Get rid of these bad habits to become a better co-worker

Many top performers at their companies suck at managing or leading. That’s because the same competitive drive that led them to the top can also cause an all-out war with peers. This article “Get rid of these bad habits to become a better co-worker” is to list those habits.

In the book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, top executive coach Marshall Goldsmith breaks down the bad habits that are stopping many people from climbing higher in their careers.

1. An overwhelming need to win. Even the trivial stuff.

Your desire to win made you successful. However, you run the risk of wanting to win every argument, which could ruin your relationships with colleagues, spouses, and even your kids. Know when to compromise to become a better co-worker.

2. Giving your input or meddling when it isn’t helpful.

You like telling everyone what to do instead of letting them figure it out. However, giving too much input could cause your subordinates to be less committed to an initiative or idea, since it didn’t come from them. While your idea might be better, the trade-off is less enthusiasm from your colleagues.

“The higher up you go in your organization, the more you need to make other people winners and not make it about winning yourself,” writes Marshall.

3. Passing judgement on people after they give suggestions or feedback.

When people offer useful suggestions with or without our asking, we often react negatively. Perhaps we think the feedback is rubbish. Or we think the person’s undermining us. Instead, adopt a neutral position toward all feedback, and evaluate them objectively. Instead of criticizing the suggestion, say thank you.

4. Making destructive comments instead of shutting up.

Sometimes, we can’t help but say something snarky to show how witty we are. This can backfire on you. Sometimes, you may forget the nasty comment you made. But it could be seared into your colleague’s mind for a long time.

5. Letting negativity be your default response.

We often start sentences with “no,” “but,” or “however.” You might actually be dismissing what they’re saying right away. Often, we say these things to gain or consolidate power. But it could stifle rather than stir discussion.

6. Telling everyone how smart you are.

While most of us are not braggarts, we often resort to subtle means of saying that we know more stuff than others. For example, when someone tells us something, we tend to say, “I already knew that,” or a variation of it. Instead, just thank them.

7. Speaking when angry.

When we’re angry, we say things without holding back. And that might cause us to blurt out words we’ll regret.

8. Withholding information.

We often keep information to ourselves as a means of gaining power. Or we simply forget to inform someone about important matters. Imagine how you’d feel if you were left out of a meeting you should attend, or if you were the last person to know about something.

9. Failing to give proper recognition. Or worse, claiming credit for what you didn’t do.

‘Nuff said.

10. Blaming everyone else for your bad behavior or mistake.

You may attribute bad habits to your upbringing. Or whenever something goes wrong, you shift blame to someone else. Stop doing that.

11. An excessive need to be “me.”

There’s too much of a premium put on “being yourself.” What this thinking glosses over is that people can ably mold their behavior, even if their personalities stay the same. After all, I’m not sure if “being yourself” is a valid excuse if you’re making sarcastic remarks that hurt others’ feelings unnecessarily.

12. Refusing to say sorry.

Apologizing after you’ve made a mistake is the first step towards healing a relationship.

13. Playing favorites.

We often hate the butt kisser who sucks up to the teacher in class. But when we get into management, it’s harder to spot such behavior and stop ourselves from being manipulated. Be vigilant.

14. Not listening.

Nothing communicates “you’re not worth my time” like letting your mind drift while someone is talking to you.

15. Failing to say thanks, or saying it badly.

It doesn’t hurt to say “thank you.” Sometimes it’s the only thing you should say, as I’ve mentioned above. We often feel compelled to qualify someone’s compliment. For example, if someone says, “you look nice today,” and you say, “wait till you see what’s in my closet,” you might be perceived as boasting. Stop at “thank you.”

16. Punishing the messenger.

When someone gives us bad news, we might lash out. Or react negatively. While understandable, the messenger might think that you’re targeting him or her. Stay calm.

