Instagram Marketing Tips and Social Media for Small Business http://mollymarshallmarketing.com Molly Marshall Marketing Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:09:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 How to Post a GIF to Instagram http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/10/post-gif-instagram/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/10/post-gif-instagram/#comments Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:49:51 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11391 Animated GIFs have been around for-ev-er, but their ability to communicate your point with universal humor has intensified and renewed their popularity in recent months. From the library of hilarious animated memes every iPhone user can text from their phone, to the ability to comment in GIF form on Facebook, they are everywhere! I personally […]

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Animated GIFs have been around for-ev-er, but their ability to communicate your point with universal humor has intensified and renewed their popularity in recent months. From the library of hilarious animated memes every iPhone user can text from their phone, to the ability to comment in GIF form on Facebook, they are everywhere!

I personally wish to only post, comment and text in animated GIF from this point forward. If you are like me in your love of all things GIF, you may have already tried to post a GIF to Instagram… only to find that you can’t directly do so.

For shame! But true, the GIF format is not supported on the Instagram platform. However, there are some ways around this and I’ll share three of them with you here.


GIFs are not supported on #Instagram, but here are some ways around that!
Click To Tweet


Read now or pin for later. How to convert GIF files to a format you can share on Instagram.

Find a GIF in mp4

The first way to post GIF to Instagram is to actually find a video version of it in the first place! I love to look for GIFs on giphy.com. They have thousands to choose from in all kinds of categories. Once you’ve found something you love, you actually have the option to download it in video format! And a video is something you can upload and post to Instagram.

Note: Videos must be at least three seconds long to be able to upload them to Instagram. Some GIFs are extremely short, like one or two seconds. When searching for GIFs, keep this “3 second rule” in mind.

Download GIFs in video format from Giphy.com

Convert a GIF to Video

If you have a GIF already made and you need to turn it in to a video, you can use this free site called CloudConvert to convert GIF to mp4. Simply upload the gif you want to post to Instagram, and select mp4 as your output. Again, remember that the final result needs to be at least three seconds long.

Convert GIF to mp4 with CloudConvert

Create a GIF-esque Slideshow

Maybe you want something super branded and something stock from GIPHY.com won’t work. Or maybe you don’t have a pre-existing GIF to convert to a video file. A third option is to do like a “stop-motion” type thing by stringing some images together in an animated slide show. Here is a great example from my friend Emma at Flhair Accessories.

Once you have your series of photos taken, you can use an app like Flipagram to string them together at whatever speed you would like, and download as a video file.

So there you have it, three totally viable options to post your favorite GIFs to Instagram. Let the hilarity ensue!

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How to Set Up Your Pinterest for Business Profile http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/09/pinterest-for-business/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/09/pinterest-for-business/#comments Wed, 13 Sep 2017 22:52:51 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11352 If you could put in the same amount of effort on your social media that you are currently, but continue to get traffic back to your website that grew exponentially month after month… would you? I know you would! Many of you have been asking me a lot about Pinterest lately, so I decided to […]

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If you could put in the same amount of effort on your social media that you are currently, but continue to get traffic back to your website that grew exponentially month after month… would you?

I know you would! Many of you have been asking me a lot about Pinterest lately, so I decided to write a kind of “Pinterest 101 for Businesses” type of blog post today.

How to Setup Your Pinterest for Business. Read now or pin for later!

Why Pinterest for Business

Put in the time now, reap the rewards forever. I literally have a pin on Pinterest from an old blog I haven’t posted on in 5 years that has been pinned over 7k times… and drives thousands of visits to that old blog. Like WHAT?!?!?!

Today we’ll talk about how to set-up your Pinterest for business profile, and in future weeks we’ll talk about other things more in-depth like board strategy, pinning frequency, how to use group boards, and what tools to use.

Understanding the Importance of Keywords

Keywords are King on Pinterest. Hopefully, as you are creating consistent content in the form of blog posts, podcast episodes or video blogs, you already have an SEO (search engine optimization) and keyword strategy firmly in place for your business.

You know that the key to being found in the search engines is by creating content that contains keywords that people are searching for. Well, the same is true when using Pinterest for business.

If you are a beauty blogger, you want your content to pop up on Pinterest under searches like, “makeup tutorials,” or “fall makeup looks.” (Okay… you’ve outed me, I’m not a big make-up girl so, like, I just had to look those up to see if those were actual things!)

If you sell automotive parts, you might want your content to show up on searches like, “how to bleed brakes” or “how to tell if your transmission is failing.”

As you are creating and pinning content, you need to always be thinking about what people are searching for.

[If you’ve just realized you actually don’t have a keyword strategy, I suggest you drop everything and figure that piece out ASAP as it will completely transform your business in terms of website traffic. Here is an AMAZING resource I recommend (and actually use myself) on how to do keyword research: Backlinko’s Guide on Keyword Research for SEO.)]

Keywords, Keywords Everywhere

Once you’ve identified your main keywords, (which are probably things you are already using as hashtags on Instagram, etc.) you need to get them in as many places as possible so that Pinterest knows what you are about.

Profile

In your profile, you can actually put some in your name field. You can see mine is “Molly Marshall | Marketing, Social Media & Instagram Tips.

You should also get them in to your bio description field. You don’t need to “keyword stuff” here and make it unreadable. Just be natural and include some keywords as much as you can to still sound friendly and human.

Example of a Pinterest for business profile

Boards

Your keywords should also dictate your Pinterest board names. It’s fun to get fancy and come up with funky, rhyming names or whatever… but in this situation, it’s best to stick mainly with things people are truly searching for. Your content has a better chance of surfacing in those searches.

You should also get a few related keywords in the board description. If your board is called “Breakfast Ideas” you might include words like “easy breakfast recipes,” “breakfast recipes,” and “egg dishes.”

On that note, if you were a food blogger and had a board called “Breakfast Ideas,” you might also want to think about having a few more narrowly focused boards as well, like “Muffin Recipes” and “Breakfast Casseroles.”

Pins

So thinking ahead here… you want your keywords to be in your blog post titles so that when you start using Rich Pins (more on this topic down below), those keywords will be pulled in to your pins.

As you write descriptions for your pins, include keywords where and when you can.

Your Pinterest for Business Profile

Ok, so we get that keywords are uber important, but there is more to your Pinterest profile than getting your keywords everywhere.

Your Profile Image

Your profile image should be instantly recognizable to people that are looking for you on Pinterest. You don’t want them to wonder… “is this the RIGHT Molly Marshall?” Whatever photo you are using on your other social media profiles is what you should use here. (And if you aren’t using ONE, CONSISTENT photo on your social media profiles, it’s a great time to start! #consistentbranding.)

Name and Description

We covered this already, but create a keyword-rich name field and description.

Easy Access to Your Opt-In or Freebie

At the end of your profile description, include a bit.ly link to your main opt-in so people could join your list right away if they wanted to. I’ll admit, I haven’t had a lot of people join my list this way.

Most people get to my website through my pins and opt-in to my email list once on my site… but it’s still good to have your opt-in front and center.

