Quick Tip for Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

Quick Tip for Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

Because many of us are managing more than one Instagram accounts, at least one for personal and one for business, we have discovered that each account requires a separate e-mail address. And if your business has different locations, or different departments that need their own account, this becomes difficult in a hurry! This is also the case with Twitter accounts.

There are 2 easy ways to get around that problem by using the alias feature in a gmail account.

The first way is by using the alias address feature in your Gmail account. This will allow you to set up multiple e-mail addresses that will go to the same e-mail inbox. *The one caveat is that you’ll still only be able to sign up for a limited number of accounts via one device (i.e. desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.).

The first thing you’ll need is a gmail account. If you don’t have one, you can go to mail.google.com to set one up. If you already have a gmail account, you can use that.

As an example, I’ll use my TheSocialWebbClientCare@gmail.com account. (Hopefully, you have a gmail account with less letters!) And let’s say that I want to set up an Instagram account for a restaraunt called The Purple Cow. The Purple Cow has locations (in my imagination) in Newport Beach, Anaheim Hills and Laguna Seca and each will have their own Instagram account.

Because each Instagram account (and each Twitter account) requires a different e-mail address, we’ll use an alias address for each. I could use TheSocialWebbClientCare+CowNB@gmail.com for one and TheSocialWebbClientCare+CowAH@gmail.com for another and so on.

You can add whatever you want as the +as long as it’s after your usual gmail name and before the @gmail.com. You could just stop here and still recieve e-mail but it’s best to set this address up as an alias in your gmail account so that you can manage it better.

To set this up, go to your gmail account. Next go to settings and then Accounts and Import. Click on “Add anther email address you own”. In the second box, put your gmailaccount name (in my case, that would be “thesocialwebbclientcare” and then add +(whatever name you choose) and then @gmail.com. There should be no spaces (as you’ll see in the example below). The “Treat as an alias” box should be checked. Then click on “Next Step”.

 

How To Create Gmail Aliases

 

And that’s it! You can now use this address to sign up for a social account and still have all email come to one inbox.

The second way is by adding a dot (.) anywhere in the username and all emails address to that new alias will still reach your mailbox. For instance, if your original email address is TheSocialWebbClientCare@gmail.com, any emails sent to The.SocialWebbClientCare@gmail.com or TheSocial.WebbClientCare@gmail.com will land in your mailbox because Gmails ignores periods in the email username.  Of course, you need to be sure to keep track of which dot placement you used for each account.  And again, you can only sign up for so many Instagram or Twitter accounts per any one device.

I hope this helps.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

6 IFTTT Recipes To Save Time and Increase Effectiveness on Social Media

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As you know, social media management can eat up a big chunk of your business day even when you are mindful of your time.  So when there are tools available to help save you time, why wouldn’t you use them?

Here are 6 IFTTT recipes that will save time and increase your effectiveness on social media. They are very easy to set-up. (For more information on IFTTT see this article: IFTTT – Possibly My Favorite New Toy)

Images

When you post an image on Instagram, you can hit the Twitter share button to send it to Twitter. Doing it from the app causes it to appear as a link on Twitter and not an image. A better way to do this is to use the follwoing recipe that allows the image to appear as native on Twitter.  True images get more engagement.

picture of IFTTT recipe for sending Instagram photos to Twitter

Because some folks are noticing that some of their Instagram images are disappearing and some social media accounts are being hacked, it’s a good idea to keep a back-up of your Instagram images. If you use Dropbox, you can use this recipe to automatically save any image that you post to Instagram into your Dropbox. (Find that recipe here.) picture of recipe for IFTTT instagram to Dropbox

 

Automated Twitter List Building

Frankly, I think Twitter lists are a necessary evil.  They are time-consuming but necessary in order to quiet a lot of the noise on Twitter.  Here are 3 automated ways to build your lists.

The first is to build a Twitter list from a specific hashtag.  So for instance, let’s say that you are a participant in a weekly chat. You could use that hashtag (ex. #BufferChat) to build a list of all its participants.  You could also build a list of those attending a certain event by utilizing the event hashtag to build it.  (You can use this recipe more than once and you can find it here.)