Ref: Tech In Asia

Social Media Trends in staffing and Recuiting [Infographic]

This year, more than ever, recruiters are making social media work for them. These sites help employees and customers evangelize businesses with honest insight into what a company is like. Of course, each site offers its own unique advantages. On Facebook, your Business Page can be a hub where you post industry updates, events, photos, and other messages. LinkedIn is a recruiter’s go-to social media site, and your company and employees need to have a presence there. Before applying for a job, 76% of job applicants viewed profiles from the company’s employees. Twitter and Google also play large roles in recruiting: Use them to connect with and vet candidates, and find out what people are saying about you using hashtags and Google Alerts. These sites are a boon for recruiters. Use them well, and you’ll find they’ve become a important tool. Check out this infographic for more on how recruiting and staffing agencies should be using social media in 2016.

recruiting-trends

Tips For a Successful Facebook Business Page [Infographic]

Millions of businesses have flocked to Facebook to promote their brand, services – just this week, The Social Network announced that it now has over 3 million active advertisers. Facebook company Pages are an easy, cost-effective way to get your name out there – but with so many brands flooding people’s News Feeds, how can you make your Page stand out? Brands need to offer followers more than self-promotional content. People want beautiful, compelling pictures, content variety, and feedback when they have a comment or concern. Brands need to be attuned to what prospective and current customers like and don’t like. And they need the right balance of posts – in fact, if a brand shares too much, too often, they increase their chances of losing followers. To build your follower base and help you better engage with your customers, check out the infographic below. It offers wise tips to build, expand, and manage your company Facebook Page.

Facebook Business Page Tips

Ref: Quill

Most InDemand Startups Share Their Talent Brand Tips

Recruiting high-caliber technical talent is a constant challenge. Especially in Silicon Valley, where stealth-mode startups battle alongside well-established, global brands for top engineers.

To find out who’s winning Silicon Valley’s battle for the best and brightest engineers, we compiled our second-annual list of the Top 10 InDemand Startups (click here for last year’s list), based on LinkedIn.com activity among 287,000+ Bay Area engineers on LinkedIn. Today, we’re excited to share this year’s honorees**:

Most InDemand Startups In the Bay Area


Nimble Storage’s
Paul Whitney says, “People increasingly choose companies, not jobs. So, create the culture and the company that people will want to join.” That’s easier said than done. So how have this year’s Top 10 honorees built successful talent brands from scratch in just a few years? We reached out to their talent leaders and asked them to give us a peek inside their startup’s mission-control center. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Clearly articulate your long-term mission and vision

When everyone across a company shares a clear mission and vision, a company becomes a magnet for the best and brightest. Identify your long-term mission and vision and share it with employees to help them, as Nutanix’sKevin O’Kane says, “sell the company.” That will help prospects see your vision of the future and get excited about it with you, saysJawbone’sSteven Grant.

2. Encourage employees to spread the word

Most employees want to talk about their companies. Use that to your advantage! Employee referrals are Nimble Storage’s main source of hire, so Whitney says he, “markets strongly to employees to continue to encourage referrals.” Big Switch Networks’Ellen Roeckl says, “Most everyone at the company is very experienced in either networking or virtualization, so our own personal networks are invaluable for recruiting.” They’re also invaluable for helping you spread the word about your talent brand.

3. Showcase your talent brand online

After hearing about your company via your brand ambassadors, prospects are highly likely to do research online. So, no matter how large or small your company is, make sure you have a strong presence online that best showcases your company’s talent brand. Whitney says Nimble Storage is placing greater emphasis behind its social-media strategy and developing rich content — like pictures, videos, employee testimonials — to further showcase its story online.

For ideas on how you can use rich content to help tell your company’s story online, check out Nimble Storage’s Company Page — where it posts photos of its employees, showcasing its culture — as well as Nutanix’s and Cloudera’s Career Pages, which are chock-full of employee testimonials, videos and photos.

So there you have it. If you’re interested in learning more about how to establish and strengthen your talent brand to attract and hire the best and brightest (regardless of the size of your budget) check out these 10 ways to build your talent brand on LinkedIn. Good news: seven of them are free!

Ref: Linkedin Talent Solutions Blog

Top 10 Social Media Blogs – The 2015 Winners

Are you looking for some good social media blogs to read? Look no further!