With social media, our goals should ALWAYS to drive website traffic and get people on to your email list, because those are two things you own and control.

Confirm Your Website

Finally, be sure to confirm your website. Once you add your website to your Pinterest profile, you’ll need to add a little snippet of code to the <head> tag of your website. There are step-by-step instructions for comfirming your website on Pinterest here.

Apply for Rich Pins

After you’ve got your Pinterest profile and boards set up correctly, you need to apply for Rich Pins!

Simply put, Rich Pins enhance the content you pin from your website on Pinterest, by showing extra content on that pin. Rich Pins use the metadata on your site to provide even more information about the web page that your pin is about.

In this example, I’m showing two pins: one with Rich Pins, and one without.

Note: This screenshot was actually taken a few months back, and Pinterest has changed how much enriched content they are showing on the desktop version. Mobile version still stands out a bit more.Showing Rich Pins vs. Non Rich Pins

{show example of two pins, one with Rich Pins and one without}

You can see how the Rich Pin stands out and is more enticing. Pinterest tells us that Rich Pins get higher engagement (read: repins and click-throughs… which is the point!)

Your Turn

With these profile tips in place, you’ll be using Pinterest for business in no time! Keep in mind that Pinterest growth is exponential, and it can take several months to see awesome results. I’ll be sharing some case studies soon to give you some realistic expectations of your website traffic growth.

Will you start using Pinterest for business?

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How to Manage Instagram Comments Without Losing Your Mind http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/08/manage-instagram-comments/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/08/manage-instagram-comments/#comments Tue, 22 Aug 2017 04:38:34 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11290 I think we’ve all known the struggle it can be to manage Instagram comments without losing track of an important comment thread on an older post. Have you ever glanced at your (hundreds of) Instagram notifications to see a comment on a much older post, only to lose it and not be able to find […]

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I think we’ve all known the struggle it can be to manage Instagram comments without losing track of an important comment thread on an older post.

Have you ever glanced at your (hundreds of) Instagram notifications to see a comment on a much older post, only to lose it and not be able to find it again? ARGH. I think we’ve all been there.

In my opinion, comment management has traditionally been one of the great shortcomings of Instagram. It’s easy to lose comments on older posts. There really aren’t that many affordable tools that help you keep track of and respond to those comments either… UNTIL NOW!

Learn how to manage your Instagram comments efficiently. Read now or pin for later.

Importance of Managing Instagram Comments

I know you are savvy and I probably don’t need to lecture you on why it’s so important to respond to all of your Instagram comments.
But, the short of it is, the fastest way to run your Instagram engagement into the ground is to NOT engage. You absolutely should be responding to all comments and direct messages on Instagram.


The fastest way to ruin your #Instagram engagement is to NOT respond to all comments.
Click To Tweet


Today’s consumers expect social media to be a two-way street. From tweeting their complaints on Twitter in hopes of receiving speedy help, to leaving order questions on random Facebook posts, social media has made businesses extremely accessible to the average consumer. And the consumer expects a response.

Tools for Managing Instagram Comments

Luckily, this is all so much easier now due to Facebook’s new integrated social inbox.

In November, Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) started rolling out an integrated inbox that combines your Facebook page messages, page notifications and Instagram account comments in ONE PLACE.

You can access this new inbox either ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE (Desktop) or via the FACEBOOK PAGES MANAGER app for iPhone/Android.

Manage Instagram Comments from the Facebook Pages App

First, you should connect your business Facebook page and your business Instagram account so they are linked.

From your DESKTOP computer:

  1. Go to your Facebook Page
  2. Click on Settings in upper right
  3. Click on Instagram in left menu
  4. Log in to Instagram to get it connected

Connect your business Instagram to your Facebook page.

If you don’t already have it, you should DOWNLOAD the Facebook Pages Manager app. It’s available for iPhone and Android devices.

  1. You’ll see in the graphic below that you have three tabs: one for Messenger, one for Facebook page notifications (like comments on posts), and one for Instagram comments.
  2. If you click on “Inbox” you’ve actually got sub-folders, just like an email inbox. You have folders for unread items, items you’ve marked for follow up, items you’ve marked as done or resolved, and a place for spam.
  3. You can swipe left to mark an item as unread, or move it to your follow up folder.
  4. This is the view when you click on an item. You can respond to all comments, then click the check mark in the upper right corner. This moves it to your “Done” folder. The extra-cool feature is that the next time someone comments on that post, it shows back up in your inbox, no matter how old the post is.

Manage Instagram comments from your universal Facebook pages inbox.

Manage Instagram Comments from Your Facebook Page (Desktop)

I manage my Facebook page through Facebook’s Business Manager and I have this universal inbox on desktop. However, I manage several Facebook pages and none of the other pages have the universal inbox on desktop yet. I believe it is in the process of being rolled out universally.

Alternatively, you can go to this URL to check. Replace “pageslug” with YOUR page name that you use in your shortened Facebook URL.

www.facebook.com/pageslug/inbox/

Did you know about this feature? Will you use it to manage your Instagram comments now?

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Instagram Shadowban: What Is It And How Can You Avoid It? http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/instagram-shadowban/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/instagram-shadowban/#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:00:07 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11197 The so-called Instagram shadowban has become a controversial topic. In this post we’ll talk about what it is, what it isn’t, how to avoid it, and how to reverse it if you feel you’ve been flagged. What is the Instagram Shadowban? The so-called Instagram shadowban is the practice of suppressing certain images from being found […]

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The so-called Instagram shadowban has become a controversial topic. In this post we’ll talk about what it is, what it isn’t, how to avoid it, and how to reverse it if you feel you’ve been flagged.

Instagram shadowban: how can you prevent it or reverse it? Read now or pin for later.

What is the Instagram Shadowban?

The so-called Instagram shadowban is the practice of suppressing certain images from being found in the hashtag searches. For instance, let’s say you post an image with the hashtags #glutenfree and #paleoeats. In theory, if you were “shadowbanned,” any and all Instagram users that did not follow you would not see your post when they searched ANY of the hashtags you used on that photo.

This is what makes shadowbanning so tricky to diagnose. Many people will notice their engagement or rate of new followers is down,* but when they go to check their hashtags, their posts appear just fine. That’s because you can see your own posts, and anyone that follows you will still see your posts.

*I’m not talking 25-50% down, I’m talking about engagement that is shockingly low. Like, next to nothing. Many people experienced significant drops in engagement when Instagram cracked down on bot services earlier this year, but being shadowbanned is different.


If your #Instagram engagement is down more than 50% than normal you may be shadowbanned.
Click To Tweet


Instagram Shadowban vs. Hashtag Algorithm

To make this even more complicated and confusing, add in some algorithmic changes that affect the way hashtags work.

Being “shadowbanned” is when your post does not appear for ANY of the hashtags you used on that particular post TO people that do not already follow you.

But there are also some algorithm changes related to hashtags. Just because you use 30 hashtags on your posts doesn’t mean you’ll appear in the search results of all of them. You may only appear in the results for 20. This is NOT being shadowbanned.

