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.”


Creating Scroll Stopping Content Takes Practice And Commitment

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I have a membership to the Japanese Garden here in Portland, and I find myself there pretty much once a week. The thing that inspires me the most somedays isn’t the garden it’s self, it’s when I see young children with their cameras. I was there early one morning, and this family was beginning to walk through the gate when the young boy of probably 5 or 6 yelled at them all to stop and turn around to look at him in front of the entrance. I stayed behind him because I didn’t want to ruin his shot and watched as he brought his blue v-tech twist camera up to his eye and took the photo of them. He turned to me and said thank you and who I’m assuming was his mom smiled and said thank you as well.

My heartfelt light because this is the future practicing and honing in on their photography skills.

For as long as I can remember I have had a camera on me. I by no means consider myself a photographer, but I’ve always been documenting my memories by taking photos of landscapes and objects. There’s a photo that my grandma took of me, and I have to be about three years old in my uncles' bedroom at their house with his camera around my neck, a baseball hat on backward and I had arranged all of my stuffed animals on his bed to take photos of them.

The biggest joy that I got when I had my vintage business was arranging and styling the products showing how they could be worn or used in today’s world. I would spend hours creating the perfect flat lay or hiring a model for an afternoon and styling them in different looks and locations around the neighborhood. I would say that becoming a content creator was in my DNA since I was basically doing it since before the world even knew what a content creator actually was.

The key to creating good social media content like anything else is practice. Creating scroll stopping content doesn’t just happen in one click of the shutter or typing one narrative of your brand. Scroll stopping involves practice styling objects and assessing the light and angles when taking the photos. Good content means writing run on captions, then re-reading them and trying to get to the point faster. Remember you have 3-7 seconds to capture a users attention to get them to stop and read what you have written.

After you have posted your work, let it sit for 72 hours then go back to it and evaluate what part of the post got the most engagement. Was it the photo itself or was it that you wrote something extremely personal or was it that you let your sarcasm out?

Excelling at content marketing involves so much practice, testing, tweaking and then testing again. You really do need to know what it is that your target market is wanting to see or hear from you. The only way to clearly identify this is through committing to practice creating and evaluating your great content.

Ten Reasons Why I Love Squarespace For Your Businesses Website

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Many new and startup businesses frequently ask, “Which platform should I use to build my website on? Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly?”

I’ve helped out on clients WordPress sites and if you need something that is totally customizable and has the budget to pay someone to continuously update your website for you this is an excellent platform. Wix and Weebly I haven’t even peeked at, but I know that they can be functionally straightforward when you are first starting out. Squarespace, however, is my team’s jam. I don’t want to try and convince you to change platforms because that’s not what I do. However, I will share with you my top 10 reasons that I love Squarespace for business and suggest it to clients and people that ask me the inevitable platform question.

1. You have the complete capability to blog on Squarespace which I know is important to you. The super rad part about it is that Google gives a bit more of an edge on the internet to Squarespace hosted sites, and especially to Squarespace hosted sites that are keeping their content up to date.

2. There are so many sleek, sexy and modern templates on Squarespace that we won’t need to build much out. Which will be the most cost effective for you and more accessible for you to maintain on your own.

3. It’s easy for a non-techie person to make tweaks updates on their own without calling the web designer all the time to change something out. If you are having trouble figuring it out on your own Squarespace offers LIVE Chat 7 days a week from 8am-9pm, and if you have a question outside of that time frame, they respond to your email in 24 hours. Their customer service is top notch.

4. Squarespace will cost you around $200 for the year to host. You can pay that all upfront or you can be billed monthly.

5. When you begin hosting events, workshops, and classes that you want people to pay for right away, these events can live on your site and are able to take payment right there. You won’t have to pay any extra processing fees or send them to an Eventbrite link or anything like that.

6. There is an add on to have a contact link for your social media profiles that can send your people to 3 different pages on your site. None of this Linktree links stuff that doesn’t even say your businesses name. (Check out mine on Instagram to see what I mean.)

7. Loading SEO and backend search terms are super simple, and Squarespace will automatically update to any crazy internet regulations, such as the GDPR initiative that happened in 2018.

8. The analytics are easy to read and understand and give you what you need without also adding in and going over to Google Analytics.

9. You can have a button for people to book a consultation with you right there on your site.

10. I have two Squarespace sites of my own and have built for other people, so when we’re at lunch, and you ask me a random question about your website out of the blue, the possibilities are better than I’ll know how to answer it!

Spring Cleaning Your Content: When To Recycle Vs. When To Create

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The spring equinox has happened which means that it’s time for all of the spring cleaning to happen. Spring cleaning your house, your car and even your social media feed. Today we’ll talk about reducing your time spent creating new content by reusing and recycling what you already have working for you.

The old Earth Day saying goes “Reduce Reuse Recycle” and spring is the perfect time to put this plan into motion for the content on your social media feeds so you can enjoy the incredible weather that I know you’re itching to get out from behind your computer to go and enjoy.