Our sixth-annual social media blog contest generated over 600 nominations.

A panel of social media experts carefully reviewed the nominees and finalists. Each of the social media blogs was analyzed based on a number of factors, including content quality, post frequency and reader involvement.

With that in mind, here are 10 social media blogs to put at the top of your reading list.

top social media blogs of 2015 winners

Discover the top social media blogs of 2015.

#1: Buffer Social

Buffer Social, which has one of the best curated blogs in the social media space, provides well-researched, comprehensive content that’s useful for all levels of social media marketers.

ck-2015-blog-winner-buffersocial

Buffer Social offers the best tools and strategies to keep you up to date on social media.

#2: Grow

Grow by Mark W. Schaefer flips content marketing on its head. His superb content consists of thoughtful experiences, which are devoid of ego and designed to help other businesses find success.

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Grow your company, reputation, customers, impact and profits. Grow yourself.

#3: Jon Loomer

Jon Loomer‘s core approach to content rocks. He shares fantastic, in-depth articles focused on Facebook that include experiments, real-life examples and supportive graphics.

jon loomer blog

Jon Loomer’s blog is enthusiastic, helpful, detailed and well-illustrated.

#4: Convince & Convert

Convince & Convert‘s Jay Baer continues to raise the bar for seasoned marketers. This established thought leader creates consistent, quality content.

ck-2015-blog-winner-convince-and-convert

Convince & Convert takes your social media and content marketing from good to outstanding.

#5: Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice has a beautifully laid out blog that’s easy to read. She is a strong writer who provides in-depth advice for novice to intermediate marketers.

ck-2015-blog-winner- rebekah-radice

Rebekah Radice helps you maximize the potential of your social media.

#6: Socially Sorted

Socially Sorted‘s Donna Moritz shares solid content with thought-provoking and curiosity-driven headlines, along with great visuals.

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Socially Sorted shows how to get more reach, referrals and results with visual social media and content strategy.

#7: RazorSocial

RazorSocial, published by Ian Cleary, has tons of detailed articles for businesses. Plus, Ian’s stellar software tool reviews include his favorite features, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to use them.

RazorSocial’s useful content is delivered with no-nonsense, practical, actionable, step-by-step instructions.

RazorSocial’s useful content is delivered with no-nonsense, practical, actionable, step-by-step instructions.

#8: Jenn’s Trends

Jenn’s Trends, by Jenn Herman, shares quality content while narrowing in on her niche: Instagram for businesses. Jenn’s tips are helpful for novice to advanced marketers.

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Jenn’s Trends has an engaging style that is easy to digest.

#9: Simply Measured

Simply Measured has well-written content, which includes outstanding data and hands-on reporting of actual case studies.

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The content found on Simply Measured benefits any social media marketer.

 #10: SocialBro

SocialBro provides quality posts on seldom-discussed topics. There are lots of gems of great advice on this blog.

ck-2015-blog-winner-socialbro

SocialBro’s blog shares the latest social media product news, insights, tips and features.

Congratulations to the winners! Be sure to check out these amazing social media blogs.

Ref: SocialMediaExaminer

How to Use LinkedIn to Become a Networking Superstar

As the Internet buzzes with social media activity, knowing where to network can be a challenge.

While LinkedIn is still viewed by many as an online resume (huge mistake btw!) – it lives at the top of my list for professional networking.

Not spending any time on LinkedIn? Let me tell you why you should.

  • LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 347 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • Average time a user spends on LinkedIn is 17 minutes.
  • There are 42 million unique mobile visitors each month.
  • There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
  • LinkedIn provides extended visibility for the business professional looking to establish themselves as a subject matter expert.
  • While Facebook, Twitter and other social sites build familiarity and awareness for your personal brand, LinkedIn is unique in its business focus. LinkedIn is a society designed to connect business professionals, marketers and vendors interested in building a community.

And did you know that of those 347 million members, 111 million are in the United States alone?

It’s easy to see that whether you’re looking for B2B or B2C connections, LinkedIn is the place to be.

So, what are you waiting for?

