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?
2019: The Year Your Business Needs to Invest in Social Media Marketing
Technically we could swap the date in the title with any date in the last 10 years and this would still be a relevant message, but for the purpose of keeping this current, let’s stick with 2019. The marketing opportunities within the realm of social media marketing have done nothing but grow exponentially for years on end and we’ve all been witnesses. Whether we’re spending our personal time exploring these platforms to stay in touch with friends or land a new job, or we’re doing research to see how they could help our startups or employers send their messages out into to the world, social media has become an unavoidable part of our every day lives. So much so, that brands and businesses have caught on and it’s more clear than ever that this is where you need to be to succeed.
That being said, are you keeping up with the times? Are you two steps ahead of your competitors or five steps back? If you’re going to make any resolutions in 2019, make one to really sit down and find your place on social media so you can invest accordingly.
Whether you’re skeptical (seriously? STILL?!) or just need some reminding, here are five reasons why you really really really need to invest in social media marketing for your business in 2019:
It Provides Authenticity
As a society, we’re far past the point of trusting everything that advertisers say. We’re skeptical, educated and bolder than ever when it comes to our outlook on marketing so as a business, you need to adapt. Social media gives your brand a channel to push out messages on a regular basis, that aren’t robotic advertisements, and stay in touch with consumers by offering a transparent view into your company that lends itself well to the overall genuine vibe that all consumers are searching for.
It Helps Strengthen Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the acronym that we’re all familiar with but aren’t quite sure what it means or how to achieve maximum success using it as part of a marketing strategy. Luckily, you don’t have to know much to know that updating social media profiles regularly can help you show up in relevant search results on Google.
It Works Well With Your Other Advertising Initiatives
Research has proven that 81% of consumers research a business online before they make a purchase so where you show up, what information is provided and how you come off to the world are incredibly important. Social media campaigns are just one part of the puzzle. Make sure that when you’re running a promotion or campaign on other platforms (newspaper, radio, television, magazines, in-store handouts etc), that your social channels match. It’s all about using them as part of an overall strategy.
It’s Cost Effective
Seriously, for real. While the platforms themselves are free to join, it’s no secret that we’re not all exactly equipped and confident navigating them on our own. Even if you pay for assistance with platform maintenance, the cost breaks down to just dollars per day and isn’t your time worth much more than that? You could also invest in custom training sessions to help you feel more confident setting and achieving goals online. Either way, the cost is a fraction of what you’d pay for a one-off magazine ad the size of a business card. Plus, the skills you learn are much more valuable in the short and long term than the real estate on any one magazine page.
It Builds Engaged Communities
Regularly updating your social media channels means you’re giving consumers a chance to learn more about you and what you offer. When followers interact with your content, their personal connections can see that they’ve endorsed and supported you and that’s worth much more than a 15 second radio spot ever will be. Over time, an engaged online community builds on itself in ways that other mediums just can’t compare with.
So what are you waiting for?
Reach out today and let’s get social!
Five Tips To Sleigh Your Digital Holiday Content
Tis the season for new ideas, concepts, giveaways and promotions but is your business ready? It’s one thing to have some cool ideas, but will all of your content come together in time to make an actual impact online? The holidays offer such a short window of opportunity as time seems to fly towards the end of the year. It often isn’t until Halloween passes that we realize what’s coming next from a marketing perspective and we’re often caught with our hands still in the candy bowl, wrapping up these promotions as the fall season comes to a close.
The key to success with holiday promotions is more than just giving people a discount on something they need/want, it’s about making sure they have enough time to make purchase decisions and that they’re reminded of you and your awesome products/services as much as possible during this short window of time. Need some help slaying your holiday content as we approach December? These five tips will help you put it all together in time!
- Tell a holiday story
The easiest way to make an impact with your holiday content is to tell a story and tug at those heartstrings. The holidays are ripe for emotional expenditure so make sure your social content does more than just earn you double taps. When it comes to content, think more quality storytelling and less direct selling.
- Use stories for complimentary content
Think outside the grid and plan content for your Instagram stories that compliments what you’re sharing and promoting in your posts. Take it a step further and consider incorporating live video to help amplify your messaging and push through the holiday clutter!
- Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing works…and there’s stats to prove it! Finding a few on-brand, high-influence social media users to amplify your message can have a huge impact. If you’re not sure how to choose influencers or where to start, consider looking up some research tools and ask yourself whether each influencer you look at has the aesthetic, audience size, and engagement you’re looking for.
- Run paid ads
There’s no doubting that paid ads can have a huge impact for small businesses, if they’re done the right way. When it comes to the purchase cycle, the holidays are the peak of consumerism so getting into that cycle with a series of paid and targeted ads is a no brainer. Do some research on your audience to determine what they like, want, feel and need so you can curate your ad content accordingly. Think beyond geographic and demographic targets and look deeper for your core audience that’s likely to purchase/sign up/join.
- Create a schedule and stick to it
Stay a step ahead of the crazy holiday season by creating a schedule that works for you/your team and using it to fuel everything you do online. This will help you plan our promotions, reminders, contests and more with ease as you move through the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The Best Days & Times To Post On Social Media
We’ve all been there; hunched over the computer, organizing our content in a third party software so we can blast it out over the course of the week and feel like we’ve accomplished something. While sourcing content is half the battle, figuring out when to schedule it to maximize engagement can be tricky. Instead of playing the guessing game next week, consider these updated stats that outline the best days and times to post your awesome content:
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?
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!
YQG Celebrates Social Media Day 2017
Launched by multimedia company Mashable in 2010, Social Media Day celebrates social media’s impact on global communication. Friday, June 30th, 2017 marks the eighth-annual official global celebration. Join us and a host of amazing local sponsors at Lanspeary Lions Outdoor Rink at Lanspeary Park – 1250 Langlois Avenue in Windsor from 11am-1:50pm on Friday, June 30th. This location has a roof, so we’re covered, rain or shine!
WEtech Alliance, a non-profit organization helping accelerate tech-based companies in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, along with its Social Media Superheroes – a peer-to-peer group of over 30 local social media superheroes that represent a cross-section of our community, including school boards, the media, non-profit organizations and businesses – will once again be celebrating the occasion with their 7th annual Community Chalk Tweet, with this year’s theme centred around Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.
WEtech Alliance has partnered with Windsor-Essex municipalities including City of Windsor and Town of Lakeshore, organizations and businesses including Cypher Systems Group, Motor City Community Credit Union and Strong Body Yoga & Fitness and media partners including Windsor Star,AM800 CKLW and CTV Windsor to make this a fun, FREE, community event open to all residence and visitors in Windsor-Essex.
The event will feature a giant outline of the Canada 150 logo painted on the ground by local artist DERKZ, with the community invited to fill in the outline by using chalk to draw and/or write their favourite things about Canada, Windsor and Essex County.
Participants will then be encouraged to snap a picture of their creation and upload it to social media using the official hashtag #SMdayYQG. #YQG and#SMday are also encouraged secondary hashtags.
The event will feature a soundtrack of music from local artists; an aerial drone powered by DarkRoast Digital to capture the footage of the artwook being created below; free snacks compliments of The Hub Powered operated by Samantha Buhler, Blab Media and Parker DKI; a free Canada 150 t-shirt from Hogans Printing to the first 150 attendees; a celebration of Canadian Innovation through the CANnovation project and other Canadian themed giveaways compliments of the Windsor Express, Rogues Gallery Comics and Playdium 5 Pin Bowling and the Stilt Guys will be on hand to entertain the crowd in a big way!
For more info about Windsor’s free Social Media Day celebration, you can visit the official website at http://smdayyqg.com/
Be A Resource
Social media is about more than just selling and if I had a quarter for every time I had to explain that, I’d be rich! It’s no secret that businesses who achieve success online aren’t focusing on sales pitches, price structures and one-way communication. They’re investing time and effort into creating hubs online where customers (and potential customers) can come to learn something new. Providing valuable and insightful content is the key to social media but how do you know what your audience finds valuable? Instead of pushing sales, try listening for a change. You’d be amazed by the vast amount of information that’s available online when you take the time to stop speaking. You can learn so much about your industry, community and customers by simply making time to search related keywords and hashtags. There’s no doubt that it can be difficult to stay on track when it comes to content creation but before you push out content, always ask yourself “what value is this providing for my audience?”