Why Instagram Stories Matter
By now we’re all super familiar with the “story” function that seems to be built into every major social platform at this point. What was once a unique feature on mobile app Snapchat, is now all the rage on Instagram, trying to break through on Facebook and rumoured to be launching as a built-in camera feature on Twitter soon.
Whether you use the feature religiously on or you’ve never bothered to check it out, it’s important to know what value it adds and how it can be used as part of an Instagram strategy to help you reach further and engage better.
Stories Vs. Posts
The first thing we need to determine is what the difference is between the two and how you can strategically decide what type of content to post where on Instagram. Social media has always been about sharing small snapshots and tidbits from our lives over the course of time and Instagram’s newsfeed does a wonderful job or organizing those for us in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Unfortunately, the news feed is where the algorithms come into play which means sometimes your narrative can get lost or your messages can unintentionally annoy or bombard your audience due to the system making guessing and trying to assume what people want to see and when.
Stories provide a fix for these challenges by literally stringing together the narrative and keeping it moving.
Ease of Use & Accessibility
The major value of stories is undeniably where they’re located on Instagram and how people engage with them. When your content is front and centre at the top of the app at all times, your audience is much more likely to see it and dive in to explore as organic impressions can be all over the place and based on previous engagements.
Compared to Snapchat, Instagram’s integration of the feature is much easier to navigate. Plus, thanks to the popular app, Instagram’s audience was already quite familiar with the functionality so it was easily and quickly adopted.
The Big Benefit
Stories present a unique opportunity to post as much as necessary and not have to worry about being penalized by the algorithm. They’re fantastic for more grassroots, raw content that encourage engagement and input with features like the Question button or the Poll option. Businesses can have fun using GIFs, filters and stickers to jazz up their content and can also tag other users, locations and even include hashtags to be part of a larger collection of stories curated by keywords.
Stories place your content front and centre and instead of forcing your audience to consume it, the feature give them the power back when it comes to what they view and for how long. If people are viewing your content in stories, they’re doing it because they want to and they’ve gone out of their way to check out what you’ve got to say.
It seems like every week there’s a new update to the stories feature! While some directly benefit users, some are also great tools for businesses so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Instagram “New” story at the top of your feed to stay up to date with the newest updates.
What new feature would you like to see incorporated into Instagram stories?
Will You Be My Social Media Valentine?
As the first month of the year comes to a close, Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us. I heart Valentine’s Day, and not in the tacky, gushy kind of way. More like in a nostalgic, wholesome kind of way.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved giving out valentines to friends. Although the style has somewhat changed over the course of time (has it really though? lol), there’s no doubt that I’m still a child-at-heart. Cinnamon hearts are my jam and I love all the cute cards with silly puns!
While I don’t have to go around a classroom and drop my valentines into decorated paper bags anymore, I do have a blog on the internet and that’s almost the same thing haha! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and my love for social media marketing, I’ve put together a few social media valentines you can share on Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories or all of the above if you’re a serious social media aficionado!
This Valentine’s Day, even if you skip the heart shaped chocolates and complicated dinner reservations, you can still send some love to friends, family and complete strangers on the internet.
How To Give Your Social Media A Good Spring Cleaning
We embrace spring cleaning for our homes and our lives with open arms but what about our digital lives? Aren’t our social media accounts just as in need as our closets when it comes to purging and organizing? If your digital life could really use a good cleanse, consider these simple tips that will have you feeling better in no time:
Clean up the Clutter
We’re all guilty of using social sign ins across the internet because let’s be real, creating a new account login every single time we want to use an app or service, is way too time consuming. The problem is that many of us have been using social media for a decade so every time we use Facebook to authenticate a login through another app or service, we can end up with hundreds of apps that have access to our information on a regular basis, even if you haven’t accessed them for years. While we’re not asking you to stop using social sign in, it’s important to keep an eye on which apps have access so you can purge unnecessary connections. To do this, head to your Facebook page and click the arrow in the blue bar at the top of the screen. Select settings and then choose “Apps and Websites” along the left hand side. You’ll see a list of active apps that you have given access to and you can remove items right from that screen by selecting them and choosing Remove.
