity – it communicates the values and quality of a product or service, but most importantly, it allows customers to build a strong association with your brand. The popular move now is to upgrade to simplified, flat-design logos that work across many platforms.

 

Some companies, of course, never need to change their logos too drastically (think Nike and Spotify). But for others, there’s pressure to keep modernising your logo to freshen your brand. 

What does your logo say about your company? Is it suitable across multiple technologies?  And when might it need a refresh?

Online criticism of the minimalist logo trend, however, is enough to make us think carefully before changing our brand identities too drastically for no reason.

Still, we’ve put together some thoughts about when you might consider that logo facelift, and how to ensure it’s one that continues to accurately communicate your motives and values in an expressive way.

Are simple logos better?

The tendency toward simplification in the evolution of logos is somewhat inevitable. Minimal logo designs are generally easier to digest, and the quicker a logo can get into the mind of a consumer and stay there, the better. They are easily recognizable and memorable, approachable, and highly user-friendly. 

Simple, flat logos continue to be hugely effective in translating brand identity to audiences across a range of physical and digital media. What’s more, as some brands become such a prevalent part of our lives, even assimilating into our grammar (to google, to uber), their logos don’t need to hold as much information – we already know the brand promise. 

There is a risk when changing a logo, though, that the association people have with your brand might be damaged. Mastercard had to undertake two years of social research before changing to a wordless logo, to ensure people would still recognise it.

Is there such a thing as Oversimplification? 

There has been backlash to what’s been termed “oversimplification” amongst the logo redesign trend, with a sense that the minimalist, digital-friendly logos we’re seeing are too basic and lose character.

One YouTube trend took off under the title, “Please, don’t turn me into an oversimplified logo!” in response to redesigns like that of Pringles.  

Early this year, Firefox minimalist logo memes spread widely, with great sadness that “they killed the fox”, after Firefox introduced what in fact turned out to be a parent brand logo. The fox is very much still alive on the browser icon. 

 

So, when should you update your logo, and why? 

We’ve established why it might not be the best idea to go for a logo refresh for no particular reason, because you’re at risk of losing the essence of your brand. However, there are times it is necessary to think about an update… we suggest taking these key points into consideration…

Your logo no longer just needs to look good in a storefront or brochure. It needs to be as clear and impressionable on a small phone screen as it does on a billboard. Many companies are opting for flat, colourful designs to work across all platforms.  

Has your target audience changed? If so, you might need to change too. Instagram’s successful logo upgrade from the previous camera icon came about because, as their head of design Ian Spalter said, it “was beginning to feel…not reflective of the community.” Keeping your logo up to date shows you are listening to your audience. 

When something’s broken… fix it.

Sometimes a logo just isn’t cutting it. Two years ago, Slack announced that their original logo proved “absolutely awful”, because, consisting of 11 different colours, it was near impossible to place on top of colourful backgrounds. Their new one keeps the same core spirit of the original, but is more practically refined.

Whether it’s a merger, acquisition, or simple repositioning of brand motives, your logo should grow and change as your brand does. 

In 2008, Infotex merged with Shelton Internet, traders with a focus on back end technical development. We wanted to represent who we were as a new team, and the excellent technical capabilities that came with it, so we weaved the characteristic capital letters of the old Shelton Internet logo into our old “infotex” logo and brand name. 

 

 

At Infotex we’re always on the look out for those important moments when a brand refresh might be necessary. In fact, keep your eyes peeled for some upcoming changes to our brand look…

Is there a future for logo design beyond the current trend?

We are always seeing exciting new trends explode in the design world. Perhaps it won’t be long before flat design logos give way to designs using neumorphism and glassmorhpism. 

Whatever happens, you only have to look at, say, Apple, or Instagram, to know that good logo redesign can work wonders. But make sure you’re budding for that refresh for the right reasons. 

 

If Netflix has you hooked, then it won’t take you long to get your head around the concept of smart content loading. Have you noticed that today the ads on your computer screen are selling you exactly what you were searching for yesterday? We’re moving into a world where user data is personalising our online experience, and customers are happy to hand over their details for the right results. It’s no wonder 47% of consumers check Amazon if they’re unsatisfied with the products suggested by the brand they’re shopping with – the personalised shopping experience is too good to resist. Well, now there are increasing opportunities for smaller businesses to tap in on this consumer impulse. 

