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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.

 

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.