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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

 

3 Game Changing Facebook Updates You Need To Know

Facebook updates are still a big deal. The social media giant that is Facebook continues to be a force in the digital media world. According to Statista, Market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently sits at 1.59 billion monthly active users. Eighth-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram had over 400 million monthly active accounts.

Facebook is easy for most anyone to understand how to use, and a Facebook business page is pretty much mandatory for most businesses. Even if you do quickly realize you’ll need to get in the advertising game, you’ll want to have a presence.

I used to think Facebook wasn’t important to my web traffic, but it continues to be the #1 referral source for my website.Click To Tweet

Recently, 3 new Facebook updates were introduced that you’ll want to take note of.

Not only is Facebook a force simply because of it’s size, but also because it continues to add features to compete with other social networks. Which brings me to my first update.

FACEBOOK SLIDESHOW

Videos are a popular and engaging form of content. So it’s no wonder that tech giants are launching their own versions of automatic video. Apple has “Memories” which will debut on the iOS 10 Photos, Google already has a Movies assistant with it’s Google Photos product. And now, Facebook is rolling out Slideshow to all iOS users around the world.

Following up with the increasingly popular Facebook Live feature, Facebook is tackling another social media trend: creating stories.Click To Tweet

You may have noticed some components of Facebook testing out some of it’s features already. If you’ve taken photos recently on your phone and are about to post a status, Facebook will suggest creating a slideshow with those recent photos and videos. Each Slideshow is automatically composed with themed music and transitions. Facebook has seen a decline in personal content sharing.

I believe with the addition of Facebook Live and Facebook Slideshow, they are hoping to encourage users to share more of their personal photos and videos again. Stringing together a series of photos and videos brings to mind the concept of Snapchat stories. Much like Facebook Live vs Periscope, Facebook continues to introduce features that seem to not only address trends, but will also keep users on the Facebook site as opposed to other platforms.

FACEBOOK FAVORS FRIENDS

Facebook announced that it is limiting the amount of content from Pages. The News Feed will feature more posts from friends and family instead of posts from brands.

According to Adam Mosseri, VP for product management at Facebook: “Maintaining a relevant and interesting Newsfeed is important to satisfying users.”

This adjustment addresses feedback from users who complained status updates from friends and family do not appear on their News Feed.

“Stories in News Feed are ranked — so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends”, he added. “One of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right”

What does this mean for brands? “We anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages,” Lars Backstrom, engineering director at Facebook, wrote in a separate post about the change.

The takeaway?

Since you don’t own these platforms, you are at their mercy. This is why your own website and blog are important. As far as what to do on Facebook, I think the change simply means discovering and creating the type of content that users will want to see and engage with in addition to investing in Facebook advertising.

FACEBOOK UPDATES THE PAGE

I first heard about a change to the Pages layout from Heidi Osburn Garland of Guild West Agency when she posted a screenshot of her Page with the new layout:

GUILD WEST AGENCY FACEBOOK PAGE SCREENSHOT

facebook updates

When I commented, she posted a screenshot of my page:

facebook update

 

 

 

 

 

Now, while I’m still not seeing this change,  clearly it is being rolled out.

What I notice first of all is that the avatar is no longer taking up space on the cover photo. Neither is the business name. Also, a change that I had already begun seeing on Facebook, instead of the category of your business, say for example, “Wills and Estates” it shows the name of your “handle” or username such as @tgqlaw. This is also no longer on the cover photo, but beneath your avatar which is situated on the top left corner of the page.

Heidi does a great job of discussing what’s new with the latest Facebook update to Pages. Some of the noted changes:

  • Profile picture no longer takes up valuable real estate covering the cover image.
  • Page Name under the profile picture.
  • Page name and the profile picture no longer take up valuable space on the cover photo.
  • The CTA is much larger than before and it’s on the right-hand side.
  • Tabs are back on the left side of the page, under the profile picture.

Read more about what’s new in her post, “New Facebook Page Layout – Is it a Flashback, But Better?”

What do you think about the look of the new layout?

Share your thoughts on the new layout and other Facebook updates in the comments below. I’m curious to know what you think.

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.

 

social media marketing

How To Spring Clean Your Social Media Marketing

We have had an amazing week of warm weather here in Michigan. Considering that just a few weeks ago we had unusually cold weather with snow flurries, it’s a welcome sight. Since we’re in the full swing of Spring, it got me thinking, am I ready for the midway mark of 2016? More than likely, it’s time for some social media marketing spring cleaning.

