If it's not on Instagram, did it really happen?
Fact: social media is the quickest, fastest, most direct and authentic way to reach your audience.
With over 80% of Instagram accounts following businesses, it is safe to say that if you're not on the gram, you better get on it now. Especially since you can now schedule your Instagram posts, with Instagram partners like Planoly and Hootsuite.
Earlier in February,KSOLE and I flew to Phoenix to attend The Workshop, a conference by Bloguettes. The two-day conference covered a range of topics such as content creation, social media marketing, small businesses, how to start a podcast and so much more. With over 30 different workshops to choose from, there was plenty of knowledge to go around. After all, who doesn't want the secrets to increasing your followers, engagement rate, and taking better pictures?
Even after being a full-time blogger for over three years, I believe you can never stop learning and with social media continually evolving, you also can never know too much. Therefore, I'm sharing 5 ways to grow your brand with tips from selected sessions from The Workshop.
1) Take Advantage of Instagram Stories
"The more successful your stories are, the more your content gets boosted in the algorithm." (Priscilla Castro, Planoly)
Build a connection with your audience and let them know that you're human. From behind the scenes of your photoshoots to polling the audience on what you should wear tonight, IG stories is one of the greatest ways to interact with your community. Best part? It won't ruin your feed and with the "Swipe Up" feature (for 10K+ accounts), you can maximize your website traffic.
But before you jump on and start talking about how you spent half the day stressing over deadlines, let's cover a few best practices for stories:
- Keep stories short, sweet, concise, and above all, engaging. The recommendation is 8-10 stories (at a time) so pick and choose wisely on what you want to post.
- Be authentic. Don't put on a show for the gram because people will see right through that shit.
- Practice good storytelling. Is it actually a story? Do all the clips make sense together or are you all over the place?
- Share your favorite content with your audience, give shout-outs and show support to those you enjoy following (in an authentic way; not the #FollowFriday engagement groups some people have been doing lately).
- Lastly, don't post just photos! Integrate your videos, boomerangs, and stop-motion content as well.
Examples of IG stories content include (but aren't limited to): free downloads, exclusive promo codes, BTS, lookbooks, travel tips, latest decor find, sales, and business hacks.
2) Embrace YOU; Be Authentic.
"How would our blog and business transform if we stopped being so afraid of showing up?" (Julie Solomon, Founder of The Influencer Podcast)
It can be easy to get caught up in the comparison game and even easier to copy other bloggers. But what works for them doesn't mean that it'll work for you because we all have different audiences.
People follow you for who you are, underneath the pretty photos and witty captions. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Yes, they'll be Internet trolls and some rude ass people out there, but there are also thousands of others who are going through whatever you are and knowing that they're not alone matters. You really never know who you're inspiring!
If people can relate to you, they'll most likely follow you, so dump the fear and show up for them and for you.
3) Work Smarter, Not Harder
"There's a difference between bad habits and bad days." (Holly Bohn, See Jane Work)
There are two things that I've learned while running my own business and that is, skipping sleep is stupid and if you've seen it done, it can be done.
There is no such thing as "I don't know how to" anymore, especially with Google at your fingertips. I know we often joke around and say that "there's an app for that" to whatever it is you're looking for, but on the real, there probably is. If there isn't, there goes your million dollar idea.
Taking time out of your week to actually plan out your Instagram feed for the week, saves you a tremendous amount of stress. As much as we like to think that our day-to-day schedule will go accordingly, the truth is, it never does. The last thing you want is to be out, end up having no signal or wifi, and not being able to post during the given timeframe the campaign guidelines required. Yeah, I've been there more than once and it was not fun.
So if you haven't heard of Planoly, get on it. It's the only app I use to schedule my posts, my client's posts, and guess what, it auto-posts for you! Need I say more? Just go download it now.
4) Engage not Enrage
Engagement is more important than ever because of how saturated Instagram now is. It's hard to get noticed; imagine yourself at a party where you know nobody and all you end up doing is standing in the corner or playing with the dog all night. Somewhere along the way, we forgot that social media is indeed a social networking tool and instead of interacting, we're just publishing.
Likes and comments are cool but developing a solid community that talks back to you, should be the goal. Instagram connects so many people around the world and I've met some of my closest friends from it (like Krista & Lindsey in the photos below).
We should be reminded to stay humble and authentic, especially when all anyone seems to care about is how many followers they have. Loop giveaways are slowly fading, thankfully, but the increasing number of disingenuous #FollowFridays are frightening. In all honesty, to each their own, and whatever floats their boat but I rather have the connection with my audience than 100K+ of people who just scroll and stare.
Overall, social media marketing is a progressive industry that's going to keep changing. Therefore, there's always going to be something to learn and if you aren't keeping up, you're going to get left behind.
I am grateful that The Workshop had me attend and glad that even KSOLE learned a few things. Most importantly, he learned that this sh*t ain't easy (haha).
Huge thanks to Reagan and the Bloguettes for having me!