Let’s get you networking! (and don’t forget to grab the Infographic below)

Use LinkedIn to Become a Networking Superstar

  1.  Create a Captivating Bio

Did you know that adding a photo to your profile makes it 7 times more likely to be found in searches?

Or that filling out your most recent positions – the last two to be exact – makes your profile 12 times more likely to be found?

Simple updates like these make a BIG difference.

And they’re critical updates to make before you begin to make connections.

Take the time to make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete.  There’s nothing worse than trying to connect with business professionals when you have an incomplete bio.

If your profile is incomplete, take a quick moment to log into your account and walk through each step until you’re 100% complete. Do not proceed until this is done.

A few profile optimization suggestions:

And here’s a great Linkedin Profile checklist from Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media to get you started!

  2. Get Into LinkedIn Groups

Join groups on LinkedIn and start a conversation or comment on topics relevant to your niche.

You will find groups by by clicking on “Interests > Groups” from your profile or searching keywords to identify groups with similar interests.

One of the groups that I manage is “Social Media Marketing Strategies for Business Professionals.” With over 34,000 members, this group is a daily opportunity to meet and greet other like-minded professionals.

Get Started with Groups

You have two options – join a group or create a group.

  • Join a group
    • Click on Groups and then “Groups Directory” to research featured groups that offer content you find interesting.
  • Create a group
    • Before you begin, do your homework. Think about who you’re trying to attract. Are there other groups already out there and what they are doing right or wrong in your opinion?
    • How can you improve upon it and add value to the community?
    • If you’re ready to start a group, take these steps:
      • Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and selectGroups
      • Click the Create a group button on the right.
      • Fill in the requested information. A red asterisk means it’s required.
      • Click the Create.. button to create your group as an open group or a members-only group.

One final piece of advice from Mike Allton with The Social Media Hat is an important one — how to get involved in the conversation once you join a group.

After you join a LinkedIn Group, introduce yourself to the other members with a post describing how you found the group and what you hope to achieve through membership. It’s ok to talk about your position and your industry authority as long as it does not come across a self-promotional or spammy.

  3.  Make Your Connections Count

LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with like-minded business professionals.  There are, however, right ways and wrong ways to connect.

The right way? Strategically reaching out to people within your industry, niche or community. Creating relationships that are mutually beneficial.

The wrong way? Randomly sending out requests to simply “add to your numbers.”

And while we’re talking about LinkedIn requests, a big DON’T is sending one without customizing the standard LinkedIn email verbiage.

Whenever you send a friend request, LinkedIn will by default send your request along with this message: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Sounds great, right?  Wrong!

That cookie-cutter message doesn’t say anything about who you are or why you want to connect.  Spend a few moments scripting out a short, personalized message.

Here are a couple of examples:

Hi Donna,

I have been a long-time fan of your blog and appreciate your valuable insight around the ______ industry.

As someone that also works within that space, I am always looking to connect with like-minded individuals. I’d love to connect and hope you’ll accept my request.

or…

Hi Donna,

I see that we’re both connected through (name of person or group) and that we have a lot in common. 

As someone that also works within (industry/niche), I am always looking to connect with like-minded individuals. I’d love to connect and hope you’ll accept my request.

Run a search on your current social media friends. You might be surprised who you’re not already connected to on LinkedIn. My friend Donna Mortiz with Socially Sorted was one of mine.

I’ve rectified that as of today!

  4.  Be a Connector

There’s no better way to make meaningful connections than to create them.

Know two people that have a lot in common? Introduce them!

Social networking is at its core about connection. So, why not be that connector? Share why you feel two people should connect and what it is that makes them a business match.

It’s easy and fun!

Here’s how to do it:

  • Write a personal message
  • Include details about each person’s background, strengths and skills
  • Add in benefits (why they should connect)
  • Finish with a Call to Action (CTA) that asks them to take action

Steps to Introduce Two LinkedIn Connections

  1. Search for one of the connection’s profiles using the search box at the top of your homepage.
  2. From results, click their name to view their profile.
  3. Click the Down arrow in the top section of the profile and select Share Profile.
  4. Enter each recipient’s name in the top box of the compose message page.
  5. Modify the message to explain how they could benefit from knowing each other. (see below)
  6. Click Send Message.

