How To Use Instagram Stories For Business

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As a business owner, we all know that we should be using Instagram stories more to show off the behind scenes and real life of our brands. Are you struggling with WHAT to show in your stories? HOW often should you add to your stories? And WHY your business should be using Instagram stories? In this one hour workshop, we will discuss all of this and more. Instagram Stories For Business is geared towards, e-commerce sellers, brick and mortar stores, and service providers. You will leave with a link to the digital playbook of ideas to help your business succeed instead of getting skipped over on Instagram stories. 

This is an in-person workshop in Portland, but not to worry if you don't live in Portland I have a plan for you as well. Stay tuned. 

For more information and to register click HERE.

E-commerce Brick & Mortar Holiday Social Media Strategy Sessions

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Wanna kickass this in your social media marketing this upcoming holiday season? Well, it is that time of year when I open up social media strategy sessions so you can have a kickass holiday season. I understand it is June, and you have plenty of other things on your mind like all the summer things. Nevertheless, you need to start your marketing efforts as early as September 1 to kickass this upcoming holiday season.

I know what you are thinking; I can hardly rock my regular time social media marketing campaign, do you think I can change it for the holiday season? Yes, and absolutely yes, I know that you can change your social media mindset for the holiday season because the holiday season is approximately six weeks where people actually want to be sold to. It is approximately six weeks where people are going to be spending money. Six weeks where those people that have no idea of what to get for so and so on their lists are looking to any place for inspiration. Why shouldn’t they be looking at your social media feed for their much-needed inspiration?

This program is written with both the e-commerce seller and the brick and mortar store owner in mind because both businesses have the same common denominator; to make some damn money from doing what they love. We are going to talk about your holiday marketing efforts on the big three: Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Typically, I meet in July or August with clients for tropical cocktails and to talk about all things holiday marketing. It is fun and productive at the same time. Strategy Sessions are two hours long and can be split up between two different meetings. Sessions can be virtual or in person. However, if it is virtual, you will have to provide your own tropical cocktail.

One on one social media support from me for the entire holiday season, roughly November 1st- January 2nd is included in your kickass social media strategy. You see, this means I am that girl in your corner, cheering you on and available for any social media question that might arise. I will be one email or phone call away. We will begin our efforts with the two-hour strategy planning and implementation meeting in July or August, and your strategy will be ready to launch on September 1st. You will receive the Kickass Holiday Social Media workbook which is full of tips and tricks for each specific platform along with a place to write your goals. Other benefits you will get include a personalized listing of industry-specific hashtags, a personalized calendar of your business’ holiday events, promotions and time frame of when exactly your postings will achieve the best reach and start turning those likes into dollars. The Kickass Social Media Strategy will focus on content for your business’ Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. Therefore, these accounts must be set up and in working order prior to our first strategy meeting.

The early bird rate is $450 for this entire package if you book it before June 20th. After June 20th, the price will increase to $575.

For specific questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I know you want your business to kickass this holiday season, and that is exactly what I want to help you achieve!

Ten Rad Nature Outdoor Phone Photography Tips For Social Media

 New Zealand Wildflowers by Aaron Courter

New Zealand Wildflowers by Aaron Courter

If you've been following my Instagram for a while then you know that one of my favorite things to do is escape to nature. I'm lucky that I live in an area of the country where amazing hikes are only a quick drive away.  While I was hiking around Banff I realized that a photo can never do justice to all the amazingness that Banff National Park is in person.  It prompted me to think about how I can take better photos with my phone in an attempt to capture the majesty of Mother Nature. 

My brand photographer's husband always takes these beautiful nature photos on their hikes so I asked him if he would be interested in offering some of his tips to my readers.

Without further ado, here is Aaron Courter of Aaron Courter Photography.

If you want an incredible outdoorsy Instagram feed, you may need to break a sweat!  Walking out to a visitors platform or designated lookout point is a great start but some of the most incredible things to experience will have you walking a bit deeper into the forest. 

Let’s take the Oneonta Gorge for example. To get to this magical spot you have to scramble an obstacle course of tangled logs and then wade through an ice cold waist-deep river. Worth it? Totally, even if you accidentally drop your phone in the water. 