Instagram is now providing personalized search results for each user. The “Top 9” posts that you see for a given hashtag may be slightly different than what your friend will see.

Think about it this way: When you search #glutenfree on Instagram, Instagram desires to serve you the #glutenfree content they think you are MOST looking for, not just any old post with that hashtag.

Relevancy just became that much more important. It’s always been important, but some cheaters and short-cutters have been acting spammy with their hashtags. No more.

Why Would a Platform Shadowban?

Let’s operate under the premise that at the end of the day, every business is striving to serve the best interest of their customers. Think of your own position as a business owner or marketer here.

You know that when you operate with the best interests of your customers in mind, your business is likely to grow. When you do not operate with the best interests of your customers in mind, your business is likely to dwindle, and even go out of business entirely.

Instagram doesn’t exist without its users. You may also argue that Instagram doesn’t exist without money from advertisers either. Fair. But what does Instagram need in order to be able to charge for advertising space? Users.

If users are bombarded with crappy marketing messages, harassed by spammers, or see content in the search results that doesn’t match their search intent, they may leave. Instagram has a lot at stake to keep users happy.

Let’s think for a moment if we’ve experienced this on any other social media platforms? I won’t mention any names. But, yes. I have one platform in mind that has suffered greatly because of unchecked spammy behavior.

Instagram Shadowban Rumors

If you are reading this article, chances are you have already been researching this topic and have a lot of conflicting information swirling around in your head. Let me assure you, no one knows exactly what is going on. Instagram hasn’t used the word “shadowban.” When asked directly, they will speak in generalities about working to always create the best experience for their users.


We're dispelling 3 common #Instagram shadowban rumors:
Click To Tweet


Rumor #1: Your account can be completely banned. No one will ever find you again.

While your account could be deactivated or shut off by Instagram for violating their terms of use, you are notified if this happens (and hopefully warned?!) These are usually extreme cases: excessive use of bots, posting sexual content, being abusive towards other users, etc.

In talking about the “shadowban,” it is at the POST LEVEL not ACCOUNT LEVEL. If you have personal experience with this, it may appear that your entire account is banned, but it really is multiple images that are being suppressed. Maybe as many posts as you have time to go back and check. (This happened to a colleague of mine and you can read on to learn how we reversed it!)

Rumor #2: It only affects people that have used bots in the past.

In many research interviews that I’ve conducted with various Instagram account owners affected by the shadowban, this does not hold true. Some very honest and “by the book” account owners have had issues, and we’ve had to look into alternative causes. (Keep reading for more on that.)

Rumor #3: You can use an online “post checker” to confirm if you’ve been banned.

There are a few free tools out there that claim to run your image through their own algorithm and check to see if it is showing up on each individual hashtag feed that you’ve used. I have not found these to be accurate.

If You Think You’ve Been Shadowbanned

80% of the people that are noticing a drop in engagement are NOT actually experiencing the Instagram shadowban. Most engagement dips are due to the (recent-ish) significant reduction in bots and changes to the algorithm. However, if all of a sudden you are getting scarily low engagement, like 75-90% lower than normal, I would recommend you start some sleuthing.

This isn’t a complete answer to reversing a potential shadowban, but more a framework to give you the tools to problem solve.

First, find 3-5 friends or accounts that do not follow you, and use them to check the posts you suspect have been shadowbanned to see if they show up in any of the hashtags that you used.

Always examine your recent Instagram activities and consider if you have done anything that could potentially look spammy to Instagram, or could put you in conflict with providing a great user experience to Instagram users.

How to Lower Your Risk

Only use hashtags that are highly relevant to your post. Don’t try to put your content in places that don’t really make sense to those who are searching those tags. When people are searching, they want to find exactly what they are looking for, not kind of, pretty much what they were looking for, but not exactly.

Don’t use the exact same group of hashtags every day for months on end. I am guilty here. So guilty. Have at least 2-3 groups of hashtags that you can rotate between.

Simply don’t use high-spam hashtags. Search each hashtag you are using. If you see a lot of junk consider replacing that hashtag with something that yields higher quality results. What is junk? Posts where they captions are constantly pushing products, begging for followers, get rich quick schemes, or promising a follow for a follow.

Do not check-in to places or locations that you weren’t really at. If you have a national or international brand, you might be trying to use geographic locations to reach specific groups of people… but unless the photo was taken in that spot, or you were in that spot when you posted, don’t make it up.

Don’t act like a bot. You don’t need to go crazy liking and commenting on thousands of photos each day. Definitely show up every day and engage in the platform, but don’t act like you are automated.

What to Do if You Suspect You’ve Been Shadowbanned

If you believe you have somehow triggered yourself and are being shadowbanned, here is what you should do:

  1. I hope this goes without saying, but if you are using any bot services. STOP. If you’ve used them in the past, you need to revoke API access.
  2. Remove all of your hashtags from past posts. For one person I worked with, this is what we believe “reset” her account. It was time consuming to go through almost 300 posts… but obviously worth it!
  3. Delete all of the geo-locations off of your posts, if you weren’t physically there or the photo wasn’t really taken in that place.
  4. Going forward, switch up your hashtag group every few days. Or use 2-3 groups that you rotate between so you aren’t using identical hashtags every day.

What other Instagram shadowban rumors have you heard that you need real answers to?

 

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Is Your Instagram Engagement Down? How to Diagnose & Fix It http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/instagram-engagement-down/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/instagram-engagement-down/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:30:22 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11343 Is your Instagram engagement down? If so, you have two choices. Accept it as a sign of the times. Diagnose it and work to improve it. If you picked number two, please keep reading! While it is true that Instagram engagement has been declining for some time, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of […]

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Is your Instagram engagement down? If so, you have two choices.

  1. Accept it as a sign of the times.
  2. Diagnose it and work to improve it.

If you picked number two, please keep reading!


Is your #Instagram engagement down? You have 2 choices: accept it or fix it.
Click To Tweet


While it is true that Instagram engagement has been declining for some time, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Some of this is due to Instagram’s renewed commitment to squash bot activity and spam.

I wish I had a reliable estimate of what was spam and bot activity before their crack down and shut down of Instagress, but I truly don’t know. Based on my personal experiences, I would guess it was at least 25%, all the way up to 50%.

But, I digress (about Instagress.)

Instagram engagement down? Read now or pin for later.Maturation of Instagram

Instagram now has a staggering 700+ million active monthly users. Just last year (June 2016) there were *only* 500 million users. It took Instagram 3.5 years to get their first 200 million users, but they’ve added that same amount in the last 12 months.

With this kind of growth comes some saturation, with saturation comes competition for space in the feed. Competition for feed space creates a situation that is ripe for advertising.

We can cry about it, or we can embrace change (which is a requirement of an entrepreneur), see it for what it is, and adjust our Instagram marketing strategies accordingly.

This means either paying for some advertising to accelerate your message, or ride out what you can still get for “free,” which may not cost actual dollars, but you still pay for it with your time and efforts.

(If I sound harsh, just know I strongly desire to always share the truth and not fill you up with false notions. This is how it is.)

