Blog Hop: Social Media Hot Tips for 2018

It’s the year to own your destiny. Heck, if you need even another reason, how about this: YOLO! You only live once, so why not make the next 365 days the best ones to come?  If you are on social media, then here are a bevvy of hot tips for 2018. Buckle up because some of these may surprise you and others, of course, you’ve seen them coming.

SOCIAL MEDIA 2018 TIPS

Video, Video and More Video

Fact: Forbes says, “Nearly half of businesses are already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement in 2018.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: Know how and why you are producing videos for social media, if they make sense for you, and invest in the right equipment to make them happen. (Note: the investment need not be large scale).  Are you making these social media video mistakes?


Robots Are Taking Over – AI Style

Fact: Artificial intelligence will tell you which media ads in which variation perform the best. Forbes says that users can automate campaigns so that your best-performing posts boost to the biggest audience.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: You will still need to spend on much of social media in order to seek the desired results. Automation is here. Here’s why you should consider Facebook advertising.


The Rise of Instagram Stories

Fact: Instagram Stories will continue its upward ascent across the social media landscape. Consider that an account with 10,000 followers or more can also add links to their stories.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: If you follow this blog or do a search of this blog for “Instagram” or “Instagram Stories,” you will note we were ahead of this trend as it becomes a permanent part of social media domination. Here are some Advanced Tips To Drive Blog Traffic Using Instagram Stories.


Virtual and Augmented Reality Comes to Social Media

Fact: The folks at ImpactBND share, “While augmented reality’s initial impact will be on mobile gaming, it is likely that social media platforms will find more ways to incorporate the new technology as well.”  They share that Facebook, has been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in virtual reality.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: This truly gives new meaning to “face to face” and that’s a cue to snag your BlogPaws 2018 Conference ticket now.


Influencer Marketing Plants Its Flag

Fact: According to Entrepreneur.com, “Companies like North Face, Hubspot and Rolex use social media–based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: BlogPaws has long been ahead of this trends and envisions influencer marketing to finally gain the respect it so rightfully deserves.


The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:



Image:  garetsworkshop / Shutterstock

 

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Blog Hop: Pay to Play on Facebook

“Do I really need to pay to get more followers, engagement, or traffic on Facebook?”

In an era dubbed “pay to play,” this blog hop is dedicated to tips on paying for ‘something’ on Facebook in order to meet your pre-defined goals. A solid social strategy is a key cornerstone of successful social media marketing plan.

How to advertise on Facebook

Facebook

Everyone’s favorite friend and foe: Facebook. Using a little research, trial and error, and a small amount of money, garnering engagement on a Facebook ad can prove very successful. Note that this is not a paid boost, but actually a paid ad. You create content, have a specific audience in mind, and you gear your ad’s specs towards that end goal.

Learn more: How to Use Facebook Ads to Target Specific Audiences

These days, most Facebook content is not being seen. You could have a million followers on Facebook and maybe one or two percent of those people are seeing the content. It all has to do with Facebook’s algorithm and the fact that the social media landscape is a crowded one.

What About Facebook Boosting?

You can experiment with this with a small budget, even under $10, IF you have a reason for doing so.

There are three actions a boost allows:

  1. People who LIKE your page: Use this to actually get your current fans to see your content. The number of people who will be reached by your boost will be displayed in the boost screen.
  2. People who like your page and their friends: If the friends of your fans are not into your content, you risk wasting money trying to get in front of them. Then again, if your friends have friends who are into your content (for example, dogs, cats, etc), then this strategy might work.
  3. People you choose through targeting: This opens up a menu with more options, which you will see if you experiment on the boost.

Learn more: How to Boost a Post on Facebook

Driving Blog Traffic with Facebook

On the day of the post, create an appropriately-sized image for Facebook. Never make a blog post one-and-done when using Facebook, either. You need to promote, repeat, promote and using a social media scheduler can help accomplish this.

Gauge the traction of your boost and re-post it when your audience is online and active. This information can be gleaned from Facebook analytics.

Use video on Facebook to send traffic to your blog.  Here are Advanced Video Tips to Get Blog and Social Media Traffic.

Still Not Convinced?

Here’s why one pro says you need to consider Facebook advertising.

Get the Latest in Social Media, Pet Blogging and Pet Influencer Education at the BlogPaws 2018 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  If you want the early bird rate before a sell out, claim your BlogPaws 2018 Conference tickets here.

The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:

.




Images:   ArthurStock/ Shutterstock

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New FTC Guidelines by Social Media Platform

There has been a lot of chatter about the FTC guidelines lately, their roll out of new rules, and their recent Twitter chat. Here at BlogPaws, we are all about education, so, of course, we have the latest insights on what this means for bloggers and influencers. How do we stay on top of things to ensure that we are serving our sponsors in the most professional manner possible?

In this exclusive interview with BlogPaws’ Director of Influencer Marketing Felissa Elfenbein, she shares what you need to know to keep the FTC happy, stay compliant, and keep your online presence in proper form.

Social media tips for sponsored content

In Her Own Words

First, I want to reassure you that most of the new FTC Guidelines are truthfully helping to make the “already in place guidelines” less vague while also including updates for social channels that have introduced new functions. Social media changes, grows, and adapts at breakneck speed, which makes it hard for any agency or organization to keep up to ensure information is shared as quickly as possible.

Bottom line: If in doubt, disclose the relationship! By doing so, you are protecting yourself and the brands, agencies, and networks with which you work. You are also showing other potential sponsors that you care and want to make sure that you are following FTC Guidelines. It truly does matter to your sponsors that you know the right way of doing things when it comes to the FTC.

Facebook

It appears that Facebook rolled out the handshake tool literally overnight and told everyone that they needed to start using it. Just like that!

