social media marketing

How To Make Your Instagram Accessible For Visually Impaired Community

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You’re posting on Instagram all of the time as part of your business marking plan and I know that you have seen the “ALT  text” when you are loading a photo. You’ve probably blown right past it when you are posting because why would you even bother, as far as you know Instagram does not offer SEO so what’s the point?

Instagram introduced the ability to add ALT text to photos in an effort to make the platform more accessible. Users can add their own custom ALT text that can be read by screen readers to assist those with visual impairments.

Right now, you’re thinking, “This is awesome, how do we use this feature professionally and assist those with visual impairments? “

The ALT text is NOT meant to be a  “copy and paste” of your Instagram caption. Instead, the ALT text should be used to describe exactly what is in your photo.

Think about it, Instagram is a VISUAL platform, and we certainly are not describing the photo in our caption. We are instead,  writing our marketing copy, sharing a quote or a story. The caption is the part screen readers are able to assist the users with, however, the user is missing out on the visual that accompanies it if you are not writing your own  ALT text.

Instagram wants everyone in the community to be able to interact with each other, including those with visual impairments. Keep this in mind, if you are not adding your own ALT text, know that Instagram will automatically generate  ALT text to your photo using their own technology. Their image recognition technology will scan your photo and write an ALT text for you. I encourage you to begin getting in the habit of writing your own ALT text before you post because the Instagram generated text is pretty generic.


The ALT text is your way of giving the user a full Instagram experience by understanding the complete context of both the photo and the caption. As a business owner,  you are now making your content, your product and yourself accessible to more people in the community. How awesome is that?!

An item to note: It is strongly recommended that ALT text be 125 characters or less to ensure compatibility for popular screen readers. The character limit for the ALT text on Instagram is 100 characters.

While researching and at the time of this publishing I did not find any solid evidence one way or the other that by also using the ALT text could mean that there is some sort of SEO associated with it on Instagram just yet. However, I have to believe that this is in the works if it does not already exist on at least a BETA level.  ALT text on images when using it on your website we know helps your SEO ranking on Google, which has me thinking that perhaps something like this is coming or again already exists to some level on Instagram.

How To Add ALT Text To A New Post:

  1. Upload your image as usual.

  2. On the Instagram caption page, press “Advanced settings”:

  3. Click “Write ALT text”: On Instagram you can write a maximum of 100 characters to describe what is in your photo.

  4. Write your ALT text and press “Done”


How To Add ALT Text To Your Old Photos:

You are able to and I encourage you to take the time to do so.

1. Select the photo you want to add ALT text to:

2. Click on the 3 dots “…” in the upper right-hand corner:

3. Choose “Edit”:

4. Press “Add ALT text”:

5. Write your ALT text:

6. Click “DONE”

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Tips on how to write ALT text from Perkins School for the Blind:

  1. Describe the image as specifically as you can.

  2. “Imagine someone is sitting next to you as you scroll through Instagram and they point at a photo and ask what it is. Chances are, you’ll give them a one or two sentence description that is perfect for writing as alt text” ( Perkins School for the Blind).

  3. Is there an important text on your photo (like signage or quote)? Write out the text.

  4. Keep your ALT text (relatively) short, 100 character limit on Instagram and 125 character limit on popular screen readers.

  5. Write who is on the picture (especially if you have a personal account). For example: “Jade sitting on her computer with a latte next to her.”

  6. Colors: “Don’t be afraid to share what colors are in a photo, if the color is important. A photo can be described as being in black-and-white, having warm or cool colors, or being tinted a certain color. Someone wearing clothes that are the main focus of the photo can write that they are wearing “dark denim Levi’s with a white t-shirt, Adidas sneakers with green earrings.”


What The Actual Eff Is A Target Market And How Do You Find Yours?

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When I have a virtual or in-person consultation about someone’s digital marketing needs, one of the first questions that I ask that potential client is, “Who is your target?”

A lot of the times the answer is, “ Well everyone and anyone that would want this yadda yadda product. “

Doh!

The internet is a big place Y'all and I’m sorry but not everyone and anyone is your target. Those are just the cold hard facts.

I know what you’re thinking right now, “Well Jade, what the actual eff is a Target Market and how do I figure out who my market actually is?”

The dictionary definition of Target Market is as follows "A particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed."

