How To Use Instagram Polls Like A Pro by Ray Sherlock


By now you’ll most likely have noticed and used Instagram’s latest feature; polls. But, if you haven’t, we’ll give you a quick run-down. Similar to that of Twitter, Instagram introduced an option to ask your followers anything that’s on your mind in the form of a 2-option poll.

The poll feature is stored inside ‘stickers’ on your Instagram story. You can add a poll on any story you post, simply select ‘poll,’ write your answer options and publish it to your followers.


Keeping track of who’s said what is easy too, just click on your poll and have a flick through at the responses and what percentage of votes each option received. It’s a great way to monitor how many of your followers are actually engaged with your brand. If you have 1000 followers and get an average of 100 responses on every poll you post, that means 10% of your followers are invested in your brand. Paying attention to this cluster of people’s opinions will be incredibly beneficial to your brand. These are the loyal consumers whose opinions matter the most. Their insight will help you to offer them best products or services, that they ultimately may go on to recommend to friends and family.


Get Engaged

Firstly, your goal should be to get people engaged with and thinking about your brand. If you aren’t using the ‘stories’ feature on Instagram, get posting as soon as possible! It’s such an easy way to boost your brand awareness. People may be missing your posts in their feed, especially with the new non-chronological order. By posting stories or going live, you’re increasing your visibility and reminding your followers about you.


To start off polling on Instagram, publish simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions. These may seem simplistic, but they’re highly effective at increasing your engagement levels and brand awareness. They’re quick and easy to answer, and don’t require a huge deal of thought. You’re much more likely to get a larger response from these types of polls, therefore increasing follower engagement and the likelihood that your followers will interact with lengthier, more complex poll next time. We’ll explain these methods too!


Get Insights Straight From Your Consumers

There’s no easier way to get fast, direct feedback from your consumers than with an Instagram poll. This feature gives you a creative way to learn about your followers and learn from them too. Instead of making each poll about you and your brand, ask questions about your audience. A good place to start is to ask their feelings about different topics or find out what their interests are. This is a great way to identity exactly who your audience is, and advertise to them accordingly.


Get Feedback About Your Brand

What better place to get raw, honest insights on your brand than from the people who purchase from you? Use the poll feature to get feedback and opinions on you, your brand, your services, anything that you offer! Think of it as your own personal mini focus group, right in the palm of your hand. This method is important as it prompts responses from those who are truly engaged with your brand, and as we mentioned before, these people matter the most!


Whilst you won’t receive detailed answers or lengthy reports, the feedback you gain from these polls is invaluable. You’re getting to-the-point constructive criticism, the responses you gather will give a clear indication of what resonates with your followers and what doesn’t. A simple example would be to snap a photo of two products you currently offer. Accompany the image to your story with a poll; ask the question ‘which do you think will sell out first?’ Or, ‘do you prefer this in blue or red?’ Tailor the questions to suit your brand, but the underlying aim remains the same; gain feedback from your brand and apply it.


Give A Soft Sell

In today’s age of social media selling, trying alternative methods to invite consumers to purchase from your brand is important. More direct methods of selling include ‘last chance to buy’, ‘50% off’, ‘final sale’, or ‘buy now before it’s gone’. Whilst these can be useful methods, they’re not always the most effective when it comes to Instagram stories. This is where the poll feature comes in, you can ask your audience to consider your products or services, without including a direct call to action.


If you have new products or services coming out, post a selection and ask which your audience prefers in a poll. This way, you’re introducing something new and making your followers think about and have an opinion on the product. By asking consumers to choose between two products, once they’ve engaged with the poll and submitted a response, you’re increasing their curiosity. As well as this, their choice is solidified in their mind and will encourage them to purchase, increasing your sales.


Increase Your Mailing List


It’s simple yet effective, Instagram polls are a great way to get your audience to offer their details in exchange for a discount or seasonal offer. Make your followers feel like they’re receiving the VIP treatment. Simple pose the question ‘would you provide us with your email if we sent over a 20% off voucher?’ Those who reply yes are inviting you to take their details, so hop into their direct messages and source the information. Alternatively, use the poll to increase your engagement further by asking anyone selecting ‘yes’ to comment their information on your last upload. Your reach and impressions will boost, and you’ve just increased your mailing list to consumers who are genuinely invested into your brand. It’s a win-win, with a likelihood of increasing sales when sending out new mailers.


