Rule of Sevens and Your Marketing

I often reference the “Rule of Sevens” in marketing in my work. The principle is that people can remember about 7 (plus/minus 2) items. It’s a great guideline to keep in mind for everything from website navigation to content writing.

This video from Nielsen Norman Group is a great look at this memory limitation and its implications.

Hey, Have You Noticed Business Is Getting Informal?

In my first job writing print publications for General Motors I caused a stir by dropping the use of courtesy titles. My, how far we have come since then! If you feel like business communication is much less formal these days, you are right. The trend has only been fueled by the pandemic.

People expect businesses, government, and every organization they interact with to get real, be transparent and have a personality. Regular headlines about consumers calling on businesses to take a stand on a wide range of issues is proof enough. Millennials are famous for wanting to be able to relate to brands, but they are not alone.

Today’s Brands Need a Personality

Authenticity strengthens connections between businesses and people. This impacts everything from what we say to how and where we say it. Expectations for everything to be polished and tight are gone – a video taken with a cell phone can have as much impact as a professionally scripted and  produced commercial.

Your customer expects you to express things your way and to connect with them in a way that is relevant and unique. Being personable is the way to create relationships with your audience.

Be Real

It is time to stop wordsmithing press releases and to put aside jargon. Put away the thesaurus.

Communicate like each person who comes across your content is next to you having a conversation. Use the same words. Reflect your thinking in a way that helps them understand your perspective in big and small contexts.

It’s OK to make announcements on social media. It’s fine to show less-than-polished views inside your business. It’s great to talk about topics because you know they are important to your customer.

In fact, these things are expected. Businesses that meet people in these ways are poised to succeed.

Is Instagram Right for Your Brand?

Instagram is a social media platform with a strong focus on sharing visual content. It is used by over a billion users worldwide. Is the platform a good place to market your business?

Instagram by the Numbers

While Instagram continues to rise in popularity, its daily login is still second to Facebook. 63% of Instagram users login at least daily, while 74% of Facebook users login at least daily.

According to Statista, demographics break down as follows:

  • 43% of women, 31% men
  • 75%  age18–24
  • 57% age 25–30
  • 47% age 30–49
  • 23% age 50–64
  • 8% age 65+

Is Instagram the platform for you?

Instagram is generally considered to be a great platform for:

  • Businesses that have great photography to share
  • Businesses that sell physical products
  • Businesses that are community-oriented or that have an informal approach to their marketing

Instagram is an informal platform with a strong focus on visual content. To succeed you need to have original visual content to share.

Setting up Instagram for Your Business

  1. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Open the app and click on ‘Sign up’ to enter your information.
  3. To let Instagram know that this account is for your business, go to Settings in the app. (Find Settings under the icon shaped like a person in the bottom right corner of your screen.) Click on the hamburger menu in the top right corner. In Settings, go to Account and click ‘Switch to Professional account.’
  4. When you’ve switched to a business account, make sure to add information about your business to your account.

Getting Started

The best way to engage on Instagram is to start posting. Try different ideas and see what connects you with your target audience.

A great source of ideas is to look at the feed of similar businesses to see what they’re posting. You can also research best practices in your industry or field.

Let people know that you have a new account on Instagram. Add a link to your website and email signature. Mention it on your other social channels. Follow customers and people in your target audience for the hope of getting a follow in return.

Content Tips

Take some time to define the story you want to tell. Can you photograph people using or wearing your product? Can you use your posts to introduce the people working at your business? This is a great platform to help people see inside your business and to get to know you and your mission better.

Be consistent in how much you post and the overall look and tone of your posts. People who connect with you will expect consistency.

Research and use relevant hashtags. Adding the right hashtags will help people see your post. Research to discover the hashtags you can use to reach the right people. Use the hashtags that are most relevant to each post.