 

 

picture of recipe for building a Twitter list from a hashtag

 

You could also build a list of people whose tweets you have favorited.  When I find someone that I want to remember but don’t have time right at that moment to add them to a particular list, I just favorite one of their tweets. This adds them to the “Tweets I’ve Favorited” list so that I can go back later and place them into a more suitable list. (Here’s the recipe for this action.)

picture of the recipe for adding a person to a lists of favorites

Another way to create a Twitter list is by adding users who @mention you.  If they have taken the time to mention you, you’ll want to keep them on your radar as a possible connection or conversation. (You’ll find this one here.)picture of recipe for add people who mention you to a Twitter list

Curating Content

Pocket is a great place to store articles to read later or to share with your audience.  This recipe will send the articles that you favorite on Pocket straight to Buffer to be sent to your social media platforms at an optimal time.  This is a huge time-saver! (There is a Chrome extension for Pocket so that whenever you find an article of interest on the web, you can save it in your Pocket. If you use Feedly to curate your content, you can send to Pocket from there, as well.) Here’s the recipe to do this.

IFTTT pocket fav to bufferThese are my favorites for use on social media. Do you have any favs of your own?  I’d love to hear about them.

Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments From Hackers?

 

Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments from Hackers?

Late last week the Instagram account of Base Body Babes was hacked and 765 carefully captioned images disappeared before their very eyes. The new “owner” of the account changed their name, deleted their images and began posting their own images with a kidnapped audience of 559,000 followers. They are not the only victims of hijacked Instagram accounts.

Fitness expert, Chalene Johnson had her Instagram account with over 400.000 followers hacked, as well. They were also in control of her Twitter account and literally began taunting her on it and telling her that they were now in contol. (There is much more to her story but the FBI is currently involved so much of it is not being shared yet.)

This is not just happening to those with large follower and fan bases. It is happening to small business owners, as well. These so-called “social engineers” are hacking accounts and extorting fees from the owners of accounts in exchange for transfer of ownership back to the original owner. They feel that small businesses will pay the fees and won’t go to the police. They also feel that small business owners don’t know enough about technology to be able to fix the problem themselves.  All these social engineers need is just ONE password to get into your e-mail account in order to be able to attack ALL your social media accounts.  You may feel confident about being secure because you think that you have a pretty safe and not likely-to-be-guessed password but that’s where you’re wrong. They’re not guessing passwords; they’re guessing answers to your security questions. They are able to guess these answers by watching your social media sites!

This is a crime that has reached epidemic proportions. Facebook reports that over 600,000 accounts are compromised EVERY day.  47% of Americans have had their personal information compromised.

Protecting your personal information is incredibly important but in this article, I’m only referring to your social media investments. How long and how much work has it taken you to grow your accounts? How much content do you have stored on your accounts (think about all those images on Instagram and/or Pinterest)? How many connections are made available to you by having these accounts and what would you do if they suddenly disappeared (This is one reason why having an e-mail list is so important)?

No one can be completely safe but there are things you can do to protect your investment. These items will take you some time to set up but they are worth the effort and time expenditure and may help to prevent the loss of years of work.

1. Update your software on ALL devices: your PC, your blog plug-ins, your tablet, your laptops, your Kindle or similar devices, your smart phones, etc.  Don’t forget to update the outdated devices that you have lying around to use as spares.

Adobe Flash is a very important one to consider. But do NOT update when the pop-up appears – it may be a scam and that may be exactly how you become vulnerable.  Go to their website to update and set up auto-updates.

“Update all of your apps! While some updates are improvements, most of the updates are security patches. Be sure to update as soon as available.

2. Get a password manager and install it on all devices.

A password manager is like an online wallet for your valuable information. Create a strong initial password for this one and you must remember your password to this application because it is not stored.

According to Wikipedia “Password managers usually store passwords encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password; a single, ideally very strong password which grants the user access to their entire password database. Some password managers store passwords on the user’s computer, whereas others store data in the cloud. While the core functionality of a password manager is to securely store large collections of passwords, many provide additional features such as form filling and password generation.

Password managers also have browser extensions for FireFox, Chrome and Safari.

DISABLE the auto-fill for passwords. Use your password manager’s browser extension instead.

Some to consider are LastPass, 1Password, KeepPass, and Roboform

*After you install your password manager, update all your passwords with unique passwords generated by your app.  Also, update your security questions with more unique passwords generated by your app because real answers to security questions increase your chances of being hacked!

3. If you have an iPhone 6 or above, set up the Apple fingerprint!  (Android will be adding this feature soon.)

4. Do not choose the “log in with your Facebook account” or “log in as Twitter” options. Be sure to log in using your password manager.

