Girl, Where Have You Been?

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I haven’t posted on Instagram or any other social media for my own business in months. And I’ve got my reasons.

The Problem with Social Media

I’m not exactly sure what the original intent of social media was, but it has certainly evolved since it launched many years ago. What was once a method to connect to friends and family, has become a monster in many ways.  People look to social media now to create false images of their lives, using “likes” and followers as the main method of determining their personal value.  Kids and teenagers are often confused as adults- wearing tons of makeup, unnecessary weaves and gyrating on their posts/stories.  The easy accessibility of conveying any unfiltered message on social media is the foundation of bullying, creating a widespread message that’s almost impossible for the victim to eradicate… and it’s rarely forgotten.

The Pressure with Social Media

Sure, social media a free (or somewhat free) method for businesses to market, but even that has become burdensome. Everywhere you turn, there are new templates, new features, and requirements to increase post visibility.  And while you strive to create meaningful content in a sea of other eager businesses’ posts, you are also competing with Jane Doe Business Woman who happens to not be wearing much while promoting her partnership with a certain brand.  And with that I was…

Too Much In My Head

Should I say that?  Does this make me sound like I know what I’m doing?  How can I use these additional IG features to increase my visibility? How can I incorporate popular and smaller hashtags into my caption?  In knowing that selfies generate more likes which will in turn increase my business’ exposure, should I schedule a photoshoot that I really can’t afford?  Is it worth it?

And that might seem like a lot, but that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg.  My thoughts would be so inundating that it would cripple my creativity and ultimately made me HATE social media in general.  It’s too cumbersome and too time consuming- especially when you have small children.  I don’t want my kids seeing their mommy’s head buried in her phone all day while I miss important moments in their own lives.  It’s not and should never be THAT serious. Which leads me to my next point…

Life

I’ve got a precocious toddler and another baby on the way. I was sick everyday the entire first trimester and experienced vomiting at least once per week during the second. The last thing I was thinking about is posting on social media.  I’m just trying to survive!  You expecting moms know how it is.

 

So that pretty much sums up why I’ve been missing. I do plan on returning to social media, but I want to post what I want to post without pressure. If people are feeling it, great. If not, it’s whatever.  But this particular season of my life, I’m simply not about that “social-media-dominating” life.  My real life and family is more important. I’ll do what I can and trust God with the rest.

Something to think about:

How have you been balancing the demands of social media and your real life?

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Instagram Stories for Engagement & Website Traffic

Instagram Stories is a feature on Instagram that like allows you to snap a picture or record a video, write text on it, pin text on videos and more.

Just like it’s competitor SnapChat, Instagram Stories disappears after 24 hours.  The major difference that makes it a winner is the various methods in which you can choose to promote your business, encourage engagement, and push traffic to your website.

Use Instagram Stories to:

  • Sell your product or services
  • Share your expertise
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Share exclusive content for special discounts or giveaways
  • Encourage sign ups to your email list
  • Create more transparency 
  • Get feedback via Polls
  • And more like sharing reviews and providing phone wallpapers

Let’s go more in depth with each method.

Sell your product and services

Take photos of featured products in the best lighting at the best angle. With the Instagram Story text feature, you can use different font options to compliment the image.  Use the color dropper tool to find the exact color that suits your brand or the image to draw the eye to your Story.

Then once you’ve edited your Story image, click the “link” icon at the top to connect the Story to a specific website link so that all they have to do is “Swipe Up” to start shopping.

Note:  The “Swipe Up” feature is only available to accounts with 10K followers or more. If you have 10,000 followers or more, you can connect your website link so viewers can swipe up and shop.  If you don’t have this feature, mention “Link in bio” and use the text feature to tag yourself so it’s easier for viewers to get to your profile.

Examples: Camille Rose Naturals & Sons and Daughters TV

     

Build anticipation for an upcoming product

Show an upcoming product in your Instagram Story to give followers a first-look and build anticipation.  Their feedback might even help you forecast the amount of stock designated for online sales.

