The key to having a successful Instagram is not only in the quality of your content but also in the overall aesthetic of your page. No one even takes the “perfect” photo and most of the time, the in-app editing features of Instagram are extremely limited in its capabilities of transforming a photo from a pixely-dark image to a bright, eye-catching photo. The following apps all have different optimal uses. Read on to discover more.
Level of difficulty: Easy
VSCO is an editing app featuring many preset filters. These filters are extremely versatile and have subsets that are specifically for outdoor photos, indoor photos, warm photos, cold photos, overshadowed photos, over-highlighted photos, etc. This app is very user-friendly in that it also offers a toolkit where the user can edit skin tone, tint, shadows, highlights, saturation, contrast, exposure, sharpness, etc. We highly recommend this app to those who are novices at editing photos and need an all-in-one app.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Microsoft Selfie is an extremely simple app with only less than 10 “beautifying” filters. This app is best for those who are pleased with the natural look in their captured photo but simply want to smooth out tones. We highly suggest this app to those who want a great looking photo but really don’t want to spend any time learning how to edit their pictures.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Layout is an app that allows you to create photo collages. With hundreds of different photo layouts, we recommend this app for those who want to create a simple collage. There is also an in-app toolkit for those who want to make small edits to the photo.
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Snapseed is a bit complicated at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s an extremely intuitive app. Owned and created by google, Snapseed comes with preset filters as well as a full toolkit. In the toolkit you can find options to tune your image by adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, etc. In the toolkit are also features that allow you to change the sharpness and structure of the image as well as the curvature of the tones. You can also edit white balance,crop, rotate and change perspective. Not to mention the brush features that allow you to paint the dodge/burn, exposure, temperature and saturation of the photo. The features on Snapseed are endless and unique. Our favorite is the “selective” tool that allows you to pick tones within a certain region of the photo to edit. We recommend this app to those who want all of the tools of photoshop with a less complicated interface.
Level of difficulty: Hard
Photoshop Fix is basically a mini photoshop for your phone. The app has retouching, sculpting and healing tools that are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC. We recommend this app to those who already have a knowledge of photoshop but want access to the app on their phone.
Level of difficulty: Hard
Another Photoshop app, Lightroom is similar to Photoshop Fix but focuses on the light, color, geometry and optics of the photo. Similar to Photoshop Fix, we recommend this app to anyone who has a knowledge of Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Photoshop LR but wants access to these features from their phone.
So, you want to know how to create an interactive hashtag and Instagram hashtag campaign? Let’s start by explaining what an interactive hashtag is. An interactive hashtag is a symbiotic marketing technique used by companies to get their social media users to interact with their brand online in exchange for some sort of reward. It’s a bit difficult to explain and understand so we’ll give you a few examples…
Heineken #SparkMyParty – Heineken promotes #SparkMyParty specifically to younger Instagram users in New York City. When Instagram users use the hashtag and tag Heinkein in a post or Instagram story during a live house party, they have the chance of being paid a visit by Heineken during their house party. Representatives from the company will show up during the party with free beer, balloons, DJ, snacks and brand gear. This campaign not only spreads the word about the Heineken brand but also makes the customer base excited to interact with the company.
Wilhelmina Models #LoveYourGenes – Wilhelmina is a global modeling agency that represents many celebrity supermodels and talent. When you post a selfie using the #LoveYourGenes , WIlhelmina promises that they will look at your photo. If they find you to fit their needs for new models, they will message you and you will get the chance to visit the NYC office and discuss modeling opportunities. This campaign makes it easier for Wilhelmina to find fresh faces as well as gives social media users the chance to easily be discovered.
So how can you create your own interactive hashtag?
1. Pick a reward
What exactly do you want your users getting out of promoting your brand? Perhaps if they post with your hashtag they can receive 10% off? Maybe be entered in a contest to win free products or services? The options are unlimited.
2. Create a hashtag
Looking back to #SparkMyParty and #LoveYourGenes, what is the purpose of your interactive hashtag campaign? Be sure that your hashtag is catchy so that your users will easily remember it and won’t misspell it when using it on their posts. As a social media and business solutions company, let’s say we wanted to run a campaigns where you win a year of free services…. Perhaps a hashtag we could use would be #MaximizeMyBusiness. This hashtag is unique so we know that the average user won’t be using this hashtag on any normal photos, the spelling is simple so it will be difficult for entrees to misspell it and it’s fairly simple to remember because it’s a play on words for MaxExposure Business Solutions.
