Author: Sara

instagram updates

What You Need To Know About the New Instagram Updates

When there’s Instagram updates I get excited. It’s my favorite social platform so I love having an excuse to talk about it. New Instagram updates were announced this week that are definitely worth talking about. You’ve probably heard a bit about them: updates to hashtags, mentions, algorithm and shopping. So let’s hash it out. No pun intended.

ADD HASHTAGS AND MENTIONS IN YOUR BIO

Instagram has announced you can now include clickable hashtags and “@”mentions in your bio. Basically if you want to associate yourself with a specific hashtag or other Instagram accounts, you can do this right from your bio. Why would you want to do this?

Maybe you…

  • Want to brand a hashtag
  • Would like to link another business that you own
  • Want to link to an account you manage
  • Simply want exposure

How effective will this be? Time will tell.

ALGORITHM CHANGES

Most people hate the algorithm feed as opposed to a chronological order. Did Instagram listen? Perhaps. Here’s what they had to say:

“Today we’re introducing changes to give you more control over your feed and ensure the posts you see are timely.We’ve heard it can feel unexpected when your feed refreshes and automatically bumps you to the top. So today we’re testing a “New Posts” button that lets you choose when you want to refresh, rather than it happening automatically. Tap the button and you’ll be taken to new posts at the top of feed — don’t tap, and you’ll stay where you are. We hope this makes browsing Instagram much more enjoyable.Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing more about improvements we’re making to feed. Our goal is to be the best place to share and connect with the people and interests that matter most to you.”

to summarize:
  • Instagram will be putting more of the most recent posts higher in the feed, less older posts at the top of your feed.
  • Instagram will let you refresh your own feed and not automatically refresh it for you. Thank you! That was so rude. Especially when you’re looking through your feed and suddenly Instagram snatches you back to the top and you miss what you were looking at. Instead, you’ll get a “new posts” button when you’re ready to refresh.

The algorithm has been modified so that older content isn’t getting bumped up in your feeds. It will give priority to newer content. There are other factors that determine the content you are served including how much engagement a post gets, how long people view a post, etc;. With this update, Instagram has adjusted the importance of these factors so that the time of a post carries more weight in determining what appears in your feed. 

While this is good news for users, as business owners, you’ll want to keep in mind your posting strategy and determining when your audience is online so you know the optimal times to post. Also, businesses may need to post more frequently. With older posts no longer appearing, businesses will need to create new, fresh content more often so your content stays in the newsfeed. Your content was likely to be pushed back into followers feeds with the previous algorithm. Consider these changes when adjusting your Instagram content strategy.

INSTAGRAM SHOPPING

The new shopping ability on Instagram is an expansion of the “product tags”  that was released last year. On March 21, Instagram discussed it in detail on their business blog. Business accounts will have an e-commerce shop on the platform so your followers can shop within the platform. Once they’re ready to purchase, they’ll be directed to the business’s mobile site. You can tag 5 products per post, or up to 20 products per carousel post.

 

What are your thoughts on the new Instagram updates? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

 

website backup

3 Important Reasons You Need A Website Backup Plan

What is your most critical website feature beyond user experience, SEO or design? I would argue that it’s your website backup Let’s face it, mistakes happen. User errors, hacks, deleted files, or website updates gone wrong, all can be instantly solved with a backup restore. And even though you may have never experienced a problem to this point, doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. It’s always best practice to have a backup to revert to in case something goes wrong. [clickToTweet tweet=”Website backup is like an insurance for your website.” quote=”Website backup is like an insurance for your website.” theme=”style4″] So even if you suffer a frightening oops – you’ve got your back up to undo the mistake.

Below are 3 reasons you absolutely need to backup your website.

HACKERS

Unfortunately, hacking is as common as websites themselves. Sometimes they’re out to steal credit card and other personal information. Some hackers hack for the sake of hacking. Whatever the case, any website is subject to become compromised.