Examples: Camille Rose Naturals giving a first look at their Super Foods Hair Vitamin before it has been released in the market.

Share your expertise

To further support your posts, you can create a short video talking about your specialty or address questions that people might have about you or your product.  

Examples: Fitness Professional and Former Ms. Bikini Olympia Natalia Melo doing a live video to show her followers how she’s losing her baby weight.  Also, a Biossance representative explains the science behind their beauty product.

     

Tip: You can also create longer videos and use the Storio app to split the video into to short continuous clips. Elevation Church is very skilled at utilizing this feature. So feel free to check them out to get a better understanding!

Answer frequently asked questions

Create Q and A images to educate viewers and establish your expertise.

Example: Barnett Marketing Solutions addresses a simple question on branding.

     

Share exclusive content for special discounts or giveaways

A great way to engage followers is to use your Story for a special offer or giveaway, using your post to tell people to go to your Story for an exclusive offer that will only last 24 hours. Creating urgency will get people to move. 

The offer can require them to tag their friends (to increase visibility and company awareness), sign up to your email list, and/or use specific promote code upon checkout.  

Example: Women’s CEO Project founder offers a special deal on her “Grow Your Business” ebook, letting followers know they only have a limited time.  Natalia Melo promotes a giveaway for one of her pregnancy ebooks.

     

Encourage sign ups to your email list

We can link the exclusive offer and email lists together here. So there are two ways you can do this.  

  1. You can simply mention that followers should join your tribe for special news and discounts with a Swipe Up / Link in bio option.
  2. You can tease the next offer that viewers might have missed by telling them to sign up to your email list. That way, they’ll have another way to get the discount even if they miss the story.

Examples: Fitness Guru Natalia Melo’s nutrition eBook release and Barnett Marketing’s Boss Brand sign up

     

Be transparent

Show your followers a behind the scenes look at your business or personal life, especially if it’s entertaining. This is what’s great about Instagram Stories– there are no branding rules and you show what you want.  Since it disappears in 24 hours, you have more flexibility to be yourself without worrying about deleting it later.

Note: People can screenshot though, so be careful!

Examples: Business Guru (1K-in-1Day) Nicole Walters showing her excitement in Whole Foods. Also, Biossance employees show a behind the scenes look at how they get the perfect product shot.

     

Polls

Running a poll is one of the easiest ways to engage your followers.  Show followers that you value their opinion asking for feedback in your Instagram Story.

Example: Biossance uses the poll feature to get feedback on the kind of tips followers want to see.

Customer Reviews and Wallpapers

Post customer reviews to your Story to gain credibility.  For the wallpaper, tell viewers in a previous post to hold down and screenshot. It’s a nice little gift to them, and they will continue to engage with you.

Examples: BootyQueen Apparel’s customer review and phone wallpaper. 

     

The Wrap Up

Using these tactics will definitely increase the level of engagement in your account and increase traffic to your website when used correctly.  My personal suggestion is to strategize, but also have fun with it!  I’ll even give you another tip: Create the Instagram Story graphic in Canva using dimensions “1080 x 1920” and store them in your Design Library.  And the Stories that take a lot of time to design, save and reuse them! 🙂

 

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Canva: How to Create Social Media Post Graphics

Intro to Canva

Canva is a free graphic-design tool website used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tool can be used for both web and print media design and graphics, and access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. In my opinion, Canva is really awesome. Like…I love it….I love it a lot.

HEADS UP: If you already have experience with Canva, by all means, skip the intro stuff by clicking here so we can get to the nitty gritty!

The Basics

The sidebar from top to bottom:

-User info, once you create an acccount

-Create a design: Self explanatory

-All your designs: All the designs you’ve created on Canva

-Shared with you: A colleague or client can share designs via the email address registered on Canva, and the program stores it here.

-Team members: If you have employees are team members, you can add them specifically as “team members” so that sharing designs is easier for you.  Those with free accounts can add up to 10 team members.