Instagram is an important tool for any brand or business. As the app has evolved throughout 2017, we’re allowed to interact with our followers much more and gain huge insights. Make sure you and your brand are utilising the potential of Instagram and Instagram polls.

Guest post : Ray Sherlock

Engage Hub | Social Media Agency

Ways and Importance of Investing in Employee by Ian Pearson

Employee development is crucial for increasing productivity and creating a lasting business. It often happens that business owners neglect the importance of investing in the development of workers education and skills, that can only lead to disastrous results. If you think about a company as an entity, no wonder it is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, since each employee needs to have a great knowledge of its line of work to prevent unproductiveness of the whole firm.

Professional and personal growth

Firstly, it is important to think about the ways to invest in your employees’ personal development as well as professional. Many workers feel disconnected and disengaged about their job if they are not satisfied with their personal life – that makes them demotivated at work. To put it simple – a happy employee equals productive business. So, how to ensure that your workers are motivated and satisfied? Consider investing in Individual Development Plan since it is a great tool for setting short and long-term goals and helping your staff reach it. Make sure to have personnel meetings once a month, so that you can see the performance and track employee development process. Being involved in the whole process will make your employees feel valued, motivated and determined to reach their goals.

The importance of communication

The correlation between company’s growth and communication is obvious. Motivate your employees to feel free to talk to you or team leaders about any problems they are facing, both work bound or private. Be patient and try to discuss every problematic work situation to come up with the best solution. Organizing staff meetings often are the key to achieve effective communication between managers and workers. Also, you will avoid being misinterpreted about daily tasks. Normally, there will always be mistakes but you shouldn’t be strict. Instead, discipline your employees in a respectful and rational way. You can lead the company and have a professional relationship with employees while leaving the impression of a friendly person they can talk to without fear at the same time.

Rewarding work effort

Creating a rewarding system for achieving certain goals is a great way to inspire employees and make them committed to cooperate and work on self-development. Keep in mind that not every worker values the same types of appreciation so invest time in learning more about your workers and what rewards would have the most impact on them. Be fair and do your homework when deciding about the prize receivers. It can be extremely uninspiring if a non committed worker gets rewarded for somebody else’s effort. Make sure to create a logical, rational and functional rewarding system that will be fair to every employee, since it plays a big part in the process. The rewarding system will motivate them and boost their energy levels. Completing daily challenges as a part of a professional training is a great way for your personnel to enhance their skills and acquire new knowledge.

Promote engaged workers

Respect the effort and promote hard working individuals. Show them that their engagement in business and commitment to personal and professional development is appreciated and that they have the opportunity to progress. Employees who see their future within the company feel more secure about their own career and therefore make an extra effort in their line of work. Their productivity will make your company prosper and your business last.

Connect your team

Hosting team building activities will certainly boost your employee’s satisfaction. Create healthier work environment by organizing such activities that will result in friendly surroundings with people willing to help and collaborate with other team members. Assign managers to lead team building events for every department of your company. If you have a lot on your hands, consider investing in leading executive coaching that can save you time and create a positive working culture to provide high performances of the employees.

Don’t hesitate to subsidize

Don’t be afraid to spend money. Most common mistake among business owners is fearing that by  investing in educating employees, they will help them become skillful and valuable in the marketplace and soon leave the company. The reality is completely different. If an individual feels appreciated and has the opportunity to learn more and achieve more, he/she will feel happier and more motivated to continue working within your company with more commitment.

Investing in your employee education now means investing in the future of your business. These are the ways that can help you understand the importance of investment in development. It will not only affect each individual but also the whole entity. It is hard to find talented workers, so make sure to keep them motivated. As long as they are stimulated they will be more productive which will result in your company’s growth.


The Future of Marketing is Video: Are You Ready?

If you’re in the marketing game, then there’s something you should know: in the future, video is going to be king. You could already say that it’s the top dog right now, but it’s going to be even more important in the next few years, with somewhere in the region of 80% of internet traffic being video related. So if all your potential customers are watching video, it’s pretty darn important that you’re making videos! Below, we take a look at a few tips to make sure you end up with videos that work for you.



