A Guide To Instagram Stories

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with an average of one billion worldwide users. In August 2016 they launched Instagram Stories, a feature that quickly took off, and has been gaining more and more popularity over the years. With that said, it’s a no-brainer that your business should be making use of Instagram Stories.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to post content that vanishes after 24 hours of posting it - it has a similar concept of Snapchat. The photo or video can’t be viewed after 24 hours by the public, making it exclusive content for your followers who choose to view it. Instagram Stories can be seen at the top of your news feed so it won’t appear on your Instagram content grid. You can also click your profile icon, to view your own story.

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Within Instagram Stories, there are a number of features that can add to your content, such as hashtags, text, music, polls and lots more! This feature allows you to create more content without having to post it directly onto your Instagram page. You can use it to promote products, share competitions, and engage with your customers.

Tip: you can keep your stories on your profile page, if you use the highlights feature!

How to Make an Instagram Story

  1. Go onto your Instagram homepage.

  2. Click the camera icon on the top left-hand corner of your screen (above your profile picture).

  3. Tap on the circle on the bottom of the screen to take a picture, hold it down to take a video, or swipe up to share straight from your gallery.

  4. You can draw, add text or add stickers to your video or photo.

  5. When you’re happy with your content, press send to at the bottom right of your screen, and share it to your story.

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Make the Most Out of your Instagram Stories

By using the features that Instagram provides, it can add interest and excitement to your content. It’s also a great way to interact with your customers!

Polls Sticker

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To create a poll, tap on the sticker icon at the top of the screen, and select the poll sticker option. You can then write your question in the box, and add two answers that the viewers will be able to select when you have sent the poll to your story. You can keep an eye on your poll in the analytics page, tap on the eye icon and you can see who has viewed the story as well as, which option they have voted for. This is a great way to get feedback from your customers, it’s quick and effective. For example, you could ask your customers what product they want to see on offer next, what your next blog post could be, what colour the next product should be, etc...

Questions Sticker

To select this option, tap on the ‘question’ sticker. This will encourage your viewers to send you a question or reply directly to your sticker, you can share their answers by showcasing it on your story. There are plenty of ideas you can use this feature for. You could run a Q&A on your Instagram Stories and let the viewers learn more about your employees and the business. This is a great way to show your expertise for the industry you are in. Start a conversation with your followers.

Quiz Sticker

Increase engagement with your followers. The quiz sticker allows you to share trivia-style questions, and when the user clicks on an answer, they can see whether they got the question wrong or right. Write your quiz question, and come up with some answers. You can add up to four answers, or as few as two, the correct answer will be highlighted green. Are you ready to start quizzing your audience?

Music

Grab the attention of your viewers with a tune in the background of your image or video. Instagram has a variety of songs from music streaming services, such as: Spotify and SoundCloud. When you tap the music sticker, you can search for a song, or select a mood or genre, to suit your image/video. Once you’ve chosen your song, you can select which part of the song you’d like to feature on your content, but you are only allowed up to 15 seconds of the song.

GIFs

There’s no denying it, we all love a GIF - it adds a dash of entertainment to your image/video, and enhances your content. You can search through Instagrams GIF library when you click on the GIF sticker, and you can find the perfect GIF to showcase on your story. Whether you choose the comedic route or want to spice up your media, there’s a GIF for every occasion!  

Countdown

Got a special announcement, or milestone coming up? The countdown feature is the perfect sticker to count down to your announcement or milestone. Choose the countdown sticker and select a set end date and time! Viewers can turn on their reminders and share this countdown to their story, creating more exposure and build-up to the announcement.

Location

This sticker is simple, yet effective. You can show your followers where you are, by clicking the location sticker and typing in a place, for example: you could share the location of an event that you might be attending, or you could share the location of your business. It informs your followers where you are, and builds a trustworthy image for your brand. When you’ve tagged the location in your story, people can click on the location in the story and see a stream of other people who have tagged that location - this is a great idea, especially if your business has a physical location.

Hashtags

Hashtags can get your story seen by more people. Include a hashtag on your story, either use the hashtag sticker, or you can use the hashtag on your keyboard. Hashtags are usually underlined, or in their own box. Just like the location sticker, when people click on the hashtag they can see a stream of other users who have used the same hashtag. This is great if you are attending an event, and the event has its own hashtag, it creates exposure for your business, as well as interest.

How to Use Instagram Stories for your Business

Marketing your business on social media effectively is all about using your chosen social media platforms efficiently.  Each platform has its own features that you can use to maximise your marketing. So how can you use Instagram Stories to boost your business?