What a generic and simple thing right? It must just involve figuring out some simple demographics about the people I want to consume this product or use this service.

A target market is so much more than some simple demographics of 22-36-year-olds, dual income, no kids, in the city where you’re located. You need to actually figure out, what these people like to do, where are they hanging out, do they read or listen to podcasts, what makes them tick? Answering each of these questions plus a few more will help you create actual depth to the group of people you are trying to reach.

Once you’ve identified this group of people you can begin to talk to them through your posting and engaging by using the language they are actually using. You can begin paying attention to the trends that they are following and portray your content in a way that appeals to them and causes them to stop their scroll and read what you are actually talking about under your photo. Taking the time to research how your target moves, thinks and speaks through the world is going to help you sell more and sell it faster.

Identifying your target will also help when you are ready to outsource to someone like me by being able to tell me who we are talking too because I don’t want to cost you more money by talking to the people that we aren’t even targeting.

My homegirl Courtney of Creative Homeroom is a Jedi master of identifying your target market. This post of hers about the difference between Target Market and Ideal Client is a very quick and insightful read. Courtney and I are teaming up and teaching a three-part series of webinars on this actual topic and how to build your digital marketing strategy to reach them. The class is launching at the end of February. Please make sure that you are subscribed to the Maven Movement emails to be the first to know about the launch date and a discount!

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. 

 

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. 

Instagram Story Highlights

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Have you noticed that under your Instagram profile a space for your story highlights?  Instagram is copying Snapchats Memories feature and going a step further, by letting you create a permanent home to show off your best stories.  For the purposes of this post I am going to call this your "highlight reel" because it should be 3 or 4 of your best Instagram story slides. Images or videos that will help a potential customer or client really know the person behind the brand. 

If you are not using stories, I'm here to say that you really need to start.  This update reflects just how serious Instagram is about Stories. Though the company (which has gone months on end without significant app updates prior to Stories) has been spinning out new features for more than a year now, updates have barely touched profiles themselves. This is because a majority of the masses are posting well-curated images once a day. We as members were and are not posting nearly enough as Instagram wants, hence why stories came about. 

Stories highlights could help to convert more people into followers by teasing the types of stories that your brand posts. According to Instagram, 200 million people view at least one brand’s profile page on any given day, but two-thirds of those people don’t follow the brand. Now the brand can use Stories Highlights to show them more of what they’re missing. Stories highlights mean that you need to step up your stories game. I'm not talking every post needs to be perfectly filtered but the ones that you think would benefit you by living on your highlight reel need to be your A game material.

For example, if you are a brick and mortar store or a venue that people could rent out to host an event make a top-notch video tour as a story and have it live on your highlight reel.  Let people into your space show them something that you don't want to permanently live in your little squares. Another idea would be to create a story slide about an upcoming promotion or sale that you are having and allow that to live on your highlight reel.   Highlights is a place where you can really showcase more of your stuff, where you can let video live and actually tell a story in your voice about your brand.

Keep in mind as well that hashtags are searchable in stories. While you should only use one or two hashtags on a story slide make sure that they are a good one. 

If you want some personally tailored ideas on what to do with your highlight reel, holla atcha girl. 

5 Tips For A Money Making Instagram Bio

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 Let's discuss your businesses Instagram Bio. Your bio is one of the first things that a potential client or buyer is going to see. They are either going to find your bio by clicking over from one of your rad photos that showed up in their feed or they are going to type what you do into the Instagram search bar and find you that way.

Wait you didn't know that people can find you by typing what you do into the Instagram search bar? Well, I'm here to tell you that they can. You know that bold line right below your profile picture which probably says your First and Last Name right now. That is called the header and it's totally searchable in the search bar. 

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1. Header: Automatically Instagram will fill your header (name bar) in with whatever name you registered the account under. You should erase this immediately and instead write searchable keywords that describe your service, brand or product. This way you will show up when a potential client or customer begins a search of these words.  You have 30 characters to use in your header, make them count. 

2. Body: Tell your audience and ideal customer what you do right off the bat. Think of this space as your 20-second "elevator pitch" written in a sentence that you give at networking events. 

3. Personalize: You should have more than enough room and characters left to add one or two personal things about you after your "elevator pitch".  Include something personal about you like you love Target, an emoji of your favorite food or a pin of where you currently are. 