Unfortunately, it appears that Facebook did not have a conversation with the FTC before rolling out the handshake tool, which means it is not a stand-alone thing. You still need to use the words ad or sponsored in the copy of your text. You no longer have to use the hashtag, but you need to ensure that the fact that the post is sponsored stands out to the average visitor to your page. The FTC says whatever you do, you cannot bury the fact that the post is sponsored. So, if you share long-form information you need to make sure that your disclosure can be seen without clicking the more link. Here’s an example from Two Little Cavaliers’ Facebook page (which belongs to Felissa):

How to disclose sponsored post on Facebook

 

Twitter

This is the one social media platform where things have not changed much. That being said, the FTC wants to make sure that anyone who sees a sponsored tweet understands that it is, indeed, sponsored. That means you shouldn’t mix it up with other hashtags and that it should be in a place where it is obvious. #Ad and #Sponsored both satisfy the guidelines on this channel. New best practices say that it should appear before your link or any other hashtag, but as long as your disclosure stands out that is fine. Here’s an example from @BigDogMom on Twitter:

How to disclose ad on Twitter

Instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and it appears they are following Facebook’s lead with the handshake tool. Felissa says that Instagram did not consult with the FTC and their handshake tool, which has been rolling out to business accounts slowly over the past few months. Well, it seems it does not comply with FTC Guidelines either!

If you have the handshake tool on Instagram, you should be using it to tag the brand with which you are working. If you don’t have the handshake tool, you will get it eventually, so need to panic. For Instagram, the FTC is very clear about what constitutes a proper disclosure. Your disclosure MUST appear within the first 90 characters or three lines of text. This places it before the break where someone would need to click to read more. Best practices says to use #ad and to ensure that your disclosure is not placed between other hashtags so that it stands out to your followers or anyone that happens upon the content.  Here is an example from Broken Teepee on Instagram:

How to disclose on Instagram

Instagram Stories

The IG Stories platform possess a very unique challenge. There is no place within a story to write content, meaning it needs its own guidelines. For Instagram stories, you must disclose on the image itself and the disclosure must stand out from the image and any other text you might include.

Felissa says to consider placing black text on a white background or white text on a black background. You can also use a font or color that really stand out against your image. Be cautious of using an image that is cluttered, as your disclosure might blend into the background. The FTC says that you do not have to disclose on every image, but you need to use your judgement in determining best practice for the situation. If you are uploading several images or videos quickly so that they all disappear at almost the exact same time, you should be safe. If, however, you are doing a day-in-the-life story or uploading images and pictures over the course of time, you should disclose on each image. This is from the BlogPaws IG Live feed with sponsored content from Cook with 5 Kids and Lola the Rescued Cat:

Instagram Stories disclosureInstagram Stories disclosure example

Instagram Live / Facebook Live

When going live on either of these two platforms, the FTC cautions that it is not enough to just disclose at the very beginning of your live. You should speak the words and have them written in a fashion that your disclosure appears continuously so that no matter when someone joins the broadcast, they understand that this is sponsored content.

YouTube

Felissa says, “While I am calling this guideline out for YouTube, this rule actually covers any non-live video that you upload to a social channel. For this platform, you need to both speak your disclosure as well as show the words. You also need to include your disclosure in the information about the video. Your spoken and written disclosure MUST appear at the very beginning of the video. Common practice is that most people watch YouTube videos with the sound up, which is why your spoken words are so important. We know that most people tend to watch Facebook Videos with the sound off, so in this case your written disclosure needs to be super solid. This probably also holds true for Instagram, but right now I think this is more an even split at least for the moment.”

The words you use to disclose must make it obvious you were compensated in some fashion. Compensation is considered anything that is not available to the average consumer. That means if you received something because you are an influencer, whether there was any expectation of compensation, you must disclose that you received the product and therefore have a relationship with the brand.

Don’t Stop Now

For more insider tips, a deeper discussion, and pro tips when it comes to FTC Guidelines, check out the replay of our Facebook Live in our Social Learning Community (SLC) on Facebook. If you aren’t already a member, simply apply for the SLC Facebook group, answer the questions that pop up, and we’ll process your membership right away.

Read more: 3 Key Takeaways from the FTC’s Twitter Chat about Disclosures

Images: sirtravelalot /  hedgehog94 / Shutterstock.

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How Do Instagram Stories Work

Simply stated, Instagram defines a story as, “a way of sharing photos and videos with your followers that disappear after 24 hours.” If you want to know exactly how Instagram Stories work and how to make them work for you, this is your blog post!

Every brand, blogger, influencer, and business is different, so what works for your Instagram Stories strategy may not work for someone else. Truth be told, when IG Stories first hit the scene, a great many influencers found it a bit absurb. Why, they would ask, would I want to showcase something for 24 hours and then poof… it’s gone? Maybe this very writer thought that to herself. This is a brave new world, folks, and there is a method to this madness. Keep reading, as we’re sharing tips on making Instagram Stories work in your favor by maximizing it to the fullest:

Tips to learn how Instagram Stories Work

Why Do Instagram Stories Disappear After 24 Hours?

According to The Guardian, “Beyond the design of the app, there’s the unique culture that’s grown up around it. Nobody wants a sad profile of pictures that no one has liked.”

In other words, the concept of things being transitory and lasting for a brief time is on trend and showing no signs of slowing down. There’s only so much content a person can post and consume in 24 hours. FOMO is a very real condition. We live in a “want more, what’s new” culture and a 24-hour window is the new norm. We want to know what the dog in Japan is doing today, what the cat in California had for breakfast, and what the latest pet products are according to today’s modern pet influencers.