Promote Products

Why not take a video of your product? People love seeing products in action before they purchase an item. According to Social Media Today, 64% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video of it online! Take a video or picture of your product, and send it to your Instagram Stories for exposure - you can even add text, hashtags and music to the video/picture to make it more exciting for the viewers.

Special Offers

Instagram Stories allows the perfect opportunity for you to promote your special offers. Stories are great because you can post lots of content without flooding your feed, and it won’t hinder the experience of viewers. You can also create a special offer graphic and send this to your story to create more awareness of the special offer, and drive traffic to your website.

Competition

Have you thought about running a social media competition? Instagram is the perfect platform to promote your competition. Use Instagram Stories for maximum impact, and create a coherent social media campaign for your competition. Using Stories can attract and boost your engagement, which makes it ideal to promote competitions alongside your competition campaign.

Lifestyle Shots

Lifestyle shots are a huge hit on Instagram, especially on Instagram Stories! Sometimes, overwhelming your audience with just product images can get old. Instead of just a white background, choose an interesting background and location to capture the eye of your audience - this can help your audience relate to the product. Make the photo unique, add a few props in the photo to give it that extra boost.

Promote Your Blogs

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Stories are a great way to summarise your blog posts in a visual form, as well as tease people with information, encouraging them to click on your blog post to read more. You can use your profile link to drive people back to the content that you are promoting. If you’ve got over 10,000 followers on Instagram, then you have a special feature, you can embed the story with a link… If you want to take this further, you could also consider running advertisements on Instagram Stories!

Instagram Stories is a feature that is forever growing and changing. There’s no question about it, it’s a great place to show off your business’ personality, as well as: driving engagement, increasing sales and building brand awareness. If you haven’t used Instagram Stories yet, hopefully, this guide will give you an insight on how to use Instagram Stories effectively for your business.



Instagram Stories is a feature that is forever growing and changing. There’s no question about it, it’s a great place to show off your business’ personality, as well as: driving engagement, increasing sales and building brand awareness. If you haven’t used Instagram Stories yet, hopefully, this guide will give you an insight on how to use Instagram Stories effectively for your business.

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AUTHOR: NICOLE FAULKNER

Freshen Up Your Social Media: Try these ideas!

We understand that keeping your social media fresh and trendy can be tough, especially when social media is always changing and growing. Social Sidekick has got your back! Let the experts of social media give you a helping hand on how to freshen up your social media accounts.

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Behind The Scenes

People love to know what goes on behind a business, and sharing a photo of your work-space can give your social media a more personal touch. Sharing a photo not only allows people to know more about what happens behind the scenes, but it also improves the trust between you and your customers. Rich media often gets more attention than a post without it - a picture is perfect for your social media. It’s simple, easy and only takes a few seconds to do! This idea is great for Facebook and Instagram.

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Frequently Asked Questions

As a business, you probably receive quite a few questions every single day. It’s time to make your life a little bit easier, instead of repeating yourself and wasting important minutes: post it on social media! Millions of people are active on social media, according to statista, 42 million people are social media users. So there’s a very high chance that your customers are on social media! It’s a quick and effective way to answer your most frequent questions.

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Introduce your team

Put the people who make your business at the front of your social media page! Introduce your newest employee, oldest employee, or all of your employees. We often forget that employees are what makes a business, so it’s their time to shine! Create a more personal connection with your customers, by letting them see the people who power your business. You could also create an album on your Facebook page called “meet the team” and post a picture of your employees with a short description with something about them (you can get really creative with that idea).

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Throwback Thursday

Get stuck in with the trendy hashtags! If you’ve got a picture from a few months or years ago; Throwback Thursday provides the perfect opportunity to share it again! We highly recommend that you try this one on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags: #ThrowbackThursday and #TBT. These hashtags are very popular and will help boost the number of impressions it will receive. It’s also a great way to connect with your new followers! You could also post a picture of a past event, past projects, and previous milestones/awards.

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Talk about events

Is your business attending an event? Shout it from the rooftops on social media. Get involved with other people who might be attending the same event: share/retweet similar posts, engage with people who are also attending the event, and you could also post an image with information about the event. It’s also crucial to find out if the event has a particular hashtag or social media handle that you can use on social media, to get the best results for your post - the event’s social media page might even share your post, which is great exposure for your business! This is an easy way to increase the number of impressions on your post, and you may even get more engagement on the post!


These are only a few ideas of thousands, so sign up with Social Sidekick today and let the experts handle your social media accounts!

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AUTHOR: NICOLE FAULKNER

5 ways to build your brand on social media!