What is Smart Content?

Smart Content refers to the dynamic elements of your website that change depending on the site user profile. Instead of being restricted to typical static content, which stays the same for everyone, smart content offers some important benefits: it targets individual customers with a personalised experience, and also increases site loading times. These things combined mean that a website with smart content loading built in will drive significantly higher conversion rates and ROI than one without. 

Smart Content Demo Loading..

How does Smart Content Loading work?

In order to determine which tailored content to show when a unique user visits the site, smart content responds to demographic/firmographic user data (age, gender/business details) as well as behavioural (on-site activities and history) and contextual data (location, device type, time of day). This way, websites can optimise their content to increase engagement through offering visitors only the most relevant material. For example, your smart content system could tweak a landing page instantly when it knows a certain user has visited the page before, offering them a new and more relevant response the second time around. By finding out who your customers are, you can offer a friendly, personal service that keeps them coming back again and again. 

Smart Content saves waste

Site loading speed is always a priority for engaging users.  But businesses are also increasingly opting for smart content loading with the same aims of maximising page visits, time on site, and reducing bounce rates. As a development of “lazy loading”, whereby site images are only loaded when necessary, smart content loading websites limit downloads to the necessary content for a particular user, saving time by withholding unnecessary text and images. 

When should you use smart content loading?

If your potential leads have varying needs, interests, desires, or character profiles, then you should employ using smart content loading.  

Some examples of the types of smart content you might create include targeted blog posts and articles, personalised calls-to-action and case studies, discounts and offers, and video content. You don’t need to go full steam ahead to begin with, but gradually segmenting the traffic to your site will enable you to make the most of your business online and keep those potential leads returning. 

However, the aim is to offer a personalised, suitable experience without appearing overly familiar… no customer wants to feel like they’re being watched without remembering giving permission, so there are some things to avoid, too. For instance, unless it is a situation where the user will definitely remember their prior visit to the site, smart content loading should avoid using a user’s personal details such as their name and location. 

Technology is creating amazing opportunities for small businesses online, including smart content loading. If you feel like your business is too small, or too far behind the current internet trends, you’re wrong! There’s never been a better time to join in with the excitement of web development and help your business outcompete the rest.  

Get in touch for website advice, or read about more top website trends for 2021 in our blog. 

 

If any of you have ever looked into improving your website accessibility and are anything like me (a compulsive perfectionist and worrier), you may find it all seems a little overwhelming. The “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” (WCAG) consists of SEVERAL pages of complicated-looking legal text – but fear not, you don’t need a law degree to make some simple improvements!

After being tasked with sharpening up my accessibility skills for an upcoming client project, and getting over the feeling of impending doom brought on by the terrifying WCAG table of contents, I turned to Infotex’s resident fountain of all knowledge, Infrastructure Manager & Developer, John Harman:

“It doesn’t have to be complicated – there are plenty of simple things you can do.”

And he was right. He found me an hour-long online course, where they broke down some easy steps to take to make websites more accessible. I’ll share some of the best bits with you now…

Making your design more accessible:

Try making it monochrome

People with colour blindness struggle with seeing the differences between different colours. If you stick to one colour, and just use different shades or opacities of that colour, users should be able to see the contrast between the shading.

Use thicker lines

If you have any lines that are important for the website’s usability, try making them a few pixels thicker so they’re easier to see.

Don’t try to convey meaning with colour

Often, for instance, you’ll see red used to show that there’s been an error of some kind. It’s fine for you to do this, but someone with colour blindness may miss out on your meaning. So when you do use colour for meaning, make sure you always couple it with a symbol or explanatory text of some kind.

Use a colour contrast checker for text

If you haven’t got enough contrast between your background colour and font colour, you could be making it very difficult for some people to read your text. Try using a simple online colour contrast checker like contrastchecker.online to check your contrast is up to scratch.

