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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.

 

 

Instagram Album: Share Multiple Photos and Video In One Post

What if I told you that you no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an event, experience or moment on Instagram? Awesome, right? Well, it’s true! Now you can select up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to view them much like a carousel ad. Except it’s not an ad, it’s your very awesome Instagram album!

Here’s How The New Instagram Album Feature Works:

When you begin to select a photo to upload, you’ll see a new icon to select multiple photos and videos. You can easily determine how your post will display. You can tap and hold to change the order of the photos and videos you select, apply a filter to everything at once or edit each individual selection. As of now there is only one caption for the photo album. These photos are square only.

An “Instagram album” (not the official name) will display a small icon on your profile grid located on the first photo or video of your post indicating there is more to see. When viewing other posts in your feed, you’ll see blue dots at the bottom of photo album posts to let you know you can swipe to see more in that post. You can like and comment on them just like a regular post.

My first thought was “content overkill,” but, after seeing a few neat ways the feature has been used I realized it’s actually quite the opposite.

My early observations have shown that this new feature is clever and inspires creativity.Click To Tweet

Here are a few creative ways you can use the new feature:

  • Are you a cook? Or do you just love to cook? Either way, this feature is great for recipes.
  • Show your stuff! If you have work that you’ve created or products that you want to showcase, you can show many examples in one post.

I love what Canva did in a post showcasing one of their color combinations: Cool Meadow.

instagram album

instagram album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Get feedback! Show a series of outfits, or design projects and ask your audience to choose their favorite.
  • Chronicle a Before and After experience like a makeover or design project.
  • You just took a fabulous trip and you want to share ten of your best photos without flooding your follower’s newsfeed.
  • Instead of posting behind the scenes photos of your business each day, take one photo every day and post a “My Week At A Glance” album at the end of the week.
  • You’re attending an event, a fancy dinner, a party or celebration and you want to share your experience from beginning to end with a combination of photos and videos.
  • Let’s face it. This is a good way to post a bunch of selfies without being incredibly obnoxious. Almost 🙂

Have you tried the Instagram album feature? What creative uses have you seen or used? Please share below in the comments.

instagram tips

Use These Instagram Tips To Grow Your Audience

The key to success with Instagram is knowing your audience and giving the people what they want. I’ve put together a list of Instagram tips and important stats to help you shine on Instagram!  Whatever your business might be, whether you have a product or service, these tips can help to maximize your success.

There are three key areas to focus with Instagram marketing: Increasing your followers, increasing your engagement and understanding Instagram users.

GROW YOUR FOLLOWERS

Connect Your Instagram Account With Facebook

Here’s what I know. It’s a lot easier to get people to follow you who already know you than those who don’t. Build your network with who you know. This is why I didn’t dive into Periscope when Facebook Live became a thing. I’ve already built an audience on Facebook that I can broadcast to. Now, if I ever want to try to reach a brand new audience? I can always go to Periscope.

You Must Have A Hashtag Strategy

Some Instagram tips are non-negotiable. Like this one. If you hate using hashtags, you better learn to love them if you want to build your Instagram following. It’s part of the culture. It’s how to find things and how to be found. If you don’t know what to use, a simple google search will do. Don’t over do it. You can use up to 30, but that’s probably not necessary. What is necessary, is using hashtags that are relevant to your post.

If you want to use a dozen hashtags but you think it looks too spammy, simply post your photo or video with a caption, and then use the first comment to add your hashtags. It just looks neater.

Be Consistent

This is a social media golden rule. Simply decide on how often you’re going to post and stick to it. You don’t have to post several times a day or even every day. But you do need to be consistent.

Don’t Just Lead, Follow!

If you want followers, you have to follow others too. Don’t but one of those people who wants to do all the broadcasting. You don’t have to follow everyone, but how will you get to know people if you don’t follow them?

ENGAGE

Post High-Quality Photos

Instagram marketing is visual marketing. Visual marketing has to look good. REALLY good. The better it looks the more you stand out. Most smart phone cameras can do the trick. Just be sure to use good spacing and lighting. Always choose your best photos.

Make Your Photos Stand Out

Make your photos POP with image-editing apps. There are many apps that help take your photos from good to GREAT. Here are some of my favorites.

Sharing Is Caring

If you want friends, you have to be a friend. Treat others like you would want to be treated. Cliché? Well, cliché’ or not, these things apply. Liking, commenting and sharing go a long way.

Search Hashtags

Some Instagram tips are often overlooked. This is one of them. Searching hashtags is how you discover new friends and followers. Search hashtags and genuinely engage. Sometimes I like to search hashtags of apps that I use for photo editing. I love searching high quality photos and sharing my own.

 

WHO ARE INSTAGRAMMERS?