Making your brand stand out from the rest isn’t as easy as it used to be. There are some key points to consider when you're building an authentic brand.

A strong brand on social media means that your business is easily recognised by your audience. Since the digital world has taken over, businesses can now reach across the globe to find new customers, followers and gain a bigger social standing. There are hundreds of businesses that are offering the same services as you. That’s why we came up with 5 tips to help you develop a solid, unique brand that will stand out from the crowd.

You can even check out the live video with did on this topic:

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Show your true colours

Firstly, you need to choose a colour pallet. Your chosen colours need to be consistent throughout all of your networking pages, including your website. Doing this will help your new customers to recognise your brand and old customers feel safe and secure with your brand.

Top tip: We recommend producing brand guidelines to keep you on track. Communicate your brand guidelines to everyone involved with your marketing to keep everything consistent.

Make Your Voice Heard

Find your voice and make it heard. Create a persona for your business. Look at your social media strategy and figure out how you want to portray your voice to represent your company the best. Your voice should come across everytime you post or engage on social media. It should also represent your company culture, which basically means what it is that your company stands for. You need to think carefully about how you want your audience to view you, as they will only see whatever you show them.

Using your brand voice is a step in the right direction, but it's almost pointless doing so if you're not engaging with relevant pages and posting a mixture of promotional and social posts. Your audience will lose interest and engagement if you only post relating to your products and services. Mixing it up with more social posts such as competitions, polls, retweets and national events will keep your audience engaged. Take a look at the big brand names and see what they are posting and engagement they are getting. This should help you to figure out what direction you should start in with regards to posting.

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Build Influencer Relationships

Building relationships with key influencers can help your business in many ways. Influencers that are authentic, active, engaging and show leadership, give you a clear guideline on how you want your company to be seen. This will also give you tips and pointers on what the businesses are missing and potentially gives you a hole to fill in the authenticity market.

Your social media profiles should all correspond with each other, having the same profile and cover photo. This keeps your branding consistent which is one of the most important things to do when branding on social media. The networks that you use should align with your strategic goals. This is because there are some networks that work better for certain businesses. Different demographics use different networking sites, so dependant on your target market, you may get better engagement from particular networks also.

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Let’s Get Visual

Visual posts are proven to get more engagement than regular posts. In fact, we are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%. You can make use of relevant images and videos to promote your business, sites such as Pexels and Unsplash give you free stock photos. These can be used and can also be edited to create your own posts that are unique to your company. Creating templates with your business's logo will keep your posts consistent at the same time as giving you subtle advertising on every post, whether it's promoting a product or service or not.

Share Your Story

A true, authentic story behind your company, with evidence of a passion driven startup is how to gain trust amongst your customers. In recent years, the most successful brands are those who have an authentic story for their authentic brand. Levi Strauss has recently been ranked as the ‘most trustworthy’ brand amongst young people. Levi’s is a great example of an authentic company. If you take a look at their website, you can read their story which is a great example of how you should aim to tell your own story. Your story needs to include how the idea of your business first came about, and what you did to get where you are today. It is important to show off how hard you worked to get where you are, and how successful you have now become. Customers no longer just want to buy a product, then want to buy into an authentic brand, with quality products.


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AUTHOR : TILLY GOULD

Safer Internet Day 2019: #OurInternetOurChoice

As well as being Chinese New Year (happy year of the Pig to all who are celebrating), today is also Safer Internet Day.

It’s a day that is very important to us in the social media industry because, as an industry, we should always be striving to make what we do safer for generations to come. We want to help to boost the national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

Even though this day is aimed at children, it is also important for adults to be just as (if not more) knowledgeable about what the dangers are online. Why not try the Safer Internet Day Quiz to see if you know as much as your kids do about the internet.

Internet safety is important, more now than ever. We have come up with tips to help anyone with their online safety.

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Keep it locked!

From locks on your phones and your computers, your first line of defence if anything happens to your devices is your password. Basic passwords like “123456” and “ABCDEFG” really cannot cut it anymore. Using tools like Secure Password Generator can help you to keep things secure. It’s so easy, even your kids can use this and it can really benefit your business as well. If you can, we would also suggest changing your passwords every 12-18 months. This can also help you to maintain your online safety.

Also, investing in computer security software can also help you to avoid viruses. Most security software companies like ESET and McAfee have mobile apps as well.

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Kill ‘Em With Kindness

With both business and personal profiles, you can THINK before you post.