Polish Your Reputation
It’s no secret that your online reputation matters and employers are searching candidates on a regular basis. How would you fare if your employer looked you up today? While we all do what we can to protect our privacy and ensure we’re sharing and engaging appropriately, it can be hard to track down all the not-so-great decisions we made prior to caring about the workforce. Use a service like Scrubber Social to clean up embarrassing posts all the way back to the creation of your account so you can stop wondering what people are unearthing from the past when they look you up on social media platforms.
Give Your Accounts A Purge
It’s not hard to accumulate hundreds (or thousands) of followers over the course of time on each social media platform and while it’s always nice to have reassurance that you’re worthy of a follow, who you follow back mindlessly is half of the problem. Go through your social media accounts, specifically the accounts that you follow, and don’t be afraid to purge accounts that just aren’t serving you any more. Whether they were accounts you followed to enter contests or businesses you connected with years ago that you just don’t like anymore, removing them will lighten the load in your newsfeed and help you better curate the information you see and interact with on a regular basis. Tread lightly though, the last thing you want is to upset an old friend and cause an argument over an “unfriend” scenario. If you’re on the fence about removing someone on Facebook specifically, try the unsubscribe button instead so you can avoid their updates and all the drama of fully removing them from your circle of friends.
Create New Habits
Moving forward, the best way to stay on top of your social media accounts is to create new habits so you’re always conscious of the decisions you make. Get into the habit of daily maintenance that can make things easier for you in the long run and help you stay on top of things with minimal effort.
How Social Media Is Changing The Way We Travel
We use social media in just about every stage of travel. We discover where we want to go while scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram. We’ve ditched guidebooks and translation guides in favour of apps like Lonely Planet and Google Translate. We’re avoiding travel agents and instead, are using Expedia, Kayak and other travel hacking websites to get us the best deal. Then once we’re off on our adventure, we use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Snapchat to keep our family and friends updated with our epic moments as we go.
I recently arrived home from an epic vacation in Costa Rica and while I turned off my notifications and took a hiatus from managing accounts, I did sign into my personal profiles to keep my family and friends in the loop with all my adventures. I recorded videos, posted boomerangs and filled my Instagram feed with photos as I made my way through my ten day adventure. As I develop into a more avid traveller, I’m discovering that social media plays a large role in how I research, plan and share my travel experiences.
Technology has done more than make travel convenient, it’s also made the process a lot more eco-friendly with advance digital checkins for hotels, e-tickets for events and boarding passes that can be scanned on our phones. It’s also helped simplify our packing routines by squeezing multiple functions into singular devices like smartphones.
It’s even helped us surpass one of the biggest previous barriers known to travellers; understanding and using foreign languages. It’s eliminated the need for phrase books by giving us the insight we need in the palm of our hands through apps like Google Translate and Duolingo. Technology has also made the entire process easier and safer when it comes to electronic payments.
Aside from technology impacting travellers individual experiences, businesses and tourism boards are also getting in on the action with branded and location-based hashtags promoting certain regions or activities. Businesses are also using chat bots on social media to answer questions, deliver tailored customer service solutions and provide added value to travellers. No matter how you spin it, technology has drastically changed the travel industry and will continue to impact it as more advancements are made. No one knows for sure what the future will hold for travellers, but you can bet it’ll be pretty cool!
How has technology made your personal travel experience better?
The Rise Of The GIF
No matter how you pronounce it, the GIF is making a huge comeback! The glitter text and silly pixelated graphics that once graced our personal MySpace pages have returned and they are way cooler than they used to be. Whether it’s a dancing cat, silly character, popular saying or a ridiculous floating food item, there’s something for everyone. As GIFs continue to grow in popularity, more platforms and apps are adding them to our lineup of cool “stickers”.