4. Call To Action: What do you want people to do next? Do you want them to click on your stories? Do you want them to click to download your e-course?  Whatever you want them to do you need to describe because...

5. Link: Whatever your call to action is this is the link to it. Promote your latest project, your opt-in offer, even just your website. This is the place you want new visitors to click and go down the rabbit hole of your business' world. 

The Instagram bio is the first thing I check out when I'm searching and find photos I like. Why? Because I'm nosy and want to see if I like all of their work and read a little about who they are. Instagram is a social network key is to make a good first impression and get some type of engagement started. Remember you only have 150 characters so make the most of it. Be clear, be strategic, be intentional. Your Instagram bio only has one purpose: tell your ideal client how YOUR brand can help THEM.

Cyber Monday Deal

 

 

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Cyber Monday is the day when most people just show up to work and are online for most of their day hunting deals. Well at least I did that when I worked my desk job in the corporate world, and I can't have been the only one.

I know that you have a long list of people that you are going to buy for but is your business on that list?  If not it should be, I know that you're over there starting to think about your 2018 goals and well I have an offer to get you started on all of your goal setting.

Through December 1st I am offering 25% off my social media assessment and strategy package. Included in this package is a 30 minute goal exploring phone call or Skype Meeting, 60 of your most interactive industry-specific hashtags, a written out posting strategy and a followup call or Skype meeting to answer all of your questions and discuss one on one. Total Investment: $225 

This package is curated to help you to stop posting just to post and instead have your social media posts creating leads for you to close more deals and make more money. All the work will be done December 20th so you will have time to celebrate the holidays, then start implementing all the strategies we discuss and kick off 2018 with a bang.

When you're ready, fill out the form below and let's get started on your 2018 business social media strategy. 

 

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Converting Your Social Media Following To Dollars

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If you are an online business, a service provider or a brick and mortar the number of followers that you have on social media really doesn't matter. Your business is not online to win a popularity contest, your business is online to gain exposure and put money in your bank account. 

Are the people following you even your ideal client? Are you getting into the feeds, and in front of your ideal client?  In this workshop, we will answer these questions as well as learn the basics of how to start converting your social media following from Facebook and Instagram into dollars. You are spending your valuable time on social media, let's start returning that investment into paying customers, and payment notifications instead of just "like" notifications. 

I am teaching an in person workshop in Portland on this topic

Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

You can sign up HERE hurry seats are limited.

20 Minutes To A Healthier Instagram

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Is 20 minutes really enough time to get something accomplished, to save your health to grow your social media engagement?  Today we are going to explore whether 20 minutes is actually enough.

Here's the deal we all bitch and moan about the "new" Instagram algorithm, which isn't even new anymore.  The current algorithm is now the standard, in Instagramming.   Here's the deal are you just double tapping on posts or are you actually commenting on the photos that you like?  If you answered that you are only double tapping you are wasting your own damn time. 

I get it, you actually like a photo but why do you like it? Do you like the photo itself or is it the caption that goes along with it? Does something that the person wrote resonate with you?  If you nodded your head to either of these things then why aren't you telling the person? Why did you only double tap and not write something? Are you afraid that you're going to sound like a cheeseball?  I get it, but guess what social media is about being social not just passing the time by looking at pretty photos. To the current algorithm it's not about how many likes a photo gets, it matters how many comments you get. 

Instagram is going back to it's roots, it wants people to ENGAGE. Yeah that's right I just yelled at you. ENGAGE with the masses.  My method for madness is 20 minutes of engagement a day. Set a timer and just start spewing your thoughts. I have a client that religiously does this 3 times a week and you know what their account gains on average 20 new unique followers and comments over night every damn time they engage.  

I get it you can't do 20 minutes a day, but I see you scrolling your feed at least twice a day and I know that you're just scrolling to waste time. Why not make that random scroll time work for you?  Five minutes waiting in line at Target, write 2 comments.  Getting a 20 minute pedicure, dammit you have no excuse comment while your toes are transforming, you are scrolling anyway. 

So in the end, Yes, 20 minutes of engagement is better than nothing. Stop scrolling to keep boredom at bay and start scrolling to build.  Any and every session of commenting contributes to a fitter audience, - and, very likely, happier - you! Just think that by putting in 2o minutes of commenting you are presenting yourself to an entirely new audience filled with potential new clients or sales.