Spruce Up Your Social Media

If you conduct a social media  spring cleaning inventory, you might find that there are some things you are missing, should change or needs improvement. Let’s take a look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to see where you might need to do a little sprucing up.

FACEBOOK

How’s Your Headshot?

If your profile picture is more than a couple of years old, it’s time to upload a new headshot. Make sure it’s head and shoulders and professional.

Update Your Cover Photo

Spring is a good time to give your page a fresh new look with a new cover photo. Maybe you want to have something designed that fits your brand and represents your business. You may also want to make a collage of photos of your products or a collection of photos from events.

Check Your About Section

Make sure the About section accurately portrays what you do. Is it up to date? If applicable, include your hours of business and contact information. Hopefully  you have a vanity URL in place. Secure one if you don’t already. For example, is your business page URL: facebook.com/(a bunch of random numbers and letters) or does your URL include your business name like mine: facebook.com/socialwithsara.

Are you verified?

If you have a brick and mortar business, meaning you have a physical location, you can verify your page. Here’s how to do it.

Next, consider cleaning out your “friends” and “likes.” If your page has fraudulent likes (as the result of “like farms”), it can really skew any paid advertising you do on Facebook. For this reason you’ll want to clean out any fake accounts.

Set Up Authorship

Facebook allows you to set up authorship so that your blog posts are attributed to you when they’re posted on the platform. I discuss how to set up Authorship among other Facebook features in this post.

Try Something New

Ready to shake things up a bit on Facebook? Why not incorporate Facebook Live in your social media marketing? It’s very easy to use and it’s a great way to get in front of your audience in a simple engaging way. Here are some tips from Social Media Examiner on how to do it. 

INSTAGRAM

Optimize Your Bio

How you set up your bio on Instagram is crucial. Make it interesting and easy to look at with spacing, emojis and symbols. This helps break up the text. You’ll want to include keywords around what you do such as: Travel, Photography, Foodie,  LA-based (don’t forget to use a location tag 📍)

Include your contact information and website. This is the only area in Instagram where urls are hyperlinked. So, if you’re promoting something special like an ebook that you want your visitors to land on, you’ll want to put it here in the bio section.

Content Consistency

It helps to use the same filter to give it a balanced look. If you use text images with tips, set up a template with your logo and brand colors so that your images are recognizable with your brand.

Hashtags Are Mandatory

Did you know that according to a Simply Measured Instagram study, posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? The use of hashtags is a great way to target new audiences on Instagram. It will also help other Instagram users discover, follow, and engage with you.

Use niche specific hashtags that already have an engaging community behind them and use the ones that your audience is already using.

TWITTER

Tidy Up:

  • Add your personal or company website to your bio if you haven’t already.
  • Consider updating your photo, especially if it’s outdated. Always keep it current.
  • If you’ve updated logos or colors, you should also consider changing your header photo and background color to accurately reflect your brand.

Who are you following?

Some people you may want to consider unfollowing: Those who post about things that don’t interest you or those who never post.

For followers, check to make sure they aren’t spam accounts. Spammers can add fake accounts to your list of followers. Find out who’s fake, then delete or block those accounts. A great tool for cleaning up your followers is ManageFlitter.

Create Lists

Consider creating Twitter lists to organize friends or those in your industry. Even make a list of those accounts whose content you want to see for content curation purposes.

Check Permissions

You may also want to check up on your app permissions. See which apps or sites you have given permission to access your profile and remove any that you’re no longer using.

LINKEDIN

I recently wrote a blog post on Creating A Winning LinkedIn Profile. It contains an infographic to illustrate all the keys areas. It’s a great place to start to get your LI profile where it needs to be. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Your headline is seen more than anything else, so make sure it contains the keywords that you want to be found with.
  • Is your headshot outdated? Always keep your headshot up to date with a current professional headshot.
  • Work on your summary to highlight your best skills and experience.
  • Make sure your contact information is updated so clients and others can get in touch with you.
  • Personalize your profile’s URL with your name or business name.
  • Are there new projects that you’ve done since your last update that showcase your abilities? Add them!
  • Do you need some new recommendations? It’s ok to ask.
  • What about your connections? When you first joined LinkedIn, you probably connected with everyone. I did the same. But once you’ve been on the platform for a while, it makes sense to be strategic with your connections. Make sure they’re relevant to your industry.

Spring cleaning your social media marketing will get you on the road to being ready for the second half of 2016. Don’t forget to check your analytics and insights to see if there are adjustments you can make to your strategy for better results.