LOST FILES

Storing your files on your computer is not a bad idea. But consider what would happen should your machine crash, get lost, stolen or damaged. A remote backup gives you peace of mind in the event that something happens to your machine.

UPDATE ERRORS

Sometimes, updates don’t go as smoothly as you planned. You made your changes, clicked update, now your site is no longer the same. This has happened to me. It’s a horrible feeling. Having the ability to restore your site to it’s previous state at the click of the button would calm your fears instantly.

You’ll want your website backup to have simple, easy to use features and benefits such as:

  • View and manage backups easily with a simple 1-click Backup Tool
  • Create and restore website backups quickly and easily
  • Experiment with website updates that you can quickly undo

If you are unsure that your web designer set up a backup tool for your website, you’ll want to find out right away. If you mostly self maintain your site, you can reach out to your website hosting company to see if it’s something you have in place or if they offer features to help you backup your site. I am a very happy Siteground Web Hosting customer. You can find out what they offer here if you’re interested.

Having a reliable hosting backup strategy is essential to any website, but it is mission-critical to your business and online projects. Make sure you’re covered.

 

 

instagram news

The Best Instagram News This Year and What It Means For You

I haven’t been this excited about Instagram news since they introduced the ability to switch between Instagram accounts without logging out. Remember that?? You used to have to log out. Fun times.

Well this Instagram news is along those lines. The next big news marketers and business owners had been waiting on. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram has not had the ability to schedule posts. Up to this point, you could sort of schedule your content using a 3rd party app. But it wouldn’t schedule automatically, it still required a manual authorization to post.  So that meant you had to be pretty free and clear at the time you needed to post.

That has all, well mostly, changed. Instagram has updated their API to allow 3rd party applications to post for you. Cue the confetti!

Let’s look at what it means for you and your business.

You’ll need to use an application to schedule posts.

The feature is not part of the Instagram product.  You will need to use social media tools that are Instagram and Facebook Marketing partners.  You’ll need to stay tuned for when your preferred scheduling tool rolls this out.

This update is for business profiles.

Obviously, brands and businesses have a need to be able to manage and schedule content. This functionality is being allowed for that reason. Instagram says that support for non-business profiles is in the works for an early 2019 release.

Not everything can be scheduled.

This will not include ads, video, stories or multiple photo posts. Sorry.

Additional new features are being introduced.

According to Techcrunch, a new Instagram Graph API is being introduced and will include the ability to analyze metrics and insights about the business’s performance on Instagram, moderate comments and access the business’s mentions and add responses to them. It will also involve a new business discovery feature which will allow business profiles to view other business profile information and media.

A word to the wise:

Exercise patience. When new features are rolled out, there are glitches. I’m already reading some kinks with Hootsuite. The good news is, marketers and business owners have finally gotten what we’ve been asking for most to help our Instagram marketing a little bit easier. That’s definitely something to celebrate.

 

 

lead generation

Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem

GUEST POST: Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North

The lead generation component of your Internet marketing efforts is the engine that drives that campaign to greater success. What’s more, like any other kind of engine, that lead generation component is built from many moving parts that all need to be working together to deliver the best results. However, too many Internet marketers today go out into the marketplace with lead generation campaigns that are missing crucial elements. This causes them to miss essential opportunities because their lead generation campaigns aren’t operating at their highest efficiency. Many times, the reason these campaigns don’t function the way they should is simple — they were constructed without knowing how all of their pieces should fit together.

Here at professional SEO agency Straight North, our team members have spent a lot of time examining successful lead generation campaigns to understand what makes them work. After putting so many of these campaigns under the microscope, we’ve identified all the elements that these campaigns need to have in order to appeal to each of the unique types of visitors websites attract. For example, including case studies is an effective way to connect with website visitors who are serious about buying and conducting research; while highly sharable social media posts help attract people who may not even be thinking about a product or service until a friend shares the content.