Now that we are looking at our Instagram engagement through the lens that says the engagement you are getting, though a bit lower, is probably more genuine, let’s talk about what we can do to improve what you do have.

Diagnosing Low Instagram Engagement

If your Instagram engagement is down, here is a series of things to consider, re-look at, or change to boost up your engagement, and ultimately, increase your reach.

Algorithm

As you are probably already aware, Instagram orders photos in the feed through the use of an algorithm. They stay pretty tight lipped about it, but here is what we do know (taken verbatim from their blog):

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.

There probably isn’t much you can control about your relationship to the person who is following you, that is what it is, but you can be interesting and timely.

Be sure you are sharing content that is high-value and you are posting at your optimal time on Instagram.

Content

Speaking of generalities like “sharing content that is high-value,” let’s actually talk about that.

Audience Alignment

A major issue I see is audience alignment… or should I say, mis-alignment. If your engagement is suffering, and declining, this is a good indicator that your audience and your message are not in alignment. You can read through the article I linked above, about sharing content that is high-value, to get a better idea if you are meeting this requirement or not.

Frequency

Another issue I could file under “content” actually has to do with frequency. If you are posting once per day, consider testing a post every other day, or every 36 hours to see how that affects your reach and impressions. You could also do the opposite and try posting twice per day.

I usually don’t advocate for posting MORE to try and combat reach issues, but it is worth a test. Everything is worth testing.

Consistency

Consistency is also something to look at. If you are posting once, then going a week without posting, then posting three days in a row, it’s kind of hard to know what to do with you and who to show your posts to. Being consistent is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.

Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t what they used to be, but they are still a significant part of your Instagram strategy.

Accurate Hashtags

Instagram’s algorithm reaches into hashtags now. Meaning, the “Top 9” results for any given hashtag are personalized by user. If you and three friends search #glutenfree on Instagram, you are most likely going to get four different Top 9 results. There will be some crossover, but they won’t be identical. (Seriously, interesting experiment. The next time you are out to dinner with friends, try it!)

In addition, just because you use 30 hashtags on an Instagram post doesn’t mean Instagram is going to put your image in all 30 of those hashtag feeds.

These should be considerations when you are selecting hashtags for your post. Be sure that they accurately describe your content. The more accurate you are, the more likely you are to show up for those hashtags. If you are being abstract, you could get left out of those hashtag feeds.

Overused Hashtags

Using the exact same hashtag group over and over for weeks at a time is a great way to get yourself shadowbanned on Instagram. Don’t stress, this is only at the post level and not at the account level… so if you find yourself in this situation, find yourself some new hashtags to use.

I have a workshop, Hashtag Camp, that covers this in depth if you need guidance regarding finding effective hashtags.

Effective Hashtag Groups

Part of the magic of hashtags is in the way they are grouped together. As you are researching and finding hashtags, take a look to see how “big” they are. Meaning, how many results there are for each hashtag. When creating groups of hashtags (up to 30 hashtags) to use on your posts, use a mix of small, medium and large.

This makes it so that you are getting some quick engagement from the larger hashtags, but you are still reaching targeted users with your medium and small hashtags.

Is your Instagram engagement down? What other solutions have you found to improve it?

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How to Focus Your Instagram Account and Find Your Niche http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/find-your-niche-on-instagram/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/06/find-your-niche-on-instagram/#comments Tue, 13 Jun 2017 04:01:51 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=11188 I’m interviewing my friend Martin Holsinger, a popular instagrammer, marketer for residential contrators, and an Amazon best-selling author of TWO books, and host of the Protractor podcast. Plus, he’s the co-creator of the app, Storeo, that transforms the way you record your Instagram Stories. After a few years of sharing marketing and social media advice […]

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I’m interviewing my friend Martin Holsinger, a popular instagrammer, marketer for residential contrators, and an Amazon best-selling author of TWO books, and host of the Protractor podcast. Plus, he’s the co-creator of the app, Storeo, that transforms the way you record your Instagram Stories.

After a few years of sharing marketing and social media advice on Instagram, Martin made the choice to re-focus his account to serve a very specific niche – residential home improvement contractors. This decision has completely changed the face of his business. He’ll tell you how and why he found “his people.” Martin was also an early adopter of Instagram Stories, and will share with us some best practices. Read on or watch for all the details!

Watch How to Find Your Niche on Instagram on YouTube

Molly: How long have you been on Instagram, and why did you decide to start building a following on there?

Martin: Well, I had been trying a bunch of different things – building an audience on different platforms. But then I saw some entrepreneurs seem to blow up overnight on Instagram. So I decided to dig in to it a little more, and I was immediately drawn to it because of the incredible engagement.

Molly: We’ve known each other for a couple of years now, and your Instagram has gone through a little bit of an evolution. When we met, you were sharing more general marketing and social media advice. But maybe a year ago you focused and narrowed your niche to focus more on residential contractors. Is that right?

Martin: Yes, so when I started I was trying to share at least one, if not three posts a day. Everything from inspirational quotes to little marketing tips, etc. About a year ago, I focused my account down to focus on residential contractors. I thought it would be better to be “the guy” in that industry, than to just be another head bobbing around in a huge sea of people all offering the same thing to everybody.

When I first started my business in 2013, I dabbled in a couple of other industries. I tried to serve the wine industry (I live in Washington wine country), but that didn’t really take off. Then I got a couple of clients that were lawyers, and a medical clinic, but I didn’t really speak their language. To serve a client well, you have to be able to take on their persona. I felt pulled in a bunch of different directions, and I really didn’t know what to do.

But my background is in home improvement contracting. My dad was a contractor, and his dad was a contractor. My uncle has been in woodworking all his life. So, I really grew up in the trades. Contracting is in my blood.

Molly: I think a lot of people are nervous to niche down, and ignore segments of their audience. So, what advice do you have about focusing your audience, and what have you experienced since you have niched your account down?

Martin: At one point I owned a contracting business, but sold all of the assets to move overseas. When we came back, I had to decide if I was going to start over or do something different. Well, about a year ago, the local home builders association asked me to do a workshop for their audience and in that meeting, it totally dawned on me that I was in the presence of “my people,” and I had found my niche. So, I started writing a new book, and released Contractor Marketing, Simplified, that teaches contractors how to grow and market their business.

As I approached the publish of my book, I started reaching out to contractors with larger audiences, and asking them to read and review my book. Those contractors started to talk about and share my book, which created some buzz and started bringing me new, targeted followers on Instagram. I know have a much more defined sense of purpose in my business and who I’m called to help.

Molly: I want to spell out for people something you just described. What you really did with your book was an influencer campaign. You found those influential people in your niche, and let them do the talking for you. A lot of times people think of influencer campaigns as finding someone with a massive audience, and you are paying them sums of money to talk about your stuff. But influencers are people that other people listen to. In your case, those large contractors are looked up to by smaller contractors that are trying to crack the business code. You were able to reach those folks through the larger contractors.

Martin: An interesting thing about contractors is that the serve a local area, so they are pretty willing to share information because if they are in Los Angeles, they really aren’t competing with someone in New York. There is a great community.