Make target areas big enough

Target areas are basically areas that are clickable, like buttons. It’s advised to make them 44px x 44px minimum.

Make sure your images have ALT text

To make your imagery more accessible for those with vision impairment, add alt text to your images. This way users can utilise technology such as screen readers to hear descriptions of the images you’ve included.

Making your text easy to read:

Choose the right font

As a general rule, more readable sans serif fonts are a good choice, I ended up choosing Montserrat for my project but here’s some other ones the course suggested: Helvetica, Arial, Futura, Gill Sans, Verdana, Avenir, Franklin Gothic, Frutiger.

Make your font large enough

A minimum of 16px font size is an easy rule to stick by.

Make sure your spacing is right

For line height they suggest setting it to at least 1.5 x the font size you’re working with. For Letter Spacing they suggest setting it to at least 0.12 x the font size you’re working with.

DON’T JUSTIFY YOUR TEXT!

As a designer I would say this is a rule you should follow in life anyway, but definitely try and avoid justifying your text if you’re trying to make it accessible, it’s just so much harder to read!

These are just some of many simple steps you can take to make your website more accessible – but remember, every little positive change you make helps!

Websites are constantly evolving; like all modern technology, they don’t sit still for very long.  While some evolutions are more subtle, as through sophisticated CRO campaigns designed to increase page conversions rates, some are more monumental, sparked by a shift in devices or the way we use the internet.

These larger changes to web design tend to follow a cultural shift which changes the way in which business can communicate with consumers.  The most obvious example of one of these changes was the introduction of the ‘smartphone’ and the shift to mobile ‘responsive’ website designs.

The next big cultural shift that will impact web design is no doubt the one we are living through now; the impact of COVID 19 on the world has seen a change in the way in which many of us work and interact with our computers.  The results of working from home have been surprising, revealing even to the most old school companies that often employees can thrive and be more efficient if given a longer leash. This has in all likelihood accelerated the timeline, with the expectation that a lot of will have adopted flexible working patterns within the next 12-18 months, like the anticipated two-day in office, three-day remote, working week.  With this kind of large scale change to the way in which we work, we should expect our computers and other products to pick on all of the new ‘pain points’ of flexible working and make modifications.

The need for laptops to be more productive on-the-go, away from the traditional ‘work station’, has already led to a visible shift in the world of laptops and computers, with the design of higher end 2020 models from Dell and Apple being made more proactive for ‘work’ rather than ‘play’. The most notable trend is the change in screen dimensions; the ‘envelope’, ideal for movies and photographs, is being steadily replaced by a ‘squarer’ design that allows for programs like Word and Excel to make better use of the screen.  Dell’s new range of XPS laptops have adopted a taller 16:10 ratio rather than the traditional 16:9.  Apple seems to be following suit, and for a few years now they have been very much pushing their iPad devices as realistic alternatives to high end laptops, boasting the more productive 4:3 ratio screens.  And with rumours of a bezel-less design refresh coming to their entire iMac and Macbook 2020/2021 range, we should expect them to follow suit.

A new screen ratio is potentially an exciting evolution for website designs, particularly for companies operating in the B2B markets and other industries that see the majority of their traffic come via ‘desktop’ devices.  The prospect of a taller, squarer website will allow for a much more marketing real estate on customers screens.  We could see the end of cinematic designs that use fill screen imagery and minimum text, or we might see a step back to old school website designs trends that fight to get as many key messages ‘above the fold’ to ensure users see them on first landing.

Regardless of the trends we might see, this change in screen ratio illustrates the ever changing nature of marketing online and that clever thinking is needed to use the tools available at our disposal.  At Infotex, when talking to clients who rely on desktop traffic, we always make sure that we take a closer look to the exact screen dimensions from the previous website’s stats.  It has resulted in many successful websites that are designed with the clients marketing objectives and their specific customers’ user experience in mind.

Supporting Woodbridge Tide Mill

Situated on the banks of the Deben, the Woodbridge Tide Mill has been harnessing the power of the river for over 800 years. Continuing to mill to this day, it is ranked as the number 1 thing to do in Woodbridge (TripAdvisor) and required an updateable website to entice and educate potential visitors.