Source: https://www.antibullyingpro.com

Source: https://www.antibullyingpro.com

This year’s hashtag for Safer Internet Day is #OurInternetOurChoice, it is time that we choose to be kinder online. Did you know that being kinder online increases your online safety as it decreases that chance of malicious people wanting to attack your emotions, privacy or mental health.

If you’re a business, you can use different social media days to show your support for the communities around you. If you are just using your personal profile, avoid getting involved in hateful conversations and work to be helpful and kind towards others.

This online safety issue is not one that is just limited to children, it affects us all. No matter who you are, make the conscious choice to be better.

Keep a lookout!

The internet is an amazing thing but it also has its drawbacks. Use it to the best of your knowledge to keep ahead of the scams that may be floating around the internet. There are countless stories of people receiving emails with dodgy looking URLs that have been hacked. It is actually possible to stay ahead of these hacks by staying informed. This is also something that you can show your kids how to do as well. A simple rule of thumb is: If it looks odd, don’t click the link!

It is also useful to ask professionals within the industry. Social Media agencies, like us here at SocialSidekick, usually know what to avoid online so never be afraid to ask us and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

We hope you have a happy Safer Internet Day!


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AUTHOR : DARIUS SMITH

How to blog for your business

What is blogging?

A blog is an online journal displaying information in a reverse chronological order. The latest posts are displayed at the top and oldest at the bottom. A blog is a platform on which a person or people can write about topics of interest or an individual subject. It enables people from all over the world to view what has been written and share their own personal views regarding the same topics or similar ones.

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How could your business benefit from blogging?

  1. Search Engine Optimization - For an inexpensive and straightforward way of adding fresh content to your website, blogging is ideal. It allows you to connect with more and more people, whilst giving your business a stronger voice. Writing blogs that relate to your business and customers will not only engage your audience but also increase the number of searches you receive online. People will type keywords into sites such as Google and Bing to explore topics relating to the chosen words. 
  2. Developing/maintaining relationships - Blogging is a way in which you can develop relationships with influencers and customers. A blog is your company on a personal, informal level. Having something like a comments section, allows you to follow your reader's opinions and respond quickly to anything they have said, building more trust and confidence between the business and customer.  
  3. Become A Thought Leader - Blogging is an excellent way to build trust and establish a level of expertise. Using topics such as ‘how to’ guides will make you the educator and main influencer for other brands or customers. Having a strong social standing will increase your businesses engagement throughout all of its platforms, especially if your content is interesting, informative and enjoyable.
  4. Be Personal and Connect - Use your brand voice and make sure you sound like a real person. Let's face it if you are writing blogs or social posts, there is a person behind it. Giving your audience an insight into the people within your business will help them to connect with you on a personal level. Your audience will find it easier to relate to your brand if they know that they aren't just talking to a computer but a real person. Which then comes alongside loyalty and trust, making them more likely to use your business.
  5. Sharing opportunities - Blogs are a great way of getting your voice heard. Within your blog site, you can embed links to social media making it easier for your audience to share your content. This gives your writing the potential to be seen by thousands of people or even go viral. If you share your blog on your business's social media platforms, it will also encourage more viewers to engage with your posts.

Blogging is one of the most popular activities to do on the internet, in fact, 23% of internet time is spent on blogs and social networks. Many businesses are already using blogging as a marketing technique. About two-thirds of marketers say their company blog is "critical" or "important" to their business. Part of the reason is that 'blogs are a great way to engage your visitors.'

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So, are you ready to start your business's blog? If you need any help to manage your social media, we offer a range of packages to suit you. Take a look at our services page on our website for more information on what we can provide.

Social Media - Not as bad as you think

For years, everyone has been told the negative effects that social media can have on your mental health, but have you ever been told about the benefits? In this article, I’m going to explore the positive ways in which social media can benefit your mental health.

Motivation

Despite what we think, social media is one of the best outlets of motivation. Have you ever heard of Emotional Contagion? It’s the phenomenal theory that one person's emotions and behaviours can trigger another person to feel similar emotions/ behaviours. For instance, if you share a goal that you are trying to achieve on social media and post about it frequently, it then creates an online ‘support system’ of people who give you credit and accountability for what you are trying to achieve. Working towards a goal and sharing it with others, encourages your peers to feel motivated to achieve a particular goal that they have. (Emotional Contagion).  

Strengthening relationships

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The original purpose of social media is to connect with those around you. Many people believe that social media can alter natural human interaction, but for some, it is said to enhance it. Take social anxiety, for instance, people suffering from social anxiety struggle to communicate within social situations. Having access to social networking takes away the difficulty of face to face interaction. It can also boost confidence online which can then be transferred to confidence when meeting people in person.