Molly: You’ve been going to a lot of live events and tradeshows lately. Can you talk a little bit about how you are creating content at live events and how you are leveraging meeting people in real life to translate that into followers and customers?

Martin: Well, there is truly nothing like meeting people in real life. When you actually get to meet something, the relationship is cemented. That’s number one for me. Just by being there, people can see that I’m real.

I like to go to events “on purpose.” I think it’s smart to write 2-3 objectives for attending an event. Then you can look and see if you reached them. Have some reason that you are going and check those objectives off.

While I’m there, the energy helps me to overcome some of my insecurities and do that Instagram Story or whatever. Attending events also gives me content to put out. Not just another picture of my office or whatever.

Molly: Let’s talk about Instagram Stories. You were definitely an early adopter. Why did you jump into Stories, and what do you find so valuable about them?

Martin: I never could figure out the Snapchat thing. But Instagram was my thing. I loved Instagram and it was working for me. So when they rolled out Snapchat on Instagram, I was in! Stories made influencers and celebrities more accessible. This transparency is where things are headed. So I watched a lot of other people using Stories, and just tried to figure out what was working. I’m still learning!

Molly: Could you share some best practices with us regarding Instagram Stories, from a local business slant?

Martin: Stories gives local business owners the opportunity to show behind the scenes, who they are, become a little bit vulnerable. All of that is what Stories makes possible. While you want to keep you Instagram feed polished and attractive, Stories allows you to be available to your audience.

As far as best practices, I’ve seen people do one or two clips per day and I’ve seen people do 30-40 clips per day. I think there’s a happy medium in there, and you need to know your audience and what they’ll tolerate.

A best practice is to watch your drop off rate so you can see where people are done watching you. Don’t overfeed your story or people are going to start skipping through.

Stories are getting more popular, and the more popular they get, you are going to need to think through your Story more. You have to think, why am I creating this Story and what do I want people to take away from it? Try to become concise – and get as much content into small pockets.

Molly: One thing I’ve seen people do, which I think is a really good idea, is people will take a screen shot of their main feed and put that in their Story to direct people back to their main feed to check out their latest post. I kind of like that. I wouldn’t overdo it, but I think it could help overcome some drop offs from the algorithm.

So, speaking of Stories, I really want to talk about your new app, Storeo. We all know how annoying the little 15-second video countdown thing is on Stories. I completely freeze when I see that. You recognized that it was difficult to convey coherent thoughts via Stories, so you went out and created Storeo. Tell us about it.

Martin: Storeo is an app that slices your video into 15-second segments that you can upload to Stories, where people can watch them seamlessly.

Before Storeo, you could slice longer videos to post to Stories, but it was much more time intensive. You would need to slice and dice it on your computer and send the videos to save on your phone. It took a ton of time, and was cumbersome.

Where to Find Martin:
Martinholsinger.com
Contractormarketingsimplified.com
Protractorpodcast.com
Martin on Instagram
Storeo App

Struggling to find your "people" on Instagram. Watch this interview now, or pin for later!

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How To Grow Your Blog With Instagram http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/05/grow-blog-instagram/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/05/grow-blog-instagram/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 23:25:10 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=10995 Suzi is the face behind Gurl Gone Green, a clean living, clean eating, and clean beauty blog. Suzi was one of my very first Instagram friends, so I feel like we’ve been on our Instagram journey together, even though we are in different niches. It was fun to talk face-to-face (well, kinda) about how she […]

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Suzi is the face behind Gurl Gone Green, a clean living, clean eating, and clean beauty blog. Suzi was one of my very first Instagram friends, so I feel like we’ve been on our Instagram journey together, even though we are in different niches. It was fun to talk face-to-face (well, kinda) about how she has grown her Instagram account from literally nothing, to almost 40k engaged followers!

Watch this video on YouTube.

A transcript is below, but has been edited for clarity and brevity (we were chatty!)

Molly:    Can you tell us a little bit about how your blog got started?

Suzi:    It started for me when my mom got me a book for Christmas called No More Dirty Looks. It changed my thinking and really made me want to tell everyone about what they were using on their skin. Gurl Gone Green is all clean beauty, clean eating, and clean living.
I’d already been eating clean. My brother had already gotten us on more of a clean eating track. But as far as my products and what I was using to clean my house and put on my body, that hadn’t really transferred over.

As I continued on my green journey, I remember people starting to

ask me what products I was using. So I  started my blog in 2013. I remember posting randomly, but I wasn’t consistent. My Instagram wasn’t consistent at all, like once every month. After my daughter turned six months, in January of 2015 I committed to really blogging consistently. This is my passion. I do it anyway.

Molly:    Why did you choose Instagram? Why were you drawn to it as opposed to other social media platforms?

Suzi:    I was drawn to it just because it’s visual. I’m a cosmetologist, and so I think visually. I always loved it for just personal use, and so I thought why not translate that over into a business model? It would work well for showing products in a good light and making them pretty. It was really natural for me.

I tried to do Twitter and I couldn’t. I have a Twitter account and I never do anything. It’s just not a platform I love. I remember you said, just go with one platform and really go hard at it and love it instead of trying to do all of these things at once. I tried to do everything at once, and then I just realized I didn’t love it. Instagram was my baby and I just went with it.
Molly:    I do say that a lot, to start with one platform and just hit it hard. After you get that under your belt, you can branch out. You’ve definitely got your flow going with Instagram and you’re doing really well with it, but you have started to segue out into other platforms, most lately YouTube. Just tell us a little bit about that.

Suzi:    YouTube is a great traffic driver to your blog. I had always wanted to do YouTube. I started doing videos in the summer of 2015. I have these videos that are just horrible.  I’m kind of a perfectionist, but at the same time sometimes I just go with things. I’ve learned you just have to because otherwise you’ll have a video sitting there forever and never post it.

It’s such a different medium. YouTube allows for a whole new level of learning and you get a different audience. There’s so much more you can do with beauty products. You can show pictures (on Instagram), but sometimes you can’t show someone how to put it on, or how to use it. That’s what YouTube is great for.

Molly:    You find that you have different audiences on Instagram and YouTube, and you serve different content to them. How much of your YouTube content, maybe not exactly, but YouTube-type content ends up in your Instagram stories now that there are Stories? Do you find that there’s crossover there? How are you using Stories?

Suzi:    Yeah, I love Stories. I love them because I feel like Instagram is your polished accou

nt where people see the perfectionism, and then Stories is like real life, grit, dirtiness. You can see the person for who they are and get in their world. People love that. It’s also really nice because sometimes I don’t want to post about all these products all the time because I can mention them in my Stories. It’s a post within Instagram, but it’s not taking over my feed, if that makes sense.

Molly:    Yeah, that’s a really good point. I don’t know if I’ve actually identified that before, but Stories help you get over the frequency issue with Instagram, because with Instagram, people are really sensitive about how often you’re in their feed. Instagram is getting really saturated. I think it’s 600,000 users now or something, so Stories really do help you overcome that challenge with frequency. You can share so many things.