-Your brand: NOT FOR US FREE ACCOUNT USERS! Yea, you have to upgrade to Canva for Work to get this feature. However, you create your own sheet using our Boss Brand Guide. If you don’t have it, sign up to be a Boss Brand and you’ll get it for free. Shameless plug? Whatevs. Haha.

-Find templates: An area that has various templates depending on your needs such as social media, etsy banner, flyers, etc.

-Add new folder:  Looks like us Free Account users can only add up to 2 folders. Anything beyond that requires a Canva for Work membership.

-Trash: When you delete designs, Canva will store it in its Trash section for 30 days before permanently remove it.  This feature has been a life saver for me recently.

Creating a Design

You can choose any template by using what is shown or clicking the “more” button to the right.  If you need to create a graphic with custom dimensions, all you have to do is click “Use custom dimensions” at the top right and enter the width and height in pixels.

This feature is a MUST when creating covers for your social media platforms because they are not in the templates.  The Boss Brand Guide has  pixel dimensions for all the popular social media platforms to ensure your graphics look their best.

Since this tutorial is for creating a social media post, we’re just going to click the “social media” template.

Your Work Area

Another tab will open up and your work are will look like the image above.  Let’s quickly introduce the menu bar and tools on the left side.

Free Photos: Pretty self explanatory. Canva will show you all the photos available for free. However, they are not sorted out.  So it’s better to user the search bar above it to find what you want and Canva will automatically show you the free ones first.Grids: Similar to Pic-Stich, you can combine photos into one organized graphic.

Frames: Add a frame to your graphic.

Shapes: Add shapes to your graphic. (Boy, this part is easy!)

Lines: Add lines to your graphic.

Illustrations: Drawings of images, not photos. What’s cool about illustrations in Canva is that one you choose it, you can change the color(s).

Icons: You can also change color(s) of icons as well.

Charts: It’s obvious, but honestly….I’ve never used this in Canva.  I usually use the charts in Word or Excel, but perhaps you can make your data more attractive creating the chart here.

I Love Canva: All kinds of fun Canva icons, which is great for someone like me who is doing tutorials because I don’t have to search for Canva pngs.  It’s all in one place!


Text: Canva helps you out by giving you Header 1, 2 and 3 sizes (top 3) so that you’ll have the size figured out and all you have to do is change the font if needed.  They also provide some really beautiful samples that you can add to your graphic.  You just click it, and update the words to your own.

Background: You can set the background to a color by choosing one on the default palette or click the square with the plus sign to create your own color using the shade selector or enter the exact hexadecimal color. The exact hexadecimal color is essential for maintaining consistency in your brand.

Refer to your Boss Brand Guide for more on hexadecimal colors.

Uploads: You can upload images to your library so that images such as your brand logo are readily available.

The Nitty Gritty

To get my background image, I’m going to search “office” in the search bar.  The image is a naturally a rectangle, but I’m going to pull the corner of the image out to make it big enough to fill the enter area of the square.

     

 

Then to create my overlay, you go to Elements: Shapes.  Choose the square. Canva should automatically center if for you. (If not, you’ll fix it in the next few steps.)  To make the square some transparency, click the checkered button and drag the circle to the left to your desired level of transparency.

   

 

Centering: If you still need to center the square (you can do this anything in Canva), you can drag it until you see the purple dashes create 4 perfect squares.  That means it’s centered.

 

Now I’m going to save you from utter boredom by showing you all the rest in one graphic (made in Canva, of course).

 

Name your file by clicking the name generic name Canva provided (sometimes it’s Untitled, or the first few words of your text).

 

The download your file. Canva recommends PNG, and I also agree because PNG files keep the integrity of the graphic while JPGs tend to lose some of the quality especially when resized.  You also have the option to download the graphic as a PDF.  The “All pages” only applies if you created multiple pages of graphics in one file. I’ll explain next.

 

If you want to create all your social media templates in one file, you can click what looks like 2 sheets of paper next to the page number by the graphic. It will create a copy.  I suggest completing the graphic, copying it and replacing the background.  Then if you need to change the wording, the fonts and everything are already set.  Super easy!