Just Get Going


There’s no time like the present! Believe it or not, there’s nothing overly sophisticated when it comes to producing videos. While it’ll take some time for you to really get into the swing of being in front of the camera, getting your message across, and so on, the best idea is just to start brainstorming your ideas and see what you can come up with. It might be that you have a natural talent for this kind of medium, but you won’t know unless you give it a go!


Turning Professional


Of course, you’re not going to be the only company making videos. You won’t even be close to it. All the big companies and your competitors will be making videos too, with the most expensive Final Cut Pro X plugins, and as such you need to ensure that you have top quality productions that will stand out from the crowd. To make sure your videos get the kind of views you’re hoping for, get a corporate video production company to help with your videos. It won’t matter how big or small your company is: if you have noteworthy productions, they’ll get traffic.


Let Your Personality Shine


There’s no one right method for getting views. It’s all about what works best for you. As such, don’t try to be something that you’re not. Instead, let your company’s personality shine through. Think about who you are, what message you want to get out into the world, and make them the foundation of your marketing. Anything else will be false, and won’t be useful to you or anyone else!


Offer Something Useful


As much as we’d like to say otherwise, internet users won’t stick around to watch your video if it’s only about your company. It needs to have something that’s useful to them as individuals. With each video that you make, ensure that you’re giving your audience a reason to sit through your video. There are a lot of other videos out there that could watch instead if they find yours boring!


Track Your Progress


Like the rest of your marketing strategy, you should be keeping tabs on your video stats, and monitoring what works, and what doesn’t. Eventually, you’ll begin to notice the types of videos that your audience likes, and then you can hone in on your niche of videos.


The future of marketing is video, so don’t get left behind. Get the camera out and get to work!

Understanding The Needs Of Your Consumers In 3 Easy Steps


As you start out along the business path, it’s vital to understand what your customers want and why. After all, the consumers are what drives your business. Once you know this, you can promote your products in an effective way which will gain efficient results. Be prepared to do a lot of research regarding your chosen industry and maintain constant communication with your customers. These three simple steps show you how to get inside the minds of your consumers.


Firstly, do your customer research


Before doing anything else, it’s important to identify who your customers are. Conducting thorough market research is key to forming a clear picture of who you’re targeting your products towards. Recognise the key characteristics your consumers share, this relates to their age, gender, occupation, recreational activities and so on. While you’re researching the market, it’s also essential to understand the truths about supply chain management. As long as you’re fully aware of any changes in the market, nothing can surprise you and will boost your confidence as an entrepreneur.


Secondly, know why they shop and how


Now you’ve identified your audience; you need to understand why they shop and what pushes them to use your products and services. When you’ve fully grasped this, it will be easier for you to adapt your business goals to increase statistics. Look into factors such as your customer’s family and social needs, their budgets, brand preferences and work demands.


Also, distinguish what shopping methods they use. Do research into whether they prefer to shop online, instore or over the telephone. Other things can be delved into, for example, if your consumers make planned purchases or whether they make more spontaneous buying decisions. In addition to this, you should know that not everyone’s spending habits are the same and that different types of people will be willing to spend specific amounts. Consider their average household income, what they reserve their money for and whether they’re on a tight budget. You could conduct anonymous online surveys to gather this information.


Thirdly, find out what they think about you


Now you understand who your customers are and why they shop, step back from your business role for a second and put yourself in their shoes. What do they really think of you? Through regular communication (specifically online), learn about the views and expectations in which your consumers have about you. Is your customer service skills up to scratch? Do they actually like your products/services? And, what are your competitors doing that you’re not?


Furthermore, to form a closer bond with your consumers, consider using more social media as a solid platform for your customers to connect with you. If they have a more tangible and familiar form of communication, this may improve their opinions and reliability level of you.


If you follow these steps, you’ll be ever closer to forming the business model you want. Understanding your consumers is the underlying rule of the most successful companies out there. Become one of these today.


