Instagram #Social Savvy Visuals Wow

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. [via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instagram]

Instagram is where savvy businesses focus outreach.

  1. Instagram via the PC or a smart phone application is free
  2. Integration with Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Flikr and Mixi is easy
  3. Sharing is fast and efficient
  4. Filters transform mediocre mobile photos to professional looking snapshots
  5. Current Instagram monthly active users surpass 200 million just behind Twitters 255 million
  6. Instagram management believes growth will soon eclipse 1 billion
  7. Multiple ways to reach your target audience with video, text and photos
  8. User growth doubles every year
  9. Facebook owns it
  10. Two-thirds of Instagram users are outside the United States of America
  11. It’s fun to use

Instagram profiles are neglected, so are posts highlighting important calls to action.

Do visitors know what you do, who you are or what services you offer?

What does my profile say? Instagram

Instagram profile photo

My desire is that you know right away what I do and where to find my services.

Business growth begins as a desire from a customer.

Instagram forges a connection between personal and business. Customers know you are real, that your passion is making them happy and that you exist in many forms. Not many like fake people or fake business do they?

Tips and savvy outreach ideas:

  1. Complete your bio with relevant information, your website is a must
  2. Include informative text with each video and photo
  3. Ask for a double tap
  4. Share offers and discounts
  5. Use Instagram direct for privately shared photos or videos
  6. Run contests and giveaways
  7. Use hashtags
  8. Promote local success stories
  9. Take candid photos of your pets to share once in a while
  10. Develop a unique short hashtag for your business
  11. Post a photo of your QR tag
  12. Make a video of walking in to your location from the street right into the front door
  13. Have fun with photos, be goofy and keep a smile on your face
  14. Like others photos to engage your customers

 

 

Unplug and Look Up

Unplug your device, live your life. We don’t need to be socially connected all the time. Watch and see why we miss so much when glued to technology.

Gary Turk is a 27 year old writer, director and spoken word performer. He is the creator of the YouTube film ‘Look Up’, which has gained over 45 million views and has gone on to be a international hit. Watch his video below, then unplug for a while, live your life.

5 Socially Adaptable Web Efforts

Web authors reach audiences with strong, clear positive messages. Customers are who we strive to reach within the ever morphing web-o-sphere.

Social media networks change, it’s inevitable.

It seems like every few months social networks change dimensions, add new features or create new ways to share. Some just go away – poof….

What’s a person to do?

Here are 5 or 7 socially adaptable efforts:

  • use paid advertising on a rotating basis
  • focus on core marketing objectives
  • follow common sense rules
  • be nice, courteous and complimentary
  • outreach with a solution
  • remain actively engaged
  • don’t place all your eggs in one social network basket

Social networks are businesses, right! Advertising is how they make money, so use it. Your advertising budget doesn’t have to be huge, experiment and spend what you can afford, you may be surprised at the result.

Remaining focused on core market objectives keeps you moving toward goals instead of focusing on how the changed social network impacts you. Flip it and focus.

All networks have rules, so follow them. It makes common sense.

Being nice, courteous and complimentary is memorable because you make people feel welcomed, comfortable and valuable. People remember how you make them feel and will come back for more if they like that feeling.

I dont always socialize

Solutions to problems are what many customers seek. Retain customers and gain more by using outreach with a solution in mind.

Actively posting, listening with response and conversation will keep you involved, informed and ready to garner new or old customer attention.

Changes to social networks is expected, they are afterall in business to make money with a desire to adapt to changes in our behaviour. Keeping all of your efforts to one social network is tricky because not all of our customers are just on one network, are they? There are nuances to Twitter that don’t apply to Facebook that don’t apply to Google Plus. So being on a couple networks spreads your business awareness to more than one playing field. If that one network merges with another or just goes away or loses popularity your game can still continue.

Why shouldn’t social networks change?

Social network evolution is a means to improve.

How do you confirm details of social network changes.  Some sources include Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Social Media Topics at Alltop and Google. Most social networks themselves have information available to determine recent changes such as image sizes and post parameters.

What’s your thought on this topic. I’d love to hear what you have to add. Please speak your mind and post a comment below.