3. Keep track of your socials
The most important part of your interactive hashtag campaign is to keep track of all entrees! The last thing you want is to either forget about your campaign and make your business appear flakey OR not give all entrees a fair chance at winning.
Earlier this month Instagram broke their silence about their newest algorithm reconfiguration. The updated algorithm involves a lot of moving pieces, but with a little practice and consistency, you can be maximizing your Instagram exposure in no time!
The Instagram algorithm is what determines what order posts appear in a user’s timeline, so businesses need to focus on how often their customers are actually seeing the photos they post. The algorithm focuses on interest, recency, and relationships, so be sure to follow these tips for improving your exposure!
Instagram analyzes past behavior and estimates how likely a user is to enjoy the content being posted. So, businesses should post content that is relevant to its followers and their interest (warranting likes) and then they should stay consistent to that content. This could include similar colors, formats, or even hashtags! While posts should be unique enough to engage both old and new customers, followers should also have an idea of what type of content to expect from you (that’s why they follow you in the first place!).
A post from yesterday will almost always appear on a user’s feed before a post from last week. So post often! Maybe some of your followers do not check Instagram every day, but most likely, they will be checking at least once a week, and you want to be sure you have posted within a reasonable window of time. MaxExposure’s Evergreen Posting package allows you to schedule posts to be sent out days in advance, so you never forget to post!
Posts from individuals deemed “close” to you, meaning that you interact with them often, will be higher up in the algorithm. This is tricky for a business, as it is unlikely that you will be tagging individuals in photos or receiving an influx of comments on a regular basis. Contests can be a life saver in situations like these. Encourage users to tag you in photos that they take with your product, or encourage them to comment the usernames of three friends for entries into simple giveaways. Another simple fix is to ask questions in your captions. If you post a photo of your product in a tropical location, ask your users to comment their favorite getaway or vacation spot. Any way you can think of to get your customers to engage in a unique way will get you more exposure on their feed in the future!
Twitter might be one of the most difficult platforms to crack. The demographics of Twitter users vary to the extremes and the fast-paced, chronologically ordered timeline of tweets within the app makes it difficult for your content to be seen. Many small businesses struggle when they first start using Twitter to market themselves because they have to go through many trial-and-errors to finally reach their target audience. Instead of wasting your time going through the trial-and-error period of building a Twitter following, we’ve already experimented and this are the mistakes we created, that you can learn from:
1.Tweeting too often and using too many hashtags
Twitter uses a chronological timeline where the most recent tweets are typically featured at the top of your follower’s timeline. If you are tweeting once every hour, you are ALWAYS going to be somewhere on your follower’s feed. While some may say that this is good exposure for your business, it’s honestly just downright annoying. Focus on sending out 1-3 quality tweets a day instead of inundating your followers with every single detail on your business day. Similarly, spamming your tweets with hashtags may create more favorites and retweets but those accounts often won’t be in your target market and therefore, their interaction with your account is useless. If you are tweeting about a recent breakthrough in medical technology, don’t hashtag #ParentingTips because the interactions stemming from that hashtags are about as useless and meaningless as a lamp with no light bulb in it. Focus on quality, not quantity.
2. Being repetitive
Sending out the same tweet every day doesn’t help you at all because the only people seeing that tweet everyday will be your followers. Instead of advertising the same message over and over again, try providing quality content for your followers in between your advertising messages. Throw in some interesting articles or some memes… because no one wants to scroll through your feed and see “Stop by and try our new flavor of soft serve today #strawberry #blueberry #pumpkinpie” tweeted 30 times in a row. #SelfExplanatory
3. Not engaging with followers
The ultimate sin of Twitter marketing… not engaging with your followers *cue the high pitched, scary organ music.* The purpose of social media is to… be… SOCIAL! Encourage your customers to follow your account, follow your followers back (especially if you know them), respond to their tweets when you are mentioned in them and interact/retweet/favorite any tweet that is pertinent to your business! No engagement = no retention = no effective message = no point in having a Twitter.