Growing Instagram from Nothing

Molly:    Let’s talk about how you grew your account in the beginning. First of all, was it a personal account first or did you start with a dedicated Gurl Gone Green account?

Suzi:    I started with a dedicated Gurl Gone Green account. I have a separate personal account.
Molly:    How did you primarily grow your account in the beginning? You are well over 30,000 followers now, but you started from nothing, just like anyone else.

Suzi:    For me, it was just being consistent. I literally told myself, “Okay, I’m going to post every single day.” Then I would even post twice a day in the very beginning. Maybe that’s good or bad, I don’t know now, because I feel like Instagram is so different than when I started.
I would post in the morning and then at night, and then I would just always try to engage with other accounts, really make comments. I would always try to bring some sort of value. I remember you saying that and I had read online, “how am I helping someone? Am I sharing new information?”

I would also pay attention to cues that my audience would give me about the content they liked. Then I would post more content like that. I found beauty did really well for me. It’s natural for me anyways, but that was my niche in the beginning. Then I branched out into baby stuff and clean living and even food.

I’ve done a lot of giveaways too, which helped a lot. There were times when I didn’t do as many giveaways, because I just had done too many in a row. Now I do them, but I’m not doing them as much as I was in the past. I don’t count on them as much to grow my audience.

Using Giveaways to Grow Your Account

Molly:    Did you depend on or use giveaways a lot in the very beginning to grow your audience, or did you wait till your account grew a little bit more? How did you balance that out?

Suzi:    I did them more in the beginning. I really wanted to do them more because I wanted to grow my following. Some of the giveaways would just be products I provided. I just would think of random little things. It wasn’t a crazy amount of money out of my pocket, but just like a lipstick that was $20 or so. I think you have to be willing to invest in your business if you want to grow. Or I would go in $10 with, say, five other bloggers, and then offer a $50 gift card or something. I remember doing one of those. That was my first big giveaway. I remember going from 500 to almost 900 in two days.

Molly:    When it comes to giveaways now, are you approaching brands, or do they approach you, or both?

Suzi:    It really depends on what I’m doing. I don’t necessarily do it for followers as much now as for overall buzz of my blog. If I have something that I’m really excited about, then I’ll do a really big giveaway because I want to create that excitement. It gets a lot more likes and it gets a lot more attention.

I have a baby guide coming out Friday, so I approached companies that I included in the guide and asked them to participate. I have a ton of different companies donating for this one huge green baby giveaway.

Other times when I post stuff it’s because companies are asking me to host a giveaway. They want to reach their target audience. It just depends.

Molly:    When you do a giveaway, you talked about the buzz around it and how you don’t really do it as much to grow your following, but it does create a positive frenzy around your account for a few days? Do you find, now, with the algorithm in place, or know from looking at your analytics, if it helps boost your reach and engagement in the time period after?

Suzi:    For sure, it does. Especially now with the Instagram algorithm, when you have more likes, then you’re pushed up. If someone tags one of their friends, then they’re seeing my posts, so I’m going to get more reach from them if they tell someone else. I definitely like to do giveaways every so often, just because it creates excitement.

Molly:    I think that touches on something that’s a challenge for a lot of shop owners on Instagram that do giveaways. They’ll often see a drop off after a giveaway, but it sounds like you don’t really see a lot of that. It’s just kind of all on the up and up for you when you do a giveaway.

Suzi:    Yeah. I’ve heard a lot of people say that. I’ve done Christmas giveaways with a lot of bloggers, those type of things where you’re following a ton of people and it’s out of control. I don’t even really love doing those, but I think just the simple ones, where you require someone to follow an account or whatever doesn’t have as much of a crazy drop off.

Molly:    You’re in a unique position where you are offering a lot of value to people through your blog. Even if someone doesn’t win a particular item they still are getting constant, new product reviews or other guides that you put out. The requirement is to follow you and follow the brand. If they’re only going to pick on person to keep following after the giveaway, it’s probably going to be you, just because you have that extra value.

Choosing a Theme for Your Instagram

Molly: Earlier you mentioned consistency. You’ve said that a couple of times now. What are your tips for producing content and how do you stay so consistent? Your feed is really beautiful. When I see a picture, I instantly know it’s you. You definitely have your style nailed down. How do you do that? That’s something people struggle with a lot.

Suzi:    You have to do what you like. I like light and bright, and I want to say positive. That translates over into my feed. I don’t try to make things super complicated. You can get apps that make your life so much easier. For pictures, I love VSCO for editing. I use the same filter every time so it looks consistent, and then I know how I can add brightness or make it more clear. Once you start using them, you’ll get it

down, and practice makes perfect.

Then I think just picking, for example, quotes. I do the same background each time so it’s consistent. I just have to put the quote in there. I don’t have to think about another, different background.

As far as planning out my Instagram content, every Sunday I plan out my week on Instagram.

Tuesdays I always do a quote, so it makes it easy. Wednesday and Friday I always have new content. Monday I might have something like a giveaway or a podcast or something different. Then I know Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday are my free days. It could be anything from maybe a new product, to I’m going out to eat and I’m posting a picture of food. Sometimes I try to put in a picture of my family or my kids to keep it personal a little bit.

Molly:    Some people think that that seems a little too cookie cutter, but we have to remember that people that are thumbing through their Instagram feed, they’re not paying such close attention to you that they’re like, “Hey, she posted a quote last Tuesday too!” And you’ve made yours into kind of a feature, where it’s like #TuesdayTuneup. People are expecting it.

I think people worry a lot about being repetitive, but it doesn’t come across that way. People have so many other things to think about, what you’re posting and when is not top of mind.
Molly:    Your photos, are you using your phone?

Suzi:    Yeah, I use my phone. That’s all I use, really. Occasionally I might use my better camera. I always tell myself I need to start using it, but the iPhone is so great.

Molly:    You have some good flat lay skills. When you’re doing products, everything always looks so nice. Do you have a box of props that you use, or you just walk around your house like, “Oh, I’ll use this today.” How do you decide what goes in your photo?

Suzi:    Yeah, I have these backdrops I have, that are like mini backdrops. I think they’re called mini backdrops. You can buy them online.

Molly:    So, we can all go Google “mini backdrops.”

Suzi:    Yes! I have a box of props and things that I’ve used, but I also just use plants around my house or I’ll go outside and we have different fresh flowers or grass or whatever it is. Some people do a lot of props. I don’t really like that for my own feed.

Molly:    What I’m hearing you say over and over is just to keep it simple and sane. There’s just no reason to get all crazy. I think people get caught up in the details and they forget that just showing up every day and being dependable can take you really far.

Suzi:    It makes your life so much easier, because then your whole Instagram feed is consistent and it looks similar, versus, like you said, my photo when you see it versus a lot of people, they do so many different pictures that are so intricate, but then it’s like you don’t even know if it’s theirs the next time you see it because it’s so busy. There’s so much going on.

