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.
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!
Want To Learn More About Social Media? Register For This Workshop!
Super excited to announce that Blab is partnering with Imaginative Group to offer a workshop for small businesses at the Walkerville Brewery on Wednesday November 29th. Want to explore social media but aren’t sure which platforms are most valuable for your business? Looking to incorporate social media into your current strategy but aren’t sure how it’ll work with other elements? Let us help you take the first step towards better understanding the value of social media as part of an overall marketing strategy. We’ll be talking about the most popular platforms and the value they offer businesses, going over case studies to emphasize learning objectives, explaining the value of SEO and understanding the important role that your website plays as part of the bigger picture.
1. Learn why investing in social media and digital marketing leads to success
2. See the cost and benefits of integrating social into their current marketing plan
3. Understand how social media can help businesses of all sizes grow and thrive
Join us to discover the value of social media marketing and learn more about how it integrates into a multi-channel strategy. Snacks, coffee and water will be provided free of charge and wine/beer will be available for purchase from the bar. Click here to purchase your ticket!
Blab Attends Digital Summit Detroit 2017
Another year, another Summit event! In 2016 Blab attended Digital Summit Detroit for the first time and had a blast. There was so much information to be absorbed, so many networking opportunities and an awesome lineup of talented guests speaking on a variety of digital/tech topics. I even got to meet Ann Handley from Marketing Profs and listen to the real life Siri chat with the crowd on stage. This year may not have had me feeling as star struck, but it was just as valuable in terms of content and experiences.
The event was two full days of learning from 7:30am to 5:30pm at Cobo Centre downtown. Sharing my referral link online got me a free book, t-shirt and even VIP lounge access so I was looking forward to experiencing the event in style. Day one started with a four hour pre-conference workshop where I learned everything there is to know about email marketing. What a valuable workshop! It was packed with internet research, industry knowledge and even actionable takeaways. The rest of the day was spent attending a 6 other sessions covering topics such finding success with Facebook Live posts, creating shareable content, marketing to millennials and how artificial intelligence can help your business. We even got to hear from Jonah Peretti, co-founder of Buzzfeed and Huffpost. What an awesome experience!
Day two started with networking over coffee and was followed by 12 other informative sessions on social ads, online reviews, storytelling, going mobile, UX design, harnessing the power of content and more. I learned about new software, gadgets and best practices that will ultimately make Blab a stronger and smarter local competitor. Another successful year and I haven’t even had time to go through all my notes yet!
Proud Sponsor Of WEtech’s 2017 Nerd Olympics
Super excited to be a sponsor for WEtech Alliance’s 2nd annual Nerd Olympics. The event brings together the Windsor-Essex tech community in a fun, team-building competition to challenge the mind & body. It kicks off with the official Opening Ceremonies and Nerd Torch lighting ceremony before the first event on Tuesday September 5th.
Sixteen Tech Company teams will compete in a series of events spread out over the course of three months and just like the real Olympics, they’ll be able to win Gold, Silver & Bronze 3D printed “medals” for each event. The whole event will culminate with the Closing Ceremonies happening at the Tech Awards on Friday November 17th with a presentation of the coveted Nerd Cup.
As a social media challenge sponsor, Blab will be providing all teams with a unique social media challenge that they’ll need to complete for points. The best part? Blab will be at the closing ceremonies to present the challenge award to the team who did the best job. Stay tuned to Blab and WEtech Alliance’s social channels for updates and announcements as the event progresses and don’t forget to follow along during Blab’s challenge week from September 25 – October 1st to see the entries submitted in real time online. Let’s go nerds, you got this!
Panel Discussion: Marketing And Growing Your Business
A few weeks ago Blab was approached to volunteer as a panelist for the New Canadian’s Centre Of Excellence. The organization is a community based, direct-service agency that assists, supports and promotes the full and equitable participation of immigrants and refugees in all aspects of social, cultural and economic life in the Windsor-Essex Region. Blab has volunteered for many sessions here in the past hosting workshops, hands-on-learning sessions and more.
Today’s panel discussion featured myself and Kay Douglas from Douglas Marketing Group talking to clients about how they can market and grow their businesses regardless of industry. We met some very friendly people, answered lots of questions and even had a chance to chat about our own experiences in business. It’s always fun to talk about your own adventures in business, especially if it can help other people! I’m excited to see how these new businesses continue to grow and develop over the next few months. A community can never have too many entrepreneurs!
Giving back to the community is an important part of business. Even though Blab doesn’t have tangible products to donate or give away to those in need, having a valuable skill set to contribute can be equally as valuable. I know first hand how hard it can be to start, operate and maintain a small business in Windsor so why not help other aspiring entrepreneurs by providing insight, tips and support? If you’re interested in volunteering to help out a local organization in Windsor-Essex, be sure to check out WEVolunteer to match your interests/skills up with available positions in your community.
Blab Launches Business Babes Windsor
Entrepreneurship can be incredibly difficult. It can be stressful, tiring, exhausting, scary and often times, it can isolate you from friends and family who just don’t understand what you’re going through. It’s for this reason that I decided to start a small Facebook community where female entrepreneurs in the Windsor area can connect, network, educate and inspire each other on a regular basis. Members can share their entrepreneurship story, reach out for insight, promote events/promotions, ask questions, share inspiration, motivate others and just enjoy connecting with other women who understand their mindset and goals.