5. Take a look at your e-mail service. Is it as safe as it could be?  Perhaps Hotmail (is that even around anymore) or Yahoo are not the safest options. Gmail has 2 factor authentication so it is more reliable.

6. Check your cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.)  Cloud storage sites have an increasing number of hacks.

Enable 2-step authentication for these – require a code in addition to your password.

7. Phone – Turn off the apps you don’t need.

Apps are great but they are security risks. Delete the ones that you don’t need. (I am SO guilty of keeping too many apps on my phone. Deleting the unused ones has become a priority.)

8. Facebook and Twitter – sign up for 2-factor authentification.  (The one drawback for this is that if you ever change your phone number, it’s a hassle to have it changed, but probably less of a hassle than the things that would have to be done after a cyber hack.)

Instagram is very susceptible to being hacked so be sure to use your password manager when signing in.

9. Set up an IFTTT recipe to have your Instagram images automatically sent and saved in your Dropbox. You can find that here  You could also use Instaport to save all your Instagram images to your hard drive.

10. Check your Facebook privacy settings and determine what is the most amount of privacy you could opt for without damaging your social engagement and reach.

11. Consider using SocialSafe to back up your social media date. At $27.99 per year for 20 accounts, it’s extremely inexpensive and easy to manage.

12.  Messaging – Use a messaging service that supports encryption such as iMessage for Apple or What’s App for iOs, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone.

*Did you know?

On Apple: blue bubbles = iMessage which is encrypted and secure

                   green bubbles = SMS text which is not secure

I hope that you’ll take this threat to your social media investment seriously and begin to put some, if not all, of these precautions in place.  And if you have any other suggestions as to ways that we can all protect our online selves better, I’d love to hear.

*For further information, check out Chalene Johnson’s podcast series on how she was hacked and what she has learned.  iTunes: Chalene Johnson: Build Your Tribe – episodes from June 9, 12, 15, 17 and 19 of 2015.

 

 

IFTTT: The Best Way to Share Instagram Photos on Twitter

Graphic of the Instagram logo next to the Twitter logoImages receive much more engagement than text. We all know that to be true and studies have proven it to be true on all social platforms.

When you post a pic to Instagram, you have the option to then share it to Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and/or Twitter. Sharing to Facebook works fairly well because Facebook owns Instagram. But when you share a photo to Twitter, it appears on your Twitter feed as a link, not a full image.  As you know, links require an additional click and folks may not want to take the time to click on the link to view your photo. Therefore, it’s important to put the image right in front of your followers’ faces. You  can do this by using an IFTTT recipe.

The one that I use was created by DJuiceman in July of 2013. 129,000 people are currently using this recipe. (This particular recipe will  automatically share every image you add to Instagram directly to your Twitter account, so if you don’t want all your images going to Twitter then be sure to select a different recipe. There are several available.) You can find them by going to IFTTT.com and searching for “Instagram to Twitter” recipes. (You’ll need to create an account in order to use the recipe but the recipe is free to use and easy to set up.)  You just select “add this recipe” and the app will walk you through the rest of the procedure.  If  you need more information on how to use IFTTT.com, see this post – http://onthewebbsocialmedia.com/ifttt-possibly-my-favorite-new-toy/.

Let me know how it works for you.

 

 

11 Quick Tips For Double-Tap Worthy Instagram Photos

Instagram logo with title of article 11 Quick Tips For Double-Tap Worthy Instagram Photos

As the Instagram platform becomes even more popular and more photos are being shared, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out amidst all the great images.  If you want some extra attention, you may need to step up your game.  Here are11 tips to ensure that your images are worth the double-tap!  (Some of these are directly-related to the iphone but most are generic.)

1. Turn off the flash.

It’s not that powerful and can sometimes ruin the image that you think you are capturing.  Some folks advise that using the flash during day time is a good way to capture detail but I don’t find it to be effective.

2. Don’t use the zoom.

As with most smart phones, the zoom on the iPhone is a digital zoom, not an optical zoom. That means that the more you zoom into your image, the more blurry it will become. If you want a closer shot, you need to use your feet.

3. Reduce clutter.

Each of your photos should have a subject. There can be more than one but there should only be one main subject. If you can’t easily find that subject in your image, then you have too much clutter in the photo. Rearrange your shot to get rid of some of the clutter.

