The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

The Do's and Don'ts of Instagram Stories

The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Stories

Oh, the ephemeral world of Instagram stories. You could ask yourself why you would even bother to create something that automatically disappears after 24 hours. It creates engagement and studies show that people are more likely to interact with a story than with a regular posting and a quarter of users prefer stories to the feed. All the big brands are doing it and staying out of the loop gives more leads to competitors.

The Definite Do’s

1. Get in the Game

Instagram’s algorithm pushes stories to the forefront due to their short lifespan. By creating stories every day, you maximize your account’s chance of being on top of the newsfeed. You can even post several times a day, as long as you keep the content interesting and appropriate.

2. Use the Provided Tools

Stories are supposed to be fun and a little silly. Use the available items like stickers, text, highlighters, and filters. Geo-tagging the post can make it more useful by providing context. Draw, put some frames and enjoy the reactions. Polls are a tried and trusted tool for further engagement.

3. Get Social

To increase your chances of getting on top of the feed, it’s a great idea to tag others in your post, as long as it makes sense. It could be ambassadors, partners or followers. Just make sure the people or companies you tag are OK with this practice and are in tune with your values.

The Clear Don’ts

1. Refrain From Over Posting

The biggest mistake you can make with stories is to flood the feed with mindless posting. You need to keep things exciting and only talk about ideas worth sharing. Keep it engaging and a bit teasing.

2. Don’t Repost From Other Channels

It might be tempting to repurpose some content from other channels, like Snapchat, especially if the public has already validated it. Restrain from such practices since most followers could be your fans in both places, and this would only appear as lazy.

3. Be too Promotional

Even if you are looking to close a deal, people use Instagram for fun. You don’t want your story to turn into the online equivalent of the TV commercial in the middle of a good movie. In fact, it has to be worth talking about and sharing.

What are you waiting for? Get out that smartphone and jump in the “now” game. Don’t be afraid to experiment Instagram stories and fail fast. If you need a bit of advice about what is appropriate reach out to us and we’ll be happy to provide examples and help.

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

How to Create a Visually Coherent Instagram Account

The rise of social media gave both users and companies the ability to become content creators. Some have perfected visual coherence for Instagram to an art, while others still struggle with finding the right balance, vibe, and defining their voice.

Instagram as a highly visual platform, requires some artistic taste and know-how about good design rules. The human brain thrives on predictability and coherence, therefore having an appealing feed requires coordinating a few elements.

Theme and Colors

Start with market research of your industry and define best practices. Either go with the flow or take a completely different approach to set yourself apart. For example, most fitness trainers dress in bright and vibrant colors to inspire joy and energy. You could define yourself as the all black, sleek trainer.

Once you decide on the theme and vibe of your account, it’s time to select the colors that best define that mood. Look for inspiration in the pictures you want to use and create a color palette. Try to stick to three main colors and at most three accents of color in all your posts. It’s an essential step of your branding. Coordinate these with your logo or make it complimentary.

Filters & Fonts

Not only the colors in the pictures can transmit a certain message, but the Instagram filters you use in your postings. Different hues correspond to different moods, from highly optimistic to nostalgic or mysterious.  You might think that it is too monotonous to use the same filter for every posting, but in fact, that is what makes a feed look professional, neat and ordered.

The same consistency rule also applies to fonts if you use quotes in your postings. You should select at most two fonts and use them for every occasion. There is the tendency to abuse script fonts for quotes, and it could look just one of the many trying to fit in. On the other hand, using special fonts for your bio can help you stand out.

Planning

Don’t just rely on the spur of the moment for inspiration, think of an editorial calendar and schedule your posts ahead. This practice helps you stay true to your theme and prevents repetition. Seeing the pictures in the right order before publishing them on the feed can help you rearrange and tell a story with every nine blocks.

If you think that keeping visual coherence for a top Instagram account is hard work, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. We can get you started, or we can offer you full maintenance packages to check this task off your busy entrepreneur list. Let’s connect.