Business Babes Windsor is in its infancy right now, but it would be great to see more female entrepreneurs join up. Being a mentor is such a valuable experience and I’m a big advocate of helping others succeed. In my opinion, we rise by lifting others and this group makes that possible. Whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for years, you just started a business or you’re curious about what it all entails, this group offers the perfect casual backdrop for conversation and education at any level.
Supporting local is incredibly important to me so encouraging others to explore entrepreneurship by providing them with the tools, network and support they need is the best way to give back to Windsor. Small, independent businesses are what make every city unique and vibrant. Plus, at the end of the day, the world could use more dreamers and doers!
Windsor Women In Business Show
Last night was fantastic! I spent the evening in a room full of incredibly passionate and motivated female business owners. From clothing and accessories to handmade items, medical services and beyond, the Windsor Yacht Club was bustling with energy. I met so many great women, learned about some pretty cool businesses and even enjoyed a cocktail. Blab was proud to be a sponsor providing free (and blue) #girlboss cocktails to attendees, a door prize and goodies for the 50 vendors.
While the event only lasted a few hours, I was able to catch up with some friends and meet some people I’ve only ever chatted with on social media. I discovered some cool new products, businesses and people as I walked through the vendor space enjoying my delicious blue cocktail.
Crossing my fingers that more events like this happen in the future. It’s great to go out and support the community while socializing and networking. As a female entrepreneur, it’s always great to meet more women who understand the struggle and the joy of entrepreneurship.
What are some of your favourite female-run businesses in Windsor-Essex? Share them in the comments below!
Blab Celebrates Social Media Day
Each year on June 30th, the world comes together to acknowledge and celebrate the value of social media and how it’s impacted our lives for the better. Cities across the globe celebrate with concerts, events, panel discussions, tweetups and engaging activities that bring the community together as part of a larger discussion. Blab wanted to get involved on a larger scale this year so we’ll be facilitating a discussion about the history of social media on Twitter using the hashtag #WESMDAY2016 while also running a contest and giving away gift cards to four local business that are doing a fantastic job creating and growing their social presence. To enter our contest, click here. But don’t wait too long, it’s only open until midnight tonight!
Social Media Day is an important day of celebration for businesses of all sizes. The tools social platforms provide allow companies with 2 employees to compete on the same level as companies with 2000 employees and the medium in general does a great job of breaking down the barriers of traditional advertising, allowing interaction and engagement for all. As a small business, we know that it’s very important to promote and support other local businesses, especially when their digital presence helps push Windsor into the spotlight online. Regardless of size, industry or target market, the businesses chosen for our Social Media Giveaway have all demonstrated the importance of “finding your thing” online and working hard to do it better than anyone else. The following businesses that were selected for the giveaway each have a social strong-suit that’s worth highlighting and is something we can all learn from:
Cafe March 21st
A charming cafe in downtown Windsor that specializes in pour-over coffee, Cafe March 21st is bursting from the seams with personality. While small in size, the space is quirky, fun and completely unique and owner Henry does a fantastic job of transferring that personality online. The cafe’s social accounts are filled with fun photos, cool updates and customer-generated content that perfectly conveys the brand’s personality in the digital realm. Using social media as an extension of your brand while staying true to its personality can be a difficult task, but the crew at March 21st has nailed it!
Windsor Rock Gym
It can be difficult to generate excitement for a business before its even opened, but Windsor Rock Gym has done a fantastic job of getting the community involved with their launch months before it happens by creating a visual progress checklist and posting updates online as the project nears completion. Often times businesses will begin their social media journey months or years after opening their doors. Taking the plunge before they’ve even become operational would pose a serious challenge for most, but not Windsor Rock Gym! Thank you for setting a great example for other businesses and proving that social media success is about more than sales.
Carrots N’ Dates
In a city full of amazing restaurants, photography can not only help differentiate you, but it can set you far apart from the pack. Carrots N’ Dates, a cozy cafe specializing in wholesome, gluten free and 100% plant based food, has a habit of pumping out some seriously impressive food photography and we couldn’t help but notice. Since launching in 2012 they’ve done a fantastic job of using visuals to share the wholesome goodness they serve every day. Their Instagram photos are a sneak peak inside their well-crafted menu and give consumers a chance to better understand the amount of care and effort that goes into each dish they prepare.
Ask any marketing expert and they’ll tell you that 2016 is the year of live video and while it offers incredible opportunities and value, a lot of businesses are shying away from it because they aren’t sure how to incorporate it and execute it properly. Shop Eco, a popular eco-friendly boutique in Walkerville, has embraced it on multiple platforms and continues to add value for their growing community with product reviews, updates, sneak peaks etc. It’s refreshing to see a small business dive right in and embrace technology, especially when it can sometimes be a scary transition. If you haven’t had a chance to check out their videos yet, you can visit them on Facebook or Instagram and see the value they provide firsthand!
Blab will also be heading out to Bull n Barrel at 4:30 for the Social Media Day Afterparty so if you’re a fan of social media or you just want to meet some like-minded individuals, come out and have some fun. Want to join in on the conversation online? Use the hashtag #WESMDAY2016 and let’s get chatting!
❤️?? Happy Social Media Day ??❤️