Simple photos do better on social media, perhaps because of the size of the screen they are being viewed on or because of the attention span of the viewer.

4. Snap your photo with the volume button on the side of your phone rather than using the dot on the screen.

This will help to eliminate any movement caused by pushing directly on the screen and will help to maintain focus. Both the volume up and volume down button can be used for this.

5. Shoot in square mode.

Because Instagram images are square, shooting in this mode will give you the exact image that will be shown on Instagram. The “square” mode is to the right of “photo”.

6.  Shoot from the level of your subject.

If you are capturing images of pets or small children, shoot from their level for a more realistic and interesting view.

7.  Remember the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds applies to composition of the photograph. Basically, you break an image into thirds

Attractive young blonde woman standing in front of a white framed window facade which gives the image strong architectural perspective

both horizontally and vertically so that you end up with 9 boxes (like a tic-tac-toe board).

The premise is that this grid now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest as you are framing your photograph. A person’s eye usually goes towards one of the intersection points rather than the middle of an image.

Simply stated, don’t put your subject in the middle (either horizontally or vertically). Putting it off to one side will make a much more interesting image. Of course, rules are made to be broken, so there will always be exceptions.

You can add a “rule-of-third” grid on the iphone by going to “settings” ~~> Photos and Camera ~~> Grid (turn the button to green).

8. Take silhouette photos.

Team of climbers silhouetted as they coil ropes after reaching the summit of a rock pinnacle in The Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.Silhouette images are often much more intriguing than regular images, perhaps because they are a bit mystical.  You can easily capture silhouettes by shooting against the source of light. Place your subject directly in front of the light source (or hide the sun directly behind the subject). Sunrise and sunset are the best times to capture this type of image.

 

 

9. Include long shadows in your compositions. Shadows are more prominent in photos than in real life and can make for an attractive visual.  Again,

long shadows of 4 people

In this image, only the shadows are visible.

you can create the shadows by hiding the sun behind your subject.  Play around with this idea and see what you can come up with.

You can also increase shadows by increasing the contrast when you are editing an image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Shoot your images from a different angle.

the tops of trees against a bright blue sky

Whenever I’m feeling down, I just look up.

 

Show the world as people are not used to seeing it by changing the perspective. Consider a very low angle by getting your camera as close to the ground as possible or get down low and point up towards the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Clean the camera lens!

That’s pretty obvious but we often forget to do it.

Play around with some of these techniques and let me know if you find any of them helpful.  If you’re on Instagram, let’s connect!  You can find me at Instagram.com/ShelleyWebb.

Still Linking Your Facebook Posts to Twitter? Please Don’t.

comic-like drawing saying "HUH"I was watching Shark Tank the other night – the episode about the lacy boot socks. The company’s name is Grace and Lace and they have a wonderful story.  (And yes, I’ve already ordered some socks.)  :)

When asked how they began, Melissa, the founder of Grace and Lace, related to the sharks that they had not spent money on marketing and had simply used social media to gain exposure.

Many people believe that social media is free advertising (and  yes, it’s true that for the most part,  it can be used without spending actual dollars) but given the amount of time it takes to manage your social media accounts, find relevant content to curate, create your own content and respond to comments and questions, you can see that it is anything BUT free.

So we do what we can to try to decrease the amount of time spent on social media.  Tools like Buffer App, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Tweetdeck help us to be more efficient but sometimes to the detriment of our efforts.  Each platform should really be kept separate. 

One short cut I’ve seen used is to link a company Facebook page to a Twitter account.  Don’t do it.  Some experts argue that it’s fine. I disagree.  Time and time again I see posts on Twitter that are clearly a forwarded Facebook post and make absolutely no sense.  They look something like this: “Arguing about a…..fb.me/XYZ7368″

 Twitter is a fast-moving platform and most folks are not going to click a link on a post that doesn’t really tell them anything about what they’re going to find once clicking the link. Not only that, it just looks sloppy.  Additionally, if you are writing a longer text post on Facebook, for instance a quote, you may end up with only half a quote on Twitter and no reference to who is being quoted… like this:  “Get out there and take action! If you wait for perfection, you will drive your self crazy while you sit on the sidelines wishing you…”  <~~where’s the rest of the post?

Another short cut is to do the opposite – link a Twitter page to automatically post to a Facebook page. This isn’t good either because many people on Facebook do not understand what RT (retweet) or #FF (Follow Friday) means. Before the advent of the use of hashtags on Facebook, it was even worse.  Again, it just looks sloppy.  However, if you do link from Twitter to Facebook personal page, you are now able to use the “edit” feature to remove the RT and the hashtags if you wish. Facebook business pages still do not have this feature.