Using the existing branding we incorporated a bright and bold website, that’s easy to navigate to make sure information is quickly found. Key information is available on every page, and details such as the Tide Mill Mouse and a flowing “swoosh” sets the design of the site apart.

The Tide Mill is a charity and receives little state funding, so the majority of upkeep costs are provided by the community and friends. We advised on using GoCardless which allows for cost effective regular repeat donations automatically, alleviating administration and complex paperwork. The site also invites people to be a volunteer, with milling roles through to PR and fund raising positions available.

Infotex have been delighted to support the Tide Mill, and look forward to many more years of milling and turning.

Why not take a look woodbridgetidemill.org.uk

 

There are a wide range of website styles and designs used in the construction industry, ranging from single page versions to the more complex mobile responsive designs for smart phones and tablets. Regardless of formats used, excellent photography is key to the visual impact of construction industry websites today.

Great photography boosts website appeal in the commercial construction industry. A varied assortment of our favourites follows:

ANDERSON

Anderson

www.andersongroup.co.uk

Some great photography and moody atmospherics helps give the site a dramatic intrigue and a certain magnetic appeal.

BALFOUR BEATTY

BALFOUR BEATTY

www.balfourbeatty.com

A really good showcase of global projects making Balfour Beatty a powerhouse when it comes to international infrastructure operations.

BECHTEL

Betchel

www.bechtel.com

A superior website from one of the most respected engineering, construction and project management companies in the world. A pictorial feast of engineering wizardry.

GRAHAM

Graham i

www.graham.co.uk

A vast array of impressive infrastructure projects throughout the UK. The showcase menu is structured well and easy to read – a nice touch with each project swapping around when scrolling across the sub headings in each category.

KIER

Kier

www.kier.co.uk

A fun vector graphic used as a footer showing in simplistic form of some of the services that Kier provide from construction and property development to facilities management and project investments.

MASTERSON HOLDINGS

Masterson holdings

www.getjar.co.uk

The use of a concrete image for the background makes for a very masculine website and in the words of the Ronseal ads ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ – after all the company are reinforced concrete and groundwork specialists.

MORGAN SINDALL GROUP

Morgan Sindall Group

www.morgansindall.com

The triangular grid background of this website forms a good basis for the geometric shapes of the imagery and text panels to work together. The movement of these layers shifting independently when scrolling down gives extra appeal to the browsing experience.

RG CARTER

RG Carter

www.rgcarter-construction.co.uk

A straight forward layout design making the navigability very easy especially for the uninitiated.

SHERRI BUILDERS

SHERRI BUILDERS

www.sherribuilders.com

Very professional imagery used made all the more interesting with the way that each image emerges into view giving the site a more dynamic feel.

WILLMOTT DIXON

WILLMOTT DIXON

www.willmottdixon.co.uk

A visual treat showing full width photography for the greater impact emphasizing WD’s commitment to being proud of their chosen industry and in particular their achievements.

If you’re interested updating your web design or digital marketing strategy, then get in touch with us today!

Every business needs a website, but designing a good website is a complicated business which many people get wrong.

Here is a list of helpful hints to ensure that your web design is exactly what your business needs:

Content Clutter

1. Content clutter

You need to keep your layout simple and uncluttered. If you don’t, your customers will feel overwhelmed and will quickly switch off from your message.

 

2. Clashing colours

Yes, your brand might have a distinctive colour scheme, but don’t plaster fluorescent colours across your website. No one will stick around to read your site if the background hurts their eyes. This mistake is often compounded by font colours that make reading the text difficult.

 

3. No contact information

Failing to provide a contact number and an email address, or making the information so difficult to find that it might as well not be there is a trap some surprisingly big companies fall into. Don’t let your business be one of them.

 

Background Music

4. Background music

Thankfully, this trend seems to be dying out. Even if you have the most original jingle ever, your website is not the place to broadcast it. Adding music to your site makes it take longer to load and will usually irritate more customers than it amuses.

 

No navigation

5. No navigation

While the layout of your site will make perfect sense to you, test it on people not directly involved in your business before you go live. Your web design needs to make logical sense, or your customers will get bored and find someone else very quickly.