Finding your voice

This is particularly beneficial for young people, as the teenage years are when you discover yourself most. Social media can be used as a platform for discussion and debate, allowing you to voice your opinions and connect with others that also share your views. This can build trust and confidence, as you can reach thousands, if not millions of people to make yourself heard. Sharing and voicing your opinions, and connecting with those that agree with you, gives you the confidence to express your own opinion in everyday life. You can build a social profile that does not represent you as a person but merely your opinions, making it easier to voice them.

Experience and skill building

Social networking provides you with many helpful skills that can help you in the workplace and with your day to day life. With everything being taken over by the digital world, having the online skills used for social media, will make you find it much easier to adapt to the rest of the digital world.

Discovery

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If you have an interest or hobby and want to find others with similar interests, social networking is ideal. You can extensively research any topic and see the trending articles relating to it, as well as other people who are all searching the same. Meaning you can connect with more people and discover new information at any time.

Support networks

Social media provides a way for those who struggle with their mental health to access support. It opens an opportunity for discussion for people that find it difficult to talk about their problems and confine in those around them. Anyone can express how they feel and have their chosen peers support them without even having to know their name. If people use social profiles for positivity and only communicate with others doing the same, social media is a great way to project your emotions. Making it a safe and welcoming place to be when you're struggling with your own mind.

Decreases loneliness

A Carnegie Mellon University study showed that one to one interaction on social media makes people feel more bonded. The interaction between those you meet online can help to overcome loneliness, as you have people who you can talk to when you cannot have face to face contact. Social media allows you to communicate with people from all over the world and in different time zones, meaning there is a 24/7 opportunity to talk to someone and battle loneliness.

As with anything, there are also negative factors. How it affects you depends completely on the conditioning of the person that is using the platforms. High usage or addiction to social media will have negative effects on you. Studies have shown that addictive use is linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression. However, if you have a healthy relationship with social media, the benefits will outweigh the negatives, and you are less likely to suffer from particular mental health problems. Social media should not take over your life, it should excel you in life and give you the confidence you need to be successful and connect with those around you.

If you're struggling with your mental health, you can get in contact with many charities such as the Samaritans, online or by phone.

Don't forget to check out our website and read our blog for everything social media related including top tips for businesses!

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Author: Tilly Gould

 

How to Increase Facebook Reach Fast!

Recently we have been working with a well-known personalisation company who specialise in mobile phone cases. Their Facebook following is in the tens of thousands, but their engagement has been historically low on Facebook. In the three months that we have worked with the company, their reach has increased by 179%, from 27,000 in March to 75,800 in June. But how did we achieve this and what does this mean?

What is Facebook Reach?

Reach is the number of people who had any content from your Page or about your Page enter their screen.
— Facebook

Facebook reach is simply the number of people who saw your content on Facebook. The higher the number, the more chance there is of all sorts of other metrics increasing. From page likes to post likes, link clicks and comments it is a very important metric. So the more reach we have, the better.

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How can we increase Facebook Reach?

Before improving your reach, it is important to take into consideration the resources available to you. The quickest way to increase Facebook Reach is advertising. Without this component, you will be reliant on creating highly shareable content and/or increasing the frequency of your posting.

Increasing Reach Organically

Create a competition

Competitions are by far the best way to increase reach organically. This works best where you have a good number of Facebook page likes and an engaged following. Make sure your prize is good, the competition is simple and that the post promoting it is eye-catching and exciting. Do not over complicate things. 

Typically, competitions get comments, shares and a lot of likes, increasing the possibility of a high amount of organic reach.

To get the competition started, a simple post boost of between £5 and £25 will really kickstart the process. Simply boost the post to people who like your page and watch as the likes and shares role in, after a while the organic reach will increase dramatically from the paid reach that liked and shared the post. This snowball effect works very well. To reiterate:

Paid Reach can lead to Organic Reach - as long as the paid reach engages with your post or page. 

If you can, posting two competitions per month will see your reach increase dramatically. 

Example Competition Post (244 likes, 83 comments and 28 shares at time of posting):

Post Shareable Content

Tap into popular culture events when posting to encourage comments and likes. This could include sporting events, popular tv shows, movie releases and current affairs. Relating these subjects to your brand in a fun way can lead to posts that generate a lot of interaction. The aim is to get better engagement than your standard posts. Regularly posting this kind of content will lead to marginal gains over the course of a month. 

Think about your audience when creating this style of content. What will they mostly be interested in? If you can align your post content with your audience effectively, the chance of a higher engagement rate will be much more likely. 