3 Services That Could Boost Your Business’ Efficiency

Do you feel like your business isn’t performing as well as it could be? Not particularly in a way where your employees are underperforming, but just as an overall state of how things are running? Do you wish to maybe catch up with the times a bit? It isn’t easy keeping tabs on all the new technology coming out in recent years. Do you feel like there are services which you should be using but have not gotten around to doing so yet? If so, here are a few suggestions of things which you could implement into your business to increase overall performance.


Remote Desktop Connection


If your business revolves around using computers a lot, which most tend to do nowadays, you probably know the pain of forgetting to do something the moment you get on the tube home. You won’t be able to address that issue until the next time you’re in the office either. Sometimes it might be a minor issue, but sometimes it can be a pretty big deal, like forgetting to respond to an important client. Remote desktop connection software allows you to access and control PCs from a distance, all you need is for the software to be set up, and the PC to be on. As long as you have the corresponding software and the PC is powered on, you can access it via the internet and perform whatever tasks you need to do. Some of the programs now even have smartphone counterparts, allowing you to access your pc from just about anywhere.


Legal matters


Unless you have an in-house legal team, you probably have some issues when going through anything paperwork related. Not because you might be inexperienced, but purely because most people hate dealing with bureaucracy. To keep your business running smoothly with you at the helm making decisions on future business opportunities rather than trying to deal with someone swiping URLs and copyrights from in front of your nose. If you happen to be one of those people, then why not invest in a franchise consultancy? Companies like the Lime Licensing Franchise Consultants are experienced and tested in the field of licensing, franchising and distributorship to name a few. If you feel like you are more of an entrepreneur with stars in their eyes rather than an office worker, getting someone to do at least part of your paperwork for you might be a godsend.

Online presence


It does not matter if your company is not the kind which would seem in need of a social media presence, you could very much benefit from one anyway. Even banks like Natwest or Barclays have twitter accounts to post random updates on their services or just topical happenings. The online world is closer to the real world than ever, and without a proper online presence, your competition might leave you in the dust. Not only is social media free to pick up and start posting on, but it is also a platform which exposes you to millions and millions of people. Now while you can sit there by yourself and try to run several social media accounts at the same time, it is probably going to be a bit more than taxing on your schedule. Responding to messages, posting actually interesting content, updating your audience on your services and even just gaining followers can prove to be a full-time job. If your approach to social media is like the one you have to paperwork and bureaucracy, then hiring a social media team might just be the thing you need. Whether you want to hire them on a more permanent basis, or just find a company to outsource your work to, both options provide a big advantage.


The Aftermath Of A Data Breach: Vital Steps


Another day, another revelation that a major company has suffered through a data breach. Hackers are the highwaymen of our time, and it seems in some cases, companies are more than willing to hand over cash in exchange for silence. It has emerged that Uber paid hackers to remain silent about their data breach, which is the kind of result Dick Turpin himself would likely have been impressed by.


Uber join the list of companies who have been hit by mass leaks and data breaches– some of the biggest, most recognisable, companies in the world have fallen victim. If you’re a business owner, this doubtless makes you a little uneasy. If the “big guys” are susceptible, then how can a small or medium business cope?


Let’s try and ease some of those fears and assist you in planning for the worst– while you continue to hope for the best. Below are the steps you need to take to recover from a data breach, so read through, have them in the back of your mind, and you’ll be all set so if you do find yourself an unfortunate victim in future, you know exactly where to turn.


1) Inform Law Enforcement

A “data breach” is, in effect, a theft, so you will want to report the matter to the police.

2) Inform Customers

One of the major issues being raised with the Uber breach is that they hid the fact that the breach even happened, keeping the hack secret for over a year.

Don’t be like Uber. If you experience a data breach, then your customers have a right to know. Reach out to all those you suspect may have been affected, and advise them to follow precautionary steps to protect their own financial situation.

3) Change Every Password

This may feel a little bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, but you still need to do it. Change every single electronic password that relates to your business dealings.

4) Contact Your Bank

If financial information about your company has been lost, you need to contact your bank and freeze your accounts.

5) Think To The Future

You need to start thinking about how you can secure and properly protect your systems in future, even if you’re still dealing with the aftermath of an existing problem. Now is the time for new blood; your existing IT company has clearly made a mistake somewhere, so switching is in your company’s best interests. Browse for a reputable IT security company who can help you batten down the hatches on the existing problem, as well as ensure that such events don’t occur in the future.