Earlier this year, Snapchat started releasing moving filters and stickers and had since launched a full GIF library users can slap on their snaps for fun. Even Instagram recently released a GIF database that users can access when they post stories.
As a big lover of emojis and the personality they add to a standard message/response, it’s exciting to see the rise of GIFs since they open up a whole new door when it comes to having fun with content and creative. Almost every Instagram story Blab has posted since the launch of the GIF feature has included at east 1 GIF and I’m not ashamed to admit that! As a funky, eclectic brand, GIFs are a great way to add some personality and movement to every day messages. If you’re noticing the new found popularity GIFs but aren’t sure how to incorporate them, consider these simple tips:
1. Stay True To Your Brand
Regardless of your brand personality, there’s a GIF that’ll work for you. Don’t shy away from them entirely just because you have a more refined or professional reputation. Take the time to look through the databases and search specific words or objects that you could incorporate without the risk of abandoning the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
2. Know When Enough Is Enough
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as overkill when it comes to GIFs. Does your post really need fireworks, two dancing cats, a winking pizza slice and glitter text? Know when to use GIFs to enhance your message and when to opt out or pair down to keep things simple.
3. Understand Your Audience
The type of content you share depends entirely on the type of people you’re speaking to and GIFs should follow the same principle. Know your audience inside and out and use that knowledge to determine if certain platforms or messages are better suited for GIFs.
Three Signs That You’re Obsessed With Social Media
These days it’s much more rare to meet a person who doesn’t have a presence on social media than it is for you to encounter someone that spends hours every day obsessing over it. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media just as much as the next millennial, but I definitely know where to draw the line. Posting interesting articles on Facebook, sharing updates from your awesome vacation on Instagram or tweeting a funny GIF on Twitter are all pretty harmless, but how do you know when your love for social media is starting to become an obsession? Below are three signs that you might be legit #obsessed:
Likes and comments mean EVERYTHING to you
Validation about how beautiful you look or how awesome you or your accomplishments are should never come in the form of hearts, likes or emojis. If you’ve ever uploaded a selfie on Instagram or shared a life event on Facebook and deleted it afterwards only because it didn’t get as many likes/comments as you’d hoped for, you definitely have to check your priorities.
You plan your posts meticulously
If you don’t post it on social media then it didn’t really happen, right? If you just answered yes to that question then you most likely pre-plan your posts every time you intend to do something cool. You know that you’ve gotta capture that perfect photo with your friends and you already know where you’ll stand to take advantage of the most flattering lighting, which hashtags you’ll use in your caption and which people you’ll tag. If you’re spending more time obsessing over what to post than obsessing over the cool experience you’re actually having in real life, you need to hit the breaks. Do your best to live in the moment and worry about what you’ll share when you’re ready to actually post something online.
You only go places and do things so you can post about it
The cliche saying “stop to smell the roses” rings especially true in this case. If you’re making social plans just so you can share them with the world online, you’ve gotta check yourself. Order the food you actually want to eat instead of worrying about what dish will look best in your photo. Support your favourite businesses (regardless of how cool they look) instead of going out of your way to find trendy spots for the sake of a photo.
Chances are you’re guilty of at least one of the above offences, even if it isn’t all the time. The fact is that social media has become a major part of our lives and whether we like it or not, it’s changed the way we communicate. It’s ok to be excited about what you’re experiencing and to want to share that excitement with the world, but don’t ever let your quest for popularity online overtake your quest to live life to the fullest…..beyond the screen.
Will You Be Our Social Media Valentine?
In the last few years, as social media has become even further entwined in our lives, the way we celebrate and express love on Valentine’s Day has shifted. We share Valentine’s wishes, showcase our gifts, express our feelings and put it all out there for the world to see on the social network(s) of our choosing. Expressing love and sharing kindness amongst friends and family is never a bad thing but isn’t it about time that our valentines wishes were updated from the classic “I ch-ch-choose you”? To help get the ball rolling, Blab put together some fun, social-media inspired Valentine’s messages that are sure to make you swoon. Feel free to share, text, save, gram, tweet, like, or snapchat them, just promise us that you’ll put down your phone and spend some quality time with your Valentine today!