REDUCE the time that you spend creating content, meaning glance back through your feed to see what posts performed well and REUSE them. Decide what people liked, the message or the photo and reuse that. People are afraid to reuse content which I don’t completely understand, especially if that content is at least 100 days old. I’ll be the first one to tell you that most of your ideal clients are not going to remember if they saw that same photo on your feed previously.

If the post has a message that you want to bring back to your target copy and paste the caption and add a different photo. Remember that the marketing buzz is people need to hear or read something SEVEN different times before they will act on it.

When you are RECYCLING content just be conscious of changing up something about it up. I’m sure that you have learned or experienced something in the time since it originally posted to update the caption and always update the hashtags. No need to have the exact same photo attached to the exact same hashtags.

There is an excellent app that I use to “regram” because I am all about reducing time. What I enjoy about this app is you don’t get that icky looking transparent gray box with the original posters screen name on it. However, with that being said if you are EVER reposting someone else's content make sure to credit the original poster in the caption with “Regram: @Insert_User_Name”.

Spring is also an excellent time to create new content. The spring light is way better than that harsh winter light and I don’t know about you but my creativity feels more inspired with the sunshine. It’s probably all of the vitamin D. Block off time to style and create new product photos, or grab a coffee, get outside and walk around a different neighborhood with your phone or camera and take photos of things that are relevant to your brand that you can use later on in your marketing efforts down the road.

To wrap, reduce your valuable time by reusing and recycling previous well-performing content especially the messages that you want to stick in your ideal client/customers brain. They need to hear/read these messages seven times before they will act.

The Social Media Apocalypse What's Your Digital Marketing Back Up Plan

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The social media apocalypse of Facebook and Instagram being down is happening. It’s March 13, 2019, Mercury in retrograde and we’ve been experiencing the biggest meltdown in social media history.

Since 8am PST people around the globe have been unable to get into both Facebook and Instagram. At the coffee shop today the world seemed a bit quieter, people are having these things called conversations with each other instead of being preoccupied with snapping a quick picture of their latte to put on their Instagram story. (Ahem I am guilty of this as well, sometimes.) I don’t know if this is because we are all secretly freaking out just a little bit.

I will say that I have enjoyed the silence of only having to focus on other digital marketing platforms for my clients that do not include a member of the “Facebook Family” for one day.

The real question we should be asking is, “ Will Facebook and Instagram be back tomorrow?” Honestly, that could happen. We could wake up tomorrow with the same messages on our pages, or they could be erased forever. As of this posting Facebook, reps are saying, “Facebook is down for required maintenance. We will be back soon.” Historically when huge expansive platforms such as Facebook and Youtube have done an update it’s only been 1-3 hours, as of this writing we are going into hour number 12.

If this outage has taught us anything it should be to not put all of your eggs in one basket. I’ve been saying it in talks and to clients since the first Zuckerberg Senate hearings, start thinking about your digital marketing backup plan.

If these platforms do not exist tomorrow, do you have access to your customers? Do you know your customer's email addresses and how to get in touch with them? The only real channels that are guaranteed for you to directly communicate with your customers or clients are your blogs and your email campaigns. I know these are such a pain in the ass to do. These digital marketing campaigns actually take a bit of time, I get that. You can’t post a pretty picture and write an emotionally touching caption to get your message out there. But you should start considering a plan B.

There are other great platforms to build a presence on as well Youtube and Pinterest are two that if you are not already tinkering around on you should at least begin investigating.

Lately, I’ve been pushing current clients toward my Pinterest management package because it is a powerful search engine that as of right now I don’t see going anywhere but up. The power of brand awareness that Pinterest offers is incredible if you know how to use it. Start here, you already have amazing photo content of your products which is half the battle, because you have been posting those awesome images to Instagram. Just start posting them with a good description to Pinterest as well.

Consider blogging as well, if you are a service based business or a product based business you have things to say, things that your target market IS searching for.

I am really thinking positive that the “Facebook Family” figures it out and that we are back in action soon but then again if they don’t we’ll figure it out. We are in this together.

Why Your Business Needs a Digital Marketing Strategy


This week the lovely Jamie Teasdale of Propel Business Works  is sharing why having a digital marketing strategy is extremely important to really reach your target market and put more money in your bank account. Jamie’s expertise is creating digital marketing strategies and plans for businesses. This post has some seriously great information! Be sure to follow Jamie on social media using the links at the bottom of the post!

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Social media and blogs aren’t just for personal connection any more. Online communication is where the masses are. It’s where people are spending their time. That’s why your business needs a digital marketing strategy. According to the 2015 census 78% of U.S. households have a desktop or laptop computer, and over 74% have a mobile device. That’s an incredible statistic and it makes sense knowing how quickly we have adopted online communities as our new normal place to connect, interact, and find services and products we need.