How to Use Big Data to Create Valuable Content for Awareness

How to Use Big Data to Create Valuable Content for Awareness

How to Use Big Data to Create Valuable Content for Awareness

How to use Big Data to Create Valuable Content for Awareness

Big Data is a buzzword that has infiltrated in almost every industry that has a digital dimension. Although it seems like a paradox, content creation for marketing and awareness purposes should be driven by data, not intuition. Of course, experience and knowing your niche and target consumer help. Yet, nowadays markets are so dynamic that sometimes it is hard to keep up with trends and preferences. That is where numbers can make a difference.

Google Analytics is Your Friend

A free source of Big Data available to anyone who has a website is the insights offered by Google Analytics (assuming you already have it installed). By glancing at the top reports or drilling down in the content, you can start creating a detailed profile of your client.

Find out where they live, so that you can tailor your content to offer locally relevant tips. Their age and gender could act as the starting point for adapting your brand’s voice to match their expectations. You could even include in your content cultural references that might be relevant to people who are of a certain age.

The traffic from the organic search report shows you what their interests are. Look for the keywords they use to get to your page and create more content on those and related topics. This could help you establish yourself as a subject matter expert.

Social Media Listening

Another excellent source of free data to use as inspiration for your content creation efforts is the back-end of your social media pages. Some of these include information similar to that from the Google Analytics suite, like demographics and behaviors.

Use listening tools to analyze the way followers perceive your brand. Aim to get overview reports and also look at individual posts, both your own and from competitors. Identify those which generate engagement, mainly regarding positive reactions (likes, haha, wow, love) and the number of shares.

Try to create more content within those lines without becoming repetitive or a copycat if you emulate a competitor. Also, set your tools to follow and analyze top social media influencers to have a larger pool of data regarding preferences and trends.

For the next quarter try to generate your editorial calendar starting from data, and not hunches.

How to Use Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries?

How to Use Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries?

How to Use Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries

How to Use Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries

There are highly regulated industries including finance (banking & insurance), healthcare (pharmaceuticals & hospitals) and legal advising which are under strict requirements regarding advertising and marketing. Creating a social media strategy for these highly regulated sectors is a challenge. Yet, it should not be a reason to abandon this channel. It just requires more attention, organization, and diligence.

Do Your Research

Before developing your own social media strategy, take your time to research competitors. What are they posting about? Is there a certain frequency? What kind of graphics are they using? How do they stay compliant? Would you change anything about how they do it within the given requirements?

Set Goals

After you have a clear understanding of what is happening in your sector, develop a set of goals for your pages. What are you trying to achieve through social media? Do you want to generate awareness? Do you hope to get people to take action? Are you using it as a way to display achievement? Attach numerical levels to measure success.

Create Guidelines

 Make a list of topics which are acceptable for the online environment. Study both your industry’s regulations and social media policy regarding the types of images that are acceptable to be displayed online. Make a list of the words you can use and those that are banned. Develop a brand voice description that will be used in conversations with followers.

Learn to be Compliant

Healthcare and banking have the strictest regulations. Before creating any content, the marketer should be aware of HIPAA for social media or similar rules for the banking industry. Also, aim to have a good understanding of social media guidelines.

Create an Approval Process

In these industries, it is a good idea to have your social media content checked by a paralegal. This might slow down the creation and publication workflow. You just need to think ahead a few weeks.

Prepare a Content Calendar

Don’t rely on the moment’s inspiration, create a clear schedule of what you want to publish, complete with copy, images and relevant links. Pre-load your profiles with content and ask the paralegal to look at it before publishing.

Think in Checklists and Templates

To simplify tasks and avoid mistakes create lists (time/info/compliance/accuracy) and don’t be afraid of templates. If you have a distinctive corporate culture, these will not be boring, but create consistency.

Don’t worry if you have to manage the profiles of businesses in highly regulated industries. Just follow our steps. We encourage you to comment or reach out to us if you have comments or need more guidance.