Here are a few tips you can take with you on your adventure:

1. Lighting is one of the most important things to consider what chasing that scenery. Nature doesn’t sleep in like we do and rarely does the magic happen at noon. In the early morning or evening, the colors get soft, vibrant and more even for your photo. 

2. Leave Early. Not only will you get better light but you will also beat crowds of people, especially if you are doing a popular hike. Be selfish and the first one to drink it all in!

3. Take the iPhone photo now, edit it later. There are so many apps out there, and so many options. Get the exposure right, snap the photo, and then just be present in the moment. You don’t need to upload it right away.

4. Get lower, get higher. 99% of the Instagram photos you’ll see from a specific vantage point will be 5-6 feet high. Get on the ground and see how the perspective is different. Climb a tree, walk backward up the hill, or dip it in the water if your phone is water-resistant.

5. Prepare for the trip. Check your sunrise and sunset times on your weather app for the light. There are also some great apps that get more specific for weather, shadows and light (Lightrac, Goldenhour, Dark Skies) that are very precise.

6. Don’t be afraid of weather. Sometimes there’s drama in rain or snow that you don’t see when everything is just right. Nature is rugged and powerful so embrace her dark side.

7. If you saw it on Instagram already, do something different. Anything.

8. Shoot through something. Put a branch a foot away from your phone camera when you’re photographing the mountain. Vignette the waterfall with a fern. Use the side mirror on your car. Get the mountain reflection on the lake without the mountain. 

9. Get to know your camera app. For the iPhone, single tap for your on what you want in focus, then press and hold to adjust the exposure and lock it in. iPhone cameras are smart but we are smarter, so learn how to boss it around. 

10.  Rules are meant to be broken occasionally, but for the love of all that is holy in nature, don’t zoom in. The photo quality degrades quickly. Force yourself to learn good composition instead and move with your feet. 



What is your favorite hike in Oregon?

I won’t tell you my favorite, but my second favorite hike is probably Mt. Thielson in the Umpqua National Forest. The trail takes you up to a mountain peak that feels about 30 feet wide and breathtaking views of the Cascades. The Rowena Crest area is also beautiful in April and May with wildflowers and views of the mountains.

I know that you recently went to Patagonia, as a bucket list item, why was Patagonia a place that you wanted to go? 

I always knew their jackets were warm so I wanted to see where they were made. I was severely disappointed when I found that Patagonia was just a region in Argentina & Chile filled with rugged, remote mountains, incredible wildlife and delicious food.

What is a good family friendly hike in the Portland Metro area that still has excellent Instagramability?

I’m not sure about Instagramability, but there is so much to see in Forest Park, from the Washington Park side to the far end past Germantown road. Also, the book Portland Hill Walks, by Laura Foster is fantastic, with great hikes close in and up the west hills.

Do you ever shoot hiking photos with your iPhone or just with your fancy cameras?

I’m very particular and I love my Fujifilm X series cameras that are always with me. They are small, light, simple and do exactly what I want them to. I would rather be happy with the image quality and have the experience of a real camera than just using an iPhone. I’m used to looking at photos close up, and iPhone photos don’t usually cut it for me. I always admire what people can do with iPhones. The same photo principles apply!

What’s one hike you’ve seen on Instagram that you now want to do?

If I’ve seen it on Instagram, I probably don’t want to do it that much. But I do use Instagram to see what other people have seen, and what the light may look like at certain times of day or weather.

How do you find out about hiking spots? 

Recommendations from friends are helpful or if I'm looking for a new hike, or www.oregonhikers.org always has good info!

After you've edited your rad photos don't forget to add the location tags when you post them to your social media. 

Wedding Professionals And Social Media

 

Wedding professionals what would your business look like if you started having an influx of website traffic, were generating more leads and didn't have to lift a finger? Sound too good to be true? 

Hey, I'm Jade, and this is what I do. I develop social media strategy, research hashtags, create content and maintain the social feeds for weeding professionals just like you.  I hear it all the time, "What do I write for the caption of this photo? I've written, erased and re-written it three times." "My hashtags aren't reaching like they used to."  

I know that you have editing to do, albums to create, proposals to send out, styled shoots to prep for, recipes to test, couples to meet in person and a personal life to enjoy. Don't let the investment of outsourcing your social media hold you back from doing what you do best, create or capture a perfect wedding day for the happy couple.