4. Not joining conversations
Recently, there have been many movements spurred on Twitter including, #MeToo #GivingTuesday #FakeNews #TakeAKnee. Twitter has changed the way that individuals and group of individuals interact with each other, especially with controversial topics like these. Some fear that joining the conversation in topics such as these would hurt the credibility and reputation of their business. As long as you keep your opinions appropriately worded and non-discriminatory, joining the conversation on a trending issue, you open yourself up to interaction with your followers and increased exposure on Twitter.
“Contractors near me,” “Best Restaurant in the Boston Area,” Google is the world’s most popular website and still its ease of use can never be overstated. As a business owner, can you truly state that you are utilizing Google to your business’ fullest potential?
Google Adwords is a remarkably sophisticated platform and offers a wide variety of options for a variety of advertisement types. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind when beginning your campaign with AdWords.
- Know your market. With a wide range of options, Adwords allows businesses to target anywhere from a few mile radius to an entire region. If you are looking to keep costs down and get the most out of your budget, you may want to start out small! With the right keywords and location settings, even a small geographical range or output could pay off exponentially.
- Utilize your niche. AdWords charges their customers by the number of clicks they receive. The price of each click is determined by the key search terms chosen by the business. The broader the term, the more money AdWords will charge per click. This means that to get the most for your money, you should be targeting search terms as specific to your business as possible, while still receiving clicks. For instance “printing” is a broad term, “print shops in Merrimack Valley” may be a bit more appropriate to the size of your audience.
- Understand who you’re targeting. Depending on who you are targeting, AdWords can utilize search, display, video, and/or app ads. Knowing who your audience is and what platforms they are most likely to be searching/browsing can maximize your exposure and interaction levels on your advertisements.
- Track your ads. Using the technology associated with AdWords, it is simple to track and monitor the ads that you have purchased. Knowing what is working for you as well as what isn’t producing the outcome you had been hoping for can be very helpful in formulating your future ads. Maybe your geographic range is too small or your keywords are too broad.
Want to improve your social media?
Enter your information below to get the FREE social media checklist!
1. Social Media is a huge part of life now-a-daysWith almost 2 billion users and almost 25 billion ad-clicks per year, it’s clear why advertising on Facebook is such an attractive idea. Additionally, the average Facebook user spends about 40 minutes on the social media site everyday. If you do the math, that about 80 billion minutes in total and 1 ad click every 3 minutes.
2. Facebook ads are cheapWith rates like the ones mentioned above, you might think that ads would be pricey… but they’re not. For $300 you can get around 1000 views on your ad per day for an entire month with high conversion rates. If you bought a billboard, it would cost you about $1000 and you would get about thousands and thousands of views per month, usually with only a single-digit amount conversions. Spend ⅓ the price of traditional advertising and reap the benefits x10.
3. It’s easy to target the type of client you are looking forFacebook collects demographics of it’s users such as; age, location and gender. You can target these specific demographics by simply adjusting your settings in your ads. Want to target single women aged 30-55? You can do that. Want to target men in San Francisco aged 18-20? You can do that. Facebook ads are tailored, so you know that you are getting the full bang for your buck.
4. It’s easy to find leads through ad analyticsOnce you find a demographic setting that proves to convert many views to website clicks, it’s easy to copy those demographics over and over again and have repeated success. Facebook has such a large user base that running the same ads over and over won’t become repetitive, because different people see them every single time.
5. Remarketing helps you bring in unsure-yet-potential clientsRemarketing refers to a type of technology that shows ads for your business to people after they have visited your website or search for your business name/information. Ever noticed how a quick online browse through Macy’s or Sears creates ads all of your internet for the products you just looked at? This is no coincidence. You can have the power to be this effective in your Facebook advertisements through Facebook’s automatic remarketing techniques when publishing ads.
Three years ago during my college freshman orientation one of the very first seminars I attended was “How to Clean Up Your Social Media.” I attend Bentley University, which is a business school, and from the very first day we stepped on campus, the advisors and faculty ingrained in our heads the importance of professionally displaying ourselves on the internet. Social media management is everywhere at my school. Everyone is required to take a class dedicated to learning how to make a perfect LinkedIn profile, and even my sorority has strict guidelines and a contract we must sign that dictates what is considered appropriate to post.