How to Maximize Instagram Stories

  1. Know How to Add to Your Story:
  • Go to your Instagram Profile page and click on your icon.
  • Go to your main Instagram feed and click the camera icon.
  1. Use Hashtags: When in the Instagram Stories feature, after you upload your content, click the stickers icon and hit “hashtag” or just type in the hashtag using the text icon. The end result is a tappable, searchable hashtag.
  1. Tag Brands and People: Click on the text icon and type the handle of the brand or person. Instagram will generate a listing of Instagrammers who you might be trying to tag as you type. If you see an underline under the tagged name, then you know it is working.
  1. Add Links to Your Instagram Stories: Verified business accounts are able to embed links into an Instagram story. Pet influencers can use this feature to maximize their Instagram Stories. Ideas include:
  • Promote a blog post
  • Go live and share stories from an in-person event (remember to hashtag it)
  • Share content
  • Share adoptable pets
  • Get on the radar of brands
  • Promote sponsored content
  • Go behind the velvet ropes and show your followers a slice of your day

NOTE: Always include a call to action (CTA) in your story so that followers know what you want them to do. Examples of a CTA on Instagram Stories include  “See More” or “Swipe up.”

Learn more about getting creative with a Call to Action.

Creative Ideas for Instagram Stories

How many pieces of content should you put in your Story? Between 7 and 12 is generally the sweet spot, but if you are at a live event, a few more are fine. You don’t want to bombard your audience with content overload. Quality over quantity is key.

  • Use non-vertical images with ease. Make your IG Stories vertical, even if they aren’t shot that way. Try the InShot app.
  • Think outside your images and try flatlays. Upload a flat lay, infuse your own typography/font/colors, and you’ve got the makings of a branded, on-point template. Using an app like Canva on mobile or desktop, you can create your own branding style.
  • Try a “Day in the Life” for a behind-the-scenes look. Maybe you do this once or twice a month and promote it on other social media platforms so your fans know where to find you.
  • Invite your followers to engage with you. No one likes a spammer who makes their feeds all about them them and more them. Make your audience feel connected and involved by running a poll, asking questions, or even getting feedback on future posts. “Today, I am blogging about cats who don’t use the litterbox. What cat health questions do you have? DM me and let me know!”
  • Save and repurpose the story on Facebook. Open the story, and click the three dots at the bottom right and a screen pops up with a variety of options. If you add it to your timeline feed, then your account’s privacy settings apply.
  • Working with a brand? Show the product in action on IG Stories. I recently did a post for Petmate that features my medium-sized dog and also my friend’s larger dog. We infused an Instagram Story from video into our blog post. If your video was not shot within the previous 24-hour time period, and you want to share it now on Instagram Stories, there are hacks. Keep reading.

How does Instagram Stories work

Get Analytical with IG Stories

Instagrammers are able to see who viewed their story by swiping up when viewing their photo or video.

Instagram Business Accounts have access to a wealth of Instagram analytics by clicking the bars at the top right of your Instagram screen. If you want to be seen as a business, you are a business, you want the contact button in your profile, and you want access to basic analytics, yes. If you ever want to switch back to a regular profile, you can do so in Account Settings.

Instagram analytics

Alternatively, here are a few basic Instagram Analytics tools:

Social Bakers Free Instagram Report

Simply Measured Free Report up to 25K IG Users

Use Tools Wisely In Instagram Stories

When you share a photo or video to your story, you can use creative tools to help capture and edit them.

Tools on the bottom portion of the Instagram Story panel include:

LIVE: Go Live and show folks what you are up to or where you are. If you don’t want to publish a live IG Stories segment, then no need to do so.

Normal: Shoot in normal mode.

Boomerang: Sort of a forward and backward cute way to showcase video. I use this to show my dog in action.

Rewind: Backwards, in reverse. Try it.

Hands-Free: Perhaps this blogger’s favorite IG Stories tool, I go hands-free to shoot my IG videos.

Note: IG Stories segments are 15 seconds at this time, so string your storyline together. Here is a screen shot of those tools:

Instagram tools

Is This a Millennial Thing?

According to HubSpot, “Chances of Stories catching on is much higher because it’s housed within the Instagram platform, and not the Facebook platform. The demographic overlap between Snapchat and Instagram makes it much more likely users will simply migrate their goofy stories to the other platform. But only if Instagram gets on the facial recognition game, and quickly. Millennials love that puppy filter.”

To that end, face filters are now a part of Instagram Stories. #justsayin

Uploading Hacks

How to Hack Instagram: How to add stories or videos to Instagram beyond the 24-hour window

Hack Part 2: According to The Verge, “Instagram Stories are meant for sharing of recent content, but there are several ways to post something older. There are two key apps that adjust the timestamp of an image or video automatically. If you are sending the file to yourself: Slack and WhatsApp do the job. I frequently bombard my sister with WhatsApp messages of random creations in order to renew the timestamp. If you don’t have either of those, other apps can also get around the 24-hour rule. Story Uploader is the best option.”

Don’t Stop Now

Now that you know how Instagram Stories works, how to maximize it to your advantage, check out these helpful related posts:

Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Increase Blog Traffic

5 Popular Instagram Tips to Ignore

Your Turn

Do you use Instagram Stories? Do you like it? What is holding you back if not? Share in the comments below. BlogPaws is on Instagram. Follow us and we will follow back!

Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®

Images: Giulio_Fornasar/Shutterstock.com and nenetus/Shutterstock.com

The post How Do Instagram Stories Work appeared first on BlogPaws.

Why You Should Consider Facebook Advertising

Every pet blogger wants more readers, but how can they to find a new audience?

Try Facebook advertising.