These and many other components are essential for a lead generation campaign. Yet because there are so many of them, it can be difficult for Internet marketers to build their lead generation campaigns without forgetting anything. Just like building any other kind of engine, having a blueprint or schematic can be very important. That’s why we at Straight North have created the infographic you see below. Using it as a type of blueprint for your lead generation campaign can help ensure that you don’t leave anything out when building or revamping your campaign.

created by Straight North a professional SEO agency

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications including Forbes, Moz and American Marketing Association

facebook

Facebook Fights Fake News

If you post links to Facebook and you modify the image, title or excerpt of the preview, that is all coming to an end. Starting Tuesday, July 18th, Facebook is no longer allowing modifications to link previews.

The official announcement from Facebook stated the following:

As part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation and false news on our platform, earlier this year at F8 we announced an important change to our Graph API: Graph API version 2.9 includes a 90 day deprecation of the ability to edit previews attached to link posts. We’d like to share more details on the coming change.

By removing the ability to customize link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused to post false news. We also understand that many publishers have workflows that rely on overwriting link preview metadata to customize how their content appears to audiences on Facebook. We’re committed to a solution that supports them. Read the complete statement here.

Here’s the bottom line:
  • Beginning July 18th, any scheduled Facebook messages with a modified link preview will revert back to the original link preview. This includes: the original title, description, and photo that existed before any edits were made.
  • Beginning July 18th, any messages in a social media management tool (Buffer, Hootsuite, etc;) for Facebook with a modified link preview will revert back to the original link preview (the original title, description, and photo that existed before any edits were made).

 

Why Is this happening?

As mentioned in the quote above from Facebook’s Developer News, this update is “eliminating a channel that has been used to post false news.” This is Facebook’s attempt to stop the spread of false information.

The reaction from many small businesses have been strong. While I think everyone can appreciate making sure that content that is true and factual is a good thing, I believe the critics feel this change seems to hurt small businesses while doing nothing to actually stop the spread of false information. The guilty false news publishers, will still publish false, misleading stories to their websites.

What do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Share in the comment section below.

 

twitter analytics

Using Twitter Analytics To Improve Your Engagement

How much planning do you put into your social media marketing? For many businesses, unfortunately, a haphazard approach is all that resources and time will allow. That’s often because companies may not realize what the data is that can help them use social media more effectively.

Take Twitter, for example: [clickToTweet tweet=”Twitter a great way to get potential new customers to discover your company’s products or services” quote=”Twitter is a great way to get potential new customers to discover your company’s products or services” theme=”style4″]

But unless you understand how to use the Analytics Dashboard, you won’t be able to gauge your reach or your engagement.

Of course, before you even measure and analyze metrics, you have to figure out how Twitter fits in to your overall company marketing strategy. Do you care if you have more followers, or do you want the people already connected with you to become more active? All those goal-oriented questions are important to consider first.

Let’s back up a bit and take a look at some Twitter stats according to Hootsuite:

Twitter has 317 million monthly active users.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Twitter users are likely to be millennials : 36% of online Americans are 18 to 29 years old.” quote=”Twitter users are likely to be millennials with thirty-six percent of users aged 18 to 29 years old” theme=”style6″]

  • Twenty-nine percent of online Americans with a college degree use Twitter.
  • Most have an above average income. Thirty percent of online Americans who earn $75,000 or more use Twitter.
  • Gender is evenly split: 24 percent of American online men use the service, and 25 percent of women.

There’s a saying that goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is also true with social media marketing. To use Twitter effectively, you must be familiar with your metrics. The Twitter Analytics Dashboard is accessible for all users to use from their desktops at analytics.twitter.com.

Your Twitter Analytics dashboard shows your reach, engagement, and other important statistics. These metrics can help you to learn more about your followers, how to have better interactions with them, and help you to determine the best times to tweet in order to increase engagement, and discover what content works best for your audience.

Make your Twitter marketing worth your time. Improve your engagement by monitoring your Twitter analytics: watch your metrics, adjust your activity, and watch your Twitter results improve!

Want to dive deeper into Twitter insights? This graphic can help.


Simple Twitter Analytics Tips

By SurePayroll