Want to see how a post is created in real time?  Watch it here!
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How to Write Effective Ad Copy That Will Get People’s Attention

Writing effective copy that will get your potential customer’s attention could be a daunting task, especially nowadays where people are flooded with ads on their mobile phones. So, how can you truly grab their attention? Good, eye-catching, keyword-having, copy.

Unlike years ago where you simply had to give readers basic information, today’s marketing requires a personal touch- a little pizzazz if you will. So let’s go over the following example that will teach you the most effective method to reach your target audience.

Example

Let’s just say there is a guy out there named Jack. Jack has a snow plowing company, let’s call it Jack’s Plowing. Creative right? K. Maybe not. Anyway, let’s start of with a simple exercise where Jack simply wants to enter the market by letting his local community know he is open for business.

Identify the Problem

First things first, we have to identify the problem that Jack is solving. What problem is Jack solving for the consumer?

Jack is plowing residential roads and driveways to alleviate the stress that typical comes in the winter time.

Determine the Keywords

Some keywords or phrases could be..

Snow plowing
Relieve stress
Relieve strain

DON’T SAY
“Avoid potential injury from shoveling…” (make sure you specific about how they could possibly avoid injury because if you say it generally it can bite you in the butt legally).
“Avoid the stress and strain” (this one is probably safer)

Creating a General Ad (As a Reference)

Taking our keywords/phrases, let’s make a general ad that informs others about about Jack’s business:

“Jack’s Plowing is here to relieve you of the stress that often comes with snow. We are stocked with newly equipped trucks, and our crew is trained to effectively remove the snow in your area without damage and in a timely manner.
We strive for excellence with every job we do. For that reason, we guarantee that you will be satisfied with our services!”

Ok…that’s fairly decent. But…where is the personality?

Let’s Add Personality!

Assuming our audience appreciates personality (who wouldn’t), let’s spice it up a bit by starting off with a more interesting opening:

“Ugh, not again… It’s snowing. Winter wonderland isn’t too wonderful when you’re spending hours shoveling.

That’s where we come in. At Jack’s Plowing, we will relieve you of the stress and the strain the often comes with the winter season. With our professionally trained crew and newly equipped trucks, we effectively remove snow in a timely manner without incidents.

We strive for excellence with every job we do. For that reason, we guarantee that you will be satisfied with our services! Now isn’t that better than dreading the little snowflake in the forecast?

(Add call to action)
Call us now at 555-123-4567 to sign up and rest easy this winter!”

Much better, right? It let’s the consumer know you exist while not sounding like a robot.

Bonus Tip

If you’re business has something DIFFERENT that makes you stand out from competitors start with that FIRST and let your ad focus be around that. What differentiates you from the rest is more important than simply letting people know you exist.

Example: Let’s say Jack’s Plowing has a new truck attachment called the Flexi-Claw that allows for a more concise snow removal so that residents have a lot less to shovel around their cars. START WITH THAT FIRST AND MAKE IT THE STAR OF THE AD.

It would look like this:

‘How would it feel to NOT have to shovel around your tires and just drive after a snow plowing service?

Pretty darn good….and warm!

We are proud to announce that Jack’s Plowing has the latest innovation in snow plowing technology- the Flexi-Claw! The Flexi-Claw is a truck attachment that allows that operator to rotate the claw up to 360 degrees directionally so that the claw could scoop snow at any angle.

The material of the claw is specially made to drastically reduce the chances of scratching your vehicle and completely bounces off your tires without harming them.

Our customers are RAVING about this new product because it saves them precious time! Join our list of satisfied customers by calling us at 555-123-4567 to sign up now!”

Recap:

  1. Identify the problem your product solves.
  2. Use your product knowledge to create a general ad.
  3. Add personality.
  4. If you have a unique product offering, make it known first and write the rest of the ad around that.

Make sense? Good, because that’s all I got for you today!

Watch the video here!

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