 

 

 

Social Network Etiquette for the TMI Drama

Too much information with social sharing is a filter many users need help with. Filtering drama, arguments, opinions and controversy within social networks comes with its own dose of patience.

We don’t want to know that Aunt Mary’s toe is infected, or that our friend Sue and her significant other broke up again for the tenth time.

Social network drama – it’s everywhere. How you handle it is the question.

 

social-media-sharing
Photo Credit: ePublicist via Compfight cc

Our friends lacking a filter for too much information are our friends after all. Strangers who ride the drama roller coaster on the other hand can be unfollowed, unfriended or blocked. It’s simple unless it’s your friend creating and posting it all the time, then it’s a trickier decision.

You can flat out tell the drama curator that you are unfollowing or unfriending them. No explanations are needed. Or just do it, chances are they may not realize it happened. What if that’s not an option because their social connections are so small.

Drama filters:

  • Realize the drama doesn’t impact you so don’t read it, scroll past the post fast
  • Use the block user setting
  • Ignore posts
  • Take a deep breath
  • Find happiness in rainbow photos
  • Don’t envy

Humans are imperfect, we all make mistakes. Do we have to share them with the whole social sphere though?  If you find yourself tempted to post TMI and you are hesitating, listen to your inner voice and wait an hour. Maybe you’ll find the emotional trigger for the drama has passed and thankfully you didn’t tell Aunt Mary to stick her toe business elsewhere.

Many socially unconnected people have found friendship and conversation within their web connected network. Maybe there isn’t anyone else to speak to nearby for the venting they need to do. Let’s take the high road and use some of the drama filters above to get past it all.

My Dad used to say if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it. Advice I try to follow.

What are your thoughts? Do you have anything else to add?

Flaws with Social Media

Yes there are flaws with social media, if you don’t see the flaws maybe you aren’t looking at social media posts from others, just your own.

What social media flaws should you avoid:

  • Accusatory/derogatory/mean posts
  • Misspelled/ALL CAPS/hard to read posts
  • Repetitive/sell sell sell/slimy intention posts
  • Nude/food in your teeth/stain on your shirt photos
  • Lying/bragging/false information anywhere
  • Narcissistic/me me me/mine mine mine language
  • Stalking/trolling/bullying/stalking – it is just wrong
  • Theft of content/theft of photos/fighting – don’t steal or fight online ever
  • Teenagers without monitoring/kids promoting drugs/sexy inappropriately staged photos – if I’m friends with your parent I will call them, you should too!

Need I continue?

Sadly we all know more than a few people who ask almost daily “did you see my post or photo or status update?”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time my answer is no, and I strategically ask them why. The question of why is powerful because it will help you to find out if it was a good post, bad post or if was just some exciting news you happened to miss.

Narcissism is fierce on the social web. Many users selfishly think people are reading and studying their every syllable, photo and check ins all the time. I recently showed an unnamed person how to view the news feed on Facebook – astonishingly they had no idea. For the past year they’ve only looked at their own timeline, not anyone elses waiting for comments and likes in frustration.

Shockingly certain friends stalk my various social media posts. Trust me I’m as boring as they come but it doesn’t help people from telling me personally how happy they are that x happened or that my photo of x was funny.  My comments are usually wow or thank you and immediately I ask how often they stalk my posts if it’s frequent enough.

Stalkers are creepy so if you do it stop. 

Oh and to freak out any stalkers who don’t think there is a way to see if someone views your Facebook page, yes there absolutely is a way to find out.  You have to know quite a bit about web coding and how to see the source of a page, then find specific numerical referencing to determine who views your page. So I know you’re stalking me and yes it’s very creepy.

Enough on stalkers.

Be professional, put your best stuff on the social web.  The more you represent your best self, the better you become.

So what to do?

Educate, teach, share in person also and be happy you know the formula.

Here is the social media formula. Help prevent flaws.

[Image] + [Engaging question] + [Call to action] + [Link]

You really can’t mess it up.

Please share this content below using one of the social media buttons. You may head off a stalker or help someone how to be better socially.

 

 

13 terrific social media business tasks

Social media is here to stay.

And, while interactive marketing has taken the lead in harnessing its power business can no longer afford to ignore it.