If you want to be successful on Instagram, you need to understand your audience. Understanding your audience means understanding who they are.

Now that you’ve got the Instagram tips you need for growth and engagement, let’s examine Instagram users a little closer. Take a look at the infographic below and understand Instagrammers a little better by getting Instagram by the numbers:

(Infographic by: https://getyounity.com/)

Instagram by the Numbers

What Instagram tips can you add? Please share in the comments below and do connect with me on Instagram: @socialwithsara

instagram marketing

4 Instagram Marketing Tips To Get You More Reach

Instagram launched on the scene in 2010 and never looked back. The social network continues to be wildly popular with increasing growth now boasting over 500 million users.

Experience tells us that platform growth brings about change. Instagram is no different. This year, Instagram announced many changes from the ability to switch between accounts with ease to a completely new algorithm. Add to that Instagram advertising and the soon to come business accounts, and Instagram is not going to be the same.

Whether you’re a newbie to the social network or you’re already there, and want to maintain or have success, you can benefit from these Instagram marketing tips to maximize your efforts and extend your reach.

HAVE A HASHTAG STRATEGY

One thing I notice about successful Instagram accounts is that they’ve mastered the hashtag.Click To Tweet

On Instagram, you have a 30 hashtag limit. While that sounds ridiculous for some platforms, it’s perfectly fine here and should be a major part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Why? Because people search hashtags on Instagram. If you want your niche specific content to be seen, you need to use the hashtags associated with your content. These hashtags will help you reach your intended audience.

Content hashtags are hashtags you use in your posts. They help improve the SEO of your posts. They get your updates seen by your consumers who are searching for and/or using those hashtags

Some of the content hashtags I use are #socialmedia, #marketing or #Snapchat, #Instagram or #SMM (social media marketing.) Because I use certain groups of hashtags often according to my content, I have them saved in bundles. I keep them in my notes app to copy and paste easily.

TRACK YOUR LINK

Using Bitly or another URL shortener will allow you to be able to see how many people are clicking on the link you’re allowed in your Instagram bio and optimize it’s use. You can check the metrics on Instagram marketing with this technique. The metrics will help you determine if you’re reaching your audience and which content does it best.

If you’ve published a new blog post or you’re running a promotion or new campaign, use that link to announce it and have a call to action in your caption with a “click the link in our bio” to drive people to your link.

BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

With Instagram marketing, your images need to stand out. Make them look their very best with the maximum resolution. Use this guide:

Square images: 2048 x 2048

Portrait images: 1638 x 2048

Landscape: images: 2048 x 1536

ALWAYS PRACTICE BEST PRACTICES

Maximizing success requires best practices. Sprout Social offers a solid infographic outline 7 Instagram Best Practices:

Understanding your audience and brand are essential to promoting, advertising and even engaging on Instagram. Again, you can’t walk into your strategy blindly, so first try to ask questions that define you and your audience. These questions can include:

  • What does our audience like most about our brand?
  • Who are we trying to ultimately reach?
  • Are our competitors successful on Instagram?
  • What marketing strategies have worked in the past?
  • What do customers expect with our brand? Is that good enough?

Check out the Infographic here:

7 Best Instagram Practices To Build Your Audience

instagram marketing
Photo by Sprout Social

 

events

How To Promote Your Events With Social Media

Social media has many great uses. Promoting events is one great way to use social media. My experience with social media includes many non-profit organizations, and often with that comes events. Social media marketing is a very effective way to inform people of your event, your cause and to help meet your goals for those events.

As with any marketing effort, you need a plan.

Marketing your event with social media requires some important steps to ensure optimal success.Click To Tweet

PRE-EVENT STEPS

Set Your Goal.

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking to build awareness, increase attendees or sell tickets? Whatever that goal may be, define it and create a strategy around accomplishing that goal.

Be Social Friendly.

Create a hashtag that is brief and easy to remember. Include it in all your promotions so that your audience can follow the conversation online easily. You should also use tools like hashtracking.com or keyhole.co to track the metrics of your hashtag to gauge the performance of your marketing efforts.  Prepare for event day engagement by creating a Snapchat geofilter for attendees to use at the event.

Optimize Your Messaging and Images.

Creating the right content is key with social media marketing. Create copy that will tell people what they need to know about the event with key details and builds excitement. Educate, inform, excite and create calls to action. You’ll want to create images consistent with your brand that are eye-catching, memorable and shareable.

Host An Instagram Contest.

Contests are an easy way to get content for your Instagram account and generate buzz around your event. Have a giveaway where attendees take photos to post on Instagram, use the event hashtag and tag your account. Here’s a great contest that Ford used for it’s annual Ford Freedom Fireworks event.event

Drive Your Visitors.