Your social media feeds are your online resume to the world, channels that you want to keep up to date and relevant when newly engaged couples are searching for their wedding vendors.  I offer social media strategy and planning, social channel management, and social media engagement packages. If you're thinking to yourself that some of these examples sound like something you are in need of let's chat. 

Pinterest And Your Business

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Pinterest, you are on it scrolling for ideas of how to decorate your home, what to make for dinner and even what gifts to give.  Have you stopped to think about how your business could benefit from a better Pinterest presence? 

Get ready for some cold hard facts:
*    200 million monthly users
*    70% of users are female
*    60% have children under 5
*    98% try new things that they find on Pinterest
*     1 out of 2 people have purchased because they saw it on Pinterest
*    Pins can bring your website traffic for years to come

If you are female niched business, product or service wise and you currently have little to no Pinterest presence you are entirely missing your target audience.  Up until a few weeks ago, I was this girl. I was perusing Pinterest for fun until I went to a lecture and learned what exactly  Pinterest could do you for my business. Now I am practicing the methods they taught me every day, I know like any social media it will not be instantly successful that it takes time, but a whole new level of client hangs out on this platform. 

 To make Pinterest work for you though you need to think and define your target audience. Do they travel, what kind of food are they eating, what are they searching for on Pinterest? Answer your target audience’s lifestyle questions with a board and pin relevant content to it. 


How To Share Your Content

  1. PIn consistently, like every day
  2. Don’t be afraid of the number of pins you have. You won’t get dinged by the algorithm for having too much content. 
  3. Organize your content onto relevant boards
  4. Optimize your website for pin click-throughs by adding the pin button to blog posts or products. 

I shared a bunch of links to Pinterest articles I’ve read and methods that I am using to grow my boards in the latest Maven Movement email that comes out on Tuesdays. If you aren’t on the list, you might want to consider adding your name.  Also feel free to follow my boards as I add resourceful social media articles to them. I also am always looking for new inspiration and boards to follow, so if you have a business account drop a link in the comments. 

 

What Is Your Instagram Neighborhood?

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The best piece of advice that I got recently was to step back and look at Instagram as an entire city but with three neighborhoods.  This resonates with me because in case you don't already know I moved to Portland via Chicago.  Chicago is a very neighborhood centered city, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Pilsen to name a favorite few. The beautiful thing about big cities is the many different neighborhoods inside of them, each with their character, their feeling, their vibe. 

If you happen to live in a big city, think for a moment about the places that you tend to spend a majority of your time.  How many different neighborhoods do you frequent? Obviously, the area that you live in but are there others that you travel to for a particular coffee shop or a one of a kind gift store that you find that unique item for someone? 

Keep this in mind as we step back to look at Instagram the same way as we are looking at a big city. There are three diverse neighborhoods within Instagram, the feed, the stories and the lives. However, the one similarity amongst all of them is that they each require a neighborly manner to thrive.  You know where you reach out and chat with a person and aren't just lurking neighborhood watching them.  

The Feed

This is obviously the epicenter of the city of the Instagram city. The feed is where the perfectly curated posts and thoughtful words live.  The space that gets the majority of the friendly neighbor to neighbor chatting.  

The Stories

Stories are north of the city center and are a welcoming community that shows a more personal and attainable side. Stories is a place to show more of what your every day looks like and who you are as a person.  The problem here is like any neighborhood place you tend to frequent if you get annoyed with the oversharing that someone is doing you turn your head and avoid contact with them.  This neighborhood is an excellent place to people watch because everyone is doing their own then but conversations are hardly ever started. 

The Live

The Neighborhood that everyone says is up and coming. Realistically this feature should have taken off like gangbusters but over a year later it's still that up and coming place. Some of the neighbors here are still just not sure what to do with it yet.   

By now you have undoubtedly figured out which two neighborhoods are your favorites. The two favorites you should be posting to frequently the other it's ok to make a weekly or monthly commute to, but you shouldn't forget about it all together.  

 

State of Instagram: Recent Updates

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There are two updates which happened on Instagram that I am excited to share with you.

1. The ability to have active hashtags in your profile. Seriously go to your phone, edit your profile and add your business specific hashtag to your profile. Having your personalized hashtag in your profile is a  way for people that are in your profile to click on your hashtag and see an entire representation of your work in just one click.