In Conclusion

Companies can survive data breaches; many people accept they are just a part of the modern world. Hopefully, you will never need to use the information above– but it’s there if you have to turn to it.

4 Solutions For Marketing Your Auto Shop

Running an auto repair shop is a big deal. You’re dealing with customers on a very regular basis and the one marketing tool that you have at your disposal is word of mouth. People rely on reviews when it comes to running a repair shop, because they know they can get a real review of you as a company before they put their money into your skills.

You need to keep your customers coming to your door, and for that you need some excellent marketing plans in place to make it happen! There are over 20million vehicles in England alone, which means there is a lot of business out there if people know where to find you. You can invest in the best car parts and use companies like Air Supplies to get the best products for tyre inflation. But there is no use in having the best of the best out there when you won’t get the customers through the door. You may not be savvy with how to market yourself online, so you need to look at the five tips below to get you started:

Blog It!

Car advice is always being updated. For every service, model of vehicle and car part, there is a guide out there on the internet. Setting up a blog of your very own to market how you run as an auto repair shop, including which services you are offering to people is a good way for customers to learn what you can do for them. With the right advice, customers will keep coming back to your website and will subscribe if you input a button to do so!

Social Media

For the most part, social media advertising is free. Setting up your own pages, with regular posts and customer engagement is important. You need to hear what the customers want and implement any changes to your business. Consistently posting is an absolute essential, as is talking to people who comment on your posts. Make people feel like a priority and you’ll reap the reward.

Coupons & Vouchers

People love things at a discount or for free, so make sure you have some kind of offer on the go at all times. This could be anything from money off for oil changes, to money off for new tyres. Even providing loyalty cards for customers is a smart idea to keep people coming back for your business. Be efficient and honour every voucher!

Service Reminders

You need to branch out of the regular stickers you can provide for people to remind them of replacing tyres and windscreens, and swap to the digital reminders that they would appreciate. Not only are you going to be able to reach them online, you can make sure that you get the customers in!

Getting your auto shop some continued custom isn’t always going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your name out there and get people interested in what you can offer! Make your business heard online, even if your business isn’t!


Signs Your Business Is Reaching The End Of The Road

When you started your business, you had high hopes for the future. Everyone goes into business knowing the statistics on the failure rate of startups are high— but they’re convinced that they are going to be the business that makes it. You almost certainly felt the same; assuming that your idea, and your drive, would be enough to ensure you made it in a world where “making it” is ever more difficult.


When businesses fail, it tends to happen slowly, so slowly that you might not even notice it’s happening initially. Yes, you know that there are issues; but they don’t seem to be critical, not enough to sink a business. Things devolve over time, inch by inch, gathering speed until the point where the problems can’t be ignored anymore. This long, drawn-out death is incredibly stressful, and also something of a waste of time. If you knew that your business was doomed to fail earlier, you could have called in insolvency practitioners and begun moving on with your life. Instead, the process just drags out, sometimes for months or even years.


In an effort to try and prevent this long, slow slide into the end of a business, below are a few signs that your business is heading in the wrong direction. These are small changes, but important– if you manage to identify them in time, you can move on and begin a new venture before the rot truly sets in.


SIGN: You’ve Changed The Language Of How You Talk About The Future


You can discover a lot about how you feel about your business by examining the language you use. If you use words like “if” and “perhaps” when contemplating the future for your company, this is a sign that some part of you already knows that the future is compromised.


SIGN: You’ve Tried Multiple Methods To Improve


When you have run through a number of different attempts to help increase sales, boost engagement, and create a buzz around your company, it’s worth wondering why your techniques are not working. If so many different ideas have failed to increase outcomes for you, is it just because you’re misapplying the techniques? Or is there an undercurrent that suggests it is the business itself that has the problem?


SIGN: You See Nothing But Problems In Your Diary


If you look ahead over your work schedules, do you see exciting appointments with potential clients, product launches, or dates for interviews with a new potential employee? Or do you see nothing but deadlines, debt ceilings, and worrying meetings with creditors? If your diary more closely resembles the latter, then this is a bad sign.


