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Category: Redesigns and Updates

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.

Website backup is like an insurance for your website.Click To Tweet 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

A Closer Look At The Instagram Update

Last week, the social media world got a shake up.

Instagram announced a major update and the world has gone mad! Click To Tweet

Not really, but it was big news. Instagram has announced an update to its news feed algorithm. Posts will no longer appear in chronological order, but instead it will be a more personalized feed, designed for you to see the moments you care about first using a variety of signals such as relationship between poster/user and timeliness. It is meant to be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content it shows you as opposed to a chronological order. So essentially, Instagram will choose what to show and when, not unlike the Facebook newsfeed.

Anytime such a huge change like this is announced, as a marketer, I immediately think about what it means for businesses.  So, I decided to pick the brain of my friend and Instagram expert, Jenn Herman. Not only is her blog, “Jenn’s Trends” a Top 10 Social Media Blog of 2014 & 2015, but she has her own exclusive Instagram marketing community, Jenn’s Friends. Check out what Jenn had to say in this brief Q & A:

Instagram made a HUGE announcement this week that they would be to an algorithm based timeline. What has been the reaction of your online community to this news?

Yes, it was BIG news! Everyone has been talking about it. Surprisingly though, my community has had mixed reactions. Of course, when I posted about this on Instagram, it was chaos. Everyone was freaking out, mad, and begging me to stop it (I wish I had that kind of power!). But when I polled my Twitter audience, I had 30 responses, 33% of whom said it was inevitable, 7% actually said it was a good idea, 37% said they wished it was an option, and only 23% said it was a bad idea. And my Facebook audience seemed somewhat passive and more interested in reminding their audiences to focus on creating better content.

I was kind of surprised by these responses, but when you think about it, it’s actually not that surprising, and completely in line with how those people use Facebook and Twitter. And they probably aren’t the more die-hard Instagrammers.

Why do you believe Instagram made this change?

Instagram is a business. And as a business and social media platform they have seen unprecedented and exponential growth. They are having to adapt and scale to accommodate the growth.

A couple years ago, Instagram users were crazy passionate about the platform. But now there are a ton of casual users who don’t log in every hour and who aren’t super active with likes and comments. We’ve all noticed a decline in engagement (even if it is still significantly more engaging that Twitter and Facebook).

So, Instagram is trying to adapt the platform to get the more casual users more active. And, of course, there is some play towards revenue generation…

What do you think users will notice most about this timeline change good or bad?

This is what we all have to wait and see since none of us really know yet. I could be wrong, but my understanding is that this algorithm will not hide any content. It will simply move certain content up to the top of your feed. So, if you scroll enough, you would still see everything all the accounts you follow post.

And, if you already have a loyal, engaged audience who regularly likes and comments on your posts, chances are this algorithm could actually help you as your content will be more likely to get moved up in their feeds. Worst case, it will have little or no impact on your business.

However, if you do not currently have good engagement and if your audience isn’t interacting with your content, then yes, this could impact you negatively. But, if your content isn’t resonating with them now, is the algorithm really to blame?

What does this change mean for marketers and how do you think they will need to adapt?

First and foremost, do NOT fall into the trap of creating more content. This is the Facebook strategy that too many people fall prey to and it will kill you on Instagram. More crappy content will not solve the problem.

Instead, you want to focus on creating BETTER content. Better images or videos. Better captions. Better calls-to-action that invite engagement to keep your posts looking good to Instagram.

You need to focus on building your community on Instagram. Answering questions, responding to comments, providing quality content and value, and supporting your audience will be paramount in seeing success on Instagram.

And, yes, if you want to start using ads, there’s no time like now, right? 😉 Instagram ads are easy to do, effective when targeted properly, and can drive traffic to your website while getting you new reach and exposure. But again, your content has to be the BEST you can create if you want to see real success.

Do you think this makes a hashtag strategy more or less important and why?

You MUST utilize a powerful hashtag strategy. It is even more important now that you are using the right hashtags to get found in searches by your ideal audience. Do not “hashjack” (piggyback on unrelated popular hashtags). Use industry, business, and content related hashtags that will attract your ideal customer.

I certainly appreciate Jenn’s expertise!

So, bottom line is, when such updates are implemented, it’s a challenge to brands to be BETTER. Use better creativity, better content, better calls to action, better captions. Time to step your game up.

 

 

Pinterest’s New Guided Search

Pinterest just rolled out an exciting new feature: Guided Search. Simply put, it’s a way to find things–images, products, how-to’s, recipes, destinations, things that people have pinned on the social network.

CEO Ben Silbermann stated,  “At Pinterest, we’re making it easy to find just what you were looking for, or maybe what you didn’t know you were looking for.”

While searching is typically guided by keywords for something specific, Guided Search is designed to do a bit more. Because Pinterest is visually driven, and a site where you discover what you’re searching for and maybe not exactly what you were searching for, Guided Search will be a bit different than your typical search. Designed with mobile devices in mind, it was created to be something you can easily execute with one hand and very little typing.