 

2. Reposting in stories. While this feature hasn't rolled out to everyone yet, it slowly will. This isn't going to be one of those 10K to play updates.  When your account gets the feature, you will be able to share new feed content directly to your stories. This will eliminate the taking a screenshot of your feed, blocking out the photo or video as a preview to get them to click over. Followers will now be able to click the story slide and be directly taken to the content in your feed.

To see if you already have this feature on your post click the paper airplane and in the “Send To” your story feed should be listed below the Facebook Story button.  Click your story name button and send. It will prompt you to a new story slide and you can write whatever information you want on the slide and press the story send to button.

Analyzing Your Online Efforts

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If you are a business there is one intimate relationship that you need to be having. That is the relationship with your analytics. You should have an ongoing relationship with your Google, website and all active social media platform analytics. 

I know that you are out there reading articles about what is the ideal time to post to my account. While these posts aren't wrong in the posting times, they suggest just not work entirely toward when YOUR audience is active. The key to figuring out your ideal posting time is research, reading your analytic reports from Google and whichever other platforms you are focusing on. For example, you might be throwing all of your efforts into posting onto Instagram but you have 25% more traffic coming to your website from your Facebook page that you hardly ever update. This statistic should trigger in your brain to refocus your efforts and test for 5-7 days upping your Facebook posting habits to see if they remain the same, increase or decline. 

Every single one of the accounts I manage is different, some have a crossover on the niche, but each of their ideal clients is different and unique to them as a business. Therefore making the "sweet spot" of posting times different for each of them. I know this because I am in an intimate relationship with their analytics. I'm checking daily the report of the previous day, how many profile visits, how many website clicks, what time of day was this all happening. 

Social media isn't black and white it's a whole lot of gray. Things are continually changing, and you've got to regularly read your analytics and actively test to find what is working. If you're not you are wasting your time by putting in any effort at all.  I encourage you to peek your social media analytics, Facebook and Instagram will display for you your top three posts of all time. Take a look at them and study what is the same or different about them.  Study your location sources, I recently did an assessment for a client and the second and third most popular sources were coming from Canada which is a place we weren't even targeting, and the places we were targeting came in sixth and seventh. We had to refocus and study what we were throwing down and why we weren't getting the attention from the locations we were hoping too. 

It's tricky I wish there was an easier way but this online relationship is the most dramatic, active and complicated one your business is going to have, so you need to take the reins and make your efforts work with you not against you.  If not you're just wasting your precious time. 

The Power of Location Tags

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I am fresh off of Social Media Week Austin, and my head is full of ideas and information to pass along to you friends.  I have so many things to share with all of you in the next few weeks. However today I wanted to talk about how vital adding a location to your Instagram post is and how it will help you in the algorithm because we all want help in the algorithm right?

Let's begin with the way people search for information which is as follows:

1. Google

2. YouTube

3. Social Media

When I booked my travel to Austin for social media week, I decided to experiment for the sake of content and education. All of the things that I was going to do with my downtime in Austin was going to be determined by posts I had seen or were sent to me solely on Instagram.  I set up the  Austin Collection, and anytime I searched and found photos of things I wanted to eat, drink or experience I saved it to the group. 

The thing is by now we know that the Instagram Algorithm LOVES it when you are engaged and social in posts. Saving posts and sending posts to other people tells the algorithm that actual photo is interesting, and when said photo starts to get a bunch of saves and sends the algorithm starts boosting that post and account up to potentially appear on the elusive EXPLORE page. 

There are plenty of reasons why photos get saved and sent because they are beautiful, the caption speaks to the person reading it, or you know some other petty reason. What will help you so much if you have a stunning image along with a caption that speaks to someone is if you correctly tag the photo. People are now typing into the search bar the locations of places they are traveling to for ideas of things to do when they get there. Haven't you noticed when you'd been out and about that location with high numbers of social media posts attached to them are usually very busy? Location tagging is yet another form of word of mouth advertising.

As a business account, we naturally want as many eyes to find out photos that can, and we should be using every resource available to us to achieve this goal. Case and point location tagging your posts when you are out and about.  When I am about to try out a new place I tend to go straight to social media and check the geotag and any hashtags that revolve around an area I am about to visit. I love doing this for two reasons:

1. When I have saved a post and the geotag has the address that automatically opens up in my maps and allows me to navigate to it.