Sample Message

Hi Tom and Anne,

I wanted to take a moment and introduce the two of you. You’re both in the real estate industry and two incredible go-getters. 

Tom is a 20 year real estate veteran and has run his own brokerage for the last 10. He’s always looking for great people and that’s why Anne came to mind immediately.

Anne is a top producing real estate agent that has been in the industry for 5 years. Over that time, she’s earned the reputation of being a compassionate, energetic and detail-oriented agent. She’s currently looking for a new brokerage and that’s why I thought of you Tom.

Anne, would you be so kind as to schedule a time to grab a cup of coffee with Tom? I know the two of you will hit it off!

  5. Stay in Touch

Use LinkedIn’s handy “Keep in Touch” feature to keep you in front of your connections on a daily basis.

Once you start making LinkedIn connections, make sure to stay in touch. Here’s how!CLICK TO TWEET

Click on Connections > Keep in Touch to get started.

From there you’ll see a list of people celebrating a special event – new job, birthday – and an easy way to say congrats or make a comment.

Another great way to stay in touch is through content sharing. Stay top of mind by consistently sharing relevant content to your LinkedIn profile.Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of “The Art of Social Media” shares these thoughts,

LinkedIn is the place to show your smarts. I don’t recommend posting quotes as status updates here. I love them on Pinterest and Twitter but I don’t feel they carry enough weight for a LinkedIn update. Post at least one update per day and up to four per day spread out through the day to remain active in the LinkedIn stream.

Get Networking

If you’re ready to expand your reach and build your online network, then it’s time to capitalize on the vibrant LinkedIn community.

I guarantee that if you’re willing to put in the time, LinkedIn will help you reap valuable rewards.

Not only can it establish credibility, but also open doors of opportunity and expand yourpersonal brand.

Ready to get started? Let’s connect!

Ref: Rebekahradice

How To Create Facebook Ads Your Followers Won’t Hate

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Social media marketing is “supposed” to be the new, alternative and largely free method of marketing your wares and services. It’s certainly popular – from high-street micro-businesses with just the single outlet, to giant global enterprises with huge chains and a dominant bearing on every continent – the business world has understood the need to have a social media presence in order to compete, and, large and small, enterprises have embraced it.

Yes, social media has changed the face of advertising. Indeed, it has democratised the playing field. Whereas once upon a time, before the days of the web, businesses would be forced to spend their marketing budgets on print ads in the backs of newspapers and magazines, now these same efforts have been refocused towards online formats (that’s of course not say that the printed advertisement is dead (it’s not), but it no longer holds the monopoly). And, similarly, with the likes of YouTube, Vimeo and Vine, no longer are video promotions the sole reserve of the large corporation, which can afford the prohibitive prices to have their promos and commercials broadcast on television channels and movie theatres.

There’s actually quite a lot that the social media marketer can create and publish for free on social media. Blogs are of course the first point of call for many. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you don’t have a website then you don’t have a business; and if you don’t have a blog then you don’t have a website. It’s that simple, really. But, this formula can be extended once more – if you don’t have social, then you don’t have a blog.

No website = no business.

No blog = no website.

No social = no blog.

You do the math.

I really should get this printed on a t-shirt…

Marketers should not and do not stop at blogs, however, so neither should you. Campaigns are created in all sorts of ways across social networks, from ‘like and share’ giveaways to exclusive promotions to viral videos to paid advertising. And it’s this latter format that I want to pay attention to here.

 

Bad Facebook Ads

It’s odd, but with all the free social media promotion that goes on across Facebook, and with all the new marketing innovations that are out there, an advert is still an advert – and as consumers we still hate being force fed an advert as much as we always have done.