Core business social media to-do list:

1) Schedule posts frequently at popular social media times to get noticed more often

One of every ten self promoting posts should be you directly selling your business. The other nine posts should be conversational, pull ideas from the list below.

2) Use emotional words instead of boring

Words such as fabulous, extraordinary, terrific, never, exceptional, unbelievable, rogue, blatant, intrigue, mastery, and unreal do not need to be explained. They trigger emotion where you can plant your seed idea to trigger a sale at some point in your conversation.

3) Attract customers

Make it obvious why they need you because no other business will suffice.

4) Tell truths

Lies do not sell long term. A basic fact you know already.

5) Give advice

Good advice is memorable.  Helpful advice solving customer problems is the best kind.

6) Promote customer accomplishments

Niceties matter, they’re often returned and often remembered.

7) Be professional

The impression you make is sticky.  Make your impression the best, as often as possible.

8) Build authority

Authority builds reputation.  Reputation changes over time. Reputation built on authority lasts longer, like cement.

9) Engage customers actively, not passively

Customer opinion and conversation drive business.  Opportunity to have conversations, discussions and debate is prevalent.  Dive in and acquire new prospects.

10) Ask questions

Questions trick a response by offering solutions with your reply.

11) Be responsive and convert to value

No one likes to be ignored, write your response to convert a valuable proposition and sale.

12) Accept criticism, repair with solutions

Accepting criticism brings insight to solutions. Some of the best lessons learned are those we fear.

13) Follow, friend and acknowledge competitors

Know when competitors have sales, run yours the week before, during and after. Business that sell more survive longer.

14) Over deliver

Over deliver on what you said you would do. When customers get more than they expect in terms of satisfaction, a return is likely.

Most items listed seem simple enough, right?

Why?

You focused on succeeding.

Success follows those with a passion, especially when backed by truth.

The best business competitor will fail if dedicated to squashing you.

Over time, your business social presence will improve.

When?

That’s up to you.

If I have inspired you, call me to share your success.  Afraid to call, subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Businesses who neglect social media miss business opportunities.

I love feedback; please leave your comment below.

Time and billing social media value

I recently read the e-book Breaking the Time Barrier by Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of Freshbooks expecting to further my time management skill set. Instead I stumbled into being wowed by what Mike wrote. It was his story not the topic that inspired me to write this post.

What this e-book did was put in perspective a value based pricing model. Maybe that’s why some of my pricing is per hour per task and some is a flat monthly fee based on value. It didn’t focus on time management, but on billing for the value received for the price.

Time management as I mentioned wasn’t my problem. A concern over price was.

 

value, not control Will Lion via Compfight

 

Pricing is a common business concern. Are you charging too much or not enough? Are there too many options? I’ve struggled with it myself which is what inspired this honest blog post.

How valuable is your business presence, or impression, or customer memory? If the answer isn’t known, maybe you need to hold off on starting your business to figure it out.

As a volunteer educator at a prestigious community college, I strongly advocate that social media be one important component to their business plan. Social media opportunity offers business an avenue to engage their customer audience using social media.  Pricing based on any viable business requires a value based approach.

Why value you ask? Because of you don’t assign a value to how much money you need to take in to pay the utility bill then your business may not make enough money to continue operating.

I recently looked at my pricing very closely. When I first set it up I looked at my competitors but didn’t mirror their pricing. Instead I figured out how valuable my services were and asked more than a few different companies verbally how much they thought it was worth. Using those numbers and factoring in time, my pricing emerged. Many competitors continue to show a bronze, silver or gold pricing tier, or they show none at all. A gasp is my response.  How would any customer know how much to budget when they hire these competing businesses?

Many business services are unique. Past customers have hired me to do everything top to bottom. Others want very specific tasks taken care of or for service as an advisor at an hourly rate. That metallic pricing tier did not fit my customers needs. However, my current pricing model does.

Customer satisfaction is what matters most. For me it is intrinsic in my social media value.

 

The 5 Best Practices For Social Media Revealed

 

This social media narrative is for inspiration to seek your target audience.

1. Consistency matters, use scheduling

Failure will be achieved with lack of consistency. Updating consistently with fresh content scheduled on a recurring basis is easy. We are creatures of habit; help your audience create a habit of finding your posts.