Why You Should Consider Facebook Advertising

Facebook has around two billion active monthly users. Think it’s too expensive for you? Think again! Ads can run as cheaply as $1 per day. Because Facebook wants you to spend money with them, basic ads are very simple to make.

The easiest way to create a Facebook ad is simply to Boost a post you’ve already shared to your Page.

Screen grab of a boosted Facebook postFacebook does most of the work for you. In fact, it won’t stop asking you if you want to boost a post.

The greatest reason to use Facebook advertising is that you can dial in your audience to impressive specificity. In addition to age, gender, and location, you can choose an audience for your boosted post based on their interests and shopping behaviors. What Facebook knows about people can be a little scary at first, but it’s why Facebook advertising is so effective. Facebook knows whether or not you donate to charity or political causes and what kinds of charities and political causes. It knows your income and net worth. Facebook can target ads to people with bachelor’s degrees who are veterinary technicians who own homes, are interested in soccer, and are parents with children in elementary school. That’s how narrow Facebook advertising can get. Most importantly, Facebook can target people based on whether or not they are dog or cat owners and whether they buy pet products.

To access these options, click on the Browse options under “INCLUDE people who match at least ONE of the following,” then click on “behaviors”, then “purchase behaviors,” and “pet products.”

Facebook behaviors

Other targeting options include people who like your Page or the friends of people who like your Page. You’ve probably noticed that when you post to your Page, not everyone gets to see it in their newsfeed. That’s because Facebook wants you to advertise in order to reach the full audience you’ve gained. People who like your Page already want to interact with your content and so make good advertising targets. When someone who likes your Page interacts with your posts, their friends are more likely to see that post, which make the friends of people who like your page good advertising targets, too.

If you’re ready for more complicated advertising than boosting a post, you can target people who visit your website (or exclude them), using a snippet of code that becomes an invisible pixel on your website. You can also upload the email addresses and phone numbers of people on your contact list to either include or exclude from your advertising. (If you wanted to reach only new people, you would exclude website visitors and people on your contact list.)

Which posts should you boost? Successful ads will have compelling images. Smiling children and happy cute animals are internet gold. Try a post with an image of smiling children hugging cute animals. Still uncertain? Start small. Try just a $5 experiment and see what happens.

Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know to boost a Facebook post.

Do you have experience boosting or advertising on Facebook? What questions do you have about either practice that we can answer in the comments? 

Lauren Hudgins is a digital strategist with an MA in Publishing and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Portland State University in 2014. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Keep up with her work on Twitter @lehudgins or her website.

Images: sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.com and screenshots courtesy of the author

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5 Popular Instagram Tips You Must Ignore

Instagram tips and my grandmother have a lot in common. “If everyone started jumping off a bridge, would you do that, too?” I vividly recall my grandmother dispensing that sage wisdom in response to why I had to have the then-popular 1980s designer name jeans.

“Everyone has them, I have to have them, too,” I recanted.

I got those jeans, but there are some fads and pieces of not-so-useful ‘advice’ that are best ignored. This is most evident in this rapidly-changing world of social media. You go to bed, wake up, and it’s a brave new world: Facebook makes changes overnight, Google’s algorithm had an overhaul, and Twitter implemented an update. On Instagram, not everything is as it seems when it comes to the right strategy.

Here are 5 popular Instagram tips you must ignore (or suffer the not-so-pleasant consequences):

Instagram tips you must ignore

Instagram Follower Schemes

This one is a two-parter:

Never buy Instagram followers: This will not serve your social media strategy in any way, shape, or form. Buying followers often means the accounts are not real, the IG Gods will figure it out, delete the accounts, and many times, your account will get the ax, too. Connect with people and grow your Instagram account organically.

The Follow and Unfollow Scheme: Once upon a time, someone in the Instagram Universe decided that following and then later unfollowing someone was a good way to grow a following. Note to that person: Nope! It is rude, word will get out, people talk, an–like the real world–Instagram relationships matter. Grow an organic fan base and follow people you really want to form an Insta-relationship with. An Instagram feed is an intimate thing. Many of us scroll through our feeds during the work day, at night, and, heck, even from bed. You want your feed to be filled with images and content you want, which leads to our next no-no…

Follow Every Single Person Who Follows You

Instagram is an interesting social media platform. You want to reciprocate, but you genuinely may not always be interested in following someone back. Drop your guilt at the door and embrace your ability to choose. Choose wisely. If you find the content of the follower interesting, then absolutely follow that person.

In an article for Business2Community, Don Williams writes, “Some people will begin following you without liking any of your stuff. These are the people that are looking only for followers. Explore their feed and click on a couple of their pics, just in case in they were in a hurry to grow a following that they forgot to look through your feed. Give them the benefit of the doubt. At this time, unless their feed fits your business interest, you don’t have to follow them back.”

Bottom line: If your Instagram feed is filled with images and content that you generally do not like, you’ll be less likely to use it and probably end up engaging with people you have zero interest in.

Desperado

Being desperate on social media is about as attractive as being desperate in real life. Nothing makes the Instaskin crawl more than seeing content peppered with hashtags such as #Like4likes or “I follow back!”  Desperation will get you nowhere. Instead, start commenting on people’s content you like, are interested in, and want to know more about. Put the social in social media and be a human being filled with emotions, responses, and kindness. Good things can happen.

In that same vein, clogging your Instagram page with a boatload of content in one day is just poor social media etiquette. On Twitter, there are chats and rapid fire tweets. On Instagram, unless it’s a super special occasion or you are taking over an Instagram feed for a day, try and keep your content to a maximum of three photos/videos per day. Over saturation is a sure-fire way to get unfollowed.

