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Instagram Sales Lagging? Here Are 8 Tips for Generating Sales on the Social Platform.

Jacob Scott

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Considering that 72% of Instagram users have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on Instagram, there’s no better time to show off your brand and products to the world. 

With a base of 1.07 billion active users, it’s no surprise that over 200 million businesses have an Instagram presence.

For most businesses, the question is not “if” they should use Instagram, but “when” or “how”? Inside the workings of “when” are tried-and-true “how” steps that businesses can consider taking if they want to leverage Instagram in the most effective ways for their brand.

1. Set your goals and determine your target audience 

Before your company starts posting, the reason for being there must be understood and articulated. Why are you there? Is it to build brand awareness, to sell products or something else? 

Today’s companies need to know how to make data-driven decisions. I urge companies to clearly define their social media KPIs, closely track the performance of each post they publish, and do the best they can to attribute posts to sales. It will help you determine what content formats work the best in terms of engagement and sales so you can produce more of them and spend less time working on the ones that don’t.

2. Do a competitive analysis

What types of content do your competitors post? What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you think converts? Use this information to create your first (of many) drafts of your social media strategy. 

Who are you there for? What defines your audience, both in terms of demographics and in terms of things they care about. If you have customers that frequently purchase from you or subscribe to your brand, ask them what they think of your social media content. Conversely, what are other brands – not necessarily related to your business – doing that you should test and learn about? This honest and open feedback can take your social media strategy (and sales) to the next level.

3. Make sure your Instagram presence is consistent with the look and feel of your company’s aesthetics

Is your company playful and energetic, dignified and formal, tranquil and thoughtful or wild and irreverent?

It is likely your company’s characteristics have already filtered down into how your product or service is packaged, your logo or in the words you use to describe yourselves. Consider Instagram an extension of all of this, so it should be a place that looks and feels like your brand — in every word used, in every single post.

4. Snackable video content is taking over social media

This concept is not only true for Instagram (Reels and IGTV) but also applies to TikTok, Snapchat (Snaps) and YouTube (Shorts). While longer videos will always have a home on platforms like YouTube, consumers don’t have long attention spans. They want their content to be short, to the point and entertaining. 

If you can find creative ways to check all these boxes, in addition to creating a compelling offer that motivates the viewer to take action, you stand a good chance of generating the sale. Make sure your “Link in bio” is where you want people to go — to a landing page, your website or a product page.

Related: 4 Reasons Why You Need to Be Making Instagram Reels in 2021

5. Don’t shy away from educating your prospective and current customers.

Compile a list of questions or concerns your current and prospective customers have and how your product solves that problem. Educational content helps brands build trust and authority — which should ultimately translate to followership and sales. 

For example, if you’re a vitamin and supplement brand, create static and carousel posts, videos and eye-catching graphics that explain how the ingredients in your product work. If you’re an insurance broker, create content that speaks to the differences between whole and term life insurance and why each has merits.

6. Be authentic 

Today’s consumers want to know more about the company they’re giving their money to. Don’t be shy about lifting the curtain on your business — showcase what life is like in your office, feature your employees and even encourage them to do takeovers.

Also, ask yourself what your brand stands for, what causes you support and communicate your values on social media. Today’s consumers want to do business with companies that align with their core values.

I would advise brands now to avoid stock photography wherever possible. Instead, take the time to create real-life, in-the-moment content that is visually appealing. Remember, at its core, Instagram is still a visually-driven social media platform.

Related: 3 Simple Things Businesses Need for Instagram Growth

7. Ensure you’re delivering a top-notch shopping experience – both on and off Instagram 

If your followers choose to shop for your products on Instagram, ask yourself what kind of experience you are providing them. Are your product photos high quality? Are you including lifestyle images as part of your product carousel? 

Alternatively, if people prefer to navigate away from Instagram to your website to purchase your product, what kind of on-site experience are you delivering? Do your website and product pages appear correctly across all devices and operating systems? Does any unnecessary shifting occur? Does the page load slowly? 

These questions may seem basic, but a slow loading page or broken buttons could be the difference between your next customer and your next sale. I would also encourage business owners to implement strategies, like display remarketing, that bring shoppers back to complete their purchases.

8. Collaborate with influencers

Examples of popular collaborations that I’ve seen work well include sponsored posts, giveaways and brand ambassador programs. Doing so will expose you to shoppers who may have never heard of you before. I would advise companies to choose their influencers wisely, however. 

Don’t spend the bulk of your annual marketing budget on a one-time collaboration with a mega influencer that has millions of followers. Instead, opt for nano (under 10k followers) or micro-influencers (under 50,000 followers) that closely align with your brand values and are passionate about your products. 

This also goes back to the concept of being authentic. Today’s consumers are savvy and can tell when a brand ambassador isn’t passionate about the products they’re pitching. Take great care in selecting these folks, closely measure their results and continue to work with those that resonate with your audience.

Related: 7 Ways to Boost Your Business Instagram Account

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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