Instagram is a bit different in that it can be shared to Twitter fairly well.  When sharing from Instagram, you will end up with an Instagram link but if you use one of the IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes, you can share the actually image – more about that here.  You would think that because Facebook now owns Instagram that images would be shared to Facebook  in the proper Facebook sizes but no such luck… they usually turn out too big and thus show only part of the image.

As I perused Grace and Lace’s use of Social Media, I noticed that they concentrate on Facebook and Instagram with a lesser use of Twitter.  Most of their Twitter stream is links from Instagram.  Thankfully they do NOT linked their Facebook page to their Twitter account and as they said on Shark Tank, it has worked well for them.  For a small business, which is not so small anymore… they are doing a wonderful job with their social media.

If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to sign up for our free weekly newsletter which offers short and sweet updates on the ever changing world of social media.

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram 30 Day Photo Challenge – Have Fun, Get More Followers!

Instagram 30 Day Photo Challenge August 2013This Thursday, August 1st begins our first 30 Day Photo Challenge.  The idea behind this challenge is to have fun, learn more about Instagram and how it can be used for your business and to get more followers.

Directions: Using the guide below, post one photo per day on Instagram that relates to the daily subject  (but you can catch up if need be).  #Hashtag your photo as you post it with DIYSocial and then the title of the day.  So for instance, Day 1 would be #DIYSOCIALVintage.  The only exceptions are Day #4 and Day #15 because they’re too long so they have their own hashtags. *If you forget to hashtag your photo, you can hashtag it in the comments. (HINT: If you already have a photo posted on Instagram that would be perfect for the subject of the day, go back to it and add the hashtag under the comment section.)

You might want to search the photos of other participants.  To do this, go to the search feature in Instagram (the star that is to the left of the camera icon) and type the hashtag in the search bar.  To get more bang for your buck, like and comment on others’s photos.

If you need a bit of help setting up Instagram, you can find more info here.

I’d love for you to share this with your friends and followers.  THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN!

 

 

Instagram 30 Day Photo Challenge August 2013

Why Your Business Should Absolutely Be Using Instagram – Part 1

Keep Calm and Post PhotosWe’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, Instagram is all that and more!

Instagram is a visual platform that helps build brand images and allows businesses to showcase their expertise to their followers in a visual way.  Photos are uploaded to accounts via a “smart phone” and can easily be shared to specific other social media accounts as well.

While Instagram has been around for awhile (Facebook purchased it in April of 2012 for a final price of 715 MILLION dollars, originally publicized that it was purchased for a BILLION), it is a relatively new platform for business use.  (And I’m even going to say here that when businesses started using Instagram regularly, I was rather disappointed.  I had my little circle of family and friends with whom I shared photos (and vice-versa) and I didn’t want it invaded.) 

But I digress!

Instagram is a perfect platform for ALL types of busineses.   With 130 million VERY active monthly users  (per Huffington Post) and 45 million photos being posted per day (according to Kim Garst of BOOM Social), the platform fits almost every single business type.  There are reportedly 1 BILLION “likes” daily and 432 Thousand more daily users than Twitter!  That’s huge!

Because Instagram has now rolled out video, it will become an even bigger player in the social media world.  Their video offering is easy to use straight from the app and is 15 seconds long (rather than the 6.5 seconds* that Vine offers).  It also has filters which Vine doesn’t offer. *Vine states that their videos are 6 seconds long but Cnet.com argues that they are actually 6.5 seconds in length.

There a lot of ways in which businesses can use Instagram: showcasing products (you could also zoom in on one of them and ask for a guess as to what it might be), going behind the scenes of your business and sharing photos of your employees and environment, announcing new products or services, sharing a bit of  your life outside of your business – your hobbies, your culture, your life celebrations, holding contests or challenges (which we’ll cover in another post), showing how your products are made, sharing your favorite piece of office equipment if you are service-based… and so much more.

If you’re new to Instagram you might wonder how to access it. 

As I mentioned before, at this time, photos can only be posted to Instagram via the Instagram app on your mobile device.  Because Facebook purchased Instagram, this may change in the future but I’ve not heard any talk about that yet.

You will need to create an account. 