Fostering Engagement

Molly:    One last thing I wanted to touch on, and then I’ll just let you give us your parting advice, is your account, even when you don’t have a giveaway going on, you just get tons of engagement. You get tons of comments. I think, for a lot of the accounts that I manage, and just a lot of the people that I talk to regularly about Instagram, a lot of people have seen reduced engagement. Not so much, maybe, in likes, because the bots have ensured that we all get lots of likes, but people are seeing a lot fewer comments. What do you think the key is for you to getting lots of comments every day?

Suzi:    I would say, like I said before, responding to people. When they comment on your picture, I respond back to them, even if it’s just a heart or a high-five or whatever, just so people know, “Hey, I see you.” Then also responding to direct messages. I get tons more now, obviously, with Stories. I have had so many people say, “Oh, wow, I didn’t think you’d respond.”

I really, truly care about the people that are commenting and want to know and have questions. I might not get to it that day, but I always end up getting to it. It’s why I do what I do. I think if you genuinely show that you care and you’re responding, that goes a long way. People are like, “Oh.” It has that little relationship starting with you where they’re like, “Oh yeah, I remember, Suzi from Gurl Gone Green, she told me this.” Then maybe they’re telling their friend, or they’re more likely to respond next time because you responded to them. I think that’s just huge, for sure. I feel like they know you and you’re just one of them and not some far-off person that they can’t talk to.

Molly:    Is there anything else that you could share or add or?

Suzi:    Take good photos. Always be learning. If you look at the very beginning of my account, it was horrible. Don’t be afraid to put a bad photo out there. It might be bad, but just keep going until they get better. They will get better. You’ll learn. Go to an account that you really like and just copy them for a while until you find your own rhythm and flair. I think that’s a big deal, or ask them what they use. People are more willing to give them information than you think.

Molly:    To be good at Instagram I think one of the most important skills someone can have is just being willing to take the time to look and watch what other people are doing and note what jumps out at them. Just keep adjusting, because as you mentioned a little earlier, Instagram’s changed a lot in the last two years. It was very different two years ago when I started on it. You just really have to stick with it and just keep learning and adjusting and trying new things, and taking advantage of the things that Instagram’s giving us, like Stories and Live and all that stuff.

Suzi:    If you go into it thinking, “I’m just going to stay the same,” then it’s not going to be good for you, because you have to learn to be flexible and change. Sometimes the changes can seem negative, but I you just have to keep rolling with it and think, “Okay, how can I make this a positive? How can I use this to my benefit to reach more people in the end?”

Find Suzi Online

GurlGoneGreen Blog
GurlGoneGreen Podcast
Instagram
Facebook
YouTube

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How to Set Social Media Goals http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/05/set-social-media-goals/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/05/set-social-media-goals/#comments Tue, 02 May 2017 04:19:14 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=10944 This is the first article of a seven part series on how to create your own social media strategy. In these seven articles I’m literally going to be taking you behind the scenes and into my process of writing social media strategies for clients. Today I’m going to talk to about how to set social […]

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This is the first article of a seven part series on how to create your own social media strategy. In these seven articles I’m literally going to be taking you behind the scenes and into my process of writing social media strategies for clients. Today I’m going to talk to about how to set social media goals.

If you aren’t 100% sold on the fact that you should even have a social media strategy, I highly suggest you go back and read my post about why you need a social media strategy.

Even I have my own, documented social media plan. When business gets crazy and you feel like you are spinning around in circles, it helps to be able to remind yourself that everything you are doing has a purpose. Or it doesn’t. And in that case your strategy needs to evolve.

Setting social media goals is the first step to having an effective strategy in place. Read now or pin for later!

Beginning With the End in Mind

Every time I sit down with a client, I am trying to identify what they need more of in their business.

Duh, we all could use more sales and customers, but the reality is we don’t always get exactly what we need directly from a social media post.

In fact, it’s rare to actually sell anything from a social media post. Most people don’t see an item, click the link, and buy it in that exact moment.

Many (most) people see something, think about it, maybe research it, and then buy it. Or they don’t, but they plan to way in the future.

For instance, I’m not going to buy a Land Rover tomorrow when I see whatever gorgeousness Land Rover USA posts on their Facebook page. But I absolutely plan to buy a Land Rover in the future. It could be in 6 months from now, a year from now, or maybe a couple of years from now. For now, I just like looking at them.

So, if you know you aren’t going to necessarily get sales (which would mean a new customer) from a social media post, what is the next best thing?

For many, it might mean an email subscriber, or simply a visit to their website. This brings us to…

Knowing Your Numbers

Anyone that has worked in sales knows what “know your numbers” means. Every business has numbers, those averages or norms that you can depend on in your cycle of leads > customers > sales.

For example, when I had a business with a direct sales company, us consultants all knew that for every person we presented our product to, we would make an average of $100.

Does that mean I sold $100 every time? No. Sometimes I sold $300 and sometimes I sold $0.

But if I looked at how many customers I talked to in a week, or a month, or a year year and did the math, it worked out to about $100 per person. If I wanted to make $1000 in a month I knew I needed to talk to 10 people.

With an online business, your numbers are your conversion rates. We know that if you are converting 5-6% of your website visitors to your email list, you are doing phenomenally well.

If you are selling 3-5% of those people your product, you are doing really well.

So if you know what you need to sell in dollars, and you know how many customers you need, you can start to look back and figure out what you need for website traffic.

You won’t drive all of your website traffic from social media, but you can start to paint a better picture of what you need and where you are going to find it out on the World Wide Web. Social media will be a piece of that.

What is Your Domino?

Your domino is the one thing that accelerates your business forward.

You need sales. To sell you need customers to sell to. To have a customer they first must be a lead. To get a lead you need to have people finding you via search, social media, links from other people’s websites, press mentions, or however else.

Think about what this means for you and your business. What will ultimately help you find more customers to sell to?

Other Types of Goals

If you don’t sell online, maybe website traffic to try to convert to an email list isn’t your ultimate goal.

For a local business, all the website traffic in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have people walk through your bakery door and buy your cookies, right?

Although I love to work with concrete, measureable things like how many people came to my website, or how many people I added to my email list, that isn’t the only reason we use social media.

Sometimes, if that is all we used to measure our social media success, it might look a little bleak. Particularly when you are just getting started.

When you set social media goals, awareness, brand leadership, building your credibility and authority can also be great reasons to grow your social media presence. I know there are hundreds of other reasons people may want to use social media that I’m not even thinking of right now.

Set Social Media Goals

Armed with this information, you now know that your social media efforts, like ALL marketing, should exist for a purpose.

With your goals defined, much of the social media “noise” falls away because you know why you are even doing it in the first place, which will allow you to align your message to your audience, and align your content and your activities with your goals.

Tell me, what is your MAIN goal for being on social media?