 

Let the Picture Say A Thousand Words… Or Not So Much

It’s true that Instagram is a visual platform, and, yes, pictures say a thousand words. Posts need captions. Period. Whatever that caption is, be certain to include something relevant in your Instagram posts. This is where an Instagram strategy comes into play. Check out some of the Instagram accounts you admire the most. I call this the Follow 4 Experiment.

Choose four Instagrammers with a reasonable amount of followers and shadow them, one Instagrammer per week. Are they someone in your niche or outside your niche? This is a question you should answer first, and then dive in. Watch for:

• What types of images they are creating: Lighting, indoor/outdoor, pets, people involved, quotes? Get to know the type of image.
• What text do they use to accompany their images? Is it long or short? Funny or serious? A combination of both? Pay attention to what they are saying in conjunction with the image.
• What hashtags are being used and where are they placed? I use my phone’s Notes feature to store hashtags for different platforms and then copy and paste them as needed.
• What are followers saying to the Instagrammer? Is there engagement and likes? You might want to follow some of your favorite Instagrammers followers, too.

Take notes as to what you are finding. You are likely to see patterns emerge, even if you chose four Instagrammers in four different niches.

At the end of four weeks, you’ve tailed four successful Instagram accounts and had a silent mentor of sorts in helping you to grow your Instagram account. You should not be a copycat to their account, but you can develop your own style and content strategy on Instagram by looking at what those you are admire are doing.

Engage with influencers who drive activity on relevant topics.

Be An Island Unto Yourself: Wilsonnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!

Have you seen the Tom Hanks’ movie, Cast Away? No man nor woman is an island unto herself.

When people comment on your Instagram posts, don’t ignore your followers’ comments. Yes, it is time consuming, but that’s the nature of social media. It’s easy to reply to comments using the reply feature under each of the comments on your post. Comments can significantly impact the relationships you build. I also go to the users who comment on my page and I engage with them.

Similarly, I check out the folks who like my content on Instagram and I often find new followers, great content, and folks to engage with this way.

via GIPHY

Bonus No-No on Instagram

Do not share every single Instagram post to your Facebook and Twitter. I share a lot of the same friends on my Instagram account with other platforms. I don’t want to clog up their Facebook feed with something they just saw and hopefully commented on/liked on Instagram. Plus, to be honest, people are in a state of content fatigue. Why would someone need to follow you on Instagram if they know they are going to see that same content on Facebook and/or Twitter. A better technique is to share a photo and then encourage your Facebook or Twitter followers to come see more on Instagram.

Each social media platform should have its own look, style, feel, voice, and content, even if that means different image sizes.

Don’t Stop Now

You are on a roll, so why stop now? Get on the Instagram train and learn more here:

How to Start an Instagram Account for Your Pet

Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Blog Traffic

How to Report a Stolen Instagram Photo

What is something that annoys you on Instagram? We’re all ears and listening in the comment boxes below. 

Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®

Images:  CREATISTA/ Shutterstock.com

The post 5 Popular Instagram Tips You Must Ignore appeared first on BlogPaws.

How to Start an Instagram Account for Your Pet

Tuna Melts My Heart. Grumpy Cat. Prissy the Pig. All the cool pets are doing it, so why shouldn’t your cool pet? Starting an Instagram account for your pet is easy. Using some strategy, planning, and social media skills, your pet might just be the next big thing.

How to start IG account

Instagram Basics

Instagram is a mobile app that is available for iOS and Android phones, tablets, and on the Windows Phone 8 and later.

Here are the exact instructions on how to create an Instagram account from the app:

How to set up an Instagram account for your pet

How to set up an Instagram account for your pet

Once You Have an Instagram Account for Your Pet

Once you have the account set up, this is where your creativity and planning come into play. Ask yourself why you want your pet to be on Instagram? Is it for fun and recreation, as part of a business or blogging strategy? For many of us, present company included, it’s both.

Setting Up Your Instagram Profile

  1. Go to your profile by tapping the person icon (which is where your profile picture will reside).
  2. Tap Edit Profile.
  3. Type in your new name, username, website, bio or private information, then tap Done or Save in the top right.

Look at other pet profiles on Instagram. Determine how you want yours to look and gather inspiration from accounts you admire. Do you have a blog or website? Are there certain interests you want to be shared with the world? It’s your pet’s online persona, so work it!

How to Engage with Other People and Pets on Instagram

NEVER spam people and start asking or begging people to follow you. If there is any one piece of advice you take away from this article, it is that. Spamming is the equivalent of the poop emoji on Instagram, truly.

Start putting yourself “out there” in the same way you have with other social media platforms. Instagram is a very image and video heavy platform, and quality is key with any media you share.

Blurry pictures, pixelated images, and posting other people’s content without permission are all major no-nos.

Do start liking and following other Instagram images and videos. The pet who is the recipient of your love will get an alert that you are liking and/or commenting. There is a limit on how much commenting and liking you can do in an hour before Instagram temporarily halts your account.

Don’t get your feelings hurt if pets do not follow you back. It is generally a best practice on Instagram to have more people following you than you actually follow OR at least be a pretty even ratio. If you follow 5,000 people and only 200 follow you back, your strategy is all wrong.

How to do IG account for pet

Hashtags and Instagram

Do use at least 10 (you can use up to 30 per post) on all your photos and videos on Instagram.

Proper hashtagging and putting the ‘social’ in social media are the keys to growing an Instagram account. It doesn’t happen rapidly for most, so be patient. I include Instagram and social media engagement as part of my daily ritual and build it into my tasks.

Hashtags are a way for people (and pets) to find you and hopefully you will some gain new followers organically, get creative ideas, and also see what hashtags are working and are not helping.

I store my hashtags in the Notepad feature of my phone. Others keep them in an Excel doc and then there are a few websites and apps that generate hashtags.

The folks over at Later do a fantastic job breaking down hashtags and how/when to use them on Instagram, so give their article a peek.