  • Download the Instagram app in the app store or in Google Play for Android
  • Open the app and tap “Register”
  • Choose a User Name and password (Be mindful to make it consistent with branding across your other social media platforms.)
  • Fill out your Profile – there’s room to add your website
  • Tap Done and that’s all there is to it.

While photos can only be uploaded from the app, you can manage your profile and view photos at instagram.com, statigram.com and followgram.me.

We’ll take about more ways to use Instagram and how to improve its performance for your business  in Part 2 of this series. 

Leave me a comment and let me know your Instagram name so we can connect there! 

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation. 

 

 

 

 

9 Ways to Increase Your Connections on Instagram

taken with instafood appI love photos.  They don’t have to be of perfect quality.  I just love looking at them and love capturing images.  So when I found out about Instagram about a year and a half ago, I immediately signed up for it.   It was my little oasis of sharing pictorial moments of time with other friends and followers.  I wasn’t worried about growing followers – it was a completely different group of folks than the ones on my other social media accounts.

But as the months went on, Instagram became more about social media and less about my private oasis.   Instagram users began asking for followers, holding contests, and using a myriad of #hashtags.

Even though there was a minor uproar when Instagram’s blog announced that their terms of service asserted that they owned the rights to posted images, they quickly recanted and as of February, 2013, Instagram had over 100 million active monthly users. 

Recently Klout began incorporating Instagram as one of its networks that helps to determine influence so as a social media strategist, I needed to reconsider my Instagram philosophy. 

If you are not currently utilizing Instagram for  your social media, I would encourage you to do so.   It’s one of the easiest to add to your social media repertoire because it requires very little work.  And if you’re already using Instagram, you may want to optimize it a bit more.

Here are some guidelines to help you utilize Instagram to get connected and engage with potential clients.

1. Make Sure That Your Instagram Bio is Complete and states what you do and also what your interests are.

Let people know who you are and what you’re about.  This will help them to know if you have similarities or can fullfill a need of theirs.

2. Be Sure Your Photos Are Public

Instagram photos can be public or private.  Some accounts should remain private but if you’re using your account for branding or to grow  your business, be sure that it is public.

Once you are on your profile: Under the settings tab (the little wheel), listed under Account, you’ll find a setting that says “Photos Are Private”.  Be sure to choose off or else no one will be able to see your images or connect with you.

 3.  Follow Your Connections From Other Social Networks

Also under the Settings tab, you will see a Find and Invite Friends tab.  Once you click on that tab, you can connect with your Facebook Friends, your contact list, or check under “Suggested Users” for some very interesting people to follow.

A couple of my favorites are “PurposeOfEnvy”, “Buck_To_The_Street” and “BallerinasOfFig”

One way for your blog readers to find out that you’re on Instagram is to use an Instagram widget on your website.  SnapWidget is a good one and can be customized to display your photos in a way that fits your website.  There is a free version and a pro version ($6.99 per month) but I think the free version is just fine.  There are also a couple of WordPress plug ins for Instagram photos.

If you’d like help adding the SnapWidget to your website, go here.

4. Utilize #Hashtags to Find People To Follow AND To Be Followed

Instagram is another social media platform that utilizes #hashtags. 

For instance, if I wanted to connect with other #socialmediastrategists, I would use this hashtag in the Instagram search feature in order to find them.  (The search feature can be located under the star like the one that you see in the photo above.)  Therefore, it’s important to utilize at least a couple of hashtags in your comment when posting your image so that people can find and connect with you.  Normally, I would suggest no more than 2 hashtags be used on Twitter or Pinterest but on Instagram, they tend to use many more.

If you’re attending an event, be sure to post the event hashtag with your photo along with the account names (or Twitter handles) of the people in your photo.

 5.  Leave Comments and “Like” Other Images. 

This, of course, is a way to get the attention of a person and begin a conversation.  I’ve had some great conversations with some Instagrammers –  from raising chickens, life as a Marine wife to sharing recipes.  It’s not all about business.

 6. Be Consistent.

 While you don’t need to post a photo EVERY day, you should make a habit to post at least 3 times a week, which is super-simple if you have a smart phone.  If you can’t find a photo that you like, you could try posting a quote.

Here are some cool apps to use for this purpose: 

Tweegram: choose a quote, pick a theme, change the font or font colors and share….