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

3 Easy Steps to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

Maintaining a corporate social media profile requires strategy and planning. People are creatures of habit and react best to things they can anticipate. Even though the age of TV series and radio broadcasts is almost gone, following a consistent posting calendar, both regarding themes and hours can be the key to long-term growth. It makes your fans anticipate and be curious about what you have to say next. Be sure not to let them down or waiting.

Let’s review the steps you need to take to have a clear brand voice and never be out of inspiration. The best blogs, pages, and podcasts seem effortless but are built with clock-wise precision.

Think Strategically

Although most companies maintain social media profiles only for awareness, you can think more specific. Attach financial goals to your posting, especially sponsored ones. Treat social media posting with the same respect as general business strategy and define yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Try to pinpoint areas such as the themes to cover, the number of followers to acquire or sales.

Research your audience and find out the relationship between demographics and the preferred content. Try to identify best posting time regarding weekdays and hours.  Save the best material for these times.

Define the (Seven) Wonders of Your World

Not all companies need to post daily, but to be consistent, it is helpful to define a theme for each day of the week. Try to avoid general topics like the Monday dread and #TGIF, rather be specific to your industry and audience. You can have “Tips and Tricks Tuesday”, “Delicious Wednesdays” or “Mommy’s Saturday Treat”.

Merge this personal blueprint with international and local holidays to capture more diversity in your posts. Also, practice consistency. For example, if you have a weekly funny posting every Friday, don’t come up with sad or disturbing industry news. Make few exceptions for major events.

Exercise Attention-Grabbing

Build your calendar like a cake. The strategy is the cake dough, the daily themes are the cream, and the content is the frosting. You should aim to make this as enjoyable, eye-grabbing and fun as possible.

Industry leaders advise to write over 20 titles for each post and pick the best one. There are even headline analyzers to help you choose the best one. This exercise will make you more creative and attentive to nuances.   

Do you already know what types of posts does your audience like? Would you be curious how a specialist can help you define your unique calendar? Why not drop us a line about your social media struggles?

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

The notion of social media influencer is either embraced or bashed by marketing professionals. In an age where user-generated content is about to replace traditional advertising, influencer collaborations were able to attract over $ 1 billion in 2017.  The real problem is to identify those accounts which are genuine, have loyal followers, and the ability to generate ROI.

The Plague of the Fake Instagram Influencer

In 2017 a marketing agency created an experiment with two fake Instagram accounts. The goal was to get paid advertising contracts for these fictive influencers who only had purchased followers and comments. The real aim was to show how vulnerable are the platforms to false content. While calibeachgirl30 featured photos of the same model girl, wanderingggirl‘s profile contained only stock photos. They secured contracts with apparel and beverage companies.

So, as a marketer, what are the signs you should pay attention when choosing an influencer to act as your brand ambassador?

Hashtag Hunting

The recent changes in Instagram allow you to follow hashtags much in the same way you followed accounts. By consistent scouting of top posts for your range of interests, you can identify those accounts that are consistently having excellent results. Make a list of the top 20-50 potential influencers that you would like to reach out to. Use the next step to narrow down the selection.

Show Me the Numbers

A marketer is a strategist, and you should act by looking at business indicators, not tempting pictures. Disregard the visual coordination and harmony and go behind the scenes, since you should always choose quality over quantity. The total number of followers does not tell the whole story. You should dig deeper and ask for additional information and look at some industry-specific ratios.

  1.     Follower growth.

Some tools give a sneak preview of the backstage. The aim is to see a steady, linear growth of followers. Any sudden spikes could be an indicator of purchased followers. Only an occasional spike could signal viral content, but those are rare.

  1.     Engagement ratio

Industry standards define 5% as an average for likes/comments, while a rate towards 10% is extraordinary. Another study shows that once an account is over 10K it has a hard time sustaining a high engagement rate, even if it is a real Instagram influencer.

  1.     Video views

Fake accounts and bots don’t bother to watch videos. A clear indicator of the genuine people who engage with a page is the number of video views. It should be around the same value as the previous rate.

Remember these rules when choosing an Instagram influencer. If you have a hard time finding the right one for your brand’s voice, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.