Use These Apps to Find Hashtags and Make Instagramming Easier

  • Hashtagify.me
  • RiteTag
  • Tagboard
  • InstaProject

To Be a Business or Not? That Is The Question

As of this writing, a Business Profile on Instagram can only be connected to a single Facebook Page.

According to Facebook, “A Business Profile on Instagram will help your customers connect to your business. When converting to a Business Profile, you’ll be able to include additional information about your business on your profile. For example, you’ll be able to add a phone number, an email address and your business’s physical address. Keep in mind that you must include at least 1 contact option.”

Should you do it? If you want to be seen as a business, you are a business, you want the contact button in your profile, and you want access to basic analytics, yes. If you ever want to switch back to a regular profile, you can do so in Account Settings.

Instagram Ninja Tips

I am eternally frustrated by blog posts and articles that promise to deliver on something and then fall short. By now, you’ve set up your Instagram account and you have a basic understanding as to how function, grow a following, and engage with others. Now here are some Instagram Ninja Tips:

  • Be careful of what hashtags you use. Generic hashtags will trigger spam accounts.
  • Something I picked up from Instagram guru, Sue Zimmerman is this: “To be a top 9 post at the top of the hashtag hub, use the location tag to be specific to your location.”
  • Hop aboard a theme bandwagon and plan content out for at least a week at a time. By planning ahead, you aren’t stuck wondering “what do I post today?” Instagram needs its own social media calendar.
  • Don’t saturate your feed with content. One to two images or videos per day is plenty.
  • Instagram Stories is a super fantastic way to help your followers get to know you. First impressions are everything.
  • Never follow and unfollow accounts in an attempt to gain followers. It will backfire. People talk.
  • Don’t buy LIKES. You can get yourself banned.
  • As you grow your Instagram account, keep these IG tricks in mind.

Instagram Homework

Let us help you get started. Once you feel you’ve mastered the above basic steps, immerse yourself with these blog posts that will walk you through the paces of Instagram:

Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Blog Traffic

How Not to Be Affected by the Instagram Shadow Ban

Instagram In a Weekend: Step by Step

Follow @BlogPaws on Instagram and we will follow legitimate accounts back.

Your Turn

Do you have an Instagram account for yourself? For your pet?  What has been your experience with it? Any successes? Tell us in the comments below.

Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®

Images:   hedgehog94 and  rzoze19 / Shutterstock

The post How to Start an Instagram Account for Your Pet appeared first on BlogPaws.

How to Boost a Post on Facebook

Gone are the days of posting content on Facebook and hoping people see it. Unless your Facebook content goes viral and gets a ton of shares organically, all that hard work is going nowhere. Part of being a successful online influencer is knowing how to boost a post on Facebook. In this blog post, you will learn the following about boosting a post on Facebook:

  • Why to do it
  • How to do it
  • How often to boost a post on Facebook
  • The difference between a Facebook boost and a Facebook ad
  • How to measure the success of the boost
  • How much money to spend on a Facebook boost

How to Boost a Post on Facebook

Why to Boost a Facebook Post

Boosting a post helps your content appear in the news feed of select audiences. The timing of a boost post occurs either when you create the content or once you publish. You can use the same audience you select for other posts you boost in the future if you choose. Boosting a post on Facebook can help:

  • If you are interested in increasing awareness of your blog, your Facebook page, or a select post
  • If you want to send more people to your blog or website by promoting your website in a boost

How to Boost a Post on Facebook

(1) Select a post you have published on Facebook and hover to the “Boost Post Button and click it.”

How to boost a post on Facebook

(2) A screen will appear as indicated below. This is your opportunity to decide what the objective of this “boost” will be on Facebook. Ask yourself why you are boosting the post and what you hope to gain in return. In other words, what is the return on investment (ROI) on your hard earned dollars for this boost?

 

How to boost a post on Facebook

 

Here is a screenshot of the objectives from which you may choose:

Facebook boost objectives

 

For this example, let’s use website visits to encourage people to visit your website.

(3) Choose a call to action button from the list if desired. This is an important step because your call to action button should reflect the goal of your boost. Do you want people to learn more? Shop now and buy something from your online store?

List of buttons for Facebook boost

 

(4) Determine who you want to see your boost.

Who Do I want to see my Facebook boost

This is an important step because you can show your boost to any number of people with certain interests, demographics, and behaviors, as indicated in the tutorial below.

(5) Determine your budget and duration.

An estimate appears of how many people your post will reach daily.

Elizabeth Keene, founder of the highly successful Chronicles of Cardigan blog and its associated Facebook page, says, “If you boost posts or are likely to, in my experience (I’ve been doing it with success for a long time and have over 12 million ad impressions, and 850+ thousand unique people who engaged after seeing one, on my page), use small $ amounts regularly ($1/day can work), targeting a variety of audiences vs. dropping lots of $$ on one boost sporadically. Unless that one boost is SO engaging that it goes viral and then, as a result, all one’s newly engaged fans continue to engage with most future, NOT-boosted page posts. Since that almost never happens, what one likely will see, is a severe drop off in reach after that huge boost ends. (Some of you can attest to this, I know.)”

 

Amount to spend on a Facebook post boost

Click done and you are on your way! That is the first step in the process. There are things you need to do to gauge the success of your boost.

I Changed My Mind

If you no longer want to spend the money on a Facebook boost, there are ways to stop it or temporarily pause it. Here’s a step by step from Facebook on boost disruption.

Measuring the Success of a Facebook Boost

Discover how your boost is performing by visiting the Insights tab of your Facebook page and exploring the different post analytics available to you. This is an opportunity to see what works, what does not, and how you can improve for next time. Spending a ton of money on a post that does not have a clear call to action with a quality image or video may not bode well. Monitor analytics.