Textgram: somewhat the same as Tweegram

Diptic: for making collages of photos that are easily posted to Instagram

Instaweather: snap a photo; it automatically populates the photo with the weather in your area; easily shared to Instagram

InstaFood:  Yes, it’s all about food!  Both instafood and instaweather will automatically populate a BUNCH of #hashtags for you.  Of course, you can remove them if you want and/or add some of your own.

 7.  Share Your Instagram Images to Other Sites Automatically.

When posting your image on Instagram, it’s possible to concurrently share with Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, e-mail, and Twitter.  Take advantage of that.  (Because Facebook purchased Instagram and decided to make some changes, images shared with Twitter don’t transfer well.  You can easily get around that by using an IFTTT recipe.  You can find more about that here.)

8. Remember Your Call To Action:

As in all social media platforms, it’s important to give a call to action. 

You might say something like “Double Tap if you love Oreos too!” or  “Which one do you like?  Leave a comment.”  (If you double tap a photo, it gives it a “like”.

One example of a great call to action: today I saw that The Knot (a website and  magazine dedicated to weddings) posted a photo of the Royal Couple and said “Happy 2nd Anniversary to one of our favorite royal couples! Double tap if you want another royal wedding soon!” (Shameless plug: My daughter’s event planning company, Intertwined Events, was featured in The Knot Southern California edition.)

9.  Have Fun!

Some gorgeous photos are being shared on Instagram from both professional and non-professional photographers.  It’s amazing what you can do with a smart phone.  You’ll also be amazed at some of the wonderful people you meet.

If you’re on Instagram or are planning to join, I hope you’ll connect with me there, as well.  I’ll be sure to follow you back!  You can find me at Instagram/Shelley

If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to sign up for our free weekly newsletter which offers short and sweet updates on the ever changing world of social media.

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Must-Keep Social Media Resolutions for 2013

New year resolutions First of all, Happy New Year! 

2012 was a difficult year for many people and it’s my hope that 2013 will bring much health, happiness and abundance to all.

As we look to the year ahead, we are at least mindful of some things that we’d like to accomplish this year. Lots of folks have created some New Year’s Resolutions or goals surrounding social media.  Why not?  Social Media marketing opportunities just keep growing bigger every year. 

If you’re considering some social media resolutions for the coming year, you might consider these.

1. Just Get Started.

If you’re not involved in social media yet, make this your year to give it a try.  It’s a very effective form of marketing that is often free and continues to grow in leaps and bounds. 

For example, on New Year’s Eve, a friend of mine, Martha Giffen, became a social media star!  She had her tweet from @marthagiffen which said “social media at its best! Happy New Year! #cnnnye” scrolling beneath the coverage of the New Year’s festivities that Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin were covering.  How’s that for free advertising.

2. Think visually.

Pinterest, an almost completely visual site,  is driving more referral traffic than Google+, You Tube, Reddit and LinkedIn combined.*(My top referrer is now Pinterest.) It is also the 3rd most visited site behind Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram continues to grow in popularity (despite its recent debacle regarding terms of service and who exactly owns the rights to photos that are posted) and Twitter has added the ability to post photos directly to tweets.

And finally, with more than 85% of internet users watching on-line, video is the fastest growing digital content category.  And videos are “pinnable”.

*via Shareaholic.com

3.  Learn to use Google+

Experts have been arguing about the usefullness and staying power of Google+ since its birth but the fact is that it is growing faster than any of its predecessors and is incredibly important if just for its search influence alone.  Learn how to use it now or you may get left behind.  Be sure to have your G+ profile filled out well so that when anyone does a search for your name, your profile shows up on the first page.

4. Provide great content consistently. 

This is key to bringing folks back to your website and having your content shared throughout the social media platforms.  Share who you are and what you know in a non ego-centric fashion so that visitors and followers will return to find out more about you.  Do not be afraid to over-give.  You can never out-give the universe.

5. Forgo what doesn’t work for you.

Different types of people and different types of businesses do best on particular social media platforms.   If one platform is not working for you, or you just cringe at the thought of using it (and that includes Google+), forget about it!  Social media is supposed to be easy and enjoyable.  If using ANY type of social media is just not your thing, then outsource it to someone with a passion for it, but do try to participate at least a little bit in order to showcase your true personality. After all, it is YOU that should be the face of the company.

What are YOUR social media goals for this year?  I would love for you to share them here!

If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to sign up for our free weekly newsletter which offers short and sweet updates on the ever changing world of social media.

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.