Pause Before You Post on Social Media
In my last three and a half years at college, knowing what to post and what not to post almost comes second nature to me. However, I never really understood the importance until I began applying for summer internships, and more recently, a full-time job post-graduation. A recent study showed that 70 percent of employers screen job applicants using their social media, so it is important now more than ever before to check up on all of your online personas before you send in your resume to your dream job (Brooks, 2017).
Even if you think your account is completely private, there are still ways to see the content you post. The easiest thing is to just pause before you post to ensure that everything you’re about to share, like, tweet, or comment is tasteful and appropriate. Someone once taught me that if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, then don’t post it at all. I still follow those guidelines every day.
Social Media Scanning is not Always Out to Get You
Before you panic and delete every form of social media you have, know that there are times your platforms can actually help you out rather than hurt you. When an employer is screening an applicant, they are not necessarily looking at your profiles to “catch” you. Many of the times your pictures or statuses can confirm something you already spoke to them about or support your professional qualities. For instance, if your resume says you dedicate several hours a week to volunteering at your local pet shelter and your Instagram is filled with adorable puppies, then the employer will remember that and know the information you gave them is valid.
Employers also use social media to see what other people are posting about you too. This can be beneficial since most things that are shared online about someone else are positive. However, sometimes friends can post things that were meant as jokes but could be construed as inappropriate or unprofessional. Next time you’re about to post the most embarrassing selfies you have of your friend on her Facebook wall for her birthday, maybe think twice about it.
By taking the extra second to think about what you are about to upload before you hit the “share” button you will see that it can make a huge difference, and employers will take notice. Not only will you show you have great communication skills and creativity, but you will also show employers you know how to professionally portray yourself to others. Social Media is often times your first impression to many people and you always want to put your best foot forward.
Social Media Screening Works Both Ways
One thing I did take away from my job search experience is not only how important your own social media accounts are, but also how important social media platforms are for the company you are applying to. One of the first things I do when I hear about a company or am interested in applying to a job is look at the business’ Facebook and Instagram pages. These, along with many other platforms, give myself and other candidates a look into the company that may be different from what they have on their website.
Checking out the company’s social media platforms can also give you a feel for their company culture. Websites are usually more formal and informative, but social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram can share more fun or engaging content showing you an inside peek at everyday work life. You may even earn extra brownie points during an interview if you bring up something that they shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter!
If your business needs a little extra boost managing your social media platforms….
MaxExposure Social Media can help! Check out our Reputation Management package, which has our team of experts manage your reviews, social media activity, and overall online presence. If you are interested in this or would like to learn more about our other services please feel free to contact us!
Brooks, Chad. “Keep It Clean: Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity.” Business News Daily, 16 June 2017, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2377-social-media-hiring.html.
Often times, interning is the first working experience college students get in their specific field of study. At my school, Bentley University, internships are held in incredibly high regard and are pretty much considered essential to complete before you graduate. I am currently a junior, majoring in marketing with minors in management and psychology, and I started interning with MaxExposure Social Media about three months ago. Prior to starting my own internship, I had always just thought of an internship as a way to get connections for a job later on, or something that would look good on a resume. After just three months I have learned internships provide so much more than just career connections.
In my internship, I am responsible for writing and editing blogs for MaxExposure, responding to customer comments and reviews on clients’ social media accounts, completing social media performance analyses, and I am currently starting on website design. In just three short months, I have improved my writing skills, as well as learned the proper ways of communicating with customers. I have an increased understanding of all of the responsibilities involved in marketing, and the importance each task holds to a company’s success.
Aside from all of the task-specific skills I have gained, I have also communication and organization skills that will help me to succeed all throughout my career. Below I have listed the top three most important things I have learned throughout my internship with MaxExposure:
Communication is KEY
With this being my first internship, as well as my first time working while being in school, keeping constant communication is essential. Sometimes my schoolwork can be rather daunting, and I have had instances when I did not properly communicate that with my boss and other coworkers. After talking it over with my boss I realized had I communicated that I was feeling overwhelmed from the very beginning, the work could have been completed more efficiently and on top of that, I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed. Consistent communication with your boss and coworkers is extremely important in any internship or job; this realization and lessons I have learned through lack of communication will benefit me throughout my entire career.
SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE!
Although right now I am juggling school and work, in the future I will be juggling adult life and work, so learning how to multi-manage and effectively schedule right now will benefit me so much in the years ahead. Work will throw curveballs at you, just as life and school will, so learning how to complete planned tasks efficiently and allowing extra time to account for unplanned tasks is extremely important to your success.