2. I am nosy, and I want to know what it looks like, how others perceive the place, I want to know if the area cares about how others are "advertising" for them and how they are "advertising" themselves.  By doing this, I have had my fair share of experiences of walking into a beautiful restaurant or shop and not having the most fantastic food, or experience that 100's of foodies or influencers posts said was terrific. 

 

While I was searching the Austin geotag this renovated airstream came up along with the person talking about how this was one of the most exceptional Air BNB experiences they had. I noticed that the airstream had its hashtag, so I began looking at all of the posts attached to it, and after reading a few more posts I moved over to Air BNB to see if it was available. If you are someplace that you think is amazing or you just took a really dope photo, make sure that you geotag and tag the place in the post. Your audience wants to know what you like, and you never know who is researching, saving and sharing posts for a trip or searching of ideas for new things to do in their town. 

State Of The Instagram Algorithm

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Extra, Extra read all about it the Instagram updates.  I'm going to break the changes down into three categories; post exposure, engagement, and hashtags.

Post Exposure
If you've been following along, you know that when you post something to Instagram, it may only be getting exposed to 10% of your audience. If your brand new post gets engagement right out of the gate, you're in luck because then the post will be released to the other 90% of your audience relatively soon. You've certainly seen posts from up to 12 hours to an entire day before showing up in your feed out of order.

Remember those comment pods that everyone was going crazy for in 2017? If you are still a part of these pods, they are not doing your account or the people that comment on your post any favors.  They are hindering you and here's why, Instagram keeps track of who is messaging your photo and when you message your own photo then you get a blow up of comments, well they know something is up.  Authentic engagement is what matters, not solicited but we'll get to that.

If you are posting like a business and thinking like a business why aren't you, in fact, a business account? Seriously, if you are in any way shape or form promoting your business but haven't moved on from a personal account, you are sabotaging yourself.  The time is now to switch over, there are so many perks, you have access to so many statistics to make sure that you are reaching your target audience. 

Engagement

Engagement is by far my favorite topic. I will never understand how accounts can post and post and post and never talk to their followers or another account.  This is a social network in 2018 it is no longer an option to post without engaging with others. In kindergarten, we all learned the golden rule of playing well with others. Let's think of your new golden rule is to engage well with others.  One of the most frequent questions I get asked is if it's ok to engage once a week? No, you should be commenting and chatting for at least 20 minutes every day with your following and other accounts that are using your hashtags.  20 minutes is vital because you want to raise your exposure and engaging with others helps this so much, 
In your 20 minutes of engaging, please do not leave comments such as, "great pic" "love this" or just a single emoji. It's a waste of time because with comments like this the algorithm will think that you are a bot.  Instead, write a complete sentence or at least four words before an emoji. 
Storying is another excellent way to bump up your engagement and pop up more in peoples feeds.  The stories that appear first in your feed are the accounts that you engage with the most.  Story more often and give people a reason to see you first. 

Hashtags
I know how you love to keep your caption aesthetically pleasing and post the hashtags in the comment.  Well, I'm sorry to say that based on my own experience the reach is better when hashtags are posted in the caption.  Include hashtags in the body of your caption if you want to be seen by more than 10% of your audience. This change has been fluid for about a year. To make this work for you instead of against you, write your epic caption, six dots than your hashtags. 

While you can use 30 hashtags in a post, don't do it every time. If you do, make sure that you are switching them up. Instead, consider three sets of ten hashtags and alternate them with filler tags relevant to your photo.

What could be seen as spam comments= shadow banning which = little to no business which = little to no money. 

New Features

There are also some awesome new features that will work in your favor.  You've seen the explore feed, the specially curated collection of posts based off of your interests and the people you follow.  Well, people that you do not follow that share interests with you will begin to show up in your feed. Yep, that's right strangers will begin popping up in your feed, which in turn means that you will be popping up others feeds. This is great because when you comment on these photos you will be exposed to a new following of people. 

At the end of last year, it was rolled out that you could begin to follow hashtags. This is one feature that totally brings me so much joy because gone are the days of typing certain hashtags into the search bar to interact with. The rumor is that your account will be favored if you follow hashtags. Start small, consider following your top five favorite hashtags. 

That's all I got for you so far, I am working on the Facebook update post because there are so many things about to change over there.