Facebook insights for boost

Facebook Ad or Facebook Boost?

Boosting a post is great if you are looking for engagement. Even with targeting, the options are limited, but folks tend to boost when they want engagement to a core audience or followers whom they know already like your content, i.e., your followers.

Boosted posts are set up by Facebook to be optimized for engagement, like LIKES and SHARES, so keep that in mind. Facebook should be optimizing your content to whom you wish, so an ad may be your best bet for driving conversions. That is why Facebook has tracking pixels.

Creating an ad is similar except that you can send posts to people’s news feeds that encourage them to Like your Page, go to your website, or interact with one of your posts just like a boosted post.

You can get very specific and infuse different placements of your content with a Facebook ad.

Fast Facts

  • Do not fill your image or video with 20 percent of text or Facebook will not approve.
  • Yes, you can boost videos or images.
  • Facebook ads are created in the Ads Manager, and they do not have to be something organically available on your page.
  • Most people who are already fans of your Facebook page will never see your updates unless you choose to boost them.
  • The minimum budget for a boost is $1 per day.
  • Don’t over-boost: Being seen too much and overexposing yourself may incite unfollows. Balance is key.
  • Using insights and analytics, determine what is working and then do more of that!
  • A boost can only be done on content you have already published.
  • There are some things you cannot boost. 

Hands-on Tutorial

Don’t Stop Now

Need more help with your social media strategy and planning? Check out these posts:

Why Bloggers Need a Social Media Plan

Three Keys to Creating Engaging Social Media Content

Are You Making These Social Media Video Mistakes?

Your Turn

Do you ever boost Facebook posts? What has been your experience with it? Any successes? Tell us in the comments below.

Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®

Images:  Anna Lurye and SpeedKingz / Shutterstock

The post How to Boost a Post on Facebook appeared first on BlogPaws.

Are You Making These Social Media Video Mistakes?

No one size, technique, or style fits all, and this holds true in the social media realm. Are you making any social media video mistakes? We’re only humans living in a digital world, so it is quite easy to stray from the path of best intentions.

Here’s a step by step plan for rocking video content in the social media space while avoiding the most common (and not so common) pitfalls and mistakes:

Social media video tips

Trying to Make The Same Video Work Across Social Media Platforms

Snapchat videos are vertical, and Instagram videos are square. Instagram Stories have their own sizing in a vertical format, and so mistakes can be made in the size and shape of the frame. Beyond that, the voice and tone of your videos should vary from platform to platform. Snapchatters value authenticity, so a walk in the woods with a real feel would appeal to that audience more than it would on a platform like Facebook. Walk through the woods on Facebook with a shaky handheld and users are likely to tune out (unless of course, you are Bear Grylls).

Have a video content and social media plan: Each platform has its own legion of followers who go there to be with their like-minded tribes. What works on Facebook may not work on Instagram. Plan ahead.

Forgetting the Powerful Opening and Clear, Dynamic Call to Action Closing

How do you want to be remembered? You’ve got 3 to 5 seconds to make a first impression on a live video within the Facebook space. Realizing that most folks will come back and see the replay of your Facebook Live video, welcome your followers to the replay in those first few seconds.

A call to action, CTA, is crucial for positive video results. Do you want your viewer to watch your video, go away, and never return to your page? Of course not, so give them something they absolutely must do.

BlogPaws recently revealed the proper length of a blog post (which, of course, varies from topic to topic, blog to blog). If you write a lengthy blog post, supplement it with a short trailer-style video that promotes the blog content. For example, on my iPhone 6 Plus, I use the iMovie app for easy to make videos. Reveal a few key points readers can look for in your blog post.

How Many Words Should a Blog Post Be?

Advanced Video Tips for Social Media Traffic

Social media video tips

Rapid Fire Social Media Video Mistakes

Length: Don’t make it super long unless it is a step-by step tutorial that must have length to make sense. Every moment needs to count.

It’s All About You: You are the vessel for your readers and followers. Make videos that serve their needs. Ask yourself what problems you can solve for your demographic and then create videos around it. Better yet, re-purpose those videos across platforms. Speaking of which…

One and Done: No, no, and more no. You would never take a sip of water one time and then never have another. Social media content is like water: You need to filter it out to the proper channels to satisfy everyone’s thirst. Did you shoot an Instagram Story? Then save it to your phone and repurpose it on Facebook IF it makes sense to do so.

How to Repurpose Content and Market it Consistently

No Tools of the Trade: Crappy looking and less-than-stellar sounding videos serve no one, especially you, the creator. Your followers will not stick around with messy looking and poor sounding content. You need not be Cecil B. Demille, but you do need to have the right tools to broadcast video.

At the BlogPaws Conference this year, several of the speakers gave tips on phone lenses, lav microphones, and clip-on lighting. Thanks to Molly Mahoney for turning me on to the clip-on phone light. I literally sat in a dark closet and took a selfie, then did the same with the phone light and boom: Lovely lighting! Try Googling “selfie ring light” and check out reviews (note: they are not expensive).

No Content Plan: If you are waking up asking yourself, “What should I video about today,” then you may have a serious issue as time progresses. While winging it and doing this in the spontaneous moment is fun and has a time and place, social media videos with zero thought can backfire. Have a video content plan. Have a social media plan.

Schedule things in advance but respond in real time. Don’t let social media and video creation eat your day away.