 

6. Not mobile enough

More and more people use their mobiles to access websites. If your site isn’t optimised to take advantage of this trend, your web design will be letting you down in a really big way.

 

7. Out of date

If your website hasn’t been updated in years, then this needs to be looked at urgently. The internet is littered with websites for businesses which are no longer active and you absolutely must make certain that your web design doesn’t suggest your business is one of them.

 

For expert advice on your web design, contact us today.

If you’ve got a good idea for an offer you want to run and are thinking about launching a pay per click campaign, one thing you’re going to need to do is create an effective landing page. Without one, your PPC campaigns may fall flat meaning you could lose out on revenue. Effective landing pages put emphasis on good design and compelling content writing. Above all else, it needs to grab the visitor’s attention and compel them to complete a conversion.

Keep it clean

Keep it clean

If the purpose of your landing page is to get people to follow through on your offer, you need to make sure your landing page is as clutter-free as possible. Any unnecessary details will draw attention from your message. If the landing page’s sole goal is to make your visitors convert then do what it takes to make their journey to conversion as easy as possible. If, for example, they need to fill out a form, ensure that you don’t have fields that aren’t needed. Strip everything down to the key elements and make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing. Good use of colour and eye-catching images have a surprisingly big impact. Studies have shown that using reds and greens work well for increasing landing page conversions, but ensure there is a good contrast between the button colour and your background.

Tailor your page

Tailor your page

If you have been promoting your offer well, through PPC campaigns, social media, Google AdWords and more, it’s highly likely that you’ll be receiving traffic from plenty of sources. Think seriously about customising your landing page for different audiences. It’s possible that a customer that has come to the landing page through Facebook knows a lot less about your offer than someone who is responding to a link in your email marketing campaign.

Make it match

Make it match

If your pay per click advertisements are driving your landing page, you’ll want to make sure that your copy is consistent. Repeating language and phrases that are in your PPC ads on your landing page helps to reinforce your message and adds to customer confidence. You need to be making sure that your page matches the advertisements as closely as possible. If your advertisement is about a specific product such as a pair of trainers, don’t send them to the sports clothing section – send them directly to the product they’re interested in.

For more information about how to create an effective landing page, contact the friendly team at Infotex today.

Here at Infotex, we aim to offer the widest possible spectrum of digital marketing services.
You are probably already aware that we offer help with both website design and email marketing, for example. But did you know that certain website design techniques can be applied to marketing emails to improve the chances of recipients responding positively? While an email has a very different format to a website, they both need to be visually appealing and useful in order to succeed. Ergo, the techniques that are used to create one can often be applied to the other. In today’s blog, we’ll look at the website design techniques and strategies that can be deployed in your best email marketing campaigns.

Use Colour
1. Using colour to engage viewers with aesthetics

Black-and-white textual emails are suitable for ordinary communication, but they aren’t very well adapted for marketing. In order to grab your recipients’ interest, you should utilise colour, just as you would on your website. Adding colourful, visual elements to your emails makes them more aesthetically engaging and encourages recipients to devote more time to reading them. What’s more, you can deploy the colours that you use across your business to reinforce your brand.

Use Images
2. Intrigue viewers with images

In addition to deploying an attractive colour scheme, you should also consider using images in your marketing emails. Images are very effective at drawing recipients in simply because, when people see an image, they instinctively want to understand what it’s about. An image can intrigue a viewer by making them consider its context. Including images on a web-page encourages visitors to read the text. Similarly, including them in an email increases the likelihood that it will be read thoroughly.

Use White Space
3. Deploy white-space to avoid overwhelming customers

An important part of designing a website is ensuring that your viewers don’t become overwhelmed by data. Every well-designed website utilises areas of white-space so that viewers aren’t confronted with a solid wall of text and images. Emails should use white-space in the same way. Nobody wants to open a marketing email and see a solid block of text or images, so give your recipients some breathing room. This will make it easier for them to absorb your email’s contents and may encourage them to act on what they read.

If you need further assistance with either website design or email marketing, get in touch with us today. We’re always eager to help.