With our client,  we had very good success with:

  • Easter
  • Love Island
  • The Great British Bake Off
  • British Tea Day
  • The World Cup
  • Wimbledon
  • Fathers Day

Use Facebook Live

Facebook live works very well for getting shares and comments. Go live from your page, be engaging, talk about an interesting topic that your audience will enjoy and then watch the comments and shares role in!

Publish the video to your page once the live video is over for even more reach. Video content is proven to outperform other styles of posts, see this article for more information.

Engage With Your Comments

Respond to comments on your posts and be personal with your audience. It will lead to more comments and responses which can, in turn, increase your organic reach, especially amongst your audiences friends network. 

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Increasing Reach with Advertising

Boost Posts

Simply boosting posts is an effective way to steadily increase reach. Boosting for engagement increases the chance of achieving a high rate of organic reach in addition to your paid reach. 

Pick posts to boost that are interesting/shareable, if in doubt cute animals work really well!

You do not need to spend a lot of money boosting, simply spending £5 to £10 per boost will be effective as long as your post is good. 

Aim to boost at least 2 posts per week. Obviously, this is dependent on your budget and your goals, for example, you may value link clicks more than engagement. Bear in mind that your reach maybe lower when boosting for link clicks, as you might lose out on some organic reach. 

Run Page Like Campaigns

By running adverts to gain more page likes, not only are you growing your audience (thus increasing your pages reach) but the advert also counts as reaching people. Simply running a campaign for £1 per day will steadily increase your page like count and your reach. 

Top Tip: Install a pixel on your website, target the audience data this generates for Page Like campaigns - you will find the cost per like is much lower than using an audience you have built yourself. 

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In Conclusion

It is easy to increase Facebook Reach by following the above simple steps. You do not need a massive budget but you do need to be consistent to see results. In summary:

  • Boost posts for little budget and often
  • Run competitions (1 to 2 per month for best results)
  • Go Live on Facebook
  • Post shareable content
  • Engage with your audience in the comments
  • Run page like advertising campaigns

Follow this advice and your reach could increase hugely. This means more exposure for your brand, more likes, more comments and more website traffic!


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Author: Richard Hunter

 

Top Ten Tips for Businesses using Twitter

Social media is a great way of showcasing your business, no matter how big or small it may be. There are 328 million active Twitter accounts, it’s an excellent way to reach out to customers from all over the world! Here’s a list of the top tips to get the most out of Twitter for your business.

Create a strategy:

Creating a strategic plan gives you a clear understanding of what you want your business to achieve. It also makes it easier to see how you have progressed, and what you have achieved or need to improve on.

Follow those relevant to your industry:

Following relevant businesses and potential customers is important for the following reasons:

  • When you follow people there is a chance they will follow you back, which will gradually increase your audience.

  • You can keep up to date with industry news and updates.

  • Following influential people means if they retweet your content, their huge following will see it too.

Use visuals:

Pictures and videos are 3x more likely to get engagement than regular posts. This is because pictures and videos are eye-catching and more memorable. They also give you a chance to showcase your products/services.

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Keep it short:

Keeping your posts short will engage more readers, but not too short. It is said that posts between 60 and 120 characters perform best. Posts that are less than 60 characters are easily ignored and scrolled by, whereas a slightly longer post captivates your audience, meaning that more people are likely to like/comment/share.

Use hashtags:

Using relevant hashtags is important for the following reasons:

  • Hashtags enable more people to see your post, allowing you to become  part of a bigger conversation.

  • Hashtags are a way of engaging more relevant customers whether they follow you or not.

  • The possibility of becoming a trending topic with your unique hashtag.

  • You can gather data from hashtag usage.

Questions and polls:

Asking questions and running polls help you get to know your customers'. They are also excellent for market research, helping you understand your customers' needs and desires. It helps to engage the customers and can also get you more viewings and tags by them sharing it with their friends.

Be responsive:

Quick responses to questions, messages and criticism builds up your social profile and gives a good impression to customers. If the comments get too long or intense, ask for a DM instead. You can now insert a deep link into a comment so they can contact you direct straight away.

Retweet:

Retweeting positive feedback and relevant articles can increase engagement and gives customers a sense of relation to your business.

Monitor engagement rates:

Looking at your tweet activity dashboard helps you to see how much engagement you are getting. You can then track the activity on your page, and make relevant changes to increase your levels of engagement.

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Don't try and sell all the time:

Constant selling will make customers lose interest in your page. Try adding in relevant articles, photos and videos amongst your promotional posts to keep up the interest and engagement.