20 Questions To Shape Your Social Media Resolutions For 2018
Social media marketing is something that businesses of all sizes struggle to understand and leverage. Often they don’t know where to start, which platforms to use, how to create content, when to post, how to engage etc so approaching this medium as a marketing tool can feel quite off-putting. If you know that you need to up your social media game this year but aren’t sure where to begin, use the questions below to kickstart your goals and get you one step closer to success:
Know Your Target Market
When you’re talking to someone (on any platform), you need to know what matters most to them. You need to undderstand their triggers, likes, dislikes, values, morals and personalities in order to curate content they’re going to engage with. Before you do anything else, make sure you know your audience by asking these four questions:
- Who is your ideal customer? (don’t say everyone)
- What do they enjoy doing in their free time?
- Where do most of them live?
- What can you do to better target your audience in 2018?
Understand Your Motivation
Social media can help you accomplish some amazing things but it isn’t the be-all-end-all of marketing so make sure you know the motivation behind why you’re using it and what you want to accomplish before you push forward:
- Why are you using social media?
- How have other businesses in your industry leveraged social media? Can you learn from them?
- What are your expectations when it comes to social media?
- How will you measure success on social media?
Focus On Engagement
Social media was created to help people engage in a different way so it’s only natural that you focus on how to engage properly once you’ve become active on any platform:
- On a scale of 1-10, how heavily will you focus on engagement this year?
- Are there any hashtags you could use to help with your engagement?
- Can you participate in any fun online events to help build engagement (i.e. Twitter chats, Facebook groups)?
- Should you use the 80/20 rule (80% content from others, 20% your content)?
Create Compelling Content
It’s no secret that content marketing is the new big thing! Creating unique content and finding ways to repurpose and share it across multiple platforms will help you step up your social media game:
- Have you considered starting a blog? If so, which platform works best with the website you already have (i.e. wordpress)?
- Will you create a content calendar that outlines what you’ll post, at what time and how often?
- Will you invest in live video creation? If so, on which platform(s)?
- Will you have a newsletter (i.e. Mailchimp)?
Choose Platform(s) Wisely
Where you put down roots online matters. Match profiles up with your business goals to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction and talking to the right people:
- Which social media platforms do you want to have a presence on? Which would you rather avoid?
- Which new platforms do you want to learn more about?
- Which social media platform(s) will you spend less time on this year? Why?
- How will you measure your success across all platforms?
What other questions can you ask to help you set your social media goals?
5 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Social Media Training
There’s no doubt that social media is an incredible marketing tool! It gives businesses a place to tell their story and engage with their customers on a level that no other medium can compete with. Whether you’re a small home-based business or a multi-million dollar corporation, social media provides a level playing field and new opportunities that continue to grow and develop as the years pass….but all this potential can be overwhelming! As a small business owner, where do you start? If you need to make a big impact with a small budget, you should consider custom social media training sessions. Here are five reasons why you should elevate your knowledge while investing in yourself and your business this year:
1. Training can help you reach your goals faster
Some goals can be easily attained based on your current skill set and connections but others can take a lot more time to conquer due to lack of time, resources or knowledge. Social media training sessions can help you reach those seemingly unattainable and frustrating social media goals faster by empowering you with the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to get the job done on your own time!
2. Training doesn’t require a massive budget or a long-term commitment
Unlike the cost associated with traditional marketing campaigns or long-term agency contracts, social media training can be booked and paid for on an as-needed basis. No contract is required and you can book as few or as many sessions as you want. Whether you’re looking to invest in training every month to keep your knowledge current, or you’d prefer to invest in one session to help you solve a specific problem you’re currently facing, training gives you that freedom.