2. Be responsive

Respond to everything, the good and the bad. Your audience will know you are there with them appreciating their praise or addressing any concern. Questions that are resolved are the best kind.

3. Listen to your audience

Give your audience what they want. Often they’re telling you exactly what they need. A lot is learned from just listening. Your audience will appreciate you. Pushing your own agenda is selfish and ignored.

4. Place value in everything

Make posts appealing. Know what the audience wants and tailor content accordingly. When your audience finds value in what you say, they respond, share and appreciate.

5. Pictures and photos

Connect with pictures and photos. Pictures say a thousand words. Using photos often triggers sharing. Cute animal photos, flowers, food and sunny landscapes can easily be captured with a digital camera or cell phone. Absolutely honor creative content licensing for all pictures used.

6. Over delivery is remembered

When you receive more than you expect, it’s awesome. Strive to over deliver what you promise satisfying your audience in an unexpected way. The happier your audience is, the happier you’ll be.

As always comments are appreciated, add yours below.

LinkedIn reputation 7 must use tips

LinkedIn. The neglected but very important social network.

Yes LinkedIn is used by job seekers. Move on if that’s why you landed here. I’m focusing on reputation and why it matters.

Reputation

LinkedIn is for showing off your reputation, curating reputation and yes marketing reputation with lead generation.

No it is not the slimy salesman lead generation you are presuming.

A quality reputation is developed from:

  • participating in LinkedIn discussions
  •  utilizing LinkedIn Applications
  •  joining LinkedIn Groups
  • engaging your connections through sharing and liking content.

Executive profiles that are stagnant, incomplete or just stuck in basic mode have no reputation.  No value. No leads.

LinkedIn

 

Why build reputation?

Credibility follows reputation.

Next steps (must haves):

  1. Complete your profile! Above all include a headshot professional image. So many users have set up profiles and have left them blank still set on the default image. What does that say about who you are and where you’ve worked?
  2. Set up a customized LinkedIn url such as mine: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariahsnyder
  3. Grow your network. Waiting for users to find you, especially if you have an incomplete profile is futile. Join groups, search for alumni and business connections. Don’t be shy and especially don’t be spammy. Reaching out to group members will connect you to others with common interests. Instead of using the cookie cutter message provided by LinkedIn insert a personal message in your request to connect.
  4. Use the summary profile section to speak in the first person to viewers about yourself.  This summary section is like an about me page. It’s great web real estate that’s free to use. Use it to your advantage.
  5. Rearrange content modules using drag and drop sorting in a logical way.
  6. Include achievements along with your profile information such as awards, certifications and volunteer work.
  7. If you are a business owner, get your phone number on there. How else are potential customers going to reach you?
  8. Participate in group discussions, share content, like content, comment if you can.
  9. Ask someone else to proofread your profile then ask what their impression is.
  10. Consider including a video related to you or your business. People who view your video are more likely to agree with your reputation.

Viewers who arrive on a professional LinkedIn profile are more likely to give referrals and remember you and your company. Your reputation matters.

Recently my profile was professionally evaluated by someone else. I found the experience refreshing. I saw my profile from someone elses point of view.

Look at your profile from the other person’s point of view.

What reputation do they see?

Please share this post and leave me a comment or two.

Social media landing pages

Social media is used by business for selling, building reputation, increasing awareness and providing value to the community.

And it should be.

Because it’s proven to be successful at driving web traffic.

Many businesses use social media to drive traffic to other websites.

I recommend a Facebook e-commerce application named Ecwid, or another hosted online presence.

What happens when the customer clicks through?

  • Does the customer know what to do?
  • What information do they see to contact you?
  • Is it possible to buy it now?
  • Is your other site confusing, cluttered and unclear?

Improve your landing pages before social media, I implore you.

How can you use social media and sell if your landing page is terrible?

You won’t.

268/365 - Default StateCreative Commons License Helga Weber via Compfight

 

Improve your message.

Is it clear, concise and obvious?

Not sure.

Ask for feedback from someone unrelated to the business.

Do they know what to do? If they don’t, revisit and revise.

Make your call to action clear (buy me).

Next.

Push into social media, start strong on one network.

Which network?

How often?

That depends.

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