So, there you have it! Sticking to these tips will ensure that you make the most of your business’s Twitter account, boosting your views, likes, comments and followers, all to promote your business to the max. For more guidance and information about how to manage your social media, check out the rest of our blog.

Do you need support to manage your social media accounts? Take a look at the packages we offer to help you achieve social success.

Like this blog? Why not follow us on Social Media?

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Author: Tilly Gould

 

How to gain Instagram followers

One of the questions we are asked frequently is, "How do I boost my followers on Instagram quickly?" We have decided to answer it in this blog post once and for all. Here are our top tips on running your Instagram account.

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Instagram has changed a lot in recent years with their algorithms, aesthetics, and features, in order to have any success on Instagram, you need to be exploiting all of the resources that you have at your disposal:

  1. Instagram Stories
  2. Highlights
  3. Follow Hashtags
  4. Collections
  5. Hashtags and Profile Links in Bio
  6. Archive posts
  7. Instagram Live
  8. Polls
  9. Posting multiple Photos or Videos

(If you are unsure what any of these features do, just click on them to get a brilliant explanation)

You have all of these amazing tools to use - and so much more - but we need to go through some steps to get your content looking great.

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Use stories to your advantage

 

If you want to keep your profile predominately business orientated, you can use your Instagram stories to show more of your business' personality. Instagram stories are an important part of keeping your brand in your follower's minds. The reason for this is that stories sit at the top of the home feed which is a brilliant opportunity to always be in a prominent position on your followers home feed. 

Tagging the location of your stories is a good idea, as this will broaden your audience and potentially enourage new people to follow you. 

You could use the superzoom feature (shown above) to highlight your favourite moments in work, to create buzz about new products or to just be a little bit more light-hearted.

Maintaining a light-hearted element to your business will help people to stay interested. The presence you create online is just as important as the information that you share. You could have the best product or service in the world but if your social campaign has no enthusiasm behind it, it will just flop and be forgotten about. 

Insta Stories Made Easy!
Still struggling to get your head around Instagram stories?

 

Another important new feature for Instagram is Highlights. It is now possible to archive your stories into public folders that are sat on your profile. This creates an album that can be viewed at any time. We recommend creating custom highlight covers like this:

Image found on Plannthat.com

Image found on Plannthat.com

This simple change to your stories will help your whole account look a lot more professional and may even entice more people to follow you. 

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Be Content-Full

No, this section is not just about what makes you happy. Unless creating great content makes you happy?

Producing attractive, relevant and interesting content regularly is the basis for a successful Instagram campaign. You will know if the content you are producing is relevant if can stand against the following criteria:

  1. Is it attractive? 
  2. Is it meaningful? (Does it mean anything to anyone else other than you?)
  3. Is it for my audience? 
  4. Is it fit for purpose? (Does it meet your brand value and principles?)

If you can honestly answer "Yes" to these basic questions about any content you create for Instagram, it should be relevant to your Instagram. Looking to up your Instagram post game? Check out Chloe's 5 tips for creating engaging social media posts!

Even though Instagram is an image based platform, words are still extremely important. Using hashtags creatively will push your content towards people who want to see it. For example, most people who have an interest in sport will follow sport related hashtags. If your business is in that industry, it will help your content to use the hashtag #Sport. It is also useful to note that you should use a mixture of relevant, trending and niche hashtags together in a post for maximum impact. To get some more understanding of how to hashtags effectively, check out our hashtag rules

Top tip: Always post your hashtags with the post, do not post them as a comment. This is because by the time you post the hashtags in a comment, your image will be lower down the running order in the Instagram algorithm. 

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Find your followers

You cannot just sit back on your laurels and expect people to just follow you, you need to do the instigating. Instagram has put all of the tools to do this at your disposal, the new feature to follow hashtags has made finding your audience a whole lot easier. Just follow the hashtags that are relevant to your business and the whole world will be open to you:

Found on Instagram.com

Found on Instagram.com

When you begin to search through these hashtags, you will start to find other accounts that would be interested in your service. Once you find these accounts, leave some meaningful comments, like some of their pictures and follow them. This small act of kindness will usually result in a follow.

You can use a similar method where you follow the followers of accounts similar to yours. Typically, if someone is following an industry-specific account, they are likely to follow back other accounts in that specific industry. These are methods that work and have created success time and time again for us.

Top tip: Don't forget you can promote posts from your Instagram account to gain profile visits. This works directly through the Instagram platform and can lead to more followers. 

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Stop Hunting for Likes

Even though likes are important, you shouldn't make that your only goal. You may look at other people who have fewer followers than you but have loads of likes. You may also see the same vice versa. This is because they see engagement as more important, the more someone engages with a post the more they will do more than just like it. Make your focus posting great quality content that is relevant to your brand. If you also look for ways to start conversations with your followers, this will prove to be invaluable to your business.