Right hand column ads that adorn the sidebars of our Facebook news feeds can be irritating in the extreme – as can news feed ads. They’re distracting, often poorly targeted, interruptive, and, most of the time, unoriginal and uninspiring. This typical example makes the top of the list of the BadFacebookAds Tumblr. that a dedicated curator of marketing mediocrity has taken pains to put together:

badfacebookads

I’m actually a U2 fan, but this advert doesn’t inspire me to do anything except remind me never to admit that in public (oh, wait – whoops!).

 

Good Facebook Ads 

This is 2015. We’ve seen adverts countless times that basically say “buy our product”, “use our service” or “let’s hang backstage”.

It’s tired, it’s predictable, it’s uninspiring, and, especially for the SME, it simply doesn’t work. No, these days in order for an advert to be successful, we need to be entertained, amused, and often inspired to think.

A good Facebook ad must be:

  • Visually appealing
  • Relevant (i.e. well-targeted)
  • Include an enticing value prop
  • Have a strong call to action
  • Be entertaining

I have to admit, even though I personally don’t use these blades, I’ve always been impressed with the whole of Dollar Shave Club’s social media marketing efforts. They’re cheeky, they’re fun, they look great, they have great value props – the only thing missing from this one in fact is a bold call to action – not that Chris Perricone was put off:

goodfacebookads

How To Create Facebook Ads Your Followers Won’t Hate

Ok, so we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so now I want to devote the remainder of this post to listing some actionable tips that you can take away with you when creating your own Facebook ads your followers won’t hate…

 

1. The Visual Appeal – Make Your Ads Eye-catching

This is first and foremost. Social media has gone visual – I’ve said this before as well, and no doubt I will say it again. But in order for you advertisements to stick out they must be striking in the first instance. Dollar Shave Club got it right once again in December just gone with this very simply yet effective two-tone graphic with some clever copy:

hasaface

2. Relevancy – Make Use Of Targeting

There will be several different targeting options for you to choose between when you first start out with Facebook ads. You need to be very careful with these, as perhaps the most irritating part of online adverts are those that you are forced to digest that would never be of use to you in a million years. People are aware of ad targeting technology, and whether they like it or hate it, they will be disappointed if you get it wrong – it will reduce your brand’s credibility.

So, select your demographics carefully, thoughtfully, and wisely. You only want to be pushing your ads to users who might actually be interested in buying your product – there’s no point in trying to sell roller blades to the over 70s (generally speaking – I’m sure there will be an exception or two that the internet can discover!).

 

3. The Value Proposition – Highlight The Added Benefits

Your product will be great at what it does – of course it will. But you need to ask yourself, what are the additional benefits of the product, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Let’s think about Dollar Shave Club once again. This company sells razor blades for men. Now, a lot of their rivals – even some of the biggest brands out there – simply focus on the quality of the blades that they sell. But what Dollar Shave Club does differently is point out the added values of their product: the blades are delivered to subscribers’ doors, meaning that they never have to worry about forgetting to buy fresh ones; their product is decidedly cheaper than the big branded rivals, though still enjoys the same quality; and they even go so far as to point out that they are creating jobs in America.

A list of 7 great value proposition formulas that you can use can be found at wishpond.com

 

4. Include A strong Call To Action

CTAs are important, and you should make sure that they are as clear as possible in your Facebook ads. If you manage to get everything else right and entice a user to take your offer, the last thing you want to do is lose them at the last minute by not having a clear, visible button to click that will direct them to the sales page.

Furthermore, the information that will entice readers to click on the CTA also needs to be clear and concise. We need to know exactly what the offer is for, how much it is, when it expires, and then a clear CTA that will enable us to get it.

This is great from Jasper’s Market:

jaspersmarket

As is this from Tortuga Music Festival:

tortugafestival

5. Entertain – Make Us Smile

This last point is one that I don’t think can be made strongly enough. Ads shouldn’t be boring – they need to entertain. Even simple single image ones. And the Dollar Shave Club get this right once again (honestly, I don’t have shares in the comapny, I just think that we can learn a lot from their advertising campaigns):

DSC

Ref: GetResponse

10 Reasons Your Brand Needs To Be On Instagram

Instagram has morphed from a trendy teen hangout to a serious social networking site with great promise for businesses. With 34% of US internet users now using Instagram, Instagram is second only to Facebook in terms of US audience penetration.