The OVO Tour Of Britain is a multi-stage cycling race on British roads. It is conducted in 8 stages in which participants race across Britain to complete in the race in the fastest time.

On the 8th of September 2017, the race speeds through our county of Suffolk, from Newmarket to the finish line in Aldeburgh. We have always loved the race at Infotex – the cyclists pass our offices and last year for the Women’s Tour we were out on the road cheering them on.

This year in 2017, we had the chance to get closer to the event, and become even more of a participant. Suffolk Coastal District Council, together with the fantastic marketing company The Bridge, approached us to become a sponsor of their Taste of the Tour campaign, a campaign which supports the Tour itself by engaging with the community and local businesses through bike trails, family activities, and encouraging local food businesses to give a ‘taste of the tour’ by coming up with menu specials and special events.

Infotex is always keen to contribute to events that benefit the local community, especially an event such as this which promotes local business, family activity, wellbeing and engagement. Through consulting with Suffolk Coastal District Council we were delighted to be offered the opportunity to produce a unique logo for The Taste of the Tour, and building them a website which encourages engagement and participation in the campaign.

Our design team worked on a logo that incorporated the spokes of a bike within a strong stamp brand, and created a website with stunning visual scenes of our beautiful local area, together with clear information on local activities and events.

It was really pleasing to see the momentum grow with the Taste of the Tour, with more companies joining up to take part along the way. The culmination, of being at the finish line waiting for the cyclists to hurtle through the High Street of Aldeburgh, felt truly exciting. The kids from the local primary in Aldeburgh had their own mini race which was really delightful. People from the whole area were lining the streets – whole area was buzzing with excitement.

We were so pleased to be working with Suffolk Coastal District Council on Taste of the Tour, and we look forward to going on Tour next year! We are also please that they delighted with the results [get quote], and we look forward to working with them in subsequent years to build and celebrate the Tour of Britain with The Taste of the Tour campaign.

Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, cabinet member for Customers, Communities and Leisure, said:

“Thank you to Infotex for putting their hard work and creativity into the Taste of the Tour website.

“The platform allowed us to promote the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in an exciting way and to encourage more people to get involved with the international cycling event.

“We’ve had some great feedback from families taking part in the bike trails and we hope we can build on this success as cycling continues to grow in Suffolk Coastal.”

I wanted to see how easy it was for small businesses to grow followers on Instagram without the input of a marketing resource. Aside from my role at Infotex I am a digital artist, I sell limited edition prints and commissions so for this experiment I featured my Instagram around my small business as an artist.

SETTING UP

I already had an account with around 29 followers (pretty meagre). But if you haven’t you need to download the app onto your phone and set up an account. To aid being found I recommend both your username (known as a handle with the @ sign) and your name having reference to what you do in it. For example I set my name as Abstract Landscape Artist. You are then more likely to come up in a search of your your specialism.

Write your biography wisely and link to a relevant page on your website in the URL (web address) field. This is the only small area you have to promote what you do and direct people away from Instagram.

POSTING

Then choose the amount of times you think you can feasibly post each day and get started. I went with one but three is optimal.

STYLE QUALITY

Your pictures need to be good. Look around, there is a very ‘glossy’ magazine feel to Instagram. It is also starting to be more common to see the animated gifs or video loop images offered by new smart phones.

ETIQUETTE

Friendly and kind. This is not twitter.
People are more reserved about who they follow than on other social platforms, they are much more likely to ‘like’ than give you a full resounding follow.

Etiquette seems to suggest you should have more followers than be following.

HASHTAGS

Make sure you use the hashtag (#) in each post.
The only way for you to reach those outside your own following is including a hashtag they may be interested in. Think clearly about what subjects your audience would look at and make sure that your hashtag includes:

Six hash tags is about right. if you want to set your hashtags away from your post text, you will often see people use ‘–’

For example;
This is the text for my insta-post

#hashtags #subject #location #etc

THE PROCESS

You can indeed increase your following by good old fashioned hard work.

DAY 1

Quite excited I surfed around on Instagram looking at people trending on hashtags similar to the ones I was using. I commented on their pictures and in return got some nice comments back, a few likes and some thank yous but not really any follows.