Whether this be done by setting alarms or creating checklists, having a plan on how to handle curveballs and pop-up situations is important to time management and ensuring everything that needs to get done does! Working for a small business and witnessing the constant juggling act between work and life responsibilities has been eye opening. One time for example, my boss’ cat got sick so she had to leave the office and take him to the vet. She immediately told me to call her clients whom she had conference calls with to reschedule. Knowing how to schedule (and reschedule) to account for possible curveballs is essential to maintaining a successful career.
You get what you give
Like any job, you get out of internships what you put into them. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending tons of time on your work, but putting high quality effort into it. If you maintain focus and try your hardest to produce the best work you can, you will learn more in return and end up being more skilled, and therefore more successful. Acknowledging this will also help motivate you to work harder and focus more, therefore improving your overall work ethic.
Over the past few years, social media has really taken off and it has become a necessary tool for businesses to use to connect with their customers. Sometimes however, it can be difficult to separate your business from the thousands of other companies out there trying to do the same thing. One way to set your business apart is to make an authentic connection to your followers. Creating a meaningful connection can create customer loyalty and help improve your brand identity.
Check out the top five ways below to connect to your followers on a more personal level!
- Get Them Talking
One major way to connect to your followers is by encouraging conversation. Whenever you post something on social media, most of the platforms allow users to write a response or directly reply to the post. Whether it is on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook starting a discussion is key to building an organic relationship with your followers.
The first step is to post something they will want to talk about or comment on. For example, if you post a picture on Instagram have the caption be a question that asks which of two things they prefer. This encourages your followers to reply. Once you start getting responses on your post or picture, make sure you respond to them in a timely manner. Communication is a two-way street so it is important for your followers to know you are listening and you care about their opinions.
- Add a Personal Touch
When posting on social media as a business it is very important to make sure your followers and customers are informed and up to date on everything related to the company. However, this should not be the only content that is posted. Instead, add some fun touches to your platforms.
To do this you must know who your target audience is, and post content that is specific to their interests. A children’s clothing boutique for instance could post articles to their Facebook page about fun winter activities to do with kids, or recipes for healthy after school snacks. A hair salon could live tweet about the fashion and hair trends seen on the red carpet at the Grammys. By posting non-business related topics that appeal to your target demographic, your audience will stay more engaged on your platforms and appreciate the extra effort taken to relate to their personal likes and interests.
- Seeing is Believing
Another simple change that can have a big impact for your followers is showing instead of telling. What does this mean exactly? It is proven that people are more engaged when they can visually see something rather than just reading it. Instead of only posting typed messages on your social media platform, try using a video. If you have a new product coming out, or you recently renovated your office take a few minutes to capture the details in a video to share with your followers. You can post the video directly to the page or try out one of the new features that different platforms are introducing like Facebook Live or Instagram Story. Your audience will appreciate you going the extra mile to take a video instead of just typing out a paragraph that they could glaze over.
- Show Some Support
An important aspect of many businesses today is giving back and showing support to their community. It is very important and highly valuable to show your followers any philanthropic initiatives your business takes part in. One study showed that 90% of Americans are more likely to trust and stay loyal to businesses that give back, and 80% say they want to hear about it.* One way to show how you give back is through your social media platforms. Next time your company volunteers at something, snap a picture and post it to Instagram with a link to the charity or cause. The key to showing support is to make sure you do not brag about it. Posting an album on Facebook of your co-workers running a local 5K is a great way to show your followers what you do to give back, but try not to overkill it by posting about it all of the time on every one of your platforms.
- Consistency is Key
The last tip to help form an authentic relationship with your followers is to stay consistent on all social media platforms. Finding a voice is the first step. This voice sets the tone for everything you post and should reflect the type of business your company is. A law firm can use more of a serious voice where as a children’s hair salon can be more fun and colloquial. Whatever voice you pick, it is important to make sure it stays generally the same whether you are tweeting, posting on Instagram, or sharing an article on Facebook. This consistency helps to build your brand and create a voice that your followers can easily recognize and become familiar with. Customers want your brand’s message to be the same no matter where they are looking and sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it.
Learn how MaxExposure Social Media can help you become more authentic by taking a look at our resources.