Instagram offers a unique opportunity to businesses looking to reach their target market with engaging visual content. This article will outline 10 reasons your brand needs to be on Instagram – or risk missing out on significant opportunities.

1. Internet users spend more time on Instagram than on any other network besides Facebook

According to research by comScore, US internet users spend approximately12 billion minutes on Instagram each month. Compared to Facebook’s 230 billion minutes, this is a drop in the bucket; but for businesses looking to dominate in a more niche, image-centric network, Instagram offers a huge opportunity.

2. It’s still early enough to establish a presence and dominate your niche

Getting noticed on Facebook can be a challenge for small businesses. With so many businesses using the platform, it can be difficult to get found via on-site search and to differentiate themselves from the competition.

However, the fact that only 9% of US small businesses are using Instagram provides an amazing opportunity for those who start building their audience now. Small business use of the platform has grown consistently between 2012 and today and shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses who get on board now will be able to establish their audience before the competition becomes too fierce to get a foothold.

3. Instagram gives you the unique ability to augment your brand with visual content

Visual content gives you the unique opportunity to decide how you want to showcase your brand. A huge advantage to sharing images on Instagram is the wide range of filters; using various filters you can give a different look or feel to your images, using them to convey your desired mood and message.

4. Instagram drives sales with high average orders

According to Shopify, Instagram referrals result in an average order value of $65; this is second only to Polyvore’s $66.75. While certainly most visits won’t end up resulting in a purchase, those that do will result in considerably higher revenue than other social networks; for instance, YouTube’s $37.63 average order value.

5. Visual content in social media continues to dominate in terms of engagement

More than ever before, social media users want to see brands posting visual content. In fact, according to research, visual content is currently the most important tactic businesses use for optimizing their social media content.

To keep your Instagram followers engaged, post images like infographics, image quotes, graphic coupons and behind-the-scenes images. For videos, try posting short tutorials or behind-the-scenes clips to elicit views and engagement.

6. Instagram doesn’t have a filtered feed

Unlike Facebook, which only shows your posts to a small portion of your audience, Instagram posts show up in the feeds of every single one of your followers.

This assures you that your valuable content will actually get seen; images are shown in chronological order, so as long as you’re posting regularly, your posts have a good chance of getting seen by your followers (at least by the ones who are on the platform when you post).

7. Instagram can serve as a content-creator for other social networks

Visual content isn’t just popular on Instagram. We know that images and videos are huge on Facebook and Twitter, and obviously on visual-centric networks like Pinterest and YouTube as well. While Instagram gives you the unique ability to easily create eye-catching images, you can always use these images as content for your other marketing channels: for instance your Facebook posts, Pinterest boards or blog.

Did you know you can even take photos using your Instagram app, and then save them to your phone for use on other networks? Simply set your phone to airplane mode, take an image, and it will automatically be saved to your photo roll for later use.

8. Instagram is ideal for on-the-go-sharing

More than any of the other big networks, Instagram is designed and intended to be used on mobile devices. This means sharing is quick and easy, regardless of when and where you’re posting from. This makes Instagram perfect for sharing candid and behind-the-scene shots, both of which can elicit significant engagement.

9. Instagram videos are great for getting shares on Facebook

According to research from Unruly, 9 out of 10 Instagram video shares happen on Facebook. This is great news for marketers looking to bridge the gap between Instagram and Facebook, driving traffic and shares between the two.

10. Instagram has some of the highest conversion rates among popular social networking sites

While direct sales usually aren’t the primary benefit of using social media, there’s no doubt that having high conversion rates is an unexpected bonus. According to Shopify, the rate at which Instagram visitors go on to make a purchase when visiting a site is 1.08%; this means that for every 100 visitors who find your site through Instagram, 1 will make a purchase. While this doesn’t exactly seem like an earth-shattering conversion rate, it’s still the 4th highest among social networking sites.

Ref: Forbes