You start out with a search term, and once you select that term for search, Pinterest will make suggestions for other terms. Pinterest selects these search terms and they become tags. You can delete these tags or add them to your search to help you narrow or broaden your subject.  I decided to search “Spring”, then  Guided Search helped me get more specific with terms such as Fashion, Outfits and 2014, to suggest what I might be trying to focus my search on. It also starts showing the names of Guides made up of pins relating to terms associated with your search.

guided search mobile

Besides Guided Search, the company announced a couple of other improvements meant to help people discover pins better. Custom Categories will allow you to browse through pins of a very specific topic that formerly weren’t organized in one place. Related Pins feature has been improved to help locate better pins related to the pin you’re viewing.

Pinterest is rolling out Guided Search on mobile in English to start, and then on web and elsewhere around the world soon after. It’s rolling out first in the service’s apps for iPhone and iPad.  I’ve already had fun exploring with Guided Search on my iPhone. What about you? What do you think about Guided Search? Please share in the comments below.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8509995739/”>mkhmarketing</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Facebook Brand Page Redesign

Keeping in line with all things social media, Facebook has announced a big change. Facebook previewed a new redesign for brand pages. The change will begin rolling out slowly and will happen officially on March 27th.

This redesign is focused on giving you a simpler Facebook experience.

Facebook indicates that the new redesign will, “make it easier for people to find the information they want and help Page admins find the tools they use most.” Here are some of the most significant updates with this new redesign:

Single Column Display:

One of the most notable changes is that Facebook will now display all of your page’s posts in a single column, rather than the two-column display that took our eyes and brain signals months to get used to took some getting used to before.  I can definitely live with this.

Business Info On Left Sidebar:

The left-side column will feature important information about your business: location, hours, phone number, website, and any photos or videos you’ve posted.

Tabs On Left Sidebar:

When Facebook first previewed the redesign a lot of marketers panicked, worrying that the new redesign eliminated tabs. It was then reported by some  that tabs would be moved into a dropdown menu. Now Facebook is saying that tabs with images, will be listed beneath your business info on the left sidebar.

Better Admin Tool Access:

Facebook is removing the rather large admin panel from the top of Pages and adding a more simplified view of your activity from the week in a feature called “This Week”. It will include Page Likes, Post Reach, Notifications, and paid ad information. Facebook is also adding new navigation options displayed at the top which will make it easier to access your activity, insights and settings.

Pages to Watch For All Admins:

With this features, admins can create a list of pages similar to theirs, and compare their performance.

I’ve heard several people express concern about the tabs being moved. Personally, I don’t see it as much of a problem. If you have set up applications for these tabs you know that they don’t get much visitation without a whole lot of work. You have to point people to them. You will just still have to continue to do that to get results no matter where they’re located on the page.  People interact with you in the news feed, hopefully, if they see your posts, but that’s another story. It is  very unlikely that visitors go directly to your page.  With that being the case, they’re also not going directly to your custom apps. You have to take them there.

Because people aren’t thinking of your page specifically when they log on to Facebook you have to do your part to remind them to go there.  Always include a link in your email newsletters. Share links on your other social networks to help drive people to your Facebook Page. While the look of Facebook pages has changed, the work you put into them will not. So don’t forget to do those important extra things to keep people interacting with your business on Facebook!

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8585043300/”>mkhmarketing</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</

google plus

Google Plus Redesign Includes Smart Updates

A surprise to many, Google Plus very quietly launched a redesign with a brand new layout and a focus on images. They’ve added a whopping 41 new features designed to make G+ operate more intuitively.

What Google Plus seems to be doing is paying more attention to it’s users, feedback and improving upon those features that make it a unique network. Smart. Here is a brief overview on some of the smart updates that Google+ made with this new redesign:

HANGOUTS

The ever popular Google Hangout feature will be enhanced with a mobile app. Hangouts can include text, photos and video and can be stored for you to go back and review later.

STREAM

The Google Plus stream will now have a multi-column which people are already saying looks a lot like Pinterest. I like it because it involves a lot less scrolling 🙂

EDITING

Each section of the About tab (skills, work, education) has it’s own separate section with it’s own editing feature. This makes it easier for you to edit your profile information, quickly.

REVIEWS

There is now a reviews tab that allows users to add local reviews of movies, restaurants and other businesses.

PHOTOS

Here’s where they really zeroed in on some smart updates. Google Plus Photos just became even more “awesome”: Auto Backup allows mobile photos to automatically back up so you have the ability to easily share them right onto G+. Auto Awesome is a feature that uses groups of photos in your library to create an animation. Auto Enhance is a feature that automatically uses a filter to do brightness, contrast and other editing enhancements. Auto Highlight is another pretty amazing feature that Google+ describes this way: “Auto Highlight helps you find your favorites faster by de-emphasizing duplicates, blurry images and poor exposures, and focusing instead on pictures with the people you care about, landmarks, and other positive attributes”