A Video or a Film

I love this analogy so much that is worth showing you what it means instead of blogging it. Watch this, then read on:

Again, we are not Hollywood movie makers, but we are online influencers and bloggers who have a purpose and a desire, so deliver quality. Try storyboarding your video before shooting. I did this recently in a video for a paid campaign I did. I wrote out what I wanted to shoot, thought about how I envisioned the scene, and then I shot this video on the topic of training your dog to like car rides:

Now I have a piece of content that resides on YouTube, is embedded into my blog, and can be shared in a variety of ways. Winning!

Creative Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Blog Traffic

Speaking Well

You must absolutely speak in a way that your viewer wants to stick around. When I am shooting videos, I think to myself how I would explain my concept to a friend. I try to forget the camera is there and focus on talking to a friend about the topic at hand. I use my hands, I smile, my cadence is the right speed, and I am enthused about the subject matter without being overly exuberant annoying.

Your Environment

What is the lighting like? Is your background appropriate? Do you have a forest of trees behind you where one branch appears to be sticking out of your head? Do a location check first. You need not spend a lot of money on background but you should be aware of the lighting and your surroundings.

Mishaps will happen. While filming a Facebook Live a few months ago, a slew of police sirens passed by my office. I just worked it into the video and held up a note that said, “Well, I guess I’m in trouble,” which I had ready in case of sirens.

Have you heard of BeLive? It’s a new way to do Facebook Live videos.

That’s a Wrap

Speak well.

Know your content.

Have props and storyboarding ready/done in advance.

Practice. Ask for honest feedback from those you trust.

Do not try to be on every social media video platform. Excel at one before trying to be meh at the others.

Where is your audience and what do you want them to know? Solve their problems and rock your social media video plans like the pro you are!

Are you using video for social media? Where can you use help? What can BlogPaws do to help you? Tell us in the comments below. 

Images:  file404eva_blanco /Shutterstock

Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®

The post Are You Making These Social Media Video Mistakes? appeared first on BlogPaws.

5 Simple Steps to Grow Your Audience with YouTube

With the increase in online video consumption, YouTube is quickly becoming one of the largest social platforms online. And, while most people think of YouTube as the epicenter for cat videos, it’s also a great place to build an audience for your business or personal brand.

Those who have built big audiences on YouTube have all done so by following some key principles when growing their channel.

So, how do you go about growing a YouTube channel?

We’ve got the 5 key ingredients outlined below. Let’s dive in!

5 Simple Steps to Grow Your Audience with YouTube

1. Keep Audience Attention with Concise Content

It’s no secret that human attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. For this reason, it’s important to keep your content as concise as possible. Start with an attention-grabbing introduction, hit the main points in the body of the video, and finish the video off strong with a solid conclusion.

You want to refrain from adding any fluff into your content or rambling on. Get straight to the point or else you risk losing the attention of your viewers.

This is more important than people think. That’s because YouTube uses video engagement as a key ranking signal when determining whether or not to show your videos to others. If no one sticks around to watch your video, you won’t be appearing in “Suggested Videos” anytime soon.

2. Build Recognition with Consistency

Building familiarity with your audience is an essential part of having a successful YouTube channel. Your audience should know when you post and have an idea of how often you post. Posting regularly is encouraged.

Following a content schedule will go a long way for your channel and it will help you stay on top of things.

Consistency should also be applied with the title of your videos, as well as your thumbnails. When your audience navigates to their subscription tab on YouTube, you want your viewers to recognize your videos right away.

The only two things that subscribers will see are the thumbnail and the title, so you want these two things to standout and provide some sort of context. Having a well designed YouTube thumbnail will greatly increase your chances of getting noticed.

YouTube thumbnails

Here is an example of Sam Evans’ channel. He does travel videos and vlogs and his thumbnails along with his video titles are all very consistent with his content. Sam’s videos are numbered in an aesthetically pleasing manner, while his cinematic travel videos are clear and provide you with context to the video.

3. Repurpose Your Content

Repurposing your blog content can be a great way to drive traffic to your YouTube videos and vice versa.

To do so, summarize your blog post in the form of a video and upload it to YouTube. If the audience likes your video, they can click through and read your full blog post.

Embedding a full YouTube video in your written blog post can also reap many benefits. Some peoplelearn and consume content better visually, so a video will allow your audience to obtain more from your posts.

Entrepreneur and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk does an excellent job of doing this with his content. For almost every video he creates, he also creates a blog post for his website with a full outline of what happens in the video.

Repurpose YouTube content

4. Optimize Your Channel for Search

Before you do anything, you want to make sure your channel is optimized for search. Many bloggers start a YouTube channel, begin to post content, and complain about not getting the results they want.

Optimizing your channel should be an ongoing thing, but it should be the first thing you do when starting with YouTube. You can start optimizing your channel with some content research. Do this by seeing what your competitors are doing or what is currently trending on YouTube.

Use tools such as Google Trends or Google’s Keyword tool in AdWords to see what type of topics are being searched often. Form your content around what is working and always improve future content by analyzing your previous videos. Take advantage of highly searched keywords with a strong title and a strong description for your videos. Tag your videos with relevant keywords and remember to include annotations in your video when possible.

5. Ask Viewers to Subscribe

The best way to keep viewers coming back to your channel is to make sure they’re subscribed. To do so, ensure that the last 5 seconds of your video encourages them to subscribe to your channel.

Thanks for watching | Subscribe

To keep them further consuming content, it’s also a good idea to promote additional videos for viewers to watch.

Conclusion

When used effectively, YouTube is a great platform to grow your audience. These tips should help you attract viewers to your content and keep them coming back for more.

Are you on YouTube? Share your link below! What questions do you have about the platform or growing your audience with video?

Nick Le is a content marketer at Snappa – the software that helps you create online graphics in a snap. 

Images: Zull Must/Shutterstock.com and screenshots courtesy of the author

The post 5 Simple Steps to Grow Your Audience with YouTube appeared first on BlogPaws.