DAY 2

I checked out the ‘settings’ tab on my instagram and under ‘Find & Invite Friends’ trawled my contacts stalking anyone I had ever known – and followed – with not that much response.

Then I looked at ‘Suggested Users’ and, being a little more sensitive here, I liked or commented on their images and then followed. The response was good, better than my real friends! I got quite a few follows back and increasing likes.

DAY 3

So I now knew that if I made the effort to look, comment and then follow I was more likely to get people taking the time to look at me and follow, but more often it started in lots of likes. I found if I checked the ‘grammers’ that had left likes (but no follow) commented or posted on their feed, then followed them I was getting a higher rate of follow returns.

I also noticed that my activity and engagement was snowballing I was reaching wider and growing likes, comments and follows.

DAY 4

Next I checked how my time of day was affecting numbers.
Currently I was posting at 9pm  so I tried at 7am and 12pm. The numbers were considerable; midday doubling and early morning tripling so I moved my daily post to 7am.

Small trick – I also learned to cull dead followees, those I was following who were not attentive to my path to greatness.

DAY 5

I did some real world research.
I went about my day asking anyone I could what they thought of Instagram and how it worked for them – there are definitely industries that thrive on Instagram and I found many people and small businesses for whom Instagram is a brilliant marketing tool bringing them many sales. These industries are generally fashion, food, lifestyle and outdoor adventure.

So what if you aren’t in one of those industries?

DAY 6

In one word….Keywords.
#Hashtags are key but tagging just for ‘your’ industry is not a way to approach a wider audience so I started #ing the industries that worked. Adding #interiors #interiordesign #womensfitness #wheretonext and apparently blueberries and donuts do wonders for likes too, but no, even I had a limit to how low I would stoop. That said using the hashtags from popular industries definately increased likes which in turn after I had engaged, cultivated follows.

You can see a few popular hashtags in this article; www.postplanner.com/best-instagram-hashtags

DAY 7

So numbers were growing, this was great wasn’t it?
Now I just focused on those liking my posts. I checked them out, liked, commented and followed. This showing of interest in them over just following increased my follows, but as this grew as did my time responding and although I discovered new, nice and interesting stuff it was taking up my time which should have been spent doing actual work.

‘I wasn’t doing this out of enjoyment but for the benefit of my business’

Unlike pinterest where I surf just to find ephemera and inspiration I wasn’t doing this out of enjoyment but for the benefit of my business, this is very different from using a social platform for social or personal purposes. So was the return on investment enough for the time (and therefore money) I was spending?

THE OUTCOME

I was pleased, I had more than tripled my following and it was easy to see that this was a snowballing effect. As I continued posting and tagging once a day, my numbers were growing at a much quicker rate than the virtually ‘zero’ movement before this experiment.

There is no doubt that Instagram, and all the other social media platforms help build very successful businesses, however choose wisely, test, decide, create a strategy and importantly –  stick to it. Even those that have millions of followers all say it is hard work, and just posting with the odd hashtag and sitting back and waiting will not bring you riches.

With 300 million active daily users on instagram yes that means you have a far reaching pool but it also means you have a big ocean to navigate through, with your lone voice needing to rise above other – dare I say – natives, and many millions of those are of course not interested in your line of business.

SO IS IT WORTH IT?

Yes and no. Social media is not a magic wand but if you choose your social media platform carefully, have a strategy and a campaign – and stick to it – it is likely to work. But sporadic posting across random platforms is less likely to help your business and more likely waste you time.

Stats on conversion rates seem to vary considerably but most say social platforms are around or below 1% with newsletters being much higher than that so finding the right platform and finding the right person (not everyone has the knack) is an expense that needs to be factored in. In the end, social marketing is no different from traditional marketing, find what suites you and stick to it, routinely making sure the return is worth the outlay.

You can find a large selection of stats here if you want to know more: www.expandedramblings.com/

And finally, if any of these alarm bells have rung for you and finding the right marketing avenue to turn down is on your mind why not give us a call.
All our advice is born out of hands on experience and delivered with unbiased recommendation.

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