3. Training is the first stepping stone into a world full of opportunities
Often times the one thing that holds most businesses back from truly exploring and leveraging social media, is their lack of confidence. Training sessions don’t just provide extensive insight and knowledge, they also empower business owners to make decisions, set goals and accomplish tasks they once felt too uncomfortable facing themselves. Training is the first step towards being able to fully leverage social media to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.
4. Training allows you to prioritize your time
It’s no secret that social media can be incredibly time consuming. One thing leads to another and before you know it, your 30 minutes of time of the platform has turned into 3 hours and you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing in the process. The great thing about training is that knowledge truly is power, especially when it comes to efficiency. Sometimes it can be a time consuming task just to find a simple button or feature so the better you understand the platforms you’re working with, and the more comfortable you feel navigating them, the more likely you are to accomplish your tasks on these platforms quickly. Time is money am I right?
5. Training keeps you in control
Many businesses are worried about investing in social media because they don’t like the thought of someone else being in control. Social media training does the exact opposite; it keeps you in the driver’s seat the entire time. You’re in control of the topic, you get to ask all the questions and you guide the session entirely from start to finish.
Are you ready to invest in the power of knowledge this year? Contact Blab to learn more about customized training sessions and how they can help you achieve your business goals!
5 Social Media Trends To Watch In 2018
With every new year, comes new trends and opportunities for businesses. Surely we can all appreciate how far technology has come in such a short period of time and this year’s social media trends are no exception. If you’re looking to invest in social, reset your goals, overtake your competition or stand out in a crowded market, these are the five trends you’ll want to consider as we move into 2018:
- Augmented Reality Makes A Comeback
Hard to believe that it’s already been five years since Google came out with a pair of glasses—Google Glass—that promised to bring augmented reality (AR) to the mainstream and change how we live and interact with each other. As you could have guessed by now, it was a flop. But now, multiple companies (Facebook, Google and Snap) are competing to enter or re-enter the market. After a handful of highly successful augmented reality apps, sales of VR headsets on the rise, and greater technological sophistication (faster internet speeds and better visual rendering), 2018 could very well be the year that AR takes off. If it does, and stays in the mainstream, you can bet that social media will be one of the most popular applications for the technology, bringing people together over vast distances and providing an entirely new user interface for social interactions.
- The Continued Rise Of Live Streaming
Some businesses may argue that live streaming already dominated in 2017. About 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog and 82% would prefer live video to written social media updates. Now that social platforms and users have settled into the concept, 2018 is bound to bring with it not only a cool new way to interact with audiences online, but an expectation for your brand to keep up.
- A Change To The Standard Social Formula
Last year there were more than 50 million small businesses using social media to market their businesses. There’s no doubt that social media is popular for a reason, but the increased presence of brand-written content is leading to fatigue among users which makes them less likely to respond or engage. This shift in consumer behaviour is going to force brands to re-think their approach and consider a more unique approach to content and messaging.
- Gamification Extends Into Social
There’s no doubt that users love interacting with each other, even with complete strangers! There’s also no doubt that people love playing games so why not bring those two together to create a better overall experience? Since 2017 saw the rise of gamification and immersive gaming experiences, it’s only a matter of time before we see an app that blends social media and gaming more naturally. There’s no way to know what will come from merging these two interests but it’ll definitely be something worth exploring when it does!
- Social Ad Adoption
Now that brands are more established on social media, their focus is shifting to generating revenue and investing in ads. While most brands have already begun exploring ad potential across multiple platforms, this trend is going to grow even further as more small businesses catch up and work to compete with larger competitors.
While none of these trends are going to completely change the way brands and users interact with social media, they’ll definitely make for an interesting year. If your business is going to remain competitive moving forward, you’ll want to consider adopting and exploring these trends. Learn more about what they are, what value they present and how your business can leverage them for success.
Unsure how to move forward with your 2018 business goals? Consider scheduling a customized training session with Blab and start 2018 off with the knowledge you need to make things happen!