Make sure that your social profiles are updated with the link that drives them to information about the event and/or where they can purchase tickets or RSVP. It is a good practice to use a customized link shortener so that you can use metrics to track your performance.

Leverage Influencers.

A sure way to help amplify your message is to leverage the audiences of people and organizations who are involved or have a personal interest in your event. That would include guest speakers, special guests, honorees and sponsors. Using Twitter mentions and tags on Facebook and Instagram of people and organizations alerts them to your online social media promotion efforts and in turn prompts them to share that message with their respective audiences.

Pre-Event Events.

Showcase your upcoming event by hosting a Twitter chat or Facebook Live event. Twitter chat’s give you an opportunity to allow your audience to interact with one of your special guests before the event, ask questions directly and learn more about what to expect at the event. Facebook Live events broadcast to audiences who are already engaged currently online. This will give them a chance to hear from your or your guest about why they should attend. You can use these events to also give a call to action.

event

EVENT DAY ACTIVITIES

Your event promotion doesn’t stop the day before your event.Click To Tweet You’ll want to showcase what’s going on at your event to create buzz for your brand and interest in your upcoming events.

  • Make sure you make announcements at your events encouraging people to use the hashtag and geofilters on social media and share their own stories.
  • Engage with your attendees! Follow the hashtag at your event and retweet, comment and reply to what your audience is sharing

POST EVENT ACTIVITIES

FACEBOOK:

Wrap up your event by sharing photos albums to Facebook. Attendees will look for photos they were a part of or their favorite highlights to share.

TWITTER:

A great tool to use post event is Storify. It allows you to highlight and arrange tweets from your events that is shareable. It will event notify people mentioned in the tweets when you post it.

SNAPCHAT:

Download your Snapchat story and include it in a blog post to share with your readers. You can also download individual snaps to post on other social media sites. This will help build your Snapchat audience as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is an incredible tool to help spread your message, reach your audience and attract new followers. Create buzz for your event with the features that make social media marketing the powerful tool it is.

 

social media

How To Tell Your Brand’s Unique Story With Social Media

Telling your brand’s story is an important to reinforcing what your brand is. Social media is a place where you can tell your brand’s story in entertaining and unique ways. But where should you tell your story exactly?

When it comes to social media, over doing it is a recipe for failure. It’s important to pinpoint those platforms where your target market is. Social Media marketing doesn’t have to mean an automatic default to Facebook and Twitter.

If your business hosts or participates in events that you want to promote, you may need to go off the beaten path. Let’s say you have an event coming up. You might post photos of your team or make a short video clip of what is happening behind the scenes. You can use Instagram videos, or a Snapchat story of the brief moments or special highlights that occur throughout the day of the event. What if you were able to capture the moments right before you went on stage to present or captured an entertainer just before they went on stage? Such images making storytelling interesting.

Let’s take a closer look at two platforms you may want to use.

INSTAGRAM

Businesses embrace Instagram because it lets them showcase their products visually. Visual marketing is powerful, so it makes Instagram an attractive platform.

To be successful on Instagram you need to find new and interesting ways to connect with your audience through visuals. By launching contests, using short video, and even running ads, you’ll build awareness, engagement and grow your community.

SNAPCHAT

If you’d like to reach a younger demographic, especially 18-34 year olds, then Snapchat is an ideal platform. Snapchat is growing fast, and the users are extremely engaged. Snapchat is on pace to grow the number of U.S. active users to a whopping 27% this year, to 58.6 million — topping Twitter and Pinterest for the first time, according to research firm eMarketer. The challenge with Snapchat marketing is figuring out how to best to engage users in a fun way that isn’t so obviously promotional. This is why live events work so well.

SHARE MOMENTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

Get people interested in your business or organization by sharing what’s going on at your events. Start from prep and share through the wrap up. Take people behind the scenes as your prepare for the event. Share snippets of each moment as they happen. Using a combination of video and photo will keep it interesting. Make sure you brand your event with geofilters.

TELL A STORY ON SNAPCHAT

Beyond a series of pictures and video that chronicles moments at an event, literally tell a story from beginning to end.  Do you have a great story to literally tell? How an idea came about? How something was created? Map it out and then retell it in a fun interesting way that makes your audience want to follow along.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

You can offer discounts and special sales on both Instagram and Snapchat and make them unique to each platform. Because Snapchat stories expire in 24 hours it makes it the perfect place to have flash sales and discounts exclusively on the platform. Give them a reason to follow you on Snapchat for this reason.

Nowadays, younger audiences are pretty socially savvy. So, being authentic is important.Click To Tweet

It’s important to show the “human” side of your brand and let people see the real people behind the logo. Entertain your users and stand out by what makes you unique. That comes from sharing moments and telling stories.