Don't be fooled by people trying to sell you likes or new followers. If an account with 3 posts, 2 followers and following 7,340 (We're stereotyping here) messages you offering you a way to gain thousands of followers, the likelihood is that it's a scam. Whether they are looking to do you a free service or a monthly plan basis, buy followers or likes is not recommended. Not only could they be trying to steal your money, they could also be compromising your account or using click farms to boost your following. Not only that but the new followers you will gain will never engage with you and it could cause your Instagram account to be banned. 

If you do want to speed up the rate at which you gain engagement, you could try systems like Social Drift, which use bots to engage with a targeted audience. This is proven to steadily increase followers, but it is a grey area. The audience you will attract with this method will be engaged, it is like a human constantly using Instagram each hour to engage with a target list of profiles. This method may not be safe - use at your own risk!

 

Avoid Click Farms!
Want to learn more about why click farms are bad?

 

It is impossible to build a genuine customer base from fake followers. This will only bring your business into disrepute so we would strongly advise against using any services like this. 

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Make conversations meaningful again

When you receive a genuine comment, how does it make you feel? Good, right? Now imagine how someone in your industry would react if you left a positive comment on their post. This simple idea of making conversations great again can actually help you to gain real followers.

Asking people about their businesses, congratulating them on an achievement or just telling someone they did a "great post!" could really boost morale and will boost positive engagement. Like with any conversation, it is rude to just ignore someone - without good reason, of course -  so it is important that you keep on to of the comments and replies you receive. 

Here is the real secret to gaining Instagram followers that everyone wants to hide from you: Hard-work! This includes:

  • Liking other peoples posts.
  • Commenting on other peoples posts.
  • Regularly posting brilliant content to your profile.
  • Posting stories.
  • Following other accounts that either match your targeted customer base or that align with your interests. 

Putting in the time to make meaningful conversation or create engaging posts all takes time and hard work. There is no substitute for Instagram success other than hard work. If you are willing to put in the work then Instagram will serve you well. However, if you are unsure how to balance all of this, why not trust a social media agency like us. We know what it takes to create a successful organically grown Instagram campaign. 

Like this blog? Why not follow us on Social Media?

Don't forget to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.


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Author: Darius Smith

 

How to use Easter for Social Media Marketing

 

Special offers and discounts

If you are in the food industry, or can easily find a way to relate your products to Easter, now is a great time to offer a discount to your social media followers. Not only will this drive some extra traffic to your website, it will also help to build upon your customer loyalty and improve your brand image.

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Easter Social Competitions

Competitions are an eggcellent way (pardon the pun, more on that later though) of increasing your engagement over this short holiday period. Many people will have a few extra days off around the Easter weekend, and so an increased amount of time on social media is to be expected from these yolk folk. Offer a special Easter prize with a super simple way for people to enter, perhaps related to the season, and the entries will follow.

Trending Hashtags

We’ve talked about using trending hashtags multiple times before. Easter is yet another opportunity to use hashtags to your advantage. A few to look out for include: #happyeaster #easteregghunt #easterweekend #easter2018 #easteregg #easterbunny

Remember to keep an eye on Twitter and Instagram on the day to see if there’s anything new that is trending which you could get on board with spontaneously.

Puns

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Easter might be one of the only times in the year that everyone seems to go pun mad. Eggcellent this, eggstraordinary that - they’re everywhere, so get on the bandwagon! Throwing a pun into your Easter social media posts is a great way to humanise your marketing message and add some personality to your brand. While it may seem silly now, showing your brand to be approachable and friendly will help you massively with your customer service reputation in the long run.

Branding

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We spoke a little bit about changing up your branding for Valentine’s Day in this blog post. Branding is something which everyone is used to staying exactly the same, so when it is changed slightly people tend to notice! Whether you sneak a couple of Easter eggs into your logo, or completely change up your cover photo for the weekend, change can be good.

Check out what we did with our logo, we made him into an Easter bunny! 

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Easter Activites

Those of you with children are likely to have seen all the Easter-related games, puzzles and activities which are available on the internet for keeping the little ones occupied through the spring holidays. So, why not make your own for the adults to have a go with, relating to your business? An example of this might be to hide some tiny egg graphics in a product lifestyle image. Again, it sounds silly, but you’ll be surprised at the number of people who can’t help but get involved. The benefit to you is increased engagement, which also means increased reach.

 


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Author: Chloe Welch