It also means your audience, your clientele, your target market is there. Whether they are searching for an answer, clicking through ads that caught their attention, visiting an application to catch-up on relationships, shopping for something, leaving a review, or a plethora of other reasons, I guarantee your customer is online. It might be via a mobile, tablet or desktop device, but they ARE congregating with the masses – and they’re coming in hourly droves, sometimes even more frequently.

So, marketing to them where they are makes sense, right? That’s where digital marketing comes in. Digital marketing is different from physical marketing like print materials, signs, brochures, handouts, flyers and other pieces of collateral you have designed and printed. Digital marketing is virtual. It is marketing via communication to your target customer digitally where they are showing up online.

Having A Strategy Is Vital

Marketing in general can’t be done with a half-baked strategy or it will fall short or even fail completely. Spending money and time on marketing materials or support without first knowing who you’re talking to, what they need to hear, how often they should hear it, and how it should be presented is just a waste of valuable resources. (Tweet This)

Do you realize there are different demographics on different online sites? The people who show up on Facebook aren’t necessarily on Twitter or Snapchat. There is a specific and substantial reason for certain businesses to have a presence on Pinterest or on Instagram. Is your business one of them?


What A Strategy Should Include

A solid, researched, and customized-to-your-business digital marketing plan will tell you who you should be targeting and where you should be showing up in order to reach them. 

It will map out the types of emails you should be sending and how often, not to mention what posts you should be sharing, whether on your blog or on a social platform or directory. 

A unique plan will outline the best frequencies for communicating and will lay out your company’s style of communication so you and your team have a reference point every time something is sent out across the wifi waves.

Your plan should be easy to trust and should get your marketing ball rolling in the right direction so you begin increasing awareness, fans, and sales. But be sure to keep your eye on analytics, too. Monitoring what is working and what isn’t will propel your communication to improve.

Where To Start

I always tell clients to just start. All the research and planning can be an activity you pursue during your business planning sessions, or monthly strategy meetings. It isn’t rocket science and tools are available to us nowadays that were never more accessible or affordable.

If you already know who you are and where you need to be, start with one social site. Learn it. Become consistent on it. If you can blog, even once a month, that activity will fuel your social communication and get your creative juices flowing. How to layer on one marketing approach after another will depend on your business and industry, but don’t feel like you need to jump on all platforms or tackle all of the communication opportunities available to you all at once.

When you find yourself too busy with orders or doing the thing you do that you can’t handle all the planning and management that goes along with a digital marketing strategy, we’re here, ready, and eager to help. After all, this is OUR juice. It’s what we love to do and we happen to do it well!

Cheers to a strategic future ahead!

Jamie Teasdale

Propel Businessworks


Jamie’s professional experiences have instilled exceptional customer service and high standards into everything she does. A music and art enthusiast and animal lover, she has been a marketing junkie since before she can remember. For 10 years her passion for developing and energizing the visions of small business owners was ignited and she hasn’t looked back since.

Jamie’s professional experiences have instilled exceptional customer service and high standards into everything she does. A music and art enthusiast and animal lover, she has been a marketing junkie since before she can remember. For 10 years her passion for developing and energizing the visions of small business owners was ignited and she hasn’t looked back since.

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!

Unlock The Power Of The Link In Your Social Media Profile

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What would you do if you woke up one morning to a notification on your social media that your profile contained a link that is not allowed? Because well it can happen. Instagram and all of the other social media platforms can reserve the right to restrict specific content that it feels is going against their community standards.

However, I will reiterate again that, any social media platform can do whatever they want. They exist because at the end of the day the platforms are business’ too. Just like you as a user that is on social media as part of your marketing plan to get your name out there to make money.

I’m not trying to hate on linktr.ee, in fact, the premise of it is excellent. You only get one link in your social profiles, but you have multiple things going on. I totally get it. But link tree is a 3rd party service, and we already know how Instagram feels about 3rd party services.  

The link on any of your social media is prime real estate and  SHOULD list your website. Say it with me now, “the link on any of my business profiles should be my website, not http://linktr.ee/yadayadayada. “ 
You want your business to become known, and the best way to do that is to have your business’ name in as many places as possible.  Plus when you have control of YOUR link, you have the power of the branding.

I know you’re thinking, “But Jade, what should I do instead?” Well, you should create your own optimized landing page. Since my team offers Squarespace sites and not Wordpress, Wix or Weebly I only know that you can do this in Squarespace because that’s the link that is sitting on all of my personal and my website clients social media profiles.  However, with a quick Google search, I have found that is, in fact, possible to also create an optimized landing page on Wordpress.

If you have a Squarespace site already up and running but are using linktr.ee on your social profiles let a girl help you out and create an optimized landing page for you to link on your social profiles.  If you are pondering a website overhaul or update and flipping between which platform is best, I’ll say Squarespace any time. Especially if you aren’t super tech savvy.
 

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!