Other posts in this How to Write a Social Media Strategy series:

  • Primer: Why You Need a Social Media Strategy
  • Part 1: Business Problems. Start with the end in mind and set social media goals. [YOU ARE HERE]
  • Part 2: Defining Your Audience. The foundation for creating 1:1 conversations.
  • Part 3: Setting Goals. Choosing your the “domino” that creates momentum in your business.
  • Part 4: Choosing the right platforms – based on your audience and goals
  • Part 5: Identifying tactics – knowing when to spend time and/or money
  • Part 6: Serving your audience – developing content that sells
  • Part 7: Monitor/Tweak/Audience

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How to Schedule Your Instagram Posts with HootSuite http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/04/schedule-instagram-posts-hootsuite/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/04/schedule-instagram-posts-hootsuite/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:58:33 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=10905 Between managing the demands of a dozen clients and trying to build my own blog, my sanity is always teetering on the edge. Which is why I like to keep things dead simple. There are many great tools out there for scheduling Instagram photos, but I love HootSuite because it is free if you have […]

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Read now or pin for later! A step by step tutorial for using HootSuite to schedule your Instagram posts!

Between managing the demands of a dozen clients and trying to build my own blog, my sanity is always teetering on the edge. Which is why I like to keep things dead simple. There are many great tools out there for scheduling Instagram photos, but I love HootSuite because it is free if you have three or fewer social media profiles connected to it. This is perfect for most small business folks.


Use @HootSuite to schedule your #Instagram posts b/c it is simple, and free for most small business…
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Scheduled, But Not Really

You are probably used to scheduling your Facebook posts or Tweets and then walking away, forgetting what time you even scheduled them for. It’s not quite the same for Instagram! Instagram’s Terms & Conditions don’t allow for a “set and forget” type of scheduling. Instead of the post automatically being posted to the platform, you actually have to walk through the posting wizard at the posting time.

So, in essence, you upload your caption, hashtags, and image to HootSuite, and tell it what time you want to post to Instagram. At that predetermined time, you will get an alert on your phone that it’s time to put your post up. You open the HootSuite app, and it walks you through posting your content to Instagram. You still have to touch it, but at least you aren’t dealing with the mess of emailing photos and captions, saving them on your phone, and remembering to post at the proper time!

 

How to Schedule Instagram Posts with HootSuite

First, you may need to add your Instagram account to your HootSuite dashboard. From your HootSuite profile, click on the blue “Add a Social Network” button:

Add your Instagram account to your HootSuite dashboard

Then, pick Instagram from your options.

Pick Instagram from the HootSuite menu

When the Instagram log-in dialogue box comes up, continue logging in to Instagram.

Log in to the Instagram screen

Now you are ready! From the top of the Streams dashboard, you can select your Instagram profile from the drop down, add in your caption, and hashtags if appropriate.

Scheduling Instagram posts with HootSuite. Step 1 is adding your caption

Then, you can add your image by clicking on the paperclip icon.

Attach your Instagram photo to schedule with HootSuite

Now you are ready to schedule! Click the calendar icon to select your date and time.

Pick a date and time to post to Instagram from HootSuite.

There’s nothing left to do until the actual moment the post should go up. At which time you will get a notification on your phone that looks like this:

HootSuite will send a notification to your phone when it's time to post.

When you open up the HootSuite app, you can access your posts via the notification bell in the top right corner. Then you simply click on the image that you want to post, and click “Open in Instagram.”

Access your Instagram posts from inside the HootSuite appHootSuite will kindly ask you if you are logged into the appropriate account on Instagram. (How nice!). If you say, “yes!” then Instagram will open up into the posting wizard for you to complete posting.

Walk through the Instagram posting wizard.

You may not realize it, but your caption is on your phone’s “clipboard” so you simply need to paste it into the caption box.

You may not realize it, but your caption is on your phone's "clipboard" so you simply need to paste it into the caption box.

And there you have it! A step-by-step tutorial for posting your Instagram content with HootSuite.

Are you already scheduling your Instagram posts? If not, does this inspire you to do so?

Read now or pin for later! A step by step tutorial for using HootSuite to schedule your Instagram posts!

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Apps & Tools for Better Instagram Stories http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/04/apps-instagram-stories/ http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/2017/04/apps-instagram-stories/#comments Wed, 19 Apr 2017 04:55:12 +0000 http://mollymarshallmarketing.com/?p=10887 Instagram recently announced that they are boasting 200 million daily users of their Stories feature! (By contrast, in February, Snapchat announced they had 158 million daily users) So, do you know what this means? Stories are super popular, they are growing, and as they get more saturated (or “crowded”) you need to continually step up […]

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Read now or pin for later - use these apps to kick your Instagram Stories up a notch!

Instagram recently announced that they are boasting 200 million daily users of their Stories feature! (By contrast, in February, Snapchat announced they had 158 million daily users) So, do you know what this means? Stories are super popular, they are growing, and as they get more saturated (or “crowded”) you need to continually step up your game so your Stories will stand out.

If you aren’t already using Instagram Stories, it is time you start! If you are a total noob, you can read my step-by-step tutorial on how to actually create Instagram Stories.

If you’ve been using them, but feel like you don’t have a good direction or strategy, you should read my best practices for creating Instagram Stories.

If both of those sound like old hat to you, then this post is all about apps, tools, and creative ideas to amp up your content to the next level.

Create ‘Seamless’ Video with Storeo

You know this feeling: you are trying to look your phone camera dead in the “eye” and record a coherent thought in a 15-second clip for your Instagram Story, but you’re racing against that darn little countdown deal. Mid-sentence you start to wonder how close you are, so you look down, lose your train of thought, and realize that the little bugger ended who knows how long ago?!

Enter the new app: Storeo. With Storeo, you record your entire, amazing, value-packed thought. When you are done, you stop recording and Storeo slices it up into neat little 15-second packages for you that you can import into your Instagram Story.

As someone is watching your Story, it appears fluid and that wild, “crap, how much time do I have?!” look is absent from your eyes. Win!

Right now it’s only for iPhone. The free version has a significant watermark along the bottom, but for $8.99 you can remove the watermark forever. #worthit

Storeo splices your videos into 15 second increments for Instagram Stories

Add Logos, Watermarks & Custom Art with Over

While Instagram has a its own suite of tools to add bling to your Story photos, you may want to kick it up a notch from time to time. The app, Over, isn’t new but you’ve probably only thought about it for adding text overlay to your square photos. However, you can also use it to add custom flair to your vertical images for Stories.

Choose the "iPhone" option in Over to create images for Instagram Stories

Simply choose the “iPhone” option when starting your new project. This is typically used to create custom wallpapers and lock screens, but it also works great for creating vertical images for your Instagram Story.

Add Music with Flipagram

You may already use Flipagram to create square, looping slideshow videos for Instagram or Facebook, but did you know you can upload your vertical photos, too? Simply upload your vertical pics into Flipagram, and create your slideshow like normal.

Sprinkle on some extra fun by adding some music.

Keep in mind that when you export your slideshow from Flipagram, it really is a video. Therefore, it needs to be 15 seconds or less (since that is how long a video clip can be in Instagram Stories.)

After you’ve created your Flipagram and saved it to your phone’s camera roll, you’ll be able to access it from the Stories wizard.

Change Up the Format

Finally, let’s not overlook the tools available to you INSIDE the Stories wizard. If you always share images, consider changing it up with video or a Boomerang. I love Boomerang for adding simple movement to an otherwise stagnant Story installment.

What other tools or apps can you think of to spice up your Instagram Stories?

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