SIGN: You’re Beginning To Think Of Life Away From Your Business


If you have wondered what life would be like without your business — and have even found the idea quite positive — then this, too, is a sign that part of you already knows that the end may be nigh.


If you find that your business is experiencing two or more of the above, it might be time to take a long, hard look at the future viability of your business. Wrapping a business up is a tough decision to take, but it’s infinitely preferable to exhausting yourself trying to carry on in vain.


Do Not Fear, Your Business Tech Can Be Fixed

Your business is probably full of different pieces of technology that help you and your employees to get on with your daily work, right? If this is in fact the case, then you’ve probably experienced your fair share of technology malfunctions and breakages, too, haven’t you? Yep, technology breaks. Whether be within 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years or 25 years, every piece of technology is liable to break at some point. And, because the tech your business uses is so important to it and you each and every day, it can be a real headache when it does in fact pop its clogs. But, fear not, there are always ways to fix broken tech. To see just how you can or who can fix your business’s broken tech, make sure to read on.


Computer technology

If the computer technology your business uses — whether this be in the form of a desktop computer or a laptop — decides one day that it’s just had enough and, as result, dies on you just when you need it, then you need to get it fixed pronto. You need to do so because it, more than likely, holds the key to you getting business and losing it daily.


To get your computer technology fixed, there are a number of options. One option is to take to a Knowhow service bar at your local PC World or Currys store. By doing so, you can get yourself a free consultation on your seemingly broken piece of tech in order to get a diagnosis on its problem. And, if your tech is deemed to be broken by the professionals at the bar, and they believe they have the right expertise and tools to fix your tech’s specific problem, they will fix it for you there and then. Or, if you feel your broken piece of computer tech needs a far more thorough and specific check up, then you should get in touch with a centre specifically designed to repair computers, such as Mobile Computer Repair. What such a centre would be able to do is offer you a fixing solution even if your tech is deemed to be on the brink of dying altogether. What’s more, they could offer you a repair service for your broken computer tech even if it is out of warranty.

Electronic tills

You’d be surprised at just how costly a broken electronic till can be for a business. Even aside from the fact that money and profit might become trapped inside of one, it is costly. Well, if a till malfunctions halfway through a sale or a shift, it can throw whoever is using it off and thus force them to make a mistake. What it can also do is result in a miscalculation at the end of the shift, which will ultimately mean something will be askew in the takings. So, whenever any of your business’s tills go down, get them fixed professionally as soon as you can. Or, just check to make sure that your till is not just suffering from a lack of battery!


The best thing you can do to future-proof your business is to ensure that when a piece of technology is broken, it is fixed in double quick time. Yes, your job isn’t to actually stop your tech from breaking — that’s damn near impossible. Your job is to fix it or get it fixed when it does break!


15 Awesome Techniques for Efficient Time-Management by @DonnaANorton

Let’s talk about time management.

Specifically, about good and wise time management.

The kind that helps you get more things done during the day. The kind that allows you to know what plans or events are coming next. The kind that won’t let you waste a minute, even if something goes wrong or plans change.

There are many things that good time management skills can help you achieve, and they’re not that difficult to master and handle once you get the hang of it.

Even if at first it seems like only a professional could manage their time so well.

The key to successful and wise time management is to take into account every tiny detail of your daily schedule.

You also need to be well aware of your habits.

Why is that so important?

So that you know what could possibly prevent you from following your schedule.

Another thing you need to remember when building daily schedules is how difficult or time-consuming the tasks you’re going to complete may be. Being able to accurately assess the time you’ll spend on a particular task will bring you closer to time management perfection.

After all, time is the one resource that everyone relies on. And it’s always running out. Everything you do requires a certain amount of time. Even reading this text will take somewhere around a minute. Not to say that you’ll be wasting that time—it’s worth it. Especially after we let you know that there’s more to find out.

Below, you’ll find an infographic showing you 15 ways to manage your time wisely.

So consider the time you spend looking through it as a beneficial investment. Because after checking out this infographic, you’ll be able to manage your time like a pro—without having to worry whether or not you’ll have enough time to finish everything you were planning to do.


Contributed by Donna Norton @DonnaANorton

Original post